• Member Since 7th Feb, 2014
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Stories about ponies are stories about people. Every challenge is an opportunity to change. My Patrons let me keep writing, at: https://www.patreon.com/RealStarscribe


When Nightmare Moon’s rebellion tore across Equestria, leaving a trail of blood and horror in its wake, Princess Celestia knew that merely banishing her sister wouldn’t be enough. Her army was too powerful, and too bloodthirsty, to be left behind without a leader. When she finally turned the Elements of Harmony against her, she didn’t just banish Nightmare Moon. She banished thousands.

Now they’re in a race against time, to find a way to survive in an environment so alien that every aspect of it is trying to kill them. They face suffocation, freezing, boiling, starvation, radiation, meteorite impacts, low gravity… the list goes on.

Nightmare Moon thought she should be the ruler of all Equestria. Now, in a world nopony was ever meant to survive, her abilities will be put to the ultimate test.

This story now has a hardcover! If you'd like one of your own, you can grab it here: https://starscribe.net/

Editing by the indulgent and patient Two Bit and Sparktail. Coverart by Zutcha.

Note: I intend this story to be as faithful to our current scientific understanding of the moon, and I’ve consulted for help with the aspects outside my technical purview. That said, I fully expect to make decisions that some may see as mistakes, based on their own independent interpretations.

I am a storyteller first, and I realize it’s likely I’ll eventually make a mistake, or an arbitrary decision to simplify the storytelling over accuracy. I’m doing my best here, but this isn’t a NASA white paper. Set your expectations accordingly.

This story was commissioned by Canary in the Coal Mine on my Patreon, feel free to contact me if you’d like one of your own!

Chapters (66)
Comments ( 1521 )

You have my undivided attention. I am VERY curious to see where this goes.

Oh, this is going to be delightful :pinkiehappy:

...well, to read, anyway. I doubt this will be delightful for the characters.


Starscribe is one of the only authors I can't poke fun at for creating new chaptered stories without finishing old ones because he always delivers.

This is an amazing way to start a story. I look forward to seeing where this goes.

The fact that he's able to maintain a chapter a day (for different stories) schedule for months upon months is amazing. I really hope he doesn't burn out, though.

Well, it's clearly doable. Otherwise, this would be a very short story indeed.

In any case, definitely looking forward to seeing where you go with this. It's an incredibly intriguing concept, though I don't envy Iron in the least.

Pretty soon my entire tracking bookshelf is gonna be flooded with nothing but Starscribe's stories. :rainbowlaugh:

Keep up the good work!

This may be the most original and realistic story I have ever read... just wow.

I do fairly often burn out on stories.

But I write all of them a month ahead. This means that if I'm not feeling one project for a bit, I can jump to another one, write that, then come back. I think people will really know I'm burning out when I stop starting new ones.



But I write all of them a month ahead.

I'm starting to wonder if you're secretly some evil genius. :unsuresweetie:

I want to see where this goes as well. I love sci fi stories and ones about creating societies are some of my favorites. Can't wait to see what the solutions are going to be.
Per chance have you read A thousand year change, by Darthvalgaav? It's an excellent story that is very similar in concept to this one

Considering his content I suspect that Star is an AI programmed to do nothing but write good pony stories.

This is an AI I can approve of

My experiments with AI-created stories have been... somewhat less than fully successful.

Well, now. Having just read another one of those Lunar Republic shill stories, this could be a pleasant counter.

Three days can be very long, what with horrible death looming all around. I rather fear the rationing the remaining Lunaists will have to engage in eventually... and the choosing of what, and who, to sacrifice.

Also: The title is very appropriate. It's not Luna leading them, it's Nightmare Moon—Luna is the place they're stuck on. Indeed she will prove unwelcoming.

So, you named it after a Heinlein, will this one also involve sex?...for anyone unaware, Mr. Robert Anson Heinlein was one of the three godfathers of Science Fiction(Alongside Issac Asimov and Arthur C. Clark), and had a habit of including a sex scene in every book he wrote. Mostly because he never really did anything provocative with it, it just...well, it was something to do.

That said, so far so good. It actually begins rather well, and makes me wonder how much of the book's narrative will seep into this, considering some of the elements already present. Hoping for a Mike Analog to show up at some point, just because I enjoyed that computer.

I plan on keeping the teen rating. I do like that sex on the moon ended up being a plot element in that story, but... it won't be in this one.

This has some rather unsettling implications for the Elements of Harmony, that they would send thousands to die in an inhospitable environment.

Unless it was Celestia who'd harnessed their power and deliberately twisted it to banish them to die on the moon.

Either way, it's a much darker Equestria. :twilightoops:

No explicit sex scenes, just the occasional mention that people sometimes HAD sex.
(Well, in his nonjuveniles)
Back in his heyday, sci-fi was extremely straight laced. Pre 1970s, most writers never even took notice of the fact that humans had 2 sexes, let alone that this mattered in any way.
Hey, they're the Elements of Harmony, not the Elements of Mercy or even the Elements of Justice.

They need water. Water is life. Water is oxygen.


Hey, they're the Elements of Harmony, not the Elements of Mercy or even the Elements of Justice.

Honestly, Loyalty, Generosity, and Kindness might argue the point.

You will note that they are parts of harmony, not all of it.
Sometimes, you have to be cruel to be kind.

Giving a quick death when the law says to make them suffer is both generous and kind.
Calling those that rebel against their legal lords criminals is honest.
Siding with those that have broken no laws is being loyal to the law.

None of this means you are being fair or merciful or just.

Edit: And laughter can still be cruel even if you don't realize that it is.

Well, let's take stock of the situation, shall we?

A group of at least two thousand, trapped on the surface of the moon in a bubble of air two kilometers or so in diameter which can be held for three days, maybe four if we're lucky.

What does such a group need, at least to not immediately die?

  • Oxygen
  • Food
  • Water
  • Shelter

Alright. What supplies do we have? Don't know, but at least one supply tent came with us, and I'm willing to bet a few more came with us. If we're lucky, we might have enough food to make it for at least our initial 3 days. Hopefully the same applies with our water.

Well, number one thing that needs to be done, I think, is figure out if a vacuum sealed shelter can be built given what we have on hand. Hunger kills in weeks, thirst kills in days, but once the shield fails, vacuum exposure and lack of oxygen will kill everyone in minutes without proper shelter, and tents aren't going to cut it. Furthermore, this shelter needs to not only be vacuum-sealed, but it needs to house thousands of people. There's no way in hell they can build that from scratch in 3 days. The only solution I can think of is to try to seal off one of the caves or lava tubes we saw on the surface. Whether or not that's feasible is unclear.

We need to check if we have any viable seeds in our supplies. If we don't have anything like that, we're probably SOL for producing any kind of food, unless Nightmare can magick up a solution. Also, better hope we either have a lot of food already or that we can grow more food pretty quickly. Also, actually, better hope we can grow anything at all. Do we happen to have any pots of soil around, and/or a hydroponics start-up kit?

We also need to have a couple people poke around for water ice. For drinking water, obviously, but it can also be electrolysed into oxygen and hydrogen. The hydrogen can also probably be used for energy, seeing as the moon gets pretty effin cold without an atmosphere. That's assuming we even know about electrolysis. I have to imagine we're SOL for oxygen otherwise, unless magic has a solution.

We're just going to ignore the high probability that moondust is pretty toxic for now.

So yeah. Build a vacuum-sealed shelter to house thousands of people in 3 days. No biggie.

That moment you never realized how much you Really Really wanted a story like this..... This is like the perfect combination to satisfy my previously unknown literary cravings!

That they're parts of Harmony is kind of the point. Without them, you can't really call it Harmony.

You may not be writing a white paper, but I shure hope your read a few...
It seems to me that the lunar ponies will need to make ample use of solar power.
The moon has no workable ores, save those from nickle-iron asteroid impacts. On the upside, such ores can be directly melted down into useful shapes. Being as they never contacted oxygen, they do not need to be reduced via carbon. Of course the shortage of carbon means that stronger steels will be a challenge to produce.
Rock Wool, which can be made by blowing pressurized air over the slag from refining metals, could be useful for vital insulation and rope.
Rockwool rope, soaked with an appropriately thick & vac tolerant substance could be used for air tight seals.
For low tech air-locks, I would imagine it less as a traditional airlock, and more of a series of rooms with slightly less pressure between each.
For farming, maybe the earth ponies can use lithomancy to grow quartz crystals to use as light pipes.
I read a story once in the xelee sequence of a peoples trapped on the moon for generations.
It is every citizens final duty to go into the vats.

Well, this seems interesting! :)

Ah. What exactly do you mean by "a plot element"? That it definitely won't be important to the plot at all, implying that (assuming these ponies don't just all die) it will definitely be this generation that gets off the moon, without a civilization being built (or possibly even considered)? Or do you just mean that the fine details won't be important, leaving the possible course of the story much more open-ended as seen by a reader at this point?

...Hm. I think I'll still go ahead and favourite the story, since the former case certainly could still be interesting (indeed, see The Maretian, for instance), but I'll admit I'm hoping that the latter interpretation is the correct one (it, after all, even still includes the possibility of them getting back in this generation, but with more suspense since it'd no longer be foreordained to be that or death).

Radiation suits.

That said, I wouldn’t overthink it. Everything will be solved with magical hand waving.


Here's a kicker to keep in mind, these are medieval-era rank and file. They consider a blacksmith making sword-steel in batch quantities to be at the height of metallurgic knowledge. They've never heard of a vacuum, the concept of radiation is right out.

But they do have one thing going for them, drastically reduced gravity and many hooves ready to work. Or dig. My instinct would be to dwarf fortress this stuff right up, strike the earth and get deep enough that Luna can redirect her magic to conjuring breathable air. Once that is accomplished, if they have access to some form of stasis spell or other temporary means of petrification, they should put as many non-essential ponies as possible into slumber. This way they can stretch out their supplies while they figure out a way to become self-sustaining.

Once regular food and water is solved they can slowly resuscitate the citizenry as they expand their capacity.


Unless, of course, Celestia had no more of an idea than anyone else that the moon is such an inhospitable place. She may have thought that she was simply sending them all somewhere very far away.

Celestia probably had no idea this would happen. The Elements were supposed to banish Nightmare Moon in the moon anyways, so her physically being on the surface is already different. In regards to the Elements, I have no excuse; but I do have some doubt they would send so many to their deaths just like that. Hm... the fact that, again, Nightmare Moon is present with her army is already an indication. If she were banished as was supposed to happen, they all would've died already.


Intent is a huge factor in matters like this, the Elements generally can't think for themselves. And even if they could, I doubt they'd be privy to this bit of cosmological trivia either. So Celestia intended to harmlessly seal Nightmare and her army away until such time as she was prepared to handle them, and the magic rocks said "eeyup, good plan."

Moon dust reacts with oxygen so that’s going to make things even worse.

Really looking forward to seeing how they Robinson Crusoe this.

I wouldn't be so sure. Twilight did not expect the Elements to cleanse Luna of her dark powers instead of sending her back to the Moon, for example. Agreed on Celestia likely not intending all of them to die, though. That's just not like her.

I keep clicking on stories that look interesting and then it's Starscribe again! How do you work on 500 stories at once like this without collapsing??


Aye, but she did expect them to "defeat Nightmare Moon", which they accomplished quite handily.

In addition to The Martian, I'd recommend reading The Moon Is Hell (Campbell)

For instance one of the things that they did was mine at night using Mercury for picks, hammers, etc. (freezes at -40). Stockpile the ore and use solar powered smelters when the sun shines.

Interesting concept, and I love the name reference

It was incredible—flying took barely a flap of effort and he was up. Instead of constantly fighting against the ground, he only had to occasionally pay it a little respect, flapping every second or two as he passed over the camp. Most of the soldiers were slower to recover than his inventory had been. The powerful wards around the armory and other supplies had probably shielded him from the worst of Celestia’s magic.

This is a pegasi paradise.

Ahh, a shield, I was wondering why there was air. Props to Nightmare Moon for putting it up that efficiently.

“You are the highest-ranking survivor,” she said. “You must lead my army now.” She let go with her wing, though even this small movement seemed an effort for her. Her eyes went unfocused again, and her horn continued to glow.

RIP this guy, never be the "highest-ranking survivor". Though that said, it might be for the best for everyone else that the pony in charge was in retirement copying scrolls at a monetary. Good bookkeeping and good management is what's going to save everyone.

“No!” Her voice boomed through the bubble, lifting dust from the hill and causing the distant hum of sound to fall silent. The Royal Canterlot voice was always loud, but to a bat it was excruciating. “You will succeed! Our revenge is deserved, we cannot fail. Is that clear?”

On the other hand, it might really serve them badly that Luna is apparently still completely nuts.

Nice, a new chapter arrives just as I finished the previous. What fortuitous luck! Also, amazing story so far! Keep it up!

The moon isn't filled with cheese? How can this be! :pinkiecrazy:

MOAR!!! Also I’m curious if the moon being lowered by Celestia will do anything.

They should focus on digging cave habitats. Maybe find a good crater and cover it with a noce thick cealing.

I think the title of this fanfiction should be renamed to: Banished to the moon: The irony of 'Paradise'.
Either way, I hope this story doesn't end up as a tragedy. In other words, it MUST divert itself from the original canon that we know, one thousand years later.

There is no try, only do! :coolphoto:

Better find some lava tubes nice and quick.

To his surprise, Penumbra actually laughed from within her suit. His whole life, this sect of warriors had spoken to him so little, but now... “It would be easier for him if she had. Better to be a slave than the work our princess has in store for General Iron Quill, Lord Commander of the Lunar Army.”

Hah, yep.

“If you don’t want them to walk all over you, don’t let them,” she said. “They’re only captains. You’re the Lord Commander. Their lives are in your hooves. They’ll realize it sooner or later.”

Not really enough time for that in the initial three day deadline, emphasis on dead.

“Y-you’re uh…” He trailed off, visibly deflating. Quill’s recognition had stolen all his energy, replaced with simple confusion. “You forgot about my achievements in agriculture, growing wheat even in the desert.” Then he relaxed, and his tone changed. “Who are you?”

Growing wheat in the desert sounds like a particularly useful skill if they live long enough to require food production.

Hollow moon? Hey, maybe they'll find lava tubes or something like that.

wow, this story captured me right away. I really want to see the continuation. never never worry over the characters if they are not in such hopeless situation.
Надеюсь вы не забросите эту историю
P.S. sorry for my English

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