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.

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.”

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.

Ships Of The RESF-Corvettes, Frigates, And Destroyers

The Royal Equestrian Space Forces regards ships smaller than cruiser-class to be “escorts” for larger ships. It is rare to see any of these ships operating in singletons or in independent commands, as they are mostly tied to larger ships in small Task Groups or Task Forces. The few exceptions tend to be just that-exceptions.  Unlike most of the other navies, the RESF does not use crewed battle riders (filling the role with Autonomous Combat Vessels), so any ship with a crew has a Tunnel Drive and a command of it’s own.

With the end of the Horizon War, there are serious debates about the viability of the lighter warship classes in Equestrian naval doctrine. This has lead to the possibility that the RESF may have to bring it’s naval doctrine into line with other navies, bringing the smaller ship classes into more independent operations (and increasing their overall combat capability).

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

Scootaloo-class Corvette

This is considered the smallest, FTL-capable warship in use by the Royal Equestrian Space Force.  At 110 meters in length and 5,000 tons, it is not only capable of operating in planetary atmospheres and armed with weapons sufficient to be noticed by smaller warships. The Scootaloo-class Corvette is armed with a single 6cm buster launcher forward and two 3cm buster launchers on the broadsides. Point defense and shields are standard for the ship’s size and weight, but the armor is very light, almost equivalent to a civilian ship of the same weight.

Scootaloo-class corvettes are rarely used as warships themselves. Their small size and light weapons fit makes them vulnerable to anything larger than themselves.  And, while the point defense is heavy enough to discourage ACVs and seeking weapons, the same lightness in the hull means that any hit will do major damage.  The most common use of this ship is as a messenger ship-with a squadron of eight ships being standard for most fleets, and dreadnoughts and superdreadnoughts carrying a single Scootaloo on external clamps to provide FTL communications.  With the end of the Horizon War, serious discussions are ongoing about the future of corvettes in general and the Scootaloo-class in particular. It may be that a future frigate replacement for the Rainbow Dash-class may replace the roles that the Scootaloo fills, with the Scootaloo-class hulls being broken up or used as target drones.

Rainbow Dash-class Frigate

150 meters long and massing 9,500 tons, the Rainbow Dash-class frigate holds the distinction of being the highest acceleration non-ACV warship in the Royal Equestrian Space Force.  This is at the cost of weapons, as the ship carries only two 6cm buster launchers and two 3cm broadside buster launchers.  To make up for this light offensive fit, the ship carries point defense and shields equivalent to most other navies’ destroyers, and the armor fit is about standard for the ship’s weight.

Serious discussion about the continued use of frigates in general, and the Rainbow Dash in particular, arose over the Horizon War.  While capable in many roles, the ship’s small size meant that in large fleet actions, it was too fragile when facing up against long-ranged guided weapons from enemy warships. Proponents of the class note that the mission role for frigates was to serve as nodes for remote drones and denial of enemy recon drone operations, not to lie in the wall of battle with larger ships. Debate is ongoing as to what will happen with both the class and future ships. There is work being done on a future class of frigates (tentatively named the Soarin-class) that would be 20% larger, have a lower acceleration rate, and carry both heavier armor and shields than the Rainbow Dash-class.

Fluttershy-class Destroyer

At 190 meters and 11,000 tons, the Fluttershy­-class destroyer is considered one of the multi-purpose ship classes in the Royal Equestrian Space Forces. The class has good acceleration, two 6cm buster launchers forward and two 4cm broadside weapons, two VLS arrays for missiles (the ship can fire three salvoes of twenty missiles per launcher array), and point defense more in line with a light cruiser than a destroyer. The cost of this is armor and shields in the same weight range as destroyers of other nations, short combat endurance with the missile launchers, and relatively short “legs” in terms of supply storage. But, since Equestrian naval doctrine considers destroyers to be escorts for heavier ships, this is not as much a problem as it would be if the ship had to operate independently.

The capabilities of the base hull has leant it to several variants, such as the Shadow Wing-class commando transport, Daring Do-class exploration ship, and the Angel Feather-class fleet escort.  With the end of the Horizon War, a serious debate about the nature of the fleet and its ships is ongoing. The Fluttershy-class is looking at replacement in the form of the Spitfire-class destroyer, which would be nearly 30% larger and mount a much more powerful primary weapons fit.

Daring Do-class Exploration Ship

Essentially a Fluttershy-class destroyer with the missile launchers removed for more storage and laboratory space, the Daring Do class is usually paired up with Starswirl-class Exploration Cruisers, with the Daring Dos ranging through the newly discovered solar system while the Starswirl-class ships hold themselves at the Tunnel Drive limit.  If the Spitfire­-class destroyer enters service, many newer Fluttershys may be converted into Daring Dos for the Exploration Services.

Trope A Day-Black Site

Black Site-Where all the really dangerous things are kept.  Precursor artifacts, dangerous technologies, scary magical artifacts, and anything else that shouldn’t be allowed out to play with others gets put here.  The Ministry of Ghosts runs quite a few, with all the usual accessories (like a good self destruct mechanism, two-to-four key locks, and self-destructing security systems), and a few additional ones that nobody knows or talks about.  The Special Working Group, supposedly, maintains a number of ships who’s job is to keep all this dangerous stuff away from anything that could try to get it or use it.  Other groups and organizations maintain sites for the same purposes.

Trope A Day-Inertial Dampening

Inertial Dampening-The joys and advantages of magic lets you have access to some of the cheat codes to reality.  One of these cheat codes is that you can create a “pocket” of space that isn’t affected by the accelerations of a star ship under drive.  Still has lag issues, so make sure you strap yourself in during combat, or you’ll get thrown around like an extra on Star Trek.  Usually ending with a very  painful stop.

Since the pocket itself is in perpetual free-fall, this makes Artificial Gravity (via another magical cheat code) vital.

Trope A Day-Matter Replicators

Matter Replicators-The wonderful world of fabricators.  Insert power, raw materials, and a template in one side, get a finished product out the other side.  Just about everybody has one at home, just in case they need something, and then they toss the product back in to be reprocessed back into raw materials when they’re done.  There’s no restrictions on what you can fabricate (other than raw materials and template access), because that would be silly.

You could, in theory, build a fabricator big enough to just fabricate a starship. In practice, it’s easier and more practical to just fabricate the parts and assemble them.  Fabricators and smelters (which take raw ores and break them down into raw materials) have probably done more to make space travel and colonization practical, short of artificial gravity generation.

Trope A Day-Space Pirates

Space Pirates-A threat ranging from mostly trivial to serious.  On the “mostly trivial” side, we have cargo thieves on stations, whom hack the cargo handing systems to reroute valuable cargoes to their ships.  Going from there, there is some idiot that gets ahold of enough weapons to arm a freighter and start “living the dream”-until a naval warship blows them up.  Smart idiots do this far enough away from the major powers that they can get away with this for a long time.  Usually until they rob the wrong ship and somebody hires a PMC to find them and blow them out of the sky.

Continuing the escalation is actual “privateers” in the form of military ships (usually griffin or zebra) that found themselves on the wrong side of politics.  This especially includes griffin ships, with nobles that have been convicted of treason by the Moot using their resources to get out of the Empire as fast as possible.  Some actual pirate “kingdoms” have resulted from this, with the Razorbeak Commonwealth being the largest.  And, of course, Changeling Queens raiding worlds for emotions and memories to devour for their Empresses.

Prior to the Horizon War, most naval actions were based around piracy/privateer suppression.  This was one of the major reasons for the existence of the Princess Luna-class fast battleship and the Kestrel-class fast battleship (having the acceleration profile of a battle cruiser with the weapons of a battleship was vital for bringing pirates to heel).  After the Horizon War, the vacuum created by the massing of battle fleets was filled by…entrepreneurs of all types and sorts.  Which explains why the Royal Equestrian Space Force is building the Princess Sunset Shimmer-class fast battleships.

Trope A Day-Alicorn Job Security

Alicorn Job Security-Something that twenty-five of twenty-seven alicorns would love to get rid of ASAP.  Every pony keeps trying to put them on a pedestal, either to worship them or take pot-shot at them.  Six hundred years of genetic modifications has resulted in a definite reduction in the size of pedestals that they get put upon.  Mind you, alicorns tend to be very competent and usually do very well in running whatever they do.  With some teething pains, which is always fun to watch at a safe distance.

(The two alicorns that don’t mind?  Prince Dusk Shine (whom is an IT nerd that has found a home that lets him play with ALL THE TOYS) and Princess Soft Light (she loves playing with cameras and lights and models as a part of the Ministry of Dreams).)

Trope A Day-Bad Being Bar

Bad Being Bar-There’s plenty of examples of this sort of place, but the ur-example is Overload on Melvin’s Reach.  Six floors of mercenaries, soldiers of fortune, assassins, spies, counter-spies, pirates, changelings, and the other assorted sort of beings that you wouldn’t bring home to Mother and Father.  Great music, good booze, and it’s a slow night if there isn’t a murder somewhere.  Sort of like Omega’s Afterlife Club, but with fewer blue-skinned sexy beings.

(Actually, it’s very safe.  The criminal organization that runs Overload makes it very clear that they want a safe place to have business.  Usually with sarcasm and grav guns.)