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This story is a sequel to Harmony Defended

Ten years ago, Equestria was nearly destroyed in a combined invasion of its worst enemies. Only with the timely intervention of its erstwhile human allies was the nation spared slavery and extinction. The war is over now, and the treaties of peace faithfully followed even after a decade. While earth ponies help rebuild Earth's ecosystem, human tractors erect roads and cities with terrifying speed.

Sweetie Belle helped make victory possible, but the cost of that victory was one of her best friends. Equestria is safe now, and ponies are spreading to the stars. Why doesn't she feel happier?

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 47 )

We did go pretty late into the night for the editing. Hope people enjoy it.

...and just so people actually see what I had to work with, I'm putting the thing in here, too.


Congratulations on finishing your story!

Sooooo much nostalgia!
Lots 'o melancholy....

'Twas a good run, Starscribe :pinkiesad2:

Right in the feels.

It has truly been a grand adventure. Thank you for bringing us along Starscribe.

Well, that's a lot to take in.

The transition to the flashback of the Crusaders meeting Chance and Truth again was a little vague; it felt like the tense just changed all of a sudden.

Playing in my head the whole time they flew toward spacedock:

Need MOAR! :flutterrage:

welp, thats what i get for not reading the whole plot summary. i was so confused the entire time, but it was just so interesting. i couldnt stop.

Ah yeah, that's the sort of future history I was hoping for. Poor Pip, but not everyone wins. Sweet new ship for the now potentially never ending crusade.

I am a little confused about Chance's approach to keeping her friends from dying. I would have thought that between the Steel Tower cortical recorders and the general level of tech the combined civilizations have, just about anyone and everyone could be rendered functionally immortal. Seems like it would be an easier and safer approach to keeping her friends around for the duration then sending them out to scout the universe in a prototype starship.

Still need the goods on what goes down between Twilight, Dash, and Charles!

Hello Starscribe, Sparktail here. Or Limelight. Or DPL. You know how it works by now.

First of all, sorry for having been busy during the holidays and not having been part of the reading as I usually would. Though, in hindsight, it's probably a good thing, because I probably would have made it even longer than it already was, and then I wouldn't have the motivation to write this review. I shall leave my mark here instead, in written words.

Since this story is more or less a sort of follow-up/epilogue to Harmony Defended, and since I didn't review it at any point (because I was part of the reading, as previously mentioned), I shall review it in its entirety. While you do know my opinion on certain things already (namely the GrayDash ship I kind of was responsible for, in part), I shall review it based on the various plot threads you intertwined together to make a whole. I won't comment on the quality of the writing; there's no point in talking about you always writing quality stuff. I will say, however, that you have improved a lot since the far away days of pokemon fanfiction, slowly perfecting your art. Maybe someday, the world at large will get to appreciate it too.

So, story time. I will begin with complains, because I'm good at complaining. You've heard it before, but I think I should explain myself a little more than just saying "it sucks". I'm talking about the many, many, many plots points in your story. I said the same about your last big pokemon story, and I will say it again: I don't like it. It always felt to me like, instead of having one (or two) solid narrative threads, you try to have as many as possible, and it weakens the whole. Just for fun, I'm going to list everything that comes to mind: Tower and Equestria relations, Federation and Equestria relations, the state of planet Earth, the Dragons, the alliance of the Dragons with other species, the Outsiders, Twilight and Chance, Chance herself, the Crusaders, Chance and Pip, Rainbow and Twilight, Rainbow and Charles, the Zebras, that something Dawn pone, the state of the war, Chrysalis, Ampersands and... probably more, I'm getting kind of bored of listing them. Many of those things were shown, almost seeming to be important, then vanished and/or had a vague mention later. Some scenes were literally pointless fillers and did nothing to advance the story (I'm thinking of those conferences scenes, and maybe some stuff with Lyra). The end result was a story that was epic, but seemed to always be looking for its identity. Instead of going from point A to point B, it went from point A to... a bunch of interlinked points, forming a big web that was hard to follow through, and not really having a single ending point. This one-shot does address some of those shortcomings, which I will detail later. In that regard, MLA was a lot better, and as interesting and well written, proving that you don't need to overcomplicate things to make a great story.

With my main complain out of the way, let's go into the good stuff. While many plot threads formed the bulk of the story, I'm going to discuss the two that lasted the whole story and, in my biased opinion, were the reasons I kept reading: The Crusader's Crusade and The Great GrayDash Quest.

The Crusader's Crusade

While the story as a whole searched for its identity, there was one path that didn't, and that was the Crusader parts. The story could entirely be composed of those scenes, with a few complimentary scenes to add a bit of meat around the bone, and it would have made for a great standalone story. For a story that sold itself as a sequel to MLA, it didn't have enough Chance and the Crusaders as it should have, but what it did have was cool. Chance was, for most of those scenes, the view-point character, which it what one would expect from the alleged main character. Her inner conflict, with her mind torn between caring for her Equestrian friends and family and her duty for Earth, was the crux of her story arc and well executed. The story made it obvious from the beginning that she was working on a big project that would change things forever for Earth, but her role in it was slowly unpeeled like an onion, and like an onion, it brought much tears as each layer removed brought us, the readers, to the ineluctable conclusion that she was probably going to give up everything for Earth. The final crusader section (before this story), made it especially hard to read for that reason. But in a good way.

HD itself didn't bring a satisfying conclusion to the Crusaders (in fact, it looked like it was purposely avoiding the aftermath of Chance and her friends), but thankfully, this story fixes that. This story was... well, satisfying, but also very sad. I was a bit spoiled by the ending because you've talked many times on Skype about how space travel works, but it didn't make it any less hurtful. Having Sweetie Belle in a moody mood from the beginning was a good narrative decision, as the reader could tell that this apparent milestone in ponykind had to have some huge negative consequence, but it wasn't directly explained until the very end, filling the paragraphs with dread despite some of the happy moments in the story. Something had to go wrong, and it did, just... it wasn't that things were bad, per say, just that their entire world as they know it was going to be gone. I felt really bad for Pip, and I'm curious why Sweetie Belle didn't try harder to convince him to go (she might have, but it wasn't said). Surely, he could be having his own happy ending in Equestria and live a plentiful live, but all the same, it felt like the Crusaders didn't care much for him in the end, being willing to not see him again because of the time dilation. On the other hoof, I bet it was the same pain for the fact they wouldn't see their family again, which, again, was felt in the whole melancholy that followed Sweetie in the entire story.

So... yeah... this story was very sad, but it did something HD didn't do; bringing some finality some aspect of the character interaction (bonus points for having Button in here, though). Which brings me to the second plot thread of HD I want to discuss.

The Great GrayDash Quest

I know Chance was supposed to be the main character of the story, but sometime, I felt like Charles was. As much as Chance was the voice of the 'good' Federation, Charles was kind of the anti-hero of the 'bad' Tower and brought a lot of insight on their side of the story (because the rest of the story failed at that, aside from the very end). He begin with an unlikeable attitude, thinking lowly of ponies and organics in general. Fortunately, you had the stroke of genius to pair him with the one pony who wouldn't have any of his crap, and turned an unlikeable, but well intentioned robot dude into... well... no pun intended, but an awesome pony. Dash herself isn't the most likeable of character either, but hot darn, putting them together saved the story from my point of view. In fact, there should have been an entire story about them. Not because of the implied romance and the triangle with Twilight, but because those two probably deserved more. A lot of stories work extremely well with two antagonistic characters, and this was one of such case. The contrast between humanity and ponykind kind of took a backseat to the war in the rest of story, which was a shame, while the GrayDash sections was fueled on it, which was GREAT!

I initially rooted for Rainbow's side, because the story kind of painted the Tower in a bad way, but the more I got to know Charles, the more I understand where he and his people were coming from. The whole subplot with the goblins did more to explain the pre-war situation on Earth than Chance ever did. It was a great outlet for the Tower, but also for humanity as a whole. Charles wasn't just a human, he was an avatar of what is good in humankind, kind of like Chance was. He was a lot more cynical than Chance, but that part had to be explored, too. For that reason, I think Charles should be explored more. Either in the prequel to HD, or an eventual sequel. There is much to see about him and indirectly, about the Tower, that HD did justice to. Of course, like 5433401 said, more GrayDashTwi triangle would be nice, but anything Charles related would be awesome. Especially if they are just short stories like this. You don't need a 200k words mega novel with dozens of plot threads to make great tale.


I've said a lot so far, and there would be a lot more to tell, if I was to talk about everything. this review would be large enough to a be a one-shot on its own. I know I did it once before, but I'm not doing it again. If I was to sum up my review in a few words, I would say that I enjoyed this one-shot a lot, if not more than HD itself, because it was more focused in it content. I don't think the MLA-verse needs more mega stories (other than your rewrite of MLA), and maybe you should focus on more little one-shots. You have so many characters, so many plot lines than the chaptered format doesn't really do them any justice. As you've told me before, quantity is not quality, and I feel shorter things with more overall quality would be better. But that's just my opinion. And because every review these days need numbers, here's my own.

Writing: 10
Plot: 7.8 (Too much plot <.<)
Character interaction: 9.5

Overall score for HD: 9.0
Overall score for this: 9.5

That it all. I'm out.

Well, I don't have quite as much ambition in my review as that guy. I guess I'll stick to NITPICKS

All and all

I believe the expression should be "all in all".


scathing (Your alternate spelling has no currency that I'm aware of)

gravitational eddie where she drifted
out of the eddie


Can't shoot us down when we guide the rockets.

(No correction. Is this a reference to ERBoH? (Steve Jobs vs. Bill Gates, 1:50)

Cool story, managed to read them all in about two to three days, was interested the whole way through, though I do wish you would show more of what happened to Gray Vigil, I'd really like to see where he went from the end of HD.

5432929 You fool! I will now use your hilarious gif for my own nefarious ends! muhahaha!

5458926 You have surely bested me!


I'll just stand over here

Very good. I, for one, would like to see more.

Please, please, make a sequel. This series was astronomical! (Heh, space) You should do a story to wrap up all your loose plot threads (One-ish chapter per thread), and continue on the return of the crusaders. Maybe alien conflict? Not really sure how you one-up extra-dimensional invaders and aliens. Maybe a story focused on emotional character development or a coup by the humans. I think racist radicals would be lame though. Please keep writing in this universe. Chance is awesome. Until next time, HgSpartan

Glad you enjoyed the story! If I got more comments like this, I'd probably have gotten further by now. I've got plans for another short story after this one in this same universe, about a third written right now. It stars Pipsqueak as an interstellar peacekeeper agent of sorts. If that ever gets done, the next (and probably last) story in this universe (chronologically anyway) would be a novel-length sci-fi mystery about the CMC's return to Equestria many thousands of years in the future.

Not sure if that story will ever be written, but I really appreciate your encouragement. Comments like this are the reason I keep writing.

it's a deeply touching story, as the rest of your stories are/where.
i love reading them :twilightsmile:

5651351 If you ever do write it I will read it enthusiastically. I just finished shotgunning all of MLA, and I am super impressed. I had heard you planned on re-writing it. I do not know if this is the original, or the rewrite, but either way it is fantastic.

I am trying to learn how to make my own books. I don't have the money for it now, but when I am more financially secure, I plan on printing this up so it can sit on my shelves in real life. The plan is to use paper that has mismatched edges, dark red faux leather cover, with gold cover print. one physical book per story, with the oneshots placed chronologically included in the larger books.

Would you be opposed to this? The books would reference you as the author, and would have the URL of your profile page here on FiMF in them. I would not be selling them, but I have no doubt I would be loaning them out to close, trustworthy friends.

Great story. I look forward to at least a short story to wrap up the return. Also whatever happened to Rainbow and Charles? This tale was very bittersweet for me. I am glad Chance lived but a permanent seperation from Luna, one of her best friends, and to a lesser extent Twilight, her Mother, seems painful. Maybe one day she will think of way to make short trips through the portal. Also Did chance reconnect with Alexi?

I would love to see little blurbs of the Crusade's adventures in space.

I was reading the first story as it was being written, then I got sidetracked after its completion and only read some 20 chapters of the apprentice stuff, I finally got back into it the other day and read it in its entirety and then read the apogee stuff and now this.

After reading it all the only thing I can really say is. :fluttercry: :fluttershysad: :applecry: :pinkiesad2: :raritycry: and if there were more sad emotes I'd stick those in as well because this is good wordage in long strings of acceptable font.

So.. After carving through the entire thing in one tremendous go....

Either, A: I missed something. Or B:There are a few plot lines that never got resolved. With a piece as weighty and meaty as this badboy, both seem equally likely.

Brigid.. The woman from the steel tower who makes contact with the Diamond Dogs. Were there no repercussions for what happens in the Archive? Or did I miss those repercussions? That's really the main one. The rest are all minor. That seems more important though.

Loved the Ender's Game reference.

Reread, and now I get a feeling in the far future, there's going to be a whole alliance of two galaxies (Equestrian/Equus and Earth/Terra/Sol 3) and Chance's friends come home to find Equestria and Earth changed for the better.

But what if the Mane Six were the ones on Equestria's side for FTL starships... Heh, at least that wouldn't hurt the crusaders' hearts, seeing them still alive even after hundreds of years have passed and things have changed for good...

Anyhow, this story makes my left eye tear up. Right eye be like "Let me remember this on the long term then I'll weep" mode anyway.

Every time I read this, it's like eating the darkest chocolate ever created. It's slightly more sweet than bitter and you'll eventually come back for more.

wow I just do not really know what to say this ending is perfect and yes I know the story is 2 years old but to tell the truth a few looks or side story's would be good but at the same time is it really needed???
there is just so much sadness in all three story's if any thing we need a side story that is happy to round every thing off.
I will stop here.

I had originally intended to start a space opera set in this same universe, starring the CMC and their new starship that would have a lighter tone than my usual writing.

I don't know if I'll ever get to it now, though. I've written so much other pony, I just don't know if I'll have time.

I understand about having time and it would be nice to here about the CMC but at the same time knowing that everypony they know will be gone if and when they go back it just kind of spoils the hole thing before you ever get it started.
but at the same time it would be nice to have Sweaty change her mine and go back to Equestria before every one is gone.

and the time laps Is not a problem with FTL travel.

A fitting end to the saga of Second Chance, and her three best friends.

Noooooooo, that went so fast! the word count was a lie! There's no way that was 14,213 words, it was like...... 5,500+ words........

I need more....... :fluttercry:

Thank you for writing this story, it really distracted and cheered me up when i needed it. Just had a smallish surgery done and having your mind elsewhere on those initial days of recovery is something which cannot be understated.

Ah, my last stop on my fortnight fever dream of reading all of My Little Apprentice.


That was good.

I will have to agree with 5434982 that Harmony Defended had just a little too much going on. But then again, I never liked stories that involve war, so keeping my attention for all that was impressive.

The first three books were really good though. I can tell the extra draft really helped them a ton. In the end, I'm just surprised by the intricacy of it all. There's just so much going on, with a lot of interesting ideas thrown around. I'm not entirely sure I caught everything, but it certainly was trip.

Good job, Starscribe :twilightsmile:

Well that was an awesome ride! Thank you for being generally excellent at hooking me with these things and not making me want to stop until I'm finished.

Oh, not sure if you saw, but I have started writing another story in this universe. It's called Steel Solstice! Unfortunately, it's a prequel, but... this isn't the last story at least.

Another hit right in the feels, you better do another story to tie the prequile and Sunset into the main story

I do plan on it eventually. I just need to figure out how.

Honestly you could probably do a quick edit to a previous story and have Tesla interduse her as an advisor serving time for crimes on Earth.

But where's the fun in that:pinkiecrazy:

Yeah, I wanted something good. Something good is worth taking its time.

This was a great story! I am very happy that I got to read all of this.

Also it's interesting to see the inspiration for Lonely Day as well!

I don't know if you get updates for when a story is added to a list, but the reason that I just spammed them was because I had read them prior to my account creation.

I have to say I had liked the premise of the story, but the ending was too sad for me. Reminds me too much of Inheritance. Oh, well.

I'm going to miss Second Chance and the gang. Great stories.

Great story! I'm so glad I found it.

Though it does leave me with two questions:
Chance's original body is still in cryo on the lunar colonies right? What are they going to do with it?
What happened to those two creepy changelings? They seemed to know Chance from her time as a human. The last we saw of them they were giving Celestia a nuclear ultimatum.
(My theory is that they were originally a Federation human from a previous attempt to reach Equestria, but did not survive the void crossing in one piece, splitting into two consciousnesses.)

I'll be reading Steel Solstice next after a short break. Strange that I'd save the first for last in hindsight.

Okay. Its 2019. Fandom's winding down. Show's almost over. I'm browsing the site for something interesting to read, when I happened across this series. I subsequently found one of the best series I've ever read, right up with the original Fallout Equestria. This series will go into my favorites, for sure.

Thanks for the ride. I wish there was more.

This series was amazing. Not only did things come together well, they fell apart well, or as I like to say, it was satisfyingly depressing.

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