Trope A Day-Casual Interplanetary Travel

Casual Interplanetary Travel-The joys of anti-gravity and gravity drive technology, you can reach a lot of destinations in days if not hours, easily.  Civilian ships can accelerate up to 5-6Gs, with military warships able to accelerate up to 12Gs and do so as long as they have fuel for their fusion reactors.  So long as the gravity drive doesn’t decouple (i.e. be unable to provide acceleration or deceleration at velocities over 50% to 70% of the speed of light), most ships use high acceleration torchship trajectories.

So far, nobody has done the whole “planet cracker done cheap” because (a) nobody thinks in terms of that kind of violence, (b) it’s hard and isn’t satisfying to rule a pile of rubble, and (c) in many ways, the wealth is from the living beings on the planet, not any material resources (many of which are easier to get from space).

How Did We Get Here?

“Seriously, how did we get here?”

“Well, first there was a light, then there was the word, then there was…”

“Less theology, more current affairs.”

“Okay, short version?  We missed our target.”

“Beg pardon?”

“You know we have to hit a star to come to a stop from being in Tunnel Drive, right?”


“Well, that’s not exactly accurate.  We just need to hit a sufficiently large enough gravitational mass.  Stars are easy, because they’re huge targets.  You can see them a long way away, they move in a predictable way, that sort of thing.”

“Go on…”

“So, we were slightly off target and missed the star we were aiming at.”

“How do you miss a star?”

“It’s a small target when you aim at fifteen light-years or so, with fifteen years worth of light lag.”

“So what did we hit?”

“We hit a very large gas giant, which was literally a pure stroke of luck, who knows how long we’d have been under drive otherwise…”

“So, once again for the back seats, where are we?”

“Haven’t a clue.  We’re off the charts.  I’m running a skywatch program now and…ah.”

“I don’t like the sound of that ‘ah,’ what was that ‘ah’?”

“Good news is that we’ll able to get home soon.  Bad news?  We’ve got two cruisers incoming and they look to be Equestrian.”

“Well, damn.”

“That’s about what I said.  They’re hailing us, do we respond?”

“I’ll respond.  Something about being the ship’s captain, that sort of thing.”

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.