• Member Since 15th Feb, 2012
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  • 267 weeks
    [Story Excerpt] The Drop-Off

    As before, a passage from Galvanized. The tentpole moments in the story were everyman protagonist Kevin seeing how the HLF's struggle to turn away the ponies actually went down, and it was these moments I had actually drafted up to act as waypoints for the plot. Like Mad Max in the excellent recent movie Fury Road, he is less of a "main character" and more of the vessel

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    3 comments · 370 views
  • 269 weeks
    [Story Excerpt] Deal of a Lifetime

    This is a scene from my cancelled TCB story Galvanized in which the protagonist, Kevin, meets with Oklahoma's HLF head honcho in a kind of interview/acclimatization process. I never edited, beta'd, or even second-passed the chapter this scene was in, so it stands as-is, but as a concept for a set-piece I'm proud of it (it's also where the title-drop occurs) and wanted to share

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    7 comments · 416 views
  • 296 weeks
    On Badasses and What Makes Them Badass

    This might be an ill-advised blog entry because I'm writing through a fever and it's late, but this pony fanfiction site is the only place I visit where I can even remotely pretend that me "writing about writing" is relevant to anything people are hanging around to see. I don't even know if a treatise like this exists elsewhere on FIMfiction but whatever, I can't get to sleep and whenever I close

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    3 comments · 377 views
  • 299 weeks
    Happy Veteran's Day

    Whether you call it that, Remembrance Day, or Armistice Day, if you know someone who served, please thank them if you haven't already. Even during the best of times, duty permeates every aspect of your life. It's demanding living, hard on families and relationships, a perfect storm of boredom, obligation, trepidation, and, all too often, horror.

    4 comments · 262 views
  • 324 weeks
    Always Say No Featured on Royal Canterlot Library!

    A few weeks ago, I was approached asking if I would allow Always Say No to be put up on Royal Canterlot Library. I said yes, of course (I don't always say no, haw haw), and I very much enjoyed reading what RCL's staff had to say about it, which includes their own personal rationales for choosing

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    9 comments · 324 views

[Story Excerpt] The Drop-Off · 1:40am Jun 25th, 2015

As before, a passage from Galvanized. The tentpole moments in the story were everyman protagonist Kevin seeing how the HLF's struggle to turn away the ponies actually went down, and it was these moments I had actually drafted up to act as waypoints for the plot. Like Mad Max in the excellent recent movie Fury Road, he is less of a "main character" and more of the vessel through which we follow a larger story.

The "bleeding man" mentioned is a human PER fighter who went only by his pony name, Macaroni.

"You monsters!" screamed Spun Gold through the bars. "All you want is to spread misery and hatred!"

Mitchell wheeled on her, throwing the bleeding man to the floor. "All we wanted was to be left alone!" he shouted back. "Why is that so hard for ponies to understand? What do they want from us?"

"We want you to go to Equestria!" she wailed through her tears. "I want to go there too! What's happened can't be undone, it's the only—"

"You wanna go to Equestria?" he snarled, his teeth bared, his face wrinkling as it twisted with rage. "Fine! Let's get you to Equestria! All you had to do was ask."

He gestured to Kevin and Sully. "Get in there, secure her. We're taking a little road trip."

* * *

Ninety minutes later, two SUVs stopped a quarter of a mile from the Barrier. Mitchell had barely waited for Kevin to throw his vehicle into park before jumping from his seat, unslinging his shotgun, running around to the back of the truck, dropping the tailgate, and dragging Spun Gold from the back. He dropped her to the ground, the fine dust of the road puffing up in a thin orange cloud around her. Sully and two other gunmen pulled the bound Macaroni from their SUV, treating him to a similarly rough landing on the grassy field off to the side of the road.

"Cut him loose," said Mitchell, pointing at Macaroni. He turned to Spun Gold, standing over her prone form. Absolutely everything was cast in the intense orange-pink glow of the Barrier's light, the surface shifting and glimmering like poolwater stood on its side.

"You're getting your wish, pony: you're going to Equestria," said Mitchell. "Even better news? So is he. Right now."

Kevin blinked as he shut the door. "W-wait, him too?" he asked.

Mitchell looked up and shrugged. "It's what they want, right? They want to go to Equestria and toast the death of humanity, and we want to be left alone. Everybody's happy."

"But the Barrier will kill him!" protested Kevin. "The pony princesses themselves are always saying that it's deadly for humans."

"But he ain't a human, didn't you realize?" said Mitchell. "He's a—how do PER like to put it again?—a 'pony in a human's body.' So he should be fine! And if it turns out he's not, well, it's not like it's our fault he was deluded. Ponies belong in Equestria, and the Barrier's meant to keep humans out. If it kills him, then it turns out he was human aaaallll along." He looked down at Spun Gold. "If I were you, I'd be upset if someone so close to me had been lying to me all this time. Don't care much for liars, no ma'am."

One of the gunmen pulled Macaroni to his feet while Sully cut the duct tape around his wrists and ankles with a folding knife. Kevin's mouth moved slowly, but he couldn't think of anything to say.

"No!" cried Spun Gold! "No, don—" Mitchell pinned Spun Gold's head to the road by stepping on her horn, his shotgun aimed at her center of mass. She winced and mewled, screwing her eyes shut against the sudden crushing pain.

"You're not welcome on Earth anymore, traitor," called Mitchell across the road to Macaroni. "There's the door. You step through it, she follows unharmed. If you don't get to walking, my boys will shoot you dead, and then I'll shoot your girlfriend dead. You should listen to me, because I think you know by now..."

He grinned down at Spun Gold, his voice dropping to a growl. "...I'm a man of my word."

Sully prodded Macaroni with the muzzle of his rifle, and the man began plodding towards the Barrier, his gait uneven and halted. He looked over his shoulder once, and raised his hand.

"I love you, Spun!" he called out. "Never forget me!"

"Macaroni! No!" wailed Spun Gold, struggling against Mitchell's boot and the tape around all four of her legs. "No, don't leave..." The last word trailed off, fading into sobs. Tears and snot began to darken the dirt beneath her face. She went quiet, her body hitching.

Mitchell sighed. "Ugh, he's walking slow," he muttered. "We're gonna be here a while."

From a worm's eye view, Spun Gold watched unblinking the entire horrid spectacle of her lover's unmaking, his silhouette growing smaller against the impossibly large wall of gentle light. She saw him grasp his own head as he stumbled further along, then doubling over, then finally crawling as the stuff of the Barrier swallowed him up, leaving no trace behind. Kevin saw it too, biting his lip, wanting to turn away.

He'd always known the stakes were high, lines drawn in the sand, but he never had an idea that anyone could go so far.

"Well! That's that," said Mitchell, lifting his foot from Spun Gold's horn. "Just a human, who'da guessed. You're up, darlin'." Sully and the others, who had been covering Macaroni until his passing, turned their attention to Mitchell and the unicorn, keeping their weapons ready in case the pony lashed out. Mitchell flicked his pocket knife out and knelt, cutting Spun Gold's binds. As she got to her hooves, he took two paces back, his shotgun still pointed at her.

"On your way, now," he said, his voice low and dangerous, "and don't ever come back."

Kevin began feeling odd sensations in his arms and legs, itches and aches and restlessness that lasted for fractions of seconds, always in different places. Colors danced in his vision, and he began to think he could hear small children laughing.

The pony glared daggers at the HLF leader through teary, bloodshot eyes, wisps of mane messy and tangled in front of her face. "I don't intend to," she spat before galloping straight at the Barrier, which absorbed her into its mass with a watery ripple.

Mitchell cradled his shotgun in one arm and scratched behind his neck with his free hand. "Let's book," he said, "it's gettin' to me." The others went about mounting back up in their respective vehicles.

Kevin wanted to get out of there as soon as possible, and not just because of the Barrier. His hands shook as he wrapped them around the steering wheel, struggling to find the motor function necessary to turn the key. After what seemed like hours, the engine kicked over, and the two HLF vehicles swung back west, returning to Oklahoma. Kevin tried to concentrate on the road. It would get worse. It could only get worse.

Equestria was right on their doorstep, and his boss was playing chicken.

"Now that," said Mitchell from the back seat, "is torment to be remembered by."

Report Defoloce · 370 views · #tcb #conversion bureau
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Comments ( 3 )

A good piece, not quite as compelling as the last, but still very, very good. I think I wanted to have Macaroni's death a little more, well, brutal. Skin turning to blackened ash as he walked, flaking off like dead leaves before his bones collapsed... that sort of thing. It's the money shot here, and I felt it could be punched up just a tad.

Other than that, I really liked the little details, the itching of thaumatic radiation on their skins, the shimmer of the light, the sheer nastiness of the bastard HLF folks. This is banal evil incarnate - so certain of their truth that the end always justifies the means. The intrepid way Mitchell seeks personal redemption and vindication for his cruelty by clinging to his one, solitary virtue - that he always keeps his word - wow. Just wow.

I am wishing this novel would be finished. I am wishing you would just complete this work. It's good stuff. It's very good stuff.


In my feeble defense, this is the skeleton of the scene, and never got even a second pass, just like the first one I shared. What you read is what I Ctrl+V'd from my Google Docs. I had all these scenes in mind but Kevin just didn't come to life with the arc I needed to stitch them together—I soon realized after a bit more writing that he became a background pony character in almost every scene he was in, which, given the 3rd person limited POV I was trying to work with, flavored everything with notes of passiveness I didn't like.

Hmm... you know... just as an odd thought... Gordon Freeman (and nearly every other video game hero) never speaks, and has no definable personality - except for that of the player, and the character is total win. Maybe a novel that is sufficiently interesting and filled with powerful characters could have a silent (or passive) protagonist and still work? Deliberately passive, deliberately neutral - so that the reader infuses them with themselves?

You have so much truly excellent work in these two excerpts. You always impress - that goes without saying though I still will - but the snippets of Galvanized really have punch, you know? Even for you, they have special power. Of course I am happy you are sharing them.

But damn. Seriously damn. You have written the HLF novel I always wanted to but never could.

I just keep thinking... this is way too good to not be completed. When I have read your bits? I did not care about Kevin's passivity one bit. The circumstances and characters he witnesses made of Kevin a walking camera, and I truly did not care one bit.

In a way, if he were more active, it would take away from the other characters. His passivity illuminates them.

I may deliberately attempt your 'passive protagonist' discovery one day. Just to see if it can work. Because... for me at least, it does, here.

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