• Published 27th Nov 2011
  • 14,463 Views, 278 Comments

The Dread Chitin - Karazor

Dimension travelling with Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash

  • ...



Fluttershy, Rarity, Applejack and Pinkie Pie were thrilled by the return of their absent friends. They'd been frantic after the incident in Twilight's library, and had found Spike and insisted that he send an emergency message to the Princess. Celestia responded quickly, coming to Ponyville in person to try and determine what had happened to her beloved student. After a quick investigation, she'd summoned her sister, Princess Luna, who'd written the theoretical treatise Twilight had based her spell upon.

The second Princess arrived as quickly as the first had, and immediately set to poring over Twilight's modifications to her research, which the Night Princess deemed "Absolutely brilliant!" Her careful analysis could find no reason for the horrible malfunction of the spell, however, and she suspected, given the quality of Twilight's work, that anypony who attempted the spell would suffer the same result. Shaking her head sadly, Luna had stated that she thought the only pony who could get Twilight and Rainbow back was Twilight herself; the spell was far too dangerous to meddle with.

The Sun Princess, however, was leading search parties all over Equestria, searching for her missing student. To her despair, every search came up dry, and the Princess of the Day was eventually forced to call off the search. It was said amongst the guards that Celestia was heartbroken to have to abandon her student.

Those left in Ponyville were grieving for friends they thought lost forever when the purple star burst over the Everfree. Fluttershy was the first to find them, and the quiet, gentle yellow pegasus was overcome with joy, hugging her friends so fiercely they had to remind her that they needed to breathe.

Rainbow figured out how to remove the human from his armor, and Fluttershy had insisted the wounded creature be taken to the hospital at once. She was seriously concerned about his leg injury getting infected, and was willing to defer her friends' story to help a creature in need.

They'd run into a group of ponies headed to investigate the flare on the way back to Ponyville. Applejack was in charge, and she'd been shocked speechless to see her missing friends. She hadn't even been able to move while Rainbow Dash sauntered up and stole her brand new hat right off her head, replacing it with the rather battered one the cyan pegasus had been carrying for the last three weeks. "Y'all are back. Yer okay! We were so worried!" She'd finally choked out, grabbing her friends in a fierce hug much like Fluttershy had done. After being given a brief summary of their story, she'd unhesitatingly leant her strength to carry the unconscious wounded human, taking some of the strain off the still-injured Rainbow Dash.

Upon entering the town, they'd encountered Pinkie Pie and Rarity. Pinkie was thrown into paroxysms of glee, bouncing around and chattering a mile a minute, and vowing to throw the "Bestest-best of all welcome parties, ever!" while Rarity gave a more reserved, though no less heartfelt, "Welcome back, darlings." They'd met Spike in town as well, and the little dragon had latched on to Twilight and refused to let go. He was happier than anypony had ever seen him.

Duran Thirk regained consciousness in the Ponyville hospital, only a few hours after he, Twilight Sparkle, and Rainbow Dash returned to Equestria. Finding that his stump was already sealed, he insisted on leaving his hospital bed immediately so he could fashion a crutch for himself. When the nurse insisted that the hospital would give him one when he was ready to leave, the human proclaimed he was ready now, dragged himself out of bed, and started crawling down the hallway. Rainbow Dash, being treated in an adjoining room, heard the commotion and went out to calm her bipedal friend, though she only managed to convince him to sit in the hallway while the nurses brought out a crutch.

When Twilight and Rainbow introduced the human to their other friends, they were somewhat surprised at how well he got along with Fluttershy. He stayed in a corner during the party Pinkie threw to welcome them back, though he apologized to the party pony early on for seeming antisocial. The pink mare just smiled and said, "That's okay. What's important is that everyone enjoys themselves, not how they do it!" Duran thanked her, and the cheerful earth pony made sure to bring him fresh punch every once in a while. Fluttershy, on the other hoof, stayed next to the human for most of the party, talking to him quietly while everypony celebrated the return of Twilight Sparkle and Rainbow Dash.

Twilight asked the yellow mare the next day if she knew the human was a predator. Fluttershy answered that, yes, she knew a predator when she saw one, but predators were living things too, and this one was hurt in more ways than one. She would help him if she could.

The two princesses arrived the next day, together. They both spoke to Twilight at length, both about her experiences and about the magic she'd employed. Luna, especially, was thrilled at how far the lavender unicorn had developed her theories, and Twilight promised to share a copy of her findings with the Night Princess before she published it.

Sadly, things went badly for a time after that. Three days after returning to Equestria, Rainbow Dash and Applejack were having a friendly argument while visiting Twilight's home about the condition of the cowpony's hat when the pegasus had returned it. Duran was listening and chuckling from the sidelines, when he suddenly mentioned he was a bit dizzy and laid his head down on a table to recover.

Ten minutes later, Rainbow noticed he still had his head on the table. She poked him playfully with a hoof, thinking he'd fallen asleep, but he fell over heavily onto his side, and she saw his eyes were wide open and staring. Unnerved, she and Applejack tried to coax a response from him. When that failed, they rushed him back to the hospital.

Everypony had been baffled. The doctors could find nothing wrong with him, he just wouldn't wake up. Twilight had written to the Princess again, emphasizing that the human's knowledge could potentially benefit all of Equestria. Celestia had sent several of the best doctors in the Principality, paid for by the Crown. They finally realized that the human was undergoing severe neural degeneration. None of them knew why. The truth was, it was caused by the antidote to murderpede venom Duran had used back on Hell's Reach. Unknown to anyone but the NAIS expedition commander, who'd kept the information in a password-locked file, there was a limit to the number of doses that could be safely taken, and Duran had exceeded that number. He'd been dying slowly when Twilight and Rainbow had first encountered him; the shock and trauma of having his leg amputated had accelerated his condition.

The six unicorn doctors Celestia had found, however, were very, very good at what they did. Even without knowing what had caused the human's condition, they were able to stop the degeneration before it reached his brainstem. Calling in a small army of colleagues they each knew and respected, the six worked in shifts around the clock; two worked, supported by friends and fellow doctors while the other four rested. Twilight Sparkle, Rainbow Dash, and their four friends were present in similar shifts, two at a time, talking and telling stories and jokes so that their friend was never left in silence. Twilight and Rarity even leant their own magical strength to the hardworking doctors, funneling extra strength to them so they didn't depete their reserves so quickly. Rarity even wound up exerting herself so heavily she passed out on two occasions, but she didn't stop.

After nearly a week of constant, heroic effort, the doctors had restored enough of Duran's nervous system for him to finally wake up. Blinking, he asked thickly, "Uh... what happened, 'n' where 'm I?"

Twilight and Applejack were on watch at the time, and the unicorn was too overcome with emotion to speak, so it fell to the orange earth pony to explain. She adjusted her hat (she'd gone back to wearing the rather battered one Rainbow Dash had returned) and told him, "Well, I don't rightly know all the specifics, but you had some kinda 'gen'ral nerve collapse,' or some-such. Yer back in the Ponyville hospital, been here fer 'bout a week."

The human asked for more specifics, but Applejack didn't know much else. One of the supporting doctors took pity on the farmpony and came over to explain. Duran listened intently to the doctor's description of the progressive neural collapse that had nearly killed him. When the medical pony was finished, the human looked down at his immobile metal arm, a strange smile spreading over his face. Twilight, Applejack, and the doctor looked at him with concern.

"Uh... you okay there?" Applejack asked.

He pointed at the prosthetic. "I kn- knew it wasn't a hardware problem! Blasted wetware." Duran managed to say. The ponies stared at him incredulously, before Twilight choked out a laugh.

The doctors kept Duran in the hospital for another week, working on further neural reconstruction, before he was released. Pinkie threw another party, holding it in the town square and inviting everypony. She planned it to combine a "thank you" party for the doctors' tireless work with a chance for everypony in town to meet the odd-looking alien in non-threatening circumstances. Duran was able to get out of the hospital on his own power, though his progress was painful to watch as he hobbled along, holding his crutch with his one working arm. Rainbow offered to carry him more than once, but he steadfastly refused. She hovered along beside him just in case, ready to catch him if he fell.

The party went well. It was the first time Duran had been able to talk to the six doctors who had saved his life, and he thanked all of them effusively. He swore to repay their generosity one day, though they all thanked him politely for the offer, privately thinking that nothing would come of it. The rest of the town had a chance to meet him too, though most simply congratulated him on his recovery, moving on after exchaging a few polite words. There were exceptions, of course. One mint-green unicorn with a harp cutie mark seemed oddly fascinated by the human's mannerisms, hanging around talking to him for most of the party. Rainbow Dash and Twilight Sparkle's friends stayed close by as well, especially Fluttershy, who was concerned about the human's still-fragile health. Rarity, who'd been told by Twilight about the human's seeming aversion to going about unclothed, (and being horrified by the state of his only article of clothing) presented him with several varieties of clothing she'd put together, trying to blend together the pony styles she was familiar with and what she'd seen of the human's fatigues.

Duran was touched, doubly so when the unicorn brushed aside the thought of payment. "It's a gift, dear." She explained, "Besides, it was a wonderful challenge! I'd never considered making anything in this shape before, I quite enjoyed seeing how the styles worked together!"

Afterward, Twilight offered to let the human stay at her library for as long as he wanted. Rainbow sheepishly confessed that she'd make the same offer, "Only, you know, my place is made of clouds. Kinda awkward for anyone who can't walk on 'em!"

Duran didn't wait long before finding his own place. Celestia offered him a royal stipend in exchange for finding a way to make the contents of the recovered library core available to the Royal Library, and Duran agreed quickly, having intended to do so anyway. Twilight was relieved, having looked at the plans he'd given her for an access point and realizing she couldn't make heads or tails of them. He set to with a will, demonstrating his own magical ability for the first time as he molded components out of base materials when he couldn't find all the stuff he needed. It took him a fair amount of effort to do so, however, and Fluttershy (who looked after the human when she got the chance) wouldn't let him do very much at one time. She made him promise her that he'd only do a small amount at once, and she got Twilight to promise to monitor him. Even with the restrictions, he was able to build a small power unit, screen, slightly oversized keyboard, and even a small adjustable device that would fit over a pony's hoof to help them type more effectively. Promising that he'd be able to build a large networked system for the Royal Library (and explaining what that actually was when nopony understood it) he bought a small home in Ponyville and converted a large portion of it into a workshop. His friends visited often, including the green unicorn named Lyra who'd gotten along with the large alien so well at Pinkie's big party, and a mysterious brown earth pony with an hourglass cutie mark, who always talked to Duran when nopony else was around. He was often working on machines or mechanisms when anypony came to visit, usually powered by odd arcane energy sources rather than the electricity used by the salvaged library core. Before long, the small robots he built were a ubiquitous sight, running off on one errand or another on behalf of their maker, some crawling along the ground while others flitted through the air.

It was shortly after Duran began building and using his little robots that Rainbow Dash had a minor mishap. She'd been hanging around the human as much as she could, though she had a lot of weather scheduling to catch up on when they got back. Still, she was pleased at how much he'd recovered; he'd given her a bad scare, and she was still checking in on him at odd times to make sure he was okay. This particular morning, she was planning on meeting a couple of new weatherworkers that had moved into town before going over to Duran's place. He'd been talking about going along to a Wonderbolts show in a nearby town, and she'd gotten her hooves on a list of times and places she was planning on sharing. First, though, she was showering up so she'd be presentable when she met the new members of her crew. She didn't realize something was wrong until she'd been standing under the spray for a moment, and caught the odd colors out of the corner of her eye. When she noticed what was going on, she leapt out of her shower, aghast, as she realized that somehow, the rainbow fountain outside her house was pouring through her showerhead. She toweled off quickly, but it was too late; her light blue coat was faintly stained in multicolored stripes to match her mane and tail. I look like a piece of candy, she thought, examining herself in the mirror. She facehooved, aw, man, this stuff's really hard to wash out! I'm gonna have to meet my new weatherworkers looking like this! She sighed. Better get it over with.

The meeting went pretty much as she'd expected. She'd been extra-serious and businesslike to try and make up for her slightly silly appearance, but though the two new pegasi (a pair of siblings, brother and sister, who'd just moved to Ponyville from Cloudsdale) were perfectly polite and serious, Rainbow could tell they were trying really hard not to snicker. She'd been headed to Rarity's boutique after her meeting, hoping the unicorn would have something to wash the concentrated rainbows out of her fur, when she walked by Duran and Twilight playing a board game on an outside table while Fluttershy watched. The human called out, "Hey, Dash? Scale of one to ten?"

She stopped, not understanding right away. "Uh, what?"

Twilight and Fluttershy were gaping at the (formerly) cyan pegasus, but Duran was trying to stifle a grin. "You know, the whole..." he mimed stripes with his fingers, "How would you rate it?"

She stared at him like he'd lost his mind, but then understanding dawned. "Wh- it was you?" she spluttered, "Bu- wha- ... how?"

He pursed his lips and let out an odd, twittering whistle. A pair of small machines swooped down to hover behind his shoulders. Another modulated whistle, and the machines each unfolded a jointed arm and waved at her. The human gave a beatific smile, but didn't say anything.

Rainbow glared for a second, but she couldn't manage to stay angry. It is kinda funny, she thought, as the first chuckle slipped out. Soon she was laughing, along with Duran, Twilight and Fluttershy. When she caught her breath, she shook a hoof at the human. "Oh, dude, it is so on now! And I give it an eight; I thought it was just an accident until just now, and for a nine or ten you really should know you've been pranked!"

That marked the resumption of Rainbow and Duran's prank war. Prank War Two had a lower tempo than the original had boasted, since both belligerants were busy with other projects, but it stretched out for far longer. Both sides eventually brought in allies; Rainbow enlisting Pinkie Pie, and Duran, oddly enough, gaining Rarity's support. The Pinkie/Rainbow Alliance found the Human/Unicorn League to be a formidable foe; both members combined creativity and attention to detail, and while the League set up far fewer pranks than the Alliance, those they did engage in tended to be the stuff of legends.

Rainbow actually found it difficult to make Duran look silly, as by that point he'd started to repay Rarity's generosity, in his own odd way. He'd begun distributing his arcane and mechanical technology, forming several corporations to better distribute the fruits of his labor, and he had a significant surplus of funds. He would periodically visit Rarity's boutique, and place an order for something absolutely rediculous. He always proclaimed total satisfaction with whatever bizzarre garb resulted, insisting on dramatically overpaying. This, on occasion, led to tension in the Human/Unicorn League (despite the name, Twilight remained a declared neutral party, as did Lyra) when Rarity felt that he was paying too much. He always snuck the surplus in somehow, though, and after Rarity woke up one night and went downstairs to find a horde of tiny robots making an artful mural out of newly-mined gemstones on the floor of one of her downstairs dressing stalls, she stopped arguing. It was easier that way.

His odd garments paid for, he would then wear the outlandish getups anytime he left Ponyville. The alien inventor had become quite well-known in Equestrian high society, and on the rare occasions he attended an out-of-town party, Rarity was often flooded with orders from high-class ponies for clothing similar to the human's frankly insane taste in high fashion. She wasn't sure whether to be flattered or infuriated; she knew he was making her famous, almost a household name amongst the upper-crust, but at the same time he was playing a gigantic joke on the Equestrian aristocracy. The fashion-conscious unicorn eventually persuaded the engineer to transition to more... conventional fashions, but it took her months to talk him into it. Twilight later told Rarity that Celestia had found the whole affair howlingly funny, and that the Princess had often found herself hard-pressed to keep from laughing at the clothing her courtiers wore after Duran had attended a society party. She'd even had Twilight warn her what days the engineer left Ponyville, so she could mark it on her calendar and prepare herself to not laugh at the things she'd see the next day or so.

The human paid back the doctors who had saved his life, as well. Any time his work, or his research into the library core, yielded a potential medical application, he funded its production out of his own resources, donating the results to every hospital in the Principality.

The advancements that resulted soon permeated every level of Equestrian society. Telecommunications networks, household appliances, mechanical conveyances, all this and more came flooding out of the workshop of the one-legged human.

Not every influence he had was positive, however. Rainbow Dash, following up on her thoughts during the fight around the portal, soon started to patrol the edge of the Everfree Forest, aided by a pair of armed flying robots she'd gotten Duran to build. Fluttershy was horrified, and the two pegasi had a serious fight over the matter. Relations between the two remained cool, especially when Rainbow began recruiting other, like-minded ponies to patrol similar wild areas in other areas of Equestria. Duran provided these teams with robots, and eventually also with armor and weapons of their own. When it was noticed, the human and the ponies he supported recieved serious negative press from the newly-established news outlets. His reputation was damaged, but far from destroyed. Academies sprung up across the Principality of Equestria, devoted to teaching young colts and fillies the ins and outs of the new technologies.

Yet, even as Duran's influence grew, his health weakened. The human never fully recovered from his collapse, and though periodic therapy slowed his deterioration, it was unable to halt it. He was as active as he could manage, but he stopped leaving Ponyville entirely after about six years. He lasted a further three, producing marvel after marvel from a workshop that seemed far too small, before dying quietly in his sleep.

His friends discovered his Will while clearing out his home. The first part detailed the distribution of his assets, and they discovered that he had been vastly more wealthy than anypony had known. He left each of his friends huge fortunes, dispersing the remainder to support the academies and a fund that would help provide newly developed medical technology to Equestrian hospitals at sharply reduced costs.

The second component was intended for his friends' eyes only. It read, "check the basement." and had an access code appended. They were all confused, until Pinkie Pie stumbled across a door hidden behind a bookcase. It led downward, to a sealed door with a keypad. A note stuck to the door read, "This is where I left the dangerous stuff. I trust you all to handle it, but be careful."

Inside was his real workshop. Hundreds of incomplete machines lay scattered about, with finished projects interspersed. They found weapons designs, potentially dangerous vehicles, a small army of armed robots that gave Twilight chills, a functional space drive, and finally, in a sealed vault, a complete working copy of the Tethinar Imperium's faster than light drive. They found a third note beside it. All it said was, "This will give you the stars, if you want them. Reach out, and marvel at what you may find."

As for what they did with all these things? Well, that's another story.


*Author's note: that's it, folks. Thanks for reading, and making it all the way to the end.

Special thanks to firefossil, GBscientist, Harry Leferts, and Sixpack. Your input was greatly appreciated, folks!

Comments ( 167 )

I remember when you posted this on Equestria Daily! it was awesome!

I remember reading this a long time ago. Amazing then, Amazing now!

I remember reading this on fanfiction.net quite a while back. It made for a great reread- I really love your sci-fi crossovers and the way you seamlessly integrate OCs (I'm not actually familiar with the crossovers you use so I'm assuming they're OCs) into the story. I hope you write more!

#4 · Nov 28th, 2011 · · ·

I didn't even notice how much time this took reading...

Awesome is the proper word to describe this story.

Thank you! I'm always pleased to hear that someone's enjoyed my efforts. And yes, all my non-pony characters are OC's. Duran is actually from an original setting, as well, so it would be impossible for you to be familiar with that particular crossover!

Nope, it's not Elemental armor. Elemental armor has the heavy weapon on the right arm rather than the left, and Duran fires eight missiles in two salvos of four, which is twice as many missiles as the Elemental suit carries!

I'll offer a hint as to the suit's make; it's Davion-made.

Wow, that was fabulous! I only started a couple days ago, but it was actually the first story on this site that I found interesting enough to finish all the way without stopping. Duran was a really interesting character, and I've never read much from Rainbow Dash's perspective before. I'm more a fan of Twilight Sparkle myself, so I was sort of wary when you said you weren't going to be doing anything in her viewpoint early on, but you have failed to disappoint me. Wonderful.

48555 figured but yeah I only know of two power armors from mechwarrior one of them was the elemental witch I know has the claw and a small laser on the hand and a pair of missiles on the shoulders, and the other was the power armor from mech assault with only had a pulse laser, the mortar, and the ability to mechhack

Why, thank you! I'm delighted that you enjoyed it! I'm also actually more a fan of Twilight, but Rainbow's perspective just grabbed me and ran away when I was writing this. Happens that way sometimes!

Heh, I'm fairly sure MechAssault isn't actually canon in the BattleTech universe. If you're curious about what that suit was, feel free to PM me, either here or at FFN, and I'd be happy to link you to the page on sarna.net!

There's more from you! This is terrible... I was planning on sleeping tonight. That's certainly not happening now, though...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need dive head-first into this story

Wonderful story. It took me by surprise, as it is the first fanfic that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.
I treat fanfics as a way to unwind and relax at the end of a stressful day, as they usually do not require nor prompt thought.
This was not the case with the Dread Chitin though and for that, I am grateful.
I look forward to reading more of your stories.

this was simply amazing

That was a great story. Ponies in space...

You got anything else written set in Duran's home universe kicking around somewhere? And if so, could you link me? Cause it sounds awful interesting. Although any man who swears by such things as 'Blood and Thunder' and 'Gods of Fire' automatically hops up a couple of notches in my mind. Brilliant tale, and I liked the ending. Felt for sure you were going to have him fall at the threshold, but you dealt with the aftermath rather well.


Yes and no. :-P I realize that's a waffling answer, so I'll elucidate: I've written a fair bit of stuff set in the Tethinar Imperium (Both before it had that name and after its government was established) but none of it is on the internet, and indeed most of it has been deleted. (My typical procedure is write until a story's finished, then delete it. These two stories and one 40k/Star Wars crossover on FFN are the only exceptions thus far.) Yes, it's a bizarre, almost masochistic habit. No, I can't really explain why I do it.

As for Duran's oaths, those are drawn from the religion he follows, one of a half-dozen major religions of the Imperium. I'd be happy to describe it, if you like. (I know there was basically no view into Duran's character since a: the story isn't primarily about him and b: he's more than a bit crazy by the time Rainbow and Twilight meet him, so his internal monologue would be somewhat fractured, but his religion explains quite a bit about him) Said explanation is a bit long, though, and I'd rather not just start spouting off long-windedly on a topic no one may care about!

And I'd like to thank everyone who's taken the time to comment. While I write primarily for my own entertainment, it's always heartening to hear that someone else has enjoyed my mad scribblings. Thanks!

I'd like to hear about that religion, actually. I wish I was as good at world-building as you seem to be.

Okay. Here goes. *cracks knuckles* This is all off the top of my head, so I'm leaving out about six gazillion minor details and bits of history, but...

The Faith of the Flame holds that, in mythic prehistory, the world was threatened by a great evil. A dark, icy force that wished to blanket the world in frost, chilling everything that lived and ensuring that all was ice, forever. The gods who warded the world, beings of life-giving light and fire, gathered in a great force, prepared to stand against the evil, even knowing its fell power could only be checked, never destroyed. In the great battle that ensued, the gods cast the evil down and locked it away in a prison of its own substance, keeping it away from the world it sought to freeze. The price was heavy, however, for the gods were shattered, motes of their being cast throughout the universe that they had sought to ward.
In the Tethinar Imperium, perhaps one person in every thousand (there is one region of their homeworld where the ratio of mages to nonmages is much, much higher, but the reason for that has nothing to do with nature, and that's a bit of a grim story) can wield the forces of magic. The Disciples of Flame believe that these few people are blessed with a fragment of the fractured gods, touched by divinity. The current orthodox faith holds that those so blessed are bound to work for the good of everyone, to use their gift to make the world a better place as the gods would want. (This particular version of the faith started out as a heresy; before, those who held arcane power were considered god-touched, and it was the duty of everyone else to labor for their benefit and comfort, treating those hosting a fragment of a god as though they were gods themselves. A couple of very nasty holy wars later, the heretics won, and the current Faith of the Flame is much nicer in tone) They’re not ascetics or anything; most Flame-follower magic users are just as wealthy as mages that follow any other creed, because they’re not expected to give up rewards or anything, they’re just supposed to focus on making the world… well, better, somehow. Flamites believe that the gods are slowly drawing themselves back together after their apocalyptic battle, and that some day they will coalesce once more, and bless all of mankind with the ability to wield the forces of magic, to build an army that may stand at the gods’ side to resist the evil’s return. The current Flamite creed holds that, by making the world better, they make it easier for the gods to draw themselves together. There are obviously people who follow these beliefs with varying degrees of sincerity and commitment. (and there are just as obviously competing visions of what ‘better’ means; people have done terrible things in the name of the Flame, often justifying their actions by saying that they’re making the world better by destroying evil) Duran has always done his level best to follow the Flame’s creed, and he’s always wanted to make a difference, even though his magical ability isn’t very strong. He's very smart, though, and that's why he wound up in the department he was in. When his sister died, he felt like it was a sign that he hadn’t been trying hard enough, hadn’t been doing enough, and wound up doing something massively stupid because he wasn’t really thinking properly. (It didn’t help that some of the artifacts he worked with were messing with his head. Relics from the Arcane Wars are often extremely dangerous; there’s a reason that psychological evaluation and therapy is mandatory for anyone working in the Archaeological Engineering department)

Hell’s Reach was a very particular kind of hell for someone like Duran. Not only was there no one he could help, but using his gift at all drew voracious predators down upon him; it was like he was being punished for the god-mote he carried. (Note that he didn’t actually consider himself in hell the way, say, a Christian probably would. The Faith of the Flame doesn’t really have a punitive afterlife; what they call ‘hell’ is the prison that evil was locked away in. He just feels like he’s in prison with it.) (And no, Hell’s Reach wasn’t particularly cold; evil comes in all temperatures. :-P)
And then Twilight and Rainbow show up. Suddenly, he’s got someone to help again. A way to make the world better, even if it’s just helping these two strangers get home. He spends time talking to them, and realizes that where they come from, the things that his religion promises have already come true. Everyone has magic, of some form. The fear he expressed came from a couple of sources; one, he didn’t really think he was worthy to be in a place like that. And two, the last time he went through a Rift, he wound up in what he considers part of evil’s prison, where no one belongs, and he’s subconsciously terrified that by attempting to escape, he’ll actually be going deeper into it. Then Rainbow all but hauls him through, risking her own life to pull him out of hell’s grip. He doesn’t really say it, but he considers both Twilight and Rainbow almost like his personal angels, and he would do pretty much anything for either of them. He’s fundamentally a decent man, but he’d be willing to do terrible things if either of them had ever been threatened, or if they’d asked him to.

...That was longer than I expected it to be, sorry. Thanks for the interest, though!

And world-building isn't really hard, it's just time-consuming. I've been building the Tethinar Imperium for... wow, almost twelve years now. You start small, think, 'hmm, what would happen if this happened,' and it all just kinda snowballs!

Well. Thankee Kindly. Hadn't been expecting quite so detailed a description quite so quickly. And I reckon I mostly lack the patience for world-building. The fact that my attention span isn't the longest in the world can't be helping...


I type fast. :-D That was all off the top of my head, so it wasn't exactly a huge effort! Sorry if it was a bit much.

As far as world-building goes, this may seem silly, but I'd honestly recommend running an RPG. D&D, Rogue Trader, MechWarrior, Exalted, Shadowrun, even a White Wolf game or something. That's what got me started, the whole "the world keeps happening outside of your players' view" angle. Turned out to be a ton of fun, and it lends both games and stories a feeling of depth. It's honestly not difficult; keep a notebook nearby or something, and when you think of an event, write it down. Then, spend an hour or so a month reading over what you've come up with, tying the various events together, and extrapolating what's already happened into what might happen later. I personally find it a fascinating process.

Oh, I run RPG's fairly regularly. Trouble is, I mostly run one-shots, cause my group isn't exactly organised... on the other hand, I might try following your advice if I can come up with a setting I like... 275035

Hmm. Never realized this was here. This is still sentimentally my favorite FiM fanfic.

Wow. You do some really good work. I just finished reading both this story and your War-hammer one over just 3 days. Very good work.

great storie dude.all i got to say is thanks for not killing any of the three.I kinda love those happy ending :pinkiesmile:

Just finished this story. This is one of the better Human/pony stories. A good balance between the characters and a happy ending. Almost wish a sequel could be made.


Sequel is actually in the works, though I can't offer an ETA. Duran's dead, of course, and the story centers around an exploratory mission conducted by Equestria's first starship.

I'm surprised he didn't download his conscious into a robot or something.
Regardless, looking forward to your story.

Uploading someone as... damaged as Duran was would be extremely risky. He was kind of insane, after all. Amusingly, during the conversation where Dash was trying to convince Twilight he was safe to take with them, they were both right. Duran wasn't a threat to them, meaning Rainbow and Twilight, but Twilight was absolutely right in that he was dangerous. He spent thirteen years without any social contact whatsoever, in an environment that tried to kill him constantly. His responses to stress are way, way out of whack. You'll see what I mean once I get the sequel done.
This is, in fact, in another reality altogether. The Davion exploration ship suffered a drive failure and misjump. In BattleTech, a misjump means the ship can be thrown offcourse, arrive at its destination wrecked, arrive at a different location altogether, or be completely lost and never heard from again. In this case, the last happened, and the ship jumped into a different universe. In particular, a place that was a high-probability endpoint for undirected interuniversal rifts. None of the creatures in the story were actually native to that world.
And thank you. They may, though they won't be humans from Duran's empire.
This was written well before the beginning of the second season; most of that hadn't happened. I'd certainly rephrase that line if I were writing it now! :-P

Ooooh, I just got an idea. What if he did download his conscience into a machine, and that computer ended up being the bad guy. You know like Hal except he was once your friend.

Beautiful story, and one of the best written Rainbow Dashes I've read. Why can't I have you as a DM (or GM, whichever you prefer)?


Thank you! Man, it's been ages since I GM'ed, and my style isn't necessarily for everyone. Most of my players were theater majors, who when handed a world and a few adventure hooks they were free to ignore would set out in their own direction. Science-major gamemaster and theater-major players was like a match made in heaven. It was loads of fun for us, but we did lose a couple of players who didn't like the style.

Interesting to see you having brought your work to FimFiction as well :)

Great story! Loved it all the way through. I love Rainbow/Twilight adventures. I also like how Duran passed peacefully, but left a load of awesome stuff as his legacy. 10/10 for me!

This fic was simply to wonderful for words, i salute you!

The one thing i did wish you could have written more about would be the last days of Duran's life, how everybodys/everypony's reactions was knowing their friend would soon leave them, and how Rainbow dash were after his death, how it affected her, did she do something to honor his memorie etc, etc, that would have added some serious drama to it all, and i do REALLY hope that you might actully write something about that later.

Yeah, a couple of folks asked me to post here after I put Foul Light on FFN. This place takes forever to format for, but the end result is nicer for the readers.

Glad you liked it! Yeah, Duran jumped Equestria ahead by probably a hundred and fifty years by the time he died, and he set them up for rapid advancement up to the Tethinar state of the art.

I'm going to put some of that in as flashbacks in the sequel. Twilight and Rainbow were pretty devastated when he died.

I've got the prologue for the sequel, Outside the Reaching Sky, going up shortly, partially as a teaser and partially hoping that doing so will break my writer's block. Let me know what you guys think!

1056430 so it's a guy from 40K and ponies from Equestria getting thrown together in a battletech environment. That's what I THOUGHT... but I had to make sure. Did you ever consider making a sequel to this, or was A Foul Light Shines essentially that?

Ah, I see the confusion.

No, Duran's from an original setting. The overall crossover here is FiM x BattleTech x Original setting that uses magic to power a science-fiction tech base x another original setting that's composed of a zillion monsters.

Confusing, I know. But then, I never claimed to be good!:pinkiehappy:

Hory Sheet. Love the artwork, didn't see it the first and second time I read it. :P

I won't be original in the slightest if I say that was one of the best interpretations of Rainbow Dash I've ever seen?
This story is and will always be on the list of my favourite MLP fanfics of all time.
And it definitely deserves more love(

Alright so I just finished this (best RD ever btw) and before I continue on to the sequel, I have a question.

Eighty years!? :pinkiegasp:

So... are they over 100 years old in the sequel or what? :rainbowhuh:

If this is SUPPOSED to be a mystery, and I'm just being impatient and will find out in time, don't spoil it please. :twilightsmile:

More or less. She built a spare over by Fluttershy's house, too!

Delighted you enjoyed it!

Thanks! I personally think that Dash is brighter than she likes to pretend to be; she's shown on a few occasions that she can be quick-thinking and clever, which aren't the traits of a stupid individual. She's ignorant in a lot of areas, (which IMO is because she's a highschool dropout, something I got a strong vibe for in Sonic Rainboom) and can be unobservant, but stupid she's not.

Yeah, I liked it too! It likely wasn't there when you saw it previously; it's fairly recent, but when the artist sent me a link to it I had to use it as cover art. So mad props to gokenshadow, and follow the source link!

Why, thank you! I'm actually quite happy with the reception I got with this story; it made 6-star on Equestria Daily (which I learned to my great shock a couple of weeks ago when I checked its EDaily page) and it has a like:dislike ratio that I'm more than happy with.:twilightblush: I'm certainly glad you liked it!

Eighty years after the epilogue, so yeah, they're over a hundred and ten. It's addressed in the first chapter.

An excellent and well written story. You deserve all the thumbs and stars I can throw at you.

Why, thank you!:twilightsmile:

Your stories are awesome! Your plots are well thought out and well told, your writing has novel quality and you are quite good at transporting emotions without resorting to shipping. The thing you would need if you decide to write independent novels would be more background exposition and sometimes a more in-depth description of the monsters. They are cool, but could use a bit more detail.

Thanks, I'll try and keep that in mind in the next story. Hopefully I can fix that!
And I'm certainly glad you enjoyed the story!

I was so happy to see Duran get into Equestria alive and mostly intact. Soon as he mentioned that Tank Bug, I was expecting the cliche "Go, I'll hold it off" ending where he dies horribly and Twilight feels all bad for ever doubting him. This was so much better.

Finding this story on fimfiction is hilariously hard. I remember reading it somewhere around early spring this year, and the only things I remember about it were:

1) It was pretty dark, (check :pinkiehappy:)
2) It had a human in it. (check... but no tag :pinkiecrazy:)
3) It wasn't a crossover. (ahaha... welp :facehoof:)
4) It was longer than 40k words. (let's say check... didn't expect it to be 60k, though)

I couldn't find it in any of the groups I'm in, so I've resorted to google. Do you know what it took to find it?
"human arcane artifact nightmare world mlp fanfic complete -clop -conversion -crossover"
And the first link I get? Bloody ff.net.

Allow me to wargarble in general pointless fury for a while. :twilightangry2:


Anyway. Since I've found the story again, I will retreat to my happy place and start reading it. Hopefully it's as good as I remember it to be.

Also hey, one of the comments here has something about sequel. That's a neat surprise after 5 month at sea :rainbowderp:

Yep, it IS good. Epilogue kinda meh, but let's see what the sequel is like :rainbowdetermined2:

I was kinda-sorta trying to build up to that and subvert it. Glad you liked the outcome!

Oooooops! I totally don't have the "human" tag on there, do I? (Actually, I don't think the tag existed when I put this up here... will fix immediately!)

You're far too kind; the epilogue is terrible. I do hope the sequel it set up for makes up for it. It's space opera, if you like that kind of thing. (I love space opera!)

Hey, I just realized. The Battletech verse is, as far as I know, very much not magical. So how do you get a world in it with creatures that feed on magic?


oh wow, good to know I'm not the only one who didn't really like it! It really bugged me that he settled down and futurized the ponies instead of trying to find a way back to his own verse.

They're not in the BattleTech universe, any more than they're in Equestria or the Tethinar Imperium. They're somewhere... else. And most of the creatures they encounter are just as alien to that world as they are.

Duran didn't really have the option to get home. His skill-set didn't include those kinds of portals, and even though he worked out the math later, he still didn't have the coordinates he'd need to get home. Getting back to where he originally came from... that was never in the cards.:pinkiesad2:

The epilogue was terrible for a bunch of reasons; mostly because it suffered from a nasty case of tell rather than show. I've toyed with the idea of re-working it, but a several of the important bits have shown up in Reaching Sky, and re-working Dread Chitin's epilogue would make it about ten times longer and probably quite dull. Flawed as it is, I'll probably leave it like this. Even if it is bloody terrible.

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