Trope A Day-Secret Government Warehouse

Secret Government Warehouse-The Ministry of Ghosts maintains one of these, called the Silent Library.  Where it is and how it works is kept a very, very strict secret [1], but for the very few that know about it, it does the job of keeping things stored very, very well.  To the best of anybody’s knowledge, there hasn’t been an accidental release of anything from the Silent Library since it was built.  Considering some of the things that are stored there (one of which is a zombie plague), that’s saying a lot.

The Griffin Moot’s Special Working Group maintains the Ghost Floats-under the theory that a moving target is better than a stationary one, no matter how secret or well protected.  It’s known that the minotaurs and zebras maintain their own depositories, but what these depositories are and how they work are so secret that they might not even know what they do or how they work.  All they know is that things are kept secure and that’s all they need to know.

What happens when changelings get ahold of dangerous artifacts…usually requires somebody else to deal with the problem.  Often by a saturation bombardment from orbit.

[1]-The Silent Library is basically a Earth-sized huge ball of metal orbiting a pulsar in an orbit that sweeps it through the radiation bands every 10 hours.  Dug very deeply into the planet is the Silent Library, which incorporates all sorts of additional security systems, from AI-driven guns to massive physical separation of dangerous artifacts from anything that might come in contact with it.  Oh, and several very large anti-matter weapons to make sure nothing ever gets out.

Getting to the archive is tricky.  You have to come out of Tunnel Drive from one of only three or four stars that gives you a trajectory that doesn’t slam you into the radiation bands.  Then, you have to get your ship into dock on the planet before the planet itself goes through a radiation band (this limits you to ships of less than 100,000 tons, since anything larger can’t use anti-gravity).  And, you have to get through the automated defenses that will shoot first, shoot again, and interrogate the remains if you don’t identify yourself properly.

Ships Of The RESF-Cruisers

The Royal Equestrian Space Forces consider cruisers to be the minimum weight ship for most independent missions, from convoy escort to piracy operations to ground support that doesn’t require a full Ground Forces deployment.  In addition, cruisers were also considered to be the minimum escort for capital ships such as battleships, dreadnoughts, and super-dreadnoughts.  The biggest issue with cruisers in the RESF is that there would never be enough hulls for all the missions needed, which caused the RESF to make due in a number of ways (such as using light cruisers in heavy cruiser missions).

The end of the Horizon War saw the class deal with the “teething troubles” that the large-scale war generated.  This is reflected in the building of the newer classes of cruisers, including the Big Macintosh-class heavy cruiser, which are larger and heavier than the pre-war classes.  The Big Macintosh-class masses nearly as much as a pre-war battle cruiser, which is reflecting a new doctrine of classifying ships by their mission, not their size and mass.

(Note-Equestrian ships of Cruiser weight are called “Earth Pony”-ships, and are named after famous Earth ponies in Equestrian history.  The initial class names for these ships, like most other Equestrian warships, came from the Elements of Harmony.)

Pinkie Pie-class Light Cruiser

One of the workhorse starships of the RESF (along with the Applejack-class Heavy Cruiser), the Pinkie Pie class weighs in at 19,000 tons and 200 meters from bow to stern.  The ship mounts two 8cm buster launchers forwards and four 6cm buster launchers in the broadsides, with a ventral and dorsal mounting.  Long range fire is provided by two plasma torpedo launchers, which give the ship a dangerous ability to force enemy ships to maneuver the way the Captain of a Pinkie Pie wants them to move.  Armor and shields are at the same grade as most other light cruisers, with the same heavier point defense fit as most other Equestrian warships.

One of the oddities of the ship class is that every fifth ship that comes out of the shipyards has…quirks.  Never anything that would cause the class problems in combat, but there is always something about the ship that would be…funny, if you were to laugh at it.  From the occasionally odd color that food has when it comes out of the fabricators to showers that suddenly squirt at ponies, these odd quirks have kept engineers, engineer’s mates, and the Bureau of Ships busy continuously.  With the end of the Horizon War, a new light cruiser (Cheese Sandwich-class) is entering production.

Applejack-class Heavy Cruiser

Considered to be “average” in all respects to all other ships of its weight and size class, this 25,000 ton and 220 meter long starship mounts four 8cm buster launchers in the bow, six 6cm buster launchers around the hull, and four plasma torpedo launchers for long-ranged engagements.  With the exception of point defense (which is heavier than the average), hull armor and shields is about average for the ship’s size and class.  The class also mounts full flag facilities for independent squadron operations, allowing it to operate as a command ship for smaller fleets.

The ship has little to complain about-or to compliment.  It is, in many ways, average and while other starships in its size class may be more one thing or another, the Applejack-class has the advantages of being average and being able to be built in large numbers.  It fills so many roles that the default assumption of most strategic planners is “have at least one or two squadrons of Applejack-class cruisers available.”  One trivia note is that this ship class was being slowly replaced during the Horizon War with the Big Macintosh­-class of heavy cruisers.

Big Macintosh-class Heavy Cruiser

The successor to the Applejack-class of heavy cruisers, the Big Macintosh-class is pushing the weight of pre-war battlecruisers at 39,000 tons, and 240 meters in length.  Carrying four 8cm buster launchers in the bow, six 6cm buster launchers around the hull, and four plasma torpedo launchers, the major differences in this class is that the plasma torpedo launchers are much heavier than the ones mounted on the Applejack-class heavy cruiser.  Heavier armor is also mounted, in addition to shields and point defense to heavier levels.

The major advantage of this class was the plasma torpedo array, which constituted a serious threat to any ship trying to close with a Big Macintosh­-class ship.  Point defense, following standard RESF doctrine, was heavier than its equivalent heavy cruiser hull used by the other powers.  A number of Big Macintosh-class heavy cruisers were built prior to the Horizon War and saw service during the war.  After the war, construction of the class was accelerated to fill the many roles needed by the RESF after the war.

Trope A Day-Vagueness Is Coming

Vagueness Is Coming-Something’s happening on the frontier.

Nobody knows what’s happening.  Fleets are moving.  Troops are shifting locations.  Diplomats are heading out to talk with other diplomats.  The Ministry of Exploration has been quiet all of a sudden.  And, nobody knows why.  Because, something is happening on the frontier.  And, it’s not the usual sort of thing, because everybody knows the signs for things like a new Changeling empire showing up, or possible trouble with the Griffin Moot, or even if the dragons decide it’s time to see how ponies taste again.

It’s…different this time.  Whatever is happening on the frontier.

Trope A Day-Great Big Library Of Everything

Great Big Library of Everything-Quite a few of these, actually.  Assuming you don’t count the Wired itself as a huge storage repository, you have the Canterlot Main Library, which is the single largest building on Equestria, let alone library.  The main library wing is so large, it has a dedicated pegasus weather team to keep the humidity down to prevent damage to the books.  The card catalogue was printed once, and it came out to something around twenty million pages of 8 1/2×11″ paper.  The specialist library sections are built to scale.  Pretty much everything that has ever been produced or published or otherwise created within the Kingdom has a copy stored at the Canterlot Main Library, or one of the storage branches scattered throughout Equestria or the Kingdom proper.

Runner up for this is the House of Knowledge in the Zebra Imperium.  The Griffin Moot boasts that the Library Of Wonders is larger, but it doesn’t have the same history and gravitas as the Canterlot Main Library.

For secret libraries, the Ministry of Ghosts maintains the Silent Library-a repository of dangerous magic, artifacts, and things that should never be let out…somewhere.  The Special Working Group has the Ghost Floats, a number of ships that store dangerous things on perpetual looping missions through the entire Griffin Moot.  Unit 999 has a storage archive…somewhere, as well as the Silent Ones.

Trope A Day-No Such Thing As HR

No Such Thing As HR-Hilarious averted, and it’s even occasionally competent, as well!  Even when you have to deal with alicorns that have Ultimate Job Security, ponies that do their job occasionally way too well, and ponies that do their job in…unique ways.

There are ponies that have the right Cutie Marks for handling this kind of problem.  And, the one that looks like a cattle prod might be a joke.  Maybe.

On Pony Sizes And The Space Program

Ponies are small.

If you want proof of their genetic engineering origins, Equestrian ponies sizes are a good hint.  The average pony is about four feet tall, which puts them in the size and weight categories of St. Bernards and similar dog breeds.  Alicorns are coming up on five to six feet in height, but this is a rare thing.  Which makes the fact that they’re sapient is odd, but their brains are built more…compactly than the evolution-driven brains that humans have.  This leads to odd problems when their brains go wrong…but, usually a pony that has one of the various mental issues can be talked down and helped.  Or, at the very least, the damage can be fixed.

Ponies are also pretty darned tough.  Injuries and issues that would be fatal or crippling to a human merely results in long hospital stays, a Dope Slap, and strict instructions to Not Do That Again.  Radiation, poison, baked bads…it’s a good thing that ponies have a proper vomit reflex and they heal very well, even before the advent of nanotechnology.

Why does this matter for discussing the Equestrian space program?

To steal a Bill Cosby line, “I told you that story so I can tell you this one.”

When the Equestrian space program began in 1009 ANM (and took off very quickly in 1018 ANM when the entire solar system changed), the most apt description of the program could be summed up as “very Kerbal with fewer, but more impressive, explosions.”  One of the very Kerbal things that the Equestrian did was built was Orion Drive spaceships.  Now, these were reasonably sized ships, usually  launched into space from Equestria then supported by SSTO rockets or the steady development of space plane technology.  When the Equestrians built the first orbital elevator, Orion Drive ships would be decommissioned and replaced by fusion torch drive ships, later ending with the development of gravity drive technology.

But, in that brief moment between the first Orion ship and orbital elevators, there was Sky Crasher.  The ultimate proof that when ponies go nuts, they go nuts.

Sky Crasher was designed to be a massive cargo lifter, designed to heft truly epic cargoes to orbit and around the Equestrian system.  To give you an idea of how massive the cargo lift they expected, the primer charge (used to start an Orion ship’s drive plate, because starting an Orion drive with a full power drive charge will ram the shock absorber pistons into the ship proper) in a standard Orion drive was rated at ten kilotons.  Sky Crasher would have used a primer charge of three hundred kilotons.  The full-powered drive charge was a six hundred kiloton two-staged propulsion charge.

(To give you an idea of how powerful this is, the W87 warhead on the  Minuteman missile comes out at about 300-475 kilotons, and aren’t built for propulsion.)

Development work went as far as the building of the main drive plate before somebody in the Ministry of Space went “what sort of an insane idea is this?!?” and canceled the program.  But, in that brief moment between authorization and cancelation, they expected to launch major payloads.  The one completed drive plate would be sent to Canterlot and the entire Engineering campus of Canterlot University would be built around it.  Engineering students would have to calculate the fluid dynamics of the water fountain cycling from the center of the plate.

Trope A Day-Legally Dead

Legally Dead-The usual end result is that “oh, you’re dead, let’s find your latest backup and restore from there”.  Which, of course, leads into the only mostly dead issue.  And, comedy when the original comes back and you have two copies of you running around.  Especially if your copy has been doing a lot of stuff while you haven’t been around and it’s been too long to merge the two versions of you back together.  Usually, what happens is that the local courts will figure out a way to either duplicate or divide the assets and spread them out as evenly as possible.