• Published 4th Dec 2020
  • 897 Views, 139 Comments

Pegasus Device: Reckoning - AuroraDawn



Cloud Cover thought she was done with the Rainbow Factory. Turns out this was further than she could ever believe from the truth.

Comments ( 29 )

LUNA LIVES!!!! Would there by chance be a sequel? Or at least a bonus chapter where the Reckoning comes to an end and the Pegasai to the world they'd hoped to conquer only to find a vengeful army waiting for them?

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There are plans for a sequel, a sort of capstone to the series, but I can’t in good conscience tell you that everything will be resolved in the end.

That would be too predictable, wouldn’t it? 😁

I’m really glad you enjoyed the series! Thanks for all your comments and support!

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The Rainbow Factory has eared it's status as the most popular and memorable Grimdark MLP fanfic. I and my MLP40K crossovers can only fight for scraps of glory in your glorious shadow.

Also, props to Stormy for remembering his humanity.(equinity?) This was the song playing in my mind's ear that exchange.

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Even after all these years, you haven't lost a single step when it come to captivating your audience and allowing us to mentally picture the scenes and have us actually feel the characters' emotions.

A splendid job for a veteran mare, keep up the great work.

Perhaps some souls can actually make it through...

To see the Rainbow Factory saga continuing all these years later has been an immense pleasure. Thank you for another wonderful chapter in its bloody, Spectra-stained legacy. It truly is a beauty that only destruction can bring...
I eagerly await whatever is next. Cheers!

And another piece of the puzzle finished. I had a thrill. Whatever you have in mind for a sequel, I'm sure it'll turn out fantastic, if bittersweet, knowing you.

Man that was a ride.

Still not exactly sure WHAT happened in it, but I think I get the gist.

And we've reached the end of the story. I had a lot of fun reading throught it. Thank you for giving us another adventure. I'm suprised how you've managed to finish the story with one chapter, where a week ago I'd guess we were around the middle of the story. I feel there were too many hints at luna, I got tired of them after a few.

Oh, and the shower scene was perfect.
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Hey, thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I had a lot of fun writing it too so it's doubly nice to see it's appreciated

Oh, and the shower scene was perfect.

I am super happy to see this. I put a lot of effort into that scene; I really wanted to just sort of capture that feeling of her being unclean and the effort involved in scrubbing herself of what she's seen. I was hoping at least one person would comment on it. ^_^

Very much well done. I had to mull about how the ending to this made me feel, and now I can say it's a feeling of contentment. For as melancholic the story is, I felt an underlying sense of purpose, completeness and wholeness for both the story itself, and for the two previous stories as well. The story of the Rainbow Factory as we've known for the past nine years (wow, talk about time flying by!) finally resolved itself, and turned the page onto a new story. And it gives an ending that's right where it'd ought to be, where it just be left there in perpetuity, or continued on at any point.
I look forward to the next entry in this series!

I loved Pegasus Device, even made it into my favorites.

I have to say that this entire story, especially this ending scene, is just as good if not better.

In a different way, I suppose, but it’s still certainly great.

I didn't notice the story was marked as complete until I saw discussion of a sequel in the comments.

The story is good. It's a major improvement over the previous installments, and your skills as an author have definitely increased in the seven years since Pegasus Device was written. That's one Hell of place to end it, though.


There's been a notable trajectory for the series. Rainbow Factory ended with utter failure. Nothing changed, nothing improved, rocks fall: everybody dies. Pegasus Device had the bad guys winning too, but the main characters survived and (at least temporarily) foals were no longer being shoved in the meat grinder. It wasn't a happy ending by any stretch of the imagination, and Hide Atmosphere made it clear that Pegasus supremacy was being furthered rather than hindered, but two kids made it out, and there was a faint glimmer of hope there.

This story has continued the trend of "The bad guys win", and taken it up a notch with the pony-Nazis having wiped out the government and much of the rest of the world, but the hope here is more palpable. Luna is guiding Cloud Cover, the restless souls of the murdered foals are active and, if Cloud Cover's salvation is any indication, are interested in more than just vengeance, and it is - at best - unlikely that the CWC will be able to fast talk their way out of a response to this genocide the way that they escaped justice at the end of Pegasus Device.

Even as most of the world has been killed off, the endings of these stories have been getting more positive.

(Part of that, of course, comes down to the fact that the Reckoning hit in the middle of the story, so the devastation it caused doesn't count against the ending.)

I didn't comment on this story as often as I'd have liked, mostly due to a lack of time, but I did still read it all. I wasn't sure if I would go back to comment on it, it's been a bit since I finished it, but something occurred to me today. In particular, one bit I remembered from the previous story.

If you choose to offer yourself up as a volunteer to produce Spectra, we’ll allow one test failure to go free.

I don't know if it's what you were going for, and I don't know if it's how I want to read it either, but it certainly works as a valid interpretation of the events to say that Gentle did take that sacrifice, and that is why Cloud made it through. She just waited a while before paying her part of the deal.

Aside from that and more onto the story. We did get mentions of Corona, even if not the kind I'd thought we would. Foresight was a nice addition to the Factory Mythos, and it was nice seeing Contrail again both in and out of his jar. A tiny bit disappointed we never saw Hide again, he always was a personal favourite. It's nice to know Luna is maybe still around in some form.

A fun read, all in all. It went places I wouldn't have expected a PD sequel to go, but still it was pretty interesting to see. I look forward to whatever you end up writing next both with and without this setting (and I really need to get to all those other stories you've put out in the meantime).

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I often find myself being presented with ideas and interpretations from readers that make me stand back and marvel at how meaning can be found in fiction. I'm sure we're all familiar with the high school language classes where the teacher would demand we find some inherent philosophy or metaphor or symbolism in a work that by all rights never existed from the original author's intent.

I had absolutely no consideration towards that death being interpreted as such. However, if anyone asks in the future, I am absolutely going to tell them it was on purpose. I love it when people make me sound smarter or more clever than I actually am 😋

On a more serious note, thanks for your comment. It's thought provoking, and lovely to see these sorts of things identified (whether they be intended or not). I'm happy to hear you enjoyed it!

Dang, I missed reading this when it was still incomplete. Wish I'd have seen it sooner. As always, well done. I especially appreciate that your stories tend not to end in an "everything is going to be okay" manner. Maybe that's fine for a lot of other stories, but it's nice to have a break from that norm every once in awhile. That doesn't mean that everything is required to be hopeless, and I feel that you manage to do that perfectly here. Things are fucked, but there's at least something to look towards. The fact that this series is getting updates all these years later is, frankly, something I never thought I'd see. Can't wait to see what you come up with next :)

I first finished this like two weeks ago, and have even re-read this (as well as Rainbow Factory and Pegasus Device. Honestly regret doing so because going from Reconing to Rainbow Factory...well, it really highlights how much you've grown in the past 8 years as an author. Which is good! Just makes older stuff show its age more, ya know?), and I'm still not really sure what to say. I was in school recently enough that I can still at least kind of remember how I'm supposed to analyze literature and "find the author's message" and all that jazz. Thing is, I don't think you were really trying to comment on society and current events. There are many vehicles besides satire for social commentary, but horror, or whatever genre this falls under, is not what I'd consider well-suited to doing so. At least, I assume based on your reply to PolyChromatic, I don't think I'm not giving you enough credit. Either way, I doubt you really want someone to write an essay and, with full confidence in its accuracy, talk about either a message you probably felt was pretty obvious since if you're trying to make a point with fiction you tend not to obscure it very much, or a message that's wildly different from what you had in mind.

Also I'm not entirely sure how the ending, as well as the story overall, makes me feel. It was most certainly good writing. The dramatic irony with Cloud Cover is both great and horrible. Great in that it's really well done, but damn I felt bad for her.

So here's stuff that I wrote. I guess it's what I think was going on?

I can't help but feel that Gentle never really regained her sanity. Sure, the ship she ran was tighter and more methodical and logical than when Rainbow was in charge, but you don't make the sort of plans she did, especially stuff like having herself thrown in the OG Pegasus Device if you're playing with a full deck. Now how all this plays out still remains to be seen, obviously, but I can't help but be reminded:

In the Rainbow Factory, where your fears and horrors come true
In the Rainbow Factory, where not a single soul gets through
In the Rainbow Factory, where failures pay their toll
Now I'm awoken, and I'm taking back control

The last line doesn't really fit (except maybe in the sense that Cloud Cover, by and large, took control of her life back after the events of Pegasus Device), I'll admit, but that's not why I bring it up. The Rainbow Factory is where failures pay their toll. They're told that they deserve this, because their failure to pass such an easy test means they're weak, and The Flock does not tolerate weakness or ineptitude. But this goes both ways.

It’s that failure that puts the Rainbow Factory’s curse unto you. Or, rather, it’s that failure that gets the attention of an untold number of souls. Don’t know ‘bout the rest of y’all but it makes sense in my head and when I say it out loud that even if only a small percent (and it seems like it’s actually a pretty large percent) of the likely millions of colts and fillies that were murdered by the Cloudsdale Weather Corporation, that’s still a tens of thousands of souls that have it out for you. That’s where the curse comes from. I figure the saying must also be relatively recent, since songs and phrases common enough to be sung while playing with a jump rope would reach important, non-pegasus ears eventually and the chorus of Rainbow Factory basically screams “investigate me,” and then we’d get the ending of Pegasus Device but entirely involuntarily. Back to failures. Dash, Gentle, Pipe Wrench, Contrail-they all failed. What test could possibly be easier than “Do children who failed an arbitrary assessment of physical fitness and competency deserve to be murdered in the most agonizing way imaginable?”

(As an aside, the whole thought process with “failures” and how Cloudsdale, even before the Pegasus Device, is stupid and self-destructive. And, you know, unimaginably cruel and inhuman. Since Pegasi, or at least Cloudsdale, doesn’t care about that last one I’ll ignore it. It’d be pretty easy to make weak fliers stay in the sky and out of sight. They’d be able to do stuff that didn’t require much, or any, physical fitness or skill at flying. Which would be good, since having overqualified people working as pencil pushers or other pretty menial jobs is wasteful and inefficient. The Spartans probably didn’t actually kill crippled infants: there’s evidence that suggests it was anti-Sparta propaganda from Athens or another rival city-state. Even if they did, killing an infant that won’t be able to be a warrior, or almost anything useful because of their disability, is extremely cruel but practical, especially since infant mortality was rather high anyway. Killing an 8 or 10 year old doesn’t make sense. You’ve already invested 8 or 10 years of feeding them and teaching them and growing emotionally attached. They’re probably going to live to adulthood and into old age. This is especially true for a physical test. You can build up muscle, get into shape, acquire muscle memory. This isn’t strictly a criticism of the world building on your part, necessarily. Cloudsdale natives aren’t taught nor are they encouraged to question precedent, tradition, or authority. They’d be doing all three by questioning or criticizing the testing/Failures system, and after a millennia of using it to get rainbows the CWC wouldn’t go back to relying on unicorns or other non-Pegasus sources. Additionally, they see “Failures'' as being less than worthless, not even ponies, and thus would never find uses for them other than “Go away” or “Die.” Ok, aside over, now where were we?)

Literally everyone who wasn’t a fucking psycho would pass that test without a second thought, and then probably start asking some extremely pointed questions, since that’s not an innocent question. They, and all of the workers in the Upper Factory failed that test. Contrary to what Contrail told himself, being the knowing and willing cog in a murder machine means you’re guilty and cupable too. Pushing colts and fillies into the Pegasus Device means you’re more guilty, sure, but maintaining the machine makes you guilty too. Auschwitz guards weren’t hung, but they were sent to prison. However, it doesn’t stop there.

Celestia failed her test. She had 1000 years to play the long game and get Cloudsdale to stop exiling below-average fliers. More importantly, she failed to hold the monsters in pony form accountable. Giving Rainbow Dash, at least once a major, if not vital, national security asset, a free pass, ok, maybe, though good luck getting the other five elements to work with her. Everyone else? Keep them around just long enough to make sure you know how all those other machines work and have non-murderous or complicit-in-murder personnel trained, then toss them in jail or the electric chair. At. Least. It’d be worth considering dismantling the factory/CWC and starting fresh. Hell, Luna’s back, strip  Cloudsdale of its weather responsibilities. Give it to literally any other place. Luna gets a pass because there’s nothing to indicate that she had any participation in or oversight of the Royal Survey, and trusted Celestia enough to assume she’d handle it appropriately and between her duties and catching up on 1,000 years of history and culture shock, not following up with Celestia on how she handled it isn’t out of the question.

Cloudsdale, of course, failed. At least as a whole, obviously Cloud Cover, and her boss, and other exceptions exist. Ignorance is one thing. To show an utter lack of remorse for over a millenia of organized murder of children when the whole country, maybe even the whole world, was watching is not only pretty stupid, but shows that extremely drastic measure need to be taken to address an utterly unacceptable attitude. (IMO, this is also on Celestia. And assuming it reached her ears, and Celestia didn’t mostly “protect” Luna from the whole thing, Luna as well).

The rest of Equestria failed, too. It’s not like the whole thing was kept secret, just the opposite. There was an outcry, but short lived. They did not demand change, did not demand accountability, did not demand anything except the same reliable weather the CWC and Cloudsdale had provided for a millenia. While a harder test than the previous ones, it’s still an embarrassing low bar than should’ve been cleared with ease. This wasn’t done to some insignificant minority in a far-away place. This was done to ponies little more than foals, in the heart of Equestria. 

In failing these tests, failures set themselves a debt, a toll they’d have to pay sooner or later. Thanks to the CWC and the world itself made sure that it was paid, with significant interest. Which is also how Cloud Cover manages to survive outside each time. She passed. She didn’t sell her soul, her morals. First as a foal, though there were many that helped her. Even after, living in a city that hated her and that would do everything in its power to make her fail and force her to leave. They succeeded in doing so to her one friend, who like her, passed. They forced him to leave in a Pine box. Then as an adult, she faced the factory alone, and did the same. Cloudsdale and the CWC had planned for her for 20 years, and so they finally had their wish. 

She left. 

They won, and in doing so lost the one pony left who was blackened with the blood and grime of the Rainbow Factory, but left with a clean conscious, and an untainted soul.

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You called it at the beginning of your comment when you wrote that your interpretation is not likely what was intended when written. But as I said to Polychromatic, I love to see in-depth analysis like these. This is an utterly fascinating take on the series, and just because I didn't have it in mind when I wrote it doesn't mean it isn't a correct interpretation.

This was super enjoyable to read. I fear my response doesn't quite adequately express my appreciation towards you not only reading the stories (thank you), but really thinking about them, examining it so finely so as to be able to come up with your theory. That is incredibly meaningful for me to see, and I'm so glad you shared it with me!

I found myself sitting back feeling a bit mind blown. Forgive me for sort of extrapolating from your comment here into something self-congratulatory, but to see that my series could have such depth to it—or even just being of enough quality that depth can be implied or inferred from it—is something special. Makes me feel like maybe I'm doing something right, that I might actually be alright at this whole "Telling Stories" thing.

Thanks again~

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This is an utterly fascinating take on the series, and just because I didn't have it in mind when I wrote it doesn't mean it isn't a correct interpretation.

This was super enjoyable to read. I fear my response doesn't quite adequately express my appreciation towards you not only reading the stories (thank you), but really thinking about them, examining it so finely so as to be able to come up with your theory. That is incredibly meaningful for me to see, and I'm so glad you shared it with me!

I found myself sitting back feeling a bit mind blown. Forgive me for sort of extrapolating from your comment here into something self-congratulatory, but to see that my series could have such depth to it—or even just being of enough quality that depth can be implied or inferred from it—is something special. Makes me feel like maybe I'm doing something right, that I might actually be alright at this whole "Telling Stories" thing.

I cannot properly articulate how warm and fuzzy this makes me feel. I honestly did not intend for the comment to get as long as it did, I was just kind of having stream-of-consciousness going on but as I thought about it, what I was saying actually started to make a lot of sense. So I decided to keep following that stream of consciousness and see where it lead.

I must admit, I owe chris the cynic a thank you. 10647972 His comment here is what kick-started my whole train of thought on the matter.

In addition, I believe I remember seeing you talk about what you were up to for the *checks notes* seven and a half years you were, if not gone from the fandom, not publishing stories. You spend most of that time struggling with depression, if I recall correctly. As someone who was fairly recently diagnosed with Persistent Depressive Disorder as well as General Anxiety Disorder, my heart goes out to you. While chronic, the depression symptoms and their severity from PDD are typically less severe than other forms of depression. I do not envy you. Even now I have a hard time taking any satisfaction from finishing a chore or assignment. I have a hard time getting started. I could enjoy doing a certain task or assignment, and still find myself not doing it. I don't want to imagine what dealing with stuff like that, but worse, would be like.

just because I didn't have it in mind when I wrote it doesn't mean it isn't a correct interpretation.

Fair enough. Frankenstein was supposed to be a cautionary tale sort of thing about playing God and science/technology going too far. When we read it in AP lit (and pursuing certain parts of the internet where it came up implies to me most readers today feel similarly), we mostly focused on how Frankenstein was really shitty and abusive towards his creation and that if he hadn't acted like an asshole, moron, spineless pussy, and narcissist at different times throughout the novel basically nothing bad would've happened. So it instead becomes all about how, idk, you gotta raise people in the right environment and love and nurture them.

Forgive me for sort of extrapolating from your comment here into something self-congratulatory, but to see that my series could have such depth to it—or even just being of enough quality that depth can be implied or inferred from it—is something special. Makes me feel like maybe I'm doing something right, that I might actually be alright at this whole "Telling Stories" thing.

Thanks again~

You're not coming off as something self-congratulatory, trust me. I'm extremely flattered to hear you say you're "Mind blown" from my comment/theory. (Like I said, the whole thing was basically stream-of-thought. From my end I feel like you're giving me too much credit. I just read someone's comment, and kinda liked what they had to say, then spent entirely more time than I intended to speculating along that line of thought and trying to be internally consistent. I'm pretty sure it's the depression talking there, what with how I'm downplaying myself for no reason, even though I can't compare it to something my brother would've come up with and it's 3 in the morning so even if the antidepressants are working like they're supposed to (and not sure they are, I haven't really been on them long enough to say) they wouldn't be, so it can go fuck itself.)

I'm of the opinion that you're a better author than just "alright" and you're better than just "alright" at telling stories. If only because, as the internet's shown, most people are pretty terrible writers, it's just that pre-internet they never got published anywhere.* Like I've said other places, rereading Rainbow Factory is...hard. It's full of grammatical and spelling errors, has some janky or just plain mediocre sentences and, of course, is edgier than a 14-year-old's razorblade (that they're too baby-faced to use).

However, it in at least some way contributed to follow-up songs to the original original Rainbow Factory, and the songs Pegasus Device and Awoken are fine examples of brony music. In addition, while it probably inspired its fair share of other super edgy and bad fanfics, it also inspired or prompted some extremely good fics, such as Awoken(ish), or Absentia. There's also one I can't find where Scootaloo had Rainbow Factory as a nightmare and it's kind of a rebuke for Rainbow's characterization (which, again, super edgy, shouldn't take it that seriously but hey we got a good fic out of it).

*(I'm looking at you, Twilight chronics, 50 Shades of Grey, and other shitty books that are of a lower quality than the upper percentiles of MLP fanfiction.)

Moving on to Pegasus Device, there's a great deal of improvement. It's a genuinely good piece of fiction.

As for Reckoning-well, I've already cover that, now haven't I?

Trust me, you're more than just an "ok" or "alright" at telling stories. You're doing things very right.

You're welcome. And thank you for writing all of these wonderful and/or get-other-people's-creativity-going stories.

I read Pegasus Device all those years ago. Its been so long. I NEVER thought i'd see another one of these and this shows me
just how alive the fandom is. Nostalgia is real! Now i need to read it!

I enjoyed this. I really did. However, and this isn't a knock, it just... didn't feel like a Rainbow Factory story. Maybe that's because so much of it took place outside of the CWC and everything was cleaner and more organized, but... I dunno. I have a hard time putting my finger on it. It just felt like a story from a completely different series. A good series, but a different one. Maybe it's just because it lacks the grit of the other two. I was worried that the Corporation was going to get so powerful and cartoonishly evil that I had to roll my eyes, but for the most part, you avoid that. This is something they've been planning for a long time. It's interesting how fast you killed Celestia and Luna(?) off. Guess they had to be dead for anything to actually happen. Dunno. It had all of the pieces to feel like a RF story (supremacist pegasi, failures, the CWC, Pegasus Devices) but it just... didn't have that same atmosphere (no pun intended) to it.

Still a great story, though. Glad I read it.

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Oh, for sure, that’s a perfectly reasonable assessment. It’s definitely a different style of story; like Aliens to Alien, if that makes any sense. I’m glad you enjoyed it, despite it not having the same flavour.

Have you checked out The Weather Worker’s Song? I just recently did that one and it is very much a Rainbow Factory story. Might scratch that itch for you!

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I did. Much closer. Enjoyed them both.

Well now this needs a sequel. 9/10 Excellent story.

Well I must say I enjoyed RF and Pegasus device much more than I did this one. Kinda a weird end of the world scenario. Rainbow was absent, Corona offed himself which sucks cuz he’s the only one I got attached to. And cloud cover became surprisingly nonchalant about killing. It was just a bit odd. And the ghosts saving her at the climax was DEATHLY haunting. Probably the best part lol. Though I certainly wasn’t expecting references to sexual favors let alone it be a joke.

As for the story itself, it works but doesn’t feel completely like Rainbow Factory or Pegasus Device did. It’s an okay story but in my opinion this doesn’t hold a candle to the first 2. That being said it’s not bad it’s just.. a strange way for an RF story to go because like.. ghosts, end of the world, princesses get killed off so quickly and uneventfully. And now weather is so inconsistent that it changes more frequently than it does in real life. I think I can say keep up the good work but I’m not 100% certain. Still, keep up the good work. XD

She looked much more now like she remembered herself normally looking like, but at the same time she didn’t seem to recognize the eyes staring back at her from the mirror. She tried on a smile, and took it off in disgust.

Not a single soul gets through?

As the sun finally broke above the sieging storms, so too did Cloud Cover.

Oh.




Aurora what the fuck. Did she die? Maybe it's cause I'm beyond stressed about work and its 1:30am but wtf. Anyway, a good read for sure. I definitely liked PD more, but that's not to say this one was bad, not at all. I'm glad I finally read these wtf

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Did the main character die at the end or did she make it?

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Oh okay applejack of fall trades asked you that question.

Don't read this until you read the story.

Stormy Night. A decent pony stuck in a terrible machine. Maybe he can help things change. But probably not.

Damn Aurora. You leave us with hope but no conclusion. This is good stuff.

My mind is reeling. Cloud is making her way to Canterlot, possibly being summoned by Luna. But probably not.

Gentle knew there wasn't time for contingency A. Contingency A should have started back when Cloud was still a filly, at the latest. As fucked as the whole thing was, it really did save as many as possible. And she also knew she couldn't live with herself anymore. She damn near redeemed herself in my book.

I cannot say how much I enjoyed this. The world expanded so far beyond Rainbow Factory. And it's amazing.

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