• Member Since 18th Nov, 2012
  • offline last seen May 22nd

Horizon Runner


Among the living on a trial basis.

T

One hundred years ago, a satellite detected an object, buried beneath the sands of the Great Desert. Therein lay the ruins of an ancient city, and in its center the colony ship that brought equinity to their dry, desolate planet. Within that ship, they found their destiny. A map, marked with Kharequus, their desert foster-world, and with one other name:

Equestria.

To some: Paradise. To others: Home.

Now: A place. A planet. Located deep in the core of the galaxy on whose rim they spun. With the Guidestone and the Hyperspace Core found with it, they had a map and a sail.

Construction of the vessel would take sixty years. It would demand new technologies, new industries, and new sacrifices. The greatest of these was made by the scientist Great Journey S'jet, who had herself integrated into the Mothership as its living core: Fleet Command. Born with wings and a horn merely due to a genetic fluke, she became a symbol of all that her people strove towards, in the image of the ancient Goddesses they still worshiped.

Their journey began one hundred years to the day after the discovery of that ancient city. Aboard a Mothership which would carry six hundred thousand sleeping souls to a land promised to them long ago, traveling across an unexplored and unknown galaxy.

Unbeknownst to all but a select few, six mares were to board that ship. They did not know each other at the outset, nor did they have any inkling of their importance, but their fates were inextricably intertwined with that of the galaxy itself. This is their story. The story of the Mothership. The story of the Homeworld Age.



No knowledge of the Homeworld universe should be required before reading. However, it is my recommendation that you view the briefing document regardless. This will give you the backstory of the Homeworld setting, as well as a glossary of terms, which are admittedly much more important to this story than to the game itself.

Edited by Benny, Hari Seldon, Andrey_159, Rodinga, and Willow the Pegasus, lovely fellows, all of them.

Cover image created jointly by myself and a friend of mine.

Sex tag is for innuendo, implications, and discussion. No explicit acts are depicted.

Chapters (16)
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Comments ( 163 )

This is the Kith Kiith Somtaaw warship Kuun-lan, we have come to engage the beast.

I want to ask how faithful this is going to be to the Homeworld storyline?

4016966

Quite closely, for the most part. Most divergences will simply be for the sake of expanding the world and story, since the gameplay appeal obviously isn't present.

4016959 I have plans for that sequel, a long way down the line.

4017007 I wish I had a copy of Homeworld 1 and Cataclysm.

4017028 Cataclysm, alas, is a rare beast (pun very much intended). It seems that the source files were lost a long time ago, and not that many copies are drifting around anymore.

As for Homeworld (and HW2), there is an HD remake in the works, and word has it that both the remake and the original will be released on Steam sometime in the next few months. No release date yet, but we can hope it'll be soon.

4017041 I will have to look into finding a torrent of cataclysm but I can't wait to get the hd remakes.

4017066 While I can't necessarily condone piracy... Cataclysm is pretty much abandonware at this point, so it's not really hurting anyone.

Besides, it's a pretty great game, despite its admitted flaws.

Oh...no...you...DIDN'T! :pinkiegasp:

You even recreated the THCB! It's enormous! Damn, if I wasn't so busy right now, I'd be all over this!

Yes. Simply yes. All of my yes.

Incidentally, does this tie into "Letters to the Sun" in any way?

4018180 Oh yes I did. :pinkiehappy:

As for Letters to the Sun, it's set in a completely separate universe.

4018360 Aw, that's a shame, would have been cool to see that tie together in some way. Maybe Twilight fleeing with a bunch of ponies because of political shenanigans. Ah well.

I found my old copies of homeworld 1 and 2! Anyone want to kick my ass at multiplayer?

Aww, that's something! Good Homeworld stories, even crossovers, are too rare, which is sad, as game is really good and lore was really something. Now, even if you managed to make dark moments even darker, somehow, story looks really good. And Briefing! You even remade the Briefing! That's the dedication!

There are, however, some things that concern me (both story and some typos I noticed). Should I post them in comment or sent a PM?

App... Applebloom, no! I can't help but cry, knowing what's coming. Bravo good sir for creating an emotional investment that was definitely lacking in the game.

4028476 Do whichever you prefer, I don't mind. Mistakes are necessary for learning, and all that. :twilightsmile:

Also, awesome avatar.

4029068 Personally, I read the entire manual cover to cover before I put the disk in the drive, and I had a pretty big emotional investment by then. That manual was a BRILLIANT move, giving you all that history and culture before doing... well, I'm not going to post spoilers just yet. Suffice it to say, I didn't just recreate the Historical Briefing for kicks.

Plasma? Bombs? Plasma bombs!

Can't believe that stupid messenger failed to send notification...

4029303 It's about the fact that it is horrible WALLOFTEXT written over span of several hours and not in order.

Also, good to see someone recognise the userpic.


Alright, walloftext incoming.

Foreword: I dislike HW2 plot and especially all that "super-cores" nonsense.
Another thing: I think story is great. Because of this, I will set standards high and will pick at things I would've ignored otherwise.
Last: This is just my look at things.


1.1

Great Journey kinda lacks sacrificish part. She's still herself, just feels sheep too. Karen seemed... Detached? Plus it seemed like she required lack of physical contact, at least at the beginning.


1.2

"and a little more smooth jazz and sex noises" - you absolutely sure that it's what you wanted to write?

Woah! Seven kilometres? You’re one of HW meter = RL meter people? I one of those who think that 1 HW meter = 1 feet. ‘Cause fighter craft.

Since you’re not inventing your own designs, then kushan corvettes were fully enclosed and couldn’t even be opened without outside help. Too much protection. So, no windows. Not even talking about speeds and distances.


1.3

Collector seems overstaffed. 9-pony crew? BTW, lore suggests 4 engineers that are mostly supervising the autopilot (and thus hate the assignment and wait for shift to end).

"kiith-Somtaaw sigil: : a water-droplet" - too many dots.


1.4

Crests here. Yeah. You know, back in Russian HW community (dunno about eng one) crests are mostly unanimously decided to be:
Naabal: Microchip (well, even if not exactly) or something like that.
Sjet: Eclipse. Large black circle is background, large white is Hiigara, small white is moon, small black is moon shadow.
Well, those two. Manaani is still sand dune.


1.5

“Dash and her father standing,wings linked, in the center” – Nothing fancy, just missed space.

“while rubbing burning coals all over your wings” – Missing dot at the end.

Dunno about Arrows, but Blades are atmosphere-capable. Last cutscene shows taiidan corvette and kushan interceptors, bombers and frigate.


1.6

Bus? On Scaffold? What?


1.7

“Great Journey shifted her attention to Twilight“Do you know what she’s talking about?”” – missing space.

“either we or our descendants are the avenging angels” – angels?


1.8

“Fluttershy shut her eyes as if she could just stop thinking about it.” – Suddenly, Fluttershy. Name appeared from nowhere and will go nowhere until proper introduction. On the other hand, it’s Pinkie. So… Bug or feature?

“Pinkie shrugged. “I’m Manaani. We kinda go all over the place. It’s a cultural thing.”
“Oh.” Fluttershy tried to hide the giggle. “I thought that was a stereotype.”” – Suddenly, only no line skip.


Technological, Historical, and Cultural Briefing

For the beginning: that not briefing. Original told us of situation at the beginning, your, however, also makes notes of events that are yet to happen.

Footnote 14: "the larger sphere represents a sun, the lower a moon" - grammar fail.

Hyperspace: It seems that you changed it greatly, compared to the one in game. There path travelled in hyperspace correlated with path travelled in real space, thus allowing use of hyperspace inhibitors. Also, start power was always the same (page 9), regardless of path or distance. Also, they were able to reproduce core and fit to capital ships, that's why the jump, but strike crafts dock. So, is that here bug or feature, and did you use HW2 part of the lore here? Or something new?

Guidestone: Kharakians were able to reach mostly unanimous conclusion that it's from the moon (page 19). Bug or feature here?

Lack of explanation of the need of Fleet Command being wired in the ship.

Sjet: HW1 used “Sjet”, not “S’jet”.

Soban: divergence: in original, to quote: "No “marriage,” as such, is permitted among their ranks; and although male and female Sobanii are permitted to form whatever alliances they might want, there is no such thing as a Sobanii child. Children born to the Soban are left as foundlings with other kiiths or their parents are made to leave Kiith Soban to raise them." (page 30).

Paktu: Majiirian Sea is after Majiir, discoverer. So, it would be... Pansy Sea?
"supported the Mothership project nor " - and sentence's end hangs in air.

Gaalsien: It's referred as "Gaalsi" in header here.
The “Gaalsien Ultimatum” thingy - time referral would be good.

Somehow, your backstory is darker that original, less feel of unification. More blood.


Where did prologue disappeared?


There are also other concerns, but they are mostly personal. Or ones I missed.

4030556 Oh my.

Foreward: I dislike the HW2 plot as well, but I like certain elements of it and, frankly, I have a lot of freedom here. That last bit actually addresses many of the later questions as well.

1.1 Great Journey's characterization is very incomplete here, but yes, she is quite a bit more "aware" of her surroundings than Karan was. There actually is a reason for this, but I'm not going to spoil it.

1.2 Holy hell. I don't remember writing "smooth jazz and sex noises". That... actually makes literally no sense for about a dozen reasons.

I'm not basing all measurements on the game scale. I tried that, at first, but I quickly gave up. Instead, I'm using a mix of things. The Mothership is, in fact, HUGE here.

You're right. Kushan Hammer-class corvettes are described as such. However, Ambassador-class ones and Porter-class ones are not described as such, and though they use the same hull I've taken the narrative liberty of shearing off about 50% of their armor and giving them crew compartments. They're civilian craft. The Hammer is a military upgrade.

1.3: You have a point. However, consider once again that these are—so far—civilian ships. They're not running for maximum efficiency and conservation of crew. They're running with what the designers said would be the best option, and thus have a few extra ponies on board to help with various minutiae. Also, advanced autopilots aren't really a thing. That's going to come up later.

1.4: No canon word on them, however. Besides that, the Naabal one is presumably from before the invention of computers. While one could argue that it predates landfall, the way I've filled in the landing ships' backstory doesn't support that very well.

1.5: I'll go in and fix those errors.
As far as Blades being atmo-capable, the manual states that that was a feature on the old models which had to be cut because they were ridiculously over-engineered. I know the cutscenes show some stuff like that happening, but I'm going with the manual on this one. Especially since from a realistic standpoint, it doesn't seem very likely that something as un-aerodynamic as the Blade would make it as an atmospheric craft.

1.6: The Scaffold surrounds a seven-kilometer Mothership. It's pretty damn big, and these "buses" are optimized for traveling along magnetized service corridors. Besides, artistic license. :derpytongue2:

1.7: Error shall be fixed. I swear, Google Doc convert is messing with me again.
Angels. Yes. You'll notice a few funny things about the mythology before long.

1.8: Errors. Will fix.

HCB:

Honestly? Briefing probably is a misnomer. It's more accurate to call it a series of historical excerpts which have been heavily censored. Regardless, I wanted to keep it familiar.

Will fix grammar fail.

Hyperspace is complicated, but I think I did make a few mistakes. What I meant to say was that distance does not correlate normally. I'll fix that up later.

Guidestone: How exactly would they determine that this rock was from the moon of a mythical planet? I felt it made more sense as a hypothesis.

You have a point. I'll add a section about the interface.

S(')jet: I like the apostrophe.

Soban: I guess I missed that passage. Still, kinda deep to remove it now. Call it a divergence.

Paktu: Just... please don't question the names. I've made mistakes, and I'm working around them, but changing all the names and keeping everything straight just isn't feasible at this point. Maybe I should have gone all out, but for now the explanation involves two languages that were merged together way back before landfall. Just... don't think about this one too hard. It's by far my biggest regret, but it shouldn't actually hurt the story.

Gaalsi: Trust me when I say that I'd love to have this perfected, but the manual just isn't consistent here. Gaalsi, Gaalsien, Gaalsieni... I had to simplify it down to "Gaalsi" (name of kiith) and "Gaalsien" (name of people).

The backstory is darker, and the story in general will be darker—or rather, the darkness is much more up-close and personal. Need I remind you of "the subject" at the end of Mission 3? I'm assuming you're referring largely to the Second Heresy War conceit. Basically, it's an extrapolation on the brief mention of Per Doine and the anti-spaceflight movement. Prophecies of doom, religious extremism, etc. In this case, it's a lot more important.

The prologue got cut and merged with the description. It was just out-of-place and awkward as it was, and what's in its place gives pretty much all the same information.

Thanks for all the input (and there is much). Feel free to toss me those personal concerns as well.

4030885

1.2 Seems... farfetched. And, anyway, distance and speed.

1.3 "Most of a Collector's functions are automated or controlled from the Mothership, so that only a skeleton crew of 4 engineers need to be aboard in a troubleshooting capacity."
Still, 9? That seems horribly lot.

1.4 Well, those two crests in original were said to be discovered inside Khar-Toba. And I don't really think that planet system crest will be arranged that way.

1.5 Well, 1) they may have solved problem eventually, 2) it may be just capable of flying, while not capable of good flying in atmo.
PS: That's why I love Triikor design.

1.6 Just... bus? On space station? On street? Brain failed here.

Briefing
Guidestone: "The black stone bears the unmistakable characteristics of vacuum formation. Most theorists think this indicates it may be an artifact of a moon instead of a planet. Analysis of its atomic structure suggests it is a rock formed by slow accumulation of layers." They seem sure for me.
Sjet: Understood.
Soban: Pity. That was intesting moment.
Paktu: Just... random names are random names, but here was clear case of "named discoverer".
Gaalsi: That felt like jumping letter of "Naabal-Nabaal", so we just consider it editing mix-up.
Darkness: It's not just that. Naabal having total dominance in Daiamiid and being stuck-up. Kaalel not even trying to repay Sjet like they did in original by printing their books, that "Holder" in particular. Sjetti themselves, that were more concerned about the fact that scribes are no longer needed. Massacre of Sagald. Ridiculously high amount of "marched in and massacred populace of kiith capital". Somtaaw loosing their knack for "copying science" and using obsolete technology. Composition of students in universities. Lack of feel of unification. Original MLP uicorn-pegasus-earth pony quarrels. All the little things that add up.

I liked prologue...

BTW, no mention anywhere that planet itself was nearing it's end. You changed that?

Personal... Well, for one thing, there's problem with same-gender relations. I mean - I can accept it to some degree, but here it just reached insane scales.
BTW, Paktu here discourage it because... "Celestia will hate them"? Isn't Paktu THE last kiith to ever bother about religion?

4030556 If Horizon Runner decides to make a sequel about the Cataclysm campaign then we will see a lot more of Kith Manaan. Shame about the Caal-Shto, I really thought they were going to make it.

4033817 Kinda hard to say that Cataclysm had "a lot" of kiith Manaan

4034163 One level protecting a Manann destroyer. Two protecting and escorting a Manaan carrier. They command the first level. They don't show up at all in the Homeworld 2.

4034754 More then zero isn't always a lot. And at first level that's Naabal who are coordinators.

4034824 Still more than we see of any kith's aside from Soban, S'jet, and Somtaaaw. Also it doesn't start with S.

4032974 In the end I've kinda just gotta take the cop-out defense on most of this. I'm merging Homeworld with cartoon ponies, and it took a lot of tweaking to make it this far. Honestly? It's a miracle things work as well as they do.

1.2: Spaceships don't have a size limit. Especially when magic is involved.

1.3: Honestly? The collector was one of the few ships I didn't fact-check before writing. In the end, it's less trouble to accept a slight inconsistency than to completely revise the story arcs of three major characters.

1.4: Again, didn't fact check hard enough, clearly. Again, not a huge problem, in the end.

1.5: "...Marks 3 and 4 on the other hand were further upgraded so that they could also endure atmospheric flight and travel at speeds greater even than the Arrow. However, all these systems combined together to build up heating in the plasma vents which hence gave the pilots of these test flights the nickname "Bomb Jockey" as their prototype designs would often explode in flight...

"...Instead, a single engineer and a test pilot together refitted the Blade by cutting away the wings and using their hull to form thermal insulation. In addition they pulled away the extra speed of the Blade and finished with a fighter that while slower than the Arrow carried more firepower and, more significantly, it ceased to be a guided fireball."

1.6: Think of it as more like a rail-less tram, then. Just quick transit between sections of a really big station.

Briefing:

Guidestone: Well... shit. I'll fix that up later.

Soban: I'd fix it, but doing so would—like with the RC—require me to revise the character arc of a major character. Just not feasible at this point.

Paktu: Can't be helped. We've got ponies named "Rainbow Dash" and cities named "Tiir". Maybe I really should have gone back and renamed everything, but I prefer the old HW names. Honestly, they just sound and look really damn cool.

Darkness: Again, you're right. A lot of the changes are simply due to the fact that I didn't stare intently at the manual while writing this up, and instead recreated a lot of these things from memory over a cup of coffee at 2:00 AM. You've gotta remember: I'm one man who's been working on everything you see here off-and-on for about a year, and I'm NOT writing god.

Kaalel: Just want to point this out: I have NO idea where Kaalel's canon comes from. It's not in the HW manual, it's not in the Cata manual, and though the HW2 stuff is scattered to the four corners I'm pretty sure it's not from there. The closest thing I could find to a reference for the wiki article is an fan made Angelfire page and some apocryphal mention of documents that Relic posted on their site years ago. As such, I took a lot of liberties with them, because let's face it: They're the scions of S'jet who magically ended up being the most important kiith on the planet and THEN ended up as a major warrior kiith later? Maybe I'm just nuts, but doesn't that sound a eerily like "Twilight's son who also turns into an alicorn and saves Equestria?"

Planet thing: I'm going to assume you're talking about the deserts expanding, which is briefly mentioned in the manual? Note the mentions of magic, particularly climate manipulation.


Personal: You gotta clarify that. Is the problem that there's too much, or something else? Because yeah, I agree that there's a little much. Mostly it's a symptom of working with an almost entirely female cast and wanting to add a couple romance subplots.
Paktu again: Paktu's take on religion is never really stated. In this story, they've simply been isolated for so long that their mainstream beliefs have become quite isolationist and generally skewed from the northern mainstream.

Bottom line: I've tried, believe me, to be true to the HW canon, but there's only so much you can do, and even though I love those manuals dearly, they're not exactly perfect, nor do they always agree. In the end, I'm here to write a (hopefully) good story, not to perfectly reconstruct the Homeworld universe to the last detail.

4036067

1.2 I'm talking about ability to see as much as Ditzy's eyes.

1.3 It's always like that... Alright, just thought to point it out.

1.4 Same here, just said FYI.

1.5 No word about loss of ability to fly in atmosphere. Just that it's probably not optimal flight mode.

1.6 Just... imagination shows me image of one of those Ikarus buses and then brain fails.

Soban: Well, I don't know her story as well as you do, but what I see here could easily be changed to accommodate. Just noting.

Kaalel: Outtake from Cata manual. Going to send it in PM. Also, LiirHra.
WHY you thought they became most powerful kiith or major warrior one? English wiki really says that?

Planet: also exhaustion of the mineral resources. Last ones were pulled into mothership (page 16, Mission priorities).

Personal: Well, not only too much, but the fact that it's considered too normal.
...abundance of females is other concern. I mean, I know that it was that way in MLP, but that doesn't make it much easier.

Paktu: Religious maniacs nearly killed them all and drove them off their lands. If that won't make one religion-less, or at least make him to make his decisions regardless of what religion tells, I don't know what will.

Well, I said: I consider story good and set standards high. I also try to make sure that problems and inconstancies (or what I think are) are not overlooked, even if not fixed.

I'm probably the one who wrote "smooth jazz and sex noises".

4040119 And I probably OK'd it. In fact, I'm pretty sure I do remember OK'ing it, since whatever I'd written was worse.

Ah well; it's changed now. What's done is done.

“Who are you?”

4628194
Homeworld is a video game, made in 1999 by Relic Games and published by Sierra, and was considered revolutionary. It's graphics and physics systems were incredible for the time, and it was the first true 3D space-based Real Time Strategy game. It won many awards upon its release, and to this day its influence can be seen all over science fiction, from Sins of a Solar Empire to Battlestar Galactica.

But beyond that, the game had one of the most incredibly well written stories in video gaming history. Much of this came in the form of documents which were provided alongside the game itself—essentially fictionalized textbooks outlining the history of an entire world, and the strange and awesome cultures which inhabited it. The game and its sequels crafted a truly epic narrative set inside a vast and imaginative universe, filled to the brim with things beautiful and terrifying all at once.

And so, because I'm an unashamed fanboy, I decided "why not with ponies?" It worked better than I'd expected.

This is incredible. Pardon me while I whore the shit out of this story. You deserve the attention.

Rarity’s mouth eyebrow raised. “I believe that is what I said, yes.”

"mouth eyebrow"

...Vas ist?

Well this is gonna end in tears

Comment posted by Horizon Runner deleted Aug 6th, 2014

4808240 Homeworld is fun to write crossovers for. So many emotions to toy with...:pinkiecrazy:

I'm sure literally everyone on the planet will be just fine.

Comment posted by Horizon Runner deleted Aug 19th, 2014

4870024 Shhhhh... some of them don't know yet.

4872932 To be clear, I've yet to play the game myself. I do recall exactly the same thing happening in no fewer than six other works, however, and there's a reason for that. It's too useful not to.

Alive, the ones who remain behind clog up valuable word space, and time that the characters should be spending being entertaining to the reader gets wasted on trying to maintain relationships that relativity and the plot both render meaningless.

Or, with just the push of this magic glowing red button, we can personally deliver an entire bucket of justifiable angst to every survivor and simultaneously turn our "how real is this shit" dial up from "an exploded bus and a tasteful dedication marker" all the way to "genocide and scrambled eggs" in ten seconds f- no actually, basically any method you pick will take more than ten seconds but you get what I mean.

4872993 You're absolutely right, of course, but SHHHHHHHHH! SOME OF THEM DON'T KNOW YET! :trixieshiftleft::trixieshiftright:

4873072 Fictional characters are immune to foreshadowing, which is a tragic affliction if ever there was one.

4873100 BY JOVE, MAN; THINK OF THE READERS! THE INNOCENT, UNSUSPECTING READERS!

:rainbowlaugh:

4873107 /the sinking feeling of realizing that not everyone eats at least one literary theory textbook for breakfast
Sshhhiiiffffuu- I'll go spoiler tag my comments. My bad.

4873149 It's all good, friend. I'm sure a lot of folks are going to see it coming... but speaking too freely is only going to dull the shock for those who don't.

4810282 Dunno about that, but I think were I in your place, I probably would've gone for names of Kiithid, cities and ships more in keeping with the Equestrians than the Hiigarans, probably would have redesigned the mothership as well, played that out as if I were running a mod for the game. Maybe changed up the missions as well to split things off a bit, though probably those changes would be more after the initial set in the Kharak system.

4876474 I kept the names and designs the same both because I really liked them, and I because I figured it would seem a bit more exotic. Most people here have watched MLP. Not so many have played Homeworld. As much as I regret some things in that department (the inevitable problems with locations named after people and the partial early renaming of things—like Kharak and the Khar-Toba—come to mind as examples) I've elected to keep with how I'm doing it now. This story was partially bred from a frustration with other stories that, I felt at the time, didn't do the Homeworld setting justice. Some of those have done well in their own way (one in particular) but others have simply died out.

As far as changing the missions... that's something I most certainly plan to do. As I've hinted in my earlier blogs, things are NOT going to progress in a straight play-by-play of the game's script. I've taken some cues from Fallout: Equestria here—merged universe, similar paths, but ultimately different story. You've already seen a bit of it within the world-building and the action to this point, and you're going to see a lot more in the coming updates. This is not a puppet-reenactment of HW1.

4037849 RE: 1.6 - If you've watched Crusade, I believe there's a 'bus' in there that runs along the ship, otherwise, think something along the lines of the turbolift from Star Trek if you know any of those series, except possibly higher passenger capacity. Of course we're talking a 7km long space station so depending on deck orientation, it's entirely possible there could be a few areas with mono-rail/tram style 'buses' to speed up people's journeys.

4873162 This led me to having far too much fun with the spoiler tag. :twilightblush:

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