The Atlantean-Dominion War

by The Atlantean

39. Teamwork Builds A New Ship

Captain Middle Road walked into the Sixth Street Law Enforcement Office looking for Treetop. She did not want gunshots ringing in the town that was her duty to defend, and his ponies had fired their guns the day before. The pony at the help desk directed her to the Colonel’s office, but warned her that he might be either exhausted or irritated. She found him alright - conked out, his face on the desk and his forelegs spread across the light wood. Her knock on the door shook him from his catnap.

“I can wait, Colonel.” Her expression told the groggy Earth pony that she meant business.

He slowly woke. When his mind finally burned off the grogginess, he shuffled the papers his head had been resting on as a pillow and looked up. “What do you need?”

“What in Harmony do you think you’re doing, firing guns out in town? I didn’t bother you yesterday because I had things to do, but I can’t have you doing whatever the hell you want!”

Treetop sighed. It was a long, continuous sigh, full of exhaustion and strain. He placed the shuffled papers horizontally on the desk and pushed them toward her. “Read these.”

Middle Road picked the stack up. “‘From Jagged Edge… To Jagged Edge… Orders For Summercrest… Nautinia Plans… Aquarius River…’ Okay, so you found a bunch of Dom paperwork that coincides with our current situation.”

“My agent found these in our replacement regiment’s commander’s quarters. All fifty-three of them. I was forced to use certain measures in order to learn why he had them in the first place, and the entire regiment turned out to be Dom. They’ve been taken prisoner. For the next couple weeks, I will interview each individual soldier to see if they truly had no choice in the matter. Those that didn’t will be pardoned. Those that did… the gallows. I apologize in advance for the problems that may - and will - arise.”

“You could’ve told me this earlier! I could’ve helped you!”

“Given that our entire supply network has been fucked ever since they took Pacifica, I didn’t know if I could trust anypony I didn’t know personally.” Treetop’s voice took on a sharp, concise edge. “If that makes you not trust me or hold a grudge against me, I don’t care. What matters is that Summercrest won’t be attacked. Their plan failed. However, there’s always more to these things than we’d like to think. I need to know exactly what the hell your plan is so we can work together.”

“Trust goes both ways, Colonel. I’d like to believe that we can work well together, considering our options, but I need to know everything that goes on. So does Governor Psych and Harbormaster Nightmane.”

“I’ll tell you when I get around to it. Right now, I have a shit-load of P.O.W.’s to talk to.”


Two full weeks had passed. Treetop was at last finished with dealing out Atlantean politics and enforcing law. Communications to and from the other towns were still nonexistent. In the absence of an immediate threat, the officers and NCO’s of the Second Coastal had dedicated themselves to the construction of the new, smaller steel vessel, labeled as a “destroyer” by the Indianapolis’s ship size standards book. Its copper wiring was all over the ship, as were the mechanical bits and bobs they were literally making up as they went.

There were many contributions throughout the time. The ever-so-inventive Seagull, the stallion who’d repaired one of the cruiser’s planes and the only certified pilot they had for it, came up with the idea of tilting the two smokestacks aft about five degrees or so. They did it, seeing that Indianapolis’s own stack was built the same way. Harbormaster Nightmane decided it would be best to keep the hull round-bottomed. Crimson and Platinum applied their sharp eyes, used to finding targets across the field, to the minute details that most ponies would’ve missed. Mirage cast a “liquid air” spell every other day to locate any spots where the hull wan’t waterproof. Southern Lights cast the carefully balanced brass screws and two-hundred-pound solid bronze anchors in the shipyard’s foundry to the exact specifications asked for. With all the assistance pouring in, they were almost done already, even though the upper half was mostly a placeholder bronze material.

Middle Road found herself smiling at the mixed-metal monstrosity they’d created. Steel was much harder to produce than bronze, which slowed production until somepony from the Second Coastal thought of building with bronze and replacing it later with steel. The idea caught steam quickly, and she soon had to authorize the unorthodox shipbuilding method. Even so, she believed that using as much bronze and brass as they could was essential to the completion of the project.

She looked down at the blueprints she held in her hoof. The blue paper was reproduced from the sketchbook one of Indianapolis’s old crew had of naval vessels, old and new. Specifically, this design was based off the image of what it called a “Wickes-class destroyer,” which had four stacks, two screws, and a flat bottom. She compared her paper to the ship supported by drydock scaffolding twenty feet in front of her. The size was good; its two boilers should speed it along at about twenty-five knots at its fastest and its watertight, hydrodynamic hull would easily let water flow right on by its needlepoint bow. The sleek, partially painted hull had bolts and rivets all along the inside, where hydrodynamics were of no concern, and smooth bumps where two plates met heralded the design borrowed from the cruiser. Rivet and bolt heads would hopefully not screw up her speed, but they had to be there because of the laws of physics. Her two most obvious weapons, one fore and one aft, were five-inchers from the cruiser, but her secondary armament was where her teeth were. Atlantean cannon had been placed down her sides, giving her an effective broadside.

“Ma’am, we’re ready to launch.” A yard worker had spoken.

“Of course. Tell Mr. Nightmane that I’ll be there in five.”

Five minutes later, Captain Road’s tan coat was visible by the stern of the new ship. She made her way to where Harbormaster Nightmane was standing excitedly next to the ship’s name painted on the hull: Bats Nightmane. Her number “01” was painted proudly on both sides of her bow in thick white lettering.

“Mr. Nightmane, a few words to the crowd?”

He smiled. “Thank you all for making this day possible!” he called out and struck a bottle of champagne on the stern. The platform he and Middle Road were on swung slowly to the side. The clamps released, sending ANS Bats Nightmane, DD-01, sliding into the bay.

A collective gasp ran through the crowd as Nightmane’s stern dipped low in the water, but it let out in a sigh of relief when she fully righted herself, slowly bobbing in the choppy waves. The sigh broke out into a cheer. They had succeeded.


Treetop walked to Middle Road, who was practically bouncing off invisible walls to start sea trials. The last couple things were being prepared for them, like life preservers and lifeboats. The residual noise from the main shipyard was long gone, leaving a gap where there should be sound. As it was, Middle Road’s ears picked up what he said.

“Yes, Colonel, I plan on sailing her to Nautinia at full speed. We’ll blow the hell out of anything that come our way. You can move out and try to secure Whitecap Point about sixty miles north of us. My XO Tie Dye will hold down the fort while I’m gone, and hopefully protect Summercrest while you are as well.”

“Alright. Take care, Captain.”

“I will, Colonel.” Middle Road took in a deep breath, composed herself, and walked across the gangplank to command the first Atlantean-built steel ship.