Hello! Welcome to the first fic I’ve posted on this site. Disclaimers in this little intro before we get to the main event. This is a dramatization of my participation in the 2023 April Fools event. I have zero knowledge of the underlying story involving the NLR and SE, and I made no attempt to find out or lock the tech to such a world. Instead, I used a story I published on fimfic ten years ago as my basis – especially after the 1st-person presentation and general Wing vibe reminded me of A State of Darkness.
Additionally, other participants have been mentioned or briefly featured in this work, so let’s just get this out of the way. WaterMelonRat switching sides made the game interesting. Red Flux is not actually a Red Devil; Red Flux is a chad. Lightpoint will always be cute af, ;). BAH GAWD Dark’s ART! BROKEN IN HALF! Ponies die in this, and none of them are any attributed OCs because I think killing someone’s OC is cringe, very cringe. If you have a Wing deathwish fetish (looking at one of you), no. Just no. LMAO. If you have to attribute the deaths to an actual character… I guess slap it on those who scored less than five points and move on. Also, irides is spelled correctly. For whatever reason, I can’t stand how ‘irises’ sounds, so I use an archaic alternative. :D
A State of Darkness: A Title Reborn
Wing’s Dramatization of the Derpibooru 2023 April Fools Event
War is a fucking curse—a wretched curse that makes the kindest hearts falter—and I believed it was a part of my life that I had killed and buried. Science became my salvation. It was my place of refuge where I could hurl protons through magnetic fields at almost the speed of light and find out just how imaginative the Universe could be. A head’s up for those not in the know: the Universe will always be the most imaginative bitch in the room. Trying to outclass it will likely make you out for a fool.
When the war broke out, I didn’t expect to get the call. My time in uniform had long since come to an end, and though I had spent years flying and working in the intelligence sector, carrying one banner through a fractured Equestria felt like a job for those far younger. I watched as friends fell into different camps. I heard stories of the early rage—something about a betrayal—but I still hadn’t taken to the skies.
However, that didn’t mean I was inattentive. It didn’t mean I had turned a blind eye. Ponies never listened in the days of old, so why would any creature think they’d listen now? Peace isn’t something that just happens. There’s always something lurking—a tangible adversary, a divisive notion, the fruits of mistrust. There’s no such thing as perfection. Neither princess ever had all the answers because the cost of harmony was never free. When the toll isn’t paid, reality always collects its debt.
Even though I had paid mine decades ago, the Universe can also be a cruel place. I couldn’t avoid the battlefield. Envoys from both factions arrived at the lab to seek us out. Some wanted our cognitive prowess. Others wanted me to don my old uniform and wear it with pride. Surely, I still had some cards to play, but my civvy team didn’t—and they were carted away for it. Upstarts from the Empire labelled them as traitors. Upstarts from the Empire told me that I could piss off as a traitor too, and one even insinuated that a nuclear weapon should be dropped on my head from space.
Funny how that worked out. I had been content to ride out the conflict as Dr. Wing—catch something NICE and let the young guns learn the lessons themselves—but the fighter in me just couldn’t let that go. Did my friends deserve their chains? Did I deserve the threats? Did my mere existence demand hostility? They had all forgotten. The cost of harmony isn’t free, and I had already suffered that cost.
Fire consumed me. It coursed through my muscles, made my feathers twitch, and hurled bristling chills up my spine. My breath hitched when the Empire soldier reached to put the chains on me. Time became nothing—an instant dilated and stretched to infinity by the never-ending eternity. The disbelief would have crippled Dr. Wing, but Colonel Wing… Colonel Wing’s hoof broke that runt’s face and the tip of a metal mechanical pencil was good enough.
Memories etched by tens of thousands of combat hours ensnared every neuron and every stroke of my namesakes. I tore through the halls of the lab and darted through corridors to blaze a trail of liberation. That pencil finally broke in the neck of some poor colt, but the fire extinguisher mounted on the wall of the cross gallery did a nice job at setting a smoke screen—and then finding a new home in the side of another’s skull.
The beats of my wings grew faster and faster as my heart raced to a tempo that it hadn’t endured in ages. My sacred scientific space became tainted, drenched by blood, as that scored symphony drilled into my ears. Every wail, scream, and death—every teary-eyed stare when I freed my friends—followed the battle hymn until NICE became dedication that led me to a GRASSy field. All the while, the colonel tic in my brain muttered three words over and over that didn’t relent until I finally pressed to the front: For the Republic.
That cadence drove a bittersweet wedge that further carved a rift between my life as a scientist and the state of darkness that existed before. Old lockers are like coffins, and I needed to dig up mine. A flight suit adorned by the blue and black, wing blades, wrist daggers, and a fetlock-mounted Equestrian National Armaments Alpha-1 revolver were just a few of the keepsakes that had survived the tests of decay and rust.
It took me nearly five days to finally arrive at the line, and tension sat like a thick fog over the troops’ morale. Strategically, we had reached a dynamic stalemate—one in which each side would make advances and take an advantage, but neither army would hold it for long. I said war’s a curse, but this sort of thing brews the absolute worst toxic cesspool of shit one can imagine. No matter how much anypony ass-kisses a royal, not a single soldier wants to die for a strip of insignificant land that will just be traded back in a few hours’ time. No one wants to get turned to fine mist in a blink, but when you haven’t done dealings in the penumbra, crouched in the bottom of a trench is where one’s mind tends to wander the most. And fuck me, did I see them wander.
Whispers reached my ears and cemented those rumors of the traitorous Rat who had defected to the Empire. “We lost one of our best,” they mumbled before gulps of terror led them to additionally narrate the exploits of a Red Devil. Thousands slaughtered by a single mothling! Battalions crushed by a brilliant warrior. Meadows painted in torrents of moonlit red. Demons drowned in their own blood. All of them headlines for the Empire’s machine.
At first, it felt like doom and gloom. The strategic lines held, but the more I observed, the more I understood. Tactically, the NLR teetered on the precipice of failure. Mere mention of the two Solar Titans brought mental waves of misery to many. Actual advances made the lines buckle and injected palpable dread, and those reactions permeated camp after camp. It wasn’t my place to question the downtrodden soldiers who wasted their energy on complaints. I had been a rookie once, and simply sharing the creed was nothing like living it. Besides, fear can keep a pony alive. Feelings can push you forward, but only if you accompany the magnitude with a useful direction.
For me, my new comrades provided all the direction I required. A squadron of skreeing bat ponies exuded endless entertainment in the depths of depravity. One, in particular, seemed to have a knack for drawing little anecdotes about the conflict. Some were serious, and others weren’t, but I still chuckle when I think back on Dark showing me the cartoon of Princess Cadance entering the conflict with a steel chair shot heard ‘round the world. And to a certain backgroundpony, we can’t undervalue our contributions either, now can we?
My first night at the front forged friendships in the direst of circumstances. While some wallowed under the threat of the next attack, I had acquired something just as important as honoring the creed: my resolve. When warbling sirens pierced the air in the early morning hours of the sixth day, I grabbed my weapons and left the trenches. Having battled through the night, the bats reeled with exhaustion, and the news that Red Flux—the distinguished devil—was on the move reignited the fires of existential panic. Someone had to combat the unhinged beast of the field, and today was my turn.
Wind skipped over the contours of my flight uniform as I darted towards the Empire’s earthworks. The thunder of rumbling hooves and diffused cries grew more distinguishable through my approach, and charred chasms scarred the meadowland more and more frequently the closer I got to the flashpoint. Out of nowhere, a jolt jarred the coat along my spine. A familiar buzz yanked at my senses, and I rapidly descended before a jagged spellcast tore through the location I had previously occupied.
I scanned over the burned grass and crumpled bodies before the gleam of a unicorn’s horn snagged my attention. Emerald arcs jittered and swirled around a yellow-green spire, and anger clenched the Imperial stallion’s brow as he pushed himself over the lifeless husks of friend, foe, and field. I ripped water vapor from the air the instant I saw him and wove a dozen toroidal clouds with sweeping motions of my forelegs.
The mage’s next volley rocketed toward me. I rolled to avoid it and positioned my cloud creations before they ignited in a cascade of radiating electrothaumic current. The six pairs of rings formed a crescent curve that snatched the soldier’s spell and sent it hurling back. In a blink, his scream bit into my ears while his wicked spell severed its creator’s foreleg. My hooves hit the ground as he began to tumble, and I didn’t bother wasting ammunition on a fading target. A single downstroke of my namesakes closed the gap. My left forehoof snapped up, and the extended daggers anchored to my wrist ruptured the pony’s neck and flesh until the metal tips scraped against the interior of his skull.
Red rivers drenched my limb as the extinguished life dropped to the grass in a haphazardly folded heap. I retracted the blades with a flick of my wrist and cautiously advanced—keeping low to avoid additional bursts of fire. I approached a natural ridge in the landscape and steadied my breathing. Beyond the crest, untold numbers of Empire soldiers guarded the trenches, mounds of dirt, and towers of timber that stood between the Southwest and Canterlot.
Looking to my left and right, I watched as troops bearing the purple armbands of the night crawled through the field to join me at the ridge. An eerie silence swept over the terrain once the maneuvers had petered out—and as the noises emanating from the Solar fortifications faded. My wings quivered in response to the uneasy stillness. The ebb in the heat of the conflict did not tell my brain to lower its guard. Instead, every nerve ran in overdrive as the signals to remain on alert flashed repeatedly, and that training might very well be the only reason I didn’t die in that grass.
High-pitched whistling screeched from the heavens before the bombs seemed to fall from the Sun itself. The auguric explosions detonated behind us and incinerated any unfortunate souls caught within the craters. Shock waves from the orange wisps of death crashed into my back and tossed my body over the ridgeline as though I were a toy. The shouts of my comrades failed to overcome the ringing in my ears, and adrenaline had pushed out the pain from landing in the dirt with a resounding thud. Thankfully, as I lay sprawled out on the wrong side of the embankment, my eyes picked up the slack and caught the air force squadron diving out of the sky.
I threaded a needle—pushing a thin stream of golden weather magic along my right foreleg and into the attached revolver. The crescent-shaped trigger pressed against my hoof as I aimed the muzzle of the gun at the rapidly descending pegasi, and a grunt emerged from my muzzle when I realized that the first round I’d fire came from Celestia herself. Another bittersweet pill for the brutal history of war—swallowed the second my spell resonated with the shell. An abhorrent inferno pierced the sky immediately after I depressed the trigger. Most of the squadron dissolved in the light, and the chunks of flesh and feather that survived were irradiated beyond identification. Beneath me, the earth trembled, and the ringing in my ears subsided just enough for me to register that the Imperial Army was making a charge in the aftermath of the bombardment. I pushed myself back onto my hooves, repositioned my wings and their respective blades, and readied my second shot.
Hours of exhaustive fighting followed, and during that time, I never came face-to-face with either of the Solar Titans. In their place, I crossed blades and blows with ponies who barely knew for what they were fighting. The bastardized chaos of war eroded reason and left broken minds that endlessly babbled about coming superweapons—or advised the dying to spend their final moments cursing me to death for an imagined treachery. I hadn’t shown up to their civilian homes with cuffs! Babes who were realizing the cost too late. And even then, they’d rather waste a last gasp on hatred instead of reclaiming harmony to save their souls.
By nightfall, the bats had arrived, and the few friends that I had made stared at my tussled, scraped, blood-soaked figure. Dark made a comment that I looked like a tasty snack—much to the fruit bats’ disgust—and had I not been on the verge of collapsing into the sweet embrace of sleep, I might have laughed. There was nothing left for my mind and body to cling to—except for the latest intelligence report that stated the Titans had withdrawn for the night and that the Republic had held onto more gains than expected. Suddenly, I had a second wind spurred by a promising mission. We could take the earthworks, offer the Imperial Legends a tremendous task when they awoke, and let our flanking forces take Canterlot while absorbing the counterattack.
I continued to march with the bats, and we were eventually joined by a curious purplish pegasus. Unsurprisingly, Dark greeted the newcomer with skepticism, and at the time, it was damn near impossible to determine if our favorite artist was being serious or not. Then again, finding a pegasus with the name Darkness McNightshade should raise some red flags, and the spectacled flier added to the mystery by asking questions about a potential NLR doomsday weapon.
Of course, we later learned that this spying, disguised stallion was actually one of Celestia’s advisors, so in retrospect, Lightpoint’s surprise that our resistance was a homegrown, nitty-gritty, pie-loving effort of many that didn’t rely on a heavy hitter or a psychotic device wasn’t all that extraordinary. My ability to stay awake through the nighttime push on the Imperial position was certainly more astonishing, and the instant pass-out my body endured when we finally secured the trenches was possibly a thing to behold.