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  • 1w, 3d
    Visiden Tries It: Wires Chapter 2

    Right, chapter two, let's go.

    "Officer on deck!" the sergeant barked. All the grunts nearby halted in their duties and snapped to attention.

    You know, if you just said they snapped to attention, the meaning would be the same.

    At ease, as you were..." Shining Armor blurted out as he stumbled past them. He never even looked up, his eyes focused on his coat – a less blatant, well-padded winter outfit this time – as his foreleg fumbled with the zipper, which would not go up the rest of the way. He tried to use his magic again, but through the mire of his headache and insomnia, his horn could only fizzle and spit a few sparks at best. Eventually, he gave up and just left his coat half-open, despite the wind biting at his exposed hide.

    Truly an exemplar of discipline, our Shining Armor. Leading by example as any prince and military leader should.

    At the door to the bridge, a pair of guards in full armor locked their heels and saluted by holding their spears high.

    This is a surprise. I was fairly certain that they would be using guns given the inspiration for the story.

    Anything to report?” he went on.

    Bonnie smirked. “Nothing new since last time.”

    I am now convinced that Bonnie finds Shining Armor contemptible and is not even bothering to hide it. Unless this is the actual intention, there should be less instances of smirking.

    Well, it’s a short mission.” The captain’s eyes never left his map as he spoke. “We get in, we take whoever wants to leave, we settle any issues that rise along the way, we get out. What makes you worry so much?”

    Let me tell you about the military operation I'm conducting, civilian who is somehow operating this vessel that's being used for a military operation.

    There's a nice bit of description of the site they're approaching.

    His hoof tapped the side to zoom out,

    Starting to notice this tendency to "localize" Shining Armor's movements. His hoof tapped, and his teeth bit his cheeks rather than he tapped and he bit.

    Eh, cap’n?” the mule slurred. “I ain’t, like, all sure if yer allowed to use all that.”

    Sorry, mule, it's not like I'm already utilizing your entire ship for my operation. Using your binoculars is definitely off limits.

    He unfolded the map on the table before him. “We confirmed with our… uh...” Trailing off, he glanced at the ship’s captain. A plump, bearded stallion in a white uniform stared back at him with a vapid smile, while Shining tried to come up with an appropriate word. “...sailing advisors that, uh… this will be our ideal landing spot.”

    Why is the civilian captain partaking in a military operation meeting so they have to make euphemisms?

    A raspy voice rose from the crowd. “Lieutenant! Are you about to question a direct order?”

    A crowd? How many of them are in this meeting? I would think that it would just be the leader of the operation and a few trusted advisors.

    This isn’t a question of loyalty or protocol,” Setter shot back. “This is a meeting. We’re supposed to—”

    He wasn't about to suggest that they'd put it to a vote, was he? Not exactly chain of command stuff there.

    The exodus led by High Strung across the Baranzovo Sea was the first ever direct influx of pony population in Novy Rubezh.

    I like these loading screen blurbs. They help flesh the world out. Certainly better than listing down random perks.

    3 comments · 95 views
  • 3w, 3d
    Visiden Tries It: Wires Chapter 1

    Well, here we go again. A requested commentary this time made by Dark Avenger. I have to stress commentary and not review or recommendation.

    Story description first.

    The news had shocked the entire nation. Anger, violence, and even threats of war have erupted in the colony on the borders of the harsh Frozen North, all of it centered around the infamous city of Gueldergrad. If Equestria is to put an end to the chaos before it escalates, somepony must venture into the foreign lands and set things right.

    A noble unicorn steps up to meet the challenge: Shining Armor. Newest prince of the Crystal Empire. Captain of the Royal Guard. The pride of the Equestrian armed forces.

    But there is a lot hidden in the far-stretching lands of the Frozen North, and even more can it reveal among those who dare to enter. Things the valiant captain does not yet know about his own company, those who command him, or even himself...

    Shining Armor not a useless sack of shit, an adulterer, a cuck, or a deadbeat dad? Sold. The whole Captain of the Royal Guard and Prince of the Crystal Empire bit (which appears to be what's also happening in the show) strikes me odd though. I'm assuming the Captain of the Royal Guard is the post he held in Canterlot. Apparently, Shining Armor is a Bethesda RPG protagonist, being able to maintain several very high ranks in multiple organizations.

    And chapter 1.

    The rough woolen covers stirred, and a muffled groan escaped from underneath.

    Later, we'll find out that he's at sea on a boat. A place that's frequently in danger of getting wet is not a good place to use wool.

    His hoof reached for the idly blabbering radio, only to stop halfway, and he just left it on.

    Could have stopped at "Halfway". That would already imply that he didn't turn it off.

    It was probably early evening back in Equestria, which he confirmed by glancing at the half-dozen clocks on the far wall, each one showing a different time zone.

    This would make sense if he was in a command room of some sort. Why would he need to know the time for multiple time zones in his personal quarters? Is this the norm for all the rooms? Sounds like an awful lot of clocks.

    "To be honest, Mr. Normative, I didn't pay much attention. The journalists who go to these places tend to be... very passionate. Soon as they find a toothpick out of place, they call it an 'atrocity'."

    If his first name is "Hetero", this guy is my favorite MLP character ever.

    Somewhere by the wall was the clothing rack, and he reached inside for one of his coats. Without thinking, he took out the first one to meet his hoof and slipped his limbs into it, his skin tingling from the warm embrace. Moments later, the thickness, texture, and pinpricks of color he could see revealed that it was his ceremonial outfit: an obnoxious red and gold mess of fabric and decorations. His legs tensed up, and he groaned in frustration, but after all the trouble of putting it on, he did not have it in him to take the thing off.

    This is a bit questionable. My dad has these fancy uniforms he wears for ceremonies. When they're not in use they're inside one of those protective coverings with the zipper that's really heavy. It's really hard to mistake them from an outfit that you would wear daily. Why you would bring this ceremonial outfit to what appears to be a serious and dangerous mission also makes little sense. Fancy ceremonies seem more apt to be held in the homeland, not in dangerous borderlands.

    He slowly trudged out of his cabin,

    As opposed to quickly trudging.

    Faint shapes of clouds loomed overhead, lit up by the lanterns dangling from the mast.

    Hold on. There's a thick fog. I assume the clouds are really high up. Despite the distance and the fog, the lanterns lit them up? Those are some blindingly powerful lanterns.

    Salty vapor touched his face briefly,

    Only briefly, huh? He's at sea, the salty vapor is actually pretty constant.

    The surrounding deck was virtually desolated, with only a few patrols strolling nearby.

    You have to take note of connotations here. Desolate doesn't just mean empty. It means really depressingly empty. A desolated area is usually one that has had some terrible things happen to it like a plague or a fire. Not a mostly empty ship's deck. Unless there has been a recent attack on the ship or something.

    He kept marching ahead, eventually coming up to a green arrow with a cross in the middle, pointing to one of the doors.

    He's gone from trudging to marching now.

    The stallion walked past the empty benches and opened the door opposite the entrance, a label on it reading “CHIEF M.O.”

    LUS right there. He or Shining Armor works just as fine.

    A puce coated pegasus with a messy bun of dark pink hair looked up from his desk and gave a wide smile. “‘Morning’, Shiny. Duty calls this early nowadays?” He looked down at the captain’s chest and gave a low whistle. “And in your royal clothing, no less...”

    Shining Armor responded with a stern frown. “You are forgetting the chain of command, lieutenant.”

    If Shining Armor knows this pony, which he most likely does, then he should recognize this pony by name. The description makes it seem that he's encountering this pony for the very first time. Something like "Setterline looked up from his desk." This will make describing the character more difficult to insert, I know.

    “Don’t worry about it. You’re not alone. Insomnia is the #1 complaint among the crew so far.”

    I'd prefer numbers spelled out myself.

    “Any bad cases?” the captain asked.

    I would argue that this is still a case of Lavender Unicorn Syndrome. There's nothing wrong with using his name.

    “Then again… I do have this supply of extra-strong tranquilizers that were ‘misdirected’ to me. I’m sure my commanding officer wouldn’t hesitate to do the right thing. Confiscate them as soon as they found out and dispose of them.” As he spoke, he was already reaching for one of the nearby cabinets.

    Knocking yourself out isn't the same as falling asleep, Shining Armor. You'll wake up from this with a massive headache, and severe sluggishness, not exactly the state you should be when waking up.

    The doctor nodded and handed over a box of pills. “I pride myself on my foresight.”

    Tranquilizers in pill form?

    “Nope. He’s one of the shiners.” Setterline shrugged.

    Was that a slur? I like it when stories come up with unique slurs for fantasy races.

    He leaned against the railing just outside his quarters, staring at the invincible fog that enveloped their little fleet.

    Invincible fog? What, are they sailing through Superman's fart? That's not quite a good fit for describing really thick fog.

    His pulse was still rumbling in his ears from the light galop he had made across the entire ship.

    Light exercise got him to that? You're out of shape, Shining Armor. Gallop is also misspelled here. As for "light gallop", I would think that would be more of a canter. Galloping is a horse's fastest run.

    The crystal pony nodded, and her stance relaxed slightly. “Everything okay, sir?”

    Again, he would know her name.

    She stepped up beside him and tried to follow his gaze, but there were no distinct shapes to make out in the thick fog. Occasionally, the silhouette of one of the other ships was visible, but her commander was not looking at either of them.

    “Sir, are you sure you’re—”

    “It’s fine Bonnie.” Shining Armor chuckled. “Give it a rest already.”

    They're totally fucking. Totally. Damn it, Shining Armor.

    “Hmm…” Shining glanced at her and smirked. “Do the radiance levels confirm that?”

    Bonnie smiled back. “You do know they can fake that, right?”

    This is something I notice frequently in fics. Smirking has a negative connotation to it. It means he's mocking her or something which I don't think is what he's going for especially since she smiles, not smirks, back.

    I like the building on crystal ponies, though. I'm not fond of crystal ponies in general, but it's nice to see how lore is built around them. They remind me of Maugs from D&D, being sentient constructs. I think it's a little overpowered that they just instantly regenerate, but I'm sure some weaknesses will manifest later. Maugs are powerful with their construct immunities and natural strengths, but one thing they have against them was that they don't heal naturally. Their race had to develop repair spells as healing spells didn't work. Instead of resting, they had to manually repair themselves if spells weren't available.

    A voice rose above the commotion on the lower deck. An officer was busy scolding a handful of grunts for not having polished their gear before putting it on.

    Not helping that their captain is walking around in the wrong uniform. If you want discipline in your crew Shining Armor, lead by example.

    “Hmm?” The crystal mare looked at him. She followed his gaze and noticed the strict officer. "Oh, him again."

    This has to stop. They have names.

    “Is that why you brought all those toys in the cargo?” He nodded his head at the ship to their right, which just managed to pop out of the fog for a minute.

    The mare blinked and cocked her head to the side. “What toys?”

    Innuendo ahoy. Totally fucking.

    I like the radio bits, it's a nice way of getting backstory going in a roundabout way.

    4 comments · 165 views
  • 4w, 5d
    Visiden Tries It: Project Horizons Chapter 6

    I was going to post sooner, but I spent a good chunk of my free time being antsy and following the Brexit news. Which is kind of stupid given that I'm all the way here in the Philippines and I'll likely never set foot in the UK. I guess it's just a compelling story to follow.

    Here we go, Chapter 6. Let's see what this story's got.

    I wasn’t going to discard a single bullet or bit of loot that might contribute to our ten-thousand-cap goal, though, and with P-21’s injured leg and Glory’s lack of pockets, I was left slogging through knee-deep mud while they trotted ahead.

    I'm convinced that anyone writing a Fallout story should play in Survival mode, so they can get a feel of what being in a harsh environment is actually like and have to work with stricter weight management. They don't have to beat it. Just get a feel of it.

    Then I saw a unicorn inside the trailer who had to be the pony in charge. Charisma and charm seemed to drip from his ivory hide and cobalt mane, and he gave the impression of illuminating the dim interior of the rusty trailer. His smile made my knees feel like I’d just glanced up at the sky. “Greetings. I am Prince Splendid.” You bet you are! “I’m glad somepony responded to my requests in a prompt manner. Would you care for some refreshment?”

    Horseshit. This guy doesn't look like a shotgun. I doubt he'd get Blackjack hot and bothered.

    Prince Splendid was a gracious host, but there was way too much awkwardness. I had to admit, I was impressed by what I saw; his ponies were better armed and equipped than most. He had fresh food; that was a miracle in and of itself. It was simply the fact that the Society seemed to believe it had some inherent right to rule. Even if he got this super cure for his father, who would it help besides ponies who already had so much?

    Yeah, fuck his dying father, and fuck professionalism. He's a snob, and they can all die.

    I’m here to talk. If I can work out a deal where nopony gets killed, even better,” I said truthfully. “My name’s Blackjack.” Incomprehension. I sighed and added, “Security?” Comprehension dawned and they started to relax a little. Urgh… as much as I hated to admit it, that little title of DJ Pon3’s was making my life easier.

    Oh shit, you're the Security Mare? Well, come right in, armed stranger who came from the direction of the camp of someone trying to get rid of me. No need to prove your identity, I trust you implicitly.

    Damn, my mane was itching like crazy.

    A little Head and Shoulders should help with that. Or not walking into ominous situations that require foreshadowing.

    In the center of the fountain rose the bronze statue of a pegasus pony, one hoof around the shoulders of a young unicorn filly, the other stroking the mane of an earth pony colt. On her shoulder perched an elegant bird. At her hooves, a small rabbit seemed to glare rather insolently out with his forelegs crossed. A plaque at the base of the statue read, ‘We Must Do Better’. Looking at the pegasus’s gentle smile, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the statue wept for all the decay around her.

    You know, I'm always wary of politicians who like to pose with children. Blackjack waxing poetic here. Weeping for the decay around her indeed.

    Fluttershy. She was a ministry mare, and a friend of Rainbow Dash. She founded the Ministry of Peace and dedicated herself to helping the ponies of Equestria throughout the war.” Morning Glory looked wistful as well as she looked up at her. “As the war progressed it took its toll on her. Some claim she aided the enemy, despite orders to the contrary, and gave zebras medical supplies and other care. At the end... well… I was taught she went mad with grief and wandered out into the Wasteland to die. She simply couldn’t live with having failed Equestria.”

    I stared at the bronze statue a moment longer. “If she failed, I can’t believe it was for lack of trying,” I said softly as we headed towards the stairs. Morning Glory, however, examined the remaining elevator curiously. “Something wrong?”

    Aww, she was so immaculate that she aided allies and enemies alike. And then she presumably died of grief because she wasn't messianic enough for Equestria. What a martyr. Someone build a temple to her. And Blackjack just knows that Fluttershy gave it her all. Based on the appearance of a statue. Because beautiful people are good. Hold on while I vomit.

    What the hay is going on here?” I muttered softly. I suddenly found myself longing for Pony Joe’s. “Give me bodies… or something shooting at me… or something. Not freaky pictures and words written in dark paint.” I glanced back and saw both of them staring at me. “What?”

    “She doesn’t know?” Glory whimpered to P-21.

    “Apparently not,” P-21 said as he looked behind us.

    “Know what?”

    Glory swallowed. “That isn’t paint, Blackjack.” She pointed at the black-red letters on the wall.

    Makes sense. Blackjack has never seen blood on concrete before.

    Then we heard a soft ‘thump, thump, thump, thump’ in the hallway ahead of us. A bright red ball bounced down the dimly lit hall towards the three of us. No… not a ball. It was too irregular for that. It rolled to a stop at my feet, leaving bright wet splotches on the floor.

    I don't think severed heads bounce. Probably not even Pinkie Pie's. I suspect that if you hurled a severed head to the ground, it will just go splat and maybe roll slightly.

    We encountered a box in the hall, a large metal cube with small pink hearts painted on each side. I couldn’t explain why, but I had the strangest fondness for the box.

    Too many somehows in this story. "Somehow" you had to open that box, just as you "somehow" knew how wonderful Fluttershy was. "Somehow" can be useful if used sparingly. Sometimes the character doesn't know how something happened, but this is best utilized if the somehow is later explained. Maybe this box had some kind of mind compulsion weaved into it that made you want to fuck around with it. Otherwise, repeated use of this is symptomatic of copping out. "Somehow" is replaced with "because the plot said so".

    When the note hit ‘pop’, the metal top snapped open, and out flew a pony. No… half a pony. The skinned front half bounced back and forth on a heavy metal spring, front hooves crossed as if hugging itself. Bony wings flopped around behind it.

    This corpse should stink. I've noticed that none of the dead bodies in this chapter has any smell.

    Sick fu-- wait... not sick enough. “Run!” I yelled as I grabbed P-21 with my magic and scooped Glory up as I bolted down the hall. A few seconds later the bombs hidden inside the box exploded. The three of us landed in a heap.

    This should have more to it. They're indoors. Explosions should be deafening. Where's the bits of broken box and pulverized concrete? How about those chunks of dead pegasus raining upon them?

    A means of preserving injured or sick ponies. “This is it,” I said in excitement. “If Splendid can bring his father here, they can keep him alive till the Collegiate makes a cure. Heee! I love it when a plan comes together!”

    [youtube=https://youtu.be/CxlBmJdtMVA]

    "Either I’m incompetent or I’m cursed. Either way, you’re better off without me,”

    Could be cursed with incompetence.

    "You put one shell in! You take another one out!” I shouted as I blasted another bunny camera. “You load another shell in and you blast it all about! You do the pony pokey and take the fuckers out. That’s what it’s all about!”

    There are people who find Dark ponyfics contemptible. I disagree, obviously, but lines like this make me sympathize just a bit.

    I noticed a sound file loaded on the terminal. Why not? I hit the playback as I prepared my clips. At least it would give me something to do.

    Because you're evading enemies and the sound might draw them to you? No? Not a problem? Okay.

    I stood and looked at some of the pictures hanging askew on the wall. Fluttershy looking rather terrified on a stage in a weird dress; goddesses, she looked adorable!

    Hold on, I have to vomit again.

    Bad pony!” they cried as I used S.A.T.S. and dumb luck to chew my way through them. I paused only long enough to smash in their heads with the baton, just to make sure they didn’t start moving again.

    Thrilling fight scene.

    Then the door opened and all the talking stopped. I’d seen her cast in bronze; now I was seeing her in flesh. The yellow pegasus may have been smaller and less dramatic than her statuary counterpart, but as I watched I couldn’t shake the grace and beauty and aura of kindness that seemed to radiate off her. She greeted everypony by name, shook hooves, and talked with clear sincerity and interest. Just touching her hoof made me feel special, and it wasn’t even me!

    Bleeaaargh.:pinkiesick:

    You’ve tested them on animals and adults. These are children, Fluttershy. Three months being trapped in your own body might be tough for an adult who understands what’s going on, but what about a child? They want to run and play and talk. They can’t simply be locked up for weeks on end. Fluttershy, it’s cruel!”

    Then Fluttershy spoke in a soft and gentle voice, “Are you saying I should leave children to die when I have a way to keep them safe and alive until they can be healed?” At that instant I knew that Cheerilee was screwed.

    Oh fuck the children. Whenever there's drama needed just throw in some dead or dying children. As if Fluttershy isn't emotionally manipulative by herself.

    Somepony, I suspected Redheart, had cut the connection between the repair bots and the facility maneframe. They’d sat here alone, incapable of any interaction at all. Unable to sleep. They couldn’t even kill themselves. Then the Enclave arrived and connected the maneframe again. The children had resumed their games, honed after decades of being trapped within themselves.

    Reminds me a bit of Old World Blues. It's an interesting take and the whole chapter's horror themes is refreshing. It just needs more atmosphere. And less Fluttershy.

    Right now, she was a more welcome sight than Splendid stepping out of a hot shower.

    Or a shotgun coming out of a shower. Just think about it. Long, glistening, ported barrel with a perky muzzle brake. A stout, shiny drum magazine full of shells just ready to blow, and a marksman's full stock, sturdy and thick. You know you like that better.

    A hot, wet slipperiness moved out of me

    :raritywink:

    The explosion was barely equivalent to a grenade, but it did the job. The cable snapped once more as I was showered with shrapnel.

    None of which apparently cut her.

    I wanted to heal your leg,” I muttered softly.

    “Why? You didn’t break it.”

    Because you should only want to ease suffering that you caused.

    I sighed as I climbed off the bed, looking at the burned out talisman and feeling as if it’d been wasted on me. “I thought if I healed your leg I’d stop reminding you of 99. Then maybe we could be friends.”

    He arched a brow and smiled, shaking his head. “Ever think it’s not about you, Blackjack?” I blinked stupidly at him and he sighed softly. “Guess not. Come on. We’ve got one last thing to deal with.” He started back out the door. “And it’s going to suck. It’s going to suck a lot.”

    This guy is the real hero of this story. That is laser-precise, razor-sharp, bullshit-slaying right there.

    And then they kill some deranged kids. Boo hoo. To be fair, I do really like the lullaby part of the scene.

    It was a figurine of Fluttershy. Her soulful blue eyes looked up at me as she hugged a disgruntled white rabbit beneath her hooves. So gentle. So forgiving. ‘Be Kind’ was written on the base. Her head was cocked just so, as if she knew I desperately needed to talk to her.

    Bleeaaargh. :pinkiesick:

    At least soulful was used right.

    New Perk: Foal at Heart - This perk greatly improves your interactions with children.

    Well, they do substitute foal for fool so it kind of fits.

    Yeah, the change of atmosphere's kind of nice. I like the idea of their enemies, certainly a step up from raiders. There was more tension for this chapter, not just another monty haul. I think I'm done here though.

    6 comments · 161 views
  • 5w, 5h
    Visiden Tries It: Project Horizons Chapter 5

    Right, two to go.

    Step one… stay alive. Step two… I dunno. Step three… profit!”

    Step one, overused gag in an overused crossover. Step two...???? Step three...literary genyuss!

    I actually like the initial description of Hoofington. It's got some details going on and a grand sense of scale.

    We have to pay to get in?” P-21 said skeptically.

    This is where the adverb fails. Give us some body language here like a snort or a raised eyebrow. Don't just say skeptically.

    How these ponies are able to confirm that she's the actual Security Mare isn't shown very well. Did they just buy into her outfit? Pretty gullible sentries here.

    Overhead rested ‘Gun’, a huge cannon mounted in a ceiling turret.

    That may be intimidating, but it's also stupid to place it inside the settlement with the purpose of shooting individual ponies that are already past the gate. You'll just blow up your own base and kill your own troops. A huge cannon should be by the perimeter where it can take out approaching vehicles or large masses of enemy troops.

    Some were obviously raiders,

    Why? Were they wearing the standard raider armor? Did they have slabs of meat hanging off them to remind you they were raiders?

    I’m afraid you’re mistaken,” she said as she looked at me with a cool little smile. “Anypony would have given them a wide berth while they tried to extort my caravans. You were the one that shut them down. Perhaps not a big deal to you, but we’ve lost six caravans in as many months.

    It's not like we're an organized group sitting on a massive stack of weapons and have enough caps to hire a large group of mercenaries armed to the teeth to clear out these raiders that were so incompetent that they were ultimately taken out by one slightly irradiated pony. Only you, Security Mare, were good enough for such a task.

    I glanced at my PipBuck and saw the amount. Five hundred caps, not counting the miscellaneous junk we’d acquired.

    I swear this omniscient pipbuck is so broken for the story. And, I'm sure that five hundred bottle caps don't weigh down our intrepid heroes.

    Just a few days, imagine that,” she replied dryly, arching her brow in a way that suggested I hadn’t seen anything yet.

    Should have stopped at dryly for this one.

    He looked at me coolly. “Girl, I’ve been in the Wasteland a while now and outlived my children and grandchildren. If there’s one thing more precious than clean water and bullets, it’s the feeling that tomorrow you’re less likely to die than today. Those raiders might be replaced by some other band, but yesterday we nearly had a party when we’d heard we could send caravans safely to Manehattan again. That might be nonsense to you, but it means the world to us.”

    Because what I did means the world to you. You'll treat me for free, right? After all, I got these injuries from fighting those raiders.

    Pfft, I doubt she would have had the charisma to pull that off. Maybe if she put on some lingerie, drank some beer, and popped some grape mentats.

    Again, clearly not a question she expected. “Um… it’s different. That’s all I can really say,” she said softly. “We’re not supposed to discuss Thunderhead. It’s all classified.” Huh, go figure. Secrets for her, suspicion from him. I could tell I had a long way to go on this whole ‘making friends’ thing. P-21 still wasn’t even willing to carry a gun; he still saw me as embodying all the fucked up shit he’d endured in Stable 99.

    You've done nothing to earn P-21's trust or respect, bitch. You refuse to take his advice and you drag him along for your harebrained schemes.

    Casserole,” P-21 answered with a small roll of his eyes. Glory mouthed the word in bafflement as P-21 went on. “Apparently they’re delicious and nutritious. She’s paying twenty-five caps each. Six hundred caps if we can bring her twenty. Apparently there’s a pit west of here that’s full of them.”

    Ah yes, the Emperor Scorpion, well known for its tendency to gather together in huge nests.

    My ears immediately perked. “Remove? As in kill and mutilate?” Glory looked at me with some concern. “What? You’ve heard these contracts. The mutilation’s always implied.”

    That's it. Blackjack is a munchkin. She doesn't mesh with the world she's in, she's obssessed with gear, the author makes a big point of listing down all her acquired powers and perks, and her flippancy with this killing and mutilating shows that she sees others as pixels of XP and Loot. Or as friendly NPC's. As if she were in a game.

    I tried to keep my voice as calm as possible, but P-21 still looked suspicious… okay, he usually looked suspicious. Honestly, what was the deal? You round up a guy for summary execution and they never trust you again? Well, if we found something to help his bum leg, maybe then he’d start thinking of me as a friend rather than ‘stable reminder’.

    How do I get him to idolize me so I can get his companion perk? Maybe I can climb in and out of a power armor suit. Or just use drugs next to him. Or help a hundred settlements.

    I just had to say it!” I shouted over the chittering, snapping horde that was advancing at me. The drum-fed combat shotgun I’d picked up for a hundred caps roared over and over again as I retreated around the gravel pit, a half dozen of the radscorpions clawing at me with their pincers and stabbing with their venom-tipped stingers. I couldn’t miss at this range… but I also wasn’t having the best of luck piercing their hides.

    Obviously, when faced with the prospect of taking on multiple melee-focused monsters, I'd go for getting up close and personal with a shotgun as opposed to arming my flying companion with a high-powered rifle to pick them off until I got enough glands.

    Why’d the ground just move? “Look out!” I screamed, seeing flashbacks of ghouls exploding from heaps of bone as I knocked Glory aside. From the middle of the pit heaved the largest radscorpion I’d ever seen! It was as large as three ponies combined, with pincers large enough to snip my limbs and head like a daisy… well… pictures of daisies. I always thought they were flimsy looking flowers… but why was I thinking about flowers now? Its tail struck with such force that I could imagine it going right through me.

    And out comes the scorpion queen. Scorpions are bees, right? I mean they both have stingers. Ah fuck it.

    Let me fly you out!” Morning Glory yelled as the giant radscorpion was tangled in some rusty cabling from a steam crane. There weren’t enough words to express my skepticism, but then there also weren’t enough words to stress how much I really didn’t want to be in that pit.

    “If you think you can,” I said as it scurried towards us. I felt her bite the back of my barding behind my neck and felt her hooves hook into my straps. Her wings beat furiously and I was stunned as we slowly rose up into the air.

    Of course, if you dumped your gear, she'd have an easier time pulling you out. But fuck that shit, a drum-fed combat shot gun is worth both your lives.

    Join the club,” I remarked, then saw their looks. I was splashed almost head to hoof in radscorpion bits. P-21 gave Glory one of our healing potions, but even though the hole in her flank right above her sunrise cutie mark closed, she still didn’t look so good. “Are you okay?” I asked her.

    You know, the massive dose of venom from a giant scorpion should kill her swiftly. Or, the fact that it's giant should mean that it has no venom at all.

    I had no idea what constituted a ‘radscorpion poison gland’, but apparently P-21 did. He and Glory went from scorpion to scorpion collecting them.

    And all of the glands were intact, despite your shooting spree.

    I want that gun,” I shouted, my buckshot peppering the head of a sentry pony as I embarked on a grand unofficial tour of the premises. “I want a lab first, but after that I want an IF-88 ‘Ironpony’. Can I have one?”

    “I’m sure you do,” P-21 said as he carried Morning Glory on his back, watching as my second shot destroyed the sentry. “Ask your mother.”

    Ahahahahaha! Your friend is dying.

    The fight with robots is, surprise surprise, dull. Recently, I've been playing Darkest Dungeon. Now, that game knows how to create tension. It only highlights how quickly Bethesda's rpgs turn into dull power fantasies.

    I proceeded further into the lab, kicking brass and shotgun hulls with each step. I had to admit I was glad nopony had made it up here before us. There was a veritable cornucopia of ammunition up here. I passed by ammo crates with pistol, revolver, shotgun, and rifle ammunition. Several of them had markings I’d never seen before: red, orange, green, blue, and black bands. And here I had a number of sentry robots to try them out on!

    This section descends into gear porn. Look at all the fabulous toys Blackjack's getting!

    I reached out with my magic and carefully lifted the gun. I’d never seen its like before, but something about it made me squirm. I put it in my duffel bag. Most ominously, perhaps, my PipBuck identified it as simply ‘Trottenheimer’s Folly’. Then I looked at the wall the exit wound pointed at...

    Horseshit. At this point, your pipbuck must be making shit up. How would it know this? And if it could know this, why didn't you just hold the ammo you found earlier to it so it can identify them?

    I’m on attempt sixty-one,” he replied with a soft sigh, returning his gaze to the terminal. After a moment, he suddenly brightened a bit. “And… apparently sixty-two is the charm.” There was a click, and the safe in the corner opened up. “There are some journal entries here. Want to read them while I see what we have?”

    Sixty one? Dude, you suck worse than DSP for lockpicking.

    The mysterious journal they find is the only thing that keeps this chapter from being a stupid sidequest filler.

    I’ve decided to rename it ‘Trottenheimer’s Folly’.

    You see, this could have been the part where they discovered the name. Not just have the pipbuck just know it.

    New Perk: Shotgun Surgeon - When using shotguns, regardless of the type of ammunition used, you ignore an additional 10 points of a target’s damage threshold.

    That's a crap perk. Limits you too much to one type of weapon. Never took it myself in any Fallout game. I suppose it's more appropriate for what happened in the chapter.




    12 comments · 123 views
  • 5w, 1d
    Visiden Tries It: Project Horizons Chapter 4

    Right, let's keep going. The story has three more chapters to strut its stuff before I reach the crisis point in our relationship.

    Nopony knew the Overmare,” P-21 muttered. He’d been in a snit all morning, grumbling to himself and giving me sullen looks. Really, was shooting a bunch of radigators so bad? He scowled at every lump of dead grass beside the road. What was he worried about? My E.F.S. would pick up any threats.

    I've never encountered radigators in fallout, then again I haven't played every fallout so points for not sticking to in-game monsters. But I would think that giant mutated alligators should have a better introduction and present a bigger threat than just more mooks to bring down.

    As for the last bit, he's probably training himself to not rely on machinery that might give out. Proving yet again that he's smarter than you. Which is barely an accomplishment.

    P-21 looked at me and then gave a disinterested shrug. “Don’t ask me. There’s nothing in 99 I want to remember.”

    Except my name, which is symbolic of my objectification in that vault.

    I almost stopped… but fuck it. He was going to be in a bad mood either way. Why’d I have to leave Stable 99 with the pony carrying a whole stable’s worth of issues? Why not U-14? Least then I’d be in the Wasteland with some fine flank.

    It is good to see that the gory death of Scoodle has impressed upon Blackjack the gravity of her situation. As such, she has learned to take minor annoyances in stride as they are nothing compared to the harsh reality of daily living in the surface world.

    I snorted. “I am not oblivious!” Then I tripped on a chunk of asphalt and went sprawling on my face. Okay, maybe a little oblivious.

    If she tripped because she didn't see the chunk of asphalt, then she should have fallen first THEN checked what tripped her before describing the chunk of asphalt.

    P-21 sighed. “First, that this ‘Sanguine’ was probably watching the stable before U-21 left it.

    Yeah, he's the daedric prince of hedonism. You guys are fucked, possibly literally.

    Again with the running plan. Always a running plan. Never a sneaking and avoiding a fight plan,” P-21 whispered as he limped along behind me.

    Exactly. Blackjack is thinking like a gamer here, trying to get as much XP and phat lewtz as possible and acting as if she can just load if things get fucked, while P-21 seems to understand that you can win a hundred battles, but you only need to lose one.

    I remembered Scoodle mentioning roboponies

    This "gotta go through me" narration  has been a prevalent annoyance in the story so far. "Scoodle mentioned roboponies" works just as well with fewer words.

    So there's a random encounter with a robot which they salvage. It's a dull one-sided affair as have most of the fights so far. I'm starting to suspect that, if you remove all the random encounters, you might be able to cut PH to half its size.

    “Huh… I think I prefer raiders. They at least carry loot"

    I prefer to kill living ponies so I can loot their dead bodies. A bastion of equinity, this one. There's that gamer thinking.

    I hit S.A.T.S. at once and, as before, unleashed three blows on the machine’s head. Fast as I was as I made the attack, the beam proved faster and scorched a line across my neck.

    Yawn. Not even a description of the pain. At least tell me how much HP you lost.

    All the ponies had dented plates from bullet impacts. “I guess they weren’t made to resist being attacked by some pony with a heavy metal stick.”

    Makes sense. A metal plate strong enough to deflect bullets would not be effective against lower-velocity strikes from weapons with multiple points of impact.

    Then I noticed the bodies at the door. Not decades or centuries old, these were fresh, pungent, and swollen.

    You would smell these first before seeing them. Describe the smell first then have her look for the source. Is her sense of smell that bad? Probably from snorting coke in Vault 99.

    Any idea what this is?” I asked, pointing the boxy pistol at the wall. My telekinesis pressed a small button on the handle. With a sharp pop of expanding air, a red bolt of energy shot out and left a singe on the concrete wall. A glance at my PipBuck confirmed: magic beam pistol. I also noted our location: Weather Monitoring Station 4.

    Maybe you should consult with your omniscient pipbuck BEFORE fucking around with mysterious devices, genius.

    I was amazed to get four shots programmed with the S.A.T.S., and, while the blasts were definitely not as tightly placed as with a normal gun, my luck didn’t seem to care what weapon I shot.

    I was amazed to get four shots programmed with the mookslayer, and, while blasts were definitely not as tightly placed as with a normal gun, the author didn't seem to care what weapon I shot.

    There, fixed it.

    The robot’s red searing beam struck me in the chest, scorching my barding and reminding me to move my ass!

    These lasers punch through metal plate, but they have all the effect of cigarette burns on Blackjack. They don't slow her down, they elicit nothing more than a throwaway mention, and they're gone by the next potion chug. She gets hit multiple times throughout this drawn out fight, but they appear to cause nothing more than first degree burns whereas her lasers melt steel.

    One wall was dominated by a massive terminal that had clearly seen better days, while a corner held shelves with an automatic pistol and two ammo boxes.

    Now, I'm not American. This doesn't take place in America, but Fallout is supposed to take place in America, so I have to ask. Is this a good representation? Do you all just have guns and boxes of ammo lying around everywhere?

    "What is it with people shooting me when my guard is down, huh? That’s twice in two days.”

    How about not dropping your guard all the time, then?

    Since when did my eyes fucking glow?

    This is where the end notes fuck the story up. We know this ahead of Blackjack so it's no reveal.

    No idea,” he said as I started on my last Sparkle-Cola. Darn things were addictive! Enjoying the warm carroty taste, I glanced back down the hall

    Isn't Nuka Cola radioactive? Clearly something you should drink when you're still suffering from radiation poisoning.

    The recording was clearly old, but I heard a dull chuckle. “Yeah dude. Rainbow may be hot but, like, you got no chance man. Dude, isn’t she like the spokespony for mare riders? Heh… yeah I hear that. So you check out my score on the last basketball match with monitor one? Shyeah, we kicked tail thanks to yours truly. Hey, what happened…?” Suddenly I could hear a noise with a deep reverberation and a sucking sound that transformed into a roar.

    Why would they record this? This isn't from a security camera or whatever, it was on a pony. Why would you record yourself talking about fucking your boss or some high-ranking official?

    Damn it! I’d been fine when the bones were just bones. I didn’t want to think of dozens of foals dying slowly of radiation poisoning while someone, somewhere, casually let them die. “How could they?”

    Oh no, children died. Reading these fallout stories throw child deaths and rape out there is like watching Miley Cyrus sexing it up. It's not shocking or disturbing. It just gets sad in the long run. It's done too often and with little impact.

    Right. And then they sent these volunteers on a peace mission to raiders? If that was incompetence, they deserved an award for the sheer scale of it.

    You'd be the expert on incompetence, Blackjack.

    The story seems to be blurring the Followers of the Apocalypse and the Enclave. It's a genuinely interesting eyebrow raiser, but I'll have to see how it's executed.

    They go into another raider hideout and shoot it up with ease. Good God, somepony please crank up the difficulty level. What is this, Very Easy mode? If I want an endless grind of shooting up raider hideouts, I'll talk to Preston Garvey, thank you very much.

    And then Spike does the Three Dog thing. It's pretty dumb, and props to Blackjack for pointing out how dumb it is. Even though she's just as bad.

    Footnote: Level Up.

    Makes sense that Blackjack is levelling with each chapter. She has the Idiot Savant perk and it's proccing very often. DUHHHHH!

    New Perk: Friend of the Night - Your eyes adapt quickly to low-light situations.

    Maybe change that to "Near-invulnerability to Energy Damage" because that's what you demonstrated in this chapter.

    7 comments · 127 views
Viewing 1 - 10 of 13 stories
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 7
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The King of the Eternal Herd has many duties, but, sometimes, the father of a filly indulges himself.

First Published
11th Jun 2016
Last Modified
11th Jun 2016
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(Part of the Upheaval world)

Sharp Mark has been training his charge for a long time, knowing that, one day, this quiet pegasus colt must bear a tremendous responsibility upon his shoulders. But there are still a few more lessons to teach, and a few more wrinkles to iron out.

First Published
11th Apr 2016
Last Modified
11th Apr 2016
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 48
 306

The Void Rift Crisis, the ill-fated bridge between one era to another. A time of great falls and rises within the Eternal Herd. An alicorn colt, curious about the events involving this time, speaks to some prominent figures involved in it.

First Published
1st Dec 2015
Last Modified
1st Dec 2015
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A beastly plague has descended upon Ponyville, filling its streets with blood and madness. Its denizens desperately wait for reprieve, and a stranger steps into the nightmarish haze. A cure must be found, questions must be answered.

The Hunt is on.

First Published
16th Sep 2015
Last Modified
17th May 2016
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This story is a sequel to Upheaval: Reckoning

Equestria's fragments have reunited, and the power of sunlight shines once more within Celestia. With the remnants of the Old Kingdom destroyed, the Abyssal Throne sent away, the threat of Gravitas defeated, and Black Rose no more, Equestria now faces the encroaching darkness of Oceanus and his rebels.

But the stage is not yet fully set. Twilight Sparkle and her friends must gather what means they may before the battle is joined.

Cover art provided by Obsidian Rose

First Published
6th Mar 2015
Last Modified
14th Jul 2016
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After the siege of Bastion City and the theft of the power of sunlight, Spike takes on Prince Terrato's offer to train under the kirin, Seethe Scale. He must travel to the Western Barrier Land to gain the strength to help his friends.

Once there, however, Spike soon realizes that there is more for him to contend with in this harsh environment than developing his abilities.

First Published
8th Jan 2015
Last Modified
3rd Jun 2015
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 26
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A great many things occur all throughout Equestria as the reunification proceeds and the days count down to a great upheaval. Every grand picture holds many small details, easily forgotten or unnoticed. These are brief records of such things.

First Published
6th Dec 2014
Last Modified
6th Dec 2014
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 17
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Black Rose's elite agents serve her in various ways. To accomplish her tasks, their talents must be both great and diverse, requiring individuals from the far-flung corners of Equestria. To gather them is a difficult task in and of itself, a task that two siblings must deal with if Black Rose's plans could even have a chance to succeed.

First Published
4th Jul 2014
Last Modified
4th Jul 2014
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Throughout history, the wolven have been known as vicious and rapacious raiders, swooping in from their frozen homeland far to the north in small bands to seize what they please from unfortunate settlements and caravans across Equestria's borders. For this one occasion, however, wolven raiders have acquired something that may be more trouble than it's worth.

First Published
27th Jun 2014
Last Modified
27th Jun 2014
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Lexarius the steward, the alicorn sent by the Herd to aid those oppressed by the Everlasting Kingdom and their own tainted heritage, seeks to help those he considers his new kin. The first step, however, proves difficult as he must preside over a meeting that reveals old hatreds that may well destroy his path before he could even take it.

First Published
27th Apr 2014
Last Modified
27th Apr 2014