An update! Sorry for the delay. I was ill for the entirety of December, and only recently managed to get back into my schedule. Technically, this is only half of the recorded content, but in the interests of not making the post too stupidly long, I've split it into two. I also have to apologise in advance if the images take a while to load.
Part V: The Olenian-Changeling War, December 10th, 1008 to December 31st, 1009
December 10th, 1008 (cont.)
The first two Acts of Equestrian Parliament passed with a near unanimous vote.
However, this did not come without cost, regardless of how powerless parliament truly was. Having rammed these two acts through, the SAC could no longer justify major changes to the fabric of Equestrian society, at least not without some further sign of Changeling mobilisation. Thankfully, protests against these laws were few and far between - for now.
On the same day, Prince-Marshal Blueblood ordered a line of forts constructed across the entire Equestria/Crystal Empire/Changeling/Olenia border. These fortifications were little more than a paper-thin curtain of pillboxes and bunkers, along with scattered reinforced and protected assembly areas, but they would hopefully allow the Equestrian Army to hold back the Changelings once the war broke out. It was no longer seen as a mere possibility, now. The Crystal Empire agreed to extend the line of fortifications into their land, so long as Equestria paid for them. All Equestrian state construction companies were mobilised for the effort, suspending all other construction projects in the process.
Anticipating the influx of ponies from conscription, Typhoon ordered new divisions to be formed. Firstly, three Onhooves divisions would flesh out First Army, bringing it up to its full strength.
This is the first time I've actually trained troops in this LP, so let's go over it quickly. To train a division, you click the "train" button in its listing, and then select one of your provinces. It can be assigned to a frontline order by clicking the little circle-with-an-arrow-through-it on the left. The divisions will then take their needed ponypower and equipment, and begin training. You can deploy them early to get warm bodies on the field should you need to, but they will come out at Green experience level (-25% to combat ability).
Secondly, sixteen more Onhooves divisions would be trained to form the core of a new Second Army. However, there were not enough trained ponies to allow the Army to raise those divisions all at once, so they would be raised in two batches of eight. Similarly, plans to augment Second Army with armoured, Pegasi and Royal Guard units would have to wait.
December 14th/15th, 1008
Flight Lieutenant Snowfall turned his Hurricane fighter into a sharp bank, revelling in how responsive the controls felt compared to the Gladiator biplane his unit had just finished upgrading from. And, if the rumours were to be believed, a company in Bales was drawing up designs for something even better!
He passed over one of First Army's assembly points, and dipped his wing as an infantrypony waved at him. He didn't envy the poor sods; not only were they stuck doing constant exercises, but when the war started they'd be stuck crawling through the mud and snow. Opening the throttle, he set the plane on course for his operation area. For the past two years, that had been in the Featherfall region, but today was different.
Today, he crossed the border.
Twenty-two of No.2 Sqn's aircraft had been assigned the mission of aerial reconnaisance, ordered to give High Command as much information as they could. This wouldn't be much beyond what the normal recon flights would report back, but someone was optimistic. Besides, it sent an important message to both Changelings and Deer: Equestria rules the skies.
I decided to see if setting planes into another country's air zone would do anything. Turns out, no, but it gives me some neat narrative options.
Tenochtitlan had, until very recently, been a ghost town. Between Aoizhotal's constant plots to take the city over, and marauding bands of raiders, nopony really wanted to live there. Now, however, police patrols and the attention of Canterlot, along with some not inconsiderable amount of help from Daring Do, had tamed the city. To cap it all off, the first university of the Equestrian south-east was opening today. Crowds thronged the city's streets, vendors hawked their wares, and civilian aircraft flew overhead. Princess Twilight was present, and cut the ceremonial ribbon to open the university's research department. The first class of student ponies wouldn't arrive until September, of course, but like Luna Nova before it, the Tenochtitlan State University would immeasurably help the Ministry of Education's efforts.
Their first order of business was a result of a direct request from Chairpony Typhoon. The University's humanities department was asked to look back through the ancient records held in Tenochtitlan and report how best to integrate unicorn wizards into a modern military.
Princess Twilight began work on another of her long-term projects: formalising the study of magic itself, beyond simply teaching unicorns how to throw spells. Many unicorn mages were content to simply research the mysteries of magic by themselves, and few ever shared their research. Princess Twilight intended to change that.
December 17th, 1008
The brief and mysterious Pomovarra civil war came to an end, with the County of Pomovarra officially becoming the nation of Pomovarra. If this news hadn't been published in the Equestria Daily
, nopony would have noticed.
Just under two weeks into the war, and the Olenian Rike was already on the defensive. The Deer had made one fatal mistake: they had sent their armies in tight groups, expecting the Changelings to seek a field battle. In reality, the Changelings took a more practical approach to matters, simply slipping between the Deer lines with their mobile armoured and motorised units and cutting their supply lines. Where the Deer were able to fight, they held remarkably well, pitting light infantry units against tanks and still somehow holding the line. Where they couldn't force an engagement, however...
Reports were already coming in to Canterlot of a major encirclement in the north-western sector of the front. Chairpony Typhoon, who could hardly be called outgoing at the best of times, sequestered himself in his office even further, poring over the scraps of information available to him. Something about the Changeling's strategy, the way they baited Olenia's attack, felt maddeningly familiar to him. But how?
Olenia never goes into this war with enough divisions to cover its border with the Changelings. That is, incidentally, why I made sure to get a head start on recruiting a second army - our land border's going to be just as long.
December 22nd, 1008
"I'm not entirely certain why you asked us to come here, boss," said Flim, gazing out over the snow-packed moor. "This doesn't seem like prime factory land, does it, brother?"
"No, brother, it does not," Flam replied. "Not a single road or railway to be seen for miles, not to mention the lack of a readily-available workforce. So why have you brought us all the way out here?"
"I need you to build me some airfields," said Typhoon. "This is the largest expanse of flat land in the county. Figured you two could make use of it."
Flim and Flam exhanged a look. "Umm... Boss," Flim began, "You are aware of the one small flaw in this plan of yours, right? We build factories, not airfields."
"That's not to say we're not capable of building airfields," Flam cut in, "But our expertise lies in a different direction. Why not get the Army engineers to do it?"
"Because they're still building fortifications along the border," Typhoon replied. "Just get it done, you two. Work to commence once the forts are complete."
We need the space for CAS squadrons and more fighters - right now, our airfields are a bit crowded.
December 31st, 1008
Equestria Daily Afternoon Edition, December 31st, 1008:
GRIFFONIAN EMPIRE DECLARES WAR ON NEIGHBOURS
ARCHON EROS VII CLAIMS ADVENT OF A NEW "IDOL AGE"
As loyal readers will know, tensions in Griffonia have been simmering ever since the Prywhen Rebellion began. With the death of Grover V, and the rise to power of the Council of Three, the Griffonian Empire has been steadily marshalling its troops, and today launched an all-out offensive on the Barony of Angriver, the Free City of Romau and the Yale Bandits. Archon Eros VII, head of the Council, declared that "The time for the reunification of the Griffon Empire was nigh" and that he would lead the country into a new "Idol Age". Imperial troops have already secured most of the border towns, and are massing for a major offensive. At this time, no comment has been made from the leaders of the attacked nations."
January 6th/9th, 1009
The first major event of the New Year, aside from some minor kerfuffle involving Starlight Glimmer and the Great and Powerful Trixie, was the official adoption of a navalised Hurricane as the Royal Equestrian Navy's carrier fighter. Somehow, the "Sea Gladiator" name had stuck, adding another layer of confusion to the lives of both logistics staff and future historians. The project also brought Equestrian science the gift of a new, slightly magical and more importantly lighter alloy that was suitable for use as gun-metal.
Work commenced on reviewing exactly what kit an Equestrian infantrypony needed in order to perform their duty. The breastplate each infantrypony was supposed to carry (which, in practise, none of them did) was the first item to be eliminated.
Over in Griffonia, the Griffonian Empire was steadily beginning to chew through its neighbours, while the Second Aquelian Republic was, on paper, faring worse. The Duchies of Riga and Vinovia both held Aquelian territory, and from an outside perspective one could imagine the Republic losing the war in short order. However, the Republic's military was far more mobile than either of the Duchies', and they were pushing towards key terrain while allowing the enemy to occupy useless fields. Already, the tendril extended by the Duchy of Riga into Aquelian territory had been cut off from its supply lines, and it was only a matter of time until the pocket was reduced.
Prywhen, renamed to the "Griffon Revolutionary State", simply sat and watched, alongside Wingbardy.
January 15th-February 4th, 1009
The collapse of the Olenian army was inevitable and sudden. From an outside perspective, the first sign of trouble came when the bulk of the Changeling forces were suddenly in view of the city of Seaddle. The vast bulk of the Olenian soldiers protecting the city had been encircled days before, leaving just a single division in position to actually defend it. Streams of refugees began to swarm the border, despite the Olenian laws against interacting with ponies. In a testament to Deer heroism, the 5th division single-hoovedly held the so-called "Seaddle Corridor" for nearly a week against the unstoppable Changeling armies, allowing civilian refugees to cross into Equestra and, they hoped, safety. In Equestria, the 5th Olenian Division became something of a legend, its soldiers combining keen tactical prowess with a stubborn refusal to quit the fight.
The dramatic events unfolding on the border, however, were merely a minor setback to the Changeling army. Across the entire front, Olenian forces were pushed back, encircled and slowly digested. Reports surfaced in Equestria of Changeling abduction squads, responsible for kidnapping hundreds of thousands of Deer and enslaving them as feedstock. Yet, the Olenian Rike still stubbornly refused any offer of aid. It would seem their leaders would rather Olenia burn under Changeling rule than submit to Pony aid.
What, you thought I was joking when I said Olenia didn't stand a chance?
February 5th-15th, 1009
Historical inevitability ran its course on the continent of Griffonia, as first the Griffonian Empire...
and then the Aquelian Republic...
began the process of forcing treaties on the countires they'd conquered. Like those signed in Prywhen over the past two years, the treaties were little more than a legal way of saying "your stuff belongs to us now." While this placated those far enough away from the aggressor nations to consider themselves safe, the remaining neighbours began to plot their defence.
These events, however, went mostly un-noticed by Equestrian ponies, overshadowed by the war closer to home.
February 17th, 1009
Seaddle had fallen.
The city was no stranger to changing hooves; it had originally been founded by ponies from Equestria, and had been signed over to Olenia as it sat on the wrong side of the River Doe. Even in the modern age, there was still a sizable community of ponies living in the city. Now, one could add an occupying Changeling army to the census. The last few refugee convoys had escaped along with the city's defenders some hours before, leaving just under a million deer and ponies to the mercy of the Changelings. One of those ponies just so happened to be an agent of SMILE.
Silenced automatic in hoof, Special Agent Sweetie Drops moved from street to street, detaching herself from one shadow and attaching to another. Her orders were to find out what the Changelings were doing with all their captives, and to bring back proof if need be. Soon, she found what she was looking for amongst the deserted streets: a Changeling patrol. She was especially lucky, too; they'd just broken down the door to a small house, and were in the process of dragging the occupants out kicking and screaming. They were a pony and a deer, which was a little odd. The government discouraged the two species from getting overly-familiar with one another.
Her orders were strict, so as much as she wanted to face down an entire Changeling rifle squad with nothing but an automatic pistol, all she could do was watch and take photographs. She produced a camera from her bag, and - making sure she was well-hidden - got to work. One of the Changelings sprayed some green substance over the pair, which quickly set. Then, the squad picked them both up and loaded them onto a nearby cart, which on closer inspection seemed to be filled with "cocooned" creatures. Finally, the squad began making its way back to the west, where the Changeling command was probably based. With a sigh, Sweetie Drops resigned herself to following them. Simply showing the world that Changelings were abducting people wouldn't do. No, she had to show what they were doing
with those people.
The first heavy construction vehicles began to appear on construction sites across Equestria. These were primitive designs, little more than tanks without armour or a gun, but they were greatly appreciated nonetheless. Especially on the border, where the Army was desperately digging in before the Changelings were done with Olenia.
After a year of slow progress, material science and mathematical theory was finally up to the task of creating a fully-automated computing machine. The applications in research were obvious, but Typhoon also knew from history just how invaluable the machines would be in codebreaking.
February 23rd, 1009 - March 16th, 1009
"Have you seen the Chairpony around?"
Muffins looked up at the sound of a young filly's voice. The girl's mane was blue, done up in curls, and she had a rook as her cutie mark. Muffins had seen her around occasionally, helping Princess Twilight with this and that. "Headmar- I mean, Princess Twilight sent me," the filly continued. "She's been ever so busy with her government work and running the school." Muffins accepted this - the filly had gotten past the guards, after all - and shook her head. She hadn't seen him since the fall of Seaddle; he'd been taking a lot of trips to the Changeling/Equestrian border.
"That's... argh, I needed - I mean Princess Twilight needed - to get his approval on something. Can you pass on a message?" At Muffins' nod, the filly continued: "Princess Twilight said that some of the wizards at the latest Magical Studies conference found some dusty old records in the Archives about the old unicorn empire's military. I don't really understand it, but she said you needed some information about how they used to organise their armies?"
This gives us a research buff or two.
Muffins nodded again.
The filly waited for a moment, and Muffins got the feeling she was waiting for something. "I'm sure it's all very interesting," the filly eventually said, "I really do think you ponies are doing such a good job here; it's amazing how much Equestria's changed." Another awkward pause. "So, Princess Twilight asked me to ask him to sign off on her new magical education syllabus. She's still coming up with it - her and Shining Armour have been working all through the night - but if he's not here, then..." A small smile spread across the filly's face. "You're in charge while he's away, right?"
Another nod from the golden-maned pony.
"Then if you could just sign here..."
More research buffs and a nice national spirit. We could really use the division training time buff right now.
Enough Unicorn wizards had signed up to the Equestrian Army for them to be able to field separate "Mage Companies". None would be formed for a while, as there was no space for them in the divisional structure, but the SAC had plans to assign a company to every division in the Army.
These are good, but I don't have the XP to attach them anywhere right now. They can be semi-customised with research, with two different branches - one for offensive buffs, and one for support buffs.
Meanwhile, the Canterlot Armoury was directed to work with Macintosh Arms to create a new generation of squad support weapons. The key requirement was to make them lighter and easier to move without sacrificing ammunition capacity or firepower, something that could only be achieved with the new lightweight alloy developed for the Sea Gladiator.
On the Second of March, the Griffonian Empire was at peace again. This was not a peace negotiated with an equal, or a desparate peace against a superior foe, or even a settlement with a defeated power, but the peace of having nogriffon left to fight. The Free City of Romau had finally fallen, the last hold-out against the Empire reclaiming its core territories.
As per usual, the Treaty of Romau was little more than a rubber stamp.
In Equestria, the Powers that Be were beginning to react to Changeling aggression. Aside from Chairpony Typhoon's mysterious trips to the border, the Royal Navy was brought to high alert and the First Armoured Division, known as the "Royal Daylight" division, was stationed next to the city of Seaddle. Unofficially, patrols of obsolete Sparrow light tanks, crewed by exiled Deer but maintained by the Fist Division, began crossing the border and escorting refugees home.
I'd also like to point at the ponypower number. We have some!
Flim and Flam,
MAR 11 1009
Mane Oil Co.,
416 Lasso Way,
Dear Flim and Flam,
The Princess has recieved many complaints about certain business practices Ponies have been utilising in Buffalo territory, and has seen fit to relay them to my office. Now, while I am sure that such esteemed - and, might I add, reformed - gentlecolts such as yourselves would not stoop to such levels as I have been hearing about, I do need to make one thing clear.
If these practices do not stop within two days of your reciept of this letter, my next missil
Ve will be sent by way of a Blackburn Shark. I am currently labouring in a high-stress environment which you are not making any less stressful, and it would quite frankly please me to undertake the aforementioned course of action.
Do not test me.
The choice here is a no-brainer; the other option is a bit more political power for a bunch of maluses to our relations with the Buffalo State.
MAR 16 1009
FROM: Prince-Marshal Blueblood, C-IN-C AG EQS
TO: Ponyville Telegram Office, care of Chairpony Typhoon or designated Lieutenant
RE: New Divisions
Hark, for this missive is sent from the hooves of the Prince Blueblood, Nephew of the Sister-Princesses, commander of Army Group Equestria himself.
It pleases the Prince to report that our forces continue their training and exceed themselves at every opportunity. The Prince is confident that the soldiers will be able to repel any attempt to attack our fair nation, regardless of whomsoever launches it, with the aid of the grand fortification efforts undertaken by your office. Furthermore, the Prince is pleased to report that training has begun for two new Royal Guard divisions, the Solar and Lunar Guards, with two more scheduled to begin training once sufficient facilities are available. The Prince would like to remind your office that Equestria's continued security rests entirely upon the shoulders of himself and the soldiers at the front, and as such he requires you to redouble your recruitment efforts.
Be at ease, for this is the end of your Prince's missive.
March 19th-April 3rd, 1009
"He'll get more ponies when the damn war starts," Typhoon muttered to himself. He was hunched over a small metal desk, crammed into the corner of his berth aboard the ERNS Pegasopolis
, and the long days at sea were beginning to take their toll. The ship tossed in yet another wave; they were using a storm as cover from both Olenian and Changeling naval patrols. Nocreature else - not even the Seaponies who had told them of the storm - would be dumb enough to sail through here, let alone with an entire fleet in tow. He'd even started to wonder if this plan was really worth it. There was still time to call it off; all he had to do was open the hatch and utter a few words to the sailor on guard outside. Instead, he let out a sigh. The Prince-Marshal really didn't understand the tightrope the government was walking. It had been hard enough to enact the limited draft; Typhoon had had nightmares about trying to get something harsher passed. Then again, he wasn't about to help matters.
There was a knock at his cabin door. "Enter," he said.
Admiral Evening Squall stepped inside as the guard opened the hatch. "We've had a report from the mainland," she said, wasting no time. "Changeling forces have pushed to the outskirts of Vaverfront."
Damn, Typhoon silently cursed. He'd hoped for another few days. Vaverfront, while not the capital of Olenia, was still vitally important. While Vaverfront stood, Olenian refugees could still be evacuated through the city's docks and across the Bay Bay (he still didn't quite understand how that name had evolved). If the city fell, the only settlement with docks large enough to handle freighters was Hjortland, which barred Equestrian ships from docking. On top of that, a certain member of deer royalty was living in unofficial exile in the city, one who was personal friends with Princess Celestia.
Hence Typhoon abandoning his post in Canterlot and setting sail with the full might of the Royal Equestrian Navy. However, he still hesitated a moment. He'd sent civilian ships ahead, to load as many people as possible, but he now had to weigh the risk of starting a war versus those ships, their crews and the refugees they carried.
"Typh," said Evening Squall, sensing his hesitation, "If we don't move now-"
"Commence the operation," he ordered. "You have my authorisation." Evening Squall nodded curtly, and left. Seconds later, the deck beneath Typhoon's hooves shook. The Pegasopolis
' engines were coming up to full speed. If he played the next few days perfectly, maybe he wouldn't start a war.
Captain Jane Hooffield was damn glad to be out of the blasted storm. Sure, it was probably alright for the big battlewagons, but her light cruiser, the Applepie
, had nearly capsized three times in the past two days despite her rugged construction. They'd had to send the destroyers the long way around, taking full advantage of their superior speed. Now they were out, and the skies were... well, not clear, but at least not completely clouded over. She shivered in her naval greatcoat, stamping out the mid-spring chills, and turned to her first officer. "Are we on course?"
"Yes, ma'am," the officer replied.
"Switch the flags, then." At the first officer's pained expression, she rested a hoof on his shoulder. "I know, it don't sit right with me, neither, but if we're gonna save those deer then we have to do this the Chairpony's way and he said no colours
." She let out a sigh as the young colt departed back into the bridge, relaying her orders. On the horizon, she could just about see the city of Vaverfront through her binoculars, just starboard of the forward 6-inch gun. Smoke was rising from the city, both from the siege and the fleet of refugee ships that were desperately taking on passengers at the docks.
The portside lookout tapped her on the shoulder. "Ships, ma'am," she reported. "Bearing one-nine-five. They look like they're steaming towards the city."
Captain Hooffield followed the lookout's direction. Damn. There were ships, alright, ships bearing the flag of the Naval Swarm. Changelings. She pulled out her recognition guide, and examined the silhouettes closely. Two heavy cruisers and four destroyers, probably a patrol element. Wait, no, the leading heavy cruiser... she had wing turrets, that was a damn battleship! She felt her blood turn to ice. The rest of the Equestrian fleet was probably half an hour behind, and if the shooting started the Applepie
would be all alone.
She stomped back onto the bridge. "All hooves to battle stations," she ordered. "Engines to Combat Speed, and get me the Admiral and the Chairpony on the horn. Now!"
A turret on the battleship flashed, and Captain Hooffield reacted instantly. "HARD TO STARBOARD!" A hoof offered her a radio headset. She put it on, trying to stay standing as the Applepie
swung hard to starboard.
"What's the situation, Jane?" Admiral Evening Squall's voice was a little distorted, but audible.
"Changeling battleship and escorts," Captain Hooffield hurriedly replied. The enemy battleship's first salvo splashed into the water several hundred yards away, and she covered the microphone with one hoof as she shouted: "HARD TO PORT! GET US WEAVING!" She was betting that the Changelings weren't experienced enough to account for a target changing speed and direction; the Equestrian Navy had only just introduced fire control systems that could. "They're shooting at us, Admiral!"
Admiral Squall glanced at Typhoon. There was silence for a moment, as they both processed the message. Then, they were both moving, shouting orders. "Push the fleet to maximum speed!" yelled Evening Squall, "All ships, make ready for combat!"
Typhoon, meanwhile, was yelling for a Seapony messenger. When one arrived, he scribbled a short note and sent them on their way. Should everything go wrong, Canterlot would at least have a few hours of warning.
Aboard the Applepie
, things had gone from bad to worse. They hadn't been hit - yet - but the Changeling shells were coming closer and closer. On top of that, their destroyers had broken formation and were racing towards the Equestrian ship, torpedo tubes swung out in anticipation of the attack. That, however, was bringing them within range of the Applepie
's 6-inch guns. The forward gun crew had their gun trained on the lead destroyer, and aside from a slight whirr as the crew kept it on target, the cramped turret was silent as they waited for the order to fire. For the past ten minutes, the Changeling battleship had rained shells down on them with impunity, and they were impatient to return the favour.
In the engine room, the Chief Engineer was trying desperately to keep the engine running at full speed; it had never had to run this hot for this long before, and it had threatened to overheat twice already. Magical sparks bounced around the room from the hybrid turbine engine, and he knew that if something didn't change soon, there wouldn't be much of a ship left.
On the bridge, Captain Hooffield was a picture of icy calm. She was staring down the impudent Changeling fleet, almost as though she could will them away. Occasionally, she would bark an order - a course change, a request for information - but otherwise she was silent. In her head, however, she was sweating bullets, desperately trying to maintain her cool in front of her crew. She had to; right now, all the Changelings were doing was firing warning shots - officially speaking, obviously. So long as she didn't return fire, they would have no cause to sink her ship. There was always the chance that the Changeling fleet commander might not want to pay lip service to diplomatic niceties, but if they had been ordered not to pull Equestria into the war, then her gamble would work.
So she stared, and hoped they'd keep missing.
The Changeling Commodore commanding the onrushing destroyer squadron was tense with anticipation as her ships closed to torpedo range. Just another few seconds, and they would strike the first blow against the foul ponies! There was no way the bloated cruiser could escape or fight them off with its pathetic armament. Her orders were clear: if the Pony ship didn't turn back once the destroyers reached their range, then she was to sink it. She was just about to give the order to launch torpedoes when her first officer patter her on the foreleg. "Commodore! Equestrian aircraft!"
Muttering a curse, she turned her gaze to the horizon. Sure enough, a squadron of low-winged monoplanes were bearing down on her destroyer squadron. With their machine guns, they wouldn't accomplish much, but if there was a torpedo bomber squadron following behind them...
Reluctantly, she gave the only order she could: "Signal the squadron! Break off the attack!"
An hour later, the Equestrian fleet pulled into Vaverfront's harbour. The Changeling Army was already pushing through the city's suburbs, and it was clear that the city would only last a few more hours. This was most especially apparent to the city's inhabitants, who were crowding the gangplanks of the docked freighters and warships. Most of the fleet wasn't able to dock, and waited in the harbour. A small group of Equestrian Marines, rifles in hoof, pushed through the crowd and headed towards the city's temple, while the rest tried to maintain some semblance of order. The fleet had been in harbour for less than ten minutes before the docked ships had to trade places with one of the waiting ships, each being dangerously over capacity. Some measures were taken to try to weed out Changeling spies, but with the sheer number of creatures waiting around, it was impossible to screen everyone.
Eventually, the squad of marines returned, escorting the former Queen of Olenia, Velvet. She marched imperiously through the crowd - prompting much swearing - and up the gangplank of the Pegasolopolis
, and right to Chairpony Typhoon, who was directing civilians into makeshift refugee camps on the flight deck.
"Your highness," he said, with a slight nod of the head. "I'm glad you're safe. Your escort will... escort you to your quarters."
Queen Velvet ignored the hint. "We must depart immediately. Give your admiral the order to cast off."
"We have six ships still empty," replied Typhoon. "We'll leave when they're full."
"I am the Queen!" Queen Velvet intoned, drawing herself up. "And I order you-"
"You're not my queen," Typhoon calmly said, "And we will leave when the ships are full or the Changelings reach the docks. Now, please proceed to your quarters."
Realising that she wasn't going to get her way, Queen Velvet retreated amid a storm of promised retribution. She would have his job for this, or his head, preferably both. Before Typhoon had to think of a witty response - he hated having to do that - she and her escort of marines were swallowed up by the crowd.
April 3rd, 1008
From the final broadcast of a unknown Deer:
BRoADCASTER: "The- the Equestrian fleet's out of the harbour now, they're going to full steam. There's still... my god, there's still thousands of people down there, some of them are being pushed into the water! I-I can't watch any more, there's... Looking west from my broadcast centre at the top of the Rikestower, there's a convoy trying to make its way to the captial, but-"
The broadcaster's words are drowned out by a loud droning noise.
BROADCASTER: "-Changeling bombers passing overhead, I don't know where they're bombing-"
More noise, whistling this time, interrupts the broadcaster. Then, several loud explosions can be heard.
BROADCASTER: "Deer Lord, they're hitting the docks! There- no, I can't- most of the bombs hit the water, I don't know what they were aiming for. I just... I just need a moment."
Eighteen seconds of ambient noise - the broadcaster breathing, the sound of the radio equipment, the distant whine of the bombers - follows.
BROADCASTER: "The Changelings are in the town centre now, I can see them- they're cocooning Deer, loading them onto some sort of carts, I don't know where they're taking them. There's-there's a Changeling Panzer driving towards the tower-"
The broadcaster is interrupted by a crashing sound. In the background, the sound of rifle fire can be heard.
BROADCASTER: "He just rammed the tower! They're in the building now. I don't think I can get out. The soldiers downstairs are fighting, but I don't know how long they can hold out."
There is an explosion, and the rifle fire slackens off. Then there is the sound of hooves climbing stairs.
BROADCASTER: "They're coming-"
The door to the broadcasting room is broken open.
CHANGELING SOLDIER: "Put the microphone down!"
BROADCASTER: "No! Get the hell out of my damn country, you insect!"
There are sounds of a struggle, a gunshot, then the broadcast cuts out.
April 5th/6th, 1009
returned to Vanhoover on the morning of the 5th, along with the rest of the Celestial Sea Fleet and a sizable number of refugee ships. Queen Velvet was the first to reach Equestrian soil, spirited away by a modified Wheatley bomber that landed on the Pegasopolis
a few hours before the carrier finally docked. A steady stream of Olenian refugees - civilians and soldiers alike - made their way into the city, where they were met by Vanhoover police. They would be escorted into temporary camps on the outskirts of the city, to be properly integrated into Equestria. The sheer volume of people would be difficult to handle, but the Army had promised to provide ponypower. All that remained for Typhoon to do was to sign an order authorising the Pegasopolis
' air wings to exhange half their Sea Gladiator fighters for Shark torpedo bombers, something which in all honesty he should have done months ago but simply forgot.
Now our carrier actually contributes to naval battles!
Meanwhile, around the same time, the city simply known as Our Town, once famous as the village run by Starlight Glimmer, voted to join the nation of Stalliongrad. The was a relatively minor event, all things told; Our Town was small enough that the opening of a single factory put a substantial strain on the populace. However, the news made huge waves in Equestria, not because Stalliongrad was expanding or even because of Our Town's connection with Princess Twilight, but because of the Equestria Daily
's article on the event.
Okay, I'll be fair here and say that AFAIK the mod-makers don't have English as their first language, and they've done good work on some of the other events, but at the same time the actual event this article is talking about is covered up by the damn "Fine." prompt.
The article, from an anonymous writer, became infamous in Equestrian literary circles and schools as an example of how not to write for a newspaper.
April 13th, 1009
The Hurricane Mark V was approved for service, becoming Equestria's first specialised Close Air Support aircraft. With its twin 40mm cannon and optional mountings for bombs or rockets, it was clearly going to become the bane of any armoured force that dared attack Equestria.
This is why I started upgrading those airfields - we're going to need space for CAS squadrons, along with larger fighter squadrons.
The Canterlot Armoury began an intensive upgrade programme with the Army's artillery park. Specifically, the engineers hoped to reduce the weight of Equestria's mainstay Model 8 field artillery piece while additionally developing a shell with a more powerful high explosive filler.
+10% soft attack without having to put a new item into production? I'll take it.
May 4th, 1009
The new magical training curriculum was formally unveiled. Strangely enough, in the time between Princess Twilight writing out the proposal and today, it had shifted from being Princess Twilight's project to Cozy Glow's. The young filly had certainly earned some recognition; Cozy Glow had been the one to negotiate with both the Ministry of Education and the Equestrian military's training facilities to implement the curriculum, but perhaps not as much as she now recieved.
There was no time to dwell on such matters, however, as Princess Celestia's attention was drawn to the Dragonlands. For milennia, the dragons had possessed an enclave in Equestria, maintaining it through a combination of force and bribery. While Equestria's relationship with the dragons had improved since the accession of Dragonlord Ember, the enclave still represented a strain on said relationship. On May 1st, a group of dragon adolescents had kidnapped a group of Pony children on a school trip, and seriously injured their teacher in the act. When pursued by Equestrian police, the dragons absconded back into the enclave.
The reaction in Equestria was explosive. By May 3rd, three petitions to immediately declare war on the Dragonlands had arrived in Canterlot, and it was clear that the situation had to change. Typhoon was sent to negotiate with the dragons, along with a cadre of diplomats and a sizeable military escort.
The Badlands - the land we're taking this focus (and the next) to acquire - are literally worthless. AFAIK there's no resources in the province, and you can't build buildings. I'd skip this focus, but it does finish one of the trees we started.
May 27th-31st, 1009
Peace broke out in Griffonia, as the Second Aquelian Republic annexed the Duchy of Vinovia. Those who had expected - or been gleefully anticipating - the republic cutting a bloody swathe through Griffonian nobility were, however, disappointed. In order to avoid the fate of the First Aquelian Republic, which had been stomped into the Stone Age by nearby royalist powers, the Second Republic had chosen a peaceful alternative. They simply exiled the disposessed nobility, stripping them of as much wealth as possible on the way out.
The Olenian Rike was still losing their war against the Changelings. The port city of Sakara had been cut off, and was desperately disgorging fleets of refugee ships into the Great Ocean, while Changling forces continued their unstoppable advance towards the Hjortland, where the head of the Olenian Church was preparing his last stand.
Meanwhile, in Equestria, infantryponies began being issued new kit, turning in their old breastplates for two extra grenades and a fashionable helmet. The Pegasopolis
finished taking on Shark torpedo bombers at the same time.
With the new kit in mass-production, Canterlot Armoury staff were free to collaborate with ponies from the Luna Nova academy on their magic rifle prototype. Using magic-bearing crystals as a power source was nothing new; many of the Navy's newer warships used hybrid magic/coal or magic/oil engines. What was new about the Luna Nova rifle was the way it used that stored magic to fire a beam with the same power as a bullet. Theoretically, the new rifles would be lighter and require little-to-no reloading in the field (one crystal being enough for hundreds of shots). However, said magical crystals were also rare enough that re-equipping the entire army with such rifles would likely be impossible.
So this research gives us a new thing to manufacture, which can be used by specific units in place of normal Infantry Equipment. Right now, only Magical Infantry (the unit this research also unlocks) can use them, but we can also equip our Special Forces (i.e. pegasi, paratroopers, marines, mountaineers), motorised and mechanised divisions with them. We cannot, however, give them to our mainline infantry. They also require magical crystals to make - no, I'm not just making that up as part of the narrative.
I also start putting various things into production.
June 6th, 1009
Sakara was the oldest city in Olenia, a holdover from the country's beginnings as a loose confederation of raiding clans. Other cities had since grown larger, and the government had moved somewhere warmer and more convenient, but Sakara remained the spiritual heart of Olenians everywhere. Every year, the Twelve Jarls met in the wooden city hall to re-affirm their allegiance to the royal family, and many Deer made a point of visiting the city at least once in their lives.
Now, the city burned.
Changeling Jaegers had infiltrated the city weeks ago, slipping through the scattered Olenian defenders, and had planted a bomb in the city hall. Just as the next attack from conventional units began, they detonated the bomb and launched their own attack from behind the defenders' lines. Within hours, Changeling Panzers were in sight of the city, and somewhere a fire had started. Later, stories would be told of the city's inhabitants rising up as one, lighting the fires to hold back the insectoid menace as they fled with their families. Changeling propaganda would spin a tale of cold-hearted Olenian soldiers setting fire to their own city to deny it to the Changelings, gunning down civilians when they protested. Whatever the case, the fire spread quickly through the timber buildings of Sakara, a fierce blaze consuming all in its path. Scattered bands of refugees - soldiers and civilians alike - flocked to the docks, only to find Changeling U-boats waiting for them in the harbour.
There would be no repeat of the Vaverfront Miracle.
June 8th/9th, 1009
The Equestrian delegation to the Dragonlands arrived without incident. After the kidnapping and the dire threats Prince-Marshal Blueblood had made towards the dragons, Dragonlord Ember wasn't taking any chances. In addition to the Equestrian Army contingent, consisting of a half-platoon of modern Calico tanks and a platoon of infantryponies, the Dragonlord provided her own royal guard as escort. The following negotiations were short and to the point; Typhoon handed over the list of Equestrian demands (release their citizens, hand over those responsible for the kidnapping and allow Equestria to annex the Badlands enclave), and Ember replied that she would have to consult with the other dragons.
Another one of these where completing the focus fires an event for the AI. I've never seen them accept this, either.
Meanwhile, Equestria's Second Army began to take shape, with four Infantry divisions passing their first muster. These would be placed under the command of General Soarin, whose close ties to the Wonderbolts (and by extension, the Air Force) would hopefully lay the foundation of tight co-operation. For now, the General and his army was stationed along a small section of the Changling/Equestrian border, to await the rest of Second Army.
If we can get a third army going, I'll be in a comfortable position to hold back the Changelings when they attack.
"The dragons have reviewed your demands," said Dragonlord Ember, in her best imitation of a royal voice.
She didn't elaborate, so Typhoon asked: "And?" It had been months since Vaverfront, and he still couldn't get the sight of those docks, crammed to bursting with desperate Deer refugees out of his head. Princess Celestia had given him a stern talking-to, telling him in no uncertain terms that he should have sent a destroyer, not the whole fleet, and that he wasn't to risk igniting a war with the Changelings. Then, she'd sent him down here - back into the hottest part of Equestria - to untangle this diplomatic quagmire when there were far more important things to be getting on with! He was sitting in another bloody conference room, hewn roughly out of a cave, while Chrysalis and her soldiers were cementing their hold over Olenia.
"My royal guard has been dispatched to apprehend the criminals and release your children," the Dragonlord replied. "However, your third demand is simply unacceptable. The Badlands are where dragons migrate to every year, and we cannot simply hand them over without a fight."
"Especially not to weak little ponies!" a dragon halfway around the round table from the two of them interjected.
Typhoon answered with what he hoped was a withering glare. "Tell me," he said, "how does dragonhide fare against modern weaponry?" Before anyone could speak, he held up a hoof. "Don't worry, I already know. Against simulated dragons, even our bolt-action rifles are deadly." He left out the fact that those tests had been with special hard-core AP bullets, and the targets had simulated adolescent dragons, not the full-grown monsters that struggled to fit around the table. Those
would require a tank or artillery piece to deal with. "The days when dragons can bully ponies are long since over." He took in a long breath, and calmed himself. "That being said, there's no reason for ponies to become the bullies. Equestria accepts the outcome of this round of negotiations, but rest assured that there will be more."
I didn't get a screenshot and the video capture's long since gone, but I started on part 2 of this focus line, which basically does the same thing.
June 28th, 1009
Excerpted from The Wages of Abduction: The Making and Breaking of the Changeling Economy, Chapter IV: The Deer in the Headlights
While Equestria continued its military build-up, starting a second wave of recruitment in the middle of the month...
...the Changeling-Olenian war came to a bitter, yet inevitable end. With Changeling forces occupying most of Olenia, and Queen Chrysalis pronouncing dire threats of retribution should the war continue much futher, the High Patriarchs of the Olenian Rike forced Jurva to start negotiating for peace. The terms dictated by Queen Chrysalis, and signed by her and Jurva on the 28th of June, were copied word-for-word from the peace treaties forced upon defeated powers in the Griffonian wars - in other words, they amounted to little more than a complete annexation of Olenia, along with the surrender of its vastly depleted stockpiles of weaponry.
Historians have, in the decades since the war, universally assumed that, like the Griffonian treaties, the Treaty of Cervus was little more than a rubber stamp, an acknowledgement of a de facto
state of affairs - something which marked the end of an event, rather than an event in and of itself. However, figures from the Vesalipolis Hive Archives show a marked increase in incoming Deer (and, to a much lesser extent, Pony) food-slaves following the treaty. Changeling Army units, freed from combat duties, were instead free to abduct as many Deer as possible. Considering the not insubstantial prestige (and, perhaps more importantly, monetary rewards) given to Changeling soldiers who abducted food-slaves, it is not surprising that some units abandoned their posts altogether.
The effect this influx of food-slaves had on the struggling Changeling economy cannot be overstated. As we have seen in previous chapters, the Changeling Empire was on the brink of a food crisis, and the intense recruitment efforts that had raised the army that crushed Olenia had also stripped the Empire of much of its prime workforce. A few days before the fighting had finished, General Thorax (again, no relation to the political agitator of the same name) had issued a warning that the Army had just two weeks of ammunition left. A nascent black market had even began to take shape, with access to slaves being traded directly for work or favours. Now, all these problems were solved at the stroke of a pen, and Changeling settlers were free to begin the long process of "taming" Olenia.
The Treaty of Cervus brought the Changeling Empire time to regain its strength and build up its forces further, and everybody - from Chrysalis to the lowliest Jaeger - knew who would be next.