Fallout Equestria: The Daily Unlife

"Live a little, they say. Easier said than done."

These are the voyages of the Canterlot ghoul Lemon Frisk. His mission: to find the Meaning of Unlife. His continuing perils: crazed raiders, feral ghouls, overzealous rangers, deranged robots, and a mare who won't stop poking him.



17. Week Two - Commentary

Greetings, Wastelanders!

Once again, I, your host, Nyerguds, shall give you some insight into the madness that goes on inside my brain as I slowly continue typing out the lives and unlives of the characters in this story!

I'm not even going to bother saying "Wow, it's been so long since I did the Week One Commentary", because that'll just get me depressed. Agh. Too late. Right. Let me just sulk off in a corner for a minute.

This is the point where you wait a minute before reading on.


The Time Of Your Life

Oh, this was a fun one. Right from the start, I reference Gone with the Blastwave, which is a really funny post-apocalyptic webcomic about a bunch of soldiers stuck in a giant ruined city. If you want to have more post-apocalyptic laughs, check it out!

The flashback at the start of this chapter, with Lemon Frisk saying that getting a kid means he can unashamedly play with toys and read children's books again, is actually based on a real-life anecdote. My brother-in-law is awesome with LEGO designs, and when my sister got pregnant, he joked that getting a kid was a wonderful excuse play with LEGO again. On which my sister remarked that he seemed to care more about that than about the actual kid they were getting.

In that same piece, we get a little gender role reversal. With the adventures of the Mane Six in the original series, and the Daring Do books, one could easily assume that in the MLP world, adventure stories are more of a thing for girls, while boys are the calmer gender. Big Mac kinda supports that little theory.

Then there's the zombies versus brains thing. That's something that has bothered me for ages, and the firing range was a great place to turn that into a little joke.

After that, with Lemon once again stranded alone, I decided to revisit my favourite Stable 69 character: Fog Light! That little guy is way too clever for his own good. Yeah, I basically just wanted an excuse to write more of him, and to show off Lemon's Foal At Heart perk some more. As always, it's mostly played for laughs, since Lemon himself is quite intimidated by the little horde ganging up on him.

In the next scene, Lemon once again hopes to knock some action into the passive Overstallion. The mentioned "wandering heroic Stable Security pony" was, of course, a direct (albeit anachronistic) Project Horizons reference. To Stable ponies, Stable Security is obviously the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about ponies able to handle danger, so that tied in nicely with Blackjack.

And then, my muse once again blindsided me completely, on something I'd only find out two chapters later. As was mentioned before, Vector is someone who's incredibly good at reading people and situations, but very bad at actually using that to his advantage, or, at all, really. At the time he suggested Lemon and Misty move in together, I myself had no idea what that would mean to the Stable community. All of that only clicked when I started writing Day Ten, and it was far more logical than such coincidences have any business being. You know what the strangest thing about all that is? That kind of stuff keeps happening to me. My muse works in mysterious ways.

Back to Daring Do. I didn't really plan that end piece when I wrote the first part, but it fit so well. It was another look into the nice parts of Lemon's old life, coupled with giving him the resolve to stop dwelling on the bad things. And Misty's way of snapping him out of it sure helped with that.


The Facts Of Life

Yes, I went there. I jokingly mentioned the title back when I wrote the Week One Commentary, and I ended up using it exactly as I gave it, there. As I mentioned in the notes of Night Eight, the blame for this falls mostly upon Wirepony. I never seriously considered writing it until he started insisting in the #FalloutEquestria irc channel.

I had so much fun making that distorted image. It looks totally ridiculous without the distortion and the banner, and Misty's lewd grin is absolutely hilarious. Her feet don't even really touch the ground, because I couldn't be arsed redoing the pose of the legs in Pony Creator. I mean, if you're actively making that kind of poses in Pony Creator, you just know you've crossed some kind of line. I wasn't going to sink that low.

Besides establishing the fact that, despite the pink cloud, it was safe for the two to get intimate, this chapter also served to set up the whole (horrible) "drinking water" joke in the next chapter. I kind of wish I'd have been able to shuffle that in more stealthily in Day Nine. Well, it turned out all right, I guess. If you don't know what I'm talking about, or I just triggered some deep, morbid curiosity... have fun reading Night Eight.

For the record, that oddity of Lemon's ghoul anatomy had been established ages ago, in the Tavern IRC channel; it was mostly a joke to explain why Lemon never bothered drinking alcohol. I'd never imagined Misty's take on it, though. She's a dirty, dirty mare.

Oh, and... I'm still very proud I managed to make Lemon use "by Luna's starry depths" as expletive. I'm not sure if it would've sounded lewd at all when used outside a lewd context.

One more detail: "Work, work, work" is of course one of the magnificent quotes of Wash in the series "Firefly", uttered as his wife drags him off to their bedroom because she 'needs him to tear all her clothes off'.


The Bright Side Of Life

The Morning After. Well. Let's just start by saying, the bottling up emotions until bursting... that's all me. I'm like that. Yup. Nothing funny to say about that, really. All personal experience.

As for the aftermath of Night Eight... I take no credit for that horrible necrophilia joke. That little piece of awful brilliance originated from the webcomic Jack. (Be warned - this comic is very dark and gory)

At the rest of that scene, the two of them go deeper into the subject of Big Apple. I deliberately didn't write out any of the discussed details about him there, because the scene wasn't about Big Apple; it was about Misty's trauma of losing him. To the readers of The Daily Unlife, he's just a small side note at the start, but I wanted to make it very clear that he was a lot more than that to Misty.

On to Hacking 101. I have to admit I never really looked into how hacking works in Fallout. I think I just saw a few screenshots, and that's it. Having looked it up now, though, it seems I was pretty spot-on with what I described there; it does indeed seem to come down to looking through text left behind in the console's memory. Of course, no one ever considers that that memory might instead simply contain the information you were looking for in the first place.

Then we get to the fact that sexuality is a very, very normal thing to all of the Stable residents, including the kids. Our taboo around the subject of sex is actually a pretty unnatural thing; in nature, loads of animals see their parents going at it, while in our society, no one's comfortable with even the thoughts of their parents doing that. But, face it, it's literally the most natural thing in the world. Stable 69 quickly adopted that mindset, if only to facilitate sexual awareness and use of contraceptives in relationships outside the ones approved by the breeding plan. If you need to control a population's genetic stability, you do not want teens experimenting without having a clue what they're doing.

Next, we meet Rambo Apple for the first time. Rambo's slang started off as based on Bill & Ted, but I quickly found it funny to add loads more odd stuff in there, to give him a mix that was mostly incomprehensible even to the people who knew him. At the time of this first meeting he was really just a gag, though, and I had no idea what I had in store for the guy. fun fact: John Rambo from the movies is actually named after the Rambo apple. Because of that, naming a member of the Apple clan 'Rambo' just seemed like a fantastic idea that absolutely had to be done.

Cocktail Party is a blatant unicorn version of Pinkie Pie, with the colours of the pegasus pony Surprise, which Pinkie is based on. Eeyup. Not much more to say about her.

Now, after that, some very interesting thing happened. This is the true essence of character-driven writing: you plan out a scene, start writing it, and halfway though, the character literally says "no, screw this, I'm not doing it." This is exactly what happened in the common room scene, and it baffled me as much as it baffled Misty Cloud, and her reaction there is exactly how I felt about it while writing. Once again, small bits of information spread out before suddenly all clicked together, and Lemon and I realized he was well on the way to becoming the Stable's leader. And he didn't like it one bit. I did say this keeps happening to me.

Nimblegait is a rather obvious Littlepip parody. Not only does this little mare actually love her job because she's fascinated by all old world tech, but as insult to injury... she did get a mural. This mural also served to show the Stable's hopes of finding a healed world out there, as the many picture books and even movies showed them. And, obviously, the mural was made by Spray Paint.

In the Fimfic comments I was asked why Lemon never looked into repairing his pipbuck, and I had answered that he honestly didn't care about it. Well, he might not have cared, but Nimblegait obviously (and obsessively) did. So now the pipleg thing is somewhat usable again. As flashlight and radio, at least. Lemon mostly just used the new possibilities to switch off the staticky screen, and then forgot all about it. Also, even back here I decided that if he ever were to use the monitor as lamp he'd get a really annoying electric buzz through his leg.

Nimblegait casually refers to Lemon Frisk as "Lemon Zest". This is, in fact, not just a reference to Moth's Souls-Sounds-Sights story. The name first came up when I was brainstorming on what to call my protagonist. I really don't remember if Moth was actually there when that happened, but he later chose to use that name for a character in his story. He had already done the name confusion joke in Souls, so it was rather obvious that I had to do that too at one point.

Musing over Rambo Apple's cutie mark, Misty makes a small sneaky reference to Crashing Waves, the protagonist of my one-shot story A Second Chance. While writing A Second Chance, I definitely intended that connection, even though it's unlikely I'll ever go deeper into it.

And finally, Apple Twig shows up, and gets chewed out by Misty. I hid an awful, awful joke in that rant, that I don't think many people noticed. Misty said the two of them would share a nice bottle of apple cider. Knowing what Night Eight revealed about Lemon's physiology, and Misty's intended way of abusing that peculiarity... Yeah. She went there.


Living Together

As I mentioned before, this was the second time my own story caught me completely off guard. Apparently, in a Stable where marriage doesn't really exist, moving in together with the intent of starting a family is, well, pretty much the same thing. One of the funny things about Lemon Frisk is that he's someone who can figure out things really quickly, but only if he knows there's actually something to figure out. Which is also why he stupidly missed the fact he could use Misty's pipbuck as map in Day One, and the fact the Guide was sold in Hayden in Day Three. If he just makes an assumption instead of trying to figure things out, he's often dead wrong. It probably won't be the last time that happens.

There was just one detail about that marriage stuff that didn't sit right with me, and that was the fact Rambo Apple never mentioned it. But that was easily remedied by some local tradition / superstition to consider it bad luck to congratulate people on moving in together before their first night. Seemed plausible enough to me, and it immediately explained why Misty got so angry when her Big Night threatened to be interrupted by Apple Twig, and why Apple Twig was so apologetic about it. Really though, crashing someone's wedding night? That's so not done.

Then, there's the part I dreaded almost as much as the fight scenes in Day Five and Day Seven: finally dealing with the political mess. Again, to my own surprise, Lemon actually ended up accepting the position he dreaded so much. That stallion really can't make up his mind. And he was equally indecisive about what he wanted Vector Field to do. Really, was it any surprise he finally gave the job to Rambo Apple? I saw that one coming a mile away. Then again, I got a discarded draft of the end of Day Nine lying around where he did it a fair bit sooner.

Lemon Frisk mentions 'game theory' when talking to Apple Twig. As Wikipedia can tell you, this is the study of strategic decision making in the field of economics. In other words, efficient management through the use of mathematical models. It's a subject I've briefly touched upon at school. Lemon Frisk, being a crisis manager, obviously should have knowledge about these kinds of things.

In the end, Lemon kinda cheats by giving Apple Twig some rough instructions on improving Stable security, and then trying to sneak out. It almost worked, too, but in the end he still had to use the "honeymoon" excuse to actually get her off his back. Poor Apple Twig... she never asked for all this extra stress. Sometimes I really feel sorry for her; she's really just doing her best. Doesn't help that she's the only WRD member I actually specifically named; it kinda makes it seem like she is the WRD, in the story. I assure you, she isn't; she's just the one with the unenviable task of communicating their decisions to Lemon Frisk.

Oh, yes, and I couldn't stop giggling at the fact that someone who is called "Rambo" thinks a twitchy little guy like Winter Gale is a badass mofo. Heehee. Have I mentioned Winter Gale is my Fluttershy? Because he totally is. My action hero Fluttershy.

On to the Gang. The names of Amaretto and Absinthe were quite clearly chosen as descendants of the Forefather Crème de Menthe, a distiller and overall party pony. Spellbinder is not only a descendant of the Forefather Rune Shimmer, the thaumatologist, but is also a reference to the Australian parallel-universe-adventure series of the same name. Tome Keeper is just Tome Keeper. I dunno, folks! She barely says a word!

Oh, and "I'm not afraid!" / "You will be" is obviously from Star Wars. Not that Lemon is all that Yoda-like. It just seems like a very drill sergeant thing to say.

For the rest, I did a few silly references to the first chapters of TDU. Lemon looking at the open Stable door is copied directly from the intro chapter, and his thoughts about the "lack of raiders, manticores, radigators, and deranged secret project zombie cyborg ponies" was from Day Four. Of course, both pieces were adapted to the situation at hoof.

And finally, at the factory, we have a reference to Wheaton's Law: the meaning of life, summed up as "don't be a dick". Thank you for that piece of excellent wisdom, Will Wheaton!


Urban Wildlife

This chapter finally gives more insight into Top Bitch. I wanted to return to this character a long time ago, and, in fact, I had the whole graveyard scene written up from back in Day Seven. But as we all know, the visit to the graveyard got severely sidetracked by the whole thing with Petal Luck. So now I finally got to implement that scene. It's not often I can take a whole prewritten scene and just use it without any major modifications; usually the circumstances surrounding a prewritten scene changed so much I just end up rewriting it completely. In this one, though, I wrote the whole first half of the chapter around that one prewritten scene, much like I wrote the Flitter chapter "The Father and the Son" around the way Flitter's son recognized his father. (If you haven't read Flitter yet, what are you still doing here? Go read it!)

The fact I already knew where I would be taking this chapter also allowed me to start with another dream-flashback, which is always nice. Sure, he has a perk now that says he'll be zoning out less for flashbacks, but that obviously doesn't apply to actual sleep. And since he knew they were finally going back there, it's quite understandable that that would be going through his mind. The flashback was actually based on the old scrapped description of the things he remembered in the shower scene in Day Seven. I decided to seriously shorten that list to leave some stuff to tell later, and it looks like that paid off here.

And then there's TGIF-1. Finally! I had this guy planned as third party member since forever! I used to roleplay this guy in the Tavern of Broken Dreams irc channel a lot, to get a good feel for his character. Unfortunately, that seemed to have had the completely wrong effect. See, TGIF-1, after months in the Tavern, was not the character he should be in his first appearance in the story. He developed a healthy dose of snark and insight into ponies there that just didn't work for him here. So when I started writing the meeting scene he was just all... wrong. I think I got at least three completely different versions of that meeting scene lying around in my scraps. It took me a while to figure out what the problem was. Once I managed to reset him to factory defaults, however, the scene wrote itself, as I'd imagined it in the first place. This guy would be an eternal source of annoyance for Lemon Frisk. Mua ha ha haa.

TGIF-1 is obviously "Thank Goodness It's Friday" or something along those lines. It was totally meant to be a backronym, with the original acronym a clear indication of the motivation levels of his creators. The "Tee-ghif" vs "Tee-jif" discussion is, of course, a nod towards the pronunciation controversy around a certain popular graphics format.

On to part three of the story: spiders. If you don't know what a jumping spider looks like, go google it now. They're fricking adorable. I deny any accusations that the idea of an arthropod companion is stolen from Tales of a Courier, by the way. Yup. I deny everything. Totally. On a completely unrelated note, Zippo is awesome. On a note that is related, I first got acquainted with jumping spiders after seeing this image of the jumping-spider-fied Mane Six. D'aww <3

Now, to go over those sneaky little references I left throughout this chapter. Gotta catch 'em all!

The sub-title is a direct quote from the credits song from Mirror's Edge. Not only is that one of my favourite games, but the credits song in question (Still Alive, and no, not the Portal one) is one of my favourite songs, too.

Adventurers that keep coming back for the same books is an obvious stab at the fact that the stat-boosting magazines in the Fallout games are, bizarrely enough, one-time use items. Kkat did exactly the reverse joke by having Littlepip pass on some of her books to Calamity, while remarking that "it's not like these things can only be read once".

The word "fabber" to refer to an "automated fabricator" is blatantly stolen from the webcomic Schlock Mercenary. If you like humour and sci-fi that makes sense, and have a few months to plough through the archives... hop right in.

On another webcomic-related note, if you read the webcomic Girl Genius, you might have recognized the sneaky use of a certain expression its authors are rather fond of using. If you don't, I strongly recommend following this elegant and finely-crafted link.


Living On The Edge

Both the chapter title, and the sub-title, are direct references to the final cutscene of Mirror's Edge. The chapter title's relevance to the actual chapter is, of course, that the Diamond Dogs live on the edge of the city. Though, feel free to find some deeper meaning in it. On this day's title image, you might notice Lemon Frisk's frown is back. As I said, TGIF-1 will be an eternal source of annoyance for him. Mua ha ha haa. He gets over it by the next chapter, though.

The Misty-covered-in-spiders scene at the start was written right after I finished Day Eleven. Lemon's jinxing, the fact TGIF-1 was asked to "keep watch" rather than "stand guard"... it was all very deliberately done to lead up to this scene. And it was all for the purpose of getting them an arthropod companion. All right. I admit it. In my defence, this was actually purely because of me finding out about jumping spiders, and not so much about Zippo from Tales of a Courier. Still... Zippo is awesome.

Next on the list: the inevitable scene where TGIF-1 proves his uselessness, and Lemon and Misty confront him about it. I knew this scene was necessary at some point, but I had envisioned quite some different scenarios for it. Raiders, ghouls, maybe even Steel Rangers. But, in the end, it turned out to be Bloodwings. Because, traditionally, sewers indeed always contain nasty things. Who am I to break such a wonderful tradition?

Oh, and while I really don't keep track of weapons and ammo much, the fact Lemon carries most of the non-food items did come back here. Yay for continuity!

TGIF-1's visor colours thing should've been clear to everyone by now. And yes, I got some document with a nice list of them. The end of the chapter even shows a new one. As Day Fourteen explicitly mentions, green is colour-code for him actually being enthusiastic or even amused about something.

Like the green colour, the minigun is a legacy from the Tavern of Broken Dreams role play which I decided to keep. Someone in the comments actually thought he still carried that megaspell in there, and indeed did not have a minigun, but him disliking the balance recalibrations needed for deploying the gun was just another joke from the irc. In the end, Day Thirteen revealed what happened to the megaspell, and Day Fourteen finally revealed the minigun itself. The fictional "GAU-3" designation for the minigun is the one used in the manual of Command & Conquer.

As they find another piece of blue wreckage, Lemon gets a new clue on what really happened to the city. Solaris was involved. Dun dun dunn. With this hint I mostly revealed what happened, but of course I still had a few surprising details up my sleeve to tie it all together.

After briefly reminding Lemon and Misty that chatting and musing on old mysteries is not a good idea in the middle of a ghoul-infested city, with a callback to the shoot-ponies-in-the-face reflex from Day Two, we get to meet Buoyant Waves. I was actually on the fence about whether to actually introduce him as character, or just make Lemon Frisk sing yet another one of his songs. Since Lemon Frisk's first mention of Buoyant Waves included a claim that the ghoul singer had a discography larger than any pre-war singer, it was pretty much inevitable that I'd include more ghoul songs. But, yeah, in the end I decided to let this Pony Santa Claus make his appearance in person. Ho, ho, ho. It's entirely deliberate that Buoyant Waves, despite his depressing-as-hell songs, is a really jovial and good-natured fellow. He puts all his depression in his songs, after all.

In case you missed it, "Radroach is good eatin'!" is a horrible reference back to Arbu in the original Fallout: Equestria story, where they said the same thing about 'radigator' meat. Luckily, when cracking open a grilled radroach leg you can be pretty sure it's not actually pony meat inside.

On to the Diamond Dogs! This was pretty much inevitable. Lemon's little tirade and the Diamond Dog elder's response to it... didn't go as I envisioned them, at all. But yeah, the point was pretty clear; back in the war, they got Lemon there not only to fix a giant mess, but also gave him the rather unenviable job of informing the Dogs that, as insult to injury, their now-depleted mines were also poisoned. Yaaay. No wonder he was annoyed about it. The Dog's reply caught me slightly off guard. That is one clever and diplomatic dog, there. At the rate that fellow was going, it was no surprise I eventually had to get off my ass and actually think up a name for him other than Old Rebar Dog.

Other fun things in this chapter: TGIF-1's mention of a "mishap with a food generation talisman", more specifically one generating 'grain paste', is obviously better known as "The Noodle Incident". And the name TGIF-1 chose for their eight-legged companion, "Jolly Jumper", is a wonderfully ironic reference to the Belgian western comic "Lucky Luke". The irony is in the fact that Jolly Jumper is the titular character's horse.


Life and Unlife Situations

Whoo. This was a long one. Was planned to be even longer, but I decided to rearrange the time line a bit and make it end when they got out of the missile silo. But yeah... this was the chapter where it all starts to come together. Where Lemon and Misty actually find out what destroyed the city, and already get some important clues towards finding out exactly what the blue radiation is. It's also the chapter where I introduce some wasteland-horror-elements of my very own, namely the ash ghosts.

Odd fact there: I had originally written out the whole missile silo exploration with just Misty and Lemon. It was only when I encountered the ash ghouls that I found it a real pity not to show off just how horrible my horrors were. To which someone on the #FalloutEquestria channel remarked that that was what redshirts were for. I had a severe lack of redshirts, though. What I did have, however, was the promise made in the story description about meeting "overzealous rangers", together with the most awful name joke ever. So I decided to introduce the good old Overseer-Chaplain Donut Steel.

If it wasn't glaringly obvious from the chapter's author's notes already, Donut's name was an obvious reference to "ORIGINAL CHARACTER DO NOT STEAL!". And the names of the other Steel Rangers weren't much better. "Strawberry Suit", the ranger that was already dead when they arrived at the silo, was obviously just a thinly disguised "red shirt". Thanks to DrarenThiralas on the irc channel for the names of the other two poor hapless rangers. In case you didn't get it, "Bacon Mail" was "meat shield", and "Boom Feed" was "cannon fodder".

I had actually somewhat planned Donut Steel to be a recurring antagonist... but that would require him to escape, and if that had happened there was no way they wouldn't have gone straight back to the Stable to warn them about the steel rangers. And I didn't want them back at the Stable; I wanted the city investigation finished before they'd get into any more Stable politics, dammit! So instead, I gave Misty a little introduction to the concept of wasteland justice.

Oh, right. Referring to Donut Steel as "asstard" is a silly little nod to the comic Casey & Andy, where the main characters are referred to as such all the time, to the point it became somewhat of an honorary title. And... it just seemed to fit Donut Steel, somehow.

On to the revelations. From the very start, the missile that made Stable 69 close early was meant to be one of the three missiles Celestia destroyed over Whitetail Woods after she fled from Canterlot. Sure, they all seemedto go to Canterlot, but who says one of them wasn't meant to go beyond the mountain? The big revelation of what did destroy the city was actually meant to be the grand finale for the story, but in the end I decided to spread it all out a little, since they simply didn't have all information in one place.

What else do we have here? Oh yes... TGIF-1! Finally, the story elaborates on that detail I made up ages ago in the Tavern role play channel. His obsession with zebra posteriors actually earned him the nickname "plotbot" there. The fact most zebras in that place happened to be female probably didn't help his reputation, either.

And then there's Pinkie Pie. Because, hey, if you're building a super secure bomb resistant bunker for the army, why not expand it a bit to add a bunker for the Counter-Espionage branch of the government, while you're at it? That's efficiency, you know! Anyway. As I mentioned in the first Commentary chapter, I had a scene planned in the beginning of Day Four where they would meet a sprite bot and it would give Lemon a peculiar message. Now, I never throw away scrapped scenes, and for a very good reason: the first part of Pinkie's message in this chapter is pretty much completely copied from that old scene. I had to change the second part, though; the original message was Pinkie basically saying he was looking far too glum, had to get his 'spark' back, and had to stop ignoring Misty. None of that really applied anymore, so instead she congratulates him on his marriage.

The only thing I really changed in the piece of the message I copied was the final part, which was originally "No, no, don't answer that; keep it a surprise." The changed version instead ends with "Spoilers, you know", which, to anyone who has seen the series, is an obvious Doctor Who reference. Heh. Ever since I watched that, I can't see the word "spoilers" without hearing it in River Song's voice.


Livin' La Vida Loca

Finally. The big revelation chapter. As I said, the whole "what blew up Whinnyapolis" thing was actually planned to be the big end point of the story; it tied up practically all loose ends previously thrown around. Scorch Mark, the Shard, the blue glow... it all boiled down to this. This chapter finally reveals why it exploded, and what kind of megaspell created the blue glow and its Ash Ghosts. But, it's not the end of the story; there are still some loose ends to tie up back at the Stable.

In this chapter, we see the final pokémon evolution stage of that shoot-ponies-in-the-face-reflex gag, and Teegee's foal care database returns with a vengeance. I don't know if anyone caught it, but the "It looks like you're trying to decide how to handle a delicate situation!" was a reference to that horrible Microsoft Office Assistant paperclip and its brand of 'helpful' advice. Though, Teegee did actually manage to help.

Note that the stuff I said about dreams is not to be taken as fact, at all. I just pulled that out of my ass, and didn't do a single minute of research on it. It's perfectly possible that the best course of action when dealing with nightmares is actually to wake up the person in question. I have no idea!

Once again, Misty's Panic Power Boosts are briefly mentioned. I actually had a scene planned earlier in the story where she went pretty much Avatar State inside the city as she was lost in her panic, and Lemon had to calm her down while also dodging debris falling from buildings that were being crushed by a giant expanding sphere of telekinesis around Misty... but that scene was never even written, because they met Teegee before going into the city, and then immediately acquired Jolly too, and those two changed the whole dynamic of the group, making Misty far less prone to panic. Still, I'm satisfied with the way all that progressed; Teegee was supposed to be in the group a lot sooner anyway. The aftermath of that lost scene also included a permanent-marker-applied-to-cutie-mark gag though, a concept I reused for Doctor Tombstone.

Then we get the radroach scene, in which I managed to revisit another one of my old gags: the broccoli. This one actually originates in Pink Eyes, which has a town named Broccoli, after its sole produce. Fog Light and his love for the vegetable in Day Five was already a direct reference to Puppysmiles' dislike for it. (Seriously. What's wrong with that kid? Broccoli is awesome.) Misty wasn't even there in that scene, but we can safely assume Lemon told her about it somewhere between then and Day Nine, when Lemon kickstarted the actual broccoli gag on what would turn out to be their wedding night.

Like with the dream scene... I have no idea about accurate radroach anatomy, so please don't go out into the Wasteland with nothing but a knife and attempt to stab them in the neck, okay?

Then they get to the Solaris facility and the turret gag. As I've mentioned before, Mimezinga's requirement for using Solaris was that nothing they made ever worked right... hence the auto-cleaning rust piles.

At long last, we get to the Mad Doctor himself! Tombstone was meant as direct reference to The Living Tombstone and the song "September". I had that one planned out for ages. The first reference to the Mad Doctor was in Day Eleven, but I had the video saved in my writing folder from all the way back in April 2013, around the time I published Day Eight. When I actually wrote out the scene, though, the "September" reference never really worked right, partly because neither MLP nor FO:E ever mentions month names. And then I was reminded of the existence of Doug Rattman. Since SolOS and Solaris Inc. were already Portal references anyway, this seemed like the ideal way to solve this problem. And indeed... making Tombstone a muttering cackling paranoid madman hiding from SolOS worked wonderfully.

The phoenix idea was, in fact, not thought up when they visited Scorch Mark. In fact, it wasn't even formed yet when I wrote about the blue glow and the Shard at Dead Farm. I'm not sure exactly when the whole idea started coming together, but it was probably around the time I made up and fleshed out Whinnyapolis. The idea of a phoenix dying above water going into a stasis-egg isn't actually mine, though. I have Moth to thank for that; he thought it up for his wonderful illustrated diary story, Wings.

Oh, and since this chapter was all about the Mad Doctor, obviously I had to get a title that contained some madness.


Whew! Lots of information, references, scrapped scenes and insider info there. I hope I didn't forget anything. And now, I guess it's time I start brainstorming on the end of the story. The big end reveal was a bit of an anticlimax, and completely intentionally so, but I do still have some stuff planned after this to make a decent finale. I'm just... well, honestly, I'm not sure if I should go through with it, because it's a rather... awful idea. But the Chekhov's Guns for it are already in place, so... guess I don't have much choice. Ah well. You'll just have to wait and see, and hope it won't take me half a year again.

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