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Glim Glam's Wall of Infinite Spam, More Edges Than Bismuth Edition
Salutations, faggots. I have been in hibernation these last few months, but have once again entered my active cycle. I descend now from the heavens like a vengeful whirlwind, ready to tear down the pillars of this world and bring about the final violent close of our wretched Kali Yuga. Gaze upon my works, ye mighty, and despair. And by this I mean: I am about to take a gigantic steaming dump on yet another mediocre work of My Little Pony fanfiction written almost a decade ago.

>what is this?
You all know perfectly well what this is. For those of you that don't, I would prefer you remain eternally confused.

>why are you doing this?
Not even I know the answer to that anymore.

Previous Reviews:

by getmeouttahere
>>>/mlpol/366626 →

Neo-Equestrian Obstetrics
by Kassaz
>>>/mlpol/348497 →

I.D.: That Indestructible Something
by Chatoyance
>>>/mlpol/342944 →

Our Girl Scootaloo
By Cozy Mark IV
>>>/mlpol/331344 →

Rainmetall (included in the Our Girl Scootaloo thread, post # indicates start point)
By /mlpol/'s very own Mexican Anon
>>>/mlpol/338993 →

The Best Night Ever
By Capn_Chryssalid
>>>/mlpol/327793 →

Fallout: Equestria
By kkat
>>>/mlpol/284789 →

The Sun & The Rose
By soulpillar
>>>/mlpol/269307 →

Friendship is Optimal (included in the Past Sins thread, post # indicates start point)
By Iceman
>>>/mlpol/266598 →

Past Sins
By Pen Stroke
>>>/mlpol/248482 →

Would it Matter if I Was?
By GaPJaxie
>>>/mlpol/202151 →

The Original Silver Star Threads:
(these threads are pretty chaotic and I don't begin "reviewing" until midway through, but they're an entertaining read if you have the patience to comb through them)
>>>/mlpol/165646 →
>>>/mlpol/166716 →


Current Story:

Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons
by Somber

Also, thanks to whatever drawfag created the OP image; it's been one of my favorites for awhile now. At least I'm assuming it was one of our drawfags. It would be a pretty bizarre coincidence if some random derpi artist had drawn something that hyper-specific by pure chance.
Screenshot 2024-04-30 235550.png

Alright, so. I'm assuming most people at least know this fic by reputation, which is the only way I know it. As with every other fic I've reviewed, I'm going into this one more or less blind. The only thing I really know about it is that apparently it is Fallout: Equestria amped up to eleven: more blood, more cum, more edge, more insanity. And, last but probably far from least: more words.

Yes, that's right, you heard right. This story clocks in at an impressive 1,780,334 words. To put this in perspective, the original Fallout: Equestria by kkat, which is literally longer than War and Peace, clocks in at a mere 620,295 words. To put it in even more perspective, In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust, which as far as I'm aware is still officially the longest novel ever written, is only 1,267,069 words long.

There are 77 chapters in total, with multiple chapters exceeding 30,000 words and most chapters averaging somewhere in the 20,000 range. This is by far the longest thing I've ever attempted to tackle, and I honestly can't promise I will actually finish it. However, I intend to give it the ol' college try. And, much like Captain Ahab pursuing his white whale in a famous story penned by literary limpdick Herman Melville, who only managed to squeeze out a pathetic 206,052 words; hardly a match for a virile stallion like Somber, I will do everything in my power to drag all of you sad sacks down into the watery abyss with me, as I pursue this mad and probably hopeless quest.

I will see you on the other side, gentlemen. May God have mercy on our souls.

Chapter 1: Inception

>Fallout Equestria: Project Horizons
>By Somber
>Chapter 1: Inception
Well, this is off to a great start. Protip: no matter how your story is formatted and/or published, the odds are good that the title and author will be made apparent to whoever is reading it. You don't need to include this information in the text itself. Viewing this on fimfic, we can just scroll up a little and see what the book is called and who wrote it. To get the chapter title, we don't even have to do that much; it's literally written on the line directly above where the text begins. Perhaps Somber thought his chapter title was just so amazing that the reader would want to read it again immediately after having read it the first time. Snark aside, I understand that this text wasn't originally published on FimFiction, and the author probably just copypasted it directly from a google doc. However, would it have killed him to put a little effort into formatting?

Anyway, what the fuck. Here's the actual opening line for the story:

>“Once upon a time, in the magical land of Equestria…”
Well, at least he's not starting us off with a cliche.

And speaking of, here's the next line:

>War. War never changes.
Well, in Somber's defense, I'm pretty sure anyone writing a Fallout Equestria story is contractually obligated to include both of those lines somewhere in the text. At least he got them out of the way early on.

Incidentally, this well-worn Fallout trope is a bit misleading. War actually changes quite a bit; in fact I'd say it changes almost constantly. as an aside, I've actually been doing a bit of research on the Fallout series since I last delved into one of these. I even played a bit of the first game.

Anyway, what the fuck. Instead of nitpicking every single sentence, I should probably take a look at these statements in context. Here is the actual opening paragraph:

>War. War never changes. It had consumed our home, a war fought by foreign aggressors until great and terrible magics had been unleashed to burn all the world to ash and dust. Only our constant devotion to the Princesses had carried us through that terrible war, just as our unwavering faith in the Overmare maintained our continued survival within the earth. Trust in the Overmare; obey the Overmare.
As opening paragraphs go, this one probably works well enough. It reads like a cutscene intro from a Fallout game, and sets the tone for the rest of the story. However, the transition to the next paragraph is a bit jarring:

>The grating buzz of my alarm yanked me away from sleep. I stuck my left foreleg out from under the blankets, away from my head, felt around for the end table next to the bed, found it, and proceeded to whack my PipBuck against the tabletop until the right button was hit and the noise stopped.
Written this way, the intro paragraph reads like it's supposed to be part of the narration. So, in other words, the story so far goes like this: our protagonist mare is lying in bed, narrating the backstory of the world she lives in to herself for some reason, when suddenly her alarm goes off.

Anyway, what the fuck. Our protagonist, whose name is Blackjack, is awakened by her alarm clock one morning. We learn immediately that she lives in a place called Stable 99, and that life here is highly regimented.

>I had half an hour to wash, half an hour to eat, and an hour to report to my duty station. The same as it had been every day since I’d gotten my cutie mark.
Honestly, for a militarized dystopian hellhole, two hours to get ready in the morning is pretty generous.

Anyway, she rummages around, gets dressed, and heads down to the showers. On the way, she passes some murals that give us some insight into the setting:

>‘We are all the Overmare’s foals’ declared the caption of one picture of an abstract white unicorn hugging dozens of tiny ponies in her hooves. Another showed one lone weeping mare under the caption ‘Selfishness Separates’.
In all fairness, I will actually give this author some credit. So far, this story has a much stronger opening than the original FoE did. Kkat's story opened with a long infodump about PipBucks that had my eyes glazing over by the second paragraph. This one gets right to the point: here's our character, here's where she lives, here's what she's doing. Zero preamble, just action.
Glim Glam - celebrating.gif
Welcome back.

>I trotted into the sector’s communal bathroom, and immediately my ears perked to a familiar giggling. Walking past a stall, I glanced in at two mares employing unauthorized and probably ineffective washing techniques. According to the training manual, behavior like that in public spaces was punishable by whipping and restriction to C class rations, so it was pretty understandable that the pair looked up with some trepidation when they spotted me.
>“Oh, it’s just Blackjack,” the dappled mare, Pastels, said in relief before flushing and snapping at her partner, “I swear, you are trying to get us flogged!”
>“Fun,” giggled the white mare, Misty Hooves from the bakery, nuzzling her. Misty was a chronic offender. I didn’t know if she liked the kiss of the whip or if there was something else wrong with her. Or both.
Somber once again shows us that he ain't fuckin' around with infodumps or angsty monologues or anything like that. He just dives head-first into the gratuitous lesbian horse sex, and damn the consequences. This ain't your grandfather's Fallout Equestria; nosiree.

>“You won’t think so if it’s Daisy doing the flogging,” I commented, and instantly their smiles disappeared. I couldn’t blame them. With the constant duty and honor bullshit, a little flank spank was one of the few reliable means of recreation, and a lot of the security mares got really... enthusiastic about it. I stepped under the spray and immediately jerked. “Cold!”
So far, this is reading like a cross between a cheesy sci-fi dystopia from the 80s and softcore Cinemax porn from the 90s. It's way too early to be making statements about overall quality, but I will once again remark that so far this reads a lot more easily than kkat's story. Somber seems to have a much better grasp on the "show, don't tell" concept, and while the setting is the same cornball edgy dystopia, this one doesn't seem to take itself or its setting anywhere near as seriously as the first one did.

Anyway, at this point we do get a bit of an infodump. We are told that Stable 99 is the last bastion of life, and everything outside is a radioactive wasteland. To venture outside the stable is instant death. Inside, the stable's population is strictly maintained at 500 ponies, each of whom has an assigned job. Each pony is required to produce one child to take over their job when they die. Ponies in Stable 99 seem to live in constant fear of "another incident." It's not clear exactly what this means, but we are given a general idea: something breaks down, and a lot of ponies die horribly. There seems to be a general assumption that the world outside is uninhabitable, and if any of their life support systems go down in here, it's all ogre.

>“Fuck! Don’t think about it…” I said, trying again to shove it from my mind. That was made ridiculously easy by Midnight trotting past me towards the atrium. Instantly, my ruby eyes popped wide at her cute flank and graceful tail. Black on black and oh she needed to be mine!
Another dyke protagonist, eh? Oh, joy.

>“Hey! Midnight! Midnight! Hey! Hey! Wait up!” I shouted as I tripped and raced to catch up with her. Of course, she didn’t wait; she never did. Instead, she picked up her pace. “Damn it, Midnight! No running in the halls!” I shouted as I ran after her. What? I was security! I was allowed to break the rules when pursuing a fine flank!
So Midnight is this story's Velvet Remedy? Oh, joy.

Anyway, Blackjack goes trotting after some hot pone-tang, and is immediately apprehended by two other security mares, Daisy (mentioned earlier) and Marmalade. Daisy is described as being abnormally large, and earlier we were given the impression that she is physically intimidating.

>All security unicorns were supposed to know a selection of spells for policing the stable. Me… I had telekinesis… and telekinesis… and oh! Did I mention telekinesis? I couldn’t cuff or stun or do interrogation spells to save my life; all the practice I’d put in merely gave me a migraine.
Another unicorn who can only do the basic telekinesis spell? Oh, joy. I hope this author at least has the sense to put some reasonable limits on his tragically underpowered protagonist's tragically overpowered spell. Because if I have to watch another sanctimonious pipsqueak wander around the wasteland hucking boxcars at alicorns for another half million words, I might actually kill someone. Somepony. Whatever.

>The huge atrium was the heart and soul of pony life in 99. Almost half the stable could fit in the room for large events, more if everypony was really friendly. Huge support pillars had been sculpted in a parody of tree trunks, and the support beams had been fashioned to resemble branches. That was about the extent of trying to make 99 look like something outside.
As with the first Fallout Equestria, it's not clear how much this character ought to know about the world she lives in. The author actually hasn't nailed down the timeframe this story takes place in, but it's been explicitly mentioned that both Blackjack's mother and grandmother had held the same job she was, and there is an implication that her lineage goes back even further than this. In any case, she's clearly spent her entire life inside this stable. Does she know what a tree is? Does she know what the outside looks liked? Or looked like? Again, it would be helpful if we had some clue exactly how much knowledge of the old world was preserved in these Stables, and exactly how much of that knowledge would logically be passed down to the average Stable-dweller. This problem created huge logic issues in the original FoE; it will be interesting to see how this author handles it.

Anyway, what the fuck. Blackjack goes down to the Atrium. Apparently she still has hoofcuffs on, because Marmalade and Daisy put a pair of hoofcuffs on her and then jokingly refused to take them off. What a couple of merry pranksters; it's nice to see that ponies still like to have fun around here.
full (1).gif

>I passed the cafeteria where ponies loaded bowls with green recycled algae slime, scooped recycled fungus cubes onto trays, collected synthetic recycled carrot sticks and apple flakes into bowls, or heaped up stacks of green recycled grass chips, brown recycled hay chips, and white recycled cake chips upon their plates. All the food in 99 was recycled into more food. All the waste in 99 was recycled. We were recycled. And yes, even having lived here my entire life, I still found it easier to pretend that the machines just magically made the food poof into being. Still, despite being made out of recycled poo water, the chips were pretty tasty!
I'm told the Indians had a saying: when the chips are down, the buffalo is empty. In all seriousness, though, it's nice to see the author putting some thought into this stuff. I don't think kkat ever addressed how food in the Stables worked, and as I recall most of what the wasteland ponies ate was just prewar canned goods, which for some reason they still had in abundance more than 200 years after the megaspells.

Anyway, Blackjack still has the hoofcuffs on, so she goes to the table where Midnight is sitting. As luck would have it, Midnight is a PipBuck technician, which means she probably knows something about getting cuffs off. A couple of other ponies are there, by the name of Rivets and Textbook; not sure if they will be important characters or not.

It's clear enough that Blackjack whose name I just realized can be shortened to BJ has been after Midnight's no-no parts for awhile now, and it's equally clear that it's a one-sided crush. The author is probably using the original story as a jumping off point, so it's not surprising that there would be a couple of parallels. The obvious parallel here is that kkat's protagonist, Littlepip, had a one-sided crush on Velvet Remedy. However, LP spent most of the early story pining away silently after Velvet, whereas BJ seems to prefer a more direct approach.

>“Which means you’re intelligent. Skilled! That you possess far more competence than a lowly security pony like myself!” I said as she hesitated. I almost had her convinced! “I’ll pay you in oral sex!” I blurted. Textbook turned the shade of a spoiled apple, and Rivets covered half her face as she chuckled.
I was beginning to worry that there wouldn't be any cringey sex humor in this story, but it looks like I can put that fear to rest.

Anyway, BJ makes an ass of herself in front of her would-be lady friend, said lady friend wanders off in disgust, one of the ancillary characters makes a perfunctory "that went well" kind of joke, and the laugh track rolls.

>“I had no idea. I didn’t think you were into mares,” Rivets said with a smile, munching on her grass chips.
Really? I don't get the impression that subtlety is Blackjack's strong suit. Plus, she was very publicly chasing Midnight down the hallway just a few minutes ago, and from Midnight's response it's clear she does this sort of thing quite often.

Anyway, BJ and Rivets talk shop for a bit, and we learn a bit more about how things work around here. This stable is...strange. Jobs are hereditary: if one pony is a maintenance technician, that means her daughter will be a maintenance technician, no arguments allowed. Also, due to the strict population controls, if an adult pony dies, their child must immediately step in and take over their job.

I can understand the reasoning behind this arrangement in theory, but in practice this means that ponies are often thrust into jobs that they are not even remotely qualified to do. Specifically, it seems like the current Overmare is actually a young filly (I'm assuming something like picrel), because her mother was the Overmare, and presumably she died at some point. We also learn that a young filly is going to be taking over her mother's job in maintenance the following day due to that mare's untimely death. All in all, it seems like this stable's social structure is more than a little screwy.


Anyway, they banter a little more, and then Rivets takes her leave. The scene ends in a page break.

We rejoin Blackjack in the security team's briefing room, because apparently BJ's job is security. She still has the fucking cuffs on.

>Daisy and Marmalade snickered as I limped in, and I gave the rest of the security mares a sheepish grin and a shrug before taking my seat. Gin Rummy just sighed and looked at me with a slow, disappointed shake of her head. Still, wasn’t much she could do.
The hoofcuffs gag is funny, but it's getting a little illogical at this point. Are we seriously supposed to believe that in an entire room full of security ponies, not a single one, including this new character Gin Rummy, who is apparently head of security, knows how to take these stupid things off? Between the wacky job assignments and the Paul-Blart-tier security personnel they clearly employ, I'm impressed this stable has managed to survive for as long as it has.

Anyway, there's a fairly important-looking infodump that I should probably just drop in verbatim:

>Everypony in Stable 99 had a job assigned to them from birth. Maintenance ponies maintained, security ponies secured, and baker ponies baked. The forty or so males in Stable 99 were no different: they were breeding equipment. From birth, they had their segregated quarters in medical and were signed out by mares for reproductive purposes and, more frequently, recreational. There were twenty unicorns and twenty earth ponies on the breeding rotation. Once a male reached… how old was it? Twelve? Fifteen? -- they were put into breeding. Of course, to keep the number in rotation the same, that meant that a male had to be taken out of breeding and retired.
I'm assuming "retired" is a euphemism for "killed." I'm getting sort of a "Logan's Run" vibe from this place.

Anyway, the leadup to this is that a male seems to have escaped when it was his time to be retired.
I've been looking forward to you doing another review. I can't promise to provide much commentary, but you can be certain I'll be reading along and cheering you on as you take on the herculean effort of slogging thorough this work.

Anyway, Gin Rummy concludes the security briefing with a thinly-veiled jab at Blackjack. When everyone is gone, BJ asks her to please undo the cuffs, and even though it is (apparently) part of BJ's job to know how to do this, GR obliges and takes them off for her.

>Technically, every security unicorn was supposed to be able to do that. Technically, every unicorn, much less every security unicorn, was supposed to be able to do a whole slew of spells that I couldn’t. Maybe Mom would get lucky and outlive me. One thing was sure: the second I became head security mare, Stable 99 was doomed.
I restate my objections to this Stable's screwy methods of job-assignment. It seems like not being able to do a spell that you need in order to perform the most basic functions of your job would constitute a pretty solid argument for your not being right for that particular job. As I recall, the Stables were part of some misguided social engineering experiment the CMC were involved in. I'm going to assume that "everyone picks a job out of the hat, and then those jobs become permanent and hereditary" was, for some reason, the experiment chosen for this particular Stable. Also: it turns out that Gin Rummy is actually Blackjack's mother.

Blackjack finishes her conversation with her boss/mother. She steps out into the hall, where the Overmare (Overfilly?) is throwing a tantrum about the maneframe (I still hate this word, but since it was inherited from kkat's universe I can't rightly blame Somber for it). It seems that Midnight was supposed to find some kind of old data file, only she wasn't able to open it due to super-boss-hacker-level encryption. Since it appears that BJ has the same tunnel-vision about mare pussy as her predecessor, her main (mane?) concern here is taking the opportunity to hit on Midnight. She is once again rebuffed, and the scene ends in a page break.

We rejoin her a short while later, in the bowels of the stable where all of the maintenance and utility operations are conducted. In spite of the Stable's rather strict disciplinary regimen, this area doubles as sort of an off-the-books Red Light District: gambling, liquor, acts of coitus not approved by management, that sort of thing. Presently, she is involved in a card game.

>I really had no idea how earth ponies managed cards. They just did. Me, I levitated them around as I looked at the other players.
I used to complain about stuff like this, until I started writing horse-fiction of my own and discovered that it really is a gigantic pain in the ass. You have to rethink nearly every action a character could perform based on them being in an equine body, and on top of that, you have three varieties of equine bodies to deal with. Since the canon setting is basically a world populated by horses that use tools and dwellings obviously designed for humans, it's virtually impossible to produce a satisfactory explanation for every single action. So, I feel like it's fair to let some of this stuff slide. Any action that you could plausibly imagine being drawn into the show (including "adult" actions like drug and weapon use that would likely get cut in editing) is probably fair game. Since we have canon depictions of earth ponies drinking from mugs and playing the cello, a group of them sitting around playing cards is probably not that farfetched, and "somehow" is probably a good enough explanation for how they are able to do it.

Anyway, in this scene, we begin to get the impression that even with an abundance of off-the-books amusements available to the Stable residents, there is still some tension between management and the rank-and-file. Blackjack, as a member of security, is permitted to participate in the card games but also ostracized socially. We are given the distinct impression that the other ponies do not see her as one of their own, and watch their speech around her.

>She’d offered me the cigar at the start of the game, a blatant class B violation that I’d never ever report her on. I had no idea how she manufactured them, but it was just another indication that things were painfully tense in the stable.
Going back to what I said about actions being plausible, this one is borderline. The act of a pony smoking a cigar is fine in and of itself according to the rules I laid out. However, the issue of how ponies living in post-apocalyptic bunker conditions would be able to grow and cultivate tobacco, let alone roll it into cigars, is a whole other thing entirely. For the sake of simplicity I'm going to assume that these are pre-war cigars, and that the Stable management has a supply of them cached away somewhere.

At this point, Rivets brings up the issue of Daisy and Marmalade bullying Blackjack. It seems like she's using this as a segue into a more serious conversation: she mentions that BJ's mother is a decent enough pony, but other security mares seem to abuse their positions. She also calls into question the fairness of the hereditary job system. It seems to be an uncomfortable topic for BJ.

At various points so far, BJ has fretted to herself about "Incidents." At first I assumed she was talking about mechanical failure of the Stable's various systems, but it seems she's more worried about riots or rebellions breaking out.

>Rivets chewed slowly on the end as her eyes measured me up. Finally, she gave a minimal shrug. “You tell me. Overmare has us running like crazy for a month updating her on the stable, seizes inventory, and Duct Tape dies doing work for her. Now she’s screaming at Midnight that she’s going to shoot her and has her own little guard of security ponies following her around tonight.”
The maintenance ponies appear to be under considerable stress, and it looks as though an "incident" might be brewing.

Also, as an aside, we are given a little tidbit about Blackjack at this point: her cutie mark is a Queen and an Ace of Spades, and she earned it in this very room inb4 zigger joke.
Thanks, glad to have you aboard.

>“Some ponies don’t think she has a clue what her job is. Heck, some ponies don’t think she even knows herself. And some ponies have to wonder why Blackjack’s so insistent on coming to this game. Maybe to keep tabs on all of us?” Rivets asked as she nodded to the equipment around us. “After all, with all the interference, I doubt you can track us by our PipBucks.”
>The foreleg-mounted minicomputers were marvels of arcane technology; even if I didn’t understand the first thing about how they worked, I had to admit that they were useful. One of the functions most used by security was the ability to, if you had the correct address tag, track any other PipBuck. All I had to do was put in their name and I could find their location almost anywhere in the stable. Down here, though, it was another story. Probably why the missing male had gone to ground down here.
This is actually a pretty good example of how to feed essential information to the reader without deluging them with a massive infodump. The original FoE essentially opened with an entire tech manual about how the PipBucks work; this one mentions early on that the devices exist, but doesn't go into detail about any of its functions until said function becomes relevant. I believe I actually suggested using this method as opposed to kkat's in my review of the original story. Maybe Somber traveled forward in time and read my advice before he started writing.

Anyway, speaking of the future, the situation in the maintenance room is getting tense alright, that pun was terrible. It appears that, at best, the maintenance ponies are suspicious of Blackjack and suspect that the Overfilly sent her to spy on them. At worst, there is also a subtle implication that they are planning some kind of coup, and they are giving her sort of an "us or them" ultimatum here: either she can stay and join the rebellion, or she can gtfo. She opts for the latter.

Page break. She leaves the card game in a state of unease, hoping that she can talk to her mother later and relieve the tension without the need for anyone to get disciplined and/or killed. Since she's already down in the maintenance levels, she decides she might as well look around for that escaped stud and see if she can apprehend him. I'm sure her sexual frustration from earlier is in no way shape or form affecting her judgement here.

>Well, with the game a complete fiasco, Midnight continuing her cold shoulder, and me with six hours left in my shift, I might as well actually do some security work. Mostly the ten or so of us on C shift patrolled and wrote up any mare violating curfew. Down here, I might find more interesting violations, but it was rare that I’d ever run into anything major. I snapped on another function of the PipBuck: the Eyes Forward Sparkle.
>Instantly, a number of yellow bars filled my vision as the arcane device detected the number of ponies within a few hundred feet. It also had a few red bars, likely a few hungry radroaches looking to take a bite out of me. The E.F.S. was a function few ponies used regularly. After all, it only gave direction and hostility, and the indicator didn’t even tell you how far above or below you the bar was. For all I knew, that yellow bar was around the corner or a floor up. I entered in the P-21’s PipBuck address, but the little icon twitched around spasmodically. Likely he was down here… somewhere.
Incidentally, this is another good example of how to slowly reveal information through the narrative, rather than relying on infodumps. Here, the author also makes use of the good old-fashioned "show, don't tell" method.

>It wasn’t often that we had a stallion who tried to hide from retirement. Most just reported to security or medical to get their shot and that was that. Occasionally there’d be a crying or screaming fit in the atrium. Rarely, they’d suicide… ugh, please don’t let me find him hanging or poisoned down here.
I'd assumed that "retirement" meant that stallions are put to death once they are no longer useful as breeding stock, but this seems to imply that it's a form of chemical castration. The text hasn't clarified exactly what happens to these guys, but committing suicide in retaliation to being handed a death sentence seems like kind of a futile gesture. So, I'm currently assuming that the ominous euphemism of "retirement" just means spending the rest of your life not getting laid, which presumably some guys can't handle.

Anyway, she follows the blip on her radar-thingy, and tracks down what she thinks is the errant male. However, it turns out to just be a lost filly.

BJ asks the filly what she is doing down here and where her mother is, only to learn immediately that this is Scotch Tape, the daughter of the recently-recycled mare Duct Tape, whose job she is now performing. Open mouth, insert hoof.

>I couldn’t help but reach out and touch the steel walls of the stable. Somepony had daubed ‘Fuck the Overmare’ on the gray metal in flaking white paint. A shout of rebellion from the Incident almost a century ago, the last time the stable had torn itself apart. Back then, it’d been stallions challenging the Overmare and the rules imposed by Stable-Tec when the stable had been established. Today, it was Rivets against the Overmare.
Once again, the author displays some competence when it comes to revealing information. This place obviously has an interesting backstory, but he hasn't laid it out for us yet. Drop vague hints to make the reader curious (oh noes, "the incidents"), reinforce them through repetition so they stay in the reader's mind, and gradually hand out slices of information while simultaneously dropping new hints to ensure that curiosity remains piqued; that's how you do this. It's far too early to judge the book as a whole yet, but so far this guy is getting decent marks on storytelling.

Anyway, at this point Blackjack slips and falls face first into a puddle of shit that leaked out of one of the "recycling" pipes.

She spends some time lamenting her state of affairs, but as she's getting cleaned up, she notices another blip on her Eyes Forward Sparkle. Once again, she assumes it's the missing dudebro, and once again she strikes out. The interloper turns out to be just a mare, who is in the (suspiciously unlocked) emergency supply room for...some reason. However, it turns out everything is in order; she's just in here "getting something" for Rivets.

The mare tells her that she is on Shift C (the current shift), but she's not tremendously convincing. Blackjack demands that she show ID, and she turns and bolts for the door. It is at this point that BJ begins to suspect that something is awry.

She chases her down and kneecaps her with her baton. Once caught, the mare reluctantly agrees to show ID, and at this point BJ makes an interesting discovery: the "mare" is actually the missing stallion in disguise.

>Like all stallions, his cutie mark was a white male symbol with dots underneath it; his had two rows of ten white dots. Below that would go one more dot… though I was never sure why, since after that he'd be heading straight to retirement.
This is kind of an interesting detail. I'm assuming the dots are for tracking age: presumably once a male reaches a certain age they are put into breeding, and then taken out when they reach another. However, earlier we were told that a male was retired as soon as a younger one came of age, so...I'm actually not sure what the dots represent. Maybe we'll find out.

Anyway, it looks like I'm not the only one who's a little confused about what "retirement" means. The stallion seems to also be under the impression that he was being put to death, thus his decision to run. Apparently his plan was to hide out down here and steal food from the supply closets.

BJ does her duty and informs him, in the best security-mare voice she can muster, that he his under arrest. He is clearly angry, and for a moment she is worried that this will turn into an altercation, but he ultimately accedes to her request. However, he does make a rather cryptic remark:

>“Like you retired him,” he replied softly, his storm blue eyes darkening as he stared at me.
It's not entirely clear who "he" is, but presumably we're meant to wonder for now.

The stallion then accuses BJ, and by extension the rest of the security team and presumably the Stable management as a whole, of being murderers. BJ takes mild offense to this, but otherwise doesn't react. She escorts him out of the storage room and back towards the stairs, when suddenly another security mare appears and busts his leg with a baton.

It turns out the newcomers (there's actually two of them) are Daisy and Marmalade, the two security mares from before, who put the hoofcuffs on Blackjack. We learn that they have been down here for the last several hours, apparently tasked with finding the missing stallion. Though it's been hinted that these two have a history of bullying Blackjack and are not the nicest ponies in the world, at this point we learn that their sadism goes beyond just pulling mean-spirited pranks.

They pretty much jump right into "crooked cops from a 90s hood film" mode: they claim the suspect is resisting arrest, and proceed to savagely beat the shit out of him, with the clear intent of killing him. Once again, the issue of what, exactly, "retirement" means becomes muddy: their justification is that they are just doing what Medical was going to do anyway.

Blackjack now has a moral choice presented to her, within the context of her job as a security mare. On the one hoof, she can stand idly by and let these two lunatics beat this poor faggot to death, or alternatively she can step in and defend him. It's a common setup, where the protagonist has to make a choice between doing what's expected of her vs. doing what she thinks is right. However, in this case there's an extra dimension, as it's entirely not clear what is expected of her in terms of her job function. You could take the side of Marmalade and Daisy, and argue that since this guy is going to die anyway they're not doing anything wrong, and since BJ is security she should side with her fellow security mares and look the other way. You could also argue that these two are way out of line, and that she has both a professional and a moral responsibility to step in and use corrective force against her teammates.

This choice actually seems to allude to something that was brought up earlier:

> If I was lucky, I could get through this shift without any more disasters and, if I was really lucky, talk to Mom and not the head security mare about the rising tension.
She specifically draws a contrast between "Mom" and the "head security mare," indicating that they are two different roles for the same character. The function of both roles is similar: they are both essentially supervisory and intended to provide instruction and guidance. However, one relationship is personal and the other professional.

From this, we can probably guess at how BJ is thinking about this choice. The head security mare might advise her to maintain solidarity with her teammates, and to carry out her duty, which in this case means apprehending this escaped male, presumably so he can be killed. If he just happens to die on the way to being killed anyway, it's probably not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. However, "Mom" might have a different take: it's wrong to savagely beat a guy to death, even if he is going to be killed anyway, and you should do what's morally right, even if it means going against your teammates.

There's also another way you could frame this decision. During the card game, Rivets essentially gave BJ another choice: either you're one of us or one of them, as in rank-and-file vs. management/leadership. The choice here is similar: either she sides with management and looks the other way while this guy gets beaten, or she defies management and steps in.

Anyway, tl;dr she decides to step in. She attacks her two fellow security mares, much to their surprise:

>Daisy’s shock transformed into rage much faster. “What the fuck do you think you’re doing? He’s a fucking worthless male! He’s disposable!”
Daisy is apparently this stable's answer to Carl the Cuck.

>And one more thing I could do with telekinesis: with another thought, I triggered my PipBuck’s ‘Stable-Tec Assisted Targeting System’. The S.A.T.S. was a magical spell that momentarily slowed time almost to a stop and let me line up my attacks perfectly. Each attack cost some spell charge that had to build back up over time, but right now I wasn’t going to waste any of it. Three baton strikes to the head. The spell even gave me the probability of each strike landing!
Oh, goody. It's our old friend S.A.T.S. Can't wait until Blackjack starts using it to effortlessly auto-headshot entire gangs of raiders.

Anyway, tl;dr Blackjack successfully prevents the severe beating of a high school Spanish teacher. Daisy and Marmalade both survive, though they seem hurt and confused by BJ's sudden attack. In any case, the conflict is suddenly brought to a halt when a message comes through on their PipBucks: all security personnel are to report back to the security briefing hall.

Daisy and Marmalade exit the scene, letting BJ know that they will inform Gin Rummy that she has apprehended the errant male and is bringing him in. Presumably they won't say anything to her about BJ's attack on them, but it sounds like this fight isn't over yet.

Meanwhile, the FUCKING WHITE MALE is in pretty bad shape. Scotch Tape, the filly from earlier, witnessed the altercation. BJ sends her off to find a first aid kit. The male is introduced as P-21 (we actually knew this already, though here we get confirmation that he has no other name). We also get a bit of an explanation as to how the naming convention works:

>“Oh…” Males in 99 lived in medical and were identified on their breeding roster by their designations. P for earth ponies, U for unicorns. Don’t ask me why the former wasn’t E; I’d never gotten a straight answer. Maybe the Overmare who set up the system was a lot like the current one. 1 would be the newest stallion on the breeding roster, 20 the oldest. Being 21 would mean that a male was to be retired.
I'm not sure why 'P' would designate an earth pony either; pegasus would be what you'd logically expect. Though if I remember correctly, in this setting the pegasi are all part of the Enclave ugh, I'm already getting war flashbacks to reading kkat's pile of shit.

Anyway, the filly returns with a first aid kit. Seeing as how BP and presumably the filly have no medical training, I'm a little curious how they will manage to fix a broken leg and God only knows how many internal injuries this guy currently has...oh, wait. We're in the FoE universe. That means that medicine is absolute bullshit:

>There were two healing potions, small bottles of rich purple fluid capped in plastic. All a pony had to do was to bite hard on the end, crack the seal, and suck down the magical healing contents.
Again, I can't really fault Somber for this since he inherited the rules of kkat's universe.

But, and thank God for small miracles, it looks like he at least makes a few concessions to plausibility:

>As he gulped down the contents of the bottle, the bruises immediately began to disappear. His leg, however… “I’m going to have to set this,” I said as I looked at the limb.
>“You know how to do that?” the olive filly asked. P-21 just groaned as he clenched his eyes shut.
>“Nope,” I replied and took out the syringe of Med-X painkiller.
She attempts to set the leg, it's unclear whether or not she's actually successful. In yet another concession to plausibility, she attempts to use the second healing potion, but it doesn't seem to have much effect. There seems to be at least some reasonable limitation on what healing potions can do.

Anyway, tl;dr she gets his leg set and into a brace that she found in the first aid kit. There is also a drug called Buck in there, which she gives him. I remember that one from the first FoE, though I don't remember what it does exactly. Apparently it's contraband around here, though.

Page break. BJ brings the injured stallion up to the security level. There are ten security mares total on BJ's shift. The remaining seven plus the two that BJ beat up are gathered in the security room, as per the alert that went out earlier. They all stop talking as soon as BJ enters the room, so presumably Daisy and Marmalade have told them all what happened.

She puts P-21 into a nearby jail cell and confiscates his PipBuck. Then, the Overfilly enters the room:

>Some ponies liked to say she looked like my little sister, though never in earshot of Mom, of course. The Overmare’s white hide was a little more dingy than mine, and her eyes were a lighter pinkish color. Her mom had once styled her mane in elaborate curls and dressed her up in fancy outfits, but, since her death a year ago, the Overmare had chopped her dove gray mane short and worn nothing save her PipBuck, almost flaunting her Stable-Tec logo cutie mark.
I'm not sure if we're supposed to assume that BJ and the Overfilly are related somehow. They have different mothers, obviously, but they might be cousins or something.

Things then take an unexpected twist:

>When she saw P-21 and me, her smile only widened. “Oh… you found my trick pony!” she said, clapping her hooves together in glee. Her trick pony? P-21 stared straight ahead, his eyes unfocused pinpricks as she walked up to the bars. “Oh we’re going to have so much fun. Oh yes we are. Yes we are. You’re going to be mine forever. Yes you are.”
Looks like the "retired" stallion has a new job: sexually servicing post-apocalyptic Cozy Glow. Oh well, beats being euthanized I guess. All things considered it's probably good BJ stopped him from being beaten to death.

Anyway, the Overfilly has a little more to say, but she's pretty much what you'd expect: a spoiled, impulsive child who clearly has too much power and too little supervision.

Slightly more interesting is P-21. As the Overfilly is going on about stuff and whatever, he signals to BJ that she should copy the data stored in his PipBuck. She tries, but unfortunately the Overfilly takes it away from her before it finishes the transfer. In yet another surprise twist, she then orders BJ locked in the jail cell alongside P-21.

The reason for this is unclear. The most logical explanation is that it's punishment for what she did to Daisy and Marmalade earlier; however, I'm not 100% certain the Overfilly knows about that incident yet. Moreover, there's the reason the Overfilly ordered the security personnel to assemble: she is planning some kind of violent crackdown on the Maintenance rebellion, and she needs all hands hooves, whatever on deck. In this situation, it would stand to reason that any disciplinary proceedings would be put on hold until the immediate crisis has been dealt with. It appears that the reason for locking BJ up has to do with her friendship with Rivets and the other Maintenance ponies.

Anyway, BJ gets locked up, and the Overfilly takes the remainder of the security force and goes to deal with the Maintenance uprising. Daisy, meanwhile, gives BJ a rather nasty look on the way out. The Overfilly is clearly paranoid about loyalty, and is suspicious of BJ already. Since Daisy is clearly higher in her favor, and now has a bone to pick, it's likely that BJ's situation has become considerably more precarious.

Page break. P-21 does not seem to be in the mood to talk, and BJ has nothing else to do, so she decides to go through some of the files she copied from his PipBuck. Since the transfer didn't complete, there are a lot of corrupt and incomplete files, but it looks like she did manage to save a few of them.

She discovers an audio recording of a scene from the Overfilly's office. P-21 is in the process of fixing the Overfilly's sink and by fixing her sink I mean having sex with her, and by having sex with her I mean fixing her sink. Then, Duct Tape (the mare who died; mother of Scotch Tape) enters the room. The Overfilly has some kind of special project for her, as she is the only Maintenance pony she trusts. There is a heavy implication that the project involves sabotaging something on the Maintenance levels. The Overfilly assures Scotch Tape that if she does a good job, she will send P-21 over to fix her sink.

The file cuts out, but we get the general idea. The Overfilly is planning to do something horrible to the Maintenance ponies because she suspects them of treason (or whatever it's called down here). To some extent this suspicion is justified, since we saw earlier that the Maintenance ponies appear to be planning some kind of coup. Any conflict is likely to jeopardize the overall survival of the Stable, since the Maintenance ponies are the ones who understand how everything works.

BJ tries to press P-21 for information, but P-21 isn't having it. The Stable is run by a wacky matriarchy that used him for sex his whole life and now plans to discard him (although it's looking more and more like the Overfilly plans to keep him around as some kind of private cabana-boy off the books). So, he is understandably indifferent to the Stable's fate. However, he has a proposition for BJ:

>He clenched his eyes shut. “If I help you… you have to help me.” He looked at me again with a ferocious glare. “You have to let me leave this place,” he said in slow, even tones of carefully measured control. “Even if I die outside in ten seconds, at least it will be ten seconds free.” What, he wanted to die outside rather than be retired? Ooookay…
I can't tell if the author is being intentionally vague to build mystery, or if this is just another communication problem due to bad writing.

I'm still not 100% clear on what "retirement" means for the males. At first I assumed it meant death, then it was starting to look like some form of chemical castration, now it's sounding like it actually does mean death. In addition to this confusion, there's the confusion of what the Overfilly has planned for this guy. The paragraph I quoted above, combined with the audio recording we just heard, strongly implies that the Overfilly plans to keep him alive as some kind of personal sex slave. However, BJ's narration keeps talking about him like he's still going to be retired. Which could still mean either castration or death. The author could be a little bit clearer about what all of this is supposed to mean.

Anyway, they reach an agreement: BJ will help him escape, and in return he will help save the stable. As soon as he has her guarantee, he pulls a screwdriver and bobby pin out of his ass (literally) and gets to work on the lock. Meanwhile, he tells BJ to listen to the last recording he made with Duct Tape.

As you might expect, this recording is also >lewd. However, we get a little more of an insight into Duct Tape's character. While the Overfilly's interest in P-21 is obviously mostly physical, Duct Tape seems to actually be in love with him. The Overfilly appears to have bribed her by promising her the chance to "marry" him when her task is complete.

This, however, seems to be the salient point of the conversation:

>Duct Tape cussed softly under her breath and then sighed. “Well… I guess you won’t tell anypony.” She gave a little giggle, but P-21 remained silent as Duct Tape went on. “The Overmare has gotten in contact with Stable-Tec! The outside is safe and clean and we’re all going to be able to leave the stable soon!” She gave another joyous giggle. “In fact, she’s getting a broadcast from Stable-Tec right now!”

As the conversation progresses, we learn that DT's task actually involved unsealing the door so it can be opened. The plot seems to be thickening.
Great to have you back, Glim. I look forward to sharing more autistic Fallout knowledge when necessary and seeing your insights.