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Dark Scribe of the 38th Company, Iron Warriors Legion, come to bring the glory of Chaos to the realm of Pony.


This story is a sequel to Iron Hearts: Book 5 - Suffer Not the Alien to Live

Personnel log C-921825

Designation... Gear Works
Detachment... 38th Company, Dark Mechanicus sub-division
Rank... [ERROR]
Tacticae Specialization... [ERROR]
Planet Origin... Centaur III
Personnel Status... Active
Current Deployment... [LOADING]

(An Age of Iron side-story/mini-series.)
(Dark humor warning. Some grimdark themes.)
(Cover art by Underpable.)

Chapters (12)
Comments ( 427 )

you should all feel horribly aggrieved and embittered by the cruel, heartless profit machines that don't want to pay me accountant wages to read fanfiction.

INJUSTICE! The Revolution that will ultimately put an end to the abominable practice of wage slavery and deliver the means of production into the hands of the proletariat cannot come fast enough as far as I am concerned!

Nonetheless, despite this rather depressing bit of news, I really enjoyed this story, and can't wait to read what comes next in Gear Works' adventures in the Dark Mechanicus! It is quite surprising that such an important organisation as it gets as little treatment as it does in the various official 40k literature, although that does mean that there is considerably more creative freedom when it comes to writing about it. The only real focus on the Dark Mechanicus I can think of off of the top of my head is the poor sod that was deliberately infected with the Obliterator Virus in the Iron Warriors series by Graham McNeill... I think his name was Adept Cycerin...

Either way, it is always fun to read about the Cult Mechanicus... If only the Dark Mechanicus wore more red... It is such a nice colour. Still great chapter! Really exciting, and I can't wait to read more of this, and your other stories! I hope you're well,

Kind Regards,


P.S. Also, one day I mean to contribute to the Age of Iron Group... I just need to take a deep breath and actually submit something...

This is terrific, sens the mention of a techpony was told in the Codex: 38th Company I wanted to see a pony character that was in line with the Dark Mechanicus, and now my wish is granted. I can't wait what will append to Gear Boy in his quest for technological enlightenment, and how he will change as well a develop as a character as well as the impact that his unabashed enthusiasm in the Cult of the Machine. I wander if the the dark techprest will start to study cutie marks and signing as well as the effect that it has on ponies with Gear's. I also wander how far Gear Box ambition will go; I would imagine that it would be nothing less the then conceiving and building his how Emperator class titan for the glory of the Machine God. I wander if he will start to compete with Gela to be Warsmith Solon's to be his apprentice.

I can't wait to see the next chapter

Fun fact for you all; I made Carmed's name by combining butcher and Doctor in Latin.
Also, really good work. Bout time Gears got some page time (does that work? Whatever). Also don't want to give anything away, but look forward to aspirant gears getting pummeled by a certain berserker.

I'm sorry if that sounds like I'm advertising my own story. I'm just really excited that the next chapter is almost finished

As someone who makes his living doling out the meagre wages of the oppressed working class in order to pacify them for our capitalist masters, I would prefer not to be credited when the revolution comes to remove the bourgeoisie once and for all. Just a heads up.

The "real" DarkMech does wear red, actually. In fact, the Dark Techpriests are almost completely indistinguishable from Loyalist Techpriests at a glance. It's a little bizarre, considering the pretty clear departure from Imperial design that the Chaos Space Marines took (I still have no idea why their power backpack vents are spread out behind them like that, in contrast to every design of power armor ever designed in the Imperium before and after the Heresy). I actually clothed them in black specifically to make them seem different from the most familiar images of Techpriests available.
The absolute dearth of information on the group was definitely a mixed blessing. For one thing, I can barely figure out how they reconcile their faith in the Machine God with Chaos worship. The initial corruption of Techpriests on Mars was apparently more of a psychotic computer virus causing them to go crazy than any kind of willing decision on their part (the lazy writer's way to turn a faction to Chaos), but that doesn't work for any narrative that wants to treat them as anything more than big red targets for Imperium weaponry. In the end I made up nearly everything, including their ranks. I think it works :pinkiehappy:

Whoa, there! A Titan is kind of a big project. The 38th Company doesn't build Titans even with all their production capacity, experience, and a leader known for building amazing technological artifacts on a whim. Let's keep it manageable!

Another fun fact: In the first draft the Techpriest's name was Yolan, and Gears woke up some time after the Ork assault on Canterlot, rather than the Tau one. I adjusted the timing and character to fit your presentation in Steely Hearts. :raritywink:

This was a wonderful surprise. Gear works is turning out to be a fun and ambitious character.

Looks like we will be seeing more of the inner workings of the Machine Cult.
Plus, we got a closer look into exactly why Twilight failed in her attempts to get into the Dark Mechanicus.

*crawls out of the woodwork*
Did I hear new chapter? :pinkiecrazy:

So... I take it that the Mechanicus don't get out much. If they had, they'd know that ponies can use kindness and friendship with almost weapon-like precision, even pulling Khornates from their chosen path.

I feel like they made their position on Twilight's rejection pretty clear when their "test question" was something like "Why should we let abominable witches work with us, you witch who is also abominable?"

Even if they had heard something like that, they would probably be pretty skeptical. It runs pretty contrary to their accepted world-view (galaxy-view?).
As far as the Dark Mechanicus knows, the only good thing to come from Equestria is dubstep.

This is wonderful. I am looking forward to the advancements that pony special talent magic will bring to the understanding of machine spirits and the Omnissiah!

And I love Gear's particular brand of optimistic pessimism. It is quite refreshing to have everything go better than expected.

I was referring to the Khornate drill instructor who huddled into a ball and cried for multiple hours because a random pony hugged his leg.

So glad to see more of your work.

This entire chapter made me as giddy as a Sister of Battle slaughtering foul xenos in the Emperor's name~

Great story again, SFaccountant! I can't really level any worthwhile criticism against it other than to shorten up some of the exchanges between characters.
(By the way, are you perchance a San Francisco accountant?)

But the dialogue is basically all this story's got! We're not going to see a lot of fighting and sci-fi action amongst the engineers and nerds of the Warhammer/Ponyverse.

And yes, yes I am. I live in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Oh, I actually forgot to comment on this one! Crap!

Uhh... this one was really good! I'm excited to see more of it!

I don't even play D&D and I still loved the edition discrimination jokes, especially from Sheraan.

I simply love how disfunctional you portray the characters at Fero.

Yes, someone else who understands the horror of fourth edition

Gear Works has lost so much respect in my eyes. 4th ed? Really? What a n00b.

Well I think I need to rewrite a bit now. Quite a bit.
But this does make it easier to set up Gears to repair Steely's stuff.
Much much easier.
Also, 4th edition? 3rd and 3.5 is where it's at!

Fourth edition is terrible. Nothing Dusk and his compatriots did to Gear Works was uncalled for, if anything, Gear Works should consider himself lucky to have gotten off with a warning. When I first read the fourth edition rules, I felt like I had been personally insulted...

Anyway, this was a phenomenal chapter, and I was very pleased to see this side-story updated. I enjoy Gear Works as a kind of Woobie (WARNING: TvTropes link! Do not click if you need to accomplish something in the next thirty minutes or so!) character, it's adorable. And Dusk and Phage Squadron are the perfect ponies to make his life so adorably abominable. I can't wait until he gets enough augments to understand binary... I just love the way it makes dry humour all the more biting.

Thanks for the chapter! It's made my day. Can't wait to read what comes next!

Kind Regards,


As glad as I am that so many people understood the joke, I'm slightly concerned about the amount of support his assailants have in their rules-based discrimination.
Also, I've started to wonder how far I can push Dusk Blade toward the Moral Event Horizon (as long as we're tossing aroud TVTropes links) before people complain or start demanding that he face actual comeuppance for his actions.

I kind of feel like I'm writing this in lockstep with Steely Hearts, honestly. I do, eventually, have to explain how he turned from the mostly whole pony in the fanfic cover to the hooded monstrosity in my profile pic. At first I was going to arrange a series of horrific accidents, but now I'm wondering if I can just wait for steely to mangle more of his body for me.

Even the other nerds laughed at him in pony school. It's no wonder he's so desperate for approval from his cyborg overlords.

Well, it's been established that the Company deliberately and enthusiastically recruits ponies that Equestrian society would consider criminals or sociopaths. And then it gives them authority, weaponry, and complete freedom from any objective moral code.
Trixie and Lightning Dust are hardly the worst ponies to end up there.

I believe that can be arranged, repeatedly entering Gear Work's dwelling like the Kool-aid man would likely do the trick.

Gears' assailants don't just have support, they have backup. (PS thanks for the possibly accidental shout-out)

Also, I honestly don't think actual retribution will get through to Dusk at any nonlethal level. It'd be better to just have Twilight keep rejecting him and slowly driving him insane in his constant attempts to prove himself to her while still trying to maintain his personality.

Well, being constantly rejected by Twilight Sparkle is basically his karmic debt manifest. The one thing he wants more than anything else, that he can't have as a direct result of being horrible. I guess I'm just surprised that's enough. I can never predict these things.

For me, it's the idea of getting everything you ever wanted, but the one thing you want most is juuust out of reach. People have been driven mad over less.

Dusk Blade and his compatriots are lucky that Tellis and Fluttershy weren't at this meeting, though Tellis would probably have just insisted they play Bunnies and Burrows as a concession to Fluttershy.

I hold that it is Dusk Blade's fate to be enormously successful in the service of the 38th Company, achieving everything he ever wanted except for Twilight's love. (I even suggested in this thread that he would one day command a chapter of Power Armor wearing ponies.)

It does seem to be Dusk Blade's fate to annoy the protagonists of whichever story he appears in. Or he just sneaks into the narrative like he does people's rooms.

Poor Phage Squadron... but the lack of the Perfect Stallion is well documented, with them being too young, too old, or followers of Slaanesh ("strangely obsessed with tubs of jelly.") Though they could look up "too smelly" or "clearly has a terrible cold." I wonder if there is a Nurglite spa for those ponies who want to keep their manes and fur nice looking but still maintain their parasitic infections. ("And here we move your parasites to a slave for the duration of your date." "Won't that kill him?" "Meh.")

Next, The Great and Powerful Trixie learns of Gear Works and insists he help make devices for her show. The thought of Gear Works being near Serith and his Warsmith-designed phylactery fills me with glee, er, dread! I meant dread, Lord Serith!

Shame that Twilight's gone... when she learns that Gear Works passed the same "test" she failed, she's going to be all Lesson Zero.

:twilightoops: Wait, they didn't send you flying out of their building?!
GW: Well, no. I mean, I saw the big springboard trap. Only an idiot would stand on it.
:twilightblush: Eheheh....
DB: Hey, Gear, ready for the next game--Oh, Princess!

So if I am perfectly clear about Gear box, is that he doesn't have the... pluming anymore to make more little Gear Box to worship the Machine God, I would have thought that might later consider mass produces their pony disciples instead of recruiting them in the cult. I was honestly hoping that particular area was just reinforced to prevent any damage like that they did on Big Mac

Anyway I love Gear Box and all the hell he is going trough and still manages to keep a sunny disposition despite everything. It is ashame that he doesn't have a mouth anymore, I would have love to draw him in all his mechanical glory.

I wander his Gear Box is going to have one day his own integrated weapon system on to his body, and if he would go on a vengeance fueled against anyone that wronged him in the past.
I have always loved Dusk Blade, he is a fascinating character, if completely immoral bastard that some how still manages to fun in his love interest in Twilight and trying to impress her only to be justifiably rejected buy her an instant after. I an surprised that he didn't take it upon himself Follow Twilight by infiltrating himself to the Harvest of Steel on the pretext of making sure that she is well protected by him at all time, which is sadly true. What surprises me a lot about Dusk is that he is so different from his batpony braveren is how he manged to educate himself in en environment that didn't really encourage any academic interests. To be able to progress so much with no formal teaching and be able to discuss at the same academic level has her so soon after his reclusive tribe came back to the fold of the Princess of the night service, it show a lot of strength of character on his part and would also explain his opportunistic attitude and self-serving nature given that he take it so much initiative.

I still say that Gear Box should try to build his own Warlord Titan, I am sure their is enough ork wreck to build a few of those.

If there is such a "Nurgle spa", Poison Kiss herself would probably be the one to open it. She's had the most experience trying to keep her looks pristine with magic.

Yes, that's the case. In getting his current equipment, Gear Works lost some equipment, too.
But that's okay. Breeding is for degenerate biologicals anyway.
As for getting weaponized, he wouldn't be too quick to turn his lasers on the ponies that abuse him even if he could. All of those ponies are armed too, and far more experienced than he is. Which isn't to say that he'll let them push him around forever... but there are other ways for an intelligent and enterprising cyborg to get even.

And yes, Dusk Blade's intellect is entirely genius-level, but he's held back by a pitiful education. Otherwise he'd probably be debating temporal mana resonance with Canterlot's finest unicorn scientists (and LARPing with them after hours). As for why he didn't sneak on board the Harvest before it left, remember that he didn't know Twilight was leaving until after she had already gone; Twilight kept it from everyone until literally minutes before the gunship arrived.

I love getting a new chapter out of nowhere that is three times as long as the average one-shot. :twilightsmile:

You know, I almost feel sorry for Gear Works now. Almost. His pain is too funny for real sympathy >_>

I am so looking forward to this now :rainbowlaugh:

Already finished rewriting that section. Felt like I crossed a line at the end of it. Message me if you need a new link.

As always i love your stuff man.

I think the reason no one wants to bed the gals of phage squadron is that it can never be more than a 1 night stand. As in after 1 night it falls off due to literal crotch rot.

There are definitely health concerns involved, yes.


7018001 I've wanted Dusk to face justice for his actions from day one, if that helps.

7026431 Not if their special somepony also worships Nurgle... that'd be win-win. But most stallions are too superficial and concerned with their looks to even consider such a thing. :trollestia:

It does, actually. Thank you.

Vile stereotyping!
And really, I think it has more to do with the inherent gender imbalance. Five-to-one females means less chance of a stallion joining ANY cult.


Also, 4th edition? 3rd and 3.5 is where it's at!

That sure is a funny way of saying "Pathfinder and 5e for life!" :rainbowwild:

That said, I love Gear Works. It's adorable in an almost sad way how perfect his life is for him in many respects. Seeing him accidentally take the wind right out of his boss's sails was thr best part of the chapter, in my opinion.

I really like Gear Works' character development. He is getting ever more proficient and slowly developes a bite of his own. Also, he is becoming a literal Iron Woobie :pinkiehappy:

Somehow I imagine Dusk Blade with tabletop rules akin to Sly Marbo - demo charge included! That stallion can out-infiltrate a callidus assassin.

Oh my gosh, there are side stories! And this one is brilliant!

I was a tad skeptical at the introduction of Gear Works, but he has quickly become a part of the Iron Hearts setting for me. I like him as an Aspirant, he knows what he's getting in to, and wants to do it. I feel he's probably got the most realistic expectations of any character, interacting with the 38th Company. I also like how the Techpriests efforts to frustrate or get him to quit have failed. Gear Works has a lot of common sense, probably the first pony, not to stand on the springboard trap.

I got a good chuckle at those 4th Edition Rules jokes, despite not being a tabletop player, I can understand the humor ^^. Poor Gear got all banged up and locked in a locker, but I have an inkling that the ones responsible may come to regret this further down the line, as Gear Works, begins to work his way into advancing his rank within the Dark Mechanicus. Dusk Blade simply has more foresight and to get in good with the pony aspirant. Cause hey, maybe Dusk Blade will end up with some personal wargear by Gear Works, further down the line. One does not anger the person who makes guns, bullets and killer droids for a living after all, not unless you want to find yourself with a suspiciously low ammo count, with suspiciously faulty armor.

I look forward to seeing more of Gear Works and his possible interactions with other characters, possible the Mane 6 at some point. But I'm more interested in characters outside that circle, I can see Gear Works becoming more important later on, a few ideas for that direction.

1. Have him discover Sirius or the other Chaos Marine in Ponyville, in their cyberneitc sarcophagus's and perhaps decide one of them could make a good test subject for cyber-neural interface research =p. Would be kind of funny if he ends up giving them pony-based robot bodies or even pony-based walker bodies. Possibly built from the wrecked shells of the other Dreadnaughts.

2. More advanced cyber-limbs. I feel this will happen down the line anyways, but I look forward to seeing what kind of cyberlimbs Gears will get installed. More cyber-arms? Maybe a cyberneitc leg with a hand or other tools built inside? etc. ^^

The 4th Edition joke actually isn't a Warhammer reference, but a Dungeons & Dragons reference (you just referred to "tabletop" so I'm not sure which game you meant). In a nutshell, the newest rules addition was loathed by the player fanbase to the point of ostracizing those who accepted the new rules.
I was actually afraid that joke would be too obscure for most readers, but if you check the comment section, you'll note that there are not only many who understood, but most of those people side with Dusk Blade... :fluttershysad:

7224401 Siding with Dusk Blade, bah! Gear Works is clearly the more sympathetic character here. He should've been told beforehand what rules they were using. T_T I did get a good chuckle at the Techpriest talking in Binaric about him being a NooB for liking the newer rules. I also guessed it was DnD since you called the game OnO ^^. Gear would probably enjoy playing WH40K tabletop games, over OnO, if the old rules are that highly preferred ^^;.

On a related note, I am looking forward to more of Dusk and Gear Works interactions. I'd also like to see Gear Works meet Twilight, when she gets back from the iron Warrior trip. She'd be so jelly, that he got in and she wasn't allowed to join the Dark Mechanicus at all XD.

The Oubliettes and Ogres is in fact an MLP version of Dungeons & Dragons, as presented in the IDW comics. Interestingly, Shining Armor is a big fan.

But yes, Gears would probably like to get into Warhammer gaming now. Which he can, because the Iron Warriors play tabletop games in canon.

I want to draw the Equine battlesuit, now!!!!:flutterrage: give me a good discretion and feel and I will do it. See my deviantart gallery here. PM me if you are interested.

Also do Tau need to trim their hooves like pony, if so are their any ponies willing to service to that, at five time the normal rate? Plus do thay wear horse shoes?

I'm not totally sure what it would look like yet, but okay, I'll give you a ring.
Presumably Tau hooves function like similar appendages, which means they surely have to trim and care for them like ponies, or in the same manner humans do toenails. I doubt they'd turn to ponies for that service, though; since the Fire Caste warriors spend almost all their lives on their "tour of duty," I'm sure they have the means to maintain basic hygiene on the base. Although if they can break them out of their socialist habits, who knows? Maybe they'll splurge on a hooficure :rainbowlaugh:
Tau also seem to wear boots all the time, which would probably makes horse shoes seem redundant or crude.

And thus another chapter, focusing on my favourite Cyborg-pony has been posted. The Dark Mechanicus are such jerks to Gear Works, but I love how he just takes it all in stride. I like how he's adjusting to having a Servo-Skull hovering around with him, as a companion device. Now I want to see him with more companion devices, like a customized Tau drone, as his research continues into Tau tech. Or maybe a cybernetic pet, like say a Desert Python or similar creature gets caught or partially mutated by Ferrous Dominous's waste, which Gear discovers while cleaning out this area and decides to be experimental.

Also yay, Fenin made a pony friend...well more like a pony who he can tolerate and work with ^^. Got a good laugh, out of Gear and Fenin, making fun of the Fire Caste. Hoof bump of mutual dislike for Fire caste :ajsmug:. This story has a more, down to earth vibe to it, given Gear is just going through his day to day activities. I liked seeing that Gear has some influence at least, however minor it may be. The experiment with the neural interface and Tau tech was amusing. Perhaps Fenin and Gear could co-design a more melee-oriented Tau Battlesuit? ^^ I am looking forward to seeing how Gear's efforts to make ponies more viable combatants pans out, should be interesting.

7245379 on Fenin and Gears... considering how anti social are, they are already the closest thing to"best friends" they could get. So yeah, I'm curious about what mechanicus shenanigans those two will create XD

Also nice! I was missing age of iron stories already :twilightsmile: to see them back warms my war hardened heart... for in the past there's also only WAAARR(GH). TW Warhammer is out, so blowing up greenskins, vampires and chaos is my life now :pinkiehappy:

Good ideas and great writing :pinkiehappy:
Imo the best suit for Gearworks might be a Crisis with enhanced thrusters and servo arms - good for both rapid response repairs and melee.
Likewise I could imagine Pinkie wearing a Ghostkeel battlesuit when/if she runs out of cyborgs.

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