• Member Since 2nd Nov, 2012
  • offline last seen 3 hours ago

Admiral Biscuit


he/him

T

A cutie mark reveals a pony’s special talent—the thing that sets him or her apart from other ponies. Ponies never get the wrong cutie marks, but sometimes they pay a high price for the one they have.


Inspired by Estee’s Elements of Elements.
New Coverart by AlwaysDressesInStyle

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 38 )

Well that's morbid. Poor guy doesn't seem to know what's happening to him, I wonder if he would stop if he knew.

Yikes. I'd hope a talent for mercury extraction might provide some degree of resistance to the stuff, but when a pony lives and breathes cinnabar, poisoning is pretty much inevitable. A fine tribute to the peril and beauty of element 80.

6330222
I don't know. Magical Mystery Cure implies that he would not, but I leave that open to readers to decide.

6330237

Yikes. I'd hope a talent for mercury extraction might provide some degree of resistance to the stuff, but when a pony lives and breathes cinnabar, poisoning is pretty much inevitable.

Yeah, I'm not sure a talent = protection from the downside of said talent.

A fine tribute to the peril and beauty of element 80.

Thank you!

There is a stoic kind of sadness to this, and a heaping of irony.

Mercury poisoning. Poor bastard.

That was my thought by the fifth paragraph.

I wonder if anyone will make him comfortable when it all finally catches up to him. I hope so, since it seems like that time is soon.

Mildly disturbing, but a good short story.

It is sad, not a tear jerker, just generally depressing. I've been meaning for some time now to do my own such fic about... a less than ideal special talent. You handled it well, didn't over do it, just showed us how it is, and let us come to our own conclusions.

Excellent story! I knew where this was heading in the second paragraph, but it's hard not to, and it doesn't matter. This unfolded very well and left the grim and certain future to be imagined.

Abstract Knowledge Warning: You probably already know this, but the term 'mad as a hatter' has it's roots in the use of quicksilver. Scary stuff.

To be honest, we had forgotten what quicksilver was. Then you started describing his signs, and I was like, "crap, he's got Mercury poisoning, doesn't he?"
Kinda sad, but so well written, you just gotta feel for the guy, in a different way than the Internet usually feels...
Keep going! ;)

Then he could start anew—he'd found a huge deposit, and he was going to get all the mercury out, even if it killed him.

And given the lack of safety precautions, it probably WILL.

What's worse, this seems very plausible -- that somepony would have a talent for a dangerous form of mining and refining, and then engage in it without necessarily taking precautions. My Equestria has sufficiently advanced medical technology that they grasp the danger ... but that might not stop him.

I knew what was happening since I read the title and description... And yet I managed to appreciate the story. As scary as it was.

Wow, that poor stallion... :fluttercry:
Being out in the middle of nowhere... his prospects are not good for even having comfort when his time comes. It'll just be one day that he can't function enough to drink, and maybe thirst will take him faster than the mercury... :raritycry:

I can't tell if you've just done your research or you know all this from experience. Well done either way.

The ponies are generally more "backwards" technologically, but would they really have the same non-existent attitudes to health and safety as in our past? Considering how caring and idealized their society is usually viewed it seems out of place.

But the reason we care so much about health and safety is because our lives have become less and less dangerous. Dying from an industrial accident is much more concerning when it isn't one of many many things that will probably kill you. In the industrial revolution's time there was a truly staggering rate of violent crime, many untreatable diseases, actual war, etc.

Considering the sheer amount of random invasions and magical accidents, I guess it could make sense they have an (off-screen) mortality rate to match our past and a corresponding disregard for safety.

6330394
Then I would say I have done well. :heart:

6330580

Mercury poisoning. Poor bastard.

Yup.

I wonder if anyone will make him comfortable when it all finally catches up to him. I hope so, since it seems like that time is soon.

As much as I'd like to say yes, most likely he'll die alone in the wilderness.

6330744

Mildly disturbing, but a good short story.

Thank you!

I've been meaning for some time now to do my own such fic about... a less than ideal special talent.

I'd like to see that :pinkiehappy:

You handled it well, didn't over do it, just showed us how it is, and let us come to our own conclusions.

That's what I was going for. I hate stories where the author tries to force a point of view on the readers.

6330958

Excellent story! I knew where this was heading in the second paragraph, but it's hard not to, and it doesn't matter.

There was some debate about whether or not I should try and obscure what was happening to him, but from a storytelling persepctive, I think it's better if the audience knows, but he doesn't.

Abstract Knowledge Warning: You probably already know this, but the term 'mad as a hatter' has it's roots in the use of quicksilver. Scary stuff.

I did know that! Here's another fun fact: some lighthouses used to float their Fresnel lenses on a pool of liquid mercury.

6331293

<spoiler'd text>

Yes, it will.

My Equestria has sufficiently advanced medical technology that they grasp the danger ... but that might not stop him.

Even now, medical knowledge doesn't prevent people from doing things which are harmful to their health, so in that regard, it probably wouldn't stop him--especially if cutie marks can cause a pony to obsessively pursue their talent.

Having said that, I tend to have a slightly darker view of Equestria, which--I believe--tends to be more historically accurate. While in Sea Swirl's Dive, she knew about the dangers of a deep dive . . . it was experience which had been collectively learned by ponies who were not so lucky to know about the bends until it was too late. I do give them better medical care than is historically accurate for the time period in which I set the show--magic is . . . well, magic--but just like IRL, you've got to know what a disease is in order to properly treat it, and oftentimes the first few patients presenting with new symptoms won't have a successful treatment.

6331251

To be honest, we had forgotten what quicksilver was. Then you started describing his signs, and I was like, "crap, he's got Mercury poisoning, doesn't he?"

Yes, he does.

Kinda sad, but so well written, you just gotta feel for the guy, in a different way than the Internet usually feels...

Thanks!

6331536

I knew what was happening since I read the title and description... And yet I managed to appreciate the story. As scary as it was.

Thank you!

6331583

Being out in the middle of nowhere... his prospects are not good for even having comfort when his time comes. It'll just be one day that he can't function enough to drink, and maybe thirst will take him faster than the mercury... :raritycry:

Thirst, or if he's lucky, a monster will get him.

6332432

I can't tell if you've just done your research or you know all this from experience. Well done either way.

Fortunately, it's all research.

6332674

The ponies are generally more "backwards" technologically, but would they really have the same non-existent attitudes to health and safety as in our past? Considering how caring and idealized their society is usually viewed it seems out of place.

I don't know. They've certainly got a different world view. A couple of examples: they didn't seem all that bothered by things like the dam breaking, or the house under construction falling down. That makes me think of the attitude towards machines in the 1800s (steamboats just explode sometimes) . . . and it's not like we've ever gotten completely past that. How many Americans die in car accidents each year?

They also don't appear to be overly concerned about monsters wandering into town, or being near town. They've either got a lot of confidence that the cockatrice will stay in the Everfree, or else they deal with stoned ponies after the fact. It's hard to imagine any civilization on Earth which would put up with that dangerous a predator so close.

Considering the sheer amount of random invasions and magical accidents, I guess it could make sense they have an (off-screen) mortality rate to match our past and a corresponding disregard for safety.

I personally think there's a very good chance that this is the case. I think that they are at the beginning of an era where this does bother them, where they do start inventing things like building codes and whatnot. We have seen many canon examples of ponies wearing protective clothing of some sort or another, which I think gives credence to this idea. It's also possible, since we have such a limited viewpoint of Equestria, that the rules and expectations in the cities are far different than they are in the country.

Jayzus, what a helluva way...

Even now, medical knowledge doesn't prevent people from doing things which are harmful to their health, so in that regard, it probably wouldn't stop him--especially if cutie marks can cause a pony to obsessively pursue their talent.

Reasonable extrapolation. Strike One

Having said that, I tend to have a slightly darker view of Equestria, which--I believe--tends to be more historically accurate. While in Sea Swirl's Dive, she knew about the dangers of a deep dive . . . it was experience which had been collectively learned by ponies who were not so lucky to know about the bends until it was too late...

Not so different, really. Consider that the bends was originally called caisson disease. It took a lot of years and a lot of lives to figure that one out. Strike Two. Which leads us to...

...I do give them better medical care than is historically accurate for the time period in which I set the show--magic is . . . well, magic--but just like IRL, you've got to know what a disease is in order to properly treat it, and oftentimes the first few patients presenting with new symptoms won't have a successful treatment.

Barring more rigorous and sophisticated research into alchemy and/or chemistry, Eeyup. And Strike Three.

Helluva way...

It looks like Quicksilver's only hope would be having some caring, possibly educated, pony meet him during one of his trips into town, and convince him that he needs medical care. Human history included the use of mercury in extracting gold while placer mining, so we had plenty of chances to recognize its effects around gold mining towns. Maybe the same is true in Equestria? In a land of magical ponies, maybe there's even a way to quickly purge mercury compounds from one's body.

Otherwise, yeah... He's a dead pony walking.

Damn... mercury poisoning by dust, fumes and ingestion. It was clear the moment he lost some fur in combination with the title, but still. What was his cutiemark btw?

6683646
Several droplets of mercury.

Well, that's about five flavors of scary, creepy, and other synonyms.

6330302

I don't know. Magical Mystery Cure implies that he would not, but I leave that open to readers to decide.

That episode was feces. I'm not even talking about Twilicorn either. The cutie mark thing was ludicrous, none of them were that obsessed with it before the spell. Rainbow Dash's cutie mark doesn't even have anything to do with weather! Her mark was earned when racing, which has zip all to do with weather, but Rarity was idiotically obsessed with it. Hell, our introduction to Rainbow Dash was her taking a half flanked attitude towards the weather in favor of training to improve her flying! Pinkie's is about making ponies happy in general, not specifically being a comedian. The reactions to the switch were just way too extreme to be believable and the way they manifested just screamed, 'we don't really know what their marks actually mean and can't be bothered to watch that one episode'.


*Edited in purple to match story rating*

6842873

I'm not going to debate the merits of the episode, but I think that there is evidence in canon going beyond that episode that a pony might pursue what he believed his cutie mark was telling him, even if it would ultimately destroy him.

6844554 I think you don't even need to use the show to justify it; People, real life people, sometimes do ignorant stuff in the pursuit of their interests.
And sometimes they don't change their mind when shown evidence that it's dangerous - 'Cognitive Dissonance' can be a powerful thing, and so can just plain stubborn disregard for personal safety.
Heck, sometimes it's not an interest, just a habit.

But Magical Mystery Cure is a bad episode to use as reference; We've no idea what the spell did, other than a botched version causing at least a swap of the cutie marks.
We don't even know what the complete version did (though I've a few different theories)
Actually, anytime the marks are magically changed (swapped, replaced with a certain symbol, and so on) chances are there's probably going to be some side-effects related to the magic used.
So the only time we can trust the results is when looking at 'natural' marks.

I guess if you need evidence of an 'interest' becoming a danger to the pony and those around them, where the pony refuses to stop after the danger is pointed out...
We can just use Rainbow Dash, especially in the early seasons; She crashes into everything, neglects her actual job (which would have been quite vital to the safety of Ponyville, if there didn't seem to be such a redundancy among the weathermares that even active sabotage can't slow them down), and at one point it seems fairly clear she would have failed to save somepony from a lethal drop due to overconfidence (among other failings)
She's not called 'Rainbow Crash' for nothing.

7021962
That's a good point.

It's beyond ponies, too; in real life people do things which are dangerous, dumb, and which may kill them. And I'm not talking the stuff where you don't really think about the dangers, like walking down a flight of stairs or driving, but the stuff where everybody knows it's dangerous--race car driver, skydiver, crocodile wrestler, broadcast tower repairman . . . the list goes on.

I think that Magical Mystery Cure does provide a glimpse into the single-minded obsession which can result from a cutie mark (and I will say, for the record, that I don't believe that the cutie mark serves as a compulsion for a pony to do something; it's really more of a guideline), and it's an easy example.

You're right about RD being a good example of obsession, but it's fair to say that even she doesn't totally shirk her duties. Yeah, she's got a drive that makes her do dumb stuff, but like most of the characters in the show, she's not totally one-dimensional.

For that matter, we've seen obsessions in all the Mane 6; Twilight in Lesson Zero and Applejack in whatever that episode was called where she tried to harvest everything by herself. Those are the first two that come to mind, but if I really think about it, I could probably come up with ones for Rarity, Pinkie, and Fluttershy. And don't forget the CMC's relentless pursuit of their marks, either.

I didn't upvote this on first reading, but on going through your list of stories looking for ones I had missed or passed over, I noticed this one.

I still remember it, after quite some time.

That must count for something, so...upvote.

7691426

I didn't upvote this on first reading, but on going through your list of stories looking for ones I had missed or passed over, I noticed this one.
I still remember it, after quite some time.

Reading about some of the things we learned as we industrialized and then thinking how the ponies would almost certainly be going through the same painful learning curve . . .

I've never tagged it as being in the OPP-verse, but it pretty much is.

He pushed the stiff, dusty blanket off

:fluttershyouch:

so he went without and shook himself off at the end of the day

:fluttershyouch:

set the kettle on a ledge on his brick furnace

:fluttershyouch:

the repetitive ker-WHAM of the hammer

:fluttershyouch:

a constant futile flicking of his tail against the clouds of dust the hammer kicked up.

:fluttershyouch:

He flipped the bowl’s bail up with a hoof, grabbed it in his teeth

:fluttershyouch:

He blew the light coating of red dust off his chipped enamel cup

:fluttershbad:

This is kind of sad. The poor guy. :pinkiesad2:

9160935
Yeah, it’s not going to end well for him, and that’s a fact.

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