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The Northern Vanhoover Wasteland is an okay place to live. If you can handle the thunderstorms, killer swamp creatures, and few eccentric communities, it's honestly really not that bad. Finding themselves displaced from their home by a couple hundred kilometers thanks to a scavenging trip gone awry are lifelong friends Static Charge and Night Strike, earth pony and pegasus, respectively, who really don't want much more than to get themselves back home to their loving families.

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As they travel and explore the lands north of the city of Vanhoover, though, they may find that their unexpected entrance has caused more attention than they'd hoped - and they may wind up being the last hope for saving Equestria.

Empty Quiver is a Fallout: Equestria fan fiction written by both the-furry-railfan and MintyCandy. It is a sequel to Fallout: Equestria - Occupational Hazards, and is available for reading on Fimfiction.Net here.

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Tropes present in this work:

  • Abnormal Ammo: Crash Dive's favored weapon is a repurposed harpoon gun that fires cut lengths of steel rebar.
    • The Solar Burst grenades would also fit, described as having the same explosive yield as a balefire egg despite being a thrown or grenade rifle-launched payload.
  • Adult Fear: The threat of nuclear holocaust may have come to fruition and be old history by this point, but its results are still left for the characters to encounter. Such as the skeleton of a foal trapped in its own home underneath rubble.
  • Aerith and Bob: Inverted here; one of the main group of characters is named Aerith, and that's the closest to a realistic name in the cast currently.
    • There was apparently a pre-war singer going by the name Vera Lynn.
  • After the End: Obviously.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Averted. While more than a little gleeful when it comes to experimentation on zebras and creating bioweapons, the Shady Shores Biological Research AI is more than willing to kill her creations when they get out of hand. What's more, she has a genuine My God, What Have I Done? moment upon learning they first massacred her creators and then several towns.
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  • Almighty Janitor: Military version, Crash Dive officially is still only a Private of the defunct Grand Pegasus Enclave. However, when Lt.Col. Tail End shows up with his army of ex-Enclave, his first action upon greeting her is to treat her as his superior, based on the fact that she knows the most about what they're all up against, having served with the very soldiers that are threatening this wasteland.
  • Always a Bigger Fish: The group runs into a small army of Raiders in a massive encampment ready to ruin their day. Cue a giant mechanical dragon dropping amid them.
    • Used much more literally while exploring the aftermath of a nuclear explosion. After the group is repeatedly terrified at the thought of a gigantic monster looming in the irradiated clouds, they eventually find an infant Anglerpony making a great deal of noise. After dispatching it and relaxing, the actual monster decides to show up.
  • Angrish: The leader of the gryphon mercenaries devolves into unintelligible grunts and screams after another attempt at killing the Vanhoover Five goes south.
    • Night Strike falls to this after seeing Static get shot point-blank with a shotgun.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Played with. Despite being catapulted to a distant corner of Equestria, it at first seems as if Night Strike and Static Charge couldn't be happier, distracting themselves with acquiring bigger guns or places to loot. Their whole predicament only starts to truly weigh down upon them over the course of the story.
  • Anti-Air: A big part of the story is dedicated to outfitting towns with larger and larger guns capable of downing airborne foes. This is the least bit due to the group discovering Crash Dive's old Grand Pegasus Enclave unit is still alive, and all flying their own aircraft at that. Oh, and also giant robotic dragons.
    • The usefulness of the guns is minimal, but it is increasing as the story progresses. Probably on account of the gunners not having many things to shoot at.
    • With the HMS Cadence up and running for the most part, it's sizable complement of anti-air batteries have been able to put to use as of page 94. A 4-inch quick-firing gun loaded with a flak shell, and about eight 40mm autocannons tends to be pretty effective against most flying stuff.
    • The tank ghouls play some part in this as well, as three of them carry roof-mounted machine guns originally meant for AA defense. Not to mention Rheinmetall's tank mounting the 8.8cm KwK 36, which due to it being based off of the Flak 36 allows it to fire the air-burst Flak 88 shells used with the guns found at the sub pen... provided the dragons are flying low enough, anyways.
  • Apocalyptic Log: Clearwater's computer retains an especially ominous one.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Quite late into the story, the group runs into a pony adamantly convinced that megaspells are an urban myth. Even after becoming rendered a ghoul by the one used to destroy the Battered-Sea, he still clings to this belief, much to Night Strike's frustration.
  • Author Appeal: In spades, especially when it comes to the certain vehicles and weapons which the group runs into. Static's sections retain a few elements of this as well, albeit of a very different nature.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Cool Sword Night Strike picks up proves to be certainly awesome. An ancient weapon gifted to Equestria following a war with the Griffins, it is a masterfully crafted blade, powerful and capable of dicing up most heavy armour, with an electrical after-effect to boot. Unfortunately it wasn't made with ponies in mind, and proves to be poorly weighted for someone of her size and stature.
    • In similar senses, Boomer the automatic grenade machine gun and War Crime the .50 caliber full-auto sniper rifle. Former is too heavy for most ponies to utilize without the assistance of magic or power armor, or a fixed mounting on a vehicle, and the latter fully averts the Law of Inverse Recoil.
      • War Crime's shoulder-breaking recoil has been remedied at least somewhat by Page 32, wherein it was revealed the recoil lock was left on, and promptly switched off.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Night Strike and Static Charge come across a polar bear of all things while on Deadstallions' Island.
  • Berserk Button: If you value your health and want to keep your limbs unbroken, do not ask Crash Dive about her wings.
    • Under no circumstances should you state your adamant belief that megaspells don't exist within earshot of Night Strike.
    • Never ever ever hurt Static within view of Night Strike. She will not hold back, and yours will be a closed-casket funeral.
    • Bit of a smaller one owing to his Tranquil Fury attitude, but don't mention Gauss Rifles near Quick Fire. Many copies of his personal weapon were gutted and used to make them, leaving it a bit of a sore spot for him.
  • Berserker Tears: Night Strike breaks into these twice in page 66, first while tearing her way through the second mercenary group after seeing Static taken out of the fight, and again when confronting (and brutally torturing) the captured survivor.
  • Beyond the Impossible: The TGAF trio have not had spectacular luck in aircraft construction, bringing us this little gem;
    Sharpwing, while discussing the fireproof fabric used for the Stork's flight surfaces: "That, and, uh, this was all they had left of it. Heavy Strike said that Fast Track set most of what wasn't used in the airship's balloon on fire... somehow."
  • BFG: Most of the characters carry one version of this or another, notably War Crime, and that's before you get to the really heavy artillery they have on offer.
    • 'Shining' is a 600mm-caliber heavy siege mortar in storage at Seahoof. While the group isn't able to use it, as far as guns go it's a pretty huge freakin' gun.
    • The 8-inch deck guns aboard the HMS Cadence.
    • The 290mm Spigot Mortar mounted on Avery the Churchill AVRE counts as well.
    • Though not as large as the other examples, the 88mm AA guns at the sub pen count, being expies of the 8.8cm Flak 37 AA/AT gun. By extension, this also includes Rheinmetall's tank's cannon, which is effectively the same gun.
    • Crash Dive, Static, and Night Strike all come across a tunnel in the northeastern Vanhoover wasteland that houses several railcars identical to the carriages used to carry the Krupp K5 28cm railway gun, albeit without any of the actual gun barrels on them.
    • The primary weapon of Hispano, a griffon mercenary, is a 20mm autocannon. To put this in perspective, this is a gun as long as she is tall - and that's without the barrel extension, which adds another few feet to the length. Big Fucking Gun indeed.
    • Quick Fire, the gunner of the BT-42, owns a pristinely-kept Lahti L39 20mm Anti-Tank rifle. He uses it for hunting.
  • Big Bad: Page 38 has the gryphon mercs that were initially sent after them give the name of the person paying for their heads, an entity that calls itself Cerberus. They're later confirmed to be remnants of the Enclave who have been gathering up old superweapons for themselves.
  • Big, Bulky Bomb: The 600mm mortar shells for Shining count, despite being projectiles they're still big things filled with explosives. Equally as big and bulky are the 1-ton self-contained megaspell warheads on the Valkyrie.
    • Also falling in the 1-ton range are the Thermobaric bombs retrieved from Seahoof.
  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The ant colony in Seahoof which has been consuming the munitions stored there. A nearby swamp is also home to some dangerous variants of what the characters believe are bloatsprites.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Initially invoked with Crash Dive early on. Subverted later after Night Strike is captured by slavers and a much quieter approach is needed.
    • The doctor in Maple Creek says this verbatim in regards to the five's exploits over the course of the story.
    • More often than not this tends to backfire rather than be played straight. When Night Strike storms what appears to be a pair of slavers torturing Static Charge, she almost ends up killing both of them simply for subjecting him to bad films for their own humour.
  • Big "NO!": Night Strike has one of these after discovering that several of her bottles of Sparkle-Cola didn't survive the blast.
    Static: "You can be really melodramatic sometimes, you know."
  • Bigger Is Better: Night Strike's overall approach to upgrading weaponry can be best summed up as "more, bigger and louder". So far she's yet to carry anything smaller than a very meaty shotgun.
  • Bio-Augmentation: Equestria dabbled with this during the war, eventually resulting in a breed of bulletproof monster sea ponies capable of giving hellhounds a run for their money. The Vanhoover Five uncovers a small army of them beneath a hidden research station.
  • Booby Trap: A particularly paranoid former resident of Gemdale loaded their house with these while excavating out their own personal bomb shelter. Night Strike has the misfortune of stumbling into a shotgun/tripwire based one, which temporarily takes her hoof out.
  • Boring, but Practical: Averted by almost every character in the fic when it comes to weapons, save for the odd exception such as Aerith's tommy gun or Static's Pulaski fire tool. Equally, while it doesn't make much explode, Static's magic-vision goggles have been surprisingly helpful in picking out certain foes.
  • Brain in a Jar: What the person who calls themselves Cerberus turns out to be.
  • Break Out the Museum Piece: The HMS Cadence was apparently made a museum ship before the war; her twin Bofors mounts are removed easily enough to be shipped back to the mainland.
    • In another example, Night Strike's new Cool Sword was retrieved from a museum on the island.
    • And as of page 88, the HMS Cadence as a whole is going to be brought out in full force. It's less breaking out a piece from the museum as it is breaking out the entire museum itself.
  • Breather Episode: Given the action heavy nature of many sequences, the story can be divided between slower paced and more character driven segments, and arcs which press ahead with the main plot. This can often lead into the story adding an Innocuously Important Episode without the reader realizing it until they're halfway through the story.
  • Broken Bird: Crash Dive. Her history consists of seeing her entire platoon nuked into oblivion by a Raider's lucky shot, trapped in a lighthouse alone for ten years and gripped by Enclave paranoia into thinking the rest of the wasteland actively hates her. To top this off, she's also addicted to Med-X thanks to the perpetual crippling pain of her wings, both of which were almost torched from her body by a raider. Just before the story starts, she's on the verge of committing suicide.
    • Subverted with Aerith. Despite being captured by slavers and rendered mute, she's one of the most stable and positive members of the group, even cheerfully getting a sugar high from Sparkle Cola upon tasting it.
  • Buffy Speak: Both viewpoint characters have the tendency to break out into bouts of this, usually as a situation becomes increasingly hectic or dangerous.
  • Catch-Phrase: Taking from her father, Night Strike; "Oh, fuck me with a fuel rod".
    • Alternatively, "Oh, fuck me with an ROQF 17-pounder tank gun."
      • And brought on to be parodied by herself, upon realizing what actually was now living in the glowing remains of the battered-Sea Power Station.
    "Hey, Rangefinder, can I see Fyre's gun for a sec? I need to... live up to my catchphrase."
  • Chekhov's Gun: Much as there is a level of Author Appeal in having one of the largest self-propelled siege mortars ever made featured, the massive one found in the Seahoof hangars serves as a rather literal example. Shame it isn't fired by friendly forces, however.
    • The HMS Cadence herself is one of these, having been maintained in mostly working order for two and a half centuries by Fowler. Less of a Chekhov's Gun and more of a Chekhov's Gunship.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Night Strike drops one of these right at the opening of page 30, in reasonable response to having her shoulder broken from firing War Crime.
    "Fuck fuck fuckity fuck with a side dish of fuck and fuck seasoning, shoulders are not supposed to break like that."
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Night Strike of all people resorts to this in a rather disturbing twist, and more alarmingly it's done almost entirely in the name of personal revenge.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Night Strike has a moment of this while discussing with Ripple about using Trout to haul one of the megaspells to the Battered-Sea safer than over land.
  • Completed Fic: As of October 22nd, 2017.
  • Cool Boat: The Princess-class Heavy Cruiser HMS Cadence. Armed to the gills with anti-air guns and sporting four turrets with two 8-inch guns apiece, it's one hell of a radio station.
    • While not exactly the flashiest of ships, the fishing trawler Trout is upgraded to a gunboat with two autocannons and four Lewis Guns, making it a mild example.
  • Cool Guns: Par for the course, given it's a Fallout: Equestria story. Twintails still carries his twin Browning Automatic Rifles and .45-cal Luger from Occupational Hazards, while Night Strike has "inherited" his extended-barrel M79 Grenade Rifle.
    • Later on, Aerith shows herself to be quite a gun nut as well, opting for a classic M1928A1 Tommy Gun and an M1 Garand mounting a scope. Even further along she gets ahold of a Sieg Automatic Rifle, a bullpup design firing the .30-06 cartridge much like the BAR.
      • During a later stealth section, she gives up her Garand and Sieg Automatic in favor of a De Lisle Carbine.
    • Seen with the Tank Ghouls as well, if somewhat expected. Rangefinder's tank is outfitted with a pintle-mounted M2HB Browning fifty cal for the commander, while Rheinmetall's tank Porschia can equip an MG42 on a cupola mount. Caution Tape's tank takes the cake, though, sporting no less than SEVEN M2 Brownings, two of them alone in a commander's mount on the main turret.
    • Quick Fire, the gunner of the BT-42, owns a pristinely-kept Lahti L39 20mm Anti-Tank rifle. He uses it for hunting.
  • Cool Plane: The XB/A-1 Valkyrie; visually resembling the Avro Vulcan (despite being equipped with 40mm automatic cannons and two twin tesla cannon turrets) and having the VTOL capabilities of the Harrier Jump Jet, and being painted a radar-absorbing black, it definitely falls into the realm of cool.
    • The Harriers are direct expies of the real-world first-gen Hawker-Siddeley Harriers, sans issues with fuel and packing Tesla cannons in place of autocannons. Shame they're not in control of someone who's friendly.
    • The Seaddler, being based upon the Dornier Do-26 flying boat - though it isn't nearly as fast as the other aircraft in the list, it is a quite unique vehicle all it's own. It's just a shame it took more than a few anti-aircraft shells to its body upon arriving in the air over Hopeville, enough to cause one engine to flat-out explode.
    • The Trought F/A-5U "Flying Pancake" is a rather obvious Expy of the real-world Vought XF5U "Flying Flapjack", a unique flying wing airframe design that's not far off from being called a flying saucer. Shame it kind of wound up caught in the explosive blast from a megaspell.
      • Despite the blast, crash, and fire, the F/A-5U was surprisingly in decent condition, minus the propellers. A case of Truth in Television; while never tested against nuclear explosives, the real prototype of the XF5U was so sturdily constructed that it had to be decommissioned with a wrecking ball.
    • The newest leader of the Vanhoover Air Base gained his position both through charismatic nature and having the fastest aircraft ever seen there, a long-winged all-black aircraft that balanced precariously upon bicycle landing gear. While it might not be as well-known as it's contemporary the SR-71 Blackbird nowadays, the Lockheed U-2 is most certainly one hell of a recognizable and cool aircraft... even if it's a half-scale electric.
    • Contrail's own personal aircraft is seen on page 100, a jet known as the Icarus. While you might expect a standard turbine or two for propulsion, such isn't the case - the Icarus runs on a pair of Pulsejets, and if the story is to be believed they were ripped wholesale from a pair of the Equestrian equivalent of V-1 Cruise Missiles.
  • Cool Sword: The electrified gryphon sword picked up from the museum.
  • Covert Pervert: Static Charge has shades of this from the start, and more than a few moments where he's less than covert about it.
  • Crossover: The Seaddler's arrival serves as a short crossover with the short story Fallout Equestria: Frozen Contrails.
    • Later on, mention of the character Hispano and several locations serve to tie Empty Quiver into the same canon as Fallout Equestria: Long Haul.
      • This comes to a head with both Hispano and her father Cora turning up in the Vanhoover Wasteland, albeit both ten years older than they were in Long Haul.
  • Crowning Moment of Funny: Most of Page 30, where Night Strike's hospital visit produces some unexpected results.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Shortly after leaving Seahoof for a third time, the group is approached by a small flock of four Talon mercenaries. Following the ensuing eruption of gunfire aimed towards them, two promptly make the decision to regroup and rethink their plan of attack.
    "Y-yanno, eheh, a-ah, we're not really bad, we're... fuck me... yanno what, fuck it, they're not paying us enough for this shit!"
    • To emphasize just how one-sided this one proved to be, most of the combatants were taken out in just under a paragraph. By comparison the massed Raider attack on Page 12 took up the majority of that chapter, despite being equally one-sided.
    • Once again with the mercenaries, this time while the Five had hitched a ride aboard the heavily-armed Trout. Because attacking a target while they're onboard a gunboat is a great idea.
  • Cutting the Knot: The group are left facing down a rampaging colony of Anglerponies. The stage is set for a desperate meat-grinder, with the Five outnumbered a hundred to one by creatures who can shrug off direct hits from their heaviest weapons. So, what's the heroes' plan? Demolish an entire building atop the colony rather than risk their lives in a pitch battle.
    • Later on, Aerith and Static infiltrate a pre-war bunker complex to destroy it. In the process, they come across an astonishingly tall vertical shaft cutting clear up the center of the mountain, and are faced with either climbing the single ladder all the way to the top or abandoning the bunker there and finding a different path up to the top. Mercifully, Aerith is an alicorn, which means she has wings, and as such can easily just fly both of them to the top of the shaft.
  • Deadly Gas: How the group eventually deals with Seahoof's rather violent ant population.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Molly Manticore's Pizzeria, with it's lack of lighting and generally creepy atmosphere, was otherwise just a harmless wasteland building the group had the misfortune of wandering into. The next scene involves the group watching as the building is effectively tactical nuked, when the size of the blast is taken into account, purely because the animatronics were a little disturbing.
    • Crash Dive's usual response to several subjects tends to be this. This comes back to bite her when her overprotective attitude towards Night Strike turns her momentarily violent towards Static Charge.
    • Page 40 rather cements Night Strike's feelings towards animatronics of any description. Upon Aerith locating the rusted hulk of an animatronic Manticore that was completely incapable of movement, Night Strike moves to ask all of the tank ghouls that were at the range at the time if she could use their cannons. Bearing in mind that the tanks involved had guns in 37mm, 76mm, 88mm, and 290mm calibers, and all loaded high explosives at Night Strike's request... vaporized isn't quite the right term for what was there after the smoke cleared.
  • Death from Above: The modus operandi of Night Strike and the Valkyrie; former on account of being a pegasus with a grenade rifle, and latter on account of being a supersonic attack bomber. Also applicable to the Harriers and the Seaddler, and the gryphon mercenaries as well.
  • Defector from Decadence: Both Aerith and Crash Dive prior to the story's start, having once been allied with the original fic's villains.
  • Demolitions Expert: Scouring Charge holds the most knowledge of the Vanhoover Five when it comes to the handling and rewiring of large quantities of explosives, with Night Strike coming in at a close second - though, given her usual attitudes, she does often straddle the line between this and Mad Bomber.
  • Description Porn: The author behind Night Strike goes into this quite often, usually when a massive explosion occurs.
  • Doorstopper: Having surpassed it's predecessor at 250,000 words, it still isn't finished yet.
    • As of October 22nd, 2017, the final wordcount is a whopping 547,852.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Crash Dive suffers from this before eventually warming up to the others. This is also subverted entirely with Scouring Charge.
  • Dynamic Entry: After clearing the sub pen and managing to lock themselves out after Static fails a terminal hack, the logical thing to do would be to find another way in. However, Night Strike's part of the party. And the sub pen has several anti-air guns that are expies of the Flak 88 AA/AT guns, with ammo. The door doesn't hold up for much longer afterwards.
  • Easy Logistics: Played with. The tank ghouls have access to an ammunition replication cart and all their vehicles run on magical reactor power, which means ammunition and fuel isn't an issue for them, but finding trained crews to help with operating the vehicles is a concern. Especially so in the case of the HMS Cadence - 750 crew for one ship is a lot to ask for in a post-apocalyptic wasteland.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: Project Cerberus appears to be this, with a serving of Ye Olde Nuclear Silo going by the description of silo doors.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: The final few chapters introduce a few new characters as the story moves towards a finale. This is largely justified by the heroes actively calling for help and seeking reinforcements.
  • Elsewhere Fic: Similar to its predecessor in this regard, but unique in that it follows in the wake of the original Fallout: Equestria once the world has begun to recover. Very little is truly remarked upon save for the occasional mention of the conflict with the Enclave and occasional mentions of a near-legendary figure known as "the Lightbringer".
  • Empty Quiver: Though not an intentional theft, the Valkyrie did contain tactical self-contained megaspell warheads when it was taken.
  • Endless Winter: Subverted despite the previous fic, thanks to being set much further south in Vanhoover.
  • Enemy Mine: Veterans from the Foallands War answer the call for assistance aboard the HMS Cadence, coming from both the Equestrian Royal Navy forces and the Armada of the Gryphon Republic. As finding 750 capable bodies to operate a warship is a tall order in and of itself, let alone ones with previous training, they're forced to work with each other onboard the old heavy cruiser.
  • Everything's Louder with Bagpipes: Mad Jack, being a full Expy of "Fighting" Jack Churchill, naturally has a set of bagpipes alongside his longbow and basket-hilted broadsword inside his tank Avery.
  • Everything Makes a Mushroom: Non-megaspell or balefire bomb-generated mushroom clouds have appeared twice so far. The first was the destruction of Molly Manticore's with, among other ordinance, a 600mm High Explosive mortar shell. The second, and more recent, was the detonation of a 900kg fuel-air bomb for the destruction of an old research dock that was supposedly acting as breeding grounds for a few of the nastier creatures seen in Vanhoover.
    • The rather messy destruction of another Molly Manticore's involved an accidental creation of a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion when a raider carrying a flamethrower was set alight and fell against a large fuel tank. The resulting blast was sufficient enough to generate a mushroom cloud and level a block of the town.
    • Naturally, when the first actual megaspells are detonated in the story, both generate massive location-appropriate mushroom clouds.
  • Expy:
  • Fantastic Nuke: The four tactical self-contained megaspells aboard the Valkyrie.
  • For Science!: Not shouted directly, but implied by Pearl's contribution to the Battered-Sea megaspell; renaming the detonator to the SCIENCE BUTTON.
  • Fragile Speedster: Night Strike fits this, being a pegasus she is inherently fast in flight at the cost of being extremely vulnerable to sustained accurate fire. Especially so when her more brittle bone structure is revealed.
  • Friendly Sniper: Aerith. With one of her preferred weapons being a scoped M1 Garand lookalike, and advising Night Strike in using her own automatic sniper rifle War Crime, she seems to know best what she's doing when it comes to long-range shooting.
  • Functional Addict: Played for Laughs with Night Strike's (and later Aerith's) addiction to Sparkle Cola. Less so with Crash Dive's pain-dulling addiction to Med-X.
    • This is taken Up to Eleven on Page 30. Thanks in part to her unusual origins, and the fact that Night Strike has drunk so much of it, Sparkle Cola has given her a kind of benign mutation. Upon consuming it, she's imbued with a minor Healing Factor.
  • General Ripper: What little we see of Cerberus' seems to emphasize a very war-like attitude among their kind.
  • Great Offscreen War: Having only been spared the worst excesses of Operation: Cauterize, much of the main conflict with the Enclave is mentioned in passing at best.
  • Glamorous Wartime Singer: Through her father, Night Strike knows and appreciates the musical stylings of Vera Lynn. Enough to faint from the shock of discovering The Forces' Sweetheart still being alive, albeit as The Wasteland's Sweetheart nowadays.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The first griffin mercenaries. Due to a massive case of Always a Bigger Fish they have become more of a running gag than a serious threat. The closest they have come to a victory so far has been immobilising the group's vehicle, after resorting to NUKES.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: Or in this case, the Vanhoover Five call for aid, upon realising just who they're up against.
  • Gun Porn: Doubling as Description Porn, the author behind Night Strike goes into rather heavy detail whenever a weapon is fired out of direct combat, ranging from the automatic .50BMG action of War Crime to the firing of a 17-pounder anti-tank gun.
  • Guy in Back: The Valkyrie requires two to operate at full capacity, a pilot and another pony to work all the offensive, defensive, and surveillance equipment, operating the turrets or setting up the bombing computers for example. After it is repaired and becomes airworthy again, Static fits this role.
    • During the attack on the remains of the Battered-Sea crater, Night Strike fills this role for Rangefinder and Fyre, acting as the gunner, loader, and commander for the tank while Rangefinder drove.
  • Harmless Villain: Though technically not entirely harmless, the closest that the band of mercenaries led by Merlin and Royce came to actually harming any of the five was resorting to a Balefire Egg Launcher, and that only served to damage their mode of transportation.
  • Has Two Daddies: Both Night Strike and Static Charge. The explanation behind this tends to yield a few interesting reactions.
  • Heroic BSoD: Night Strike lapses into a particularly brutal murderous rampage against a group of gryphon mercenaries after seeing Static take a shotgun blast to the torso. It takes Crash Dive forcibly shoving her onto the ground to get her back to her senses.
  • Heroic R.R.O.D.: Aerith nearly burns out her horn when she is forced to repeatedly teleport herself and Static Charge away from an enemy compound. The effort leaves her bedridden for days afterwards.
  • Hero of Another Story: Played with. Scouring Charge has had more combat experience than the other heroes combined, and more experience with the Vanhoover wasteland on the whole. He even is part of his own Five-Man Band and holds better contacts among some major Wasteland organizations. While he plays second fiddle to Night Strike and Static Charge, he also disappears for chunks of the story to pursue his own goals.
    • Hispano is a straighter example, as she comes straight from the story Fallout Equestria: Long Haul. Same for Marigold and the Seaddler, as well as a few of the medics brought in from Destruction Bay.
      • The situation with Hispano is rather interesting, as of page 82 she's revealed to have met and befriended Aerith some time prior to the events of Empty Quiver.
    • The crew of the Cordite BT-42 counts as well, also coming from Long Haul.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Despite its first chapter debuting a full eleven months before its release, readers have commented more than once about the surprising similarities with Fallout 4. This eventually reached the point where a commentor on /mlp/ wondered if the authors were somehow linked with Bethesda.
    • For starters, the group is heavily involved in developing and improving settlements. Large chunks of the story are devoted to giving towns More Dakka and building links between communities. Helping them defend against future threats is key to their gradual progress, and the group is repeatedly sidetracked dealing with this over their actual goal.
    • The Anglerponies - often seen as a stand in for Mirelurks - are noted to exist prior to the bombs dropping thanks to genetic modifications. Then, lo and behold, terminals in the Nahant Oceanological Society reveal Mirelurks were prewar creations thanks to pollution.
    • Many real world vintage weapons show up in Empty Quiver, ranging from Second World War to Cold War guns, many of which promptly showed up in the new game.
    • One personal arc focuses upon a bitter, combat happy side character and involves them overcoming a long standing drug addiction. Having been hooked for years, long past the point where most doctors can deal with it, the heroes eventually find a way of purging her system of chemicals. This causes them to emerge as a more openly friendly member of the group, at ease with themselves. Oddly enough, this fits both Crash Dive and Cait to a tee.
    • If all this wasn't enough, upon the release of the Far Harbor trailer, it was revealed that one of the new enemies is some sort of mutated Anglerfish. Remains to be seen if those enemies are as tough as the Anglerponies, but the fact that mutant Anglerfish of any description are now canon begs the question of if the authors do work at Bethesda, or are simply clairvoyant to some degree. Or, yanno, are just really lucky at guessing.
    • With the full release of Far Harbor, a rather astonishing number of parallels have been noted between it and Empty Quiver, including; old-timey diving suits, harpoon guns, a nuclear missile submarine, a submarine pen, and perhaps most astonishing of all, a Mr. Handy/Ms. Nanny robot named Pearl. Whether it's clairvoyance or coincidence, only the authors can say.
  • Hidden Villain: Cerberus proves to be this, as we only learn of their existence well into the story, and even then only a few of their members' names are revealed by part 100.
  • I Call It "Vera": Night Strike's grenade rifle, Thumper. War Crime and Sunburst as well.
    • The Tank Ghouls of Maple Station have given names to their tanks as well; Mad Jack's Churchill AVRE 'Avery'; Rangefinder's Sherman Firefly 'Fyre'; Rheinmetall's Porsche Tiger 'Porschia'; and Caution Tape's T-35 'Deathtrap'.
    • An odd example with Hispano's 20mm autocannon, Suiza; the autocannon originally belonged to her sister, named Suiza. Following a crash-landing into a patch of killing joke with her cannon, they became one in the same. The autocannon wasn't just affectionately named by Hispano in remembrance, it literally is her sister.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: An occasional reaction from Scouring Charge at moments of extreme stress, not that it seems to slow him down much. Also the usual secondary reaction to anyone learning about Night Strike's and Static's odd genealogy.
  • Insistent Terminology: The HMS Cadence is a Heavy Cruiser, not a Battleship.
  • Interrupted Suicide: Crash Dive admits to nearly throwing herself off of the seaside cliffs in full armor near her home, sans waterproof helmet. Thankfully, the Valkyrie crashes before she can do so.
  • Intrepid Reporter: While lacking a camera, Extra Edition veers back and forth between this and being a full blown paparazzi. Each appearance has seen her edge a little bit more towards the latter.
  • Kleptomaniac Hero: If it fires bullets, can be sold for cash or makes things go boom, chances are that Night Strike or Static Charge will try to find an excuse to take it.
  • Knight Templar Big Brother: Crash Dive ends up with this in spades around Night Strike thanks to residual Enclave programming and not seeing any other pegasus in decades.
  • Lady Swearsalot: Night Strike's slowly developing a rather sizable repertoire of phrases, most of them including her private areas and various types of large ordinance and ammunition.
  • Lampshade Hanging:
    • The owner of the gun shop in Hopeville laments the fact that oftentimes ponies will pay in junk they'd found around the wasteland.
    • Night Strike's method of getting Crash Dive and Scouring Charge through Seahoof's perimeter fence;
    (After making a neat pony-sized hole in the fencing with Thumper) “There, they’re through. No stupid bolt cutter fetch quest.”
    • Also of note is her method of 'picking' locks, which involves loading her 40mm grenade rifle with a slug shell and aiming it square at the bolt she needs to go through. Bobby pins aren't an issue if you have a big shotgun.
    • While riding on the back of the mini-tank and facing the wind, Night Strike can't help but question the purpose of ponies having such massive eyes.
    • While likely intended as a rant against repeat addicts, a frustrated rant by one doctor seems to be referring to the habits of certain Fallout players when it comes to performance enhancing drugs:
    "I used to get so many addiction patients come in, hydra, psycho, dash, whatever, I'd give them a dose of Fixer and send them on their way with a warning. After a while, it just became hard to care when you kept on seeing the same faces turning up over and over again for the same problem..."
    • After checking on her weapons again following another explosion, Night Strike can't help but remark on how well they seemed to weather the blast, fitting in line with how a weapon in the Fallout games can only be damaged when someone's holding it. The bottles of Sparkle-Cola she was storing alongside them, however...
    "But... but... those bottles are supposed to be indestructible..."
    • The majority of the ride back west is implied to've consisted of several discussions and arguments of this nature, starting with the question 'Is a Gauss Rifle classified as an energy weapon or ballistic weapon?' and moving on to 'why do laser weapons have recoil?', and so forth.
    • Upon arrival in Maple Station, they take a jab at settlements and settlement crafting, courtesy of Rangefinder, one of the Tank Ghouls.
    "You're kidding, right? Of course you guys don't have to help build the place, the kind of ponies looking to settle down at a place like there aren't incompetent morons that don't know how to use a hammer and their own hooves, or have to be told exactly what jobs to do."
    • Another jab at Fallout comes in the form of Night Strike dispatching a raider ghoul that was charging them with a lead pipe. Upon closer inspection, the raider was revealed to have a grenade rifle on him, with ammunition, and left unused. This is a behavior notably seen with the Boomers of Nellis AFB, if made an enemy.
    • Upon discovering the entrance to a pre-war gunsmith's personal bomb shelter, Static is quick to remark that the massive cog-shaped door familiar to any Fallout fan has one odd quirk - it opens backwards, relative to the Stables they've seen previously. Older Fallout fans will recognize that the door opening outwards rather than inwards is a staple of the Vaults in the Fallout games prior to Fallout 3.
  • Landmarking the Hidden Base: Shady Shores Biological Research was constructed underneath the Battered-Sea Power Station, a defunct coal-fired power station that's a full-on Expy of the Battersea Power Station.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The writers aren't above highlighting the odd moments from the Fallout games in their stories, or even gameplay mechanics. Notably, when Night Strike is separated from the group, she performs a mental double-take as her Pipbuck is pointing towards somewhere she never set it to and lists her main objective as finding the Valkyrie.
  • LEGO Genetics: Just read this lovely little description of the Anglerponies:
    "Oh right, that experiment! That was my best one, crossing a sea pony with a pony with an anglerfish, and a little genetically modified armadillo in there, too. I call 'em Anglerponies, aren't they just adorable?"
  • Limited Wardrobe: Ponies generally don't wear clothes, making this trope somewhat justified; Aerith has her fedora and tailored suit, Crash Dive her Enclave Power Armour, Night Strike her thick bomber jacket, Scouring his own Steel Ranger Power Armor, and Static his fitted light jacket.
  • Lost Superweapon: The Valkyrie, and the warheads stored aboard it.
  • Made of Iron: Not immediately obvious, but Static Charge proves to be capable of taking a surprising level of damage and still managing to keep going. Enough that, upon arriving at a clinic after being shoryuken'd into a tree, the medic notes most ponies wouldn't have even been left standing. A more literal example are the characters outfitted with Power Armour.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: Scouring Charge's main weapon, Sunburst, is a fully-automatic rapid-fire missile launcher, based off of the Red Glare from Lonesome Road.
    • Later on, Contrail's personal aircraft the Icarus takes flight in the final battle, loaded with 24 hollow-charge anti-tank rockets on the wings. There's also discussion of using a barrage of V-1 cruise missiles against Fort Maple as well.
  • Meaningful Name: As per the franchise, the name of each character tends to reflect some aspect of their personality or creation in some way. The same often goes for their guns.
    • This also applies to some of the vehicles seen. Mad Jack's tank Avery is a Churchill AVRE; Rheinmetall's tank Porschia is Ferdinand Porsche's bid for the Tiger tank; Rangefinder's tank Fyre is a Sherman Firefly; and Caution Tape's tank Deathtrap is a T-35, which was rather notorious for breaking down and not exactly being endowed with armor. Doubly so when you consider the poorly-shielded reactor in the back.
    • One of the tanks shipped in from Cordite to assist is named the Liberty Bell. Matching with the real tank, crews of the SOMUA S35 remarked that due to the thick cast hull and turret armor, when struck with the anti-tank weaponry of the day, the tank had a tendency to ring like a bell would.
    • Though this is more of an obscure reference, the gryphon mercenaries encountered throughout the story all have this going for them. Merlin and Royce are named for engines that powered the Supermarine Spitfire, of which the later variants utilized an engine known as the Rolls-Royce Griffon. Hispano and her sister Suiza likewise are named for the company that produced the 20mm autocannon used extensively by British forces in WWII, one of which Hispano herself carries as a primary weapon.
  • Mechanical Monster: Cerberus has robo-dragons and it knows how to use them. Worse still, manticore and sea serpent variations show up late into the tale.
  • Mecha-Mooks: Cerberus' entire army seems to be composed of these, of varying sizes and models. Standard Fallout robots serve as repair bots for the much larger and more menacing robo-dragons.
  • Minnesota Nice: Marchie and Norm Gustysnows.
  • Mildly Military: In keeping with the game they're from, B Company is hardly the most disciplined unit, earning the ire of several towns at some point prior to the story's events.
  • Military Salute: Crash Dive and the newly-arrived Lt.Col. Tail End share one, both characters having once been part of the Grand Pegasus Enclave's military. In a severe break of tradition however, the higher-ranked Tail End is the one who initiates the salute both times.
    • This falls into Fridge Logic territory when you consider that despite her previously assigned rank of Private, her thorough understanding of affairs in the wasteland currently place Crash Dive in a better position for developing strategies for available military forces.
  • Mordor: Exploring the aftermath of a nuclear explosion is hardly the most hospitable location in Equestria, especially when it's had time to turn the local population into plenty of feral ghouls in its mists, and just happens to be home to a Kaiju.
  • More Dakka: The new toys gathered from Seahoof, including but not limited to a 40mm grenade machine gun, unique high-yield 40mm grenades, and a pony-portable .50 caliber automatic sniper rifle.
    • The 37mm autocannons and collection of .30 cal machine guns also found at Seahoof.
      • Trout, now that it has two of the autocannons and four machine guns.
    • The Five retrieve one of the twin 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft autocannon guns from the HMS Cadence.
    • Most recently taken Up to Eleven with the introduction of the Flak 88/37 AA guns at the sub pen.
    • By Page 86, it's clear that there's soon to be something big on the horizon. What do the Vanhoover Five do? Start putting out calls for more tanks, start prepping the Vanhoover Air Base for battle, and get an entire friggin' warship staffed to fighting capacity. More Dakka indeed.
  • Military Mashup Machine: The kettenkrad picked up from Seahoof would loosely count, being half mini-tank and half motorcycle. Especially half tank when you consider Boomer's strapped to it's back.
    • Sensha's tank is a Japanese Type 2 Ka-Mi, an amphibious tank. Though the floats are removable, she seems to prefer to leave them on.
  • Mugging the Monster: A few rather less than intelligent ponies opt to try and steal the group's half-track not long after they arrive in Vanhoover. It doesn't end well for them.
    • The same thing happens again on their later arrival, where the corrupt guards try to steal a rather large cannon the heroes are trying to sell off. It only takes Static a few seconds to make them realize how bad an idea this would be.
    • Even later on, upon arrival at Maple Station once again, a townspony approaches the group claiming that Static's stealth suit has been finished being repaired, and she was there to deliver and collect on the payment of a thousand caps. After Night Strike points out they'd picked it up weeks ago, and lunges to get the 'stealth suit' from the mare, the wannabe scammer makes a swift exit.
  • Near-Death Experience: Overlaps with It Is Not Your Time as it's used to introduce Night Strike to Gamma Ray. The second time veers into Near-Death Clairvoyance as well.
  • Nice Hat: Aerith prefers to wear a wide-brim traditional black fedora.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Turns out there were generators in assumedly decent condition at Seahoof. Shame that the exploding ants decided that hangar was a great place to burrow, and that Scouring and Crash Dive only learned that they explode after the fact.
  • Non-Action Guy: Static Charge initially starts out as this, carrying no weapons more powerful than a taser and often being helpful in every area besides fighting. As the story goes on though, he shows increasing proficiency with computers, making profit from raiding ruins, and some skill at stealth. This turns him into the closest thing the group has to The Sneaky Guy over time.
  • Noodle Incident: Night Strike has a few of her own, one having something to do with the ammunition replicator inside the TOG and another involving a massive amount of Sparkle-Cola RAD and a diaper. The latter is explained upon later in the story.
    • The great soda massacre of '84; all that's known is that it involved Minty Candy, a primarily energy weapons user, a conventional pistol, and a lot of soda.
  • Nuke 'em/Nuclear Option: The discussed and eventually utilized method for handling the Anglerpony colony at Shady Shores Bio Research. Also the method used to destroy a submarine harboring Anglerponies.
    • Used once again to vaporize a theme park harboring an animatronic manticore.
    • And once again the utilized method for thoroughly disabling a siege mortar laying waste to Hopeville. Serves to make Night Strike question if they're really the good guys, what with them throwing these things around willy-nilly.
    • And, finally, the method used to destroy Project Cerberus, by throwing both of the Valkyrie's remaining megaspells into the missile's engine.
  • Oh, Crap!: Happens quite a few times over the course of the story to varying degrees, starting with Night Strike's scavenging trip in Quebuck being interrupted by the retort of a 17-pounder Royal Equestrian Ordinance anti-tank gun attached to a 10-meter-long 82-ton tank.
  • Old School Dogfight: The first proper battle pitting the Valkyrie against the robo-dragons fits this, as it involves at least two of them getting downed by the Valkyrie's twin 40mm autocannons through Night Strike's piloting skills.
  • Old Soldier: Most of the Maple Station tank ghouls qualify as this, having served for the Equestrian military prior to the bombs falling. They're hardly as shellshocked and cynical as the usual portrayals of this trope, however.
    • Also applicable to both the BT-42 crew from Cordite, all of them ghouls as well, and the several Foallands War veterans arriving to assist with operating the HMS Cadence.
  • Only Sane Man: While he has his moments, Static Charge is firmly on this track thanks largely to being the only member of the group not utterly explosive happy, not massively mutated and completely mute, and not bitter and still suffering from lifelong borderline fascist programming. He's also not addicted to Sparkle Cola.
  • The Password Is Always "Swordfish": As evidenced when visiting Stable 117 and finding the Overmare's terminal, this rings true verbatim.
  • Plot Detour: The original attempt to recover something to help get them back home is quickly put on the back-burner thanks to Static Charge's obsession with expensive loot and Night Strike's love for bigger and bigger guns.
    Somehow, some way, we're going to get a generator and get the Valkyrie fixed as soon as we can... heh, that's funny, we've been to Seahoof twice and still haven't found any generators. Haven't even really looked for them, though, honestly...
    "...ah, fuck me with a seventeen-pounder Royal Equestrian Ordinance tank gun."
    • Happens again as they finally reach the Vanhoover Air Base, their last chance for finding a generator. They do manage to find one, bolted to the back of a truck at that, but first there's a small matter of an air race...
  • Poirot Speak: Text being a more difficult medium to portray accents in compared to a spoken word, this shows up with certain characters. Crash Dive occasionally uses British obscenities and terms, while Mad Jack in contrast has the accent and disposition of a more proper albeit fun-loving British officer. Rheinmetall often uses German words and responses when speaking, as does Caution Tape, though in both cases it isn't excessive enough to make following a conversation difficult. Serene Steel shows the most pronounced 'accent' of any of the German characters.
    • One of the medics from Destruction Bay, a moose named Jean, has a definite Canadian accent going on from the few lines she's had so far.
    • Two-thirds of the crew of the Cordite BT-42 speak fluent Finnish, with the driver possibly exclusively speaking it. As for the commander, he holds a British accent, much like Mad Jack.
    • The crew of the Liberty Bell, a French S35 cavalry tank, all speak both English and French, usually lapsing into the latter when expressing disbelief or annoyance.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The gryphon mercenaries; They'll go after a target if they're paid, but even they know when they ought to ask for a substantial raise before attempting a second attack against a high-value one.
  • Punny Name: Fowler refuses to run more than one of the HMS Cadence's four reactors for Radio KAOS, and even then he only runs it at quarter-power. While this does have a reasonable explanation, the one which Fowler gave was that he doesn't care at all for the music played on the station - well, he IS a Petty Officer.
    • For fans of the show, many would recall a sea serpent in the first few episodes which the youtube captions named 'Steven Magnet', and this was confirmed his canon name as of episode 100. What's the name of the robotic sea serpent encountered late on in the story? Steven Electromagnet. The authors are not sorry for the pun.
  • Put on a Bus: As with Occupational Hazards, the story tends to switch certain core characters about as needed, sending certain ones away so others can be focused upon.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: A pegasus addicted to cola and big guns, a stealth savvy umbrella wielding earth pony, a bitter former soldier of the Enclave, a mildly explosives happy Steel Ranger, and a mute happy-go-lucky alicorn. By the time of Page 19, the group has become a proper heroic one, dubbed the "Vanhoover Five" by the locals.
    • Quickly applies to the Tank Ghouls as well, a mishmashed brigade of surviving pre-war natives of Equestria from all sorts of battalions and backgrounds.
  • Reality Ensues: War Crime is a fully-automatic sniper rifle chambered for the .50 caliber machine gun round. There is a very good reason why all .50 caliber automatic weapons are fired from solid mounts, and don't require the user to support it with a stock on their shoulder. Night Strike is not a smart pony.
  • Reporting Names: The many pre-war vehicles seen have retained their names postwar, beginning with the XB/A-1 Valkyrie. This trend continues with the MWT Motorbug, XF/A-1 Harriers, and F/A-5U Flying Pancake, as well as the Bo-26 Seaddler and SdKtKfz 9 Clydesdale.
  • Scavenged Punk: Downplayed somewhat. While many of the characters settle for pillaged weapons with few custom modifications, there are a few exceptions of jury rigged machinery or makeshift guns. The vehicles on the other hand often feature quite a few more upgrades.
  • Schedule Slip: Between sabotage, failures, explosions and sabotage by shiny things, the group rarely manages to stay on target for long. In fact, it's so bad that it takes the Vanhoover Five weeks just to find the generator they need to fix the Valkyrie. Out of universe, this is subverted by the creators themselves. Despite writing the fic for well over a year and a half, barring a couple of breaks, the writers have churned out chapters week after week without fail.
  • Schizo Tech: Much like the preceding story, several World War II and Cold War vehicles appear alongside lasers, giant ants and robots. Then again, Fallout runs on this stuff.
  • Sea Monster: Page 53 reveals rather large one is lurking just off shore, one large enough to punch foot long holes through armoured bulkheads just by casually passing over them.
    • The monster is later revealed to be a kaiju sized Anglerpony, easily big enough to dwarf most buildings and swallow a pony whole. However, the battle itself is something of a subversion of the usual tropes. While still extremely frantic and terrifying, the monster's size works against it, making several obvious vulnerabilities all the easier to hit and severely slowing its speed. This allows it to be brought down in half a chapter thanks to a sustained barrage from multiple tanks.
    • A much more severe threat later rears its head when a mechanical sea serpent shows up to threaten the HMS Cadence.
  • Seen It All: By the time a real life sea pony - the first one the group has actually seen - arrives and asks them to help destroy an abandoned submarine, the group just takes it in stride. Night Strike is more overcome by the payment of solid gold bars than learning there's a fourth species of pony on the planet.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Though not having served in the military, Twintails does develop a healthy case of thousand-yard-stare when looking back towards NEAMO Crater.
    • Night Strike exhibits some symptoms of PTSD upon arrival back at the lighthouse as well. The source is likely from the surprise attack against them in the train tunnel, as she woke up screaming after hearing a sound byte of a jet aircraft flying overhead followed by a bomb exploding, part of a song played on Radio KAOS.
  • Shout-Out:
    "There we go, made a bridge. Only took ten seconds, eleven, tops."
    • Several of Night Strike's proposed theories for the demise of Stable 117 are identical to the fates that befell Vaults in the Fallout universe, specifically those of Vaults 108 (crazy clones) and 22 (plant ponies).
    • A line uttered by Sharpwing after being asked about the peculiar color of the large amount of fireproof fabric gathered for the construction of the flying machine;
    • Upon arriving at the remains of the Battered-Sea, the group encounters an almost comically small anglerpony with an odd mutation granting it glowing eyes, mirroring the Red Death from Far Harbor. Unlike how the quest involving the Red Death actually concludes, the real monster of the Glowing-Sea crater proves far more dangerous and threatening.
    • While in the planning for the final big battle, a disagreement in the briefing room nearly leads to a brawl. What phrase does Sharpwing use to break it up?
  • Shown Their Work: The author behind Night Strike is an avid fan of Stuff Blowing Up and the Bomb, and much of the descriptions of explosions are accurate down to the operation of the devices being detonated; a visible fuel dispersion cloud prior to ignition of the Fuel-air bomb, for example, as well as a time delay between detonation and the shockwave reaching the characters.
    • Cellulose Nitrate is similar to gun cotton, a low explosive used in rifle cartridges and tank shells, like Cordite. Cellulose Nitrate film is also extremely flammable, and was a prominent material for movie production prior to the development of safer film materials.
    • Night Strike's description of the operation of a BLEVE is fairly spot-on, including the part where she has no clue how long they've got before it blows.
    • Snapping the breech shut haphazardly on the M79 Grenade Rifle is an easy way to cause a sudden misfire with the weapon, no matter how cool it looks. Static learns this the hard way after wrestling Thumper from a panicked Night Strike.
    • The Krupp K5 railway cannon did form the basis for the M65 Atomic Cannon, the only gun in the US arsenal to conduct a live-fire test of an atomic artillery shell.
    • Thermobaric/fuel-air bombs are exceptionally dangerous when used against confined spaces, such as tunnels, as their blast waves are extended compared to regular explosions and the nature of the weapons mean they burn up the available oxygen quite rapidly.
  • Simple, yet Awesome: Discussed with Crash Dive's weapon of choice. While not nearly as flashy as a plasma rifle, it's hard to argue the effectiveness of a harpoon gun capable of nailing raiders to walls.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The primary mode of operation for both Night Strike and Scouring Charge.
  • Super Prototype: The Valkyrie, being the only aircraft of it's type and still being in combat-capable condition after 210 years or so. Equestria developing a minor case of sudden onset mushroom syndrome prevented it from entering production.
  • Survivor Guilt: After narrowly escaping with their lives and retreating to Maple Station following one last attempt at killing the Vanhoover Five, the gryphon mercenaries elect to drown their sorrows at the local bar. The female gryphon even goes so far to grab Night Strike by her jacket and beg for death while completely plastered, much to Night Strike's bewilderment.
  • Suicidal Overconfidence: Yeah Strikey, just wander off into the heavily irradiated area surrounding a megaspell detonation alone while everyone's asleep, that'll end well. Static understandably chews her out over this after picking her up from just inside the irradiated zone.
  • Symbolic Blood: Page 98, with shades of High-Pressure Blood. Both cases understandable, considering the creature the 'blood' came from is a large robotic dragon - red hydraulic oil would've been stored in large quantities and under high pressure in order to give the dragon the necessary strength to throw tank turrets around.
  • Talking with Signs: Aerith's main method of getting around her role as The Speechless, conjuring up magical signs to communicate with others.
  • Tank Goodness: The TOG makes another appearance, still as menacing as it was in the first story. Mad Jack's Churchill AVRE Avery as well, being a near-exact copy of the real one, and keeping the 290mm Spigot Mortar.
    • The rest of the Tank Ghouls' vehicles. Besides Mad Jack's Churchill AVRE, we also have Rangefinder's Sherman Firefly with a dozer blade attachment, Rheinmetall's Porsche Tiger (Panzerbefehlswagen VI (P), the command variant with an extra 100mm of armor on the front), and Sensha's Type 2 Ka-Mi amphibious tank.
    • Also worth counting is the 4.5-inch caliber self-propelled artillery piece that B Company make their exit in, a rather apparent take on the FV304 - otherwise known to many World of Tanks players as Bert the Avenger.
    • And as of page 88, a group of three tank ghouls from the far-off settlement of Cordite have arrived to the Vanhoover Five's aid, bringing with them their own BT-42. For those not aware, this tank mounts a 4.5-inch howitzer in a turret, effectively the same gun as on the FV304 - and on a chassis that can do 72 kilometers an hour.
    • Page 92 brings in even more, if you can believe it. Among the newly-arrived vehicles is a Crusader Mk III, a British cavalry tank armed with a formidable 6-pounder gun; a SOMUA S35, a French cavalry tank carrying a decent 47mm AT gun; a Nucleana T-8, a fictional light interwar tank mounting a short 50mm AT gun; and a Type 4 Chi-So tracked carrier, which can best be described as an APC truck with tracks instead of wheels. All are vehicles belonging to Cordite as well, along with their crews.
  • Technical Pacifist: Static seems to prefer to avoid conflict whenever possible, and when he does have to fight he does it with what's really a glorified lengthened taser in an umbrella, disabling rather than killing. He tends to rely on Night Strike to deliver killing blows, but he will enable death and destruction if the opportunity presents itself - as long as he isn't the one directly doing it.
    • The only time Static's ever killed another sentient, sapient being is when dealing with Doctor Haukohl.
  • The Apocalypse Brings Out the Best in People: Quite a few ponies in Vanhoover who aren't Raiders are surprisingly positive, helpful and even cheerful, willing to help out Night Strike and co. Albeit often requesting something in return.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: The destruction of Molly Manticore's involved an unmeasured amount of C4, at least ten balefire eggs of unmentioned yield, and a 600mm high explosive mortar shell. Considering the resulting blast and fireball generated a mushroom cloud and was visible from the next town over, it's safe to say there's nothing recognizable left of the place.
    • Using chlorine gas bombs to clear out an ant colony (and also deny access to whatever's left at Seahoof to pretty much anyone without airtight protective gear)? Why not!
    • As evidenced by page 40, this is the reaction deemed appropriate for dealing with anything of an animatronic nature in Night Strike's book, moving or not.
    • Being fair, this is Night Strike incarnate. Considering her favorite weapons are a 40mm shotgun/grenade rifle and a fully-automatic sniper rifle chambered for a round commonly used for destroying military materiel, it doesn't take too much to see this in action.
      • Oh, and that grenade rifle? The same chapter she gets her automatic .50 cal sniper rifle, she also gets some new ammunition for Thumper. Said ammunition has a blast yield equivalent to a Balefire Egg, Fallout Equestria's equivalent to the Fat Man's small tactical nuclear warhead.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Night Strike's method of killing the bear involved hurtling face-first at the ground with the sword held out to the side and praying she'd be brought to a stop before she hit the pavement.
  • Those Magnificent Flying Machines: What the Vanhoover Air Base was built around, up until only recently. The flyer that the group is putting together also falls under this, albeit as a more realistic depiction of a functional 500-kilogram-heavy aeroplane... with an 840 horsepower turbocharged 16-cylinder engine in it.
  • Title Drop: It being a piece of military terminology, the phrase 'Empty Quiver' does appear often early on in the story.
    • In an odd case, the title of the fic before it is mentioned as well upon returning to Hopeville with some of the guns from Seahoof.
  • Toilet Humour: Occasionally used, usually inner dialogue relating to Bring My Brown Pants thoughts when an especially horrific monster shows up.
  • Tournament Arc: A very minor one in the form of The Big Race between Night Strike and the leader of a small community of aircraft builders.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Night Strike and Static Charge are each obsessed with Sparkle-Cola and, well, food in general respectively. Almost half the fic's running gags surround their unyielding war over which beverage is better.
  • The War Room: The one at the EQUAD facility back home is mentioned, where it's Big Board used to alert the home wasteland that something's gone horribly, horribly wrong. Later on, ones are seen at the Vanhoover Air Base and Fort Maple as well - in both cases, people have to be reminded that they can't fight in there.
  • Winged Unicorn: Aerith, thanks to being an alicorn.
  • Wham Episode: Page 18. Upon the group's return to Seahoof they make a more careful examination of the facility with fewer interruptions and giant ants. To both Night Strike and Static's horror, they discover several prototype anti-dragon attack aircraft taken by someone at some point from the base. Oh, and news reports mention similar aircraft are now patrolling Vanhoover...
    • Made worse by the fact that, as of page 24, along with the aircraft having gone missing is a rack of eight 900-kilogram (roughly 1-ton) thermobaric bombs. Oh, and the one which tried to attack the group might have had an Enclave pilot flying it.
    • Then on page 78, right after a calm and positive outing where the Valkyrie finally takes to the skies once more, the group witnesses a mushroom cloud rising over Hopeville.
    • Similarly on page 82, after Static and Night Strike finally get a reprieve from things and find the time to explore a gunsmith's bunker, the Valkyrie finishes processing the photos taken the page prior. What they reveal is that Cerberus is now in control of a decent stockpile of proper tactical megaspell warheads, ones that while not as large as the Valkyrie's own are still multitudes more powerful than balefire eggs.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: When all you have is a metric ton of explosives and enough bullets to arm a small battalion...
  • A World Half Full: While still dangerous, often mutated and filled with raiders, the world featured in the story is recovering. The grass is turning green, there are a few functioning towns and for the most part it seems that there is some gradual move towards rebuilding once more.
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