Fallout: Equestria - The Tartarus Contingency, written by ThatDarnPony is a side story for Fallout: Equestria. It follows the adventures of Snapshot in The Far North, the Wastelands around of the former Crystal Empire.
The story can be read on FiMFiction.
The story takes place within and near the northernmost portions of the Equestrian wastes, simply called "The Far North". While the environment begins with an icy wasteland with extremely hostile temperatures, the travels of the main character bring him in contact with more "traditional" wasteland areas, industrial complexes, and survivor cities. It is set roughly 120 years after the Megaspell holocaust.
The Far North is dotted with crystal growth, underground mines, the rare old world building (which were mostly tourist attractions before the war), and very small hidden bunkers. Train tracks run for much of the landscape, and serve as the best guidepost during travel, as most of the landscape is indefinitely covered in snow and without other landmarks. Though it is not irradiated nearly as heavily as other locations, it is still desolate and dangerous due to the natural environment.
The story follows the exploits of a young Crystal Pony photographer named Snapshot. His hometown of Resilience, built upon the rubble of the Crystal Empire, is suffering a slow degradation of infrastructure required for it's survival- food growth, potion ingredients, etc.. Snapshot is forced from the city when he is corrupted by a dangerous storm known as a "Dervish," which is slowly causing him to ghoul based on his emotional state. However, in order to make him useful, his brother Sureshot informs him of the problems the city is having, and sends him off with other Crystal Pony scavengers in order to bring back trade to the city.
During his travels, he unearths varying components of history regarding the Crystal Ponies, and the Crystal Empire's forced inclusion within the Great War. These reveal not only a very brutal political climate between the Crystal Empire's leaders, Equestria, and The Zebra, but also a "back-up survival plan" put in place by the Ministry of Arcane Sciences and the Ministry of Image, which was dubbed "The Tartarus Contingency." According to what Snapshot discovers initially, it was an evacuation plan meant to condense ponies within the Crystal Empire should a megaspell exchange occur, as no Stables were built within the Far North and it was never considered a megaspell target. However, he also uncovers snippets of information that lead him to other places under the proposed Contingency's reach. He discovers darker reasons behind the attention given to Crystal Ponies, as well as the depth of Shining Armor and Princess Cadence's involvement within the conflict.
Snapshot is eventually accompanied by a few Companions:
- Phenalope, a flamboyant, drug-addled Unicorn stallion that has an obsession with history, research, and overly elaborate traps
- Hokey, a female, flight incapable, middle-aged Griffin working for a "wild west lawbringer" faction called The Regulators
- Pokey, Hokey's oddly intelligent and playful Radscorpion pet.
The Tartarus Contingency is told from the traditional first person perspective, and contains similar level up perks (though these do not occur every chapter, indicating that Snapshot did not "level up" from the chapter's events). It also includes traits, commonly given in the Fallout game series upon generating a character, and reputation titles which are earned through action such as Child Killer or Grave Digger .
Snapshot, as the narrator, is not omniscient toward his surroundings or social events. Though he is physically very perceptive, he often tries to portray his perspective and opinions through the photographs he takes. These often relate to the chapter, as if he is telling the story behind the picture.
- Snapshot, the main character, never uses (and is generally disgusted with) the combat ability of Pip-Bucks, considering them a "cheat" or "drug".
- Hokey was originally a unicorn, and primarily used levitation to hover her weapons above doorways to catch enemies by surprise.
- Hokey also had a southern accent and whiskey addiction, and she passed this addiction on to Snapshot.
- The original iteration of the fic was done in third person, and started when Snapshot commissioned Phenalope to fix his camera after navigating one of Phenalope's trap gauntlets with Hokey.
- While most other characters in other side fics use heavy weapons or uniquely named items capable of destroying warships, Snapshot uses an extremely durable shovel that he "un-names," specifically because he thinks the given name is stupid. He is not a creative pony when it comes to names...
- Phenalope just wants to cuddle, despite his attempts on Snapshot.
- Snapshot was originally created as a complete pacifist, and had no combat skills. He talked, bribed, or snuck his way out of every encounter.
- Originally, each chapter was to be named after an old 20's to 50's song. Since there are only so many of these songs and most were completely unrelated to the story, even in an ironic sense, this was deemed silly and dropped in favor of the photograph element.
- Snapshot ADORES fire, he just doesn't know it yet...