A Red Star Over Equestria
A knock rang from the door as an old mare sat by the fireplace on a rocking chair in a small room, which so happened to be the entire house. Some cracked windows were boarded up and tatters remained of the curtain. A bed barely big enough for one lay in a corner of the room. She strainfully got up from her rocking chair with an obvious lump in her belly to open the door. The wind blew a hard, cold wall of frigid air into the house as a near-frozen stallion in a military uniform wielding a rifle entered the house, gingerly taking off his shoes that by now had no soles.
He had for months been away fighting on the Western front, and now what remained of his regiment was too little to provide much more than cannon fodder, so he was dispatched home, arriving on the bleak snowy night in late October, 1917. His wife hugged him and began crying on his shoulder. She had been forced to plow their field and sow like two stallions, and clearly came up short. Her rations were down to bare bones and knew she couldn’t take this any longer. The stallion, no longer feeling any loving emotions, held tighter to his rifle as a frown descended on his face. He couldn’t take this any longer either, and he was going to do something about it.
A nationwide crisis had developed in Equestria affecting social, economic, and political relations. Disorder in industry and transport had intensified, and difficulties in obtaining food and provisions had increased. Gross industrial production in 1917 had decreased by over 36 percent from what it had been in 1916. In the autumn, as much as 50 percent of all enterprises were closed down in Manehattan, Fillydelphia, and other industrial centers, leading to mass unemployment. At the same time, the cost of living increased sharply. The real wages of the workers fell about 50 percent from what they had been in 1913. Equestria's national debt in October 1917 had risen to 50 billion bits. Of this, debts to foreign governments constituted more than 11 billion bits. The empire faced the threat of financial bankruptcy.
Like many princesses before her, Trixie thought she was invincible. She wished her country prosperity like it had under Celestia and Luna before her, except she lacked the competence to be a good ruler that they had. Under Trixie, Equestria was suffering and she barely even noticed, never leaving Canterlot’s royal palace, and anypony who dared tell her that she was doing something wrong was swiftly and forcibly silenced. Her palace was surrounded by some of the richest and most well-off ponies in all the lands, amounting for a good half of a percent of Equestria’s total population, almost all the rest being dirt poor tramps and penniless peasants. She went to bed that night in a large, lavish bed, and slept like a queen.
The stallion walked over a black bridge over a bayou through the heart of the city he lived in and stopped once he came across his destination. The stallion in the decrepit military uniform knocked three times on an iron door to a large concrete structure with no windows. “Никого нет дома!” Replied a harsh voice. “Go away!”
“It is I, comrade, Tycovich of the 34th infantry!” The stallion replied in a calm but gravelly voice. There was a short pause, then the door swung open, he quickly trotted in, and the door slammed shut again. The room was dimly lit by an incandescent bulb at the center of a table, around which sat 4 other stallions, also in military uniforms, of various stages of decay.
“Maxim Tycovich! A hundred years comrade!” A white earth stallion with a large scar from his left ear to his cheek cheered. Next to him sat a 3 legged orange pegasus, Corporal Korminsky, who had the unfortunate luck of having it dip into the river and be frozen solid while under fire by the attacking German ponies. One stallion was sitting in a dark corner of the room. As he stood up, it was revealed in reality he, or rather she, was no stallion at all but rather a tan mare with blonde hair, with 3 big red stars on her flank. “Ah reckon that Trixie is a buffoon, and so is the rest of the upper class!” she said, slamming down a small but thick brown book on the table, with a big red star on it, and slid it to the group. The purple earth pony sitting next to the orange pegasus, being the only literate one, other than the mare, began to read aloud the book.
Two hours later, the book finally concluded, and still the faces of the stallions remained stern, gripping their rifles tight at their sides. The white stallion stood up, seeming angry to the verge of tears, lifted up a forehoof to fix his cap, and immediately slammed it to the table, causing the lamp to bounce into the air.
The white stallion lifted a hoof to signify he is going to speak, and began a clam speech. “An intolerable atmosphere has been created, in which you, as well as we, are choking. They are throwing dirty accusations at Applejack and me. Applejack has fought thirty years for the revolution. I have fought for twenty years against the oppression of the people. And we cannot but cherish a hatred for Trixie . . . I have been sentenced by a court to eight months' imprisonment for my struggle against royalty. This everybody knows. Let nobody in this room say I am a traitor.
He cleared his throat, showing that was just a warning, indicating what he was about to say might sound as treason.
He was suddenly interrupted by the orange pegasus. “I agree with comrade Applejack. The working class is superior in every way to the bourgeoisie!” He turned around and circled the date on the calendar. October the 25th. We have been oppressed for so long- so bitterly long! This regime cannot be ended with paper and ink. It must die at the hooves of the rifles! The time for revolution is ripe!
The whole room began nodding, and the white stallion unlocked the door as they flooded the streets of St. Poniesburg. Stealthily recruiting an army of twenty more stallions, Applejack led the revolutionaries onto a train titled “Aurora” and an intense conversation began about what to do with the princess, what to do with the people, and how to properly execute the revolution.
5 months had passed, and April had just sprung forward. Snow still piled the ground, however thousands stood in St. Poniesburg in the streets rallying in peaceful protest to the princess’s reign. Tycovich was excited that during the meeting, despite pleas for violence by many, the decision was made to organize a parade through the streets pleading the princess to right her wrongs.
Trixie in the royal court sat high on her gold-plated throne, having a hooficure done. A royal pegasus pony hastily brought the princess a letter and backed off, not daring to say what the letter is of. She handed the letter to the nearby guard who read the letter to her, suddenly sweating bullets as he got to the middle.
“...and so the citizens of St. Poniesburg are openly uhhh... revolting in the streets demanding a change in your regime, your highness. What are your orders?’
“Oh, these peasants think they can stand up to ME!?! I am the ruler of 1/6 of this planet's landmass and they are revolting against the Great and Powerful Trixie?”
“Yes...” the guard said sheepishly.
“Very well. Open fire.”
“I’ll deliver the order at once, your highness.” The guard said, flying away to the military outpost from which the message shall be relayed.
Stallions of all races and colors marched in a line into the center of St. Poniesburg, dressed in pressed military uniforms and clean white officer caps. They were armed with high-caliber rifles and marched in a menacing trot. “STOP!” yelled the lead officer, and the whole column stopped and trained their rifles at the peaceful crowd.
“Sir!” yelled Tycovich, ripping away from being held back by his comrades. “This protest is peaceful, we wish not to hurt, but to appease the masses of this fine Equ-“
“FIRE!” the officer ordered, and a volley of hot lead flew from the men in neat uniforms. After a few more rounds, the men about-faced and marched away. Hundreds upon hundreds of bleeding stallions leaned against walls in the street. Tycovich, among over a dozen others, lay lifeless in the road.
The white stallion, orange pegasus, and tan mare looked at the cold body of their comrade. The orange pegasus opened his mouth to talk, but closed it again at a loss of words. The mare started instead. “We cannot give up on peace, no matter how deadly of a force is propped up against you.” Now the orange pegasus somberly spoke. “However, peace is not always the best strategy. Trixie fired upon her own people. The only thing that can stop this freight train to hell is if the people fire upon Trixie. Gentlemen, I believe a coup d’état is in order.”
Crowds all around the Equestrian empire buzzed about, sharing the latest issue of Izvestia to those who can’t read. A mutual cry of outrage ensued as the masses heard about the hundreds upon hundreds wounded and the 20 or so dead from the army’s assault on the peaceful demonstration, vehemently labeled “St. Poniesburg Massacre!”. Within minutes, another detachment rolled through Canterlot, confiscating and destroying any newspaper and burning the headquarters of Izvestia.
The demands which the workers and soldiers took to the streets with in the April Days were influenced by the Workers Party. “All Power to the Workers” and other slogans put forth by the lower class, taking up the political affiliation of the “Union Party” were taken up by the workers and soldiers on the streets. The demonstration was organized by the Ponie’s Liberation Army without authorization from the princess after pressure from rank and file soldiers. During the afternoon of April 9th, the Committee of Pony Public Affaris (КСОЛ) with the support of Ponineyev, Trottingsky and Horsiev decided to take action to restrain the developing situation.
Under the pressure of what seemed like a developing mass demonstration of workers and soldiers in the streets, the leadership of the Ponie’s Liberation Army, and later the КСОЛ, reversed their decision, coming out in support of the street demonstrations. Both Trottingsky and Horsiev persistently argued that the street protests remain peaceful. After this decision, the Ponie’s Liberation Army actively organized and supported the demonstration, mobilizing reinforcements from the front lines and dispatching armored carriages to capture key posts including bridges and the Eastern Outpost Fortress.
Trixie ordered the arrest of Applejack and the other leading Unionists, accusing them of inciting revolt with German financial backing. Applejack successfully fled and went into hiding in Finland, but many other Unionist leaders were arrested, including Trottingsky and Surpriskiy who were apprehended on 22 July. They remained in prison until Trixie released them in response to General Korminsky’s attempted coup.
The government crisis was intensified by Kerensky becoming leader of the КСОЛ. A defected cult under the leadership of the Equestrian Regime proclaimed the Unionists acknowledged it to have “unlimited powers.” The КСОЛ became a powerless appendage of the government. The suppression of the demonstrations marked the end of dual power. The peaceful development of the revolution was seen as impossible.
It was a bleak June midnight outside of Canterlot. Even at the late hours, the sky was still bright as early evening. Trixie new full well that her white army was deserting by the thousands daily, and that an armed attack on the antagonizing belligerents was the only way to assure her regime would not fall to them. The red army, however, led physically by Korminsky, the orange 3 legged pegasus, politically by the now freed Trottingsky, and ideologically by the brilliant Applejack, was well prepared for such event. Standing 3 million strong, the ragtag army of peasants stood barely formidable had it not been bound by the powerful hate towards the Empire’s regime.
Meanwhile back at the small cottage, a mare was being accompanied by two other mares, comforting her still over the loss of her husband one month ago in the massacre. Her belly was sticking out to its full extent, meaning something was about to give. The two mares dared not leave her side at this point in time, a foal was just about guaranteed to come that day.
Trixie gave the executive order: “Kill any Unionist”. The white army lurched forth, crossing the bridge from the palace, killing 3 earth ponies congregating at its side, themselves sustaining no casualties. Then the White Army split in 3, one battalion headed for Manehattan, one for St. Poniesburg, and one to remain in Canterlot. The whistle on the Aurora squealed a deafening shrill. Stallions all across the countryside grabbed their weapons; they knew what it meant. As the three armies parted across separate bridges, the army remaining in Canterlot about-faced, but then suddenly everypony, despite rigid discipline, instinctively turned to see what had happened behind them. A giant plume of smoke rose from the bridge to the road to Manehattan, as the great arches tumbled inwards, and the bridge was reduced to rubble. Half of the regiment that did not yet cross the bridge plummeted to their demise.
The mare gasped. “The foal’s coming! I can feel it!”. One mare rushed into the kitchen and set a pot to boil.
A wall of lead flew at the regiment headed to St. Poniesburg. The first lines tumbled, as their green-blue uniforms faded to a dark red. Out behind two hills that lined the road, an onrush of Unionist PLA soldiers charged at the unsuspecting army, cheering “For the Red Army! Death to the princess!”. Although the majority was unarmed, the strategy was well-set. The front was composed of armed ponies, and as the regiment retreated, more weapons “became available” both from fallen comrades and the enemy. Although not outnumbered by much, the Red Army successfully caught the White Army regiment by surprise and had critically flanked them. Within half an hour the whole regiment of one million strong lay before them, dead. The Red army had suffered a crippling casualty of half their stallions, amounting to 700,000, however that did not stop the remainder in the least from marching on to Canterlot.
“GAH!” the mare screamed, as her two companions laid her down on her bed.
The remainder of the army bound to Manehattan had not even gotten far enough to no longer see Canterlot before they came across a small concrete bunker with windows covered in makeshift retractable iron shutters. Inside was a small army of 50 ponies, guns trained at the White Army. No reinforcements were prepared for a counter-attack, so they knew this would be a battle to the death, to buy the Red Army precious minutes to set up their entrenchment not much farther down the road. The officer yelled “FIRE!” and a whiff of grapeshot spattered against the concrete walls, everypony inside was able to close the shutters in time before any shots made it in. Fierce return fire ensued, until the stallions inside could see the whites of the enemy’s oversized eyes. More fire battered the building, one unicorn inside getting hit square in the forehead, and a fine red mist tore out the exitwound.
Though suffering improportional casualties, eventually the White Army successfully tossed enough grenades in to paint the walls with the opposition’s internal organs. Two scouts raided the bunker, taking a half-empty bag of lead ammunition they found in a pocket of an unidentified torso at the door. Unsuccessful at finding anything useful, they rejoined the battalion, now in the sights of the amply prepared Red Army, who to the White Army’s dismay had set up sandbag walls and even a machine gunner. The fighting had died down within minutes, and the battalion surrendered.
One of the mares rushed to the pregnant mare’s side, holding a pot of sterile water and towels. “Not much time left.”
Both Red Armies converged at the bridge to Canterlot on St. Poniesburg’s side and crossed, suppressing fire from the garrisoned White Army. “ONWARDS TO THE PALACE!” cried General Korminsky, and the Red Army held their bayonet points out and charged. The White Army division crossed around a corner and also charged, but both armies stopped a block away from each other.
“FIRE!” screamed Status Quo, the colonel of the White Army in Canterlot. After a pause there was an impromptu cough. He turned around, his face red, veins popping out of his forehead. “FIRE YOU SHITS!”. A first sergeant stepped forward, saluted, and informed him that the division wished to surrender. The colonel now was well and truly pissed. He took out his flintlock pistol and held it up the sergeant’s chin. There was a clicking and a White Army soldier held his rifle to the colonel’s forehead. The anger left his face and was now replaced by sincere shock. After a long and awkward pause another soldier lifted his rifle to the colonel’s head. Then another. Eventually half the army proceeded to point their rifles at the colonel. Even though most did not by any means have a clear line of sight at the colonel, each refused to point at the Red Army in one way or another. The colonel lowered his pistol and sighed. After a hasty minute-long speech, he finished with decreeing the masses are in control now, and resigned his post. A captain stepped forward towards the Red Army and proceeded to surrender, agreeing to fight on the side of the revolutionaries.
General Korminsky ordered the army to charge at the heavily defended fortress, all except for 20 brave stallions who volunteered to storm the defense headquarters some blocks away. The Red Army backed off, letting the artillery front and center. After some fire taking out the turrets firing back, the cannons turned and took out the cross-woven iron gate at the palace. Relatively few guards dared to fire back at the Army as it entered the fortress. They knew all was lost.
“And so ve have minor rrrebellions heah, heah, und heah” an officer said, holding a hoof to Manehattan and surrounding areas. There was a polite knock on the door, followed by 2 stallions bucking the door to shrapnel. Of the officers inside, 10 lifted their flintlock pistols, and were met with 20 rifle barrels. The first sergeant stepped forward and ordered their arrest. After a bit of embarrassing shuffling and mumbling, it was determined no one was literate enough to produce any arrest papers, which made for an even more awkward situation when the enemy officers were forced at bayonet point to write their own arrest papers.
A majority of the Red Army stood outside the gates, for the simple reason was that there was no way everyone could participate in the storming. Korminsky and a few other elite soldiers entered the palace, following a detailed map they received from a captured guard, and followed the instructions to the room where Trixie was sleeping in. The door burst open, giving Trixie a rude awakening from her peaceful slumber, as the soldiers flipped her bed over, forcing her to jump off and stumble on the floor. Korminsky pulled a sharp serrated knife out of his pocket. “I’m sorry...” he said, lying. The royal blood spilled onto the floor as Trixie fell sideways, blood gushing from her neck.
“It’s a filly!” one mare proclaimed, as she handed the newborn filly to the mother. It was a small orange pegasus with purple hair and big purple eyes.
“What shall we name it?” asked one of the mares.
The mother looked at her filly for a moment, then spoke again. “It must represent the blood that was spilled for her liberties, and she will be the first to help a friend like a bullet.” she said. I’ll name her Crimson Tracer. And so she craned her neck and kissed her newborn.