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Glim Glam Steams Up Edgequestrian Style Hams, Part IV
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For anyone who stumbles across this thread and is wondering what it is, this is a literary review thread for pony fanfiction. We take an MLP fic, read through it, and shit all over it discuss its literary merits.

We are currently reading Fallout: Equestria by kkat.

Thread number four. We are nearing the end of the tunnel, thank God.

Previous thread: >>304714 →

Currently on Chapter 38: Peace in Our Time

Continuing from previous post.

>>311555 →

Page bweak. Littlepoop falls unconscious, has a flashback, and drones on about how shitty she thinks her life is for literally eleven paragraphs. Nothing else happens.

Page break. Littlepoop wakes up in a filthy, unfamiliar bed in some abandoned cottage somewhere. I'm sure kkat is writing from personal experience here. She whines for several more paragraphs about how miserable she is, even claiming to have PTSD from losing a rib, even though she stated earlier that it had been healed with magic and she will sustain no permanent injury other than a scar.

>The heart-rending blow of watching Applejack step out of that elevator… and realizing that Applesnack had intended to propose to her that very night, and she was anticipating it… oh Goddesses.
This is another continuity error along the lines of what I pointed out in the previous chapter. By her own admission, she did not view the orb whose events she is referencing here until after Canterlot, and unless she's been losing herself in orbs during battles again, she would not have had time to view it between their escape from Canterlot and the present. She should not have witnessed these events yet.

LP can hear her friends talking in the next room. Apparently they found some new armor for SteelHooves from somewhere, or found some armor they could use to repair his existing armor, or something along those lines, because they are discussing rehabilitation for him. He can't move properly at present, but should be fine in a bit. Also, Xenith is there, so presumably they are back at Glyphtown or whatever that place was called.

Anyway, SteelHooves gives a schmaltzy speech about how Applejack learned to love zebras, and so he figures he could learn to love them too. You may or may not remember that SteelHooves doesn't like zebras, or doesn't trust them, or something. At least I think that was a thing with him. Anyway, the significance seems to be that he's over it now, and he and Xenith can be friends I guess. Nothing else happens.

Page break. Littlepoop is still sick or injured or something, so is Velvet, and SteelHooves presumably hasn't learned to walk again yet, so it seems they will need to rest for a couple of days. Xenith comes in and rubs ointment into Littlepoop's horribly painful bum-wounds, and tells her that she is not allowed to get out of bed until she is rested enough to stand on her own and keep down solid food.

For some reason, LP is in a huge hurry to resume her mission all of a sudden. It's been about twelve chapters since Red Eye first gave her the task of killing the Goddess, and told her that there was a bomb in Tenpony Tower that would explode if she didn't do his evil bidding incidentally, how is that situation coming along, anyway? bomb still tick, tick, ticking away?. Since that time, LP has done nothing but goof around and go on side missions, stopping to help every random pony she bumps into, no matter how trivial and mundane their problem is. She's still done absolutely fuck-all in terms of progress on this mission, though to her credit she did finally complete the mission the Goddess tasked her with, when she agreed to do a mission for her instead of killing her, which was the original mission.

So, what's the big hurry all of a sudden? Why not rest, take a few days off, heal your injuries, which for some reason you can't just shrug off by downing a potion this time around? You were willing to spend several days goofing around in Tenpony immediately after Red Eye gave you this assignment, so what exactly is the issue?

Anyway, they talk about Xenith's daughter for a bit. Seems like she's being basically written out of the story so that Xenith can rejoin the party. Since she wasn't much of a character in the first place, I don't think anyone is really going to miss her that much. After this, Littlepoop proceeds to mumble to herself about the usual nonsense until eventually the scene ends.

She embarks on one of her annoying little self-doubt episodes, bemoaning that she is about to lead her friends on a mission but she doesn't even know what the plan is since she erased her own memory. Then, she remembers that she is Mary Sue, the Chosen One, and nothing bad could ever possibly happen to her.

>I’ve told everypony their parts, and just their parts.
>Every pony...
>…because the Goddess couldn’t read zebra minds.
>A smile broke across my muzzle. Ooooh, I was a clever pony!
Has it been established that the Goddess can't read zebra minds? This is actually a serious question; I really can't keep track of even half of the ridiculous rules that have been introduced into this story thus far, but kkat is generally more less consistent when it comes to these kinds of details. Anyway, it looks like LP's plan is going to revolve around Xenith somehow.

Page break. It looks like someone else might have pointed out the continuity error with the memory orbs to kkat, because this scene starts with an angry rant from Calamity about LP viewing a box of memory orbs while he was off getting the Fart Cruiser. If I'm interpreting it correctly, the idea is that LP watched all six of the orbs while she was in the warehouse, sometime between Calamity's exit and the basement explosion.

This one is a draw, as far as I'm concerned. +1 to kkat for recognizing and correcting a continuity error, -1 for doing it in an idiotic, clumsy and illogical way.
137 replies and 66 files omitted.
Is it bad writing that LP's companions are so similar to Fallout 3 and NV companions?

Star Paladin Cross is some Brotherhood Of Steel Ranger twat in power armour. Steelhooves.
Steelhooves and Veronica are both BOS members and they both disagree with how the BOS operate. But while Veronica was part of FNV's genius criticism of the F1/2 Brotherhood's unchanging ways, moral faults, and backwards policies(while making them lose a war to the NCR from a lack of numbers and while introducing a sick EMP pulse gun that could let anyone shit on any power armoured foe), Steelhooves just wants the Brotherhood of Fallout 1 (steal and protect tech from misuse) to spontaneously turn into the Power Rangers Brotherhood of Fallout 3 (claim to fight for justice and peace and solely exist to shoot super mutants in the middle of nowhere and fight the pointlessly evil Enclave for the right to turn on a giant water filter). Steelhooves spontaneously gets his wish when his faction spontaneously starts a civil war 200 years too late right after crossing the moral event horizon for good.

Clover is a brownish sex slave and bodyguard of some shit pimp nigger NPC. Xenith is a former sex slave who worked for Red Eye. Both are shallow one note characters except Clover fell in love with whoever buys her while Xenith just sees LP as her new master for basically forcing her to abandon slave life and switch masters.

Arcade Gannon is an ex-enclave medic and Raul is a mexican ghoul cowboy. Shallowly combine the two while losing everything that made them original and you get Calamity, an ex-enclave Cowboy.

This is why it surprised me when Silver Bell the small child wasn't turned into a rocket launcher-toting Tiny Tina knockoff. This story's so unoriginal, everything here that's actually "a kkat original" sticks out like Kkat's prolapsed anus after a lot of gay buttsex.
short post attempt:

is it weird that Calamity has two personalities?

One moment he's this serious practical guy with a southern drawl, just a guy who likes fixing his car and shooting enemies, someone who's seen some shit and won't hesitate to shoot a boy pony rapist for chasing a mare...

One moment he's giggling like a tiny schoolgirl at the sight of sick loot or combat. suddenly he adores big guns and gets so giddy at the sight of a room full of guns he takes everything that isn't nailed down and clears out that room faster than an overweight furry OC after taco bell.

Suddenly the text treats him like a bigger kleptomaniac murderhobo than Littlepoop, as if to try and make her seem normal in comparison. Even though there are so many scenes where Calamity is written like an average guy with no real characterization beyond being a tough guy with a southern yeehaw accent.

That just sticks out to me. Seems weird. If Kkat wanted to make this Calamity guy a "Hardened Wasteland Veteran" who's also a "Giggling giddy murderhobo kleptomaniac gun-nut" caricature, why not lean harder into that and outright say being raised by a mixture of The Enclave and Edgequestria fucked him up?

Why not make him a living example of what Littlepoop DOESN'T want to be?
Why not push his characterization as the reason why other characters sometimes don't like him, instead of forcing Velvet to sometimes bicker with him for retarded reasons like "you don't wash much" and "you're different from me" and "you killed a rapist foal, how dare you".
Why not make this guy someone who grows and changes?
Why not say this guy can't grow or change after going full murderhobo, and all he can do is try to guide Littlepip down a better path while hoping she doesn't go full murderhobo too?
Why not give all of Littlepoop's obnoxious murderhobo/kleptomaniac moments (Slaughtering the Steel Rangers for not giving her some water talisman she wanted to give to Arbu, slaughtering Arbu for fitting her definition of evil, STEALING THAT FUCKING STATUETTE FROM BEST PONY'S CORPSE, and so on) to Calamity?

Maybe on some level, Kkat thinks these moments where Calamity girlishly giggles and "Squees" (ugh_tankman.mp3) over loot are "funny", and maybe he thinks these moments where LP murderhobos a whole town or Velvet shoots raiders with a shotgun for making the kid thunderdome in Fluttershy's cottage decorated with the never-decaying bodies of 200 year old now-extinct animals are "cool".
One more thing...

Dead Money gave the player 3 new companions early on and made you take each friend to a specific point 1 at a time.

Dean has to hold wires together since he's the talentless odd man out, God/Dog must throw some heavy switches with his super strength, and Christine must fuck with machines using her tech knowledge.

Dean Domino's area has more gas than traps or deadly radios because his perk makes gas easier to deal with. Same with God/Dog whose perk deals with traps when God's in control instead of the Dog personality, and Christine's area has more radios than other threats. In a feat of genius design, going into these areas with friends is easy mode and leaving them is a bit harder usually. When getting your friends to their zones complications also arise, Dean wants you to make the area safer for him and Dog wants food and Christine is scared of small spaces like the elevator. These problems have nice solutions and mean solutions. Pick mean solutions and the chars hate you and force you to kill them when they try to kill you once you're all in the Sierra Madre. The goal is to make you feel things for these characters that can only matter here, tie into the casino heist movie aesthetic and themes of greed, and let you choose to be a goodie or baddie.

Also at the start of Dead Money all your sick loot is taken to force you to rely on scavenged crap and unique local stuff that helps make the experience feel more unique and brings you down to a scared vulnerable Survival Horror place where anything can be lethal.

This sailed right over Kkat's head like flying semen during orgies he couldn't reach when jumping for it like a dog leaping for thrown treats, and so Canterlot became an incredibly bland experience where all LP really had to do was gather up her friends who were shoved into random fucking places like broom closets. No negotiating with new friends. No deep themes. It's just a place with assorted hazards that sound cool until you realize they can't seriously threaten LP.

Littlepip? More like Littleshit.
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We don't hear anything more about the approaching herd of griffins, but while LP is in Derpy's store (which is presently being used as some kind of sick bay for all the wounded little poners), she bumps into the mare from earlier, the raider-not-raider who helped them massacre the actual raiders who for some reason were pitting children against each other in cage matches. The conversation goes about as you'd expect: the mare can't believe she is finally meeting the world-famous murderhobo Littlepoop, and proceeds to gush hero-worship at her. Littlepoop falls into her usual "aw shucks, I'm not that great" false-modesty loop. Witness the exchange for yourself:

>I felt a hoof punch my shoulder. “Why didn’t you tell us who you were?”
>I turned to see the amber mare and khaki buck whom we had helped back at Fluttershy’s Cottage. The attacking hoof was from the mare, who managed to look both star-struck and cross at the same time. I found myself blushing, and the little pony in my head quickly insisted the extra heat in my cheeks was from the rum and definitely not from embarrassment or being hit by a pretty mare. Oh yes, the canteen. I should drink more now. Easier than responding. Yep.
>“I was gushing all about the Wasteland Heroine and you were right there and didn’t say anything!” the mare protested.
>Was she mad at me? “I’m not…” I tried to argue, “I mean… I’m just trying to do the right thing. Like anypony would.”
>“Oh yes,” the mare chimed, rolling her eyes. “Like anypony would. Because just anypony would risk their life trotting into the home territory of the most dangerous monsters in Equestria to set off a balefire bomb and clear them out.” She smirked.
If anyone out there wants to make five bucks, find kkat and bring him to me alive, so I can tear off the prolapsed section of his large intestine and flog him to death with it. Actually, that sounds like more bother than he's worth; just bury him alive under concrete with a running webcam and post a link to the stream.

Anyway, this goes on for awhile. The two raider pones continue to heap praise on her for taking out the Goddess and the hellhounds and so forth and so on, and LP continues to blush and mumble to herself that she shouldn't be praised because somethingsomethingSteelHooveswhateverwhocares. While this is going on, a couple of pegasi suddenly burst into the makeshift hospital. They appear to be searching for a friend or a relative.

>The amber mare next to me stomped and nickered. “I’m rethinking that thing about how pegasuses are cool.”
*rubs temples*
*desperately snorts entire box of Junior Mints on the off chance that they really do contain some psychoactive compound that might make reading the rest of this autism halfway bearable*

First of all, kkat, the plural of "pegasus" is "pegasi." Second, I'm getting really, really tired of reading the word "nicker" all the goddamn time. I get that nickering is a thing that horses do, but they do other stuff too. Can you not occasionally toss in another horse noise every once and a while for variety? Are you so utterly bereft of creativity that you can't even manage to swap out nickering for whinnying, neighing, braying, or snorting whenever you need a random reaction sound for a character? Here, you cross-dressing mental patient, have a gift that it took me all of half a second to google: http://www.mackenziekincaid.com/writing/a-writers-guide-to-horse-noises/

Third and finally, does this reaction from the still-unnamed "amber mare" even add anything to the scene in the first place? Did this awkward, silly, purposeless, cringe-inducing remark really need to be made? If you can't think of anything witty or zippy or even halfway amusing for this character to say here, why make her say anything at all? Instead of writing dialogue like this, why not simply pay someone to whack the back of your skull repeatedly with a piece of iron rebar until your retinas detach? If you're short on cash, just give them a few pages of this story to read and they'll probably do it for free.

ANYWAY, the pegasi are mostly gawking at how basically-normal the earth pony general-store-turned-hospital appears to be. The takeaway from this scene seems to be that the common pegasi have been fed propaganda by the Enclave to think that the surface-ponies are all blood-sucking vampires or something; these two are shocked to find that they are not.

>Actually, I wanted to interject (feeling a moment of pride in my expertise), radiation monitoring would still work, just like the radio. Although, admittedly, health monitoring wouldn’t. My thoughts fell apart before the desire could manifest as more than a vague wish. Between the “medicine” and my exhaustion, I was flirting with incoherency.
There is nothing noteworthy in this passage, I just wanted to highlight it to show you the kind of incoherent, rambling prose I've been slogging through since October or so.

Anyway, there's a long, silly, pointless argument between the pegasi over whether or not the surface air is poisonous; at this point Calamity interjects and informs these pegasi that the air is not, in fact, poisonous here, but the Enclave is unlikely to care. They will not be allowed to go back to Cloudsdale or whatever pegasus-land is called in this story because something something propaganda. I also noticed this cryptic remark:

>“By the weekend, the Enclave will ‘ave delivered condolences and new birth-approval certificates t’ yer families…” Calamity continued.
For a moment I was wondering if this wasn't a mistake, and that kkat had intended to say "death certificates" here. However, what I think this is saying is that the Enclave has something like population control in place; since these two pegasi are now "dead," their parents would be permitted to have two more children. Again, kkat hasn't really told us much about how Enclave society is structured, so I'm not sure how to react to this.
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Unfortunately, the scene keeps going and going. A third pegasus called Tracker, who I think was one of the wounded, inserts himself into the conversation, and begins arguing that the two civilian pegasi should ignore everything Calamity has to say, because he's a Dashite.

>“You think I don’t recognize you?” Tracker accused, “You’re Deadshot Calamity. You murdered your troops and fled beneath the clouds to escape punishment. I’ve seen your wanted poster!”
>Calamity sighed slightly, glancing back towards me as he muttered under his breath, “History rewritten yet again.”
It's a little presumptuous to call this "rewriting history;" at best it's falsifying information. "History" implies that the events being rewritten have historical significance, and I don't really see how Calamity's exile from the Enclave would count. In any case, I don't remember what exactly Calamity did that got him exiled, all I remember is that after all the buildup about his mysterious past, the big reveal turned out to be that he was kicked out for something fairly mundane. As I recall, he was on some routine patrol on the surface and wanted to intervene in some skirmish he observed, but to do so would violate the Enclave prime directive or something. The whole thing amounted to a policy disagreement. If Calamity actually had been responsible for the death of his troops, but the it turned out that it was in self-defense or he was protecting innocent civilians, or something else that might arguably justify the act, it might have made him a more interesting character.

Anyway, Calamity argues that if the allegations against him were true, they wouldn't have been able to brand him since he would still be at large for the murder. This is actually a pretty good point, and reveals one of the story's many plot holes. As with most of these that kkat has managed to actually notice, he chooses to pave over it and explain it away, instead of going back and revising Calamity's backstory to make it both more logical and more compelling. Another swing and another miss.

>“They can’t lie to us,” Tracker stated in voice you use to state basic facts to slow children. “They’re the government.”
The commentary here is about as subtle as being whacked on the back of the head with a piece of iron rebar: "oh noes, the ebil gubment is lying to us and da peopel have a right to know da troof!!11!"

However, I will note that it's often fun to go back a decade or so and see how social attitudes about certain issues change over time amongst normies. In 2011 or 2012 or whenever this was written, the left was still in a Bush-era mindset about subjects like censorship and government surveillance of civilians, which they have since done a 180-degree pivot on. I would be curious to see how kkat would approach these same topics if he were writing this story today.

>I sensed Calamity’s desire to facehoof radiating off of him. This Enclave… it didn’t make sense to me. My own thoughts swam, clutching for an anchor. I realized it was past time to ask my friend about the ponies we were facing. But first, I needed to rest. Sleep. More than that, I needed time to breathe. To mourn. My heart was bleeding from many deep wounds. Hurt tomorrow, help today. But today was tomorrow, wasn’t it?
There's nothing particularly noteworthy here either; I just wanted to once again call attention to how bleeding awful kkat's prose is.

>SteelHooves always hid his pain, the pony in my head reminded me. SteelHooves was always silently strong for everypony.
Reminder that at one point SteelHooves went careening off the edge of an airship while fighting bloodwings in the middle of a thunderstorm, and was missing for days. LP did not express any concern for him whatsoever, preferring to escort a couple of strangers back to their home village instead of searching for him.

>But that wasn’t necessarily a good thing, was it.
This is a question and should end with a question mark.

>My soul felt like it was swimming in darkness, barely treading water, and if I didn’t let out the tears, I’d drown in them.
Fucking kek.

Anyway, the scene just keeps going further and further off the rails. The argument eventually turns into a full-on brouhaha, and it looks like it might escalate into physical violence. Then, suddenly, Derpy shows up holding a chalkboard admonishing everyone to "be nice" and promising to trade muffins for health supplies. At this point, the arguing ends and everyone starts hugging each other instead.

Page break. Time skips randomly forward again. LP is now at some kind of concession counter, buying a squirrel on a stick. It's unclear where she is exactly. The important takeaway is that Derpy survived, and appears to have gotten over her little bout with radioactivity. Poor Derpy; looks like she won't be allowed to escape kkat's silly universe quite so easily.

>“Ya hangin’ on, Li’lpip?” Calamity asked as he landed next to me.
>The answer was no, and we both knew it. So instead of lying, I asked, “Her Senator?”
>Calamity whinnied. “Ah admire ‘er courage, but it’s suicide. The Enclave Skyguard will have standin’ orders t’ shoot ‘em on sight…” My friend grimaced in pain. “…t’ prevent ‘em from spreadin’ contagion, of course.”
Even though the argument in the preceding scene just happened and would be fresh in the reader's mind, for the characters this references something that happened (I presume) some time ago. Seeing as how the mare that said she was going to contact her Senator (it was one of the pegasi I think) was a stranger to both LP and Calamity, and that her remark does not relate to anything going on in the current scene, LP's question here should be taken as a non-sequitur by Calamity. The way he just immediately picks up on what she's asking about and provides a canned response does not feel like natural conversation.
I can't recall what happened exactly with Calamity being kicked out either but I believe he did kill some of his own soldiers. Think they were flying bellow the clouds and saw some ponies fighting raiders but the pegasi wanted to kill everyone and he wanted to defend the normal ponies so killed some of his own soldiers.

I remember the chat earlier in this review about how this story sort of poisoned the well on Fallout crossover fics and how if you want to make one you HAVE to use this universe and timeline or else the kkat sicophants will down vote the story into oblivion.

Makes me wonder then if he's influenced other stuff like his prose. I get absolutely livid when he says buck in place of stallion and I dropped a green I was reading recently that did the same. Even though stallion is used in the show perhaps kkat was into some furry shit and deer so did it on reflex.

Same with the dyke shit. Out of the entier alphabet brigade I hate them the most. If they are written by straight or lesbian women, 38 year olds like kkat who are trannies trying to larp as lesbians, or sweaty fat guys or limp twisted soy boys role playing as them online, they are always written the same by being super horny and have to leer at everything with a vagina. He absolutely wasn't the first to do so but I noticed just about every Fallout Equestria story and most the art is over powered lesbian unicorns.

Nigel made a post about it way back with that Project Horizons being Fallout Equestria *but more!* Longer run time, even more lesbian main character, even more edge, more mutilation, more overpowered magic. Can't expect much from pony fan fics but it seems like a race to the bottom for more clout chasing.

Anyway, it seems that the two pegasi mares have been summoned for questioning by Railright. Calamity wants to be present during the interrogation because reasons. However, before he goes, Littlepoop wants him to explain the workings of the Enclave government to her. The rest of this scene is just an infodump about the inner workings of the Enclave, which wouldn't have even been necessary if kkat had been doing his job properly up until now.

The Enclave is basically a bureaucratic government similar to that of most modern Westernized countries. Their government consists of a Low Council, which functions similarly to Congress in the US, and the High Council, which consists of military leadership responsible for enforcing whatever laws the Low Council comes up with. The Enclave does not refer to the pegasus nation itself; the term is reserved for the members of the political-military juggernaut that runs their civilization. What, if anything, the pegasi actually call their nation is still not clear; I'm assuming that they don't have a name, and I'm assuming that this is because kkat simply lacked the creativity to think something up, and there was nothing comparable from Fallout 3 for him to ape.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that the Enclave started out as a pegasus rebellion against the war, and morphed into a dinosauric military bureaucracy that has long-since outlived its purpose. Ignoring whatever banalities about the Iraq invasion that he may have wanted to get off of his chest here, kkat actually makes some incisive observations about how militaries and democratic governments can both become bloated and inefficient bureaucracies over time, particularly when they don't have a clear objective. Again, I'd be curious to see how he would approach these subjects if he were writing this story today.

Once the infodump is concluded, the narrative veers off into more pseudo-emotion from Littlepoop about the horrors of war. No new or interesting ground is covered, but LP and Calamity stand there staring at the room full of wounded ponies for awhile.

>“But what do we do until then?” Calamity asked, not looking back.
>I bit my lower lip, my body trembling. I could sense the tears coming, but I tried to fight them back. Not here. Not now.
>“We do what SteelHooves would do,” I said.
Stand there and be really boring?

>“We soldier on.”
Oh. That too, I guess.

>We soldier on. Until we can find a way to make this right, to make things better, we endure. We persevere. We keep helping ponies however we can.
>It’s what SteelHooves would have done.
Is that really what SteelHooves would have done? That's not how I'd summarize his life.

It was never really clear what the Steel Rangers did in the first place, and in any event SteelHooves didn't transform whatever his objections to their policies were into action until the last couple weeks of his 200 year life. Up until that point, it seems like he spent most of his time living in a shack in the middle of nowhere doing basically fuck-all. But I digress. Point is, this section of text basically just restates what you said above, and is mostly unnecessary.

Back when he was alive, Littlepoop barely even noticed SteelHooves; now she won't shut up about him. She's sad, is basically the gist of what goes on in this scene. Eventually, that mare that was kissing her ass earlier brings her a bottle of water, and she finally bursts into tears.

>I curled up and began to cry. Deep, wrenching sobs.
I think we're meant to see this as LP finally releasing her sadness after holding it in for so long. However, this would only be effective if she actually had been holding it in. This twat has done nothing but whine and cry since this story began, so I don't really see how "deep, wrenching sobs" are anything to write home about.

Anyway, she spends the last couple of paragraphs itemizing all of the things she's crying about here:

>For how much Velvet Remedy was hurting. And Calamity. For Ditzy Doo, who had nearly died.
Speaking of people who nearly died, remember that time SteelHooves fell off the roof of the Mystery Machine during a rainstorm and nobody even bothered to search for him?

>I sobbed for the husband who had lost his wife, the old buck who had lost his leg
Who? I think these are some of the NPCs whose deaths were mentioned briefly during the fight, but honestly I just skim the battles at this point so it's hard to remember. Honestly, so many NPCs have been mutilated and killed in horrendous ways throughout the course of this shitfest I can barely keep track.

>the town who had lost the joy of sunlight to bloody battle.
Personally, I'm crying because of how little sense that entire scene made. Deep, wrenching sobs.

>I wept for the little filly whose ashes I kept in a cola bottle.
Yeah, it's still pretty creepy that she even has that. Even creepier is that kkat doesn't seem to realize that it's a weird thing to have.

>And for Star Sparkle.

>But most of all, I cried for SteelHooves.
Lol, dead last in her thoughts as usual.

Page break. We rejoin Littlepoop several hours later, and are informed that she spent most of this period crying. For once, I'm actually happy for the time skip, though the rest of this microscene is basically just her whining.

>I tried to focus, believing that if I could just corral my thoughts, railroad them, then maybe I could finally rest.
This is a completely inappropriate use of "railroad" as a verb.

Anyway, Littlepoop yammers on endlessly in her usual chaotic, rambling style, jumping from subject to subject without any effort to connect them in any meaningful way. Here's a quick rundown of the topics she covers:

>Twilight Sparkle
>SteelHooves’ head rolling away from his body
>Velvet crying about stuff and whatever
>Red Eye
>the Enclave
>Rainbow Dash
>those goofy weather-towers

Somehow, this extended period of incoherent rambling leads LP to finally realize what her purpose is: she's going to bring back the sun.
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As far as I can tell, LP intends to somehow take control of the weather towers, and use them to remove the cloud cover over Equestria. This would have the dual effect of eliminating the clouds and making agriculture possible (presumably), as well as reconnecting the pegasi to the rest of Equestria, thus negating the Enclave's power over them. I'm not sure how she intends to accomplish this; as I understand it, the only way to take control of the towers would involve sealing oneself in the control booth that has been locked for the last 200 years. There are two problems with this: it's magically coded to only open for Rainbow Dash, and even if LP could get inside, it takes a pegasus to operate it. However, since these are the kinds of details kkat usually does think about, I'm assuming he will at some point pluck an answer from the cavernous depths of his well-traveled ass.

Page break. Someone nearby has a radio on, so LP is treated to another of her annoying girlfriend's silly broadcasts. It's the usual crap: Friendship City was blown up, the Enclave was responsible, Littlepoop saved the day, and the Steel Rangers are working to rescue the survivors. God is in his Heaven and all is right with the world. Except for all the blood and angst and dismemberment, that is.

Though it's still unclear how exactly Homage managed to recapture her broadcast signal, the fact that she was able to negates a potentially interesting plot development. The Enclave taking over the signal and using it to broadcast propaganda introduced a new narrative into the world; ponies who had previously gotten their information from "DJ Pon3" were now hearing an alternate viewpoint from a group of newcomers claiming they had come to save them. It could have made things interesting: ponies in the wasteland wouldn't know which side was "good" or who they should trust; in all likelihood, some wastelanders would believe the Enclave's propaganda and join up with them, which could make things potentially interesting.

This could have been made even more interesting if kkat had kept up the thread he introduced awhile back. You may recall that after LP slaughtered the Arbu poners, Homage made an apparently sincere broadcast denouncing her to the entire wasteland. If this were still in effect, there would be a significant contingent of wastelanders who mistakenly believed that the "light bringer" had gone rogue, and would be working against her. At this point, LP would be simultaneously dealing with the Enclave and Red Eye, both of whom would be fighting each other, with the various wastelanders beginning to take sides. About the only thing they'd all be united on would be a near-unanimous hatred of Littlepoop, which would make her adventure even more harrowing. On top of that, she'd have to contend with knowing that her girlfriend now hates her because of a misunderstanding, but she can't get back to her and explain it because she has to save the world first. On top of that, she would still have to deal with SteelHooves' death and fillies getting vaporized all over the place and all of the crap she's supposedly sad about anyway.

Sounds interesting, doesn't it? Unfortunately, we will never get to read that story, because kkat killed both of those threads almost immediately after introducing them, leaving us to wonder why the fuck he even bothered. I mean, action, adventure, suspense, a plucky heroine facing insurmountable odds? Pfft; not in this story, bub. This here's Mary Sue country.

In other news, it seems that Tenpony Tower has (somehow) managed to oust the Enclave from inside their walls. Whatever they did, it happened off-camera, and thus far it's looking like none of the central characters were involved. Once again I have to ask: why the fuck even bother? Nothing that happens in this story ever conveys any real suspense or excitement, and nothing ever seems to be actually at stake. This story falls into the same trap as a lot of amateur fiction: the author has no flair for the dramatic, and the story is more of a record of various events happening in sequence rather than a properly-built story, leaving the reader bored and wondering what the point of all this is supposed to be.

Kkat, however, is unique in that he's almost an expert at failing. While most amateur writers might struggle with how to order the events in their tale, or which events to focus on and which ones to skip over, they would probably have enough sense to realize that if you introduce a problem for the hero to solve, then the hero ought to actually solve it at some point. Or, if it's not a problem meant for the hero, then the problem should at least be important somehow, and be solved in a way that affects the outcome of the rest of the story. Here, we have Tenpony Tower becoming suddenly occupied by an enemy force, and then being suddenly liberated by a mysterious friendly force. At no point is the hero's intervention required, and apart from the minor inconvenience of having to sneak past some soldiers, at no point does the occupation of this tower even affect Littlepoop in any serious way. So I ask again: why the fuck even bother?

Anyway, the rest of this is mostly just a recap of stuff we already know. Homage covers Derpy's rainboom of course, and also mentions some random acts of heroism that have been popping up here and there. Two characters named Lion and Mouse are mentioned by name, which I suspect may be early foreshadowing of some quasi-significant characters. A significant chunk of her broadcast is spent pointlessly eulogizing SteelHooves, because Lord knows we haven't had enough of that by now. If only kkat had paid him this much attention while he was alive, I might actually give a shit.

Homage also "accidentally" drops her location, but it turns out that this was a ruse: she prerecorded her show, and left the running tape recorder and a bomb for the Enclave soldiers to find.
>As far as I can tell, LP intends to somehow take control of the weather towers, and use them to remove the cloud cover over Equestria. This would have the dual effect of eliminating the clouds and making agriculture possible (presumably), as well as reconnecting the pegasi to the rest of Equestria, thus negating the Enclave's power over them.
I don't recall whether this is directly addressed at this point, but there's two major problems here. First is that, at least as far as the story's established up to this point, the cloud cover isn't what's preventing agriculture. The land is terminally contaminated by taint and radiation, hence the need for the Gardens of Equestria to magically unfuck everything. Second, and this is a big one, the Enclave's cloud farms are the only thing even approaching industrial-scale agriculture in the setting. She's planning to turn the pegasus civilians against their own government by destroying their food supply.

To put it in terms of the already badly strained real world comparison, she's planning to make the US citizens rebel against the government that instigated the War on Terror by deleting all the breadbasket states and making the country dependent on food imports from the Middle East.
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For whatever it's worth, it's hinted that Homage's actions here might have more significance further on:

>From the cot in Ditzy Doo’s room, I had only the darkness and Homage’s words to hold me. I could not know that my love had struck the deepest, most vital blow to the Enclave yet. I did not realize Homage had pulled the entire power supply from that alien weapon and rigged it to a bomb. I did not see the brilliant blue explosion that obliterated more than just the base station and the dozen heavily-armed Enclave pegasi inside. For two hundred years, the nearly fifty towers of the Single Pegasus Project had stood, impervious to everything the enemy and the wasteland could throw at them. I was not a witness on that snow-swept ridge as one of those towers cracked, shifted, and came tumbling down.
Apparently, Homage took down one of the radio towers by somehow transforming that "alien weapon" she for some reason has into a bomb. It might have helped if the author had explained a little more about what this weapon is, where it came from, why she has it, and how powerful it is/was. It also would have been nice to actually witness this event, since it sounds a hell of a lot more exciting than anything that's happened to Littlepoop in the last few scenes. However, that would require a change in perspective, and when your entire massive epic is being narrated by a single whiny, irritating protagonist, changing perspectives just isn't possible.

Page break.

>I awoke, disoriented by the sense of having lost time.
Welcome to my world, Littlepoop.

Anyway, Littlepoop wakes up several hours later. She is magically cured of all her wounds once again, and finds that while she was out, most of the wounded poners have been cleared out of Derpy's store. Also, the place is full of griffons now, but they don't seem to be hostile, as they are Gawd's troops. Also, Derpy repaired LP's police barding while she was asleep.

We are introduced to two new griffon characters: Kage and Regina, both of whom turn out to be Gawd's children. Kkat attempts a bit of humor by having Littlepoop eye-hump Regina, and then lose her spaghetti when she finds out who her mother is. Like most of kkat's jokes, it goes on way too long and isn't particularly funny. If he really wants to make people laugh, he should stick to tragedy.

Page break.

>I leaned against the train engine that made up part of the hodge-podge construction of Absolutely Everything. It was the dark, dead hours of the early morning. That hour where the darkness lays most heavily on the soul and the hungry monsters outside claw at your door.
Oh, kkat. How long did you have that line rattling around in your brain, just waiting for an excuse to be written down?

Anyway, after the hilarious exchange between LP and Regina, LP goes outside to take a piss, when she is suddenly approached by one of Spike/Watcher/Frank's sprite-bots. The bot informs her that the Enclave has been tracking her movements and has sent a hit squad after her, made up of their most elite fighters. Unsurprisingly, this squadron is called the Wonderbolts, and unsurprisingly this pisses off Littlepoop, even though there is no reason that I'm aware of for this name to even mean anything to her.

In any event, Frank has dropped by because apparently the Enclave came to visit him and "interrogated" him somehow. Seeing as how the last time they came after him he melted a couple of their soldiers quite effortlessly, it's unclear how they might have accomplished this. Also unclear is why they left him both alive and free once they were finished with him, seeing as how warning Littlepoop would be the most logical action for him to take as soon as he was out of their custody. But we'll put a pin in that for now. Point is, they interrogated him and learned that LP had visited Ironshod Firearms way the fuck back in Chapter Four or thereabouts. This is not vital information in and of itself, but apparently Littlepoop was not quite the super-1337 h4><0RR that she is today, and she was clumsy in her hacking of the computer back there. So, they managed to get hold of her PipBuck's signature, and can now track her wherever she goes.

It's a pity there wasn't anything on that computer except some long-dead pony's 200 year old diary, and if she hadn't bothered to hack the terminal to obtain this useless information, she wouldn't be in this mess. Gee, it's almost like there's a lesson in here for her; something about curiosity killing the cat, perhaps?

Anyway, that's the end of the chapter.

Chapter Forty-One: Towards Hope

Today's Fortune Cookie:

>“For many of us, the road is a difficult one, but the path is always there for us to follow, no matter how many times we may fall.”
Apparently, kkat ran out of Fallout and MLP dialogue to plagiarize, and now has to resort to using platitudes ripped from Alcoholics Anonymous pamphlets.

Calamity appears to have laid out his plan for dealing with the Wonderbolts during the space between chapters, and Littlepoop stands aghast at whatever he told her exactly.

>Hell, it wasn’t even a plan. Plans have… plan stuff. Calamity had a bunch of ideas and vague hopes tied together by multiple points of “and then something happens”.
Calamity and kkat should collaborate on a novel sometime; it sounds like they have similar writing styles.

Anyway, absent a better plan, it seems that Littlepoop has little choice but to go along with whatever Calamity wants to do. Incidentally, are they still working through Littlepoop's plan? The one from before, that she can't remember because she erased her own memory? Or was that plan finished once she killed the Goddess? Kkat doesn't really conclude his storylines; he just stops writing about them and moves on to something else, assuming that we will just intuitively grasp whatever he has in mind.

Anyway, it seems that LP has some ideas for how to augment Calamity's plan. She will need both Frank and Gawd's help.
>“For many of us, the road is a difficult one, but the path is always there for us to follow, no matter how many times we may fall.”

This one here was actually ripped from Fallout New Vegas with the Honest Hearts DLC with Joshua Gram. Think he's done it a few times now actually.

I remember you mentioned before about trying out the Fallout games to compare it to this story and see where kkat took insperation from and feel like you'd really like Honest Hearts.


Fallout never really address old world religion so makes Joshua and Daniel interesting characters carrying an Old Testament vs New Testament morality and many memorable quotes from him.
>If they are written by straight or lesbian women, 38 year olds like kkat who are trannies trying to larp as lesbians, or sweaty fat guys or limp twisted soy boys role playing as them online, they are always written the same by being super horny and have to leer at everything with a vagina. He absolutely wasn't the first to do so but I noticed just about every Fallout Equestria story and most the art is over powered lesbian unicorns.
I've noticed this too. Kkat basically writes his "lesbian" protagonist the same way he'd write a man. In fact, neither Littlepoop's femininity nor her being a lesbian really impact the story all that much, so you could easily rewrite this with a male protagonist without having to change all that much.

I don't pretend to know much about lesbians, but I've never had the impression that they think about sex the same way a guy does, ie walking around checking out the ass of every girl they see. Littlepoop basically behaves like a horny construction worker: she doesn't vocalize her thoughts in an obnoxious way, but since we're privy to them we can tell that sex is on her mind quite a bit, and she doesn't seem too picky or too monogamous about it. Even though she's in a "relationship" with Homage, this doesn't prevent her from objectively sizing up each attractive female she meets as a potential sex partner, which again is closer to how a male thinks than how (I would assume) a gay woman thinks. It's not necessarily a condemnation of her behavior, but if she were written as a male it would change the audience's view of her. A man who thinks and behaves this way would come across as a horndog, but a "lesbian" gets a pass.

The reason for this is because it's basically considered normal for men to objectify women on some level, but since it's normal there's usually no reason to call attention to their doing it. For instance, one can probably assume that Hamlet, for all his moody bullshit, had the same impulses and attractions as any other guy his age; however, he doesn't spend every soliloquy talking about Ophelia's tits. If a male character is constantly talking or thinking about sex, the reader will generally take this to mean that he has an exceptionally strong libido that you, the author, wanted to emphasize for some plot-related reason.

However, when writing a character who has some kind of uncommon sexual preference, you need to find a way to let the reader know this; otherwise they will just assume that your character is probably straight, if they think about it at all. It takes practice to do this with subtlety, so a lot of writers end up doing what kkat does here: have the character constantly make references to their own sexuality or make it blatantly obvious that they are into women, men, sheep, coprophilia or any other sort of demented thing the author wants the reader to know they're into. The fact that the character has an abnormal preference that you want to emphasize is the only reason to do this; as soon as you remove the abnormality from it the character simply appears to be overly obsessed with sex.

>To put it in terms of the already badly strained real world comparison, she's planning to make the US citizens rebel against the government that instigated the War on Terror by deleting all the breadbasket states and making the country dependent on food imports from the Middle East.
What's interesting here is that even if you set aside all the moral questions, this would probably produce the exact opposite of she wants. She's trying to bring about peace by eliminating the Enclave's hold over its people, but forcing a massive number of ponies used to living in relative plenty into competition with the already-stressed wastelanders would be a recipe for disaster. If resources are already scarce, then making them even more so certainly won't reduce conflict.

What would probably happen is the pegasi would stop hating the surface ponies they've never met because the Enclave told them to, and start hating the surface ponies they have met, because those 200 year old cans of beans are now the only food on the planet, and suddenly there are many thousands more mouths to feed.

If kkat understood concepts like this he could probably do something interesting with it, but...well, obviously.
I'm planning to play them once I've wrapped this story up. I actually think not playing any of the games before delving into this was the right choice; if I knew what was being referenced my mind would automatically fill in the blanks. Coming into it blind, I have nothing but kkat's narration to inform me of what's going on, and that really makes it clear just how nonsensical this story really is. If there was a way I could have selectively erased my memories of MLP before reading, so I would be prevented from also using that knowledge as a crutch, I think I would have opted to do that as well.
>the Enclave named their elite killsquad The Wonderbolts

The Wonderbolts were a bunch of circus performers until later-season retcons added more military shit to them. The wonderbolts in this story were (as was established 50 chapters ago) used as an elite squad of fliers by Equestria and many died trying to same some ponies from Zigger pirates. Rainbow Dash founded the Shadowbolts, a dedicated military force of elite fliers (I think) working for her "Ministry Of Awesome". It makes no sense for the Enclave to name their elite fliers "The Wonderbolts".

This would be like if America got nuked and 200 years later, a fragment of America that seceded on racial grounds and once tried turning the Denver Broncos into an elite rescue unit (only for them to underperform in their new role) decided to call its own elite killsquad Manchester United just because they were founded by someone they now hate who also loved Manchester United and founded the Denver Broncos hoping to replace them.
Mr Krabs! I had an idea!

What if at the story's start, Littlepip had to complete a multiple choice quiz with questions about history and science and theoretical questions about how you would act in assorted extreme scenarios? LP could go out of her way to pick the nicest sounding theoretical options while thinking "lmao this is retarded a smart hero like me would never do this" even though ironically she becomes a total goody two (four?) shoes outside the Stable. Also the questions regarding Equestria's history could be used to establish what LP actually knows about old world history and what she has to lie about on her test if she wants a passing grade. Correctly answering that Pinkie invented crack and AJ invented guns, incorrectly claiming the Battle Of The Bulgey-Wulgey was fought over economic reasons when it was really fought because ziggers were raping there, writing some short essay to be pure cumsucking asskissing faggotry designed to pleasure a teacher she hates for being a blunt obvious one-note living representation of the shitheads that let Equestria die, and so on.

It could be like the G.O.A.T. test from Fallout 3 only instead of "penguin of doom lolsorandum" bullshit, it's used for characterization. Maybe mix in a little of the personality quiz from Pokemon Mystery Dungeon and Kris's quiz from Custom Robo Arena.

By establishing LP as one who hides her true self to fit in inside the Stable, it makes for a more shocking moment when she reveals her true self outside the Stable, or something right?
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LP and Calamity are standing around on the porch of Derpy's store. LP is asking why the Wonderbolts haven't tracked her down yet, which is actually a pretty good question, when they bump into Railright. They discuss the fate of the pegasi from earlier. Apparently, the two bumpkins that wandered in are still hanging around; Railright put them to work doing something or other in return for food and shelter. The military one that Calamity was arguing with answered some kind of summons from the Enclave to return to base.

As ever, it's unclear what the Enclave's motivations are, but they seem to have some kind of taboo about returning to the surface world. Any pegasus who comes into contact with any of the ground ponies is considered unclean or infected or something. In this case, it appears the Enclave made a broadcast inviting "misplaced citizens" to return; from Calamity's reaction, the implication seems to be that the summons is a ruse, and anyone who answers it will be killed.

>“Cuz that place needs t’ be more toxic,” Calamity nickered.
Seriously; go through the text. Every goddamn time a character in this story makes a horse noise, it's always a "nicker." These ponies don't neigh, and they don't whinny; neither do they whicker, grunt, or snort. No, the only sound kkat's horses are capable of making is the eternal nicker. Its phonetic similarity to "nigger" aside, I'm really getting tired of reading this word all the time.

They talk about current events; apparently there has been an unusual amount of rain lately. This may or may not have anything to do with the Enclave. Incidentally, if pegasi canonically control the weather in this universe, and their society has chosen to completely forsake the ponies on the surface world, then why does it still rain in the wasteland?

Anyway, a town called Hope is arbitrarily namedropped, and LP inquires about it:

>“The town with that old weapons factory,” Railright clarified. Ironshod Firearms. I remembered walking through the playground of Hope. I’d seen my first Ministry of Morale poster there. I just hadn’t known the town’s name.
Oddly enough, I think I remember that place. I recall wondering why there was a playground out in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere. For whatever it's worth, here is what I had to say about it at the time:

>She wanders around some more and finds herself in a ruined playground. There's nothing of any particular note here except some more edge: apparently there were some foals playing in the playground when the nuclear explosion went off (I guess), so now their skeletons are lying by the merry go round. Cue sad music. After this apparently meaningless find, she realizes she's thirsty, so she goes to a fucking vending machine and buys a fucking soda. Yes, this autism is actually in the text.

Apparently, Hope was also the home of a large solar power array. Odd that LP didn't notice this while she was wandering around there before. Then again, she didn't notice the gigantic radio towers dotted about all over the place either, until they became relevant to the plot.

>“Hope Solar Array,” Calamity told me, sounding a little bored. “Big bunch o’ dishes pointed up at the clouds. Best Ah c’n gather, the ponies o’ the old world tried all sorts o’ crazy ways t’ get power when the coal supply got strangled.”
Yet another vague aspect of kkat's universe. How exactly are the various devices we've seen powered? We have technology like computer terminals, artificially intelligent mechanical owls, computer-guided targeting systems, and so forth and so on, existing side by side with spells and witchcraft. This is one of those sticky situations you can run into when you try to blend sci-fi and fantasy. What powers these devices? Magic? Electricity? Steam? It pays to put thought into stuff like this before you sit down and start writing.

While they are talking about this, the door to the store suddenly opens and Regina Grimfeathers (Gawd's daughter) appears. She pulls out a pack of cigarettes and starts smoking; that's how you can tell she's a bad-ass. She announces that Silver Bell has gone missing. Could this be the start of the team's next adventure? As it turns out, no; Silver Bell appears to have simply gone to the bathroom. The only reason the subject even came up was so kkat could toss in another cringe-worthy joke, this time about LP pissing outside when the town had public toilets all along.

Anyway, with that essential matter all cleared up, the conversation returns to its previous topic: the Enclave. The long and short of it is that the Enclave is the most technologically advanced civilization on the planet, due to their still having access to all of the pre-war technology that they had when they decided to seal themselves off. However, without unicorns, they are unable to develop new tech, and are reliant on what they already have. They have apparently been scavenging from mountaintops and warring with the griffins for the last two centuries in order to procure resources, but those wells seem to have finally run dry. Presumably, this is why they have decided to invade the wasteland. Also, it turns out that the sonic rainboom is like a weapon of mass destruction to them, and so Derpy's ability to pull one off has sent them into some kind of panic. So, in summation, that is why the Wonderbolts haven't come after them yet. This entire subchapter was just a long, meandering answer to this one simple question.

Page break. LP reenters the store and tells Gawd that she needs a favor. There is yet another cringe-worthy joke about LP's lesbian attraction to Gawd that goes on far longer than it has any right to, and then LP gets down to brass tacks: she wants Gawd to escort Derpy and Silver Bell to Spike's cave for protection. At this point, LP notices that Silver Bell still hasn't returned from the bathroom yet; she must be taking a pretty gigantic shit.
>without unicorns, they are unable to develop new tech, and are reliant on what they already have
But Earth Ponies invented firearms and cyborgery in this setting. AJ and her ministry invented guns while the all-earth pony vault Red Eye is from invented the cybernetic enhancements he uses. If earth ponies can do that, Pegasi should be able to do more using their wings like hands cartoon-style. Sure they can't do any telekinetic unicorn shit or trap souls in objects or whatever, but you'd think after 200 years the Enclave would have some factories (possibly made from clouds or designed with the help of unicorns) designed to let pegasi build shit. Or maybe some hidden factories and work camps in the middle of buttfuck nowhere for any Unicorn or EarthPony kids/slaves of the Enclave to work for the good of the enclave in return for their protection and feeding.

Is that a real fighting game? Normally excessively-crippling/lethal throws like that do less damage than a series of boots to the face for balance purposes.

Stiletto, who I think is one of Gawd's underlings, suddenly enters the store and informs them that Silver Bell is up at Railright's, and is in need of assistance. There's no implication that she is in any serious danger, but for some reason both LP and Derpy interpret it this way, and take off running. They arrive at the building Railright uses as his headquarters, and find it ominously dark. LP floats out her gun, and Derpy kicks down the door. However, before they can get down to the business of murdering everyone in sight, the lights suddenly pop on and balloons descend from the ceiling. A room full of the townsponies yell "surprise" in unison. Too bad LP didn't shoot first and ask questions later like she usually does; the results could have been hilarious.

Page break. Turns out that what started as Pinkie Bell going out to take a shit and nearly ended as a tragic bloodbath was actually a surprise party that Silver Bell had planned for her adoptive mother, to recognize her efforts in saving the town. They all stand around and eat cake, and LP catches up with Crane, the pony from way back who taught her how to use her bullshit telekinesis powers to the fullest. He is duly impressed by the feats of Mary Suedom she has accomplished with said power since she was last under his tutelage.

He casually mentions the existence of a potion that can cure magic burnout. This would be immensely helpful to Littlepoop, since her occasional bouts with light fatigue are really the last thing standing between her and godhood, but in a surprising twist she actually turns down the opportunity to go on a pointless side-mission. However, she promises to investigate the place later if she happens to be in the area.

After this, LP goofs around and enjoys the party for a bit longer, and then goes outside for some reason or other. Gawd approaches her, and tells her that she has decided to accept her offer to escort Derpy and Silver Bell to Spike's place, in exchange for 500 caps. Nothing else happens, really.

Page break. LP goes back inside and parties for a bit longer, and when things start to wind down she is approached by Xenith. They are eventually joined by Calamity and Regina. They sit around and bullshit for awhile, the played-out unfunny joke about LP wanting to munch down on Regina and/or her mother rears its ugly head again, and then they chat about guns and battles. It turns out that the Enclave has taken to hunting raiders as some kind of PR move to convince the Equestrians that they are the good guys. The upshot of this seems to be that the raiders have been mostly driven from the wasteland; fans of child gladiator battles will now have to seek amusement elsewhere, though.

Also, it turns out that Regina and her brother Kage are planning to come with Littlepoop on her next mission. Apparently, they have fallen into the inescapable black hole of hero worship that follows her wherever she goes.

Page break. The next day, Velvet Remedy shows up. Apparently, she saw Derpy's rainboom and came here to help the wounded or whatever; you may or may not remember that "kindness" is supposed to be her thing. She is escorted in by Crane, who has apparently been bragging to her that his powers of Mary Sue magic can outclass even Mary Sue herself. They all have a chuckle about this, and then Crane wanders off, leaving Velvet and LP to talk about feelings and stuff.

The conversation goes about the way you'd expect. LP apologizes for not leaving Velvet's room when she asked her to, and Velvet apologizes for being a cunt:

>Velvet Remedy shook her head, her striped mane flapping wetly. “No. They were cruel. And… hypocritical.” She shrugged off her medical boxes. The yellow boxes with their pink butterflies sank into the brown water. “I’m not worthy to follow Fluttershy. Or to be your friend.”
Once again, the characters in this story seem to always learn the wrong lessons. Or, in this case, reach the right conclusion, but for the wrong reasons. She calls herself hypocritical here, which is certainly true; I've said as much about her more than once. However, she doesn't seem to fully grasp why she's a hypocrite.

Velvet professes a vaguely-defined set of wishy-washy ideals about "kindness" and a desire to "help" ponies, but she only follows them when it's convenient for her, if at all. She left the stable because she wanted to be a doctor instead of a singer, then wound up working as a part time nurse/part time singer for a bunch of slavers. She didn't seem to have any objections to working for these ponies, yet she just as willingly teamed up with some psychopath who showed up one day and murdered them all. She followed said psychopath and her friends around, patching up their various injuries as they brutally slaughtered half the wasteland, and apart from the occasional arbitrary objection to some specific murder or other, she seemed to more or less condone the psychopath's behavior. Then, randomly, she gets mad at her and strikes off on her own; then, just as randomly, she reappears, wanting to make amends.

This character has no solid convictions about anything; she just does whatever she wants and leaves it to others to clean the mess up behind her, just like LP and every other character in this story. The only thing she cares about is that she can feel like she's doing good most of the time; the actual outcomes that her actions produce is irrelevant to her. That's what makes her an insincere hypocrite. However, that's not what she's apologizing for here.

>I’m not worthy to follow Fluttershy. Or to be your friend.
She's not apologizing for her own shitty behavior, she's just apologizing for momentarily forgetting that Littlepoop is the hero that Gotham deserves. As to her "following" Fluttershy, it's never been clear just what aspect of Flutters she's trying to emulate. She's as insincere about this as she is about everything else.
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Anyway, there's no point in going over the rest of this conversation, since I'd just be reiterating complaints I've made a thousand times before about Velvet and Littlepoop. They swap platitudes back and forth for awhile, and then yada yada yada they're friends again.

There is, however, one minor detail that probably bears mentioning:

>After a pregnant pause, she let out a trembling whinny. “It’s my fault SteelHooves is dead.”
Basically, Velvet blames herself for SteelHooves' death because she insisted they stay camped where they were so that Littlepoop could find them again, or something. This made them an easy target for the hellhounds. Also noteworthy is that a character finally made a horse-noise that wasn't a nicker.

I could probably point out that the hellhounds are supposed to have super-acute hearing and could probably have tracked them down no matter where they were camped, but it feels like a waste of time. At this point I am sick of hearing about SteelHooves and how he died and how sad everyone is about it. Kkat completely ignored this incredibly boring character for 3/4 of the story, and then suddenly he gets decapitated and everyone is incapable of shutting up about him.

Anyway, long story short, Velvet has rejoined the party. Once the maudlin waterworks are out of the way, Calamity shows up and plays kissy-face with her, and this breaks the tension. The scene ends on what kkat likely considers a bittersweet note.

Page break. We rejoin the party at some indeterminate point in the future. They are approaching Manehattan; an unknown distance from New Appleoosa. Last time they made the journey it took them several weeks, but at the same time they kept making side trip. Who knows how far it actually is? It's as far as kkat wants it to be.

>“Ever consider mounting a magical energy turret on the top o’ that thing?” Reggie called up to Calamity, eyeing the Sky Bandit’s rack where SteelHooves had stood in past battles.
>Calamity wasn’t quick to answer. Like me, I think he felt that mounting a weapon would be too much like we were replacing SteelHooves.
Plus, imagine if it fell off the roof.

>Kage flew close on the other side, talking to Velvet Remedy. “So, you follow the pony who all the medical supply boxes are made to look like?”
This may be the most awkwardly worded line of dialogue in the entire text so far.

>“Yes,” Velvet Remedy stated, beginning to get her hooves back under her. “Her name is Fluttershy, and she was the best pony.”
>Kage considered that. “But… you said she was the one who created the megaspells?” Velvet Remedy had been surprisingly forthcoming with that bit of information. A reaction, I suspected, to our attempts to keep it a secret. “Which caused the apocalypse,” Kage added. “So… you’re a follower of the apocalypse?”
>Velvet Remedy needed only a heartbeat to answer. “If that is the name ponies want to use for anyone who aspires to the kindness of Fluttershy, then I will own that title. Without reservation.”
Scratch that, this is the most awkwardly worded conversation in the entire text so far. Seriously, nobody fucking talks like this, and the discussion is pointless. Why is this even in here?

Anyway, they are not long in Manehattan before they are set upon by ruffians:

>About ten minutes later, as we crouched in the cover of a broken sales bench, the pale grey light from the clouds was blotted out by the massive form of a black, anvil-shaped Enclave mobile fortress. Four great thunderclouds spanned out from it, two on each side. The ruined Manehattan street was rendered in stark black and white as massive bolts of lightning arced between them. Attached to each storm cloud was a Raptor. On each Raptor, one of the clouds holding it aloft had merged into one of the flying fortress’s broiling thunderclouds. The undercarriage of the massive ship bristled with weapon turrets. I could make out several large doors capable of dropping war chariots or bombers or troops by the scores.
Kkat clearly has some interesting visuals in his head, but unfortunately he provides too little information for us to see what he sees. This is the first we've heard of any "flying fortresses" in this story; at first I thought he was talking about the Raptor battleships we've seen before. However, the fact that Raptors are also present indicates that they are a different type of thing. So the flying fortresses are...bigger than the Raptors? Smaller? We've had absolutely zero description of these vehicles; presumably they're a direct ripoff of something from Fallout, and kkat simply assumes that we've all played the games and know what he's referencing.

Anyway, it sounds like whatever these things are, they're pretty big. Also, they don't seem particularly interested in harassing the party; Calamity informs us that this is part of the larger operation we've heard about before. The technical name for this is "Operation: Cauterize," and it refers to the systematic removal of all pegasi technology from the surface world, as well as hunting down the various Dashites (I don't remember if I've mentioned this or not). It doesn't seem like either of these tasks would really require this much firepower; however, it sounds as if what's mostly going on here is internal Enclave politics. The higher-ups need to claim some kind of big showy victory in order to impress the other higher-ups and retain their positions, or get reelected, or something. As usual, kkat's ideas are not necessarily bad, but they are half-formed and poorly explained.

>“By the vector, I’d say they’re aimin’ fer Fillydelphia,” Reggie suggested. “Assumin’ they don’t plan t’ park that thing over Tenpony Tower.”
>Fuck. Dammit, dammit, dammit!
What is LP's concern here? If the Enclave is busy fighting Red Eye in Fillydelphia, it means their main force will be distracted, so the party can...wait a minute. What exactly is the party supposed to be doing right now again? Bringing back the sun, or something?
>Scratch that, this is the most awkwardly worded conversation in the entire text so far. Seriously, nobody fucking talks like this, and the discussion is pointless. Why is this even in here?
Ham-handed Fallout reference. In Fallout, the Followers of the Apocalypse are a (nominally) pacifist organisation that tries to provide charity and medical aid to those in need. I wouldn't be surprised if Velvet and Fluttershy's entire convoluted path through this story was intended to lead up to this one specific name drop.

>So the flying fortresses are...bigger than the Raptors? Smaller? We've had absolutely zero description of these vehicles; presumably they're a direct ripoff of something from Fallout, and kkat simply assumes that we've all played the games and know what he's referencing.
Surprisingly, Fallout has no equivalent to the airships used by FoE's Enclave. The only thing vaguely comparable are the Enclave's vertibirds, which are effectively just small helicopters. Fallout 4 gave the Brotherhood of Steel *an* airship, but that was years after FoE was completed.

The raptors and flying fortresses (which, if I remember correctly, are called thunderheads) are entirely original to FoE, so the fact that they're poorly described stands out even more. Fallout's Enclave have nothing that even comes close to this level of air superiority.
>Is that a real fighting game? Normally excessively-crippling/lethal throws like that do less damage than a series of boots to the face for balance purposes.
No idea; I found it on 4chan and it made me chuckle. I assume it's just someone fucking around with SFM or something similar, but it might be a real game.

>But Earth Ponies invented firearms and cyborgery in this setting. AJ and her ministry invented guns while the all-earth pony vault Red Eye is from invented the cybernetic enhancements he uses. If earth ponies can do that, Pegasi should be able to do more using their wings like hands cartoon-style.
This is a pretty good point. It doesn't particularly make sense that the pegasi wouldn't be able to develop new technology, just like it doesn't make sense that the wasteland would have failed to redevelop at least some rudimentary level of civilization over the course of 200 years, and it doesn't make sense that so many ponies would randomly transform into sadists who decorate their bedrooms with entrails and make children fight each other for no reason. At a glance, kkat's world seems pretty intricately put together, but it's mostly just because it's so large and complicated. As soon as you start examining things closely you see that large portions of the way this world works have not been properly thought out.

>What if at the story's start, Littlepip had to complete a multiple choice quiz with questions about history and science and theoretical questions about how you would act in assorted extreme scenarios? LP could go out of her way to pick the nicest sounding theoretical options while thinking "lmao this is retarded a smart hero like me would never do this" even though ironically she becomes a total goody two (four?) shoes outside the Stable. Also the questions regarding Equestria's history could be used to establish what LP actually knows about old world history and what she has to lie about on her test if she wants a passing grade. Correctly answering that Pinkie invented crack and AJ invented guns, incorrectly claiming the Battle Of The Bulgey-Wulgey was fought over economic reasons when it was really fought because ziggers were raping there, writing some short essay to be pure cumsucking asskissing faggotry designed to pleasure a teacher she hates for being a blunt obvious one-note living representation of the shitheads that let Equestria die, and so on.
How in the world would this improve anything? The prologue is already a long infodump about PipBucks; I fail to see the benefit in adding an even longer infodump about a bunc of even more trivial subjects, none of which will matter until 400 pages into the story.

>The Wonderbolts were a bunch of circus performers until later-season retcons added more military shit to them. The wonderbolts in this story were (as was established 50 chapters ago) used as an elite squad of fliers by Equestria and many died trying to same some ponies from Zigger pirates. Rainbow Dash founded the Shadowbolts, a dedicated military force of elite fliers (I think) working for her "Ministry Of Awesome". It makes no sense for the Enclave to name their elite fliers "The Wonderbolts".
I didn't go over it, but the text actually somewhat addresses this:

>Calamity leaned close and whispered, “The Wonderbolts are the stars of the Enclave. Spend as much time putting on shows at patriotism events as they do actually hunting.” He added, “Probably more.”
>Celebrities. The best hunter-killer pack in the Enclave… they tracked down and murdered ponies for a living, and they had fans. They put on shows. Ponies lined up for their autographs. There were press releases whenever they had a roster change. How fucked up was that?
It doesn't make a ton of sense, but the Wonderbolts in this story seem to be similar to the Wonderbolts in the show, in that they seem to alternate between being a troupe of entertainers and some kind of paramilitary force. They are one of many areas of the show where worldbuilding was handled rather clumsily, and I've never been 100% clear on what their role is supposed to be exactly. I know this is a subject of debate within the fandom, so I assumed that kkat was just tossing this in for the bronies, as you point out. I don't remember how they were portrayed at the time this story would have been written, however.

>The raptors and flying fortresses (which, if I remember correctly, are called thunderheads) are entirely original to FoE, so the fact that they're poorly described stands out even more.
Huh. Literally everything in this story I take a guess at turns out to be a football pull one way or the other.
>Fallout Equestria in a shellnut
>follower of the apocalypse
nyrheheh Lois he said it! He said the thing!
But for real this is the most hamfisted title drop I've seen since "What are we, some kind of Suicide Squad?".
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>Twilight seeing the news of mega spells being sent to the ziggers.
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Twilight Sparkle, who was "absorbed into Trixie's alicorn hive mind just like two twin unicorns good at telepathy and shield magic" except she also just became another random Alicorn in the middle of nowhere who shows up for maudlin bullshit after Trixie's death...

Man... Imagine if for much of the early story, Twilight Sparkle the terrifying all-powerful invincible Alicorn assassin-slave was sent after LP who is constantly forced to evade her and flee from her. Fights with Twilight aren't fights, they're struggles to survive and sometimes delay her until you can escape from her for a while.

That'd be sick, especially if life is suffering for enslaved Alicorn Twilight who cries silently when not screaming.

Fucking epic, like the Man On Fire from MGSV/Arnold Terminator/That invincible suit from Metroid. It could add tension to every scene. Is LP fucking her GF or taking a shit or shooting raiders? Twilight is coming. Could give her an edgy rename like Midnight. Or maybe The Nightwalker or The Midnight or Midnight Malady or Midnight Doom.


The Watcher, a mysterious entity that sometimes possesses (hacks into) Spritebots like Ulysseys from FNV's Lonesome Road.

Revealing it was Spike all along seems kind of lame. This huge dragon could start a nation to defend the Gardens Of Equestria better than the Steel Brotherhood of Applejack's Rangers ever could. Instead he just waits and sometimes hacks bots with his giant claws and a tiny computer keyboard, borrowing eyebots aka spritebots.

Also, there are Crusader Maneframe supercomputers that contain living AIs and can simulate copies of brain-scanned ponies. And you can split a chunk of your soul into an item to make it invincible or shove all of your woul into it to possess it. At some point an old guy wanted to live forever in this way, but it never went anywhere, right? Just shit that became a red herring when Kkat decided simply making LP live forever in one Crusader Maneframe wasn't Sue enough.

Why didn't Equestria win the war with steel pony animatronics brought to life with fragments of the souls of fatally wounded soldiers or the terminally ill for maximum invincibility? Nopony thought of that in time. Not even Twilight or Rarity.

However... What if a pre-war pony tried to upload her brain and soul into a Crusader Maneframe supercomputer and then tried to spread her soul out across all the robots under her command to make them invincible... only for the tech to fuck up and split chunks of her brain along with the soul, resulting in a shitton of retarded invincible robots roaming around (LP could get one of these quirky little bots as a friend) until Littlepip figures out what's going on and fixes everything, resulting in the pre-war pony of choice with a split brain being healed and remembering all her pre-war knowledge?

It's a twist on Mr House the bot-controlling guy since he didn't lose his mind and can't literally split his soul across bots to make them invincible.

And if this was done to an interesting pre-nuking pony it would be a great way to turn one obligatory quirky robot fren into a major player in the lategame. At first it justifies making the occasional roaming Spritebot help the player out. Then once something special is done to one Spritebot so it can remain mentally awake for longer without sleeping and roaming at random playing polka tracks, it justifies adding an ED-E or Mr Gutsy or Claptrap kind of character to the party for comic relief and hacking and lockpicking (LP would be slightly less of a sue if she wasn't a hacking and lockpicking god and a telekinesis and sneak and gun god).

Sending LP on a mission to grab the important machine part would justify one of the story's many unjustified dungeon crawls.

Any type of robot would do for this scenario, but keeping this a Spritebot/Eyebot thing just seems right. And since Pinkie is an incredibly entertaining character and she was canonically the inventor of the spritebots (because Kkat wanted the Cartoon Militarist Radio-playing bots from F3 and thought making them the eyes of Pinkie's 1984 ministry and making them play pinkie polka music would make them fit better into Equestria) what if Pinkie survived the war by putting her mind and soul into a Crusader Maneframe and getting split across her Spritebots? In the lategame LP could help "The Watcher" aka Pinkie Pie put some upgrade onto DJ Pon3's tower that unites the bots back into the hive mind they are meant to have, restoring Pinkie's once-fragmented mind back to peak Pinkie. Then if Alicorn Twilight wasn't already beaten, they could talk.

Hey, trying to bring the Mane Six back to life would be an awesome main quest for the heroes! Better than trying to fuck with the weather. Gathering the Statuettes to revive Rarity, finding ghoul survivalist bitter RD somewhere in buttfuck nowhere and reigniting her heroism, healing Pinkie's fractured psyche, breaking Twilight free from Trixie's control (then Twi creates a megaspell nuke grenade on the spot for LP to sneak into Trixie's home while living in Canterlot and repairing it), doing some other thing with AJ and Flutters... It could be great. It would help the old Equestria feel connected to the new Edgequestria. Because right now Edgequestria is just foreign bastardized Fallout 1-4 crap sprinkled on the corpse of an Equestria killed by ideals it simultaneously sometimes forgot...

Plus if LP heard Goddess Trixie loses control of the Alicorns in Canterlot it would give LP (pursued by Twilight) a better reason to go there than "muh black book". Just put the Black Book in Twilight's Treebrary and make it bond itself to LP when she picks it up so nopony can read it but her until she dies and she never wants to read it because it's evil. This justifies making her hyper important to the world without her needing to be some OP storm of death. Just like making Commander Shepard read Important-Ese and giving PMD2's hero Future Sight.
>Enslaved Alicorn Twilight nicknames
How about "The End of Days"?
It sounds incredibly spooky, but not cheesy like Midnight Doom.
It sounds like something Edgequestrians might actually name some mysterious horrifying unkillable force of nature. You know if they didn't feel like naming everything after slightly ponified Fallout elements or tossing out shitty names like Gutterville.
And best of all...
It references the Twilight period at the end of day and the start of night in a geniusly subtle way. As long as the Alicorn's a black silhouette with glowing white eyes and flaming black (or white?) hair instead of visually looking exactly like Twilight but bigger, I bet 99% of all Fallout Equestria readers would literally never guess The End of Days is a mind controlled Twilight Sparkle until enough big reveals make it increasingly obvious. Even then, I bet actual theoretical money the chapter that spells out "The End of Days is Twilight" and Twilight regains control in Canterlot in a big dramatic moment would have shitloads of comments gasping. For every one "I knew it!" comment there would be two "I didn't see that coming!" comments.
Feel like that alicorn Twilight could have been the Frank Horigan reference in the story. Be this super powerful entity hunting down LP and the gang like you mentioned. Have it so Twilight's love of knowledge and protecting others get corrupted (fits into kkat's whole moral dilemma of corrupted elements of harmony) so she wants to assimilate more ponies and take over the Wasteland to preserve pony life and to add more knowledge and experience to the hive mind.

For a name I liked one I heard in a fan song where she was named Eclipse. Fits for her being the student and in the case of a corrupted version the usurper of Celestia and Luna while having knowledge she learned from both so has eclipsed their power and the power of the sun and moon.

Mentioned revealing Spike later so could have had a thing where LP kills Trixie and now Alicorn Twilight is freed from the hivemind. Has a dilemma where she knows she isn't the original Twilight since she became part of the flesh blob the Goddess was and also dealing with the trauma of only having her own thoughts now and missing much of what the hive mind provided. Maybe a part of her remembers a memory Twilight had about the Garden of Equestria. A last ditch plan Incase any of the Mane 6 were killed or incapable of using them.

Alicorn Twilight in a daze finds herself drawn to there and LP follows her trail or maybe travels with her and they trek up the mountain and find Spike hibernating outside the enterance to it. Have an emotional reunion where Spike is excited to see Twilight again but realizes this isn't really her but she has a part of Twilight inside and helps her come to terms with her identity. LP can help right her element where before she was a drone forcing ponies to become alicorns so their minds can be preserved in the hive mind can now use the technology at the Garden of Equestia and the sprite bots to guide LP and others around the Wasteland and share knowledge freely like the original Twilight would.

Rather then the radio being Homage talking about scissoring LP and playing the same music over and over got alicorn Twilight sharing stories of the Mane 6 and Equestria before the war. Gives hope to ponies where rather then sitting around munching on 200 year old beans they can hear how good ponies used to be and hear about the history of the ruins they are squatting in. Make them motivated to improve themselves and honor the ponies of yore and return Equestria to how it used to be.

Not sure how they could do Red Eyes in this version of the story but maybe have a conflict where LP and Twilight want to help ponies return to the old Equestria but Red Eyes sees the way the world is now and rather then cling to old hope he wants to bring everypony under his hoof to forge a new nation and belief where ponies are hardened to conquering the Wasteland. Makes it a tough dilemma for LP since Red Eyes plan is the easy solution, everyone join in one massive totalitarian faction and fight everything around them. Then there's Twilight's plan to have everyone work together but by their own volition. It'll be tougher, take longer, many ponies are going to die from faction conflicts, monsters, and famine/disease, but if they can succeed it'll be an Equestria where ponies are free and the elements can live on in all their hearts.
1 Magician Pepe .gif

Anyway, it seems that whatever the fuck is going on, LP has yet another plan. In her own words, this one involves "making this all better" and "making the loss mean something." I Ii II I_ It seems that this plan is really just an extension of her existing plan, which has presumably been running in the background all this time. Meanwhile, she assures Calamity that they will, in fact, still be executing his plan alongside this new plan. So, all in all, it's a good day for plans.

As usual, what they actually intend to do or what they hope to accomplish by doing it is about as clear as mud, but the basic idea seems to be that they need to find whatever building the Enclave is using as a communications center. Littlepoop suggests Horseshoe Tower, which you may or may not remember is that place where some griffons were being pinned down by some alicorns like 40 eternities ago. So, I guess that's where they're heading.

Page break. We rejoin the part at some indeterminate point in the future, and they appear to still be talking about plans. Velvet seems surprised that Calamity would have a plan, because usually it's not his style to have a plan. However, he assures her that he does, in fact, have a plan, and it's a good plan. Plan, plan, plan.

Anyway, they have returned to Tenpony Tower. For some idiotic reason or other, Calamity intends to have Life Bloom erase his memories, the same way that Littlepoop had hers erased. Velvet thinks this is a stupid idea, and for once I agree with her. However, apparently Calamity's plan involves "saving" the Wonderbolts instead of just defeating them, and for some reason he needs to have his memories erased in order to do this.

Page break. They meet up with some unnamed character within Tenpony, who is apparently the same unnamed character who explained Monterrey Jack's legal affairs to Littlepoop like 20 or 30 eternities ago. He seems impressed by Derpy's sonic rainboom, and for some reason connects this event to Littlepoop's party, even though they basically had nothing to do with it. Anyway, he is a member of the Twilight Society, which you may or may not remember is the fruity little club that runs Tenpony behind the scenes.

Also, for whatever its worth, it seems that Homage's broadcasts are now being called "Resistance Radio," because that's not corny as all fuck or anything. I'd actually like to reference one of my earlier comments, because it applies as much here as it did earlier:
>As far as I can tell, for Homage, "getting the truth out" basically means playing the same five songs over and over in perpetuity forever, and occasionally gushing about how wonderful and heroic her lesbian girlfriend is. I have to say, her sense of self-importance relative to what she actually does for a living is eerily similar to that of an actual journalist.

Anyway, the unnamed pony agrees to help them in whatever way they might need. Littlepoop also says she has a legal matter that she wants to ask him about whenever it's convenient; however, we do not learn what it is just yet. Once this is settled, they are all shown to a fancy suite, and Velvet suggests a trip to the spa. However, Littlepoop wants to infiltrate Horseshoe Tower first, because it turns out they did a flyover of it during the ether space between scenes, and confirmed that yes, the Enclave is using it as a communications tower or something. Then, Velvet and Calamity start making out, so Littlepoop and the two griffons excuse themselves to go sneak into the tower or whatever.

Page break. We rejoin Littlepoop and possibly the two griffons at some indeterminate point in the future. They appear to be inside Horseshoe Tower. How they got there does not seem to be important, even though there was supposedly a Raptor circling the roof and a bunch of guards surrounding the place.

>It was just as I remembered it. As I looked down into the pit of rubble, the little pony in my head reminded me that somewhere down there was Pinkie Pie’s last party, lost forever in an orb.
I don't entirely understand this comment. I know that we've been inside this building before, and I remember that there was a memory orb in which Pinkie Pie was coked out at a party and had a fight with her friends, which I assume is the one LP is referencing here. However, I don't remember what the connection is. Did that scene take place in this building? Or is she talking about the orb itself being buried here? I remember she tricked a couple of the alicorns by throwing some memory orbs at them, but I don't know if it was ever mentioned which orbs she threw, nor do I recall where she was when she threw them. Anyway, it probably doesn't matter.

>Getting this far had been… um, damn. Why was my mind searching for a metaphor for “easy” that involved muffins? Ditzy Doo was rubbing off on me. (No, not in an icky, flesh-rotting way.)
Kkat, I'm tired. I'm so very tired. Could you please just slap your own fake tits off this time? I don't think I have the energy to do it myself.

Anyway, they are poking stealthily through the building, all stealthy-like, when suddenly they are set upon by ruffians.

>Multi-colored light sprayed across the void, striking parts of the broken ceiling as well as a desk that had been hanging precariously over the drop. The desk melted into goo as it dripped down into the rubble below.
>Okay, that was new.
Is it? Seems to me that shit like this happens all the goddamn time in this story.

It turns out they're being attacked by some Enclave troops, who I guess have some kind of magic weapon that can melt rocks and stuff. Kage manages to kill one of them, but he takes damage to his wing, and meanwhile another soldier throws some grenades at them from an upper floor. LP levitates them back up, but this turns out to be one of those rare moments where explosions actually cause environmental damage. The ceiling crashes on top of her and pins her down underneath some rubble.
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Page break.

>“Section Twelve clear!” the pegasus barked through my earbloom. “Cauterizing in ten minutes.”
>With the Thunderheads in play, this place had become redundant. The Enclave had already been clearing out when we arrived. The Raptor above hadn’t been here for protection.
I think what she means to say here is that her task in this place has become redundant. Anyway, it seems that the Enclave intends to blow this place up, so there's really no reason she needs to be in here. Too bad she's trapped under all that rubble. Should have gone to the spa instead, eh LP?

>The last room before the roof was a two-level executive bar and lounge. That was where they had their equipment set up. The good news was that our infiltration sped up their evacuation. They were no longer trying to pull out all their equipment, just their personnel. They would let the Raptor’s massive guns take care of the rest.
How does she know this? Isn't she still trapped under a bunch of ceiling rubble?

>The bad news was that the room would be a killing zone. All the soldiers left in the building were either on the roof or inside that lounge.
>I made sure Little Macintosh was loaded with armor-piercing bullets. Calamity had bought up all the ammo for Litte Macintosh that Ditzy Doo had, but already I was almost out of armor piercing rounds again. Part of me hated the Enclave for using magical energy weapons; their ammo crates never had anything I could use.
>I nodded to my two companions. “Here. We. Go!”
She is still trapped under ceiling rubble...right? I mean, kkat wouldn't just end a scene with his characters in some kind of dangerous situation, and then start a new scene with them in a completely different situation, and not bother to explain how they managed to extricate themselves from the dangerous situation he left them in...right? I mean, that would just be shitty writing, and kkat's too much of a consummate professional for that...right?

>I telekinetically threw the doors open, my targeting spell locking on to each soldier as I saw them. An Enclave maneframe dominated the room.
Nope; unless she's doing all of this while trapped underneath a pile of rubble, it seems that once again kkat has magically teleported his characters from the middle of one scene to the middle of a new one.

For clarity, here is how the last scene ended (important parts bolded for emphasis):

>Maybe not my brightest idea, I realized as the explosion not only killed the pegasus above us, but sent the ceiling crashing down on our heads. My magic imploded as the room above fell on me. Something heavy and searingly hot shoved me to the floor. Pain sprouted from my hindlegs.
>I was pinned underneath jagged floorboards and the melted remains of a filing cabinet.
>Kage had taken cover in the doorway. I had lost track of Xenith. Fortunately, I was still invisible as the trooper across from us started filling our room with magical energy. The debris was ablative cover at best.
>I whipped my head around, desperately looking for where Little Macintosh had fallen.
>The spray of rainbow light stopped as the trooper reloaded. My revolver dropped to the floor next to me, a gift from an invisible zebra. I magically snatched it up and locked my targeting spell onto the pegasus again.

Here is how the next scene begins:

>“Section Twelve clear!” the pegasus barked through my earbloom. “Cauterizing in ten minutes.”
>With the Thunderheads in play, this place had become redundant. The Enclave had already been clearing out when we arrived. The Raptor above hadn’t been here for protection.
>We had seven minutes before the Raptor opened fire, eradicating Horseshoe Tower.
>“Section Thirteen clear!” another voice replied.
>My StealthBuck was drained. But we were almost at the end.
>The last room before the roof was a two-level executive bar and lounge. That was where they had their equipment set up. The good news was that our infiltration sped up their evacuation. They were no longer trying to pull out all their equipment, just their personnel. They would let the Raptor’s massive guns take care of the rest.
“Section Fourteen clear!” the first voice responded. “Cauterizing in nine minutes.”
>The bad news was that the room would be a killing zone. All the soldiers left in the building were either on the roof or inside that lounge.
>I made sure Little Macintosh was loaded with armor-piercing bullets. Calamity had bought up all the ammo for Litte Macintosh that Ditzy Doo had, but already I was almost out of armor piercing rounds again. Part of me hated the Enclave for using magical energy weapons; their ammo crates never had anything I could use.
>I nodded to my two companions. “Here. We. Go!”

I know I've pointed this kind of thing out many times before, but kkat does this shit all the time and it drives me up the fucking wall. This guy has no idea how to begin and end a scene; he just plops you into the middle of an event, ends it abruptly, and then plops you into the middle of an entirely different event, usually without providing any points of reference for understanding what happened in between, and he does this over and over and over. If you took a DVD box set of a TV series, made a playlist out of random isolated chapters from random episodes, then randomized the playlist, the result would be a lot like kkat's writing style.

Anyway, whatever. LP kicks open the door to some room she's suddenly in for some reason, and starts shooting. She kills a bunch of the Enclave guys; BANG BANG BANG! But oh noes, one of them fires a missile at them! FWOOOOOSH, BOOOOOOM!!!1! Apparently we're back to massive explosions not causing any environmental damage, because the building still seems mostly intact.

>Xenith, goopy-hooved, charged across the ceiling.
Xenith can walk on the ceiling now? Has she done that before? If that's a thing she can do, it might have been helpful to establish it earlier.
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They all fight for awhile. Kage takes a magic-energy blast in the chest as he's charging an Enclave soldier, which appears to kill him. Apart from that, nothing noteworthy happens. The scene ends abruptly in the middle of the fight.

Page break. When the scene fades in, the party is once again in the middle of a fight. It's not clear if this is the same fight from the last scene, or a different fight entirely. In any case, LP has killed all of the foot soldiers, and is now training her gun on what appears to be an officer.

>I’d led Gawd’s son to his death. I didn’t know how I was going to break the news to his sister. I’d never be able to face Gawdyna again. But right now I didn’t blame myself. I blamed the Enclave.
Is the sister not here? Since both she and Kage said they planned to come along with LP on her next mission, I was assuming they were both present. As usual, kkat's random scene jumps combined with his autistic narration style makes it difficult to keep track of what exactly is going on and who is present in each scene. I've been working from the assumption that the group consisted of LP, Kage, Regina and Xenith this time, but it seems that Regina is absent for some reason.

>“Give me one reason not to shoot you,” I growled. “Make it good, because I really want to.”
>“Way Ah see it,” the pegasus said, smiling annoyingly, “Y’all c’n kill me, or y’all c’n win.”
Personally, I'd consider his atrocious accent reason enough to shoot him.

>“What do you mean?” I asked, leveling Little Macintosh at the Enclave officer’s face.
>“Well, Ah reckon y’all didn’t come all this way jus’ cuz ya like bein’ shot at,” the officer reasoned. “I’m guessin’ what ya came fer is in that maneframe. But now, ya only got ‘bout four minutes left t’ get yer tails outta this building, an’ yer down the only person ya had who coulda accessed it.”
Is that what they came for? The "maneframe?" I still hate that word.. I thought they were here because they wanted to disrupt the Enclave's communications tower, or something. I'm honestly starting to feel like my summary of this story might not even be reliable anymore, because I can't even keep track of what's going on half the time. This really is one of the most convoluted, absolutely ridiculous things I've ever read. If I miss something important or forget something important from before, by all means correct me.

Anyway, the pegasus officer turns out to be one of Calamity's brothers (his father is a high-ranking officer in the military, and most of his family has followed that career path; don't remember if I've mentioned that or not), and he offers them a deal: let him live, and he'll download whatever information is on the maneframe into LP's PipBuck. He also mentions that a bunch of Calamity's other brothers occupy other various important positions in the invasion, so presumably we'll be bumping into more of them. This guy's name is Windsheer, if anyone cares.

They have roughly four minutes to escape, but they waste most of that time by having a rather silly conversation about the internal affairs of Calamity's family. Then, Windsheer finishes downloading all of the Celestia rule 34, or whatever LP wanted, from the maneframe onto LP's PipBuck, and he flies off. Then, with one minute left on the clock, LP uses her goddamn Mary Sue levitation powers to lift both herself and Xenith out of the tower just before it explodes.

Page break. They are back at Tenpony Tower now. LP goes over the shit that Windsheer gave her from the maneframe, and learns the Enclave is focusing most of its firepower on taking out what they consider to be the two biggest threats. The first, unsurprisingly, is Red Eye; they have a couple of battleships en route to Fillydelphia, and they plan to pretty much bulldoze his entire operation. The second biggest threat, believe it or not, is Homage and her stupid radio show.

It actually makes more sense after she watches a video that explains it. You may or may not remember that earlier, Homage blew up one of the big-ass weather towers using some kind of bomb she somehow managed to make out of that weird outer-space plasma cannon that she has for God only knows what reason. The Enclave seems to have interpreted this to mean that Homage is in possession of advanced weaponry, and plans to blow up the rest of their towers as well. So, understandably, they are treating her as a major threat, and have sent the Wonderbolts after her. The Wonderbolts are apparently attending some kind of meeting or briefing or something that is due to end in roughly 6 hours, and after that, they have 32 hours to complete their assassination mission. It's not clear if they are still supposed to assassinate Littlepoop or not.

Anyway, once all of this is explained, LP and Xenith return to their hotel suite to break the news about Kage to Regina.

Page break. Predictably, Regina reacts to the news of her brother's death by vowing to get revenge on the Enclave, because clearly this was all their fault and not the fault of the annoying little dyke who dragged Kage off to the gallows on a completely pointless mission. Meanwhile, we learn a little more about Calamity's plan, and how Life Bloom's memory technology factors into it.

Apparently, Calamity wasn't having his memories erased; he was having them recorded. The plan is to abduct the Wonderbolts, hook them up to recollectors (you may or may not remember that "recollectors" are devices that allow non-unicorns to view memory orbs) and force them to sit and watch all of his memories. The idea is that this is supposed to make them see how great and wonderful and totally-not-deserving-of-death the good ponies of the surface are, but considering that they will basically be watching all of the fucked up shit Calamity has done since he teamed up with LP, it may end up having the opposite effect.
Do you like Kkat's sound effects?
On one hand it means Kkat can sometimes write bang bang bang instead of writing properly.
On the other hand it sounds incredibly juvenile for an author to drop his fancy author prose and start yelling "BANG BANG BANG! FWOOSH! WHOOSH! KABOOM! ZAP! POW!" as if he's Deadpool reading the comic sound effects out loud again.
What's next, is Kkat going to get halfway through the next batch of sound effects only to start dropping Betty Hutton lyrics on us? Bam pow zing zap wham bam Kkat will never be a ma'am.
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>Watching memories

Don't they take about as long to experience as the original moment? I would assume so since time seems to lurch forward a decent amount, and these scenes are implied to be experienced in their entirety. At least, as a reader they are written to us fully. Would Calamity then have to create a sort of smash cut or montage of top 10 wholesome moments of his life on the surface?

Would these moments even matter to the Enclave? They basically spent their entire life as hypernationalist soldiers. The civvies earlier seemed to be much more okay with dirty wasteland folk, but would members of an elite government killsquad be so easily swayed after a lifetime of indoctrination by showing them "see, some wastelanders aren't so bad!"? The vast majority of the wasteland is fucking horrible, barring a few pockets of friendly life. As far as "friendly" goes, the commoners aren't exactly saints in themselves, and have been hardened by a lifetime of survival and conflict
The sound effects in that post were actually mine. I was making fun of kkat's handling of action scenes more than his sound effects, although he does use "Bang!" a lot when guns are going off. I'm basically neutral to it as a writing technique; in a certain kind of story I think it works, and this is the kind of story it usually works in. However, it's not something you want to overuse.

I hadn't thought about the length of time it would take to view the memory orbs, but that's actually a very good point. Depending on how kkat ends up handling it it you might have found a legit continuity error. As to the stuff about the wasteland being horrible, that had occurred to me as well.

What's odd about this latest storyline is that kkat has dedicated most of the book to presenting the wasteland as this awful place, populated by monsters and these cornball raiders who dress up in Mad Max armor and run around committing comically sadistic acts for basically no reason. One of the latest "plot twists" involved Velvet temporarily leaving the group because she had finally become convinced that the ponies of the wasteland weren't worth saving. Yet...Calamity now intends to convince the Enclave not to follow through with their attack by showing them these very same ponies, in order to convince him that the wasteland isn't so bad after all.

Another thing is that the Enclave is being presented as this goofy military bureaucracy that just suddenly decided to invade the wasteland because reasons, and everything that's happening is somehow the fault of these war-hawk Senators and whatnot, because something-something-America-Iraq. The implication seems to be that the civilians of Pegasus-Land kkat still has not provided us with a name for the non-Enclave portion of the pegasus nation are just decent ponies who have been fed propaganda about how the surface ponies want to kill them, but if they are allowed to meet them and interact with them on their own, they will realize that they aren't so bad.

The problem with this is, as you've pointed out, kkat himself has gone pretty far out of his way to establish that the wasteland ponies actually are pretty bad; in fact he's stretched plausibility with how bad they are to such a degree that it's basically comedy. Meanwhile, these pegasi have presumably lived their lives in peace and relative security. They're the closest thing to a functioning nation state that seems to exist in Edgequestria, they have agriculture so food shortages probably aren't much of a thing, and they don't have to worry about the day to day survival issues that plague the surface ponies.

What's ironic is that you can actually take kkat's hamfisted Iraq war analogy and push it even further here. The wasteland is probably comparable to a place like Iraq in that its residents are accustomed to a harsher standard of living than the pegasi, who have led mostly sheltered lives. The naivety of the pegasi probably would lead them to be more initially accepting of the wastelanders, especially when they realized that the propaganda they'd been told about them was clearly exaggerated or inaccurate. However, after some of them venture out into the wasteland to try and make friends, they would learn some very hard lessons very quickly, and would probably come to see that however distorted the Enclave propaganda might be, there's actually a nugget of truth buried inside it. This is assuming they even survived long enough to learn a lesson My guess is that if enough pegasi keep wandering out into the wasteland and end up having to fight their own children to the death in a cage match, the remainder would probably return to the sky and reseal the cloud cover of their own volition.
Why do you think the story's love of spelling out sound effects helps this story?

Also I think the author shot himself in the foot by trying to make the Edgequestrian wasteland so much edgier than fallout 3's wasteland. the result is a cartoonish shithole few would want to save. This is a world where survivalists rig baby strollers with bombs hoping to kill random travellers and take their loot. This is a world where there is something or someone that needs killing around every corner and inside damn near every building. This is a world where stumbling upon a random building will involve you in some bullshit dungeon full of enemies to shoot and maybe some NPCs to save and probably some memory orbs/lore diaries/terminal entries to give this session of bloodshed the illusion of a story with a beginning and middle and end.

Once I saw a naruto fic that made the Bloody Mist Village deep and likeable, a shithole of a nation in poverty full of good people struggling to survive while helping their friends. Everyone pulls together and has pot lucks every week even though times are tough. The bloody mist military might be cunts but the civilians are good, and the author had to say this or else nobody would root for the heroic OC's desire to improve things for "The Bloody Mist". Is any reader actually rooting for Edgequestria's ponies right now when so much of Operation Cauterize is an accelerated version of what LP or a settlement she's protecting would eventually have to do to the Raiders here and there upon growing enough and wanting nearby raiders gone?

I think Kkat should have tried harder to include more scenes where ponies are fundamentally good, especially to other fundamentally good ponies. Tried harder to include more scenes where violence is the imperfect easy way out and the harder method of talking things out is the better one. Tried harder to say the bad ponies are not the type to rape and decorate houses with gore for fun, but instead they are forced into their evil deeds by the Raider Gangs they joined or were born into or kidnapped and PressGanged into. Say the Raider gangs do edgy shit to intimidate other raider gangs into not attacking and nearby settlements into paying tribute because these Raiders hate combat and violence but only know violence because they never learned useful survival skills yet still want to provide protection for payment for any pony who could be a customer of theirs. Maybe LP should be hunted constantly by a stereotypical edgy "evil Bounty Hunter" character like that guy from the Spongebob movie only darker and edgier. DJ Lesbianigger could say "he used to be a hero but then he lost his virtue. He is a bad guy now so kill him!" but then LP investigates and it turns out this edgy bounty hunter started taking high-paying morally-questionable jobs because his baby daughter is dying from tubercolonsis and the only cure for potato AIDS or whatever wacky cartoon ponyland virus she catches is a hyper expensive medical treatment. Littlepip gets Velvet to save the day with her medical skills and this turns edgy bounty hunter guy into LP's new best friend and obligatory 11th hour party member. Bonus points if LP has to go and beg Velvet to help after Velvet says "you are too violent fuck you I quit" and this convinces Vulvat to return to team LP and admire LP for making a nice choice.

Kkat's Edgequestria is a shooting gallery full of monsters to kill and some look like ponies and dress like bandits or Raiders or slavers. Nopony on team LP blinked when Steelhooves risked their right to remain in the tower (and LP's right to see and shag her girlfriend without forcing her to leave her ivory radio tower) by killing the chief of security for the non-crime of killing evil invasive ghouls even though Steelhooves could have also helped Monterry Jack escape while LP was going through Instant Therapy to cure her crack mint addiction. What moments of goodwill have the ponies of the Wasteland shown to LP or Velvet or Steelhooves or Calamity? Calamity's desire to involve himself and his squad in a battle on the ground that didn't concern him didn't come after some ground pony showed kindness and affection towards him. He just felt like "playing the hero" even though his whole life, he was raised to think a hero is a patriot who kills for the state, not some twat who feels like forcing himself and others into the businesses of others.
So first true foray into mlp fanfiction way back when addicted to reading schlock just for the hell of it.
Without actually seeing the show.
At the time the fever dream like anti-understanding seemed to behold a new frontier of possibility.
The described reality was floaty for me at the time.
Fimfic recommendation: https://www.fimfiction.net/story/755/on-a-cross-and-arrow

One of the most popular fanfics in the early days of the fandom, though swiftly forgotten.
80k words of a fanfic where Twilight Sparkle and friends go to the Rule63 dimension where they're all dudes.
This fanfic concept is kind of gay but seeing it disected in these threads would be interesting.
Isn't it weird that Team LP want to "redeem" the Enclave with their wacky plans for either forcing their killsquad to see Calamity's nicest memories or taking away the race's ability to provide food for itself? When it came to RaidersTM and SlaversTM and BanditsTM and AlicornsTM and Red Eye's people and some random doctor experimenting on random poners, she wants to gun them down harder than she guns down mutated wildlife. But these guys, the ones well-fed and well-trained and raised in relative comfort for over 200 years with a liberal's idea of military propaganda forced into their brains their whole lives, these are the fuckers LP and Kkat want to "redeem" with big absurd plans that will likely require countless Enclave deaths along the way.
It seems weird to me because if this fic was made today I'm sure the Enclave would be presented in a worse light than the Raiders who decorate their homes with gore and rape for fun and make kids Death Battle for fun. Hell, maybe the barbarity and harshness and cruelty of the Wasteland's inhabitants would be blamed on 200 years of Enclave power-armoured professional-cunt soldiers taking potshots at middle eastern children- I mean Edgequestrian Wasteland poners.
Think about what a bizarre race fantasy this Enclave is in its current state. When war with Ziggers was killing Equestrians, almost all Pegasi decided to fuck off into the sky. Not just all the ponies in one town. Not just all the ponies in one city-state. Almost all Pegasi fucked off and abandoned Equestria for their own Enclave. When the world needed Pegasi most, they vanished. How useful would Pegasus rescue teams be when everypony's trying to get into their Stables? If only Rainbow Dash can fly faster than sound and everyone else sucks balls only she would be useful in Hurricane Fluttershy.
The Pegasus race practically betrayed Equestria, except some betrayed the enclave over the years to become "dashites". Rainbow Dash barely inspired anypony to rebel.
And because LP wants the Pegasi back, she's going to try and "fix" them. LP wants them economically dominated once she siezes the weather towers and the means of food production, Calamity wants to show them his top 10 wholesome moments videos with MLG gamer editing, Steelhooves is fucking dead, and Velvet... Well, despite what the war with Ziggers taught her about the futility of healing and arming the enemy, Arcade Ganon from FNV spent the game's final battle healing people far away from the main battle in one optional route so it wouldn't surprise me if Velvet abandoned her closest friends and "Equestria's best hope at survival" to be one of many medics trying to heal poners during the final battle. Maybe she'll even heal enemy poners, hoping to show them ground poners "aren't so bad".
But because this fic was made in the early 2010s, the liberal fantasy isn't for everyone they deem right-wing to be tortured in Room 1984 just yet. For tranny degenerates like Kkat who only joined the left because they enable and normalize his crossdressing fetish, the liberal fantasy of the time is for the "inherent obvious goodness" of liberal ideas to effortlessly cure a lifetime of "militaristic right wing indoctrination" as whites who hate niggers and civilized people who hate the uncivilized actually meet niggers for the first time and love them and realize their govt lied to them.
Ironic, considering exposure to uncivilized niggers naturally makes whites hate niggers. The left had absolute control of academia, courts, hollywood, the biggest companies, and most governments for decades, maybe even centuries. They're the ones propagandizing people about what whites and niggers are like with their stupid fucking black-white buddy cop films.

Damn, it'd be funny if Kkat used "Calamity shows the Wonderbolts his memories" as an excuse to do a clip show episode where random scenes from older episodes are repeated to artificially inflate the story's word count. Especially if the Wonderbolts could also get him to show the memories they wanted to see like memories of enemies Calamity faced.

If Calamity accidentally showed them the memory of that time in the rock-breaking prison when he leapt for cover under a cum stained blanket to hide from foes that had already spotted him and it fucking worked I don't think they'd ever stop laughing.
>Why do you think the story's love of spelling out sound effects helps this story?
I don't necessarily; as I said, I'm basically neutral and consider it a non-issue. This particular story doesn't overuse them or use them inappropriately, so I have no strong feelings on the subject.

Sounds interesting, I can take a look.
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It looks as if the issue that >>313520 brought up occurred to kkat as well:

>The problem was, it takes as long to experience the memories in a black opal as it took for the person to live them. And Calamity wanted to feed several days’ worth of memories into the Wonderbolts. Keeping them safe and hydrated was a big enough concern, but if we didn’t have enough recollectors to trap them all at the same time…

It is immediately addressed in the next paragraph, however:

>“Fortunately, I have a better way,” Life Bloom claimed. “There’s a memory spell, one created by Twilight Sparkle herself, which will allow me to cram all those memories into their heads in minutes. It won’t be pleasant…” The white unicorn shook his head. “But it will work.”
Welp, that answers that. Magic solves everything.

The next few lines of dialog are a little difficult to follow, but from what I gather the plan is for Life Bloom to tag along with the group so he can administer whatever spell he needs to perform in order to cram Calamity's memories into the Wonderbolts' minds. I was initially under the impression that the plan was to kidnap the Wonderbolts and bring them back to the tower, but apparently they're doing it this way.

With that matter settled, they now need to plot their next move. As usual kkat's reasoning is autistic and impossible to follow, but as far as I can tell they intend to lure the Wonderbolts into a fight so they can subdue them and have Light Bright brainwash them. For some insane reason, they decide that the best place to do this would be the Everfree Forest, because the Wonderbolts can't fly in there. Or something. I guess. Last I heard that place was still on fire, but whatever. On to the Everfree Forest.

Page break. The next morning, they set out for the Everfree. Xenith is opposed to going there, not because it's on fire, but because of something she read in a book recently. The book in question is some kind of ancient leatherbound volume that her daughter had; apparently it once belonged to Zecora or something. It describes how a meteor fell into the middle of the Everfree Forest; apparently, this is the same meteor that came up earlier in the Midnight Shower chapter, the one that Nightmare Moon's armor was made from. The long and short of it is that the meteor contained some kind of spooky space evil that took root in the Everfree and was kept at bay by the Elements of Harmony. Then, the Elements were removed. Then, the world blew up, and now the forest is even more evil than it was before. I guess. It's pretty vague, and I'm not sure how much of this is meant to be taken as gospel and how much of it is just Xenith's screwy zebra religion anyway.

Page break. They pass over the town of Hope, and LP tells everyone that if they get separated during whatever the fuck they are planning to do in the Everfree, the plan is to meet up back at the haunted farm that was mentioned before (it was earlier in the chapter; Railright brought it up because there's some kind of special item hidden there or something).

>I had stopped staring out the window. I didn’t really want to see the distance between us and the forest being eaten away. Looking in my companion’s eyes, I could see everyone was feeling the same thing I was. A sense of wrongness and inexplicable dread, like our skin was too tight. I’d started feeling it the minute I started to smell the smoke.
>This was a bad plan.
This is one of LP's few incisive observations. Why exactly are they going into this burning forest again? I still don't entirely understand; most likely kkat simply had an Everfree Forest arc planned and this is the best reason he could think up to get them in there.

Anyway, the completely pointless side conversation about where to meet up if they get separated is followed by this completely pointless observation about their completely pointless plan, and after that there's some completely pointless sex banter thrown in for no reason. After that, they pass over the Hope solar array (basically a bunch of solar panels that the town of Hope has; I forget what the significance of them is), and then Calamity announces that they are approaching the forest.

This entire microscene was even more pointless than usual and could be chopped at no loss.

Page break. As they near the Everfree, the Wonderbolts suddenly appear somewhere behind them. They seem to be intentionally corralling them into the burning forest, which further emphasizes that this is a really, really dumb plan. They pass over that farm that LP wants to meet up at if they get separated, and she notices some kind of Enclave antenna array similar to the one that was on the roof at that building in Old Olneigh from a few chapters ago. This alarms her for some reason, but the text doesn't bother to explain why.

>The miles between us and the Wonderbolts closed rapidly as more of the forest shot past beneath us. I could see the orange of flames burning across the ground between the trees and along the shores of a river turned grey with ash.
>What the hell? Something was seriously wrong with this picture.
I can tell you exactly what's wrong with this picture. If you've ever been anywhere in the vicinity of a forest fire, you'd know that they are fucking huge and release so much smoke into the air that the surrounding area becomes uninhabitable for miles. You can't get anywhere near a forest fire just traveling normally, let alone fly directly over one in a low-flying vehicle. Even if you ignore the fact that they should all be dead from smoke inhalation by now, the heat from the fire should be roasting them alive. However, since forest fires probably don't occur that often in kkat's mother's basement, I'm assuming he probably wouldn't know any of this.

Anyway, next the Wonderbolts shoot their bus down, and they land smack dab in the middle of the Everfree Forest, which I will again remind you is on fucking fire.
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LP lands in the middle of a burning forest, and naturally her first thought is to feel sad that their bus was destroyed:

>Scattered around us were burning hunks of twisted metal -- the remains of the Sky Bandit. Seeing them drove a pang through my heart. Like we had lost a dear pet or treasured heirloom.
Yeah, it's almost as sad as that time SteelHooves died. Remember that time when he fell off of the roof of the Sky Bandit and went plummeting to his presumed death, and was lost for like three days and nobody noticed that he was gone, but then he got decapitated a few days later and you all acted like it was the saddest thing you'd ever experienced? Yeah, good times.

>I stumbled forward, my legs threatening to give out. My side protesting my every step. Just my luck that we had two healers with us now, and neither of them was with me. I just couldn’t win.
Yeah, she's got it rough. Imagine you live in a world where where virtually any wound except decapitation, apparently can be cured with magic elixirs that are just lying around waiting to be picked up, and on top of that you've basically become an immortal demigod whose severed limbs will just naturally grow back because of radiation or something. Then, imagine that your two healer friends happen to be a few feet away from you and you're going to have to wait like ten whole minutes to have all of the injuries you sustained while falling out of an exploding bus into the middle of a forest fire completely healed

God, doesn't Littlepoop just have the worst luck? Clearly, the Equestrian Wasteland just has it in for her.

>Xenith helped guide me forward, pushing through the foliage. The heat was oppressive. The smoke choked my lungs. But the fire hadn’t made it to this height yet. I was again struck by the sense that something was seriously amiss.
Again, what's amiss here is mostly just that kkat has no idea how fires are supposed to work.

Anyway, LP keeps walking and eventually bumps directly into Velvet Remedy's ass. This knocks her over, and she notices a stone bunny on the ground between her legs. Then, she looks up and sees that they have arrived at a huge weeping willow tree that, much like the rest of the area around them, is mysteriously unaffected by the gigantic fucking forest fire. The text hints that there is some connection between the tree and Fluttershy, though I'm not sure what exactly it is yet. The chapter ends abruptly.

Chapter Forty Two: Into Fire and Darkness

Today's Fortune Cookie:

>“Stay out!! The plants kill!”
"Stay out, you idiot, the goddamn forest is on fire" would have been equally good advice here.

For I think the second or third time in the entire book, the new chapter resumes where the previous chapter left off. Velvet is transfixed by this weird tree.

This scene is extremely bizarre, and I don't quite understand what's going on, but the implication seems to be that the tree actually is Fluttershy. Fluttershy becoming a tree must have been some kind of early fandom meme, because I've seen this joke being made elsewhere. If I remember correctly, there's some line of dialog in one of the early episodes where Flutters says something about becoming a tree, or being a tree, or something to that effect, but I don't remember the specifics.

>Xenith, crouching low, her belly against the grass, crept up to the stone bunny. She reached out a tentative hoof and touched it, her hoof pulling back instantly as if she had reached out to touch molten lava. The fierce stone bunny statue remained a fierce stone bunny statue.
Oh yeah, zebras are supposed to be afraid of "Doombunny." Presumably, this stone bunny is meant to be Angel, which Xenith just instinctively realizes. Obviously, the possibility that it's just some random rabbit who ran afoul of a cockatrice is just way too farfetched.

I am a bit confused, though, as I thought that Angel Bunny had been mutated into some kind of huge, terrifying creature, who was also a meth cook or something I guess. Maybe I'm remembering it wrong, but I thought I remembered Xenith telling Littlepoop something to that effect. If not, then I don't understand where the "Doombunny" moniker came from. The idea of the entire zebra tribe being terrified of a little bunny is amusing in that sort of Jim-Davis-Garrison-Keillor-force-yourself-to-laugh kind of way, but if there's no actual reason for them to be terrified it doesn't make much sense.

>I brought up my Eyes-Forward Sparkle. It flashed a notice at me: new transmission detected. My eyes fell to the compass, which was glowing entirely red. It was as if the entire forest was hostile.
Apparently Littlepoop's PipBuck can tell that fire is dangerous, which seems to be more than its owner can do.

>The wind picked up. The rustling through the leaves was a haunting sound. It made the weeping willow sound like it was sobbing.
>“How… how can this… be you?” Velvet asked, her voice almost childlike now.
>Xenith stood up, approaching the fallen bunny statue. With a strangely sad look on her face, she leaned her head down and picked it up in her teeth, setting it back upright. “Doombunny,” she said finally. “Turned to stone by a cockatrice. A worthy end for a worthy opponent.”
It's worth emphasizing that there is really no reason for either of these assumptions to be made. We don't actually know what happened to Fluttershy or Angel; all we know is that Rarity teleported them to the Everfree Forest. Both rabbits and cockatrices are probably common enough in the forest, and Xenith wouldn't know "Doombunny" on sight; this could be pretty much any rabbit as far as she's concerned.

As for Velvet, there's no reason whatsoever for her to just see this tree and assume that it's Fluttershy; that doesn't even kind of make sense. Dropping references to the show or its memes is fine, but you can't sacrifice plausibility just to make a stupid joke. If the "Fluttershy is a tree" meme didn't exist, how much sense would this scene make?
fluttershy tree fluttershy tree https://youtu.be/y1V7utCUmS8
thanos car thanos car fluttershy tree fluttershy tree

Also, don't you just hate when Kkat uses what he remembers from videogames to fill in the blanks whenever his knowledge of the outside world (which has more holes than ripped stockings) fails him?
>Sonic wasn't hurt when Eggman carpet-bombed much of Angel Island and set its forests on fire, so fire is clearly just a cosmetic aesthetic unless someone's spitting it from a unicorn horn or flamethrower or dragon. Then it's dangerous.
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Anyway, the maybe-Fluttershy tree is sentient or evil or something, and it attacks Velvet and tries to tentacle-rape her. Xenith pushes her away and gets mangled by it.

>I had no time to think. I acted instinctively, in desperation drawing on the darkest strings of power. Xenith’s blood pulled itself from the grass, dripping upwards, swirling. If I could form a blade, I could form a cast. I spun the blood about her, hardening it into a full-body cast, leaving only her flayed muzzle exposed so that she could breathe.
Looks like we have a new frontrunner for the coveted "Most Implausible Use of Bullshit Mary Sue Magic in All of Fallout: Equestria" award. Seriously; it takes a special kind of autism to even think crap like this up in the first place, let alone to have the temerity to actually write it down.

Anyway, thanks to Xenith we learn that the tree is made out of something called "killing joke." LP has one of her flashbacks where she remembers some random line of dialog that appeared in the story 30 chapters ago and has basically fuck-all to do with anything. This time, she remembers that Homage said something about some friend she had running afoul of something called "killing joke" eons ago. Now, LP is face to face with that very thing, and can connect the name to the particular wasteland monster it is associated with. Glad we got that all sorted out.

However, I hope you haven't had your fill of obscure references to random snippets of dialog from 30 chapters ago, because it turns out there's more:

>Xenith had seen the threat and understood it. Sometimes, I feel as if I am an earth pony and that my stripes are really great wounds.
Yeah, that was a memorable line all right. I totally remember exactly where and when she said that. Don't even bother placing it in context, kkat; you can just dump this line in here and I'm sure everyone will immediately just connect it to whatever you're thinking.

>The plant had somehow taken some random thing Xenith had said and turned it against her. Suddenly, I understood the plant’s name. It was a joke -- a sick, twisted, malevolent joke. The Everfree Forest was home to a mobile, aggressive, sadistic plant filled with transformation magic.
I'm not sure I get this, honestly. Is this saying that the tree can somehow read Xenith's mind? That it plucked this random observation she made about herself eons ago and made it literally happen? Kind of interesting I guess, but it would help if it were a little clearer how it worked.

Anyway, they fight the killing-joke-tree for awhile, and then they get away from it. Xenith, I guess, is still flayed and wrapped up in a body cast made out of her own blood; not sure if they're supposed to be carrying her or if she's walking or what. Also unclear is whether or not LP needs to concentrate in order to maintain this blood-cast; it stands to reason that she would. As usual, kkat's explanation of things is rather spotty.

>And Fluttershy (for I was now convinced that the butter-yellow weeping willow was indeed the Mare of the Ministry of Peace) was its lure. And, more hellishly, its victim. Did Fluttershy ever say something about being tree-like? Or maybe joked about having a bark worse than her bite? Fuck, maybe she just said she wanted to leave.
Once again, I must protest that there is no reason for them to know this, and it's not insinuated strongly enough that any of the characters should automatically guess. Once again, Littlepoop is using her Mary Sue powers of divination to make connections that don't necessarily connect.

Even assuming divination powers, it's not at all clear what is supposed to have happened. Fluttershy somehow became fused with poison joke and became some kind of tentacle rape monster, and this happened because at some random point decades in the past she made some random offhand comment about being a tree? Is that what I'm supposed to take away from this? Or is the killing joke a separate entity from the tree? As usual, none of this makes a lick of sense.

Anyway, they manage to get away from the killing joke I guess, but then the Wonderbolts show up.

>The smoke was like tiny daggers in my eyes. Life Bloom coughed again, a bad rattle in his throat. We couldn’t keep running much longer, and we couldn’t outrun the Wonderbolts anyway. But the idea of fighting them in this accursed forest seemed more insane every minute.
I'm still not clear on why they even thought that luring the Wonderbolts into a burning forest full of giant mutated plants was a good idea in the first place.

>The Wonderbolts were being forced low by the smoke, flying at tree-top level.
Why would the smoke force them low? It's not like it matters since the heat from the fire should logically roast them alive in those stupid armored Gundam suits anyway, but if anything the smoke and the fire should be forcing them upward and away from it, not downward and towards it.

>They could trace my tag, but that wouldn’t help them track any of the rest of us. And even their armors’ targeting spells were virtually worthless in the Everfree Forest. At any distance, my companions just melted into the sea of red lights that was our entire damn environment.
Was this supposed to be the plan? Lure the Wonderbolts in here because their targeting systems won't work, because the entire forest is one giant enemy? That...kind of makes sense I suppose, but by the same logic, Littlepoop's targeting system shouldn't work either. However, the Wonderbolts still have the rest of their weapons and combat training, while Littlepoop is basically crippled if she can't use her magic spell that aims her gun for her. Plus, the forest would be as dangerous for the party as it is for the Wonderbolts; more so even, since the party is on the ground, while the Wonderbolts can just fly away if things get too hairy. I must once again protest that the party really did not think this one through.

Some kind of unidentified bat-like creature emerges from the forest and attacks the Wonderbolts.

>One of them flew right at one of the Wonderbolts. Like it was playing chicken. The elite Enclave flyer didn’t flinch, didn’t veer off. Neither did the creature. But at the last moment, instead of the two colliding, the thunder cloud contrail stopped, the Wonderbolt falling out of the sky as the creature flew past. Turned to stone.
Well, on the bright side that's one less Wonderbolt you have to kidnap and stuff full of Calamity's memories.

Anyway, LP identifies the bat-things as cockatrices. It's not clear where she would have picked up this term or how she could identify this type of creature, but we can put a pin in that for now. There's kind of a free-for-all in which everyone is fighting everyone for awhile, and then Velvet tearfully asks that they go back and save Fluttershy from being a tree, despite the fact that they have considerably more important shit going on right now and despite the fact that there is still no reason why they should even be aware that the tree is, in fact, Fluttershy.

Suddenly, a couple of hellhounds burst out of the ground and start attacking them. The fight rages on a bit longer, and then, using some process of autismo reasoning that would only make sense in kkat-land, LP suddenly figures out that there are also landmines buried in the forest for some reason.

Quite a bit more confusing shit happens; at this point the action is damn near impossible to follow. Finally, though, the group seems to have realized that coming into this forest was probably the dumbest thing they have ever done (and that's saying a lot), so they decide to leave. However, before they can, Calamity gets shot down by one of the Wonderbolts. In a hilarious double-blow to Velvet Remedy's already taxed emotions, her pet bird gets turned to stone by one of the cockatrices a fraction of a second later.

While all of this is going on, the killing joke is apparently still a factor. At one point it seizes hold of one of the hellhounds and turns it into a pony, which causes the other two hellhounds to attack it. Instead of just letting these three enemies take each other out, LP decides to intervene with her telekinesis and saves the "pony," and the hellhounds crash into each other but are otherwise harmed. The "pony" goes scampering off into the (burning) woods.

Anyway, blah blah blah. The Wonderbolts apparently decide that the fight is a little too intense for them, so they retreat for the time being. Meanwhile, Velvet captures the cockatrice that turned her bird to stone and forces it to reverse the spell. Also, Calamity is a little banged up but is basically fine.

>The heat was draining our strength almost as much as the fighting. The smoke was burning my eyes and throat, making it hard to breathe. Our struggle against the Wonderbolts had become a three-way battle, and the Everfree Forest was winning.
Literally anyone with half an iota of common sense could have predicted this outcome before even coming in here. I'll ask again: what was the point of this excursion supposed to be?

Anyway, they decide, finally, that they should probably get out of this stupid burning murder-forest. However, their stupid bus has been blown to smithereens and the guy that normally pulls it for them is too badly injured to pull it anyway. So, they have to walk.

Page break. They appear to have more or less escaped danger for the time being, but Velvet won't shut up about the stupid Fluttershy tree.

>“They trapped her up there, h-high on the h-h-hill where she could see what happened to her Equestria. As it was p-poisoned, and destroyed…” Her tear-filled eyes stared into mine. “Pip, they made her watch!”
You don't know any of this. The only reason you have to assume that the tree is even Fluttershy is its coloring. For all you know, Fluttershy got tentacle-raped by a beanstalk, and that tree is their unholy offspring.

Anyway, Velvet still wants to go back and save Fluttershy, but LP is skeptical that there would be anything they could do for her. Meanwhile, Calamity is still injured and Xenith is in a coma. There's a bit of dreary conversation about how dreary everything is, and Reggie eventually interjects that her brother Kage had wanted to go to the Whitetail Woods. Since this is a name we haven't heard before and the author goes out of his way to infodump about it, I'm assuming this is going to be the setting of yet another tedious side-quest that we will be subjected to in the near future. Apparently it's the "most poisoned place on earth."

While chopping up the body of a dead hellhound sacrebleu! le edge!, Littlepoop observes a weird noise coming out of the helmet the creature was wearing. From this, she deduces that the Enclave is using sound waves to make the hellhounds do their bidding.

To kkat's credit, I think I actually see his logic for once. Earlier, LP noticed some kind of Enclave radio dish similar to the one they'd seen at Old Olneigh. Now that the bit about sound signals has jogged my memory, I think I do remember something about the radio dish at Olneigh being used to control the hellhounds or something. So, technically, kkat did this right. The earlier scene establishes that the Enclave can direct the hellhounds this way or that using sounds, and the dish they passed on the way here foreshadows that this technique might be used here. The trouble is that the reference is too vague; Old Olneigh was eons ago, and a lot of shit has happened between then and now.

Protip: you don't need to completely spoonfeed the reader, but it's a good idea to make sure they're at least on the same page as you. You don't want to just scatter breadcrumbs and expect the reader to put all the pieces together; outside of a mystery story, it's really a really obnoxious thing to do.
Wait, why are they forced to the ground? Take a good look at this Enclave(tm) Advanced Power Armor helmet from Fallout 3 (presumably what their armor is based upon) and tell me what you see around the mouth.

Power armor suits are completely sealed off and have an internal regulalation system. In-game they give you a rad resistance bonus.

Wait, during that encounter with Spike, where he roasted that mare alive... Did she remove her mask, or are Enclave helmets just open and completely unarmored in the mouth area? That's fucking retarded if so, but at least it explains the smoke inhalation issue that forced them to land.
To add to this, the Enclave have a cartoonish fear of the surface and believe it to be toxic in general, right? So why is their armor, made for excursions on the surface (we haven't heard of inter-pegasus wars), unarmored around the mouth with no rebreather system?
If the Enclave believe the surface to be poisonous, wouldn't it have made more sense for LP to lead them to some kind of special oasis zone without radiation? Nothing like that really exists in FE besides the Stables that weren't horrific pointless edgy experiments though.

Then again LP was taught her OP telekinesis by Crane from Old Appleoosa. She was OP before and after the training but presumably he has OP telekinesis too since he was able to help her. Why doesn't LP bait the wonderbolts near him so he can telekinetically grab the Sneedclave Wonderbolts and hold them down while the memory spell happens?