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IceStorm

[Las Pegasus]Dot your I's [Private: Attention Earth Writer]

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There it was, hunkered down in a ravine like a hibernating bear.  The sleep would be long yet, but when she woke, there would be fire and terror sown amidst the crowds of Equestria's enemies.

 

Such was the first phrase that leaped to Earth Writer's mind, after he had gotten done with being just plain shocked at the sight of the airship in construction.  Immediately picking his jaw off the floor, he scrawled the line on the outside of his folder so he didn't forget it.  That little bit of mental housework done, he cleared his throat and turned back to Icy.  "I understand.  She's certainly massive, and I can see why you'd not want any delays in getting her operational.  But did you have any plans for her maiden voyage that were time sensitive?"

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The reaction from Earth Writer when he saw the scope of the ship that she was building was priceless. She could see everything processing in his mind and coming together as he metaphorically picked his jaw off the ground. She saw him scribble something in his notebook. She heard him clear his throat and then commented on the ship. When he asked what she had planned for a maiden voyage for a ship like this that was time sensitive, she nodded.

 

“A couple reasons actually. One, the sooner she's operational, the sooner she's mobile. The longer she remains stationary, the more opportunities that something could figure out where she is and try to take the location before we have the pony power to defend it. We have a good defense force, but we aren't impervious yet. Once that's operational, she'll become the mobile headquarters of STAR. This base will become a fall back base of operations. As far as it's maiden voyage… I have a score to settle with The Red Jarl. Make him pay for the damage that he caused…” she stated with a bit of venom in her voice.

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"Hmm..."  Earth Writer's eyes roamed over the warship's chassis, his gaze falling not so much on it, as on sleeker flying longships locked and burned into both their memories.  "I'll understand if you don't want to put all of STAR into one basket, as it were, but I'd like to be aboard for that mission myself.  If you don't think I'd be in the way, that is."  He sighed, putting his pen away.  "It's something we both need closure on, really.  I'm only just now realizing how little I've come to terms with the whole experience, even now."

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Ice Storm could feel the anger and resentment just as much from Earth Writer as she mentioned the name and he added that he knew she wouldn't want all of her eggs in one basket as they say, but it was a mission that he wanted to be one. “I understand, and I will allow it on one condition,” she said turning to him. “I'm not expecting this to be an easy walk in and negotiate a truce meeting. There will be bloodshed. To that extent, I mean not to offend you, but you're no soldier. So if you came, it would be as a dossier and to record all events that happen for the log books. I cannot in good conscience allow you to walk the front lines with us. Both for your safety and ours,” and spoke honestly.

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Earth Writer did have to laugh a bit at Icy's conditions.  "Oh, believe me, I wasn't expecting that.  I'm a stallion of the pen, not the sword."  Taking one last look over the great hull laid out in the canyon before him, he couldn't help but reflect upon the fact that weapons had come quite a long way since that saying was first coined.  "You know... thinking back to the whole idea that words trump force... I wonder sometimes if that's more aspirational than factual.  Nothing I can say or write can alter past events, nor can they really guarantee or prevent any future ones.  But there's a funny little thing about facts.  You can't change what the facts are, but you can change what they mean.  Whether a foreign attack is a sign of weakness, or the waking of a sleeping giant... words can decide that, in the right place and time."

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Ice continued to walk as she heard Earth start speaking once again. He understood her conditions on the mission, and reiterated what she had said herself. That he was pony of the pen, not the sword. He continued by saying that he was starting to wonder if the quote that words trump force. She smiled. She heard him talk about how the words can't change the facts but they can change what they mean. Whether the attack was a sign of weakness, out the waking of a sleeping giant, time would only tell.

 

“Words can hold weight, but the call also become weightless. The pen is only mightier than the sword until the sword comes crashing down upon the one with the pen. This comes from the dating that actions speak louder than words. While the words can shift perceptions to the unknown, the actions that take place henceforth take president. An example, somepony saying that they are fixing a problem means nothing if they aren't actually taking steps to fix it.”

 

That's why I've taken the steps that I have. Myself, Equestria, we can talk the safety and security of everyone all we want, but until we can prove that we are a force to be reckoned with, no event has reason to back down. The only reason we've lasted as long as we have with this kind of waiting philosophy is pure luck. That's why the time for words it over. That's why the Shadow of Ice is being built. And that is why you are now here,” she said leading them into a room before locking the door behind them.

 

“Now, we get to the serious part. This oath and pact is more binding than any contract,” she started, lifting her hoof like she had done many times before. Ice began to creep up her foreleg, and an orb of aether appeared on her hoof tip.

 

“Earth Writer, by accepting the position in the Severe Threat and Action Response Force you are hereby swearing all alliances to that of not only myself but Equestria as a whole. That it's protection is of no squish and that no length is too great to preserve the harmony in our land. Your accommodations will be provided on base as well as your earnings provided in the amount of seven hundred and fifty bits a week for the rank of specialist E4. By shaking my hoof, you oath is sealed with an arcane pact. The same pact that I myself made with the night princess, can and my second in command. You will likely feel a bit of stinging as the pact is bound,” Ice finished with her magic covered hoof extended.

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There was a kind of practical cynicism to Icy's assessment that might come as refreshing to one that had choked upon the too-sweet optimism of common Equestrian life.  But to Earth Writer... he found it unsatisfying, even a little unsettling.  He'd seen that attitude a few too many times to find it a novelty, and in ponies who had not used whatever insights their attitude gave for the better.  

 

But what choice did he have, in the end, but to trust her good intentions?  Without trust, there was no hope for either of them, or the nation they called home.  With a nod more solemn than any grand bow, he voiced his agreement: "I shall do what has been said; you have my Word."  And with the grip of his hoof, he sealed the pact.  Immediately, he felt the energy, the magic, course through him.  It was like a spark of electricity, followed by a stream of cold water through his veins, ultimately spreading to every part of his body.  He shuddered, not unpleasantly, at the sensation as it passed through.

 

"I don't know about what you said, though.  About words and actions.  I think the kinds of words we just spoke, of promises and sacred honor, underlie our power to actually act.  I know we break these promises at our peril.  I mean, I lost my first job, one which had no small persuasive power, because I broke a promise to tell the truth.  And even in the military sphere, a leader who breaks a promise to a subordinate loses their power to accomplish their mission; I mean, the Storm King probably would have won if he kept his promises as seriously as we do ours."

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