Memorial

“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived.“-General George S Patton

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Fifteen steps in tap shoes to cross in front of the memorial.

Lieutenant Sun Light of the Royal Equestrian Ground Forces wore the ceremonial armor for the post, polished brass to a fine shine, spear held in his vector controller, and helmet plume finely brushed and even.

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The memorial was one of the battles of the Horizon War, one of the few major land battles of that conflict. Three thousand seven hundred and ninety-two names were carved into the black marble, by name and mark, of every Equestrian that had fallen in that battle.

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There was also the names of the six thousand two hundred and sixteen soldiers of the Imperial Griffin Army inscribed on that memorial. Lieutenant Knurl Wing of the Imperial Griffin Army crossed his path silently, in full ceremonial armor and fighting claws on his front claws.

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The memorial was a half-circle built into a hillside, the names of the dead sorted only alphabetically. No ranks, only names and cutie marks , if they had any, adorned the memorial site.

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Every day, from dawn to dusk, there would be a guard for those that had fallen. They had all served to their very last, those that could not be recovered, their cortical stacks destroyed or too badly damaged for recovery. And, they would not be forgotten or left alone by anyone.

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Trope A Day-Derelict Graveyard

Derelict Graveyard-The one big one that usually referenced is the Kaladros Wastes. On the edge of the frontier between the Griffin Moot and Equestria, both nations maintained garrison forces on the only world in the system, and warship fleets in the space surrounding the Wastes. They did this even during the Horizon War, and kept the neutrality of the location throughout the War.

The reason for this is simple-the Kaladros Wastes is a Precursor graveyard. The job of the fleets and the garrison is not to keep scavengers and unauthorized exploration parties out. They do this, mind you, but it’s not their primary job.

Their primary job is to keep whatever is in the Kaladros Wastes in.

Trope A Day-What You Are In The Dark

What You Are In The Dark-It’s amazing how many being in the Equestriaverse will do the right thing when nobody is looking. Or nobody will notice, or care, or even take note of it. If they don’t, they’ve probably fallen so far down the slippery slope of morality that they’re a danger to everybody around them.

The question of this heightened morality is natural or built in is a major question that keeps being asked.

Trope A Day-Stop Worshiping Me/Unwanted False Faith

Stop Worshiping Me/Unwanted False Faith-Alicorns.

Full stop.

To say that alicorns are powerful is like saying the sun is a little warm, the sea is a little salty, and hard vacuum is short on breathable material. Twenty-seven beings that the Equestrian ponies revere in various degrees of worship from “the very hoof beats of Faust on the universe” to “very powerful beings that you should respect for that power.” The weakest can kill starships in orbit, the strongest and eldest among them are basically “do not attack, unless you want to prove there is life after death by direct examination.” They are capable of many things…

…but, some things are beyond them. They cannot bless. They cannot bring back the dead (the truly dead, not someone that died but has a cortical stack). They cannot heal beyond what is available by technology. And, the process of becoming an alicorn, Ascention, is something that an alicorn can only provide guidance once the pony has made it half-way there. Whatever counts as half-way for that particular pony.

But, this doesn’t stop ponies from trying to pray. To beg for a miracle. To ask for a blessing. To pour faith into twenty-seven being that for the most part…can only do what they can do and not much else.

For at least six hundred years, the alicorns of Equestria have been trying to reduce the size of the pedestals that they have been put on by ponies. So far…there hasn’t been too much reduction.

On The Transcend And Free Will

Alistair Young has brought up a great point here, and it’s worth answering in a much longer posting-

So, this gives me a curiosity: what would they think of the individuality-preserving type of collective consciousness, like the Transcend?

(One might think that “perfect liberty with perfect coordination” is a pretty decent way to say “Harmony”, after all.)

The average response to a member of the Equestriaverse to the Transcend and what it is…for the most part, it would fall into one of three categories.

The first category, mostly embraced by the Senate and Minotaur Republic would be simply, “KILLITKILLITKILLITWITHFIRENOW!!!“. From a sociological memetic viewpoint, the Black Beast left massive scars. Any potential violation of free will and the ability to formulate free will is to be fought against, even if that means death. Any efforts by the Eldrae to try and point out that the Transcend doesn’t interfere with free will and determination will result in a variation of the quote from Mass Effect 2 on gods (dead or otherwise)-

“Chandana said the ship was dead. We trusted him. He was right. But even a dead god can dream. A god — a real god — is a verb. Not some old man with magic powers. It’s a force. It warps reality just by being there. It doesn’t have to want to. It doesn’t have to think about it. It just does. That’s what Chandana didn’t get. Not until it was too late. The god’s mind is gone, but it still dreams. He knows now. He’s tuned in on our dream. If I close my eyes, I can feel him. I can feel every one of us.”

The Transcend warps things, to their perspective, in ways that are like a force of nature. That it warps things to try and create the best possible universe is irrelevant. That it obeys the Coricál Consensus is merely the rules that us mere mortals know of the game of Gods. Who’s definition of the best possible universe? And, who’s a pawn and who’s a player in the game of gods?

(And, yes, alicorns worry the Senate and Minotaur Republic.)

The second perspective is “it’s neat, but who bells the cat?”, and this is mostly held in variations with the Griffin Moot, the Zebra Kingdoms, and the Changeling Omnivoracy.  From the bottom up-

The Changeling Omnivoracy would love the Transcend…if the particular Empress was the one in charge of it. After all, shouldn’t they be in charge of the general direction of the Changeling race? Creating and blazing their own path to the future and the ways of how the universe should work? This is one of the reasons why all of the other races do everything they can to prevent a Changeling Empress from evolving further. They theorize that an evolved Empress (what they call a Demiurge) would rule over Empresses like the Changeling Empress rules over the Queens and nymphs. And, that would be a black, black day for the rest of the universe.

To the Zebra Kingdoms, it’s all about politics. A human observer would call their internal politics “byzantine,” and that would not be an exaggeration. The Transcend and it’s nature would mean that the game would change. And, as long as those that were in power were the ones that were ahead when the game changed-and can keep being ahead when the game changes-they wouldn’t have a problem. It’s when the hoi polloi get above where they belong that there’s an issue. So, of course, things should be kept so that this doesn’t happen.

Ironically, the Griffin Moot could be considered a proto-Transcend in itself. When the Emperor speaks, he (or in two cases, she) speaks for the Empire through the Moot itself. Considering that the Moot’s main storage system is the single largest physical structure in the Empire (a heavily defended moonlet slightly smaller than Ceres) it happens to be a Very Important Thing indeed. And, this isn’t even talking about the various backup systems for the Moot and it’s organization and setup(1). But, the Moot and how it protects and serves the Griffins (and other races under the Moot’s responsibility) has aspects to it that would be familiar-if poorly developed-to the Transcend.

The final opinion is “we’re pretty close…” and that is the Kingdom of Equestria. This is the Wired, the world-spanning (and interstellar via courier ships) network of information, facts, data, advise, support, and a million and one other things that would aid and assist and help the Equestrians. The only issue is the Covenant, which has a huge amount of protections for free will (there’s even a specific Covenant about that). There’s a continual effort to work and develop the software that wouldn’t do things like active precrime predictions or manipulations to make ponies life perfect, because the Article Of Free Will.  But, for the most part, Equestrians wouldn’t mind a system like the Transcend if they knew about it and wouldn’t mind working towards that kind of system.

There’s also another factor.

Alicorns.

Twenty-seven beings that exist somewhat outside of the system. Twenty-seven beings that are powerful enough to count as a Type Two Kardashev scale society in themselves. And, they exist in a relationship with their ponies that most Equestrians would-in an instant-embrace a full scale Moloch-slaying, circle squaring, actively intervening system that would assure perfect liberty and perfect coordination for all. With the alicorns in full and complete charge of it, forever and ever.

And, that little factoid scares alicorns.

Because, who bells that cat?(2)

(1)-One thing about the organization and setup? Parliamentary impeachment. If Parliament impeaches an Emperor, the Moot stops responding beyond “helping the former Emperor to pack and move out and maybe call a taxi.”

(2)If the alicorns ever learned of Mars, they would be putting their efforts to the creation of that kind of hive mind consciousness. One that was built on the existence of individual ponies, required ponies to talk to each other to trade information, and the networks exist because of ponies.

Trope A Day-Required Secondary Powers

Required Secondary Powers-Comedy usually happens when a unicorn (or anybody with a vector controller) forgets that while the vector controller or magic might be able to lift an object, if they aren’t braced properly…

Or, summoning fireballs and forgetting the whole thing about thermal bloom.

Or any number of things where if you forget that the laws of physics will find a way to get you in the end.