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The General's efforts did not go unnoticed, and it was contagious! The Captain settled into her seat properly with a smile on his face and ear at full attention as everypony spoke. She should add that to her service record. Almost made General Pummel smile.

With the introductory statements fully underway, she sat enraptured, hoping that she'd hear these prideful, hopeful young voices ready to make a difference! But, for the most part... they fell short. Of course, she couldn't say she was surprised. The bloody Princess was in the room, as well as the ever-imposing General Pummel and the high-flying superstar Captain Spitfire. First thing's first, she made sure to wrote a note to Recruit Bubblebath. It was nice that she wasn't the only sailor in the room, and being enlisted, she certainly wanted her to feel welcome, relaxed, and that she could speak her mind. Of course, it went without saying that proper bearing was a must, but this wasn't a grilling session afterall. She passed it along to her Executive Officer to ensure it would get to her:

[Recruit Bubblebath,

Thank you for being here! This summit will be made leagues better by hearing what our brave enlisted personnel have to say about current affairs, and I look forward to hearing what you have to say! On that note, do try to relax dear. I know this must be intimidating, but please know this is a safe place for you to speak your mind!

Respectfully, 
Captain Wildflower
]

But, just as quickly as that note left, another came, not long after the General's stalwart son made his enthused introduction. Honestly, she had to stifle a giggle. She knew exactly what Pummel meant, but she couldn't help herself. Her response, purely in jest:

[A little young for my tastes, but I appreciate the blessing!]

In all honesty, she wasn't sure how Dawnguard would do at sea... Mostly because she didn't know Dawnguard at all. Though watching a soldier try to get their sea legs was always amusing for sailors and marines, so maybe one day they could try it if for nothing more than the entertainment value.

But after the General stood to speak, she made sure to put her thoughts on the backburner. The General's words were speech-before-battle worthy, but she couldn't deny that his expertise and time in service was second to none. His presence would be invaluable, and the group was fortunate to be in such a forum where they'd be able to discuss these current affairs with an officer of his caliber.

Once he finished, she supposed it was her turn. Getting up from her seat, to follow the General's example, she only needed a moment to recite her introduction. It was still fresh in her mind, of course, she had only just thought of it a few moments after she sat down. 

"I am Captain Wildflower, and by Celestia's grace I have the honor of commanding the HMS Endurance, primarily patrolling the Sparkling Sea. Depending on who you ask, I'm the worst monster in the sea, but as far as I can gather that's a good thing for us. I want to thank everypony so much for being here, especially our enlisted. It's my belief that we often overlook your thoughts when we make reform, so it pleases me to know we'll get to hear from you! As the General said, our nation has faced trials in these past few years more taxing and dangerous than the thousand years before Princess Luna's return, and perhaps even further. Hopefully the summit will help set the groundwork for defensive reform and enhancement to safeguard our future, and bring our military into further efficiency in this new age."

Lengthy, she felt, but she said all she wanted to say. Taking her seat once more, she seemed very eager to get the discussion started in earnest. 

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Cyclone was a strong, brave mare and her resolve did not waver easily. But it was a struggle not to reach for the cider before she left her son's Canterlot duplex to head to the palace. In accepting the invitation, she was venturing out of her comfort zone and didn't know what to expect, to put it lightly.

Grace and silence were the themes to her entrance. Clad in her golden armour, she composed herself and pushed on the door catching the end of a navy captain's inspiring speech; a painful reminder of all the high ranking commissioned officers that would be convened at the summit. She had not been sure that she wanted to go at first, indeed she was learning just how uncomfortable it would be to speak amongst numerous superiors, but the suggestion of making a difference for Equestria was appealing enough to overcome her worries.

Was she intimidated? ... Uncharacteristically, yeah. She would stare down a centaur without so much as trembling, but for all of her experience and confidence, she didn't know what to say in there. She had a fair few serious thoughts on defence, but how and when to articulate them was another matter. She bowed her head to the princess and saluted her comrades on her way in. Careful not to interrupt anypony, she made her introduction, "Sergeant Major Cyclone Guard, of the Royal Guard. It's an honour to be here today. Sorry I'm late." Short and to the point. She understood to extend the proper courtesy and present her input respectfully and maturely. She didn't plan to offend anypony and incite disciplinary action - or worse get hit where it really hurt, her paycheck.

A lot of faces around the room, some stern, not many familiar. As she found and took her designated seat, she tried to hide her discomfort behind a formal posture and calm expression, and listened closely. She had to discern when she could speak, she may have missed what had been said thus far but hoped this wouldn't be much of a problem.

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Soon after she was done, her rage began to just slowly ebb away from her. Though her gaze still remained stern as her one eye fixed on him… it’d be pretty obvious to anyone that her rage is purely born out of the training she had to undergo to get her position. And with that, she was about to walk off to find her seat… till a soldier called out to her.


She stared at him quietly, her head tilted just slightly to give her good eye a decent view of him, with her eye patch just barely out of view. Then came the princess, scolding her. Though everything mostly fell on deaf ears. Yup… she seems to have regressed into a much calmer mental state. One full of sunshine and daisies. That’s not saying she wasn’t paying attention. Oh… she was…

She was just trying not to find another reason to turn into a living fireball. And once everything was done, she gave a polite solute to the princess and returned to her seat.  The mare removed her helmet, letting her uneven-short cut mane fall free from the inside. The longer side easily draped over her cheek, and covered her eyepatch and scar from view, while the shorter side had a natural sweep that moved it’s self out from the view of her good eye.

 

A second later, she had a large stack of reports, and paper work pulled from her bag and set out in front of her. At least she can still get some work done while she was here… rather than having it suddenly pile up into an endless backlog. Oh yes… on top of being a captain… she can hardly ever evade her political duties.

 

She looked up when it came time for her introduction. She stood up and clicked her hooves together.

“Captain Star Breezer.” The mare spoke gruffly. Commanding Officer of the REA  combat ready Calvary unit, ‘Dragoon’. While we are currently handling patrols within our area, and occasional monster and freakish anomalies… we are always on standby for emergency response outside of our operation zone. I can’t remember how long I’ve been serving, but each day I do so is with pride.” With that, she sat down. Simple and short to the point.

Though she did take a moment to write something out on a note, and pass it off to a messenger. She gave a quick gesture of the hoof towards General Pommel.

[Pommel]

[You got your hands full there. How in the name of faust did a buck like you end up with an enthusiastic little squirt, and I got a filly with the expression of a brick?]

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Was she late from the set time? Yes. Was this a first time she'd been late to an important event? Not in the slightest. Was she going to be late to another event in her life? Probably. Those were the thoughts going through Midnight's head as the Pegasus arrived late to the summit. The Lunar Guard walked up the stairs, battling back a yawn that tried to force its way onto her face. Her work all being at night, she'd fitted into a nocturnal lifestyle, and now being awake with the sun shining bright, brought conflicted feelings to her as she entered the main summit room, looking out over the others who were participating. She quickly found her 'spot', sitting down with enough time as the introductions just started.

 

She looked around the table, before realizing she was next to Spitfire! (Assuming the table drawn before still applies). She, like many Pegasi, held her in high regards due to her abilities and her title of Wonderbolt, and it took more self restraint than she'd be proud to admit to stop herself from trying to talk to the Pegasus next to her. On her otherside, a Unicorn who she'd never seen before, not even able to put a name to his face.

Looking across the table, there was only a single other face she recognised, Night Watcher. The Staff-Sergeant who she'd interacted with a few times, and no longer after having finished her basic training, she looked up to Night Water. In her eyes, she was what a Guard should be in many ways, and despite being at a formal summit, tried to wave at her, unaware is the Staff-Sergeant would even see it.

After a pause, she looked around before it hit her. It was, her turn to talk....She took a deep breath, she wasn't too much of a fan of public speaking, and terrified she'd say something stupid, or fumble her words, or embarrass herself.

"Sergeant Midnight, Active member of the Lunar Guard. I apologise for my lateness, I was on duty last night and took longer than I expected to arrive. It's a pleasure to meet you all..." she took a very deep breath in after finishing her sentence. She looked around the circle again, hoping she hadn't messed something up already, and curious as to where, or what, would be discussed first in what is easily seen as one of the most important meetings she'd ever attended.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The introductions were done and now all eyes were on the princess once again. As the chair she was the one to direct the discussion. And for a summit such as this she knew exactly the first topic to discuss. It was no secret among the guards that the two biggest threats of Canterlot, and even Equestria at large breached their defenses and were able to operate without notice and gain power. "Officers and recruits, now that the standard protocols are over, we can move onto the main discussion." Celestia began, deciding to dispense with the formalities. "As most of you know our last two greatest threats infiltrated past our defenses and were able to increase their power to a level that made them a significant threat. Had we been able to detect them or prevent them from entering, we would have been able to prevent them from ever becoming a threat. It is this, how to fortify our defenses, and intelligence practices, that I would like to have discussed  first." Celestia turned to Agile Speeds and nodded as a signal for the summit to begin officially.

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Agile nodded towards the Princess.  He stood up, saluting, "On behalf of the Royal Equestrian Guards, and all of Equestria-I declare this Summit...open!"

He waited for the rest of the members to rise and salute, before continuing, "All may sit,"  He lowered his salute and relaxed his tight position.  

"In my small speech, I'd like to address three key points:  Past enemies of Equestria, current methods of REA performance, and plans to improve these methods in the future.  

Nightmare Moon, Queen Chrysalis, Discord, Tirek, Sombra~," He began to pace around the room, his head held up high and his hooves trotting the floor with heavy hoofsteps.

"These were all enemies of Equestria.  These were all enemies that we-the Royal Guards of Equestria-couldn't deal with.  Nightmare Moon-all it took was a simple spell involving a blue cloud-and all the guards positioned were taken out.  Queen Chrysalis-the chaos that ran amok our ranks scattered us, and the Changelings were able to target us group-by-group.  Discord-he ran Equestria insane, and we did nothing to save or solve the problem.  We were so focused on keeping rank, following orders, that we forgot to think for even one second that 'the embodiment of chaos might not be defeated as easily with perfectly sane weapons and armour'.  Sombra-this goes out to all those with relations to the REA in the Crystal Empire.  The citizens were already weakened and victimized-horrified and experiencing symptoms of psychedelic relapse, and the guards did little to nothing to defend the endangered population.  Tirek: Again, what did we do?  Nothing.  Each and every single time, the REA relied on the Princesses and the Elements of Harmony to save our nation.  Why is this so?"  He paused, staring at each member of the summit in turn.  

"Why.  Didn't.  We.  Do.  Anything."  He thundered his hooves onto the table, the bang of wood and bone resounding through the room.

"We are trained guards.  Trained to protect.  Trained to train.  Trained to serve the Equestrian Nation.  We are trained to follow our orders, no matter the cost.  We are trained to put our loyalties above our lives.  We are trained to be one unity.  Unfortunately, we are also not trained to think quick on our hooves.  In case of danger, we simply walk past-following the orders given to us.  We need to set a boundary between following orders and thinking on our hooves to save Equestria.  As of the past few disturbances, we have been easily overtaken.  These enemies are unpredictable-we, on the other hoof, are.  We follow a strict regime, a loyal code.  Take Discord-for example.  His whole power was chaos and randomness!  We were so easily overpowered, so easily defeated.  We need to adapt.  This is no longer Medieval Equestria where ever villian was the same.  This is no longer the past where all it took was one look from our honored Princess to silence the enemy.  This is no longer that time.  This is the present.  This is the future.  And this-our plan,"  He made an invisible circle, waving his hooves over it, "Is not working,"

He paused for a moment, walking around the room once to prove his seriousness.  He stopped a head away from the Princess, looking straight into her eyes, "We're here to defend the Princesses, but we're also here to save Equestria,"

He turned away and returned to his seat, taking a deep breath and sighing, "But there's no use dwelling in the past.  As a nation-we must improve.  Equestria has grown, and we must grow with it.  We are a strong partnerships-we are each others' allies.  I believe that-together-we can do anything.  We need to evolve our ways.  I believe our first goals should be to maintain a borderline between following orders and thinking on our hooves.  Admit it-sometimes, the die-hard orders fail.  We need to think fast and act fast to react fast and save citizens.  This should be our first priority.  FOR THE CITIZENS!"  As he finished his statement, he thrust his hooves into the air and yelled out the phrasing.  This was for Equestria!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Lunar was feeling more confident in his position. He was a great researcher and knew a lot about the old threats and his experience from old speeches helped him. Finally he stood up to speak but before he bows his head to the Princess "Princess, and my fellow ponies of Equestria as I have stated I am former guard pony Lunar RelicI am here on behalf of the citizens and as an old member of the guard I am here with ideas on informing our fellow citizens. As we all know threats have blindsided us in the past and we have relied on The Elements of Harmony one too many times. One thing I propose is keeping citizens informed of threats as they appear. Or some form of early warning system and plan. Finally I wish to suggest a volunteer civilian defense corps to work along with the Guard this way we can have ponies with some skill as an extra line of defense." Lunar then pulls out a stack of scrolls. "I have here some reports that include all expenses that would be included. As well as some research on some things that could cause a problem in the future however I am unsure of the exact probabilities at this time but Princess." Lunar looks to Celestia to address her "I can always continue my studies on this matter after the summit. I am willing to play my part as you see fit Princess." Lunar bows his head as he did before he began to speak "I thank you for your attention." he finishes before taking a seat.

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Bubble Bath took in each statement in stride, nodding, taking notes, looking focused- probably too focused. Her head leaned forward, nodding with every statement, more like a football player in the midst of a huddle then a well balanced soldier pony about to give a speech.

And just like that, it was time! Time- to not freeze up. Decisive action and speaking, discard the fluff! Bubble Bath leapt onto the table, head held high!

"I! Was going to talk about how so many of our problems are lingering ancient threats that could only be properly predicted by a crackpot team of history ponies and conspiracy nuts! Or, was that history nuts and a team of crackpot conspiracy ponies? In any case! I'm not bringing that up, cause I'm sure somebody else is going to talk about that! So instead, I'm going to talk about stuff we're not doing too bad at!" she said, taking a breath.

"Because really, we're going to be saying an awful lot about how bad we're doing, and we shouldn't throw the foal out with the bathwater. So here is some positive stuff!"

"When it comes to our combat training... it's pretty much just fine! Pound per pound, ponies can pummel plenty of pesky pernicious perpetrators. For instance, there are a number of documented cases of pony versus changeling combat where in citizen and soldiers ponies alike took on vast numbers of  changelings, holding their own for long periods versus utterly superior numbers. So, I don't think that's really a weak spot."

"But I think we should really start to cover our strong spots and how to better take advantage of them. What separates us from every other force in this world isn't our discipline, or our combat training, or anything like that. It's our relationship with the ponies of Equestria and how we relate to one another. There are plenty of military forces in the world who do nothing but fight, conquer, control, but we're Guards! We're here for the ponies out there, helping and contributing however we can! It's not always glamorous, but sometimes we have to help a fisherman whose boat is sinking, or help someone lost in the streets, or maybe just stare at the same hallway all day, acting like someone is going to invade, for days and day and days and days, and you just start to question reality, is the carpet really purple, is the Princess real, are we all white or have I gone color blind..."

Bubble Bath shook her head hard, getting back on track.

"Um, what I mean to say is, ponies look to us for help and guidance in lots of situations, big or small, and they trust us, which means they listen when we tell them how to respond in real emergencies! Which is good. Next point!"


Bubble Bath horn sparkled as she sealed herself in a ball and began to roll along the table in front of her fellow guard, cartwheeling inside it, making eye contact.

"So, my name is Bubble Bath, I'm a naval recruit, in a chain of command, and it's something I completely respect. We need leaders, order. However, what I don't think is helping us is how little we see of each other outside our branches, not just like this, but as comrades in arms, joined in the common good for Equestria. Have we had a potluck? A luncheon? War games with emphasis on the games part? How can we pull together when we barely even know each other? How are we supposed to be some kind of amazing fighting force when we're all but strangers?" Bubble Bath said, bubble bursting as she returned to her seat.


"Every pony is special, has their own talents to bring to the fore, but sometimes it's as if we think every unicorn, pegasus, and earth pony is completely interchangeable with any other, when we know it's just not true! I can make bubbles for almost any occasion, but if it's my job to teleport in and out combat, I'd be useless! The more we know about more Guard ponies, the better tactical decisions we can make as a group, and the closer we are as comrades, the easier inter.... inter-departmental? Affairs will be. So let's all hang out when this is done!" Bubble Bath said with a smile, oblivious, then dropping it as her eyes went wide, snapping into a salute.

"Recruit Bubble Bath, speech finished!" she said, then promptly say back down with a sigh of relief. Whoo, nailed it!

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  • 1 month later...

After a long silence, Captain Wildflower decided to stand and speak. She could piggyback off of what was said already, so that was good! But she had her own points to bring up.

 

"I hope you'll excuse the Navy speaking twice in a row, ladies and gentlemen. In case you came in later, I am Captain Wildflower, Commanding Officer of The Endurance. A Galleon. As such I can only concretely speak for what happens at sea, but I'll do my best to address Her Majesty's initial question, as well as add to what Recruit Bubblebath said- Thank you, by the way! I apologize, but my points are a bit lengthy." A message is only as clear as it is concise, but there's also enlisted in the room. Something's gotta give.

 

Her Executive Officer hoofed over a few forms she had said she'd address first, looking them over a short moment to make sure they were what she needed. "Now, to address what I think is most important: our intelligence capabilities. We can certainly improve upon them. As they say, 'Intelligence drives operations'. But, it's easier said than done. At the moment I feel our gathering and analysis capabilities in the rear echelon are a bit lacking. With organizations like R.E.I.N. and the Honor Guard no longer available to us, we don't have much in regards to collection and analysis of information. Aside from our very capable scouts, there aren't many organic assets to fall back on should there be incomplete intelligence on anything. For example, as a ship Captain, I'm plenty concerned about the enemy, sure. However, we also need to know about the area we're sailing into. What weather patterns can be expected? Are there friendly vessels nearby? Is there anything historically significant about the area that will effect operations? What are some significant activities that have occurred in the region? Have we seen anything like these activities in the past? What might these events lead to? Information like this will give us a much better understanding of what kinds of places we're going into, and how to better prepare for disaster, but we can't do that without the dedicated personnel to give us that advantage. For example, Nightmare Moon's return. We were unprepared because we had forgotten our history. Her return had been foretold! And yet she still hit us by surprise. This isn't to say we don't get this information, but it needs to become a focus. More dedicated personnel, or even a revamped intelligence program will help us stay one step ahead for these major events."

 

Clearing her throat, she continued.

 

"As for fortifying our defenses, I do agree with what Mister... Relic...? Had said, and we could likely benefit from local conscription. We're spread thin enough as it is, and honestly, not all ponies may want to join the military and travel away from home. Those who still want to serve should still be given the option. Conscripting local militias would keep order, help our citizens feel more secure, and enable us to take our full time soldiers back and better assign them where they can be put to better use. It would also give us a fair early-warning system so that the military can still be dispatched if needed should trouble arise."

 

Setting her papers aside, she looked to the sun princess with a smile. "If I may, I'd like to suggest a couple of things in closing, as I'm sure plenty of these ponies are tired of hearing me talk" she joked, before continuing. "As was said before, there's nothing necessarily wrong with our current style of training, though I believe it is out-dated. At some point I think our training commanders should get together and discuss what's still viable and what can be reworked. With a new age, and these new, unique threats, come the question of preparedness. We can have all the information we could ever hope for at our disposal, and the numbers, but if we don't know how to more efficiently utilize the troops at our disposal, and emphasize leadership in the lower ranks, I think we'll see a far better military for these trying times. Ponies can be specialized and assigned accordingly, as well as ponies understanding who stands where in the chain of command so that the proper soldiers can take over should officers or NCOs be unavailable for command. Plus, if there's anything I've learned in the Navy, it's that maneuver warfare favors the violence of action. If everypony is willing to take charge and understand their role, I don't think there's a force out there, natural or otherwise, that can stop us. Thank you."

 

With a huff of relief she took her seat. Sure, she said a lot, but hopefully it would give everypony something to think about.

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  • 1 month later...

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Next to stand up and speak was Gen. Pummel. By now, he had listened to enough speeches to believe that nothing truly productive was going to come out of the conference. "I'm going to be frank; I believe this conference is a waste of our time. Everything I'm hearing... it's all been said before. 'We're too weak to stop the most powerful threats.' 'Our troops lack personal initiative.' 'Our intelligence capability needs improvement.' .....None of you here are the first to raise criticisms like these. They've all gone up the chain-of-command, and we're utilizing what resources are available to address these issues."

 

It was at this point that the General started to methodically pace around the room, slowly and deliberately behind everypony else seated (except for Princess Celestia). "Yet the inconvenient fact remains that none of the silver bullets that ponies routinely place their hopes on... won't be enough to change the fundamental flaws of the Royal Guard. Our problems run far deeper than training regimens or intelligence gathering. It's our society... our very history and traditions, that limits the potential effectiveness of our armed forces."

 

Pummel paused to gather the instant facial reactions to that controversial statement. "Let me ask you this: did your mothers or fathers ever read you bedtime stories about the glory of war? Has anyone told you that the greatest honor possible was to die for one's country... or make the other poor scumbag die for theirs? Were you ever encouraged as kids to use violence to solve a conflict? If you were raised anywhere within Equestria, I guarantee you that the answer... is a resounding no."

 

"The truth that none of you will admit is that for more than a thousand years, ponies have been brought up in a society that tells them simply that... violence isn't effective. That what's really needed to save the day... is communal love and friendship. So far, ponykind hasn't been proven wrong. However, the society we enjoy now — the society we've sworn to protect — doesn't come without its trade-offs."

 

The aide that accompanied Pummel started passing out softbound copies of a book, On Fighting: The Psychological Cost of Promoting Violence in Ungulate Societies, written by a Dr. Spin Tale (best known as the curator of the Canterlot Army Historical Museum). "Studies have shown that in contrast to cultures that depend more on military force for their security, the ponies of Equestria feel less of a need to personally contribute to their own country's defense, depressing recruitment numbers by a highly significant factor. Not only that, but the average pony lacks what you might call... a killer instinct. To illustrate this point, I will refer to interviews conducted with unicorn royal guards after the Changeling Invasion of Canterlot."

 

Pummel's aide proceeded to hoof out copies of what appeared to be a comprehensive article out of a peer-reviewed scientific journal, not easily readable for the average pony. Certain key passages were underlined though for the benefit of the conference. "According to what we've learned from these testimonies, approximately 75 percent of the unicorns assigned to Canterlot garrison duty the day of the Invasion failed to fire lethal magic bolts directly at the enemy. Even when in danger, the average unicorn soldier was so averse to killing another being... that either they deliberately missed changelings in the hopes they'd just be scared off, or used less-damaging stun bolts instead. We have similar after-action reports from earth pony and pegasi guards as well, who held back rather than risk the guilt of slaying another equine."

 

Silence filled the air for a few moments as Pummel let the others absorb his words. Once by his own chair, the grim pegasus concluded his speech; "Unless this body has the guts to grapple with these cold, hard facts... then things are just going to stay the same as they are, for better or worse. Equestria will not fall while the Princesses still rule, but battlefield performance will remain below expectations unless we serviceponies are willing  and able  to charge certain deep-seated taboos head-on."


With that, Gen. Pummel finally took his seat.

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With the introductions out of the way, Night Watcher was eager to get the discussion started. She was unsure how she could contribute to the proceedings as there were many fine ponies leading the various branches of the military present to offer their knowledge. The comments of some of those present were scathing, especially from Agile Speeds and General Pummel. She needed to put her emotions in check as arguing would get this meeting nowhere.

Finally it was her turn to speak as she stood up from her chair. 

 

"Princess Celestia and members of the military present, as I mentioned in my Introduction, I am Staff Sergeant Night Watcher of the Lunar Guard. I do not wish to restate what has been stated already by many of you, but I will add some points. I agree that we must learn to adapt our training regimens to face these growing threats. When it comes to threats in Equestria there are typically two stages: no threat or a major threat. As mentioned by General Pummel, we are largely a peaceful society that doesn't have much crime in our towns and cities. From the reports of the recruits on patrol, there have been in the past year only five robbery attempts, seven acts of vandalism, three public intoxication cases, and thankfully no arson or murder. This is all during the night time when crime is more likely to occur. It should also be noted that these incidents were dealt with using non-lethal force. Knowing that we are, for the most part, peaceful, I agree with General Pummel that we are lulled into a false sense of peace, even in the military. I have heard some citizens even ask if the military is needed to patrol the streets and if it was better to simply have a few to protect the Princesses."

 

"But then we have kingdom-wide events from outside forces such as Discord, Chrysalis, and Tirek, and while I argue we try to combat these threats we are unprepared because we still are thinking and training for a small scale event like a robbery or murder. So what is to be done? We are not a war-like society where our existence is threatened everyday, nor do I think that placing civilian ponies on a heightened state of fear would solve the issue. What will work is the following:

 

"First, we need to train ponies to use lethal force if necessary, but temper it with the fact that such cases should be used when a kingdom-wide threat is present. Second, we should alter our fighting tactics with coordinated attacks that maximize effectiveness and minimize loss or civilians. We should also have the citizens take part in city or town watch groups, those who can report on imminent threats or suspicious activities and if necessary defend the town. But the best defense is a good offense, and rather than waiting for these threats to hit us we need to find them first through intelligence and strike where they are."

 

"Thank you for listening." 

 

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  • 4 weeks later...

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If he had been sitting up any straighter, he might have risked breaking the backrest of his chair in half.

 

As it was, Dawnguard could only sit in rapt attention as speaker after speaker spoke, citing reasons and causes and effects and many more Righteous tallies that proposed a change in work ethic, a change in intelligence, a change in...morals. It was almost too much to keep up with, but the white Pegasus followed as best as he could, idly wishing he'd brought a pen and paper, and half wondering if this might be on a test tomorrow back at the REA barracks.

 

The onslaught of words and ideas and ideals would have been enough to make anyone's head spin, even a Chosen Hero of Light, so it was any wonder that his father's speech made a heavier impression than most others. Despite himself, Dawnguard thought of the daily training he went through now - pressure points, chase and capture, immobilization - and tried to imagine what training would be like if newer, more...fatal, methods were taught. The thought sent an unrighteous shiver down the Pegasus's spine, substituting immobilization techniques with spear straight through the ribs techniques, and shuddered again. It was true that the REA practiced non-violence, as it was equally true that he, himself...well. Violence was sometimes necessary to stop the blackened forces of EVIL!

 

...But not...not, really

 

Doing his best not to shift uncomfortably in his seat, Dawnguard felt his eyes wander a bit down the table, landing on one Darkness Knight, a Pegasus of noble caliber that he had met on a few occasions. Suddenly eager to understand the thoughts of the non-speakers seated around him, Dawngaurd quickly scribbled out a note, before sending it off with the messenger system. 

 

Sir Knight,

 

A most heated argument at the heart of things, isn't it? So many opinions on the state of chosen guards against the void of darkness...what say you, my valiant friend?

 

Avenger of Righteousness ]

 

 

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"*yawn*...Ugh... I must... stay awake and pay attention." Darkness said to himself as he looked around and started to hear the ponies talk, yet it seemed for him that what they said entered from one ear and exited the other. He didn't knew what they were talking about. He sighed and shook his head. "Must stay awake..." he then said again to himself as he looked back up and to the other ponies. He sort of payed attention to them, but decided to drink some water from a bottle he had in order to wake up a bit more.
After he drank part of the bottle of water, he let it on the table and blinked a few times, feeling refreshed and a bit more awake, making him pay more attention to all

 

By that time, he saw General start to speak and give his argument. He knew he was not the first one talking, but he had been paying little to no attention until that point. And it was a bit shocking what he heard. Train ponies to kill?! That was insane! Kill others?! He had never done such a thing. He had been close to taking the life of wild hostile creatures from time to time, but it was when his life was in danger and he just wounded them badly, yet made sure they survived the fight. It was the least he could do. He never wanted to kill a creature, even less another pony.

It was a bit more surprising that his superior was also agreeing with him when she started to speak, up to certain degree of course. He understood why, but it still didn't made a really good argument to convince him that fatal techniques were necessary for all this. Even more surprising was they they were taking a more offensive approach for all this. Kill and attack before they can do anything. This was NOT his way of doing things at all.

Soon after, he noticed that somepony had sent him a note. He open it and read it... it had to be him. The signature was so... him. He looked back at the table until his eyes crossed with Dawnguard's. Yep. It was him. The two were looking at each other. He looked down and started writing to him.

 

[Agreed. This is going to get big quickly at this rate. Yet I fear where this got so far. Going for more violence and many other things nopony should do. I hope we share the feeling towards it.

 

-Darkness]

 

He sent the note soon enough and looked back to the ponies. But the question that he had now was, should he talk now or wait for the reply of his friend so he has somepony to back him? It was a matter of waiting.

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  • 3 months later...

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Hmm, yes...

 

It seemed his stalwart friend held the same reservations he himself did, and for the life of him, Dawnguard couldn't help but glance guilty towards where his father was seated, as if the older stallion could somehow hear his thoughts aloud. Yes, the REA needed more training - needed more of the heroic bloodline to take up its cause in defense of Equestria!...but well, training to kill? Dawnguard knew that it was often the hero who had to deal the final blow to end all suffering and chaos, of course...but towards a monster or great beast, or an evil spell that manifested as darkened clouds against a blindingly brilliant sun.

 

Against a fellow pony, or sentient creature?...it all seemed so...bad

 

But the white Pegasus had only just begun squirming in his seat when another note was carried to him, causing Dawnguard to start in surprised. Was Sir Darkness Knight replying already, before he could even get a response sent back to him?...but no, the second note was not from his valiant companion. Not from anyone in the very room, it turned out, but a summons from his CO to report to the bunks. Which was almost enough to have Dawnguard break into some very heroic crying. It wasn't like he was a speaker in this meeting, no, he'd only been allowed to attend as a listener...but he wished he'd been able to sit through the whole thing

 

But alas, the call of the bloodline of heroes was never done with, for EVIL threatened at any moment. As quietly as he could, Dawnguard slipped from his seat and made his way towards the entrance, and with one last forlorn look back at the Hall of Heroes - he was off, to face down all threats with the Avenging Righteousness of an Avenging Avenger!

 

...Of Avengingness. 

 

[[ Exit ]]

 

 

 

 

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