• Published 16th Mar 2013
  • 12,313 Views, 32 Comments

Shell Shock - kalash93

A certain pony discovers the price of war in a moment that will stay with her forever.

  • ...

The Tower

I climb the last steps of the ladder. Now I am inside the tower. It’s a pretty thing made in red brick a few centuries back when this place used to be a monastery. It overlooks a crossroads and some grassy fields. The road is blocked by a checkpoint stocked with sandbags, barbed wire, and machine guns. This is what I am supposed to be providing overwatch for. Right at its base is the modern cemetery of Grazny. More than a dozen headstones stand before distinct brown patches. They clash violently with the otherwise vibrant green carpet. I call down the trapdoor to my comrade. She’s the other pony in this fire team. “Get up here, soldat!”

A squeak. “Yes, serzhant!” She tenuously, slowly, begins to climb the up the old wooden ladder rung by rung. Her hooves make a distinct -clop-clop-clop-clop- sound. I turn away to check our surroundings. I’m not in the mood to be shot by a sniper today; I don’t want to end up like Twiley. There is still no activity to be seen. The golden tall meadow grasses are undisturbed, gently undulating in the wind like an amber ocean. They are almost perfect- almost, for the usual trash weighs them down in some spots. In others, it blocks the view. Typical. All I hear is birdsong in the early spring morning and the sounds of my comrade slowly making it up the ladder. I snort and tap my hoof on the floor. A faint apology is heard and the clopping speeds up.

“It took you long enough,” I growl at the almost-fresh soldier with puffy red eyes. I don’t even bother with what's embroidered on her name tape. It's useless to me anyway, for I met her a few years ago when I married Cadence. She probably doesn't recall me acting like this. Of course, things were different then and we weren't in the middle of a warzone. Her origin patch indicates that she came from Ponyville. Her shoulder boards indicate that she’s a soldat- the lowest enlisted rank. Her lack of a telnyashka means that she’s nothing special and almost certainly a conscript. It’s most worrisome that she’s a pegasus and in neither aviation nor airborne. As for me, my red-striped telnyashka says it all.

She shuts the trapdoor before shrinking away to the other corner of the tower. There’s room enough for us each to be comfortable and even move a little bit. She turns around and like an idiot, smacks the front sight post of her rifle against the stone supports. Then, like an even greater fool, she flares her wings and smacks the bell overhead. My ears! Birds on the few remaining power lines in the fields two hundred meters distant startle and take flight. “S-sorry, sir.” She salutes feebly at me. I lunge at her, my hoof swatting hers out of the air.

“You idiot! I’m not an officer! Don’t salute! Are you trying to get me killed?” She curls up into a ball.

“S-s-sorry, serzhant Shining Armor!” My task complete, I back off.

“Much better, soldat. Now stand up.” She does, sniffling a little bit with her eyes even redder and puffier than before. Why out of all the ponies in this company was this the one that got assigned to my fire team at the observation post? At least it keeps me out of the frickin' nearly daily rain. The damn FNP can’t even keep her rifle properly slung against her back! Now she’s going to have to get the armorer to fix her zero again. I suddenly stop and catch her eye. She just won’t stop staring at me or the tank top I wear with the red and white stripes covering my chest. I really ought to just button up the top of the damn camo uniform I wear and save myself the headache. I snort. “Unsling your rifle, soldat, and rest it against the wall like mine,” I say, motioning to my AKM; it's not an AK-47, despite what the uninformed claim. I demonstrate how it’s done by levitating it with my horn.

She unslings her AK-74 and tries to imitate me. I’m glad that she chooses not to keep the bayonet attached. Mine always is. Miraculously, it doesn’t take her long at all. “Did I do well, serzhant?” She’s giving me that nervous look that’s just pleading for my approval.

I swallow my impulse to be nasty. “You did good, soldat.” Her wings flare again. Not another freaking squeak! What is it with FNP’s, especially the mares, and always trying to get my damn approval? What am I, their father? I am one, but not to any of them. I have a freaking wife! I turn away and look out over the crossroads. We are supposed to be keeping watch, after all. She wordlessly copies my lead and stands in the shadows, gazing out into the dark, overcast, day. She doesn’t freak out when she sees what are littering the fields. Perhaps she hasn’t noticed? It is a tad too dark for pegasus eyes Maybe she does, for her eyes moisten again. Pathetic.

Fortunately, she isn’t a talker. Unfortunately, she is a remarkable songstress and a literal animal magnet. Her voice is not the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard. That would be the thunder of our company’s fifty caliber NSV heavy machine guns punctuated with the screams of zebra separatist fighters being mowed down like dominoes. Regardless, we soon have a small zoo of birds, mice, and other cute critters crowding around the tower. I don’t care as long I can do my job. She cracks a smile. I think that’s the first one she’s made ever since she arrived here in Chechneya a couple of weeks ago. I space out and go on autopilot, reacting only to motion. I wish that something would happen so that I’d get a chance to shoot somepony. Nothing happens for several hours. I pass the time by pulling my combat knife from its sheath and sharpening it. I also give my rifle its first cleaning in weeks and make sure that the sights are set for the correct range.

The rains come as usual. The one downside to taking up position in the tower is that it's always cool and drafty in here. It’s miserable when it rains. She hugs herself tightly, squeezes into the shelter of her corner, and tries to watch the crossroads. She did an okay job for the first few minutes until something in the road made her gasp and retreat into her corner. I expected her to cry, but all that happened was that water ran down her face. I was soaked too. I couldn’t tell whether it came from her eyes or from the clouds. I watched for several minutes more before I finally saw what had shaken her. The rain had acted like a reagent upon what was unmistakably blood on the road. Pegasi, being flyers, have unusually good detail vision and ability to detect colors. Nothing happens for even more hours, except for the rain stopping.

A low rumbling fills my ears. It's unmistakably from a diesel engine common to both Equestrian and Chechneyan military vehicles. At first, I worry and grab my rifle. She follows my lead, shaking visibly. I steal a look at her AK-74. The black duracoat only bears the faintest of scratches from the selector switch. My AKM has a wicked scar gouged into the blued steel. I bring my weapon up to my shoulder. I had chambered a round and set it to semiautomatic before I stepped outside the wire. She hastily bats her selector one notch down to automatic and then chambers a round. She just stands there, gun at her hip. At least she gives them somepony else to shoot at.

The vehicle appears with a roar and a cloud of black smoke. It’s just an ordinary Royal Equestian Army truck without a cover over the bed. It stops. I lower my weapon slightly, but it’s still ready to go. She, however, unloads it, clears the chamber, and turns the safety back on. I silently groan. She is still staring at the truck. It’s full of captured zebra insurgents with maybe a handful to a dozen civilians, so what’s the big deal? Maybe today won’t be too bad after all. I leer a little, but maintain a careful watch. You never know if the mules are going to try pulling something, or if we’ll just have to liquidate the stock. It’s not like there’s anything unusual about that. It’s what usually happens, given our kapitan’s reputation… Anyway, they’re being quiet and cooperative, which is a good sign. A runner is sent to go alert the kapitan that we’ve captured a fresh group.

I ask my comrade, “Soldat, do you see any shamans in that group?” Shamans have magical powers like unicorns, but they look just like ordinary zebras.

She shakes her head. “No, sergeant.” She gazes intently at them. One of them is looking up at us. He can probably see us, so I point my gun at him to remind him of exactly where he is and how things stand. He turns away and hunches lower into the truck. We’re all clothed from head to hoof, so we probably look just as anonymous and faceless to him as he does to us.

Many minutes pass with nothing happening. The clouds open up. For the first time in days, I can see the sun and feel its warmth. Interesting fact: pegasi are notoriously night blind. Now that my comrade can see properly, she promptly lets out a frightened squeak. “What’s the matter? Can’t handle a few dead bodies?” More like several are scattered throughout the field with a couple on the edge of the road. A burned-out truck is crashed in a ditch with the bullet-riddled corpse of the driver hanging limply from the shot-out windshield. His passenger had been ejected in the crash and had a bayonet gash in his neck. I like it when ponies admire my work.

“But there are so many ponies laying out in the open. Why?” Her eyes are pleading with me, brimming with tears.

“It’s not our problem. If you want to ask about volunteering as a gravedigger, then go ask the kapitan. Otherwise, shut up.”

“But they’re ponies, serzhant! Just like me and you!”

“We’re at war with them. And you know they do to our dead. They attacked us first and seceded without regard for our constitution. Four hundred of our innocent citizens were murdered by these vermin in the Autumn Equinox bombings. You know about the massacres where chechneyans round up every equestrian they can find and shoot them. They've killed ponies dear to both you and I. You know about the pogroms. You know how they refuse our offers of peace. We are here to protect our people and get justice. This is their reward. They don’t deserve mercy.”

“But still.. I, uhh- EEP!” The runner returns with an RPD over his shoulder and says something to the guys guarding the prisoners. Two of them walk around to the back of the truck and order everyone out before one of them waves over to the guys at the checkpoint sitting behind the NSV. “Um, serzhant? What’re they doing?”

The prisoners all look jumpy now. I consider firing. I turn my head just enough to reply in her direction. “What do you think?” She hides her face and turns away, sniffling. “Compose, yourself, soldat!” I snarl at her. She stands stock still and watches the macabre spectacle unfolding before her. I put my hoof on the sliding trigger plate located just fore of the stock of my assault rifle and aim down the sights.

I see the same zebra who had looked upon on earlier rocking back in forth, limbs crossed across his chest. He can’t be that much older than most of our guys. Hell, he’s probably a bit younger. His day must not be going well. The damned wretch was probably freaking out big time. He and a few others seem to understand what’s going on. They've done this. This is our retribution. The terror spreads when great belts of shiny fifty caliber ammunition are paraded up to the machine guns. The truth is finally dawning on them. They remind me of cattle I had once seen during a foalhood trip to a slaughterhouse. They are trapped. The gates open. The way is shut. This is the end.

The machine guns are loaded. The terror turns to panic as the sounds of metal contacting metal emanate from the machine guns. The panic comes to a boil. One zebra stands up and tries to bargain with us. To my faint surprise, the voice is that of an older mare. She argues so forcefully that all attention is focused on her, though I don’t know what she’s saying. On officer strides up to her and puts his pistol to her head. CRACK! Laughter resounds.

I suddenly see a shape make a break for it! It’s that same young zebra from earlier. He’s trying to use the dead truck to preserve his life. Nopony moves to stop him. It’s my perfect opportunity to avenge those they've taken from me, but I have a better idea. I turn to my comrade and hand her my avtomat.

“No…” She speaks in barely a horrified whisper. Her eyes have never been wider.

“Yes. Kill him.”

“I said no!”

I pull out my knife. “Okay, soldat. I’ll give you a choice. Either I kill you or you kill him. You can save him, if you so choose, but at the cost of your own life. Or you can kill him and I’ll spare you. It’s your decision. So, what’s it going to be, soldat? Your life or his?” It won't make a difference, but she doesn't know that. The zebra keeps running down the road as fast as his legs can carry him, his path taking him closer to us. He runs by one of our trucks parked on the shoulder. The guys in it just watch. I spur my comrade on. “Do it!”

She looks down at my gun for several seconds. The zebra tries to conceal himself behind some bushes not even one hundred and twenty meters away. He could make it! I look to her rifle. She slowly brings mine up to her shoulder, assuming a textbook firing stance. Her right hoof is in the plate socket. The plate slides a little. I hear a sniffle and then BOOM!

“AAAHHHHH! MAAAMMAAA!” The zebra stumbles out of the bushes, clutching at his abdomen.

“One more- give him one more!” BOOM! His clothes jump. He clutches at his chest, but he desperately tries to push on. Red soaks his white stripes as he begins to sway.

“I’m sorry…” She hesitates.

“Go on, shoot.” BOOM! His sides jump. With one last step, he collapses onto the ground. Red pools around him and then he moves no more.

“Serzhant, I …” Tears stain her lapels. I read her name tape once more and then embrace her. She heaves, but is drowned out by the most wonderful sound in the world. Her cries mingle in with the cacophony.

When it stops a few seconds later, I beam at her. “You did good, Fluttershy! Not bad for a conscript.”

"I'm not a conscript!" She looks at me, tears visibly streaming from her eyes. "I took my friends place."

Author's Note:

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Comments ( 30 )

I don't know what to say. I'm just speechless. It's a great story, although some background about what's really going on could be nice, because it looks like a fanfic of Fallout Equestria before the war started (mostly because of the ponies killing zebras). Either way, I enjoyed it, and I'll keep waiting for your next work ;D

Holy sweet Christ, that was...interesting. There were a few spelling mistakes dotted out ,nothing major. This story was....wow. The fact that you used Fluttershy as well, was interesting. I would have preferred a different pony myself, just because I would never want her in that situation,:fluttershyouch: but then again that's why the story works.:moustache: Still it was a bit...disturbing to say the least. I'm interested to see more though...Keep it up. :twilightsmile:

First paragraph just seems odd to read.
Not bad, but not my cup of tea.
Nicely done, a few grammar mistakes, but not many that people would really notice unless specifically searching for them.

There are some types of stories that ought to be longer, for the sake of giving background and strength to it. This is one of them? What are they at war for? What happened to Twilight? Why is Fluttershy out there, and who is she replacing? I never got these answers, and am really wondering, if not a bit mad. On its own, it's good, but it has much potential to show more. I'd like to see Fluttershy's story about going in, about Shining going through the war, and probably more. I get it's already labeled as "complete," but if you ever think about adding more, I'm all for it.

Overall, it was a decent story. The end was really something. I have no words, because it's so hard to see Fluttershy in that scene, yet it somehow works. She's the last pony you'd see in that field, yet by the end, you feel so bad for her, almost--at least, I do. It's almost dramatic, imagining what she has been through when she's not the type of pony to deal with this easily.

There are some mechanical problems here and there, though nothing that can't be fixed with a glance over. There is this, though.

She tenuously, slowly, beings climbs the up the old wooden ladder rung by rung.

Miiiight want to fix that. It took me a few seconds to just decide not to try to decipher it, and move along.

And this could be me, but I feel as if Shining is a bit OOC here. Since he was once a royal guard, he knows how military-like things go, but his cruelness and attitude against Fluttershy seems just slightly too much. Understanding how on the field, you have to be brutal, but I feel that he pushes it a bit sometimes. It isn't even about the fact that Fluttershy is Twilight's friend and he kind of knows of her a bit. Like here:

“What’s the matter? Can’t handle a few dead bodies?”

I don't know. I've just never seen this side of Shining Armor. Can't say I like it too much, but then again, we've never seen him on the field. Plus, war can really change people--or ponies--so yeah.

So, it is an interesting story. Putting Fluttershy in such a position can work, if done right, and you very much did. And that, I applaud you for. While I feel bad for her (that mostly might just be due to her being my favorite), well, she's in the warzone. She has to accept it. At worst, I just didn't like Shining's attitude, but even then, we just have always seen his lighter side, so there's that. Definitely a thumbs up for me.

A pretty good war story that focuses on war being a fucking hell. Yeah, this is interesting. If you do right, you could have a pretty good fic. Glad to see Fluttershy isn't out of character. A good first chapter too, it leaves some questions open as to what is going to happen. Not bad, I must say you have a few typos here and there where you left out some words. Just go back and proof read it out loud to yourself, you'll catch 'em. Some things to watch for, if you make an O.C don't make him the most badass soldier to ever live. It's never a good idea to have overpowered O.C's. Shining armor seems a little out of character, but it can slide for the sake of this fic. I love the writing style, it's descriptive and pretty interesting. One thing that kind of gets me is the setting. It feels a lot like a world war two France sort of setting. Maybe you could describe that a little better later on. As for the weapons, there needs to be a scene about cleaning the weapons, because I am having a hard time imagining how they hold it.

This is pretty cool man, I'm glad to see a relatively new author who gets what's expected out of writing. It's a nice change for once. As for this story great job, I love it. I haven't read a decent pony war fic that has enough detail to captivate you like this one really has. As for your offer I do have one I am trying to promote and get more people to look at, A Taste of Orange. I write about a lot of things, and this one is a self insert. I await your reply, now I leave you with my signature as a review person.

Final Verdict: Fuck going to war. This war shit takes civility and rapes it.

Hi, sorry for taking so long to review your story, but I am a lazy bum :twilightblush:.
I can't say much more than the others have already said. The story was well written, but Shining Armor was just too mean to be like he is in canon.
And it always seems out of place to see ponies being so cruel. The worst we have seen them do is throw pies at other beings in the show, but I guess that I can look over that for the sake of the story.
Still, I would have like to see more of th backstory and what led up to all of this.
As always, you have good descriptions, and the story flows nicely with interesting dialogue.
All in all, a rough gem.

To all: Thanks for the feedback! Do you think that I could go ahead with making a series of modern war stories?

Thanks for the comment, MrSing. I did warn you that this would be some seriously dark stuff. Somehow, this got away with a T, while Welcome To The Brothel required an M. RATG 6 is in production.

Prince Solstice, of course I'll look at your work. This week is crazy, so it might take some time. I actually intended this story to essentially be ponies in Chechnya. This was my initial pilot piece to see if a war story was feasible.This is a piece I care about and put effort into. I'm glad that it's gotten such strong feedback,

Thanks, Miss Dark Angel. I ought to make the revisions and consider sending this to Equestria Daily. The point of the story was to put a character in a position where they are forced to make an impossible choice. Everything about it is kept terse and dense because I found that details distracted from the dark, gritty atmosphere I wanted to create. I considered listing this as an AU fic and I wonder if I perhaps should have used somepony other than Shining Armor. It's nothing a few justifying edits can't fix.

I intended the message to be more ambiguous, but that works quite well, I say to the Town Crier.

Twizzle Dragon, thanks for your input.

Fluttershy was picked on purpose because I wanted to see the character be more than just a talking embodiment of benevolence. Also, it gets across the pathos effectively. I take it that you're in favor of a proper length multipart series, John 117.


Thanks for being quick, Sayer. This is not at all influenced by Fallout Equestria. RATG 6 will be the next thing. I might start a proper war story soon. What do you say?
To everypony else, thanks for reading, favoriting, and upvoting. Gimme a watch if you want to know when I've got more up. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks!

2291708 I'll be waiting for your next story. I love them! :yay:

2291708 I guess you could say that. I enjoy a good short story here and there, and enjoy writing them. I just fee like this could have more to it.

I think that this is pretty interesting. As much as I like characters who are like Shining Armor in this story, it doesn't really seem like him, but then again, he is out on the field. I think that more background as to what happened prior to these events could have helped, but it's not something that really bothered me, not that I was bothered at all. Fluttershy was in character the whole time, which is something new to me, since I don't see her in war oriented stories. There's nothing wrong when it came to spelling or grammar, as far as I could tell. I'm not sure if I can say anything anyone else hasn't said already :twilightsheepish:
Overall, I enjoyed reading this! Only Shining Armor's personality bothered me, but I think that's just about it.

2291708 I'm happy for you too man. This piece is really good, there is no denying that. Plus it's the first war fic with actual emotion to the characters, and that even with the protagonist there is nothing pretty about war. Yeah, I'm glad your first fic fared so well. I can't tell you how many I read that are just complete shit. So props bro /)


Thanks for the review and criticism. I did some revisions to the story; the grammar has been polished, the context explained, more characterization done, and the Russian twist made stronger. Just let me finish this paper and I'll be right on your fic.

Quick question: why are they called HKs instead of AKs? They're still automatic weapons, after all. Does the H stand for something different that is still appropriate for the function of the weapon?

As for the story. It read like a punch to the gut, something which I'm becoming better at absorbing over these last few months. You could very easily change the names around and this would work very well as it's own piece of original fiction, which is a bonus if you want to get published. However, I have to admit that using the MLP characters, and especially Fluttershy, is interesting for the effects it'll have on the fans reading this. A lot of Bronies do seem to have a soft spot for her, it seems.

For what it was though, I enjoyed it . . . Well, OK, not "enjoyed" per say, but I appreciated the good writing. (Blast. One year of Holocaust and World War I stories, and suddenly I finding Russians murdering Chechens to be normal writing.)


The HK was me trying to be cute and make a vaguely equine pun. I have since fixed all the names. The punch to the gut feeling is exactly what I was trying to create,

Really nice fic! I do have some minor complaints. One would be Shining's attitude (I guess I don't really know what he experienced in war, but it just seems a wee bit much), and a few grammar issues here and there. (Missing apostrophes, missing words, etc.)
An example would be at the end there. "I took my friends place."
"Friends" Needs an apostrophe after the d or s depending on if it's plural or not.
My last complaint would be the context. It's too... little. Maybe you expect readers to use clues to build the context like the pogroms and politics and terrorism and such you mentioned, but maybe a little exposition would help. You could think of a creative way to add exposition. Oh, and also some of the terms are a bit strange. I get komandir, but some other stuff like serzhant and telnya-something are quite uncommon. I personally think it would've been better to use terms like lieutenant or private. And, to me, using specific terms for guns serve no other purpose than to confuse readers who have no knowledge about such things. I know what an AK-47 is, but I have absolutely no clue what the other guns are because I don't play shooters (Except S4 League anyway xD). Vague descriptions, in my opinion, would be better. You don't have to state the name of the gun then explain what it is with vague descriptions.

Of course, these are only my personal observations. :raritywink:

But yeah! Great work and great fic! :pinkiehappy:

Woah. O_o
Sorry about that wall of text. Didn't realize I typed so much. xD

I'm sorry, but this story is really bad to me. I read the whole thing hoping I'd know what had happened to Equestria, and why so many things were russian, but I still have no idea. You drop slight hints as to what happened- the zebras revolted and started a war, or something- but that's nowhere near enough explanation. Why did they revolt? How did they effect Equestria? Why are Equestrians so hell-bent on killing the zebras? You don't provide enough context as to what happened- other than the fact that there was a revolt. Dropping subtle hints to tell the history of a world works if, and only if, you give enough hints. You wrote a short story, so you have no opportunity to subtlely build up the world. You also use words that aren't commonly known. I don't know what a telnyashka is, and neither does anyone else who hasn't studied russian culture or the russian language. Context clues might have helped, but the only context clue you give is that Shining Armor has a "red-striped" one. Your I Hate Equestria Daily thread says a telnyashka is a medal (I think- my memory's hazy) like a badge. If I hadn't read that, I'd have no idea what a telnyashka is. Is it a sash? An item of clothing? A tattoo?
You also have many paragraphs that aren't "coherent." The sentences don't flow or connect well, and I lost interest while reading this. The pacing is choppy, and it's unenjoyable to read. I had to catch myself to keep from skimming paragraphs to get to the end.
I don't mean to sound rude, but I can see why this didn't make it onto Equestria Daily.


Thank you very much for the glowing but concise review. If there's anything of yours I can help with or review, I'll be delighted to oblige. :twilightsmile:


It's a short story about the immediate experiences of two characters. That's what important. I found that adding in more exposition and such distracted from the emotional core of the story and reduced its impact. If you don't get something, you can use Google. A telnyashka is a striped undershirt. Red stripes mean Spetsnaz.


I think that it's funny just how criticisms of the story are "I don't know what a telnyashka is and I throw hissy fits when authors don't state everything directly"



Basically, the bulk of your comment comes down to "I don't know what a telnyashka is therefore the story is bad". If you took five seconds to google it rather than five minutes to bitch about it, your dilemma would be solved. :facehoof:

And yes, it is a short story. Therefore, not having a huge detailed backstory is okay. It is focused on one moment in time, not the whole war. Now, were it not a oneshot, the background would be necessary. In this context, though, what Kalash has written is sufficient.

The story had its flaws, but not as horribly as you make it out to be. Sometimes spoonfeeding the reader gets annoying to both the reader and the author. If you don't understand something, google it. You're sitting at a computer. You have no excuse. And "I shouldn't have to google things" is not a valid response. You shouldn't be so damn lazy that googling something would be considered a hardship.

2705873 2705850 Say I didn't have google. If I had a paper copy of the story and sat down to read it, I'd be lost. A dictionary to define a word is one thing, but I shouldn't have to get a book on russian culture just to understand what Shining Armor is wearing. I know, for a fact, that the author is NEVER supposed to expect the reader to know something. I'm not wording that correctly, but basically- assume the reader knows nothing about the world. Readers get annoyed when things aren't explained to them (like that a telny-whatever-it's-called indicates a person is a Spetsnaz soldier). How do I know this? My mother worked for over ten years editing scientific lab reports and theses. She hounds me for grammar errors and bad narration. She tells me I need to know my audience, and explain to them everything they might not know. That doesn't mean making a blaring sign telling people something, but it does mean you have to inform and educate them in some way. It's possible, but that doesn't mean it's easy.
You also seem to have disregarded my issues with paragraph coherence and your story's war's history. It's a moment in time, that I get, but I still have no idea what the frell is happening; when a world of cartoon ponies changes into a semi-russian, war-torn society where zebras are killed because of some revolt, youreally need to explain what's happened.
I was trying to offer constructive criticism, but if you two want to be rude about it and say I'm throwing a hissy-fit, fine. I won't stop you.


I am not thowing hissy fits. A number of the things are meant to be bonuses for readers in the know. The story works because of its tight emotional focus and laconic narrative. Adding more to it just makes it flabbier. It's a short snapshot in time. I'll take the rest under advisement.


"Say I didn't have google. If I had a paper copy of the story and sat down to read it, I'd be lost."

But unless you print out every single thing you read (which, if you do, is a serious waste of paper and ink) and purposely find an area far away from your computer to sit down and read it (which is ridiculous), your argument has no weight. It's meant to be read at your computer, not by the fireplace with a cup of tea. It's a fanfiction, not the great American novel. Nor is it a scientific lab report. It's a fanfiction about ponies. He's not outlining a lab experiment. For a formal report, what you are saying is absolutely correct. But unless Kalash is writing a peer-reviewed report on the history of the Equestrian War, then it doesn't hold up. Which goes back to the fact that he doesn't need to explain the entire history. It's a moment in time between a few select individuals. All you need to know is that there's a war.

And yes, I'm going to be the Sass Master if you can't even be bothered to google something. That's what set me off. Life lesson: Google before you speak.

Speaking as someone who's read plenty of short stories about war I can tell you right now that your argument has no standing in precedent. These sorts of stories aren't meant to explain the route causes of the conflict, they're meant to convey the experiences of those caught up in it. Heck, most full blown novels don't touch on the causes of the conflict except briefly.

This story is meant to be a metaphor for the conflicts in Chechnya using MLP characters for greater emotional punch. It works as that. It is not meant to give a long and in depth explanation for why Russians and Chechens want to slit each others' throats, not when you're supposed to recognize the conflict and use your imagination to fill in the blanks.


Exactly! Thank you for that. You put it perfectly. :pinkiehappy:

This review has been brought to you on behalf of the group Authors Helping Authors.

Grammar: 7 - There were times when periods were missing, words were misspelled (sometimes Russian words would be randomly changed to their English counterparts), although nothing too game breaking.

Pros: 1. This is a pretty focused story and knows exactly what it wants to do.
2. The narrative, while confusing at times, is unique and used to overall good effect.
3. Fluttershy's characterization is mostly spot on, and we do end up feeling sorry for her.

Cons: 1. The gratuitous Russian terminology is annoying and took me out of the experience at times.
2. There's a distinct lack of backstory, and while I know that that's not what you were going for, it just made the story feel like a mess.
3. For a story that was promoted as being "dark" and "gritty", it doesn't succeed much at being either.


This is going to feel rather crude of me, but I need to get this off my chest before I get into the pros of the story. First off, the use of Russian terminology. There is so much wrong with this given the context, both in how it's used and why it's even there. I was reading through the fic, expecting a reason as to why the ponies were basically Soviet Union troops with hooves, but I never got that reason. And that's another problem in itself; the ponies are more like humans than their canon counterparts. Why does a unicorn have a rifle if he can just use magic? Why are they using human vehicles and weapons that are inferior to what they already had? We never find out as to why, and that's what really killed the story for me. It's like you took a real world event and just replaced the humans with ponies and zebras, which felt lazy to me. There is no sense of motive or past events, it all kind of just... happens, and we as an audience are expected to deal with that, which is never a good thing. As for the "dark" atmosphere this story seems so proud of, it's not that dark. This is mainly because we never get the time or the reasons to know the characters or the world that they live in. It all feels disconnected and without purpose. Now I could go into details like why Shining is such a bastard, to put it lightly, or why Fluttershy was in the army in the first place, but I feel like I'm rambling here. On one last note for the cons, this fic needed an Alternate Universe tag in the worst of ways, but didn't get one.

Now as for the pros... the narrative style is quite original. I haven't read a story in the first person present tense narrative in a while, and so this is pretty refreshing. Another good thing here is Fluttershy, whose characterization is pretty accurate and we as an audience do kinda feel bad for her despite the lack of context. Then there's the theme of the story, which is very well focused and wastes little to no time in conveying what it is there to do.

This... I'm not going to lie, this is a hard pill to swallow. The fic does do a few things correctly, however it also takes a ton of missteps and needed a lot more meat on its bones than what you gave it. Does that go against what you intended? Probably, but it feels like the original intention just doesn't work, or at least for me. As a war story in general, it's not so bad, but as a pony fanfic it just doesn't add up. With that said, I'm going to give this fic 3/10 Fluttershys. The average score is 5/10 Fluttershys.

Hope you enjoyed the review, or at the very least learned from my rambling. :twilightblush:
I think I could go for a drink right about now...

O_o :rainbowderp:

*Insert "Shellshock" by Noisia & The Foreign Beggars*

Geez, the Equestrian task force has completely fallen apart. Wonder what the political situation is like back home.

i dont get the last line.

Huh. Interesting.

TVTropes, anyone?

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