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[GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Epsilon on Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:43 pm

Honestly, I am just thunderstruck by this ending. It hits that bittersweet note so well that I am simply left in awe of how well it was written. I might take exception to a few of the things that went down in the epilogue, but honestly this ending was about as suitable as it could get. It certainly has been a long ride; Regardless of how anyone might feel about this story, the fact that you guys stuck to this for four years straight is a fact worthy of recognition in and of itself.

Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go lie down and cry into my Blackjack plushie while this loops over and over...
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Katarn on Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:58 pm

Wow...4 years. Never thought I'd stick here for that long. I wonder how many people I wouldn't meet if not for FoE and PH...hell. If not for MLP alone.
It was quite a ride.
I've enjoyed (almost) every bit of this whole story. Thank you Somber and editors crew for going for this long and delivering us this piece of art. I never was good on reviews, so I won't break my 'tradition' on not posting any. Spike

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by decumos on Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:08 pm

This is one of the best stories I've ever read. Not just in pony fiction, mind you.
Somber, you are a genius. Thank you for this masterpiece.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:36 pm

@Seft Sirag:
For my part, you're welcome. Thank you for your thanks and for your compliments about the story. :)

@Epsilon:
Ah, good; I'm glad you liked it.

@Katarn:
You're welcome. :)

@decumos:
Thanks.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by tylertoon2 on Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:45 pm

I LOVE YOU SOMBER.


WHENS THE NEXT FIC COMING?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by tylertoon2 on Sat Aug 29, 2015 5:50 pm

But seriously though. Somber you've given me more than just a piece of fiction, you've built a community with your writing. Brought me people I'd call my friends. Thank you very much for your effort through these years. I'd love to see you step away from Fan Fiction and give writing your own completely original story a shot. You've got the talent and team to do it.

Speaking of team. You guys, O.Hinds, Swicked, Bronode, any i've missed, are real troopers sticking like glue to Somber and helping this thing get written all for free. Phenomenal job to everyone. 

Great Job guys. I can't wait to see what comes next.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Evilgidgit on Sat Aug 29, 2015 6:30 pm

Oh, boy. I'm a blob of emotions right now. We have come to the end and I am very, very, satisfied with the ending of this wonderful, captivating, and might I say beautiful story. I'm not really sure how to express myself at this moment in time but I am both happy and sad that Project Horizons has come to an end.

Somber, you are without a doubt one of the finest writers I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and PH is fantastic. I hope and pray you find success with your wonderful stories wherever you may find it.

To O. Hinds, Bronode, swicked, Heartshine, Icy Shake, and even Snipehamster and Hidden Fortune. I thank you all for aiding Somber in moulding the story to its greatest potential.

And while yes, there are some things I would've preferred to happen differently like certain character deaths/fates, I am pleased with what I got.

Thanks for Goldenblood.
Thanks for Whisper.
Thanks for the Marauders.
Thanks for Boo.
Thanks for Scotch Tape.
Thanks for Lacunae.
Thanks for Rampage. 
Thanks for Glory.
Thanks for P-21.

Thanks for Blackjack.

Dash clapping

So, only Murky and Heroes left to reach their end.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Sat Aug 29, 2015 7:14 pm

Okay, not done, but checking in because I just can't stop myself right now. Started about seven hours ago. I can't seem to go more than a few lines without feeling like I have something to say or look up. Hope the edits below aren't too repetitive of what others have, but I'm not reading any comments for obvious reasons. Anyway, needed to share one of my comments now.

Spoiler:

“How about...”  He drew a pair of cards and held them up for me to see: the ace and queen of spades.  “How about you tell me about how you got your cutie mark?”

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ahem. You pander you.
That's it, I'm leaving the fandom!

Why can't I stop talking?

And the edits so far:
It was tough to hear over the noise of the wheels, the wind, and the echoes, but fortunately my augmented hearing picked it up easily enough.

"tough to hear" doesn't really work with "easily enough". Maybe change to a remark about how it was mixed in with or competing with all the other noise?


”You’re supposed to be this tall to stop

inverted quotation mark


“or you’d be a pile of bloody goop.

missing closing quotation mark


Whisper shouted. The mechasprites seemed

only one space after period


their mouths working as they started to chew through the black-enamelled armor.

"enameled"


“For wha–  Eeeee!” Whisper shrieked as a silvery blob exploded out of a vent, swirling like ink in water as it lunged towards her and Dusk.  The latter shoved the former away, knocking her back over the railcar and leaving herself the sole meal.  “Flame!  Flame!  Fucking flame already!” Whisper shouted. The mechasprites seemed to glue themselves to her armor, their mouths working as they started to chew through the black-enamelled armor.

I think this would be a bit clearer if the "her" before "armor" were replaced with "Dusk" since otherwise it's easy to attach it to Whisper, who was just speaking, rather than Dusk, which requires tracking through two actions made (and a line spoken) by Whisper, one of which already had both of them, as subject and object, represented by pronoun-ish things


"You okay?" the pony in a new suit of red

non-directional quotation marks


bits of mechasprite bouncing off her.  "Still rare?"

non-directional quotation marks



wound.  “Hold still.  It’s a clean cut.  If I’m quick enough...”  The glow of magic flickered briefly.

editing-ish, maybe: That works too, though I wasn't aware of her having that kind of magic (post-Lacunae's death and having access through Unity, of course), especially given how she was so weak with magic herself (even if her body at least can do more powerful work now), almost like Littlepip without the levitation superpower, and if she did have it, she should probably have been helping with medical stuff in 99 during the battle, which would have somewhat weakened the case for it being super necessary (in general, as opposed to for Stronghoof specificaly) that she get in the fight. Also, might have been able to help Stronghoof directly.


“That’s why I left Bucklyn.  Food sucked,” the pony said as she tossed the chunks of mandible aside.

suggest changing "the pony" to "Aries", or at least something that would distinguish her from pretty much everyone there but Lancer and Pythia (and ideally Crumpets, too)


The magic bulged as the train behind tried to overtake us, bending elasticity as she strained.

"elastically"


Let's see you swallow this,

non-directional apostrophe


The mare's horn erupted, hurling brilliant

non-directional apostrophe


More bolts drilled deeper and deeper into the train's body,

non-directional apostrophe


concrete floor of the tunnel. Robbed of its

only one space after period


expletive-riddled diatribes against Horse weren't

non-directional quotation mark


while the pillars gave us some cover, the monsterbots had a lot of miniguns hurl a lot of metal.

"hurling" or "to hurl", something like that?


Now wasn't the time to worry

non-directional apostrophe


the critters we'd left behind before were

non-directional apostrophe


It’s gatling beam gun began to sweep back and

"Its"


chin as he struggled to breathe.  ”Stop him

inverted quotation mark


So," Pythia queried, "how’s that curse coming along, Maiden?

non-directional quotaton marks (apostrophe is okay)


Everything that had been in the Core and hadn’t been needed during for supporting and elevating the Eater had fallen down here.

should be "during [event/time]", or "during" should be deleted


the echos of countless groaning, broken structures and occasional snapping power line.

"echoes", suggest either "and the occasional snapping power line", "and occasionally snapping power lines", or "and occasional snapping power lines"


quickly as you can," I ordered.  "Fan out and keep

non-directional quotation marks


a glance at Lancer's body lying in the corner

non-directional apostrophe


twisting the hoof's trajectory to send

non-directional apostrophe


I need you to make a hole.” I told Sweetie Bot, t

period should be comma


She looked at Aries, and the other ranger nodded once.

"ranger" should probably be capitalized


the wheels of were spinning and sending out sparks.

"wheels of [something]" or delete "of"


When Pythia offered a syringe of Hydra, though, she immediately waved it off with a furiously glare.

"furious glare"


making the ground shake. “You cannot defeat

only one space after period


they looked like a solid bar or bright flickering green.

"bar of bright"


The beam cut through the Legate's bulk like

non-directional apostrophe


Legate's grotesque form collapsed a

non-directional apostrophe


the synthetic pony's horn sputtering out

non-directional apostrophe


"Enough!" he roared as he raised his hoof, which still had more than enough integrity to crush us all to goop.  "You die!  Your friends die!  Everything dies!"  

non-directional quotation marks


“Persistent...  Tenacious... fools!”

suggest treating that as one sentence, with only one space after first ellipsis and lowercase "Tenacious"


From far above, barely audible, Crumpets yelled out, "Got 'im!"

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophe


“I... Can... Not... Die...” the crackling behemoth wheezed as bits cascaded down upon me.

should have second space after first three ellipses


I struggled free into the air and teleported next to the hoof as it raised up.

"rose up"


“Wait.”  I gaped at her.  “You’re pregnant?!”  I never would have-

should have second hyphen for dash (or dash)

Reentering radio silence.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Sat Aug 29, 2015 9:58 pm

Icy Shake wrote:
Spoiler:

“How about...”  He drew a pair of cards and held them up for me to see: the ace and queen of spades.  “How about you tell me about how you got your cutie mark?”

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ahem. You pander you.
That's it, I'm leaving the fandom!
Bwuh?

tylertoon2 wrote:Speaking of team. You guys, O.Hinds, swicked, Bronode, any i've missed, are real troopers sticking like glue to Somber and helping this thing get written all for free. Phenomenal job to everyone. 
You missed Icy Shake. "Eh, we'll leave it for Icy Shake" was a very common saying whenever there was too much discussion over a single bit of grammar.
But it was the funnest creative endeavor I've ever been a part of so it was hardly an issue sticking around once I was accepted onto the team in the first place.
It's amazing to me how much my thoughts and arguments ended up affecting the story...

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Derpmind on Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:06 pm

So, I got one more reading-while-commenting track.

It really was better than I could have hoped for:
"Chapter 77: All In"

I don't think it's a bluff.

"I wondered if Twilight ever had to do anything like this."

You've got seven or eight more minutes than she usually did.

"Once upon a time, I’d gone into the earth."

Blackjack is an experienced extreme spelunker. (Innuendo goes here.) But seriously, the tunnels underneath Hoofington might be the most heavy-metal death dungeon I've ever read. It makes stuff like a Space Hulk raid or a DOOM level look super tame.

"Lancer hit the button at a hundred yards."

Baddass count: 1

"Magic reached out and caught the limb before it fell off the car, immediately returning it to the injured mare.  “Shhh,” Psalm said as she touched her horn to the wound.  “Hold still.  It’s a clean cut.  If I’m quick enough...”  The glow of magic flickered briefly.  “Did that work?” she asked calmly as she looked at the pegasus."

That's, well, that's creepy as hell.

"“Everything,” "Shoot everything!""

The shit is approaching the fan, sir.

""Aries lunged at the monster and rammed the tip of her flamer, and her head, into its mouth, her forehooves reaching around to clutch its jaws shut.  The hound’s too-numerous eyes bulged and twitched, then smoked, then popped.  The beast swelled and burst into blackened chunks of cooked meat.  The red power armor smoked as Aries pulled back, the enamel pitted with hissing acid, but it was still intact.  “Wooo-wee!  If we had the time, that’s what I’d call good eating!”"

Baddass count: 2

"Then bright yellow lights glared brightly behind us, and I turned...
The monsters had trains of their own.
Three of them.
And they had mouths."

It's just like when that Ultra Sentinel chased the ol' gang down the tracks after they freed Discord! Only worse. And uglier.

"The flatcars they pulled were bristling with Ultra-Sentinel monsterbots."

Ah. Well.

"Sweetie Bot collapsed against the rail, her synthetic hide smoking around her brow.  “Why the hell did Horse put that kind of firepower in a fuckbot?” Whisper demanded."

Baddass count: 3

"The train behind us kept going, too.  Right into the side of the train that had been trying to get ahead of us.  The locomotive rammed the car it hit off the other the track and straight into a support pillar on the other side, all three disintegrating in a cloud of razor sharp steel and jagged concrete.  It took with it all but the locomotive and first two cars of the center train, the rest ending up lying off the track, sideways, smashed, or scattered.  On our track, the first car behind the destroyed locomotive was blown back off the track, one end hitting a support pillar and the other scraping the wall.  The far end of the one behind it slammed into the ceiling."

Baddass count: 4

"One, a dusty voice chuckled."

... Well. That was sooner than I expected.

"Ugh...  I fucking hated this place..."

Hoofington loves you too, Blackjack.

"“So you’re saying that we should all die?” I snapped.  Hadn’t I heard enough of this shit from Tom?
   “I’m saying that you need to separate death from suffering.
She considered me soberly.  “So, Maiden... Blackjack... what do you want more than anything?”"

What's even left, after it's all over?

"The red tunnels were supposed to be reinforced against any kind of enemy attack, which was likely the only reason they survived at all.  Here, though, parts of the inner wall and ceiling had been gouged away, leaving gaps that opened out into the colossal pit the Eater had scraped during its ascension.  Everything that had been in the Core and hadn’t been needed during for supporting and elevating the Eater had fallen down here.  Slabs of building.  Passenger trains.  Skywagons.  Cascades of mulched furniture of all kinds.  Pipes and other rail lines, some jutting out from the walls and others piled amid the wreckage.  Thousands of emergency lights gave the entire shaft a garish crimson glow.  As a final decorative touch, the entire mess appeared as if a bloody slurry had been vomited all over it."

Scenery porn count: 1

"“Blackjack,” the Legate boomed as two enormous, milky eyes turned towards me.  I knew he wasn’t blind.  He had a few hundred more speckled all over his head and shoulders, like zits, to follow us with.  He breathed low and deep, not just through his mouth but through countless slits in his chest.  He lifted a limb the size of a ship and slammed it into the wall above us.  “I knew you’d come,” he gurgled, the voice echoed by a chorus of lesser mouths on his hide, “Maiden.”"

Ah, well, this guy's way easier than the Eater. If it bleeds, we can kill it.

"I watched as Dusk disappeared into the Legate’s mass."

Damnit.

I can't really pause to quote something, there's just too much going on.

"Two, the dusty voice murmured."

Baddass count: 5?

"Then the Legate’s side exploded in rainbow light, and I paused.  From where Whisper’d been shooting poked a black form: a suit of Enclave power armor."

Fucking hell! Baddass count: 6!

"The Legate slumped against the wall.  “Persistent...  Tenacious... fools!” he boomed."

And I would have gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!

"Then, from high above the Legate came the thump of an explosion.  Then another.  Then a third, blasting out of a broken tunnel.  The Legate twisted his head up and stared with an almost weary expression as a train, this one a string of industrial tankers, came rocketing out the broken tube."

Deus ex Train. :D

"From far above, barely audible, Crumpets yelled out, "Got 'im!""

Baddass count: 7

"A hoof struck her helmet, pushed through her visor, and out the back in an explosion of bone, brain, and metal.
And that’s three, the voice rasped.
Perched casually on her head, foot lodged in her brain, was the Legate."

Ok, legit question here: What the fuck?

"Then we heard it.  The scream of Enervation changed.  Focused.  For a moment, all around us, came a slightly different modulation of the noise.  It could be summed up in three words.
   OH, DO I?"

Well, that's one way to eat your own words. Machina ex Deus.

"“Oh, fuck that,” Whisper snapped.  She trotted right up to me and brought her hoof across my muzzle.  “None of that ‘giving your shit up before you die’ shit.  You’re going to live, understand?” she demanded as she glared at me.  “Rampage isn’t here to smack that shit out of you, so I’ll do it.  And when you’re back, I’m going to kick your cybernetic ass to show everypony who’s the baddest momma in the Hoof.  Got it?”"

Baddass count: 8

"“You’re pregnant?!”"

Crazy mares, blowing shit up and making children.

"The beam lanced up, and the ceiling shattered.  Girders, pipes, wires, wagons, trains, and concrete came cascading down in a deluge of ruin, filling the pit beneath me with the corpse of the city.  Folly had cleared a path through the falling remains, though, and as they fell around me, none fell on me.  I floated there in a void, the edges of the cavern invisible in dust, darkness, and rubble, green light surrounding me in a column descending from a hole like a great baleful eye.  The junk overhead had resettled, but there was a way clear.  It was just going to be a bit of a climb."

Raining destroyed city, with Blackjack standing in the eye. That's some kind of crazy beautiful. Scenery porn count: 2

"“Everypony has a cutie mark story.  What’s yours?” he asked."

'Bout time, Dealer.

"“I won a round and got my cutie mark.  End of story.”  I finally made a gap I could get through, spotting a half dozen silver wires tautly strung in the space above.  Good thing I hadn’t teleported.  I used a bit of moonstone dust to vaporize them.  “Even Cognitum said so.  Victory was my special talent.”"

You're not very good at lying.

"“So you won,” the Dealer chuckled.  “And all it cost you was a life.”"

That's not a special talent, that's a curse. Seriously, that's not a cutie mark, that's a curse! Whose ancient burial grounds did filly Go Fish kick over?

"“No?  Well, who can tell for sure?”  The Dealer took his hat off.  “If I were anything... and I’m not saying I am... I’d call me the Wasteland.”  And he gave me a little bow.
   “The Wasteland?” I echoed as I stared at him.
   “The desolation.  The loss.  The pain and sacrifice.  I take you... all of you... and I make your lives living, bloody hell.  I twist you.  I tear you.  I see what you’re all made of.  How far you can go.  Where, exactly, you break.”  He showed cards of me after the Seahorse.  Of me outside Maripony right before the bomb went off.  Of Shadowbolt Tower dying.  “And you... Blackjack... you’re a pony who should have fallen a hundred times over.  I try, and I try, and I try... but I can’t quite get you.”
   “I don’t die easily,” I retorted, eyes narrowing.
   “I don’t have to kill you to get you,” he said with a laugh.  “I get everyone sooner or later, though.  Everyone.  You think I’m some desolate landscape?  I’m everywhere.  In Elysium and Flank.  In the skies of the Enclave and the depths of your stable.  Everywhere there’s contempt, ambition, avarice, and callousness.  I was here before the war, and I’ll be here no matter what ‘civilization’ pops up, because murder and corruption, hatred and intolerance... those never change.”  He pressed a bony hoof to his chest.  “And for some reason, people love me.”"

Scenery porn count: 3

"I hadn’t killed Hatches, but there was no doubt I had benefitted from her death... from so many deaths...  The spring from which the river of blood flowed.  “One last round, then time to cash out,” I croaked, then whispered, “Ante up.”"

Ante up.

"And in the middle: the Eater, sitting on its bed of silver wire.  Directly above glowed the moon, and shining brilliantly bright... Tom.  A luminous swarm of souls swirled in a hollow column in the middle of the ring.  Thousands of souls.  Millions.  And more were being added as I watched, glowing trickles flowing into the mass."

Scenery porn count: 4

"Up close, the Eater’s two rows of silver spines no longer appeared uniform and unblemished.  The central ring of the Tokomare was wrapped in rusty steel scaffolding and supports, and numerous beams and braces spanned the individual spines.  The seemingly smooth surface was rough and mottled up close, with holes chewed clear through revealing green gemstones and lines of eldritch power that beat like a heart.  Countless mechasprites, emerging from swollen hives of starmetal and tumorous flesh, were at work moving wires and cables around, chewing up deformed blobs of starmetal, and vomiting it forth to smooth out the spines they buzzed around."

Scenery porn count: 5

"And I had never taken the easy road.  Ever."

Besides, this way, you get to blow shit up.

"I blinked rapidly as my vision returned, voices coming from far away.  “Are you alright, Blackjack?” a mare asked as I felt myself in a familiar bed.  I quickly took stock of her, an earth pony mare, olive green with a grayish mane, in Stable 99 barding.  As I stared at her, she immediately smiled.  “Oh, you are awake.  I was so worried after that terminal overloaded.  I can’t believe I was so careless.”  I continued to stare, and she frowned.  “Blackjack?  Are you okay?”"

One last false reality? Oh, damnit, there aren't going to be more of these, are there? I feel like I miss them already.

"Bottlecap, Charity, Priest... Big Daddy and Doctor Triage... even the VC and Enclave.  Rampage was the rude representative of the Reapers, and Morning Glory was with the Thunderhead ponies.
When she finished, I simply sat there.
Everything I’d gone through.  Everything I’d been through... a dream?"

Oh gee, all those ponies ya listed really were just part of a whole big friendly wasteland, yeah?

"Would she have freed the stallions?
   Not in a million years."

Truth hurts.

"I was used to running away into fantasy when life became unbearable."

She's not alone in that.

"But would my sister happily accept tearing zebra children from their families for indoctrination in Equestria?
   No."

Uh, yeah, that kind of thing is wrong no matter how you put it.

"To my left, the riot shotgun fired a dozen rounds, flechettes tearing into fanged maws.  To my right, Duty and Sacrifice blew meaty holes in the faces of the faceless.  My sword swept to and fro before me, slicing neatly again and again into uncaring flesh.  It made no difference.  I could not defeat these enemies with bullets and blade alone.  In desperation, I threw together my bullet spell with the shield thingy I’d attempted earlier, and a sphere of brilliant white energy exploded out from me.  The bubble swelled, pushing the rising, abominable tide back long enough for me to take to the air."

Baddass count: 9

"Just like Cognitum.
Just like Dawn.
Just like Steel Rain.
Just like Sanguine.
Just like Deus."

EC-1101. Ancient key to a dead kingdom. In fiction, there's often the item of power, the secret way to do the impossible. Why are they so ubiquitous? Because these fictional things are representations of what so many real life villains seek, and the wrongs that are done in fiction to gain them reflect the wrongs that are done in the real world to try and grasp the unattainable. Something like that? I'm just scribbling this down quickly!

"“Oh, good, the drugs are working.  We finally have lucidity,”"

That's /almost/ a title drop, heh.

"There’s some deep-seated fantasy in pining away for the death of the civilized world."

It's a surprisingly great setting for all kinds of stories.

"a dishwater-gray unicorn surrounded by heaps of paper, scribbling words furiously,"

Somber's problem is that he's dangerously sane. :P Unless that's supposed to be someone else?

"“You mean Pipsqueak?  Where to begin?”  Goldenblood actually grinned.  “First there's her rampant substance abuse, which has led to permanent psychosis.  Add that to Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and delusional disorder with delusions of reference and persecution...""

I laughed a bunch at this one!

"“Come on.  You can’t honestly tell me that his name is actually ‘P-21’.  So tell me his real name.”"

Hey, we all wanna know too! Un-deadify him plz?

"Now I was standing in a restored Core, wearing the most ridiculous princess garb as thousands of Wastelanders all shouted their love and praise."

It's pink, isn't it?

"Like a colossal serpent, the silvery snake rose up, the spines now merging to form both bony ribs and batlike wings.  The large lump I’d landed on earlier was now an immense dragonlike skull with baleful eyes of green death glaring straight at me.  The fleshy ooze covered it, forming muscle and scale.  Two clawed hands floated to either side of it, able to hold a dozen Blackjacks each.  Three small, flat silver satellites orbited it, beaming fields of magic out in a triangular arrangement to catch Tom as he fell.  But I couldn’t think about them now.  All I could think of was the titanic thing before me."

Scenery porn count: 6

" “Sorry!” I shouted at it, a wild thrill running through me.  “She’d never forgive me if I just gave up!  I promised, after all.”"

Baddass count: 10

"“I HAVE WAITED EONS BEYOND MEASURE FOR MY RESTORATION.  YOU SHALL NOT STOP ME, PITIFUL MORTAL!”"

You just called someone a mortal. That's a death warrant right there.

"“Talk talk talk,” I grumbled as I kept flying, trying to avoid getting sucked into the massive drafts that followed its immense bulk.  “If you’re so powerful, I’d be dead already.  I bet that it's taking a lot of energy to keep your corpse going.”"

Hee hee. Conversations with universal abominations is always fun!

" “Everypony I’ve cared about and loved is with me!  You’re the one who is alone!”
“I NEED NO ONE!  NOTHING!”"

You're losing it, Eater. You're losing the battle, you're losing the conversation, and you're losing your marbles.

"Then one hand seized me, five points piercing around my torso.  The Eater lifted me up before its face.  “I TOLD YOU, MY LITTLE PONY.  FUTILE.”"

I was hoping that wouldn't happen.

"You have a heart of moonstone.  That was what Glory had said."

Why is this so romantic?

"I could only imagine that somehow the departing spirit had prevented us all from being cooked."

I forgive you, Tom. Ya jerk.

So, I missed some scenery and baddass counts, but forget that. The ending here is truly beautiful.

Besides all that, well, I don't know what to say. In some ways it hasn't hit me yet how... everything that was. So for now, I'll just say thank you. Thank you Somber, thank you editors, and thank you to everyone in our little (psychotic) pony community. On its own, Project Horizons is one of the best stories I'm every going to read. It's certainly, by a huge margin, the best longform epic I've ever read. But PH has been more than that to me. Four years is a long time, but none of us were reading alone. We've been commenting, joking, speculating, arguing, pondering, and sometimes just throwing a bit of a party. A lot has happened. Many who used to frequent posters haven't been around in forever, the forums really changed ever since we split off a general chat thread, and of course we've had new people show up in addition to those of us who've stuck around since the very start. And we all know there's always been a small crowd of lurkers hovering about. I can't really say I know what I should say about it all, except to say thank you. Thanks to the writing team for ruining commercial fiction for me forever, and thanks to everyone else for just being here and sharing the journey.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Bootleg on Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:27 pm

This story has supplied constant inspiration throughout the last four years. On one hand I'm sad to see it end, but on the other I'm happy that it ended so well. From the bottom of my little heart; Thank you Somber, thank you Editing team, and thank you Blackjack. I look forward to your future projects.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Defrak on Sat Aug 29, 2015 11:34 pm

Had to make an account to say thank you, this story story got me through some really tough times, I feel in love with the characters and their tale. I will definitely be re-reading for years to come, and will never forget the joy, fear, anger and sadness I felt during the reading of Horizons.

Thank you Somber and thank you to all the editors, you pulled it off, and brought everyone along for the wild ride.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by WavemasterRyx on Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:13 am

Somber wrote:/me hugs Ryx.  I'm so glad that it finished well.
*hugs back close* It did, sir.

O. Hinds wrote:Thank you, and you're welcome.  :)

I'm glad you liked it.  :)
Thank you, Hinds, sir.  I would offer you a hug or nuzzle, if you were interested in such things.

Replies to Hinds:

Ryx wrote:I guess being a 'former' Steel Ranger doesn't make their odds any better when I like them.
O. Hinds wrote:Sorry.
It's okay, really I meant it more as a joke than anything.

Ryx wrote:"Scotch said, brushing her mane out of her blue eyes." - Blue eyes again.
O. Hinds wrote:Thought we got all of those...  Thanks.  :)
You're welcome, always glad when I can actually help.

Ryx wrote:Murky and Silver Storm maybe...
O. Hinds wrote:Well, the second one does start with an s.  :)
Ah, right, and it was a dishwater gray unicorn anyways...  Considering I still had to look up Silver Storm's name to get it right, I'm not going to hold it against myself too much for forgetting her race too... though now I really have no idea who it might be.

Ryx wrote:Wasteland Bouquet huh?  Well I will certainly take a look at it when I can.
O. Hinds wrote:I hope you enjoy it.
Thank you, sir.  Though after I read Pink Eyes, I think I'm going to take a break for some... lighter reading before I get into any other FoE stories.

---

Chapter 77 Commentary Addendum:


The spots during the fight with the Eater where she's pointing out how taking the easy way out would be just like each of the villains of the story were a nice touch.

Did the plan change at some point to knocking out all the shields?  I thought Glory had told her just to take down the 3 alternating ones in order to focus the attack.

And I don't know why I didn't say it before, but poor Whisper and Dusk after the fight with Amadi... definitely ouch...


Epilogue Commentary:


"First Citizen Boing" - Huh, well it seems like Boing at least has moved on with her life in a positive direction.  Except for being a jerk.

I really feel sorry for Scotch, Majina and Pythia... I know what it's like to not belong anywhere, and to not matter at all.  I want to hug all of them.

“You keep them on notecards?” - Yeah, Pythia is still adorable.

Really kinda sad we don't get to find out what happened with them though...

“Fifty years after the founding, the NCR tried annexing the Commonwealth, but the Lightbringer stepped in.  Then a hundred years ago the Commonwealth started talking about forcing a regime change on the NCR." - So this is taking place a very long time after the story...  I guess that makes it more interesting that Boing is still around.  At least the griffons didn't take over in the wake of the Eater as Carrion had suggested, but it really doesn't seem as though things are really any better...

Baccarat and Bouillotte.  They're nice names, and cute kids.

"I, at least, will go with dignity... although if I do go feral, I hope it will be in Carrot’s bedquarters.  That is a stallion who deserves what little brains he has to be eaten." - And Hoity is still cute as well, in his own way.

“The griffin Invasion and dragon war really took their toll." - Spoke too soon again.  So the Wasteland continues to be filled with disaster and strife, even when "the Wasteland" should be long gone, not surprising.

“The Brood are real, then?”  “Oh yeah.  They’re the protectors of the Hoof."  "They’re not exactly crazy, but strange.  They handle day to day policing and the like.  The Reapers are sent in for big threats, and the Zodiacs for elusive criminals." - It is nice that the Brood were able to find a place in the world at least, even if it's not nearly as much of a "peaceful new life" to adjust to.

The entire scene with Whisper was very sweet and touching.  At least Crumpets and Dusk were able to find some comfort in eachother, and Nocti is cute too.

"Tarot.  Little Poker.  Full House.  52 Pick up.  Straight Flush.  Aces.  Royal Flush.  Bridge.  Heart.  Gin Rummy.  [s]Go Fish.[/s]  Blackjack.  Bouillotte.  Beauty.  Starshine.  Astrolabe.  Star Sparkle.  Prominence.  Twilight Shield.  Night Watcher.  Glimmershine." - Ah, so that's how the line ended up... and how we ended up focused on this group of ponies.  Well hopefully Glimmershine will keep trying to do better.

"The cloaked mare approached, passing by five stones.  The marble headstones, arranged in a semicircle around the entrance, all displayed in relief the ponies that had once been the Wasteland’s greatest heroes.  They were simple, for what statuary could capture what they’d meant to the pony they’d meant most to?" - Touching, and very sad...

"Shut up, Blackjack!" - So she did survive and it wasn't just Grace and Whisper seeing things, huh.

Ah... so not a dream or hallucination, that was her waking up after the battle?  A very long time ago indeed...

"Sorry.  I wasn’t sure when the dramatic moment would be perfect." "Hi, Momma." - Well Boo's arrival certainly went far differently than I would have anticipated.

In a way, having her becoming the next Discord feels like she's been lost too, even if what she's doing is... mostly for the greater good.

"You want to bang?"  "That... really... isn't part of a stakeout." - They do make a cute couple.  Or did, I suppose.

"You mean, find her?  On the moon?  With only a few hours of energy left?" - I'm glad Blackjack didn't forget... and it /is/ Pip's special talent after all.

Really a very intense scene on the surface of the moon... and probably the only genuinely happy part of the ending.  The feeling of how temporary Rampage's life will be compared to Blackjack's and how much it emphasizes Pip's loneliness definitely takes some away from it... but it's wonderful that she's going to get to finally have a life to live.  I hope it gets to be a better one.

---

Now that it's over... I still think Project Horizons was a wonderful story, and will always remain one of my favorites.

It's not a happy ending at all, even calling it "bittersweet" might not be entirely accurate... but I do agree that it was a fitting way to end it.  If Blackjack had died, she may have gotten to be with all her friends again, but it would have left Pip completely alone... and I don't think that's something she could have gotten though... along with so many other things that I'm sure would have gone worse.  In the drastic opposite, if something had happened to bring everyone back to life (as great as that might be, since the characters /are/ the strongest aspect of the story), no matter how happy it might make some people, it would have ruined far too much of the credibility of the story.  Keeping the harshness, the struggle against darkness... it's what the story needed.

So as much as the ending did hurt, I can still very honestly say that it was a "good" ending.



Of course, since it didn't happen, it means I could still use "bringing everyone back to life" safely as the plot for a "Project Horizons the Movie" story, heh.

In all seriousness though, I do think Scotch, Majina, and Pythia's journey would make for a decent "Project Horizons 2", if you ever chose to pursue it.  As sad as that would end too, I'm sure.

---

Oh, I guess it was 4chan, not reddit, according to an image description, and you already finished with it...  Well if you're bored and feel like answering anyways I'll just leave these here, if not, it's fine, sir.

Post-story questions for Somber:


1) What were Buttercup's last words supposed to be in chapter 14?  Blackjack never did read them, she just stopped at, "I wanted to say ", and I've really been wanting to know what they were ever since...

2) What is your picture of the Equus system?  Is it just the planet, sun and moon, or are there any other planets out there?

3) If you actually had "real names" for P-21 and Hatches, what would they have been?

4) In the original idea where Boo was going to sacrifice herself after getting her cutie mark, what were you going to have it be?

5) How do you explain Whisper's taskforce at the end of 75 surviving the Enervation blast from point-blank range that nearly killed Scotch and Bastard in the upper atmosphere?  I know they had to survive, because of Velvet and Xenith, but I was wondering if there was some rationale for it, since it wouldn't seem like they'd have had Moonstone protection going into that fight.

*hugs Somber one more time*
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:07 am

Okay, short version of overall impression for 77:
Spoiler:
the underground tunnel part took a little too long to get there, and I have no idea whatsoever why it was playing coy about the driver, especially after knowing it wasn't Scotch. After that, everything just kept going at a great pace, but broken up with slower parts like the dream traps. On the whole, an excellent end to the story. Though there's at least the possibility that Blackjack was left in a realistic dream. I doubt that, however, because I just don't see the Eater being able (willing really) to humble itself by even admitting the possibility she should win in the real world enough to make a decent simulacrum of it. A wonderful end for Hoofington, for Luna, for Blackjack. Easy to follow. Focused. I've been giddy, happy for hours. Moved by the end. And what an end! It's hard to believe that the denouement for a 1.6 million word story would be about half a page (though I'm a little confused by the apparent presence of Gin Rummy's and P-21's souls there, even if I can imagine ways that could happen), but there was nothing else needed. And it was so simple! And beautiful, like the end of 33. And full of stars.
I'll presumably have something more comprehensive and coherent tomorrow. On to the epilogue.

Chapter 77 running thoughts:
We were nine.  Nine going into the deeps beneath Hoofington, facing monsters and abominations from the pits of madness and horror.  Nine with one goal: to stop the Eater of Souls from destroying the world... inside thirty minutes.

Somber's remarked before on the importance of first pages, first paragraphs, first sentences. If this is reflective of the ending as a whole, it's going to be wonderful. This would actually very likely be a damn strong cold open for a short story or novella.
Also, nine feels like a reference to the Fellowship, but that's neither here nor there. Though there must be some small ones to have fit two to three more than the original estimate.


Okay, my original guesses of the people with Blackjack were, first, including her as one of the six, Whisper, Scotch, Psalm, Pythia, Bastard; then after further thought and based on Blackjack plus six, Whisper, Pythia, Rover, Lancer, Scotch, Xanthe. Let's see how I did with that.


Someone had hastily welded a cowcatcher of sorts to the front and sheet metal to the safety railing around the side of the car to offer some protection to those ponies who now dove down into the heart of darkness.  

Okay, I just got a little smile over the coincidence of the cowcatcher coming up.


Once upon a time, I’d gone into the earth.  My friends had suffered, and I had encountered an abomination of living machinery.

Now, one thing here is just how very on-character this line is, in Blackjack not even thinking about the fact that she suffered as well, even if not to the same extent as Scotch and Glory, and possibly more than at least some of P-21, Lacunae, or Rampage.


The world around us screamed, kept at bay by only the tiny little singing shards of hope most of us wore.

Gets the idea beautifully.


But no matter how fast we were going, Whisper would not be outdone by a mere car.

Okay, figured that might have been part of getting the extra numbers.


“Woo hoo!” Whisper shouted.  “That’s four!”

I see what you did there.


Whisper, Dusk, Crumpets, Pythia

Two from both lists so far.


I'm interested in why "the mare" at the switch isn't being named. It seems likely to be Scotch given the job, but the dialog hasn't been obviously her, from the little of it I've seen so far. Might be her and Blackjack/Luna trying to emotionally distance herself from the fact that she put her young adopted-daughterish friend in this danger again.


Lancer

On the second.


“I didn’t bring you!  You stowed away!  I specifically said ‘no fillies or colts allowed’!”  It had pained me to use that to deny Scotch Tape, but I couldn’t take her down here.  Not after what I’d promised.

Okay, so I was wrong on Scotch. I get it though. And it's good to see the commentary on the statement, because of course she shouldn't feel great about using what amounts to a hurtful lie in order to keep Scotch safe.


”You’re supposed to be this tall to stop the apocalypse!”

Oh, PH. I'm going to miss your mix of humor and action/adventure. I'm glad I recently started This Platinum Crown, which does a similar thing.


She leaned over and marked an X on the map in red crayon before adding, “We’re almost halfway there!”

Livin' on a prayer! Just take my hand, we'll make it I sweeeaar! Oooo-oooh! Livin' on a prayer!


Echo had discovered that the hard way.

Holy shit, she's actually thinking about him again!


Aries. Did not expect her. Out of the Zodiacs, she does seem like a fine choice, though, and it is kind of nice to have a representative from them even if they'd been mostly absent from maybe the late middle of the second volume to around halfway through the last. Oh, hadn't commented on Crumpets, but I was thinking that she could work as a good substitute, story- and character-wise, for Psalm if she isn't there, since she's acted as a sort-of friend, and definite foil and motivation for her character development, while also being less vital to keep alive.


"You okay?" the pony in a new suit of red power armor shouted up, a few blackened bits of mechasprite bouncing off her.  "Still rare?"

Mmmm, I'd probably want to still be tartare.


“This Burner blend is nasty.  What kind of moron mixes an oxidizer with the fuel?”
   “What kind of moron uses it?” I asked with a smile.

In fairness to Aries here, she's probably better protected than the Burner Boys tend to be.


Psalm. From my first roster, at least, even if I ended up figuring she might be left behind due to the Brood broadcaster issue.


“Pretty sure ol’ C.C. would have shit himself if he’d seen me just then.”

You bastard, leaving us new questions that will probably never be answered right at the end of things. :)
Possibilities from people we already know: Cupcake (unlikely), Crunchy Carrots (more likely),


The pegasi had started pulling back as soon as I shouted, but Dusk, slower in her armor, didn't quite get clear.  A wire wrapped around one of her forelegs like a strand of a spider's web, then tightened, cinching clean through the limb.  The end of her leg went flying as she crashed in a heap on the car’s floor, blood spurting from the wound.

Shit, man. Lucky it wasn't a wing. Well, looks like the deaths likely won't stop from keep happening, even in the likely situation Dusk survives this in particular. Depending on how much Hydra they brought (they did bring at least some, right?), she might even not end up down a leg.


“Shhh,” Psalm said as she touched her horn to the wound.  “Hold still.  It’s a clean cut.  If I’m quick enough...”  The glow of magic flickered briefly.

That works too, though I wasn't aware of her having that kind of magic (post-Lacunae's death and having access through Unity, of course), especially given how she was so weak with magic herself (even if her body at least can do more powerful work now), almost like Littlepip without the levitation superpower, and if she did have it, she should probably have been helping with medical stuff in 99 during the battle, which would have somewhat weakened the case for it being super necessary (in general, as opposed to for Stronghoof specificaly) that she get in the fight. Also, might have been able to help Stronghoof directly.


“This is it!” Pythia shouted.  “The medial ring!  We need to get to the far left set of tracks!”

Okay, is it just me, or was this wording done as a horsecock pun intentionally? Not that I'm complaining, especially since Hinds rained on the horsecock-shaped rockets parade. ;)


Dusk, her power armor patched with a strip of gray tape, took to the air again, and I landed back at the car’s rear.

You know what should be a thing that exists? Wonder-tape. Give just the surface the actual bonding like Wonderglue does, while being faster to apply and less likely to completely screw up. Maybe even be such that you could apply it, then pull it off and the tape is off and expended, but the fuse stays. In that case it would even be a great bandage alternative for surface skin cuts.


Other patches of biomass were forming five-legged wolflike beings that loped after us with mouths that ran half their body length, or swarms of flapping, gnashing insectile birds that tried to keep up with us.

Don't care for the combo of five-legged and wolflike, because I'm having trouble imagining a configuration where that really works well for running while sticking to a roughly wolflike shape. But then, seeming weird like that is probably part of the idea.


“Are you sure I can’t...” our driver asked again.

Still with the mystery here. Maybe it really is Scotch after all? Mare, unlikely to be a zebra. Presumably brings something special, hopefully as a character/story element rather than just a particular skill that's being obscured for now. If Scotch, though, stowaway? Math doesn't work out perfectly even there, as that would leave only five planned to be there, ex-fliers (or is Psalm flying too, which only increases that mismatch?). Would help to synthesize the vagueness of "the driver" with Blackjack having forbidden Scotch to come, at least in theory.


Okay, so roster so far: Blackjack, Whisper, Dusk, Lancer, Pythia, Crumpets, Psalm, Aries, driver. Think that should be everyone. At least partial credit on Whisper, Lancer, Pythia, Psalm, so at least half of the non-Blackjack, but then Whisper doesn't exactly count.


Then bright yellow lights glared brightly behind us, and I turned...
The monsters had trains of their own.
Three of them.
And they had mouths.

Sweet concept, and nice use of syntax for emphasis and suspense.


“Finally!” Sweetie Bot exclaimed as she left the controls, turned, and squeezed past me.  

Okay, the voicing certainly works for her, even if I wouldn't say it was obvious since it had only been a few lines. Good fit for the enthusiasm, near disaster, and everything, but I don't really feel that being evasive about who she was added much here. I don't think there's anything about it that makes it feel like a twist, and it's too early for there to have been all that much of a feeling of payoff anyway if there had been one. I don't think there was any special connection that would motivate the ambiguity or Blackjack hiding her identity from us, and right now she's just doing something to get them through the tunnels.


Sweetie Bot collapsed against the rail, her synthetic hide smoking around her brow.  “Why the hell did Horse put that kind of firepower in a fuckbot?” Whisper demanded.
“A question for the ages,” she answered gaily.  

It really is. But at least this time she didn't include an awful pun.


“The previous imprint made extensive modifications.  It could never get them working, though; million-word semi-coherent expletive-riddled diatribes against Horse weren't valid hardware registration files.  

Okay, so was it original or not? But more importantly, I love that Cogsey did the program rant thing. It's so perfect.


It did try to erase my pleasure routines, but I still have all five hundred verses of the Zebra Sutra programmed and available on demand.”
“Whatever,” Whisper said with a shrug.  “Do it to the other two.”
“Gladly,” Sweetie Bot said.  “Recharging.  One percent...”  She paused for several seconds.  “Two percent...”  We stared at her, and she flushed, “Oh, no one complains when stallions have to take a few minutes afterwards!”

Okay, for a minute there I thought Whisper was telling her to do the Zebra Sutra stuff on the other two. (Blackjack and Crumpets, maybe?) Also, Sweetie, part of the staring might be because you didn't start recharging earlier.


One of them sprang through a gap in the pillars, bounded once, and snatched him up whole in his maw like a dog with a bone,

I think he'll be fine, classical burst out after being swallowed, injured by acid, all that

only his head and hindhooves sticking out from the sides as it began to thrash wildly about

Maybe that's not what's happening.


“I promise.  Now drink, damn you!” I said, putting the mouth of the bottle into his, but it still just dribbled out the corner of his mouth.  “Drink it you stupid, sexy stallion!”

Blacklance lives on! :D
(Also, makes me wish she'd tried putting it in her own mouth, then getting a good seal over his and trying to force it down his throat with her own breath or something.)

But he couldn’t.  His eyes were glazed and unfocused as he crumpled in on himself.

And it's dead. :(


“Death isn’t a bad thing.  Pain isn’t a bad thing either, really.  It reminds you that you’re still alive.”

yeah, but I don't think she was really talking about all death, the context suggested violent premature death. And sorry, but come on, Pythia, is that really the best you have for pain?


“Do you want to die, Maiden?”

A question with an obvious answer.


Here, though, parts of the inner wall and ceiling had been gouged away, leaving gaps that opened out into the colossal pit the Eater had scraped during its ascension.

Well, colossaler. :)


“Blackjack,” the Legate boomed as two enormous, milky eyes turned towards me.  I knew he wasn’t blind.  He had a few hundred more speckled all over his head and shoulders, like zits, to follow us with.  He breathed low and deep, not just through his mouth but through countless slits in his chest.  He lifted a limb the size of a ship and slammed it into the wall above us.  “I knew you’d come,” he gurgled, the voice echoed by a chorus of lesser mouths on his hide, “Maiden.”

Man, this description is awesome and frightening and nasty. Also, love the "ship" part.


He screamed like a thousand backed up sewer pipes bursting all at once and rammed his hoof at us.  

I love that simile. Very evocative.


“Got any heavy metal tunes you could pull out of your ass, Sweetie Butt?”
   Sweetie rolled her eyes.  “It wasn’t exactly Horsie’s favorite genre, but I think I have one or two tracks.”  I wasn’t sure where she kept her speakers, but wailing sirens started, followed by a heavy beat.  “Goat music...  Ramsomething or other.”

Fights are always better with a soundtrack. Though aren't rams sheep?


“If there’s any star out there that will help me, I’ll take it.  Whatever games they want to play, I don’t care.  I need to win here.”

Ooh. This promises to be good. Well, in a "dis gon b gud" sense. Likely not for Lunajack. Then again, it's not the first time she's called on the stars. Granted, her life continued to kind of be shit after that, but not the worst.


And instantly I was assaulted by his fleshy entrails.  A hundred or more serpentine coils of viscera shot out in bloody streamers, roping over my wings and legs.  They coiled around the hilt of the sword and yanked the blade short of the stone.  Both the blade and I were pulled into the cavity, and it took all my telekinetic power to keep him from pulling the sword away from me entirely.

I've seen enough hentai . . . (Sorry.)


“Go!” Dusk shouted, and then she shot me in the chest with Pew-Pew.  Luna’s armor absorbed the blow, but it still stung more than enough to break my grip.

Considering how awesome Pew-Pew has been, that's really impressive.


Then, though, she rose back to me, her hooves trailing smoke and dangling metal.  “Shit,” she said in a disgusted tone.  “His skull’s thicker than most I try to get through.”

Wow. Something suggesting they don't just have infinite ammo/etc. That's something that's been a bit missing so far, even given they'd surely stocked up big time.


Well, at this point I'm pretty sure Dusk is just dead, and will be convinced of that until something amazing happens or if Blackjack sees a (blue? I forget the current non-hostile bar color) bar in him.


I passed the healing potion to Pythia, and she quickly administered it to Psalm, then saw his gaze.  Not on me.  No.
   On the slain zebra in the corner.  Even with the impact, he rested slumped, as if he could be sleeping.  “My boy...” the Legate muttered.

That's interesting and kind of unexpected. Maybe he wasn't quite as . . . genuine in some of what he expressed after all (surprise (sarcasm)). But hard to have much sympathy there, since he didn't feel that way about his wife or daughter, and he exiled Lancer and was trying to kill him earlier.


“Do not mistake this for compassion.  I have buried legions of my children, and my children’s children.  One learns not to get attached.”  That cunning grin returned.  “As you likely know by now.”
   . . . “Maybe,” I yelled back, “but I’m a slow learner.”

Nice one-liner.


“It’s in his throat,” I said triumphantly.  Now... how to get it out?  I teleported next to his windpipe and made a horizontal slash, but he instantly brought a leg up to shield it before I could cut a hole big enough to find the portion of his soul.

Well, if it was on the inside of his throat, wouldn't it probably be too deep for the sword anyway?


As one, blade and jaws fell, the latter snapping shut on her wings with a wet crunch even as the former cleaved right through the stone.

Aw, fuck. I don't want her to die . . .


We shared a moment, just one, and then without hesitation I brought the sword around and severed her wings in one smooth slice.

Shit . . . D:
And they don't even really have the trees of life anymore, do they? Well, there was that one branch, I guess. Hydra? Please?


When Pythia offered a syringe of Hydra, though, she immediately waved it off with a furiously glare.

Yeah, gotta be bad for the baby.


Once again I was reduced to a quivering lump of augmented Princess.

Yeah, that's kind of a thing: she hasn't been very Luna-ish this chapter. Whether that's because she's in a Blackjack-situation or something else, both the narration and her speech seem to have been largely BJ, and there didn't seem to be any clear switchovers.


I had no idea what they were doing; for all I knew, they’d been buried alive in the avalanche.  “We need to end this,” I said, pulling out Folly.  “We only have fifteen minutes till Tom hits.”

Oh right, the time limit. That's been a really, really productive fifteen minutes.


“Wait,” Sweetie Bot said as she limped to the rear of the railcar, where the ridge of spark batteries crackled and popped.  She looked them over.  “Get ready to hit the stone in his gut,” she said to me, then turned at Pythia.  “Tell me where to aim.”
   “What are you doing?” I asked as she yanked out two sparking cables.
   “Violating my warranty.  No time for a shielded interface...” she replied.

Not Sweetie Bot!


Two, the dusty voice murmured.

Wait, is Dealer Classic back now/here for the first time as a true hallucination? If so, awesome! (Yes, I know this isn't the first one.)


I bodily shoved the masses aside, trying to push aside how they were forming wiggling fingers that started to clutch at my limbs, and pulled the stone free.

Okay, that actually got a bit of a chill and gross-out shiver out of me. I didn't know that could still happen with this story.

One good hit, and it exploded into powder.  

They seem to be getting weaker.


Then the Legate’s side exploded in rainbow light, and I paused.  From where Whisper’d been shooting poked a black form: a suit of Enclave power armor.

Sweet. I wasn't expecting that.


Then, from high above the Legate came the thump of an explosion.  Then another.  Then a third, blasting out of a broken tunnel.  The Legate twisted his head up and stared with an almost weary expression as a train, this one a string of industrial tankers, came rocketing out the broken tube.  He struggled to raise his enormous hoof to block, but one tanker after the next smashed right into his face.  Psalm grabbed Sweetie Bot, Lancer, and Pythia with her magic and took off, and I pulled up the pegasi as the wreckage continued past the ruin of his head to land around his body.  The tankers burst open and covered him with pungent liquid, and flatbed cars sliced into him like immense blunt knives; then the fluids burst into flames, setting him howling, and then a pair of coupled locomotives shot out and smashed into his head like a thunderbolt.  The whole thing came apart like a melon, leaving only a screaming mouth and a massive mound of gray meat sitting in a bowl of shattered bone.

Bad. Ass.


“Blackjack!” shouted Crumpets from the shore.  I looked over and saw the battered armored pony holding the stone in her hoof.  She whirled and bucked it straight to me.  My fingers popped out, and I caught it.
She disappeared beneath the Legate’s hoof.

No! Crumpets was so great!


“Well, at least he’s finally done,” Aries said as she looked up at the corpse.  A dry chuckle sounded in my mind.
A hoof struck her helmet, pushed through her visor, and out the back in an explosion of bone, brain, and metal.
And that’s three, the voice rasped.

And that's one like Steelhooves's death, too. Damn.


Perched casually on her head, foot lodged in her brain, was the Legate.  Not the enormous monstrosity.  He’d reverted to his old size, but now he reminded me of Dawn.  His coat was a silvery synthetic fused with pale hide, striped with glowing green lines of energy.

Wat. Why?
Is this, at long last, his final form? I mean fuck, but why is he getting seemingly more powerful each time? Curse you, JRPG logic!


“Oh come ON!” I shouted as I spotted him standing on top of his own body.

Not Sweetie Bot, but then again the intonation is different here anyway.


“You idiot!  What makes you think that the Eater will even need you after it’s restored?” I challenged, and his smirk disappeared.  “That’s right.  You’re worthless to the Eater once it’s back on its feet again!”
   “The Eater of Souls needs me!” he insisted, his flaring, flickering eyes narrowing.

Okay, I was laughing out loud here. Chump. What a maroon!


“Always!  I was the one who could hear its dying whispers!  I was the only one who would listen to its call.  It needed me to get my own wretched tribe to resurrect it!  It needed me to use your people to raise it!  It needs me now to forestall you just a few minutes more!”

Okay, but you see, those thing are in what smart people call "the past."

(Or in the case of the last one, will be in a few minutes.)


“Oh!  So that’s what it meant!  Huh!”  She folded up the paper.  “Well, that made the whole trip worth it for me.”

What what meant?

“The Star Maiden is she who is born from the cursed soil of the damned city.  She will be flesh and steel, touched by the stars and chosen as their champion.  Where she travels, chaos and strife will follow,” Xanthe said as she trotted in our wake.  Why, I couldn’t imagine.  “It is she who shall bear evil from the ground, usher in the final days of the world, snuff out the sun forever and call down the moon.  She shall summon storms, unleash plague, command unholy fire, destroy all in her path and all who follow in her wake.  Female shall desire female, male shall desire male, and unholy coupling between the species will commence where she travels.”

“Only the Maiden is able to kill him.  Breaking the heart will just get rid of his restoration.  He’ll be perfectly mortal after that, and it’ll be in the Maiden’s hooves.”

She carries the soul of the true Maiden within her, and without that, you cannot defeat the Eater of Souls.  This world is done!”

Is it this: “Atropos, the signs don’t make any sense.  This may not be the Maiden, but Nibiru is going nuts here!  I don’t know who she is, but she’s not a nopony.”?


“You’re thinking of sending us away while you go on alone,” the purple alicorn said serenely.

NO ONE COULD HAVE SEEN THIS COMING.


“What?  Fuck no!” Whisper said as she leapt to her hooves, then came crashing back down again.  She glared over her shoulders at the tied-off stubs of her wings.  “I hate gravity,”

She's turning into Blackjack!


My PipBuck's rad counter kicked up its staccato chatter as she cracked the case, bursting to a wild crescendo when she poured the glowing fluid inside all over herself.  The clicking diminished a little as she shivered and groaned.  “Oh yes... this should give me enough oomph to get out.”  

And if I remember correctly, get off. Which makes the fact she just covered herself in white liquid all the better. You were having fun with this chapter, weren't you?


I looked at the maimed, the burnt, and the crushed, and then to Pythia.  “Coming?”
   The filly flushed.  “There’s a difference between being in the front row and being on the field.  I saw the traitor undone by his own words.  Thanks, though.”

Maybe Pythia was thinking along the same lines. Or, of course, it could just be at perceived cowardice.


“I called in whatever favors I could.  You’ve got a lot riding on this.  Don’t screw it up.”
   “What’s it going to cost me?” I asked.
   “You?  Personally?  Don’t worry about it.  The games and stakes stars play for... well... let’s just say all the higher powers interested have put their chips in the pot.  Just need someone to deal the cards and see who hits, who stays, and who goes bust.”

Well, I do think it's a worthwile concern. After all, I doubt the stars are all about letting people get out of their deals and curses or whatever just by dying quickly.


“Yeah.”  I paused, then pulled out Vigilance and turned to Psalm.  “Hey.  Make sure this gets to Grace.  I dunno which of them is going to use it, but they should have it,”

Okay, that was a great inclusion I wouldn't have thought of, and it's awesome to see it here. Though I do wonder what happened to Duty and Sacrifice. If they were lost or something, I'm blanking on it at the moment.


“Oh, fuck that,” Whisper snapped.  She trotted right up to me and brought her hoof across my muzzle.  “None of that ‘giving your shit up before you die’ shit.  You’re going to live, understand?” she demanded as she glared at me.

I actually disagree here, since even if Blackjack tries to survive, she might succeed and still die. Or lose it. And just what is it supposed to help her do anyway that the shotgun(s) won't?


“Rampage isn’t here to smack that shit out of you, so I’ll do it.  And when you’re back, I’m going to kick your cybernetic ass to show everypony who’s the baddest momma in the Hoof.  Got it?”
   “Wait.”  I gaped at her.  “You’re pregnant?!”  I never would have-

This has been another installment of "Blackjack Is an Idiot." Thank you for watching.
I mean, from last chapter "She narrowed her eyes, her forehooves playing over her abdomen.  I was suddenly aware how very still my own belly had gotten since I left the Collegiate." True, she didn't explicitly make the connection that Whisper was pregnant, but holy fuck is that dense.
And this from 75.2: “And that’s where my darling babies should be,” [Persephone] said as she smiled placidly at her children, who flushed and squirmed.  “And my grandbabies too,” she said, arching a brow at Whisper, who scrunched up her face indignantly.  “If my little ones are at terrible risk, how can we do any less?”
Anyway, I guess Blackjack (and Luna, which might actually be the bigger pill to swallow) really, really aren't that bright. Eh.

“Wait.”  I gaped at her.  “You’re pregnant?!”  I never would have-

Well, yeah, that's obvious. But I thought it was a case of caving because there wasn't time to do anything about it and subduing her could itself be dangerous not only to her and the others doing it but to the baby itself.


The beam lanced up, and the ceiling shattered.  Girders, pipes, wires, wagons, trains, and concrete came cascading down in a deluge of ruin, filling the pit beneath me with the corpse of the city.  Folly had cleared a path through the falling remains, though, and as they fell around me, none fell on me.  I floated there in a void, the edges of the cavern invisible in dust, darkness, and rubble, green light surrounding me in a column descending from a hole like a great baleful eye.  The junk overhead had resettled, but there was a way clear.  It was just going to be a bit of a climb.

Great visual, great symbolism.


“So.  This is it?” rasped a voice in my ear as I reached the hole.

Yes! If Caoihme will, I suspect, be pleased if she's still reading.

“Looks like it,” I said, and glanced at the bony skeleton in the duster and cowpony hat.

Yes! On the other hand, I suppose fully trusting Cognitum isn't a great bet, normally. Or something else is going on.


“I was always more than just him.  Besides, I know you wouldn’t want to make this trip without an escort.  Nopony should die alone,” he said as I climbed.

Well, looks like Caoihe's (great commenter, but I'll cop to having trouble remembering how to spell her name) guess/disire ended up being true. Doesn't explain why Scotch saw him, though.


“How about...”  He drew a pair of cards and held them up for me to see: the ace and queen of spades.  “How about you tell me about how you got your cutie mark?”

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ahem. You pander you.
That's it, I'm leaving the fandom!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S0ly60b42ig
Why can't I stop talking?


“Or proof that, even toting that goddess around, you’re still Blackjack,” the Dealer retorted.  “Come on.  Tell me.  Who else are you going to confess your sins to?”

Oh my god that's even better than I thought it was at first.
Why? Given she is now her god (and arguably an anointed intercessor for her god, more to the point), she could answer saying herself. But he is herself!
Sorry, I've been giddy for a while now.


It was stupid.  I should have been focusing on the task ahead, not the past behind

I will say that my biggest complaint for the chapter so far is that I do not believe for a second that it's taken place in well under half an hour. That's obvious bullshit, especially since it had to take some time to select people, get their shit together, and get to wherever they were at the start of the chapter. There were some similar but less definite issues during the visions of the battle, but not this extreme.


Dammit I need to eat.


Damn you, need to eat! Damn you, social interaction with your host! That's an hour and a half I could have been doing on things that matter! :V


“I sucked at it, is what.  I didn’t know how to bluff, or count cards, or anything,”

Okay, counting could matter in blackjack. But what bluffing?


“Even Cognitum said so.  Victory was my special talent.”

Don't lie to yourself, Blackjack, it isn't nice.


“Queen of swords.  Quick thinker, decisive... executioner.”

Hee.


“And while you might not have deliberately chopped off the heads of your prisoners, you really never took that many prisoners to begin with.  You are frightfully good at killing.”

She is, she really, really is.


“How many enemies have you had who haven’t died horrible deaths?”

Psychoshy. Sanguine wasn't her fault. Nails. The overseer at the mine wasn't her fault. Usury, I think. Deus. Lighthooves was asking for it. Charm.

Oh, and wasn't she long aware of how many horrible deaths happen around her? That just makes it all the better.


Even Cognitum’s assumption it was victory was dreadfully naive.

No, it was fucking stupid (Cogs was stupid to think it, not that it was a stupid thing to write. Though there was certainly backlash.), and in retrospect it's probable that Blackjack knew it from the start and was only considering it out of denial and wanting an alternative.
(There used to be venting here. I decided it was a bad idea.)
Somber is good at trolling his audience.


If anypony with a bit of sense had seen your flank, they would have run the other way and never stopped.”

For a very strange value of "a bit of sense". Specific specialized knowledge that has jack shit to do with the Wasteland? Yeah, everyone knows that.


“Yeah.  Then I was such a whiny baby about it that she agreed to leave first anyway.

Ha ha ha ha! Oh that's perfect. And she's never stopped. Maybe whining is her special talent, not winning!


Oh man, survivor's guilt! I guess that's not surprising, or even really new information. But still.


Okay, so she has Bloody Mess. I'm gonna bet that that was part of the Blackjack build I"m sure Somber gave at some point.


Once again, he was in my path.  “I’m sure.”  He was silent for a second, empty sockets almost pitying, then asked as calm and cool as poison, “What was her real name, Fishie?”

Was it "Blackjack"? Please tell me it was "Blackjack"?


“Nopony should have died for me...” I whispered.
   “Why?  You were always ready to die for them.  They were just better at it than you were.”

Blah blah Generosity etc. Fuk u sacrifice isn't a virtue and Littlepip is dogshit at moral philosophy. And so on.


“No?  Well, who can tell for sure?”  The Dealer took his hat off.  “If I were anything... and I’m not saying I am... I’d call me the Wasteland.”  And he gave me a little bow.

He's a star?


“The desolation.  The loss.  The pain and sacrifice.  I take you... all of you... and I make your lives living, bloody hell.  I twist you.  I tear you.  I see what you’re all made of.  How far you can go.  Where, exactly, you break.”  He showed cards of me after the Seahorse.  Of me outside Maripony right before the bomb went off.  Of Shadowbolt Tower dying.  “And you... Blackjack... you’re a pony who should have fallen a hundred times over.  I try, and I try, and I try... but I can’t quite get you.”

Also Rarity endurance etc.
But also, I like that this is basically what Blackjack originally thought, too.


“Weren’t you always hating yourself for being a screwup?  You’re now the most dangerously competent pony in the Wasteland.  Weren’t you always hating your tiny little horn and lack of magic?  Well, you’re descended from Twilight Sparkle now!  Weren’t you pining for friends and lovers?  I’ve given you more than a few!”  

The Dealer is Somber? Whoa. I guess it really is a self-insert fic. And a self-insert brony in equestria fic at that.

“I am so generous, like you.  I give people what they crave!  What they yearn for more than anything!”

He's throwing pandas at me!


And in the middle: the Eater, sitting on its bed of silver wire.  Directly above glowed the moon, and shining brilliantly bright... Tom.  A luminous swarm of souls swirled in a hollow column in the middle of the ring.  Thousands of souls.  Millions.  And more were being added as I watched, glowing trickles flowing into the mass.

Scenery porn. Yeah. I like it.


I spread my wings and flew around it, readying on my left the shotgun that held the moonstone rounds and on my right the riot shotgun, both now sporting glossy black finishes decorated with stars and moons.

If I ever own shotguns . . .


Up close, the Eater’s two rows of silver spines no longer appeared uniform and unblemished.  The central ring of the Tokomare was wrapped in rusty steel scaffolding and supports, and numerous beams and braces spanned the individual spines.

Didn't . . . oh wait, the comparison point is a few seconds ago, not also up close in 65.


I backed away, readied the shotgun... and then spotted the terminal.

Ooh, we're doing a temptation of Christ thing?


More towers grew out radially, not just replacing the Core but crossing the river and growing across the land like a giant crystal.  It was all very symmetrical and neat.

Of course. That's his deal, he likes order. And gotta try to give her something you think she wants.


I stared at EC-1101.  It would be so easy.  So simple...

Good thing this isn't pre-Deus Blackjack, then.


And I had never taken the easy road.  Ever.

If you count leaving 99 as a rebirth, sure. I suppose I could much more easily say that applies to Security than Blackjack.


I blinked rapidly as my vision returned, voices coming from far away.  “Are you alright, Blackjack?” a mare asked as I felt myself in a familiar bed.  

She's high, isn't she?


I quickly took stock of her, an earth pony mare, olive green with a grayish mane, in Stable 99 barding.

Future Scotch, yeah?


“Oh, you are awake.  I was so worried after that terminal overloaded.  I can’t believe I was so careless.”

Duct Tape?


“Thank you, Miss Blackjack.  For saving my mom, I mean,” Scotch said, brushing her mane out of her teal eyes.

Doing an It's a Wonderful Life deal? Alternate history? Blackjack saves Duct, sees what her life would be?


The earth pony stallion in stable barding next to her.  He was just as blue as her, his mane thick and shaggy, his eyes deep but untroubled.  “I can come back later,” P-21 said evenly to the doctor,

No, not that then. No Incident?


She immediately flushed.  “I’m sorry you had to wait at all.  Now that we’ve got a sane Overmare, hopefully things can get better.”

Okay, maybe. Gin? Rivets?


Your mom’s the interim Overmare,” she said,

Gin!


“No, there isn’t,” P-21 said grimly with a frown at her.  “But you’re trying to do better.  That’s all that counts.”  He clearly worked to repress his anger as he regarded me curiously.

Wow, he's a lot mellower. But getting what you want can help with that.


Mom had sat by my bed and told me all about the ponies she’d encountered since opening up the stable while I’d been in my coma.  Bottlecap, Charity, Priest... Big Daddy and Doctor Triage... even the VC and Enclave.  Rampage was the rude representative of the Reapers, and Morning Glory was with the Thunderhead ponies.

If it sounds too good to be true . . .
Also, we've been down this path before. On the other hand, I've already said here that Somber is good at trolling his audience. Also I think Caoihme speculated about this scenario, among others. I don't like assigning things 0% probability. But this doesn't seem like reality.


Would she have freed the stallions?
   Not in a million years.

Ouch. Though Blackjack figured on her return putting her mom in charge, plus setting terms and so forth it would happen. But that's a different situation than exists in this counterfactual. Also I don't think that she'd actually be able to transfer skills from a dream to reality. Not lockpicking, not magic.


Okay, we gonna get to see Blackjack use Luna dream powers to break out?


There was one way...
   I heard Mom approaching, and my magic shut the door in her face, locking it.  “Blackjack?” she called out as I walked to the controls.  “Blackjack, this isn’t funny!” she shouted, beating on the door.  “What are you doing in there?!”

Is Blackjack going to gas 99 again? Something else?


I flipped the switch and immediately smelled the chlorine tang.  A few seconds later, the screaming started.  The screaming that I would never, ever, be able to forget.
   “Blackjack!  You murderer!”  But this time there was no Lacunae to teleport me away.  This time, I went with my stable.

Chills, man.


Squinting through one eye, I aimed Duty at the talisman, and–

Ah, so she does still have them.


“Luna, what are you doing?” Celestia asked, giving me a slightly baffled smile as I pointed a pencil at her.  

Nice, since there has kind of been a shortage of Luna stuff this chapter.


“Drawing Blackjack again?”
   I blinked at her, then at the pad of paper showing the cybernetic unicorn.  She was collapsed on the Tokomare, bleeding as she pointed a revolver at a talisman, her eyes narrowed in focus.  “I really don’t see the appeal, Luna.  Blackjack.  LittlePip.  Why do you obsess over failure and disaster when the war is finally over?”

Dude that's an awesome concept.


“His ambassadors are here, and after reading the treaty myself, I can confirm that they’re offering quite favorable terms for us.  Apparently the Caesar’s at risk of rebellion if he continues the war, too, and was willing to be generous.”

I call bullshit. If FoE taught us anything it's that ambassadors don't exist and every freaking pony in Equestria is too incompetent to talk to a zebra.


“Once everything has settled down, you really should write those stories.  It doesn’t hurt to have a hobby, and you’ve always been more creative than anypony gives you credit for,”

Hells yes. Now this is a better trap!


“I haven’t been very helpful.  I thought abdication would ease my conscience and let me focus on the school, leaving you to sort out my mess.  My... meddling... at Shattered Hoof didn’t help.”

These things are true facts.


“I should have trusted you more.  Supported you more, as you supported me through the war.  But I can see now that you’re the Princess Equestria needs.”

That reference was beautiful.
Also in this universe, the third installment of the Pony-Nolan Batmare trilogy wasn't a stupid fucking mess and instead followed Somber's outline.


Okay, here she tears up the treaty or orders a megaspell attack.


“The Equestrian people give forgiveness for this insult, provided the zebra people allow pony moderators to ensure this lie is striped forever from zebra lore.”  I considered the grieving face of Sekashi, who looked as if a friend had been sentenced to death.

Okay, this strikes me as a real flaw in the setup of the dream. I don't think this is something people would think the Princess of Dreams would want (admit the propaganda, sure, but bowdlerizing their myths and legends? to get rid of something that she felt great guilt over and wanted never to happen again, that she feared?), and it should have been stopped way before it got there. What it does look like is something the Eater would demand.


“Let history remember them for their crime for all time.  Let them surrender a number of their own foals for re-education by the Equestrian people, each year, as restitution for this atrocity.”

Okay, now this is getting ludicrous.

I sat bolt upright, cutting off the stallion reading the terms.  “What?” I murmured.

Good on you, Lunajack.


I made straight for one of the mucky terminals.  If I could control things for just a few minutes and stop the Eater’s interference, I could eliminate the remaining F.A.D.E. shields and get out.

The second temptation. And one less obviously bad.


I just had to use the program... take control...
   Just like Cognitum.
   I froze, staring at the screen and my reflection in it.  Cognitum... she’d believed the Eater was just a machine.  

Yeah. And one of the great lessons of PH is you can go far in life by asking "What would Cognitum do?" And then not doing it, because she was  a fucking idiot who interpreted the world entirely through a lens of things conforming to her exact preferences. Who lacked critical thought. Who had such a profound inability to understand other people that she didn't think telling Blackjack about how she raped a child and would do it again would be a bad diplomatic move. And it's not difficult to understand Blackjack! Not at that level! Sweet fucking Jesus, it takes maybe five goddamn words: "Security saves ponies" and "Do better"! How hard is that?! Friggin' amateur hour, man.
But yeah. You don't want to be like Cognitum.
And that's before getting to the fact she was a moral monster.


Was there any point in simply obliterating it?  The ultimate waste of technology was to destroy it, forfeiting not only the use the technology would give but all the resources that had been spent in its creation.

Holy sunk cost fallacy, Batman!


“Oh, good, the drugs are working.  We finally have lucidity,” he said calmly.  

Ha!


“A short time later, you killed forty foals.  You magnified the failure of one to an unforgivable degree.”

I'm not sure I'll ever get over the "Blackjack killed 40 foals . . . and that's terrible" meme.


“For a time, I hoped we were going to make a breakthrough, but it seemed your delusions magnified.  Trying to stop a war in the sky?  Going to the moon to stop a superweapon?  Fighting some ‘Eater of Souls’ for the world?  Does any of that sound even close to reality?”

No, but it does sound like the Spinal Tap version of reality. And hey, improbable things happen all the time, and some people are magnets for crazy.


“But do you honestly think Princess Celestia and Princess Luna would ever, ever commit Equestria to a systematic butchering of another race?  Especially zebras, who are a rational and caring people every bit as much as ponies?”

Not exactly, but I'd believe things could get out of hand with people generally being unwilling to be the first to deescalate.


He lead me towards the door where Doof and Lighthooves waited, both wearing orderly uniforms.  Both watched me with a wary eye, their gray and red hides bruised.

Whoa. I thought forever that Lighthooves was white. He's listed as crimson on the sheet, but for some reason I never actually absorbed that.


“Easy for him to say,” the red pegasus muttered.  “He’s not the one that’ll have to restrain her.”
   “My balls still aren’t the same,” Doof replied.

Nice.


Glory sat with her singular wing, away from the group, looking over textbooks, her purple mane so beautiful as it fell across her face.

I'll give it this: something like this scenario could explain why she suddenly went from having a crew cut or whatever to a long mane. :D


Scotch Tape, looking faintly older than the filly I remembered, gazed out a window through bars at the world outside.

since it's so retrospective, sure, I can go with thinking of her as a filly here, like she considered her most of the story


“Morning Glory?”
   “Nervous breakdown, suffering from intense stress and expectations about her success, leading to control issues and anxiety disorders.”

Okay, I could totally see that.


“P-21?”
   “Who?  Oh, him.  PTSD from repeated sexual traumas with high risk of suicide.”

Duh.


“LittlePip?  Seriously?” I asked.
   “You mean Pipsqueak?  Where to begin?”  Goldenblood actually grinned.  “First there's her rampant substance abuse, which has led to permanent psychosis.  Add that to Narcissistic Personality Disorder, and delusional disorder with delusions of reference and persecution..."  He trailed off.  "One pony controlling all the weather and 'saving the wastelands’?  Sound familiar?”

Ha, nice.


“Velvet Remedy?”
   “Narcissistic Personality Disorder and a severe case of delusional disorder.  She is convinced that she's 'destined' to be the second coming of Fluttershy.”

Wait, is that describing Patient-Velvet or the actual character from FoE?


Heartshine is really getting a chance to come out and play, huh?


That you’re the long-lost descendant of Twilight Sparkle with Princess Luna’s soul and a special spell that will save the world, or that you're just a police pony who let one bad day completely consume her?”

Killing Joke?
Anyway, yeah, the problem there is playing the "which is more likely" game pretty much results in every celebrity, major business leader, high elected or appointed official . . . to determine that they are probably a mental patient.


“It will,” I said as I stared through the window.  “What is P-21’s real name?”

Ah. Love these games.


The interior of the Seahorse, with my legs nailed to the floor as stallions sweated and grunted against me.  

Okay, that's a good one.


It was like the Eater didn’t know what to throw against me anymore,

Yeah, that's about what I was thinking about now.


Why hasn't it just given her a dream that looks just like the truth? Or maybe it has . . .


“YOU CAUSED ME PAIN, MY LITTLE PONY.  GREAT PAIN.”
   I licked my lips, murmuring, “It seemed like the right thing to do at the time.”

Heh. I'm not sure I agree, but it seemed better than some of the alternatives.


“I FORGIVE YOU.  I KNOW PAIN WELL, AND I KNOW YOUR SUFFERING.  I KNOW YOUR FEAR.  LET ME END BOTH.  LET ME GIVE YOU PEACE AND RELIEF.”  It reached out its hand, claws as big as my body spread wide.  “LET ME REUNITE YOU WITH GLORY,” the Eater offered in its sibilant hiss.  “FOREVER.”

Angel-ish. They do fit nicely together. And he's actually doing something that has direct appeal to her while being real.


“YOUR EVERY ACTION, YOUR EVERY REACTION, ARE ON DISPLAY BEFORE ME.  YOU CANNOT PREVAIL.”

Ah, but that's not what the Fool/Gambler is all about.


“YOU WISH FOR DEATH!  IT IS THE ONLY ATONEMENT FITTING FOR YOUR SINS,”

Congratulations on figuring that out, numbnuts. But she's not all about suicide the vast majority of the time, and she's more about saving ponies than getting what she personally wants, including death. Sorry, but that's the part she's not likely to compromise on.


“ADMIT YOUR FAILINGS.  YOU REGRET THE SUFFERING YOU’VE INFLICTED ON THOSE YOU LOVE.”

I AM GOING TO SCREAM THINGS YOU ARE COMPLETELY AWARE OF AT YOU! CHANGE YOUR MIND ON THINGS BASED ON NO NEW INFORMATION OR ANYTHING AT ALL!

Okay, now this was getting annoying.

You said it. :)


“But you know what else?  It’s not always me!  Sometimes, the Wasteland just fucking sucks!”

Has she actually taken "It's not always about you" to heart? I mean, I'm not confident it would stick long term, because it hasn't before, but it's always nice when she gets there.


“But I don’t care, because I will never give up!  Not even if it kills me!”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3szYS7DH4Y
Yeah, it's Daring Do, but it's one of the songs I think really fits Blackjack. Also, MandoPony's "I Am No Hero," but which only got better after the Luna thing. But that's all neither here nor there.


“YOU THINK YOU CAN DEFEAT ME ALONE, LITTLE PONY?” the Eater asked as it gazed hungrily at me.
   “I am not alone!”

Hell yeah. In your heart, in your mind, your friends remain, forever.


It inhaled and spread its hands wide, and from its maw erupted a torrential blast of balefire that sent my radmeter through the roof.  I threw all my magic into a shield and managed to get clear of the core of the flame.  But I didn’t back down, retreat, or regroup.  
No, that would have been the smart thing to do.

Yeah, see, that's how she can end up getting the gift of death from him. You (usually) can't die a hero by just giving up and letting your enemies snuff you out.


Instead, I darted in, dragging my vorpal sword along its body,

Eh, iffy on that one, but if you figure it might be a Luna contribution (despite this section being more Blackjacky generally), sure, I can see it.


Two shotgun shells left.  I fired, and the slug streaked in and hit the casing... but something was wrong.  There was a feeble glow of white magic, and then the side of the case detonated with an anemic pop.

Oh, so they're being weakend by the super intense Enervation? That's not good. Okay, so figure she'll need to use the moonstone she had for her own protection to take out the last one.


Reaching the Eater’s head, I flew clear and streaked for the platform.  My shotgun was ready.  I was ready.
   Then my wings disappeared.

Whoa. Okay, something about mind-soul combo getting disrupted by the Enervation? Loss of magic in some way?

The claw ripped through them so quickly and cleanly that I was transformed from a flying body into a ballistic one without being knocked off target.

Ah, something more mundane. That's fine too.


No, I thought numbly, drawing out the bottle of moonstone dust and seeing only silvery sand within.  It fell from my fingers, tumbling down into the shadows below.

Ooh, can't even get there with the protection dust? Well, there was that thing she was doing with the other gun, right? Maybe that would work?


A numbness spread through me as I fell from his talons back onto the platform.  Only my augmentation kept me from passing out immediately from blood loss as I lay there, seeing my entrails and synthetic sinews and wires dangling down beneath me.

Okay, was not expecting this at this stage. But certainly an interesting sequence.


The tapered crystal seemed to have grown in its transit, or perhaps I was just a lousy judge of size.  The tip of the stone dragged along the edge of the shaft

. . .
There's a lot of phallic in there.


I closed my eyes.  At least I could enjoy the moonstone’s song, beautiful, but now desperate and strained as it fought against its nemesis.  It truly was a beautiful melody...
   But not the only song I heard.

Mother. Fucking. Psychoshy.?
Her own friends, the memory of their love, or the knowledge of it still being there in the cases of Scotch, Rampage, Whisper, etc.?
All of the souls surrounding the Eater?
Her baby, from far away?
Her own soul?
All of the above?


I opened my eyes and looked down at my chest.  I guessed it was the big round drum with all the wires coming out of it.  Slowly, dripping blood and other fluids, I pulled it from my crippled chest cavity.
   You have a heart of moonstone.  That was what Glory had said.

This is just perfect, isn't it? I hadn't figured it was literal. But it certainly explains why she'd always been immune to Enervation. It really was an effect of her cyberization! Just one that didn't have much to do with cyberization generally.
But yes, she gets to literally rip her own heart out as a sacrifice to save the world.


I fumbled with the stone, barely able to catch it with my other hand, holding it as if my soul depended on it.

I know that's the point, but that's just SO not an "as if"! :)


And while I couldn’t raise or lower the whole moon...
   ...I could raise a small piece of it.

So, her heart, or Tom? Both?


“NO!” the Eater whinged.  “I CANNOT DIE!  EXISTENCE NEEDS ME!”

Wow.
. . .
Wow.


“NO!  I AM BRIGHTEST!  I AM GREATEST!” the Eater howled.  Tom pinned one of those claws, his furious aura burning away the flesh.  The starmetal beneath flashed a brilliant white and exploded.  The Eater screamed as the second claw, pressed against Tom’s chest, soon followed.  “NO!  I don’t want to die!  Please...”
(words getting smaller over period)

Nice effect, still kind of pathetic, but it's got nothing on the HAL-9000 death.


“All things die,” Tom answered.  “Hush now... it’s time to go to bed...”

That payoff though.


Then, like a pitiful whine in the back of my mind, I heard the Eater’s last whimper, “Will it hurt?”

And it gets better.


But the souls lingered.
   Millions.  Tens of millions.  Freed from the Eater, they hung like a constellation of stars spreading in all directions.  Some sank into the earth.  Others streamed towards the sky.  Some touched the weary survivors.  I killed the shield and stretched out my hoof towards the countless motes.  One drifted against me, and for a moment I smelled Mom’s mane.  I heard the warm chuckle of P-21.  Another gave my cheek the caress of a soft gray wing.

That's . . . beautiful. I'm crying.

And from the mare’s chest, a mote emerged.  Among so many, few would note it any brighter than the others as it rose towards the starry sky which had been its home for so long.  Only LittlePip, in the S.P.P., would hear a Princess’s sobs as it joined the others.

Oh fuck . . .


And there, on the wreckage of the platform, the mare stared at the stars as the number reached zero.  Darkness took her.  And silence.  Yet her lips curled in a smile as she felt hot liquid rolling down her cheeks.  The rumbling grew, becoming her entire world... stretching into eternity.

And this time . . . this time there isn't a soul that needs to return to it, and to that mind, and to all the pain and all the loss. It may not be in the everafter, out among the stars, but it won't be in the same world that this one lived in, because this one saved it, and she changed it.


One drifted against me, and for a moment I smelled Mom’s mane.

Hadn't her mother's soul escaped Hoofington, though? Did it return from space? And P-21's as well, with the new blue star? I don't remember in Glory's case, but I'd expect she'd not escape from Hoofington at that point. But it was the low-Enervation Collegiate, so maybe. Could they be other friends who remembered those sensations, maybe? A couple from 99, maybe Dawn?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:09 am

Chapter 77 Editing, part 2:
“Or proof that, even toting that goddess around, you’re still Blackjack,” the Dealer retorted.  

"Goddess"?


mark's seen just as much defeat as victory... luck of the draw, which comes out on top.  Ah, but death now... that's been a bit more consistent around it, hasn't it

non-directional apostrophes


He showed cards of me after the Seahorse.  

"Seahorse" should be italicized


The concave structure made of the dozens of skyscrapers away from me in every direction, the broken tips pointing up towards the skies.  

I think you need a verb before "away". "spread", maybe? something like that


Unlike the nightmares I'd faced below,

non-directional apostrophe


My horn... my horn. The pair backed away as

only one space after period


and I pulled them off. “Don’t try and

only one space after period


terminal and sell us out to Raiders, deposed her, and then,

I don't think "Raiders" should be capitalized


out of the breached casing. In my mind, it had been

only one space after period


“Still in rehab.” Twilight answered me, her voice barely

period should be comma


“The zebras admit fault in instigating and persecuting the war.

"prosecuting" (literally from the Merriam-Webster page for "prosecute" as a listed example: She criticized the government for the way it has prosecuted the war.)


If only... If only...

should have second space after first ellipsis


To others, it's an escape from the mundanity and tedium of life.  For you, it's a place in w

non-directional apostrophes


He lead me towards the door where

"led"


Calamity watched her with a hollowed-eye look.

"hollow-eyed", I think


“Psalm?” I asked, testing him but he didn’t falter in the slightest.

comma after "him"?


reference and persecution..."  He trailed off.  "One pony controlling all the weather and 'saving the

non-directional quotation marks (double and single)


she's 'destined' to be the second coming

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophe


Ah well, there's always a dependent when there's a

non-directional apostrophes


“Perhaps one of the greatest cases for Complex PTSD that I've ever seen in my life.  That, combined with an underlying Bipolar Disorder has created a, to be frank, fascinating mix of delusions, self-neglect, and impulsivity.  You vary between utterly agitated to the point that we need to sedate you to catatonic depression where you don't move for hours.

non-directional apostrophes (I've, don't). Whole thing is a lighter color than the stuff around it


“You need to calm down!” Goldenblood replied in alarm.  “Restrain her,” she said to the two orderlies, who rushed in.

"he said"


I bet that it's taking a lot

non-directional apostrophe


“NOW!  BEAR WITNESS!”  he bellowed as he moved down beneath the sole remaining field.

should have only one space after quotation


“YOUR CHAMPION HAS FAILED,” The Eater taunted amid

I don't think "The" should be capitalized


I might not actually be princess Luna, but I had

"princess" should be capitalized


Laying on my back, I watched as the Eater clawed and

"Lying"
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by ILM126 on Sun Aug 30, 2015 2:22 am

Yeah, I sent it to EQD and they got it up on the front page a few hours ago :D

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 30, 2015 3:13 am

tylertoon2 wrote:Speaking of team. You guys, O.Hinds, Swicked, Bronode, any i've missed, are real troopers sticking like glue to Somber and helping this thing get written all for free. Phenomenal job to everyone.
Evilgidgit wrote:To O. Hinds, Bronode, swicked, Heartshine, Icy Shake, and even Snipehamster and Hidden Fortune. I thank you all for aiding Somber in moulding the story to its greatest potential.
Thank you. :)

@Icy Shake:
Ah, thanks.

Spoiler:
Icy Shake wrote:I think this would be a bit clearer if the "her" before "armor" were replaced with "Dusk" since otherwise it's easy to attach it to Whisper, who was just speaking, rather than Dusk, which requires tracking through two actions made (and a line spoken) by Whisper, one of which already had both of them, as subject and object, represented by pronoun-ish things
I've changed the sentence to "The mechasprites seemed to glue themselves to Dusk, their mouths working as they started to chew through her black-enameled armor.", as I also realized that the "armor" was a bit repetitive.

Icy Shake wrote:editing-ish, maybe: That works too, though I wasn't aware of her having that kind of magic (post-Lacunae's death and having access through Unity, of course), especially given how she was so weak with magic herself (even if her body at least can do more powerful work now), almost like Littlepip without the levitation superpower, and if she did have it, she should probably have been helping with medical stuff in 99 during the battle, which would have somewhat weakened the case for it being super necessary (in general, as opposed to for Stronghoof specificaly) that she get in the fight. Also, might have been able to help Stronghoof directly.
...Bother. Hm. But... you think that this is still acceptable?
And maybe she happened to have the reattach-cleanly-severed-limbs spell but not more basic healing magic in local storage for some reason when the Goddess went down. ...Or something?

Icy Shake wrote:should have second space after first three ellipses
...Okay, but why?

swicked wrote:You missed Icy Shake. "Eh, we'll leave it for Icy Shake" was a very common saying whenever there was too much discussion over a single bit of grammar.
Indeed yes! He may not be or have been officially on the team, but he has been of tremendous help.
That you for bringing that up, swicked, and I apologize for forgetting.

swicked wrote:It's amazing to me how much my thoughts and arguments ended up affecting the story...
:)

@Derpmind:
Spoiler:
Derpmind wrote:Somber's problem is that he's dangerously sane. :P Unless that's supposed to be someone else?
Nope, you got that one. :)
Derpmind wrote:So, I missed some scenery and baddass counts, but forget that. The ending here is truly beautiful.
Glad you liked it. :)

And for my part of those thanks, you're welcome. :)
Thank you, in turn, for the party you played in the community you mention.

Derpmind wrote:Thanks to the writing team for ruining commercial fiction for me forever
Sorry about that bit, though. :)

Bootleg wrote:This story has supplied constant inspiration throughout the last four years. On one hand I'm sad to see it end, but on the other I'm happy that it ended so well. From the bottom of my little heart; Thank you Somber, thank you Editing team, and thank you Blackjack. I look forward to your future projects.
Thank you, you're welcome, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

Defrak wrote:Had to make an account to say thank you, this story story got me through some really tough times, I feel in love with the characters and their tale. I will definitely be re-reading for years to come, and will never forget the joy, fear, anger and sadness I felt during the reading of Horizons.

Thank you Somber and thank you to all the editors, you pulled it off, and brought everyone along for the wild ride.
You're welcome, and I'm glad that the story was such a help to you. :)

Ryx wrote:Thank you, Hinds, sir. I would offer you a hug or nuzzle, if you were interested in such things.
You're welcome, and thanks. :)
And you can hug me if you like. They're okay; I'm just not generally huggy enough to initiate them.
Spoiler:
Ryx wrote:It's okay, really I meant it more as a joke than anything.
Ah, good. :)

Ryx wrote:You're welcome, always glad when I can actually help.
:)

Ryx wrote:though now I really have no idea who it might be.
Well, let's see, a dishwater-gray unicorn surrounded by stacks of papers and writing furiously on yet more... :)

Ryx wrote:Thank you, sir. Though after I read Pink Eyes, I think I'm going to take a break for some... lighter reading before I get into any other FoE stories.
No problem; enjoy those other stories.
And yeah, while I'd say Wasteland Bouquet is lighter than some FoE stories out there, it certainly has darker moments, including one pretty much at the very beginning.

Ryx wrote: Did the plan change at some point to knocking out all the shields? I thought Glory had told her just to take down the 3 alternating ones in order to focus the attack.
Ah, no; the half of the shields to be taken out referred to the inner shields, all of them, as opposed to the outer shields.

Ryx wrote:And I don't know why I didn't say it before, but poor Whisper and Dusk after the fight with Amadi... definitely ouch...
Aye.

Ryx wrote:Yeah, Pythia is still adorable.
:)

Ryx wrote:Really kinda sad we don't get to find out what happened with them though...
Sorry.

Ryx wrote:I guess that makes it more interesting that Boing is still around.
Oh, no, Boing's long gone by now, sorry. That was a reference to something a historical figure, which she is now, said.

Ryx wrote:Now that it's over... I still think Project Horizons was a wonderful story, and will always remain one of my favorites.
Good. :)

Ryx wrote:So as much as the ending did hurt, I can still very honestly say that it was a "good" ending.
And that. :)

Ryx wrote:Of course, since it didn't happen, it means I could still use "bringing everyone back to life" safely as the plot for a "Project Horizons the Movie" story, heh.
:)

@Icy Shake (again):
Ah, thanks (again :).

Spoiler:
Icy Shake wrote:"Goddess"?
I don't think so. Why?

Icy Shake wrote:A wonderful end for Hoofington, for Luna, for Blackjack. Easy to follow. Focused. I've been giddy, happy for hours. Moved by the end. And what an end! It's hard to believe that the denouement for a 1.6 million word story would be about half a page (though I'm a little confused by the apparent presence of Gin Rummy's and P-21's souls there, even if I can imagine ways that could happen), but there was nothing else needed. And it was so simple! And beautiful, like the end of 33. And full of stars.
Splendid! Thank you. I'm very glad that you enjoyed it so much. :)
And regarding those souls, yes, it confused me a bit too, at first, but we didn't really think of any good way to clarify that they'd come back for a visit instead of being among those freed from the Eater.

Icy Shake wrote:Okay, I just got a little smile over the coincidence of the cowcatcher coming up.
Eh?

Icy Shake wrote:I see what you did there.
Heh; I didn't notice that.

Icy Shake wrote:You bastard, leaving us new questions that will probably never be answered right at the end of things. :)
Possibilities from people we already know: Cupcake (unlikely), Crunchy Carrots (more likely),
...I actually asked Somber and know the answer to this one, but now I'm wondering if it might not be more fun to not tell you. :)
(Though, more seriously, I can tell you if you do ask me.)

Icy Shake wrote:Okay, is it just me, or was this wording done as a horsecock pun intentionally?
Oh, it was not, Icy Shake, it was not. Erin and I noticed as soon as we read it, but Somber was oblivious until it was explained to him. But yeah, at first, I assumed that it had to be intentional. Even now, I'm wondering if, in-universe, whoever decided to call it that was secretly giggling (though I think I recall Somber saying that that wasn't the original name in-universe).

Icy Shake wrote:Not that I'm complaining, especially since Hinds rained on the horsecock-shaped rockets parade. ;)
:)

Icy Shake wrote:You know what should be a thing that exists? Wonder-tape. Give just the surface the actual bonding like Wonderglue does, while being faster to apply and less likely to completely screw up. Maybe even be such that you could apply it, then pull it off and the tape is off and expended, but the fuse stays. In that case it would even be a great bandage alternative for surface skin cuts.
Hm, neat idea.

Icy Shake wrote:What what meant?
I'm not sure. The stars do seem to be uncertain about various things involving Blackjack, and this might also be something Pythia saw but never mentioned.

Icy Shake wrote:EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!
:)

Icy Shake wrote:I will say that my biggest complaint for the chapter so far is that I do not believe for a second that it's taken place in well under half an hour. That's obvious bullshit, especially since it had to take some time to select people, get their shit together, and get to wherever they were at the start of the chapter. There were some similar but less definite issues during the visions of the battle, but not this extreme.
The "half an hour" was apparently pretty approximate; as I recall, Somber said, when this was brought up, that a more accurate amount of time wouldn't sound as good.

Icy Shake wrote:Okay, counting could matter in blackjack. But what bluffing?
Hey, she did say she was bad at it. :)

Icy Shake wrote:The Dealer is Somber? Whoa. I guess it really is a self-insert fic. And a self-insert brony in equestria fic at that.
Huh, interesting way of looking at it. :)

Icy Shake wrote:Dude that's an awesome concept.
:)

Icy Shake wrote:Also in this universe, the third installment of the Pony-Nolan Batmare trilogy wasn't a stupid fucking mess and instead followed Somber's outline.
:)

Icy Shake wrote:Heartshine is really getting a chance to come out and play, huh?
She was indeed. :)
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by FoolNeim on Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:22 am

Okay, I've been reading this story for about three years now, and Somber should be incredibly proud of what he's made, whether he is or not. It's been an incredible ride. I am just a little unclear about what happened in the epilogue, so I guess I'll keep spoilers for my guess.

Epilogue Spoilers:
Perhaps I missed it, as my ability to read anything linearly is pretty bad, but am I right in assuming that Blackjack's soul was inside her Pipbuck, which Sweetie Bot stole from her tomb, and that's how it was transplanted back inside her blank?

Okay, was just wondering on that.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by WavemasterRyx on Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:30 am

As a matter of curiosity... the text file with my chapter commentaries for PH has ended at 83,100 words... and though I'm not sure if it's entirely accurate, I counted at least around 275 pictures I've drawn because of this story.  That's just a little to show what this world has meant to me... and hopefully that picture count won't be stopping any time soon.

---

O. Hinds wrote:You're welcome, and thanks.  :)
And you can hug me if you like.  They're okay; I'm just not generally huggy enough to initiate them.
Okay, I just wanted to make sure first.  *hugs very gently*

replies:

O. Hinds wrote:Well, let's see, a dishwater-gray unicorn surrounded by stacks of papers and writing furiously on yet more...  :)
OH.  Well when you put it like that... I think I might have an idea who it's supposed to be.

O. Hinds wrote:No problem; enjoy those other stories.
And yeah, while I'd say Wasteland Bouquet is lighter than some FoE stories out there, it certainly has darker moments, including one pretty much at the very beginning.
Thank you for the warning, I do appreciate it.

Ryx wrote: Did the plan change at some point to knocking out all the shields?  I thought Glory had told her just to take down the 3 alternating ones in order to focus the attack.
O. Hinds wrote:Ah, no; the half of the shields to be taken out referred to the inner shields, all of them, as opposed to the outer shields.
Ah, alright, thank you for the clarification, I just wanted to make sure it was a case of me misunderstanding it.

O. Hinds wrote:Oh, no, Boing's long gone by now, sorry.  That was a reference to something a historical figure, which she is now, said.
Yeah, I was writing that all as I was reading, so I didn't quite realize how long it had been at the time, and decided to leave it instead of going back to correct it.

Ryx wrote:Now that it's over... I still think Project Horizons was a wonderful story, and will always remain one of my favorites.
O. Hinds wrote:Good.  :)
And thank you again for being part of that, Hinds, and for... everything.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by FoolNeim on Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:35 am

Sorry to make two posts in a row like this, especially when I rarely post here at all and mostly just lurk, but I wanted to make my comments about the story separate from the question above.

Somber, this is a really superb work of fiction, and maybe self-torture makes people more artistic, but you should be proud of this, it's masterful. Also, the ending covered things splendidly, despite my clarification question. Particularly the final scene of the Epilogue.

I didn't keep track of what happened with the printing of the original Fallout Equestria hardcopy printing, but his work certainly deserves the same treatment once the final editing is complete.

That being said, and this is the main point of my post, you seem to have quite a bit of talent whether you think so or not. I really, strongly would encourage you to write a novel that's not a fanfic, and something of your own. You have a bit of a cult following (far more than a bit by fanfic standards), and people willing to help you in the editing process that have some experience in it.

In fact, retaining some editors to help you along I think would be crucial, not because you can't write without them, but because the objective feedback of others seems to be far kinder to you than you are to yourself, and I think that would help you keep going.

No matter what, I do hope you continue to pursue writing professionally.

I'm not great with descriptive accolades, but thank you so much for Project Horizons, it definitely helped keep me sane during some very stressful periods of my life, and it was a splendid ride.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Sun Aug 30, 2015 5:59 am

I like the epilogue. Had some mood whiplash there, but a lot of good stuff completed, and as the note said, some great plot hooks there. And the last page or so was, like the last bit of 77, just beautiful. This is how you stick the landing. You finished with I'd probably say the best two chapters (77 + E) since at least the original moon launch, maybe even since before 65. Again, should have more to say tomorrow, but for now, here's what I have.

Epilogue Running Thoughts:
“Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria...”

Kkat did it with the last line of the story. You with the first and final epigraph. It works.


Mostly ponies, but there were a pair of zebras, a griffin, and a helldog too.

Hellhound/sand dog hybrid? Post-Gardens/de-tainted hellhounds?


“Security died?” the youngest of the group, a pegasus foal with a bright orange mane, asked as she rested atop her mother.  The unicorn gave a sober nod, and then foal screwed up her face and added, “For good?”
   “No!” the green stallion drawled sarcastically.  “Then she came back from the dead a fourth time, and this time she descended deep into the earth to some even bigger monster from destroying us all!”

Well, I have a feeling that the answer is different depending on just what you mean by "Security."


“When will you Commonwealthers accept that this whole Security garbage was just a cooked-up story to one-up the Lightbringer’s?”

Okay, it's more embarassing now that I live here again for the first time since before Project Horizons existed. But for a long, long time I thought that Boston made a good fit for Hoofington. (Okay, San Francisco too, and probably better geographically.)


“Homage said a lotta things, a bunch while on Dash.

Well, I can't really argue with him there. Maybe not on the Dash part, but she has been known to play fast and loose with the truth when it suited her.


But a city of the damned built over an ancient abomination?  Going to the moon?  The moon!”

This does not sound good for Rampage.


First Citizen Boing said that Security had done almost as much harm as good.”

Umm. That's something that you might well expect based on Boing's experiences and attitudes as depicted in the story.


“You keep them on notecards?” Scotch asked with a half smile.
   Pythia froze, giving Scotch Tape a flat look.  “What should I keep them in?  A black ponyhide tome with runes of evil on the cover?  ‘Cause I think we tried that once,”

Heh. Pythia continues to be great.


“You want to go all the way to the Homeland?” Majina asked with a little frown.
   “Yeah,” she said, then pointed a hoof at Scotch.  “I’ll need you to find somepony with a boat.”  

Is Thrush an option? Because on the one hand, great potential for fun there. On the other, risk of, well, it turning into the Jack Sparrow Show for however long she's involved. But at least Pythia is a definitely forceful personality, and Scotch is more so than she was.


“She went to the zebra lands,” the zebra stallion told the filly.  Then he looked at the green stallion.  “Accounts vary as to what actually happened there.”
   “Let me guess: died three times and saved the world?” the stallion said with a grin.
   The striped pair regarded each other and simply shrugged.  “It is a long story,” the zebra mare replied with a slightly pained look before addressing the unicorn mare.

Nnnoooo. Who could see that coming? :D


“Eh,” the helldog, not quite as monstrous as his ancestors, said with a shrug.

So that answers that.


“It’s a parliamentary council.  Thirteen seats, six appointed by important organizations, seven elected by the boroughs around the Hoof.

Interesting setup.


Hoity wheeled Grace around the arbor easily, and an earth pony colt and unicorn filly came into view.

Yeah, did not figure there were going to be a pair of batponies there. Timing all wrong. But I remember at least some speculation . . .


“I... it’s just hard to keep track of things.  I’ll be fine,” Charm answered with a tired little smile.

Now, she's not dead, but (like Grace, actually, with the paralysis) there are real consequences there. Nice.


“Are you ever going to tell them?” Hoity asked as he pushed her up the hill after them.
   “That they’re not mine?  No.  Let everyone believe that they’re the illegitimate offspring of Lord Blueberry.  He was a good stallion, and his mother loves them.  Far safer than anypony else knowing the truth.  They’re happier this way,”

Okay, so that gives a reason for it to have been narrow knowledge (though it might still work as something everyone in the planning meeting knew), but I still feel like I originally assumed everyone already knew about the pregnancy itself based on the words on the page.


On the far side of the canyon, a white pony watched.  It was impossible to make out more than that.  

Yes!


“Yeah, ponies are good at that,” the griffin said lightly, getting a chuckle from the zebras, helldog, and curiously also the alicorn.

I don't find it curious at all. Why, they were masters at it.


From the back of the collection, a cloaked mare said softly, “It’s not the lives you could have saved that matter.  That’s never enough, and you can drive yourself crazy if it’s what you focus on.”

Hi, potential Blackjack clone! You sound like you have a happier and healthier outlook than the old version!


Oh! Most of the Zodiacs lived! (Answer about the Dealer's question about enemies not having horrible deaths.) Taurus lived, as did Aries and Virgo. Sure, maybe they died later on, but they lasted a while.


A grotesquely swollen Dr. Morningstar, fused with a golden tree, birthed a menagerie of fused creatures as she ranted and raved about her children.  Candlewick, Dazzle, and Brutus faced her along with a half dozen others fighting to eliminate the horrific birthing monstrosity.

Oh. :( I liked her. But that's what you get messing with super science, I guess.


At least Crumpets and Dusk had ended up a couple.  Eh, lesbians... go fig...

Well, Whisper's continued to get more tolerant. That's nice, I guess.


Still, it’d been nice seeing the purple with her beefcake husband.  She didn’t know what they’d done to him to give him tiny wings in addition to his tiny horn, but regardless, he still sparkled and was frigging annoying.  

YES.


“Is that you, Whisper?” Velvet called as she walked out onto the porch.  A baby in a diaper rode easily on her back.

Sigh. Okay. Let's see how this goes.


“Thank you for keeping us all together when everything fell apart.  If you had given up on us, Apex would have irradiated and tainted the whole Wasteland with Gardens.”  There was a yelp next to the house, and they both leaned over to see Calamity pinned to the ground, all six kids on his back.  “And for teaching Calamity that sometimes Loyalty is standing up to your friends, no matter how much you love them.”

Alright, sounds like Whisper for Magic then. Awesome, and looks like Swicked got what he was looking for.


From behind Whisper emerged a colt.  His yellow coat had a dusky, mustard hue.  The mane was an uncanny copy of his father’s down to its deep purple hue.  Bright teal eyes gazed warily up at Fluttershy as his bat wings fidgeted atop his back.  “Um... hi.  Grandma.”

Colorful batpony? This is wonderful!


“This is Noctilucent,” Whisper said, unable to stem the flow of her own tears and not sure if she even should.  “I call him Nocti.”

I like the name. Sounds good, and "Night Light" is a great pony name.


The unicorn drew the gun, removed the magazine and chambered round, and levitated it over, where a second field of magic wrapped around the weapon and pulled it into the cloaked unicorn’s hooves.  “It’s a twelve point seven millimeter, IF-33.”

Vigilance? She's tracking down her descendants!


The grating buzz of my alarm yanked me away from sleep. . . .

You did it, didn't you. :D

. . . proceeded to whack my ...PipBuckless leg into the tabletop.

Nice twist.


“Ugh...  Mom must have had maintenance to clean while I was out.  Hope it was a cutie,” I chuckled.

Beautiful, just about what I was hoping for. Won't have her mother, etc., but can live without the memories of her great, and so painful, old life. At least it seems like that for the moment. Though I hope she keeps the changed feelings/whatever about males, etc. Some skills wouldn't hurt, either. But whatever. Or, maybe, it's all from nothing, rather than getting a bunch of memories all at once. But then, who will Mom be? I'm actually really excited here.

A pair of ponies I didn’t recognize passed me, and they both froze.  Their eyes were wide as dinner plates.

All right, confirmed for just waking up with, roughly, memories up to the very beginning of "Inception." Not sure what's up with the PipBuck, being on her right leg, though.


Walking past a stall, I glanced in at two mares simply washing and talking about their upcoming free shift.  Huh... why had I expected something different?

Nice. It's a bizarro world.


“Look, if you two want to have sex, just make sure that it’s not in public.  I’m not going to bust you,” I said to both as I washed.

But the same Blackjack. :D


“Wha...” one gasped.
   “She’s my sister!” the other responded, glaring at me.  “Who are you?”

Well, that should raise an eyebrow. The hell are sisters, after all.


“I... We were going to Megamart’s reopening, and then to visit the Riverside market.”
   I collapsed completely smashing my face against the tile and collapsing in the stall.  “What was that?” I muttered as I stared at the two, feeling something welling up inside me like an immense tide rolling in.

Oh man. This could be traumatic if it really happens all at once.


P-21 should be right down here in this storage room!

Yes. Building up. The wrongness. The names. Everything.


But how long has she been out?


Bright sunlight played across the crops spreading out along the hillside.

Okay, looking like probably after Gardens, but the question is how much.


Everything, all the way to the last moments following the Eater’s death, struck me in one colossal torrent.  
Wow. I was not expecting her to get through to the Eater part, just up to the moon or so. Still cool, though, and I suppose an artifact of the moonstone connection?


There were two options.  The first was to go happily mad.
   I took the second.
   I bawled.  I wailed.  I screamed and blubbered, ground my face into the mud and rocked like a foal.
   Crying was vomiting for the soul, and I had so much to bring up.
   Dark purple wings surrounded me, and I was pulled into an alicorn’s embrace.  All I could do was clutch Psalm in desperation, my tears bleeding months of agony and loss.  Finally, I found just enough voice to whisper, “I had friends...”

Okay, maybe not exactly what I was thinking might happen, but not bad at all. And at least she has some friends left.


So, do we have Lionheart as last Element? Probably.


I wasn’t Security.  Security had died facing the Eater.  I was just a Blackjack groupie... albeit a good one.  

And an answer to that thing from earlier.


And after a generation or two, nopony would look at me and think that I’d been that mare in the story.  Some days, I didn’t believe it, even when I remembered it all.  Remembered it all perfectly...

When exactly is this, then? Does seem like the 200 year mark past FoE, but gotta figure all the Bearers died long before then. Maybe the late night is messing with my head.


Even after two hundred years,

That answers that then

she’d taken great care of Rainbow Dash’s Mare Do Well armor.  “Sorry.  I wasn’t sure when the dramatic moment would be perfect.”
   Then she pulled off the hat and helmet, and Boo smiled at me.  “Hi, Momma.”

Awesome.

“You!” LittlePip shouted, her horn glowing and seizing the pony... though Boo didn’t quite look like that anymore.  She had two little horn nubs and a little snaggle tooth, and her eyes were yellow and red.

AWESOME. I love it. Given her not dying as planned . . . great way to do it.


“Of course, there’s an itsy bitsy chance his investigation will result in Celestia One melting Junction City, but, eh, details!”
   LittlePip glared at her, then at me, then back at her again.  “You... I... how... ohhhh!  I should pop you like a raider!”

How fast could you manage it, if at all? Because you'd be going against Boo, now powered up to an unknown degree, and Blackjack, who probably wouldn't like that happening to her daughter.


“She was happier as a hippogriff.  I think her soul was that of a female griffon.  Every Brood that's changed is happy with what they ended up as.  Even a few that are becoming like Boo.  And sure, some of them might become problems, but I won't worry about that until they actually do,” I said with another smile, leaving out the fact that many Brood were also aging, and I wasn’t.

Interesting, and interesting. Soul binding makes her more like a soul jar than when it was just contact? Maybe her soul just never wants to grow up? Weird.


The structure no longer served as a place of reverence, and the center of the interior was taken up by a massive block of white marble.

Well, things change.


Carved into the surface was the image of Security in repose; they’d gone with a ‘lying on her back clutching a bunch of lilies’ image rather than a ‘cybernetic and humping a shotgun’ one.

Lame! And even that's forgetting the "chugging a fifth of whisky" part!


Dusk replied tersely.  “And you really don’t understand this whole ‘stakeout’ thing, do you?”  The earth pony gave a deep sigh of frustration.
   Five minutes.  Ten.  Fifteen.  “You want to bang?” Crumpets asked.

Crumpets seems to have maybe taken after the (better) parts of classic Stable 99 culture.


Sweetie Bot stood over Blackjack’s broken body levitating her starmetal sword.  She brought it down, and a moment later, she lifted the PipBuck with the hoof still attached.

Oooookayyyy . . .

“What are you doing?!” Crumpets demanded as she struggled in the confines of her suit.

This is a valid question


As she passed by Dusk, she flung the sword away and raced off into the night.

Well, at least the sword is still accounted for.


“This is insane!  This is insane and you are insane to be doing this insanity!” LittlePip shouted as the battered-together rocket roared beneath us, lifting us higher and higher into the sky.  Her magic was one of the few things keeping it together.

Keeping a promise. Nice. I really, really hope Rampage was able to get to the astrostable.


“Hey, let’s be fair.  You did find Whisper like the others.  You just used her to liberate Apex, and since we’re being fair, everypony including her thought she was the second coming of Twilight Sparkle.  It’s not your fault she went batfuck crazy when it failed, nearly killed the other Bearers, and almost turned Gardens into an Equestria-wide radiation and taint generator,” I said, getting a flat look in return.  “Oh, I lost at ‘liberate Apex’, didn’t I?”

This sounds like quite a thing.


“Okay, LittlePip.  Find her.”  I stretched out on a cushion taped to the floor.
   “Find... what?”  LittlePip goggled at me.  “You mean, find her?  On the moon?  With only a few hours of energy left?”
   “Yup,” I replied with a smile.
   “I... you... I can’t believe you would drag me all the way to the moon for this!  I never would have come if I’d known this was what you were planning!” LittlePip huffed.
   “I know,” I answered with a smile.  “You have the talent.  So... find her,” I said as I folded my hooves behind my head.

Blackjack, never change. And since you've been going strong two centuries, I think there's a good chance of that.


Ah, the Gl– the joy of being a switch and the top in a relationship.

Well, I suppose she'd have to be in that one. But this is still pretty much the first indication I remember seeing of that. But I guess she needs to change a little over two centuries. Branch out a bit. :)


Astrostable survived, maybe they would have found her.  Given her a home for these last two centuries.  If...
   It hadn’t.

Oh. Oh. Shit. Maybe she died?


No.  Stop.  No backsliding now.  I couldn’t blame myself for this.  I closed my eyes, breathing deeply.  I hadn’t been to blame for this, and while I knew I would feel guilty, because that was simply how I was wired, I wouldn’t beat myself up over this.

:) Learning. Being happy. So nice it's going this way.


We emerged back into the open...
   And a herd of ponies.
   They didn’t wear suits.  They simply stood on the surface of the moon as casually as if they were back on Equus.  All of them were various shades of monochrome and metallic, with ghostly manes that blew in an nonexistent wind.  I glanced at LittlePip, her face aghast at the eerie sight.

You manipulative son of a bitch. Well, looks better now. Blanks like that, and ponies too? We'll see, maybe.


“I don’t know.  I guess they became... something else?  Star ponies?  Moon ponies?”

Did you just pay off a near throwaway line from over a million words ago? Clap, clap, clap.


Somepony’d made a kind of bedroom for her, with a crystal bed and lamps and a dresser.  And there, curled up, her head upon a pillow, was the mare.  She looked asleep, covered in a shining layer of dust like a blanket.  I turned to LittlePip, but she shook her head.
   So, the talisman had had its limit after all.  Her skin had darkened like tanned leather, but I could still see her stripes.

I'm sorry she never got to return home, but it seems she found a new one. And she didn't die alone.


“Well, I can do one last favor for her,” I said, and I drew my sword.  I hadn’t dared take the starmetal off the platform; Pythia had said it was a different type, but I didn’t want to risk dropping it.

Still has it. Nice. She and it are a good team. And it's good that, at long last, she can do the same as for Amadi, and Boo did for Rarity.


Soul motes escaped, but, rather than passing on, they seemed to be swirling and surging around the broken talisman.  The dead pink rock started to glow, and we both stared in alarm as a pink mist issued forth.  That mist collected into a small filly-sized shape, and with a flash of light, the body of Rampage the filly was formed.

You're giving me mood whiplash!


The striped filly wiped her eyes and then stared ahead of us, where Equus loomed.  The land was greener, the seas bluer, the mountains and deserts more defined.  The zebra lands no longer burned with megaspells.

That's a good part of the end.


“Do you ever regret it?” LittlePip asked softly as the world grew ahead of us.  “What you gave up?”
   I smiled through my tears and lied through my teeth.  “Not a bit of it.”  That was the only answer I could give.  I’d paid the price, and would keep paying it all the many years I had left.  Because I could.  Because it made things better.  Because, as hard as things got, somepony had to.
   “So, where are we going?” Rampage asked, actually sounding like a filly for the first time ever.
   I hugged her close and reached over to put a hoof across LittlePip’s shoulders as she guided us back to Equus.  “Home,” I answered her.  “We’re going home.”

Damn. That's another great end.
Epilogue Editing:
The boughs of the Everfree forest loomed around them,

"forest" should be capitalized


Scotch stared at her for a moment, and Pythia glanced up at her, “What?  In case

the comma before the quotation should be a period and have another space after it, or speech tag needed


“Aren't you a smart pony!  Gold star!  Now come on,” Pythia said gesturing to the papers.

comma after "said"?


“Cause... I mean... do you even know how to

apostrophe for "Cause"


He jabbed a hoof at the unicorn, “I don’t know who blew

comma should be period with second space after, or speech tag needed


The boiled gray stallion in an slightly threadbare

"a slightly"


she replied without looking up. “By using our own money

only one space after period


I think the fact that the Society, Collegiate, Marauders, Thunderheaders, batponies, and Finders decided to make it work is keeping it intact more than anything else.

"Reapers" instead of Marauders? Were they renamed, maybe?


shifted herself off the bench and on to a wheeled platform

"onto"


“Sorry Auntie,” echoed Bouillotte, but the

comma after "Sorry"


“Now, lets get you messy ones up and

"let's"


Was there a particular reason for having most of the cases of Hoity Toity referred to with just one name use "Hoity," but two use "Toity"?

“And Blackjack would approve of the altruism,” Toity rumbled.
“Yes?” Toity asked, looking behind them as well.  “What is it?”


“The griffin Invasion and dragon war really took their toll.

"Invasion" probably shouldn't be capitalized


wherever they goddesses-damned pleased,

"godesses" should be capitalized


pegasus's own leg was a shining twin of Velvet's save for its pink crystal star.


non-directional apostrophes


It's still so new to me.  

non-directional apostrophe


show them."  Whisper sighed.  "He was all I'd ever had.  I couldn't

non-directional quotation marks and apostrophes


shook her head. Enough stalling. She bid

only one space after periods


She left out 'Used me'.

non-directional quotation marks


and faced far worse threats that the beasts offered.  

"than the beasts"


PipBuck on my other hoof?"  Wai

non-directional quotation mark


“I... We were going to Megamart’s reopening, and then to visit the Riverside market.”

should have second space after ellipsis or not capitalize "We"


The pegasus stallion looked at me in concern.  “Yes, Miss.  Can I help you?”

I don't think "Miss" should be capitalized


Into the atrium were ponies were having lunch and

"where ponies"


take her to become a full Draconequus, but she was still Boo.

"Draconequus" shouldn't be capitalized


“You lead the griffon armada to us!

"led", "griffin"


I smirked as I saw her staring at my butt, rapidly turning red.

suggest reorder to "I smirked as I saw her, rapidly turning red, staring at my butt."


Probably her... And then...

should have second space after first ellipsis


I think it's pensivity and wistfulness incarnate.”  I said as I peered down

non-directional apostrophe (quotation mark is fine), period should be comma, should have only one space after quotation


All of them were various shades of monochrome and metallic, with ghostly manes that blew in an nonexistent wind.

"a nonexistent"


The herd lead us to a steep-walled crater

"led"

I don't think I can thank you, Somber, and the editing team, enough, or for that matter, everyone else here. Project Horizons has meant a great deal to me these last four-ish years, and beyond being some of my favorite entertainment in that time, it has led me to have some opportunities I never expected in the pony community, and to meet and—I hope it's not too presumptuous to say—befriend at least some of the wonderful people of this site. Hope that the finalization stages go great, and the FimFic transfer, and all your future projects. Now, to sleep, I think, after some . . . way-too-many . . . happy hours.

ETA: God damn it, it is light out. Scootaloo
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Icy Shake
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:36 am

FoolNeim wrote:Okay, I've been reading this story for about three years now, and Somber should be incredibly proud of what he's made, whether he is or not. It's been an incredible ride.
Thanks. :)

FoolNeim wrote:I am just a little unclear about what happened in the epilogue, so I guess I'll keep spoilers for my guess.

Epilogue Spoilers:
Perhaps I missed it, as my ability to read anything linearly is pretty bad, but am I right in assuming that Blackjack's soul was inside her Pipbuck, which Sweetie Bot stole from her tomb, and that's how it was transplanted back inside her blank?

Okay, was just wondering on that.
Spoiler:
No, Blackjack's soul was still in her blank body.

Ryx wrote:As a matter of curiosity... the text file with my chapter commentaries for PH has ended at 83,100 words... and though I'm not sure if it's entirely accurate, I counted at least around 275 pictures I've drawn because of this story. That's just a little to show what this world has meant to me... and hopefully that picture count won't be stopping any time soon.
Wow.

Ryx wrote:Okay, I just wanted to make sure first. *hugs very gently*
:)
And thank you for your consideration.

Spoiler:
Ryx wrote:OH. Well when you put it like that... I think I might have an idea who it's supposed to be.
:)

Ryx wrote:Thank you for the warning, I do appreciate it.
You're welcome.

Ryx wrote:Ah, alright, thank you for the clarification, I just wanted to make sure it was a case of me misunderstanding it.
You're welcome.

Ryx wrote:And thank you again for being part of that, Hinds, and for... everything.
And you're quite welcome. :)

Ryx wrote:Yeah, I was writing that all as I was reading, so I didn't quite realize how long it had been at the time, and decided to leave it instead of going back to correct it.
No problem.

@Icy Shake:
Ah, thank you. Again. :)

Spoiler:
Icy Shake wrote:Was there a particular reason for having most of the cases of Hoity Toity referred to with just one name use "Hoity," but two use "Toity"?
I don't think so... I'll go ahead and change them.

Icy Shake wrote:YES.
:)

Icy Shake wrote:So, do we have Lionheart as last Element? Probably.
Interesting. I may be forgetting something, but Lionheart strikes you as especially generous?



Icy Shake wrote:I don't think I can thank you, Somber, and the editing team, enough, or for that matter, everyone else here. Project Horizons has meant a great deal to me these last four-ish years, and beyond being some of my favorite entertainment in that time, it has led me to have some opportunities I never expected in the pony community, and to meet and—I hope it's not too presumptuous to say—befriend at least some of the wonderful people of this site. Hope that the finalization stages go great, and the FimFic transfer, and all your future projects. Now, to sleep, I think, after some . . . way-too-many . . . happy hours.

ETA: God damn it, it is light out.
Well, for my part, you're welcome, and I'm glad you've gotten so much good from this. :)
And goodnight. :)
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O. Hinds
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by TB3 on Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:00 am

Oh, Lord - it's... it's over. And I feel like a complete heel for failing to post encouragement to Somber in the weeks leading up to it.

I... I can't believe we're at the end. It's been so long coming - heck, I've been reading this story for over three years at this point, and I still feel like we've only just begun.

And what an ending. WHAT an ending.

Spoiler:


Somber, Hinds, everyone - thankyou from the depths of my heart for an astonishing journey, and perhaps the most immersive narrative experience of my life. I invested heavily into PH, and it has paid off, absolutely.

It's been an amazing trek alongside Blackjack, and although the story is at an end, I'm both saddened and gladdened to know that, for Blackjack herself, the story continues.

And Rampage... I am so happy for her right now. She has a soul of her own... and now a life of her own. A precious mortal lifetime to spend however she wants.

On a technical level, I think the execution of the final chapter and epilogue was perfect. 77 was the perfect outro for the narrative, and in a sense everyone got to shine, even the dead and departed (Glory... you wonderful wonderful mare. You gave Blackjack the thing she needed most when the time came. A heart of moonstone). The return of the 'dream endings' was also a brilliant way to revisit the trauma of 99 and Luna's hope to push through the war to a brighter future.

The epilogue however was the cherry on the cake, giving a wonderful glimpse of the immediate and far future. Knowing that Blackjack and P21's twins were born healthy, were raised in love, and thrived for generations, keeping the Vigilance line going, is a perfect biological legacy, but to see her greater legacy, the transformed world, the new polities and 400 years of peace (or near enough, bar the occasional brief conflict), has equal emotional meaning and heart.

They won. They did it. Equestria might not have survived in the form it was, but to see the new world growing, struggling and developing, changes the context of every chapter to date, illuminates everything all in a new light.

It is of course a bittersweet ending, with Blackjack and Littlepip remaining fixed points in this sea of time (and how perfect was it to have the Wasteland's two greatest heroines providing the other with a shoulder to cry on into the long years of immortality), and not everyone has come through this unscathed (poor Spike, Dr Morningstar, and Charm), but I think seeing Security and the Lightbringer unstuck from time drives home how the endgame was never to restore Equestria to the way it was, or to lock it into a utopia state (looking at you Cognitum), but to establish the conditions in which civilisation could once again grow and change. The end of this story is just the beginning of everyone else's...

...therin lies the tragic beauty of the war too, in that it led to things that could not have existed otherwise. Horrors yes, but new and wonderful forms of life like the Brood, the Starponies, the Alicorns. As much as it burned the world, it has seeded and fertilised it to rear a new paradigm, full of promise and potential.

And those little teasers of what came afterwards... wow. I get that Sweetie Bot (and I'm so glad she survived her burnout) returning BJ's pipbuck to her blank brought her 'back', but now we get to imagine what came next. We know that Psalm was immediately aware of Blackjack's return to life, but what about the others? I can't see Blackjack coming back without trying to establish a connection with her friends and immediate descendants (the fact that Bouilotte added her name to Vigilance suggests she at least became aware of her lineage, though I guess Blackjack didn't seek them out immediately for the same reason that Grace concealed their heritage - to protect them).


And then there's the Legend of Scotch, Pythia and Majina. What happened in the Zebra lands? What havok did three young mares reap to enshrine their names in myth? Regardless of whether or not we ever learn, it will be fun to imagine.

Likewise, it's fun to imagine the post-war life of Blackjack, walking the world and doing good, lonely perhaps but never alone so long as she has Littlepip and her 'other' daughter at her side (Boo, I am so proud of you, so song as you're not hurting innocent people with those little stunts of yours).

And so it brings us to the moon, two immortals and a little filly, looking up at a renewed world...

What a wonderful image to fade out on.


It's hard to think I'll never feel that surge of excitment when I see the cover-art heading up an update post on Equestria Daily again. It's surprising how much this story has become a part of my daily routine. I've read chapters at home, at work, in early hours of the morning or late into the night, walking to the office or 30,000ft over the Atlantic.

And now it's over and done, but I can't wait to see what it might inspire, and to see people discuss and critique and debate it for months, or even years to come.

Thankyou guys. A million times over, thankyou for this work of art. If I oppurtunity arises I will absolutely be investing in a print copy, so long as I have the cash! I want print copies of this to treasure and place in places of honour on my bookcase.

Because this is Project Horizons, and it deserves nothing less.


Last edited by TB3 on Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:20 am; edited 2 times in total

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Harmony Ltd. on Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:06 am

TB3 wrote:Thankyou guys. A million times over, thankyou for this work of art. I will absolutely be investing in a print copy, so long as I have the cash! I want print copies of this to treasure and place in places of honour on my bookcase.
I'll echo that sentiment.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by TB3 on Sun Aug 30, 2015 9:13 am

Harmony Ltd. wrote:
TB3 wrote:Thankyou guys. A million times over, thankyou for this work of art. I will absolutely be investing in a print copy, so long as I have the cash! I want print copies of this to treasure and place in places of honour on my bookcase.
I'll echo that sentiment.

Thankyou sir :)

Spoiler:


For what it's worth, this is what I was listening to while typing up my thoughts. It's a song I discovered some days ago, but now... it just seems like the perfect music to set to PH in general, but the epilogue in particular, and the long road Blackjack has walked and will continue to travel, into an unknown but hopeful future.



"Story of your life,
Time of solitude, and strife
Freedom of an open road
Hope, and many miles to go

Promises to keep,
Countless goldfields to reap,
To be rich is to seek,
To relive the memory..."

EDIT: And I just remembered a question I had.

Spoiler:
So, was Hatches BJ's sister? I mean I did wonder, but then BJ unambiguously uses the word 'sister' while mentally apologising. So would that make Blackjack Gin Rummy's 2nd-daughter, after a previous Security Mare died without producing a child to take her place.

Because if that's the case, then DAMN - a lot of Blackjack's mentality takes on an entirely new meaning, as does her cutie-mark. The ability to gamble and win, despite loosing the hand!

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Evilgidgit on Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:07 pm

@TB3: If that's true regarding Blackjack and Hatches, then PH would become even more amazing!

One thing I was a little puzzled by was this:
Spoiler:
Was the Dealer a figment of Blackjack's imagination, the actual personification of death, or had Echo somehow become a ghost?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by decumos on Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:13 pm

@Evilgidgit
@TB3
Wow, that is... an interesting theory.

Spoiler:
I just thought, what if Hatches real name in that case was... Blackjack? Their family had a tradition to use card -related names, after all, so Hatches sure had one as well? And what if Blackjack took her sister's name after her death?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Somber on Sun Aug 30, 2015 12:35 pm

WavemasterRyx wrote:
Somber wrote:/me hugs Ryx.  I'm so glad that it finished well.
*hugs back close* It did, sir.

For your questions.

1) What were Buttercup's last words supposed to be in chapter 14?  Blackjack never did read them, she just stopped at, "I wanted to say ", and I've really been wanting to know what they were ever since...

Who?  Sorry, it's been so long I've completely forgotten.

2) What is your picture of the Equus system?  Is it just the planet, sun and moon, or are there any other planets out there?

Geocentric, held together by forces of magic, with gravity as a weaker force to that of magic.

3) If you actually had "real names" for P-21 and Hatches, what would they have been?

I actually have no idea.  I couldn't even think of a fake name for p-21.  He never rejected his old name.  That was why the Eater couldn't even make up a name.  Nothing would fit.

4) In the original idea where Boo was going to sacrifice herself after getting her cutie mark, what were you going to have it be?

A four pointed star of light.

5) How do you explain Whisper's taskforce at the end of 75 surviving the Enervation blast from point-blank range that nearly killed Scotch and Bastard in the upper atmosphere?  I know they had to survive, because of Velvet and Xenith, but I was wondering if there was some rationale for it, since it wouldn't seem like they'd have had Moonstone protection going into that fight.


They left before the Eater turned the enervation up to 100%.  If they'd have stuck around, they would have been liquefied in its scream, like Goldenblood.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Somber on Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:32 pm

Evilgidgit wrote:@TB3: If that's true regarding Blackjack and Hatches, then PH would become even more amazing!

One thing I was a little puzzled by was this:
Spoiler:
Was the Dealer a figment of Blackjack's imagination, the actual personification of death, or had Echo somehow become a ghost?

spoiler:
The dealer was like the spirit of the Wasteland itself.  Originally, I imagined the dealer as the spirit of Equestria, which Echo usurped to communicate with Blackjack.  Ultimately it was just my way of being meta at the very end of the chapter.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Somber on Sun Aug 30, 2015 1:45 pm

I am really glad the ending and epilogue went well.  Heartshine said that as a literary critic, it should have ended with no epilogue, but that as a reader, we had to have one.

I really don't know what Hatches' name had been before she died, but it wasn't Blackjack nor was she Blackjack's sister.  99 did RARELY have siblings, but Blackjack didn't.  Something like that would have had to be monumentally foreshadowed to work.

Also, Blackjack will live a very... very... very long life.  The deals Pythia made with the stars guarantee it.  It will be a long time before she's reunited with Glory and P-21.  That's the ultimate price of trying to save something as immense and precious as the world.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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