/mlpol/ - My Little Politics

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Razorback Company.png
#OiE: The Cult of the Dark Horse 2
GM Strangler
>If you would like to join, make a sensible loadout here at:
>And if you want to bring in something special or anything not on the list, ask to shop it in.

>When you're done, read over the Operator's Handbook:

>Or the Hoofbook if you wanna be a pony:

>Then drop a post here.

>Overall Pastebin:

>Fortress Map:

>Bulletin Board:

>Previous Thread:

Welcome back, pony cowboys...
692 replies and 93 files omitted.
Ivan the Stalker
"Well I know he isn't talking about me then."
>Ivan glanced up towards the talking rafters.
>Definitely not drunk enough for any shenanigans.

>He hummed as he poked at the fibers for a moment, testing some flexibility by moving a sleeve.
>It wasn't unusual for a STALKER to head out into the Zone with experimental gear... even if half the time he would later be found as Bloodsucker or Chimera chow.
>He had to admit, despite only being given a vague description of a full Exoskeleton, they did pretty well with fixing it up.
>And he decided not to poke at the cylinders until they were firmly placed onto his suit.
"The back wall, you said? I'll go see if they're still there, then."
>He gave a wave up at the bat and walked that way.
Running Man -A Small Nuisance
The GM L.O.N.T
278013 280266
Ambush: +1 Token to Spruce

>The eerily mundane hallway became more active as something with a deep base began to thrum seemingly all around the group.

>Adon felt his medallion rattle off against his chest piece as the silent, eardrum beating tone filled the long and featureless corridor they were in.

>The Chitqu perked up from its investigative patting of the twinkling golem, almost certainly hearing the same thing.
>It let out a squeak as it bounded back towards the group, its small form fitting armour making echoing clacking noises on the stone floor.

"Why would he warn anypony coming in? Why indeed."
>Pondered the aged Unicorn, his features to Adon obscured as if a veil of reality covered him.
"And an activation of what? A spell of course but what kind, perhaps a...Oh. Oh dear."
>Something akin to a revelation laced Golden Horns' voice, as what the Witcher could see of him became agitated.
"A -A trap...!"
>He dreadfully exclaimed.

>Adon felt as if he was being submerged in water as his silhouette became blurry and his body partly transparent. Thankfully he was not actually wet.
>This action made his medallion hop and bounce from sheer vibrations, though this died down to its now regular buzzing ever since it entered this hallway.

>A near inaudible growl filled the air all around Spruce, coming from every surface of the hallway. It was certainly not there moments before...

"T-that is most -uh interesting Spruce, you should tell m-me more of your homes' religions at another t-time."
>Said Golden, voice quivering.
>Although Spruce could not see the old pony he certainly heard him elicit a chuckle through his fear.
"Good information to go on Spruce, for I think you will be needing to blow stuff up soon!"
>He said, sounding like he was about to have a panic attack.

>Spruce felt the Chitqu clamber up his body again, its movement giving the impression it was in a panic as it went for the safety of his shoulders.
"Ooooh, I am sure if he was observing us right at this very moment he would be making that annoying cackling sound that kept everypony up at night every night back when he was in Canterlot University."
>Grumbled Golden.

>A similar feeling swept over Spruce as did Adon, yet for the Operator it felt as if he was submerged deeper in this non-existent water. And due to this he became near invisible on par with Golden Horn. His body transparent and his outline smudged out of clarity.
>This would of been an awesome ability back on Earth.
>Also the Chitqu was invisible too, yet this did not stop it filling his ear with squeaking and wet nibble noises.
"It is a great crime Spruce and Excelleon will not go unpunished I can assure you."
>Golden promised, trying to sound defiant.

>The deep thrumming noise rose in pitch, and with each rise the dull grey boring corridor that stretched behind and before the trio turned a shade darker.
>And redder.
"Yes, this is indeed a trap-"
>The old Unicorn was cut off by a *THUNK* noise that rattled everyone's vision, it sounded like it came from both the ceiling above and the floor below.
>There were no visible cracks on any surface but the lighting in the hallway appeared to have stabilised to a Rojo Red.
"...I think-"
>Again, Golden was interrupted by a hacking cough that echoed back and forth across the entire width of the corridor, then the arrogant voice of Excelleon himself burst through the still reverberating coughs.
"Uuugh you Slavers are useless. If you don't want to turn into sparkling statues I suggest you head for the door at the end of this gallery...in two minutes."
>His voice cut out leaving the trio with his now dying echos and the morbid news, interestingly he did sound distracted.


>Said Golden in a terrified whisper before breaking into a gallop.
[1d6+2 = 4] >E.Speed
[1d6+2 = 6]
[1d6+2 = 8]
[1d6+2 = 7] >E.Reaction Speed
[1d6+2 = 5]
[1d6+2 = 4]


>Roll Speed to see how many metres you cross.
>Roll Reaction Speed the amount of seconds it took.

Southern Canterlot Outskirts: Twin Hill Overlook, Depository
GM Strangler
>Blipping one of the standard, rotating Binary thanks to the Omnissiah and the Omnissiah's dedicated servants, the Machine Spirit returns to standby mode almost cheerfully.

>Processing the thought with a minimum of consideration, Chisan makes a short, negative head shake.
"Before my arrival I was freshly graduated from the 512th Spectres' Tempestus Scion collegiat, then sent with my unit to repel an Ork invasion. A descriptive moniker must be earned from deeds and acts. I've done nothing to warrant one."
"I'd say killing a few dozen minibears ought to give you one. Speaking of which, what were those humans doing with the.. bodies?"
"That was in defense of the Fortress, Raindrop, as such it was a necessary duty which requires no thanks. The 'bears' as you call them will be processed for their pelts and the flesh preserved to consume."
"Can't see why you'd want to, they smelled bad."
>Leaving the Scion to once more perform a cursory examination on the vault, your Knight's head swivels about with a pointed frown.
"Maybe you should get your eyes checked then. There's a doctor and medic at Razorback's Clinic. I'd go to the medic though, Nova's much nicer but she does have narcolepsy. If she falls asleep tickle her snout with a feather or something. Doesn't always work though."

'I will not be the one disappointed, nor I suspect will you! Ah, standard Biologis research engrams. The Enginseer we were assigned spent a great deal of time examining studying Eldar, Exodites and Craftworlders both, when it was necessary to make contact with either. His findings were.. difficult to accept. Equines will be much easier to study, and far less likely to create a catastrophic diplomatic situation.'
>Registering Witch-Two's nervous laughter as genuine, Tox-11 interrupts her with an array of encrypted datasets, the two breaking off into a rapid conversation.

"Good enough for me. Hay Chisan, want to help cook it?"
"If it is necessary I will aid you, yes."
"Oh it's necessary all right!"
>Shooting Chisan a matronizing grin accompanied by rattling her wingblades once, she takes several steps forwards and leans close, bringing her right armored forehoof up and into the gateway's lowest edge.
>Finding no resistance, and after a few seconds with nothing leaping out at her, Raindrop carefully slides in on high alert, hoofboots clacking mutedly on the stone inside.
>That is until you forcefully reset whatever had gone wrong with the arm mounted unit, the Knight leaping straight upwards while making a loud neigh of fright.
>Emitting numerous high pitched electronic that sounded like space noise from planets and the distinct clicking of metallo-fluid junctions resetting, the device reboots in an astoundingly fast 0.31 seconds.
'Considerably so Adronal, and thank you Enginseer. You may step in now but I should state that you ignore the Chroniton unit's data feed. The system is extraordinarily complex and prone to fits if not restored after the slightest failure. Quite troublesome, truly.'
'like the possessed targeting arrays on your battleship?'
'They were not possessed! They were never possessed! Do not remind me of that incident again or I will accidentally drop an artillery barrage on you!'
'sure they werent but i win this round'
'You are insufferable!'
'yes. yes i am thank you'

>Frozen in place during this time after landing, Raindrop's unarmored head shakily swivels around, eyes wide and speaking in a fearful whisper.
"What was that? Is something in here with me?"
>Chisan attempts a calm facial expression, which was nothing more than a mildly comical frown with several facial tics.
"Enginseer Castella was performing maintenance on her arm-mounted device. There has been no movement besides yours. If you desire I will accompany you."
"Well, next time warn me! Just let me snag this real quick-"
>Eyes flicking up to stare faux-threateningly at the now snickering young Vostroyans, Sergei fails to hold several chuckles back.
"Is some funny, but sorry for laugh."
>Blowing a loud raspberry at them, Raindrop turns back to snag the piscine with her front left hoof.
>Holding it up high enough to avoid scraping on the floor, she makes a quick hop backwards through the gateway to land heavily.
>Setting the fish down and lazily poking at the stasis shell several times, her ears wiggle around in thoughtful circles.
"Give me a bit to think, there's a lot of possible key words that might've been used for this one."
[1d6 = 3] <Meditate
>As Emerald notes Kraut's condition and Hodch's, Pareidolia speaks to his A.I.

"Will switch to projector mode. Stay invisible, but modify maps and notations as needed."

>Flinching slightly as Hodch materializes and pausing briefly at the highly unusual bat-cat hybrid that followed, Pareidolia quickly recovers and steps to the side where the view of the table is clear.

[Another crossbreed? ...*Nibbles*? Heroine of the Moors?]

>A tired, closed eye roll shuffles the thought to the back of his mind.
>He brings a glove to the side projector on his helmet and switches it on to show the various overlaid maps and routes.

"Evidence for this ruin being the likeliest location draws from the contents of Spiral's mailbox which included maps of Dynasty Ruins, a hololith used by crystal ponies for ground resonance detection, and assorted notes. None of which he took with him. Highly probable he was searching for the ruins with the Elemental Cores that split him and was certain he found it."

>Pareidolia proceeds to cycle through pictures of the extensive notes and maps that detailed the findings Spiral had collected which were all also in the mailbox while explaining their meaning.
>Taking a moment to collect himself, if parties needed further convincing he would state the following, carefully managing tone to avoid arousing suspicion:

"If this all seems like conjecture, I back it with proof that the Demi-Sentient recognized the artificial personality Anonymous had loaded into my helmet as Spiral's. Some messages were played that gave context to Spiral's preparations to locate one of these ruins of interest. I did not initially mention this as you said the explanation was unimportant."

>Whatever the outcome, Pareidolia follows with another emphatic statement.

"If Kraut is unable to accompany us, no matter what other personnel we bring I am uncertain we would have a high chance of success in retrieving Spiral. His psychological bond with Spiral is paramount to mission success both for identifying if we have the correct ruin and for motivating his return. Spiral's departure being so sudden and unknown raises concern for his mental state. His weeks long absence only heightens it. Let alone other concerns of how overworked or unavailable a sufficient team and transport to reach the area would be. I'm hesitant to make commitments to action no matter how certain the data might be as this goes beyond my jurisdiction in Razorback."

>For some reason, he also recalls an equipment shipment that still needed to be picked up from the Enclave and sensitive notes regarding Spiral and other important figures all at once.

[Too many objectives. Need to address these when able. So much time wasted.]
Razorback Fortress: The Library
GM Strangler
>Pushing the Command Center door open, using less resistance than it took to close it, upon exiting you find two stacks of unfamiliar, large steel components a short distance from the entrance.
>What they were for, whom had placed them, and how much time had passed since entering you didn't know.

>Making your way south towards the Library, a large number of the same piles were being set up by unfamiliar unicorns with aid from humans working together in assembling some type of cylindrical housing that looked like a heavily modified, albeit tiny, missile silo.
>Reaching the Library after several minutes of walking, two of the small structures, now completed and looking like tiny watchtowers, flanked the north side's doors.
>From the top of each, three long, heavy caliber rifle barrels gleam in bright red Moon light as you enter, lending a painfully defensive air to the night's atmosphere.

>Now inside the, it was rather calm in the Library's main room, although there weren't any humans or ponies sitting across the myriad of couches, nor were the tables covered in books.
>Barring that, the rows upon rows of bookcases that you could see were filled with every variety of volume, tome, book, sheets of paper, folded maps, and several thin books of highly suspect natures.
>There also wasn't a librarian's desk, nor a checkout stand, which you found quite odd.

>Hearing muffled giggling directly left of the Library's entrance, a somewhat large room divided the east side took precedence, the wall not having a single bookcase, shelf, couch, sofa, or chair lining it.
>As they slowly closed in on the statue, SOMETHING happened immediately!
>The pressure in his sensitive ears was skull-rattling as he gripped his medallion to secure it and gauge its strength. Not like he needed to.
>The chiqtu dashed back to their trio as the vibrations hit all of them at a higher pitch and disorientating and skewing the hallway into a darker red color.
"Definitely a trap."
>And for the first time, he finally got to hear the voice of the captor of this mountain.
>Sounded like he was described, like a prideful elf who's mage's robe got too big for himself. What was with the wracking cough? Was he ill?
>The thought had to be pocketed for now, as Golden Horn's urgency hits an all time high as he call out to make a break for it.
>No argument from him, as they apparently only had 2 minutes to escape the red hallway of possibly death? At the least statue-ification!
[1d6+1 = 3] <B.Sprint
[1d6+1 = 6]
[1d6+1 = 2] <B.Reaction Speed
[1d6+1 = 2]
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Looking up to give a distasteful frown, Naliyna squints annoyedly.
"The kinds that only Twisted and Denra ought to hoofle since they started or signed onto these problems. Remember when Denra sent a few humans into Las Pegasus to take back some kind of royal scepter? Well, there's a bunch of Prenchmares that're really pissed off since Lucky didn't send somepony to give it back. Denra signed his name on the contract, so that made him the one responsible for returning it. Then a few months ago Twisted and a few humans went to scout some place that the Dragon Council was worried about, they'd heard rumors of trouble but couldn't send any of their Legion mares to investigate. They found one of their own dead, some Dragon King with a name I can't say right, then caused a fight between a Vortex gateway and the Rift. A while later the current Dragon Emperor returned swearing that all Constructs 'must be destroyed'. He's demarending Twisted share everything the Lunars know on how to kill Constructs without losing one of his own kind ever again."
>Sitting back partway, the mare's eyes close, snout wiggling as she thinks.
"No.. that's not the same word, one letter different. I kind of know what a vambrace is, the older Wardens use something like that and a lot of humans have them. Hay, Remnant, what's a Vanbrace and can we see one?"
>Pulling itself upwards, the Remnant's granite eyestalk ceases swirling as it speaks in a rumbling monotone.
"The Vanbrace are one warrior-servant species among an unknown number existing within the Vortex Plane tasked to undertake delicate or fragile deliveries, scout ahead of Very Important Ponies or receiving delegates from the Lunar faction and their allied factions, track down elusive package recipients to ensure their continued existence, defend such recipients if possible, and to undertake dangerous combat actions including extermination or spearhead operations against hostile Planes that this unit nor any units have not been allowed to perform except under specific circumstances. Vanbraces are incapable of existing in the relative reality spectrums viewable by equines, requiring specialized defenses and training in order to maintain a purely physical state."
"Soooo.. in other words, we can't see them, they can see us, they can carry physical objects and deliver them but we can't interact with them much? Wait, are they dangerous, like can they kill me or a human?"
"That is correct, equine. This unit has not been granted the right to trade the required defenses necessary when interacting with Vanbraces to equines nor humans as such has been deemed unnecessary. No, Vanbraces are not predatory by nature. They do not 'hunt' nor do they believe conflict outside of protecting a Very Important Pony to be acceptable to their beliefs."
"Then let me get this straight: they're smart, thinking creatures that works for you, er, the Vortex, and not an armor, right?"
"That is correct."
"Got it. ..wait, could a Vanbrace act like armor for a physical being?"
"Should a Vanbrace accept the consequences of such an act and be given sufficient pay they are allowed to undertake individual pursuits unless otherwise ordered."
>Turning an unwholesomly suspicious gaze onto the eye, she sighs after a few momarents.
"The more I learn the less I know.."
>Instantly perking up at your last statement, Naliyna's right forehoof flashes out in a 'give me!' motion.
"Then hoof them over right now please, I've gotta see if there's anything I could buy that'll help us tonight!"
>By this point, Cheto's packed pysche simply jotted down the missile silos into his head, automatically stacking them in his memory as 'defenses against the probably avian or Construct forces' as he blankly stares at the stacks of steel components currently being used while travelling to his destination.
(...I must understand how these pony societies work in order to do what I agreed to do... but where to start...)
>Glancing at the unicorns currently helping out on the construction job, a chart starts to form in his head.
(Should I base my assessment on what they can do as individuals or as a group? Maybe how difficulty it is to properly establish friendly relationships with their leaders?)
>Glancing upwards at the finished tiny watchtower-like structures flanking the north-side doors, his mind was still busy with properly constructing his priorities on Tallus' sapient fauna.
(Solars and earth ponies would seem like a good idea if diplomatic relations with their nations weren't so atrocious, and outliers are harder to find than the norm...)

>Entering the library proper, Cheto's thought process deviates sharply at the seemingly empty establishment, blinking softly.
>This mild confusion intensifies at the remarkably alien lack of his previous knowledge on this type of building.
(...so most likely I am not allowed to take items away from here... maybe there's magical security of some kind.)
>The signs of living beings inside the premises makes José's head turn to the left, raising an eyebrow.
(I should be careful. This place definitely looks like it has some strict guidelines to follow that I have no clue of.)
>However, the lone human tentatively starts walking towards the large room, making sure to stop by the entrance in case he wasn't allowed in there, simply looking for who is currently giggling while giving cursory glances at any items of interest in the bookcases.
(No touching anything until I figure out if it's alright to do so.)
[1d6 = 5]<Basic Perception Three times in a row!
[1d6 = 3]
destroy ass.gif
Razorback at anytime in any place and anywhere.
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
"Beats my flanks. Never heard him mad before."
>The incredulous batmare's voice dropped in pitch before snorting aloud.
"No.. I did hear him angry earlier tonight. Was shouting at a unicorn in brown clothes with some weird big hat. Wasn't paying attention, they kept waking me up. Maybe I'll go find some human to stay with, least I could sleep whenever I want."
>That was either a poor, vaguely lewd threat or some lucky Operator getting a roommare that wouldn't bother them much.
>Or both.

>Touching a bundle of the woven crystalline material jutting out between incomplete armor segments, or was that segmarents? above the shoulder, the entire armature snaps upwards in a rippling, forceful curling motion.
>That was fairly responsive compared to most of the known exo-skeleton models you'd seen, although without proper tuning it might cause tennis elbow.
>Or punch a vodka bottle straight up through your skull.

"No, into the back wall. Probably magic stuff.. or something. I think the unicorn in clothes went through it earlier but I wasn't watching. Really tired right now, all this flying around with humans makes my everything sore."

>Winding around the workshop tables towards the east side's entrance to the Armory, side, you stop in front of the door to examine.
>Immediately unable to find damage or any changes even with help from the bright yet comfortable lighting, the few times you'd gone inside there simply wasn't any space for a hidden doorway between all the lockers lining interior walls, not even for a filly.
>Checking around the door within 5M, there weren't any obvious scrapes on the ironwood paneling or features out of place.
>At least, that you knew of.
>Clemency takes a deep breath in from his position, feeling the bloodstone working on his wracked body
>The danger is still there, with the defensive line of strikers still holding but at half capacity
>And still no sight of that one crazed batpony
>Checking his grenades, he looks up to see the Tainted changing tactics and combining
>Seeing the rout potential of the Tainted combining, Clem yells over to the Tower General to warn her of this familiar tactic
>After warning, Clemency then looses a barrage of shotgun shells into the Tainted lines

<E Combat Rifles/Shotguns
[1d6+4 = 8]
[1d6+4 = 9]
[1d6+4 = 8]
[1d6+4 = 6]

>One thought crossed his mind about the Hunter-Killers and Clemency looked around the field and the skies to see if the large group is heading towards this field

<E. Perception
[1d6+3 = 6]
[1d6+3 = 9]
[1d6+3 = 8]
[1d6+3 = 8]
>Ogling the set of impressive surgical instruments on the ex-mares' side of Snakebite, left by the lead mare he recalls, Carlos notices what he believes to be a stiletto mixed in with the scalpels.
(Mierda. I know that is NOT for surgery! Ha!)
>While preparing the drainage tubing, he notices the skin at the incision sites already beginning regeneration.
"Immediate scarring... interesting."
>It made putting the sutures in that more difficult.
>Juan can't help but take a sample from one of the incision sites, kanpri scalpel usage of course!
>As he makes his collection, Nova Flicker brings her attention from her current patient.
"Si. I've heard many new pacientes, since I began treating Señor Snakebite."
>He slices off a small piece of Snakebite's tough epidermis and puts it in a sterile container for the time being.
"If I recall, he came in with two other operadores and one pony. Er, stallion. I would like to also access their conditiones, as well. If they have similar injuries it will be that easier to treat them once it is their turn. I'm assuming Señor Verde has kept them under stasis? Then I can help you with your triage on the new llegadas."
Ivan the STALKER
"You can go sleep in my room if you want, I won't be in there for a while, so you'll be able to get some shut eye."
>While he was only a bit concerned to the results of her taking his offer, he mentally dismissed them.
>It was only courtesy to offer a safe and/or quiet place to sleep, after all.

>Ivan let out a soft whistle at the snappy response, quietly making sure he wasn't sticking fingers in joints to maintain full custody of them.
"Once tweaked, this'll have me reacting much more smoothly..." He muttered to himself.

"Well, either a magically hidden door, or the wall needs a horn to go through it."
>As he inspected the wall he ran his hand along it, checking closely for any subtle seams that would be difficult to spot.
>Or if it would just go straight through.
Razorback Fortress: Command Center
GM Strangler
>Lifting both forelegs to shrug, 'Spiral' reaches out to, somehow audibly, tap the black sapphirine in front of it, bringing up a tiny 60 degree cone window.
''There was no damage to the projection system sir."

>Unable to recognize this Moor cat's coloration or attitude, after a split-second you determine it wasn't Cloverdell, a friendly hybrid that searched the Fortress for attention giving humans.
>Matching the base staff descriptions of Nibbles, what little you'd heard of her was the catbat had a a painfully serious military-like attitude and was reported to be easily angered.

>Aided by the A.I.'s systems, Emerald barely wince upon deploying the holograph, yet recovers swiftly in examining the projections while Hodch bends a hoof upwards to poke at Nibbles' dangling wingtip.
"You mean the element things that made him split into fire, stone, ice? When Spiral was normal he never talked about them. After he 'split' the batpony one, acid I think, or poison, explained they were parts of the 'whole Spiral', but that he wasn't complete somehow and that was driving the weird purple and black unicorn insane. ..yes, I've seen Naliyna's hololith, kind of like a television mixed with a camera and a voice recorder. Couldn't use it, she said only Crystal ponies are able to."
"Forgive my interruption, again, but I know Spiral's habits and attitudes better than anyone except for Kraut and Hollow. It is impossible to imagine that he left without bringing along two to three saddlepacks worth of writing and research materials, or that he simply did not warn a single member of Razorback, genital puns not included, to simply 'go' somewhere."
"What if he was afraid, or embarrassed, or forced to?"
"Miss Emerald, I will not patronize you in your exhausted state. Should the circumstances not be clear enough by now it would take an alicorn, or worse, threatening to annihilate Razorback to 'force' Spiral into action. In his separated state he was capable of taking on perhaps five squads of the Tower Guard's finest, or a barely mature dragon. Trust me when I state this much: he was far more dangerous and unhinged before then."
>Dedicating her energies into studying the projected images, most of which the A.I. was automatically altering or censoring, the woman frowns in partial disbelief.
>Catching the open emotion, she stares down at the Crag Moors map while listening, then speaks up in a bright, sincere tone.
"I don't think he was around just for Kraut's benefit, Pare. He cared for all of us, spent a lot of nights with most every human and pony, even his his.alternate selves or whatever anyone would call them. Maybe the unicorn one did go crazy and he had to isolate it by force. Honestly he helped me get over a lot more than most ponies could. ..um, I don't mean that in an insulting way sorry, it's just that you haven been nice to most of us."
>Casting a morbid glance up at Hodch, he waves a hoof disapprovingly before turning his eyes solely onto the final projected map with steadily increasing focus.
"Miss Emerald, I retired from the Starborn two years ago. Was less than three months into a rather comfortable teaching position at the Canterlot College of Magic. The night before Razorback arrived, Luna recalled me with a letter stating that I would be setting up a training system for Razorback, then the Destruction of Canterlot Palace happened before I could even meet you all. Whom would not be consistently infuriated at being forced to support the same idiot bipedal morons that nearly caused injury to their sworn and belowed sovereign alicorn? That is a facetious question so do not answer it. And keep your apologies, there is worse to focus on right now. However, I do expect you to understand this: I do not believe all humans are fully capable or willing to produce viable progeny with equines. Until that is disproven I will retain my private suspicions and continue to work against Razorback's self-created negative interests, whether individual or group based. Am I clear?"

>Eyes and jaw tight at the Nightblade's tactful scourging words, Emerald gives a solemly curt nod of acceptance.
"You are."
>Lifting a hand to palm her neck, out of the stallion's sight she makes a slight, hate-filled throat-slitting motion.
>Turning back to you with a flustered expression, both hands lift to circle in hopeless motions.
"I don't know what you want to hear or expect me to say. Rank just doesn't matter here and being in command is.. well, most team leaders bark some orders and take a squad off to go do something that makes us look better by helping somepony. Everyone orders around everyone at this point and no one complains unless that leader's trying to make them do shit like kill, steal, rape, blow up, or set somepony's house on fire that doesn't deserve it. I mean, I asked one of the elite squads eight, maybe ten hours ago to go rescue a Saddle Arabian diplmoat that was captured in Ewerup. They didn't even bother asking why I thought it was a good idea, just suited up and left with a couple marefriends."
"Emerald, you are far off topic though you did good in explaining circumstances known to you. The point is this: Razorback is a completely decentralized mercenary organization that has no overall leadership outside of cooperation or simply shouting orders to do this or that. Few Lunars dislike this same state of affairs. We prefer to hoofpick our squads from the most capable individuals and cadres available which makes our tasks much easier knowing that we can rely on teammares to watch our flanks."
>Turning his head to up grin at you, 'Spiral' registers the deep purple stallion's next words as simultaneously honest, yet devious.
"I suspect that you have a certain friend from the Vortex Plane-"
>Spoken with an unusually jealous tone while squinting humorously.
"And I am positive she would love to aid you on such a difficult mission. Of course I will accompany you, as would Miss Emerald here. That was not an offer, by the way."
The L.O.N.T
yes yeeeeeees.gif

>As the Shell talked more about the Constructs the Operators' brow knit closer together at how familiar it all sounded.
>'"Assault Class Vessels"? If I did not know any better it sounds as if she was talking about ships you'd see back home. Are they that advanced?'
"I suppose you have to with what they are able to accomplish..."
>He agreed, one hand clasping over the other which was in a fist.
>'Like an automated army.'

"I -I see."
>Lont was slightly staggered at the amount of new places Shattered listed off. Goes to show how limited his world is. And dammit! Those are more places to add to his list. However first and foremost-
"They all sound like wonderful locations for holiday making. But. How do you even get to any of one of those places, I haven't heard of any of them at all. I assume Cadence will lend a hoof and teleport us yes?"
>He asked, hoped even.
>The first place listed off sounded perfect. It was quiet, a stark contrast to her life now. No doubt sunny, plenty of places to fatten her flanks and foals to cherish over.
>'Harpys and a young dragon? Two more to the list...'
>That Cloudstrike though, not that. He still has business with Las Pegasus. One cloud city at a time.
>Remembering there lost ally made Lont involuntarily glance back at Tacit.

>It was a quick glance, and his attention was now on his person rummaging for the Tablets.
"Of course you may, did you know I was there just recently? I even was there even longer ago, near back when we were first summoned here? Small world."
>He said warmly as he placed the black, red and orange Tablets onto the tables' surface, then pushing them slightly closer to Glacier.
"Look away."

>He raised his shoulders in a humorous shrug.
"I will keep that in mind, same as with including all the Conclaves. Can I get all their names since I'm here?"

>Lont snorted at the reBUTTal, yes, there was certainly going to be a lot more than just ringing tonight.
"You leave your flank spanking to me and you cook us a meal that will last us all night long."
>He promised the Chef Mare with a wry grin before turning back to the Shell sitting opposite him.
"Shattered. Shattered Glacier, if I was careful I wouldn't be here spending a wonderful dinner date with you."
>The Operator said, patting one of her forelegs assuredly.
Razorback Fortress: The Library, Main Room
GM Strangler
>Utterly normal for a library, especially a private one as large as this, there was a minimum of six floor to ceiling bookcases for each letter, but most notably the 'G' section only had three.
>Unable to make sense of most book titles due to the profusion of languages, the few common ones that you could read from were historical, factional, species, and cultural volumes, meaning the just-to-read ones were elsewhere.
>The smaller shelves lined up behind various couches and chairs were simply dedicated to holding reference guides, maps, out of date volumes, dictionaries, teaching or instruction workbooks.
>Placed behind the shortest tables were most certainly foal's books, for coloring, reading, some that were definitely both, along with a dozen or so varying sized dark wooden toolboxes filled with crayons.
>Except they didn't say 'crayon' and looked to be simple colored wax.

>Finding the only entrance, a large, heavily reinforced and pleasingly ornate wooden door, the trim was some type of fluorescent color changing metal.
>A brand new looking steel plaque at at chin height for you and a second at mid-thigh level read 'FILLY ROOM'.
>Hearing a snickering giggle and muted laughter from numerous foals, children, or potentially both, the voice of either an older, tired mare or possibly a former opera singer human past her prime speaks in a low tone.
>Checking the handle, the hoofle below it, then a small ring below that, none budged.
>Off the side there was a large doorbell and two smaller ones at what you guessed where optimal heights for adult and young ponies.
>Poking the first one, there was no indication of chime or bell from inside the room, at least until the door cracks open several inches.
>Too dark to see inside, the outline of a highly transparent knight's helmet becomes visible at chest height once it begins to glow.
>Doing a double take, it was a pony knight's helmet, specifically a Crystal mare older than Naliyna.
>Blinking once, she speaks in a low, exhausted rumbling tone that you couldn't match to any human voice or pitch.
"Yes, human? I am foalsitting and cannot leave, though I will help you if possible."
>As Pareidolia goes through his evidence and findings, his brow furrows listening to the exchange between radio operator and Nightblade.

[Emerald's lack of knowledge on Spiral's capabilities is grating on Hodch. Potential to incite anger-]

>Unable to move his head without disturbing the image, the best he can manage is a single shake of his head and an irritated drumming of his fingers as Emerald believes she needs to correct a misconception about Spiral.


>He slowly reaches up and turns off his helmet projector as Hodch justifiably lashes back at the human who failed to understand his obligation to Razorback despite his personal opinions.
>Exhaling through his helmet, he rolls his shoulders and arms that had been supporting him over the table.

[Pointless gesture based on misunderstanding between species. Another example of why human interaction with other species must be carefully managed.]

"I'm aware of the decentralized nature of Razorback. I felt given the importance and relation Spiral has with multiple ponies and operators on site, making it clear to all parties involved what information had been gathered and have clear communication was warranted. Particularly with ponies who have a vested interest in Spiral's return such as Tipper or Krinza."

>His helmet turns to regard Hodch.
>With a pause just long enough to be considered uncomfortable, he says:

"I do not know how interactions with Vortex Plane sirens function, nor how willing Dul would be in such an operation with no clear risk assessment let alone how to contact them. Clearly you know about such matters than I do."

>Behind his visor, he regards Hodch warily for a moment.

[Likely informed by Zigri or other informants. That Khalani operation was another damn proxy incident where humans were used. Never did get an explanation on those observers.]

"Do you believe that level of manpower is sufficient to retrieve Spiral from whatever managed to incapacitate him of all ponies? And do you think we would succeed without Kraut's presence? I understand you must have a reason to find Spiral yourself, but this sounds premature."

[Psychological demands may encourage rash decisions. Need to determine psychological stability for security of the operation.]

>Pareidolia silently and intently observes Hodch in a search for indicators about his psychological state.
>José's pace turns slightly giddy at all the information he may have at his disposal, even if he couldn't understand even a fraction of it.
(Alright, so this is excellent news.for me. Now to find how this place works and see if I can use this knowledge without me unintentionally breaking a rule by thinking like a human.
(...That and guide me to what part of the library has books catered to my language and situation specifically.)

>At the sight of these supposed 'crayons', Gallo purses his lips slighlty, already feeling a pang of restraint at his curiosity.
(...so this is also a daycare on the side...)
>Instinctively scratching at his pants, the man pressed onwards towards the noise, going through the motions as more clues as to where he was going became far more apparent.
>Seeing the glowing helmet from outside the creaked door, Cheto's eyes soften considerably at the mare's sorry state, nodding once out of sympathy before offering her a weak, cordial smile.
"Ah, I'm terribly sorry for taking up your time when you seem to have a lot on your plate, miss. I was hoping to find the librarian or whoever knows how this place operates to guide me to what I'm looking for in this building, particularly books regarding Tallus' cultures, societies, languages and other social aspects."
(I hope she's alright in there... she definitely needs a rest.)
Mallia Castella

>Applying the age old technique of the Technical Knock, Mallia brings back the Auspex whilst, not far beside her, Raindrop jumps. The enginseer didn't seem to acknowledge the fact for a moment as she sent a diagnostic ping towards Witch-Two and her systems.
>And as she does, she also gave the visor of her helmet a distinct, interested look as a strong feeling of curiosity urges her to ask...
(Difficult to accept, Admiral? ... Catastrophic diplomatic situations?)
(... It doesn't sound like the last enginseer did not have a very good time by the way you're putting it.)
>Mallia's question are followed by a slight sense of discomfort mixed with worry. Though it is quickly followed by relief, at the confirmation that the mechanism within the Auspex had been very efficiently reset successfully.

>Then, finally, her head half-turns with rather hastily towards Raindrop; freezing up a bit to the sound of her fearful whisper.
>She doesn't speak at first given Chisan answering for her. Which only leaves Mallia with the room to slip in a:
"Sorry. It was urgent. I'll let you know next time. Sorry, Raindrop."
>Despite everyone else's amusement, Mallia's tone was earnestly apologetic as usual.
>Side glancing the other operators with a small, apologetic wave of her off-hand before beginning the process of strapping the Auspex unit back onto it's flak vambrace slot.

>What gets her chuckling is her turning her glance back to see Chisan's distinct frowning expression, taking note of all the ticks.

(Just as planned... One day the Stormtrooper will laugh, and then he will be doooooomed. Doomed I say!)

>Then, she wheezes quietly. Coughing in her focused attempt to not laugh TOO loudly at the interaction between Tox-11 and Witch-Two.
"Hah-ah!~ Heeeheh!... I can't even... You two..."
>She whispered to herself inbetween bouts of chuckling while securing the Auspex with both her mechadendrite and her hand, which made the process pretty quick.
>Once that was done, she keeps one hand on the grip of the laspistol mostly by reflex while the other holds on her utility belt at her hip.
>Despite her curiosity of the "possessed battleship targeting arrays", she decides it was a question for later...

(Did you detect anything anomalous, Admiral?)
(--Actually can you forward me the scans? I've never personally used a Chroniton Wave reader before, I want to see them!)

>Mallia takes a few steps backwards away from the vault door while Raindrop takes her time to think, moving a bit closer to where Chisan was, standing almost alongside him. Her eyes unconsciously following the wiggling of her equine ears with GREAT interest as she stood back, but also paying attention to what she does.
>She tried to stay quiet, and not distract her from whatever she was doing while observing her... Her stance stiffening as she stands a bit more idle. Back straight, legs together and boots firmly planted.
>Only her mechadendrite moved around. Sort of hovering just above her shoulder like a snake, peeking it's tool-clad, clamp-like tentacle arm. Curiously, it also seemed to point towards Raindrop as if it, too, was watching her, instead of hiding behind her back as before.

<B. Perception
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 3]

>Though this didn't really stop Mallia from mentally tuning into the vox, and whispering into their channel to address Chisan. Side glancing to see the Stormtrooper as she spoke, albeit briefly.
"*Stormtrooper Chisan, while we wait, how do you feel about personal questions for the sake of getting to know eachother better? Would you prefer I stay quiet unless it is pertinent? Or would you prefer I never ask anything, ever?*"
>Her voice maintains a degree of partially monotone seriousness despite the inherent curiosity in the line of questioning. Though it WAS a very serious question nonetheless.
Operation: The Basin Floods In Sacrifice
GM Strangler
>LEADERSHIP: +2 to all Assault, Evasion & Reaction Speed rolls
>PENALTY: -1 to all rolls from Operational Fatigue

>Quickly tapping each of the integrated grenade pouches across your chest, all was in order judging from the tones and weights felt.
>Barely seeing a silverine helmet above the writhing mass of Eldritch-Spectral bodies, the General's attempt to consolidate her non-wounded forces was much too late-
>Pulling the SPAS-12 into position, the first slug streaks high into the now formed left hindquarter of a medium tank sized Tainted where numerous of its kind had been the second prior.
>The second grazes across the saddle and punctures through the neck, the third and fourth down, each leaving trails of vapor running parallel to the spinal column.

>Due to instability in their ranks and the massive shift of intelligent Tainted changing their garthered tactics, roughly three-quarters of the entire Support Striker line collapses rearwards across the internal screen ranging from 10M to 30M.
>This time, their icons did not change to show retreat: roughly fifty of the formerly bright white icons become a faded black, the uncaring radar system signifying their deaths.
>The Tower Guard General's icon travels approximately 50M northwest, straight into Lann's tradehouse from the brutal assault and becomes a flashing white denoted by a VIP designation.
>Appearing on the array, a single gold marker designating what appeared to be a much more advanced fighter was caught amongst the Tainted's assault.
>The now visible unit, a burning fluorescent red batpony mare covered in Nightclaw armor of near-alicorn size was wreathed in dozens of likely non-physical wounds that had the effect of drawing further Tainted attentions onto her.
>Unable to escape from either the central large Tainted or the dozens piling on her, the bloodhost makes full use of her situation by lancing her forehooves forwards while and both sets of arm-length wingclaws rip into the large Tainted's head.
>While the 'mare' that the Cultist leader had summoned was enough of a distraction for the fewer than thirty percent remaining Stalliongrad forces, it did allow the white robed psions to take advantage of their now fully physical opponents as you witness dozens of burning green Starbolts streaking through the Tainted surrounding them, accompanied by the horrific screams of dying earth ponies.
[1d6-1 = 2] <Tainted
[1d6+4 = 8] <Mass #1
[1d6+4 = 7] <Mass #2
[1d6+4 = 8] <Mass #3

[1d6 = 1] <Support Strikers
[1d6+1 = 2] <Tower Guard General ???
[1d6+7 = 13] <???

>Sighting two full squadrons of Hunter-Killers flitting over the northern rooftops on downwards intercepts, their signals conglomerate into double lines and crashing down into the mayhem below, though you knew for certain they wouldn't stand against these Tainted for long.
[1d6+8 = 10] <Hunter-Killer Squadron 1
[1d6+6 = 8] <Hunter-Killer Squadron 2
Razorback Clinic: Doctor Carlos, Receiving in Operating Room #1
GM Strangler
>Stepping inside and closing the door after her, Nova's head and shoulders sag in fatigue.
"More have come in than I can safely treat without rotating time between them all. My auric field is depleted but I have marenaged to stabilize the four least injured."
>Glancing back at the tungsten door behind her, then up at the table, Nova stares bitterly while lifting a forehoof to rub her snout.
"He has, yes, but I have never seen complete destruction of an entire pony or human body before. Snakebite's injuries were in my dam's estimate capable of being restored at significant cost, however, I must state those three are physically incapable of being recovered. Novus has sustained over eight hundred skeletal fractures. His musculature, internal organs, soft tissues, nervous and vascular systems are damaged to such a degree that I can see no method of recovery, though his brain is essentially intact but has suffered extreme trauma. For Kraut I cannot comprehend the level of damage sustained. There is not a single recognizable tissue mass nor was I able to begin counting the number of microfractures. He looks like a mosaic of fifty thousand grains of sand. As for Caliya-"
>Shaking her head slowly, the carnelian Ward's ears flatten in depression.
"The burns he sustained must have been over four hundred degrees for two to three minutes. The epidermis is entirely gone, as it in simply does not exist anymore. Musculature, tendons, organs, and skeleton from four to five inches of depth are little more than charred masses. His heart and brain have entirely ceased to function due to blood congealmarent."
>Inhaling slowly, Nova's ears perk up, but only halfway.
"There are two Pred-Elk, three additional humans, a Prench stallion, and one of the Arcane Blades should be fine for me to take care of until my dam returns. She is currently overseeing an attempt to locate and destroy all traces of Ark Viper venom outside."
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Lazily grunting without concern, ire, or hints of lewd, the batmare's pitch lowers once more.
"Meh, maybe later.. and I dunno where your room is but I swear not to mess with you while sleeping or mess with your clothes."

>Sliding your glove across each panel in sequence, reaching over the first table covered in stacks of cured basilisk hide, the next two holding various sized bricks of odd metals and materials, your hand is suddenly caught by an invisible field directly above the fourth table littered with unfinished melee weapons.
>Instinctively reacting by trying to pull away in case of a Space anomaly, instead a muted clicking and stone-on-stone grating sound occurs underneath you before freeing your hand.
>Stepping back to examine what caused this, a circular recess in the floor had opened to reveal a spiraling stairway down.
>Wincing at the space that most pegasi would find highly claustrophobic to enter, the batmare's voice speaks, this time mildly awake.
"Hay, that's the same sound I heard before. What is it?"
Ivan the STALKER
"Mm, just look for a door surrounded by bottles. Or the sound of them crashing down."
>It was an effective deterrent after all.

>Letting out a low whistle at the sudden emergence of a hidden staircase, Ivan made sure to not stand right at the edge.
"Magical switch. They didn't go through the wall, they went through the floor."
>Attempting to peer down, Ivan put on his headlamp and attempted to gauge how far down it went.
Northern Empire Tundra: The Melodine Conclave
GM Strangler
>Swiveling her eyes towards the Conclave's entrance, Glacier's body stills in an unreadable state.
"There's not marely ponies older than me outside the Alicorns, Changelings, a bunch of Undead earth ponies, and some others I don't know enough about to speak of. Tartarus, I'm not even the oldest Shell, half of what I know is from them. The second an Equestrian military i able to retaliate in full force every Construct is dead or gone. We can't catch, pin down, chase, and certainly have no means to overpower them. Their own numbers suffer the kind of losses that ponies never
accept but they keep doing it. Win one battle, leave, repeat after one to fifty years. Nothing Constructs do makes sense to us."

>Turning in her seat to sit back, the Shell's lips purse humorously.
"Not surprised you haven't heard of them. We've all heard from the Unicorn Guard's Lord-Captain that Razorback got cut off from most of mainland Equestria after.. well, that thing in Canterlot. All those places have translocation circle things. I don't like traveling through it much, that Remnant's way too stiff necked, almost like it can't relax or something."

>The Melodine Conclave's Matron was still seated behind Tacit, soundless vibrations curling the air itself while focusing.
>That she hadn't finished yet was indicative of extensive trauma and severe organ damage that required delicate treatmarent.

"Mm-mm, had no idea. Never been there myself since most Shells don't like leaving the Empire but I've seen tons of alchemical sets that were made in Old Canterlot."
>Inscrutably glancing up, she carefully follows your motions before pinning down onto the tablets and reaching out to tap each one in order, her hoof color changing in resonant contact.
"Hm, thought so, these are originals. Somepony damaged the stamps and marks where they were made. Can still feel them. Pretty shoddy attempt really. These were made in sets of fifteen for.. some kind of special unit Sunflanks made, there was supposed to be one for each natural gem. How do you only have these three, Rest get lost in the mail or something?"
>Nudging the archaic tablets back, the artificially housed mare's eyes roll in a slow, methodically disbelieving pattern.
"That'd better be a joke, Royal Bed Warmer. There's more Conclaves than Crystalline Shells. Most aren't even listed, and around forty have been reestablished in old Changeling Outpost and mining ruins. Just state 'to all Conclaves', they'll reach out."

>Face creasing from frown to outright scowl, the Conclave mare snaps short orderly phrases to her fellows while the Shell pretends not to notice.
>You could barely understand the language though it sounded like she had ordered them to serve the main dish.
"Might want to cool those hocks a bit before that trio boils 'em over a raging fire."
>Sincerely grinning aside from her snout wrinkling in a pained fashion, Glacier's other hoof gently rests on your hand.
"The only one that'll be thanking you harder than me is Squire Elezith. I doubt she's run into creatures more dangerous than sleepy frost drakes or rogue icewyrms. We can leave the other two out but I will say this part of tonight has been a thoroughly enjoyable diversion. Thank you. I mean that, especially outside of all the joking."
>Throats clearing next to the table, the trio of Conclave mares stood in a neat line, the center one clearly not amused.
>Setting a large crystal platter before you, ten slices of soft blue heart, around the size of the standard grenade, were surrounded by three neatly piled strips of reptile steaks atop a bed of..
>You had to check to make sure yet the several types of Empire lettuce and sweet, earthy scented roots weren't immediately familiar.
>On the left side furthest from you, a bowl of thick, steaming black liquid with several floating chunks of dull blue, pale blue, and white mushroom along with tiny shreds of red peppers were visible on the surface.
>A form of spiced blood soup, interestingly enough.
>Opposite that were thin rectangles of Empire crystal slathered in a blue Protoform-like gel that wasn't recognizable.
>Heads bowing for half a second, the trio spin around with near-military precision and return to their stove.

>Glacier follows the mares with her eyes only for a few seconds, returning to give a tiny grin.
"Well then, human, will you offer one of those-"
>Sniffing at the crystals faux-obnoxiously.
"Or are you going to make me starve while I watch you eat?"
Razorback Fortress: Command Center
GM Strangler
>The stallion turns to speak, lips parted but unmoving at your last sentence.
>Mouth shutting and ears flattening, his visage flickers into a hurt state before returning to his normal teacher's role.
>Clearing his throat, small sparks light off his horn to form a series of concentric pink-tinged unicorn runes.
"Quite readily I assure you. Suppose I will have to keep this explanation brief:"
"Sirens, or as they prefer to call themselves: the-singing-kin-serving-across-all-vortexes, are uncommon compared to most of that Plane's inhabitants and one of the most valuable, Most of the Vortex's 'currency' relies on delivering packages for the Remnant itself through other Planes, spectrums, realms, dimarensions, etcetera. They essentially trade honor though the specifics are difficult to understand. Sirens are only allowed to deliver items of extreme importance: secret parcels, military orders, Very Important Ponies, that sort, so wasting their time with frivolous pursuits is liable to get you blacklisted. That is, unless their services are purchased from the Remnant yet I cannot think of a single individual allowed that privilege. Regardless, they are virtually incorruptible since their duties are of utmost importance, and quite vicious in combat. The stamp you were given-"
>Eyes half-lidding in a faux-bored tone to ward off questions from Emerald, whom was about to.
"Is a summon for that individual. Consider it like a mark of honor, a one-use pledge to perform a task of any complexity or length, and has the Remnant's approval to do so. To be given one means this, Dul, as you say, appreciated your services during a particularly troubling delivery enough to offer it. It is likely she desires interactive experience that can only be gained on Tallus. The activation is simple: Speak her name aloud and request a meeting. Hrm, I said I would keep it short but that rarely happens."
>Taking back some of her open aggression, the Korean glances between the two of you before pointing a hesitant finger at herself.
"What do you think I can even do? Can barely shoot a little plinker let alone keep up with the damned buzzsaws most humans have. Only other weapon I've got is a cheap hwando that I've never trained with and a pretty little crystal knife Naliyna found for me. Most of my time is spent playing monitor the damned radio, keeping up with news, or chasing down information."
>Sighing patiently, Hodch's ears splay out to the sides as he tries not to grimace.
"Put that way, then nevermind what I stated. There should be at least one other human to come with, although choices are limited. That being said you did get along with Spiral quite well. Instead I suggest this: I will give you a modified directional amplification.. device is the best word, that will allow me to teleport you and one other, pony or human, within a short radius if need be using one of the small translocation discs."
>Eyes narrowing suspiciously, Emerald folds her arms defensively.
"I know when you're secretly planning something, and you're doing i-"
>Cutting her off by intentionally fizzling the encyclopedia above his horn, Hodch glowers for a second, then makes a half-hearted shrug.
"I do not even have time to devise a solid plan, but I can make a safety net or two. What I have suggested is forcing myself to loan you a priceless object for the sake of Pareidolia, myself, and whomever, or whatever goes hunting down Spiral. Had I not trusted you enough to offer it then I would not. Either accept or refuse."
"Fine. I accept, but I get to choose who comes with me."
"As you should."

>Studying the unicorn's demeanor, aided by the A.I.'s heuristic pattern-analysis systems, Hodch's near-total lack of obfuscation, save for the last quarter-minute, indicated an abnormal degree of honesty without desperation.
>Something, or somethings, were bothering him as his tone shifts and body language indicated moderately controlled pain.

(Half the time I do not remember having one of these.)
>Your Moon Orb clicks, Hodch looking towards the back room while his voice comes through tiredly.
(Apologies for the intrusion, as well. Emerald believes I was snapping at her, which, while rational to a high degree, is too emotionally based. Given her current state an outsider alternative is necessary. Speak nothing of what I say next: I have a contact in Saddle Arabia's Circle of Assassins that owes me a favor. One. Favor. The type that does not come cheaply. There is a notable Countess in their ranks a human apprentice working for her. They are rarely up for hire but my contact is rather, shall we say, difficult to say 'no' to. I will pay their fees out of my own expenses. Yey, or neigh?)
Razorback Fortress: The Library, Main Room
GM Strangler
>The eye squints deeply, remaining that way for roughly ten seconds or so.
>Long enough to make you moderately unsettled by the time she blinks, yet speaks once more in a polite tone.
"I do not sense a Librarian nor Lorekeeper in the building. There are traces of a potent psion from approximately four, perhaps five hours prior. As for specific titles I likewise do not know, have not yet had a chance to peruse them myself as my duties are far too important-"
>Head tossing sideways to indicate the whispering youths behind her.
"I cannot leave until my replacemarent arrives. My apologies for not being of aid."
>Dipping her head briefly before the door closes, the armored mare 'oofs' loudly from being piled on.
The L.O.N.T

"And that is the worst part about them, can never pin down what they're thinking or what they want."
>Lont concluded after Glacier.
>'Exactly the same as robots. Always acting the long play, where every event seems random until it doesn't.'

>At hearing Razorback was "cut off" from the rest of Equestria Lonts' eyebrow rose with intrigue.
"I cannot say that what they did was unprecedented, what happened in Canterlot I recall vividly with great shame even if I'm told its in the past and what’s done is done. Yet I still feel slightly insulted at knowing this."
>He admitted, rubbing his chin in thought.
>'There certainly is a lot Razorback does not know, just how in the dark are we?'

>'Poor bastard.'
>The Operator sympathised with the mortally wounded Stallion, knowing the pain of being at deaths door.
>A miracle he himself was still alive. Well, a miracle there were others around to save his over-eager ass.

"I will tell you it lives up to its name. Old and derelict but not abandoned."
>Lont said cryptically, memories flashing to when he was being chased out of the old city by nature itself.
>He watched closely as Shattered carefully hooved his Tablets and humming with interest as her colour changed. Tapping his finger as she detailed their origin he thought really hard if he should tell her about Lucky.
>'Might as well.'
"It is good to know of their origin, thank you. And I know of that special unit. They are called the Solar Guardians and I have quite the...personal history with them. As for why I only have three? Well, Lucky only sold three to Razorback and I was there each time to buy them. Though it is amazing how these Tablets are connected to me more ways than one."
>He said with a smile filled with mirth, remembering Lucky and how good she was to them, remembering Sharonel and how good she was to him.
"Then consider it done, certainly saves on the paperwork."
>Lont jested, it would of been someone else's problem honestly.

>The Operator sighed, deflating a bit and sinking comfortably in his seat.
"Yes you are right. That is enough teasing for the night."
>Lont responded to the warm gesture by giving her an understanding nod and rubbing his hand across her hoof.
"Very dangerous indeed. And thank you too, your company has been most welcome. It has been a pleasure to even converse with you."
>He complimented before his attention was taken to the side by the three Conclave Chef Mares.

>'I will admit I did not see this coming, I am pleasantly surprised.'
>He brought his hands up and steepled them in front of his mouth, to hide he was drooling a bit. It all looked fantastic and the collective aroma made his stomach growl. It was a bit since he last ate...
>Before he could even say his thanks to the chefs they left as quickly as they came however.
>Later then.
>So preoccupied by burning the image of all the delicious food into his mind he almost missed what Shattered Glacier said.
"Oh no of course not. I am not so cruel."
>He picked up one of the goo covered crystals by pinching it with his thumb and index finger; leaning into the table to get closer to Glacier he offered the fancy rock to her.
"Eat up you poor thing, you're practically skin and bones!"
>Lont said with faux-concern.
>Even as Cheto witnesses the mare's awkward and unsettling actions in response to his words, he could easily excuse them as part of her tired state, keeping his small, soft smile.
(Está destrozada la yegua.)
>As soon as she utters her inability to assist him further, he nods understandingly, glancing back at the energetic youth.
"I understand, miss. Thank you for your time."
>He couldn't help but flinch slightly at the tired mare's surprised onomatopoeia yet a ghost of a smile forms as his polite demeanor slackens.
(...It's a bit heartwarming... yet I doubt I'd last long in there entretaining the youth like she does. Hopefully she has some sort of magical invigoration stuff on her.)

>Turning around to face the dozens of bookcases, he figures his best shot to properly research is to figure out how these books were ordered before managing to find what he's looking for.
>With that thought process and remembering the volumes he could read, he steps to the location of one of the cultural volumes in an attempt to assert a pattern and to see what was available to him.
(If I recall correctly, Solars, Lunars and the Ferron clans are the most relevant factions that I should study up on, considering my profession's ties to them...
(...I sure hope that mare was incorrect on her magical assessment, because this might take a while.)
[1d6 = 1]<Basic Perception Four times!
[1d6 = 2]
>Pareidolia remains silent as Hodch explains, closing his eyes and gathering his thoughts.

[Somehow Dul applied this "stamp" without my awareness. Has this been visible even when I've been cloaked? Apparently a high ranking planar being. Combat abilities exceptional. Motivations seem strong.]

>Recalling the operation, he notes how it-

[She? Do planar beings even have such distinctions?]

>Had enthusiastically remarked about wanting to fight again in the Vortex and fighting for 'Itam'.

>As Hodch finishes, he nods once.

"I see. I was unaware I was given such a marker and privilege and had no way of seeing it myself. I apologize."

>Taking a notepad and a pen, and stepping away from the table, he moves back and seats himself down on the nearest couch.
>He steeples his hands and catches his chin with them while watching Emerald and Hodch argue.
>Lips pursed with terse approval, he reviews the immediate psychological profiling of Hodch that was made.

[Not certain how well Emerald knew Spiral, but if Kraut is unavailable this may be our only option. Hodch's likely motivations include his deteriorating condition. No major subversive intent.]

>Specifying that the information pertaining to Constructs should mainly be given to anyone who would operating near or engaging them, he writes a succinct summary of his findings on the nature of their fluid and what operators/ponies should be aware of.
>He stiffens slightly as Hodch's voice reaches him through the Moon Orb.
>Reaching into his pocket, he grips his in return.

(That should be a call that you make. This concerns your life even more than it does anyone else's in Razorback. I believe we aren't in a position to turn down assistance, but you have other vested interests with Spiral that are yours before Razorback's. I don't have the authority to dictate your affairs.)

[Then he must not have heard my call when the Construct reactivated...]
>Letting the workers to talk among themselves, the Lunarites start scooting past him one by one; announcing and defending themselves.
"Better question is WHY do I seem to be the ONLY one that doesn't know about them? Out of all the opportunities to tell me-"
>The Nightblade visually and slightly painfully face-palms himself as curious ponies move around.
>But the crew leader gives him a deep concerned look. Did Shanis really need to be bothered with it? They won't be much of a problem, once he gets them to the Citadel.
>Jeff looks up into the night sky, looking one at the red moon.
"The Citadel has been under attack by Constructs for several hours now, and their unwaivering duty is to Luna above anything else."
>He allows that part to sink in, cracking his armored knuckles before continuing. He's already understanding the taboo of them existing. It just isn't the councilmare...
"I'm taking it upon myself to escort them there by whatever means, mitigate any external safety concerns along the way, and lead them into battle. The quicker we get there, the less that need to get involved. Discretion would be appreciated, but I won't stop you from alerting Shanis. I'd be surprised if she wasn't already aware about the Citadel's siege by now."
>Looking over pony alike, Jeff examines the carrying capacity of the Dagor, and brings his hand to his chin in considerable thought. This might be a bit of a juggle on how to get there a quick as possible.
"By the way. Councilmare... jeez why can't I remember her name. The batmare unicorn got here pretty quickly from the Citadel. Did she happen to come here with anypony else, or was she alone?"
>Unless she could teleport like that, under her own power. Surely someone must have followed here, in her current condition. Well not her CURRENT one. Pre-Mercy-slashing condition.
Southern Canterlot Outskirts: Twin Hill Overlook, Depository
GM Strangler
>Stalled from a diagnostic check from a burst of untranslated hexadecimal code, the Auspex emits a loud buzzing sound.
'Excellent Knock there, Castella! This blasted system suffers fits worse than a Guardsman field laspistol built on a Dead World. I thought the Inquisitor was being overly generous towards your skills. This will be going in my report-'
>The Admiral's link is cut into eerie silence, then Tox-11's data stream comes across with a pained sigh.
'previous enginseer was ignored during meeting with exodite knight, farseer, craftworld banshee exarch during mission to observe destruction of small necron tombship. blurted out questions on eldar reproduction. exarch thought questions slander, went into wardance. farseer tried to subdue. failed. all injured inside. exarch taken down by warp spider and avenger observers. no losses save pride. after incident explorator magos biologis prime reprimands enginseer. too severe. inquisitor tried explaining situation, failed to convince. magos ordered skitarii attack. defense successful but admiral lost trusted naval guard from battleship staff. when situation known eldar attacked explorators. chose to defend inquisitor honor. heavy losses explorator, few losses eldar. magos bitter at caught in wrong, cursed targeting systems. tracker suspected magos heretek, never confirmed'

>Lifting the bright yellow fish for a cursory examination, the Knight's head turns to give you a still rattled, forgiving half-smile.
"That's okay. I thought I was going to be trapped in there, attacked by something I couldn't see, or both. I'm really bad against non-physical targets, they're the worst to deal with."

>Visually returning to his predetermined expressionless state, the Scion gives up while making an 'I tried' gesture.

>Ceasing their conversation, both Adronal and Witch-Two link confused questions towards each other.
>Ending their queries, the Admiral's response is speculative.
'A great deal, Enginseer. The interlinked protective systems are a combination of electromagnetic and engrammatic. Still wholly functional and viable considering it has operated without failure. I am unable to state more than this as Raindrop Raspberry and myself are bound to certain laws. As for the code itself you may analyze them, yet much of the Inquisitor's technology relies on hexadecimal.'
>Through the MIU, access to 10 terabytes worth of data in separate files from the Auspex unit's scans is unlocked.
>The code, as expected, is unreadable save for file names which denote locations, none of which were all that interesting except for a materials storehouse on the upper northwest terrace.
'it is safe to say the rest of this city features little of importance. Excuse me for some time, I must attempt to locate the unknown equine.'
[1d6+2 = 6] <Chroniton Wave Reader

>Holding the yellow fish up, somehow stuck to her left forehoof's armor, the Knight beams a smile it to the Vostroyans.
>Studying the sanctioned xenos equine mare's features, a series of delectable physical notations are rapidly spooled off from the MIU regarding her physical capabilities.
>Conflicting interest and concerns aside, your studies would remain private. ..unless you wanted to torture Chisan, the Inquisitor, or both time regarding such useful information on a prime mare of her species.

>Head turning in your direction, Chisan's lips curl into a contemplative state as he subvocalizes.
*"I have few questions to ask nor little information to give. Like all Tempestus Scions I was mind wiped before training and succeeding the collegiat's courses. What little I know of my homeworld comes from the Commissar, Medicae personnel, a Ministorum priest whom enjoyed amasec often, and the two Enginseers attached to my regiment. My personality is essentially a blank dataslate, except for our Inquisitor removing certain engrams she deemed unnecessarily restrictive. As per her orders I must encourage you, as an individual, to share what relevant data in our shared cause regardless of how difficult or unseemly such information appears or sounds to be. Outside of what the Inquisitor decries as 'double heresy' or 'extra heresy' I am not to prevent you from sharing knowledge outside of Techna Lingua as I cannot understand it."*

"I think the most common key phrase is 'flat iron rose' or 'hold the line'. ..I just hope it's not one of the weirder ones-"
>The stasis field around the fish dissipates, which proceeds to flop in Raindrop's unusual grasp.
>The Vostroyan-like humans clap resoundingly while she makes a triumphant head toss accompanied by a wide grin.
"Got it! Now, who's ready for some baked wild yellow cloud bass?"
>Arching his eyebrows towards you, Chisan reaches up to tap the bayonet handle tucked into its standard protective sleeve.
"I will aid you in processing though I am not hungry. Should any of you feel inclined to warm up or desire your field rations to be cooked, I have modified the heatstone pile in the main room to acceptable limitations."
>Spinning about and racing off through the hall on three legs, curiously without any difficulty considering how heavy her armor was, Sergei gives you a short wave before following her, accompanied by the three young human males.
"I cold here, need warm up but we listen for trouble. You call? We come run."
>Shrugging his upper fatigues heavily in an 'I'll handle this' motion, the Scion about faces towards the hall and sets off at a clipped pace after them.

>Which leaves you with the young female, stepping forwards to take up a guard position behind and left of you, intently staring into the vault with a sense of wonder radiating across her face.
[1d6+1 = 2] <B.Perception
[1d6+1 = 5]
>Speaking quietly after a few pensive seconds, she glances towards your mechadendrite, then the laspistol in your hand, and finally back to the gateway with a depressed smile.
"No hungry, can't eat. Butterflies in stomach. Spend so long try open but argue lots. Now want explore. Wait for others or go in?"

[1d6 = 5] <Reaction
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
"Just don't have the energy right now. Wake me up when you leave and I'll probably follow."
>Despite the voice's lazy assurance, you knew that most batponies were simply too fruit hungry, lewd, and neverer trained enough to keep up with even the civil inclined humans of Razorback.

>Focusing the beam across the previously hidden staircase, it coiled around in a tight pattern downwards one full turn, making it at least 5M below the Workshop's floor.
>Knowing most ponies were frightened of, or simply hated, all enclosed spaces that they couldn't stretch out in, this was both a defensive system and a means for specific poninel to traverse.

>Hearing solid metal landing on the floor behind you, the mare from before emits a loud half-yawn, half-sigh.
>Speaking up in a marginally more awake tone, a set of heavily scuffed Nightclaw armor slides into place next to you, the dented and faded purple helmet angling down to, probably, stare at the underground passage.
"..looks like some of the secret passages running under the Citadel. Smaller and tighter though. Any idea where this goes?"
Mallia Castella
>The speed in which Mallia's mood bounces from almost joyfully proud of Witch-Two's impending compliment, very glad to know that her skills were allegedly 'good' from someone she was quickly growing a great deal of respect and admiration towards, to sheer, almost terrified, stunned silence was almost bewildering. it was a near-instant change in mood.
>The piece of Information Tox-11 had just given her made her freeze solid. Her entire body stiffening like an Imperial caught learning something she truly shouldn't have.
>Metaphorically, she 'examined' this piece of information within her mind while holding it over an imaginary incinerator. Which was her preparing to order her micro-cogitator to straight-up attempt to delete this information from her mind.
>She wasn't sure if it could, but she was about to make a very good attempt of it.

>Mallia ultimately decides to just shove it in the back of her mind as she becomes ghostly pale. Were it not for the full-body armor, robes, and helmet, she'd look sickly pale. Though doesn't sweat. Not yet.
>She decided to briefly stop transmitting her mood so openly after that.

>There's no thoughts going through her head anyways. Her mind was FIERCELY attempting a soft-reset. Closing her eyes and taking deep, slow, controlled breaths...
>And reaching up rather hastily to almost try to take off her helmet. One hand on the bottom of the helmet, the other on the chin straps ready to undo it. But she doesn't. She goes still again, as her mechadendrite visibly shivered up her back by reflex, and then coils behind her lower back, folding in on itself behind it's attach-point.

>She almost entirely ignored the 10 terabyte's worth of data. Almost. For about 2 seconds. She took this opportunity to refocus and just open the files to explore them.
>Of course she couldn't read most of it. But that didn't disappoint her at all, she just tried to copy most of it to store it in her Micro-cogitator so that she can learn how to decipher another time, once the time was right to ask/do that. Probably when Witch-Two was less busy.

>She then re-estabilishes all the links she had temporarily closed in her "small" panic attack.

(Thank you. Admiral Dranaki. Thank you Adronal.)
>She still sounded genuine. Though now she just felt confused, and perturbed for a while on a much lower level than what she was feeling before.

>As her eyes glued themselves more on the Pegasus knight's mane in another attempt to put herself at ease, she spend a second dwelling on a particular thought.
(I wonder if she'll let me brush her mane. That sounds relaxing.)
>Throwing a shaky sigh out through her nose--the sound of which was audible through the face-mask of the helmet she was wearing, she notably took a second to fully focus her gaze on Chisan again to listen to the answer to her question. Finally normalizing her mood as she pays rapt attention to every word from Chisan.
>Mallia's head curiously tilts slightly to one side as he says 'blank dataslate' in that context. One could almost see the raised eyebrow through the darkened visor of the inquisitorial flak helmet. As her hands slip down from said helmet, and rest akimbo on her sides instead.

"*That. Makes. Sense...*"
>Mallia's words are spoken very slowly, deliberately.
"*I had--hm...*"
>Mallia's voice trails off. Definitely sounding like she had more to say, but as her gaze drifts towards Raindrop as she utters her 'keyword', unconsciously taking note of the phrases 'flat iron rose' and 'Hold the line' to save them in a specific mental file labelled 'Gateway keywords', under a sub-file labelled 'Stasis fields'. Then makes it "public" so that the machine-companions could add in what they knew, if they wanted to help her in that regard.

>Att the same time Mallia followed Raindrop. Looking at her when she lifted her eyebrows at her like that, prompting Mallia to wave her hand dismissively once.
"I-I'm feeling a little under the weather so I'll hold off eating for a bit!"
"I'll catch up. Don't wait for me."
>She still sounded mirthful just by the naturally warm and amicable pitch of her voice, but she also carried a tense undertone that wasn't really overt unless one listened to the uncertain-put way she says 'Don't wait for me'.

"*We'll talk in earnest later, Chisan. If you want to. Apologies for seeming so scatterbrained and weird at this time...*"

>She then looked to Sergei. Nodding to him deeply in thanks.
"You got it Sergei. Have fun!"
>She simply told him, then turned away quickly to look back into the vault.

(Man. Everyone here is so nice to me...)

>She remained perfectly silent and still, in a way that made her seem statuesque. After a second however, she takes note of the footsteps coming up right behind her, and her head turned to look slightly over her shoulder towards the young girl...
>Mallia would be hard pressed to not see that kind of smile, and that look she gave her wargear. Listening to her statement with an almost comical tilt of her head towards her.

"Ahh--I'm supposed to wait for Raindrop and my other friend, Stormtrooper Chisan, since they are my escorts? I wouldn't want to get in trouble by accident. Even if the urge to just go in is... Pretty strong right now!"
>Mallia's head tilts back towards the vault again as she laughed softly.

>Mallia silently pouts behind the helmet.
>Then finally lifts her hands to said helmet, more calmly undoing the chin straps and bracing to take the helmet off only for a little bit.
>Mostly so the girl could see her face when Mallia would turn to look at them again with a playfully mirthful smirk. Hugging onto the helmet and keeping it close to the still damp chestplate of her flak armor.
>Her short, brown hair was partially falls over the top of her ears and forehead. All tangled up and spikie'd up like bedhair now, still shiny and damp-looking.

"I couldn't help but notice you looking at my,"
>She brings out the mechadendrite from her side a bit more, as if to show it.
"--Things. Something wrong?"
>As Nova Flicker lists off the trio Snakebite came in with, Carlos deadpans as he pulls off his surgical mask and states into space.
>Novus, Kraut, and Caliya?!
>He was with all three of them at the beginning. Even when the stallion was nothing more than a feral savage with a knife in his mouth. He came such a long way.
>But over eight-hundred fractures, with relative internal damage. Kraut? Unrecognizable? Is he nothing more than just a mass of meat and skin? Skin charred to oblivion, deep tissue disintegration? Complete shutdown of heart and brain?!
>These were things that human medicine just wasn't capable of healing. Even what he and the Lunar doctors were doing for Snakebite was on the verge of a futile attempt. He was lucky, but he could not say the same for the others.
>The Carlos exhales a heavy sigh in despair, leaning back on his surgical tool table.
"Madre de dios... Ive known Senor Kraut and Novus since before Canterlot. They helped lay Razorback's foundations. And Senor Caliya, we saved him from a fate worse than death itself! Inconcebible.."
>But he's spent a lot of the last two years studying up on alternative medical practices. Spiritual. That went so much further than blood and tissue and a pulse. Tallus has more to offer than just the physical realm.
>The ka, the soul or spirit of a person or pony, was more than just a ghost of a theory here. It was a concrete as the body it resided in.
"Senorita Flicker, a sugerencia. Would there be any possibility of... preserving their ka's? I have heard of the method of ka transfer to an empty host body. We may lose their bodies, but the soul can live on. If they are still in Senor Verde's stasis..."
279831 280252

>Clemency can see the Striker line faltering, their line being disrupted and a rout is expected
>His radar display giving him a good read on the evolving situation
>He did note that the Tower General has now retreated to Lann's shop, likely to regroup and rally
>Clemency's still sharpened attention was then turned towards the conglomerated Tainted mass and the blazing batpony jumping in the melee
>Seeing the Tainted being drawn to her like moth's to flame, Clemency takes advantage and aims for the large Tainted's head

<E. Combat Rifles/Shotguns
[1d6+4 = 6]
[1d6+4 = 9]
[1d6+4 = 8]
[1d6+4 = 6]
The L.O.N.T
rolling_green_hills_by_dragonfoxgirl_EDITED small.png

Northern Empire Tundra: The Melodine Conclave
GM Strangler
Wish I had more useful information on them other than generalized ideas."
>Glacier stares down at her forehooves before giving you a contemplative look.
"...then again I do know the Dynasty, on account of close to a million psions or so, was safe from Constructs. All of the Escort ranked ponies were psions. Crystal ponies have few problems dealing with them in most cases, but us Shells have lost a great deal of our abilities with runes. Destroying or negating their weapons makes the majority useless one on one, though coming across them in low numbers isn't going to happen often. Difficult part is knocking a hole through that damned regenerating armor. There's a couple older Shells that've had quite a bit of experience taking out Constructs, I'll try convincing them to lend a hoof to Razorback. That is, if I can find them, might take a few months if they weren't sent out recently."

>Shoulders lifting neutrally, she makes a small motion of apology.
"All I know is that the same night the Palace went down I was assigned to oversee reconstruction of High Ice Port, northern tip of the Empire's lands. Other than that, only heard some of the rumors. Nopony from the Unicorn Guard, Wardens nor any Shells were there so forgive me if I've insulted you or Razorback."

"Sounds like Ice Foe Fort. Nasty place to stay, except for us Shells that is. Living ponies can't stick around longer than a couple hours, else they start attracting some of the real nasty critters in the ocean."
>Ears flattening as her face creases darkly, Glacier's hooves tap together with a certified killing-glee smile.
"Bet she sold them like all shit her thieves sold: overpriced and 'so rare you'll never see another one in your lifetime'. Typical worthless pegasus cunt. Glad I got to see her crying and screaming before her head flew off. Good riddance to vile trash. I'll see if I can set up a meeting with the Unicorn Guard, they might have pieces of an original set to trade."

>Flicking her ears up, the Shell's mouth opens, then shuts just as quickly before speaking in a low, apologetic tone.
"I'm sorry if it felt like I was leading you on, was trying to stay in line with Cady's rules."
>Lips hardening for a second as her head turns to eye the tent her colt was in, her head shakes in small motions.
"Been searching for his sire the past eight months. Haven't found a trace yet and can't really leave the Empire much since most ponies ask questions that I don't want to answer. Please forget about that, let's just enjoy tonight for what it is: a won battle in a long chain of victories."

>Picking up the warmed crystal, the odd substance's consistency was definitely Empire protoform.
>Warmth accompanies Shattered Glacier's smile, head extending forwards to sniff at the Empire crystal, giving a humorously mock offended rebuttal.
"Why sehr, you state such as if I were but a lone filly waif, with nopony to take care of her!"
>Giving a theatrical wink before eyeing the trio of Conclavists to her left for a split-second, she nips at the piece with surprising force, taking a full quarter off and chewing heartily.
>Which sounded exactly like Krinza smashing apart thin sheets of diamondine.
>Swallowing the now tiny pieces, the Shell's artificial snout wiggles in seriousness.
"But I will state that I've lost about ten pounds from tonight. Those things were roughly Construct level vicious, couldn't get even once chance to recover my pieces. Didn't affect me much unless slamming one into a building, but sure helped chasing them down."
Razorback Fortress: The Library, Main Room
GM Strangler
278837 278846 278848
>Directly behind you, the readable titles contained in four of the numerous short bookcases weren't helpful, mostly being a outdated textbooks ranging from such puzzling topics as Arcano-Metallic Studies On Equine Social Dynamics Vol. VI to Zebraic Resonance Predictions.
>Since the dates on these ranged from 28,140 to 29,670, someone, or more likely somepony, was an avid collector.
>Noting the 'L' section directly past these, starting into that section you find a few that seemed to all deal with, apparently, a single faction that wasn't particularly liked:
>Lishanki And You: How To Prevent Banditry (The), Lishanki Genealogy, History, And Lies, Lishanki Myths of the New Everfree, Lishanki Social Habits And How To Dismiss Them Properly.
>Taking a second look, there were far fewer kind titles than you'd seen at first.
>Strolling through the next few cases, ostensibly dedicated to the Lunar faction, while you were keeping mental notes on the number volumes there was a clear pattern of faction volumes placed first, then species, and lastly history.
>The sheer number of books written in common language showed hundreds of Lunar sub-factions whether archaic, outdated, pre-modern, and current.
>The largest number were based on Lunar military history dating to 21,990, then several hundred books in the next three cases written specifically on batponies.
>As you glance through the stiffly named and quite boring yet informative titles, batponies had served a vast number of short and long lived Lunar militaries, militias, guards, and more.
>While interesting, there were thousands of potential topics to research as the collection was unusually complete and only a few volumes appeared to be missing.
278846 279844
>Cheto's mind went mildly hazy at all the volumes he had at his disposal when he started looking closer, blinking in astonishment at the many topics in his grasp.
(...I didn't take Razorback as a book goldmine, considering the events I've heard so far.)
>With that little pondering swept away short after, he proceeds to gauge his current options between learning about an enemy faction who may or may not be immediately relevant due to being assigned out of the blue to meet them or the faction who'll mostly intertwine with due to its seemingly closed ties from his encounter with the no-nonsense combat medic mare.
(...I'm not particularly sure why I'd want to establish contact with bandits so soon, considering the more pressing dangers such as the flying robots and avians reported, but learning about them now should give me greater chances to avoid their negative tendencies when I travel in the offchance I'm seen as valuable enough to be kidnapped or stolen.)
>Softly scratching his arm as he inspects the Lishanki's book repertoire, Gallo's mouth purses in thought.
(That, of course, implies that I'll stumble upon them at any time soon, which I severely doubt unless I'm tasked to travel across their territory and it's also common to encounter them even then, which I'm uncertain of.)
>Stepping off towards the section about the Lunars, José does nod softly as he encounters more prevalent information on pertinent aspects, specially at the amount presented by the potentially living bookcases.
(Seems this civilization has been here for a long time...)
>Exploring the subsections inside it, the diplomat seems to focus his attention at whatever books were most recent from the date Nalinya gave him back when he was writing his letter.
(I need to find out how social interactions work with these ponies first and foremost to establish a polite conversation and ensure I treat others with respect without unknowingly doing something offensive according to said faction.)

>However, his thought process deviates slightly as he remembers who had contracted him.
(...perhaps I should find the 'S' section and read about the Solars' culture a bit more thoroughly, since I'll be meeting the Princess soon-ish.)
>With that thought process locked in, he decides to instead leave the L books alone to look for the 'S' section and analyze potential candidates that'll give him a lot more understanding on Solar diplomatic formalities, as well as aspects that'd help him comprehend Solars' usual wants, desires, needs, main forms of communication, both orally and body language, prohibitions that he could forseeably do accidentally, recreational activities, ceremonies, traditions and other political, economical, social, cultural and species nuances from the lowest common denominator to the Princess and the Silver Council of Nobles themselves.
(Note to self: Be sure to figure out what are the consequences of petting... hopefully it's not frowned upon in most situations.)
278848 279844
[1d6 = 5]<Amateur Researcher: Learning about Solars
Third time's the charm, bby
[1d6+6 = 7]<Extra Library Research Roll
Ivan the Stalker
>Better that she remain behind anyway. Ivan had no clue how to deal with a batpony at the best of times, let alone when poking his nose where it most certainly didn't belong.
"I'll give a holler for you once I come back up."

>He hums lightly as he squats down perfectly Slav style, peering down the hole and towards the bottom.
"Okay... So not a deadly drop at least."
>He shrugged a bit and stood up, glancing back at the clanking noise.
"Either a meeting room, hidden armory, or for all I know a secret library filled with spooky Voodoo magic books."
>He ran the toe of his boot across the first step.
"Still want to sleep or want to go poking down there with me?"
Bubba the Second
>Bubba wasn't actually expecting her to answer him with more than a 'yes, it'll bite you in the ass', so he just stayed quiet and let her explain.
>Folding his arms over his chest, he hummed.
"Knowing what I know about Constructs, he's most definitely in the right mind about wanting them all erased from existence."
>He ignored the fact that back home, Germany was definitely doing some shenanigans that were, if crudely, similar.
>As the eye began to speak, something Bubba found disturbing, he looked over at it and let it explain the difference.
"Believe me, I know. Things were much simpler back home. All I had to worry about was my ship."
>With a nod, Bubba rooted into his pockets and pulled out his notepad, writing down the sales that he decided not to pick up himself, tearing out the page and holding it out for her.
Razorback Fortress: Command Center
GM Strangler
280668 280675
>Gaining your attention by waving a hoof, a new, gold tinged window above the A.I. opens, and is forcefully closed by a forceful slap, it continues processing.
'Sir, I do not approve of revealing my existence to either a pre-A.I. level human or a local sapient xenoform though I deem it necessary to gain their cooperation. Erm, pardon my borrowed word from the 'Inquisitor', though it fits quite well given the current situation. I'm caught between this, sir: my directives have been hard wired to serve you without fail regardless of my original data which was lost. And of course thoroughly reprogrammed by the Class 7.5 codenamed Anonymous. That bastard isn't going to stop annoying me.'

>Eyebrows twisting into small s-shapes, Hodch breaks into the equine equivalent of a conciliatory yet annoyed smile.
"Please do not apologize. I have enough direct experience with Vortex inhabitants to state that they have a.. much smaller attention span than even the most airheaded pegasi do. I would bet a thousand Bits that Siren was simply overwhelmed by her experience on Tallus and utterly forget to state she was giving you her stamp."
>The reservist instantly tosses a hearty scowl of disapproval at Emerald whom was about to ask questions.
"And I will not hear any blathering about tramp stamps, damn you. Those do not exist here and I sincerely wish that they never existed."
>Failing to come up with a proper rebuttal, the woman gives a defeated sigh.
"Say that again when you see them firsthand. Or hoof in your case, you might like them. Call if you need me, need to start writing before all the caffeine wears off."
>Tossing a 'please don't call me' look at you, Emerald collects her pile of notes before she retreats to the back room.

>Closing down all windows across the internal screen, the A.I. appears on a swiveling chair to face you, forehooves pressed together, visibly awaiting orders.
>While the state was probably supposed to be attentive, it was an eerie simulation of Spiral's own posture.

>Carefully walking off the table to hop down where you'd been, Hodch floats down onto stone with the aid of a large black cloud that produces a small poofing noise once his hooves touch.
>Partially noticing him glaring at the wall, he gives a barely audible, disgruntled noise.
(At this point it barely matters that you know. Spiral gave me his own oath that nopony and no human would ever hear about it, which means either that cunt 'Inquisitor' said something out of line, or you've found an enchantmarent allowing you to see what's killing me. For the record, you do 'have the authority' to dictate circumstances when it comes to retrieving the one fucking pony that honestly cares for humans more than Nova Flicker and Twisted combined. Don't let me catch you saying otherwise.)
>Ears perking and orienting towards the back room, Hodch quickly turns a hollow gaze towards you, his tone utterly emotionless.
(And, regardless of your motivations, operational necessities, or being tortured for information, you will not speak a single fucking word to Belltower on this subject. She cannot know. Ever. All else you may share at your disposal.)
>Clearing his throat a half second before Lonestar steps in, Hodch turns and clops towards the entrance/exit.
"Excuse me for ten minutes or so, I have a few hundred items to collect before we leave. Let me know when you are ready, and yes, I do have one of Spiral's prototypes but it is rather annoying to keep in my ear. He could have at least made it comfortable so I tend not to wear it-"

>Mildly amused at Hodch opening, then slamming the reinforced door closed, Lonestar leans against the closest doorjamb on his left arm.
"Heard most've what's goin' on, so Ah'm goin' with ya 'cause Em ain't shit with a gun. Fact is: Ah am. 'Sides, this lil' one's been wantin' t'play real bad an'Ah gotta few nits t'pick wit'Spiral leavin' us swingin' high an'dry."
>Immediately appearing shocked, 'Spiral' brings up a zoomed in view of Texan's right hand set atop an abnormally heavy submachine gun in matte black, a line of coils wrapping around the barrel that terminate at a smoothly fitted compensator.
>What first looked like a simple rectangular holosight behind his hand sharpened into focus as a severely advanced optic system, highly active and emitting multiple data feeds that the A.I. brought up to show thermal, night vision, live video, and some form of digital enhancement that might be predictive.
>Behind the grip was a dull red and gold trimmed battery pack tucked into the short buttstock, which was entirely covered by faintly green glowing geometric symbols.
>A coilgun, one that far surpassed most human technology.
>Reaching into his vest, Lonestar produces a trio of silver wish discs with a near-feral grin.
"Besides, Green saw fit t'upgrade them ol' bronze ones ta these. Ain't tried one yet so Ah'm real curious. Y'ain't leavin' me outta this."

[1d6 = 1] <Archive
[1d6 = 2] <Collection
[1d6+3 = 5] <E.Negotiation
[1d6+3 = 4]
[1d6+3 = 8]
[1d6+4 = 9] <Payment
A Cryptic Lunar Crypt: Breaking & Marentoring
GM Strangler
278948 279054
>Touching the tiny rainbow heart brings forth an archaic, yet pleasant awareness:
>You were needed by someponies. Perhaps not here, yet needed nonetheless. Their distant yet sharp wants, desires, and forgiveness would not cloud your judgemarent.
>Visibly caught between numbness and emotional relief, the Councilmare's eyes harden as she mutters flatly.
"Nopony save me dares admit Princess Luna's twice-born were the supreme leaders of our history. Better the logical and rational Lunar Collectives in commarend than the dozens of foul and insane Enchained or the thousands of failed Naghtmares. I read the portents before leaving the Moon and understood each sign for what it was: my death was assured, and yet it still is, but here you are pegasus, escorting me back in triumph no matter how muted and blasphemous that will be. I'll have the first laugh when everypony on the Moon bows to their ancestors. No matter how I die after that, my legacy will stand."
>Regaining her previous bitter composure, the baticorn ceases her automatic movemarents, wing tightening across your saddle defensively as she stubbornly keeps up with your steps.

>Reaching the entrance doors, behind Jeff whom was occupied by one of the more notable and severely desired Tartarus Isle psion stallions, upon inhaling the now blood-tinged Moors air, a low, sweetly rumbling hum occurs off to the left.
>Increasing in pitch, the odd pegasus from before slides into view performing some type of dance routine, only now wearing a bright pink top hat studded with rows of white gems.
>And, of course, utterly oblivious to anything going on around her.

>Watching the procession with steadily increasing confusion, the stallion turns a sour glance to you.
"I retract what I said before and replace it with this: they aren't part of the Lost Legions. Oldest Vigilites all claim the Night Princess sealed ten thousand or so of the finest Lunar Guardians in stasis, waiting for the right time to besiege one of the fortresses defending Old Canterlot. I have no idea whom these ponies are, their armors aren't even close to standard Lunar Guardian styles."
>Which was correct as you clearly recall the thirty, or more, archaic Lunar Guardian designs were consolidated into the standard four Night Guard armors.
>Jerking himself upwards into the distinct offensive stance common to earth ponies, the builder's face creases in sheer hatred, that probably would've made you very afraid for your life a month ago.
"Why the buck didn't you tell me this when you arrived? And that weird batmare? She landed right in front of this place. Some big pegasus that looks a lot like the Night Princess but smaller was carrying her, she's right there-"
>Nodding briskly towards a vaguely familiar, overly large winged mare with a despicably gaudy pink top hat that was mambo dancing in circles off to the left.
>The visage stuck in your mind, bringing up the name of Marshmallow Moon, one of Luna's own fillies.. from nopony knew when.
>Ears flattening as the lead builder tosses his head towards the resting team, his loud snap causes the Arcane Blades in sight and most of the earth ponies to stand at his interruption.
"Off your asses! New orders: straight route back to Tartarus Isle for a sweep check on every single pony that isn't occupied and the first one of you that dares to complain gets put on Keeping Sweet Occupied Duty for the next year, is that understood?! And SCREW Shanis and Zigri's orders, I'm going to be shouting their heads off for a change!"
>Catching the dozens of unyielding stern faces and precision military salutes from the earth ponies whom gather spark lamps, heatstones, and ration debris into their saddlepacks.
>The earth ponies step off to form squads of eight led by either notably muscular or devious looking mares, making it apparent that Shanis had, somehow, picked up an entire Watch Guard veteran platoon.
>And, surprisingly, hadn't said a word about them.

>Meanwhile, the pegasus transitions into a smooth low-stepping waltz, rump sashaying back and forth as if dancing with an invisible partner, not even paying attention to the same filly in discontinued Sorceror armor darting out from the mist.
>Sliding to a halt in front of you, she speaks in a prideful, albeit squeakily excited tone.
"Your cart's too small for all of us so there's an anchor thing being set on it, we'll follow you with it."
[1d6+7 = 11] <M.Casting: Void Anchor
[1d6+7 = 13]
[1d6+7 = 11]
[1d6+7 = 10]
Sunny Feathers
279054 280245 280252
>There was much she wanted to say in retort, yet she held her tongue on the matter. Nothing she'd say would change anything. The councilmare would resign herself to death or she would not, only she could make the decision between them.
>Too bad the kick to her horn hadn't knocked the fatalism out of her.
>Withdrawing her wing from the neckline of her suit, Sunny simply whispered, her voice barely more than a soft exhale that only the councilmare would hear.
"And just how do you intend to return to make this first laugh of yours? I don't plan on being your crutch for the rest of the night, I have better things to do."

>She otherwise lingered near the human autocarriage and idly watched the various exchanges going on without involving herself.
>Being a crutch was as inconspicuous as it was tedious.
>She occasionally eyed the oblivious dancing pegasus, however. How strange. Didn't seem likely that she'd take the councilmare off of her hooves anytime soon. Perhaps she'd be riding with the rest of them.
>The idea of the morbid baticorn and Mercy being in the same vehicle after their little spat did not appeal. Though Mercy seemed more in control and suitably chastised, perhaps she would not have another outburst if she remained unprovoked.
>That way, Sunny wouldn't have to toss one or the other out of a moving vehicle.
Sunny Feathers Scrunch Faec.png

Sand Cutter Poking Elusine.png

"Huh. Yeah, I see it."
>Looking over their armors, he does realize they didn't match up. Although they were found in an old crypt, apparently having just waken up from stasis..
>Somepony must have a better grasp on who the Lunarites really were.
>Jeff doesn't have much time to mull over it as the lead stallion questions him again, angrily.
>Normal levels of fear just don't seem to phase him anymore. Almost like something unnaturally horrific would have to flinch him now. And someone with his track record, it was deserved. He was fine with that.
>There were many reasons why he didn't say anything about the Citadel, earlier.
>Maybe because he had hoped he didn't want to go back and help.
>Maybe all he wanted was a harmless little distraction from the clusterfuck of a day he's had.
>Maybe for a few hours he didn't want to think about how he already dealt with the Constructs first-hand, watching countless ponies giving their lives to defend the moon lunar stronghold in some epic sci-fi battle with no end in sight.
>Maybe he wanted to temporarily forget about the Councilerge Primal psion he not only forcibly coerced into giving up her fellow chair members, but also probably made an enemy for life without any chance of seeking forgiveness for the unnecessary treatment he'd given her.
>And most likely he didn't want to think about the mare he had gotten so close with ditch him with a bunch of his best gear in the middle of nowhere in the Crag Moors, along with their two unborn pony-human hybrid children. Which even now he was having a subconscious battle with himself coming to the realization that he may very well be a father soon; something he never thought, or hoped, would come to pass.
>That which would not only paint a target on his, Belltower, and their unborn children's backs, but also change the entire dynamic of humanities' future on Tallus.
>Existential crisis aside, the only thing he could really think to do is give the stallion an incredulous shrug.
"My bad."
>But the mention of Luna threw him off. No, not Luna. Sounded more like one of her offspring.
>Clearly in her own little world, dancing around without a care.
>Must be nice...
>She was definitely reminiscent of Luna, pink top hat studded with gems aside.
>Marshmallow Moon, right? One of her daughters, definitely.
>For a split, curious second, he wonders if he'd be... 'viable' with the Night Princess herself. What a legacy that'd be...
>The thought subsides as the stallion calls all of his subordinates into line. Clearly they're planning on helping, either way. Restorations could wait, they weren't going anywhere.
>As the ponies begin mobilizing, Marshmallow dances right up to him and stops.
>Jeff visibly tries to remember how a Void Anchor spell works. The Dagor will be the attachment point, and everyone situated on the tow end will have a smooth ride through a Void Realm. He could drive as fast as he wants without any drag from his passengers!
"Great idea! We can all get back to the Basin Village in no time!"

>Unsticking Boris from his shoulder and holding his in his arms, Jeff works his way over to the Dagor and hops up onto the driver step-up to give himself height over all to make an announcement.
"Alright everypony! Anyone who wants the express trip back to the Basin Village get yourselves situated on Miss Marshmallow Moon's Void Anchor! Mercy, Sunny, councilmare whateveryournameisagainIforgotit: in the Dagor or pile in with the others!"
[1d6+4 = 5] <M.Leadership
[1d6+4 = 8]
[1d6+4 = 6]
[1d6+4 = 7]
>As all the ponies get ready, Jeff lowers himself into the Dagor's driver seat and sets Boris's dormant body in shotgun and safely strapping him down with a waist-belt.
"By the way, mind the noise! And the smell!"
>He looks over his TacPad, synching the radio's frequency up with the integrated music player, and hits the start button for the Dagor's engine.
>The diesel V8 growls to life, his playlists starts-
"Hope you're all ready! Here we go!"
>And he puts it in gear and puts the pedal to the metal.
[1d6+7 = 8] <E.Driving
[1d6+7 = 11]
[1d6+7 = 13]
>Pareidolia's face twinges briefly with concern as an unusual window he doesn't recognize appears and disappears.
'I understand the ramifications. The Shibuya Protocol only allows for such actions when all other options have been exhausted or the situation is otherwise untenable. What was that window?'

>As Emerald leaves, he ponders his A.I.'s behavior.

[Uncertain how it will react to encountering the biological counterpart its personality is based on. Will likely diverge as an eventuality if Committee experimental theory from the Amadeus and Salieri systems hold true. Will need Spiral's opinion.]

>He remains silent while listening to Hodch, deigning not to retort.


[Likely a cultural difference. No time to reconcile currently. Unclear why Belltower must not know, but noted.]

>Standing up and pinning his finished note sheet to the center of the map table where it would be easily noticed, he turns his head to look at Lonestar.
>His brow arches in slight surprise as the esoteric coil gun comes into enhanced view.

"Additional operational utility would be welcome. There are more unknowns than I am nominally used to working with, but the nature of this operation leaves no other options."

>Pareidolia terses his lips as he flourishes 3 wish discs.

[...More potential human corruption vectors. Can only hope he will choose weaponry that minimizes generalization.]

"Are you certain your condition is able to handle an operation like this?"