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Fallout Equestria: I Walk the (Firing) Line Reviews: Prologue and Chapter 1 · 5:53am Dec 25th, 2019

Video made by me

Well, seeing as how its Christmas I am going to review something... not at all Christmas related again. In this case I'm going back to the fics written by my friend the Bricklayer, but instead of going with his Tokusatsu based stories like last time, we're delving into his story Fallout Equestria: I walk the (Firing) Line.

So, what kind of history do we have behind this one? Well, this is technically a spin-off of one of my stories, Survivor's Guilt. Basically its set parallel to the events of it and the events of the Enclave War, and while it makes a few references to it here and there, it still tells its own story. We have some interesting things to go into in the story, and I'll do what I can to explain it as best I can when needed as well as go into the details on the story itself.

Not much to say other than that really. So, shall we begin?

Prologue: Griffon in the Wastes

“And I heard, as it were, the noise of thunder:
One of the four beasts saying: “Come and see.”
And I saw.
And behold, a white horse.” said the aged and weary-sounding voice crackling from the foreleg worn device known simply as the Pipbuck. It was a useful little tool, able to pick up on local radio stations, detect Megaspell related radiation when present, and perhaps most importantly, help you stay alive. One thing the Pipbuck was able to do, perhaps something everybody took for granted was a simple thing imputed by the controversial (And that was perhaps putting it mildly nowadays) organization known as Stable-Tec.

And yeah, we get off the bat a reference to the book of Revelation, though in this case its the opening to the song The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash. Yeah, if the title of the story isn't any indication, this isn't the first time this is going to happen as the writer is a fan of Cash's music. It's a good way to start, especially given the apocalyptic nature of both the line and the song itself. In many ways this is set up for what will come in the story, but we'll get to that shortly.

Riptalon Hawkwind would have been one of those who might have been chewed up and spit out by any one of the nightmare-borne monstrosities that inhabited the wastes if not for one thing. It was a small, simple thing really. He had a very keen ear and knowing when to stay out of trouble and when to get involved. He was an opportunist at heart, always jumping from one organization to the next, never really getting involved in things that he didn’t deem important (which was quite a lot of things really) and never staying too long in one place. He considered it safer for his health. After all, in his mind anyways, if you never got involved in a cause you had less chance in losing life and limb. Riptalon favored keeping his limbs, thank you very much.

The coal-black griffon, only distinguishable by a few blue markings on his facial feathers as his only real distinct feature darted from rock to rock, keeping a keen ear out for any signs of Raiders. A combat knife was strapped to his other foreleg, ready to be pulled out at a moment’s notice. Quick reflexes were another skill key to survival in the Wasteland. His ears perked up at the sound of conversation and a campfire crackling from behind a jagged outcropping.

So this is where we meet one of our main characters, Riptalon. He's overheard a nearby conversation and goes to investigate where there are two ponies talking around a fire. Seem to have heard something and they mention a rumor that's going on around about something called the Gray Ghost, but neither of them actually know what they're talking about. Riptalon has heard of the Gray Ghost at least, and mentions some rumors about how they might be a Griffon, but no one seems to know for sure. We also learn that he's got a past with the New Canterlot Republic having had an arrest warrant on him in the past.

So yeah the ponies keep talking about it, basically passing the stories off as just rumors, likely drunken stories as well. Which is kinda fair, in the Wasteland you tend to get essentially what are Urban Legends, only in the Wasteland obviously. However, Riptalon gives away his location by snorting... yeah great job avoiding being caught Riptalon.

“Hear that?” the female voice asked as a shotgun cocked, and at this point Riptalon guessed she was the leader. “Looks like we got ourselves a little spy, boys! And we know what happens to them, don’t we?”

Low chuckles followed that statement.

“Yeah, definitely the leader,” Rip decided. “Let’s just hope it’s a small band of raiders, not a rogue group of Gawd’s Talons or whatnot. Really not looking to meeting with them again, given that half of them hate my guts and the other half want to eat my guts.”

Riptalon fights the, ponies, raiders, whatever its not clear who they are yet and uses a grenade. And yeah, here's where things start to get interesting as he wants, and gets, a distraction.

Something blazing bright red and orange like a comet flew through the sky above him on a collision course with the wastes to the south. Ears ringing from the sounds of gunfire and the grenade explosion, he trained his eyes upward to see what looked like the form of an airship rocketing down from above him. Riptalon’s eyes widened. He knew of only one group as of present time that had access to airships: the GPE, short for that damned self-righteous group known as the Grand Pegasus Enclave.

Actually ironically there is one other faction who has them in this universe, but they're probably nowhere near here.

Yeah, the Enclave are of course in play in this story. As I said before this story is set during the Enclave War, a major conflict between the alliance of the Wasteland factions and the, well, Enclave. This will come into play much more as the story progresses, but right now it seems that an Enclave ship has decided to come and ruin their day.

Riptalon decides to try and take down the airship, killing the raider boss in the meantime. He takes out several more of the Raiders, and switches the radio back on and we get some more readings:

“And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts,
And I looked and behold: a pale horse.
And his name, that sat on him, was Death.
And Hell followed with him.”

Someone really needs to tell Brick the definition of subtlety.

Ah, but something gets interesting, a surviving Raider picks up a radio and sends a message that they have found the Blackhawk. Yeah, things aren't looking good for him as apparently everyone wants a piece of him. Yeah, things aren't exactly going well for him, not his best day really especially if they're looking for him.

Anyway, Riptalon flies off towards the airship, commenting to himself on the state of Equestria after what Littlepip did. And here we get a quote that I rather enjoy, its from a Let's Roleplay series of Fallout 3's finale:

“This world is a harsh place. I have seen so much death, so much suffering. But in time I learned that beneath it is there is still a seed of hope, and good ponies willing to dedicate their lives to make that hope bloom.”

Equestria still has a long way to go on its recovery, but things are getting there, especially in this time period. Though Riptalon is unsure about this and believes that Equestria isn't going to change. Kind of an odd bit of characterization given the narration leading up to this point, but okay. Anyway, he heads towards the crash site, and naturally gets shot at and that's how we end the prologue:

“Bucking figures, I knew I should have killed that last one from the get-go, but I figured he’d die quickly enough that he wouldn’t get word off to his buddies that I’m in the area. Shows what I know, doesn’t it?” Riptalon mentally growled and went for another grenade. “Well, once more unto the breach as they say…”

Part 1: Ghost Town

The stallion coughed and wheezed as he stumbled into a long-abandoned tavern marked The Salt Lick, blood dripping off his face and pooling in small puddles on the wooden floor. Scorch marks covered and dotted his gunmetal-gray and black armor… or what was left of it at least. Half of it lay shattered and in pieces behind him. What was left of it consisted of simple torso armor and two blood-red shoulder pads. If the stallion had to make his best guess, there was probably a helmet that went with it. From what the stallion could tell, this armor he was wearing was probably full body armor once. Well, it had to be a guess given its ruined state.

The stallion turned to look behind him, and saw a burning hulk of scrap metal behind him. Sadly however, making out what it was was impossible. This was rather largely in part due to the rapidly melting steel and the flames consuming it. The stallion continued forward into the tavern, its roof completely missing. From the looks of things, some tremendous force had blown it off. Thunder rumbled in the distance as dark clouds began gathering on the horizon.

“Wonderful… Just bleedin’ wonderful. ...Stuck out in the middle of fucking nowhere and first place I stumble into gets its roof blown off. And there’s a storm risin’,” the stallion grumbled out in a raspy tone. “It’s like somepony high up actually wants to mock me. Ah, to Tartarus with ‘em.”

Fanfic writers, the cruelest of gods.

Yeah, the ship is pretty much blown up at this point. We get a flashback of the ship being shot down and the commander being angry with the pony commenting on how power went to their head. And yeah, based on these comments we're definitely dealing with the Enclave, or a branch of it at least (long story there).

“No, not yet! We can still put up a fight, and I’m not letting those ground-dwelling mud-ponies get the better of us, and that’s that!” the older voice disagreed, nearly screaming by this point. “Now, you’ll obey my orders unless you want me to shoot you for insubordination!”

“But sir-”

A gunshot went off accompanied by a scream.

“W-Why?” the younger voice coughed out.

“You know why soldier,” The older voice answered gruffly. “I value loyalty in my troops, and I am impressed you care for your fellow ponies. You’re a damn good soldier, damn good. However, I can’t just live and let be. Remember, your loyalty is to me above all else. Celestia forgives everything, but I’m just a simple soldier. So I don’t have to. Amen.”

There was then another gunshot, silencing the first voice forever.

Yeah, loyalty, that's way more important than competence. I swear this commander makes Darth Vader look like a good boss.

So yeah, the stallion in question here that we're following needs a drink, but he's not gonna get one in this bar since everyone's dead. Yeah, this is kind of an oddity really given this is Appleloosa which was dominated by Slavers 10 years ago, but I guess there's an explanation somehow. He finds some alcohol, but its not very good at all.

He turns the radio on and surprisingly we don't get Johnny Cash, instead we get I Don't Want to Set The World on Fire. However something is definitely off as he hears something scurrying around and if he's not imagining things, yeah he's pretty much in trouble. He grabs the pistol from one of the skeletons around him and starts looking around for the source of the sound.

“Looting the dead, again your moral qualms show no bounds do they?” the mental voice in the stallion’s head snarked. He ignored it, keeping his ears trained all the while. He followed the sounds and aimed his pistol where they were coming from. The hammer cocked and he fired one round into the floor.

Good idea, don't listen to the voices in your head, you don't want to be crazy... or Puppysmiles. One Puppysmiles is enough.

Anyway he gets attacked by a Radroach that attacks him. He manages to take it out in a couple of shots only to get attacked by a second one that bites him on the leg. Ouch, now this is just embarrassing, Radroaches are the easiest enemies in a Fallout game and he's getting his butt kicked by them. So yeah he manages to take them out including a Glowing Radroach, but still not a very good start.

Anyway, he manages to find alcohol that's actually drinkable and sets out to look for some ammo, or at least more booze. First chapter and we already need to give this guy an intervention. Anyway he gets some armor and a cowboy hat, though he doesn't really know why he did that. But hey, Fallout is basically a post-apocalyptic western, so let's go with it. And, here's where we get a little bit of a surprise:

“Okay, that was “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire” by The Ponytones, delivered to you live from my studio. Real failure on the part of Equestria to keep that from happening, eh?” The voice chuckled darkly. The stallion could swear the speaker was rolling her eyes at that moment.

“Anyways I’d tell you where I was located of course, as I know you bunch are pretty much clamoring for my autograph, but with the Enclave out and about killing everypony that doesn’t conform to their creed, AKA that is not being a pegasus or a Dashite, I’d rather not risk having to resort to blowing my own studio up… again. I just got this place, you know,” the voice laughed before continuing. “This is Homage, proud bearer of the Element of Honesty delivering you the news, no matter how crappy it is.

“Now, I’ve been hearing rumors of this Gray Ghost character going ‘round the wasteland. Some say it’s just that, simply rumors thought up by scared ponies afraid of Celestia’s wrath for what we as a populace did to her kingdom and fucked it all up 200 years ago. Me personally, considering all the strange things I’ve seen… Well, it’s not that far out of the realm of possibility that he or she exists. Instrument of Celestia’s vengeance? Maybe, maybe not. Could be just some hero going about like ole Littlepip saving ponies’ hides. That’s what I’d like to believe. Less frightening possibility really. Honestly though my dear viewers, don’t let my opinions influence you, at least not on this matter. I know, rather ironic coming from me seeing for a while I was the voice of the truth when the Enclave controlled the airwaves but... Anyways, back to the music.”

Okay, so you're probably wondering why Homage being here is a surprise. You gotta remember this is a shared universe, by this point Homage had passed her job on to her successor along with the title of DJ Pon3. Oddly despite this being semi-canon, both of these characters exist so things are a bit weird. Points for bringing back Homage though, and I admit that I hadn't wanted to bring her in, and we have, a bit of an oddity that we'll get into again later with the Enclave.

Anyway, he walks off out of range of the radio and manages to find some ammo and a saddlebag. And yeah I should mention at this point that this character is a bit of an amnesiac. He decides to take the name of a pony he finds named Iron Helm, with some modifications of course... so, its not really taking his name then? Anyway, he takes the name Iron Skies and finds... a Lyra doll? Huh... I hope Bon Bon signed off on that, otherwise that just gets weird. Anyway he puts the doll away along with some weapons and ammo.

He finds a record player and a record and starts playing it:

“Alright, chances are this will probably be my last transmission, what with those Balefire Megaspells going off all around Equestria right and left and those blasted stripers closing in. Either way you slice it, I’m a dead duck. Hopefully after this last log of mine I’m making, I’ll take a few of those murderers with me,” Iron Helm chuckled wryly before he coughed. “Bit of a shame really, if this is my last stand. Here I was, thinking I was going to become famous and all that. Maybe even make captain one day. Shows what I know, eh? Every little foal’s dream to become a flank-kicking member of the Equestrian Royal Guard. Did that, so at least I’ll go out happy. Defending Equestria to the end. Regrets… Eh, not many really. Maybe not taking out the entire race of zebras with a megaspell, possibly. That… and never getting lucky with a mare. My Lyra doll may have had something to do with that. So what? Sue me. I don’t give a damn anyhow. We’re all allowed like what we want.

“Anyways… Hear them knocking at the storeroom door. Just want to let anypony know, anypony that finds this that I did my duty and served with honor. Give my regards to my brother, Steel Sword, would ya? Make sure he knows that I love him. This is Iron Helm, signing off for the last time.”

With that, the recording ended. Iron shut his eyes in remembrance and sighed softly with a tinge of sadness. It was like listening to a ghost. He muttered to himself, “Hope you went out fighting mate. It’s the least you deserved from the sounds of things. You were a damn good soldier, damn good. And I promise, I’ll get this message to your brother, no matter what it takes.”

So yeah, it's a nice bit of a send off to a pony that admittedly he never knew. But yeah, he realizes that something about all of this is wrong given that towns don't just get abandoned like this. He's a bit worried about this obviously, wondering what may have happened and if somepony may have just come and killed them all.

But his thoughts are interrupted by the sound of gunfire and he heads out to investigate where he finds... Riptalon fighting Raiders again. He gets grabbed by a freakin' Minotaur who by the way knows he's the Blackhawk. The Minotaur starts beating the crap out of him, saying that he had crossed a pony named Goldeneye. Well, better than Goldfinger I guess.

Oh, and also they're gonna eat Riptalon after he's dead... geez these Raiders are nuts. Riptalon even wants them to just shut up and let him die already, so pretty much like me while sitting through something really bad.

Anyway, Iron follows the sound of the gunfire and takes out a Raider by shooting him through the eye as he's only got one eye. The Raiders fire back at him, mocking him by calling him out and even commenting that what's he supposed to be, the next Deadshot Calamity? Anyway, Iron fires more shots, but runs out of ammo as the Raiders close in on him but he uses a smoke bomb and attacks the horde. He manages to get a weapon and attacks the Minotaur and manages to take it out, Riptalon taking a horn as a trophy

And we end with the two characters talking:

“True, very true,” Riptalon chuckled before extending a paw. “Trust doesn’t come easy from me or anyone else out here in the Wastes, and I’m still not sure if I should trust you… But for now, consider me in your debt.”

“Still should ask who I’m in debt to,” Iron remarked. The smell of death and decay was beginning to rise from the small massacre that had just taken place. Riptalon chuckled again.

“Riptalon Blackwind. Yours?”

“It’s Iron… Iron Skies.”

Final Thoughts

Yeah, this is kind of a medium start. It sets up the characters, but beyond some indications of the world around them, there's not much to tell about the story itself. It's a good start at least, and it sets up some details about the main characters. The big lingering question of course is Iron Skies' backstory and why he forgot it all to begin with.

If I have any comments its that an amnesiac hero is obviously a bit overdone. But still, as far as first chapters go, this is a good one. So, let's see where it goes from here.

Prologue: 4/5.
Chapter 1: 4/5.

Original Fic

So, what's next? No clue honestly, I'll get back to you on that. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays everyone!

Video made by me.

Report RuinQueenofOblivion · 95 views ·
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Comments ( 1 )

Yeah, if the title of the story isn't any indication, this isn't the first time this is going to happen as the writer is a fan of Cash's musi

Bit of an understatement there Ruin, as he made country music cool for me. Plus, a lot of his music fits the Wastes. Seriously. It does.

But thank you for the review, and Merry Christmas.

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