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Star Mares S1.1: A Long Time Ago...

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This here ship is the reason I prefer to use other peoples' designs rather than my own.  I think it looks like a giant heart-shaped macaroon with a shark fin on top tied to a parachute.  If I'd had more than a week and a half from concept to completion on this story, I might have tried a few variations first, but when you're on a tight timetable you take what comes and roll with it.

The Purple Plague was an idea I came up with during the early planning stages of the comic as the catalyst for the trade disputes that would trigger the whole sordid plot (since it was never actually explained in the movies why the Trade Federation was blockading Naboo).  Back then it was a more traditional epidemic and didn't have quite so whimsical a name.  I decided against that when I was excising most of the grimdark from the story, but I thought I'd revisit the concept here as an explanation for why earth ponies outnumber the other tribes by more than three to one (even before adding clones to the mix), as well as a pressing reason for driving colonial expansion.

There isn't room for a full explanation on the opening crawl, but it'll be on the title page of the compiled issue, so I'll just explain here: the Purple Plague sucks most of the magic out of anypony that contracts it.  All types of ponies lose their cutie marks, earth ponies are weakened, pegasi can't fly anymore, and unicorns can't use magic.  But the kicker is that even if they recover and get their magic back, any foal they have thereafter is always an earth pony.  Fortunately this only affects a single generation, but it throws the tribe numbers massively out of whack, and eventually leads to the tribal and class tensions that undermine the 'modern' Empire in the main storyline.

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Yeah, that is an interesting looking ship. I can't honestly say I don't see a butt when I look at it, even though it's obviously not supposed to be a butt.

Anyway, is that parachute how the ship lands? Unpowered, standing on end, and drifting down from space?