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Fan Fic / My Brave Pony: Starfleet Nemesis

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As Starfleet Magic has a sizable hatedom, deconstructions and reconstructions were inevitable. This is one of four.

Twilight Sparkle is dead. She died in battle, fighting to preserve the uneasy union on United Equestria between the pony races of old Equestria and the space ponies of Unicornicopia.

But in the wake of Twilight's death, the harmony she strove for has not endured. Using their control of the might armed organisation Starfleet, the Unicornicopian grip upon the land has only gotten tighter. Celestia is isolated, Twilight's friends are scattered, across the stars millions live or die at the whim of the Grand Ruler and his proconsuls.

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Project Sentinel is the next step in the evolution of Starfleet, a perfect defence against a hostile universe: clone soldiers created from the DNA of the very best that ponykind has to offer. One such clone, Eve, is a physical copy of Twilight, with enhanced strength and none of the pesky moral qualms that made the real Twilight so annoying for Starfleet to deal with. When Eve, together with a small group of fellow clones, breaks free to search for deeper meaning in her existence, she sets off a chain of events that may allow all of Equestria to break free from tyranny, and all ponies to choose their own destinies once more.

It can be read here.

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This story provides examples of:

  • Adult Fear: In "Lost Love", one of the members of Starfleet, Colonel Stern, has a son named Felix who has birth defects and must be kept confined to his house out of public view because of Grand Ruler's mandates of how those with disabilities must be "dealt with". Also, due to having to keep their son out of the view of the public, Stern and his wife Cheerwell cannot get him proper treatment.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: It turns out Lightning had fallen for Twilight! Time will tell how he will react to her clone...
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  • And I Must Scream: Following her defeat at the hands of Sentinel Three, Starlight Glimmer is carted off to Professor Brain. He had decided to maker her part of Project Janissary and when he starts drilling into her, she is incapable of moving so she can only scream on the inside.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Raven cuts off Lyra's hand when she attempts to duel her.
  • Armor-Piercing Question:
    Twilight Sparkle: Why are you so in love with death? What is it about the very idea of forgiveness that frustrates you?
    • During his fight with Raven in "Face the Raven, Pt 1", Lightning asks her what she believes in when she mocks his and Twilight's beliefs. This causes her to momentarily becomes confused and drop a suspicious line about having to obey.
    • "Twilight" to Artie: "Why didn't you save me?" It's enough that Artie pulls a Heel–Face Turn.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap:
    • Lightning delivers one to Rhymey when he tries to force Fluttershy to leave her friends' tea party.
    • Starlight Glimmer has to do this to Fluttershy to break her out of her dazed state following Rhymey's demise so that she can tell her to run or Starfleet will kill her in the wake of the aforementioned death.
  • Awesome, but Impractical:
  • Awful Wedded Life: Most of the couples in the story aren't all that happy with each other.
    • The Grand Ruler and Celestia find each other unbearable. This leads to Celesto temporarily freeing Chrysalis to make her take on the form of his wife so he can insult, beat and rape her.
    • Rhymey is quite possessive of Fluttershy, seeing her as more of an object than her own person.
    • Krysta reveals that King Topaz only uses their marriage to keep himself in power, and does not care for her at all on a personal level.
    • Lightning Dawn and Starla Shine's marriage is falling apart due to the fact that Lightning has fallen for Twilight, and that Starla cannot comprehend why Lightning would love Twilight or believe in Twilight's virtues of friendship. Starla leaves in the chapter "Lost Love" and Lightning does admit that he has treated her badly.
  • Back Up Twin: After the removal of her control chip (and some encouragement from Sunset Shimmer), Sentinel Three decides she wants to be Twilight Sparkle.
  • Bad Boss: In "Liberty", Grand Ruler kills Admiral Fisher and labels Captain Plasma a traitor for the failure of shooting down the Princess Twilight Sparkle.
  • Befriending the Enemy: Pinkie Pie gets Kitty Snap to stand down by making friends with her.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: Starla seems convinced that Twilight is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and that Twilight seemingly pulling a Face–Heel Turn confirms that.
  • Black and White Insanity: Starfleet seems incapable of understanding gray morality, several characters flat out state there is only good and evil.
  • Body Horror: Spike's "Dragon Power" upgrade; the text describes it as his body being ripped apart and put back together.
  • Born as an Adult: The clones.
  • Break the Haughty: While he tries not to show it, it's clear that Twilight did rub off on Lightning Dawn and he has come to care for her friends as well as believe in her virtues of friendship.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: Friendship is Magic is disbanded and transferred to other departments by Starfleet.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Professor Brain pees himself when confronted by the freed Sentinels.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Literally. In "Promontory", Spike is being ignored and insulted by some Starfleet soldiers. Said soldiers are under Spike's command and Spike possesses a much more powerful form. Spike's unwillingness to use said form is really the only reason why the Space Ponies don't get hurt.
  • Burning the Flag: A group of protesters do this to United Equestria's.
  • The Caligula: Grand Ruler. In fact, Word of God claims that his portrayal in the story was partly inspired by the Trope Namer.
  • Calling Your Attacks:
    • Even though it's unnecessary, the zebras controlling HANNIBAL call out its special attacks simply because it's cool.
    • Deconstructed with Starfleet; the fact that they need to call out phrases to use their attacks and summon their weapons leaves them wide open for enemy attack.
  • Cerebus Retcon:
    • Lightning Dawn suffers Survivor's Guilt from Twilight's death.
    • Twilight Sparkle might have been Raven's actual target rather than Celestia. It's also implied that Grand Ruler ordered the hit.
    • Brain's Catch-Phrase makes a return... while he is using Starlight for Project Janissary.
  • Combat Pragmatist: The caribou when they ambush Starfleet. To elaborate, they stick to the cover of the forest surrounding them and use ranged weapons, allowing them to pick off the Space Ponies. Also, they take advantage of the fact that Starfleet needs to call out their weapons and attacks.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Averted. Applejack and Spike manage to do a better job than the Space Ponies at fighting the caribou that ambushed them, however, it is still two versus an untold number of opponents who are too well equipped for Applejack and Spike to handle.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Moondancer becomes one after receiving Twilight's notes about Starfleet.
  • Cool Big Sis: Sunset Shimmer quotes the trope name verbatim when describing her relationship with Leilani.
  • Flanderization:
    • Surprisingly enough, United Equestria's portrayal has shades of this. In the original Starfleet Magic, they were portrayed as being a strict police state that nevertheless wasn't altogether that effective at security, and had relatively little in the way of military hardware. In this fic, United Equestria appears as a textbook futuristic dystopia, with Nineteen Eighty-Four-esque telescreens and various spaceships and war machines.
    • In the original Starfleet Magic, Celesto acknowledged that, while it supposedly couldn't solve every problem, friendship was a virtue. Here, however, he completely derides it.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The zebras admit that HANNIBAL, the name of their Super Prototype mecha, doesn't actually stand for anything, they just capitalised the name because it looks cooler.
  • Get Out!: Sentinel Three's attempt to (re)establish contact with Sunset Shimmer results in this.
  • Girl in the Tower: Due to being ashamed that her wings did not develop fully, Celesto keeps Leilani locked away in a tower.
  • Good Is Not Soft: Or more accurately, "Kindness does not mean Extreme Doormat".
    But kindness was not the same as milksop doormattery, for all that Starfleet sometimes confused the two, and Threelight knew would get scant kindness out of Fluttershy of which she was not deserving.
  • He Knows Too Much: Cerise hypothesizes that Twilight was killed to cover up something Starfleet didn't want getting out, and that Raven was an assassin targeting Twilight rather than Celestia as previously believed.
  • Heel Realization:
    • As early as the first chapter, Lightning Dawn has long been disillusioned with Starfleet and has realized just how horrible he and the other Space Ponies have been to the Equestrians. In particular, Lightning regrets his treatment of Twilight and her friends and has come to learn how important friendship is.
    • In "Beyond the Stars", Captain Plasma starts to realize Starfleet aren't the noble heroes he thought they were when he is ordered to shoot down the Princess Twilight Sparkle, one of Starfleet's own ships with the crew members still on board. He is unable to go through with it and intentionally has his ship hold fire, buying enough time for the Princess Twilight Sparkle to escape.
    • In "Artie's Choice", Artie Bristles realizes that, for supposed "heroes", Starfleet hardly does anything heroic. He also questions why he would risk everything to stop soldiers under his command from going on a suicide mission, but not do the same for Twilight Sparkle. As such, he betrays Starfleet in order to buy time for the Mane Five to get away, all the while calling out Starla out on all of the lives she's willing to throw away for the sake of her revenge.
  • Hidden Depths: Starlight Glimmer appears to be the typical Hypercompetent Sidekick for Starfleet. In secret, however, she despises their regime as much as any other and is pretty much a living "screw you" to what they stand for, as she smuggles her old friend Sunburst out of Starfleet's prisons and is in a relationship with Trixie (which is a big no-no in Starfleet's book). She's also going about trying to take Starfleet down with subterfuge, with the knowledge that Twilight's attempts at peace failed miserably and the expectation that Sunset's planned revolution will likely just result in a lot of dead ponies.
  • Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Starfleet's ridiculous Power Rangers-esque bodysuits; keep in mind Starfleet are supposed to be soldiers. This is Deconstructed when they are in a forest fighting caribou and they can easily spot the Space Ponies while keeping themselves out of view of Starfleet.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Pinkie Pie and Kitty Snap engage in one in "Kitty Cat-astrophe!".
    Kitty Snap: I get the feline that you're not taking this situation entirely seriously.
    Pinkie Pie: I am so taking this seriously. Can't you see that I'm Pinkie Pie-ning away with fear?
    Kitty Snap: Really? Because so far you seem more like you're tickled Pinkie.
    Pinkie Pie: But meeting you could turn out to be Cat-astrophic!
    Kitty Snap: Quit horsing around, I haven't cat all day!
    Pinkie Pie: No fair, you're only supposed to use one pun at a time!
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Starlight Glimmer. While Grand Ruler muses about severing ties with Celestia, Starlight reminds him that their union is literally the only thing holding Starfleet and Equestria together and that they will not be able to handle the fallout if he chooses to do so. It's quite telling that she's one of the few Equestrians to hold a relatively high rank in Starfleet. Or so it seems at first glance.
  • I Let Gwen Stacy Die: Unlike Starfleet Magic, Twilight's death has such a great impact on Lightning Dawn to the point where he realizes just how horrible he was to her and her friends as well as how important friendship is.
  • I'm a Placeholder, Not a Doctor: When the other Sentinels tell Charlie to think of something to help Three in "Broken Birds", he replies, "I'm an electronic warfare specialist, not a doctor."
  • I've Heard of That — What Is It?: Pinkie Pie in response to Kitty Snap calling herself the "Friendship Bandit".
    Pinkie Pie: Oh no, not the Frienship Bandit! Wait, who?
    Kitty Snap: You've never heard of the Friendship Bandit?
    Pinkie Pie: No. Although it does sound pretty terrible.
  • Impact Silhouette: One Delta makes a pony-shaped dent in a stone wall, courtesy of Maud Pie.
  • Impaled Palm: Raven drives a knife through Bon Bon's palm up to the hilt and sticks her to a doorframe.
  • Inspirational Martyr: Princess Luna provokes Celesto into attacking and killing her on live TV so as to inspire the Equestrians into revolting against him and Starfleet.
  • It's the Same, Now It Sucks!: One of Rainbow Dash's In-Universe criticisms about the Starfleet Magic TV show is that it is Strictly Formula.
    One of Rainbow Dash's least favourite parts about the Starfleet show - on a cinematic level, anyway, there was a laundry list of things that annoyed to downright infuriated her about the show's character work - was the boilerplate scene in nearly every episode where the monster attacked and then the alarms went off and all the extras ran for the shelters before the shields went up in a piece of stock footage that got reused something like twenty times a season whether the action was supposed to be Canterlot or Ponyville or somewhere else altogether. After a while it just got so old.
  • Just Following Orders: In "Beyond the Stars", Admiral Fisher and Captain Plasma use this to justify shooting down the Princess Twilight Sparkle, one of Starfleet's own ships, with its crew still on board. However, Plasma is unwilling to go through with it.
  • Kick the Dog: Starfleet and the Space Ponies show they're not the heroes they (or their show) say they are with how often they belittle the Equestrians, sometimes doing it straight to their faces. It's not just the Equestrians, the Space Ponies are shown doing this to each other as well.
    • Pinkie Pie mentions to Twilight that when she threw a party with Starfleet, she noticed that the Space Ponies weren't really enjoying themselves. She also talked about how Lightning Dawn, Starla Shine, and Rhymey were rolling their eyes at her and when she asked them why, Starla told Pinkie, to her face, "Isn't it about time you grew up and stopped bothering everyone with these childish parties?"
    • Basically anytime Grand Ruler refuses to acknowledge that Leilani is his daughter because of her physical disabilities. Such as the time Celesto said that Starla was the closest thing he had to a daughter.
    • Another one from Grand Ruler where he manages to kick Twilight, Sunset, and Celestia simultaneously when he tells Celestia that she has replaced Twilight with Sunset. As Celestia notes, it demeans Twilight to suggest that she could be replaced, it demeans Sunset to suggest that she is just a replacement for Twilight, and it demeans Celestia to suggest that she would ever forget about Twilight and replace her.
  • Kick the Son of a Bitch: Rhymey (who is heavily disliked both In-Universe and out) is killed by one of the Sentinels in trying to defend Sentinel Three from him.
  • Kill ’Em All: Grand Ruler's plan for Friendship is Magic: because he never got to order the death of Twilight, he's using them as Revenge by Proxy. However, Starlight Glimmer convinces him to spare Fluttershy - not because she has standards, but to avoid damaging Rhymey's morale.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • A lot of the criticisms towards the Show Within a Show of Starfleet Magic and Starfleet mirror the real life criticisms of My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic.
    • Professor Brain being unable to see Pinkie Pie as anything else but immature is a jab at how Mykan is incapable of seeing the fact that characters are capable of having multiple sides to them.
    • Buddy Rose finally manages to correct "Power of Fauna!" to "Power of Flora!"
  • Let Me Get This Straight...: In "The Last Couplet", Starlight Glimmer to Professor Brain about the Sentinel Project and subsequent rebellion from their creators:
    Starlight Glimmer: So, let me get this straight, Professor. You made a bunch of soulless abominations of nature, gave them powers greater than those of ordinary ponies – even ordinary space ponies, let’s be clear on what we’re talking about here – gave one of them the form and likeness of a dead mare who is considered a hero by many, and then you let them out. And then you found that you couldn’t control them and, in fact, never could. And now the off-switch has broken. Is there anything that I have just said that is factually incorrect?
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: It's heavily implied that Raven is an assassin sent by Grand Ruler to kill Twilight, with her official backstory being a cover-up. This would also explain why Grand Ruler suspiciously ordered Starfleet to not try and apprehend her in the source material. Grand Ruler also plans to do this to the rest of the Elements of Harmony.
    • A non-lethal example occurs with Starlight handing Sunburst over to La Résistance, which is set up to look like an ambush.
  • Manchild: Twilight describes the Space Ponies as having the minds and attitudes of children in a flashback in "Marching Orders".
  • Meaningful Rename: At Raven's suggestion, Sentinel Three takes on the name Evenfall or Eve for short.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Starla is willing to throw away hundreds of Space Pony lives in pursuit of revenge against Twilight.
  • Mini-Mecha: Lacking the genetic modifications and cybernetic implants of Starfleet, the zebras resort to twelve feet tall mechs to even the playing field. Most of them are Steampunk/Gearpunk mashups, but the Super Prototype HANNIBAL is a more conventional mecha.
  • The Mole: Sunset Shimmer, at the request of Princess Celestia.
  • My God, What Have I Done?:
    • Sunset Shimmer tells Sentinel Three to get out of her room and immediately regrets it, remembering when she did something similar in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Friendship Games.
    • Sentinel Three is horrified when one of the Sentinels kills Rhymey while trying to protect her from him.
  • Non Sequitur, *Thud*: One Delta is defeated in one punch by Maud Pie, resulting in this gem:
    "That sweetroll is lying officer, I never stole it, ugggh." (cue unconsciousness)
  • Only Sane Man: Cerise Wonder comes off as a lot more level-headed and reasonable than most Starfleet officers and is one of the only ones to question Starfleet's lies instead of following them unconditionally. Starlight Glimmer counts as well although she turns out to be The Starscream.
  • Painful Transformation: As mentioned above, Spike's "Dragon Power" upgrade.
  • Parental Substitute: Applejack decides to be one for Spike.
  • Percussive Maintenance: A couple of hits were what was needed to get HANNIBAL up and running.
  • Percussive Therapy: Lightning Dawn works out on a punching bag in a vain attempt to block out his memories of Twilight and his treatment of her and her friends. When he tells himself that he should have died instead of her, he actually breaks the bag off its chains.
  • Politically Incorrect Villain: Starfleet, or rather the Space Ponies in general.
  • Posthumous Character: Guess.
  • Rage Breaking Point: After witnessing Luna's murder at the hands of Celesto, Celestia goes near-Daybreaker and attempts to incinerate every Space Pony she can find. Luckily, Leilani snaps her out of it.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Lightning Dawn genuinely helps some Equestrians from Starfleet members' harassment. However, he is not thanked for his efforts because the Equestrians have suffered from Starfleet's Fantastic Racism (even Lightning used to behave this way until Twilight died) for some time and Lightning choosing to help now does not change that fact, automatically absolve him of his previous actions or make the Equestrians believe that his present actions are authentic.
    • Cheerwell takes care of her physically disabled son, Felix, by herself to keep him out of public view due to Grand Ruler's mandates on those with disabilities. Felix is still in danger of dying because he is not receiving proper treatment from a hospital.
    • Starfleet are supposed to a militant group yet they give their soldiers brightly colored Power Rangers-esque uniforms and go to places such as thick forests. Indeed, this goes about as well as you think it would when their enemy can blend in while Starfleet can't.
    • Applejack may be a more competent fighter than the Space Ponies and manages to knock down more than a few caribou, but the caribou are simply too numerous and well-equipped for her to take on.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • In "Prisoners", Lightning Dawn gives one to himself, calling out his cruelty to Twilight and her friends and how he should be dead instead of Twilight. Lightning agrees.
    • In "What An Artist", Sunset Shimmer slips one into a conversation with Grand Ruler, calling him out for his tendency to abuse his power and kill people he doesn't agree with, and refusing to re-open the portal to the human world. This also lands her on Grand Ruler's hit list.
  • Virtue Is Weakness: Unlike the source material, Celesto and Starla believe that the virtues of friendship are weaknesses.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Starlight Glimmer still clings to her vision of "a world without gods or princesses, a world where all stood equal and none was raised higher than anyone else". Here, however, she plans to do so by subverting Starfleet to her purposes, and genuinely believes that this is what's best for Equestria, even though it goes against everything Equestria stood for, and sees herself as the savior Equestria needs.
  • Wham Line:
    • Promotory; Inquiomerus drops this bombshell regarding who the caribou are working with.
      Inguiomerus: Lord Titan may not approve of that mare being allowed to live.
    • Couples Therapy; Twilight Sparkle says this line regarding her motivations.
      Twilight Sparkle: Behold. The Insecto Armada, the dark lord Titan's gift; the instrument for the destruction of Starfleet and the liberation of the galaxy.
  • What Were You Thinking?: Says Colonel Glimmer to Brain about letting the clones out when shown public footage of Sentinel Three.
  • The Worf Effect: Maud Pie gets to be on both ends of this in short order: first she one-shots One Delta, the Sentinel close combat specialist, in order to reinforce her badass credentials, before getting quickly taken out by Sentinel Two.
  • World's Smallest Violin: Subverted. Pinkie plays a violin while Kitty is telling her tragic backstory, Kitty notices and tells her to keep playing because she finds it fitting.
  • Yandere:
    • There really isn't a better word to describe how Rhymey treats Fluttershy.
    • Starla has become this after she and Lightning break up due to Lightning's feelings for Twilight. Starla goes so far as to hunt down and kill Eve, Twilight's clone, because of this.
  • You Are Number 6: The Sentinels are referred to by version numbers rather than by actual names in order to deponyize them and remove their "weak" personality traits. Eve, for instance, is initially referred to as "Sentinel Three".
  • You Have Failed Me: Celesto blames Fisher for the Princess Twilight Sparkle's escape as he was the one who selected Plasma for the task of destroying it and subsequently snaps his neck.

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