• Member Since 6th Jul, 2012
  • offline last seen 6 hours ago

Arad


A Midwest brony who enjoys writing about adorkable unicorns and alien invasions.


T
This story is a sequel to Stardust

When Equestria’s newest member of royalty asks for aid to be offered to her friends from abroad, the best and the brightest volunteer to serve. Captain Steel Song of the Dusk Guard are immediately mobilized to help XCOM defend their world from the enemies that besiege them. However, their first joint operation with the humans takes a turn for the worse and they quickly find themselves fighting for their lives against the full force of the monsters that threaten Earth.

(Stardust/Dusk Guard crossover)
(Coverart provided by a friend of Viking ZX!)
(While familiarity with both stories isn’t required, it is recommended)
(Many thanks to Arzoo for pre-reading!)
(All screenshots can be found at XCOM.wikia.com)
(Featured on 3/13/2013. Thanks everyone!)
(Now has it's own section on TVTropes as part of the Stardust series!)

Chapters (5)
Comments ( 302 )

Evening folks! I hope everyone is well. So after two months of procrastination hard work, I’ve finished a short story in the Stardust storyline, featuring Viking ZX’s Dusk Guard!

Now, some things to discuss:

The Dusk Guard are the absolute best that Equestria has to offer and with the best equipment bits can buy. This type of bling and skill will –not- be commonplace in Mente Materia.

The Dusk Guard featured here are the same Dusk Guard from Viking ZX’s stories (I coordinated with him to a large degree to ensure they remained true to his vision) BUT they might be considered a ‘divergeant timeline’. As such, you probably won’t be expecting to have the Dusk Guard reminisce about the fights against the Ethereals in any of Viking ZX’s stories. Conversely, the events in this story will be referenced in passing in Mente Materia, though the Dusk Guard won’t be mentioned by name.

MECs will have some changes to how they work, which I’ve hinted at in this story. As to what those changes are, you’ll just have to wait. :D

PSI and Titan armor also have some changes. I’ve always disliked the curved, organic look of Titan armor. In Mente Materia they’ll be more like the alternate appearance option that had the deflective plates and black armor additions. PSI armor will also be modified Titan armor. Because it makes no sense to send in your valued PSI soldiers in a glorified skinsuit.

Foreshadowing. Lots of it.

And I think that just about covers it. Leave a comment when you’re done then go read Dusk Guard: Rise!

Yes, it leads somewhere. Maybe we will find some entities out there.

Первая тема!

So much joy... Argh! Sleep can wait!

I didn't believe it when I first saw it. But its here and more beautifull than I could have imagined! :fluttercry:

4074623

you forgot to cross out procrastinate :P

I kind of figured those guys had more bling than the average soldier, but I hope ponies like Shining Armor and the Alicorns get some pretty badass gear, too.

Also, since you mentioned them, a badass airship with magic cannons and shields and cannons is now mandatory. No matter how stupid and vulnerable they are, sky fortresses are the pinnacle of awesome.

Ground floor! Oh god can't wait to read this.

*Starts shaking, foams at the mouth, then passes out.*

God yes! a complete short story continuing Stardust and getting me hype for whats next.

4075016 All of the cool magitek is a product of Viking ZX's wonderful worldbuilding in Dusk Guard, if you're going into this only having read Stardust, the other is also well worth reading.

Geez, this Dusk Guard unit got a trial by fire. Sectopods are a right bitch, aren't they?

But how much of a bitch is it, I hear you ask. Well, hypothetical person who's never played XCOM: Enemy Unknown or Enemy Within, consider this.

The best armor in the game adds 10 hitpoints to your soldier's total pool, often effectively doubling it, depending on the rank of the soldier equipping it. A single blast from a Sectopod, if it hits, will remove those 10 hitpoints right off the bat. Oh, and it can fire twice in a single turn. So you've either got one soldier dead, or two who need to withdraw, now.

On top of that, the range on its guns are greater than you can see it from, allowing it to sometimes fire on you before you even realize it's there. Oh, and it occasionally lets off a barrage of missiles at your position as a form of "I don't got a good shot? Fuck you anyway."

It's EW version is heavily armored. The best sniper rifle in the game does up to 10 damage per shot, assuming no crits. The EW Sectopod has 50% damage reduction and immunity to crits. That 10 damage? 5. And it'll often be lower than that. While on paper it has 30 hit points, that damage reduction bumps it up to an effective 60.

And this is with the best equipment in the game.

Obviously, most veteran XCOM: EU and EW players react to stumbling across one of these bastards when they're not ready with a mix of "Oh crap" and vigorous swearing.

Awesome but one thing that concerns me do the golems use human souls?

Sweet mother of French-Canadian Jesus, am I just not allowed to sleep tonight?
All the authors of my old favorite stories be updating, posting new chapters and stories.

*Dives in*

Binging night ahoy!

Just to be sure I am understanding how this crossover of a crossover is working. This story can be considered canon in the Stardust universe, but not the Dusk Guard one.

And here you told me that I'd have to wait 'till after the current season.:unsuresweetie: Arad, you troll you.:trollestia:

4075248
Yes.
Unfortunately, making it canonical to both would very broadly derail the DG saga, so their adventure here is non-canonical. We did our best to link them up though!

Don't care about the other fic, holy crap was that amazing though. You do tension well :rainbowlaugh:.

“Yes, Vide, they showed up,” he said, “They also brought friends with them…”

Wait... Vide?

That name sounds familiar....

(Chapter 32 of Stardust)

“Now then, Doctor Vahlen, I think I would like to see the Stardust specialist if you have a free moment,” Vide said with his affable smile that was completely at odds with the two bodies that he dragged into the lab and dropped onto the floor. One security guard’s head was twisted at an impossible angle while the other clutched at his throat and struggled for a breath that would never come. The affable smile remained on Vide’s face even as he brought his heel down violently on the back of the dying man’s neck before pulling the guard’s sidearm and pointing it at Vahlen.

I could've sworn that XCOM captured him! How's he getting communication with mystery man?

I swore this would be longer then this but still wicked. :heart:

SPOILERS FOR STARDUST (Thanks for telling me about the spoiler tags, LunarRai)

4075326 He broke out remember. Near the end.

Names of the support aircraft:
Mobius
Pixy
Sky Eye
I see what you did there.
Also, yet another well-written entry.
Looking forward to Mente Materia once you've written it.

Question. What was Yuri's power again? Also the thing on his wrist reminds me of a similar device used in XCOM: The Beauro Declassified; any relation?

So will we be seeing these guys in the sequel or is this a one time thing?

4075203 No they don't. They are piloted by humans. Unfortunately to pilot it you need to have your arms and legs amputated.

Well happy birthday to me! How did you know I wanted the sequel for one of my most favorite of stories?


4075203 They're not actually golems. They're Mechs. Through an intricate process the human goes through a surgery that allows them to take on cybernetic implants which then enables them to control the mechanized armor. They're like the SHIVS except much more dangerous, and awesome.

rack.3.mshcdn.com/media/ZgkyMDEzLzA4LzIxLzg2L01lY2h0b2lkWENPLjE2OWRmLmpwZwpwCXRodW1iCTEyMDB4OTYwMD4/d67ea18f/a82/Mechtoid-XCOM-Enemy-Unknown.jpg

4075445 [.spoiler]words[./spoiler] without the dots.
Ah, and thanks for the reminder.

“Fischer, Eversman. We’re secure back here and ready for transit,”

I somehow ended up on a Skyranger as a pilot... I'm a :flutterrage: grunt, not some flyboy!

Only problem in the chapter that I really noticed, is that I don't think I've ever seen a MEC Trooper use contractions.

Guh, Sectopods. I remember the first time I saw one of those. Nearly lost everyone trying to bring it down, didn't help when the rest of the xenos showed up in a flanking maneuver that took out my Support man and gassed my Sniper to death. It was only thanks to the sacrifice of MECH soldier 'Big Daddy' Heinrich that it was finally destroyed. Rest in the pieces of those you killed you magnificent bastard.

Chryssalids, disgusting things. I remember the mission from the first X-COM game when you encountered them. I got careless and had no idea what they were capable of. One moment I'm pecking at them from a moderate range, the next they're tearing out my soldiers throats and turning them into shambling corpses.

You know, it's too bad they didn't have regular military forces in the game. I mean, what exactly are the odds of entering x amount of cities and the like without encountering any police and/or military? The closest we ever got were the vehicles and all they were good for was cover.

Lab

4075511 Yuri's focus was on telekinesis, if I remember correctly. Do your best to ignore Bureau; it's XCOM bastardized for a different audience. It's been a while since I've read Stardust, so I can't remember if Arad mentioned the armor previously, but Yuri's probably wearing the magic version of psi armor. It's quite ingenious actually, since psionics fills the same role as magic in most science fiction.

If you haven't played Enemy Unknown (or its x-pack Enemy Within) I recommend doing so, because you'll appreciate how much love has gone into this so far. Most VG crossovers just shove an MLP character into the plot and have it play out the same, sort of like Indy's role in Raiders of the Lost Ark; however, in Stardust, there's a visible and sensible influence on the game's story, and while it shares key events and retains the XCOM flavor, you don't feel like you've already seen how this story ends.

Alright, first chapter and here's the list of things we have :

- The Dusk Guard and their tech. No idea about the story they're from but it seems like a Equestrian version of The Avengers with the diversity and the tools they have to work with. Probably going to end up reading The Dusk Guard : Rise now to see what it's about.

- Hunter's conversation with Steel Song reminded me of this great moment:

- MEC Troopers. Sweet Mother of Celestia, I thought their fate in Enemy Within was harsh, what with the necessary amputations required to operate the MECs, but you took the horror factor up to 11. It sounds like getting the body adapted to the meld substance (or just getting hooked up to damn machines) is an excruciating process; might even be similar to what the Ethereals put the Floaters through when augmenting them. Dr. Shen's in-game comments about mankind possibly repeating the alien's ruthless cycle of torture and destruction becomes more ominous.

- Queen Solaria sounds like the unholy lovechild of Medusa and Dolores Umbridged who was raised by Sauron. I can only imagine how much effort it took Discord to switch that part of her off.

- Equestrians are rightfully amazed and terrified of man's progress and how they function. Sabra's conversation with Zhang about how we do or do not find our purpose in life seems to be a big culture clash. Ponies find something they're good at, mark appears and they work to hone themselves in that field. Humans can spend their entire lives like the CMC trying to find their talents.

Great start and I can't wait to see where this side-story goes.

P.S. - I dig Beowulf's call sign and custom paint job. Makes me think of Mechwarrior.

Out of curiosity, did you have any naming conventions for gene modded soldiers and MEC Troopers? I tried giving the gene troops nicknames related to amalgamated creatures related to their nationality (chimera, sphinx, etc.) and MEC troopers got nicknamed after gods of war.

A good story to read while waiting for the sequel. Good job, and I for one am eager for the next installment in Stardust.

4074623 I noticed a grammar mistake in the description

Captain Steel Song of the Dusk Guard are immediately mobilized to help

to fix just replace one with 'and' or 'is'

I also worked with one of the engineers to work with the humans targeting systems as well.
humans'

viability of join operations
joint

Ah, that was fun to read through again. :pinkiehappy: Nothing like a finished product!

And I look forward to seeing more of Yuri. I hope he continues to show up!

4075550 lol, spoiler tag doesn't care about your pathetic dots (apparently)

As for general comments, this was a fun read. I've read Stardust, of course, but not the other one. I've put it in my Read Later list to get to ... eventually. Along with the other 17 million words in there. Looking forward to the main Stardust sequel.

There will be no comments or reading until Dusk Guard is read through.
And I would really like to read this...

4075280 this is a side story not the true sequel

4075280
After reading this fiction, I realize that I was mistaken about this being a sequel. You're still a troll:trollestia: for teasing us like this, Arad.

A full side story all at once?! Nice. :pinkiehappy:

It'll have to wait till later though, got work. :raritycry: Still, least I have something to look forward to during my shift.

PPS

That was... insubstantial. Probably to be expected. About 3 Stardust chapters worth of words, mostly fight scene, a dash of foreshadowing here and there. (Well, "mostly". There's a significant amount of walking and talking.) It reads a lot like an action movie. It's a minor surprise that these guys and their gear won't be showing up in the sequel, considering the Dusk Guard is Equestria's closest equivalent to Strike One. They even have Equestria's closest equivalent to a Skyranger. There wasn't much to connect this to the main plot - the terror attack is a generic event of no plot significance, and the major characters are mostly people we've never seen and won't see again. I was expecting some kind of plot-significant discovery or MacGuffin retrieval, like "Oh no, the invaders are doing [thing] now" or "What's this glowy crap we found in the wreckage?" Something easily summarized in the sequel for people who haven't read this, but still interesting enough to motivate people to read the interlude.

So because the Dusk Guard keep calling Beowulf a golem i assume they don't know he's a human cyborg in a robotic suit if so i so want there to be a scene where he takes off his helmet and there shocked to see there's a human under all that armor and even more shocked and horrified when they learn how he became like that

Wow, featured on the day it was published. Thats saying something.

ah i love it, i see this one will follow the perspective of the dawn guard i assume?

Also great so far loving the story, cant wait for me.

This is unreadable.

I logged in to find a pleasant surprise: Feature box! It's something I always wanted but could never quite pull off with Stardust.

Now, to the comments. I'm going to -try- to keep up with everyone's comments but since I'm at work at the moment that might become difficult.

4074878

I don't think I know the reference. >_>

4074990 4074993

Thanks!

4075016

Whoops. This is why I need a pre-reader for my comments in addition to my stories. >_>

And regarding future wargear for the Equestrians, you'll have to wait and see!

4075038

Thanks!

4075169

I'm reminded of that episode of Futurama where Fry learns he's rich.

4075183

An excellent summary. Sectopods, in my mind's eye, are multi-purpose tanks capable of fulfilling multiple roles. Putting aside game mechanics for a second, even if Titan armor could withstand a blast from it's main gun, I can almost guarantee the fabrics/flexible armor of the joints could not.

Either way I'm glad my interpretation of Sectopods came off well.

4075203

You'll have to wait and see!

4075215

I noticed that too. Sunflower side stories updated, which I'll be reading just as soon as I finish this.

4075302

Thanks!

4075326

Others beat me to it, but in the Council discussion in Stardust this was mentioned :)

4075459

Don't forget Papa Gator!

4075511

The PSI variant of Titan armor -does- have a similar appearance to the gear that is used in the Bureau. Interestingly enough the PSI-Titan armor was something I already had planned so the Bureau's PSI gear was just a happy coincidence.

4075521

For the Dusk Guard it's a one time appearance. The surviving humans and Beowulf will make a return though.

And you're right, that's how canon MECs are. Emphasis on canon. >_>

4075592

I've never been a fan of the robocop monotone voice. While the voice will sound artificial, going forward MECs will at least have variances in tone and inflection

4075648

My first encounter with a Sectopod was also rather horrific. Downed a scout UFO. Decided to take rookies along. Sectopod spawns atop the hill right beside the UFO out of my line of sight. No cover between me and the hill and the stupid thing spends the entire game raining down missiles on my men.

4075749

I thought the same. You would think in terror missions at least they would have police running around.

4075819

Thanks for your comment, sir! And I always think it's a bit of a letdown when a crossover is just One setting/characters/plot + another character from another setting and doesn't explore how the plot diverges from there.

One excellent example of how a plot should diverge when new elements are introduced is a Mass Effect/WH40k crossover where an Imperial Guardsman and an Eldar Farseer end up in the ME-verse, and led to one of the best badass boasts I've come across.

Maeteris: "I am an Eldar Farseer. I do not threaten, I divine the future."

Going to split this comment in two!

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