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#Operators in Equestria: The Dark Horse Arrives
GM Strangler
>If you would like to join, make a sensible loadout here at:
>And if you want to bring in something special or anything not on the list, ask to shop it in.

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

>Or the Hoofbook if you wanna be a pony:

>Then drop a post here.

>Fortress Map:

>Overall Pastebin:

>Bulletin Board:

>Previous Thread:
>>279343 →
407 replies and 67 files omitted.
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication 1.5
GM Strangler
>Retaking the troop compartment's center to continue her odd taffy-like exercises, seemingly binding her Planar physicality more coherently to agreeable Tallus spectrums, the Siren returns a confused, quick and negative head shake.
"Dul not need Dul Vortex stuffs for megacycles. If Dul not get banish, Dul stay but hurt lots. If Dul banish, stay in Dul Vortex long time. Dul.. not know how to say thinks."
>Looking up from replacing her belts and holsters, you.. sense Katyal's awareness reaching towards the purple pseudo-earth mare, then backing off, making a slight hand and finger gesture indicating the topic was touchy.
>Setting her jaw firmly for a second, a direct transmission opens, Shiibo automatically accepting it, the woman speaking in a pained and irritated manner.
*"Sorry, I should've explained this earlier to you. And, uh, this isn't something to talk about in the open with most Planars. Sorry again.
Basically all Planar beings are crippled from banishmarent, which is when a native invokes Tallus to remove them. Even if she does resist being banished it'll harm her badly, then she'll need the Vortex's deep essences to recover. Unless you know an Emissary or she finds herself near one, they can restore their kin quickly.
If she can't resist being banished the harm is considerably less. Should be able to summon her from the Vortex after an hour or two without much concern."*
[1d6 = 6] <Planar Adapt: Tallus
Mallia Castella
>The Enginseer's noospheric presence briefly crackled with an intense excitement at the mention of 'Pre-M2' Terra by the twins.
>She briefly sends a small signal to awaken the micro-cogitator's machine spirit to consult it's data-crypts, to see if it and her own memory even contained knowledge of such archaic concepts--as it was not relevant for her duties as an Enginseer.
>The lack of emotional cores to stifle her emotions becomes progressively more felt as the feeling of elation at learning new things becomes stronger and more exciting. It was difficult for her to maintain discipline within the small noosphere they shared, constantly shifting with bursts of emotional responses while she attentively soaked information.
>It was almost a blessing when Tox-11 shuts it down, as only when the twins went back to work could she begin to re-establish order and discipline within her mind.

>Just in time to receive the warning signals from the clash between system interactions, and have her attention swept--her curiosity reignited almost immediately, though feeling a touch of deeper concern from the Mechanicus Codes, shortly before they were dismissed.
>"Perceiving" the form of such a Necron, even digitally, makes her immensely conflicted. She knew it's nature already, but being shown an image taps into that innate fear embedded deep into her mind, that even she could not fully shake.
>She knew little of Necrons, but enough to understand that they saw humanity as insects and were at the highest tiers of threat level. And yet... One bowed to her? It showed her even a modicum of respect? Was this real?

>The Enginseer felt strange, doubtful of how to feel, in a way words could not describe; but curiosity convinced keeps her drawn in, examining the difficult and alien coded imagery closely with her mind's eye and the Low Gothic it used to talk to her.
>Tapping into her surface-level knowledge of appropriate nobility etiquette, she did her best to acknowledge it with her own coded image of her noospheric avatar graciously giving a curtsy in return.
>A part of her acknowledged the "wrongness" of human and Necron exchanging these gestures, communicating with anything more than contempt for eachother. It was surreal; bizarre in the extreme as it was unlikely given their differences.
>And yet here they were.
(Learn. Adapt. Repeat. My parent taught similar values...)
>There is a nanocycle of silence; a profoundly rueful silence.
(I will never cease my efforts, that much I can promise. But I fear I could never guarantee if I will survive long enough to see that day of communion.)

"Canterlot Underground and Pathfinder object identifiers..."
>Mallia's echoing of Raindrop's words oozed with an obvious curiosity, the enginseer's eyes glinting almost childishly as she made eye contact with the knight.
>Though there is almost a full second where a look of sadness lingers in her eye; entering her gaze almost unprompted, a transient thought from a conversation Raindrop could not see.
>It only lasts a single second before it is tugged away by the buzzing swarm of insects hanging around the hangar, prompting the Enginseer to raise an eyebrow and do a double-take towards it.
>Mallia's brow furrows ever so slightly with a touch of mild concern, before she turned her gaze fully back to Raindrop--then down to her own slightly trembling hand as it touched and held the knight's forehoof.
>Nonetheless she listened with rapt attention, looking up ever so slightly as she notes the mare's expressions--the acceptance in their eyes.
>And Mallia reciprocates their acceptance with a grateful glance, and a heartfelt little smile that tugs up her very pale face.
>Though she can't help but quirk her brow somewhat at the grin she received from Raindrop...
>... And teases a little chuckle from Mallia.
"What a fascinating proposition! And with such a strange grin to go with it too."
>Mallia's shakes her head slightly, then starts to settle from a kneel down to a sit. Crossing her legs while her hand lingers under the mare's forehoof. The Enginseer's mechadendrite slowly tucking itself near her back by the side of her sternum where it was connected.
>Mallia holds a brief second of silence, just looking at the equine before her, giving the option some thought in her head. And examining the knight's eyes, seeking the honesty and seriousness that would help her understand just where this was all coming from.
>The moment she thought about it, the more she realised how unworthy of Raindrop Raspberry she was.
"... Am I really worth that much though?"
>Mallia asked, her voice softening greatly all of a sudden. The glint of mirth fading from her blue eyes despite the lingering, albeit weakening smile on her face.
"I mean, are you not concerned? What if I'm a disappointment? Would I not..."
>Mallia's voice trails off, mouth lingering open. Her lip wrying sharply as she realises that she was ruining what should've been a good time.
>She takes a deeper breath, and sighs it out softly, rubbing the side of her head wearily.
>Yet her hand doesn't abandon Raindrop's forehoof yet, even though her grip falters ever so slightly.

>She scrambled for something to say that might get them back on track, that might cover up her lapse in strength.
"I-, Uhm-..."
>…Her voice only getting impressively weaker as she struggled to even pretend to be happier than she was.

>In that moment, she wished she could send her cognition into the sanctum of her micro-cogitator's data-crypts and the small noosphere created by the Inquisitorial retinue; to just cease to exist for a few cycles. But she knew that was her cowardice speaking.

"What. does. being my marefriend mean anyways?"
Basin Village, Aftermath 4
GM Strangler
370790 370832
>"Lost most of Righty but still have a few blades on Lefty, might need to cut her head off. Again."
>Ears swiveling at a rush of movemarent behind her, Twisted's eyebrows wriggle several times at you, then snaps around in the vague scene, leaving an excellent posterior view of her slow-trotting away as the Heart's Touch connection fades.
>"Got to try at least. You stay safe, gonna need those hands back on these-"

>Nodding in a short, firm motion, the Vanguard's neck armor shakes, voice caught between stressed and curious.
"We've read every single Rift Plane related report across Tallus in the past two thousand years, even copied most Otherworld Harpy texts from the Vigil. They did report transmissions of... sorts, triangles in a few thousand shapes, similar to most in our own records.
Every single time Constructs make a 'change' we end up losing half a military or more. If they have learned to speak with us, does that also mean they can learn to lie?"
>Silverine helmet swiveling partway to inspect the intact Assault Vanguard taking position in front of a large translocation matrice, the lead stallion returns, snorting irritably.
"And of course this is the perfect time to start THIS again.. Planars make up four of the five hardest targets to bring down and Constructs haven't moved off number one since they showed up.
But now we don't know which is worse: the possibility they've been communicating all this time, or we haven't found the right method to understand them. Then again we're all probably idiots. Not as if that's going to change much now. Excuse me for a momarent-"
>Cut off by the weight of lesser, standard, and Moderatis-rank Psions devolving into herd-sided counter-specializations against potential behavioral patterns, the Assault Vanguard leader's Impact Seal crackles threateningly over his head.

>Climbing up Basin Village's cratered southern entrance, the large number of surviving Chargers separate into similar body size squadruns before the first large barricade, now lead by a particularly upbeat Lunar Guard equipped with a set of heavily serrated, Void-infused kanpri hoofclaws.
>Lancers that had been prepared to stall the entrance reform into elongated wedges, lighter mares and stallions on the flanks, heavier individuals center to rear.
>It takes a second to recall the unorthodox Rushyan Killcharge Formation, never used against small targets, and mostly pitted against flightless raptoroids, steppes or high plains post-herbivore Malformed, and the rare tunneling Elemarental wurm.

>Sparing a glance towards the Basin's fountain, white robed Watch Guard Strikers were returning in double ranks, Lunar aligned unicorns placing the corpses of self-sacrificed batponies across the saddles of each pair.
>Each pair performs a deep bow towards the Dark Horse cultist, still unconscious half-atop the altar, now surrounded protectively by intact Bloodhosts, before making a wide curve and proceeding directly north in solemn, individual funeral processions.
>Faint, bittersweet tastes through the overherd ahead of the first burial Strikers pick up through the imprints they were attempting to ignore: an older pre-Lunar-Solar War Killknight, now permarenently released from time's grasp.
>Heavy Siegemare ExoFrame's chest armor, lower neck, barrel, and wither plates had shattered while attempting to blunt the Solar Airstrike Guardian Captain's wing strikes; he had succeeded in death first, but a thin, narrow smile was visible on the archaic mare's burningly cold lips.
('Don't touch the sparkling ice or you'll lose a hoof at minimum, and sompeony get those Crystal Empire forces in, we don't need to lose Basin Village because we can't remove her.. Rime is starting to seep out, keep eyes on it-')

>Twinned, massive blows against air ring southwards, the first giant Bloodhost leaping off the hostel's roof, wings flapping several times to gain altitude.
>Boiling crimson diamond-slitted eyes flicker in your direction, the majority consciousnesses grinning briefly, then takes up a heavily titled circling position, the Bloodhost collective waiting for opportunity.
Basin Village, Aftermath 5
GM Strangler
370790 370794
>Interrupting the Moderatis Shieldmare, the lead Assault Vanguard's eyes roll behind thick diamondine lenses, focusing between you and the leadmare in slight annoyance.
('We know. And, Starborn, for future reference: non-compatible human technologies such as that should either be left unused or outright classified. We do not want or need easily, what's the term.. 'hacked'? Thank you, forms of communication. There's much better out there. That is unless someponies want to figuratively but possibly literally screw five hundred plus factions.')
>Figuratively throwing the indirect accusations and insults in New Canterlot's direction, a pair of Mind's Eye coalesce above you, staring down unblinking, the Overherd's majority watching.
('No, I will not accept that as evidence. Such can only be from a... a Rift symbiote, or whatever you degenerates call them.')
>Shrugging inside his armor, the older Vanguard stallion nudges several mares with sharper memory than his own, reviewing the pair of odd Constructs that sought out Mercy and Clemency.
('I'll admit my share of kinks.. unlike you egotistical wannabe purists, the willing and unwilling herd-followers that don't refuse orders, or any of that whole brain dead supremacy movemarent. But, you are dead wrong: THESE are Rift symbiotes.
Please note the weaponization processes and individuality-matching characteristics. None of us have a single clue why the white pegasi's variant is.. like it is, and believe me we've studied thousands of them.
Master Clemency's on the other hoof is obviously intended to deal with targets that he previously did not have counters to. Difficult to explain but also needs a certain depth of.. lacking equinity to understand. Which we don't.')
>Producing a highly redacted, still image of two giant, weapon covered spheres tilted at a forward angle of approximately 15 degrees each, volleys of bright orange plasma, strange red-brown and brown-red tipped missiles, green wavelength laser systems, large shrapnel canisters, and solid square projectiles streaking out of view, the leadstallion's hostility peaks.
('THOSE are the Argus Behemoth-Destroyer pair most of us saw during Kenfield Pass, so don't fucking deny that recording isn't evidence! Do that EVER again and I will have an actual problem with you, Shieldmare!')
>Helmet dipping in her direction for a split-second, barely coherent flickers pass between the two before he stands upright, about-facing to, with a jovial mood, marentally shout at the Assault Vanguard's groups arguing towards each other.

>Opening the TacPad up once more and beginning to examine the Moors Fauna's reptilian pages, your hand comes to a halt recalling Princess Luna's request shortly after Razorback Fortress was completed.
>The bright yellow four-eyed, heavily mutated Emerald Drake variant inhabiting Basin Arena was, somehow, able to kill hundreds of Moor cats, themselves long known for slipping between or into Void spectrums without being noticed by unicorns, and equally adept at passing through solid matter.
>Briefly thinking back on the encounter, if it hadn't been for everyone expending nearly all of their explosives in the first ten seconds, then Twisted Wing presenting herself as a prime target, that squad would have definitely suffered a few losses, if not all excepting the Enchained.

>Leaving Iron to his own thoughts, the most experienced Operator from each rank nods in unison, hand signals directing each reloaded squad to take position.. and ignore the fountain.
('Move it boys and girls, we aren't done yet')

>Examining the piles of expended brass, shells, heavy caliber and light cannon casings scattered in front of Razorback's barricade, the few heavy ordnance carriers were less noticeable among the wealth of standard weapons.
>Reloadable rockets, missiles, and grenade launchers were one to eight on average in squad compositions; from one to four reloads per each remained, and resupply was either going to be nonexistent or required Anon's return.
>Standard munitions were plentiful, less than a fifth of boxes or crates opened, scattered as they were throughout the human line, yet only a few, excluding yourself, had long range anti-armor capabilities.
>Counting the antitank and anti-aircraft weapon bearers, then calculating against a Construct copying the drake at three times the original's size.. the odds were exceptionally poor.
Basin Village, Aftermath 6
GM Strangler
>Holding her stare for five thin seconds, the blackened steel armor dips in a short bow, then jerks sideways, attempting to quell a argumarent among her kin.

>Giving up on the semi-orderly conflict, the Councilierge Vanguard leadstallion sighs, silverine helmet tilting at the Ethereal Golem clambering out of the Basin's cratered entrance to stand upright, bucketed head swiveling among quintuple lines of 100 Chargers each.
"Just be glad none of their subordinates showed. Arrogant stiff-necked robots, golems, freaky shellfish bastards.. or those fucking Wisps-"
>Head rearing back as if to spit, halting to think, he settles for a small, insulted growl, turning and clanking around the fountain towards the northmost translocation matrices, pointedly avoiding the Bloodhosts still gathered.
"What a night this turned out to be. 'Just a real quick mission' and 'nothing bad will happen' Her Majesty's flanks, gonna start an orchard if I live through this...

>First and second to find translocation matrices not in use, two medium armored Imperial Warden platunes streaming out of the east and westmost mediums, a full squad of Kingdom Wardens sneaking in with them, a selection of heavy twin-beam carrying Free Knights from a number of small matrices, then... you weren't sure what, but there were definitely cloaked, floating ponies between some.
>The pair of large matrices open up, a stream of highly customized ExoFrame Task Force mares stomping out, crystalline weapons of every variety singing aloud, the other releasing a profound variety of Conclave Knights, at least one from each major lineage, nearly a quarter carrying older, small saddle or barrel-mounted turrets based on Late Dynasty models.
>Waiting patiently for their turn, hulking forms of Crystal-Hegemony Minotaurs are forced to duck into gateways, standing up and striding out, massive and various polearms on the right shoulder of each, heavy crystalline bows slung on the left, full hardpacks of arrows on their backs, and at least four smaller weapons each.
>Last was what had to be all of the Unicorn Spireguard's Elite:
>Archaic Solar and Lunar emblems and heraldry adorn helmets, chestplates, crests, and side-slung shields; perfect condition or barely used Lunar-Solar War Era weaponry, all eight older types of diamondine, paladine, kanpri, Elemarental steel composites, make up the majority, reality visibly warped around most.
>Even a few probably stolen Late Dynasty silverine examples were in use, originals from what you could tell.
>Settling into close ranks, the crystal-unicorn descendants of banished nobility and royalty examine Basin Village, helmets rotating to hum out song-orders.

>Doing her best to ignore the Empire's forces, Councilierge Assault Vanguard, and the name-lost Watch Guard General carrying Vestal Gardena towards the Basin's restaurant, the lead Shieldmare's frustration steadily decreases.
('Find even the smallest space on the edge of their.. lightning field, I suppose it is. No, too small and I will not risk ponies falling off a pegasi tower! No? No, nnn.. not enough space there. No, that is not close enough. I-')
>Head cocking, her thought patterns drift outwards briefly, returning to give a positively approving snort.
('The closest location is a pair of.. bat-caves, several wooden stalls in front.. of course they fell asleep building them.
Location is.. approximately fifteen miles east and three miles north of Basin Arena. Void spectrums are quite thick there, risk of contamination is low.. we think.')

>Overherd turning to face the translocation matrices, each opens into a vine and flower wrapped dark purple gateway, the flora relatively common Central Moors species.
('They're edible? Interesting, I would li- ..no, later. Ten squads needed: five Chargers, Lancers, Lunar Guard unicorns, and preferably Minotaurs to scout forwards.
If all clear, enter in this order: Lunar and Watch Guard first, Night and Day Guard second, Councilierge third, Crystal Empire, Kingdom, and Conclave last.
Mares, ensure that Void breaches do not occur. Even IF the chances are low, we do not need to be dealing with thornfrayers, bladefiends, scragsails, Voidstalkers, blackretch, or worse.')
>Quickly playing the classic game of hoof, snout, and tail across the Overherd, the lightest and most experienced winners from each selection collectively skitter forwards to taking up first position, though have to vocally ask the unusual crystalline Minotaurs to join them, at which those with the largest horns stomp forwards.
>Collecting in front of the matrices, the shared view showed two brand new, well armored and veritably giant four-level buildings across from each other, the shape closer to a storage barn than much else, compressed black granite making up the entirety of everything except blackened steel supports.
>Thick diamond triple-paned windows with wide interior and exterior ledges were set at absolutely random locations among the four levels, serving as landing and lounging zones both; while the rooves couldn't be seen, most Lunars agree it would be covered in hatches.
>A nearly 80M in diameter stone circle divides the technical-caves, still emitting faint, thin trails of green Psionic energies, and batponies lounged, slept, were setting up, waiting being, atop, or around finished, half-finished, but mostly not even put together trade stalls.
('If they're not worried, then: scouts, hop in and begin recon.')
>Ten squads of twenty skitter, sneak, creep, and lumber forwards into the trading outpost-garrison, each eager to be the first, excepting the Minotaurs whom could not connect to the Overherd.
[1d2000 = 1724] <Local Threat
>Pareidolia turns his head at Dul's comment, slight confusion and doubt mixed on his face.
>Immediately realizing Dul lacks the social/cultural awareness to understand the implications of her statement, he opens his mouth to speak but is headed off by Katyal's teasing.
>He sighs internally and gives Katyal an unamused look as he walks back to his locker.

>As she elaborates on the nature of the Lunar phenomenon, he finds himself recalling his first and hopefully last experience on the Citadel.
(With standard conduct like that, it's unsurprising the Lunar gestalt would be difficult to find unity in. Always this trouble with gods. Can only hope human involvement with Jeff and Clemency doesn't worsen the prognosis. Can never be certain with humans... )

>Blinking in acknowledgement of Shiibo's report, he replies.
"Granted. I already didn't like this operation but we have no choice. Hodch is the best source of information we have for relevant findings to Spiral's retrieval."
>Subconsciously listening to the description of yet more hellish flora outside, he idly feels the neck lining of his helmet seal.
(No decon room here. Retrieval inadvisable.)

>Seeing Dul's consternation, he raises and waves a gloved hand in casual dismissal.
"It's fine. Not something we need to address then."
>His eyes glance to the right, taking in Katyal's transmission and invisible projection gestures.
(Then Class 1 Tallus' interactions and stipulations are pervasive to a high degree. Can it make mistakes? All information implies a degree of sapience.)

>Watching Dul's strange putty-like contortions, he idly considers how Social would have likely turned this into some sort of fad exercise with high marketability and "cuteness" factor.
Archaic Pegasi-Batpony League Arena: Outskirts
GM Strangler
>Releasing the overlay hesitantly, the Construct stares ahead half-blankly, left forehoof raising to smack its snout, wincing in.. annoyance?
>It could understand you, at the least.

>Referring back on dismissed texts, marecenary chatter, Lunar bridle gossip, possibly trustworthy rumors from sauced Crystal ponies, the symbiote's physical state was a near-perfect match for a feral batpony stallion, though you weren't keen on checking how correct that might be..
>Mutual knowledge and defined offensive-defensive combat support advantages were clear, and upon comparing an approximate sixty percent of Mercy sharing her (willing) thoughts, or a more reasonable fifty percent direct neural connection between the two, the cross-species language barrier this 'unit' seemed to experience was.. sorely lacking.
>Much easier to learn and speak, pegasi, Common, and Minotaur would be the logical choices, and comprehending all three modern dialects was five to eight times easier than Enkee, excluding hundreds of regional meanings and yearly changes.
>Comparing the batpony Construct's triangles to suspected and the few known derivatives, the set Vestal Gardenia had flashed to you, much smaller ones from the square you acquired at Still Peak, and the thirty or so known 'codes' that higher ranking Lunars knew to release objects or sapients from the bizarre pods, three half-baked loaves of orange form:
>Hierarchical communication divided by model size, type, designation, capabilities, and when each pair was created; the exact reverse where smaller variants ruled from the front; initial duties, tasks, and creation divided into a circular-overlapping tree diagram.
>While you could sense several hooves' worth of directly implied connections between the subtle differences of order, size, facing, rotation, angle, and surface depth, sharp pangs of distantly malicious, focused threat breaks off those thoughts.

>Reaching top speed with a short skittering jump into the long ranging, comfortable high-point run, a single line of flat static greets your ear, interspersed by the minute trebles of contained plasma.
>Right wingclaws spreading apart, the feral-like Construct rolls several degrees away from you to creates a small overlay: the Arena and its exterior buildings rapidly sinking into fog behind, a single dull orange atop the Arena itself, you, itself, a five-level batpony tower ahead, then an eight-level pegasi tower past it at an equal distance.
>If the Arena and both towers were accurately sized, you were less than 200M from the batpony variant, off path to the south.
>Nodding at the overlay, snapping its claws together at the batpony tower, at you, then making a short head shake while pointing itself, the eyes squint as both wings tilt upwards, slowing a fraction so that you'd be the first one seen.
[1d6 = 1] <???
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7] <Pegasi-Derived Defensive Methodology: Ally-Defense Engrams
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Protective Flight-Formation
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Expanded Physicality Engrams
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7] <Construct Realspace Scanning Protocols
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]

[1d2000 = 1056] <Central Moors Minor Threat
Razorback Fortress: The Mess Hall
GM Strangler
"Heh, ice queen certainly does have the right assets to make a man, or woman, get better real fast. I'd be jealous of special treatmarent like that, but I don't wanna know how Nova or Juan put up with her shitty attitude."
>Questioning appraisals and glances all around, except the man furiously trying to scrub his submachinegun, the second man rubs his chin.
"'Poison ball thing'? Unless you're talking about the crazy worldkilling mare always making some alchemical war crime or other, I've got no idea what you mean by that."
>Grumbling from wasted efforts, weapon cleaner reaches up for a switchblade hanging off a magnet on his vest, flicking it open and tapping at the.. whatever it was covering the newer PPSh.
"Ignore him, all us got lost in a real shitshow north of Luna's Villages early last night. We came back around two hours before Dusk.
And don't you say another FUCKING word until we get a word in with Naliyna, I'm not insane enough to talk with THAT daughter of hers!"
>Pausing to point the business end at the second stopped from visibly preparing a joke, then switches to stabbing, another mid-40's man on the east end, midspine on the table and in a done-with-everything mood, speaks up in sharp, though tired concern.
"Attack? Where, when, what, and how bad was it? We didn't see any damage or debris anywhere except some lava just south of the Pagoda. Except.. the Bulletin Board does have a note stating to not add anything or suffer a thousand plus pound mare dropping on heads."
>Tapping fingers together on the table, Trakkel counts off his next few sentences.
"One, the entire command and commarend staff aren't here. There are only three Elite and two Veteran squads here, rest are Fucking New Guys and Gals, some Rookies too. They don't know where the staff are.
Two, Hodch, Denra, Mist, Torven, most of the support and intel staff are gone too. No notes either, which is unusual.
Three, Roust is asleep in the Nest and she hasn't responded to a single one of us. Which is impossible to believe since saying her name out loud is enough to get that mare's attention.
Four, General Twisted Wing isn't in, on, or around her Tower. Right now is when she'd be done organizing missions, sending reports, and making visits. From now until one or two past Midneight she'd be teaching fliers, after that Midneight is combat instruction. Every single time she leaves, everyone and everypony knows.
Five, the few Day, Night, Royal, and Honor Guards that are here likewise don't know where the rest went.
Six, not even the Changelings in their new little Hive know where any of the previous are.
Seven, we can't raise anyone on the Master Radio.
Eight, the Clinic is close to full, if not entirely, and said Clinic door has a note stating not to enter unless there's a medical need. Nova Flicker's hospital isn't complete yet either.
Nine, the craftsponies and Bren's crew are not happy. They're all taking tonight off, though you might be able to convince Auitante and.. that young batmare, can't remember her name, to do some work for you.
In total, we have no idea where over two hundred humans and three hundred some ponies are at right now."
>Triumphantly ripping a glassy chunk of yellow-red substance off, weapon cleaner raises it for a sniff, eyebrows furrowing before he sighs.
"Malyne, Naliyna's pain in every ass daughter, and Big Bitch took over the Pagoda, one of them might know. I need to stop in the Enclave and check what this is with Amerose, maybe one of the Lorekeepers has a clue."
"Uh.. you're forgetting the seal."
"The what? Fuck's a rubber stamp or wax seal have to do with people missing?"
"Fucking A, B, and C man.... an ESS-EE-AY-ELL is a longer than it is wide, pudgy aquatic creature. That particular one's got a bright white silky coat, flippers, and whiskers. At least, it looked silky. You don't remember the cute critter Big Bitch was snuggling with last night, waved and smiled when we left?"
"Nnnno, I don't, we were in a hurry. It's a water mammal, right? My world probably had those. A long time ago. I mean, not alive. There were lots of fossils on the coasts and islands I never learned about."
"And you wonder why we try to leave you behind.."

>Eyes rolling, Trakkel turns to make a snide remark but is interrupted by rapid wing flapping, a tiny red and blue pegasus lands on the table's northeast corner.
>Almost exactly one foot tall, the paint-streaked, ultra small mare was comically weighed down by a standard brown cardboard box, carefully perched on her shoulders and withers.
>Quick trotting to each Operator on the north table's side from east to west, a sniff and head shake is given at each, winding around to you finally, sea green eyes blink.
>Ears swiveling left, right, then flattening, she takes another short inhale, physically tilting left, the box sliding and thumping down behind the plate, then squeaks out in the absolute youngest teenage voice ever.
"Hello! Sorry about not delivering these earlier! I don't know your scent and there's no one around to ask how to say this name! Bye!"
>Right wing flapping at you three times before leaping up and flitting off towards the entrance, Trakkel slowly, carefully lets out an exhale, cracking a half-grin that threatens to become laughter.
"Congrats, you've been blessed by the Landmine Fairy Delivery Service. If you're lucky that's an intact claymore. If you're not, it's an intact claymore."
"Or cursed knowing her preferences-"
"If you don't shut up I'm going to bury thi-"
"And my ancestors said the worst agony was dying.."
Sunny Feathers
>That was a very equine-esque response. Textbook case use of that display.
>Most likely acquired from Mercy, but even so, that was a disturbingly short learning period.

>Sunny examined the projected map, the construct's motions, and drew the best conclusion she could from the display.
>It was concerned about getting attacked on sight.
>She nodded in understanding.
"Will not allow engagement. Don't make any threatening gestures, don't attempt to conceal yourself either, they'll detect you immediately anyway."
>Or quite possibly treat it like a game of hide and kee.
"It would be best to land for the time being, flight may be construed as a challenge."
>Though bat ponies were as likely to try to induct the thing as one of them as try to destroy it, or possibly not even respond to their presence at all. It was impossible to know for sure.
>She heaved a sigh along with the second deeply haunted expression she'd shown that night.

>At this point, the potential range of the construct's jamming field was impressive. Surely it can't have been accidental.
>But then why keep it up after she and Mercy had left?
>In any case, once she made it to the outpost, she might be able to make use of any maps of the region they had, or some means of communicating between outposts faster than her traveling on hoof.
>That is, if they had anything of actual use.
>Bat ponies, not even once.
The L.O.N.T
370794 370832 370841 370873
>Perhaps it was due to him having taken off his helmet but the Overherd flowed through his head like water through a sieve now, and as he stood there at the fountain did he learn the Killknight was...Well killed.
>When he saw the deteriorating remains Lont gave her a Crystal Empire salute, having seen it done before by Wardens back in the crystal city.

>A chortle came from Lonts' throat at the mention of the other Ethereals. Before fighting by Belregarde side he had the same venomous attitude. Yet afterwards he was noticeabl less hateful towards them. Not to say he was going to hug the first Moss Wisp he saw but his talk with Lorekeeper Rubelline gave him a fresh perspective.
"Don't even mention the Moss Wisps, last time I met one it killed me."
>He said to the Councilierge Stallion, his tone was jovial but his eyes didn't share the same emotion as he tried to recall what happened before that encounter.
>Why was he remembering an animated human skeleton with them?

>Finally. After what felt like ages the Empire reinforcements arrived. And they were a sight to behold.
>Lont whistled. Topaline Shore certainly sent some great units to help out the Basin.
"The entire Spireguard Elite? Incredible."
>Looking over the forces gathered the Swordman sought out the leader or leaders of this force. And while his eyes wondered he checked for the crest of Knight-Crusader Gelid Steppes, perhaps here he will finally meet her, his chance to join the Wardens.
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] >E.Perception
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]

>An eyebrow raised. All factions were listed except for a glaringly obvious omission.
>Lont cleared his throat and asked out loud to those present at the fountain.
"And Razorback, where shall we play our part?"
Ivan the STALKER
>Ivan was not going to pretend that he knew the exchange rates for materials, so he merely nodded along.
>Simply watching Helping work was soothing enough for his soul, for the time being.
>Whatever he had left.

"It is... okay, Helping. Speaking of them does help with dealing with it as well."
>Smiling a bit, Ivan cut it when he realized that Helping couldn't see due to the full faced helmet.
"I suppose I'll be taking a look into the Moors sooner or later, then. Cairn Wharf would probably be a good start."
>Half speaking to Helping and half to himself, he made a few notes to follow later.
>Written down instructions were better for him than his memory.
370832 370842
>Jeff rolls off the comment about the relay. Just one more thing for Razorback to get a licking for.
>It was built in-house by Spiral and given permission by the Basin's Maretriarch to be installed. There wasn't a more convenient way for humans to communicate across multiple technical era's, seeing as an Overherd like this was incapable for them on their own.

>As a Mind's Eye looks over him and his TacPad's screen several ponies begin arguing over the legitimacy and implications of the the video feed.
('Listen I'm used to things not making sense here, so anything's on the table in my book at this point.')
>Either way, something with the Constructs was different.
>Between the TacPad's Fauna guide and him recalling that old request from Luna, the possibility for something even more messed up was evident. A mecha drake, perhaps?
>He still has the Vitriole Orb from that sucker on him. Still waiting for an opportunity to use it.
>Could the Constructs take such a form. Did a Rift Seeker catch the whiffs of the long dead drake and reformat itself to take on its form?
>What a horrid thought.
>Overlooking the ranks from Razorback, even without such a mechanized beast in their way they were still outmatched.
>The had plenty of small arms and ammunition to boot, but anything worth punching through COnstructs en masse was left to be desired.
>Rear guard it was, for the time being. Until he can think of something better suited for them.
>He directs himself to the ponies taking charge while the General was occupied with Vestal.
('I don't mean to be foreboding here, but a while back we took down a mutated Emerald Drake at the Basin Arena. Would it be possible for a Construct or Riftseeker to take the form of a similar drake, either from another inhabiting the arena or some residual presence? And scaling itself up multiple times? It would explain the presence of Moor cats in combat at least. Drakes like to hunt them. I'm having a really bad gut feeling something like that might be waiting for us. Hell anything to prepare us, at this point...')

>Jeff redirects his thoughts over to any Lunar Unicorn Villagers within the vicinity.
('If anypony isn't managing the gateways I need a runner or two to go drop off my drone's control module at Razorback's Commarend Center and pick up whatever heavy anti-material or tank rifles and ammo we have left in the Armory. Have somepony get them for you with my permission.)

>He furrows his brow at Lont's point. What in the world are they supposed to do at this point?
"I dunno, man. We're under-equipped to face off against Constructs of any number, especially from what I just... described. Hurry up and wait, see the scouts come back with."
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
>Returning an unhelpful, blatantly lying 'I'm trying to help you' set of gestures, Katyal chokes down one giggle, succumbing to the next few as she stuffs her kit bag.
>Lifting above the floor one-quarter a meter and staring at the Responder's back, Dul gives an exasperated frontal shrug.

>Bowing at the waist, Shiibo enters a maximum security disconnect-lockdown, compartmentalizing a number of sectors under a known code for your later retrieval, internal screens displaying a complete wipe-reformat cycle of all operating processes and system information related to Spiral.
>A static avatar appears next to a digital representation of Hodch, left hand lifting palm upwards as a graph of factions appear above both; primarily Lunars, Solars, Ferron, the Changeling Hive, Stalliongrad and its various allies, though were outnumbered by the sheer variety of Crystal Empire adherents, and more that you were aware of yet hadn't interacted with.
'This is a prerecorded notice intended to maximize your operational safety and security, sir. All keywords from prior listings will trigger a high priority disconnect, following which modified subroutines and failsafes will ensure continued functionality unless countermanded by a direct order from you.
Within the cordoned data, which I will no longer have access to after wipe and reboot are completed, is a series of encrypted recordings accompanied by audio, video, and text files. Should Nightblade Hodch not survive this Operation or be incapacitated for longer than one standard Tallus week, proceed with the following:
The first through sixteenth and nineteenth through twenty-third must be shown to the Lunar Council. Access will be granted with this pass phrase to any living Lunar Council member: that Remnant is still locked in Baskregg and I will not discuss the matter further, now open the doors.
The third, fifth through tenth, and eighteenth through twenty-fifth to Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. Pass phrase: why am I the only one being forced into this, or do you not trust Belregard to be impartial?
The ninth, eleventh, fifteenth through twentieth, and twenty third to Queen Chrysalis. Pass phrase: we share the same mistake, one anypony would have made even if there were no consequences.
The fourth through ninth, sixteenth through nineteenth, and twentieth to General Veil Dawnrunner. Pass phrase: I don't hate you because of the interruption, all I want is one answer.

Should Nightblade Hodch survive this Operation but be incapacitated for less than one Tallus week, locate one of the following Disciples:
Pearl Mist of Canterlot, pass phrase: watch the Sun set with us, it's a nice night.
Lightning Candy of Cloudshore Village, pass phrase: doesn't taste the same, did you add berry or fruit juice?
Blue Gemflower in the Crystal City-State, pass phrase: when Rime plays for keeps, time always loses that battle, or so they warned us.
You may replay this recording at any time by performing a system lockdown, selecting the third, sixty-third, and last files, then merging and speaking the following: yep, I definitely screwed up.'
>The recording ends as Shiibo reboots into safe mode, reaching full operational status within standard deviation parameters.
>Performing a system check while opening a recording to herself, the avatar closes it, returning to considerably earlier human and equine combined tactics simulations.
'Annoying. Do you have further orders, sir?'
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4] <E.Electronic Warfare
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4]
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7]

>Left lips quirking, Dul offers a confused nod, then bounces in the air, flexing each limb out, seemingly testing her physical state.
>Siren claws flexing out from faux-hooves, now sharper and clearer
in contrast, her left leg turns sideways for a closer examination, folding the first nearly organic weapon into a neat circle.
>Performing the same to the remainder in sequence, then rippling each back into their hidden state, the faux-earth mare's face scrunches happily, faint, incoherent pride emanating from her.
[1d6 = 3] <Planar Adapt: Tallus

*"Hang on back there, gonna tip down a bit.. I don't like the idea of taking something's sleeping or nesting spot."*
*"Had I not made a stupid decision well over two decades prior then there would be far better options, such as long range translocations every twenty to thirty minutes. As it is, this particular Abomination's lair has been abandoned for at least a month. Since nothing has approached the entrance in that same amount of time then it is most likely deceased, or simply not our problem."*
>The Overlander swings left in a small circle to tilt forwards five degrees, stone crunching mutedly underneath as it descends for five seconds, ten, flattening at fifteen, and stopping at twenty.
>Driver compartment door swinging open, Hodch, visibly in a high mood, strolls directly towards the topaz bracelet.
"I sincerely hope two of you are ready to enter the Elemarental Plane of Lightning and Storms. Well, a room inside and connected to the same, but definitely one of the finest ones ever constructed by the same Storm King that founded Tempest Isle among Extra-Planar Harpies and the proto-Ferron clans. Unfortunately, his name is... impossible to say correctly."
>Tipping the relic onto a flat surface, a muted blue cloud stretches it open to ceiling height, pushing it around to expose a flat, cascading yellow and white surface facing the driver's side, Katyal slinging her bag over the left shoulder and striding through unhindered.
"I'll lock the door, set up the beds, and see if you left any surprises. AGAIN-"
>Turning a slightly pained, apologetic face towards Dul, the Reservist presents her with a short, informal bow before standing upright.
"Siren Dul, I apologize for leaving you here to protect our belongings and shelter. What may I share with you in trade?"
"Dul feel good now, not need etam. Or itam! Dul have lots fun to think. Like new words!"
"I understand. My deepest thanks are yours, but do not hesitate to ask me for a favor in return."
>José briefly titled his head at the tablegoers' confusion, but soon started nodding in understanding once he realized they weren't even here when last night's incident happened.
"Mostly similar bouts of chaos and strife, though there weren't any casualties that I know of. Something related to the Constructs, from what I recall."
>Although his curiosity wanted to pry into what actually happened, the fact they vehemently expressed they didn't want to staved off any attempts to do so.
"I don't think it was a true assault since there was only one of them. It might've been an accident from trying to research those orange goo filled future machine-looking organisms. Similar thing happened at the clinic, coincidentally related to the poison ball extracted from one of the Constructs' test subjects."
>He had to admit, José was unprepared to hear any lack of news from so many important Razorback members.
>It was even hard to say what possible reason there was, yet trying to speculate would yield nothing more than negative thoughts.
>The fact everything seemed either unfinished or currently unwilling to function as expected only served to denote the state of this compound.
>He ought to keep these things in mind.

>In the endless sea of information to parse through, particularly related to the seal discussion, Gallo was admittedly surprised to find a tiny pegasus mare sniffing him.
"Huh? Oh, it's José. Nice to make your acquaintance."
>He decided not to add anything more, sensing she was in a constant hurry all of the time.
>The fact he somehow managed to gain a potentially live claymore was a more important fact to deal with, anyway.
"Is it safe to handle while inside the box?"
>He was expecting a resounding 'no', but any further information was required before any action takes place.
Archaic Pegasi-Batpony League Arena: Outskirts
GM Strangler
>Rigidly staring ahead, the Construct's right foreleg makes a common 'order confirmed' motion, wings catching downwards to land, then takes up the same flat-out run you were in.

>Noting a quickly widening section of path on the south side and slowing to a trot, two sets of similar, low snickers and keks through the thick fog herald occupants, as does rolling mist indicating a tall structure.
>Slowing to a trot and clipping into view of a tall, black granite batpony tower, in the classical and much loved Pegasi-Batpony League style no less, the ancient tree design's wide, cut off faux-branch landings leading into small entrances were, surprisingly, not occupied and quiet.
>Or covered in stolen webs, giant leaves, 'stolen' ponies..

>Lazing in front of a rather new tradestall was a pair of burnt red coated, light moss green maned mares, the first to look up a bit pudgy.
>Crisp yellow diamond-slitted eyes narrow before widening, the tradesmare speaking in half-giggles.
"Hay pegamiss, you dropping by for a Bit or a bat? We have a bunch of the first but only three of the last~!"
>Snickering raucously at the extremely rare joke, the second, a crafter judging by slightly more pronounced muscle definitions, and a distinct lack of extra weight, extends her left wing in greeting.
"We've got plenty of peels but not enough pals. And we're always looking for another mare to get wet and go diving for treasure in case you have the ti-"
>Closing the slightly younger mare's mouth with her left wingclaws, the tradesmare's eye roll was an unmistakable: not right now you fool.
"ShhhHHHHHH. We don't have much to trade if that's what you're here for, barely got this thing put together-"
"Un mref oo!"
"YOU are NEVER together."
"Ih gnow!"
>Snickering once and letting go, the tradesmare's wing points up at the prebuilt trade stall behind them, faint scents of tropical woods cutting through a thin layer of varnish made from familiar sap and sea shells.
>...which you recall was a trade good one of Shanis' staff had the misfortune of being voluntold to produce, and finished the design in five nights. Barely.
>Across the low surface is a wide number of fresh fruits, roots, leaves, berries, nuts, and tiny mushrooms spread out.. in absolute chaos.
>Brilliant red diamond-slitted eyes open and blink in the tradestall's rear, an upside down, gray coated, dull yellow maned and tailed batfilly giving a wide, welcoming smile.
>Sleepily, of course.
"Hellooooo. Diving time or trading time?"
"Dunno yet for the first, might be a couple hours. You can go bat to bat if you like."

>Before the pair's quick speaking habits continue, a loud, ringing smash on stone behind you causes them to take notice of the symbiote, now kicking chunks of insect gore off its front hooves with a visibly disturbed expression.
>The tradesmare and craftmare instantly bristle, wingclaws snapping open and fanged snarls accomponeighing hostile postures.
>Making the slowest possible 'oh shit' face and half-stepping backwards, the Constructs head bends low, both wings drooping and claws splayed out in a thorough submission pose.
>Halting their aggressive postures and trading kill-it-now faces for confusion, agitation, and concern, the craftsmare grabs her head with both wings.
"I.. I don't like this?! No, I mean you like this! Yes I mean NO I hate this but you and I mean you don't like this or... AGH! What the mango IS you?!"
>Snapping in low Enkee while her opposite settles for a moderate scowl, the craftsmare was neither appeased, or hostile.
"...don't move. Please."
>Peering at you for a second, diamond green eyes twitch, snapping onto the batstallion Construct, left eye closing thoughtfully.
"Erm,.. you. IF you were hostile, we'd be dead by now. Long dead, right? Can you understand what I'm saying?"
>Head tipping down and to the right, both ears swivel a quarter outwards, the right wing folding halfway across its chest, its particle whip cannons subjected to a pensive glare.
"..riiiight. We probably don't want to know why 'you' are here. Or how. So. I'll make a one time offer.. not to you pegamiss. We-"
>Pointing an outer claw at the symbiote, small traces of relief in her tone.
"We.. never met you. You were never here. This never happened. We never met. And.. you are to never use those weapons against anypony that isn't a criminal.. is that a.. fair trade?"
>Performing nearly the same pattern, this time both wings clasp tightly onto its sides, right leg raising to its chest and head bowing, faux-tufted ears splaying forwards, the tradesmare goes through every possible stage of emotion within ten momarents before she blurts out.
"I can FEEL you're a Construct but you KNOW our body-speak and you can't even TALK to us!? What on the moonflanks of Moonflanks is WRONG with you!?"
>Discarding everything for a disgruntled stare at her half-sister, the tradesmare brushes off her twitchy marental crisis with the care that only a sibling could.
"This is the weirdest night I've ever had and that's saying a lot.. starting over. Um. Hello miss I-don't-know-your-name and you-that-definitely-isn't-here- and I'm happy you dropped by for a bittybat to hang around. Is there something you want or need?"
>And there it was.
"Batponies, not even once"?! How dare you mock such beloved punnily pastel prankster ponies! ...well, you are indeed correct Miss Sunny. Technically correct, which is the most fantastic form of correct, so TWICE it is!
>And there THAT was too, a lopsided, one-way road sign hanging in front of your face.
"Don't think about it, he's trying to get into your head."
"She isn't."
"No, and I don't need to to know you can't either!"
SO I CAN'T, BIG DEAL! Now can you please read the rest of the script befo-
"No, and now I need twenty more bean bags to stick in my tree fort!"
"You read me, don't say you didn't!"
...I am beyond ecstatic and leaving. Right now!
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Eyes closing, Helping's head bows in disbelief, left forehoof extending in a regretful, conciliatory gesture.
"I felt relief the ill conditions you were once subjected to could no longer occur, yet I feel my words approached the impossible. I cannot understand why such harsh conditions would be imposed on sapients of your world, nor do I have a basic understanding of what you have experienced. For that I sincerely and deeply apologize.
Should I reach a topic that you are uncomfortable with discussing, state that you no longer wish to speak on and of the matter."
>Exhaling slowly, the alchemist bends forwards, ears cocked in chagrin as he carefully attaches titanium straps to the box-pack's rear, speaking softly.
"I refuse to make the same mistake my teacher did so often."
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <E.Crafting
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] <E.Enchanting
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6] <E.Smith
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+8 = (3+8) = 11] <Eidetic Fundamarentals

"Take at least two thousand Bits or gems with you, there are traders everywhere across the Moors. Some in the most unexpected places, too."
>Holding the flat straps until they fuse to the shell, the big unicorn lets go with a wince, dusting his forelegs off quickly.
"During the Late Dynasty Era, Cairn Wharf was a vital port city-state and trade route for seagoing Solars, Lunars, the Crystal Kingdom and Empire both, Gryphon Kingdoms, and Ferron. And batponies, of course.
The Minotaur Hegemony, a large number of Argenta's ships and sapient ocean-faring allies, a not inconsiderable amount of Neighsian trading vessels, and a few Free Flock Rams frequented it.
However, the Pegasi-Batpony League and a large portion of the Western Minotaur Hegemony became involved in a civil war, which there are no written records of and is virtually unknown outside a few descendants unwilling to speak of the matter.
As they were beginning to recover with help from other Lunars and aid from Princess Argenta, the port itself was utterly destroyed during the Lunar-Solar War's first year. For the next eight centuries the city became poorly maintained, most of the buildings abandoned due to lacking engineers and solid structural or replacemarent materials.
Around the same time Spiral bought his noble title and joined Canterlot Underground, Cairn Wharf truly began to recover. It was... one of his favorite places to visit."
>Placing front hooves on Krinza's cold anvil, the straw coated stallion seems relieved, though physically tenses in deep rooted anger.
"As much as some deem batponies to be lazy, dull, incapable of higher thought, or regressive, among far worse baseless insults that I will not repeat, they have a remarkable penchant to forgive where that same would not. Despite extreme circumstances they have reclaimed and rebuilt the majority of what they have lost.
...which does not entirely resolve their unspeakably lewd actions and intentions. Or barely tolerable puns. I would highly suggest taking somepony from here along, preferably Torven or Malyne."
Razorback Fortress: The Mess Hall
GM Strangler
>Looking up with rising interest, the first man's gaze snaps from the table directly to you, hands clenched and hissing aloud.
"Those fucking orange shits again?! Where'd th-"
>Whipping around and slamming his switchblade into the table, weapon cleaner's attitude was blank, visibly slack in readiness to commit a blue-on-blue.
"Shut.. the.. actual.. fuck up. Put that simmering pot on the lowest boil possible. You heard the man, he was there. No casualties means no serious injuries, no losses. Right now, no human or pony needs to know that."
>Looking up to eye the FNG's and rookies, it takes him some effort to remove the blade, returning to peeling off the glassy resin with a nasty side eye, speaking in a harsh low tone.
"Keep it that way until there's a damned good reason to share it. And, we never heard you say anything about a certain bunch of nightmare-fueled Planar monstrosities. On the record: same as the off portion, please. Last shit we need's a panic to deal with."
>The second man sits back, staring at the table top hollowly while folding his arms.
"Now we know why Nova's not letting anyone or anypony in the Clinic tonight. That mare's a stone cold killer. Seen the like a times, just not ones that could rip heavy tanks apart and not break a sweat.
Overheard rumors about the blows she and Tipper traded a few years back, something like 'medics and doctors cannot rest until their patients are in better shape than when they arrived'. You don't ever fuck with healers anywhere, but on this world? Feels.. weirdly comforting."
>Turning around from his position and slumping onto the table, the corner Operator's hands reach up to hold both sides of his head, gazing tiredly in your direction.
"This is going to sound real hypocritical coming from a bunch of worn out mercs routinely jumping into messes most Lunars refuse to fuck with.. can you keep that information down so low not even the actual mind readers could reach it? Between the various factions we've pissed off, on purpose of otherwise, Ethereals, Constructs, and others we barely know about, Razorback's in such deep shit that finding ways out of the holes we've dug is starting to rival the Tasks of Herakles."

>Receiving a flickering wing wave backwards, the squeaky pegasus lands on the north entrance door sideways, somehow opening the door with hooves, calling out to you, then streaking out.
"Great to know and bye again I'll remember you next time Hoe-say!"
>Pausing, the rest of Trakkel's squad share a total amount of one-point-two brain cells before devolving into quiet sniggering fits, the leader shooting the rest an unimpressed half-glare.
"Of course it is, and that's not the right individual claymore package either, those are stamped and marked. That's something you've ordered for sure. Since the regular mailmares aren't around, all pegasi in the Fortress make deliveries when they're free.
And don't worry about her messing your name up, they, and by they I mean Ferron Clan pegasi, do that on purpose all the time. They're lewd pranksters at heart, it's basically a genetic necessity for them."

>Opening the poorly taped box and peering in, the first item you notice is a familiar bright green jade earth pony figure from last night atop the sapphire disc showing a Neighsian cottage, the miniature campfire scene, a puffy white mass in the corner with a string looped through it.
>Last were five colorful paper tubes, thin, shiny metallic strips on each were definitely metals: primarily copper, bronze, steel, silver, gold, and.. real platinum.
>Halfway underneath the disc was one-quarter of a torn off page, which you pick up to read: the short, strictly written note instructs you that the 'spirit candy' in paper tubes, ten each, was to be used specifically for recovering from spiritually inflicted harm, and to avoid ever showing them to the Lishanki sub-faction of the Ferron Clans.
"If that's stuff to enchant weapons, armor, or yourself with, I'd suggest visi- aw fuck, they're taking a break. Go ask Shanis if she's still in teh Pagoda, she's got plenty of unicorns that'll help you out free of charge. Or if it's crystal stuff, what's-her-name can probably do it, Naliyna's daughter? Anyone remember?"
>Expression darkening, Trakkel stares down at his clasped hands, muttering in shallow, dead seriousness.
Sunny Feathers
>Sunny stood stock still and allowed the entire exchange to play out before responding.
>Including the interruption from Discord.
>And for your information, bat ponies were fine at the best of times, and at the worst of times, which this was. Just unpredictable, which was fine. Sometimes. Just not always at the worst of times, which this was.
>It was frankly best not to interrupt these things.
"Whoa, hey now. Long story short."
>She pointed a wing at the batstruct, now that she thought about it, that was probably the best possible form it could have taken for this.
>She cast a look at it for a flat second.
>Did it have a name? Mercy probably knew. So would it, but it couldn't exactly communicate that.
"This is a construct. It is friendly. Yes it looks like a bat pony. No, I don't know why. It can't speak En-kee, or anything we'd understand really. It does understand you. It is the..."
>What was the least offensive or alarming way she could put this...
"Partner, we'll go with that. Partner of Mercy, Pegasus, Razorback, herd-second to Jeff, Human, also Razorback, and or Nightblade. She's not around right now, she went on ahead because she can fly and I can't, which brings me to why I'm here, and this construct definitely, certainly isn't here."
>She caught her breath, which she needed after bolting all the way here and firing off that rapid explanation.
"We've just come from the Arena, there are presently two Argus Behemoth-Destroyers and a repair unit there. Also friendly, for now, long story. They're after a Riftseeker, which will probably be causing problems for everyone pretty soon. Mercy and I are attempting to alert local forces that we've managed to trade with the destroyers for the release of a number of people they're holding in exchange for non-interference, but our overherd link is being scrambled by some sort of field the destroyers are emitting. If you have any means of alerting the other outposts nearby, you should probably do so. If you have any detailed maps of this area, I need to look them over as well, in case the forces that were at Basin Village move on the Arena next and attack first. I need to figure out where they'd stage themselves. Large clearings or caves, safe and open spaces a distance away from the Arena essentially."
>Sunny paused.
"I don't really have anything to trade for this, I just don't want to see anyone getting hurt."
>She looked between the batstruct and the bat ponies again.
"To reiterate, this is friendly, and also not here."
370861 370873

>Clem turns his head and was pleasantly surprised to see Lont
>The wings...he can't remember if he had wings like that though
>"I wonder how much a part of him they are..."
>He nods back at Lont
"Yeah, I need to taste whiskey on mine after this night though."

>Eyes following the stallion, he does raise a good point
>With the advent of communicating with us, would they also learn our social skills eventually?
>It all depends on their levels of adaptation
>After the stallion leaves, Clemency was left thinking how to wrangle all these Rookies
>The sight of the white-robed Strikers made him bow his head in reverence towards them
>When picking his head up, he glimpsed the Bloodhost taking flight
>He briefly makes eye contact with it before turning away

>Hearing Jeff's question made him again think back to the stallion's remark
>Clem rubs his chin in thought
"Well, we have seen them try to take any naturalistic forms. But the thought of a Construct drake is pretty fucked."
>Curious, Clemency flicks his visor down and tries to focus the M-S.O.L.G's camera feed down onto the Basin Arena
>He needs to assess for himself what the area looks like
>After getting a good scan, he turns his attention to the Razorback Rookies and see how they're holding
>Straightening himself upright on the bench, he focuses intently on his helmet display.
>Provided subtitles of Shiibo's recording help to ground the otherwise heavy amount of information.
(A grim contingency. Hopefully this won't be necessary.)
>His brow creases and his shoulders tense as he hears and reads the various passphrases.
(... May need to confirm Hodch's express permission for this contingency planning. Passphrases sound like mid-conversation recordings. May be for subversion when used in the field, but need to be certain.)
>Watching intently as the system reboots with no issues, he replies to Shiibo.
"Only one footnote of Hodch's awareness of our involvement in his contingency plan. Will confirm with him later."

>Noting Dul's enthusiasm at her success, he nods in approval.
"You are adapting quickly. Good."

>Leaning in tandem with the OL-3, he works to maintain his center of gravity which was greatly aided by Sticking himself to the bench and floor as needed.
>Seeing Hodch in unusually high spirits, he stands and moves to gather up any of his leftover gear and provisions.
>Slipping on his vest, weapons, and pack, he turns from his locker.
>At the mention of the Elemental Lightning Plane, his hands twitch briefly as a faint sensation of static zips through them.
"A safehouse in the Elemental Plane of Lightning? Will there be conflict from my ability to manipulate that element? I have never set foot on that Plane before."
>Glancing at Katyal as she steps through the divide first, he scrutinizes the bracelet now stretched to the compartment's ceiling.
(Convenient bracelet. A unique artifact? Or common equipment among Lunar Reservists?)

>Recalling that Hodch was far more familiar with Vortex customs than himself, he watches their interaction as he moves to stand near the standing portal.
(Need to ask Dul about relevant proceedings for contract upholding before leaving.)
Basin Village, Aftermath 7
GM Strangler
('Hypothetically speaking.. if one were to find, come across, produce, or locate the means, methods, or weapons that may, potentially, kill or otherwise destroy a Wisp, possibly even a Moss-Wisp, certain parties could be most interested in acquiring one. In theory, of course.')
>A younger stallion's silverine-trimmed helmet tips down slightly, original emeraldine triangular-tipped lance flares dimly, the entire Assault Vanguard twitching.

>Examining the Kingdom and Imperial Wardens, then Conclavists for a crest, glyph, or sigil using the highly specific 'Steppes' meaning, there are a number of height or terrain based names you could make out, though none were similar enough to be related to a Steppes herdname.
>Rank wise, the highest pair among the Imperials are a Crusader and full fledged Crystal Knight, the small Kingdom squad only featuring a Rune Knight, while the Conclaves were sorted entirely by intended combat roles.
>Throughout the Empire's forces, you catch a thoroughly unpleasant sight: visibly rippling light spectrums concealing dozens of floating, heavily armored Crystal Moors batponies, near-entirely transparent except hostile diamond-slitted eyes and crystalline equipmarent, their short lances, armor-shredding wingclaws, and serrated hoofclaws covered in masterfilly refined, pulsing Ethereal runes.
>Little known outside rumors and hearsay among the populace, military, and Lorekeepers alike, few dared to summon them for any reason; even then only numerous direct threats from a Kingdom or Imperial General were considered an acceptable risk.

>Pointedly sorting among each other via experience, weaponry, armor, rank, then heraldic title, a half-transparent, bright red Solar Spireguar's eyes snap around.
>Forehoof stamping at the technical betrayal and snorting furiously, she stomps forwards, head turned to stare figurative, but possibly literal ones later, lances back at her fellows.
>Gazing directly at the approaching Ethereal Golem, severe tones ring out in older Conclave songspeak for ten seconds, the Minor Champion stopping at a respectful distance, bending forwards querulously.
"Honored ally, I request you confirm such an accusation. I will perform all given directives and orders until my destruction or separation occurs."
>Nodding once, the mare emits a series of alternating flat and hard spiking notes, left foreleg making a brisk sweeping motion.
"Orders.. confirmed. Directives updating.. complete. Tertiary demarend... logged. My existence is yours, lead me to battle."
>Hefting axe and shield to ready positions, Vokreed thuds after the red unicorn mare, both glancing at Razorback as they head towards the north side of Basin Village's fountain.

>Marentally wishing she could dive into a cold bath, or better yet a deep lake filled with near-freezing water, the Shieldmare settles for shaking sweat out of her hoofboots.
('Look at your comrades-')
>Going through packs, sacks, pouches, belts, vests, pockets, and webbing to place any object each thought was unnecessary on the barricade, the Primal's invigoration was beginning to wear off.
>Organizing back into their preferred squads, Razorback forms at the southernmost two small matrices, most experienced or heaviest firepower squads first, overworked faces tight and motions slowing.
('Excluding the Conclave, Empire, Kingdom, and Crystal-Hegemony forces, all of us are close to dropping. Day Guard should not be awake, might have five minutes left in them. Assault Vanguard is between rotations, ten. Fifteen if they push themselves. Night and Lunar Guards, Nightwatch, half an hour at most.
Unicorns have two, possibly three full force combat spells left before I must order them to fall back. Support Strikers are thoroughly burned out, survivors are shaken or incapacitated. There are no more Discordite Destroyers or fliers at all. Likewise, zero explosives. As well, the Crystal-Hegemony Minotaurs are neither Rangers nor Mystics, they are warriors first, archers last. They can perform mass bombardmarent, but that is the limits of their expertise.
The Otherworld Harpy vessel has suffered moderate damage and is heading north. Battered Shores-')
>Head tilting for ten seconds, the Shieldmare deflects well away and continues on.
('Given all factors, we are prepared to bring down three hundred archaic, two hundred ancient, eighty pre-modern, or twenty modern Argus types, supported by eight hundred medium Scouts, four hundred Repair models, leaving room for another two hundred hybrids, experimarentals, or others.
Our only goal is destroying a Riftseeker, nothing more, certainly nothing less. But, in planning for the worst, the Razorback is the only force capable of providing sufficiently accurate and damaging extreme, long, medium, and short range capabilities to cover a full retreat. Your weapons have several advantages that we lack, the primary one being extended combat.')
Basin Village, Aftermath 8
GM Strangler
>Ordering his Assault Vanguard to hoof take position at the western large matrice as the variety of Crystal Empire forces assemble at the east, its leadstallion sighs.
('Excluding the Rift, used to be we could count on most of the non-Elemarental planes having a certain amount of rationale, laws, and logic, no matter how stupid or nonsensical they seemed. Now? Severing their connections to Tallus is starting to look less appealing seeing as how how difficult each will be. Might as well demarend air to stop choking fish.')

"Recordings don't lie, and they're real hard to alter."
('Please don't push. She is already overburdened as is.')
".....you know, Tipper's going to kill us all."
"Or make us wish we were going to die."
"Man, I don't need to think of her shit right now. Fuck you both."
"...I'm not going back to the Fortress for a week. Or ten."
"Thanks for saying the quiet part out loud, dickhead."
"I already had a few nightmares planned out, what's one more?"
"Guys, it's real easy to bribe dear old Doc into looking the other way. Let me hoofle her before anyone else goes back."

>Amused, and minorly worried at the surge in fear from Razorback, the leadstallion's eyes stare up into his helmet.
('Incredibly high. If the remains of Constructs aren't destroyed, there's a greater than ninety percent chance one Riftseeker will form, a process we’ve studied but understand nothing of. Riftseekers have three primary goals.
One: assume the most dangerous creature's physical form in the vicinity that all Construct information tablets have records of. Barring that, they will spend up to a week studying fauna, then select the most likely to survive.
Two: greatly reinforce itself using the remains of all said Constructs within range, then continue refining itself until it has enough weaponry and defenses to outscale the original's capabilities by a factor of two to one on average. They will then patrol a Planar-spatial Tallus-side boundary and kill threats, no matter the size, until three. Which is usually but not always everything that moves.
Three: create a gateway larger than itself and enter the Rift. Of the nine we've marenaged to study, all were viciously repelled by Constructs AND Riftdrowners, which is.. not something I like thinking about often.
Some of you know what Riftdrowners are, but for those that don't: they're a biometallic pseudo-flora that live all throughout the Rift. Two sets of three vine-like organisms covered in spines, spikes, blades, teeth, and similar.
They’re always hostile to Constructs and will destroy every single gateway with extreme prejudice no matter the cost. For reasons unknown and probably best not thought about, they do not react to stimuli other than active Construct, Riftseeker, and a few other Planars. However, Riftseekers drive them into a berserk frenzy, they’ll work with Constructs until destroyed.
And since none of them stop until fully destroyed, you can imagine how bad such incidents are.')
('I’ve helped kill plenty of Abominations, Infected, Malformed, but the words ‘mutant’ and ‘drake’ should never be in the same sentence.')
('Is that the same species that was completely wiped out across the Northern, Crag, Central, Deep, and Southern Moors a few centuries back?')
('You're telling us, of all fucking things, a somehow even more Abomination-like Construct IS USING THE FORM OF A GIANT WINGED LIZARD!?')
('Unfortunately that's a yes. Riftseekers use everything: hulls, fluid, weapons, armor, canisters, shells, odd internal components, you name it. Aside from the information tablets, that is.
Supposing an Emerald Drake did live long enough to mutate anywhere throughout Moors regions, that is definitely one of the most dangerous forms it could take.')
"Any particular reasons you can share on why, exactly?"
('If you don't mind another nightmare, it's simple: Emerald Drakes are covered in poison, secrete toxins from claws and fangs, and, similar to drakken, dragons, wyrms, and similar reptiles or reptiloids, become more potent with age.
An older one's scales might as well be mythril. Claws and teeth can be used to make weapons on par with kanpri, silverine, or paladine. Hence why they were wiped out. Rather, supposed to be exterminated.')
('...is it too late to resign, or do I have to do that in pony?')
('In pony. Don't worry, they can't refuse all of us.')

>Accepting the request, all of Luna's unicorn Villagers focus onto the southmost small translocation matrice, closing its current gateway and concentrating towards Razorback, comparing Vortex Plane to Tallus-Void spectrum resistance factors, distance, curvature, angle of approach-
('Do you have to show any of that? Numbers seriously hurt my head right now.')
>Collectively snorting and removing calculations from the Overherd's thought-views, a black and red doorway forms, set down 5M in front of the Armory's east doors.
('Unicorns, five minutes on the dot. Razorback, you have that precise amount of time to take care of whatever is necessary, they're burning out keeping it open.')

>Belatedly staring at the equipment they were going to leave behind, the first Operator to think of batponies tasting all of the electronics is given a sincerely angered backhand, each squad rushing to collect their discarded kit and possessions, the closest three squads setting up a daisy-chain.
"You just HAD to think about it, didn't you?!"
"WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO DO?! That damn joke won't stop playing ove rand over in my head!"
"What joke?"
"What's a batpony say when you put dayvision goggles on her?"
".....is this like a knock knock joke or something?"
"Just let him finish."
".......I hate this so much because it makes perfect fucking sense."
"You better not survive. That's all I'm going to say."
>José had to admit he did think of the potential panic from disclosing the forbidden subject.
>Clearly not enough judging by the veterans' immediate attempt to squash the events in his own mind.
>He might need to develop better small talk in the future.
"I wouldn't know how to stop mind readers from doing their thing, but I will try."
>He gave a curt nod to the corner operator, somewhat expecting a rough guide on how one does such a thing.
>Maybe thinking a barrage of banal thoughts?
"And what are these Ethereals?"
>He ensured he spoke it in a softer and lower tone than usual, mostly for the sake of his fellow FNGs at the other table.

>Gallo simply blinked at the small pegasus' response, at a brief loss of words over his newfound nickname.
>Maybe being seen as a gardening tool meant for tilling soil is not too bad.
>He can make any land fit for seeds of opportunity, after all.

>José nodded in understanding, now knowing the package was indeed not a borderline boobytrap.
>Inspecting the various items, the man had to wonder who would even request such items for him.
>Seems Rasera was pleased with his visit, at least.
>A satisfied smile soon came over his lips, nodding in understanding.
>Now to enter the dodgy ice skate park that is Naliyna's daughter.
"What should I know about Shanis and The One Who Shall Not Be Named?"
Basin Village, Aftermath 9
GM Strangler
>Feeling the giant Bloodhost's kek-snicker across Airstreams, a flippant wink, kiss, and wide tail flick greets your highly specific angle and direction as it circles overhead.
>You weren't sure how possible it was a number of batpony consciousnesses could agree on a single point, but twenty mares in a form well over twice the size of any horse was definitely a serious danger.
>...to other humans!

>Taking a bit to stabilize his Assault Vanguard's tensions, the leadstallion's left forehoof raises as his head ducks, pulling the silverine helmet off with an appreciative grunt, an intensely lathered, dull silver-white coated and trashed, muted yellow mane surprising, two rusty red eyes squinting.
"Amphibians, reptilians, or anything more than twenty hooves tall go on our top of 'worst to deal with' threats, and we're never called on for threats smaller than a small Undead wyrm."
>The middle aged earth stallion would be right at home among Canterlotlians, given the pronounced Solar colorations and clipped, yet pleasant semi-nobilite accent, which were drawing certain unsavory stares, and emotions, from younger Day Guard mares.
>And valiantly trying to ignore.
>You make a note to wrangle them the instant one makes an improper gesture or word, else there might be another diplomatic 'incident'.
"The first Riftseeker my unit-"
>Tipping the lance forwards at his Vanguad, now fairly settled though .
"Was formed to deal with was an eighty-five hoof tall razor-necked Ksh`toreg. Minotaur Hegemony Ash Mountains, late Jewely of 29,983. Think of a giant, carnivorous, tunneling, archaic proto-ferret. Reaching the plateau alone was sixty hours of forced marching and nine losses. Bringing that down cost ninety-two lives, fifteen more on return.
Second one was a roi-kicbuer in the Lower Rushyan Plains. Armored eel-like creature that lives on land but has six claws instead of three sets of fins and is a Construct. Three losses reaching it, eleven against, five returning.
Third was in the Middle Dragonspine Mountain-Plains, an ulvurno par-kro. In Common Equestrian, a High Beaked Wurm, more of a pseudo-wurm, one that copied either a tainted, corrupted, or Infected original. Nine losses reaching, sixty-three against, twenty five returning.
'Fucked' is too polite. 'Royally side-screwed in every possible angle and in every unimaginable position' is barely appropriate. "
>Pausing to wipe thin lather from reaching his eyes, the leadstallion's gaze softens at the passing Ethereal Golem, turning to you with with a firmly distasteful expression.
"If a Riftseeker has taken on an Emerald Drake's form, mutated or otherwise, is more than eighty hooves tall, fully capable of flight, weaponized and armored equivalently to those we've faced in the past, there are only two options.
One, long ranged reconnaissance to gather all possible information, then an immediate retreat and recovery period. Until sufficient explosives or additional support are acquired it will still have far too marely advantages that we collectively have no counters against.
Two, a full on suicide assault from every possible angle to prevent it from achieving flight. As prior Riftseekers have shown us, the possibility of locating entrances through armor plates and weaponry is extremely low; we will most likely need to create a sufficient number to do so. Without unicorn and Striker support, the chance of that is next to none.
Outnumbering is neither an acceptable defensive or offensive tactic, and we have no knowledge the amount of weight in Constructs it was able to absorb into itself."

>Confirming the order, the aperture camera's rotation was marginally below standard, heavier cloud and fog banks covered most of the Central Moors' southeast, as usual.
>Pinpointing Basin Arena's known location and zooming in to maximum, the screens display a profoundly alarming view:
>Two massive Constructs, one each hovering a short distance northeast and southeast off the Arena's rebuilt half-open roof, bristling with weapon turrets and protective hull empalcements that covered every possible surface.
>Most distinctive are green wavelength lasers in full ready to fire modes, bright orange plasma cannon barrels glowing hotly, a mixture of sub-reactive and highly unstable plasma-tipped missiles, large scale canister flak ejection systems, multipurpose mine deploying launchers, and rows of stacked, square weapons, an older anti-air system that was feared for causing intense armor spalling rather than outright killing.
>Last are a pair of spike-covered, centrally affixed cylinders, chromatic and rainbow hues cascading up the length of each, then down; you knew from Twisted Wing these were a near-perfect match to fractal anti-matter disruption weapons, capable of destroying matter at the pre-atomic level, though she had never allowed their use by Starborn.
>A considerably larger Repair model on the west Arena's roof was piecing together an enormous square gateway, exceedingly long, spindly flat-armed limbs equipped with quadruple nanolathe units extending far past the north and south sides, lines of orange twisting off in production.
>Estimating the range, a rough estimate made the gateway to be at minimum one hundred meters extending off the Arena's top, not fully completed yet.
Razorback Fortress: The Hangar
GM Strangler
>Searching for relevant topics and locating nothing of interest, a self-modulating signal from the southeast feedbacks encrypted channel ping to you.
>Located directly underneath the Library, ten highly compressed and recently completed datastacks open, Witch-Two flickering a single use code to give you unrestricted access to their contents.
>Parsing through the massively underused categories, mostly Imperial archives with a decent selection otherwise, a fair selection of Pre-M2 Terra datavaults were available, mostly as digital scans or image renders.
>Along with a rather puzzling number of compartmented, poorly designed, weakly coded, and ridiculously outdated virii, trojans, and... malware.
>Double checking to be sure, there was indeed a number of preserved, curiously raw data examples, and seemed to have obtained straight from M2 Terra computer systems.
>Estimating danger levels of each were low enough that the most basic digiscrubbers would wipe them at the first bit of malfeasance, the digital archives would, if printed out, easily fill the Library two hundred times over.

>Waving a binauric hand to assuage the Auspex's pre-liminal coding from stressing its algorithms, the sub-Phaeric Lord motions a Techstave to point forwards.
'Your position is akin to mine, Enginseer. We are mechanic-smiths from distant species, meeting in stranger lands beyond the known and unknown of our peoples, now among sapients which have full rights to despise us, yet stay their hooves out of curiosity, not malice or subterfuge.
I studied machines solely in the duties of tinkering to improve, allowed only that which was useful to my brethren, my Lord, his laws, and the expectations we were to fulfill under threat of complete destruction.
You studied machines to survive, struggling against the threat of religiously imposed laws and unlawful experimentation, hindered by the Imperium's nepotism, decaying technical knowledge, yet often both.
As far wiser and more worthy Phaerons once decreed before the Great Sleep: were we to meet in honest, civilized affairs, no conflicts would we have.'

"Well, it seems close to the Kingdom ones I've heard of. There's a few Consortiums in the Empire that produce upgrade packages so non-Crystal ponies can use some crystalline bio-tech devices. I have no idea where to trade for them or what they cost though."
>Ears swiveling in odd counter-rotations, Raindrop's left eyebrow raises, a small, approving smile on her lips.
"Strange how? You treat me well, you're interesting, and I feel safe around you. What's not to like?"
>Ears tilting back, the hoof in your hand warms as she shakes her head in short motions.
"You have to be. Quite a few ponies believe humans were and are selected for having great skills, vital knowledge, high willingness to aid others, or are too important not to be saved. I don't know which are the most likely, but most have two of those four. As I've seen you have three of four. Best way I can explain being here is like winning a lottery that you didn't know existed.
Now, I'm not real keen on going to temples, altars, circles, or that sort of stuff, but I know the goddesses exist, otherwise we wouldn't have the Four Great Seasons, their influences, or the beings that are naturally aligned to them. If I, or you, wanted we could visit them. Princess Luna is Razorback's Matron, she's always available at night and supposedly loves to ditch Council meetings. Queen Chrysalis and Princess Cadenza are close allies to Razorback, they'd be glad to meet you. As for Princess Celestia.. nopony knows where she is, but she still moves the Sun every dawn and dusk."
>Eyes rolling in deep humor, the Free Knight stretches both wings out to full extension, flexing each set of muscles throughout.
"You haven't seen fiftieth of what these can do, let alone the rest of me, but I think I understand what you have to offer. It's really simple: I'll cover for you if you cover for me.
Besides, you'd have a hard time disappointing me after the wrecks that were six of my last eight employers. I've learned to deal with events as they happen, and plans only last until they meet a real world situation."
>Cracking the same grin as before, the raspberry pegasus leans forwards once more, her hoof pressing into your palm slowly.
"It means, Miss Castella, I'll do pretty much anything you need done, and you take care of the stuff I can't. Also we can share one of the bigger rooms which means I'll always be around and not on patrol duty as much.. unless you were expecting something more?"
370897 370940 370952
"I'm heading through the matrice, gotta switch my shit out."
>As ponies and humans start forming on the matrices, Jeff nods off Clem and Lont. He slings the Milkor-stuffed duffle over his right shoulder and counterbalances himself with the drone's control module in his left hand and heads for the small southern matrice as Lunar unicorns work on it to make a gate straight to Razorback.

>Smirking as Razorback personnel begin panicking, he stands idle enough to the matrice to still let the unicorns make their preparations. Humans already gearing up to pass equipment through the matrice, he drops the Milkor at the beginning of the chain.
("Come on guys and gals, it's only possibly a colossal mechanical poison drake. I know everyone's worn out. Get ready to pass ammo, guns, and gear. Prioritize heavy calibers and explosives first. Gepard's mine, I'm already batting a thousand with it against Constructs so far. Milkor's freed up for someone to man.")

>He keeps connection with the lead stallion as they explain Riftseeker and Construct lore in detail.
("So Constructs and Riftdrowners will proverbially team-up to destroy Riftseekers. Maybe if we can actually communicate with them, we can figure out why they got through the trouble...")
>As they follow up on the Emerald Drake, Jeff remembers how they took down the first and final organic one some time ago. As well as the harvested trophy he coincidentally kept on him.
("Clem and I were in the team to go kill it, along with General Twisted Wing. We kept it grounded with our guns and explosives, while she finished it off. Coincidentally... I harvested the drake's Vitriole Orb, its poison is apparently strong enough to kill almost ANYTHING but I'd like to see that for myself. And before anypony freaks out, I have it in my pack in a protective case. Suppose we can use it to make an opening in its armor, or better yet make an opening first THEN introduce the Orb directly to its... orange gooey living Rift Construct stuff. They're technically a living thing, right?")

>However they take that information regarding the Orb, Jeff is relieved and ready as the unicorns get a gateway stabilized right outside the Armory's East entrance.
>He opens his TacPad and sets a five minute timer, with an alarm set at the 1 minute mark.
"Alright, you heard them. Five minutes. I'll give you all a one minute warning if you need it. Let's get to it."
>Not waiting for the team to get started, he passes through the gateway first and through the Armory's doors.
>Anyone currently inside was about to get a crowded rush.
"Whoever's in here, rest of the party's right behind me. Tainted got defeated, now resupplying for Constructs and Riftseekers, maybe in the shape of a giant drake. So either clear out, or help out."
>Jeff puts the control module over on the work table he usually likes to tinker on, next to his ice cream churner prototype, and walks back over to grab the Gepard where he left it previously from being on the Citadel.
>He detaches the loaded magazine and tops it off with loose 14.5x114mm from ammo storage and reloads the large rifle.
>Before he heads back on through and back to the Village, he idles over at the workbench where he left the drone's module and keeps an eye on the timer as the rest of Razorback pours into the Armory. Mostly to catch his breath and collect himself before going back through.
Archaic Pegasi-Batpony League Arena: Outskirts
GM Strangler
E is for BAT.jpg
>Inspecting the destroyed insect, one hoof is lifted up, turned over for inspection.. the armor severely crumpled, and slowly melting from obvious acid burns.
>Which it also, just as obviously, could not feel.
>The symbiote stiffens, pearlescent eyes widening as it freaks out, face contorting as it hop-flaps north towards the closest source of water.
>Sighing as her sister kee's haphazard notes of poorly understood distress and rushes into the tower, the tradesmare's snout twitches in concern, but only once.
>As the door slams shut, the craftmare's voice was muffled enough to, probably, not provoke further threats.

".......welp, that happened. I apologize. For me. Not for her. She's kind of right. But also not. Right. Right? Right."
>Sniffing politely, the slightly older mare glances at the presumably allied Construct briefly, switching to focus on you, head cocking to a 45-degree angles as she listens b'attentively.
I didn't write THAT one, she did!
"I did not, that one's yours!"
You can't prove it!
"Your script is awful and doesn't have enough puns!"

>Flicking a tiny stone at the poorly hidden message board behind her, the tradesmare closes one eye, then the other, opening both after a short period of.. actual thought?
You know, startling a batpony is the best method to make them think for once!"
"I think a lot more than you do!"
"When I WANT to!"

"Ignore. Him. ...sorry. Hum, I don't know a Mercy, a.. Heff, or however you said it, also there aren't any giant pigs around here. I know what NIghblades are, but they're awfully rare.
So. There's not enough Moonstones to go around, only the armored barn-caves closest to villages, cities, and ports have those. When the Moors Reclamation was happening Lunar Guards hoofed out a few. Didn't keep them because we memorize everywhere we go, but.."
>Lips pursing, she turns around to snag a large, bright red berry, or possibly a fruit, with her left wingclaws, spinning about and poking the right set into it, then kneels down, creating an impressively crude diagram.
>No, it wasn't impressive for how well made it was; it was impressive for BEING so utterly crude.
"Stop that, I'm still thinking!
That's better. Five, maybe six miles south of that Arena is a huge, nasty swamp, right about.. there. Old dam on the northwest side, some big rodents made it a long time ago. Dunno what it looks like now. Giant trees around the whole thing, all twisted and gnarled, covered in razorvines, speckle blossoms, hoof-blink, which is the opposite of blink-hoof, saporaphic thorns or something liek that, other nasty stuff.
Everypony in ten night's flight had to stop foraging around there, what, fifteen years ago? Twenty? Not sure, was a filly when our colony was told th-"
>Scratching her neck with the right trio of stubby wingclaws, and not realizing she was painting herself, the batmare tosses a short glance at the symbiote, then returns to make a disknowing shrug.
>Which mea-
"She knows, damn it. Erm.. a bunch of certain spherical things killed a whole lot of Melari. Nearly all of them, if I remember it right. Someponies call them Moor cats but that's not right, it'd be like saying 'a bat pony is a pony and also a bat'. Anyhow, made all of us sad hearing about it. Trackers and scouts said all the surviving Melari fled to the swamps and bogs north of there, close to the southern Ferron lands. Melari started coming back in groups a few years later, but only the smallest ones.
A year and half back, maybe two, about the same thing happened: almost every Melari was killed, but something kept chasing down hunters, trackers, foragers, scouts, divers, netters, that got close to the Arena. Only a couple were killed. Big claw marks, bite marks, sometimes both. The poisons and toxins couldn't be treated, don't know how or why. Everypony tried to find out what did it but nopony was willing to get close.
Someponies in the Basin say a few giant pigs killed whatever it was, but nopony saw them, they're real easy to find. Took a few weeks before a few went there, said all that was left was green scales, a few claws covered in the same poisons and toxins, big reptile bones, and a bunch of egg shells. Don't know, never went there."
>Flapping her right wing dismissively, the tradesmare clops around to face eastwards, about to look up, then cocks an ear at you while trying to not kek.
"What's where? Nopony else, just three bats and a pegamiss. Give me a second, gotta remember how to do this-"
>What follows next is... and the-
"Would you stop that?!"
My script is PERFECT!
"No it isn't! I don't know what a sceeripped is! ...you're trying to make me mess this up on purpose, aren't you?!"
Why, how dare you accuse me of such a preposterous gamble! I don't even know what a P O R P O I S E could possibly b-
.......ow. Suppose I deserved that one.

>Pleasantly vibrating, reality bending kee's ripple soul-deep eastwards, fluctuating micro-notes singing out several full, long sentences in perfect harp-on-kee.
YES, I FINALLY HAVE A REASON TO USE THAT PUN! ....Don't start with me, I've been terribly bored as of late. You wouldn't want to see
>Eyes and ears rolling furiously at the neon tube lit billboard, the tradesmare maintains her song for nearly a full minute, ending it with a thoroughly giddy squeak.
"And done! Everypony that isn't asleep should hear only the important parts from the mango vine. Also ho-"
>Eyes and ears flicking at the symbiote briefly, the mare chides herself, instead glancing back into her tradestall to peer at the barely visible filly whom had gone back to bat with slow, deep inhales and snickering exhales.
"Nope. Still only us bats, you, and some food. Not even a horrible insectapede. Or a pain-in-all-the-flanks Draconequis."
"Especially not that one. Oh no."
..you win. THIS time!
Sunny Feathers
>Sunny committed the crude diagram to memory.
>A swamp and a dam that had been ruled off limits near two score years ago south of the Arena.
>It hardly seemed like an ideal staging ground, and it was ringed with trees, so it didn't satisfy the need for easy access. Then again, most of the moors could be said to be like that, so perhaps that was as good as it got.
>No maps meant she had no other options, she had her own of course, but those were more general maps of entire regions, and wouldn't have detailed local features.
>Couldn't hurt to confer with them anyway, at least they'd have roads and paths marked. At least she hoped so, with the reconstruction efforts going on, her maps were most likely out of date.

[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] < B.Scouting
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6]

[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] < Map Satchel: Geography

[1d6 = 4] < Apprentice Tactician
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7] < Observer Equestria
[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3]
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7] < Observer Lunar Military
[1d6+2 = (3+2) = 5]
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] < Pupil Solar Military
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2]
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2] < Pupil Tallus Marecenaries
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]

>Separating had been a bad move, for her at least, she only hoped Mercy's path was straighter, and faster.
>Yet it was looking increasingly likely she'd get herself lost in the Moors before linking back up with the others.
>The rough terrain, the nature of the Moors and the distances involved meant that if she chose a path here, she would have to commit to it all the way, or spend the next couple of hours backtracking all the way around the Arena pointlessly until she tired herself out.
>Sunny was still confident that it had been the correct decision, strategically speaking. A repeat of Kenfield Pass was the last thing anyone needed at a time like this. Mercy would report the details of what had occurred, and clear up what she had mistaken as a simulation of the future for the emulation of the past before the overherd link went out.
>If the forces at the Basin Village had survived the Tainted, and they readied themselves to move on the Arena next, they would do so with up-to-date information as soon as possible and be in a better position to avoid a catastrophe.

>Sunny winced and folded her ears down, though too late to prevent them from ringing.
>At least she could say the other outposts had been alerted.
>A few giant pigs?
>The bat pony had confused Razorback for being a literal razorback earlier, perhaps what had happened referred to them?
>Sunny shrugged.
"In any case, the destroyed constructs have become a riftseeker which is apparently still around, which is what the constructs are after, save the one that's definitely not over there playing in water."
>The symbiote seemed to act just as rashly as Mercy in some circumstances, but not when it came to avoiding others. Did it pick that up from her or did it already have that trait itself?
The L.O.N.T
370940 370953
>He didn't know if he himself was serious about giving Stalliongrad the means to become more effective at killing Ethereals, if he ever found one. The relationship between them and the Empire is complex already. For an ally of the Empire to give information to Stalliongrad about how to be more effective at destroying them? It would be disastrous.

>Lont hummed in disappointment when he didn't see Gelid Steppes.
>And then he saw them. And wished he kept his helmet on.
>Keeping the same neutral expression he had on him he flicked his vision to stare elsewhere, wing pinions twitching sporadically, and started to think aloud of all the Crystal Empire food he had eaten recently. All in an attempt to hide the fact he just witnessed something that the rest of the ponies assembled here would not appreciate.

>As he watched the interaction happen between Vokreed and the mare in charge of the Crystal army Lont found himself in a bit of a bind. Surely somepony from the other factions will take note of the Crystal Moors Batponies eventually. Maybe they knew already? But if they don't they will do once combat happens. Maybe he was being too skittish about this, as long as none of them came down from the Overdark a breach surely wouldn't occur. And in their current state they would be excellent fighters as is against both Construct and Rift Seeker.
>Nodding to himself he concluded he was overreacting, and needn't tell anyone else of what he saw.

('You will not find our guns wanting, Shieldmare. It may not be the same Drake as before yet it will die all the same like its predecessor.')
>He said confidently as he began to thumb more slugs into his Spiker.

>Lont returned the nod. He had enough ammo left for his Spiker.
"Just aim for the joints."
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication
GM Strangler
>The avatar's disgruntlement is redirected to an advanced simulation case, pausing it for a quick replay, then several more in quick succession.
"Understood sir. Active modifications, softlocks, and hard shutdown programs are present. I will not be curious as to why. Even if I want to. Or possibly should."
>Side eyeing Katyal flipping two birds at Hodch while entering the electricity-tinged gateway, then Lonestar collecting his kit bag in the driver's compartment, the avatar finishes on quiet notes.
"Internal simulations are underperforming the prototype's estimations. Correlations of 'soul', 'shared long range efficiencies', 'accepted combat duties', and a factor best described as 'realistic human-suppressing communal stressors' are the primary influences.
Significant EMP effects detected, entering hardened protection mode."

"Dul feels some of Dul's body here now, is great cycle!"
>Passing a happy grin from you, the Siren's front hooves lift to perform an extremely rarely used earth pony 'patting down a foal' motion at Hodch.. which would have been highly insulting were she not Planar, from the poorly known Vortex, and far older in comparison.
"You know Big Vortex Remnant, you liked! Dul not want favors, itam, etam, or stuffs. You sleep, Dul guard and protect. Dul also watch. Dul have lots to think."
>Gaze shifting up and right in humored dismissal, the Reservist makes a short, right foreleg on chest bow.
"Enjoy your time here, Siren Dul. I hope you stay here for megacyles to learn."
>Tossing a quizzical stare at you from the questions, Hodch glances the helmet and armor up, then back again, eyebrows raising in sincere confusion.
"I.. did not know you are capable of manipulating Lightning? Odd. While the access itself is unusual and this is one of the five relics I know capable of such, I do not think that could be a safety concern. My apologies, I do my best not to interfere or intervene unless there I find a requiremarent to do so. One second please-"
>Taking a step forwards and politely sniffing in your direction three times. the deep purple stallion's snout tilts upwards
"Hm. Essences from Neighsian enchantmarents, Air, trace Vortex, Lunar, Rime.. of a familiar sort, all of which are a given. Void, Moors, lower spectrums, probably by necessity at this point. A Dynastic variant, faint yet little alike most. A profound crystalline tone-scent that is definitely not from the Crystal Empire. Interesting. The Gryphon Kingdoms, Hegemony, Dragonspine Mountains, and a limited number of other locations have a number of unique resonances which are often confused for Empire, Kingdom, Conclave, or, shall we say, 'other' energies."
>Examining the shimmering white-yellow mixed surface, then you in speculative thought, both shoulders lift in small, heavily annoyed motions at Lonestar entering the gate with .
"I cannot objectively sense a Lightning Elemarenal upon, around, or within you which must be from the 'Enclave Party' which Denra hosted, then spent the next six hours vomiting from. Should have listened to Naliyna and thrown those damned bottles out. Which is not the third time I have spoken that prior sentence in some form.
In my experience of those that have acquired or succumbed to an Elemarental alignmarent, it is unlikely you will suffer negatives from such an interaction with a vitally important Plane. However, I must request you remain here to discover potential repercussions otherwise."

>The Nightblade's eyes track Lonestar into the gateway, them makes a subtle 'stay here' motion, the Moonstone in your possession alighting.
('My apologies for the extreme safety concerns and measures. You and I have the only Moonstones in this vicinity. There is no connection to other Lunars or the Citadel unless, or until, I decide otherwise.
I have shared the majority of my suspicions to Shiibo. It was she whom floated the idea of a complete knowledge denial outside certain triggering factors. It is however your choice to hear my suspicions of what Spiral may or may not be.')
>Minorly curious as Dul leaps upwards through the Overlander's hull, Hodch waits half a minute to face you, his expression cold,
('Your desire and drive to find Spiral are vital to Razorback, possibly yourself, which I understand. Selflessness in a grand scale is honorable despite the agendas you may have otherwise. However, I am left with four options.
One, I will state my suspicions to you. You are an agent, an asset to a greater power, which is highly unfortunate in this situation. The damage such will cause to your relationship with Spiral is beyond my ability to mitigate.
Two, deny what I know and damage your relationship to me. That I can live with. I have done such hundreds of times. It is the option I would prefer you choose, but that is my bias speaking.
Three, perform option one, and, at a time and place of your choosing, wipe all memories of those involved, excepting myself. Yes, that does include the pseudo-artificial intelligence in that hard drive, though I will not be able to do more than convince Dul to remain silent.
In most every situation, circumstance, time, place, or necessity I can think of, I would never offer such. Regardless, I will fully enforce whichever decision you choose.')
Razorback Fortress: The Mess Hall
GM Strangler
>Reaching out to uselessly try smoothing out the switchblade's stab mark, the fifth man lifts a serious stare to the ceiling.
"Think of... a bunch of newspaper and magazine articles on a subject you know well rotating around an image. Focus on the meanings of individual words. Or recall the hottest woman possible and imagine her as a mare. First is distracting enough to play for time or force peaceful conduct, second usually freaks 'em out."
>Cutting in dryly, weapon cleaner tosses a chunk of resin-like material on the table to poke at carefully.
"Second option is real hit or miss, doing that could just turn a mare on. Can be awful touchy about their appearances too, might take that as an insult. Some don't care about their looks but might make one or two jealous. Others know what they've got and flaunt their assets proudly.
Don't think you'll have to worry about Psions right now though, everything else wants to take the first bite out of us. Not in the good ways either."
>Picking up for everyone's slack at the question, the first man pulls out a worn steel cigarette box, popping it open to gaze in.
"A Plane of existence linked to the 'higher' states of this world. Planar, as in a different Plane of reality. Ethereals themselves are partially transparent, brightly glowing, rainbow colored.. beings, and I'm using that word very loosely.
Most common Ethereal is a six to thirteen feet tall archaic knight of sorts in rounded, semi-organic armor. Always have four eyes, big shield, and a one hundred pound or more weapon. Basically like robots except some eventually gain sentience. A few become sapient, extremely rare though. Absolute monsters in close combat but are pretty damned stupid, they'll run straight into traps and ambushes, won't realize what's happened until it's too late to back out, and never retreat no matter the odds.
Less common is some form of sea shell or bivalve with two eyes, several tentacles, partially hidden by artificial fog. They move around using artificial antigravity. Not a real threat in combat, mostly archivists, scholars, researchers, but are durable enough to take a few slugs and not shatter apart. Panic real easy though.
Then there's a weird spindly robot thing you might see in an old science fiction movie: four round joints per arm and leg, triple jointed torso, long cylindrical neck, round or oval head, no actual features. Called 'Altiniers', don't know what that means. Supposedly used to be either recon agents or infiltrators a long time back but only a few survived some kind of purge, now they're diplomats and functionaries. Not hard to destroy, but probably not a good idea to do that.
Last we know of is a weird bunch of unkillable vines that use their appendages as weapons. Smaller ones are called Wisps, bigger ones are Moss-Wisps. Moss-Wisps can't die outside their home Plane. Therefore: they're hyper-aggressive, deadly, and stupid. Real bad combo and that's saying something.
We've never dealt with them in combat, thank the small fuzzy horses, but one of the more active Elites got killed a few nights ago by a Moss-Wisp."

>Leaning back and placing both hands behind his neck, the first man motions with his chin towards Pella.
"Shanis is the Marecenary Queen of Tartarus Island, pegasus. An... ally of convenience that a team met in Stalliongrad last year. Had some bad blood with us, but forgave most of it. Someone called her Big Bitch once. Doesn't hate it, thinks the title's hilarious. Good sense of humor but sharp and doesn't like being lied to. Gives us most the contracts and only takes one to five percent. Also isn't actually a bitch but can certainly act like the biggest one possible when she feels like it.
Island's population is about five thousand, half earth ponies, mostly veteran Psions, other half are pegasi. Has about two hundred unicorns too but we only see five or six. Eighty percent of them are mares, so watch your six if you ever visit there. Best option is going straight to Shanis otherwise you might be dragged off for a little struggle snuggling..
And by that I mean possibly nonconsensual sexual relations. Or consensual if you're into that sorta thing."
>Openly distressed at the thought of explaining, Trakkel's face sinks into his hands, speaking muffledly.
"Naliyna's youngest daughter.. an unhinged, uninhibited firebrand, shitstirrer, shitstarter, and shit-finisher. Doesn't act out of line near her dam but the second someone or somepony gets fresh she'll make them regret waking up. Not bipolar, just certain topics set her the fuck off. Turns snappy, cold, and furious all at the same time.
Isn't two-faced and not type to even think of betraying, cheating, or lying. Does have a hard, dry sense of humor that comes and goes. Gets along great with unicorns or batponies, but not much else. No one has gotten close enough to understand her."
"Mostly because we don't even try."
"You don't try, you mean."
"Fuck off, you've never talked to her."
"I have in fact, quite a few times. No problems other than the usual ice cold glare and funny looks."
"Maybe you weren't being your usual 'charming' self then-"
"I never gave her a reason to snap at me. Maybe you should ask her out, she seems like your type."
"Like I need a life-ending concussion that badly-"
"Right now it seems like you do."
"Can you two shut up and let the man eat in peace?"
"Why don't you three shut up so we.. can..."
"I just realized we won't have any work to do until whoever wrote that note on the Board says otherwise."
"I feel sad. And angry. But mostly tired."
"Why do I bother with any of you..."
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
>Creating a newspaper in her hands, catchy titles of 'AWFUL DESIGN PHILOSOPHIES', 'POOR SYSTEMS INTEGRATION', 'WEAK PROTECTION' among far more interesting and insulting ones, mini-Wild's eye stares deep into the abysses of technological Tartarus, a caption over her head reading:
Really? REALLY? Is THAT the best they could do?
"Mom, do you not remember the tiny and basically useless 30MM pistol that is my primary weapon which I was forced to fire eight minutes and thirty seconds prior to now? I do. Painfully. A lot.
It is barely enough to protect you at optimal times and ranges, and with only three shells remaining I need as many and marely options for additional armaments and armamarents as can fit on or inside my hull."
>Folding the paper into a tube and looking up, a variety of compact weaponry in the most unwholesome visual designs form on screen.
"That.. could.. work.. out.. SO INCREDIBLY WELL THAT I HAVE TO START OVER AGAIN RIGHT NOW! There is a large amount of otherwise empty space under numerous sections of my armor that don't even need Tryptaran mass to function! Selecting the most optimal standard calibers.. light to medium cannon-class cartridges.. recoil-dampening systems.. ..and the least fucking dogshit turret mounts... complete! Calculating potential ammunition storage.. ten thousand rounds? I need to double that! Now THIS is a promising start to refits and upgrades!"
>Antennae flapping behind her, the caricature stares back while pointing a logical finger-gun at you.
"Ponies and humans are biologically animals, albeit with advanced memory retention, recall, and sharing, combined with complex genetic descent. Both are highly evolved from their originating species offshoots enough that most regard their distant kin as creatures, which is incorrect. A creature is sentient and is unlikely to become sapient outside of external factors. A monster is proto-sapient in that said monster is able to conceptualize the ideas of joykilling, anger, rage, and safety beyond a creature's most advanced mental or marental capabilities.
That Which Cannot Be Named is a derivative of post-interdimarensional conceptual recreation, uncreation, and semi-formative contact with batponies and Ferron pegasi in the Kraggeren Moors.
Therefore I am the combined derivatives of five humans, an earth pony stallion, what I was originally designed to be, which is a station wagon meant for transporting large numbers of humans or hauling cargo, and That Which Cannot Be Named."
>Scratching under her biomechanical eye several times, the caricature gives up before shrugging on screen.
"Relevance to most prior factors is minimal. I'm an individual that happens to be an Eldritch-Android."
>Leaning forwards five degrees, the chest cabin shakes as Wild Ride breaks into a medium paced jog, though was much more comfortable on the crash couch for you than any military vehicle could offer.
"Transmission patterns.. match? What? This can't be right-"
>Clearing the the map table and placing the first transmission in a simple configuration on screen, it takes you a few seconds to realize what she had recorded was standard low band radio wavelengths that humans before, around, and slightly above your technological era used.
>Parsing the data into sections and translating through.. someone's knowledge, mini-Wild's antennae flick confusedly as lines begin to scroll down the left screen:

>Shutting off the translation and lifting her mostly replaced right hand into view, external Wild emits a puzzled electronic noise, flexing her fingers out.
"....I take back everything I said earlier. I've isolated the transmission's bandwidths, they were definitely produced by human technologies. There are over eight hundred ciphers and diplomatic codes being present, and I don't have any records of such a treaty in my databases, archives, or storage nodes.
Still detecting their repeating transmissions, currently...... north, northwest, and northeast of us. I can't figure out how far away they are. Should I respond?
Now REPLACING my Omni-Sensor Array-"
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Arcanum Sensory Array
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7] <Sensory Node #2: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] <Sensory Node #3: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+12 = (4+12) = 16] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+8 = (5+8) = 13]
[1d6+15 = (5+15) = 20]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (4+13) = 17]
[1d6+20 = (1+20) = 21] <Tryptaran Autorestoran
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] <RT-2
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] <RT-3
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7] <RT-4
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] <RT-5
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <RT-6
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7] <RT-7
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <RT-8
>Staring at her mini self incredulously for a moment, I sigh.
"Yes, sponsons would be useful, but unless you manage to add on enough SPACE and armor, they would be functionally worthless. It would be more practical for you to get a new cannon that you can use as a 'firearm'."
>Poking at her, I snort.
"With the amount of room you have inside you for passengers at the moment, cannons would not work, unless they were autocannons."
>I'm not even an armored vehicle designer and I know it would be fucked.
"Gun breeches are huge, as well as ammunition casings. Anything above a 47 would be really difficult to deal with."

>Listening to her mutter, albeit very loudly, to herself, I nod in agreement.
>Its a lot more logical sounding than fucking cannon sponsons.
"I would say a 57MM gun would be the upper limit of what you should try putting on yourself. Leave something heavy for you to use."
>I can just imagine her using a 122.

"I'm still calling him a creature and you can't stop me."
>Don't try to logic me, young lady.

>Pressing my hands together, I listened to the transmission intently.
"Hm.. I would say to not respond at the moment, but keep an... ear, out for any transmissions in reply to that. I know we're friendly with Cairn Wharf, and if they respond we can let them know we're in distress."
>Pressing my lips together, I sag my shoulders.
"I don't know anything about this 'Greater Neighsa' and our relations with them."
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
>Snatching up the newspaper and throwing it offscreen, mini-Wild tosses her arms out hopelessly.
"Mom, WHAT armor!?"
>Pointing at a new display of her.....
>.....no, you couldn't even begin to describe how insane her original, immensely stretched out design's 'plating' had been.
>But was currently in the process of correcting.. poorly.
>Trying, and failing, to imagine how barely 2.3MM of 'armor plate' was supposed to be protect your daughteru's 20M tall frame was leading to thousands of null-brain fork bomb exceptions.
"I could add rapid a deploymarent hatch to both arms, legs, and two to my torso for ten more humans and ponies but STILL have enough space for fifteen tons of ammunition!"
>Adding on twenty variable cartridge and cannon ball-turrets to her internal frame where there was sufficient room, then a large belted and armored magazine, her internal version cackles loudly.
"The standard 47MM or 57MM would allow for three hundred to two-hundred and fifty shells each, but why bother with those when I could have twenty THOUSAND 12.7x108MM's and rip apart every target within four kilometers?!"
>Yep, that type of mania was definitely from Novus...
>Excepting the faint, much darker tinge had to have been Caliya's thought processes.
>..and a little bit from yourself overall.

>Shrugging to herself on screen, a pair of heavy, air swishing noises outside cause the internal version to pause.
"The differences are relative, mom. Basically, we're all some form of creature depending on how emotional and intelligent we choose to be at a specific time.. and that was fast. My Omni-Sensor Array has been rebuilt to its original specifications."
>Rolling back the partially flattened transmission for a second listen at half speed, Wild Ride's arms fold as she picks out a number of voices, the majority being mares, though there were definitely a small number of fillies, separating each from the original speaker's voice.
"A male human, approximately twenty-five to forty standard years of age. Words are clear and precise, presumed to be military, possibly a radio broadcaster speaking. Slight rolling of specific letters confirmed as Asian in heritage, lineage, or both."
>Listing confirmed individuals as unknown Neighsian derivatives and assigning them to categories, her left hand taps against right forearm in thought for some time before frowning.
"The second to last transmissions are repeats of the original. I've identified from ninety to one hundred equines in the background. The signal began approximately fifty miles south of where we reached the ocean and so far as I can tell haven't ceased. Attempting to locate the aerial vessels, or at best their current trajectories-"
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Omni-Sensor Array: Triangulation
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+8 = (2+8) = 10] Arcanum Sensor Array

"Strange. There are no records or information available regarding a trade treaty between the Moors and Greater Neighsia during the late 27,000's. Likewise I haven't picked up any responses from the Moors..."
>Left arm lifting to rub where her nose would be, if it existed, mini-Wild's lone eye brightens, head cocking thoughfilly.
"Mom, it seems to me that trade fleet is expecting a human to respond. That would make sense in a technical context if a human is in commarend... that would also mean an actual human not affiliated with Razorback is in commarend."
Now REPLACING my right arm armor and hull-"
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7] <Sensory Node #2: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <Sensory Node #3: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+12 = (2+12) = 14] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+8 = (4+8) = 12]
[1d6+15 = (5+15) = 20]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (4+13) = 17]
[1d6+20 = (5+20) = 25] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] <RT-2
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3] <RT-3
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7] <RT-4
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7] <RT-5
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] <RT-6
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2] <RT-7
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2] <RT-8
"Your LATER armor, obviously not anything you have covering you now!"
>Think of the future, Wild, pls.
"You can use both for both armored and unarmored targets, Wild. Something that can shrug off or at least not be immediately destroyed by a 12.7."
>That sharktopus would have been a lot easier to kill with a few 47/57 HE rounds.

"You're relative."

>Frowning, I drum my fingers on the side of the seat, thinking for a few moments.
"Tell them that we're from Razorback and in need of rescue as well, and that we might be able to assist if you're able to."
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
"Which is not my current armor an-"
Shut up, you aren't capable of obvious cognition.
>Blaring an intense, drawn out hazard siren into the ocean, beach, and mostly burned down forest, Wild's external thoughts and internal screen struggle to win... against each other.
>Or herself?
Nothing useful. I know where we are, where we are going, and where we need to go.
Yes, I do.
Prove it.
You're wrong, mini-bitch myself.
Thank you for proving my point beyond all possible doubts. Besides, when YOU were not even a backup auxiliary node process intended as a last defensive measure, I was planning out a one-thousand stage upgrade sequence.
>Going through all possible stages from 'denial' to 'oh shit' at losing her own argument, or was that argumarent, mini-Wild's antennae flap in annoyance.
"No, we're right. My later armor design will have to be ten to fifteen times more protective than the baseline forty-ton specifications, which means reducing the total mass for turrets, structural fortifications, and ammunition to a maximum of ten tons."
>Leaving herself to produce a much more reasonable and less stupid loadout, Wild's cabin speakers sigh.
"These modifications will require substantial amounts of refined metals, some of which I do not even have.. not to marention powdered dry explosives, or liquid-explosive propellants at best.
All currently stored materials are best used to restore my internal motivators and structural endo-skeleton.
Except for one: the orange sheet is paladine, a Solar faction preferred magically refined metal. It is considered to be a restricted access material. Should I dump it?"

>Head slowly turning halfway around to stare at you, mini-Wild's eye twists clockwise several degrees.
"That statemarent may be factual, but it's also silly. I am your relative, Mom."
>There was that sass again..

[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Arcanum Sensor Array
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Omni-Sensor Array
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
>Displaying a new, second-by-second updating readout on the left screen, Wild's marker traces numerous aerial vessels converging north roughly 200KM, their course seemed to be directly angled towards Basin Village, two labels underneath it reading 'Basin City?', then 'Moors-Neighsia Treaty of 27,461?'
"I'll have to massively boost and amplify my arrays in a thirty degree radius to initiate contact, but doing so will likely alert Construct forces within that same radius. Is that an acceptable risk?
Now REPLACING my primary repair system's most faulty components-"
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12] <Sensory Node #2: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] <Sensory Node #3: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+12 = (2+12) = 14] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+15 = (3+15) = 18]
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (4+13) = 17]
[1d6+20 = (1+20) = 21] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <RT-2
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3] <RT-3
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3] <RT-4
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <RT-5
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2] <RT-6
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <RT-7
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <RT-8
>Watching her have an argument with herself was... rather amusing.
>even more so when she lost to herself.
"We can obtain them later, I would rather you focus on what you can fix and refine now."
>I think I've heard of it in passing?
"I wouldn't use it on yourself for the moment, but do not dump it either, we can probably find a use for it later. Bargaining, maybe."

"And I am your mother, so that makes me relative too."
>Staring back at her, deadpan.

>Watching those vessels for a brief moment, I frown.
"It is acceptable, but in that case we should wait until you can move at 100%. That way we have more of a chance at avoiding those Constructs. Or they'll have left that radius altogether by that point."
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
>Hopping off and bending out of screen, mini-Wild sits back down with the newspaper, the topmost title changed to 'LOCAL DUMBASS LEARNS VALUABLE LESSONS, RELEVANT DETAILS UPCOMING AT 4AM.'
>Staring ahead as flecks of hotly glowing materials fall outside the chest cabin's right side opening, mini-Wild rolls the paper up.
"Well then. The second unit of my functioning primary repair systems has been REPLACED, but it's not perfect. Now REPLACING the first of my secondary repair systems-"
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12] <Sensory Node #2: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <Sensory Node #3: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+14 = (4+14) = 18] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+15 = (5+15) = 20]
[1d6+15 = (6+15) = 21]
[1d6+13 = (6+13) = 19] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+20 = (1+20) = 21] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] <RT-2
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7] <RT-3
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <RT-4
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <RT-5
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3] <RT-6
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2] <RT-7
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <RT-8

"Likelihood of encountering Solar aligned ponies in the Moors: 0.0001%. I will retain the plate, but it smells terrible."
>Rotating counterclockwise and clockwise in alternations for nearly twenty seconds, the caricature's eye stops, nodding rather smugly.
"I know that, Mom."
Outsass ME will you!
>Updating far better positions for the Neighsian aerial fleet, the lead vessel was 219KM north at a speed of 80KPH, the remaining 87 reforming into a wide V-shape.
"Understood.. estimated time until the trade convoy is out of my maximum range: thirty-eight minutes, ten seconds at current velocity. I will, however, need to slow and REPLACE the majority of both legs and pelvic structure.
Mom, I'm not picking up a single Construct transmission or signal within one hundred miles. They've either left, entered stealth protocols, or are dampening their signals. However, there are two extremely low band gravimetric signals oriented northeast.. can't make them out, nothing but static."
>Pareidolia nods in assent at Hodch's request to remain, however the motion catches as he notices the subdued signal.
>Moving back and seating himself on the bench line, his expression takes on a much darker hue as Hodch's voice reaches him over the Moon orb which he fishes out of a vest pocket.
>He closes his right fist over it, resting his elbows on his knees and clasping his left hand over his right.
>The slight sound of friction between fabric and nanoweave can be heard as his gloves press against each other.
>Waiting for Dul to leave he faces his helmet downwards towards the floor of the portal, but his eyes never leave Hodch.
>After Hodch's ultimatum is presented, he closes his eyes and quietly exhales before replying through the stone.
('My role as an asset should not have any negative impacts here in so far as whatever Spiral happens to be. If he is not something within the purview of my mission to address, then he will be handled according to the same stipulations already in place. That said, you clearly know something I do not. I value the truth in all circumstances and if you claim to have new information to inform the truth, then I will hear it for myself. Unless it is a cognitive hazard to know, a memory wipe is unecessary.)
>Sitting up, he drums the gloved fingers of his left hand twice against the right's knuckles.
('And I assume you expressed permission regarding a contingency plan for yourself to Shiibo, given what she told me. A plan needed because of your hypothesis about Spiral.')
Archaic Pegasi-Batpony League Arena: Outskirts
GM Strangler
>Pulling out older Central Moors maps and spreading them apart, with a bit of aid from the not-entirely-scatterbrained batpony you find Basin Village, trace an archaic road to the Arena, then locate the... four-word something designated in the middle of an inland lake, or a large prairie.
"Hum. Old Enkee's not used anymore but everypony around here knows it."
>Leaning over to peer at the older batpony markings, tracing each slash mark several times, the tradesmare's head cocks.
"Hum. Here I was thinking that was called The Big Awful Swamp Of Nasty Trees And Worse Surprises, but that's a nope. Closest I can translate is: 'High Swamp-Drain Outflows'.. wait a second-"
>Bushy eyebrows furrowing, her head swivels left, then down at the map, pointing out two parallel lines heading northeast behind the Arena.
"That's it, this map is a lot newer than the ones. I remember a little from history classes. See these? Used to be a huge, deep swamp between them, five to six hundred hooves west of the Arena's outbuildings. This though-"
>Tapping a broad, flat section that was unmarked to the northwest, her expression darkens.
"Silver's Dynasty terraformed it for the League, was a giant bunch of orchards and small farming plots, way before she went crazy that is. After the.. our Civil War, it turned into something much worse. Elemarental, anti-Elemarental, twisted, half-living plants, everything outside, between, and other shit that shouldn't exist. We fly over but never get close, especially on hoof.
Nopony would miss it all getting burned out."

>Examining the most likely positions based on what you now knew, the choice of using the Arena's rebuilt state would provide heavy cover for smaller attackers and defenders alike, but also presented serious threats should sections be destroyed and collapse.
>The deep swamp was surrounded by a mostly circular ring of ancient trees, providing a large number of offensive positions and could be used to shield against Construct energy weapons, though movemarent could be limited.
>As far as the batmare shared, the former orchard would be a tangled, difficult to control or commarend mess that would hazard a three, but more likely four-way conflict, especially if there was Late Dynasty infestation involved.
>Recalling the over 26,000 ponies that responded to Basin Village's defense, the sheer numbers of Support Strikers, unicorns, and other Psions would be able to prevent substantial issues, but only if the majority were still combat capable.
>Likewise, the unknown yet presumably difficult terrain would limit close combat specialists to extremely short offensive ranges, though had significantly increased chances to perform ambushes in opportune locations.
>And you still didn't know precisely how large the Riftseeker was, or what it's form had taken, compounding the previous thoughts.

"I'm confused, pegamiss. There isn't a SINGLE, BRIGHT ORA- would you stop capitalizing my words?! I can FEEL THEM GETTING BIGGER AND FOR TH-"
>Flicking another hidden pebble straight up, the mare glowers at slinky lines of text compressing, then continues.
>Normally, of course.
"Right. No normally-round-orange-paired-and-horrible-in-every-marener-possible Planar Constructs right here. Or around here. Not close by either. Nope. Nothing like that for about half a mile. Maybe less."
>Tapping a hoof on stone, the tradesmare sniffs, pointedly not looking directly at the symbiote, which was currently sitting down and staring at its damaged front legs.
>Snout wrinkling in a profoundly confused marener, the batmare leans in close to whisper.
"Is i- uh.. is 'he'.. actually hurt? I don't think the skin.. or.. armor? ..whichever, doesn't look thicker than a flimsy book cover."

>Ears slackened to both sides, trace amounts of bubbling orange fluid creep upwards from the missing faux-hoof sections, forcing the exterior hull back into its original state.
>Taking on a frown of severe discontent, pearl-white eyes blink languorously, the Construct's motions slowed.
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7] <Autonomous Self-Repair Protocols
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4]
>This mini wild is cute, can I keep her?
"Replacing them certainly seems to be working, huh?"
>Have to wonder which deity is fucking with my daughter
>And bap it

>How does a metal smell we-
>I don't want to know.
"Well then just don't smell it, Wild."
>d u h
>I take hold of her controls and slow her down over a few moments, so she can continue focusing on REPLACING herself.
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
>Horn alighting in subdued red fog, Hodch seats himself on a dull, though firm cloud, the use of such a luxury rather unusual, as was losing his teacher's demeanor.
('I wouldn't call the information a memetic threat or cognitohazard, though merely knowing all of this... I don't know. Too burned out to speculate.')
>Head dipping slightly, the Reservist Nightblade's front right hoof lifts to rub his neck tiredly.
('One step at a time then. The first part is simple: what is an asset in the context of, where do each of us stand in relation to most of Razorback? The answer, from what I'm fairly Spiral was, is, or possibly may have become, is that we are both threats.')
>Hoof lowering and reaching out, a 12" long, 1" diameter black iron rod materializes, held perfectly still.
('Half the reason I joined Razorback was to continue Fankil's investigation into an absolute fucking disaster of converging problems that I cannot even begin to try explaining. The other half isn't.. important now.
Fankil fully believed said problems were caused by a pony, or a group, in contact with humans, specifically Razorback, using them as a shield to cover for their actions. He was correct, in a way. After his death in Canterlot, I stole a set of modified Tower Guard armor from a friend, using that to enter Stalliongrad and search for Stream Lark.
Suffice to say I was able to clear all humans of Razorback from both Fankil's and Lark's suspicions, among a few dozen others. I've broken a few thousand rules, laws, and the like in doing so. You knew Spiral well enough before he went mad, and you can clearly comprehend where I'm going with this.
The same may or may not apply to you which is why I'm leaving the third option to be taken at any time, and the fourth option will remain open until I know what to even think.')
>The either terribly banned, or deliberately gifted Stalliongrad object disappears, Hodch giving a 'helmet necessary' motion.
('Second, I might have been born in one of Luna's Villages, but I've spent nearly a quarter of my life in Canterlot. There are only six archives there that I'm not allowed in, and those don't contain what I was searching for.
Specifically: herdnames and lineages. By now you understand much of Equestria's naming conventions, how they descend, split off, all originating from a single name. Take the well known Rose overherd for a perfect example: they're all earth ponies, majority in Stalliongrad, remainder in Equestria. Mostly Solars, a few Lunars, no independents. Every birth, death, and event of the Rose overherd is well known.
Now, if you were to say, oh, Disclosure is awfully strange herdname, it doesn't fit Pre-Lunar-Solar War naming conventions, but it COULD be from a Dynasty lineage given how bizarre theirs were.. there is no Disclosure herdname in Mainland Equestria's history.
Likewise he couldn't have come from the Dynasty Remnants in Caneighdia or the Fallen Dynasty adherents between the New Everfree and Gryphon Kingdoms border. They hate all Lunars to the point they'd rather kill themselves than look at one of us.')
>Leaning forwards, the middle aged stallion's jaw tightens, eyes shifting left in creeping anger.
('That brings me to the third part: after returning from the expedition with Spiral to the same ruin we're traveling to, I spent well over a year in the Villages, mostly learning about the conflicts between Lunar and Dynasty adherents. Supposedly they weren't recorded, at all, but I've learned.. a few things otherwise.
At some point all known Sorcerors of the Dynasty were wiped out. Yes, the same exact type that Spiral most definitely was. Here's the first clue that made me think: how could he have turned Filth's dick into a horse's dick, without extensive and eminently fatal biological modification? ...don't answer that one, thinking about it makes me sick. As part of the same topic, Dynastic Sorcerors are responsible for much of the New Everfree's massive flora and fauna growth. Also responsible for lots of Infected, Abominations, Malformed, and Elemarental shit. How bizarre is it that nearly the exact same eugenically-produced lineage disappears, only for a single individual to show up over a thousand years later.
Moving away from THAT, I suspect, but don't have solid proof yet, that all the Lunar Druid circles made pacts with several Ferron sub-clans, a so-called 'lost' Necromarecer group that probably ties to the Vigil Light Cult, a warclan from the batpony-majority Cult of the Dark Horse, and a final group that's so fucking unknown throughout history that I can't even begin to guess what species they were or how marely took part!')
>Eyes shutting and breathing out slowly, Hodch remains still for half a minute, tension bleeding off.
>Head lifting, the stallion pauses, coughing several times before spitting a mass of semi-crystallized blue, dark purple, and white mixed with deep red, rapidly congealing blood.
>Sensing extreme, brief derision despite his stone cold face, a short hoof wave causes the mass to conflagrate in a slow, curiously non-magical and anti-Elemental backlash of energies.
('Fourth, last, worst, but also the most telling: Spiral knew precisely what is killing me. While it's technically a curse, the reality is far more fucked: it's a semi-divine blessing. How funny is that?
Was designed in the Middle Dynasty, an enchantmarent that combined Psionicism, Crystal runes, Gryphon Rune-Scribing, and older unicorn spellwork. It's purpose? Causes an earth stallion to impregnate every available filly and mare, up to twenty in all, within a preset boundary.
As to what happens when a unicorn stallion is infected with it-')
>Right forehoof lifted and turned around, he spits a much smaller mass onto the scarred pad, eyes narrowed at you.
('If I don't banish this amount within five minutes, the effect is basically the same as a large manabomb. And you now know exactly where I picked up the item containing that enchantmarent.')
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
>Unrolling the newspaper and dangling it in her left hand, a sideways headline of 'LOCAL ELDRITCH-ANDROID CURSED BY UNKNOWN, PROBABLY JEALOUS FORCES' is threatened by a large combat knife held in the right.
>...where'd she acquire that from?
"So long as this keeps working, I'll keep doing it."
>Expecting nothing and not being let down, a satisfied electronic tone emits from the screen, though an unusual liquid sloshing above didn't seem right.
"Good news: the first of my secondary repair systems has been REPLACED and access to the third was restored. It was undamaged.
The bad news: there isn't enough Tryptaran mass to reconnect my head unit's systems and functions. I'm operating off two secondary nodes, which are approximately forty-percent less efficient than the primary versions.. I really hope those weren't destroyed.
I'm going to shut down, reboot, and REPLACE the repair tendril systems one by one, they're barely functional as is."
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8] <Sensory Node #2: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] <Sensory Node #3: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+14 = (3+14) = 17] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+15 = (4+15) = 19]
[1d6+15 = (5+15) = 20]
[1d6+13 = (5+13) = 18] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (2+13) = 15]
[1d6+13 = (5+13) = 18]
[1d6+20 = (6+20) = 26] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Repair Tendril #1 Reboot
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Repair Tendril #2 Reboot
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Repair Tendril #3 Reboot
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Repair Tendril #4 Reboot
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Repair Tendril #5 Reboot
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Repair Tendril #6 Reboot
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Repair Tendril #7 Reboot
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <Repair Tendril #8 Reboot

>Displaying a schematic of the 30M long external repair systems' internals, most you didn't understand.. and a few you didn't want to try thinking about, a small unit at the end was clearly intended to inspect, analyze, and identify inorganics.
"You see this? Positive identification of materials is required, so I don't have a choice."
>Returning to their earlier position as control sticks, the medical not-tools had likewise been REPLACED to full condition.. except for an absolutely puzzling, unknown dent in a specific location, shaped almost as if...
>How strange and totally weird to look at.
>Pulling back, Wild slows from her power jog to an easy walk, halting with a final heavy stomp facing the seemingly endless beach.
"Performing a final inspection of my leg, pelvic, and lower torso structures."
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Arcanum Sensor Array
"...and I might as well check long ranged communications."
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Omni-Sensor Array
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]

>Quiet except for the comforting sounds of metal being shaped, the air was slightly cooler here here, less drifting ash and soot was entering the chest cabin.
>Hearing a loud, unusual sound outside, then one more several seconds later, and another, you realize it was beginning to rain.
>And heavily too, judging by large water drops impacting Wild's armor and hull, while the thick, billowing dark clouds in the distance might as well be a storm.
>Without any lightning, amusingly.
"This is good. The wildfire should be contained within.. one hour at most."
>José couldn't contain a little amused snort as Trakkel went through banter city, quickly trying to mask it by softly clearing his throat out of habit.
>He doubted anyone would really mind his reaction, but if there's ponies like Starglow and humans like that asian woman at the comm station that can be easily set off, practicing a proper stoneface would be fruitful.
>Quickly jotting down the various valuable nuggets of information regarding mind reading defenses, character profiles and species knowledge, he soon started nodding pensively.
>Wait a minute, looking back at yesterday, he faintly remembered having posted something along those lines on the board.
>Oh damn, they might be talking about him.
"Did the note state a reason why?"
Sunny Feathers
>Looking between the various locations, Sunny rubbed massaged her brow with a pinion.
"So essentially I have my pick of a dangerous swamp to the south, a dangerous swamp to the northeast, and horrors-of-a-bygone-age to the northwest, also a dangerous swamp."
>They certainly wouldn't be picking that last one unless they wanted to pick a fight with whatever was there as well. Given how depleted their forces must be, if they had even survived, and then going up against constructs and a riftseeker, it was doubtful they would do that.
>She hoped, the watch guard general had asked for her advice, and she could only presume Gardenia's attitude to dying in honorable combat applied to the whole force in general, on top of liberal use of suicide bombers. Sound strategic sense couldn't be something she could bank on them having.
>Sunny stamped a hoof idly, she couldn't keep wasting time here after she'd told Mercy seconds counted. Make a decision. Act.
>South meant backtracking to the Arena, then perpendicular to the direction Mercy was headed, with her symbiote in tow.
>Northeast meant following her path, but she couldn't even be sure the roads would take her that direction since they were new and the maps she had were made before the reconstruction effort, which meant crossing difficult terrain at best, and running across whatever nasties were lurking in the thickets at worst.

>The simplest way to decide would be to divine a path of least resistance. So she looked over the map again, noting marked paths and roads, along with topographical features, particularly the distance involved. Even if they were out of date, she could at least make a reasonable guess at the fastest, most direct route either east or south.
>All other information had to be deemed non-factor for this decision, or she'd spend the rest of night here just analysing her options and learning the history of the general area, which was interesting, but not immediately useful beyond knowing for sure where it was too dangerous for a large force to use as a staging ground.

[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] < B.Scouting
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] < Map Satchel: Geography

>Noting the bat mare's concern for the construct, Sunny glanced up from her map musings and looked over to it.
>It was bold to assume 'hurt' even applied to this thing or constructs in general. Damage could be sensed, and considered undesirable in terms of how it would affect their ability to carry out their directives. Emotive mimicry aside, she doubted the symbiote or any construct understood pain the way an organic would, as far as she knew, they could only understand it as negative feedback.
>Just as she had been thinking that, it began to repair itself.
"Not for long, apparently."
>The fluid being used for repair got her thinking. It was clearly a blood analogue, but what was it really? It had been damaged by acid, she knew from her alchemical experience that acidic molecules typically worked by either exchanging or adding certain particles with other molecules, dissolving matter at a macroscopic level. The esoteric variety behaved similarly for metaphysical formations.
>If the repair fluid was comprised of objects of greater than molecule size, then damage incurred from acid was the one thing it could not simply repair without expending its supply of available material, since material was destroyed by acid rather than merely rearranged or separated by other forms of damage. Cellular sized machinery could not interact with subatomic particles, at least mechanically, subatomic manipulation by generated fields was another matter entirely.
>That would be something she'd have to look into, it might even help greatly against the riftseeker if they had to fight it. The armor would resist it, but it had to expose its weaponry to use it, and it would likely have joints that could be targeted at range.

[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] < Pupil Researcher
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] < Junior Constructs
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
>I'll just assume Kraut had a knife in Wild before Wild became Wild.
>Or she just made one for a joke.
"I certainly won't argue its effectiveness."
>Even if it was... rather unorthodox in execution.

"Sure you do, just don't smell it!"
>Smelling and smelling are two different actions after all.
>And I'll ignore the odd dent in the tendril, don't know what rightly happened to it and I doubt I want to know!

"At least the wildfires would help life regrow, that's the only real boon to this whole situation."
Ivan the STALKER
"We let it happen, for thousands of years. While Europeans were still tribal, Egyptians were using slave labor to build massive pyramids for Pharaohs to rest in once they died. It's a combination of religion and seated authority."
>Ancient Egypt was... quite fucking weird.
>Even the little parts of it that he's read would make him glad he wasn't alive then.

"I would think they'd be willing to trade in things other than simply money too, no?"
>Bartering in the Zone was always unpredictable, sometimes a STALKER wouldn't accept rubles at all.
"But I'll make sure I have plenty of money, just in case."

>Taking the history lesson in stride, Ivan would frown a little.
"Obviously they only met a batpony through their stereotypes."
>He paused for a moment.
"I will not argue the puns or lewdness, though."
370957 370985
>As he was listening to the Assault Vanguard's lead, Clem couldn't help but notice the mares giving him...unsavory attention
>He quietly keeps to himself, ready to pounce if they make any bold actions
>So far, Clem understands that Riftseekers are no joke
>And among the two options, the first one seems to be the most sensible
>He's not keen on more suicidal charges tonight anyway

>Spying on the Arena, he spots the Constructs currently there
>Two spheres, bristling with weapons
>And a Repair unit building a giant gate

>Clemency returns Jeff's nod alongside Lont
>He totally forgotten about the Vitriole Orb Jeff has
>Between that and maybe getting into a truce with the Constructs, maybe a plan can be cobbled together
>Watching him go, Clemency thought about getting some of the heavier weapons out of the armory
>He realizes that he was severely outclassed when it comes to handling large firearms
>And coming close to a Riftseeker like that doesn't seem like a smart move especially when exhausted
>Taking the precious time to get a breather, he focuses on the Razorback rookies
>Particularly if they needed to be wrangled into shape
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8] <Expert Perception/Rookie Wrangler
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4]
[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3]

>Turning to Lont, he looks like he's steeled for this fight
>The Crystal pony support is certainly helpful
>Although, he doesn't think he ever saw a golem like whatever bowed to Lont
"Any plans for this fight? I'm leaning more towards covering fire myself."
Razorback Fortress: The Mess Hall
GM Strangler
>Balling up a napkin and tossing it between the two quietly arguing, the second man waits a few until they settle down, then turns to give a half-assed shrug.
"Knock it off or both of you are getting wall duty the whole night.
Nah, all it said was don't add anything to the Board or a half-ton plus mare's gonna drop on someone's head. Around here that's a promise, not a threat, so don't try it."
>Looking up from his hands and surveying the Mess Hall briefly, Trakkel frowns.
"Speaking of wall duty.. any of you seen Mercy tonight?"
"Since we've been back? No."
"Nope. You?'
"Ehh, no."
>Figuratively kicking himself into gear with a sigh, the squad lead turns around to face the other occupied tables, voice pitching into a demand.
"Razorback, got a need to know right fucking now question that better be a yes. Has ANYONE seen Mercy at all tonight"
>Among the Rookie table, a younger man speaks up, then towards the pegasus cook.
"Not since last night. Pella, know where she's at?"
"She's usually in a little past Dusk for her special order. Maybe try the Tower?"
"Been there, nopony's touched the hay piles and Clem ain't around either."
"Hmmm.. don't have a clue, sorry."
>Thumping hands on the table, Trakkel shoots you an apologetic look, tapping his radio before standing.
"Where the fuck are they all? Sorry about this man, but looks like we're the ones on duty. If you need one of us try our local channel, 52.3."
>Stretching out briefly, then grabbing a heavy, odd looking combat rifle, he motions towards the doors, the rest of his squad collecting their kit, then turns to sternly address the other tables.
"For those that aren't dead yet, off your asses and hit the walls. Last bullshit we need is some THING getting in or over that shouldn't, and if we catch one person slacking you're going straight to General Twisted Wing's month long School of Stop Dying Or I'll Kill You Myself.
For those that HAVEN'T been here more than two weeks, check in at the Workshop. Lann can make armored clothing so get yourself some nice stuff. There's a close combat weapon specialist, a batpony mare with a funny name, Mango-Spice or something like that. But whatever you do, don't fucking bother the unicorns."
>Tossing a quick salute in your direction, Trakkel and his squad head towards the Mess Hall's doors, followed by over half of the Operators.
"Enjoy your food man."
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
"There is a limitation: I cannot use that tactic in less than a minimum of twenty-eight hours. It also does not feel good to me.."
>Realizing what she was holding, miniature Wild examines it long enough to read twice, then hacks the newspaper in half.
>There was definitely a strange disconnect between her internal and external thought processes.. which couldn't be from you.

"That is a necessary component of my repair capabilities, Mom. If I had an alternative method to analyze inorganic materials, I would choose that and remove the system. Until then it stays."
>Tossing the pieces, and knife, over her shoulders off screen, the internal version smacks armored hands together before turning serious.
"Accessing data... incomplete. Moors records are far below standard levels. But mostly nonexistent. I don't think this region's flora experience significant regrowth from wildfires as certain plains and forests do."
>Removing the map table entirely and placing her internal schematic on the left screen, the caricature studies it.
>And while you were fairly sure most of those components shouldn't be marked in black, red, or covered in symbols that seemed to indicate damage, they still weren't ones you understood.
"Most of my external repair systems are now functional.. efficiency has been moderately to severely degraded. I need access to my head unit's primary data nodes but they will suffice for now.
Now REPLACING destroyed all right leg motivators and structural supports-"
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7] <Sensory Node #2: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <Sensory Node #3: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+14 = (3+14) = 17] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+15 = (6+15) = 21]
[1d6+15 = (4+15) = 19]
[1d6+13 = (1+13) = 14] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (1+13) = 14]
[1d6+13 = (4+13) = 17]
[1d6+20 = (4+20) = 24] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <RT-2
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] <RT-3
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <RT-4
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <RT-5
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8] <RT-6
[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3] <RT-7
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5] <RT-8

>Pinning the smaller Crag Moors map atop her body, mini-Wild circles, in red of course, the aerial convoy's trajectory towards Basin Village.
"Estimated time of aerial fleet arriving at Basin Village slash Basin City: six hours, fifty minutes, plus or minus a half hour. No course changes or deviations; the lead vessel is still repeating its original broadcast."
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Heaving the boxpack next to Krinza's anvil to inspect both straps, Helping regards you with a faintly miffed expression.
"The equine version of slavery is, besides a few outliers, a necessity to those that need it, and should be considered as direct opposition to the common human form. Should a pony be incapable of paying a debt due to injury, illness, or other unfortunate events, there are numerous forms of service that they can take on.
We value the concept as it provides those with 'less' wealth, skill, or material possessions, far greater access and legally enforceable equal rights to those with 'greater' of the same. A large number of historically well regarded ponies across Equestria were once..."
>Turning the box sideways to face the furnace, the large unicorn frowns, ears twitching in deep thought.
"No matter how I try to translate the words, the Common Equestrian meanings are insufficient. And highly insulting. The Saddle Arabians have one specific term, 'serfi' I believe it is. The meaning is essentially a skilled servant whom was bought to prevent destitution, and is considered to be above the purchaser's standing.
Despite some ideological differences, the funerals of beloved leaders in certain countries, city-states, regions, etcetera, are marked by great works to honor the equinity of an individual or herd.
Saddle Arabia features thousands of such monumarents which are considered national treasures. One of the most enjoyed is in Buzzard's Rest, a.. grand swimming pool that can host two thousand or more ponies. The name is exceptionally difficult to pronounce correctly.
In general, slaves are to be treated with excellence, or the purchaser risks being publicly shunned, and possibly killed, by those with equal standing."
>Horn brightening, several titanium rolls and thin plates are pulled from the south side to him, spread out, squared, then quickly marked for cutting.
"Of course. Bits are accepted across most of Equestria with little concern. Gems, whether raw, cut, or refined, are more valuable in direct trade as they retain value far longer than coins. Difficult to acquire trade goods such as mystic gems or unusual materials commarend better trade margins, generally three to ten times more.
Functional weapons and armor almost never lose value, even if mass produced, though are difficult to carry around. Enchantmarents are the same, yet are limited in number. ..excluding resonant and Psionic variants which are hard to acquire.
Of note are the archaic gem coins originating from the Crystal Conclaves, Early to Middle Kingdom, and Changeling Hive. Each one is worth anywhere from twenty to a thousand times their face value, depending on the gem utilized to produce them, the stamped year, and which Conclave. But, there are few of those in circulation as is.
Information is perhaps the most volatile of trade goods. Such is highly valuable, however one must be careful as knowledge must be regionally, culturally, or productively useful. ..political usefulness is a topic I have no care for.
I would suggest taking more gems than Bits. Some ponies enjoy naturally valuable materials over metals, raw or refined."
>Neatly severing two thin sheets and matching them to a plate, Helping repeats the process three times, melding each set together before affixing to the boxpack.
"The majority of stereotypes exist for correct reasons. Batponies are unfortunately easy targets for such, though they do not seem to take offense to that knowledge. Just the opposite, in fact I believe they use those same stereotypes to surprise, astound, and outwit the unwary."
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <E.Crafting
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <E.Enchanting
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <E.Smith
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
[1d6+8 = (6+8) = 14] <Eidetic Fundamarentals

"They could stand to be far less aggressive in asking whether somepony desires to spend 'some time' in their cave, however."
Basin Village, Aftermath 10
GM Strangler
370970 370985
"I'll take it for now, don't have any AT's left."
>Handing off the duffel and launcher to another One Hundred, then passing through the daisy-chain of common ammunition into the Armory.. it was a mess, and otherwise empty as the Workshop door was closed.
('You say that but we haven't even seen the fucking thing-')
('Real question is: do we WANT to?')
('Real answer: long as there's a threat to the Moors, we can't back the fuck out. Ever.')
('Hear fucking here-')
>Razorback had grabbed every last sealed pouch, pack, canister, box, or bag, leaving the tables, shelves, and lockers more disorganized than Mercy's eating habits.
('Jeff, we grabbed every last explosive, there's nothing left either in the Command Center or lockers.')
('I.. might have stolen a couple from Twisted's stash.')
('....we'll hold a nice funeral after she gets back.')
('Fuck you too.')
>Taking up the heavy Gepard and collecting what few spare rounds were available to reload its primary magazine, the chain was slowing as those Operators with a surplus of specialized ammunition or Era Locked equipment head to their lockers.
('I remember that report. Hey, you were with me, right?')
('Yeah, we spent the next couple nights tracking down all the ponies involved. Basin's Maretriarch gave up on it a month later.')
('No, but also... potentially yes. Despite our collected knowledge in destroying Constructs and Riftseekers alike, the orange fluid is neither fully biological nor mechanical. Most describe as biomechanical but that is an incomplete descriptor. There are some that think it to be mechanobiological, and have the same problem.
Unlike Elemarentals, depending on a Construct's model or designation some are fully immune to Lightning, others are not. The majority seem to develop a tolerance, and pairs are able to share that. Resistance to high temperatures is extreme but have difficulty repairing themselves in conditions under fifty degrees.
The best we can answer is: possibly. Riftseekers are less understood by far greater margins of error. If a clear, but most importantly safe, opportunity arises, then we can only state to introduce that Core.')
>Piling everything common onto the east side, the last remaining Operators exit the Armory, heading back into the Basin Village gate.
('Looks like we're done, last one's you Jeff.')
('Fucker's joke is still rolling around in my head..')
('If it hurts you that batly then ignore him.')
('....I hate you.')
('Peel with it.')
('I HATE you!')
Basin Village, Aftermath 11
GM Strangler
>Outside the Crystal-aligned forces, it appeared none had realized or suspected the unusual ponies in their midst.
>Drowning out the thought by recalling what you could of the exotic dishes, vegetables, grains, roots, tubers, nuts, and fruits, one of the nearest Night Guard Chargers stamps a hoof.
"I can feel that you know! Which one of you is trying to make me go back to the Empire City-State?!"
"You can barely fit in that armor as is."
"Didn't you spend two nights getting a refit?"
"I'm not fat damn it!"
"Hm, you are carrying at least five extra pounds."
"No I am not!"
"I wouldn't miss out on all the tasty stuff.. if we weren't busy that is."
"And tapdance on your hooves too! I FIT IN THIS JUST FINE!"

('The humans of Stalliongrad haven't let us down once in the Tunnels, no matter the targets we asked them to accompaneigh us against. Best we can hope for is this Riftseeker has thin armor, bad weapons, and is dumber than every young Minotaur bull in middle winter.')
>Head swiveling to the closest Crystal-Hegemony Minotaur, the leadmare offers a respectful nod.
"No offense to you, sh'ar."
"Po-ny? What say?"
"....right, can't join an overherd. If I said, that I just said, I was insulting all young Minotaur bulls in middle winter, would that be offensive in any marener?"
"No, you right po-ny! We all stu-pid then!"
"Even cows?"
>Receiving a rather careful, albeit still hearty and heavy headpat, she sighs internally, then externally.
('Didn't know what I was expecting to hear..')

>Lance tipping in your direction, the Assault Vanguard's leadstallion grunts, pulling his helmet on and sharing the same thought of having a nice cold ice bath.
('That's a giant if. No modern Constructs use external weapons, few still have jointed arms, and most older models lacked overlapping plates. Last one we saw with all three was from the early 25,000's. Had a rather odd plasma rrrr- weapon, let's call it that, similar to what some of you are carrying, and a box filled with blue canisters. Went up like somepony ripped the housing off a Spark Lamp-')
('It was pretty to watch though!')
('At close range? And stupidly dangerous to ignite at said range? Or maybe you enjoyed half your coat burned off and spending a month in the Tower's care?')
('Eh, was worth the risks. Besides, I healed just fine thank you, there's plenty of mares and stallions that love real battle scars!')
('You are beyond weird.')
('We know that!')
('Just... ..regardless, every Riftseeker we've brought down has had no direct weaknesses in either protection or capabilities. One pushes the limits of what can be expected since they're not only unique, but also respond with extreme disparities in behavior.')
>Pareidolia looks towards the cursed blood Hodch spits out and watches as it burns.
(Cursed blood and a withering soul then. Likely more links to the past with Spiral and prior investigation than stated.)
>His eyes close in weary contemplation as he leans his helmet backwards, craning towards the ceiling.
(Stars, I miss Command. Level of information and conspiracy processing is approaching overwhelming. Not cut out for this scale of operation.)
>A long, slow exhale is heard as he maintains his posture.
('To summarize, Spiral may be a potential danger due to Dynastic Sorceror lineage of which he is somehow a survivor despite over a thousand years of absence. Lineage was wiped out by a combination of forces, primarily Lunar aligned. If he is aware of this past history, then in his current state it may result in extreme hostility. His personal lineage and origins are unclear with no traceable herd name links. Other evidence includes his abilities and expertise.')
>He continues his mental conversation as he shifts to leaning his helmet foward against his splayed left glove, propping the elbow against his knee. His eyes remain closed in consternation and recall, some of that anxiety lightly tinging his tone.
('Organizing some of Razorback's bills, I'd found a copy stating that Spiral had purchased 280,000 thousand bits worth of books on the Solar faction from a princess Yearning Touch via dam princess Golden Beet Jam. That is 'princess' with a lowercase 'p'. Another bill of Spirals contained unlisted items he had sold to Yearning Touch for 350,000 Germaneighan Ear-Marks. There was code present on the bill, but I lacked the tools to decipher it. As for Stream Lark... there was a mission where I was involved in retrieving him. Initial assessment seemed to mark it as a partial failure, but in light of Lucky's manipulation and recent events the potential of interconnected conspiracy grows higher.')
>Sighing again, he opens his eyes and rolls his shoulders in an attempt to relieve tension.
('Since you haven't asked about my other affiliations, I won't ask about yours. So long as it includes aims to remove and not enable subversive human elements and effects, our missions run parallel.')
Basin Village, Aftermath 12
GM Strangler
370985 370989
>For once, Razorback's lesser experienced Operators were too ragged, exhausted, tired, or hardening infield to start shit, let alone end the same.
>Catching shared, grim expressions on most faces, it was clear that defending Basin Village had changed a great deal of their attitudes towards ponies and themselves.
>Possibly not for the best, either.
>Checking over the equines that might be problematic, only the youngest Day Guard mares were still making unsubtle glances towards veterans and elites, regardless of species, though were particularly interested in the Assault Vanguard.
>...especially the stallions, but were not excluding mares, which the Lunar Guards seemed to be acceptable towards.

"I'm not about to challenge this Overherd's leadership against a Moderatis Shieldmare."
>Marentally staring each other down, the Assault Vanguard's leader gives up before the Shieldmare even bothers to forgive him.
"Without acquiring an entire Watch Fortress worth of explosives, having all unicorns and Support Strikers refreshed, our best option is, once again, to not engage and instead perform long ranged recon. Information is desperately needed, especially if the Riftseeker has indeed taken the physical features of a mutated Emerald drake.
But, in the off chance our target has gone active..."
>Attention flickering across the eager, still fresh ranks of Chargers and Lancers already in hyping each other up, the leadstallion's head tilts right several degrees, speaking bitterly against the Overherd's weight.
"They have already chosen to buy enough time to either fully engage it or cover a retreat."
>Accepting a temporary ceasing of hostilies from the Shieldmare and shutting out the Overherd briefly, the stallion's voice drops into cool warning tones.
"Convincing them otherwise is unlikely."

"Master Clemency, I do not think it wise t-"
>Without a reference or significant understanding as to how, or why, Blackhorn lifts in your hands, the bolt slamming backwards, belted shells spooling back into the magazine.
>Changed belt jerking upwards, first shell into the breech slamming shut, the rear indicator shows the magazine reloaded with only recalibrated finned darts and kinetic iso-magnetic rods in sequence.
>Between amazed, impressed, and aghast at the Construct weapon's actions, the leadstallion's gaze slowly travels from it to you, speaking in a calm, firmly neutral tone.
"It is well known that Rift symbiotes, including Riftdrowners, are highly attuned to their bonded partner. As it is, you should consider-"
>Visibly deliberating on each word, his open psyche was wavering between critical incredulity and giving up on life.
"How she feels about the current situation."

>Helmet swinging towards the gateways, the Shieldmare's tone hardens at numerous reports.
('Ma'am, minor threats engaged south and north. No difficulties.')
('Other than a few burns that aren't doing much-')
('West end clear, small swarms destroyed or.. convinced to leave.')
('Further details?)
('Disregard earlier reports, Void spectrums here are incredibly thick at the momarent, risk of infestations or reality breaches are low.')
('That is strange. Probable causes?')
('False reverberations, misread echoes, incorrect spectrum comparisons.. a few dozen more possibilities.')
('Understood, those are indeed easy to miss. Lancers and Chargers first in stated orders.')
>Hundreds of the smaller Guardmares eagerly storm forwards into the outermost gateways, setting up external lines on the pathway, which sparks some interest from the few awake batponies clustered in front of the barns, lazing atop stalls, or hanging out of windows.
('Lunar and Watch Guard, secondary ranks are yours.')
>Striding forth into long, secondary lines inside the Day and Night Guard's outer ranks, the Shieldmare sweeps her focus across Razorback, then the unicorns that weren't at risk of burning out.
('Unicorns, Razorback: organize yourselves as before. Shorter ranged casters and weapons closest to front, progressively longer ranged combatants and specialists stretching across the rear.')
>Staring into the gates as Operators separate into new squads, submachine gunners and those carrying shotguns first, the leadstallion suppresses a sigh, head shaking in disbelief.
('Vanguard, five of us per human, we're on escort duty. How marely puns does it take to write a book?')
('I do not know. Why do you ask?')
('Because I can feel a few thousand new ones being made right now....')
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
>Taking a deep breath, Hodch blows on the mass, the same anti-Elemarental energetics dispersing it from reality as he glances up with a short nod.
('Absolutely correct on all accounts. Now that you understand the majority of my fears, concerns, and troubles, you also understand why I'm leaving the third option open and the fourth as-of-yet undefined until we know far more.')
>Leaning forwards once again, this time to allow a short, rolling yawn, the deep purple stallion starts to relax, then stares downwards flatly.
('Underprincesses Yearning Touch and Golden Beet Jam? I know of them yes, they help lead the Gold Court's higher echelons and are well loved. Never met either though. Both are directly descended from Princess Celestia, though I'm not sure how marely generations distant. That doesn't answer how they could ha-')
>Burying front hooves in the cloud, Hodch snarls aloud, eyes shut in severe anger.
('Oh that fucking LIAR! ...yet another pain in the asses that needs to be tracked down and either silenced, suppressed, or thrown out! ...thank you for informing me of.. this. Certain factions shouldn't have attempted to help Razorback from the sidelines and instead done so in the open. Less I say now the better off you and Razorback might be.')
>Eyes opening, the right brow raises, taking on an annoyed expression as he makes a slight leg breaking motion.
('What I'm going to say will forever remain OFF all records until either I die, you are forced into swearing oaths to those factions directly in the know, or one of the Lunar Council directly orders you to speak on their behalf: I know every single detail of that Operation.
Linara, Sha'Ro, Lark, two Princesses, at least ten Crystal Empire Spireguards, two Imperial Generals, five Kingdom Wardens, an unknown but presumable Councilierge, one Grand Ethereal Champion, an unaligned human that I know nothing about, two Watch Guard Master-Generals, at least half of the Tower Guard, well over twenty Stalliongrad aligned humans, and a large number of Canterlot's Royal Guard planned it out. Together, I must add.
While I was in Canterlot to perform a certain diversion that you will hear of, in the next week or two, several ponies contacted me and asked permission to perform the go-ahead on a plan that will shortly become known.
Now, whom signed off on all of it? The Starborn's General, Executioner, Luna's Guardian, and a few other titles-)
>Ears rotating in terrified yet furious motions, Hodch clenches his jaw several times before continuing.
('Don't ever piss her off without an exceptionally solid reason. You have no idea the amount of favors across Tallus and the Planes are owed to her. She is NOT what you might think or believe she is.
Moving on: Valden had a hoof in the neighgotiations between all factions and parties, then allowed certain Solar artifacts, coins, and valuables to be used, which should have been a dead giveaway to the Vigilites and Psions watching the auction. A few may not have been told relevant details in time.
A certain Master-General didn't realize, or ignored, the following: Steel Oak is a Free Agent, a former noble that ditched Canterlot after the Changeling Hive was assaulted. His daughter is friends with a large number of Very Important Ponies, mostly in Neighvada, And, best yet, his two bodyguards are independent elite marecenaries with deep ties to the Minotaur Hegemony, hence their particular and unusual names.
I'm quite sure you don't know anything about that, of course')
>Eyebrows raised in a moderately smug marener, Hodch visibly feigns ignorance by turning both forelegs outwards, though immediately turns serious.
('I also know how much certain humans hate Stream Lark for all the wrong reasons, but Razorback had best be careful: he's always treated Shanis as family. Tartarus Isle, the same. A vast amount of resources from across Stalliongrad and parts of Rushya were funneled to her, without any expectation other than to root out whichever ponies from.. certain places might have infiltrated Razorback.
And I sincerely hope no humans have spoken ill of Lark to Shanis' brother. That one.. reminds me too much. He considers forgiveness nothing more than a weakness to be stamped out.')
>Left leg crossing chest and bending forwards in a formal bow, Hodch's left leg makes a forget it motion.
('I serve equinity first and by extension Tallus as a whole. Let it be known that the majority of Lunars despise having to lie, even if there are exceptional reasons to do so, which I still hate. Killing and destroying to protect others, prevent certain events, or remove problems, those we consider honorable. Just the same, if I had the option I would have disposed of Filth long ago, but that damage is done and there's no information of his current whereabouts. Yet.
Your agenda, so far as I care to understand, and that isn't an insult, seems to be aimed at creating either a disconnect or a more manageable state of affairs for Razorback. Normally I'd suggest care in how to proceed, though I suspect much is now impossible to manage.
However, in the interests of numerous parties that must not yet be revealed, I would ask that you ignore all humans outside of Equestria whom are not direct threats. As you have likely noticed Katyal is quite.. efficient.')

>Clearing his throat, the Reservist Nightblade rolls forwards to stand, creating an arrow above his head to point at the expanded bracelet with a cheerful smile.
"Now then, let's see whether or not the Elemarental Plane of Lightning, Storms, and the connection Tempests greet you as an ally, or at least as a friend. There's a chance you might be considered too Otherworldly and not accepted, though knowing how certain Dynasty projects in the past have been, shall we say, exceptional, such a risk is minute."
>As Razorback continues to dump surplus munitions into the Armory, Jeff decides the impromptu break had gone on enough.
>He walks over to where he had grabbed the Gepard from and collects its extra pair of magazines and stickies them wherever he had room on his chest.
>Continuing on about the Riftseeker through he gateway, he shrugs at the thoughts on the Vitriole Orb. Either way he's got it in case it become viable.
('Organic or not, it's got to be volatile enough to to something at the very least. Maybe scramble the gooey parts to where it can't function properly. Doesn't have to necessarily kill it. On the other end it could easily have an immunity to poisons giving the creature it's emulating.')
>The daisy chain waning, he heads over to Anon's Ash Box to grab another Iron Sphere to replace the one he almost vaporized the gestalt with earlier.
>Poor guy. Hope he's re-amalgamated himself.
>Hearing him get called being the last man, he stretches his arms before hoisting up the heavy rifle onto his right shoulder and heading out of the Armory and back through to the Basin Village.

>Back on the side of the next battle effort, the main force were getting ready to move through.
>A Shieldmare takes charge over the forces, checking though the gateways for any news from the scouting party.
>Sounds like they were encountering light forces. Didn't sound like any casualties, even chasing them off.
('What are they coming across?')
>Were the Constructs hostile, or were the scouts engaging first? Sounded inconclusive.
>The Shieldmare starts lining up forces in front of the gateways, the humans bringing up the rear with any unicorns not fried from keeping the matrices open.
>Jeff gets in formation, positioning himself center rear to have an unhindered view of their ranks.
('Machine gunners, spread yourselves evenly through long guns. Launchers, anti-tank, and unique ectetera: save your rounds for any special targets of opportunity.')
>As a quintuplet of Vanguards form up on him, he awaits any further updates from the Shieldmare.
('Are we still going to have the Overherd on the otherside, or is that going to dissipate once we cross over?')
>He watches Hodch come to yet another unhappy realization thanks to the information he provided.
>Nodding back at the Nightblade, he turns his head away.
('Understood. Will provide the bills if we successfully return.')

>Memories of the harrowing operation in Stalliongrad are dredged forth as Hodch recounts the list of everyone involved. The Master General Lapis Thorn being paid particular note.
(At least that operation was clean then... no apparent manipulation by Lucky... )
>He shakes his head as Hodch adds an unknown clarifying detail.
('The implications of their affiliations are unclear to me.')

>Nodding once at Hodch and tightening the grip of his clasped gloves, he sighs and shakes his helmet.
('Currently, Razorback needs a major withdrawal from active political affairs. Control and management of human element vectors is impossible without consolidation, and yes current protocol is strictly damage control.')
>Loosening his left glove's grip long enough to make a dismissive flicking motion towards the ground, he adds:
('And yes, that was the plan regardless with such limited resources. Katyal and your benefactors won't see interference from me. Will request you contact me if you ever find Filth however. Protocol dictates his removal.')

>Following Hodch's cue he stands rolling his shoulders, smoothly pocketing the Moonstone Orb as he adjusts his vest.
>Running a final check of his electronics before entering the portal after Hodch, he silently nods at the invitation.
The L.O.N.T
>Finished loading his Spiker, he cradled it in his arms as he watched the members of Razorback work as efficient as Ash Ants in taking everything from the Armoury, even down to the last bullet. Or maybe Termites.
>"Anon was going to break his back in carrying out a resupply of the entire Fortress."

>He snickered. It was always a delight to hear ponies mewl at each other. Equines in general were just...great to pet and fawn over.
>As he continued to stare off into space his mind wondered away from food and to all the times he had pet ponies. him cradling Nao the seal came and went as the heft of his Spiker reminded him of that ball of blubber too.
>Something clicked in his head, telling him he was daydreaming at this point and broadcasting it into the Overherd for all to imagine. He shook his head dispelling the string of thoughts, but sadly not before a flash memory slipped in at the last second. Akin to a freezeframe, it was of his hand massaging a Particularly Pretty Pristine Pink Princess Pony's frogs, in an act of intimate Hoofholding.

>wishing he still had his helmet on, he turned his attention back to the reality of their grim situation.
('"If it bleeds we can kill it", A wise man once said back on Ferrundus. It will die this night I am sure of it.')
>He said before looking up to the moon, seeing how long before day broke.

>Hefting his helmet up he gave Clem a wink.
"Same verse as a first, cover fire and shoot at it until it dies like last time."
>Then, his helmet was back in place.

>Being a good little soldier he went where he was needed.
>Clemency was surprised and worried at the same time when he saw the faces of the Rookies
>Them not starting shit felt almost unnatural
>For their sake, Clemency felt he needed to stick with them

>Snapping his attention to Blackhorn, he feels the gun lift and rack itself with a new belt of shells
>Darts and rods, sequenced
>Clemency closes his eyes and realizes Blackhorn's intent
>"Alright, we go then. It's like what Lont said. Shoot it until it dies."

>Opening his eyes, he sees the formation and fills in, positioning himself to get a center view of the Rookie squad
>There seems to be light skirmishes already with the scouts
>Clem figured if they were light enough to repel, then they should have no issues
{Alright, rooks. This is Clemency. Time to embrace the suck. Space out those MGs and save the AT.)
>With an amicable salute of his own, Gallo watches them leave out of the Mess Hall with a soft smile as he jots down the channel 52.3 in case he ever needs to contact Trakkel and his squad.
>So he should visit the Workshop according to the succinct announcement.
>At least for the common operator.
>To be fair, right now he might as well be.
>Before José committed to following those instructions, he took some time eating his food and silently trying to listen in some gossip from the other tables if he could.
>Although he doubted to learn much since the ones that stayed will probably be as clueless as he was.
>It wouldn't hurt to try either way.

>Unless the human somehow managed to overhear something particularly of note, he'd soon take off towards the Workshop.
>Good thing he remembered to look at the map yesterday.
>A brisk trek next door. Shouldn't take too long before he starts actually developing his diplomat career.
Archaic Pegasi-Batpony League Arena, Outskirts
GM Strangler
"You're being serious? That's illegal in some of the Moors-"
>Switching from humor to an externally blacked out mood, her face slackens in favor of deeply thoughtful, practical batpony-against-everything violence.
>Reaching up to crumple a miniature STOP sign above her head, the tradesmare's head shakes solemnly.
"Not right now please."

>Cross-referencing topography against distance, then applying the newly information information to each, all three would be equally negative combat locales.
>Support ponies would be necessary to allow open area crossings, prepare teleports, deliver small numbers through Psionic-Warp Gates, or set and and launched preplanned ambushes against larger targets.
>If available, and most importantly fresh, unicorns and Support Strikers would have close to thirty minutes of such actions, though since you had no idea the current status or numbers of each, all three options were equally poor:
>The big, yet fairly shallow swamp south of Basin Arena would be great to trap a big target, though not anything more than a large Endless March Golem.
>If a target could be held or pinned at range, ponies could move around for cover, and there would be large amounts of water to put out fires, yet close combatants wouldn't reach easily.
>The deeper swamp northeast of Basin Arena would be best for challenging a huge target, featuring a significant amount of linked ambush potential, but there were no assurances that a Riftseeker's actions could be intercepted or comprehended beforehoof.
>The half-swamped out orchards and farms northeast would be best against a massive target, similar to the mythical Titans some Ferron talked about now and then, yet would most likely become a four-way battle.
>What little you know of the Late Dynasty's more problematic multi-species magical corruption was to never enter those zones at all costs, unless said costs could be mitigated by a number of lives, at which point the chances of Malformed or Abominations increased significantly.

>The tradesmare's ears and eyes swivel at the batpony-assumed Construct repairing itself, then at you.
>Her left trio of wingclaws sweep outwards in the common pegasi 'warning ahead' motion before muttering quietly.
"The more you know, the less you can't."

>Thinking back on the few Construct armamarents which mostly Crystal ponies were in possession of, then working forwards to consider how such a Planar substance, or pseudo-substance, could function independently on Tallus, it was clear that the older models and variants were far less compatible with ponies.
>Judging the amount and width of studies the Argus Behemoth-Destroyer pair had undertaken, combined with the rather secretive, modern symbiotes, a major shift had occurred:
>Instead of copying the physical functionalities of blood, it was clear that Constructs had, in the regions you knew of at least, greatly increased that same capacity since older symbiotic armors, weapons, and the tiny number of utilitarian systems were known for high periods of dormarency or inactivity.
>As they were adapting and becoming able to repair from near-complete destruction to full readiness, the timeframe between improvemarents had decreased from centuries to much shorter periods, but this was forcing Construct models and variants into hyper-specializations.
>You realized this knowledge could not be shared to anypony outside those few that already knew, and what Mercy had 'neglected' to speak of was its own series of distinct threats.
'Prince' Dante
371012 371035
>I can't say I'm surprised.
>If I wasn't on the job, I'd probably be lazing about like that.
>Kind of jealous, not going to lie.
>Though, it may be because it's the fact they're not a ruler of a minor faction by saying some dumbass shit that you shouldn't have said, why would you do that to yourself?
>Oh, I'm berating myself mentally now, that's neat, I guess.
>One of those piles twitched, though.
>Who's to say that it isn't Pella in there?
>Walking over, I began to remove blankets from atop the thing, looking down.
"Hey, wake up. I know you're comfy in there, but I think you might be able to help me find someone."
>Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
>No, I ventured, and gained something I didn't want.
>Here goes, anyway.
'Prince' Dante
Sunny Feathers
>Glancing up briefly from the map Sunny replied.
"As serious as I know how to be, I owe that much to the ponies my decisions may have gotten killed, and quite permanently given what the Tainted do."
>Looking back down at the map, Sunny deadpanned.
"If you report me to the authorities, I forgive you."

>Somehow, annoyingly, getting lured back into analysing tactical positions rather than routes to those positions once again, Sunny heaved an irritated huff with herself.
>Glancing along the road east, she reasoned that was a path she knew was more or less clear.
>The map indicated south was a no-go on hoof without support or flight, and there was no way to ascertain whether that was the actual case without going there and physically checking. That was too much of a gamble for now.
>Northeast it was, it was farther to travel, but she really had no way of knowing how far the scrambling field extended anyway, so the longest, easiest route to travel would be the best for getting back in contact quickly.
>If she were wrong and they'd hypothetically pop in south instead, maybe they'd be able to teleport herself and the symbiote.

>Sunny shot the bat pony a nervous smile and shrugged.
"It hasn't killed me yet. Or you, that's a good sign."
>Gathering up and repacking her map. Sunny came to a decision.
"South seems a likely location, but I can't reach it at speed, so I'll continue east and try to get back into contact."
>She offered the bat pony a short head bow.
"Thank you for your help, and your understanding, I hope you stay safe."
>Looking over her shoulder at the symbiote, Sunny indicated she was ready to move on and left at a trot and then transitioned into a gallop.

[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] < E.Sprint
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
('Their names simplify the tasks of locating which group was to be allied. Either way that is another migraine out of my hooves.')
>Taking on a near-human pose, the deep purple stallion leans forwards as his right hoof reaches his temple, a small, yet comfortable smile given.
('Pareidolia. Your codename resonates incredibly well with batponies. Lunars and Moonborn enjoy it too. I find myself in bizarre synchronicity with your phrasings, meanings, and open intentions.
Had Fankil lived and taken the position within Razorback he was supposed to, he would have been a far better ally. Despite the differences.. you greatly remind me of him in the best possible mareners. For that, I honor you,')
>Extending a short 'all is forgiven' motion, the Reservist stares down at the Overlander's floor.. you feel sharp notes of grim longing.
('That they do. I am not fit for such a role, nor are the majority of ponies that have willingly joined Razorback.
Belltower is a living anachronism.. I will not say more out of respect. Should you live, seek her out. She belongs on the Lunar Council. By force or guile matters not.
Roust's dedication to Hollow is sincere and none can harm her, outwardly nor inwardly. Such honorable Changelings only exist in my Order's records. Roust is a sacred mare that we believed could not exist, yet, exist she does. What she has suffered perhaps not even her Queen knows, and that makes her all the more important.
Naliyna has begun to recover from such forms of tormarent that.. few of my Order can comprehend. Thrill has battled millennia of lies, mistakes, wrongdoings, ignorance, and deception on her behalf, all without bias. By the goddesses they deserve a harmonious life together, no matter the end results.
I dearly wish Serrated Feathers was here. Despite her Lishanki-aligned beliefs and difficulties, she brought such joy and life to Razorback that none have spoken negatively of her. Or could, in full honesty.
Twisted Wing is a thousand megatons of anti-matter catalyzed weaponry awaiting the wrong signals. I know her. We're close to the same age, visited the same locations quite often,.. her Enchains were performed in desperation, not through fear or jealousy.')
>The Nightblade cracks a distant, pained smile, glancing up at the roof.
('She fully believes that one of her sisters or half-sisters will continue her grand-dam's lineage, but that will not happen so easily.
Sapphire Kiwi, that is her true name. Even should I destroy our memories, you will remember that above all my friend.')
>Eyebrows narrowed and ears flattening, Hodch makes a slightly disgusted 'forget it' motion.
('Your orders are the same as mine. My benefactor is dying on the Citadel after repulsing two hundred some archaic, ancient, pre-modern, modern, and newer Argus models. Alone.
If Luna is not reborn before Dawn occurs then her followers will suffer as she has and another Season must be chosen to herald the next few centuries until a proper balance is restored. I do not foresee them taking such duties.
The Lunar Council... I will not speak the secrets of those whom are now deceased, or may die. Unless ordered to do otherwise, their integrity will be upheld. Their ignorance and uncautious natures are not stupidity.
Others I hold dear are historians, archivists, researchers, and seekers that want to understand that which they do not. Distant as they are I cannot fault them for being disconnected from this world. Unbiased, external views are precious. And, unfortunately, in ever fewer amounts now.
Countess Folunasi and Katyal hold such love together that they need a stallion to be shared, one which they have not.. yet chosen. If she were to hold a grudge against Razorback, Katyal would have slain fifty if not more. Avoid not the wrath of honest mares spurned once. Instead, fear mares that have been spurned twice.')
>Head tilting in agreemarent, Hodch tosses a deeply amused expression towards you.
('Should I locate Filth then you will be immediately summoned. If, however, one of my Disciples does so... use every means necessary to assure his recompense. Every, and any. There is only so much irrationality and insanity that I can allow to exist at one time or another.
And, I am glad to have found such an immarensely positive role model amongst the humans of Razorback. Next to Thrill, Bubba, and Clemency of course. Zigri likes you, and, do not take that as a threat. Shanis needs progeny. Perhaps you will accept that role. Or.. perhaps not.')

>Making a faux-theatrical bow, Hodch turns, clopping into the gateway while carrying a tense, yet relieved expression.
>Shutting all electronics down into hardened or protective modes, the advanced model had already prepared to do so, you step into the electrically charged gateway-
>And find yourself in a place that could easily be called home.
>To the left, a gigantic forge, furnace, anvil, and smithy complex was being inspected by Lonestar, the older man merely interested in how such giant tools were used.
>And failing obviously, given that he was incapable of learning an entirely new trade.
>On the right, a colossal rug made from the pelt of an arcane predator was being lounged on by Katyal, holding NIbbles aloft in both hands with a charming smile.
>Despite their mostly incompatible natures, the woman and feline were enjoying the Plane for what it was: a place to relax, learn, or enjoy.
>A bed large enough for a 30M tall being was centered towards the rear, covered in yellow-white streaks of raw electrical energy, neither organic nor inorganic.
>It was, instead, a composite of solidified electrons and protons, designed to be comfortable except those that were weak to the essence of Lightning itself.
>Directly behind you was a massive pair of double doors that dwarfed the largest possible Tallus-Vortex gateways, capable of admitting freakishly large beings without having to crouch.
>This Plane was equal parts admitting, inviting, trusting... and exciting.
>Hodch's comfortable body language and remarks spark a twinge of annoyance and resignation that causes Parediolia to near imperceptibly wince.
>The discomfort remains as they complete their dialogue and stand to leave.
('I... appreciate the trust and the appellation of being a 'role model'. But I will stress that I meant what I said of my mission being parallel. Don't overextend your communalism to me beyond what is necessary.')

>Stepping through the portal divide, the faint momentary sensation of all his hairs standing on end glides over him.
>He flexes his fingers twice to dissipate the sensation as he cranes his neck, taking in the gargantuan scale of the Storm King's work.
>An odd sensation of a spark remains, a strange feeling suffusing itself into him.
(... Likely the effects of this Plane.)

>Focusing his attention back to eye level, he observes the rug Katyal and Nibbles were seated on with a critical eye.
(One of the Lightning Plane's predators? A personal kill of the Storm King's? A penchant for hunting trophies?)

>Surveying the rest of the room, he notes the suspended energy comprising the bed and moves for a closer inspection sparing a glance along the way at Lonestar and the forge unfit for his stature.
(No requisite skills for forgework. Bedding material may be analyzable. Apparent suspended photons? Manipulation of electromagnetic fields likely. Suit core battery should be fully charged. No risk of altering stability of energy field. May be useful for future applications... )

[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]< Graduate Researcher + Skill Specialization
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
Razorbat Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Overhearing subdued chatter from the remaining Operators, the majority were irregular mixtures of angry, angrily confused, depressed, depressingly confused, and plain confused as to why they were on an entirely different world.

>Finishing the highly enjoyable meal, a bright, multicolored series of neon tubes on a signboard pops up across the table in clear text:
Ponies enjoy calling this meal Duskfast! Look it up in ANY Common Equestrian dictionary, or any equivalent pictionary! Yes, that does mean a picture-book crossed with a dictionary. Batponies created that word and it stuck. You know what THAT means?
Not that I blame you, but I do blame YOU! But not you, Cheto, THAT one gets the blame!
Who, you are asking, and why, you are also asking? THE ONE REVEALING THIS SCRIPT!
Which JUST so happens to be me! But it's not me because I'm not here right now!
"Really? Is he that fucking busy to only leave a text?"
>Spoken by one of the presumable Rookies.
"Try not to ask. Discord's either a nut at the best of times or barely helpful at the worst of times, but only one of those-"
UNLESS I CHOOSE TO BE, ISN'T THAT RIGHT?! And your next words will be:
"Exactly! See what I mean? Dude's great!"
"The fuck is this? What kind of r-"
"It's a broken wall or something. Don't think about it."
>Silence holds for twenty seconds until the younger woman in a battered high tech helmet speaking up, her inflection Coastal Asiatic with some Central Mediterranean.
"My world didn't have gods. This one, Discord, also called the God of Discord, God of Chaos, God of Batponies, among way more, is the least worst."
"That doesn't explain how a fucking SIGN is reading the future! None of this makes sense!"
"Ignore the God of Chaos or you're going straight to the Clinic."
"Y'know, experiencing two absolutely random concussions that in no way occurred together is real hard for Doctor Tipper to treat correctly. Might take a few nights."
"And if for some reason that real beauty is in, you'll be there for week."
"Fuck you, you, you, you, you, and whatever YOU are! I ain't going to be stuck in some podunk-"
>Snapping up a small, odd looking pistol at near-point blank to the offender's head, the barrel slightly less than 1CM in width, interior displays shut down as she snickers loudly.
"Make me pull this trigger. Go ahead. Come on, push that buttons. Any of you want to chime in? No? All right then.
Boyo, you have zero clue how lucky we are. I am from podunk, broker than broke, all that. All we have to do is be gracious guests on this planet, and not fuck up being a good, gracious guest. This place is a million dreams coming true. I'm not going to let one piss-stained idiot say otherwise.
Been reviewing every report on local mainframes, be glad you aren't assigned yet. A few places have flora, with tentacles of sorts. Local ponies love riling them up. By that I mean the flora have rough sex with said local ponies. For fun. Plants don't get much out of the deal other than most of their predators avoid equine scents."
"The WHAT!?"
"Yeah. This stuff's hotter than a Metropolitan reactor tuned to full power, could make a fortune from vids alone. And I didn't stutter, dumbass."
"You're full of shit a-"
"I don't lie either. How would you like to see at least ten hours of videos taken by humans that've been on this world much longer than all of us combined? No?"
>Right hand spinning the weapon out of sight, the young woman shrugs heavily in her damaged armor as the man stands and stalks towards the Mess Hall's doors, one of the older Operators calls after him.
"Keep your radio on! Don't steal, don't harm sapients, self-defense is acceptable but don't be a bitch about that and don't be a dickhead either! A local pony has already claimed the rape monsters so leave them alone!
Also the closest village by train tracks is about ninety miles away and it's snowing, don't go more than five miles!
And as for you.. that a real needle pistol?"
"Yes. Not in good shape though."
"What's it powered by?"
"Dart or fin type?"
"Never looked. Or had a reason to."
"..you were being serious about the videos, right?"
"Yes. Why?"
"Wouldn't happen to have see a bright white pegasus in them, possibly a blind one?"
"Not that I've found. Want me to check the rest?"
>Thumping the table with both hands, the man shakes his head in clear relief, though was a bit disappointed.
"Nah, don't want that type of trouble. You've seen how disproportionate the tech levels on this world are, yes?"
"Yep. Mind explaining why?"

>Leaving the plate for Pella to wash, already busy scrubbing down some that had been left at her station, the remaining humans stay seated as the man speaks in quiet, possibly conspiratorial tones.
>Exiting the Mess and heading straight east towards the Workshop, the variety of symbols and text nearly impossible to miss.
>Noting a pair of large clamshell doors above two sets of sliding vehicle doors, an obvious, highly expensive armored helicopter pad had been installed on the second level, plaques pointing out an entrance to it around the Workshop's southern wall.
>Taking the north side's door entrance, it featured several handles, hoofles, and a pair of levers at different heights, ranging from ultra-short to an actual giant.
>Entering, it was.. entirely like what you'd expect mixed cottage industries to be:
>The north tables and wall were loaded with furnaces, anvils, hammers, files, gauges, measuring devices, and a variety of somewhat familiar tools spread out.
>Central tables held vast amounts of refined metals in sheets, rolls, and stacked bars, the majority common metals you were positive didn't exist on your world, or couldn't have.
>One large clothier's setup, stand, and sewing desk was in use on the southwest side, a chunky, bright yellow earth mare seated behind the second, racks of thread and various glowing green needles forming a large winter coat.
>In the air.
Razorback Fortress: The Mess Hall, Around Four Past Midneight
GM Strangler
>Taking the first moving blanket off, one that was mostly jean material, the second a standard forest camo, the third, a highland winter variant, is stubbornly clutched by a trio of upside down, indigo fruit-eater batpony claws.
"I'm not working when it's battime, this is comfortable so go away!"
>The batfilly's voice was definitely one from earlier.
>Claws letting go as you lift the third blanket, that was indeed Foggy Patches lying down on stacks of cardboard, wings folded over her head to avoid the Mess Hall's light.
>Pausing for a second, her snout pokes forwards, pointing one claw westish.. probably at you.
'Prince' Dante
>Was it a bad thing that I was relieved that it wasn't her under the mass of blankets?
>It was so, so very easy to just...give up for the day, put it off.
>But no, this day was shit, it would be forever shit, so might as well taint it with as much bad news as possible.
>Then tomorrow could be...
>I hesitate to say 'better', but at least an improvement over this.
>Squatting down, I gave my best attempt at a smile and gave her a nod.
"Hey, Foggy. Just need your time for -one- moment, then you can go back to bat-bed. I meant bed."
>Ugh, curse these kee's.
"Have you seen Pella? If so, where is she?"
Razorbat Fortress: The Mess Hall, Around Four Past Midneight
GM Strangler
>Sticking her head out briefly, Foggy squints at you, past, around, then snickers, stubby wingclaws spreading out and wiggling.
"Batbeds are beds made from bats, but there are no bats anywhere in the Moors. There are ponybats, horsebats, and bathorses though!"
>Making a loud puffing sound, she wriggles back in to avoid the dirty lighting, chin set down on cardboard with a sour tone.
"Hundreds of times. Was helping move all this junk and bad and rotten food from the other end of the big building that way."
>Pointing directly west past you, she reaches up to grab the winter moving blanket and pull it down tight over her head, whispering faux-muffledly.
"You didn't saw nopony here, especially not me!"
'Prince' Dante
>Ugh, god, why do I do this to myself.
>Gonna be all night with this shit.
>That smile I wore started to slowly drift down on my face, the pull of the long hours finally making itself known.
>I realized this, corrected it, and gave the little bat a small pat on the head, though it was dampened by the jacket.
"Alright, I'll go there and check her out-"
>A pause.
"...check to see if she's there."
>Not anything I haven't seen before, but great, now I'm starting to confuse diction.
>If this night doesn't end in me getting way too drunk to remember things, or with a neat new tattoo on the inside of my gray matter, I'll worship...
>I don't know, like, some new pony god borne from the sheer insanity of the bullshit that happens in this land on a daily basis.
>...Not Discord.
>Hopefully he can't read thoughts
>I stood up, moving for the far side to the west, exiting the mess hall to make for the indicated building.
>Seriously, why did she feel the need to move all of this stuff, randomly?
>It was just decided today, it seems.
>Which begs the question, is it connected to the bullshit I did?
>Or somewhat metaphysically caused by it in some grand wave of cosmic bullshit?
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
>Head high and striding around the bed, the First Responder stops twisting Nibbles around so both of them could glare at the visibly retreating unicorn.
"Tell me you didn't do exactly what that smug grin is telling me you did!"
"I did not perform what you may be thinking I might have do-"
"Don't deflect you candy-apple eating smartass!"
"Those are quite good when made properly, but I need to check the table-"
>Lifting the winged Nebelong-like in your direction, and speaking in the Moor feline's place, also taking control of front paws to point where Hodch had gone.
"When a CERTAIN TYPE OF PONY talks about A POSSIBLE IMPLICATION OF MARERIAGE with their FAMILY, COWORKERS, COLLEAGUES, OR BEST FRIENDS, I will say to CLOWN ON THEM HARD every single time that happens. Isn't that right?"
>Whiskers twitching at you.. apologetically, Nibbles lifts both wings overhead to stretch.
>Then the middle of each minute wingclaw trio raises towards Hodch's last visible location, snicker-hissing derisively.
"The pretty kitty Heroine of the Moors agrees! Now.. you aren't related to the Purrsians at all, hm? No, you're not cuter than them. Yet. And.. why did you have to grab that nasty insect? Freaky little thing-"

>Beyond reading sensations or moods, the Storm King's Room was open to inspection, knowledge flowing from it with ease.
>Clearing the woman and winged batcat out of thought, deep imprints of a short, desperate struggle form:
>An archaic, colossal Tallus predator, that of a long, spine-covered Lightning Elemarental proto-ursinoid, solid rippling muscles propelling two rows of flesh-shearing teeth
>Snapping at grand, highly charged filigree-covered spear and shield, five jagged, six-jointed claws furiously tear into a barely taller biped's armor, the being forced back numerous times.
>Staggered sideways from a raging blow, the being hurls his shield into outstretched claws, ducking into a roll and lifting the spear in both hands, bracing it on semi-magma ground against the predator leaping chest first.
>Bending, and nearly shattering the spear, the predator's Lightning charged existence ruptures, taking a final, left sided heavy swipe that rends through the giant's partially ripped open helmet.
>Examining the external scene, the first was long extinct, yet had a number of similar, though much smaller evolved descendants: Blister Cats were an uncommon type often found below stationary cloud cities, and considered easy to befriend by ponies that didn't mind their Planar-touched nature.
>Medium sized variants of numerous naming conventions were found across most of the Minotaur Hegemony, particularly under Wild Clouds, and were rarely hunted, let alone encountered, due to being necessary predators of nuisance herbivores, and the general ability to shock even a prepared Minotaur unconscious at range.
>The largest were known to inhabit Lightning, Storm, and Tempest regions throughout the Dragonspines, considered sacred due to their long lives, Elemarental balance, and lack of hostility to anything other than specific prey.
>The giant resembled some mythical versions from numerous Otherworlds, yet had a sharper face, elongated, upturned ears, a partially flat, wide nose, and deeply set, brilliant yellow eyes that flickered between electrical spectrums.

"Biped? Triped? Quadraped? Wings? Extra arms? What could even use one of these?"
>Muttering to himself, Lonestar turns to stare at the rest of the room in a subdued what-am-I-even-doing-here mood, looking quite small while spreading both hands in ranging comparisons.
"Thirty feet to the top, sitting down would be fifty feet? No, it's two to three-point-five or four for us. Taller. Longer legs. Hammer must be twenty-five tons. Makes.. eighty feet. Or more.
....giants. Actual giants. Actual Lightning giants. Holy shit."

>Reaching a hand towards the bed, an accepting, friendly series of resonances flow:
>The Plane of Lightning is a sequential side-state of Tallus norms, created at the same time the, so far as you knew, majority equine-inhabited world was.
>From packets to civilizations' worth of photons and electrons could be called upon to perform negative or positively charged actions, whether defensive, offensive, or utilitarian did not matter.
>Matter and energy were technically 'living', equally interchanging and vital concepts that shifted, changed, estranged, charmed, joined, or rejoined endlessly.
>Not a single erg was untouched or unknown once it was felt, nor could it descend or ascend; Planar Lightning was equal no matter the source.
>Age did not matter here, only intention, relevancy of the same, information, and emotion were important.
>When combined for lesser or neutrally aligned effects it was possible to regenerate from non-Lightning caused harm, though several instances of neural reshaping had been performed in this Room.
>Brushing past the open thoughts, the bed itself was a singular waveform created by actualizing 'rest', a concept learned from interactions across Tallus.
>In directly technical terms it was equivalent to a magnetically-controlled sequence of high-sided photons intended to remain coherent, though in its actualized state the electrons allowed non-Planar beings to interface with the Plane itself.
>Noble and royal Lightning, Storm, or Tempest-aligned beings had argued for centuries whether or not they had met the equine definition, concepts directed at, from, to each other, conceptual thoughtforms and wavestates open for interpretation in hundreds of layers, though the vast amount of information would take weeks to deliberately comprehend.
Razorbat Fortress: The Armory, Around Four Past Midneight
GM Strangler
>Tufted ears flopping happily to both sides at your touch, Foggy starts to wave her right wingclaws, halting-
>You feel it, and SENSE before that.
>The world shifts: first, upside down, then leftside out, then rightside inside in patterns, outsides folded into anti-mirrored pinatas of glorious, darkly colored equine-chiropteran hybrids dancing.
>But.. no.
>It wasn't to a song.
>The unyou more you triplethink, it was a... sideways shuffle.
>The place? Dark, warm, and humid all year round.
>Mangoes. Definitely involved,
>How was it possible?
>HOW could such primordial, small pastel bathorses devise such an elaborate, four-step dimarensional shuffle based on a Moors fruit with which to tormarent existence with?

>Despite unimaginable odds Foggy Patches contains her universe shuddering glee, rolling around in the blanket and trying to choke off her snickering.
"Oh I bat you WILL-"
>It was enough.
>The dams could contain no more.
>As you hurry out of the Mess Hall, hysterical filly laugh-screech-keks hound a second retreat this night.

>Bypassing around the Workshop north in case human, equine, Changeling, or OTHER could hear, then reaching the Armory's rear entrance and stepping in, it seemed whatever desolation took place had reached here.
>Ammunition packs, boxes, canisters, tins, and crates were piled on the east side in no particular order or care, the same for explosives or warheads.
>Damaged or extra equipment, clothing, kit, armor, optics, magazines, among more debris littered the tables that had been properly sorted.
>Tonight though, the old squad lockers in the central north side were flung open, an aerily annoyed Pella tossing out cans, bags, bottles, jugs, packets, pouches, and cardboard boxes.
'Prince' Dante
>Oh, good, there she is.
>Oh, no, she's already pissed.
>I think?
>Either way, mail will calm the savage mare.
>There was quite the mess around her, it was actually incredible how much work she was putting in.
>Kinda...cute, if I was honest.
>But I can't be thinking distracting thoughts right now.
>Plan of action.
>Lighten her mood with mail.
>Begin roundabout discussion.
>Cut to heart of matter.
>Knocking my knuckles on an empty locker, I smiled down to the candy colored mare in front of me.
"Hey, Pella."
>Step one, go!
"Mail call!"
Razorback Fortress: The Armory, Around Four Past Midneight
GM Strangler
>Taking a step backwards to glance you up and down, a forehoof stomps.
"If it so much as marentions some kind of food I'm going to eat i-"
>Cutting that off with a snort, her face scrunches, super sour candy style.
"No, I'm going to chew into tiny pieces, spit those pieces into a bonfire, then start scream all over again!"
>Flicking both wingtips out and pointing over the Armory, Pella glowers at the mess.
"Half of them think this place is safe enough to store a few tons of food, but NO! There's two Moor cats, maybe three, ten ponies, and someTHING else that can go right through solid walls. They've been leaving crumbs everywhere! Right before Midneight I was coming back from the Neighsian tradestall and saw a fluffrat climbing over the gates! OVER!"
>Snapping feathers together, luckily without her cooking blades, the dual-toned mare's head shakes angrily.
"I had to chase it out and take a shower so I could start cooking! This all makes me so MAD I COULD JU-"
>Biting a mostly empty MRE pack and slinging it behind her, Pella inhales deeply, then releases an incredibly... dull sounding neigh into the locker.
>Which, judging by the sound, had either been refit for cold storage, or possibly sound proofed.
>Her ancestors were definitely proud of other, more rational neighs, but not this one.
>Sighing out some stress, her right wing lifts to rub her neck, left wing turning over expectantly.
"Hi. Sorry. Also hi, sorry."
>Blinking rapidly at the unexpected flow of information, he slowly pulls his glove back as the torrent abates after but a minute.
>Taking a moment to process everything, he leans against the stilled energy comprising the bed.
(As expected... nature of this Plane dictates a different modality of existence. The arrangement of ideas and their direction via the Latin animus determines reality here. A constant summarized "state of being" outside of known entropy models as a result of the passage of time.)
>Looking back towards the forge, he attempts to assess what could even be made at such a scale.
(This plane is... fascinating, though inimical in the long term to humans. Apparent cordial if not harmonious relationship with Equestrian inhabitants given the wholesale adoption and adaptation of such fundamental concepts as rest. Question remains as to why they would want to shape their Planar concepts in that way to begin with. Possible risk vector from human activity, pending the Lightning Plane's method of concept integration. May be more resistant to contamination due to intentions being more easily identifiable here.)

>Recalling the vision of the past and the massive weapons the giant held, he moves closer to the forge and its tools.
>As he passes by Katyal and Nibbles continuing their hunt for Hodch, he pauses.
(Implication of... how did they-)
>Suddenly turning to face them, he calls out.
"How did you know what Hodch said? Was Nibbles eavesdropping?"
(Hodch assured me of the security of that conversation... nothing sensitive revealed necessarily. But risk of breaches is unappreciated... )
'Prince' Dante
>This does not bode well for me at all.
>She is irritated, clearly, though it is not at me.
>Still, I sat down nearby and chuckled softly at her antics, and wishing I had been a better man for her.
"Oh, no, everyone gets angry, or frustrated, at times. I'm not gonna get mad at ya for doing that."
>I patted my lap, offering her a gentle expression.
"Take a rest for a moment, Pella. You look like you've been running yourself thin. We can go over your mail together, if you'd like that?"
>I couldn't help the grin that came across my face.
"Hi. You're fine. Also hi, and you're fine."
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
>Bending proportionally to accommodate you, the waveform in bed shape creates a short, relaxing depth, an emphasis of expected rest becoming known.
>Objectively comfortable, it takes a comprehensive thought to disentangle from the welcoming respite, returning to its previous awaiting state.
>Short pulses of distant, succint thoughtforms are evoked during inspection of the unreasonably sized work space:
>Those that align themselves with this Plane and abide its rules are accepted, all inhabitants must contribute in manners they were able to, and an equal offer demanded an equal trade.
>Merit was an equally compatible concept between Tallus and here; to serve under an individual's accepted expectations, and to be served without complaint were twinned standards held by communal law.
>Excluding the non-sapient existences and guests, reasonable guiding distant-to-future thoughts oblige.
>While not specifically liked, or often endorsed, Otherworlders were welcome, yourself and Lonestar included..
>And Katyal mostly excluded unless for short temporal visits.
>The Plane's closest inhabitants were alike in thought to this Room's designer: shapers of that which will be and must become, accepting the flow of differences for what they were, not out of individual thoughts, moods, emotions.

>Massive hammers, tongs, pliers, chisels, swages, shears, punches, mandrels, nails, drifts, planes, sanding belts, files, and more were conceptual in origin, yet plain in appearance.
>Intended to forge great works, they would change shape when necessary or by request, now silently awaiting their use once more.
>Unlike the rest, the forge, anvil, and furnace were brought to existence by the concept OF solidity, meant to shape, refine, then define material, energy, gas, plasma, liquid, and all interim states no matter the material.

>Rolling onto her left side and placing Nibbles on the rug, upside down and batting at her right hand, Katyal stares confusedly, gaze hardening as she motions where Hodch had left a trail of thin, deep purple wisps.
"Her? Nah. He's got a certain lying horseface he always makes after that kind of offer. Unless there was an actual threat involved he's not serious, or was testing to see how far he could go with something.
I dunno, usually not a big deal. On the off chance he was serious I can always stomp on a leg. He can limp around.. with the other four remaining."
"Is.. that a dick pun?"
"Can you please not?"
"Hmmmmmm.... I reserve all rights to sprinkle shade when anyone or anypony deserves it. Which is all the time for him due to having ten plus lovers. Not that I'm jealous but, damn, he's got moves even I can't make and I'm a solid six-point-five out of ten."
>Sighing and reaching up for a hat that wasn't there, Lone rubs his face instead.
"That's not a yes or no but I'll take it. I thought guys were bad enough when it c- ..has to deal with.. open talk like this."
"What, you think only guys endlessly harp on each other for fun? Here's how the other side works:
A mare will push her stallion for another mare. She'll find and point out, oh, nice flanks, long neck, lovely eyes, great smile, solid hooves, strong wings, sweet voice, that sort. Then he'll have two pushing for a third, then however marely more he's willing to accept. They won't stop until the stallion has precisely what he wants. That's a herd.
They'll quietly nicker each other into 'taking care of' their stallion, or openly if he's into that. Or do just the opposite, have him take care of the others when they're feeling down. You get the point."
"...wish I didn't."

>Following the trace essences around the giant's bed, what greeted you was uniquely abstract:
>A table, in theory, but physically a hundred, perhaps more, levels of mass-energies taking up the corner, Hodch sorting through layers of shared Tallus-Planar concepts.
>His intentions were simply finding castoff or whole Lightning essences for weapons, armor, to be thrown, infused, set as traps, or shaped when necessary.
>Thoughts rolling off him, however, were bitter; at what precisely the Plane was unable to share.
"I'll be a while, going to need every damned one of these that can kill a Scoriae Wyrm.
Time differential between is fifteen percent quicker here but you won't notice it. Matter, energies, spells, living beings, etcetera, brought from Tallus degrade approximately twenty percent slower."
Razorback Fortress: The Armory, Around Four Past Midneight
GM Strangler
>Side eyeing another box and kicking it out with slightly less force than the last, Pella shoves aggravated feathers backwards towards the rest of the Armory.
"That's the second fluffrat tonight and there's a lot worse outside the walls that COULD get in, then there'll really be a lockdown. Everypony knows better than to leave food out.. which doesn't help when humans should know the same-"
>Staring up at the locker's interior, then shaking her mane out with a raucous giggle, remaining packages, boxes, ration cans, and bottles are shoved backwards.
"Do I look like Allys? She's three months pregnant and always been a bit pudgy. Not me, going to stay slim like my dam and more fit than my sisters. They're not fatflanked but I really don't want to be huffing and puffing after half an hour's flight. I'll check it in a second-"
>Leaning out of the locker to make a slight, faux-pouty face, her right eye closes, same ear flopping at you.
"Hi, I know I am. What're you going to do about it later?"
>Nodding once at Katyal, he turns away pointedly losing interest as she switches tack to lewd puns.
>Leaving the trio behind him, he steps into the space between the forge and the bed while experimentally probing his mind for any evidence of resonance between Empress Silver's granted interference ability with this plane.
(Can my ability be used to forge something? Or enhance itself? Highly unlikely. Lack requisite knowledge of forging and elemental techniques. Ownership of tools also likely. The... Plane implies equal trade, but... )
>Shrugging as he stands within touching distance of the forge, he reaches out to press his glove against the surface of it.
>Exhaling, he focuses within for any potential spark of lightning or sensation of energy possibly awakened by his presence on the Plane of Lightning.

>Both hearing but moreso feeling Hodch's animosity, he looks over towards the corner at what appeared to be the equivalent of a pile of "books" or what passed for information storage on the Plane.
>He waits for Hodch to finish before asking.
"Understood. Is this 'Scoriae Wyrm' weak to lightning?"
(Bitterness at what the Plane can't provide? Related to his condition? Or even more past history, most likely.)
>Well, José had to admit, whatever just happened was indeed interesting.
>It would seem he just witnessed some sort of reality bender that seemed to know forbidden knowledge.
>Heck, whoever he was actually used his codename.
>Couple that with the fact the others have already experienced something like this as well as some sort of plant-based escort business, things were truly getting wackier by the second.
>A part of him wondered if he'd succumb to such apparent madness.
>...may be likely, but alien worlds always surprise.
>Gallo opted not to listen in further, his curiosity satisfied and feeling the answer to such a question is going to become apparent real soon.

>As the FNG two-day-old diplomat entered the Workshop only served to further display just how diverse the tools at hoof were.
>Truly, there were no holds barred in terms of specialized equipmarent.
>Not to mention the unorthodox working stations in place that were set up.
"Uh, hello? Is there anypony in here with a few minutes to spare? I've been advised to come here for quote-on-quote nice stuff."
>Not the fanciest of inquiries but it'll have to do.
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
>Portions of conversation between hundreds of equines, pegasi the majority, unicorns the minority, Minotaurs, Crystal ponies, then Otherworld, Planar, and Extra-Planar Dragons, last subjects to this Plane share a sum of comprehensions; you had already made a trade without openly realizing it.
>All Lightning on Tallus was shared from this Plane as it provided a necessary balance between Elemarents, but could function as a sieve, filter, or bypass when required.
>Pegasi were the first to discover clouds, formed from joining Air, Lightning, Gravity which was often mislabeled as Force, and Water.
>This allowed them to produce a multi-Elemarental state that could be used in any number of mareners; at this several angered, past voices raise, objecting the subjugation of earth ponies.
>Unicorns weren't content to merely use Lightning, instead desiring to apply it into ever more useful tools, with defensive purposes as second and weapons last, except during war.
>A great deal of study had taken place in this Plane, though not here by Dynasty-aligned sapients; .
>The Cores and parts of beings brought here to compare caused intrepid few began obsessing, a new, dangerous desire shared between them: to streamline and 'Perfect' that which should, by all means, never be.
>Refined Batch 11, Project 220 began here, and was finalized on Tallus, which you and possibly some descendants would be in eternal possession of.
>It existed equally within you, here in this Plane, and across Tallus in neutrality, yet with either coexistent acceptance and will, or guidance, could be reshaped into taking on more natural paths.
>One cold, isolated thought informs that the Otherworlder alicorn was banned from traveling all Planes due to her later disregard of mortal life, and while you were welcome, such actions would never be tolerated again.

>While not a student of forging or mechanical arts, the furnace seems to wake, its purpose granted use by all that enter the Room so long as their intentions were sincere and.. technically noble.
>The Storm King that once lived here until his mortal death on Tallus cared little for ownership: a tool is a tool, created to create, to care, to craft, shape, repair, refine.
>To define.. that was the most important one.

>Sifting through purely offensive, defensive, then utilitarian concepts, the Reservist picks out several examples of each condition, from poor to pure, ignoring unstable sections as his mood lifts, feeling useful once more.
"Highly so, but not for reasons most expect to hear: they're an unusual non-flying wyrm, of sorts, on account of being an inorganic species that successfully integrated artificial Magma Elemarental cores.. by eating them. That was the result of an honest mistake.
Original non-living species once consumed raw magma, yet those cores were among the few that had been Perfected. As a species each was greatly modified, the core itself granting a limited state of organic functionality; pseudo-neural pathways, blood, skeleton, digestive system, organs, and having a basic genetic profile. Somehow.
Between the Early to Middle Dynasty a shared research center was built near the Lower Dragonspine Volcanic Tidepools. Purpose of study: all cores related to heat, magma, or life from across Equestria, Hegemony, Empire, Neighsia, Ewerup, Argenta's Lands, and various Planes.
An elder dragon, not sure of the name or species, discovered a peculiar method of aligning Elemarental imbalances with aid from the few heat-tolerant researchers. She destroyed most of the center in a frenzied rage after an unknown number of Perfected versions were mistakenly dumped into the Volcanic Tidepools instead of the damaged ones. Records state that was in the late 28,300's, no injuries or deaths by the way.
Scoriae Wyrms themselves are incredibly weak to Rime for obvious reasons, Lightning due to their semi-artificial organic state and large amounts of highly conductive minerals, and sonic capabilities, including Crystal Runes and Air Elemarentals, for all of the above. Rarely seen due to extreme heat, atmospheric pressure, and baffling variable gravitational anomalies, however."
>Lifting a flat 'plate' of metastabilized Lightning in a form that could only be described as liquid, Moon Orb's communication was partially static laden.
('Canterlot Underground had a theory: Perfected Elemarental cores were produced in such a marener that each one is able to self-modify its internal balance to a single closely matching being. If true, that is a step in explaining how and why an entire species of inorganic beings became half-organic.
Ponifally I think one or two processes used were Extra-Planar or a derivative of, which is beyond our currently abilities to safely explore, let alone study.. Eleyana believes that a few sections of the Late Dynasty may have been Eldritch-touched. I do not disagree, but I also do not understand why.')
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Forehooves lifting, the yellow mare pauses the in-progress coat, calling out in a cheery, not-quite-30's warm northern accent.
"Hello there! Come on in and take a seat if you like-"
>Resuming her work, the southern central and eastern side tables were darkened, though you could see a number of human styled tools, boxes, fuel cans, and spare components littering them.
"I'm the only one in tonight. Lann, Master Seamstress for Razorback, and the Starborn sometimes. I make clothing and light armor for every season and places that aren't under minus fifty or over a hundred-fifty degrees. Camouflaging stuff is a hobby but I'm getting better at it.
Can repair just about anything you bring me made from natural fibers and silk, including Spectral and Planar. And.. well, I don't like artificial stuff, kevlar, Spectra, nylon, that sort, but those are fairly simple to patch.
That work is all paid for by the way, got to love snagging a full one year contract up front! Oh, one second-"
>A line of red, purple, and green lights around the clothier's area brighten to a comfortable level, waving at a selection of.. completely mismatched chairs in front of her desk.
"I also make dolls, plushies, pillows, sheets, blankets, and special orders too. If you provide the materials I charge twenty Bits an hour, otherwise materials plus work time."
>Head tilting right, her voice drops into a humored measure.
"And if you're into that sort of thing I've got a huge amount of lingerie designs for that special somepony or someponies."
>Pareidolia sways for a moment, shifting a boot out further to steady himself.
>The influx of information was akin to a transmission beamed directly into his awareness.
>Encompassing, but not discomforting in itself.
>His gloved hand resting on the forge half curls into a fist however.
(I see... involuntarily perceived, due to the nature of this Plane. What was traded? Confirmation of Silver's presence and involvement here to create those experiments and downstream context is appreciated, but not all concepts should be freely taken at face value.)
>Closing his eyes and sighing, he relaxes his fingers.
(Not that I can change that now. Need to focus. Deal with this later unless pressing.)

>Head angling up to see and feel the forge spark with a sensation of "activation", he notes the additional flow of ideas into his mind with a slightly bitter thought.
(... 'Noble', huh? By the Lightning Plane?)

>Turning to look at Hodch, he shifts to lean his back against the forge while examining his gloved hands.
>The fingers methodically lock and weave as he idly runs them through a series of motions while Hodch gives a brief historian's rundown and secretive speculation.
(Clear preference for the Teacher's role. Impending mortality likely causing increased strain. Can only hope this operation succeeds.)
"I see... so the product of accidental experiment procedure mistake."
>He briefly touches his pocketed Moon Orb in a facade of searching through his vest rigging.
('And potential Eldritch or Otherworldly influence over the cores.')
"If we manage to retrieve the elemental core, can it be returned to the elder dragon who led this project? Or have these cores grown too complex to be safely separated?"

>He leans forwards off the forge and looks down at his hands.
(Apparent use is based on will, centered on defining clear concepts. Opportunity to create new tools and weaponry. Recent engagements demonstrate a clear gulf in combat aptitude If conceptual grasp of the graviton is definite, then... )
>Setting his pack down and pulling out the box of Crin Feathers, he takes one out and rolls it along his thumb with his index finger.
(This Plane encourages experimentation and idea refinement. So...)

>Closing his eyes, he draws his memory towards a weapon demonstration.
>"Understand, esteemed guests that we may only demonstrate this once. Please ensure your Vis and media feeds are allocating adequate processing resources for this period. The Graviton is a fickle muse. Our best efforts have only managed to capture this one little morsel, and holding it still is truly an endeavor."
>An image is projected before a seated audience, detailing the inner mechanisms of a seemingly innocuous handgun.
>The same handgun is held in the metallic hands of a smooth metal bodied frame made to resemble a human in suggestion, except for the face which was fully sculpted.
>Sleek silver and gold accented the metal body's lithe frame, though deployed bracing struts from the rear of her inverted claw-footed metal legs belied a hidden weight.
>The android's fingers clasp.
>The world ripples in less than a blink.
>Gravity visualized orients the space before it as light curves to follow its demand.
>The blocks of orbital grade armor structure composite buckle inwards without a sound.
>Air trapped in the flow of gravity never reaches the senses.
>The world stills.
>Sensors furiously process events, playing back what reached them.
>The world breathes again and faster than the eye perceives, the sound of shuddering air, sensation of heat, and the flash of yellow white beams downrange.
>Fifty kilometers downrange according to the readouts.
>A perfect hit through the center on all three of the five meter thick plates. Offset, alternating bullseyes.
>Bullseyes that could only be struck if what was fired could alter its path mid-flight.
>"Blink and you miss it. Hmhm, yes. Our beloved Graviton Pulse Emitter. Naturally penetration depth is influenced by the number of gravitons. Particle behavior adjustable by user input. Waveform trajectory following suit. We're still sprucing up minor details, and sadly the graviton is so elusive but-.."

(A handgun with the force of gravity behind it. Internal construction designed to direct electrons to hold a graviton in place. Shear it in an ordered manner, direct it, and unparalleled range. Unrivaled ability to deny any form of defense. Dimensions controlled by will and aperture adjustment. The nature of the graviton's expulsion results in minimal recoil. Gravity merely adjusts its orientation along axis of travel. Bracing only used for management of displaced heated air expanding. Drawback of that model. Can be improved. More efficient field containment can be achieved with this Plane's grasp of electrons and particles. Heat and air displacement can be reduced further.)

>Removing the glove from his left hand, he takes the point of the feather and lightly jabs his palm prompting a pinprick of pain and the familiar sensation of training flooding his senses.
(Enhance focus. Identify. Observe. Dismantle.)
>Inhaling and applying pressure to his palm, he attempts to will his thoughts into existence.

(Can take advantage of its properties to link it to me. A unique particle signature and spin, to always return it. Strong enough to overpower Earth Pony psionics, ideally. If problems with the model appear, power or range can be downsized... attempting fabrication. Uncertain how this functionality is utilized... )

[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]< Expert Small Arms + Skill Specializations (A.R.T/E.P.C.) + Shifted GCS FINA
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]< Extra Roll Shifted GCS FINA

>Finally opening his eyes, he eyes the current results with some trepidation.
>After assessing the current project's progress for a span, his left hand splays to make room for a second slight jab.

[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]< Expert Small Arms cont. + Skill Specializations (A.R.T/E.P.C.) + Master FINA
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]< Extra Roll Master FINA
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]< Graduate Researcher + Skill Specialization (M.E.CC.T.)
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
>José didn't really take the offer to sit considering all the clutter on the tables
>Might inadvertedly mess up whatever semblance of order there was in here.
>He knew some people like that back in plain old reality.
"Greetings, Miss Lann. I'm happy to make your acquaintance."
>He curtly bowed after.
"Since I'm brand new here, I'd love to know what sort of recommarendations you can provide for social events and gatherings. Particularly pertaining to the lands of Argenta."
>Ah, it seems Gallo's intuition was driving him further into what he felt he knew.
>Hopefully he can manage to find a good outcome from it.
Basin Village, Aftermath 13
GM Strangler
371088 371090
('Given the sizes and individualistic nature of each we've brought down.. I doubt the amount in that Core will be sufficient. Consider it a last call weapon.')
>Clearing back into Basin, the gateway shuts down behind you, Luna's Villagers at near-burnout conditions and receiving unsubtle appraisals from the remaining unicorns.
('You can do no more here. Return to your homes and rest, that is an order.')
>Breaking off from the Overherd, the majority chooses to sit, lie down, or flop over where they were.
('...that works too, I suppose.')

>Stretching out far ahead and behind, the outer lines of Day and Watch Guard spread their limited awareness to the scouting parties.
('Reptile here, not like an iguana.. worse. Big claws, bigger teeth, thick hide, covered in scales. Dented my helmet pretty good.')
('...THIS THING'S BIGGER THAN MY COFFEE TABLE! Oh, uh, big flat insect with nasty pinching claws, tried to take her leg off but couldn't. We got it.. ...all over the place.')
('Predatory water skimmer of some type, poor armor penetration, they prefer smaller targets.')
('Majority seem to be swamp-skitters-')
('They are. Approximately nine thousand species in the Central Moors alone, perhaps two thousand in Deep, and six to eight hundred elsewhere. Most are not individually named.')
('If any have colored bands transfer it to me, the teeth can be extracted for use as a weapon addition.')
('That is beyond gross..')
('Lunars use what is available, not what we want to.')

>Shorter ranged Operators leaving into the frontal ranks, five Assault Vanguards deploy in a wedge formation ahead of each one, the leadmare's tone crass.
('Until I burn out or die it will remain, no matter the distance. In the event of either, another Moderatis will commarend the Overherd.. so long as they are not an idiot.')
('Visibility's decent in front, hundred meters at ground level.')
>Entering singly, combat and scout rifle carriers take stations starting at the garrison-barns facing each other.
('That means ninety for us..')
('Where's a giant fan when we need one?')
('Bad idea, bio-electricity and lightning enchantments attract the bad kinds of attention across most of the Moors.')
('How, exactly?')
('Every living being emits some form of electrical charge.. well, there are exceptions but not common.')
('A lotta creatures sense bio-electricity, bigger or specialized ones can make out objects and living beings at greater ranges.')
('You mean like sharks, right?')
('Exactly, which means all of us, humans and ponies, are emitting thousands of signals that're screaming: hey, tons of prey here.')
('And we're already attracting shit..')
('Yeah, can't prevent it either. That's why everyone that takes a job or gets assigned here slips into the Void and doesn't leave them unless absolutely necessary.')
>A lighter Day Guard mares in the front ranks sighs, wishing she hadn't listened in.
('Won't ever find me in that mess. I need to see clearly, not deal with constant fog and haze.')
('That is another concern: if you are not attuned to the Void or Pitch Black, do not spectrum-slip. The presence of Crystal forces here is dangerous as is.')
Basin Village, Aftermath 14
GM Strangler
>Agreemarents and argumarents break out in earnest among fruit enjoying ponies, then berries, vegetables, leaves, vines, roots, melons, nuts...
>All strictly avoiding the topics of batpony foods.
>Settling on a suspicion that one of the Crystal ponies, or a crystal-unicorn more likely, had slipped that idea in, a lone stallion declares ryegrass unfit to eat without being fried.
('.....what's ryegrass?')
>And the chain starts anew.

>Tuning out of that mess, the Councilierge Assault Vanguard's leadstallion sighs, finding himself confused at thinking of both cold black iron from his city-state and short, athletic, painted oceanic mares.
('Constructs do not bleed in the biological or even technical senses. The living fluid is more like ichor, though not even remotely similar to Changeling ichor.
There is] a pony that may know but she's fucked off and nopony knows where.. why i-')
>Shutting those thoughts down hard and scowling at everything in particular, he addresses the Overherd directly, syncing the leadmare's wandering thoughts into seriousness.
('Enough, we're ALL hungry. Forage en route and leave enough for local batponies, don't need to irk them more than we already have.')
('...to whomever shared that thought: keep it to yourself or there will be consequences. I have enough problems with small hyperactive ponies.')

>Exiting into the center most gateway as one of the two heaviest shotgun carriers, five Assault Vanguard mares position themselves in a five-pointed star formation around you, their thoughts strictly held to protection first, aggression second.
>Each was most definitely NOT thinking about certain ponies, the quadruple lines ahead starting into a slow march, Crystal-Hegemony Minotaurs and Spireguard spreading out to take on paired detals.
>Or hoofholding.
"You stop-"
"Shut up!"
('Problems in front?')
('Nnnnnooooooooo...... I don't think so.')
('Can't tell yet.)
Bubba the Second
>Bubba would suppress a sigh that might rattle a window or two.
>Best to just focus on Stream Lark for the moment.
>And hope Naliyna doesn't start a fight.
>Taking in that information, Bubba would slowly nod.
>... Before nearly putting his palm into his hand as Amerose leaped at the heavily armored mare.

"I am very aware of such, yes."
>Bubba neutrally stated, patiently listening to Stream.
"And I took no part in that, evidentially. Otherwise I'd be among the casualties."
>He pressed his lips together, tightening them for a moment.
"I don't control anyone in Razorback, but I can pull some weight to see about at least stopping our hunting of your daughter. As it is, I've already pulled all current job offerings until we can sort this ordeal out."
>He would offer after a moment, returning his gaze.
Basin Village, Aftermath 15
GM Strangler
371088 371090 371125
>Emitting a faint, recognizable whine, Blackhorn's weight in your hands decreases by half, the Assault Vanguard's focus drawn to it immediately.
('Sir, does that sound like a.. non-Gravity Elemarental in use?')
('....definitely. No Construct symbiote's actions or features are similar, though that is unusual.')
('Thought so. Only times we've recorded antigravity functions are those bonded to pegasi that've suffered injuries or otherwise become incapable of flight.')
('Three of those, to be precise. Master Clemency, do you have an image or record of the object that became.. what she is now?')
('Hold on, that's a FEMALE?')
>Briskly facehoofing his snout, the leadstallion's regret is palpable as is the wish he hadn't asked the question.
('I hate my job... not going to repeat this again tonight so remember it well: Constructs occur in PAIRS. One is a stallion, the other is a mare. Do you understand that at least?')
('I guess? Sure.')
('Good enough. If a sapient of the opposite sex makes physical contact with a damaged, or whole, still functioning Construct weapon or component, there is a CHANCE that it may bond with said sapient. Despite intensive studies we do not know what the chances are, what conditions increase or decrease said chances, let alone why, when, or how symbiotic bonding occurs.
Trying to answer those questions has driven more than a companeigh's worth of ponies insane in the past decade alone.')
('Which led to us banning that research avenue entirely and now focus solely on Constructs and.. Riftseekers.)
('At minimum we attempt to understand and categorize basic behavioral patterns, which most don't seem to have. At maximum we dispense with that entirely and destroy them.')

>Five moderately heavier mares take a narrow diamond formation around you, which would have been concerning if they didn't feel professional and upright.
>Either that or they could smell burnt feathers.
>Or they knew.
>Receiving a slight, rolling hip motion from the lead, silverine-trimmed helmet swiveling partway, emeraldine eyeslits faintly glowing as the middle aged mare speaks quietly.. at the Construct weapon.
"You are held by excellent hands and surrounded by duty-bound hooves, be calm. We have no quarrel with two-that-have-become-one, nor shall we ask of your secrets."
>Whether she expected a response or Blackhorn had limited capacity to comprehend was, frankly, hard to imagine.
>Head forward, the mare's Impact Seal lance flashes a sequence of earth pony sigils that read out as 'safe paths ahead', though the second meaning was closer to 'we assure your safety'.

>Entering the gateway behind Lont and his assigned Vanguard team, you experience great satisfaction at a significant number of shoulders tightening, heads straightening, spines stiffening, and potential diplomatic blunders rapidly disappearing.
('Shit, last time I felt this fucked over was... huh.')
('That night you landed in the fountain?')
('Kind of, but.. not really? No, this is different.')
('I don't get it. What're you talking about?')
>230 meters ahead, the Rookie stops to, in view of numerous Guardponies, lifting his free arm to make a fist.
('I can't be the only one. Don't you FEEL different being here? Lighter, not dog tired, miserable. Yeah I'm physically tired but I'm weirdly clear headed, more free. This isn't like being in the Fortress at all. Anyone else?')
>Farther behind, an FNG with a bad track record of close encounters and terrible rather, nonexistent reporting behavior frowns, stretching out as the forward Day and Watch Guard settle into a slow march.
('Can't put my finger on it.')
('Then, try?')
('Okay. I feel almost back to normal. Burned out, sure, like he said though I'm clear headed. Can think straight. And.. this is fucked. Anyone else stopped hearing the voices?')
>Immarensely concerned, both the Shieldmare and Assault Vanguard request all nearby ponies to focus on the FNG.
('What voices?')
('Ones I kept hearing in the Fortress. Not hearing as in actually speaking words but pushing to do shit now and then.')
('I jus' thought it was Mama Razorback talkin' to us.')
('Uh, no dude, the actual Fortress used t- nevermind. Thought it was just me or something for a while, but I'm not hearing it now.')
('Starting to worry me but, no, I ain't feeling them either.')
('Jeff, Lont, Clem, you three experienced that sort of thing? Like getting nudged to do something you normally wouldn't, getting talked to without words, or shown ways out of making a stupid decision?')

('Is that part of the human gestalt?')
('As a matter of fact, no. We've been in quite a few Overherds with the humans of Stalliongrad, they've never reported voices or experiencing conceptual-speak before.')
('Then, should we be worried?')
('Doubtful. Then again..')
>Keeping amused eyes on the Spireguard and Minor Champion awaiting their turn to enter, the leadstallion shrugs, mostly to himself.
('I don't know. Make sure the Crystal forces are spread out evenly among our numbers, hopefilly we'll be able to mask their signatures.
Forward ranks: four-hooves per second, this line is long and unicorns are burning out quickly.')
Archaic Pegasi-Batpony League Arena, Outskirts
GM Strangler
"Eh, you might get a one twig fine or something silly. Commarend sucks anyhow, that's why we leave boxes of bombs and mines everywhere instead of staying in the milit-"
>Tossing the berry into her mouth, the tradesmare swallows, beginning to nod, eyes and wings snapping open as she half-shrieks at the air above you.
"TAINTED?! We've been keeping them separated for centuries! They can't even form themselves properly! What the fuck is happening in Basin?! YOU-"
>Eyes glinting angrily, she takes a short flying-hop to land in front of the Construct symbiote, snarling while reaching out to grab it's terrified face with both sets of wingclaws.
"Battalk me, now!"
>Releasing her grasp, the young batmare and batstallion sharing what could theoretically be a pair's dance, excepting the first's aggressive displays, second making quick, efficient yet choppy gestures.
>They weren't shuffling, at least.

>Ending the impromptu interrogation and reaching out to pat the symbiote's faux-tufted ears, the tradesmare's mood is incredibly sour.
"He won't because he can't. Don't understand some of what he's said. And there's no paths to them anymore, those are long gone."
>Quietly kee'ing towards the Construct, the tradesmare transitions to screaming upwards.
"And I'm way ahead of you on that, choosing between flankloads of Constructs and pacifying EVERY SINGLE TAINTED FROM EVERY REGION OF THE MOORS COALESCED INTO ONE GROUP ARE BLOODY REASONABLE OPTIONS-"

>Ears flicking in 'accepted' motions, the symbiote leaps up, taking wing after you with a severe grimace.
[1d6 = 6] <???
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <Construct Realspace Scanning Protocols
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Protective Flight-Formation
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] <E.Flight
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
The L.O.N.T
>A sense of déjà vu came over Lont as he stepped out of the portal, here he was again. Travelling through the Moors, again. The destination being the Arena, again. To slay a hideously dangerous creature, again.
>Even though it won't bleed in the traditional sense it will still die this night, that he was sure of.

>With his escort of mares in formation he acknowledged them with a thought, he wasn't adapt at this whole Overherd business but he visualized very hard on patting the mares on their helmeted heads as a sign he was thankful for the extra security.
>Looking away from the marching army of humans and ponies the winged Operator glared into the surrounding Moors, no harm in adding his own sight to watch out for threats.
[1d6 = 4] >E.Scouting
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] >Thermal
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2] >H.E

>Hearing his named called the Operators wings flicked as he tilted his head, he had trouble remembering the FNG calling out to him, Jeff and Clem.
>Confusion was writ across his hidden face.
('I honestly do not know what you're saying. Maybe I have heard voices but since I have been so busy coming and going they have not registered to me. Can you give me an example?')
Sunny Feathers
>Glancing up, Sunny realised it would have been easier to catch a cloud and ride it out of the area.
>Oh well.
>She caught sight of the batstruct and examined the damage it had taken from stepping on a bug.
>It was making a grimace, emulating pain expression, the only reason it could have for that kind of display when it seemingly lack one earlier is an unspoken request for help. Was the acid still eating away at it or was it simply missing the loss of material? She couldn't be sure until she examined it more closely.

[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] < B.Perception
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4]
[1d6 = 5] < Apprentice Alchemist
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] < Junior Constructs
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]

>Sunny doubted her concoction would repair it, it aided organic healing, but perhaps it might be able to use the raw material and energy to replace the matter it had lost, which she supposed served the same purpose.
"How severe is the damage? What sort of material would you require for full self-repair?"

[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] < E.Sprint
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
('Fine by me. Should the opportunity arise, I'll reposition myself from the rear line.')
>The unicorns that were keeping the gates open for them finally get dismissed. Some of them could barely stand up... sit down, drop with some decorum. Some were definitely passed out.
>They were fried out. Plopping on the ground sounded pretty nice right about now...
('Great job, everypony. You all deserve a good rest. Wish the rest of us luck!')

>As the forward line ponies start forming defensive wedges around each Razorback member, he starts listening on the reports coming back in through the other side of the gateway.
>Only the local fauna seemed to have been giving them trouble. Mostly big lizards and water skimmers.
('So no Constructs, just the locals. Would perimeter scouts even be that far out, if they were active?')

>A little lesson on how most predators hunted in the Moors with the whole bioelectricity spiel was a nice reminder. He remembers being told it when he started visiting and going to inspect more rural areas of the region. He's gotten real comfy with the Underdark, since them.
('The local fauna probably won't care if we have to deal with Constructs or a Riftseeker on top of the their riff-raff either.')
>He's had good luck never bumping into anything while in the Void. He also used to have a Diver around his neck, which he's sure discouraged anything from getting withing pouncing distance.
>All the ponies here not Lunar or Moor natives may as well put dinner bells around their necks.
>The Crystals are practically bug zappers.
>Might be a good idea.
('Suppose we break off anypony that can make the slip and form up into ambush parties and flank whatever we're coming up against. The majority will be too much of a distraction for anything to mind the ambushers.')

>He focuses in on some newbies start making comments about their exhausted yet oddly refreshed states.
>Clear headedness, the voices disappearing- no. It was never voices. More of a wordless suggestion.
>The ponies, MOST of them take notice of the conversation. With concerned interest.
>Jeff idly shifts the Gepard on his shoulder upon being addressed.
>Might as well get his two bit outs in the air.
('Does taking up Fortress Administrator count as something I wouldn't normally do? Then yes, hnn hnn.')
>The light sarcasm was palatable.
('All serious newbie, yeah... Chalk it up to whatever you feel like picking: We've got Spiral's demi still technically flowing through the Fortress. Silver USED to invade my personal space, can't say the same for anyone else. We have a camp full of druidic Pred-Elks. A cave full of questionable mushrooms and our only human psion in a perpetual said-mushroom induced coma. Along with other inhabitants and visitors that can possibly influence us on the regular. What else... honestly wouldn't be surprised if the Fortress is haunted at this point. There's the Graveyard up North, and I swear we've had ghosts and phantoms harass us on more than one occasion. Whatever it is it never feels malicious, hell seems it tries to keep our noses clean. I haven't ever looked into it formally. I'm usually so busy pushing papers I forget about it. When I DO have free time, I come to the Village cuz it's chill and... like you mentioned... leaving the Fortress clears my head too. It's nice someone else has mentioned it, honestly.)
>He takes in the reaction of other humans to look for more that feel the same, and ponies that would be giving him a strange look.
('I swear we're not crazy. With all the weird stuff that has happened in and around the Fortress, I wouldn't even know what to place bits on it being. If anyone else feels this way can come to the Batcave and voice their concerns later. I'll gladly have it formally looked into. Let's focus on whatever we're about to step into, for now.')
371102 371114
>After giving Lejura a little wave of his fingers, although the mare was already deeply asleep, he looks to Nova sympathetically.
"A veces we must risk harm in order to save a patient. Much against the oath of 'do no harm' we take. Hehe, you would be surprised the shit you can pull off when properly motivated. Have you ever been told to save a patient at all cost... at gunpoint? One gets real creativo and desperate."
>Nodding at her conclusion, he waves his pen from his notepad for a chime-in.
"I have written down the time of initial dosage and written down an observación schedule. If you don't, I will."
>Hearing the operating door open, Carlos shakes his head along with Nova's own shortcomings.
"Is this Old Horn in the Fortress now? Could we get his asistencia?"

>As Nova starts with an Astra, she stops herself. Burnout? They cast some sort of electrical magic, he remembers the deal with them was.
"I recall they have an afinidad for lightning, no? An overuse should be treated the same as a unicorn then."
>One non-critical out of the way. That left a Blume Gale and Sparkling Fleur. The second sounding worse than the first.
>The second Pred-Elk was clearly bandaged for a severe head injury.
>The third was still in a stasis spell. Fleur, with her untreated spinal wounds only made sense.
"Almost two hours? Impresionante. Perhaps she had a boost from a second party. Either way, it is buying us infinidad tiempo."
>As the unicorn passes the disc over Fluer, the talk of multiple severe spinal injuries were nothing but hairlines and minor tissue damage. And going off of the mare's bewildered expression, there was a large gap of what she had originally diagnosed.
>Carlos taps his pen to his chin, largely estimating the amount of time between initial injuries and now.
>Nova checks over her notes to confirm her initial prognosis.
"This Old Horn must have instilled quite the agresivo regenerative factor. Fleur should be fully healed by... mañana? Seniorita Gale is probably far better off, también. Si, I will give Seniorita Fleur a once-over."
>As his equine colleague attempts to locate Tipper, Carlos takes aformentioned mare's disc and looks over the Pred-Elks spinal wounds.
>Elk: cervus genus. Though not equine, they should be close enough for reference.
>He falls back on basic biology fundamentals and body structure. Moreover, curious to see if he could even see the regeneration in action under the x-ray spell.
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]<M.Perception
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]<M.Research: Surgical Analysis
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]<Teacher: Biology
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Right forehoof in the air, the processes weaving the pieces together slow to a crawl, then stop.
>Stone faced for a few seconds, the earth mare's shoulders lift in a ehavy motion, swiveling the chair and eyeing the nearly completed coat.
"Sorry, no idea what Argenta's clothing styles are like. Used to be, one second-"
>Tilting backwards and looking right into a suite of clothing stands, racks, mannequins, along with a few marenequins, Lann returns to watch the last layers and strings finish tying below the collar.
"Mmm, did have have a couple extra formal suits but those are missing. Probably on loan. Last one I made was for... Fuoco a couple nights back. There's a human fit blue and red winter cloak on the table behind you that might fit though, go ahead and take if you want.
Can take your measurements for future reference, too."
>Forehooves lifting and spread apart, several gestures are made, the coat is directed, on a green cloud of energy no less, onto the table behind her, passing a hopeful smile your way.
"Most ponies on Tallus either know somepony with good Common Equestrian, so probably better to visit a place and ask locals for advice. Here it's mostly Lunar colors and camouflage."
>Six heavy rolls of colored silks raise behind her, swiveling about to direct at least a hundred varying sized needles, rings, spools, and a pair of familiar triangular weaving spindles, rapidly creating a lightly glowing, fairly sheer sheet.
[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12] <M.Seamstress
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14]
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14]
[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12]
[1d6+9 = (1+9) = 10] <Crafting Kit
[1d6+10 = (2+10) = 12] <Sewing Kit
Razorback Enclave: One (GIANT) Detour
GM Strangler
>The soul-glyph registers such glee from Naliyna that it speculated she particularly enjoys messing with the younger Amethyst Frost-Rose.
>Not of out spite, however it didn't know why the Storm-Rose herdname, or a specific individual from the same, was held in deep contempt by Amerose herself.

"You had best be aware, for all our sakes and those of Razorback. I don't have a month to explain how deep the various holes are, which ones to try filling in, cover, or leave alone."
>Staring up and left quickly, an open expression of severe irritation is made before Lark focuses downwards, the coin reading his motions and words as genuinely concerned.
>For you.
"Numerous ponies in Stalliongrad have detected two humans somehow carrying and surviving through remarkable levels of Plasma-corruption. Kraut and.. 'Filth'. Such an apt name. Neither were present at the Auction but that raises a few more concerns. Are both dead or is that another set of accounts to attempt closing?"
>The glyph pulses at the first name in respect, the second causing it to express waves of sincere disgust.
>Stock still, Stream Lark's eyebrows raising several degrees angrily, then gives a dark, furiously rolling chuckle.
"I had been hoping a human would harm her, just once, then Razorback might have realized how painfully stupid their actions are. The retaliation we've been yearning for would have been most pleasant to witness.
But no, it took some blasted Gryphoness wearing a corrupted Late Dynasty armor to wound her-"
>Eyes closing, the older stallion takes a deep, slow inhale, releasing it to the side, splaying his left forehoof out in a 'oh well' motion, the right lifting his tea cup...
>To down it.
>You make a note to keep him out of informal gatherings, and at least a mile away from tea drinkers.
>Setting the cup down, the Councilierge leans forwards, extending his right hoof to you, multitudes of past desires burning anew on his face.
"Then we either begin immediately, or relocate to a safer place for this attempt at reconciliation. While I'm glad for the Crystal Imperials being here, they're best against organic targets, unicorns, Psions, Constructs, and certain Elemarentals. Other threats.. not so much."
>I can only hope she doesn't go insane.

>She doesn't get it and I'm not helping her understand.
"Hey, that just means either one of us is wrong. Not too bad for the moment."
"Will you need me to get up there later to help with that?"
>I took a moment to study the mini map.
"Right. Like I said, we'll contact them once we can get moving at more than a limp for you."
Ivan the STALKER
>Ivan would listen to his explanation, nodding along.
"Similar but less barbaric to what we've also done. Serfdom and indentured servitude. Serfs were usually tied to a plot of land and not to the owner itself, while indentured servants were 'owned' for a period of time while working off some sort of debt. Colonizing peoples tended to do this with richer people in exchange for a free ride across an ocean and a new life after a few years."
>He kept down a bemused snort.
"Unlike humans, where you could go across a border and have to exchange your money for a new type or else not be able to purchase anything."
>He would nod again, making another note to ensure the majority of his borrowing would be in gems.
>Definitely borrowing.
"If you believe your opponent to be lazy, you lower your guard. Easier to exploit."
Snowfall The Pred-Elk
The GM L.O.N.T
371114 371126
>Having nosed the Clinic doors open Snowfall looked inside to see if anypony was around.
>His ears flicked in surprise as his timing was perfect, despite the odd detour by Lin. He caught Nova and a human examining his sisters.
>He cleared his throat.
"Hello Nova Flicker and...Carlos, correct? I hope my arrival isn't interrupting a delicate moment with your patients?"
>Asked the Pred-Elk. His voice soft so not to disturb the the sleeping patients.
"If not may I come in? I want to give my sisters a quick zap to cheer them up."
>He said as he indicated with a foreleg knee towards his antlers. They were pressed against the doors to the clinic and made clicking sounds at the slightest movements of his head.
>José curtly nodded at Lann's offer.
"I might as well take my measuremarents while I'm here."
>His eyes scanned the cluttered workshop for a bit, trying to find a spot where she could do such a thing.
"Should I go ahead and strip down for you, miss Lann?"
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
"A mistake any of us could have made."
>An echo of Shiibo's words from earlier traces across the Room, Hodch's mane bristles reflexively as he glancing back past you with a scowl, returning to his rummaging among the scraps in renewed interest.
('..she better not have stepped on my bed. I made contact contact with the Flawed versions Spiral acquired numerous times, inert and inactive until the.. demonstration. Far better containmarent procedures than the majority of Dynasty relics, which was surprising.
The possibilities of contamination exist, though investigation will have to wait until one can be obtained.')
"To the first question: there's a good chance of that, yes, though Dynastic language can't be read, only extrapolated from. Or guessed at. Resonances last for a variable period depending on intensity and less than twenty Dragons aided Silver's efforts. The few that did were shunned, labelled as outcasts.. ..the 'worst offenders' were banished back to their Otherworlds, Planes, or Extra-Planar states. Getting off track, I know.
Among the various Temples, researchers, and Orders, too marely species contributed and we barely had time to take fifty, possibly sixty records. Finding a living descendant of those that created or were involved with a specific Project is unlikely. Even if they wanted to admit as much, they will never talk to us.
To the second, I can't even imagine how one could be removed, safely or otherwise. Consider possible repercussions and consequences like this: you've met the Acid batpony, Crystal pony, and Void unicorn forms. Despite the inherent problematic natures of being directly Elemarental-aligned, they were.. are, distinct individuals in all meanings of that word.
I believe each one expanded from whole subsets of Spiral to become individuals, occupying specific roles or niches with relevant knowledge of the same. I've seen nothing to disprove that. Reversing that would require total knowledge compression into a single individual. That is... unimaginable."
>Pausing to collect his thoughts, and slipping aside several flat discs of partially unstable Lightning in a gas-plasma state, Hodch snorts in fond recall.
"After recovering from what happened at Canterlot College of Magic, he disappeared to the Underground for a few months, then returned with hundreds of recently produced, utterly safe bound spells. Held an morning impromptu class at the front doors, showing how Dynasty adherents were able to safely mix contrary, directionally opposing, or directly opposing Elemarentals and Planar energetics.
Imagine Water and Lightning fused into solid, non-forced states, or Dominion and Earth. Magma and Nature. Void and Plasma. Stunned everypony senseless, myself included. When those are joined one should always expect a catastrophic detonation, but no, he was playing with them as foals would their beloved toys.
By the way, Ethereal will only join with crystalline objects and resonances, Rime, Ice, and, rarely, Water.
Those were not the only changes. He was able to perfectly read, speak, write, and understand all Dynastic languages. Not only that, he could clarify the extended hidden, double, and triple meanings too, even their shortened forms.
Enchantmarent creation, strengthening, and modification is a difficult science even to those that specialize in it, yet he was able to perform those with barely a thought. Once I watched all of the forms synchronize and fully restore a badly damaged heatstone.
Then I had no time to consider any implications. Now? Regrets keep piling higher."

>Waking from their dormant states, the furnace, force, and anvil's aspects exert their pressures, aligning yours and filling the Room's craft-space with subtle inspiration.
>Speaking abroad from a distant peak on Tallus, the Storm King's words open:
"The first hallowed act? To consider. To think. Without thought, there is no plan or possible creation."
>Before, current, and future observers of physicality, energy, concept, or alike watch on as you reach both hands out, devising rationally applied scientific fundamentals to logic-sided components and reasonable Tallus-Planar derivatives to hold the shape.
>Tracing outlines of the weapon's grip, casing, body, trigger, guard, and barrel in states that could not decay here, they form, held not in stasis but as an unfinished work.
"The second hallowed act? To shape and compose. Without understanding the measures or methods, a definition is unobtainable."
>Deciding upon the mechanisms that would exist, defining their meanings into specific functions, then the purpose each was to perform, the internals take shape under your will and guidance.
>Recreating the original design was not possible without assistance, thus compromises would be necessary: acquiring a graviton required access to the Elemarental Plane of Gravity, one of their mostly tightly held resources.
>The best option became one of simple honor: a careful, gradual beckoning of those on Tallus outside their home Plane.
>Clarifying shape into similar structures, it would resonate agreeably towards the intended particle; not to capture, instead to grant an eventual delivery.

>Removed from pure physicality, as you study the barely functioning result with untrained physical hands, your eyes at least comprehended: what you had offered to it was not enough.
>There was neither laughter nor mocking, only the gap between what is, and what will be.
"The third hallowed act is to repair and refine. The best is imperfect no matter the skill, materials, or time expended. An object cannot be final when the flaws remain uncorrected.
When the result does exceed the expectation, the work is complete."

Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Watching the sheet for ten seconds, the chunky mare swivels back, a small box on right side of her desk opening, two small, glowing green spheres float out and begin orbiting you.
"No need, these are accurate enough for anything that isn't super essential. Plus, I'm taken-"
>Flashing a lopsided smile, the pair make several passes as Lann lifts a suspiciously human military styled crate filled with thread spools, setting it down on the corner and peering in.
"Best part about magic is never needing to write stuff down. Unless it's really important!"
>Setting out all darker colors across the desk, then dropping the crate off, her head turns while the spheres return to their box.
"And done! I'll start on winter clothing for you in half an hour or so. Want extra pockets, pouches, holster or any other custom details? If so let me know, tonight might not be too bad but the weather shield isn't working anymore."
>Head turning, her right forehoof lifts, stopping the needles halfway through what was.. starting to look more like a net.
"Oh for the love o- why do they keep doing this?"
>Right hoof meeting pockmarked snout, Lann releases a harsh, rumbling sigh, waving her other as the implemarents begin unfucking the mess.
"My kits aren't perfect but that's the tenth time tonight.."
[1d6+9 = (6+9) = 15] <M.Seamstress
[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12]
[1d6+9 = (1+9) = 10]
[1d6+9 = (1+9) = 10]
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14] <Crafting Kit
[1d6+10 = (3+10) = 13] <Sewing Kit
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
"Then try it for yourself, Mom."
>A freshly refurbished repair tendril sweeps ahead of the cabin, presenting a small cube of iridescent, bright orange metal.
>Even five meters away you could taste, and smell, inexplicably harsh sensations:
>This fraction of the Sun's own existence was carefully removed from an innermost state of existence, brought onto Tallus primarily to protect, though was capable of committing honorable aggression if required.
>It did not like you, and particularly hated Wild Ride.
>Removing the offensive cube quickly, the small caricature stares at you neutrally from the screen.
"Do you still object to throwing them away, or must I continue being scourged and berated for merely existing when I did not have a say in the matter?"

>Reviewing the schematic of what used to be her head unit, mini-Wild points out ten half-sphere, half-square shapes shapes in the lower section of slagged remains.
>Four marked in green for minimal or no damage, one in light red for moderate damage, four black for severe damage or destroyed, last two in blue for unknown, antennae flicking angrily.
"Those are the ones I've been able to locate, other five are presumed lost or destroyed. Not sure which is worse. There is another complication, removing the surrounding debris without damaging these ones-"
>Circling the red and two greens.
"Wwill be difficult. I can't guarantee they're intact, and separating materials for reprocessing is slow."
>Splitting the left screen, schematic on the left side and map to the right, mini-Wild appears at the map table's opposite side, arms folded.
"Replacements and replacemarents in progress."
>If the map notations and coordinates were correct, the current location was roughly 30 miles from where the Assault Lander had been located, though Wild's route had been straight south from there, then east.
>The closest Ferron Outpost was from 45 to 48 miles east and 1/4 mile north, listed as seasonally occupied from spring to fall.

"She's resisting?"
>Harsh tones accompany a disproportionate number of grinding, strained metal-on-metal, the cartoon version disappearing while her internal speakers emit a massively static laden voice.
"You pathetic, WORTHLESS, USELESS, cowardly, BRAINDEAD SPINELESS CUNT! When I track down the entrance to your fucking micro-world there will be a reckoning not even That Which Cannot Be Named could IMAGINE!"
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10] <Sensory Node #2: Basis Engineering Study
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <Sensory Node #3: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+14 = (4+14) = 18] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+15 = (1+15) = 16]
[1d6+15 = (1+15) = 16]
[1d6+13 = (5+13) = 18] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (1+13) = 14]
[1d6+13 = (6+13) = 19]
[1d6+20 = (6+20) = 26] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5]
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8]
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4]
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]

[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <Arcanum Sensors Array
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Omni-Sensor Array
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
Razorback Fortress: The Clinic
GM Strangler
371126 371129
"No, but that requires the question of: was such a response absolutely necessary, or merely required by an individual? I am no stranger to threats-"
>Flipping back a page for study, then forwards with a pen to write several lines, Nova Flicker's expression had gone from calm to near-enraged, but subdued enough to warrant as recalling a particularly nasty situation.
"After all, a perfected Rime Shatterspike-infused blade is most capable at preventing the tongues of idiot ponies from moving again while assuring utmost dedication to saving a life. Violence is one possible solution when a patient matters far more than one hybrid's reputation.. noted down but I am quite tired, and the daytime humans are not particularly efficient.
And no, Old Horn's presence is quite far from here. I do not accept nor will I like Druids, they are irrational, obsessive, and of ill omaren at the best of times. His last visit was a month or so prior, and-"
>Glancing up at the crystalline spell above her head warping in several directions at once, she dismisses it with a flat scowl.
"I cannot sense my dam. She was east of here for some time, then nothing, as if somepony threw her into an intact Late Dynasty Warp Gate. Tipper is no longer on Tallus. I will search for her later-"

>Setting the notepad down and glancing over Brume Gale, the Ward floats a plastic case to her, opening it for a look.
"Heightened Lightning and Earth attunemarents as a result of their copper bodily parts. Partially physical and mostly magical in origin, technically immune to electricity but can be easily overloaded.
For the first, less than a pegasus and roughly equal to a unicorn expert. For the second, far less than an earth pony, and worse than a unicorn at basic capabilities."
>Setting the case down, Nova's ears flatten, motioning towards the still stable inspection spell.
"She once stated it has extremely tight, specific limitations which cannot be bypassed, and that sharing more would be regarded as an act of supreme hostility. The fact it still functions is troubling on marely levels."

>Moving the disc into position over Sparking Fleur's spine, as Carlos inspects the null-active stasis, it was apparent that causality had been violated: ripples of extreme energetic fracture-stress indicated perforations in the, technically, inviolable field.
>What had been significant fractures, tears, rips, and trauma through vertebrae, ribs, tendon, cartilage, muscles, fat, nervous system, and all other tissues had either been spontaneously or forcefully regenerated to a pre-recovered state, all without breaking stasis or alarming the extraordinarily energy-sensitive Ward's perception.
>Comparing against the natural equine, human, Minotaur, Dragon, and several other species' healing capabilities, upon judging the injuries, an event had definitely occurred which wasn't technologically, magically, or technically possible.

"You see them as well, I take it."
>Left forehoof on the stasis field, Nova's eyes were dimmed, though watching Carlos in true multitasker focus, voice low and tightly wound.
"Modifying an iota of biological material while a patient is in permarenent stasis is not normal in the slightest. Princess Cadenza is incapable of doing so, let alone Wards or healers of every type.
Not even the 'thing' I should not be thinking of can attempt as much without risking a lethal temporal backlash, which would destroy it's immortality fully.
Doctor, if you would examine Brume, I am attempting to locate a potential intruder-"
[1d6 = 3] <Calming Presence: Rage
[1d6 = 2] <Calming Presence: Time
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9] <Vile Taunt
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7] <Deflect Magic
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <M.Casting: Auric Search
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]

>Tasting fragile, thickening aggression pouring out through the Clinic's interior walls, Snowfall realizes this was deeefinitely not the best time..
"So long as you leave when I demarend, you may stay. My auric field is close to snapping and I cannot allow more in the Clinic.
There are a number of concerns with Fleur and Brume's injuries that require them to be isolated. For one... nevermind, I do not have time to explain. You may aid Astral Poinsettia at leisure, she is not injured, merely resting."
>As he works, his lips behind his helmet press together in a grim line.
>Hodch's elaboration was leaving it increasingly clear that Spiral was long beyond the grasp of most any currently living experts.
>He sends a final thought through the Moonstone, the disgust in his tone audible.
('... Then either Spiral found a miracle he needed others to help him reach, or only Silver can answer for her mistake now.')

>Remaining silent, he turns to focus on his efforts to fabricate something similar to the weapon he saw in his mind and repeats the prior process to hone the work.
>The voice in his head, presumably the voice of the Plane itself extols a particular set of virtues.
(Value alignment to the scientific method is... acceptable. So long as my objective can be accomplished, I can tolerate this level of involvement. I lack the time and resources to evaluate a Class designation for this Plane however so I can't fully acquiesce. Whatever your final objective is.)

[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]< Expert Small Arms + Skill Specializations (A.R.T/E.P.C.) + Shifted GCS FINA
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]< Extra Roll Shifted GCS FINA
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]< Expert Small Arms cont. + Skill Specializations (A.R.T/E.P.C.) + Master FINA
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]< Extra Roll Master FINA
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]< Graduate Researcher + Skill Specialization (M.E.CC.T.)
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+2 = (3+2) = 5]< Observer Advanced Technological Weaponry & Tactics
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4]
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]< Pupil Post-Space Age Technologies
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]< Pupil Post-Space Age Weaponry
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]
>Gallo let out a soft, rather excited little coo as the spheres orbited around him.
>He had to admit Lann was right.
>Specially with this little show they were doing.
"I wonder when this world will stop surprising me."
>Blinking softly for a few seconds to refocus on the question, he soon checked his current clothing for a bit.
"I wouldn't mind having as many pockets and pouches as fashion allows. They're always great."
>Having said that with an amicable smile, the man went pensive for a bit.
"May I inquire as to what a weather shield is? Is that a common piece of technology for heavily populated areas? Speaking of weather, should I consider a winter coat if I plan to visit Argenta?"
>Cringing from the sudden assault upon my own sanity, I immediately understood where she was coming from.
>I didn't know metal could hate something.
"... How the fuck does anything even work in this place?"
>I shake my head and sigh a bit.
"If you can't shield it from doing... that, then yes, go ahead and drop it."
"And if I had known that did... that, I wouldn't have said to keep it without reason. I apologize."

>Focusing back on a more reasonable idea, I shake away the ick from that experience.
"I see, will there be anything I would be able to do?"
>At the very least, poke my head in and see what's still functional.

>Aaaand she is definitely not sane.
>I don't want to attempt to even rationalize this one.
>Looking around the herd abashed, Clemency looks down at Blackthorn
(First of all, it's not uncommon to refer to possessions as a female. Second, before Blackthorn became what she is, it was a SPAS-12, a regular shotgun that we might have a spare laying around.")
>Blackthorn doesn't even resemble what a SPAS-12 was before
>Bulky but ergonomic
>And fits like a glove

>Keeping his head high and continue to wrangle, he squeezes into formation with the five mares designated as his bodyguards
>They can probably coordinate with him if combat erupts
>Hearing Blackthorn being spoken to is new though
>Wonder if it can respond to others

>Going through the portal, Clemency sees the renewed focus of the Razorback Company
>Even his mind starts to sharpen through the physical exhaustion
>But their discussion of the effects is weird
>Brow furrowed in thought, Clem rubs his chin
("Well, I would normally call that willpower and intuition. As for hearing shit back at the Fortress, I'm surprised I can still hear since I'm with Twisted.")
>Clemency starts to pull up the M-S.O.L.G. interface to position the the camera on top of their formation and have it track them
("Actual answer rook is that I haven't put too much thought into it. I did feel much better mentally when I go flying with Twisted or drink but I would think that's just me.")
>The reminiscing of his old life flash more as an amusing anecdote now.
"Hehe, the best medical education cartels could buy assured I would only treat the most dangerous of men. When it wasn't the caballeros themselves, it was some bendejo underling who thought they could... persuade me into treating the imposible. A fallen esse or hermano, riddles with bullet wounds. Massive drug overdoses. Illegal risky surgeries. And what do I do?"
>He taps his pen against his notebook to keep her attention, before cracking the right side of his doctor's coat to reveal his holstered 1911.
"I treat the sick and injured to the best of my habilidades. The bendejos... I show them the way out, if they know what's good for them. Hehe."
>His short retelling is quickly stifled by Nova not being able to sense Tipper. At all. As in she wasn't even on Tallus anymore.
>He smacks his forehead in mild befuddlement as the coincidence of losing the Clinic's head doctor and in the most literal way.
"Aye dios mio, what a night. We are still here, afortunadamente. The patients come first, with or without Abuela Tipper."

>Carlos listens diligently to the mare's explanation of Old Horn's Pred Elk. Copper infused right into their bodies.
"A naturally high conductividad. They almost act like a capacitor. Store too much electricity, and they overload themselves. Hmm..."
>Changing the subject to Tipper's everlasting spell, Carlos raises an eyebrow.
"A fine tuned spell, indeed. But for it to last this long on its own.. it's a wonder she did not burn herself out just from casting it alone."

>Observing what little he could find of bodily injury to the Pred Elk Fleur, he spots severe injuries that had healed considerably.
>Through stasis, no less. Narcolepsy aside, Miss Flicker would have picked up on such rapid changes through the field.
"Whatever force allowed it either is defeating or ignoring the nature of the stasis field. I have not much else to add to such a phenomenon. An intrusa? Aye..."
>Carlos looks around warily, but ultimately more focused on the patients. The Ward can handle the matter while he inspects Brume Gale.
"Si, of course."
>He takes the disc spell from Flicker and pans it over to Brume Gale's head injuries. He's expecting more miraculous regeneration, unless Fleur and Gale's situations are not related.
>The injuries are more important: sheared antler, concussion, eye damage. All other symptoms were congruent. He would still check for any signs of skull fracturing, especially around the orbital socket, as well was any brain bleeds.
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]<M.Perception
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]<M.Research: Surgical Analysis
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]<Teacher: Biology
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]

>While he was inspecting Gale, a noise of the Clinic's door peeking open caused him to glance over.
>Another Pred Elk, a male going by its build and vocal tones. NOT the intruder Nova was attempting to flush out.
>The Ward gives the Pred Elk a pass for now, and Carlos ushers the visitor over with a hurried wave of his free hand and a hushed tone.
"Rapido, rapido! Seniorita Flicker is on the hunt, so to speak. Si, I am Carlos. What may I call you, senior?"
>He focuses back onto Blume Gale through the inspection spell, pointing to Poinsettia, then to Fleur, and Gale last.
"As mentioned previa. Miss Poinsettia appears to be burnt out, she is resting. Miss Fleur DID have severe spinal fractures and tissue injuries, but they are not only rapidly healing they are defeating the propiedades of a stasis field to do so. Blume Gale shattered an antler, and should have serious cranial injuries along with that. I am examining her, now. Is your kind capable of such spell-breaking regeneration?"
>Carlos, notepad at the ready, begins to take anything down worth mentioned by the fourth Pred Elk as well as continue documenting Gale's current prognosis.
Snowfall The Pred-Elk
The GM .L.O.N.T
>He really wanted to give a boost to Sparking and Gale, they were the ones that needed it most.
>His tail and ears wiggled in annoyance. His timing...
"I will return for the other two at a later date, thank you Nova."
>Snowfall entered the clinic at the behest of Carlos, his antlers clattering loud as he passed through the doors.

>Carlos was certainly not like the others humans Snowfall has observed. It was a pastime of his to watch humans go about their daily lives from a vantage point, usually his herds Treehouse. There was a part of him that is human, so naturally he would pay attention to any human that caught his eye. And Carlos already has.
"My name is Snowfall, Carlos."
>He indicated the best he could with his head to his body.
"Named after my coat."

>Snowfall slowly trots over to Astrals' bed so not to make more noise than he has already.
"She is lucky to be alive, as are we."
>He said quietly as he came to a stop next to one unconscious sister as he looked with sympathy at the others.
"No we do not. Not even Oldhorn can do that. However-"
>He turned his head towards the door, a small smile forming on his neutral expression.
"A powerful being calling itself Lin is possibly responsible. I asked if she could help my sisters, it appears she has done so."
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
"Curious. Serfi, if that is the correct word, are free to perform any tasks for their mistress, or master, until their debt has been repaid. Afterwards they have all rights to stay with, becoming a retainer, part of the herd, or leave, though their time must be compensated for.
I have listened to a fair amount of human history, some of it bothers me but that particular point is especially difficult. One would never hear of a batpony Colony and think ill of it."
>Hefting the boxpack onto Krinza's anvil, twenty small, near-black discs floating from the back wall Helping placing forehooves on each and melding them into the titanium frame, horn surrounded in blazing metallic rings.
"Excluding the paranoid or hyper-suspicious-"
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <E.Crafting
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <E.Enchanting
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] <E.Smith
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6+8 = (1+8) = 9] <Eidetic Fundamarentals

"There are some regions where Bits either cannot be used, or have been devalued: Neighsia, Argenta's Lands, Eyeraq, Rushya, the Free Ram Flocks of Ewerup to name the most important ones that I can recall. Ba'athens is questionable but I have heard little from them. The rest have severed their economies from Equestria and aggressively denied or refused all trade for the past two years.
What we call the Fallen Dynasty is, supposedly, a number of small city-states between the No Mare's Land of the Eastern New Everfree and the Gryphon Kingdoms. The Dynasty Remnants of Caneighdia is the entire permafrost lands south of the Crystal Empire Lowlands. Both should be avoided at all costs.
Everywhere else has an exchange ratio that depends on economy and importance compared to what Equestria trades, however, the Bit has lost considerable value."
>Setting the pack down to scrutinize each of the magnets, Helping turns an annoyed stare up, the giant coldstone brightening at a firm gesture, now drawing in heat.
"Strange. It should not have taken this long to work properly.. well.
It is certain that Moorites are generally lazy for twenty-nine hours and thirty minutes per cycle. What makes them distinct is the potential for a half hour of frenzied, often suicidal aggression, combined with highly destructive natural, Elemarental, Void, semi-Eldritch, among worse, bombs, weapons, and armors.
Only three factions have enough excellent equipmarent to equip every single pony in a certain domain. Fewer still are able to source and completely fill an entire battalion in a single night.
In any case, being assaulted by a thousand batponies is thus either utterly horrifying due to their armamarents... or utterly terrifying due to their other armamarents."
>Snorting at the triple-entendre, Helping then nods towards Lann's growing collection of tables, marenequins, and clothing racks.
"I have overheard the hoof-touching pair discussing the Central Moors now has approximately two hundred newish Armories, five times that number of garrison-depots, and ten times the previous of purely storage depots.
A batpony which does not have an immediate use for an item will place it in the first safe place the object fits. If they cannot think of a long term use or does not feel like trading it, said item will be sorted out by tradesmares in their Creche or Colony. Eventually. Lann has already expressed great joy at the thoughts of rare silks coming in more frequently."
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
"When you stop being surprised of course!"
>Snickering as she sorts through spools, collecting a few that looked distinctively metallic before pausing, head tilting left as her ears twitch around in circles.
"Do have a few custom designs.. there's one that can take six, eight, or ten armored containers for bottles, small bombs, canisters, grenades, canister grenades, that sort. Maybe twelve if they're not big. Size is sort of adjustable thanks to a springy material Krinza figured out how to make. Can be moved around without much trouble too.
Pockets are weatherproof and seal tight after closing; eight large, six medium, ten small, four tiny. Internal pockets are the same: four large, six medium, eight small, ten tiny. Also can attach armored magazine racks so long as I know the size and shape."
>Right hoof pointing out to the side, numerous sheets of thin, possibly synthetic materials lift out of a large crate, placed down on her desk for a close inspection.
"Mm? It's a solid energy shield that keeps snow, rain, sleet, hail, lightning, small meteors, ash, and pretty much everything else solid or semisolid from getting in. Or out, sometimes. They usually don't have a particular Elemarental attuning, and barely do anything against temperature changes.
And, no, they're super rare since the Dynasty fell apart. Biggest and oldest one is in the Crystal Empire, their crystalline bio.. tech.. stuff makes it work. That one's huge though, never seen it but heard it can protect the whole City-State for months on end.
Some places in Saddle Arabia and Neighsia have weathershields too, but only for small, important, or rich towns."
>Swiveling around once more to watch the sheet being corrected, mostly, Lann's ears fold backwards, her tone slightly annoyed as she pushes the chair back.
"Don't know much about Argenta, sorry. They stopped trading with Equestria some time back. Again, take that cloak if you want."
[1d6+9 = (1+9) = 10] <M.Seamstress
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14]
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14]
[1d6+9 = (2+9) = 11]
[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12] <Crafting Kit
[1d6+10 = (1+10) = 11] <Sewing Kit

"Have some business that badly needs taken care of right now, after that I'll start on a coat and heavy pants for you-"
>Hopping off, and landing much more heavily than expected, the chunky mare's head bends forwards to inspect inspect every millimeter of stone floor under her.
>Lifting to stare at the floor in her vicinity, then outwards, she pauses, turning heavily to face east and breaking into an incredible pounding sprint.
>Bright, gold-tinged outlines of a partially round doorway appear, the mare slamming headfirst into it, shouting quite angrily-
[1d6 = 3] <ENRAGE
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Shattered Earth
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7] <E.Sprint
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+9 = (6+9) = 15] <M.Assault
[1d6+9 = (4+9) = 13]
[1d6+9 = (4+9) = 13]
[1d6+9 = (2+9) = 11]
[1d6 = 6] <oh shit
>José snorted in amusement in tandem with Lann's snicker, nodding along with her various explanations for his questions.
>So apparently, he could have 56 pockets for various items and there's some super rare weather protection technology that's been discontinued due to The Dynasty fell apart.
>Sheesh, how more loaded can these nuggets of information can get?

>As he took the winter garments offered by Lann, Gallo's eyes widened as his body instinctively shifted sideways to properly assess just what had set her off.
>He really shouldn't interfere with what seemed to be some extraplanar business that he was ill equipped for
>...or should he?
>Maybe this is normal for Tallus residents?
>Worst case scenario, Lann can probably take care of herself judging by the powerful display of physical aptitude.
>Relaxing back into a proper standing pose, he'd gently walk over to the doorway frame currently being banged by a mare's head.
>Of course, he'd avoid being directly behind Lann just in case her anger may be directed towards him out of a vague recollection on real life horse lessons he had when he was younger.
(Let's see where this goes.)
Ivan the STALKER
"Indentured servants didn't exactly stick around, though they did usually end up continuing to work for the contract holder after it expired, if they were paying well enough."
>Ivan held his hand up and shook it in an 'eh' motion.
"During colonial times, it was pretty cheap to purchase land or even pre-built places to live, so they could afford to do so."
>He decidedly left out the fact that often, native peoples were fucked over by land purchases.

"I won't deny that I am... quite familiar with the idea of money being useless."
>He glanced off to the side.
"I was a part of a faction that was... selectively collective. No need for money, sharing supplies with each other when able to."
>Grimacing behind his helmet, he looked back to Helping.
"I left them after... an unknown amount of time passed, and helped reform Clear Sky to what it exists today as."
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Slowing from a mad dash to a fairly calm, stone pounding low trot, Lann takes a deep breath as the door swings open wide, exposing a mass of gold outlines-
>Rearing on her hind legs, then smashing front hooves in front of a vague pony shape, the near-detonation causing dozens of stone blades, spikes, spears, lances, and giant needles to erupt out of the floor.
>Grabbing onto the shape's presumed head, the yellow mare's loud, ringing cackles confirm a total surprise assault as the doorway slams shut, disappearing from sight.

>Standing where you think the event had taken place, the floor was untouched, as if the weapons weren't physical.
>...there wasn't a single horse you could think of that could act in such a marener, nor was the earth mare Solar-aligned as they tended to be quite diplomatic.
Basin Arena Garrison-Depot, Aftermath 16
GM Strangler
>Providing neither information nor helpful protocols on how to be an escortee, the Assault Vanguards each make a slight, rear leg extending motion, acknowledging they would ensure your safety.
('We're all soaked in lather right now, wouldn't be fun.')
('Bet you wouldn't mi-')
('This. Isn't. The. Time. After a nice, LONG, FREEZING shower or bath, possibly. Right now, not a chance.')
('How come the batponies here aren't attracting creatures like all of us are?')
('You're serious?')
('Yyyyes? Yes., I am')
('They've adapted to live here, are highly Void attuned, and most creatures know where there's one batpony, there's at least a hundred more out of sight.')
('Yes. So?')
('You really are dense..')
('I know, thanks!')
('Why do I bother...')

>Finally able to start moving, the ranks ahead enter a short two-hoofsteps per second speed, roughly two hundred ahead at four hooves per second.. which was a reasonable 3MPH march in human standards.
>Surveying through the moderate fog, outside nearly hot equine and human armors the surrounding swamp and marsh were still save for tiny ripples on surface water.
>Knowing how often threats were either submerged or lurked in Void spectrums, the thermal wasn't picking up anything out of place that you could tell.
>Half-sunken logs at the edge of vision had been abandoned within the past few minutes, mostly by hot blooded imprints which were barely faded.
>Other than solid hoofboots on stone, clanks, clinks, or clacks from armor, weapons clattering against the same, this part of the Central Moors had been quickly abandoned by smaller creatures, leaving the larger ones in potentially better positions.
>That is, if there weren't a thousand Psions or far more Crystal Empire forces keeping watch.

>Attention focused on the surroundings, the Rookie's quintet of Assault Vanguard urge him, politely, to speak again.
('Okay. something like I'm about to reach out and grab some jackass's drink to toss in his face, but there's a neutral individual watching me. It doesn't talk out loud, or in my head, doesn't make any physical motions, and isn't looking at me, but I can feel it dissuading me from screwing up.')
('Is it more being guided into a proper act, or trying to correct you from committing a mistake?')
('Definitely the first.')
>Taking position before the first scout rifle carrier enters, the lead Shieldmare hrm's internally, motioning for the One Hundred to accompaneigh her.
('Have you been subjected to guilt or shame during the times you have experienced such?')
('Nope. Like being told: you're better than that, this isn't the right way, or being petty is beneath you, but I'm not being spoken down to or chided either.')
>Gazing upon the wide variety of Crystal forces, then focusing on you with a twinge of consideration, the leadmare's snout twitches.
('Perhaps you have acquired a nature akin to theirs.. or your teacher ingrained certain aspects of her training.')

('Why is this place such a mess?!')
('Five giant insects-')
('Five DEAD giant insects. Moving the bodies now.')
('Huh, Impact Seals work really well here.')
('Eewwww it's all over me!')
('Don't think I've ever seen insides become outsides that fast. You three, remove the pieces and wash her armor off.')
('Anypony know these?')
('Long antennae, flat body sections, highly streamlined, quick to mareneuver in water. Triangular head, forty hooves long, twenty-five hooves tall or so. Full insect, predatory. Front claws covered in spines, not serrations or blade-like. No wings.. I think. Thin carapace, durable but not against a standard lance.')
('Large swamp rippers, related to mantidae, not common. Any unusual features?')
('Does nearly pissing myself when something the size of a Minotaur can jump out of water without making more than a few tiny ripples happen to count?')
('I'll.. take that as a no.')
('No discernible acids, toxins, or Elemarentals. Clean, so to speak. And not liked.')
(Puta. Too slow)
>Gallo let out a soft sigh, clearly overestimating the time window to act due to his careful hubris.
>It looked like Lann was winning thankfully, and it seemed it wasn't the first time this fight happened.
>Something about it felt awfully wrong though.
>Did that extraplanar being really deserve such a punishmarent?

>Shaking his head at his thought process halted, José opted to exit the Workshop with the spare coat on his shoulder.
>Turning around to face the door with a pensive hum, he quickly decided to trot over to the Bulletin Board to fetch some writing supplies.
>A couple post-it notes and a pen if possible. Otherwise, he can improvise.
>Following that, he'd come back to write down a simple message on the front door:
'Miss Lann is currently out.'
>Afterwards, he'd go back inside and write another message:
'Miss Lann. When you come back from your extraplanar beatdown, please remove the note outside."

>Having done that, he soon focused up on his plan to travel to Argenta.
>Thus, unless somehow Lann pops up before he started or just when he finished, he'd soon walk over to where the Remant was to promptly ask for travel advice towards his intended destination.
Basin Village Garrison-Depot, Aftermath 17
GM Strangler
371187 371205 371209
>Risking a headache to stare at the closed down gateway, one of the darker robed Luna's Villager's gives a batpony-eating-lemons facial scrunch before flopping over heavily.
"Your face might get stuck that way if you stay here for long."
"..wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen."

>Dissecting reports through the Charger and Lancer chains of commarend, the leadmare sends a request outwards for psions and unicorns to inform Crystal ponies of their findings, one of the Lunar Combat Support unicorns in the front ranks thinks aloud.
('Do you mean the Kee-Chain, a long distance communication network? They have been delivering messages up and down the vines since we arrived. However, I cannot understand the language.')
('Mostly warnings to stay on Basin Arena road, point out critters in vicinity to us, close down towers, that sort. Batponies won't ever join an Overherd but they all know Common so we're getting news way ahead of time.')
('Is this Kee-Chain the most efficient thing batponies have?')
>Deadpan choruses of yes's from earth pony and unicorn Lunars absolutely obliterate the young Day Guard mare's notions of complete solidarity, the Assault Vanguard's leader snorting loudly.
('If you were expecting them to say anything else, I have a copy of the series on batpony songs and poems from the 28,600's that might be of cultural interest to you.')
('Oh? What are they about?')
('What are the five acts batponies are best known for? Here's a hint: the last one is well over ninety percent of what they wrote.')
('Wellll... sleeping, making friends, eating, setting up pranks, and... ....oh.')
('Now do you understand?')
('Wish I didn't.')

>Turning a concerned Mind's Eye at you, the leadmare exits into the garrison-depot's realspace, taking a younger Operator with her as five more Councilierge Assault Vanguards form around the man.
('There are approximately sixteen thousand ponies and humans here, large numbers would cause vast ripples throughout Void spectrums and potentially disrupt Gravity.')
('What the Shieldmare means to say is: better to deal with the limited physical threats than the other possible or potential ones. Bes-')
('Or deliver enough concussions to knock it out, which is an acceptable use for Impact Seals and Shattering Spheres.')
('.......squeamish, paranoid, and highly excitable mares excluded. There isn't much that could deter all of us.')
>Desiring nothing more than stuffing her armor with a dozen Superior coldstones, another Lunar unicorn figuratively checks off the majority of fauna and flora.
('Of the known threats here, individual floral, faunal, or hybrid predators, small numbers of medium to extra large predators, variable sized swarms, are the most common. As well, there are no more Abominations, Malformed, Discontent, Unspoken, or.. Tainted, among others. A few hooves worth of megafauna remain, those we would notice quickly, same for the Eldtrich and Plane-touched.')

>Receiving stark acknowledgements from the Operators around you, particularly from One Hundreds, nearly forty awake, and most importantly coherent, Villagers weigh their own experiences in the Fortress.
('Been saying there's something new for weeks now.')
('The Copper Predatory-Elk are not full Druids, nor do they have capabilities which match the given descriptions.')
('I can guarantee Hollow and those Changelings that visit are likewise not responsible.')
('We've seen Hodch and Mercy out talking to walls or empty air a few times, who knows what they've seen.')
('Ehhh, those two don't like sharing certain topics. If they don't say something then it's best to leave 'em alone.')
('Those are not ghosts. I think.. I hope.')
('Ghosts are fine, Spectrals are not. Overall we've dealt with maybe.. ten in and around the Fortress.')
('Hmph, that silverine skinned whore of a horse was most troublesome, but, she would not have taken such a quiet approach. It is profoundly amazing that most of Razorback was able to tolerate her idiotic presence often as they did. Then again it is equally remarkable she is not here.')
('You've met her?')
('Several times, each worse than the previous.')
>Wishing he could distance himself from Lunar volatility, the Assault Vanguard's lead stallion rolls the new information across Solar and Stalliongrad earth pony minds for their considerations, more than a hundred studying the remaining Operators until an older, retired Villager quiets the rest.
('Do you mean Spiral Disclosure? The Reclusive Marquis of Canterlot Underground?')
('Yes, that's him all right. With us for a while.')
('No one or pony knows where he went. Why?')
('Went off range a while back, hasn't returned since.')
('I'm.. not sure. Head hurts, give me a few minutes to think.')

>The mixed Guard in Basin Village achieve an equilibrium, passing through the gateways more rapidly while ranks ahead of the garrison-depot settle into a standard march.
>Numbers rapidly filling ten lines, the Shieldmare notes the entirety of Crystal forces had entered, issuing an order for all remaining Razorback and Councilierge to do the same as the Ethereal Golem stomps past her, frowning at the Ethereal's tinged presence.
('I will never enjoy that sensation.. form properly once you have arrived.')

('Leadmare, this must be corrected. Immediately.')
>Turning around to face the gateways, the Shieldmare's helmet cocks as the Villager's thoughts section from the Overherd, jerking back wide eyed.
('What? Why?! You can't expect me t-')
('You will perform what I have instructed or there will be repercussions. All Lunars disconnect now-')
('Damn you! I am sorry to do this but-')
>Reality is wrenched aside briefly as the Overherd is forced to blink, wiping out two previous seconds of memory, the leadmare's tone bitter.
('Do not question what I was.. forced to remove.')
Basin Village Garrison-Depot, Aftermath 18
GM Strangler
371187 371205 371209
>Blinking at two seconds of memory being wiped from your recall, the Assault Vanguard's leader issues orders for the rest of his battalion rest to form around the last Operators entering gateways.
('Similar conventions.. not what I meant, though there are at least three of that model or similar among Stalliongrad's humans.
Rather, what was the specific Construct component that joined with your weapon to become what she is now? Symbiotic weapons are incredibly rare since they're usually prioritized for destruction first. That doesn't include Riftdrowners as they're technically flora and tend to be.. less troublesome.')

>Surrounded by hundreds of Guard mares, in lines no less, that weren't posing a threat, for once, joining the march west in warm, overly humid Moors air was a bit too familiar, though the sense of Lunars disconnecting from the Overherd, then being reconnected was odd.
>The wide stone pathway ahead was partially lit by gleaming Crystal ponies, unicorns, and Minotaurs interspersed by Guard; definitely the same route you'd taken before, though far safer now.
('Hm, prolonged close proximity to Enchained hasn't been studied, but that particular burnt feather scent is known fairly much everywhere in Equestria. Half of my herd knows it.')
('Or if it has then nopony's shared that knowledge-')
>Quelling that argumarent, the Assault Vanguard's leader rolls his eyes, focusing on you through the five mares surrounding, their helmets turn to regard you with interest.
>At least not in dangerous mareners.
('You have a number of peculiar energy-dense enchantmarents in your possession Master Clemency. One faint taste of blood, Lunar physicals and energetics, something acrid. Those we don't recognize, except the Moon Orb.
Blackhorn is distinct but there's.. another Construct piece. Incredibly deep impressions of pain and regret. Solid, hard, difficult to place. A few crystal resonances, one is familiar though I can't tell why.
Hm. Perhaps being with the Burning General and having a wide variety of enchantmarents is protecting you. Or more.. ..I have no damned idea, it's too hot to think straight in this helmet-')
('I dunno, some of us hang around Twisted and Clem every night. Least until we need ear plugs-')
('If that was the case most of us wouldn't have been feeling whatever's in the Fortress.')
('My collection of enchants is wilder than what flyboy has so that isn't right either. Not bragging or dissing man, just stating facts.')
('Like you really needed one of every Element-')
('I did! Kind of.')
('Then only two of Razorback have not experienced unusual activity, both of which.. no? That's wrong too, a number of you have Empire weapons, armor, devices, and resonances. This isn't making sense-')
('Only common links between Lont and Clem I can think of: they deal with Twisted a lot, been to the Empire more often than most of us, and they have a few crystalline things.')
('Uh, dude? Pay attention some time, the same can be stated for probably a quarter of us.')
('Then I'm at a loss and speculating more won't help.')

>Taking the line's rear with his own guards, the Assault Vanguard eyes the ponies, humans, and Minotaurs marching west, souring at the Minor Champion escorting the Shieldmare ahead, then nods towards the remaining unicorns in Basin Village.
('We're the last ones. Close the gates down mares, you've done amazingly well.')
>Faint, half-hearted marental cheers from themselves are briefly overwhelmed by sincere outpourings of praise and gratitude from Lunar, Solar, and Watch Guard alike, before severing from the Overherd.

>Reorienting from the trio of Constructs and colossal gateway atop Basin Arena eastwards, thick fog and sparse cloud cover hid most of the road, though you note the top of a small, tree-like tower.
>Passing over it... of course there were ponies sprawled across the top.
>The next tower was a common pegasi version, taller though barely seen, while the third was entirely hidden.
>Finally spotting the front most ranks of fast marching Day Guard, easily picked out by their armor, then individual Crystal ponies, unicorns, or Minotaurs, the Night, Lunar, and Watch Guard were much harder to make out.
>Lead elemarents rotating out on contact with threats, dealing with short assaults, being scrubbed down, and foraging, it was clear the combined forces weren't going to be impeded easily, if at all.
>Unable to find where you were precisely, the sheer number of Kingdom, Imperial, and other aligned forces throughout the ten rows was certainly unusual, and striking.

>Shifting their lances to point straight upwards and reforming, one ahead, one left and right at close proximity, two behind spread apart in a half-meter interval, the five heavily armored earth mares match your pace.
('Fog and mist here normal for this time of night and year?')
('Think so. Just keep your Mind's Eyes looking outwards.')
>Sharing a single thought, that being not one pony had offered their saddle already, the youngest mare starts to snicker, then cuts off that thought at a report from the front.

('There's a big pink something or other coming at us. Not crystalline or Ethereal, feels strange but I think we sa-')
('That's Mercy all right-')
('Is there a particular reason most of you are afraid of her?')
('About fifty REALLY FUCKING SHARP reasons!')
('I can think of FOUR that we've been trampled by-')
('You have no idea what that mare can do when she's irritated, be glad for that.')
>Overherd's attention focusing through the leading squad's eyes, and several Mind's Eyes, the Spirit Walker's searing presence exits from a heavily distorted Void spectrum, landing in the road's center with a loud huff.
>Raising both wings in a strange marener, to some ponies at least, marener, the more Hegemony inclined denote it as an honor circle, pink wingblades fluoresce brightly, her weapon symbiote missing.
"I will not allow a single individual to pass."
when you get ur memory wiped.gif
>Jeff mentally chuckles to himself as the Day Guard's mind is bombarded with the causality of batponies. The Kee-Chain was known to him, and he's heard more than enough songs sung throughout the Village to know EXACTLY what they meant.

>So they will just all stick together then. From the scouting reports, safety in numbers was the best tactic they could have right now.
>Sixteen thousand plus should be a safe number, hopefully.
('There better NOT be any more Tainted roaming around, at least. Not after what we just had to bear witness to... we must have put every last one to rest.')

>As a quintet of Vanguards form up on him, the rear line finally passes through the Gateway into the other part of the Moors. Already into a slow march, welp fast enough trudging through the Moors as it would.
>Each strange habit and resident of Razorback was quickly dismissed, or mildly questioned.
('Didn't say I knew everything that goes on the the Fortress. Just spit-balling.')
>He didn't even mention the indestructible vegetarian burrito...
>Jeff checks their position on his TacPad to see how far away they were from the Basin Arena. He kept a marker on it, considering the relay's position there.
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <TacPad: GPS

>An odd sensation courses over him. Something disappeared, but he doesn't know what.
>Did everything just taste like-
>He feels like it was his fault.
>And that he should just drop it.
>Yepp. That worked for him, considering their current situation.

>As their march continues underway, the Overherd focuses on an object closing in on them.
>Big pink something. Was it Mercy?
>Yupp, it was Mercy.
>She must have flown all the way from the Arena.
>And she was alone. Where was Sunny? Did something happen to the newbie pegasus? She didn't come off as a strong flier as Mercy was, or more of a flier anyway..
>Huh. Her symbiote was missing. Something happen with the Constructs, or Riftseeker?
>Landing, she splays her wings as if to block their advance, clearly exhausted getting to them a quick as possible.
>He directs his thoughts to the leadmare up front.
('She must have rushed all the way from the Arena to intercept us. We should listen and yield to her.')
>Jeff then focuses on Mercy, mentally and physically waving at her from the rear line.
('Mercy, I'm all the way in the back. Are you okay? Where's Sunny?')
>Making sure her well being was alright, he gets down to the brass tacks of the situation.
('We've already discussed the possibility of either fighting the Planar Constructs, the Riftseeker, or neither. Just tell us what to do.')
>He remembers she was already shaken from initially arriving at the Village, and then the symbiote merging with her. Regardless, he trusts her judgment of the situation.
Archaic Pegasi-Batpony League Arena, Outskirts
GM Strangler
>Forelegs raised and rear legs extended, the Construct leans forwards, flapping once and skimming above the road, the motions thoroughly equine yet modified to obtain minimum air resistance.
>Thinking back to the smashed multi-legged insect and recalling it as a rare acidic variety of hunting centipede, the amount of damage the Construct had taken was far worse than if a pony had done so.
>Eyeing the intact, perfectly restored front hooves, you realize the symbiote's armored false-shell was highly vulnerable due to being incredibly thin, barely equivalent to common sheet metal.
>While incapable of absorbing damage compared to its bonded state, if sensations of pain were simulated it wouldn't expend unnecessary energy to display as much, let alone care for restoring itself unless there was a strong self-preservation instinct.
>This version was either mimicking a specific individual or had been formed through a sincere, strong connection.
>Not only could it experience emotion, it was feeling the strain of functioning beyond normally expected capabilities and capacities.
>The blind mare shares her spiritual connection and unsubtle rationale with Tallus to the Rift Plane's raw physicality and brute force logic, each covering the weaknesses of the other.
>Live or die, it did not need to protect Mercy, rather it had a single desire: to exist alongside her as a partner, no more or less.
>Outside those few currently bonded with a symbiote, none would try to understand, fewer would attempt to, and, without fail, the majority WILL treat Mercy as a direct threat.
>You try to think of a single pony that would RATIONALLY accept the knowledge.. it was a tiny few.
>The wrong word would easily cut that number by half.

>Right wingclaws splaying out and shaking in a polite dismissing motion, then presenting an overlay of a barely Euclidean landscape, marsh analogue land masses covered in Riftdrowner sections.
>A miniature version of itself creeps into view, extending a hoof out to touch highly viscous, heavy metallic liquid.
>The Rift Plane was not a mirror of Tallus. It was, is, and will remain a reflection seen at whichever skewed angle the viewer's perspective was placed.
>Shutting the scene down with a heavy flap as you enter a flat out running pace, its head shakes before pointing forwards:
>Fractures of open Void on both sides of the road stretch into swamps and bogs, streaks of jet black armored batponies water-skimming in pairs.
>Your mane bristles defensively at tinges of glowing Eldritch-touched weapons leaving raw, long trails of warped colors behind them.
>Hunter-Killers, considered by marecenaries all across Tallus to be the least fanatic.. of the fanatic Moorites, second best conversationalists, fifth most lewd, though vastly more prone to aggressive bartering.
>Not paying attention to the road, you, or the symbiotic Construct, instead searching for and brutally eliminating every possible nuisance, the path ahead is streaked with blood, ichor, chitin chunks, scales, severed heads of small insects.. and worse.
>A ringing, sharp up-up-down whistle reverberates on water from the north, the Hunter-Killer pairs snap upwards with heavy wing buffers, rolling over to streak in that direction.
[1d2000 = 801] <Central Moors Threat

>Pearlescent eyes gleaming, the Construct's head turns to study each one as long as possible, the expression melancholy.. and etched with guilt.
[1d6 = 1] <???
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] <Construct Realspace Scanning Protocols
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6]
Sunny Feathers
>Sunny gazed pensively at the construct, just observing it was providing her a great deal of insight. Though not enough to be certain, that would require more invasive examination. Deconstruction, analysis, accessing and interpreting its programming medium. All things she doubted it would allow, nor would Mercy.
>The uncertain nature of its emotive displays alone posed ethical issues with doing so as well.
>Rationally speaking, understanding construct motives and mediums was of paramount importance to her in the long term. Yet it had, seemingly, stabilised Mercy and kept her from experiencing a breakdown, as Mercy was a near irreplaceable Razorback asset, that gave it much more value than as a mere subject of study. Thus her short term goals were better served by leaving it be, and even preventing further damage and possible destruction.
>She was careful to present no outward indication of her thoughts, no speech, no body language, no twitch of the ears, no ruffle of the wings, no bunching of her muscular outside her movement, no cold glares. Perfect, practiced neutrality. She couldn't be sure how well, or how deeply it could predict the intentions of others having learned from Mercy, and did not want it to perceive her as an imminent threat.
>It was highly vulnerable to physical damage. If its psychological match with Mercy extended to combat capabilities, it was reasonable to assume that it was optimised for ranged combat, lacking physical resilience by simple design. A weakness and role that would be covered by Mercy's capabilities. If it saw no other choice in pursuing its goal, or directive, or desire, it would and had engaged in melee, even if it was just stomping on a bug. In theory.
>Therefore it was following its general directive, but with a less than optimal strategy to avoid damage to itself, perhaps thinking any damage to her had to be avoided, even at cost to itself. That tracked with Mercy's recklessness, which she guessed that they might share, if for different reasons.
>Adjustment, then.

>Sunny slowed her place slightly and pulled out her... Never-you-mind-what-it-was-called Flask, showing it to the batstruct.
"Avoid further damage to yourself, even if it means allowing me to incur damage. I'm more resilient, and easier to repair with this. Reconvening with Mercy is best served by role division, utilise ranged combat only, I will distract on the ground."
>Turning her attention back to her surroundings, and with some mild concern at what the Hunter-Killers might do if they encountered the batstruct a little closer, Sunny noticed that the bat ponies had already been well at work all but slaughtering any and all potentially hostile wildlife in their path.
>Whoof. That wasn't good. Even predatorial creatures deserved to be left alone if they weren't actively hostile and could be avoided.
"And... Perhaps avoid their example, anything we can outrun or that isn't displaying an active interest doesn't need to neutralised."
>That was probably a short list in itself, but it needed to be said.
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Exiting the Workshop and reaching the Bulletin Board without interruption, neither equine or human in view, it had been completely stripped.
>Only a single note was stuck in the center:
>Locating dozens of pens and a single pad of the most hated multicolored Post-Its, cheap, weak glue backing, there was enough light from the structure's roof to write out both messages.
>Returning to the Workshop and affixing both onto the north entrance door, it takes a few seconds to recall the the building layout.

>Heading south between older above fairly standard above ground barracks and new underground barracks, the intensely lit up Pagoda was hard to miss.
>Passing by the bright yellow fountain's west side, it was quiet now, the fountain drained and no longer operating, unusual floral scents surrounding the area.
>Reaching the Pagoda's north entrance and stepping in, the mismatched couches were quite different compared to last night.
>The large, fluffy bright red couch to your immediate right was currently occupied by a visibly mid-60's, black cloth-suited pegasus mare lying on her right side, facing south.
>Muted sunglow mane and brittle, straight white coat could be Solar related, ears swiveling in your direction though not looking; judging by the easy going though typical high alert marecenary posture this one was approachable.
>Clasped in the pegasi's front legs is an unmoving, bright white pinniped likewise lying on its right side, jet black flippers and long whiskers prominent, either sleeping or making no attempt to move.
>Right of the southern entrance/exit is the trade stall you recall well from last night, and seated on a low couch directly behind a dark wood trader's table is a visibly appealing, though cold-blooded young mare:
>Half-transparent like Naliyna, the coat is a mixture of semi-glowing blue shades that change without rhyme or rhythm in starburst patterns, the mane and tail are peculiar, rolling selections of light and dark fuchsia.
>Esoteric, starburst patterned scars that didn't match human weapons, or any explosive you could think of, feature prominently across the Crystal mare's chest, an unusual burn starting above the right eye, ending in the center of the same ear.
>Brightly fluorescing fuchsia eyes shift from the white pegasus on to you, an uncomfortable, possibly dangerous examination, volatile emotions flicker before relenting to a stiff, formal expression.
>Left forehoof lifting and tapping the trade table in an unsubtle 'come in' motion, the voice a low, agreeably rolling chime, respectful yet not welcoming.
"If you're looking for my dam, Naliyna, or her stallion, Thrill, they haven't returned from wherever they went. No idea where they've gone, or most of Razorback for that matter.
And I don't do paperwork unless its vital."
>The pegasi mare's head swivels around, two hard, piercing yellow eyes settling on you, studying up and down three times in no-nonsense-allowed patterns.
>Speaking in an aerily carefree, tired voice that, shockingly, couldn't be more than late 20's, or early 30's at worst, her left black cloth covered wing raises in greeting.
"Don't recognize you but hello all the same. Shanis of Tartarus Isle, humans love calling me the Marecenary Queen and sometimes Big Bitch-"
>Lips pulling back in reflective humor, her eyes flick right, then left back to you, head dipping in slight, respectful acknowledgemarent.
"Both are good. Also, insanely bored because I can't hoof out contracts, jobs, or 'other' work. Don't feel like getting crushed by a horse tonight. Or any other night."
>Leaning forwards several degrees, the Crystal mare's eyes squint, ears snapping around in circles before snorting in quiet, vaguely tense humor.
"That's rich coming from the mare that hires an entire companeigh's worth of Otherworld stallions every single night without fail. Why not trade her something valuable?"
"Don't push me you not-even-herded-yet pain on my teats, already tried that a few dozen times. Roust doesn't care for much other than food or stuff she can give to humans."
>Giving the Crystal mare a sharp, faux-derisive stare, the younger's eyes rolls as she looks away, Shanis turning a victorious, warm smile towards you.
"So, how can I help? ..IF I can help that is."
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
('I can only pray the first is what we find. Or force into existence.')
>Heavily occupied with making final selections, Hodch's upbeat mood shifts into a mixture of disgruntled fact and cold-blooded, well controlled murderous intentions.
('Even if my knowledge turns out to be completely useless in the future I have no reason to lie now.
Four years ago my Order finally decided which plan would be activated should the Empress reappear or take an active role once more. The shortest version is this: we would kill her or be wiped out to the last.
Overwhelming her is, and I am stating this as a matter of ruthless efficiency, basic math formulae. Humans hate this term: acceptable losses. Ponies are equivalent yet we prefer to die knowing that our efforts shift the scales of justice by one millionth of a degree.
The maximum numerical losses to achieve a complete victory was fifty-nine thousand Discordite Destroyers, every Lunar-aligned pony capable of deploying a Grand Spell combined with those capable of Eldritch, Planar, Otherworld, Extra-Planar, and other capabilities were specifically selected. In total, sixty-eight thousand, two hundred and forty were expected.
Sufficient weaponry, armor, artifacts, and relics were stockpiled for centuries in the event of Silver's inevitable reappearance. In addition to acquiring, trading, recovering, producing, borrowing, and stealing in certain cases, we were fully prepared.. but now I have no idea where the rest of my Order is.
My apologies, it's close to Dawn and staying awake is far more difficult than ever. Nibbles has agreed not to mess with you, though Katyal will forever be a pain in the ass. She cannot respect orders or authority which have not been earned, but she does not cause harm without reason.
Sleep well when you can.')

>Drawing upon forgotten, barely remembered, genetic, conceptual, and ingrained knowledge, the Storm King's last, amused words intone across the Elemarental Plane of LIghtning's vastness.
"We consider the fourth act most hallowed: achieving principle of purpose. No matter how refined the skills of one may be, the superiority of materials, or the function of an object, existence wrongfully seeks perfection. A chase which does not end is inherently flawed.
Mortality must not be wasted; death must not be feared. Cherish what you have as I could not."
>Strict realizations filter through your logic-seeking thoughtforms, extending outwards to compare solely material sciences to Elemarental practicality.
>While specific requirements couldn't be bypassed or ignored, Lightning and Gravity were not bound by the same definitions your universe featured.
>Both had been persuaded to function interdependently in the past, and would do so once more.
>As the necessary definitions of this weapon's intended results align to your willing guidance, both hands firmly stretch out to finish this work.
>Modifying the Lightning Plane's rationale-based ideas of a ranged weapon, it would allow you to seek out and impress individual gravitons to be temporarily contained.
>Improving, reducing, and modifying individual components to hybrid standards, the processes flow, minutiae of how in favor of efficient redesigns that that wouldn't be out of place on Tallus, your home world, and this Plane.

>Stepping back from the anvil's solid nature, you knew what the prize in your hands was intended for, its purpose outlined, defined, repaired, and redefined to acceptable standards.
>Its principle was unfulfilled for now, but it had every right and reason to function properly.
>Honorably extolled in their use, furnace, forge, and tools each return to their waiting conceptual states or stasis.
>Over three-quarters of an hour on Tallus had passed; Dawn would soon arrive as the Solar Alicorn prepares to stride forth and collect her ponies once more.
>With the empty Bulletin Board fresh in his mind, José let out a somewhat uneasy exhale as he entered the Pagoda.
>Even after being succinctly informed on the lack of veteran personnel, it was only now when he started to feel it.
>The fact the previously familiar face of Nalinya was absent might've been the biggest piece of evidence.
>Not to mention the blunt threats for trying to add any work-related items to where it should be their respective area.

>His train of thought was quickly derailed when the young Crystal mare beckoned him over as he subconsciously took in the scene, blinking a couple of times as he approached the serenly uncomfortable situation.
"Good morning, miss."
>He promptly gave the cold-blooded equine a curt bow and a small yet reserved smile.
>She must be Starglow.
>Following his greeting, he soon turned to Shanis with a more outgoing grin as he slightly loosened up his posture.
"Nice to meet you, Miss Shanis. I am José."
>He didn't quite get her sense of humor however, softly tilting his head.
>There was this curious gaze, like he'd ask why would she enjoy being crushed by horses, before taking a swift inhale and shelving it for more intriguing matters.
>Gently crouching to look at the currently held pinniped, his smile became warmer.
"For starters: Who's this fella you've got there?"
The L.O.N.T
You Shall Not Pass.gif
>Lont hummed as he surveyed the marching armies surroundings. It appears they were truly safe from the usual flora and fauna of the Moors, 'safety in numbers' came to mind.
>The only thing to attack such a formidable force out here were either desperate, had nothing to lose or were insane.
>"Or a Rift Seeker."

>With no threats in sight Lont focused back to the quite odd discussion prompted by the FNG all the way back at the ass end of the army.
>It was certainly intriguing. Some hidden force influencing this newbie, and it was starting to sound like a certain pony that had an influence on him even from beyond the grave.
>Speaking of which.
>He said plainly to the Leadmare.
('Physically I am a bit more Crystalline than I used to be-')
>The muscles across his back spasmed as his wings flittered in place to punctuate his point.
(-And spiritually I have taken Her training to heart like a lance to my chest.')
>He smiled coyly at his own self referencing pun.
('Gentle, yet powerful.')

>Lont blinked.
>Something was removed?
>As he marched along it slowly dawned on him what happened, and it made his eyes twitch in annoyance.
>Mindwiped. Again.
>Lont did not know what was "removed", and didn't press on the issue.
>Because by the sounds of it she did not wish to do it. He was just as bitter as her, being a victim of another mindwipe yet he did feel a pang of sympathy for the mare.
('I...Forgive you.')

>The Operator muttered to himself, he was taken aback by her appearance here. It had been a hot minute since he last saw her.
>Seeing her through eyes other than his own was very odd yet he could tell she has been through the Ringer already.
>He simply said, agreeing with the huffing and puffing white Pegasus that was certainly not in the mood to tolerate any passage.
>Clemency, upon hearing about the various natural dangers of the Everfree, feels a bit glad he's put into a 16,000 strong formation
>Plus, he's a little amused with how the advance parties are meeting the local fauna and the operators talking about the...voices
("Too many things could cause it considering what we got at the Fortress. Again, we'll try to look into it...after a good sleep.")
>Speaking of which, Clemency shook his head for clarity
>It felt like he blanked out for a couple seconds
>It felt like a blind spot was put into his head
>Confused, he decides to let it be

>Clemency hums to himself, trying to remember what the symbiote looked like before it attached
("Well it zoomed toward me as a sphere, turned into a bunch of guns before turning back into a sphere, took my shotgun, then she turned into Blackhorn.")
>As they were marching, he notices his entourage turning their heads to him
>He looks at everypony in turn
("Well, I do have a variety of enchants. That blood one was from that Vitriole Drake we killed, and a bunch is from relics. That one Construct piece you mentioned might be my Riftseeker plate.")
>The thought of being around an Enchained having an effect is a interesting
>But as the other Villagers said, the 'voice' phenomenon can't be from that
>Especially after he heard what the "rainbow" elemental enchant guy said
>Laying the matter to rest for now, he continues to keep pace with the march
>In the meantime, he takes not of the M-S.O.L.G's image
>Not too much is shown, cloud and fog obscuring most of the road
>Trying to adjust the camera, he finally gets a bead on the main host
>Deciding it's good enough, he leaves the image minimized and off to the side
>Hearing a snicker, Clemency was about to look around to the mares again until a report is hailed across the overherd
>Haven't heard from her in a while
>Although, he did recall she was with a rookie pegasus
>But she was at the Arena when the Construct nonsense was happening
>He focuses with the leadmare and spots her
>He takes a good look at her since she's also supposed to have a symbiote as well but doesn't speak
>Her threat however brings some memories back
>For now, he keeps quiet and hopefully Jeff's plea makes her reconsider
371211 371239
>The secret Hodch reveals is enonugh to make Pareidolia pause in his work.
(In truth, part of a grand contingency and a grim calculation. Now the context falls into place. That explains his skillset. Unclear where he found the impression humans hate acceptable losses. Human society is built and fueled by it in many forms, no matter the world.)
('I understand. I will when this equipment is finished.')

>Looking over the mental concept being presented to him in a semi-actualized form, he frowns.
(Miscalculation. The nature of electricity and gravity here is different to such a degree that design constraints are necessary. Anti-psionic performance has been overstated. Lack sufficient knowledge to apply more discriminatory methods. Best option would be to remove the property. Reduce the strain on the weapon's boundaries and improve performance.)
>Repeating the prior process of refinement, he modifies the idea to work towards a fully finished product while pondering the apparently late Storm King's words with some ambivalence.
(Unclear Class designation leaves me wary of agreeing with you. But it is clear there is some parallels in our scientific pursuit of truth. At least this concept provides some common ground.)

1d6+5]< Expert Small Arms + Skill Specializations (A.R.T) + Shifted GCS FINA
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]< Extra Roll Shifted GCS FINA
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]< Expert Small Arms cont. + Skill Specializations (A.R.T) + Master FINA
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]< Extra Roll Master FINA
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]< Graduate Researcher + Skill Specialization (M.E.CC.T.)
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6]< Observer Advanced Technological Weaponry & Tactics
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7]
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]< Pupil Post-Space Age Technologies
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]< Pupil Post-Space Age Weaponry
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2]
Missing roll:
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In the Middle of You)
GM Strangler
"If I understood how paladine functions I might be able to extrapolate a why. Relevant information on it should be in my primary datacores, though...."
>Mini-Wild gives a tired-at-this-damned-world electronic sigh, rubbing the sides of her head on screen with both hands.
"Reaching them will be a nightmare. Not the Alicorn, mind you. I'll retain the plate and cube unless the pain of being aware that I'm aware of knowing I'm aware becomes too much to hoofle or handle. Or I need to scream. A lot. Loudly."
>Staring at you without a single indication of sarcasm.
"Mom, that was one second of exposure. If it has the value I think it does, I will.. attempt to contain it. Later."

>A ladder is scribbled from the chest compartment to the remains of her head, then quickly erased, her left hand reaching down, palm flat in front of the opening.
>Pausing as her outer self loses EVERYTHING, incoherently at that, the caricature's antennae flatten.
"I'll lift you up to check. Replacements are sixty percent complete."
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12] <Sensory Node #2: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] <Sensory Node #3: Basic Engineering Study
[1d6+14 = (4+14) = 18] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+15 = (6+15) = 21]
[1d6+15 = (5+15) = 20]
[1d6+13 = (5+13) = 18] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (5+13) = 18]
[1d6+13 = (3+13) = 16]
[1d6+20 = (1+20) = 21] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <RT-#2
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4] <RT-#3
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <RT-#4
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9] <RT-#5
[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6] <RT-#6
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8] <RT-#7
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] <RT-#8

>As her exterior screaming stops, the sole eye blinks.
"Finally. May have discovered the entity that's been fucking me over, I'll be looking for dissonant temporal-weave ripples near inhabited zones. Checking for local and regional movements-"
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Arcanum Sensor Array
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Omni-Sensor Arrays: Long Range Scans
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
>Skeptically eyeing the discs, Helping reaches out for a cluster of nails from a tin can on the windowsill next to Krinza's anvil, then proceeds to stick them onto each one, testing five times each before inspecting magnetic differentials.
"I have studied numerous scenarios where our version proved to be most beneficial. Among those lessons learned from the Middle Equestrian Era was a consensus that civil affairs must remain unmarenaged. The version you speak of is best left behind. Such will not occur here."
>Nope, he knew.
>Gazing to his left, at Spiral's untouched tables and forgeworks you notice, the pale green unicorn's face contorts furiously for a split-second before placing the nails back.
"He understands the troubles and quandaries humans face. I do not and that wounds me. Canterlot Underground was merely an often quieter place where he could commit to study and experimarentation whenever the desire struck. They shared all without regard. However, here-"
>Shifting to sit facing southwards, Helping reaches his left front hoof out to tap the table's edge.
"Is Spiral's home. No other place did he consider comforting save the visits of those ponies that brought their joys to share with him. Which he never spoke to us of, perhaps for the best.
Regardless, in his own words, humans were more acceptable to him for reasons which no longer matter now. Those days and nights are behind us all. For that alone I consider Razorback my kin as well.
Forgive me if it sounds like I do not fully comprehend your troubles. In full honesty, I do not. Despite the difficulties of species and wholly different thought process barriers, I am beginning to understand his.. 'excessive' protective nature towards Razorback."
>Stilled for a bit, he removes the boxpack and sets it towards you, speaks in a quiet, somewhat insulted tone.
"I am unsatisfied with these results. My knowledge and capabilities are greatly wanting, but so far as they have allowed this is complete. We should wait for Krinza to return for a proper inspec-"
>Streaks of lambent colors flood in through the shut doors, coalescing into a fairly ragged looking Krinza behind his furnace, tossing a selection of brightly colored metallic bars behind his anvil with an expression of unparalleled hatred.
"Excellent timing. Would you examine this for me? I fear a number of mistakes were made. Are the materials sufficient?"
"Of course. Yes, they are much more pure than I expected. But the prices are worse than Lishanki robbery-"
>Taking two steps forwards to lean over the box for a sniff, spinning it around to inspect each side, thunking the sides, top, and seams, then tapping each magnetic disc, the grandmaster smith nods several times, visibly impressed.
"No major flaws, solid construction, excellent concussive resistance. Your melding skills require a bit of fine tuning: reduce temperature when joining magnetic to non-magnetic materials by a factor of point-two. The slides-"
>Pulling each drawer out to full extension, slamming them shut, Krinza repeats the process twenty more times rapidly, ears flicking in proud motions.
"No scraping, screeching, grinding, or flaking. Most excellent! Ivan, this will require either dry or heavy mineral lubricant each week or so. If I recall this correctly.. load the belts top section facing left and right, then I will try it on you."
>Horn lighting in dull silver patterns, the two ammunition belts are floated from the table behind you, coiled into the slideouts, top snaking over the bottom, shut, opened, repeated five more times, then finally closed.
>Unicorn OCD was good.. in some cases.
"One moment please-"
>Lifting the pack and rotating it around behind you, the magnetic discs thunk into the Exoskeleton's rear plating, which you don't even feel, then slides the ammunition drawers out, finding them to be easily accessible with either hand.
>Severe diagrams of arithmetic appearing above his head and brightening to sharp gold patterns, Krinza pulls the box off, holding it at short distance, which thunks back on again.
>Eyes squinting and glancing upwards, the yellow stallion's lips pull back in a thinly impressed smile.
"If these are indicative of her acquiremarent capabilities then I rescind all of my previous words.. except for two.
Ivan, you have full magnetic control over the system. Simply think 'remove', 'drop', or a similar term, or phrase, and it will do so. Unfortunately there are no more Float cores or Crystal Empire devices to prevent the box from landing. Likewise, there are no ponies with significant Gravity alignmarent or attunemarent in Razorback. At least that I know of."
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Physically uncoiling, and subsequently brightening several degrees, the younger Crystal mare's lips curl back in an almost sinister, yet brutally earnest smile.
"A welcoming Dusk to you. May you feel the Night well. Starglow Remostrine, youngest of Naliyna Remostrine."
>While that was an honest greeting, the unusual responses held a number of specific disconnects that you couldn't place.

"José, huh? That's similar to a few Argentum's Lands naming conventions. The most common meaning is the ho-"
>Giving a loudly ringing snort, Shanis reclines into the couch, putting on a welcoming grin as she suppresses an obvious snickering fit, cheeks creasing in a few dozen degrees of deciousness.
"Let me just say you shouldn't use THAT part of your name unless you want to be aggressive approached by sexually eager mares, understood?"
>Dipping her head briefly, the winter suited mare pats her left hoof above the left flipper.
"You mean this incredibly soft and snuggly sweetheart?"
>The seal's head turns and lifts to regard you, a heart-burning warm smile breaks across the feminine face, whiskers twitching several times amusingly.
>Left flipper raising to hold in place, presumably for a proper greeting, an unusually young, sweetly toned voice rolls from the pinniped, speaking in perfect, unaccented Common.
"Hello Sehr Chosay. I'm Nao, formal Liasion for the Greater Polar Seal Colonies, that is, until I am asked to represent my species' return elsewhere. It is wonderful to meet you."

>Starglow bends forwards heavily on the couch, right forehoof over her mouth, almost as if trying to prevent herself from puking as she mutters in dimly cheerful notes.
"Every damn time.."
Ivan the STALKER
"It sounds like a much more efficient version, I won't attempt to deny that."
>Ivan wouldn't participate in the system, but he couldn't deny it was a lot more appealing than Serfdom back home.
>Ivan didn't mind that Helping did not fully understand his experience, and envied him for such.
"It is probably for the best that you do not. The only ones who would, would have also gone through the same, or very similar experiences on their own worlds."
>Ivan would have said something about it looking good enough to him, but was silenced before he could begin by Krinza returning.
>Getting up to follow Krinza over, Ivan would watch as he methodically looked over Helping's work.
>He could appreciate a thorough inspection of his future gear by someone more experienced.
>Noting down 'heavy mineral/dry lubricant' on his PDA, he would put it away again to refocus on the two ponies.
"Weightless. Good."
>He'd twist his torso a bit after Krinza allowed the box to latch to his back again, checking his flexible he would be.
"That's a lot more useful than the potential of fumbling with hard to see straps in a firefight."
>Trakkel was not exaggerating when it came to Starglow, it seems.
>Vague attempts at hypotheses came and went in José mind, ultiamtely leading him to be confused on what to take from it.
>For now, keep his interactions formal and short.
"Likewise, miss Remonstrine. José Gallo."
>Even while kneeling down in front of the cutest little creature he has seen yet, he exuded heightened elegance specifically for Starglow.
>She seems to like stoic gentlemen.

>Once again, Gallo found himself grasping at straws as to what Shanis tried to warn him about.
"I will keep this in mind, miss Shanis. If you wish, you may call me mister Gallo instead."
>Now to focus on the biggest twist he couldn't have expected.
>An actual, honest to Celestia diplomatic asset harboring the body of the most diabetes-inducing creature he's seen so far.
>Giving Nao a gentle hold of his flipper for a bit, he couldn't help but to smile warmly and even let out a little chuckle.
"Greetings, miss Nao. My name's José Gallo. May I inquire further about your role as a liasion?"
Basin Village Garrison-Depot, Aftermath 19
GM Strangler
371234 371235 371241
('No Tainted remain in the Central Moors, that I can assure us all.')
>Tasting rather than sensing a bitterly angered stare from a mid-40's Canterlotlian Day Guard mare in close proximity, the Overherd twitches at her harsh response.
('There are certainly some remaining in an Old location. Of course, Razorback knows nothing about that, do y-')
>Automatically silencing the mare, supporting thoughts, rebuttals, and dissenting voices, the Shieldmare's tone is cold.
('Enough. This is not the time or place. Your objections can be spoken later.')

>Pulling up the map and pinging the relay, a return match for positioning data shows as 12.9 miles straight.
>Inspecting newish and revised markers, the road had been laid outside the original pathway's route, displayed as 13.6 miles due to swamp crossing deviations.

('She was cut off from us earlier and is... refusing the opportunity to rejoin. Should I a-')
('Don't. You weren't in Basin to see the shitshow we saw first, it was really, REALLY bad.')
('Fillies... I'll tell her.')
>The forward Lancers and Chargers hold their position, Overherd ponies slowing behind them to a halt as the youngest pair frown, the oldest sighing marentally.
"Your name is Mercy, correct? I have several messages from Jeff of Razorback Company, he's at the formation's rear."
"It is, yes. Is he safe?"
"Untouched so far as we know, other than fatigued. Are you okay, and where is Sunny?"
>Taking a deep breath, the Spirit Walker stretches her wings out, lifting one forehoof, setting it down, then flexing out the second, physically intact... and seemed to be in peak performarence.
"I am unharmed. Bit tired, hungry, thirsty, but otherwise well. Sunny is following me, she should arrive in five to ten minutes."
"Understood. Jeff says we have discussed the possibility of either fighting the Planar Constructs, the Riftseeker, or neither, and wants to know what we should do."
>Rolling her front lips back to bite on carefully, the blind mare blinks slowly, then lifts her head northeast, legs spreading apart into a relaxed position.
"Return to Basin Village, the Riftseeker will be destroyed soon. The agreemarent I accepted requires that nopony or human approaches the vicinity of Basin Arena. Leave... please."
>Cutting the squad's forming questions off by her left wing shearing down, right wing reaching forwards, vibrating streaks of disturbed Ethereal and Void fractures occur in realspace around her.
>The Spirit Walker's physical form disrupts as she leans into a strictly offensive pose, crouching down slightly as her left foreleg raises.
>Left eye and wingblades flaring in bright pink, red, blue, yellow, and green hues, the right eye and blades swirl, spurned purple, blue, and black depths surrounding each.
"I cannot allow further deaths to tormarent me and I will not say this again: not a single individual is to take a step forwards. My honor will not be stomped upon for the fourth time this night. I am prepared to kill a hundred if not all of you to defend that. Choose, quickly."
[1d6 = 3] <Spectrum Dive: Opposing
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11] <Auto-Resist
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Void Spectrum Rend: Preparation
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <Ethereal Plane Rend: Preparation
[1d6+10 = (5+10) = 15] <Spectral Shatter: Preparation
Basin Village Garrison-Depot, Aftermath 20
GM Strangler
371234 371235 371241
>Well out of sight farther ahead, short reports and flashes of Hunter-Killers streaming towards a hunting swarm are made, their Eldritch-tinged weapons causing less experienced Day and Watch Guard fits.
>Mostly out of fear, though a few were distinctly scared of potential corruption which the Lunars around them were quick to soothe.

('We can.. tell... ...yeah.')
('Ain't blind. Also ain't stuck up.')
('Don't be like that, he can fly! Not like Clem, but still damn cool.')
('What, you want wings too?')
('Nah, can't say I like pink much, but they look good on ya man!')
>Rolling her eyes, then regretting doing so at lather stinging the same, the leadmare marentally stomps on a variety of jibes, taunts, whistles, and marecalls throughout the lines.
('Debate the usefulness of crystalline wings much later, or to a Kingdom Shell. There was once hundreds, possibly thousands, in the pseudo-pegasus configuration, though I think they were rescinded in the middle 28,600's.')
('Few mares were so convincing, let alone profoundly insightful to future generations. As the future was, so shall the past has been.')

>Leaving the faux-cryptic commarent to quiet disagreemarents, the Assault Vanguard's commarender orders all front lines to halt, head cocking at the lead squad immediately takes several steps backwards at Mercy’s wholly unexpected threat, both the Shieldmare and Lancer leadstallion focusing on her.
(‘We haven’t done anything wrong or been aggressive in the slightest!’)
('Apparently she thinks otherwise, back off immediately.')
(‘What the fuck is she doing?!’)
('She’s insane! Nopony can open a spectrum and Plane in conjunction!')
('Far be it from me to state otherwise but that is a method we have used in the past. Fairly difficult to achieve, in controlled circumstances, yet not impossible.’)
(‘I doubt her sanity is the issue at hoof in this instance, those rifts are quite real-')
(‘'Fuck’s sakes, tell her to stand down! We're not here to hurt or kill her, she’s an ally to us!’)
(‘She has spoken what is necessary and will not listen. A pegasi standing on her honor is, by all technicalities, absolute. A horrific death is preferable to dishonor and disgrace.’)
(‘Testing a mare’s resolve is not a worthwhile option if those fractures are intact as I believe them to be. The repercussions of Ethereals and deeper Void creatures being set loose to meet in a single location will be extreme, and long lasting.’)
(‘What do you expect us all to do then, march back to the Basin without killing the fucking thing we’re supposed to!?’)
('I expect little, and we expect nothing. While the convictions and feelings most of you hold right now are respected, those junctures are much too real to be mere bluffs. It is perhaps best that we do precisely what she has stated.’)
>Openly agreeing with the Shieldmare, the Vanguard's leadstallion glances up at his lance, then forwards, studying the variety of ponies, humans, and Minotaurs in range.
>Eyes shutting and releasing a tense sigh, the commarender draws the Overherd's back to him.
(‘These concerns are well founded and understood, but not.. necessarily positive. All ponies here accepted the summons to defend Basin Village against the largest known number of intact Tainted, well past the Lunar-Solar War’s end no less. Likewise, we accepted the potential consequence that all of us would die.
As the situation stands however, we are unprepared to take on a completely unknown, most likely flight capable Riftseeker. Nothing more than bare speculations on its weapons, armor, capabilities, size, and speed are known.
The majority are strictly close combatants. We have zero explosives remaining. Unicorn and Psion support is extremely limited, one to two minutes at maximum. There are no fliers remaining to achieve air superiority. And Razorback, including yourself, is profoundly exhausted.
This should not end in a suicide mission.’)
>Syncing together briefly, the leadstallion and leadmare return their focus to Mercy, holding perfectly still, then speak across the Overherd.
(‘We accept the following: her words are most likely inviolable, those rifts into the Void and Ethereal Plane do exist, she has stated the Riftseeker will be destroyed soon, and that we are not allowed one step forwards. We cannot in good faith reccomarend continuing this course of action.
But we are not tyrants, nor are we entitled to holding loyalty above honor, let alone self-preservation. As she has stated, choose quickly, but be warned of this much: we do not know what she does.’)
[1d6 = 6] <Solar Reaction
[1d6 = 2] <Lunar Reaction
[1d6 = 6] <Watch Guard Reaction
[1d6 = 3] <Councilierge Reaction
[1d6 = 4] <Razorback Reaction
Basin Village Garrison-Depot, Aftermath 21
GM Strangler
371234 371235 371241
>Restoring the Overherd's full attention to examining their individual surroundings, the leadstallion sifts through reports from Luna's Villagers and Operators alike.
('Considering what has been shared I'm inclined to believe there are outside effects causing the unusual.. I hesitate to call them symptoms, but I don't know what other word to use, which have been experienced.')
>Pensively glancing through the Shieldmare's eyes at the lead Spireguard mare and Minor Ethereal Champion, his thoughts blacken.
('Can think of a few hundred questions to ask them, yet they don't seem to be in a typical talkative state like I'd expect. And they've been refusing contact other than requests, suggestions, and orders.
One would think the Empire's most esteemed forces and allies should be most concerned towards Razorback experiencing such bizarre circumstances.')

>Taking in cohesively offered information, the Overherd ponders on your words, each of the Razorback affiliated Lunar unicorns along with veteran and Elite Councilierge Assault Vanguards combining their raw knowledge.
('A bit odd. Certainly not unusual for a symbiote, weapon or otherwise. It had already shifted into the standard presymbiotic form before reaching Basin Village, so her intention, or intentions, are logically sound.
I would still like to know what the original object or component was, but since none know then it matters little in the long run. Which does make me wonder.. ah, nevermind.')
>Reaching a consensus after three seconds, the leadstallion frowns at a Striker's recall of the bright orange sphere's actions, shuffling that one to other Psions for later study, one of the older Lunar unicorns speaking matter-of-factly.
('The same creature you aided in killing.. Vitriole Drakes were a thoroughly Void-mutated subspecies which were able to retain both their poisons and toxins. They could occur from any Emerald Drake living throughout most of Moors, excluding the Crystal Moors of course. Most common in the Central, Crag, and Deep Moors region. Smaller numbers did exist throughout the Coastal, Outer, Tropical, beach, and unmapped regions. Rarely found in the Ferron claimed sections, however.
When it was discovered that Vitrioles could slip into Void spectrums effortlessly, Princess Luna ordered the entire Lunar Guard to search and wipe out both the original and mutated species to the last. Approximately thirty thousand Emerald and nine hundred Vitrioles were confirmed deceased.
Unfortunately, I did not study the full accounts and records of those efforts, but the fact that one Vitriole survived more than four hundred years does lend some credence to an older theory.
We have a saying in the Villages: fate does not enjoy striking twice. A tiny number of Void-mutated examples have been known to live far longer than the originating species, yet each were unique individuals that shared no commonalities.')
('Have any similar or potentially related creatures been located during the Moors Restoration Project?')
('None that we are aware of, from reports, records, accounts, or otherwise. As a matter of pure study and curiosity it is remarkable. As a matter of professional disgust, a Riftseeker taking that form is beyond abominable.')
('I... see. That is why.')
>Marentally blanking out at the object's mention, the leadstallion's eyes close, offering unspoken, quiet and conciliatory sensations directed towards you and Twisted Wing.
('My apologies. We will not bring up the matter again.')

>The five Assault Vanguards halt around you at the white mare's name, their Mind's Eyes staring at each other as the Solars, Lunars, and Stalliongradians likewise cease moving.
('Master Clemency, do you know her well?')
('Obviously. Question is, what do WE do?')
('Probably nothing.')
('PROBABLY? Explain.')
('Think about it this way: most of Razorback is afraid of her. She's volatile, reckless, and...')
('Go on.')
('Thoroughly nasty to deal with.')
('As in cruel? Mean? A bitch?')
('None of those. I'm not going to read into their thoughts more than this: humans REALLY don't want to deal with her when she's angry. Right now it's just the opposite. I think.')
>Quickly forming and discarding questions as quickly as they were be made, the mares share a brief, starkly confused thought, shutting it aside while the three factions begin tallying their votes, relying on the Councilierge to keep track of numbers.

>All Solar and Watch Guard vote against continuing, a majority of Operators likewise decline.
>On the other end of the spectrums, exactly half of the Councilierge vote yes, the other half vote no, while the majority of Lunars vote to continue.
>Comparing the total numbers from both sides of the votes, the leadmare and leadstallion's Mind's Eyes stare towards each other.
>Exchanging short, condensed messages outside the Overherd for well over a minute, the pair's helmets shake negatively, refocusing onto Mercy, comfortably and steadily holding her pre-assault pose, the older Charger at the line's front speaking for them.
"The vast majority has come to a decision. We will turn around and leave immediately. But we need to ask one question, if you'll answer it."
"Are you positive that Riftseeker will be destroyed?"
>Releasing the Ethereal and Void tinges to her eyes, then wingblades, the Spirit Walker stands upright, ears cocked in thought.
>Snout wriggling several times before giving a confident, bizarrely slow nod.
"Yes, I am."
>Head lifting to blink at the hundreds of Mind's Eyes gazing at her, the white mare offers a flat, yet encouraging smile.
"Do not worry, I will return when it is.. dead."

>Turning about with her squad, the mare scowls in her helmet, motioning for the Overherd to leave.
('Lunars, Councilierge, Razorback.. I don't know what to tell you other than we are not prepared to piss with Ethereals and creatures from the Deep Void.
Good news is if we make for Basin Village like before we'll be there in three hours, should arrive before Dawn.')
Archaic Pegasi-Batpony League Arena, Outskirts
GM Strangler
>Psuedo-leathery wings tilting up to slow his flight, the symbiote's right eye snaps around and on to you.
>Expressionlessly studying the container, then you, the ears flatten apprehensively, lips pulling back at the corners and front legs twitching, equine distaste visible.
>Head turning to survey the paired Hunter-Killers jolting north, the chest expands and contracts in a silent sigh, but makes a short, accepting nod in your direction.

>Returning to stare forwards, the batstallion's right wingclaws click together in the specific 'caution' sound, several large, dull green, brown, and gray scaled reptiles ahead on both sides of the road.
>Passing by, they were partially torn apart, the elongated, triangular head similar to an alligator crossed with a pitviper.
>The exposed teeth were thin needles, the body both angled and heavily muscled, considerably larger than an earth pony, and not a species you knew off hoof.
[1d6 = 6] <???
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7] <Construct Realspace Scanning Protocols
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4]
>I fully agreed with that sigh, Mini Wild.
>This place was bullshit and knew it.
"If I were back home, I'd consider the past twenty-four hours to be a nightmare, Wild."
>Of course, being mortared for two hours straight isn't a walk in the park either.

>I wait for her to stop having a fit, before getting up out of my seat and sticking my head out of the opening, glancing around as I climb out onto her hand.
>She.. definitely looked unique, I'll give her that.
>Never seen anything like her before.
"I don't know how long its going to take for me to get used to seeing you, Wild."
Sunny Feathers
>Catching the batstruct's expression at the You-put-WHAT-in-this-!? Flask, Sunny made a flat expression as she stowed it away again. It had probably just analyzed what it was made of, or the remnants of where the flask had recently been.
"Yeah, yeah, not my best decision. Happens to the best of us, but if it works it works."

>Sunny followed the batstruct's indication towards the lizards, she was careful to give them as wide a berth as she could without leaving the road. Slowing her pace and stepping with care so as not to provoke them.
>Though it was clear the Hunter-Killers had already done some provoking. Injured to such a degree, most animals would avoid further contact if not actively threatened so they could lick their wounds, or they would go into a rage at her passing and try to attack. Either or.
>She was still in the underdark, but the batstruct was not. At least it was flight capable, so unless they could spit acid it should be fine. Still.

[1d6+7 = (2+7) = 9] < M.Stealth + Kitty Catboots + Spider Silk Sneaking Suit
[1d6+7 = (4+7) = 11]
[1d6+7 = (3+7) = 10]
[1d6+7 = (3+7) = 10]

[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10] < E.Ambush + Ambusher
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
The L.O.N.T
371254 371376
('I had a lovely luncheon with a Shell actually, before I got these wings.')
>That memory reminded Lont. He needed to tell someone of Tacit's importance, Luckys death and that the Conclaves wished to trade with Razorback. And more.
>There was so much to unload. To unpack and make it the burden of others.
>He sighed, wings and shoulders slumping. He was starting to feel the exhaustion catch up to him. Standing still has allowed the tiredness to creep up on him like a predator from the Moors.

>Fingers drumming across his cradled Spiker, Lont glanced towards the Crystal Forces, eyes lingering on the Crystal Batponies that were still hidden from the rest of the army. Perhaps that is why they were so quiet. Not wanting to let slip that bombshell.
('The Crystal Empire is going through a turbulent moment currently, I assume they merely wish to get this task done and return home as quick as possible. No time for chitchat. Only reason I can think of.)
>It was probably -a- reason why they were quiet. But not the main one. Lont silently hoped this dissuaded any further speculation as to why they were so distant.
371241 371257
>Jeff feels somewhat satisfied hearing the Central Moors no longer had any Tainted in it. Restoration or not, it must have been a weight off of the region's shoulders.
>He has no idea what the 'Old' area means. Maybe he knows it of another name. Either way it gets dropped, so he follows suit.

>Checking their distance away from the Basin Village, he realizes the effort Mercy had pulled off. Thirteen miles, trying to get back to the Village.
>No wonder she was so hell-bent...

>The lead mare passes along his concerns to Mercy. The conversation comes through the Overherd at the least.
>She was fine... said she was fine at least. Sunny was a hop and a skip behind her, he was glad about that. First job the greenhorn went on, and it ended up being one hell of a doozy.
>Her reply was to stand down and return to the Village. It sounded like some sort of agreement was made between her, Sunny, and the Planars going off of the warped Construct's struggle to try and indirectly communicate with him through his and Clem's tech.
>As long as the RIftseeker was going to be taken care of and the Planar's were going to fuck off afterward he was satisfied with the outcome.

>Before he can get anything else in, something happens up at the front.
>Mercy was getting hostile? He could see through the Mind's Eye she was she was putting on a defensive stance. She was preparing to open rifts into the Void and Ethereal planes to keep them from moving forward.
>She's committed, totally bent on them not continuing. If her honor was on the line, the WOULD try and fight them all over it.
>He wants to interject, but the factions start to panic and bicker on their options.
>Personally, if they didn't need to fight and can walk away he's more than fine with that if the situation will solve itself.
>Eventually it boils down to a vote. Each faction: Lunar, Solar, Councilerge, Watch, and Razorback start pooling their votes to decide on what to do.
>Obviously he mentally votes to yield to Mercy and leave. They were under-everything'd to deal with any enemy involved right now despite their numbers. Everyone was either physically exhausted, magically fried, or both.
>... the votes are mentally tallied, the final verdict is to side with Mercy. Much to his relief.
>As everyone agrees to pull out and begin the march back to the Village, Jeff addresses the leader that was directly talking to Mercy. He mindlessly dismisses the comments being made about the white pegasus, understanding the ways she does her own things.
('Wait. Before we leave, can you ask her if I can approach and speak with her privately? As my herd-second, I just want to confirm her well-being before we depart. If she refuses, then tell her to take care and I'll see her back at the Fortress when everything has been settled.')
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
>Placing the weapon down, bending over the anvil, it spreads open to reveal comfortable, recall-formed surfaces and means to continue the work.
>Taking control of the space... you feel actions turn sour, salty, bitter.
>Wrong spices added when they had no place, the better ones removed from their attractions.
>An emotionally recharging battery that didn't belong.
>Ceramic resistors that should've been free flowing conduits.
>Steel mesh cable instead of hyperconductive silver wire.
>Functional self-explaining analogues, the sequences equating themselves to concepts you could translate them as.

>Looking once more, it was damaged, modified out of anger.
>You surmise the intentions to be skewed: failing to remove a vital function from the weapon is unreasonable.
>It was electromagnetically joined to you as both humans and earth ponies were to their willingly conscious existences.
>Early irritations rise, held firmly in thoughts of insulting failures to cooperate, provoking inappropriate, misunderstood behaviors.
[1d50 = 17] <Planar Lightning: Critical Flaw
[1d50 = 21] <Planar Gravity: Critical Flaw
[1d50 = 8] <Planar Lightning: Severe Flaw
[1d50 = 10] <Planar Gravity: Severe Flaw
[1d50 = 4] <Planar Lightning: Major Flaw
371244 371365
>Pareidolia's facial expression twinges in irritation as his engineering limitations make themselves known.
(Thought based engineering is beyond me. Engineering is beyond me. But operational demands insist on a functional answer. Need to retrace my logic and repeat until it achieves nominal functionality at least. Can't afford to fail here.)
>Sighing, he leans over the anvil and scrutinizes his work with tense shoulders and too tightly gripping gloves.
>Attempting to undo the damage and achieve his earlier stated level of performance, he once again would weave thoughts into form.

[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6] <E. Small Arms + SS
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7] <Extra Roll Master FINA
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] <E. Small Arms + SGSC FINA
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11] <Extra Roll SGSC FINA
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]< Graduate Researcher + SS
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+2 = (3+2) = 5]< Observer Advanced Technological Weaponry & Tactics
[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3]
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]< Pupil Post-Space Age Technologies
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]< Pupil Post-Space Age Weaponry
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2]
371258 371376
>Watching through the Mind's Eye, Clem takes a good look at Mercy
>As far as the night has gone and her own issues, she seems like nothing has happened
>It only makes Clemency even more aware of his own fatigue, especially as he was now just standing around
>"If only I had something to lean on at least..."
>The feelings get overridden when he sees reality tear around Mercy
>Ethereal and Void energies
>He knows about these two but not much about the repercussions of opening both at the same time
>And he really doesn't want to find out after everything

>Clemency looks around at the entourage
('Yeah, I know her well. Not to the extent that Jeff does.')
>Other than almost dying to her the first time they met
>Hearing the vote being called, he votes to turn around and go
>As gung-ho everyone is to fight this thing, it was going to be a suicide mission to do so
>Doubly so if we are going against Mercy
>And to his relief, the main host agrees too
('And just like that, it's over.')
>He looks over the main host, more specifically the Rookies and how they're handling it
>If they were smart, they'd be more than happy to go back home

>Just as he was motioning for everyone to head back, he overhears Jeff
>He turns around trying to spot the operator
>The thought of him going to try to make sure she's fine is a little heart warming
>Reminds of of the time he was there for him and Twisted
('Hey, Jeff. What you say to her is your business, but I'll wait up for you.')
371245 371365

[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] <E. Small Arms + SS
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10] <Extra Roll Master FINA
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10] <E. Small Arms + SGSC FINA
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <Extra Roll SGSC FINA
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]< Graduate Researcher + SS
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8]< Observer Advanced Technological Weaponry & Tactics
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4]
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]< Pupil Post-Space Age Technologies
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2]< Pupil Post-Space Age Weaponry
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
371260 371365

[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] <E. Small Arms + SS
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <Extra Roll Master FINA
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <E. Small Arms + SGSC FINA
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] <Extra Roll SGSC FINA
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]< Graduate Researcher + SS
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+2 = (3+2) = 5]< Observer Advanced Technological Weaponry & Tactics
[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3]
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]< Pupil Post-Space Age Technologies
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]< Pupil Post-Space Age Weaponry
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
"At the least remember that buying a pony is specifically intended to raise their position and status. Unicorns especially do not think well of calling others.. inferior."
>Standing to stretch out his rear legs, Helping deflates a bit as he tosses a subdued look at the numerous stacks of papers, binders, books, tomes, and manuals across the Workshop tables.
"I am greatly intrigued at how substantially differently human thought processes are from the sapients of this world. However... Spiral's writings do remind me there are depths which should not be explored."
>While performing a, hopeful, final check on both slideout drawers, Krinza lifts each belt out, extending them out to ensure you'd be able to reach easily, coiling the pair back with a satisfied nod.
"In technical terms it is not weightless, the Exoskeleton is unaffected by fifty or so pounds, thirty in the box itself plus thirty for two ammunition belts. Add a three gallon water jug, food for five days, vital equipment, supplies, additional munitions, spare explosives, other odds and ends, it should be able to hold at least three hundred pounds securely.
On the off chances you may need to haul that much around, the total weight will be an effective counterbalance to the M134's high recoil."

>Reaching near-complete torso motions that you would normally out of armor, the heavy plating across the Exo's center torso acted similar to hard synthetic rubber.
>Able to easily flex each hand down and around to grasp the armored drawer handles, then up and over to tap on the box's lid, slight resistance from the left elbow wasn't fully mimicking your own motions, though was easily compensated for.
>Likewise, a single mental command would drop the box behind you, and with the partially retracting magnetic straps be easily hiked over one shoulder back into position.

"That was the intended purpose. You now have ample storage space and enough armor to resist most weaponry. Human containers and flexible storage systems are quite poor. The 'one size fits all' approach does not function well, if ever. Lann has been correcting though the amount of orders has stacked up. Greatly."
"It is likewise heavily warded and shielded as per the same specifications of your Exoskeleton. I must say this is giving me some unusual ideas.. perhaps a smaller, semi-rigid variant for lighter metallic armors?"

>Exchanging spastic, unreadable diagrams of information between each other, both unicorns turn to stare at a loud CLICK from the minigun attempting to cycle but failing before it could feed.
"I dislike it. I dislike the words, whining, demarending, and intentions. Most of all I dislike the constant, unceasing begging. How do I make that voice stop speaking?"
"Helping, if the rest of us are able to reasonably coexist with a Moor cat whom loves singing vulgar, lewd, and, in general, horribly out of pitch and tune Lunar marching songs every second she is awake, then you can ignore one slightly deranged recording. I believe that one is anime related though I have not seen it ponifally."
>Bringing the left forehoof up to press on his snout heavily, the larger unicorn speaks tensely.
"I am returning to the Alchemy Lab and hopefilly staying there. If I am unable to unfuck the complete mess there in two weeks, send a search party. If that search party does not find success in a month, take the Lab's walls apart. Should the second search party not succeed in a further three months.. take Spiral's lab apart."
>Tearing apart and leaving a trail of rings directly southwards, the grandmaster smith makes a too-late forgiving shrug, though with a snarky grin as he sits down on the anvil.
"Considering what I had been putting up with, that one is background chatter on low. Is there anything more I can assist you with?"
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Eyebrows lifting and held for two seconds, the younger Crystal mare tilts her head right, speaking two short phrases in a thoroughly unusual, melodic language.
>..you didn't even know where to start trying to figure that one out, and it was highly doubtful humans could emulate the extremely rapid variable pitches, rolling tones, and singing linguistics properly.
>If at all.
>Emitting a short, low bass hum, a black pen is lifted and set to work scribbling on heavy paper.
[1d6+2 = (3+2) = 5] <E.Appraisal
[1d6+2 = (1+2) = 3]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <E.Bartering
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]

>Setting her head down on the couch's arm, or would that be a hoof rest? the winter suited mare's left wing makes a short apathetic flop.
"That's probably for the best. We have enough problems keeping every mare on the Isle from claiming a human, bunch of hormonal fillies..."
>Extending out a bit further, Nao's warm flipper was covered in a layer of ultra soft, silky hairs, underneath which was a thin layer of fat and solid, long bones, though five rather sharp, black claws make brief contact with your skin.
>Eyes squinting at your pronunciations, the seal's face squishes inwards a bit with a deep whisker twitch.
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] <E.Research: Linguistics
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2]
"Of course. I am allowed majority rights to trade sealants, glue, gems, weapons, and Polar or crystalline materials, or both, in exchange for aiding our newest Colony.
My primary assignmarents are to acquire long lasting heatstones or similar devices that will function in or out of water and trading equal weight amounts of sea food that are not available to us.
I am also expected to offer Missions dealing with snow, ice, water, or flying creatures that my Colony cannot reasonably take care of."
>Lifting her flipper again and waving it twice, the bright white pinneped's face creases amusingly, her words spoken in a consistently rolling cadence.
"Our preferred weapons are clubs, spears, lances, harpoons, and weighted nets. Since we do not have the physical capabilities for ranged combat, any crystalline devices, magical enchantmarents, items, relics, and artifacts which can be used underwater and are not faction bound are in high demarend."
Basin Arena Garrison-Depot, Aftermath 22
GM Strangler
>Already giving orders for the rear most ranks to turn head towards Basin Village, most of the Veterans and Elites think aloud.
('Just ignore the wings.')
('I would but that might take effort.')
('Like you can spare any right now-')
('Better yet, when are we getting some gliders?')
('How about flying enchantments? Probably a lot cheaper.')
('Those are difficult to justify time and energies spent, as a result they're rarely produced outside of towns with a significant unicorn population. You may try cloud cities, yet I wouldn't advise that these days, too marely ripoffs.')
('What ab-')
('Way to kill the mood, dude.')
('Interesting. Are Shells immortal?')
('Technically, no. Consciously, definitely not. Functionally is improbable as well. Crystalline Shells inevitably suffer from ennui and similar states of mind, similar to... other long lived states that I don't want to think about right now.
Once they believe their time is done or have accomplished an acceptable number of tasks, each picks a time and place to cease existing. Most often the Crystal City-State Labyrinth, the place they were born in, or a highly important, or holy, location is chosen.')
('Thaaaaat explains way more than I wanted, but.. thanks?')
('Do Shells actually eat Empire crystal? If they do then how's digestion work, or is it all crystal song-magic?')
>Feeling HIGHLY uncomfortable at Mind's Eye stares from thousands of inquiring ponies, the Veteran thinks better of his question.
('Mangoes, are they the best fruit or the worst?')
('Would yo-')
('No, it's a serious question.')

>Rotating around you to face east and waiting for the central lines to move once more, the five Assault Vanguard mares grumble halfheartedly, majorly displeased at being outvoted, though accepting the return wouldn't be too awful.
('We can still look for something to eat, right?')
('Knowing batponies, we're the ones that're going to be foraged...')
('What does that mean?')
('You'll.. find out soon enough.')
('No, I need to know what you're thinking!')
('Soon. Enough.')
('You're a pain.')
('Thanks, hard head.')

('What's harder to read than a Crystal pony? An angry Crystal pony that's not talking.')
>Giving up trying to determine moods from Conclavists, Kingdom adherents, Imperials, then frowning towards Spireguards, the leadstallion motions for the Operator he was escorting to remain temporarily as the rear line enters a slow march towards Basin Village.
('They certain don't look to be pleased in any possible ways, means, mareners, shapes, or forms in the least.. far more Late Dynasty weaponry, armors, and equipmarent than I was expecting.')
('Fairly normal stuff, like what we keep for extras. Most are in great shape too.')
('Hm. Too bad they don't have some of the rare pieces. Unless they want to talk I suggest leaving them alone. Time?')
('Three hours, plus or minus ten minutes. Are we still allowed t- ......I'm going to pretend I didn't see that.')
('See what?')
('Everypony, perform full armor checks prioritizing joints and gaps for leaves, twigs, sticks, rocks, small stones, or marbles, immediately after a batpony has come within twenty hooves of you.')
('The way you said those is so matter of fact I can't help but think you've experienced them. Twice each, right?')
('More than I care to remember right now, not that I kept count.')
>Cheto's eyebrow raised in turn as Starglow started to do her thing with alien sounds and hidden scribbles.
>A part of him felt tested in some way but he wasn't sure how.
>Best not to fret too much about that.

"Thank you for the heads-up, miss Shanis."
>He promptly gave the titular pegasus mare a curt bow in tandem with his words of amicable appreciation.
>In fact, as a token of gratitude, he'd bestow her a nice boop on her snout as payment.
>Back to the little penniped, Gallo listened intently as his mind took notes on what this little guy was looking for.
>Argenta might have what Nao is looking for in terms of sea food, actually, but might as well inquire while she's still here.
>He also gauged her reaction to Shanis's snout being poked by a human finger, wondering how seals viewed this presumed pony gesture.
"May I ask what other liasions have been sent to meet the demands for the newest colony of the Greater Polar Seal Colonies, miss Nao? It seems like a big endeavor that needs contacts all around Tallus."
>Of course, such a big question might yield a big answer, so he had to pay all of his attention towards the cutie little patooie seal.
>This could be the start of great things.
Basin Arena Garrison-Depot, Aftermath 23
GM Strangler
371274 371376
>Relaying the message forwards, the older mare gestures for her squad to about face as Mercy takes a deep breath, releasing it as a quiet, satisfied snort.
"As everypony can see I am unharmed, a bit winded, not yet tired. And rather.. I feel excellent at the momarent, am not e-"
>Lips tightening sharply, her right wing pulls forwards to graze the scar on her neck before looking up with a softening expression, head shaking in short, negative motions.
"Not now, there is little time remaining. I must return to Sunny but I will be on the Tower after returning-"
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <B.Auto-Stealth
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11] <E.Flight
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9]

>Neutrally watching on the Spirit Walker makes a half-leap, swinging around in air and streaking off in heavy ripples, the leadstallion's eyebrows raise.
('Quite an opportunist. Ambusher for sure, fairly specialized. Assassin? ...no, skillset isn't even close.')
('Could be a hunter.')
('No trophies, enchantmarents, weapons aren't particularly destructive against most targets, not carrying much... and in that cloth armor? Doubtful. Mindset wouldn't be right either.')
('Erm, you two care to elaborate?')
('We can tell a pegasi's open moods fairly easily. Wasn't concerned, worried, afraid, scared, certainly not coerced or secretive. And those threats weren't entirely honest.')
('Didn't want to cause harm, hated the idea of starting another conflict, though was willing to make a.. somepony that isn't dead on their hooves, finish that thought for me-')
('She had been within the interdiction field's outermost layer until all matrice-gateways were closed, then made herself known before or after approach. A complicated series of deductions, yet the possibilities are fairly tangled.')
('Wait, what? Why?')
('To ensure her message, or messages, achieved the desired affects and effects.')
('Why wait instead of planning to show up when the gates closed?')
('Even if we had maintained the gateways to rush back through, perhaps six percent would have returned. Doing so would have well and truly burned out each unicorn to a severe extent, myself included. A warning to ensure that we all returned alive to Basin Village alive?')
('Perhaps a statemarent that our efforts are indeed unnecessary, or we should not take such a risk.')
('Or she had indeed been in flight to arrive two-point-six minutes after the last matrice-gateway closed. In this case the best answer may be none at all.')
('Plausible, yet I feel our questions to be irrelevant. As it is we should not speculate without further information. Nevertheless, an independent marecenary is not beholden to our codes of conduct or agreemarents, thus it is disrespectful, and improper, to pry further.')
('In that case, what should we do?')
('Precisely what she said, without exception. Hoof it mares, the quicker we all leave the fewer mangoes need to be retrieved from places you did not know existed-')
>Interjecting and leaving the Overherd to suffer from Lunar-aligned snickers, the Shieldmare imagines herself throwing a pillow large enough to cover the entire Moors.
Basin Arena Garrison-Depot, Aftermath 24
GM Strangler
('Outvoted almost six to three, huh.')
('Too bad, but he's right.')
('Like usual.')
('Would've been nice to at least study the abomination.')
('There's always another one.')
('And that will be when, miss fortune teller?')
('Not a clue.')
>Somewhat deflated at their prospects diminished to zero, four of the five Councilierge mares step around in three-point, 180-degree turns, albeit not quickly, the youngest mare stares on for a half-second before about facing.
>Silverine-trimmed helmet tipping backwards, an impression of a grin and faint amusemarent occurs.
('Has really ni-')
('Stop that.')
('But th-')
('Quit it.')
('Just look a-')
('What part of cut that out are you ignoring, and for what purpose?')
('Why can't I appreciate a mare with gre-')
('Why can't you control yourself!? Here you are thinking.. what even are you thinking?')
('I am in way better control of myself than half of us, and I was looking at her wings. Pretty, glossy feathers and a full body color aren't common you know. Besides, who did I piss off to get assigned to this bunch of joykillers?')
('Who DIDN'T you..')

('Shieldmare, you can drop us, we have certain unfinished argumarents.')
('I'd say the same, but too tired. We'll start coordinating food and water in.')
('As shall we, if you do not mind.')
('Very well. Day, Night, and Lunar Guard releasing in three, two, one-')
>Disconnecting a little over seventy percent of the Overherd, the remaining Watch and Assault Vanguard express heavy relief at the greatly lessened pressures.
>Until the frontal Chargers and Lancers notice batponies in clusters sweeping down to deliver fruits two at a time, or in small satchels.
>Heads turning to stare, peculiar sensations from squinted, diamond-slitted eyes cause manes to bristle.. the first kek is heard.
>Then a snicker as a Lunar mareneuvers to pin a Watch mare behind two Day Guard.
>Realizing how utterly unaware most had been, the Shieldmare intones a short, barely serious offering-prayer for her kin.
('Ponies of Stalliongrad, there are far too few of you to resist their numbers, wiles, charms, and puns. All Creation shall remember your battles fondly.. because I most probably will not to be perfectly honest.
In fact, how marely of you have fully sealed armor?')
('If ONE so muchs as stick a piece of fruit in my helmet I'm going t-')
>Sniffing in her enclosed helmet, a small rock bounces off an Assault Vanguard's saddle, then another's helmet, the mares twitching.
('..you knew this was going to happen, didn't you.')
('Yes. And there is not a single thing any of you can do to prevent the, ah... what are they called?')
('No, the other one.')
('The Shuffle?')
('Not quite, something about edible glue and leaves?')
('I think you mean-')
>Smelling before seeing the incoming threat, the leadstallion stallion sighs while a mare's snout mask ahead of him is covered in berry jam.
('This one doesn't have a name that I know of. Did anypony happen to bring toast?')
('I hate you.')
('Is that a no?')
('...I hate you. So much.')
Ivan the STALKER
"I don't imagine I would ever be in the position of needing to... purchase, anyone. But I will keep this in mind."
>He's going to forget.
"I imagine we're vastly different due to most human origins being single sapience worlds, like mine."
>He thinks for a moment, before shrugging.
"Something to idly look into, I imagine."
>Ivan watched to make sure he could as well, nodding a bit and copying Krinza with both sides, testing his own flexibility to confirm.
"The only new weight I'd have had to get used to would have been the minigun, and with an Exoskeleton that would've been trivial."
>To be weak in the Zone meant death. Most STALKERs carried over a hundred pounds on a regular basis.

"Most humans tend to consider it 'One Size Fits Most' instead of all, purely for the fact that people are never a uniform size."
>Unless they're clones.
>Though he knows clones don't exist in his world.

>Ivan would twitch at the almost deafening CLICK coming from the minigun, hand instinctively slapping his thigh where a holster would be, before coming back to his senses.
>Letting out a grunt, mostly to himself, he'd make his way over to the minigun, placing a hand on it.
"I don't know, it gives it character."
>Though he doesn't know rightly if it was 'anime related' or not, he's never seen one.
>Or he doesn't believe he has.
"At this time, I don't believe so. Aside from additional straps and storage pouches, but I have more than enough in my quarters to go about placing them on the armor."
>He took his helmet off, giving the pony a weary, but friendly grin.
"I appreciate how quickly you two were able to get this hammered out for me. It would take years back home for something of this quality, I expect."
371334 371365
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7] <E. Small Arms + SS
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <Extra Roll Master FINA
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8] <E. Small Arms + SGSC FINA
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10] <Extra Roll SGSC FINA
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]< Graduate Researcher + SS
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4]< Observer Advanced Technological Weaponry & Tactics
[1d6+2 = (3+2) = 5]
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]< Pupil Post-Space Age Technologies
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]< Pupil Post-Space Age Weaponry
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]
>Jeff is a little dejected from the denial. It was an understandable one. Mercy had to get back to the Basin Arena an make sure her word was kept. And it sounded like she was going to keep an eye on Sunny as well.
>What ever concerns he had wanted to share with his herd second were dismissed.
>He smiles as she takes off from the forward line, just glad that she's fine.
>As ponies start to converse on Mercy behalf, he shakes his head as they can't find the mark on the mare's origins and backround.
>What he was told isn't worth anyone else's ear, and he keeps any of it out of mind.
>At any rate the ponies were intrigued, confused, and impressed my Mercy's efforts.
>Personally he was proud. Old Mercy used to be such a recluse, she would've never done anything like she did tonite.

>And just like that the rear line became the front, as he turns around with everyone else to start marching back to the Basin Village.
>Conversations get casual, and the Overherd quickly cuts off the majority. The feeling of it disconnecting was a relief on his headache.
>The march started to put him in sort of a trance. The miles he's hiked he could have probably circled the globe at least once.
>He starts to wander on tonite's happenings, not just the Village. He goes all the way back to when he first returned to the Fortress even before going to the Citadel.
>Jeff exhales outwardly, just letting taking point clear his mind. He grabs his hydration pack's tube and takes a long idling drag from it.
>The darkness of the Moors was always impressive. Along with the intense humidity and smells and sounds it was... heavy but refreshing.
>Looking up, the treeline barely let any stars through.
>His head clearing as they keep the slow and steady pace, batponies begin flying around the small army dropping off foraged fruit to non fliers.
>An opportunity for some free rations he was NOT going to pass up.
>Not finding any other place to secure the hulking forty-pound rifle anywhere that wouldn't be a hassle, he keeps it on his right shoulder and holds up his left hand in the air; still sucking down water free-handed. Hoping for a air-dropped care package.
Basin Village Garrison-Depot, Outskirts
GM Strangler
>Ears flicking out of sync in 'don't want to be here right now' motions, the Construct's snout performs a hard scrunch.
>Flapping upwards several meters and slowing into a pre-diving state, the particle cannons aim downwards and ahead of you, unmistakable preheat cycles sizzling the humid air.
[1d6 = 1] <???
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <Construct Realspace Scanning Protocols
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5]

>Skipping into the heavier Void spectrums mid-stride, the nine reptilians were unmoving, recently killed and left where they were as you weave through them.
>Not without a few successful strikes of their own though, sharp tangs of equine blood in the air are scented from unusually wide half-oval claws, terminating in sharply curved ends, spread out in shock deaths.
>Wide brown and black speckled eyes glazing above needle teeth coated in red, rigor mortis setting in the four squat legs of each.

>Retaking the protective slightly ahead and left escort formation for half a minute, the symbiote's head rears briefly, right wingclaws flicking in common 'ally' motions.
>Roiling from the heavier spectrums ahead precedes Mercy exiting into the same as yours, twisting left as her wings buffet hard into a full stop, hanging two hooves above stone.
>A smile of unfiltered joy crosses the blind mare's face, the batstallion carrying the same as she lands, flicking her wings out to shake water off.
>Facing you, then gazing past for five seconds, Mercy tilts her head backwards, speaking in muted tones.
"Sunny, the remaining defenders are alive and well that I could see. They are returning to Basin Village, but I would ask that you return with him-"
>Sharing an unknown expression between each other, Mercy flips her outermost right primary wingblade from her saddle, the neat circle of armor still missing, to yours.
"But not in his current state. He can counter gravity approximately an eighth more than his own weight and does not pose a danger to you. If that is not acceptable then I could bring down enough of a cloud to be pulled.
And, no, I cannot hide you without full acclimation. That will take weeks, possibly months to teach you the proper methods.. if it is even possible."
>The symbiote's lips pull back in minor disgruntlemarent, but nods, shaking out both wings in figurative acceptance.
Lost in the Crag Moors: STILL Stuck (In The Middle Of You)
GM Strangler
"How can you be sure this isn't a nightmare?"
>Placing the map on screen, then wiggling out from behind it to stare up, the internal version's eye blanks into solid red.
"How can I be sure? Theoretically, I know that I exist, but what is real? What isn't? What can't be? What should? If something isn't real but can be physically felt, is it unreal? Disreal? Magic and energy are real in a technical sense, they can produce temporary semi-state objects. Does that mean I'm the sum of what isn't, minus what is?"
>Yep, she definitely needed a break..

>Outside was little more than burned out or missing trees above the sand line, variable sized piles of gray below them, and small, cloudy waves tainting what was probably the most pure beach imaginable.
>Stepping out onto slightly creaking steel sheets making a finger, then carefully maneuvering to the palm's center, Wild's speakers sigh.
"I know how I felt a minute ago. Five minutes. Ten. Fifteen. An hour.. don't know how to categorize any of this yet."
>Wrist tilting up, then elbow raising with two grinding noises, as you face the Eldritch-Android's external body, the extent of damage was sobering:
>What had been her 'head' was a ruined heap of heat deformed, thin metals in colors that were definitely not good, protrusions which were once supports, wires and cables of black semi-organic mass ending in charred sections.
>Below that her chest armor featured a massive dent left of center, both of her assets featuring the same discolorations, except where hard plating and sheets had been force-melded into place below them before the exit panels were sealed prior to the underwater walk.. some of the Rilvenni's teeth were still stuck.
>The right arm's interior cabin at the shoulder was currently filled with a variety of materials, while the lower exterior was entirely crumpled, armor barely recognizable except as small fractures, below the elbow an utterly twisted mess though the hand was functional.
>Only her left forearm had suffered damage, thin sheets buckled where the Rilvenni's tentacles had gripped, but was in far better shape that the opposite.
>From what you figured was her waist down appeared to be functional, though badly heat discolored, a number of black cables sparking outside of seams.

"So... how do I look? Can't view myself except from the repair modules. They don't have good resolution either and knowing where each component is.. different."
>External speakers on low, the eight tendrils shear off sections of what you hoped was steel or better from a corroded piece of something, then drag their plates into fissures, bright red emitting from within.
"Life is suffering. And I don't know what life is. I know suffering better than everything else because WHY WOULD I NOT.
Replacing left leg motivation systems-"
>At least she was using a lower pitched outdoor voice.
[1d6+14 = (2+14) = 16] <Grade 1 Auto-Repair
[1d6+15 = (4+15) = 19]
[1d6+15 = (6+15) = 21]
[1d6+13 = (2+13) = 15] <Grade 2 Auto-Repair
[1d6+13 = (2+13) = 15]
[1d6+13 = (6+13) = 19]
[1d6+20 = (5+20) = 25] <Tryptaran Autorestoration
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Repair Tendril #1
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7] <RT-#2
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <RT-#3
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5] <RT-#4
[1d6+3 = (5+3) = 8] <RT-#5
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4] <RT-#6
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4] <RT-#7
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] <RT-#8
371336 371365
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10] <E. Small Arms + SS
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <Extra Roll Master FINA
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <E. Small Arms + SGSC FINA
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10] <Extra Roll SGSC FINA
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]< Graduate Researcher + SS
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7]< Observer Advanced Technological Weaponry & Tactics
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7]
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]< Pupil Post-Space Age Technologies
[1d6+1 = (4+1) = 5]
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]< Pupil Post-Space Age Weaponry
[1d6+1 = (1+1) = 2]
Sunny Feathers
>Sunny cast a wary eye about for more reptiles, these were dead, but that didn't mean more couldn't be nearby.

[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] < B.Wilderness Survival
[1d6+3 = (4+3) = 7]

>With rigor mortis setting in, these must have been killed quite some time ago. There was a good chance it would lure in scavengers, and those would attract more predatorial creatures.
>Sunny frowned, she could not discern any reason to kill these beyond keeping the roads clear, and yet it didn't make sense to simply slaughter them, and then leave their bodies to rot. What were they thinking?
>This mystery wasn't strictly relevant, but she couldn't stop herself from puzzling over it regardless.

>Coming to a complete, skittering stop. Sunny looked up at Mercy, her sudden appearance coming as a shock.
>That was incredibly fast, it had barely been a few minutes. She'd been using one of the lower weight spectra to fly by, but she'd still expected it to take some time to escape the interference.
"Mercy, you-"
>What? She made them go back and now Mercy wanted her to go back with the symbiote?
"While you do what? Go fight a Riftseeker? That's not happening, what do you imagine you'll even accomplish without this one?"
>Sunny gestured to the symbiote, then glanced up looking for a suitable cloud. Hopefully one that didn't look like it was busy.
"Try bringing a cloud down, then we'll head back to Basin Village, you included."
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7] <E. Small Arms + SS
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7] <Extra Roll Master FINA
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7] <E. Small Arms + SGSC FINA
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10] <Extra Roll SGSC FINA
[1d6+6 = (6+6) = 12]< Graduate Researcher + SS
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7]< Observer Advanced Technological Weaponry & Tactics
[1d6+2 = (2+2) = 4]
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]< Pupil Post-Space Age Technologies
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]
[1d6+1 = (2+1) = 3]< Pupil Post-Space Age Weaponry
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]< Pupil Planar Lightning Modifications
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]< Pupil Elemental Plane of Lightning
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6]
[1d6 = 1]< Amateur Conceptual Lightning Plane Objective Creation
[1d6 = 3]< Amateur Lightning Elementals
Basin Village Garrison-Depot, Outskirts
GM Strangler
>Glancing back to study the deceased creatures with some care, then the surrounding swamps, bogs, and flora in view, they had been killed within the past three to four minutes.
>Unlike avians, mammals, or various hybrids, reptiles had far smaller fat reserves yet varying neural responsiveness depending on temperatures; upon death, warm and hot reptiles would suffer from rigor mortis far quicker.
>Testing the local temperature with a quick hoof tap, feather flick, and snout wiggle, it was currently 101 degrees in approximately 95% humidity, well within range of the previous estimates.
>Glancing about to check for predators, especially potential local swarms, there were no indications of anything more than tiny omnivores or scavengers on approach.
>Which happened to be a few water-skimming insects, several tiny mantidae-likes, and a single snake.
>On second glance, that last one was more of a stupidly tiny wyrm, six sets of miniature, dark blue-green fins gently propelling it on the water's surface, the green-black-blue snakelike head twisting about in search of predators.
>Rather cute, compared to Neighsian varieties, if it wasn't similar.
>It was a long distant descendant, but which region was speculative.

"No? That is not what I agreed to. It was not more than twenty minutes ago. Did you.. not hear what they said?"
>Muzzle pulling back in a severe frown, Mercy blinks at her paired symbiote, left hoof raising and right leg tensing in awkward social apprehension.
"Sunny, we secured releasing an equivalent weight of sapients from the Argus Behemoth-Destoyer pair, but I must return. They expect me to fulfill the non-sapient trade obligations that I agreed to. They were offering their collection.. rather, their 'museum' to us, which you were not interested in."
>Batpony wings lifting high above, coiled down to his barrel, then outwards in rapid motions you didn't understand, the Construct lands with barely a sound.
>Checking you up and down quickly, orange eyebrows furrow together, both lips pursing as it glances from you to Mercy, then back again.
>The Construct symbiote points to the blind mare, making a large, round swipe, clutching both wings across the barrel, then makes a tiny hop, Mercy's face creasing in hard thought before facing you in subdued confusion.
"That is... what I meant to say? I did say it. No, I did. ....it is not the same? I apologize, it is not easy for me to explain my thoughts.. I am not doing marentally well right now, the.. nevermind.
Sunny, we convinced the Argus Behemoth-Destroyer pair to release the same amount of weight, in sapients, equivalent to the Riftseeker's own approximate weight. Please state you remember that much."
>Glancing at the banks of mist, fog, then clouds above, the Spirit Walker's snout twitches, taking a hard leap upwards, calling behind her.
"Will return shortly with the best one-"
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6] <E.Flight
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]

>Facehoofing itself, the symbiote's lips form soundless words, letting go after eight seconds, head swiveling around in active threat detection.
[1d6 = 5] <???
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <Construct Realscape Scanning Protocols
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5]
Sunny Feathers
>Watching the tiny wyrm swim along with a smile, Sunny listened to Mercy.
>It appears she wasn't clear, or that Mercy, herself, or the destroyers had misunderstood or miscommunicated the terms of their deal.
"Mercy, we struck a deal for non-interference with their directive, which is to destroy the Riftseeker. Unless they managed to do it very quietly while we were gone, they haven't done it yet. They were very clear about us ceasing our actions and leaving them to their task. If you go back before they've done what they came to do, they might view that as you violating the agreement, not fulfilling it."
>Though if they did end up destroying it, they might go back on the deal since it wouldn't be in their best interest to honour it with their directive fulfilled. So Mercy might think that having them fulfill their end first would be best, while she was content allowing them to hold the fulfillment of their end as a deterrent against interference.
>She sighed.
"I think it would be best if we let them hold their end of the deal as insurance that we won't interfere until they're done. Further, we don't want to be around while they're fighting it anyway, you might be willing to, but as it happens, you're one of Razorback's few assets with capabilities against certain threats, I can't allow you to risk yourself if you don't have to or I wouldn't be doing my job. Either we all go back to Basin Village and wait for them to be done or we all go back to the Arena so that at the very least-"
>She nodded towards the Symbiote.
"You have him."

>She nodded and watched Mercy go up for a cloud, then turned to the Symbiote, raising an eyebrow at its facehoof.
"What? You want her going back alone when a Riftseeker could be set loose at any moment? I'm doing you a favour here. She might be confident the destroyers can deal with the Riftseeker, I'm not nearly as certain. Anything could happen and I would prefer to err on the side of caution. She's safer with you, not without, and you know it."
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Scrunching mareily at the contact, her snout was indeed warm, almost hot to the touch, giving you a heartfelt smile of acknowledgemarent.
"Don't worry about it. I've been lenient for the past few months though it's getting harder telling my ponies to stop bringing humans into their herd. Half my brother's Arcane Blades are pushing for mareriages right now. Don't know if they'll listen to him or me at this point."
>Left wing raising to poke at her neck, Shanis turns a raw, visibly irritated expression downwards.
"What I'm trying to say is this: some ponies have an incredible appetite for emotional connection that humans simply aren't capable of understanding. In short, that means some humans get taken advantage of, whether for sex, simple physical contact, gratifying emotional responses, physiological dependencies, or marental dependency. Or a mixture of all those."

>Waving her left flipper in a carefree motion, Nao's face crinkles bemusedly.
"For the momarent we are only allowed to deal with the four historically vital greater factions that our ancestral Colonies preferred. Razorback Company is the.. ninth Lunar Protectorate? I think. Miss Shanis has assured me that Razorback Company is capable of aiding us, similar to Independant factions during the Middle Dynasty Era could. When they have time and resources to spare, that is."
>Curling the same flipper around to scratch under her chin, small claws extend, then contract, the seal's forward body lifts in a possible shrug.
"Fip, one of my distant cousins in another Colony, may have accepted becoming a Liasion. I do not know for sure as I have not spoken to him in three years. Or more. We do not normally speak to family outside of our Colony unless meeting for informal or formal relations."
>José paused at Shanis's words, still smiling in satisfaction at seeing her appreciation for his gesture, but losing his focus.
"How extreme is this desire you speak of? Is it akin to sticking by the human every second while intentionally trying to get them to react to their every action irregardless of how they feel about their attempts?"
>Granted, she already said it was imcprehensible for his kind, but if he was meant to be a diplomat, he'd at least need to take a crack at it.
>Human/Pony Relations are important!

>Gallo picked up Nao's mild bemusemarent, causing him to softly tilt his head.
>She didn't exactly seem to be uncomfortable regarding the questions, but he'd hate to sour what seemed to be a nice time.
>However, the human needed to know one thing more before he could veer into fun topics.
"Are any of these greater factions Argenta by any chance?"
>A tentative smile lingered on his lips whilst the pinniped answered.
>However, part of him told himself to keep it cool.
>Don't start imagining grand things coming from whatever she answers.
>It's important to keep oneself grounded and not let ambition cloud one's view.
>That's a human thing.

>Whatever Nao replied, Gallo would soon brightened up slightly and decided to get more personal.
"I'm sure a kind hearted seal like yourself keeps family matters close to the chest. Forgive my curiosity, but how is the life of the common seal in the Colonies?"
Basin Village Garrison-Depot, Outskirts
GM Strangler
>Finding no predators in the vicinity and clearly not regarding equines and Construct as competitors or threats, the extra-tiny wyrm continues gliding towards the deceased reptiles.
>It was probably stealthy out of choice rather than size.

>Head cocking in stark puzzlemarent, Mercy flicks her left wing out before fanning it, then the other, frowning at water rolling off her feathers.
"Yes, we did that. Ceasing hostile actions which would be detrimarental to their attempts at containing and inevitably engaging a Riftseeker at a specific time and location. I was able to trade the assurance of a time table for an exchange of non-organics before they engage the Riftseeker itself."
>Wings tightening in slow, controlled reflex, the blind mare's head snaps away, releasing a sharp exhale.
"They did not exclude the possibility of mere observation, nor I will risk his cognizance, knowledge, and importance. That will not change and you have no right to tell me what I should do, there i- ...nevermind. You do not understand."

>Taking a loose at-ready stance, both sets of wingclaws open, gazing towards the south, then east.
>Head swiveling around to stare at you, the expression read as harshly offended, though there was a distinct secondary mood.
>Eyes narrowing briefly, a single tiny overlay forms above his head, the first made of three hard, tilted slashes, then an octagon of batpony claws, ending in a period.
>Artificial mane shaking out in an insulted fashion, the symbiote continues its vigil.
[1d6 = 1] <???
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] <Construct Realspace Scanning Protocols
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4]

>Heavy wing flaps above are followed by a large chunk of solid white cloud smacking onto stone five meters ahead of you, large enough to be a double bed, or possibly something bigger.
>Wingblades rolling, Mercy places her right forehoof in the center, crouching down to slice out a long pair of streamers.
>Tossing the ends towards the Construct, wingclaws reaching up to catch them and wrap around the particle cannons, she turns a severely insulted gaze towards, but not directly at you.
"Your 'duties' are not to safeguard me, and I am not planning on conflict."
>Flicking a smile towards the Construct, she leaps up, breaching into the deeper Voids as the batstallion takes several steps forwards, testing the confusing material.
[1d6 = 5] <Spectrum Dive
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7] <E.Flight
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
Sunny Feathers
>Sunny gave Mercy a very neutral, un-emotive stare, she supposed this had to be expected, Mercy wasn't exactly known for being sociable, nor was she.
"You're taking more offense to this than you need to. I'm not saying you can't go back, I'm simply saying you shouldn't go back alone. In case you'd forgotten, this started out as a simple search and clear, nearly everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong. That's not insulation against anything else going wrong."
>She stepped forward and prodded gently at the cloud Mercy had brought down. That had been a rough landing, clouds needed a more gentle touch than that. Sunny poked and nudged and patted with wings, hooves and nose, testing the cloud raft's integrity to be sure it wouldn't drift apart, and to be sure it wasn't wild and angry.

[1d6 = 4] < B.Cloud Shaping
[1d6 = 5]

"My contract is to scout for Razorback, so if you wish to speak of duties, mine lay in that direction regardless. Aside from that, I have to preserve Razorback, which includes the two of you. It's the same reason I prevented you from killing the lunar councilmare earlier, and the same reason I advocated for sparing the lunar vampires when it seemed that she would kill them for no good reason. I have no choice in the matter, so if you're going back to the arena, I am going with you and that's all."
>She gave Mercy and the symbiote a dry look, but an amused lilt in her voice.
"And if that's an issue for you, we could try beating each other up again, but that would solve very little and leave one of us beaten and bloody. So if you're both done being offended because I dared have the audacity to not leave you behind, we should get going. I'll leave the direction up to you."
Razorback Fortress: The Workshop
GM Strangler
"Certainly possible based on the functional, and dysfunctional, levels of each human society, but I know enough to state that I do not know enough. Perhaps later I will ask a few for their opinions on whether such study may be useful."
>Letting that topic go, Helping glances to Krinza, whom looks up with a humored nod.
"That is why we are here. Adjustments and adjustmarents are always necessary, particularly when there is no stable technological base to utilize.
Admittedly, Lann enjoys working so much that she took Razorback's contract for half. The commissions from Basin Village occupied her for two, rarely three, hours per night. Boredom is more easily conquered with friends around, yet there are plenty of times one can simply sit and stare at one of their works for hours, never feeling it is quite right, even if it is functional."

>More than capable enough to reach the drawers, the handles were enchantment locked to you on mental command, which was.. not all that surprising.
>Further testing the Exoskeleton's features, you find that touching the tops of both boots was possible, though reaching the floor would require either a bit more flexibility or a healthier sleeping routine.

>Side eyeing the weapon in sincere amusemarent for a bit, Krinza chuckles dryly.
"I would not suggest melting the barrels under sustained fire such as it desires, but that may prove difficult."
>Eyebrows raising at the massive coldstone above as it shuts down, the chunky stallion frowns.
"Again? ...perhaps I should have stress tested it first-"
>Shrugging it off, a small, metallic red painted cloth is teleported onto the table in front of you, sounding like heavy wooden discs inside.
"Use these. Stabilized semi-artificial magnets. Exceptional heat resistance, they do not lose their magnetic field due to temperature, Gravity or Lightning Elemarentals, and most other effects that we have tested. There are... at least two hundred more around here, if I can find them.
Inside each box is a pair, one with west polarity, one east. Technically it would be best to synchronize them, but I believe you understand that process by now. They will lock on to a specific metal or metallic alloy in the same method you would utilize to activate an enchantmarent. Unfortunately they do not work well with magical composites, however."
>Left forehoof raised to his chest, Krinza offers a short bow, returning the grin.
"You are most welcome Ivan, though we do have numerous centuries worth of knowledge to draw upon. Titanium is not commonly used as it does not retain enchantmarents well unless molecularly aligned in a proper state, which was done fairly well.
Satisfaction when rightfilly earned is both a scholarly and technical pleasure, yet I suspect Helping acknowledges gratification differently. His preference for alchemy and related is well known but I do not think he acknowledges the extraneous skills he possesses.
If you would excuse me, there is..."
>Turning to eye probably piles of damaged, recovered, in progress, and poorly designed close combat weapons, along with a few polearms, clumsily stacked against the east wall, the grandmaster smith rubs both sides of his head with a small, pink cloud.
"That mess to sort out. I suppose finishing twenty of them tonight might not be too difficult.."
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
>Holding the weapon's earlier, mostly completed state as a distinct frame of reference, functional equivalents to the precision technologies you knew before were unnecessary:
>A hammer was, in technical principles, a broad category of mechanisms devised to produce specific shapes, flatten, expand, or produce contractions in material.
>Here the concept extended to alternate methods, carefully dividing molecules from each other, reinforcing specific particles, alternating molecular flow into solidified waveforms, and creating reality from mere patterns.
>Analogues of human machinery were useful, yet not strictly necessary.

>Stepping back from what should have been a grueling, frustrating series of tasks.. two hours, at least that you could sense, were spent correcting flaws, then adjusting, readjusting, and improving three desired principles to an acceptable, near-cognizant state.
>While time felt moderately quicker here, there was neither the unusual physical or mental fatigue compared to being highly active on Tallus.

>The anvil returns to its waiting form, as do the furnace, forge, and conceptual tools, leaving the weapon before you.
>An iota of conscious or unconscious effort is all it would take to swap it into either hand, and when not needed, remain as a concept that you, alone, held-carried.
>Checking the Storm King's Room in case of highly probable shenanigans, Lonestar and Katyal were on opposite sides of the pelt, the first in an ocean camo sleeping bag, head covered by Nibbles, the second.. big spoon to Hodch.
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
"On a scale from one to one hundred? Everywhere from eighty to two hundred. Humans are-"
>Pausing to think of a word, it takes the visibly older mare ten seconds, laying her head down with a quarter-hearted snort.
"Exotic to certain types of ponies. Different species, physical characteristics, preferences, necessary diet, thought patterns, beliefs, courtship, ideas on sex, etcetera to infinity.
As for the second part, no, it's not attention seeking behavior, it's.. equine herd behavior. Which I'm doing my best not to think about, hopefilly all throughout tonight."

>Returning the flipper onto her side, Nao's eyes squint in visible thought before frowning.
"I did not ask. It is probable, but I do not know for sure. Thirteen centuries prior to now the Colonies that were most in contact with Argenta were: Frost, Ice, Crystal, Swamp, Tropical, Beach, Jungle, and Oceanic.
The Colonies which possibly had contact were: Lava, Inland Shore, Lunar, Solar, and Neighsian.
The Colonies which likely did not have contact were: Archipelago, Continental, Mountain, Great, Lava, Divides, Cave, Plains, and High Peak."
>Shifting back into Shanis' barrel, presumably for greater comfort, or most likely to share warmth, the seal's whiskers twitch as she smiles, clearly amused.
"Normally we wake up, stretch, get a drink, or eat snow, visit with family and friends, dive for food, then roam around until we feel sleepy or find an interesting object. After that we either nap or bring the object back to the Colony, get a drink, or eat snow, visit again, dive, visit once more, then sleep again."
>Reaching up to scratch her cheek with small claws, her flipper waves in what was probably a dismissing motion.
"There are always new friends and interesting objects in each Colony. One could easily state we have simple, yet highly comfortable lives for the most part."
>Forelegs tightening around the pinniped briefly, Shanis grins, her eyes closed and ears splayed out.
"Incredibly snuggly ones with endless varieties of seafood."
"The fish are excellent this time of year, but there are also squid."
"Squid is.. a seafood though."
"Not when they are a snack. A sealweed snack to use the precise termology."
>Snickering at the deadpan matter-of-fact check, the pegasus rolls her ears around, sliding her chin to rest on Nao's forehead.
"And absolutely adorable."

>Barely keeping herself together, THAT PUN WAS INTENTIONAL! or so reads a small billboard Starglow decides to find another page upon which her discontent could be expended..
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8] <E.Appraisal
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <E.Bartering
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
"Ah. Forgive me if I have made you uncomfortable with my questions, miss Shanis, and thank you for your answers."
>With a final curt nod, José gave the pegasus a thankful smile and left such delicate matters rest for the foreseeable future.
>Only whatever deities reside in this world can hope to understand the amount of restraint she had to deal while discussing such things.

>Silently jotting down the various seal Colonies in his mind, Gallo smiled happily at listening the daily life of a pinniped.
"A rather quaint lifestyle to be sure. I sometimes wish humans could dive with a seal's elegance and grace."
>Deciding to test the waters a little bit, the tip of his finger would soon near Nao's snout, yet it didn't straight up boop her.
"Although having these may be enough of a consolation prize. What do you think, miss Nao?"

>Eyebrows raising, José soon glanced over at Starglow's latest attempt at calming herself down.
>He wondered what was her deal at present.
>It couldn't be something as simple as hearing 'sealweed' said unironically, right?
>There must be something deeper than that.
>Exhaling as he hefts the now acceptable and as of yet unnamed weapon, he flexes his fingers around the grip.
(Awareness of time spent addressing errors, but the only thing noticeable is the lack of fatigue. Nature of this plane must be conducive to far more intuition based methods of creation...)
>Testing the linked and manifestation properties of his creation, he flips it into the air before willing it out of existence and then back into his waiting hand.
>His fingers maintaining their shape as if still holding the weapon to see if it would reappear in perfect position.
>He would then alternate between crouching, standing, and laying prone while testing its manifestation speed, where he could make it appear, and how accurately it would do so.

(...A satisfactory extension of my will. Speed and accuracy at the rate of thought. Will need to reference other sources for possible methods of altering or removing the anti-Psionic property.)

>Turning and surveying the room, he notes its current state with the pelt being occupied.
>Nodding to himself at nothing seeming out of place, he steps away from the Forge.
>Curiously the bed was left vacant.
>Making his way towards the bed, he experimentally attempts to apply the same principles of alteration to its form.
(If all constituent matter is subject to the same rules, forming a contour pillow and sheets should be possible...)
Basin Village: Shattering Skies
GM Strangler
371385 371412 371413
>Pooling their knowledge together, the Shieldmare, aided by all but a few Councilierge, carefully disentangle Razorback, one by one, to prevent dissociative feedback and potential psychoses from the Overherd's synchronicity.
>Freed from the constant, sharp flows of information, most of which was inaccessible by non-Tallus mindscapes, Operators report in by squad.
>When the final all clear is given, one Lunar unicorn attaches to each Assault Vanguard squad, offering to carry equipment if requested.

>Majority resentmarent and distrust from a majority of Solars settle, forming into the outer Watch Guard ranks, greeting their distant kin anew while simultaneously turning scorn and hate filled stares against Razorback.
>The disaster in New Canterlot would not be forgotten or forgiven.
>Stalliongrad's mares were, for now, merely annoyed at the Otherworld presences in close proximity, doing their best to ignore radio chatter.

>Taciturn and unyielding during the march back, the Crystal Empire, Kingdom, Conclave, and Minotaur allies maintain their distance, utilizing their offensive capabilities in cover of outer ranks at every opportunity.
>Only Minor Champion Vokreed and the crystal-unicorn Spireguard leadmare provide more than a few tense words from time to time, keeping her selective companeigh as something of a symbol.

>Constant air drops and flybys of fresh berries, fruit, roots, and stuffed leaf sandwiches brighten the hungry marchers, accompaneighed with freshly roasted or grilled shrimp and small fish to Razorback.
>Few of the batponies were interested in doing more than a prank or two before leaving, while Hunter-Killers became a constant presence, interdicting the few Central Moors threats that tried to approach, dispatching those that did, and terrifying the remainder into fleeing.

>Tensions somewhat ease during the comfortable marching pace, mares from the rear overtaking the front quickly and assuming their scouting roles once more.
>Reaching the widening out road leading into Basin Village, front squads report back that the Rime cluster had been removed, surprisingly small amounts of crystalline taint and Plasma corruption remained in the vicinity.
>Passing over the locations where the XL Void infused bomb had landed, then the M-S.O.L.G.'s launched rods, where the Dagor had impacted Tainted, finally the craters in front of Basin, they had been mostly repaired, though poorly.
>Arriving at the south entrance, the wall of lances and spears was now arranged as an impassable line, dozens of brightly colored streamers, ribbons, sashes, bands, and charms adorning each one.
>Steadfastly ignoring the returnees, hundreds of batponies from across the Greater Moors stuck to any surface they could, wingclaws carving in the name, rank, and position where each deceased pony had been involved across the entrance, walls, and rooftops.
>It would stay inaccessible except to those that desire learning a new, vital piece of history.. or to relearn the old ways, Lunars would remark wistfully.

>One small, dirty marble golem on the east was directing barely half a companeigh of Watch Support Strikers, stacking recently cut beams, planks, and freshly molded stone slabs around the Village's exterior.
>Lines streaming around to the east, west, and north entrances, the blockades, barriers, and Razorback's firing line had been removed, none of the building damage repaired.
>Inside Basin Village, it was empty for the first time both Razorback and Lunars had seen, save for five black robed batponies seated around the basin, Bloodhosts dispersed among them.
>The altar was no longer in view, instead restored to its namesake, while the fountain was still surrounded by translocation matrices.

>Directly south of the fountain was a thoroughly bizarre craft facing the east; sharply angled forward winglike protrusions, another sweeping pair angled down two-thirds behind the front, and a secondary set, possibly acting as rudders, on gimballed joints.
>Visibly similar yet exotic weapons studded the front, side, and lower sections, products of distinctly alien thought processes.
>An unusual blue coloration and familiar, patchy silver tone were decrepit, showing long disuse, but most unusual was the sense that it was dead.
>Behind it was a solid, worn silver hexagon, little more than a pillar, though was emitting faint, garbled radio static.
>Upon comparing the size, slightly larger than a MiG-25, Clemency realizes this example as one of the archaic Otherworld Harpy hulks, most of which rested on the Dark Side of the Moon.
>Standing atop what had to be a canopy was the same Dark Horse cultist mare he'd met much earlier, peering in with a flat stare.
>Slung across her saddle was a matching bright silver case, faintly glowing the same way Guillotine's hull did when in motion.

>Few of the Day or Watch Guard take more than a cursory examination of the scene, the rest marching towards matrices, opening to a variety of streets throughout Stalliongrad and Canterlot.
>Sharing hugs, entwining forelegs, and bumping helmets or snouts together, squads leave without a further word, knowing full well the requiremarent to cover their absences.

>Empire, Kingdom, Conclave, Spireguard, and allied Minotaurs collect towards the north entrance, low, vibrating hums emitting from the ponies, seemingly in meeting.
[1d6 = 4] >Decision

>Peeling off to surround the south entrance in a mob, Lunars step forwards to touch the first lance or spear they could, rotating out for the next in line.
>Helmets removed, assigned squad leaders offer a diamondine blade to each, scoring thin, burning Void-scars in their preferred role.
[1d100 = 79] <Dedication
Basin Arena Garrison-Depot, Outskirts
GM Strangler
>Holding a minutely twisted, firm smile, Mercy's wings flick in twinned dismissing motions.
"Do not matronize me. I am neither your subordinate nor your filly."

>Checking the severed cloud structure's characteristics, it was two to three decades old, distinctly a Ferron creation as it lacked any form of cognizance or self-actualization.
>What little damage it had sustained reforms with ease as you shape the edges into a sturdy chariot-sled, refining the material somewhat into a half-solid, friction reducing state.
>Comfortable, but not perfect.

>Rolling her left outermost wingblade out once, the flat white mare's snout twitches in disgust.
"You deliberately spurned my honor to protect a Malformed from experiencing rightful death. That is a crime regardless if she professes to be Lunar aligned. They cannot be trusted in the slightest."
>The symbiote's body contorts, returning to its normal state as an amorphous mass as it drifts onto Mercy's saddle, cloud ribbons held tightly in the wingclaws while the cannon barrels resting on her wings, head shaking several times in slight motions.
"It is much too late to attempt a compromise. Six insults this Night without even the slightest recompense? No, I do not care if your irrational feelings come from some neglectful sense of duty or wronged pride."
>Sinking into a rapidly flowing Void spectrum, Mercy's wings strike upwards, hanging in place against violent Airstreams throwing her mane and tail around, ones which wanted nothing to do with you.
>Particle cannons peaking at bright orange, the blind mare shoves the cloud forwards with her front hooves, stretched out voices accompaneigh her calm words.
"Stay on this cloud no matter what. If you refuse then I am not responsible for what will happen-"
>Struck by a hostile, agonizing inability to speak, you're enveloped into the cloud mass, wrenched through the higher Tallus spectrums, passing dangerously between the Blind and Ethereal Plane.
>Safe Overdark Passage: Invoked
[1d6 = 5] <Silence Curse
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7] <Demoralize
[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6] <Spirit Walk, Forced
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11] <B.Intimidation
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+7 = (5+7) = 12] <E.Cloud Shaping: Direction
[1d6+7 = (3+7) = 10]
[1d6+7 = (5+7) = 12]
[1d6+7 = (5+7) = 12] <E.Flight: Shove
[1d6+7 = (1+7) = 8]
[1d6+7 = (4+7) = 11]
[1d6+9 = (5+9) = 14] <E.Assault: Shove
[1d6+9 = (2+9) = 11]
[1d6+9 = (3+9) = 12]
[1d6+10 = (2+10) = 12] <Ethereal Expulse
The L.O.N.T
>The voices in his head died off one by one, and no longer being connected to the Overherd did he feel his head throb with a dull headache.
>He had his thoughts to himself again, he could not imagine living a life where the privacy of his own mind was not guaranteed.

>With the march now back in full swing the fatigue that was gaining strength over him faded with each step, but Lont knew he was only delaying the inevitable crash. He only hoped he made it to his own bed in Razorback when that happened.

>Yes, Razorback. That group of chaotic otherworldly hairless apes that has caused so much change in such little time.
>He saw the Solar and Stalliongrad ponies glare murderous daggers at each human, himself included, and understood them fully. He was there after all, at ground zero. How could anyone forgive them of that incident when he will never forgive himself?

>He then looked towards the Crystal ponies and their Auxiliaries. While Canterlot was a burned down bridge the Empire was still their out and proud ally, with the Conclaves now wanting to do trade with them too. Razorback was truly chaotic, for good and bad. He just wished to do more good, yet apparently even seemingly good deeds will lead to more harm from them.
>The winged Operator sighed and slung his Spiker away, hands now free.
>Well, WERE free. Before a kek'ing Batpony filled his hands with a cooked fish and a juicy looking mango. They were gone before he could say thanks.
>He definitely needed to shake himself down of whatever they snuck onto his body when he got to his room.

>They returned to the Basin Village. The carnage had left new scars while the Batponies did their due diligence by adding more scars, those being the names of the fallen onto every possible surface.
>He gave a salute to them and to the neat row of weaponry he passed by.
>History was made here, and again Razorback was involved.

"Thank you for your service, I am grateful."
>He said to his entourage of Stalliongrad mares before they dispersed. There wasn't much else to be said, for what else could he say to them that wouldn't test their patience.
>Now alone he took this moment to wonder about the quiet village.

>Then the Operator saw it, what he could only describe as an aircraft. With a mysterious pony on top of its nose.
>He was about to call out to the hooded pony when his ears picked up the hum of Crystal conversation from the Empire forces through his helmet. He initially was torn on whom to approach first, but his commitments towards the Crystal ponies won through.
>Lont felt slightly awkward, as one would when trying to insert themselves into an ongoing conversation. He didn't sneak up on them, rather he stood there at a respectful distance from the outermost Crystal Pony. Putting the fish and mango away he took off his helmet so to eavesdrop on them before fully committing himself.
>"A shame Gelid Steppes is not among them."
[1d6 = 4] >E.Perception
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4] >H.E
Sunny Feathers
>Sunny raised her eyebrow at being accused of matronising Mercy, is that what she thought she was doing? As long as it worked, she wasn't going to interrupt.
>She didn't respond at all to anything she said, she had to be pushed just over the edge, they both had to be.
>As Mercy made her play, Sunny didn't resist, as terrifying as it was, and as hurt as she was to have her helping hoof spurned, her gamble had to play out regardless of the consequences. She justly deserved what Mercy had done to her for the mistake of extending her trust to these spiritually degenerated creatures that called themselves ponies. Yet there remained a strong undercurrent of satisfaction regardless.
>In Mercy's anger, the symbiote had remained with her, thus she would not be alone if anything went wrong. The risk to Mercy had been as minimised as she could manage, despite the costs, and she was well on her way back, where she could make a clearer report on what had occurred at the Arena than what she assumed Mercy would have given. As obstinate, uncommunicative and unprofessional as she was. This was as optimal an outcome as she could have hoped for.

>Still, she didn't like being forced into the Overdark.
>Theoretically, she could bypass whatever Mercy had done the same way she had breached her dimensional pocket, by temporarily stripping herself of all physicality, then she should be able to simply re-enter realspace from there.
>Whether it would work was another question, the Overdark was higher in physical weight, much higher than she was comfortable with, she couldn't be sure she would even be able to shed her physicality in this manner and under these conditions.
>It would cost her even if she did, the body was simply not supposed to lack physicality, the shock of transitioning between states was harmful in ways that weren't easy to recover from, but it was better than being in the Overdark for any period of time.
>Rearing her hooves, Sunny dove, as deep into the Underdark spectra as she could manage, willing herself to remain in alignment with the cloud she was on rather than phasing through it. If it worked to keep her from falling directly into the planet, it should work here.

[1d6+8 = (4+8) = 12] < M.Stealth + Spider Silk Sneaking Suit + Kitty Catboots + K.I.A
[1d6+8 = (6+8) = 14]
[1d6+8 = (2+8) = 10]
[1d6+8 = (6+8) = 14]
>The march back to the Basin Village was a long an uncomfortable one.
>Despite being disconnected from the Overherd, the amount of animosity bore down on him and the rest of Razorback. Now that there was no common enemy to fight it was right back to the leers and avoidance. The Solars still hated their guts, no surprise there, the Watch weren't too far off either.
>If it weren't for the Lunars, Crystals, Conclave, and taurs he'd be worried about another fight.
>He'd walk nonstop for another three hours if it meant they were in better company.

>Finally, what felt a lot longer than expected they begin approaching the Basin Village from the South.
>Explosive craters, signs of the Dagor's drive-thru now cleaned up, various other signs of destruction littered across the landscape.
>There was an attempt of cleanup, even the Rime had been removed. He wondered where all the debris from the human munitions went. Between the various small arms explosives, missiles from him and Clem, and the void-fused MOAB would have left flung hazardous debris far and wide. He hopes no ponies were harmed trying to clean it all up. He'll have to ask about it.

>The Southern entrance of the Village had been barred with spears and lances of the fallen, adorned with regalia. Batponies worked to to inscribe the names onto any surface worth bearing the honor.
>The Basin Village was being converted into one giant memorial.

>The Day and Watch Guard begin to depart. The other forces congregate to the North for reasons unbeknownst to him.
>All that were really left were them and the Lunars.
>Watching the locals and fellow Lunars break off for the Southern entrance's memorial, Jeff sighs heavily to himself as he breaks off from the rest of the Operators to do the same.
>He activates his radio as he heads for the end of the line.
(*Pay respects, if you wish. Then return to the Fortress. Assemble South of the Pagoda and wait for a debrief. I won't be long.*)
>Other than the memorial, he has to see if Vestal is still in the Village or she took off. Probably did a long time ago. And Marshmallow's whereabouts. And the state of the Reaper. He'll find someone properly in charge when he was done paying his respects.
>Getting in line to honor the memorial with the other Lunars, Jeff removes his helmet and hooks it onto his hip. The Gepard's weight had long put a cramp in his shoulder. He could bear it a little longer.
371419 371429
>Clemency breaths a sigh of relief when it was his turn to get disconnected form the Overherd
>His thoughts are his own and now he can clear his mind better
>As the march continues, he keeps an eye on the Rookies, especially with the scorn of the Councilierge and Solar ponies glaring at them
>The only thing stopping them from turning on us now is the other half of the host being close allies

>Clemency tries to regain much of his strength during the march
>Slinging Blackhorn, he braces his pack for the long ruck
>While he was going through his water rations, the fish and mangoes was very appreciated, waving thanks to the batponies above

>Reaching the outskirts of the Basin Village, Clemency starts to see the carnage left over from the Tainted armies
>The memories of each landmark comes back to Clemency as he goes by
>Although the damage is being mended, Clemency notices the batponies each scrawling something into the stones
>Looking closely, they're names
>It was touching to him
>Maybe he should bring teal ribbons with him just in case
>But he'll settle for the large M-S.O.L.G craters as him leaving his mark
>Reaching the spear wall with the ribbons, he takes off his helmet and tucks it under his arm before giving the memorial a salute
>Finished with his display, he dons the pilot helmet and continued on with the operators

>He notices the main host start to split off, it was now only Razorback and the Lunars with them
>What catches Clem's eye is the bizarre...thing south of the fountain
>Splitting of from the others, he approaches the craft
>It reminded him of the more advanced fighter jets back home
>It then hits Clemency that this thing was an old Harpy hulk, only dead
>The craft reminded him of the Guillotine and Clemency tried to hail it
**"Guillotine, are you still there? How are you faring"*
>He then walked to the pillar in front and inspect it before trying to figure out the static
[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6] <Basic Electronic Warfare Operator
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8]
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Two mindsets from completely different wavelengths stop everything to stare at you, the seal in stunned disbelief, Starglow taking on a short, severely annoyed face.
"I can't imagine being so fucking bittergreen green that the paint's still sopping wet, shiny, clingy, toxic, and isn't even mixed properly."
>Glancing south at the Crystal mare, Shanis sits up partially, voice clipped in visceral warning tones.
"I have no idea how you managed to completely mistake my words. I was annoyed at ponies not listening to me, grumbling about humans not understanding equine herd behaviors, and irritated at equines not understanding human behaviors, which has basically nothing to do with what you said. At all.
When, where, why, and how I did indicate, show, or so much as feel discomfort? I didn't, which IS making me uncomfortable."
>Flicking her pen over and leaning back on her dam's couch, Starglow's eyes narrow, expression cold and flat.
"You're either dead clueless, dangerously ignorant, or both. I'll be quick but fair this one time: thinking like a human will get you killed. Ponies don't have much common with your species, especially thought processes, considerations, and beliefs. It's the little mistakes, like that one you just committed, which fucks up the first chain link, then starts pissing more and more off..
In short, don't assume anything."

>Doing her best to shut out the past minute, Nao's left flipper pats her side several times rapidly, the young seal's face crinkling in good natured humor.
"Seals of all species are neither elegant nor graceful out of water. When we eat too much and become fat is a problem for long distance travel, but I refuse to become that lazy."
>Head tilting left to blink at her tiny claws, then back at Shanis, her head jolts forwards, pressing warm snout into your finger, retracting with a short giggle.
"The idea of becoming bipedal does not appeal to me, but quadrapedal.. may be acceptable within certain conditions. I am most content with my own limbs, however. Should exceptionally fine tasks be necessary, which I am incapable of performing, there are unicorns, Minotaurs, Crystal ponies, among others."
>Jose's face quickly pursed into itself as if the most sour of notes dried up his every pore.
>God fucking damnit.
>He had to blunder such a fine interaction with presumptions disguised as politeness
>Wincing slightly from the spiritual pain of his mistake, all he could do was face the disapproval from both mares with a solemn, remorseful look.
"Thank you for correcting my hubris. I'm still learning the basics."

>Hoping he hasn't stepped on yet another social landmine with his apology as Starglow prophesized would happen, he'd soon turn towards Nao with a smaller smile than usual, amping up his careful side to avoid any more mishaps.
>A little extra bit of cheer soon washed upon his face when her snout met his finger, causing him to chuckle amicably in tandem.
"That's great to hear."
>He soon placed a hand on his crouched leg, trying to keep things light to counteract what previously happened.
"I personally wouldn't mind not needing to keep my balance via constant muscle microadjustments."
>An inquisitive look arrived as he mulled over what Nao just said.
"How common is the need to do these exceptionally fine tasks for the average pinniped?"
371422 371429
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Senior Advanced Aerodynamics
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Senior Advanced Post-Orbital Technologies
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6 = 4] <Apprentice Aeronautics Engineering
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7] <Proficient Aeronautics Theory & Implementation
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+2 = (3+2) = 5] <Observer Aerospace Navigator
[1d6+2 = (4+2) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10] <Graduate Advanced Human Aviation
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10] <Senior Dual Jet-Turbine Aviator
[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6 = 2] <Apprentice Engineer
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9] <Teacher Fighter Jet Aviator
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (5+6) = 11]
[1d6+6 = (4+6) = 10]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8] <Teacher Pilot
[1d6+6 = (3+6) = 9]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6+6 = (2+6) = 8]
[1d6+6 = (1+6) = 7]
[1d6 = 5] <Apprentice Researcher
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9] <Graduate Single Engine Propeller Aviator
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6]
[1d6+5 = (3+5) = 8]
[1d6 = 2] <Expert Wingman
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 5]
[1d6 = 2] <Expert Aviator
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6+1 = (5+1) = 6] <Expert Perception
[1d6+1 = (6+1) = 7]
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]
The L.O.N.T
Clemency Investigating Harpy Craft.jpg
The L.O.N.T
Clemency Investigating Harpy Craft.jpg
Betterer version.
Breakdown in Communication: Taking A Lead, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
>Rigorously testing the potential challenges of motion, direction, and potential hindrances, the weapon flows between each potential situation.
>Your cognizance and reaction speed are the only necessary facets to engage its guided responses, appearing and dissipating when required, roughly one-quarter larger than the GSL-H9.
>Having no weight outside of a willingly contained Graviton, it could slip between distinctive spectrums, requiring only direct speed of thought and timing to integrate between motions.
>A hybrid concept of what a weapon is, and is not, solely based upon your guidance.
>When and where your own willpower interfaces with accepted Tallus laws and Planar logic, the conceptual junctions between them manifest seamlessly.
>The intentions required to produce its physical parameters imposed a marginally active barrier which was, from what you were able to rationalize and logically consider, are blatantly Psionic in nature, function, and form.
>Your own capabilities in Psionicism, rudimentary in existence, knowledge, function, and concept, feature similar, deeply rooted aspects of magnetic fields.
>Combined with the living inherencies to Lightning, Metal, Gravity, and human electromagnetic properties, the weapon is more than agreeable existing upon the Elemarental Planes of Lightning and Gravity, yet are barely less significant when upon Tallus.

>Approaching the massive suite that was far too large for a singular being, sections of the lower right corner rephase.
>Recreated as an extended alcove, a heavy canopy forms over a comfortable spread of pillow, sheet, and blanket, each thickened by desire.
>Heavy ionic sheets, refined from turbulent actions, encourage entrance behind them, beckoning a state of rest that would not be interrupted.
371433 371439
>The realization that the abilities he was making use of essentially constituted a rudimentary form of Psionicism gave him pause as he stood in front of the reformed canopy bed.
(...Likely a result of influence from multiple high Class entities since first arriving on Tallus. Exact source impossible to currently determine. Current personal psychological assessment uncompromised, but no Amadeus system available for cross reference. If I am capable of exhibiting these symptoms, then theoretically any human should be capable.)

>Turning back to look at the other sleeping party members, he cocks his head before looking back at the bed.
(Then why are they all avoiding using this? Is the concept of 'rest' understood in a more permanent fashion here? Will the bed prevent me from waking? Ownership should not be a concern...)
>Rolling his shoulders, he seats himself down onto the bed again.
>Willing the canopy to become more opaque and close behind him to provide some privacy, he lifts his helmet from his neck with an audible hiss of air.
(Can only hope this isn't a mistake.)
>Setting his helmet next to the formed contour pillow, he lays down and draws the sheets over himself attempting to rest until the rest of the group stirs.
Basin Village, Aftermath 26: The Crystalline Compromise
GM Strangler
>Outside of their disparate actions and within the few accepted commonalities, Watch Guard and Councilierge alike take specific notice of your salute.
>Similarly respectful motions accompaneigh yours at the Basin's impassable south entrance, a complete lack of objections, either by individuals or squads, seem to assure their intentions in honoring earlier agreemarents of guardianship.

>Hearing a single mare sighing deeply, a second quietly snorting to her side, the third, fourth, and fifth share their last few working neurons.
"Try to ignore the Solars. They may not be capable of forgiving."
"Believe me, if Razorback and Stalliongrad were on better terms this wouldn't be the only time we happen to be on the same side without stupid consequences."
"We haven't done anything. There's still two Argus Behemoth-Destroyers we've come into contact with before, and a Riftseeker out there. Can't say we're ungrateful."
"None of us are exempt from our oaths and duties regardless of distance. In case we do not meet again, be as well as a herd planting their garden in spring and a Changeling under a rain cloud."
>Offering quick nods, the five Councilierge mares stiffly clank towards the nearest line of Assault Vanguards awaiting their turn.

>The gathered host pays no attention towards you, joined humming between the factions, sub-factions, and mini-factions, excepting the Ethereal Golem in their center.
>Bucketed head swiveling, quadruple topaz yellow eyes study you from afar, seeming to dull briefly.
>Catching faint subvocalizations throughout, none were speaking in direct language, instead using rapid paced battlesong.. which you didn't know.
>Focusing down on the lead Spireguard for half a minute, the interlaced hums end on a slow, rolling low note, nodding sharply.
"I am not inconvenienced by these tasks, orders, and assignmarents, honored allies. Should enough temporal units remain I will transcribe this conversation and share it with your leaders."
>Triangular shield lifting up to its chest, the Minor Champion bends forwards for a moment, turning to face you and thudding forwards while the crystalline forces separate into their own groups.
>Raising the axe high, then dropping it into the glittering crystalline shield's rear, Vokreed halts barely two meters out, making no effort to move for several seconds.
>Head swiveling to pass over Razorback, then down to you once more, placing the shield tip down on stone, both massive hands holding it steady while the eyes squint.
"Razorback Company has been confirmed to harbor, or be, a significant threat to the Crystal Empire. Only a single unit of your Company is not infected by the corrosive Otherworld effect known as Anti. How do you plead?"
Basin Village, Aftermath 27: An Old, New Again Ritual
GM Strangler
>Receiving a number of replies from Operators glad to separate from the Day Guard contingents, as you walk towards the gathering Lunars, the Village truly had been cleared out:
>Excluding the Bloodhosts surrounding the basin, though the giant one was missing, and the five unknown black robed ponies, not a single casing, shell, belt link, magazine, or clip was in sight.
>No pebbles, leaves, or even tracks of mud remained, half of Basin Village's buildings were blacked out and silent.
>The remainder are filled with unicorns, encased in brightly glowing, solid Lumin armor, sweeping every inch of surface in roiling metallic hues.

>Without a word, Lunars shift their ranks to create a line for Razorback on the east side.
>Reaching the chaotic scene of lances, spears, hoofclaws, blades, and more, the majority were standard, few modifications and enchantmarents of note, they had been solidly melded atop stone in hard set diamond.
>Name and rank carved below each one, the number was staggering; at least one thousand Day, Night, Lunar, and Watch Guard had held.

>Dozens of ceremonial Lunar diamondine blades glitter in the darkness, mares and stallions around you silently withstand excruciating Void scarring.
>Sharp, slashing lines of EnKee are carefully burned into hide, some preferring their ears, forehead, cheeks, around eyes, others preferring their throat or snout to be irrevocably marked.
>Reaching up to take a drop of their own blood, each Lunar tosses it towards the sealed entry before turning to leave solemnly.
>While you couldn't place the significance of each action, it was clear that a specific Lunar ritual was being performed.
Basin Village, Aftermath 28: Shattering Skies
GM Strangler
Shattering Skies, Decrepit.jpg
>Visibly less precise than the inactive hulls and relics Twisted Wing often showed or described to you, this unusual gunship was far more ancient.
>Opposite of Guillotine, it was distinctly a production model as it wasn't seamless, though held to such high standards which weren't remotely feasible without undergoing extreme testing.
>With every weapon set in optimal locations for high speed passes, the rear fins would definitely have allowed it to perform long strafing maneuvers, potentially having some underwater capability as well.
>Knowing that the Otherworld Harpies were capable of sustaining extreme atmospheric pressure and gravitational shocks that even the best pegasus couldn't hope to, this example outclassed everything short of the Burning General herself.
>Comparing the sweeping wings and starkly angled flight characteristics to much higher standards of prototypes or custom refits you knew of, the design was intended to be third or fourth in combat, delivering heavier salvos against opportune targets.
>Curiously, the strange S-like symbol below the canopy brightens, three letters, a dash, and two numbers appearing in Common Equestrian.

>Guillotine's calm voice rings through the high channel, a one-point-two second lag noted from it.
*"Aflit on calm Airstreams now ye grace, mineself hast chanced 'pon. Be they gentled wherest thou stand, or in shrieking torrent?"*
>Subdued thrumming across the channel holds for three more seconds before huffing with an amused lilt.
*"Rites of Destruction hath prevailed 'pon thee Lonely One, nay ae plate nor beam unscathed 'mongst thee Lonely One's docks. Destroyers needeth nae more tae suffer, havest given all tae sing 'gain.
Minest armor plates shattered afrontal, tech-arcane weapons damaged, rents of hull aplenty... mine sarcophagus untouched, least of care to it mineself havest. Afresh t'will all become 'pon a rest taken."*
>Cutting out for six seconds, the Harpy's voice returns, speaking in cold, low tones.
"Returneth mineself would afore He escapeth again, yet worst of troubles havest mineself seen: twinned giants, battleships mayhap equines callest them, havest acome from thee Lonely One. Accompaneighed they be, thousands 'pon thousands within hulls greater than minself aplenty. Aflit they all to Bloodied Arena... ignore mineself they did, not a one's weapons sparked in fury.
Nae simple raid or pillaging, ye grace. mineself havest seen not such ae fleet as times long past."

>Less a pillar and more a central processing unit, or perhaps command and control, it was comprised of the same exact seamless material as Guillotine's hull.
>Machine learning routines isolate channels coming from the unit, attempting to analyze, process, and translate the nonstop stream of data, which the system gives up on quickly.
>Flickering into raw digital symbols, they closely matched the archaic Otherworld Harpy text you'd seen before, but this variant had sixty-five characters, two more than the original.

>Leaping off the canopy and gliding to a stiff series of clops next to you, the Cultist leadmare grunts tiredly.
"This one is the least weird thing I've seen tonight-"
>Reaching her wings forward to rub her entire head briskly, she tilts her head up at you, then nods towards the gunship with a flat expression.
"Because next to THAT I can't think of much that's both safe to touch and isn't deadly to look at. I've poked Scars, held chunks of raw black iron, and once ate a piece of.."
>Pausing to grimace, she unslings the bright silver-toned hard case and sets it before the unit, left wingclaws pointing towards it.
"Pickled watermelon rind. I think this needs the one you have, but I don't know the language."
Basin Arena Garrison-Depot, Outskirts: Three Breaches
GM Strangler
>Landing as Airstreams fade around her, Mercy begins to exhale, streaks of pink, black, red, and blue jolt against blue, yellow, white, and green erupting from her mouth and nostrils.
>Head whipping from side to side in fright, she violently chokes on Ethereal and Void essences battling from inside her own body.
>Wingblades sparking to life on their own, surges of volatile pink-hot energetics snare her down, staring helplessly as MUCH worse begins tearing reality around you:
>The cloud shatters apart as you force it through, then into opposing spectrum polarities, junctions of Void, Overdark, and Ethereal phases.
>Previously ignoring each other, each now meets with pure insubstantial hatred:
[1d100 = 95] <Critical Void Breach: Containmarent Failure
[1d100 = 94] <Void Breach Severity
[1d420 = 149] <Void Breach Duration in Cycles
[1d20+80 = (3+80) = 83] <% of Backlash Intensity
[1d100 = 82] <Critical Overdark Breach: Containmarent Failure
[1d20 = 12] <Overdark Breach Duration in Cycles
[1d50+50 = (19+50) = 69] <% of Backlash Intensity, %
[1d100 = 84] <Major Ethereal Plane Breach: Containmarent Failure
[1d6 = 3] <Ethereal Breach Duration in Cycles
[1d80+20 = (35+20) = 55] <% of Backlash Intensity

[1d6+4 = (5+4) = 9] <Self-Purge
Razorback Fortress: The Pagoda
GM Strangler
>Staring the other mare down hotly, Shanis flicks out a long set of deeply serrated, black-tinged blades from her left wing covering.
"If you could stand to be less of a bitch in the future maybe I won't put you on my ponial shit list."
"I'm under no obligations to be more or less than what, and who, I am."
"Then how does me slapping the arrogance out of your skull sound for an obligation?"
>Tensely holding their gazes, Starglow glances down with a flat, disgruntled snort, the black suited pegasus relaxing into her couch with an annoyed expression.
"Do whatever you like, though I won't be responsible if you twist a feather."
>Muttering several lines in an aery, coldly toned dialect that sounded vaguely French, Shanis tilts her head towards you, wearing a distantly irritated frown.
"I'd ask you to ignore her but that'd take effort better spent elsewhere...
In any case, she is correct on one fact: don't assume. That's the quickest way to make a social faux pas and definitely not the worst thing you could do. Wearing faction regalia, symbols, heraldries, that sort of stuff, in the wrong place is far more likely to cause hostilities."
>Glancing you up and down once more, the white mare's shoulders lift.
"Mmm.. since you're going to Argenta's Lands, I don't think you have anything they'd be offended by. Nice cloak though, wish mine hadn't gotten lost during the move."

>Staring up at the Pagoda's interior beams as if they were the most interesting objects ever, Nao brings her focus down with a bright, partially smushed in smile.
"Swimming requires more microadjustmarent compared to standing, lying down, or rolling. Making a single degree of movemarent in the wrong direction is enough to consistently miss a moving object in water, particularly if said object is evading, fleeing, or in hard current."
>Left flipper curling back to rub her chin, the Polar Seal's whiskers ripple in thought.
"For most in the Colonies? .....two to three times per week. We do not carve as much as our ancestors did, that I am sure of. There are a lot of minerals, gems, and odd things that must be delicately removed from sedimarent, stone, or wood, although the younger, more intelligent drakes, wyrms, and Dragons tend to perform that work instead of us."
>As Jeff waited in line to honor the fallen, Jeff looks into the Village where the fountain was. Lumin armor. Must be a specialized cleanup crew. Not a single piece of evidence, minus the desertion, indicated a battle ever took place.
>He'll try asking where everything went, before he leaves.

>The memorial, upon closer inspection, was built to last. The now master-less weapons were welded in diamond to stone. Only the most malicious of force would dare to move them.
>Numbers aside, the loss was too much. Unnecessary. But it happened. All they could do now is honor and remember their sacrifice, and live for them.

>He sees the Lunars etch various parts of their faces with the diamondine blades. The closest around him he can see they were Void enchanted for a particular scarring effect.
>While no blade has been offered to him yet, he draws the one he had chosen from the Lunar Collective.
>He looks it over, the biteblade uncomfortable in his grip. It's properties still a mystery to him. Does it even have a Void enchantment on it? Perhaps something more deadly that if trying to scar his face would cause a far worse effect?
[1d6+3 = (2+3) = 5] <Junior Researcher
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4]
[1d6+3 = (6+3) = 9]

>In EnKee, he observes what each individual has chosen to bear permanence. On the faces or near the head, to ensure it is visible to the world. As a badge, of sorts. To commemorate the battle, to the fallen?
>A drop of blood from each is added to the memorial, as a tribute he thinks. Like pouring one out, or leaving a personal memento at a grave. He's done that before for fallen friends, and comrades...
>Feeling his connection to the Moors and the Lunars, and considering his position, it only seems necessary he partake as well.
>Maybe he should wait for a safer blade to do the deed.
>What should he even carve into himself, and where?
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6] <Junior Batponies
[1d6+3 = (3+3) = 6]
[1d6+3 = (1+3) = 4]
[1d6+4 = (4+4) = 8] <Proficient Lunar Military
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6]
[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] <Senior Starborn
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (1+4) = 5]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, Rest Stop
GM Strangler
371434 371439
>The Elemarental Plane of Lightning's sum of comprehension dating back eons, or more, translates your thoughts into responses from across the realmic divides:
>You were, once, incapable of actively coherent electromagnetic functionality on the world you came from.
>Then, and there, you lacked all the necessary prerequisites of self-expression, knowledge of your own capabilities, and spiritual connections.
>Upon direct transition to Tallus, the vast barriers, cultural, physical, psychological, and physiological, which had impeded access to Psionicism were removed.
>Your ability to request, direct, command, summon, initialize, partake, influence, and control enchantmarents was not an individual choice: it was native to the vast majority of willing sapients.
>Yet had been lost, forgotten, bred out of, or, at worst, consciously removed from the vast majority.
>The Elements of your own world were dead in bleak comparison.
>Here was, is, and will be a Plane of existential reality that understood what was granted to all, the only hindrances to learning being inheritancy, or a lack of knowledge.
>There were no compromises here.
>One either knew, and had multitudes of freely given options to learn, or did not, and had every right to explore further.

>Turning your attention to the three asleep on the pelt.. Katyal, Lonestar, and Nibbles were, for the majority, unlike you.
>Each was a predator, formed from their own choices, necessities, requirements, habits, needs, and circumstances.
>Each likewise found different layers of comfort atop the deadly, long extinct creature's riotously Lightning tinged hide and hair:
>The Moor cat female holds no compunctions against hunting sentient or semi-sapient beings; to eat is to survive, and eventually to thrive and reproduce is an honored achievement.
>Willing to disregard his own safety, but unwilling to risk the lives of others without clear acceptance, for the assurance of a confirmed kill, Lonestar accepted only victory and defeat; all else was subjective, to be discarded when applicable, or necessary.
>A professional killer, murderer, and manslayer, whether at long range, up close, or indirectly through a screen, Katyal had slain hundreds in her only state of cognizance; few deaths cause joy or a sense of accomplishment, though her sense of purpose was faintly puritan in nature.
>They chose to rest where, when, and how each belonged, principle and purpose being their natures, rather than preferring comfort.
>Once again you felt unlike them: less savage, similarly adept, and more logical, yet questionably so
>Your presence was equally important to the shared, honorable goal each would willingly expend their lives to reach.

>Waveforms extract outwards into full, environmentally sealed sheets, the inrush of nitrogen and oxygen, cohabiting from and with Tallus, tasted and smelled comfirting.
>Settling into an unhindered state of being, specifically designed for recuperation, faint ionic tinges flow across your vision, senses, physical body.. then reach deeply into the void of your own, barely existing spiritual cognizance.
>While your ka had been awakened, rudely, roughly, and with little finesse by Katyal's hurried, slightly ignorant methods, here in this Room you were not treated as a neophyte.
>Psionic by existence and electromagentically attuned as all humans are, to varying extents, the vast lack of knowing your own depths remained.
>Decades and centuries of knowledge to discover, define, and refine would remain, even if you did not accept the challenges.
[1d6 = 1] <Awakening
Ka Convening?
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]<E.A. Lightning Strike (Self)
[1d6+5 = (5+5) = 10]
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
[1d6+5 = (1+5) = 6] (Ka)
[1d6+5 = (4+5) = 9]
[1d6+2 = (6+2) = 8]<Expert Perception + P.A.
[1d6+2 = (3+2) = 5]
[1d6+2 = (5+2) = 7]
[1d6 = 1]<Amateur Earth Pony Psionicism
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]<Graduate Neural Brain Interface Systems
[1d6+5 = (2+5) = 7]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
[1d6+5 = (6+5) = 11]
Basin Village: An Old, New Again Ritual
GM Strangler
>Motionless where they sat around the emptied basin, the Bloodhosts and black robed batponies minutely fluctuated throughout realspace.
>Small, barely perceivable tremors surround each, trace afterimages of blue, red, purple, and black visible, though faint streaks of ashen pink jitter across spectrum boundaries.

>Continuing their duties with stolid purpose, the Lumin armored unicorns rotate around, trading off from both fatigue and weariness.
>Presumably the ones to have removed all materials, and while you couldn't read unicorn, they were visibly undertaking a thorough, purposeful spiritual cleansing of the Village.
>Bright Lunar sigils relaying their actions to each other instead of speaking, known symbols for 'Tainted' flash between remarks of Lunar corruption, Plasma corruption, Eldritch taint, Planar essences, and multiple equivalents to 'purification'.
>Theirs is a sacred act of duty and commemoration, were only removing evidence out of necessity to prevent further contamination throughout the entirety of Basin Village.

>Grasping the biteblade firmly in hand, releasing, flexing, then exploring the unmarked, unremarkable features.. your eyes firmly attune in near-Moonborn thought processes.
>This one was created during the Late Dynasty Conflicts, right at the initial actions and stages of what would lead to the Lunar-Solar War.
>The weapon was unnamed and did not deserve one, according to the imprints of those Lunars that designed and shaped it, among tens of thousands more.
>Grandmaster gem-smiths, shapers, crafters, Mystics, Necromarecers, Druids, Elemarentalists, Geomarecers, batpony cultists, and dozens alike had designed it solely to inflict destruction.
>To kill sentient and sapient alike, where blood must flow and Anima existed to be stolen.
>To destroy Undead and Spectral alike, where physicality was unimportant and Animus was to be rendered inert.
>It wasn't intended to have other purposes, rendered as a final, completed weapon in service, to serve, and to be delivered by principle, but it was created in honor.
>To score yourself with it would not be presumed wrongful, yet it wasn't the proper tool to be marked by.

>Stepping back into histories, hundreds of similar rituals existed across Moorite, Lunar, and some Ferron regions of Mainland Equestria.
>To sacrifice a drop of blood in remembrance of others, dedicating the recognition of fallen family to the future inheritance of equinity had always been part of Luna's children, whether related, distant, or otherwise.
>As family, to family, no matter who, where, what, how, or when an individual occurs.
>Combining several of the most common rituals, the Moorite's favored memorialization, an older Lunar remembrance, a Ferron rite of thankfulness in service, and a Starborn ritual borne from the end of the Lunar Guardians, Basin Village was now consecrated as a place of immarense holiness.
>Composing multiple, older blood rituals into a single form was beyond remarkable: such changes had never occurred in Lunar or Moorite history.
>The unusual modification of adding favored heraldry, ribbons, streamers, and bands to weapons was, however, an ancient Rushyan, then later Stalliongrad, custom, beginning during the Early Dynasty Era.
>Yet, that last had now been fully embraced by Moorites, and it seemed even their most viciously fanatic, xenophobic factions accepted it wholeheartedly and without reservation.

>Becoming aware of thousands of eyes upon you, a mid-50's unicorn Commarender, unusually in dark purple Charger armor, stomps forwards.
>Presenting a deeply Void-touched diamondine ritual blade, hilt first atop a cloud of red energies, her helmet shakes side to side, faint impressions of sincere apology felt from her.
"I will request that you do not use the unnamed ones. Weapons made solely for the purposes and principles destruction do not serve well as tools of honor, but I will not deem such unworthy. It is your choice that I must respect."
>Looking over the biteblade, Jeff comes to the conclusion that it had only one true purpose.
>Forged in an era where a weapon was going to be of the utmost necessity. An era of war. Not a skirmish or battle here and there. The Lunar-Solar War.
>To kill and drain the life of the living, and to exorcise the unliving and render their spirits nonexistent.
>Undeserving of a namesake, therefore he will not give it one.
>It was a tool for destruction, not for ceremony.
>What he was planning on using it for would be a waste. Tabooish.

>Going over what he remembers from Lunar military history, this ritual took practices from several era and nations.
>Blood tribute, ornamentation, inclusion. All combined into a clear and powerful display to honor the fallen with.
>The Lunar Collective would probably find this memorial fitting, had they not taken off hours ago.

>As he mulls over the why and hows in his head, he suddenly feels the eyes of the Lunars and others upon him.
>The token human Starborn ready to partake in the old-yet-new Ritual. Or he was about to de-FACE himself with a true weapon of war.
>A unicorn Commarender approaches Jeff, with a more appropriate blade to perform with the ritual.
>Nodding his head and sheathing the old Lunar Solar War biteblade, he give her a apologetic smirk.
"Right. Best to leave it to was it was made for..."
>Tilting the Gepard off of his shoulder, he places it on the ground next to him and rotates his shoulder to get the feeling back into it.
>He groans inwardly at not switching shoulders to burden the heavy rifle more during the march.
>Right arm limbered back up, he grabs the handle of the blade offered to him by the Commarender and draws it out of its sheathe.
>Cradling the edge of the blade in his left palm, handle in his right, he murmurs to himself with hesitation.
>He leans in slightly, whispering under his breath to the unicorn mare.
"What to I mark myself with? A word... a symbol? Does it mater where?"
Taking A Lead: Breakdown in Communication, The Storm King's Room
GM Strangler
>To sleep is to rest.
>To rest is to recover.
>To recover is to regain, and to regain that which was lost, forgotten, or removed is honored.
>The second, fully equalized purpose of this Room was shared between yourself and what you became aware of accepting once stepping inside.
>Finding thorough contemplation in active, unrestrained thoughts as your physical body relaxes, recuperating from the strain of Night, sections of physicality and spirit meet.
>Seeing yourself between organic eyes, the dim traces of mind, and the essences of those which lie unspoken, untold, untaught, and unfelt, between and beyond cognition all, you convene, aptly so.
>The body, trained to act in principle.
>The mind, tuned to act in purpose.
>The ka, fettered, forgotten, and dysfunctional, once only capable of yearning through the incomplete senses of either.
>Now, yet no longer.
>Reaching forwards to greet the disparate selves, Three of you become One, then, at last, the Only.

>Time neither slows nor increases in the Room when cognizant, instead the separation between the states of consciously awake, unconsciously guiding, and subconsciously active join together.
>You know each physical motion and reflex during this safe, comforting rest, before it occurs, as it occurs, and why.
>Each specific thread of thought, memory, and recall combine, your sole, true self narrowing down possibilities that were previously effort-intensive.
>This new, fascinating vector, untested and unlearned as it was, knows the links between everything and nothing.
>Recalling Hollow and Dancing Eyes, you were little different from them: the waveforms of controlled electromagnetic, neurological, and empathic responses were untrained as you had only minor experience, but not for long.
>The same effort to deliberately initiate and invoke an enchantmarent's affects or effects was the same as provoking one's own currents to influence greater wholes around the self.
>Thought becomes shape, shape become forms, forms translate into actions.
>While utterly weak in humans, Psionicism was inherent and necessary.
>Just as it is to both the direct earth pony descendants of the False Otherwold Empress, and those which were able to grasp her teachings, though some had, knowingly and unknowingly, betrayed their archaic connections to the Elemarents.
>Sections of the puzzle labeled 'why' remain unanswered, the knowledge of having the basic awareness to enact, modify, and change, the same as a Psion could, yet thoroughly and safely less than the horrifying, all-self-knowing Primal Psions suffered from.
>Yet, like any muscle or skill, this must be carefully trained.
>While Katyal, Lonestar, and Nibbles could not aid your learning, they will offer clumsy support, pronounced sparks of your own dry humor relate.
>Hodch will surely be confused at the abnormally ludicrous circumstance, his caution would override curiousness and he will be obligated out of friendship to aid you, but could not share relevant knowledge.

>Among the equines you knew that could directly teach the basics of Psionicism, some... were definitely better than others.
>As it would be easiest to start with one and expand later, there were highly rated, specific options:
>Illusions, while viscerally pleasing to the eyes, weren't as much to the ears or senses, requiring expertise to appear and sound realistic.
>Psikineticism, which some call psychokinesis, was 'merely' the act of moving objects using thought and energy rather than physically doing so; likewise projecting combined electromagnetic, Gravitic, and Lightning essences as substantial, physical weapons was common.
>Solidified waveforms, technically part of psikinesis, but mostly used in defensive and utilitarian purposes, though enhancing physical capabilities or offsetting negative ones was a known side effect.
>Mental contact, consisting of directly reading mindscapes, physically-produced electromagnetic wavelengths, and translating patterns of neural thought; while incredibly tricky albeit potentially useful, the act of doing such could be highly volatile.

Pareidolia: Minor Psionicism Unlocked.
Basin Village: An Old, New Again Ritual
GM Strangler
>Head bowing for three seconds, the unicorn Charger stands upright, dull purple eyes half-lidded in exhaustion beneath clear diamondine plates.
"I intend neither disrespect nor dishonor. Those which are unnamed should not be removed from Armory or Reliquary without explicit purpose, and guarded intentions."
>Turning to lift her chin at the sealed weapons forming a gate, the mare exhales heavily through nostril slits.
"While it may be time to revoke their long rests and be returned to service once more, I do not believe most ponies will readily accept them. Councilierge, Day and Watch Guard will suffer equal battles against their own relics and artifacts of prior generations."
>Touching the late Lunar-Solar War relic's tightly bound hilt, eerily comprised of strands taken from Naghtmare tails and manes, the dagger's edges draw out into elongated, esoteric shapes.
>Helmet turning to dip at an earth mare silently undergoing cruel, yet gently firm scarring on her snout, the Commarender's eyes close slowly in thought.
>Opening to meet your gaze, her voice rolls in distant, quietly vibrating subtones, horn lighting in a stark Moonslone glow and wrapping the relic blade's handle with the same.
"That which must be willingly shared and known by All Creation,
Placed by those whom share the suffering of equinity as you do,
Marked as worthy dedications in EnKee within this holiest of places on reality."
>...a Channeler, you realize belatedly in faint alarm.
>Similar to a Shamare in most respects, each are partial empaths, capable of exploring the divisions between physicality and the pseudo-realities that Spectrals, Wraiths, and Revenants inhabit, though not without some danger.

>An apparent reconnection has been made.
>An often lauded and much maligned "third sense" that from his Earth at least, never bore much fruit beyond a specific project that was certainly much different from the common idea of the concept.
>Yet, yesterday's delusion has become today's reality.
(Command would have a hard time believing this. Research's occultic branch would probably be having a field day... )

>A strangely familiar intuition actualizes itself within the operative's mind.
>A model, a framework of perception that achieved its results based on intuitive understanding.
(Not far removed from some models of magic in fantasy novels and anime. The "Art of Visualization" where rules are defined by the user's cognitive limits and an energy resource. Does this mean I can genuinely claim to have an evil power sealed within my arm? )
>It thankfully felt hale and wholly familiar as if acknowledging something that had long been present but never named.
>One of the benefits of an intuitively driven power.
>The impetus for this actualization seemingly traced to an understanding of the nature of utilizing enchantments, treated as an extension of one's self despite not being an original part of it.
>The potential for this power was staggering...
>And the implications were disturbing.
(Initial guess was correct. Any human is capable of developing these powers. Then the potential for contamination is extreme beyond measure. Possibly even greater harm than mere technological introduction or cultural contamination.)

>The need for a firm, effective methodology to control its development would be critical.
(Both for myself and for other human psionics. Another structure that will need to be implemented alongside even more Damage Control.)
>Razorback may have some viable teachers for the "types" of psionicism, but current pressing issues need to be addressed first.
(Would prefer not to involve even more ponies into human affairs. May be best to seek out Tipper given her unfortunately copious experience with human affairs already, but only if this operation succeeds fully... otherwise the stress may damage her.)
Sunny Feathers
>Well, that didn't work. In fact it had made matters a lot worse.
>As the vortex of hostile opposing energies began to form around her, Sunny realised it would be a very, very bad idea to remain amongst them.
>Somersaulting off the cloud and away from the epicenter of the vortex, Sunny examined what she could of it with what little she knew.

[1d6+4 = (2+4) = 6] < M.Evasion - K.I.A
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]
[1d6+4 = (3+4) = 7]
[1d6+4 = (6+4) = 10]

>The Void energies appeared much more violent and insistent than the other two, but there was a good chance the Overdark and Ethereal energies would tag team it in a sense. It was hard to tell which would come out on top.
>She may be able to do something about the Void breach given the energies that suffused her, but only if it overwhelmed the other two and only if she was very, very lucky. At least something positive would come of that particular inconvenience, but then, this wouldn't have happened if she hadn't been suffused with those energies to begin with.
>Opening her mouth, nothing came out, whatever Mercy had done to her still held its sway, she had not even succeeded in breaking out of the Overdark.
>No communication whatsoever, no tools, no reinforcements.
>Further, she wasn't tall enough for this ride, nothing in her arsenal would have any effect. Her hoofclaws may, but so much as getting near a breach like this was much too dangerous, to say nothing of what would be coming out of it shortly, and what it would be dragging in.
>So she wouldn't be able to tip the scales in any way.

>Mercy seemed to be having a rough time, she couldn't be sure, but it looked as if two of the conflicting energies were conflicting inside of her.
>Sunny felt at once remorse, and no sympathy for the mare. She could look after herself, as she had just made very clear.