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[GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by atikin on Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:51 pm

I think chapter one's BJ reaction would be more anticipating, because even though stable 99 community was rotten, pedophilia wasn't a norm there as far as I remember. The mares was having sex with the stallions their age (like BJ and her friends "playing" with other colts in one of P-21's records, and not with a grown up ones). Also, more mature mares would choose a stallion they want, and I don't think it would be considered as something wrong for mare to choose an older stallion... 
On the other hand, when the Bastard x Scotch scene occurred, Scotch already had her cutie mark, so I suppose she'd be considered as a grown up mare in the stable, and put on a breeding queue, so it wouldn't be an act of pedophilia at all... That way BJ would actually react the same way, I suppose. 
The question is how would she react to an act of real pedophilia in her stable (like a little filly "playing" with a grown up stallion) and was it possible at all for this to happen?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by atikin on Mon Aug 03, 2015 2:54 pm

Oh, now I see I didn't quiet get your question. I thought you were talking about this scene... 
Well, as for BJ reaction to such a stable, hard to tell, but I suppose she would make a revolution there pretty quickly.
She had changed and learned a lot during her adventures, so such a community wouldn't be appropriate for her anymore.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Mon Aug 03, 2015 3:48 pm

SilentCarto wrote:
atikin wrote:I just wanted to understand why do people get bothered so much by the Bastard x Scotch scene, because I still don't quiet get it. 
By the way, really liked Glory's reaction to it towards BJ you put in the last chapter after all the complaints. =)
Not to speak for others, but I think it's mostly a sense that the characters aren't showing an appropriate degree of revulsion for something the reader finds distateful. Which I don't understand at this stage of the story, considering how much screwed-up stuff there is in the Hoof.
What about how the second thing Blackjack/Luna noticed was that Scotch wasn't (obviously) raping him? That's the kind of detail I'd expect to jog a reader into remembering character perspective and setting detail they otherwise might not have had in mind right then.

I liked Glory's reaction as well, but also Blackjack's response to it.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by FeatherDust on Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:38 pm

CD wrote:I think it's because it constitutes pedophilia.
Not to get into complicated sexual politics, but that classification always bothers me. I mean, in no way to I want to remove the laws against sex with a minor (which has all kinds of issues regarding manipulation and coercion of a person who lacks experience and is inherently in a position of powerlessness) -- but at the same time, being sexually attracted to a teenager is NOT AT ALL the same thing as a, y'know, child. Pedophile is a term that has a meaning and a sexually mature teenager doesn't fit that.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:41 pm

atikin wrote:Oh, now I see I didn't quiet get your question. I thought you were talking about this scene... 
Well, as for BJ reaction to such a stable, hard to tell, but I suppose she would make a revolution there pretty quickly.
She had changed and learned a lot during her adventures, so such a community wouldn't be appropriate for her anymore.
Oh, yeah, I didn't mean to rabbit-trail on you. I was just thinking about how she reacted to Fallen Arch and wondering if 99, from an outsider's perspective, would have caused a similar reaction.

I imagine it would, but then what would Ch1 BJ do? (Let's call them Blackjack and Security to keep things straight.)

Does BJ defend her home from this high-handed interloper? I mean, Deus was one thing; his bunch were already killing the stable dwellers. Security's not actually being violent right this second, whatever demands she may be levying. BJ doesn't strike me as the sort to resort to violence if she doesn't have to, U-21 notwithstanding.

Surrender? BJ isn't a particularly motivated security mare, and Security's reputation has preceded her. BJ has a stick and maybe a shotgun, and that mare over there is Security, the ultimate badass of the wasteland. They say she died twice and it didn't take. And she's giving BJ this look like she'd love an excuse to start shooting people.

Switch sides, even? BJ's not exactly revolutionary material, but Security might be offering a change from the Overmare that everyone hates. Does the suggestion that things could be done differently even penetrate, or is the "Don't Think About It" mantra too strong? (This might be a moot question, though, since Rivets and Gin Rummy were already starting to plan a coup. BJ would probably follow Mom's lead, wherever that came down.)
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Mon Aug 03, 2015 7:22 pm

SilentCarto wrote:
atikin wrote:Oh, now I see I didn't quiet get your question. I thought you were talking about this scene... 
Well, as for BJ reaction to such a stable, hard to tell, but I suppose she would make a revolution there pretty quickly.
She had changed and learned a lot during her adventures, so such a community wouldn't be appropriate for her anymore.
Oh, yeah, I didn't mean to rabbit-trail on you. I was just thinking about how she reacted to Fallen Arch and wondering if 99, from an outsider's perspective, would have caused a similar reaction.

I imagine it would, but then what would Ch1 BJ do? (Let's call them Blackjack and Security to keep things straight.)

Does BJ defend her home from this high-handed interloper? I mean, Deus was one thing; his bunch were already killing the stable dwellers. Security's not actually being violent right this second, whatever demands she may be levying. BJ doesn't strike me as the sort to resort to violence if she doesn't have to, U-21 notwithstanding.

Surrender? BJ isn't a particularly motivated security mare, and Security's reputation has preceded her. BJ has a stick and maybe a shotgun, and that mare over there is Security, the ultimate badass of the wasteland. They say she died twice and it didn't take. And she's giving BJ this look like she'd love an excuse to start shooting people.

Switch sides, even? BJ's not exactly revolutionary material, but Security might be offering a change from the Overmare that everyone hates. Does the suggestion that things could be done differently even penetrate, or is the "Don't Think About It" mantra too strong? (This might be a moot question, though, since Rivets and Gin Rummy were already starting to plan a coup. BJ would probably follow Mom's lead, wherever that came down.)
One of the other complications is that the arrival of Security signals to both Blackjack and 99 as a whole that their model of thinking of the world—outside lies only death—is wrong, in a way that Deus and his raiders didn't. That messes up the calculus of defending the status quo, no matter how shitty it is, because the alternative is everybody dies.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:49 pm

Icy Shake wrote:One of the other complications is that the arrival of Security signals to both Blackjack and 99 as a whole that their model of thinking of the world—outside lies only death—is wrong, in a way that Deus and his raiders didn't. That messes up the calculus of defending the status quo, no matter how shitty it is, because the alternative is everybody dies.
This is an excellent point. Any outside contact would probably result in Rivets and Gin starting their revolution, which is why the Overmare kept Sanguine's transmissions to herself and negotiated for outside help in maintaining her regime.

Man it's been a long road. Lyra

...getting from there to here.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:36 pm

CD wrote:And Scotch was certainly emotionally vulnerable, which could mean this was such a mistake (we'll know for sure in 11 months).
She has an implant for that, remember; it was actually brought up in the scene.

CD wrote:But the readership will still project their own values onto the characters and consider any adult-on-minor sex acts exploitative.
Given who unambiguously initiated this, who maintained control throughout, who has more of a cultural and personal history with this sort of thing, and who had an exceptionally deadly and very protective friend in the same room (which Bastard was explicitly said to be aware of), if anyone was exploited there, I'd say it would pretty clearly be Bastard.

SilentCarto wrote:Which I don't understand at this stage of the story, considering how much screwed-up stuff there is in the Hoof.
Yeah. Why is this so much worse than the things the people who got to this point already read through?

SilentCarto wrote:Huh. Kind of funny to consider what Chapter 70-or-so Blackjack's reaction would be if she walked into the Stable 99 of Chapter 1 (assuming she wasn't familiar with it already), and what Chapter 1 Blackjack's reaction would have been to her...
Hm. Interesting idea.

Icy Shake wrote:What about how the second thing Blackjack/Luna noticed was that Scotch wasn't (obviously) raping him?
Exactly. And to be honest, even without the obvious signs, it's still a concern; he did, after all, say that a big reason he was so careful not to hurt Scotch was the expectation that, if he had, Blackjack would kill him. Now, given, among other things, that he didn't wake Blackjack before the event to see if she was really okay with (or, which he wouldn't know wouldn't be the case, insistent on) it happening, he does seem to have been okay with it, if uncomfortable with some of the details. Tweak the situation just slightly, though, and you have someone having sex because they're afraid they'll be killed if they don't.

SilentCarto wrote:This might be a moot question, though, since Rivets and Gin Rummy were already starting to plan a coup. BJ would probably follow Mom's lead, wherever that came down.
Aye, and I expect that they'd go with Security. They're both too practical not to. "Okay, so I can side with the Ultimate Badass of the Wasteland, stand aside while the idiot Overmare rants herself to death, keep most of my people safe, and maybe even gain power in the new order, all for the price of freeing the stallions... ooooorr I can stand with the idiot Overmare against the walking death machine who could literally eat my gun for breakfast."

A bigger question than where the leadership goes, I think, is how much of a civil conflict there is.

Icy Shake wrote:One of the other complications is that the arrival of Security signals to both Blackjack and 99 as a whole that their model of thinking of the world—outside lies only death—is wrong, in a way that Deus and his raiders didn't. That messes up the calculus of defending the status quo, no matter how shitty it is, because the alternative is everybody dies.
Ah, good point!
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Tue Aug 04, 2015 12:42 am

SilentCarto wrote:Switch sides, even? BJ's not exactly revolutionary material, but Security might be offering a change from the Overmare that everyone hates. Does the suggestion that things could be done differently even penetrate, or is the "Don't Think About It" mantra too strong? (This might be a moot question, though, since Rivets and Gin Rummy were already starting to plan a coup. BJ would probably follow Mom's lead, wherever that came down.)
...I don't remember Blackjack hating the overmare. She didn't like her, but she also didn't like Daisy or Marmalade (that was Daisy's daughter's name, right?) or a great many others. Most of the security mares were mean people, it seemed like, and most of the rest of the vault didn't like the security mares since they were the ones that came down on what few entertainments there were to be had in the vault.
I forget why Rivets allowed Blackjack to gamble with them but could have sworn it was because it protected them in some way... or, at least, ensured Blackjack wouldn't turn around and turn them in herself. Blackjack had no allusions of friendship.
Blackjack didn't have any real interpersonal connection with anyone outside of her mother. She just... existed. Some things she did were a little nicer than others, but it was all pretty dreary to her. In moments of confusion she'd fall back into her role as a stable 99 security mare. She'd defend her vault from whatever might threaten it, physically or ideologically.

Gin turning out to oppose the overmare would paralyze Blackjack, I think. Blackjack would really be in favor of telling Security to leave. Their stable was the way it was because that's how it sustained itself (or, at least, that's what everyone thought up until Blackjack learned how sparse the orders for how the stable was to operate were). Population control, order. Her job was just to maintain it.
Without Gin in the picture I do not think Blackjack would side with Rivets. If things came down to violence she would defend the vault, likely trying a trick like the one she played on Deus, leading the legendary Security away via potshots and insults.

But yeah, with Gin around, I think she'd follow her mom's lead. Depending on how Gin played the exchange, of course.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Tue Aug 04, 2015 8:37 am

swicked wrote:...I don't remember Blackjack hating the overmare. She didn't like her, but she also didn't like Daisy or Marmalade (that was Daisy's daughter's name, right?) or a great many others. Most of the security mares were mean people, it seemed like, and most of the rest of the vault didn't like the security mares since they were the ones that came down on what few entertainments there were to be had in the vault.
Nobody particularly liked the Overmare. It's not explicit in the first chapter -- BJ is not, as mentioned, a revolutionary soul, and tends to just go along to get along -- but she alludes to the fact that all music is required to glorify the overmare, and specifically tried to stay out of the Atrium to get away from the Overmare-centric murals and muzak. It's just that the Stable was hanging on by a thread, and whatever the Overmare might be like, the risks of another Incident were worse. She does refer to the Overmare as a 'that little psycho' after they realize she let in the raiders, so it seems like common knowledge that she's not all that stable (heh) to begin with.

swicked wrote:I forget why Rivets allowed Blackjack to gamble with them but could have sworn it was because it protected them in some way... or, at least, ensured Blackjack wouldn't turn around and turn them in herself. Blackjack had no allusions of friendship.
Blackjack didn't have any real interpersonal connection with anyone outside of her mother. She just... existed. Some things she did were a little nicer than others, but it was all pretty dreary to her. In moments of confusion she'd fall back into her role as a stable 99 security mare. She'd defend her vault from whatever might threaten it, physically or ideologically.
You're right that she was allowed into card games because she wouldn't bust a game she was involved in, but I don't think confusion translates into blindly charging down the barrel of Security's gun. She was pretty calm and clever during the invasion, one brief freakout aside, and I think she'd think twice about taking on Security even if the Overmare was bawling in her ear to shoot her. Try to convince her to leave, sure, but I think they'd have a nice, peaceful talk about Security's ultimatum long before she'd simply attack. And, as Icy pointed out, Security's presence would implicitly indicate that the Outside was not "certain death", which would immediately offer a third option.

swicked wrote:Gin turning out to oppose the overmare would paralyze Blackjack, I think. Blackjack would really be in favor of telling Security to leave. Their stable was the way it was because that's how it sustained itself (or, at least, that's what everyone thought up until Blackjack learned how sparse the orders for how the stable was to operate were). Population control, order. Her job was just to maintain it.
I agree that BJ would otherwise tell (ask) (beg) Security to leave for the sake of stability, but I think she'd do as her mother and superior officer said, especially if the order was, "Belay that order, hold your fire," when the Overmare was shrieking, "Shoot her now!" Mom was the one who taught her in the first place that they uphold the system because the alternative is death, and if Mom says now there's another way...

swicked wrote:Without Gin in the picture I do not think Blackjack would side with Rivets. If things came down to violence she would defend the vault, likely trying a trick like the one she played on Deus, leading the legendary Security away via potshots and insults.
I think she'd more likely be indecisive in this case. It's safe to say she's aware that while the Overmare is in charge, Rivets is the one who keeps them all alive. BJ sure didn't hesitate to engage in a bit of sedition at the card game. ("Really? I thought it was Overmare first, last, and middle," I replied, enjoying a little smack talk.) Deus was a monster that clearly indicated his intention to kill the entire stable to get what he wanted; there was no choice but to get rid of him. Security presents a much more peaceful situation, and I don't think BJ would be eager to escalate it.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Tue Aug 04, 2015 9:48 am

I don't think Security learned from Fallen Arch, really. If bad ponies that are set in their ways are willing to shoot her for demanding they change then she will slaughter them. She does not de-escalate.

Blackjack wouldn't shoot first. She was disinclined to stand out at all most of the time. Daisy might, though. Other security mares might if Gin either wasn't around or handled the confrontation badly. And without Gin around Blackjack would side with her stable. Particularly if Blackjack was the new head of security. I do not think the other security mares would respect Blackjack enough not to shoot if the overmare and Daisy were attempting to push for a more violent confrontation.
I don't even see Daisy necessarily respecting Gin quite enough not to. She begrudgingly accepted Gin and the Overmare's dominance over her. Legend or not, she would not accept a stranger's without testing it. Add in the removal of all the submissive stallions out from under her, plus her own sexual desires, and I just don't see her not shooting Security without Gin pretty much holding a gun to her head.

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Aug 04, 2015 10:56 am

From the other side, though, while Security might not have learned how to deescalate once it's happened, she has got to the point where she'll play things a little closer to her chest before it gets to that point, and will differentiate between individuals shooting first and everyone doing so. See the Society. So she might be able to buy herself time to figure out what's going on and if there's someone she could get behind. The biggest risk with trying is she gets herself caught in yet another hostage situation.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:26 pm

Unrelated to the current topic, but is Stygius the Fallout Equestria fandom's Flash Sentry? Although not a perfect mapping, it seems like there are a lot of similarities in the (negative) reactions to them. Only I've never had much of a negative reaction to Stygius, where I did and do to Flash, or at any rate him as he currently exists serving as a romantic interest for Twilight.
(Although, when someone (Present Perfect? Okay, here we go
PP: [#]3 [Ship]) SunFlash: Sunset proved herself in Rainbow Rocks, so she deserves to have her man back.
Me: 3) I like Sunset, but apart from D G D Davidson, Brad doesn't have enough character to support a ship for me. Especially not with someone so much more worthwhile.
PP: The thing about Flash Sentry ships isn't about his character. He's a trophy for the girls to mess around with. I have a number of story ideas that address this directly. :V Right now, he's Sunset's reward for a movie well done.)
explained that we shouldn't look at Flash as a character so much as a trophy, it got a bit better.)

Chapter Seventy Five Part Two Running Thoughts:
“What are you talking about?” she shouted into the broadcaster on her hoof.  “I don’t need a surrogacy spell!  I need a Raptor, immediately!  The skies are clear, so where is our air support?”

What?! Since when is magically getting several months pregnant not what you need in the middle of a battle?


“How could she possibly know that, anyway?  Blackjack is on the moon!”
   “Look, when it comes to shit regarding Blackjack, I don’t fucking pretend like any of it makes sense.  

This is what we call "learning." However, it should be noted that this isn't something that's that much of a surprise. What they didn't know was whether Blackjack was successful and to what degree: they should surely already have known that they would need a surrogacy spell if everything went right (and they'd want it to be Grace). But it's establishing Glory's mental link.

They could tell me Blackjack was a stallion with a dick ten feet long, and I’d just nod and ask if she broke her legs in the process or not.

Why would you need to ask that? You should ask how far her eye shot out of its socket when it happened.


“My oven... is not for... for... oooooh!”  She stomped a hoof down on the ground.  “If you want to use my oven, you’d better save the bakery from being demolished, understood?”

That's actually a good metaphor. Should note of course that we're looking at a parallel to the Marigold situation, though in this case there's at least the fact that the benefit for Grace of the totally-not-quid-pro-quo (though in this case, it's more clearly likely that they'd help anyway, what with the refugees and importance of the orchards) happens before the surrogacy.


I’ve made connections with important ponies within the Twilight Society who’ve been keeping a close eye on the east of late and know all about Father and our lineage.

Not as good as a direct descendent of Twilight, but they've got to at least figure it could be better than nothing.


“Then they’d stop focusing on us and cut their way into the plantations!” she replied, facing him.  “They might have been made by Stable-Tec, but they’re not stables; the Brood could get in easily.”

See, they could get in even if they were stables, it'd just take a bit longer. And Splendid does have some good points, though less valid given how long they did wait to retreat. There may be a case to be made that by refusing to fall back earlier, Grace put them, including the serfs, in a worse position than they needed to be in.


So there’s no point to throwing your life away, Grace.  These people won’t appreciate it anyway.”
   “How can you say that?” she asked, aghast.

Well, the charitable answer is that the dead don't appreciate much of anything. But that doesn't seem to be what he's saying.


What was the measure of a pony?  The blood in her veins?  The money in her vault?  The power she commanded?  The respect she received?

What makes a man . . .


The other stallion, the one she hadn’t knocked to the floor, was struck a dozen times in barely a few seconds, his body jerking like a puppet on a string as bullets found a half dozen gaps in his barding.  Then the strings were cut, and the body collapsed in a bloody, still heap of meat.

Certain irony in the imagery there, with the puppets and strings.


“I’m going downstairs,” she told the soldier, who was staring at the three corpses on the balcony with wide eyes.  “Good hunting.”  He just nodded dumbly, then lifted his rifle and began firing.

She did a lot better than a couple chapters before, when she couldn't even fire a gun right. Guess she was perhaps already good with a sword, and the learning curve for using a gun at super short range isn't as steep.


The hammer blow, the shock of pain, the sudden weakness as the body lost the ability to act properly because of the abuses its flesh had suffered…  I knew them well.

Now that's still Blackjack.


Then the ground exploded as a massive claw tore out of the earth and through the torso of the stunned cyborg.  Its eyes were round with shock as the gnarled fingers curled around its spine and pulled, her body folding in two with a resounding wet snap as she disappeared into the earth.

Okay, so in this case the dogs don't show up as quite the same unprompted deus ex machina as the cyberdogs led by Winona: they were probably sent as reinforcements that weren't the unavailable air support.


Arcane weaponry fired with heedless abandon into clusters of Brood and hellhounds alike, the latter seeming inured to all but direct hits by the weapons.

This is one of those cases where you kind of have to figure "direct" means "critical": have we ever really seen magical energy weapons ricochet, or talk about glancing hits still having big effects on things other than maybe wings?


“Yes.  After all, it may be a horrible day, but that’s hardly an excuse to be uncivilized,” she replied, managing to maintain her even tone despite feeling distinctly woozy.

Feels so Rarity.


Nopony should have known about me being pregnant except for the ponies who’d been present when I’d gotten my wings.  And how could they know I’d be returning in my old body?  Just one of many things to ask Triage when we finally arrived.  

I still find this weird, since it seems like something that would have been covered as part of "everything except details about Horizons and the Eater of Souls," so everyone should know. And there were other people she told who would have had opportunity to share, I think. I guess she might have kept it from the group, but could she be sure Goldenblood didn't tell?
Whatever, Blackjack might just be thinking things that don't make sense.


There was Scotch Tape on a couch.  More accurately, there was Bastard on a couch, with the young mare on top of him doing what plenty of young mares in 99 did to relieve stress and anxiety, his forehooves resting on her hips.

The worst! Possible! Thing! *clutches pearls, faints on couch*


And that part of me that hadn’t been interested in him in the slightest earlier now let off a warm purr at the sight of them together.

This is one of those things that starts making more sense on the reread, with the knowledge that it's not so much that there's a distinction between mind and soul as that Luna's soul is starting to shape everything to be more like her.


“Quit treating me like a fucking kid,” Scotch interrupted before I could answer.  “I was supposed to be on the queue months ago.  I've got my implant.  I want this.  I need this.  It's happening.”  Her outburst earned a look of wide-eyed surprise from Bastard.  I supposed I really couldn't mind after a retort like that.  

Not that it seemed like she was minding at all even before.


A part of me that I wasn’t sure was me protested my plan to go back into the blank.  Really, would it be that bad if I watched a little more?  Maybe gave myself a little...
   Huh...  Princess Luna a voyeur...  Who knew?

Well, it fits with her archetype/role, and is consistent with the Goldenblood/Fluttershy dream.


This pegasus tore through an industrial network of canyons, whipping around rusting smokestacks and girders as Brood fliers sprayed bullets after her.  She spun and banked, racing around corners so closely that her tail and wings flicked out clouds of rust in her wake.

I like the high-energy intro, and the contrast not only to the drama, but the normal unicorn perspective in action scenenes, even if it's not unique in that respect due to previous memories.

Below her, in the streets of the industrial northeast of the Hoof, the Brood were engaged in bloody street fighting with the Burners and Flashers.

Speaking of contrast, there's this with the previous sentence, and the freedom of movement, energy, and joyousness of words like "whipping," "spun and banked," and "flicked" with the the detached yet dirty "engaged in bloody street fighting."


She hesitated for one moment, eying the bloody mass plastered against the brick, and then rammed it three more times with her hooves, leaving only a bloody smear and jagged bits of metal.

You gotta love what you do. Just ask Rampage.


He pressed his mouth to its ear and let out a scream that sent spasms through the cyborg’s body.  Then its brains dribbled out it nose and opposite ear canal.  Stygius dropped the limp carcass into the chaos below, then smiled at Whisper and lifted his chalkboard with a heart drawn on it.

That's what we call "compatibility."


Whisper flew to him, and the two embraced, twirling in midair as the fighting raged around them.  The sun was close to the horizon now, and the sky was turning red in the west.

I think this may have been signaling something, something I didn't want to see.


ugh, why wasn’t this doing anything for me?  I got turned on watching two other ponies doing it, but not when I’m one of them?  Stupid alicorn soul that only liked to watch!  Why couldn’t she be more like that unicorn trollop who screwed every…  Wait.  That was me!  Argh!

Moving from one to the other, and in some cases even a little combative. But both are at the front here in different ways.


I have a father who, as much as he is a melodramatic ass, is my real father who loved my mother,”

Interestingly, that might describe Hades as well as Goldenblood.

she said, stroking Tenebra’s skull with a power hoof as she spoke into her ear.

That's got to be uncomfortable for Tenebra.


One of the things that sucks is that this scene just hammers in so hard just how good the chemistry is between Psychoshy and Stygius, and how she's finally normalized a bit and got something to be happy about.


Hades and Persephone are a really cute couple when Hades isn't being a giant dick. But I guess here a lot of that is that he is mostly giving her something to work off of, and Persephone has consistently been great.


“Love U.  Marry Me, Plz?”
   She stared at him for a moment, then gave a tiny nod, her eyes wide and glistening.  Bullets pinged and zinged off the metal around them as he stretched up and clipped the ring to her left ear.  

Between everything before and this, it really does feel like they're in a circle of protection, that nothing can touch them today.


She grinned and kissed him firmly again.  “I am so going to make you squeak tonight if the world doesn’t end,”
. . .
“Yes...” she whispered as tears welled in her eyes.  “Yes!” she cried out as she embraced him tightly, making him squeak.

Note that she did make him squeak.


she began...
   ...to sing.
   No one’s happier than I
I feel like reaching up to touch the sky
I’m soaring through the clouds
I could sing out loud
I’m aglow and I know the reason why

The downside of having heard the version from the movie is that I just can't really imagine Whisper sounding like that singer, or at any rate that performance being punctuated by violence.


She looped and whirled, and Stygius followed with her, the pair coiling and curling around each other, breaking apart to smash a flyer that moved to finish them off but seemed unable to hit them.

Again, the carnage surounds them, but they seem immune. That it doesn't stay that way shouldn't come as a surprise given, for instance, what's happened with Stronghoof over these few chapters, but even there, there was build-up with the confined battle space, Crumpets getting hurt first (or at least facing difficulty), and then going out alone because Crumpets couldn't.


She held him close as they whirled higher and higher, her song reaching out, cutting through the cracks of bullets and the booming of bombs to reach every friendly ear in the area.  As they rose past the top of a smokestack, she glimpsed a white flash on the catwalk around its brick rim, but the couple's spin quickly carried it out of view.

Now, one of the things that's been missing has been detail about what they had been facing, certainly since the song began, but possibly earlier as well, with nothing but the landing of bullets nearby but missing when the proposal happened an example. But now there's a discrete detail: the flash. That marks it as different.


The nimbus exploded up away from him, fountaining out the top of the moonlight dome before sweeping down like an inferno of black fire.  It carried with it all the pain of a grieving father and mother, seeking out the Brood as if it had a life of its own.  Wherever it touched, flesh failed, metal corroded, and brick crumbled.  The cloud of black flame broke into great roaring snakes that sought out every single Brood, and then, as if sensing his presence, the serpents all seemed to orient on the Legate.  

Mixed feelings about the power-up here. It fits with the emotion/love/friendship based magic frequently seen in the setting, yet this sort of thing nevertheless strikes me as arbitrary when we haven't seen it this effective before.


“Husband, no!  I’ve just lost a son!  I’ll not lose a husband as well,” Persephone cried out, holding him tightly around the neck.

Eh, it's true she doesn't really refer to him by name, but I find the repetition of "husband" clunky.


I'm still just not feeling the original songs.


“You two need to fucking talk.  She’s mastered the art of risky sex with complete strangers, and I’m pretty sure the second we touch down, she’s going to graduate to booze, chems, and self-mutilation.”

That was meant to be a close description of (especially early-mid? complicated by fact the chems were a relatively brief thing) Blackjack, wasn't it?


She’s lost her father and her friends, and you’re as distant as the fucking moon right now.  

Heh.


If I could adopt a guise or persona, I could address this indirectly.  Work around to helping her, and she wouldn’t even be aware I was doing it.  That way, if it blew up, I wouldn’t be hurt.  Blamed.  Punished.

There are things I like about this Luna, but it does take a little effort to square this personality with the need for attention that led to Nightmare Moon, especially while also trying to maintain much of a sympathetic stance.


You do the craziest shit like it’s nothing!  Why couldn’t you have done it this time?  Some trick or some... something!  Why didn’t you?”
   “Because I couldn’t!” I shouted back at her.  “What do you want from me?”
   “A miracle!” she yelled.  “What else are Princesses for?  What else is a goddess for?”

The hero problem, made the greater by the Princess bit. Reminds me of Estee's "Blessing" (http://www.fimfiction.net/story/198011/blessing), but with a different emotional reaction: anger and betrayal rather than the conviction they didn't believe hard enough.


“Because...”  But I couldn’t say more.  How could I tell her that I’d promised him to keep her alive?  

Even there, it looked to me more like that promise was more about her not dying with him than actually not saving his life.


“I... I care...  Please... believe me.  I care...”  It wasn’t my fault, though.  Not really.

The weird thing here is that it seems like not grabbing responsibility for things that weren't their fault is actually a trait of both Luna and Blackjack, yet here she doesn't do it. Could just be growth, arising in part from the months of being apart from where she could affect anything, and now being able to see but not do where the battle is concerned.


“I wasn’t bad, was I?” Scotch asked with a frown.
   He turned towards us, pointed his cigarette like an accusing finger, opened his mouth silently, and froze.  He popped the cigarette back in his mouth and reclined back in the chair.  “Nope.  Not going to talk about it.  Just going to file it under things I’m going to forget about today,” he mumbled around the cigarette.

Bastard would have been good at Stable 99 (absent, you know, being a male).


Bastard: People together just deciding to sing together, everypony knowing the words, everypony in unison, sometimes with music from who knows where... it’s magic.  And when it’s done, earth ponies might have rebuilt an entire house in a few hours, or a unicorn in Canterlot's made connections with damn near everyone in the city.

This line makes more sense with him alive during the war.


“There should be thousands down there!  So much effort to draw so many of you wretched ponies to the Hoof so that I could herd them in here.  Thousands!  Stallions, mares, and foals.  Especially foals!  Instead, they fight on.”

And, if it wasn't clear enough already, we have it straight from the horse's mouth. But not just why. I'd also like to note that if anything, the foals may have been disproportionately unlikely to go, depending on their specific concentration in Chapel.


“The starmetal netting and magical fields would have easily captured it!  But instead, it’s taking the scenic route.  The sensible thing would have been a straight shot!”
   “Oh, so that little detail’s still tripping you up?” Goldenblood asked with a chuckle, then started laughing.

I'm still not sure I've pieced together exactly what the initial and final trajectories were supposed to be, who wanted them that way, and why. The only thing I'm relatively sure of was that a straight shot was a problem because of the location of the Lunar Palace, which was chosen not for simplicity of launch, but moonstone characteristics.


“I’ve lived for thousands of years.  Thousands!  Even as a Starkatteri and Proditor, I’ve found love.  Passion.  Joy, even!  All it does is rot!  One death after another.  I’ve had wives turn into decrepit bags of bone and sinew.  Lovers turn old and dull and fat.  I’ve watched children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren die over and over.  Violence!  Disease!  Despair!  Again and again.  I’ve endured centuries alone because it numbed the pain of one parting after the next!  Life is a curse!  It is punishment!  It is a joke!  We live for fleeting years and then perish just so our offspring can do the same as well.  Madness!”

I wonder if this is in some respects an exaggerated parody of hurts-too-much-to-love strain of alicorn immortality interpretations.


I will end the joke and take my war to the stars so that they, too, can find the peace of nonexistence.  I will destroy everything.  I am the great cleanser, and this world is merely the first tiny baby step of my grand campaign.  Do you understand?  Are you even capable of grasping the scope of my plans?  This is nothing.  You are nothing.  You pathetic little mortals just don’t realize it yet!”

Hard not to find the "pathetic" as a bit ironic, given that he seems to pity himself more than them. Likewise, by characterizing the natural tendency as being towards death and there being a struggle for life to continue, well, he's casting himself on the easy side. Not exactly inspiring.


Often, inexplicably, the beams struck magical fields that seemed to suck in the energy briefly before sweeping away to hit other areas of the Core, some with their own shields, some without.

Let us never forget that the protagonist and narrator is kind of dumb.


“That reminds me... of a very funny story...” Sekashi grunted as she gave constant ground around where Goldenblood was tied up.  “About a husband... who thought he was still married...”

Snap!


“Remember, you can’t beat him.  He’ll kill you if you try.”
   Adama stood between Lancer and the Legate as the filly ran to where Majina lay, pulling out a healing potion for her.  “I can take him,” Adama said as she glowered at him.  Majina weakly drank the potion.  “He’s just a zebra.”

This is some high-grade stupid.


“You forgot the first rule, Amadi.  We use the stars.  We don’t serve them.  You’re a bug playing with balefire bombs.”  

Pythia continues to be great.


“Soon.  Soon,” he repeated over and over again.
   “Yeah, soon,” Pythia said, and started counting down from ten.
   The Legate paused as he looked at the two fillies.  “What?  What have you seen?”
   “Seven.  Six.”
   “Tell me!” the Legate demanded as he stormed over to the edge to face the pair of young ponies.
   “Four... three... two... behind you,” Pythia finished with a smirk.
   The Legate turned just in time to see a flash of yellow that streaked across the roof.

A welcome entrance.

Then his head disappeared.  It tore completely off at the shoulders, broke into clumps, and went flying off over the edge.  The Brood attack faltered, the cyberbeings staggering.  Then his head pulled itself back together again.  “What...”  

Mother . . .

A second flash, a second obliterating kick that not only pulped his skull but knocked him rolling across the roof.  Again, his head pulled itself back together long enough for him to mutter, “...was...”  

. . . fuckin' . . .

A third flash, this one sending his entire body flying into one of the lightning rods with such force the rod almost cut him in two.  His head, still attached to the mutilated body, muttered, “...that?”

. . . Psychoshy.


“You’re Starkatteri,” Goldenblood rasped at Pythia.  “Why...”
   “Long story short, because I’m not a tool,” the filly answered.

Well, you are one kind of tool.


“Now.  Do you have a clue what all this is for?” she asked as she swept a hoof at the looming towers, now half as tall as Shadowbolt Tower had been.  

That seems implausibly high, at 2.5 miles or more. But I suppose when you're working with starmetal, and just the skeletons, maybe.


“Why don’t you sing a lovely little requiem for this world?  I know I’d love to hear it!” he called out over the growing rumble.
“You’re a requiem!” Whisper screeched as she laid into him with renewed vigor.

A for passion, but that's just not a very good comeback, especially in the context of that style being her default: it reeks of laziness, a lack of inspiration. Especially when "I'll sing your requiem!" was on the table.


“Come on, you old ghoul…” Pythia said to Goldenblood.  “What’s he doing?  The future is one big tangled knot of shadow right now.  

I'll just say: so much better than "timey wimey."


Who knows what he was doing in Hoofington during the war?  The designs for the city were always odd.  Strange additions and requests.  Plans changing in the middle of the night.

Okay, but anything to raise the Eater doesn't make sense until the discovery and installation of the F.A.D.E. shields. How late a development were they?


“Yes!  Supernova!” Pythia said, then nudged Velvet Remedy.  “Quick.  Take it!”
   Velvet eyed the sword as she would a snake.  “I’m not going to take that!  I’m a healer!”

Would you please listen to the person who has been right about everything? Also, "I won't personally harm anyone," especially when there's that "except when I will" added, isn't an especially admirable moral stance.


“I’m not going to kill somepony just because I can.  We can lock him up somewhere!” Velvet protested.

Holy fuck that's stupid in this context. It might be possible, if you're willing to go with a fate worse than death level imprisonment. Fuck.


“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.”  Pythia stared down at the skeptical unicorn.  “Honest!  Swear on my stripes and the stars in the sky,” the filly added, pressing a hoof to her chest.

Bearing in mind that this convinces her, Jesus Christ, what a flimsy pretext Velvet maintains.


“Are you sure this won’t kill him?” she asked plaintively.
Everyone stared back at her, and all except the other purple alicorn and Majina shouted in unison, “Yes!  Do it!”
“Look, I’m a pacifist, okay?!” she shouted back.

Oh my god you fucking piece of shit. Worst horse.


“I thought you said it wasn’t going to kill him!” Velvet shouted as she backed away.
“It’s not,” Pythia said with a gleeful smile.  “This is much worse.  Good job, by the way.”

Today I learned that everyone who matters is happier when Velvet doesn't get to make decisions.


He opened his mouth wide and screamed out, “Son!”  Lancer didn’t reply.  “Daughter!” Majina hid her face.  “Someone... help me!”

Gotta say, that's pretty satisfying.


The Legate’s maw twisted in a horrible grin, and suddenly his foreleg reached out, the little sublegs wiggling and trying to grab anyone they could reach.  Velvet cried out, swinging her blade wildly.  

I missed that first time. Which surprises me given it's another opportunity to hate-read Velvet.


Goldenblood, though, wasn’t struggling.  “Go,” he said as he smiled up at his daughter.  “Tell Blackjack I did better.”  Even if he didn’t think he had.

I like this.


Morning Glory was alive!

Less so this.
Chapter Seventy Five Part Two Overall Thoughts:
In contrast to the first part of 75, and many of the recent chapters, 75 part two is very focused, with only a few broad events or segments. This impression is emphasized by the direct connection between some of the scenes in Hoofington.

Things start by bringing us back to the Society where Grace is preparing to make a last stand against the Brood, and refusing to either fall back to the Collegiate or flee with her brother and sister to Tenpony. Splendid continues to show his narrow range of concern, which certainly includes his siblings, but he's not about to make a pointless sacrifice on behalf of the people in the Society. There are two key points tying this to everything else. The simpler is Splendid giving Grace a very special gift: the starmetal sword, which he had bought off of some Harbinger. It'll show up again at the end of the chapter, but especially given how it arrived this scene wasn't needed to set it up. The other tie is discussion with Triage that Grace is needed to be on the receiving end of a surrogacy spell for Blackjack. There's a parallel here to the experience Marigold had with the M.o.P., where she had received their sign-off to go on her mission to the moon despite her heart problem just before they asked her to be the surrogate for Twilight's daughter. Here, Grace is asking for air support, which isn't available as the Raptors are either tied up or out of commission. Grace gives the ultimatum that if the Society doesn't make it through, then she's dead and they won't get to use her. Now, that makes the arrival of the hellhounds just in time to save the day more interesting: it's not really said, but the timing suggests it's likely they were sent as a result of this conversation and her refusal to evacuate. If that is the case, then it has a leg up on the arrival of the cyberdogs under Winona in Chapel at the end of the last part, which seemed almost completely arbitrary. On the other hand, it being the result of that rather than coincidence makes it look like (even if it wasn't—hundreds or thousands of workers in the plantations would likely have warranted reinforcements anyway if available) something that hits uncomfortably close to Stable 99. Also, the superficiality of Grace and Blackjack's relatedness, being something like tenth or twelfth cousins, is so pronounced that she can't be more than a marginal improvement over any random Wastelander of her age and health. Anyway, Blackjack finds it strange that the conversation was even happening, because how could they know things that had happened on the moon? Well, that'd be a valid question, and the particular urgency and timing of the conversation do fit that, because they have no normal way of knowing that Blackjack was successful in getting her body back. But there's no particular need anyway. Until this point, I don't remember there being a reason to believe that everyone didn't know about Blackjack being pregnant and hoping to get her babies back, which would then require a surrogacy spell. Goldenblood certainly knew, as did I think Whisper and some batponies. The narration of the big conference when all the battle plans were drawn up suggested that this was information Blackjack shared with everyone there. Then the understanding that hopefully a surrogacy spell would be needed would have been baked in from the start.

The second part in Hoofington is built around Whisper and the batpony royal family. (Though, the background includes the Flash Fillies and Burner Boys working together, which is a reminder of what would have been lost had Toaster gotten his way.) The backdrop is just an action scene in the battle, with no special objective or anything, but the real importance is what happens between the characters. In a lull in the fighting, Wisper, Stygius, and the rest have a bit of a conversation in which his mother finds out that he hasn't yet proposed to Whisper, and she guilts him into doing so on the spot. Whisper is ectatic, and launches into a song which wouldn't seem like a battle song for most characters, but works for her, and not only results in her doing more damage to the Brood than she had been before, but bolsters everyone around them. Interestingly, although there have been several fight-songs before, I think this is the only time we've seen where the effect extended beyond the person singing it. In any case, it prompts the arrival of the Legate, who tries to shoot down Whisper, but ends up killing Stygius instead when he takes the shot for her (or at any rate was trying to get her out of the way). He dies, and subsequent shots take Whisper to the ground before others force the Legate to retreat. Whisper is despondent, and fears that after tasting happiness for the first time in her life, she's already lost not just her love but her family as well. That, at least, isn't true: Persephone assures her she's still part of their family, and still loved.

The major questions I have for this segment are whether Stygius's death (or Whisper's) was/should have been a surprise, why, and if it mattered. On first read, I was shocked, despite everyone who had bitten it lately. But why? I think that part of it was the way they seemed to be in a bubble where nothing could hurt them almost up until the fatal shot was fired. In the scene, there was a case of Whisper almost taking a hit, but Stygius coming just in time to keep her from even being touched. In parts of the family conversation, bullets were landing near them, but not hitting anyone and they seemed unconcerned. I don't think anyone's lost while in a musical number before. So there were these signals suggesting they were safe. (Alternatively, it could have been signaling just how precarious they were, along with Tenebra's warnings that they should take the fighting seriously and Persephone's admonition to be safe.) And the other new(ish) romantic pairs have had bad injuries and near misses recently, but Dazzle and Candlewick and Psalm and Stronghoof (and Crumpets) all lived, despite a trend of them having difficulty and injury along the way, where it seemed Whisper and Stygius had none. Glory seemed to die, even if that's being worked back, and P-21 died, but in their cases, it feels like they've been together with Blackjack (or having their difficulties) forever, which isn't the way it seems with Whisper and Stygius, because they were just starting to get somewhere when they left, and weren't seen again for months. And, of course, the proposal was a big new milestone.

I guess it doesn't matter all that much. Even if I had thought it was going to happen, I care enough about Whisper and Stygius to feel it when he dies, and she's torn down again. Dread and anticipation could replace shock.

The last segment in Hoofington is with Goldenblood and the Legate. The Legate reveals why he had needed to stop Whisper's singing, and why the Core had stopped keeping people out and the Enervation had dropped: in restoring confidence, she was reducing the number of refugees fleeing to the Core, and he wanted as many as possible for what he was planning next. He knows the Twilight Society is watching, and he unleashes a ton of gore monsters and mechasprites on the refugees there, prompting the Twilight Society to activate Celestia One, letting the F.A.D.E. shields capture the energy to raise up the buildings of the Core and ultimately bring the Eater to the surface (so it can caputure Tom, I guess? I thought it could do that anyway. this is something where the characters not being on the same page is just resulting in confusion for me, and if anything his explanation about the lateral approach slowing Tom so a reaction, which I took to mean the full annihilation reaction, wouldn't take place seems like if anything it would suggest he'd want more junk along Tom's approach, not less). But before then, people start showing up to fight the Legate, including Pythia, Lancer, Velvet and some alicorns, Boo with the starmetal sword, Whisper, and Xenith. Through a long process, they take control and manage to rip out his magical heart, and Lancer shoots off the starmetal control mechanism for the Brood. They manage to get Velvet to use the starmetal sword to destroy the heart; along the way she is irritating, awful, and ungodly stupid. Interesting enough brawl, and Whisper getting revenge was fun. In the end, this results not in the Legate's death, but in him becoming a giant mass of flesh, some kind of horrible monster that falls down into the pit in the middle of the Core caused by Blackjack's megaspell, along with the M.o.I. hub and Goldenblood, before all were caught on the rising Eater of Souls. Then a great wave of Evervation kills Goldenblood, and Blackjack's ability to watch is cut off.

One thing I appreciated about this was Goldenblood's last words, "Tell Blackjack I did better," combined with Blackjack's knowledge that he didn't think he had. Beyond the simple fact that he had been working to redeem himself, and probably played an important part in the Battle of Hoofington going as well for them as it did, meaning that it fits his narcissistic self-loathing streak, it's also one last time that he gets to try to influence someone by telling them what he thinks they need to hear. Kind of like his comments about the empty seats at his execution.

On the ship, there's not so much going on this time. Blackjack/Luna is progressing a bit, and sometimes the sides are in direct opposition to each other, or are frustrated over characteristics of the other, like here in a moment where both aspects come through at the same time, with the Blackjack aspect supplying the primary emotion yet identfying her own behavior as that of an other: "ugh, why wasn’t this doing anything for me?  I got turned on watching two other ponies doing it, but not when I’m one of them?  Stupid alicorn soul that only liked to watch!  Why couldn’t she be more like that unicorn trollop who screwed every…  Wait.  That was me!  Argh!"

But of course the thing that caused the big controversy for the chapter was in one of the ship segments: Scotch Tape having sex with Bastard. I didn't think it was a big deal because 1) this is fiction and not an editorial in any way suggesting that in the real world statutory rape laws (and acting in compliance with them) are not a net good; and 2) it's fiction, and the characters acted in a manner entirely consistent with their established characters, which were shaped by a setting vastly different from our own as indicated, among other things, that the second thing Blackjack noticed about it was that Scotch did not appear to be (obviously) raping Bastard, reflecting a concern that I expect next to nobody in the real world would have at the top of their mind in an analogous situation. (Okay, I won't say it was entirely consistent with Bastard's character, but that's in large part because he's so new and so much of the time we've known him has been action scene that his is still being established. So there wasn't quite so much for it to be (in)consistent with, especially compared to the mares on board.) Anyway, after that's all past, Blackjack and Scotch do manage at least a bit of a heart-to-heart, built largely around Blackjack apologizing and saying that she really does care about P-21, and Scotch, and Glory, and Rampage. She just couldn't save them, as much as she wanted to, and dodges needing to say that she left P-21 as soon as she did in order to make sure Scotch stayed safe by claiming P-21 had told her to save her, his, babies. But this exchange did have one part that stood out for me, where Blackjack askes Scotch what she wanted from her, and got a brutal answer:

“I’m sorry.”
   “Sorry doesn’t make it better, Blackjack!” Scotch Tape snapped at me, giving me a glare so like his that I almost saw dark blue eyes instead of her teal.  “You’re... you!  You blow up huge towers and survive balefire bombs!  You do the craziest shit like it’s nothing!  Why couldn’t you have done it this time?  Some trick or some... something!  Why didn’t you?”
   “Because I couldn’t!” I shouted back at her.  “What do you want from me?”
   “A miracle!” she yelled.  “What else are Princesses for?  What else is a goddess for?” she asked as she wept, hot, angry tears dripping down her cheeks like molten angst.  “You could have... you should have... why... why?”  Now her voice choked to a whimpering pleading.  “Why didn’t you save him?”

It's one of the downsides of doing the incredible; it raises expectations, and so, so often, it was incredible because you weren't likely to succeed. But there's a certain feeling of unfairness, when miracles are real, that isn't there when they just don't happen: why him, why then, why not me, why not now? And it's only compounded by now having the soul and appearance of an alicorn Princess worshipped by many as a goddess. And it hits close to home not only for Blackjack, but Luna, whose failures were far greater in scope and an inferiority complex from the start.

Well, things are really feeling like they're coming together and moving towards a definitive end.
Chapter Seventy Five Part Two Editing:
not patting backs.   Which would you prefer

three spaces after period


energy released at once.   His body untwisted

three spaces after period


Scale of one to ten?’  or

should only have one space after quotation


She made no battlecries nor did she give

"battle cries"


The country club was a bit more sturdy than the wooden church, but not by much.

suggest "bit sturdier"


He stared at her for a moment, as if not able to believe her.  “Are you serious?”
“I–” she began, but he grabbed her, turned her towards the door the balcony and jabbed a hoof out over her shoulder.
   “Do you have any clue what’s going to happen here if you don’t leave?” he asked, his voice low and urgent, then motioned to the alicorn.  “Royal Mint here took a look before we came in.  They’re encircling this place as we speak.  You’re going to be cut off any minute.  For all we know, you already are.  Maybe if you withdrew now, you’d be able to fight yourself clear.  Maybe.”
   “Then they’d stop focusing on us and cut their way into the plantations!” she replied, facing him.  “They might have been made by Stable-Tec, but they’re not stables; the Brood could get in easily.”
   “That’s right.  And every single pony in there is probably going to die,” he said grimly as he turned her again and stared into her eyes.

She was already looking at him when he turned her the second time, so where was he turning her and why, especially without doing it in a way that broke eye contact like the first time, when the purpose was to make her look out over the balcony? Suggest saying he turned to her, since he may have been looking at the alicorn he was gesturing towards just before.


packed with wounded soldiers employing what little healing supplies that remained

"what few healing supplies remained" (supplies is plural and thus goes with few rather than little)


the defenders took up the cries of ‘Princess!’, ‘Grace!’ and ‘Victory!’.

comma after "'Grace!'"


I could stay here, in this vastly nothingness that was my old mind.

"vasty"


Damn it... I put another X over the pool

second space after ellipsis? feels like separate sentences


Then its brains dribbled out it nose and opposite ear canal.  

"its nose"


not allowed to call her a bitch?"  Her voice hitched.  "That’s–

non-directional quotation marks


When, all feels lost...

suggest comma to ellipsis or deleted


Come back when she fell asleep and work some magic with her dreams.  Explain herself.  Work the situation till they came around.  

should the "they" match the "she"/"her"? It seems like there's a switch from the particular case of Scotch to the general case of "they," and I don't think that fits very well, especially when it comes around again right away to the specific detail of P-21


His head restored, the Brood came to life and began returning fire to the shielded alicorns.

"return fire at"?


hest for a couple millennia."  

non-directional quotation mark
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:59 pm

“Why don’t you sing a lovely little requiem for this world?  I know I’d love to hear it!” he called out over the growing rumble.
“You’re a requiem!” Whisper screeched as she laid into him with renewed vigor.

A for passion, but that's just not a very good comeback, especially in the context of that style being her default: it reeks of laziness, a lack of inspiration. Especially when "I'll sing your requiem!" was on the table.
In universe, maybe consider her situation a little.
Out of it, that was the joke...

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:19 am

Don't worry, I got the joke. Mine was directing a stuffy, overcritical attitude at someone running on sadness and loss and anger, doing all the talking she really needed with her wings and body and hooves, with that as emotional overflow. Unfortunately, I don't tend to lapse into second person with other characters the same way I do with Blackjack, so what then might have been "your" was "her."
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Wed Aug 05, 2015 12:52 am

I had no hand in Stygius' death, but I can't say I don't like it, if only for the sake of my favorite character Psychoshy.
I've already talked about how I think she is the future element of friendship. Like Twilight, she grew up isolated from those around her (at least, before FIM seemed to retcon that entire aspect of her character). Her isolation was more self-imposed, but also hinged on her attachment to Celestia. Psychoshy had an attachment of a different nature that was no less strong and Sanguine would do anything to keep Psychoshy isolated from others and depending only on him since she was the irreplaceable tool he would use to revive his family.
When Sanguine died she reached out to Blackjack, even traveling with her and struggling to adapt to the companionship. She opened up to Rampage like she never could have to anyone else prior. Sanguine certainly wouldn't have given her the time of day and the rest of his monsters likely hated her. They stuck with Sanguine mostly because they had nowhere else to go.
Stygius was a crutch and a bridge into another stage of her life. She still depended on him strongly and his special talent was in protecting others. As Somber once said (either publicly or in editing chats) he saw in Psychoshy someone he could protect. Someone that needed it more than Blackjack did.
Psychoshy could never have reached her true potential with Stygius. He would have encouraged her to rely on him to solve her problems and guide her life like Sanguine had. It might not have been overly evident that was where their relationship was going, but it was inevitable given that absolute knowledge that if Psychoshy became someone who didn't need protection then Stygius could not be a part of her life.
With his passing she kinda takes up his responsibilities. To protect those he loved and cared about. People she loves and cares about. To take up her place among them and to help lead their isolationist society out into the rest of the world. To encourage a society to take on the exact same change she is undergoing on a personal level.
So yeah, I'm glad he's dead. She is the element of friendship all the more because of it. It really is her destiny.

(( now watch as Somber kills her out of nowhere Twilight Sparkle ))

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Wed Aug 05, 2015 1:34 am

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

Icy Shake wrote:"vasty"
Ooh, new word! Thanks!
Though a rather obscure one, it seems; my computer's dictionary didn't have it (though my computer's spellcheck appears to), and I had to look online.

Icy Shake wrote:"return fire at"?
I'm going with "returning fire at". That's not incorrect, is it?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:58 am

O. Hinds wrote:I'm going with "returning fire at". That's not incorrect, is it?
No, it's correct.

swicked wrote:(( now watch as Somber kills her out of nowhere Twilight Sparkle ))
Oh, come on. No writer would kill off a beloved character with such a long, interesting story arc like tha--



KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Valikdu on Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:34 am

SilentCarto wrote:Man it's been a long road. Lyra

...getting from there to here.

*insert several derogatory quotes about Archer from Chuck Sonnenberg here*

Oh, come on. No writer would kill off a beloved character with such a long, interesting story arc like tha--

Bridge on the captain!
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by JadedPony on Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:38 pm

swicked wrote:(( now watch as Somber kills her out of nowhere Twilight Sparkle ))


Yeah, I've been seriously disappointed at the turn of events in the last few chapters. Frankly, I think a great epic is being destroyed because the author is getting tired of writing the series and just wants to get it over with as fast as possible. I stopped recommending this series months ago because the series itself is good, but the ending so far has been a growing pile of sub-par, half assed shit with all the main characters dying off so that blackjack can be a marysue of biblical proportions.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by swicked on Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:11 pm

No offense, but I think that what you want is a happy ending and the story has made it clear that cannot happen.

This isn't a story about heroes and villains. It's about different people wanting different things and the costs each bear in trying to get their way.

So... how do you think this story will end?

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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Wed Aug 05, 2015 5:48 pm

I don't know what's going on here, or who's doing what and why, but the animation's pretty fun.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Wed Aug 05, 2015 6:15 pm

SilentCarto wrote:No, it's correct.
Thanks!
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:00 am

Valikdu wrote:
SilentCarto wrote:Man it's been a long road. Lyra

...getting from there to here.

*insert several derogatory quotes about Archer from Chuck Sonnenberg here*

Oh, come on. No writer would kill off a beloved character with such a long, interesting story arc like tha--

Bridge on the captain!
Yeah, wow, two Trek references out of me in three days. I feel kinda... dirty.

I find my lack of faithfulness disturbing.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:27 pm

So I checked out that chapter 76 rant thing.

Though coming at it from a different general attitude about the story than me, some interesting things to think about. However, I was a little incredulous over his reaction to the conversation about Blackjack's cutie mark, and a talent for victory being dumb. I had thought that was something the reader was supposed to recognize from the beginning, especially given the source. Meaning that there was never a need to get worked up over it. Anyway. Something else about 76.

(Note, yes, I am aware of the irony of saying the start of the chapter felt a little draggy when I wrote over 4000 words in the overall thoughts. And this is probably going to be split into multiple posts. Don't judge me!  Applebloom )

Chapter 76 Running Thoughts:
Glory is alive!
   Of course she was alive.  It was the engineering or the F.A.D.E. shields or whatever!

"Or whatever!" ;D


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

Eh, I kind of figured that there was some unicorn magic involved, and at any rate you'd think there'd be unicorn and pegasus engineers, too. Or maybe that's just me and how I think the idea that there's never been a single goddamned non-earth-pony mechanical engineer in the history of Equestria (hyperbole, maybe) bit of FoE setting lore . . . well, stupid. Or, taking a more charitable view, mere propaganda from 101. For support of the latter case, see also Flim and Flam (who, incidentally, appeared in the episode before "Read it and Weep," the episode cited, I believe, by Kkat as the one where the show diverged from the story).
Also, this kind of sticks with the interpretation of Luna just hanging out on the surface of the moon (now unfortunately supported by the comics . . . for whatever that's worth), which I've never cared for. But if that's what happened, okay.


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

It seemed to me that Scotch started out calling P-21 "Dad," and it was only later, after they'd had more time together, that she switched to "Daddy." Think it was a comfort thing, not wanting to be vulnerable with the more intimate, and younger-toned, name at the start. Here, the reverse seems in play.


I frantically unstrapped myself and, with a beat of my wings, threw myself towards the hole where the rest of the cabin had been, snagging my blank from the air as I passed.

Ah right, so that's a key point that hadn't really come up yet: Blackjack doesn't need to worry about flight depleting her charge immediately anymore.


Scotch Tape immediately kissed the earth.  “Thank you!  I’ve never been happier to taste dirt!”  

Even so, it's got to be fairly new for her, with the first time being probably at most a few months back.

Bastard drew a bent cigarette, put it in his lips, and started to light it when the thing snapped in two, dangling by a fiber.  From the glare he sent me over the top of his sunglasses as I landed myself and folded my wings, clearly this was my fault.

Hey, what if he'd been carrying a bottle of WP for you, and it got cracked and lost half the contents on the way down? What then? :D


But it looked like any plan to just fly back for Rampage after the Eater was taken care of was going to be a little bit trickier.  Well, by magic or earth pony gadgetry, I would get her down from there.  Maybe the zebras had moon rockets too?  They had missiles, after all.

Maybe, but what would their motivation be? They don't have the same kind of connection, and were actively running propaganda linking the moon to evil. Ditto for a space program generally, unless it was going to be purely utilitarian, and probably unmanned.


“It shouldn’t be this fucking hard to have a smoke,”

Well, each cigarette should yield at least one piece half the size of a full one (assuming like the first, there was only one break), and even taking into account possible filters, he doesn't strike me as the kind of guy who would entirely keep him from using one unfiltered if need be. But I could certainly be wrong about that. Also, I feel like in retrospect this should have been a clear sign . . .


“I can’t hear it anymore,” the zebra said with a small frown.  “Something’s wrong.  I know I’m supposed to kill you, but I don’t know when.  It’s not answering me.”  He backed away and sat down.  “I’ll just wait here.  Can you tell me when I’m supposed to kill you?”  There was almost a plaintive note in his voice.

Kind of an unsettling, pathetic sort of development. Beats the alternative, though.


“I don’t think he can.  Xenith broke off the control hooked to the Legate.  I think that’s what he was talking about hearing.”

Actually, I think it was Lancer, by shooting it off. Not that Xenith wasn't involved, of course. And it was a pretty packed event, not hard to see someone eliding the details.


Despite the fact I was not nor would ever be the most graceful pony, I managed to avoid stepping on any of the scattered corpses as I homed in on the blue bar I thought I’d heard the cough from.

I wouldn't be so sure. Given enough time with Luna's soul, I wouldn't be surprised if a lot of gracefulness came with it. Granted, I don't really think you're going to live that long.


I carefully lifted them and stared down at a young pink earth pony mare Scotch’s age with a blood-smeared mane and braces attached to little wheels on her hind legs.

Okay, so Boing was last seen at the party at Chapel/Star House. Maybe she was being evacuated to the Collegiate around the time the battle started? But why not just be taken there when everyone else was going, if that's what they were doing with her? Injured and in need of treatment at Chapel, then sent there? But the only wound mentioned seems to have happened here.


launching a volley of bright, Core-green bolts from her horn that curved over the hill in the direction of the University, found their marks among the Brood, and detonated in harsh green flashes that extinguished a hoofful of red bars each.

Huh, curving bolts seem nice to have. Wonder if it's normal indirect fire, limited by what you can get from gravity, or actually chosen at will.


“Oh!  Welcome back!  How was the moon?  Did you bring a souvenir?”
   . . . “Thanks.  It... could have been better.  And unless you count a bottle of moonstone, no.”

Oh, no counting you new (old) body? Seems like a nice souvenir to me. Even came with a shiny new (old) soul, and new-new changes to both the organic and synthetic bits.


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

Still like that it let her say that a mindless, soulless clone of Horse would be "perfect."

After that, I was glad when Brood came surging around the heaps of scrap.

Wanting violence as an excuse to escape even minor social problems? Blackjack isn't gone yet!


Sadly, those were outnumbered ten to one by the Brood coming to kill us.  “Hate!” a few shouted.  “Kill!”

What about "Crush" and "Destroy"? . . . And "Swag"?


Sadly, those were outnumbered ten to one by the Brood coming to kill us.  “Hate!” a few shouted.  “Kill!”
   Vigilance barked a few times, the heavy bullets knocking the Brood back, but we were outnumbered at least five to one.

And there we have an example of why you can't just trust everything at face value, at least if there's any analysis rather than just input from the senses: unless other things were happening too, there's no way a few shots from Vigilance (knocking them back, no less, not even getting confirmed kills, which isn't surprising given it tended to take two shots from Penance for Blackjack to kill a Brood) could take them from 10x to even close to 5x. So it could be a mind slip, relevant information could have been left out, or Blackjack isn't the best at estimations and her train of thought had got broken a bit between the observations.


So, on the robo-CMC, there's an adult (Sweetie Bot), a kid (Applebot), and . . . whatever Scootaborg is.


She was alive and smart, and she’d have a plan.

Okay, let's just call that optimism on the plan part.


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

Yeah, let's not go with that plan.


As for screaming, the initializing of a magical reactor emits sounds that could be described as screams.  Don’t ponify inanimate objects.  It’s alien, certainly, but it has never displayed evidence of thought or awareness and certainly doesn’t possess the mechanisms necessary for either of those things.  

Uh, Blackjack has done more than hear it scream. She had a conversation with it. And let's not forget the Legate's talking to the stars, or Pythia's prophesy.

Also, "Don't ponify inamimate objects": you'll never stop it from happening. Everything, fucking everything, gets ponified.


After all those damned Brood tanks, it was good to see heavy weaponry on our side in action.

Wow, what's Deus then? And the Raptors.


I met the eyes of my blank and stared.  Was it just me, or did my copy appear disappointed?  The eyes were still vacant.  There was no mistaking the thin thread of drool.  Still, there was something in the tiny frown she wore, or the slight tilt of her head, as if she was questioning if I was really going down this train of thought.

Possible haunting effect, starting to develop enough of a mind to have a bit of control, or just imagination? In any case, keeping Lunajack in line.


Things might be desperate, but right here, right now, there was no Wasteland.

Ah, the benefit of the external threat.


I'm kind of confused by the whole Big Daddy/Big Momma thing. How often did she bring him back? Wouldn't that mess with the Reapers? Was Silver Stripe the zebra he supposedly ran off with?


Everypony in the University’s quad stared right at me, murmuring.  In every eye was something different.  Awe.  Anger.  Fear.  Desire.  Even sadness.  The one thing they all had in common was that they expected something of me, some nameless thing that only I could provide, but neither of us knew what it could be.

Well, at least nobody has squeed so far.


“Sorry.  It’s been a long day.  I miss elevators.”
   I glanced at his battered PipBuck and guessed stable pony.  “Tell me about it.  I woke up this morning a unicorn, and now look at me,” I said with a small smile he didn’t mirror.

Well, a unicorn in a cloned body with its cutie mark removed by a necromancer. But we can round down.

“Mazel Tov,” he said as we trotted past the second floor.

I do have to wonder what Pony Judaism entails. Still stands out less than Toko.


“No.  It’s just… why’d he have to die?  T’aint right.  Pride or Gutshot goin’ out… I could accept that.  Why can’t the good ones live?” Calamity said as he turned, crumpled to sit on his haunches, and pressed his cheek to her chest.

Wow. Good thing it seems like nobody who liked them was there. Isn't that the kind of thing you normally keep to yourself?


Velvet spotted me through the door, her eyes widening a moment in surprise, before her lips curled in a sad smile as she shook her head a little.  Had she ever lost somepony like this as well?  Did she have family?  I didn’t really know.

I see what you did there.


“I’m not blowing her sky-damned head off!” Sky Striker bellowed at me.  “Skies above, how I want to right now!  Left my guns outside, just to make sure,” he hissed as he glared at me in malice.  “‘Security saves ponies.’  Look!  Look at what you’ve done to her!” he shouted, sweeping his arms wide.  “You did this to her!” he shouted, tears spilling down his plum cheeks.

We were all of volunteers, and we knew what we were getting into. You weren't there! You didn't see what I saw!


Everywhere you go, you ruin and destroy lives.  You’re a walking epicenter of death and carnage!

Blood and stars, blood and stars. (Now reunited, I think, by the way.)


What was I doing?  Had I really just called him a peasant?  Really?

Yeah, I mean, he was a high ranking military officer, and then a member of the legislature. Those are both pretty non-peasant things.


“Shh… is okay,” Glory muttered.  No.  No it wasn’t.  This was not okay.  Whatever word was the exact opposite of okay… was this.

"Fucked"?


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

Note that this means she did have residency. Could happen in a stable, as seems likely for P.A., but most stable ponies had PipBucks and I don't think she ever did.


“But wait!” I shouted after her, but they were already out the door.  “You have to... you have to help her...”

Can't tell if denial or bargaining. Probably denial.


I failed to kill Rampage like she wanted.  

I still disagree, more vehemently than the rest, that this was a failure. That one was entirely Rampage's decision, and in any case, you didn't want her dead in the first place, even if by the end you were resigned to it. Fair, in hindsight and with the knowledge of what she may be going through indefinitely, and ignoring the fact that it was she who allowed Scotch and Bastard to live, her death looks more favorable in contrast. But that doesn't make this a failure.
Still, it's just the most extreme and unreasonable case of one of the traits that I find . . . endearing? partially admirable, in that it derives in part from a great idealism and personal desire to do better? . . . at any rate compelling, if sometimes frustrating. But notably, it's almost exactly the feeling that Scotch was directing at her on the ship.


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

For all I snarked on this first time around, it is a good line.


   “A stasis pod…” I muttered, thinking about Sky Striker.
   “The ones in the Fluttershy Medical Center are gone.  The one left in the Megastable was converted into a torture device.”

I like the irony there that they didn't actually need the stasis part for Goldenblood.


“Problem is that a healing talisman restores a pony to a set ‘Healthy’ medical state, otherwise it’d run constantly, ‘healing’ healthy tissue and probably causing cancer.  And I don’t have that state recorded for Glory.  The talisman kept her from kicking off, but it can only heal so much,

Those seem a little contradictory. Only so much, heal forever so cancer. Eh.


“I need to get going,” Triage said.  “My horn might be scorched, but I can still sew a suture.”  

See, somehow someone doing sutures with their mouth just seems not the best to me, and that's granting the dexterity.


“Just because something was okay in 99 doesn’t mean it’s okay out here.  A grown stallion and a filly–”
   “Not a filly,” I interrupted her, and that seemed to surprise her.  “Not any more.  She’s a young mare now, and if that’s what she wanted to do, then so be it.”

Good for sticking to your guns, and it really is worth noting that Blackjack had stopped calling Scotch a filly in narration immediately after Scotch and P-21 said their goodbyes (the last time was when Scotch ran to him, the first time she was called "young mare" after that was when she asked where Rampage was, so it can't be chalked up purely to Luna's influence in this matter, if any). Granted, afterwards she rationalized that Scotch had already been a young mare when they'd left for the moon, but that wasn't reflected in narration at the time. But at the time Blackjack walked in? Unambiguous, and by then well established.


“I lied about not loving you.  

Nooooo! Well, knock me over with a feather. It's not like that was being signaled strongly throughout the time leading up to the launch.


“I’m sorry, Blackjack.  I wish things could have been different between us.  I wish I could have found some way to make it work.”  She sniffed again.  “I lied about not loving you.  I knew you'd be better off with him.  Happier…  I thought that if I just stepped aside, things would be better.”  She sniffed and shook her head.  “I messed everything up.”

Okay, more serious time. It really was a situation where there likely wasn't a way for everyone to get an unqualified win. It would have been niceconvenient if Glory could accept a poly relationship, but if that wasn't who she was, then she didn't have to. Perhaps more unfortunate is that I think Glory got this wrong: Blackjack was deeply and devotedly in love with Glory in a way that she wasn't with P-21. While it's true that Blackjack and P-21 had more shared identity and social history, it was Glory that Blackjack always thought back to first, and sometimes alone. With Glory, the answer was "yes"; with P-21, it was “I don’t know anymore.  I was in love with Glory... but now I don’t know what I had with her.  I like you a lot, P-21.  And losing you... the idea just hurts.  Is that love?” (Granted, that came at an awkward time. And yes, there was more later, but the situation had also changed.) So despite any complications regarding child custody, I think it's pretty likely Blackjack would have chosen Glory over P-21 if given the option.


“Shhhh,” I said, and kissed her to cut off the babble of self-recrimination.  “I love you, Glory.  I always will.  Let’s not spend this time stuck on the parts that didn’t work.”

I do like this part.


Conjoined at the base and pointing out, with buildings originally at the center of the Core, in order to get an inverted hexagonal pyramid. I'll just guess that someone saw somthing to indicate that the orientation of the shields relative to the buildings as well as the orientation of the buildings themselves changed, because otherwise it seems like either the funnel would be far too wide even at the bottom, or a lot of the city wouldn't have been covered by the shields during the war.


“The main F.A.D.E. shields should funnel the majority of the energy off into space.  Not all.  I imagine what’s left of the Core will be quite molten, if it’s not vaporized completely, but the world should be safe.”

Still do not think you'd want to be in the Hoofington area at all, not just the Core, but I'll give that as a lot better than Equestria being completely slagged.

What if an alternative was to EC-1101 to get finer control over the shields, in order to direct Tom to an impact that misses the Eater entirely and keeps them far enough apart to prevent Tom from being eaten? Though I suppose at this point you'd still have to write Hoofington off pretty close to entirely.


“Underground.  Rover’s group and the cyberdogs seem to have bonded quite well.  They mapped out a train route through the red tunnels.

Okay, so this at least means the arrival of the cyberdogs in Chapel helps justify this plan, and could mean that the sand dogs had already been in contact with them and we didn't know about it, which is why they showed up in Chapel in the first place.


“Charity is already trying to convert our moonstone into shells you can use the destroy the starmetal F.A.D.E. housings.”
   “Where did she get enough moonstone for that?”
   “Goldenblood.  Some of his agents stole samples from the Hoofington Museum of Natural History.  A plot he put in motion before his execution.  

It is neat that that thing is being followed up on after so long, and it does make more sense than it being Garnet's people. Unless that was something that happened to be set off by her as well, just as a piece of a larger thing she didn't know all the details of, which would help with the timing.


I kissed her tears away, my own flowing down my cheeks.  “Shhh.  I’ll take care of it.  Then we’ll be together,” I murmured as I held her tight.

Yeah, I don't think Glory wants to hear about how you're planning, hoping to die. It is kind of a nice sentiment, and one that I certainly understand as part of who you are, especially after the last few chapters. It echoes, for me, the feeling of peace from "Black." But it's not everything, and it's not what she would want.


“It’ll be okay.  Life can be hard, and painful, and lonely... but it can also be... wonderful… if given the chance...” she said, her voice becoming more and more indistinct as the light passed away.  “Live, Blackjack.  Live... and make it better...”

Especially at the end, it comes back around to Spike's advice, but as a general part of living rather than as the unending act of contrition to keep going despite the guilt.
I think that, ultimately, it was these last few paragraphs that Glory's still being alive were meant to deliver, with the rest mostly ways to integrate it to the larger plot. Parts relating specifically to their relationship were good too, but aren't relevant in the same way. I don't know right now how I feel about it on the whole, but it's at least a bit more ambivalent than before. It . . . well, the parts about the surrogacy spell and the shield plan still strike me as gratuitous, since they could have been arrived at without her at all, and frankly should have been since at least based on the information we thought we had, everyone should have known about the pregnancy and everything related to it. Maybe the shield plan didn't have the basis it needed because Blackjack actually did omit at least some of the details about Horizons and the Eater (why?), but I'd expect at least some contingency planning to have been done in any case, and they did have Goldenblood (and maybe Sweetie Bot and Applebot, especially given what they've had to say this chapter) available with that information, and Morningstar and Rover (plus whoever) for the technical stuff.


How monstrous I’d been to let that relationship fail when she’d needed me so much.

I guess it, short run, hurts less than acknoledging that it was at most a shared thing, and in large part Glory. Unless you count being trapped in the Core after you'd parted on good terms hoping to be back together soon letting it fail.


“I don’t care!  If two hundred of them turn out to be the nicest abominations of forbidden technology and messed up magic the Wasteland’s ever seen, that leaves at least two thousand more that are left pushing us on all sides!  They’re regrouping to try and finish us all off!”
   “They just need more time!  Others will come to if we give them a chance!” Velvet hissed, sweeping the sword. “You just want to kill them, you bloodthirsty monster!”  

Velvet. Velvet. It's not like she's obviously wrong, but it's worth bearing in mind who you're talking about: someone who tried to handle the attack on Thunderhead with the minimum of casualties on all sides and especially tried to keep it out of the civilian parts as possible. In contrast, what we know about what Velvet did with respect to the balefire bomb that killed the Goddess, and its collateral effects on the hellhounds, amounts to . . . she maybe felt bad? If she thought about it at all? Blackjack and the general both have better moral standing to make Velvet's argument than she does. And I can't help but think, too, that maybe Velvet isn't actually capable of considering that actions have consequences beyond the immediate and direct, or at least that (especially in cases as obvious as this) there's real responsibility either way; given the options the two are championing, it looks much more like a choice of who will die than one about whether anyone/thing will at all. Does Velvet think that she is a bloodthirsty monster who only wants to kill the people who have survived fighting on their side, where so many have already died? If not, why not? And fuck you, "I hope that they stop trying to kill us" isn't much consolation to the people who die in the meantime, if it ever happens in totality at all.


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

That's one of the more shameless puns in a while, I think.


“Starmetal comes in different flavors.  Some of it simply drives you crazy.  Some of it will make you sick.  It can slowly suck out your soul.  Some of the stuff even whispers if you listen closely enough.”
“How do you know this?” Velvet asked.  “No offense, sweetie, but–”

Ooh! New negative character trait for me to associate with Velvet: mansplaining. To go with her unearned sense of superiority and condescension generally.

“I’m Starkatteri.  Creepy zebra soul and star shit is kinda our whole deal,” she replied.  “And if you call me ‘sweetie’ again, I’ll personally get a dead star to piss on your wedding day.”

Pythia doesn't stop from keep being great. Also, she should do that anyway.


Velvet Remedy frowned.  “We could do nothing and see if other Brood come across souls.”

God damn it that's the same plan you already had which was being objected to for obvious fucking reasons.


“For the best.  I’m not a necromancer, and it always takes at least two to do what you want.  One to sever, the other to anchor.  Three is safer.”

Didn't Snips manage it alone in 65? Maybe it helped that the blank didn't already have a soul in it, where here it's a true swap.


There were the sounds of fighting.  Horrible sounds.  That soul was taking far too long to assert itself on the Brood.  Then again, maybe it had been a flawed pony to begin with.  Maybe her pacifism made her too timid to draw the Brood away from the fighting.  Maybe the evil of the Legate was simply too dark a stain to be overcome.  Maybe we’d all been completely wrong, and everything we were doing was utterly futile and pointless.  Maybe the reason just didn’t matter anymore.

I still disagree with the idea that Psalm's pacifism would imply a less forceful personality or soul, but figure it could just be a case where Blackjack is thinking something that probably isn't true.


Tenebra stared at me for a moment with tears in her eyes before returning to battle with her father’s sword.  I dimly wondered if Glory and Triage had found a treatment for her epilepsy.  

I do remember now something from the last chapter about that, but it didn't seem to be completely effective. Still, better than nothing, and it does seem like a situation where distance weapons wouldn't be at their best.


How did the hub stay aloft when all six Raptors were clustered on its far side?


Mercifully, the sphere pulled away and dipped down again, hauled back by the attendant Raptors  far too slowly for my tastes, and disappeared behind the mountains.  

was the Enervation beam so narrow that it didn't hit the Raptors? I guess it'd have to be. And the Eater decided not to go the indirect route of killing everyone on them, then devouring Celestia.


Well, it pretty much establishes Littlepip as having a stunning degree of power and control over anywhere the S.P.P. is active. Which was the expanded point, I suppose.


I levitated over a bowl, filled it with cereal, and took a bite.
   Your mother tasted like... apples...
   Tears dripped into the bowl as I swallowed that single, horrible bite.

Kind of like how Blackjack was in the middle of eating a bowl of cereal there in Star House when Glory returned and thought she was another impostor.


I screamed like I’d never stop screaming.  I’d scream forever, past forever, till all the stars died and only the eternal void remained.  And I’d scream in that blackness, forever.

That might be one of the best bits of empathy for Rampage's fears Blackjack has ever had. And it kind of rhymes with what the Legate's line was.


Grace, Finders Keepers, Triage, Persephone, Big Daddy, and Storm Chaser are all instrumental to this, and I’ve left notes with each to find these papers here.

Yeah, Goldenblood knows what's up.


EC-1101.  Shields.  Folly.  Three smart ponies had given me three different options.

Do Sweetie Bot and Applebot really count as "smart ponies"?


Then I frowned and looked at my flank.  My cutie mark, stolen by Cognitum, was still there.  An ace and a queen of spades.  Like the sword and pistol, they’d both been re-etched in a Luna-esque theme: the dark mare herself graced the queen, and the ace was decorated with moons and stars.  “Boo, do you think ‘victory’ is a talent?”
   “Like, just winning?” she asked, scrunching up her face.  When I nodded, she blew a raspberry.  “No.  That’s dumb.  What’s the point in that?”

Still love this exchange. It feels like a version of the part where Glory berated Blackjack over Scotch and Bastard, but with a different audience in mind. Granted, Boo makes an obvious point.


I looked around the house, then drew Vigilance.  There, the second name: Tarot.  That was some kind of divination thingy, right?  What did those cards mean?  I hadn’t the foggiest.

well, from the bottom of the first result I got Googling tarot ace and queen of swords (http://www.keen.com/articles/tarot/queen-of-swords-tarot-card) I see:

When the Ace of Swords is in the reading with the Queen of the same suit, your reading is a call to a higher purpose. Have you found meaning in your life? You will soon, and a chance to contribute to the good of the human race will be yours to take.

The paragraph before it:

The Fool is a card that does not seem to go with the Queen of Swords. He is ignoring all worldly wisdom while she is the paragon of analyzing things for best results. But these two combine to produce a classic case of succeeding by not conforming to established traditions, and learning higher truths on the path few follow.

Also, bringing this up makes me more hopeful that we will get the real answer associated with her cutie mark story.


Alone.  I wouldn’t have anypony else die for me.
   “I need to go, Boo,” I said as I gave her a thankful hug.  “I never thought I’d say this, but I have to go and save the world.”  I smiled when I said that.
   “Okay,” Boo answered, and started for the door.  “You’ll tell me all about it when you get back, right, Mama?”

Spike, Glory, Boo. Pythia. Lot of people saying that right now.


“Isn’t that what you were going to ask me?  To forgive you for what you did during the war?”
   She actually smiled.  “No.  Not anymore.  I... wanted it because I knew it would never come.  It let me damn myself.  Now, though... I don’t think I need it.  Not like I used to.”  She seemed so confident.  So... so sure.  “Although it’s nice to hear, it’s not what I wanted.”

I'm happy she's reached this point. Also, I bet Stronghoof is, though I wonder how Crumpets feels about her breaking through that guilt only to arrive at yet more determined personal nonviolence on the other side.


From way back . . .
“Talent?”  I murmured my answer, and he scowled at me.  “I asked what your talent is.”

“Faith,” I replied.

“Faith?”  He sounded skeptical.  “I’m sorry, but what is it you can do?”
This:
“I wanted to say that... I forgive you.”
   I felt as if I’d been speared through my core, and tried to laugh.  “Forgive... what?  For what?”
   “For the war.  For not... saving us all back then.  And I know the other Marauders would, too,” she said evenly.  “And I wanted to forgive you too, Blackjack.  For P-21, and Glory, and Rampage.  Because I know what it's like to carry all that guilt.”
   My breath hissed a moment.  “You don’t know what you’re talking about, Psalm,” I muttered tensely under my breath.  “You have no right to forgive me.  I have no right to be forgiven.”  
   “Nevertheless, I forgive you,” she said calmly, with a disturbing serenity that made me growl.  Did she really think all my sins could be forgiven… just like that?
and: “I don’t believe that, and I don’t think you’re being honest or fair right now.  Not after what’s happened,” Psalm responded.


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

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


I could handle paying the price.  Telling me there was no price to be paid... that was so much harder to accept.

Sorry, but Penance was broken, remember? :D


“I don’t deserve forgiveness,” I muttered against her neck.  She sighed and patted my back.
“Neither did I.  But sometimes what we need is more important that what we deserve,” she replied.

Taking Crumpets's lesson to heart.


“I... ugh!  You’re a Princess now!  Like, wavy mane and everything!  I can’t deal with you like this.”  She walked over and got a bucket, then walked back, jumped up, and stuck it on my head.

This is actually a really nice piece, and although kind of absurd or silly, a good little reaction that isn't over the top, is in character, and isn't sad. Which is a good break from a lot of the chapter.


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

Man, how much more "asshole mad scientist" can you get?


As we approached the tent, Triage emerged.  “Flying by dragon is for the birds,” she commented as she consulted a clipboard.

Okay, so they got there by having Spike fly them. Missed that first time.


I made mistakes.  Such little... such catastrophically terrible... mistakes.  And I forced you to clean them up.  Then... I did not believe in you.”

That is kind of accurate. I mean, hard to give too much fault on the initial mistakes, but then dumping everything on Luna, and then not letting her pursue her agenda free of interference? Those parts are true.


“We’ll be together again, Sister.  We’ll make it right.”
I shook my head.  “I think the time for Princesses is over, Sister.  I think... I think we’re going to have to trust them to make Equestria right again without us.”

I'm almost certain there's a better analogy just beyond my reach right now, but it makes me think of the passing of the elves after the end of the third age of Middle Earth.


“You’re just a weirdness magnet, Blackjack,” Triage countered.  And when I opened my mouth, she added, “Don’t even bother asking.  It doesn’t matter, and you don’t need to know the details.”
“Awwww...” I, Scotch Tape, and Boo said in unison.

And yet, it's in large part that trait that let her be in a position to be saving the world now.


“Lacunae.  Rampage.  P-21.  Glory...  I can’t take losing any more people for this!”  I hung my head, wishing Psalm’s field let through the rain to hide my shameful tears.

And yet, this is one of those cases where sticking to this train of thought could get a bunch more of them killed.

“You’re a fucking moron, Blackjack!”

Speak it!


“You think this is all about you?  You think I or these other assholes don’t have a price to pay?”  

Oh hey. It's that line showing up again.


“Fuck one way trips.  Life’s a one way trip.  Your face is a one way trip.

It's still there!
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Icy Shake
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Sat Aug 08, 2015 11:35 pm

Chapter 76 Overall Thoughts:
This was decidedly an in-between chapter, setting up what's going to happen in the finale and Blackjack's mental state. Particularly with the latter, that led to a degree of similarity in content through several conversations, but each had its own role to play.

In terms of setting up the plot, the most significant aspect was receiving a set of options for dealing with the Eater and the arrival of Tom. Actually the last one received was merely reopening the original contingency plan: Goldenblood found a silver bullet for Folly and sent it to Blackjack. The first brought up in the chapter came from Sweetie Bot, which was the idea of using EC-1101 to take control of the Tokomare, but on the whole it seems like Blackjack (or at least Blackjack-Blackjack) really doesn't like that plan, and it seems to me that it's the one that has the most probable and worst outcome in the case that they do everything they think they need to: the Eater gets everything it wants and ends up free of their control. Finally there's the alternative Glory came up with, which is sabotaging some of the F.A.D.E. shields that had been intended to guide and capture Tom during the end of his descent; Tom would collide with the Eater instead of being eaten, and the remaining shields would direct most of the resultant energy into space.

The other big plot thread leading to the end is dealing with the Brood. It seems that many are still fighting even after the control mechanism was removed from the Legate, while some have become less violent, but still aware and capable of talking with those around them. On landing, Blackjack, Scotch, and Bastard need to make their way to the Collegiate, and encounter some of both types of Brood, fighting the ones that are hostile, and leaving the rest as they are. It's here that they talk to Sweetie Bot, Applebot, and meet Scootaborg (an Ultra-Sentinel whose programming had been degraded by being trapped in the Scootaloo exhibit of a Stable-Tec museum for two centuries) and get the EC-1101 proposal. Then they run into Bluebelle's older sister, Bluebelle, and Big Momma, Bluebelle's mother and the leader of the Highlanders. Seeing the Highlanders involved was nice, but could probably have been accomplished at some point with a line of dialog. Big Momma was interesting enough, I suppose, but at this point it's hard to get that invested in another character added right at the end who seems like she is going to be in only the one scene, unless the epilog is very comprehensive in touching on how everyone is doing. On the plus side, it raises the possibility that Big Daddy faked his death dissolving into dust after fighting the Brood tank, which is an interesting idea if it happens to be true and opens the option of thinking about what he may have done in similar situations in the past, or could do this time. Later on, the Brood question raises to a head in an argument between Velvet Remedy and Stormchaser; the general wants to use the controller to deactivate or kill all the remaining Brood, as there are currently thousands that are still fighting the forces collected against the Legate and Eater. Velvet would sooner destroy the control than let that happen, but Pythia arrives with some information. Most of the Brood that have stopped being hostile probably wound up with a soul in them (there are a lot floating around Hoofington at the moment); this is confirmed by talking to a peaceful Brood there, who thinks she should be a pony mare with children, even though the body is male and the Brood knows it never had any. Now, just waiting for a soul to jump into each Brood could take forever, and there are plenty of souls (raiders and so forth, to start) where that wouldn't necessarily be much of an improvement. But they could try having someone use the control themself, and there happens to be one person left in Hoofington who has been part of a big mind-soul collective: Psalm. It's implanted in her chest, and she tries to keep those still connected peaceful, but with limited success. In the end, it's the arrival of Littlepip with the S.P.P. hub, giving her control over the local S.P.P. towers to generate mass lightening attacks on the hostile Brood (at least those actively attacking the Collegiate at the time, and maybe more piecemeal as they attacked elsewhere) to solve the issue in the moment. With the same action, Littlepip largely took out the anti-dragon energy weapons defending the Core.

Right at the end of the chapter, the last bit of set-up is laid out: Blackjack is to take up to about six people with her through the underground tunnels to the Core, where they will carry out whatever plan Blackjack ends up deciding on. So far, it seems likely Scotch and Boo (and the more tenuous Psalm) will be excluded, as Blackjack doesn't think of them when the idea all her friends are dead goes through her mind. Psychoshy is very insistent on going. Otherwise, it's fairly up in the air.

So. The Blackjack's state of mind side. I think it's the real key to the chapter, especially given how much of the previous split chapter focused on the battle in Hoofington compared to Blackjack and Scotch Tape (though this was less pronounced in Part Two, due to the spotlight on Whisper). And, generally, a lot of PH has been about Blackjack's development and how she deals with the tragedies she faces and all the new responsibilities she needs, or takes it upon herself, to shoulder. And here it's a bit of a mixed bag. The continuing Blackjack/Luna merge is to me being handled very well. Shifts back and forth, whether quickly or with one standing out as at the forefront for an extended period, have felt natural. In either state, she's acting on balance in a way more appropriate for the one showing at the time, and voicing matches. Parallels drawn in narration reflect each, like on the one hand thinking back to marching to the railcar at Brimstone's Fall, despite how beat up she was, and on the other about what Celestia had said about retaining self-control. The related discussion with Pythia wasn't extremely informative, but it did at least show that all this isn't completely unheard of, and that in the long run mixing up minds and souls tends to cause madness. The detail of old, powerful souls reshaping the things around them (Blackjack's body, the script on Vililance, the decoration on the starmetal sword) was a cool detail, and I wonder if it was something that happened with Luna and Celestia before the war, and if the expression of the changes generally depended on the mind paired with the soul (hence Cogjack's different appearance).

The key discrete event in the chapter where working on Blackjack's interal state was concerned was towards the beginning of when she got to the Collegiate: she goes to see Glory, whom she'd heard at the end of the last chapter was still alive. She gets there and finds that that's barely the case. Glory is in great pain, on the edge of death, and able to maintain consciousness and clarity mainly through the use of zebra drugs. So it's another goodbye.

Now, most of the individual parts here were fine, if certainly made to wring as much pathos out as possible. I enjoyed their exchange about Scotch having sex with Bastard, for instance, and I loved the part where Blackjack said “Shhh.  I’ll take care of it.  Then we’ll be together,” leading Glory to realize that Blackjack had returned to being suicidal and pushing against it was a good way to end it. The talk about their relationship was nice, and I'm sure gave some closure to Blackjack, but didn't really give that much information to the reader, at least as far as Glory having never stopped loving Blackjack was concerned. That said, the image Blackjack gave in the mindscape of what she'd hoped for with Glory was beautiful, even if it didn't seem to entirely reflect what Glory had been saying and their change in circumstances since takeoff.

However, I really dislike the plot device of having Glory coordinating the plan to use the city's shields, and the surrogacy with Grace, based on moonstone-based ESP letting her know what had been happening on the moon and in flight. Frankly, I think it runs counter to the whole thing that's been going on lately of having everything not be dependent solely on Blackjack and her core group of friends. But beyond that, it makes everyone look like morons. Based on the narration from the planning meeting a few chapters back, everyone should already have known about Blackjack's pregnancy and the need for a surrogacy spell should everything with Cognitum go as planned, whether that be stopping her before she took off or with the revised course of catching up on the moon. The only thing Glory should have been able to add here was that they did get Blackjack's old body with the babies back, and that information should have had little to no effect since they would have already thought about what to do in that case. Arguably, there might have been reasons not to tell about the pregnancy (but I hadn't been under the impression that's what happened), as then there might have been pushback to have a different team deal with Cognitum so that Blackjack wouldn't take any risks trying to get her body/babies back. The other case, with the development of the shield plan, is a bit different. Blackjack did leave out some of the relevant details there, concerning the Eater and Horizons (which ones, and why?), but we don't know which. Adding in Goldenblood possibly being focused enough on the battle itself or the Folly plan (which would require him ignoring the possiblity Blackjack would not be able to recover it or that it would not be in workable condition), there's at least a way to build a situation where without information from Glory nobody would think to work along those lines. But it requires a number of people to act stupidly since once they knew Horizons had fired they would want to figure out something other than just sitting there. (Really, that should come earlier even than that.) And all the pieces were available to other people, and you had not only Morningstar but the whole Collegiate, including Triage (who had been involved with Glory's work on the starmetal and Enervation) until the wounded startend coming in. So there was the motivation and the capacity to do it without her.

But mostly, I still don't like the concept of Glory having survived the balefire bomb. That still seems like it was the right time for her to go, and everything since has been a big double bait and switch. Beyond which, it just seems to strain credibility when absolutely everything about that scene was built to indicate that she was really, really going to die, no chance of survival at all. You push that hard in one direction only to jump up and say the opposite and it diminishes trust; if that could happen there, why should we assume it's true anywhere else? And part of the issue in this case is that Glory really matters; it's not like Sanguine turning out still alive as a feral ghoul in a tank under the Core, or Snips (and in both cases there was, in my opinion, more wiggle-room anyway). Things weren't built around them like they were for Glory. Deus comes close. And there isn't the fudge factor that the story stops (or changes in a truly fundamental way) if she's dead, like with Blackjack. Maybe it's just an aethetic preference. But from the beginning, with Scotch's Perceptitron use, I'd thought and hoped that it was just building up a false impression in Blackjack's mind, that she was taking fragments of information and arragning them in a way that gives her a bare shred of hope that Glory was still alive, even though that was never the case. It'd certainly be the kind of thing she would do. But that impression and hope faded with time as the fragments became more frequent and less ambiguous; by the end, I merely held out hope that she'd be unconscious indefinitely (and even that required missing the details of what Triage and Grace were saying in 75.2).

(Incidentally, this also raises the case of Boo, who was originally planned to die back in chapter 65. Now, there have been some things for her to do since, that's true. And I do enjoy her as a character, and the way she lightens things up when she's in a scene. And in contrast to some cases, the story wasn't built to a point where it looked like she really ought to have been dead based on what was going on. Instead, her not dying there did something else: it removed the second death of a long-term party member other than Blackjack. (And Lacunae's was ,although well done, a weak one in the sense that it was 100% a choice she made, and she was replaced by Psalm, who though not the same person did have the memories of the physical Psalm and certain commonalities with her.  It didn't do much to add to the sense that anyone could die at any time.) And yes, Discord died, but we only knew about him for a chapter or two. But with Boo dying then there would have been more of a sense that there was real, constant danger to Blackjack's friends, and the Glory/P-21/Rampage/Stygius/Glory repeated punch would have felt more like the result an escalation of that danger rather than them suddenly being vulnerable where they weren't in the same way before. At this point, even bearing in mind, in addition to all I've just said, that the way Somber described the way Boo was going to die seemed like a great way to go about it, I'm not sure whether it would have been on net better than having her live, given what she's done since. There may have been other ways to accomplish those pieces, but beyond her mere plot relevance, it's been nice to have her as things have turned as dark as they've ever been.)

Now, I know the role Glory was playing in this chapter: get Blackjack's hopes up, and then crush them, leaving her in a state like after Scoodle, or poisoning 99, or being brought back as a cyborg, with a capstone of "Reaper" and Boing. She wants to die. Although it kind of hurts to say it, given just how happy I was at the end of 62.1 when Blackjack realized that, for the first time in a long time, she didn't have even a little niggling feeling that she wanted to die, but I think that's fine, even a good way to handle things. It's been a chronic problem, and her world has been falling apart piece by piece even as she's been fairly successful, all things considered, saving the world. It sort of makes for a nice contrast with "Black," where after everything Blackjack was able to die happy, but ended up unable to accept her happy ending. Now, I don't know that she's going to die in the finale, but I wouldn't be surprised; more specifically, my most likely expectation (bearing in mind it's still not high confidence) is that Lunajack dies and Blankjack lives on, in the epilog becoming more like a "real pony" like Boo has, giving Blackjack a second chance at life. (Sort of creepier, longer shot possibility: P-21's and Glory's souls come back in the bodies of Blackjack's children.) (Then again, given the opening chapter quotation for 77, “What? My dream ended… happily? That. Cannot. Happen!”, available on the hub page, maybe that guess is entirely wrong and Lunajack does survive.) Kind of like the counterfactual described when Blackjack thought about whether she might have had a cutie mark for music in a different world than the one she grew up in as part of Stable 99, or her dream with her mother and Boo and Luna, where she was just a normal pony living a normal life as a security guard or something.

So I'm fine with the outcome, but it seems to me like the way of getting there was an aethetic choice or a judgement call that didn't work out all that well for me. I do think that it could have been handled differently while maintaining most of the pieces in the chapter that I enjoyed. (Note: some of this is based on the ideas in https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hgVn61Jbhww&feature=share, and it's meant as rough ideas/spitballing, one set of ideas that might have worked better from my perspective rather than some kind of prescription) The sex talk would probably have to go, but it's possible that Blackjack hearing from Tenebra how Glory never stopped loving her might have been even better than coming from Glory herself. (Made a bit more difficult due to the fact that Stygius died, but it could still work.) The idea of the life Blackjack wanted to give Glory might have been done with Blackjack monologueing to Glory's body or somehting, possibly even with the force of her emotions leading to the visions manifesting around her due to an unintentional (and probably not repeatable, at least not for now, and when Blackjack is in charge) use of Luna's illusion magic. The quotation about there being so much to do, but Blackjack doing it and then being together with Glory could likewise be part of that kind of monologue, with Glory's response transferred to someone else there: Tenebra might work, or Sky Striker, especially if it were made harsher, maybe accusing Blackjack of cowardice. If Psalm were there, she might work, but that would lead to an awkward overlap with what she already has. Scotch Tape would be an option, too. It would remove the possibility of her role in Blackjack's fugue/stoic march away from the room, but that would be a manageable loss. The shield plan could come from Morningstar, who, with nothing she can do for Glory, poured himself into the Tom problem all the more after he found out about Glory, but he'd been working on contingencies from the start because Goldenblood isn't happy with relying on everything going right, or even just one backup plan. The surrogacy mostly just happens, because it was planned from the beginning. Scotch's attempt to Perceptitron Glory still happens, as does Blakcjack's, and they go the same way. But the other cases are referring to someone else, and Morningstar isn't doing his thing. The part about just learning something is left out of the last Grace mind pool. All they found was Glory's body, possibly in large part on the basis of her PipBuck (damaged) and her dragon hide jacket, both of which were more durable than the pony underneath.

Anyway, leaving that aside there were some other conversations and scenes that covered some similar ground. Spike rescued Blackjack, and was of course worried over how she's acting and sounding. Back at Star House, there's a scene where she tries to eat some cereal to pass the time (a repeat of right before Glory and the rest arrived a few days earlier and thought she was an impostor), which again made use of the "tasted like apples" change from a few chapters back, and was one of those nice, small touches that happen every so often. Blackjack sees the ghosts of so many dead friends, allies, enemies, innocents she's come in contact with; she breaks down. Boo comes in and comforts her, while notably also calling her "Mama," which strikes me as something important to Blackjack, especially given that she is no longer pregnant, a point specifically raised later as a contrast to Whisper's awareness that she is, and is using it as an example of why she's making sure she's coming back. Here too they touch on Blackjack's cutie mark, and whether her talent is victory, concluding that it would be dumb. It's nice Blackjack is questioning the strange assertion of the crazy person who tended to be wrong about a lot of things. But then, even now, Blackjack isn't always a smart pony, and Cognitum did have the advantage of pushing Blackjack's authority button. Lastly, there's an implicit request Boo makes that Blackjack come back alive, but of course Blackjack's heart still isn't really in it when she says she will. They meet Psalm, and here rather than simply being about what Blackjack is feeling, they get to why: Psalm forgives Luna for everything she did in the war, and Blackjack for everything as well. Naturally Blackjack thinks she doesn't deserve forgiveness, but it's coming back around from what Psalm was getting from Crumpets earlier. A cute exchange with Charity helps wrap up her arc, while also showing some extra diversity in reactions to Princess Blackjack.

Lastly, there is the talk with Littlepip and Celestia. The Littlepip part didn't do all that much for me, but that with Celestia was good in terms of setting up expectations—the time for Princesses is over, and the "commoners" will do fine handling things from here on out—while also reemphasizing that there was a side to Luna other than the serious, stoic, self-recriminating, or ambitious. The side we saw when she brushed the crumbs from Cupcake's mouth at the conference just before the war started, in the very first memory featuring her. Or when she was in disguise as Eclipse with Goldenblood seeing Horse's knockoff Crusader Maneframe.

Oh, a couple of last things. The whole battle, but I'm especially noticing it now, has had a bit of a problem where I'm not sure exactly what the scale is. How many are on each side, what the casualty amounts are, how many are left. For instance, I think I recall an estimate of 5000 Brood peak, which considerably outnumbered the people on Blackjack's side. But then it seems like between losses at the bunkers and subsequently (Chapel, Elysium) and prior losses that weren't able to be reconstituted, the Brood would have been off of their max by well over ~2500, which was what we heard based on there being 2000 still hostile and maybe 200 peaceful. To some extent, this is probably hard to avoid due to the fog of war and perspective issues. But it feeds into the feeling I had that the first half or so of the chapter was kind of draggy, especially since killing Brood has been a big part of chapters 70, 71, 72, both parts of 75, and flashes of 73 and 74. It's just been a long time to focus on that, and I'm glad it seems to be over in favor of something else for the finale.

So yeah. On the whole, a chapter I have mixed feelings about. I like the emotional tone, but don't especially care for how it was arrived at. Bringing in the S.P.P. hub seemed over the top, but then it was balanced by well-executed small moments like the cereal, Charity, and aspects of various other conversations. With Glory being alive taken as a given, the more personal aspects of the time Blackjack had with her were pretty good, if hitting the pathos very hard. But even taking Glory being alive as a given, I don't care for her role in the F.A.D.E. shilds plan, or her late stage role in the surrogacy planning. Both of those should have been operating fine without her, and in the case of the surrogacy spell, considering what I thought we knew in 69 or 70 about what Blackjack had told the assembled leadership, the decisions there should have been made a while ago, or at least the infortation needed to make them should have been on the table. (Maybe Grace could have been iffy on whether to be the surrogate, which would still have allowed her to use the line about not being able to use an oven if the bakery's burned down line while talking about reinforcements in 75.2.)
Chapter 76 Editing:
you don’t have a any right to forgive all

delete "a" ("have any")


The mare grabbed me by my collar and hauled my to hooves.

"to my hooves"


Scotch could grab onto it,

"grab on to"


we were all holding onto each

"holding on to"


where’d I’d see fighting and loss, I’d also seen victory.

"where I'd seen fighting"


beam gun and grenade machine gun on mass of Brood,

"on a mass of"


“It’s like Horsie’s Board of Directors threw one of their summer retreats in Las Pegasus.

"Board of Directors" shouldn't be capitalized


“Hold still you Brood bitch!”

comma after "still"?


bodies you can twist inna prezel don’t mean we’re fat!

not sure if "prezel" for "pretzel" is intentional or not . . .


the weeping dove-gray pegasi fillies Lambent and Lucent.

"pegasus fillies"


“Oh, yippie.  Let’s have this argument

a "Yippie" is a member of the Youth International Party, a hippie activist. You're looking for "yippee"


“Not a filly,” I interrupted her, and that seemed to surprise her.  “Not any more.  S

I think it'd be "anymore" here


then examined it. The blade once

only one space after period


and a field of moonlight fell like the northern lights between the Brood and the exhausted wastelanders.

suggest capitalizing "Wastelanders"?


but ,as you said

comma should be before space after "but"


“Not any more.  But it wouldn’t surprise me if they got up to something!”

should this one be "anymore"?


It’s a one time thing

"one-time"


She frowned at me, “Luna’s electroshocked

suggest comma to period


I mirror the action, and on the tap, the screen faded to static.

"mirrored"
Other Chapter Editing:
1:
It’s set for a one time transfer onto these PipBuck things.”

"one-time"


19:
Not that I knew how dance, but right now I’d

"how to dance"


“That one of those ‘special’ sticks?” Jetstream asked skeptically, “You know any zebra crap’s illegal.”

suggest comma to period (the second part isn't really asking)


She nudged flanks with Pinkie Pie and grinned, “Hey Pinkie, this is a great party, but I’ve got something that will make it even better!” she said as she

comma after "grinned" should be period, as not a speech tag and if there were one there the quotation would be double-tagged


“Oh… sure Goldie.

comma after "sure"


“Come on everypony!

comma after "on"


Goldenblood just gave Vanity a look, and my host ran for the office as Pinkie suddenly cried out, “Come on everypony!  You know what’d be a great idea?  A block party!  Outside!” she said as she bounced towards the door while singing something about ‘raising the roof’ and ‘a party for Hoofington!’  

first quotation is double-tagged (also, currently she's saying that and singing about raising the roof etc. at the same time). Suggest cutting "she said as" and replacing with (starting a new sentence) "Then" or "And" (or "And then")


Then he answered slowly, “I don’t know, Pinkie

This needs a different tag than "answered": he isn't answering anything or anyone. "said" would be perfectly fine. "countered" or similar could work, but "responded" or "replied" would seem, to me, to make it seem more like he was talking to Vanity rather than Pinkie


Call me jaded,” I replied after swallowing, “But after

"But" shouldn't be capitalized, since it's a continuation of the sentence in the split quotation, not the start of a new one


She looked in the direction of the Chapel.

"Chapel" shouldn't be capitalized, or "the" should be deleted


I rolled off the couch and then struggled to pull the couch away from the door.
Then a brighter glow enveloped the couch and easily pulled it away.

suggest changing the second "the couch" to "it"


and trotted away. “Such a pity I cannot

only one space after period


“You’re drunk?”  P-21 asked as he

should have only one space after quotation


The skywagon lifted and in one minute and I was certain I was going to die.

"lifted and in one minute I was"


I’d be happy taking a spin inside Deus, Blueblood or Gorgon or even Sanguine --

I think when using it as terminal punctuation, you haven't been putting a space before the dash


He’s blended nicely.” I heard the medical buck

period should be comma


his sapience, doctor!”  The mare with the glittery hooves shouted as she

should probably have only one space after quotation, "The" probably shouldn't be capitalized


clearly this place wasn’t built as tough as a stable either.

comma after "stable"?


Perhaps stables one, two, and three had been paradises,

should "stables" and the numbers be capitalized?


“So long,” she continued sharply, “As you keep the population

"As" shouldn't be capitalized


”Are you really… Apple

inverted quotation mark


she said with a dismissive little shrug, “A bunch of overworked ponies

suggest comma to period


A dinner alone on a mountain top.  

"mountain top" is a single word


Then a second later she wailed “Wampage!  Wampage!”

comma after "wailed"


I hung my head as we played the last few chords, my heart starting to beat once more in my chest, I don’t know what magic let me get through all that, but when the last note died, we were left with only with the hissing rain, a muddy pile of dirt, and a piece of wood marked simply ‘Roses’.

second comma, after "chest", should be a semicolon or period


New Perk added: Dealer’s Ant -- Every time you kill an opponent in S.A.T.S., the spell immediately regenerates 20% AP.

"Dealer's Ante"


21:
Did your--“ was all I said.

inverted quotation mark


28:
“I suppose that the Board of Regents felt a halfblood to be a complication in the present climate,”

"Board of Regents" shouldn't be capitalized


31:
  “Yippie,” Scotch muttered as she walked away from the subway stairs.

"Yippee"


33:
there is no scientific evidence for the existence of–“ Glory added.

inverted quotation mark


“Save your own ass, Blueblood.”
       “You dare--“

last quotation mark is inverted


but this is a crisis.  We can’t save–“

inverted quotation mark


34:
“You’d think I’d be all yippie skippy.

"yippee"


43:
“Look.  I was like that.  I’m not any more.

"anymore"
Also, Hinds, should the homes of the Reapers and the Collegiate, when referred to as "the Arena" and "the University," ever not be capitalized?
Examples: “Security, Psychoshy.  If you’re going to kill each other, do it in the arena where we can all watch the show.
Here, should it be lowercase because they are talking about the arena at the Arena, or the arena as an embodiment of combat as a spectator sport? Note that they aren't at the Arena in this case, so it could be referring to the location as a whole.

and the professor established the Eggheads over at the university.”

Likewise, when referring to someplace other than the Reapers' arena or Hoofington University as "the arena" or "the university" (such as the university Morningstar worked at), I figure they should not be capitalized?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 09, 2015 2:13 am

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

Icy Shake wrote:Also, Hinds, should the homes of the Reapers and the Collegiate, when referred to as "the Arena" and "the University," ever not be capitalized?
I think that they ought to always be capitalized.

Icy Shake wrote:Examples: “Security, Psychoshy. If you’re going to kill each other, do it in the arena where we can all watch the show.
Here, should it be lowercase because they are talking about the arena at the Arena, or the arena as an embodiment of combat as a spectator sport? Note that they aren't at the Arena in this case, so it could be referring to the location as a whole.
Hm... A tricky one, but I'd say capitalize it there, too.

Icy Shake wrote:and the professor established the Eggheads over at the university.”
And there.

Icy Shake wrote:Likewise, when referring to someplace other than the Reapers' arena or Hoofington University as "the arena" or "the university" (such as the university Morningstar worked at), I figure they should not be capitalized?
Not unless there's another reason to, right.

Thanks for this.

Icy Shake wrote:I think when using it as terminal punctuation, you haven't been putting a space before the dash
Aye.

Icy Shake wrote:there is no scientific evidence for the existence of–“ Glory added.

inverted quotation mark
Not just that. Yikes! How did this get through? Let's see...
Right, changing
“Actually, there is no scientific evidence for the existence of–“ Glory added.
“Souls exist,” Lacunae interrupted
to just
“Souls exist,” Lacunae said

Icy Shake wrote:"anymore"
I also changed two other instances in that chapter.

Icy Shake wrote:"to my hooves"
I've used "me to my".

Icy Shake wrote:"on a mass of"
I've used "the mass".

Icy Shake wrote:not sure if "prezel" for "pretzel" is intentional or not . . .
Probably intentional there, I think, but thanks for checking.

Icy Shake wrote:should this one be "anymore"?
I think so.

Icy Shake wrote:Also, this kind of sticks with the interpretation of Luna just hanging out on the surface of the moon (now unfortunately supported by the comics . . . for whatever that's worth), which I've never cared for. But if that's what happened, okay.
Eh? I thought, at least, that PH used an imprisoned-in-the-moon system, as discussed during the trip to the moon. You think otherwise?

Icy Shake wrote:Ditto for a space program generally, unless it was going to be purely utilitarian, and probably unmanned.
Well, regarding this, since PH indicated that both Equestria and other powers had satellites orbiting Equus, my headcanon, at least, does incorporate both a zebra space program and navitpatia (astronauts), including armed navitpatia making cloaked raids on Equestrian satellites. That probably does fall under "purely utilitarian", though; they weren't there for reasons of science or exploration, they were there to contest that bit of high ground. They had the technical capability to go to the moon, but yeah, no reason to, particularly while they were trying to fight a war.

Icy Shake wrote:Actually, I think it was Lancer, by shooting it off. Not that Xenith wasn't involved, of course. And it was a pretty packed event, not hard to see someone eliding the details.
Oops. Yeah. I think I'll go ahead and fix that.

Icy Shake wrote:Oh, no counting you new (old) body? Seems like a nice souvenir to me. Even came with a shiny new (old) soul, and new-new changes to both the organic and synthetic bits.
:)

Icy Shake wrote:How did the hub stay aloft when all six Raptors were clustered on its far side?
Eh? What do you mean? The hub is an airborne structure.

Icy Shake wrote:Yeah, Goldenblood knows what's up.
:)

If we did decide to change the Glory scene in 76, would you be willing to go through the chapters in both directions and find all the ripples forwards and backward for us?
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by Icy Shake on Sun Aug 09, 2015 8:11 pm

O. Hinds wrote:
Icy Shake wrote:Also, this kind of sticks with the interpretation of Luna just hanging out on the surface of the moon (now unfortunately supported by the comics . . . for whatever that's worth), which I've never cared for. But if that's what happened, okay.
Eh?  I thought, at least, that PH used an imprisoned-in-the-moon system, as discussed during the trip to the moon.  You think otherwise?
You're right, I wasn't being careful there. What I mean/should have said is that imprisoning Luna in the moon was a different thing that wasn't exactly replicated by the space program.

O. Hinds wrote:If we did decide to change the Glory scene in 76, would you be willing to go through the chapters in both directions and find all the ripples forwards and backward for us?
If that is what you end up deciding to do . . . I think so. I hesitate to give a definitive answer because I don't know how much spare time I'll have once my new program starts, but it's something that I'd be willing to do provided the ability/a not-completely unreasonable workload.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by O. Hinds on Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:22 pm

Icy Shake wrote:You're right, I wasn't being careful there. What I mean/should have said is that imprisoning Luna in the moon was a different thing that wasn't exactly replicated by the space program.
Ah, okay.

Icy Shake wrote:If that is what you end up deciding to do . . . I think so. I hesitate to give a definitive answer because I don't know how much spare time I'll have once my new program starts, but it's something that I'd be willing to do provided the ability/a not-completely unreasonable workload.
Thanks. :)
I don't know if it will happen, but sorry anyway about any bother here.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

Post by SilentCarto on Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:23 pm

Icy Shake wrote:Also, Hinds, should the homes of the Reapers and the Collegiate, when referred to as "the Arena" and "the University," ever not be capitalized?
Examples: “Security, Psychoshy.  If you’re going to kill each other, do it in the arena where we can all watch the show.
Here, should it be lowercase because they are talking about the arena at the Arena, or the arena as an embodiment of combat as a spectator sport? Note that they aren't at the Arena in this case, so it could be referring to the location as a whole.

and the professor established the Eggheads over at the university.”

Likewise, when referring to someplace other than the Reapers' arena or Hoofington University as "the arena" or "the university" (such as the university Morningstar worked at), I figure they should not be capitalized?
In this case, I think "arena" should not be capitalized simply because she phrased it as "in the arena", i.e. in the ring, rather than "at the Arena", meaning the structure as a whole.

University can go either way, but I feel that it should be uppercase unless it's being specifically used to refer to the structure (i.e. the walls around the university.) But it might be simplest to only use "university" and "Collegiate" to keep it straight.
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Re: [GRIMDARK] Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons Discussion

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