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Recap / Triptych Continuum A Total Eclipse Of The Fun

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Trial run... it still felt like unveiling a masterpiece before the official gallery opening. But really, what harm could it do?

The sisters looked over the wreckage in the Lunar Courtyard.

The second anniversary of the Return is approaching, along with the associated holiday. (Despite the timing of actual events, Return Day is held three days after the Summer Sun Celebration, to give Luna her own time.) Celestia wants to know if there's anything Luna wants to do for the occasion.

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As it turns out, there is.

The sisters are the only living ponies who remember the before, and the insanity of the Discordian Era — including the bits of beauty which could be found in chaos. Some of those things haven't been seen again since Discord was originally defeated. But Luna remembers them. And all she wants for Return Day is the creation of a new symbol. Something which will let Equestria see the sisters in the sky together, united.

All Luna wants — is a total solar eclipse.

Other than the siblings, nopony alive has seen an eclipse in more than a thousand years.

This could be a problem.

Read the story here.

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Tropes found in this story include:

  • Alternative Number System: Averted. Luna gets completely thrown off her mathematical superiority game after realizing there is no natural reason for their generation to have been taught how to work in Base Ten.
  • Answer Cut: As above, along with one in Chapter Four when Luna asks what the problem would be with having Twilight Sparkle write the one-sheet educational briefing on eclipses for distribution to the general public. One location switch later, she gets her migraine-inducing answer. Which included quantum.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: At the press conference meant to explain the nature of eclipses to the populace through newspaper articles (which ultimately leads to the government still having to do its own one-sheet educational printing — just for starters), one reporter asks how ponies are supposed to get used to the idea, especially if this is going to be any kind of regular event. Luna then decides that from that point on, all daylight conferences in the Lunar Courtyard will be held under total solar eclipse, just to let that reporter get used to it.
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  • Bring My Brown Pants: Inverted. After Celestia personally orders a poorly-disguised Flim & Flim to drop trousers for a mark inspection, some poor pony has to take the results away.
  • Code Name: The Brinner Brigade isn't particularly good at them.
    Yes, they were most certainly not former line cooks and a head chef. They could see no way for others to prove that they ever had been, at least not if the group was careful. In their minds, the fact that they referred to each other by code names like Saucier and Chef were no clues at all, which should tell you rather a lot about their minds.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Firmly establishes this for Luna, and gives more than a hint of Twilight's capabilities in the category.
    • Luna at the press conference:
    "Incidentally, if I could enthrall ponies and make them do whatever I wished, a number of you would be asking much more intelligent questions..."
  • Didn't See That Coming: Go ahead and demonstrate an eclipse in the Lunar Courtyard to a few ponies selected from both palace staffs, just to see how the public might take it. There's no way anypony would be freaked out by the sight of Luna performing a working which seems to be blocking out Sun... and cue riot. (To be fair, Luna asked for the demonstration as a means of finding out if any ponies would have bad reactions before the sisters brought the phenomenon to the general populace. It was better to discover the problem then and there — but neither anticipated the actual panic.)
    • An angry Celestia then fires those who started it, which leads into a second instance of this trope by triggering the formation of the world's most incompetent counterrevolutionary cell. When she eventually discovers all the layers of what had happened, she treats the prior gap in her knowledge as a personal failing. Luna makes a point of saying Celestia isn't omniscient (even if the older sister sometimes briefly manages to make her fall for it) and that there was no way to see this coming, but Celestia keeps insisting that she should have seen more. There may be a bit of a Guilt Complex there.
  • Diurnal Nocturnal Animal: Partially averted. Luna and Celestia are described as being locked into night and day, but there's a degree of natural overlap to their normal waking hours and either one can freely operate during the other's time. However, they're both slightly weaker during those "wrong" hours, and too much time spent under the wrong celestial body serves as an escalating irritant: Luna becomes increasingly jittery, Celestia's teeth go on edge. When combined with the loss of sleep from a schedule flip, either sister operating in the wrong part of the day/night cycle for a week or more can become a bomb looking for a place to go off.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: When Flim & Flam are caught out for trying to sell fake "Eclipse Glasses", they're both horrified to learn that in addition to the shoddy recording spell they cast on them, they accidentally failed to properly apply the shading spell that would make them work to keep out the eclipse's harsh light. Meaning there's a very good chance that anypony who might have used them would have gone blind, perhaps even permanently. The remorse doesn't have any permanent effects, and probably has most of its roots in Pragmatic Villainynote , but the Sisters note that they were genuinely aghast and it's clear that flubbing the protection spell was unintentional.
  • Fantastic Drug: Introduces Exam Crystal, described as wake-up juice gone tesseract. Any pony taking it will be more awake than they've ever been in their lives, and will remain so until the moment the drug wears off — which is the problem. There's no way to determine effective duration prior to taking it, and it has two possible post-dose effects: either you're about thirty percent more tired than you were before using it, or you fall into a light coma which lasts until you've made up for every last minute of missed sleep. The Brigade uses it to get past their exhaustion from weeks of staying awake as much as possible.
    It was a little like mentioning a high explosive which knew your name, had the keys to your residence, and mistakenly thought you owed it money.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Very much present, with Celestia as the Beautiful Sister and Luna as the Smart Sister. This story was the first major demonstration of their relationship in the 'verse, and served as the model for subsequent tales.
  • Height Angst: Discusses Celestia's issues in this area for the first time: a long day of moving through Ponyville, explaining the eclipse to a few last holdouts, leaves her looking down all the time — until she finally slips up and keeps her gaze level, triggering Roseluck's inevitable faint at the sight of a Princess talking to the top of a door frame.
  • Imagine Spot: Celestia has a brief, personally-powerful one of her own group of Bearers when Luna first uses illusion to demonstrate what she wants, and it's part of what sells her on creating the actual eclipse. During the event itself, she has several more, which serve as the first real introduction to those characters in this 'verse, with each of the four getting a bit of remembered dialogue. During the wrap-up, she admits one of her realized subconscious reasons for working so hard to get the eclipse established: a small part of her truly believed that at the moment of totality, they would come back to her.
  • Insistent Terminology: If Celestia and Luna are sharing the morning meal together, the Solar Kitchen calls the result 'brinner'. The Lunar staff refers to that same meal as 'dinfast'. About two seconds after that, pots begin to fly.
  • Klingon Promotion: Averted. Celestia offers Blending Stock the chance to become the new head chef of the Solar kitchen — and gets turned down, because while he feels he knows a lot about things which aren't food, he doesn't know enough about food itself yet. Celestia, understanding, promotes him to junior sous instead, with the eventual prospect of taking over — when he feels he's ready.
  • Logic Bomb: Luna launches one (referenced by name) which nearly takes out an entire press conference. Upon being repeatedly challenged to prove that she's incapable of enthralling ponies, she agrees that the never-seen ability would in fact be a danger and refuses to release anyone from the gathering until they've proven they can't do it - through attempting (and failing) to use the spell on her. If it doesn't work, she'll simply tell the gathering "I am not enthralled' and let that pony leave.
    "Of course — if you could enthrall me, that would be the very first thing you should make me say..."
  • Magic Misfire: The core of the Brinner Brigade's plan: Luna will need to use a lot of power to manage the eclipse, so they'll wait until she's in the middle of doing it and then trigger a backlash by hitting her horn. However, as the sisters are perfectly aware of the weakness inherent to anypony using that kind of magic, the Guards automatically raise a hidden shield spell around them whenever anything over the most basic levels is being worked.
  • The Mole: Saucier/Blending Stock. He wasn't fired, he quit so he could keep an eye on the others.
  • Noodle Incident: By Word Of God, the Brinner Brigade was not the stupidest conspiracy the sisters have ever had to deal with. One can only imagine what was...
  • Power Incontinence: As it turns out, when Celestia is truly emotional, she can set off a little thunder herself.
  • Properly Paranoid: Chef believes that making the Brigade sleep as little as possible falls under this category, as it keeps the Nightmare from discovering their plans. Celestia later suggests that the odds of Luna having walked into any member's nightscape was incredibly low to start with: there's only so much time available, a tremendous number of dreaming ponies, they would have to be dreaming of their activities to start with — and Luna normally lets herself be drawn to nightmares.
  • Pun-Based Title: The title is a reference to "A Total Eclipse of the Sun", which is what happens in the story, repeatedly. But it's also about how making it happen, isn't exactly fun.
  • The Reveal: Celestia and Luna did not wield all six Elements between themselves. Once upon a time, there was another sextet of Bearers — and history, which believes in the legend of the Princess, has lost sight of the others.
  • Shout-Out: Word Of Fanfic Author is that the Brinner Brigade was meant as an extended love letter to Terry Pratchett.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Once the siblings agree on the creation of the eclipse, the actual details start to set in: path of totality visibility along the Sun's usual route, the fact that repeatedly speeding and braking Sun and Moon throughout the day could easily leave them both exhausted, their inability to make eclipse-viewing glasses for an entire continent given the limited amount of both lead time and material supply... It eventually leads to centering the event on Ponyville, supplying glasses to both that settled zone and Canterlot, as both a question of Luna's personal comfort and just finding a way to deal with the sheer numbers involved.
    • A harsher example hits at the initial demonstration done for a few selected members of the palace staff, viewing an illusion in the Lunar Courtyard. Luna, as the superior caster, manages the display — thus providing those viewing ponies the sight of her performing a working which appears to be blocking out Sun. The riot starts quickly.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Chef's opinion of the Brinner Brigade, with a side dose of Ragtag Bunch of Misfits. (He's only mostly right.) Of course, this begs the question of 'If you're so smart, how did you manage to let a bunch of idiots surround you?', and Celestia quite accurately later describes him as the lead idiot.
  • Taking the Bullet: Or in this case, the plate. It's not as if Blending Stock knew about that invisible shield spell.
  • Total Eclipse of the Plot: The Fanfic. There's nothing inherently mystical about the eclipse itself (other than the magical effort required to create it), but the sisters' effort to reintroduce the concept to Equestria drive the bulk of the story.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: Starting with the third chapter, the story divides its time between the sisters' eclipse preparations and the Brinner Brigade's plans to stop the takeover of what they see as a new Nightmare, until everything comes together at the eclipse itself.

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