|Millennia: Eye of the Storm|
|Date published||September 17, 2016|
|Type/genre||Dark, Drama, AU, Mystery|
|Part of||The Millennia Saga|
After being ordered to two-week medical leave, Star Shooter struggles with nightmares and stress created by recent traumatizing events. On his fourth day, Star heads out to get something to eat when he bumps into Rose. The two talk for a moment, and then leave. He goes to a local cafe, and while waiting in line, he is stopped by a curious pony who asks him numerous questions, which then causes Star to turn on the pony and go into a small outburst in which startles the whole place. When Star realizes his mistake, he goes to apologize, but is then bombarded by multiple ponies. He wakes up from a nightmare, fully accepting he needs help.
The following day, Star writes a letter to his commanding officer, also his friend, informing him on his progress during leave. He lays back down, then out of the blue is struck with yet another nightmare. When he wakes back up, it is dinner time, and he heads out to go grocery shopping, only to find it closed, and that it was actually morning. He goes to the cafe where he had his 'outburst', despite it being a dream, and is confronted by a royal guard, and then Ray Blitz, a pegasus he met just days earlier in Whitetail Woods. The two discuss plans, and later determine to hang out with one another at Star's apartment. Star prepares for the night, then when Ray comes, the two relax and watch a movie, when Star finds himself in the middle of another panic attack. This time, Ray comforts him in a way Star never expected would help.
Leave passes, and Star returns to Manehattan, immediately checking in with Doctor Haywalker. He explains to the doctor about what had happened while he was on leave, and Haywalker refers him to a psychologist in the city to further help his situation. After the appointment, Star returns to the barracks, laying back down in bed. He encounters yet another nightmare, but it is cut short when he wakes up. He heads into Manehattan, locating the psychologist's office and checking in to see the mare. He enters the mare's office, being introduced as Doctor Pastel, and the two talk for a bit as an introduction. Star initially feels iffy about her, but warms up when Pastel learns Haywalker sent him.
That evening, Star lays in bed reading a book while his roommate, Nightpath, cooks dinner. The two reconcile in discussion. The following day, Sergeant Hardstaff hosts a meeting that informs the platoon about a battle simulation taking place at Fort Fetlock, an Equestrian Army base near the city, and the rest are sent back to prepare for their departure, which would last just over a week. During a ruck run at the base, Star meets a soldier from Appleloosa and befriends him.
Days later, the Marines are brought to the practice range for live fire exercises. While operating machine guns, Star experiences a nightmare out of the blue and comes to find out he did not shoot at all. They then switch to grenades, which Star quite nearly accidentally kills everypony after smacking his hoof into Ash's when preparing to toss. Ash jumps atop the grenade after fumbling to reinsert the pin, relieved when the grenade does not explode. Embarrassed, Star parts himself from the others and stays in the tent. There, Ash confronts him, and Star lies about feeling fine after the incident earlier. At night, they are awoken by an alarm that an air raid is imminent, only to learn signals had been crossed and it was a false alarm. At the end of the week, Star says his goodbyes to Skillshot before him and the other Marines return to Manehattan. Once back, he visits Pastel for a follow-up appointment. Back on base, Nightpath informs Star of Hardstaff, as well as Shadow requesting him at the conference room. There, the two hire Star to aid with investigating mysterious earthquakes around Manehattan.
Days later, Star receives a letter from Ray, who states he will be in Manehattan soon, and upon realizing the message was sent days ago, he scrambles to meet Ray at the train station, but he does not come. He becomes worried, and goes out for a walk, only to bump into him at a construction site by accident, learning he arrived by airplane rather. The two go off to spend Hearts & Hooves Day together.
In the days that follow, Star attends Shadow's pre-deployment briefing, where he among other crew members learn of mysterious energy signals originating from the ocean, where they are to sail out to in order to investigate. Star and Sea Watch are assigned to plot the fleet's course over the next week, when Night informs Star that him, Anchorage, Ash, and Silver are headed to Valor Lake to visit Solar's grave.
The group comes across his grave upon arriving, where Star sulks the most and goes through a boot camp flashback (not featured in Beginning, and was done to fix plot holes) of a time when Solar helped him out in the gas chamber. After some time, the group heads out to eat and then to a motel, where Star and Anchorage talk outside in the rain. By the time they return to Manehattan, Star finally finishes his work.
At the end of the week, Star and Nightpath leave their barrack and gather beside the Eclipse along with Anchorage, Ashfall, and Silver Edge, where accidentally, Star learns of Anchorage's past regarding his parents, primarily his father. They board the ship and later sail out of the harbor along with the rest of the Lunar Fleet. Later on, Star apologizes to Anchorage, and the two talk over dinner. Anchorage then reveals a form of communication through specialized computers aboard the ship for sailors to use, and Star video calls Ray. Although, as Star heads back to his bunk room, he is ambushed by a sailor named Rondache, accusing him for hiding his relationship with Ray from Anchorage and forces him to sleep with chloroform.
Star comes to, not realizing what had happened, and shrugs off his mysterious slumber. He reports to the bridge for work, just as the Eclipse sails into a tropical cyclone which is named by the fleet as Aquarius. While sailing through high seas, a distress call from a nearby ship is sent out, and is picked up by the fleet. It is found out that the ship has lost propulsion and is threatening to be swamped by rogue waves. Shadow then orders Star, Anchorage, Night, Silver, Ash, and Ash's squad leader, Sunset Haze, to fly out via helicopter to the stricken tanker to repair its communications array and restart its engines. They stand by as Anchorage sets up a tracking beacon to put the ship back on regional radar, and then head down to the engine room while Nightpath stays put with the remaining crew. On their way down, they discover pools of blood mysteriously in the halls, but no bodies. Continuing on into the engine room, they soon find it to be wired with explosives on a remote detonator that must be disarmed immediately.
Sunset manages to disable the bombs, but before they can relax, they are ambushed by strange figures silhouetted by the dark. While running up-deck, the ship is thrown onto a shoal where it becomes temporarily beached until the waves can capsize it. This causes the group to be taken down by a thrown flashbang, but they are miraculously spared by the figures and left behind. They pull through, returning to the bridge to collect Night and the crew as the chopper loops around for emergency extract, right as the ship tears in two and is taken under violent seas mere moments after everypony boards the helicopter. Back on the Eclipse, the group--especially Sunset--is treated for any injuries sustained, but Sunset is expected to be decommissioned for some time, much to Ash's dismay. The Eclipse returns to Manehattan, and Star pays a visit to Pastel. During the appointment, a tremor shakes the office, startling Star and setting off an anxiety attack, which Pastel manages to quell before it worsens.
Days later, Star prepares for an opening party in the penthouse of a new skyscraper recently finished in the city. He heads in to the geology office early for a short shift, discovering there to be no recent activity, in spite of the quake he felt at Doctor Pastel's office. That night, him and Nightpath get dressed and head out, where they, along with Anchorage, Ash, and Silver, are brought to the tower and up to the top floor, where countless other soldiers, sailors, and Marines have gathered to enjoy the party. The group splits up, mainly to head to the bar, while Star finds Shadow to talk to casually for once. Meanwhile, Arc Nobis sneaks through some of the lower floors, searching for a server room.
Star and Shadow are talking when the GenTech CEO hosting the grand opening party, Armet Mace, speaks. After his speech, he immediately comes to Shadow, where the two passive-aggressively discuss the construction of a new aircraft carrier for Shadow to command, whom adamantly declines. Down below, Arc breaches a server room and downloads files, before escaping without anyone noticing. The party soon winds down and everyone heads home. The next day, Star prepares his and Night's dorm for inspections due to take place later on. After a rat bite while cleaning the bathroom, he heads to the medic ward on base, where he is administered shots as a precautionary measure. He heads back to continue cleaning when Anchorage asks Star to accompany him on a grocery store trip in preparation for a game evening. Nightpath, on his way to their dorm after work, offers to finish cleaning for Star while they shop.
When Star and Anchorage return from the store, after a quiet discussion about suspicions of theirs, a blackout has struck Bronclyn and is affecting Joint Base Manehattan. They part ways, and later on, Star heads out to the geology office for his shift. He is about to leave when he discovers a badly injured Aphrodite on the floor in the office and attempts to treat her wounds before carrying her outside, where medics had set up to treat multiple Marines and sailors injured in an attack. Star discovers from military police that others are still inside the building, where the unknown assailant is lurking, and he ventures back in to locate them. He comes across a small group of Marines in a lab, along with a bloody corpse, and Star is almost mistaken for the attacker. Star hears a noise, heading out into the hall to check it out, when he sees an eye in the dark. He soon realizes the attacker to be Arc Nobis and, in two close calls, manages to snap him out of a trance he was in long enough for authorities to apprehend him.
Later that week, Arc is put on trial for his actions, and Princess Luna is brought in from Canterlot as part of the jury. Because it is confirmed to have been him as the assailant, a sentence is definite. However, the trial and the stories of witnesses goes on, before Star steps out of the room for a breather. He is confronted by Hardstaff who informs him of a promotion for him for taking down Arc, and is given money both as a reward, and a late signing bonus he never received. Star attempts to decline, but is forced to accept as he returns to the courtroom, where new information brought in by a lawyer determines Arc's fate: suspension of rank and a mental institution rather than prison or execution.
A few days later, Night asks Star to accompany him, Anchorage, and Ashfall to a major event in Coltlumbus, Star's home town. After some time to decide, he settles with going after finally opening the letter from the Head of the Marine Corps. Star goes to Hardstaff to take the time off, before venturing out to Coltlumbus. Back in Manehattan, Arc Nobis is confronted by Armet Mace in the mental facility after he paid his bail unexpectedly.
Arriving in Coltlumbus, Star and his friends head downtown to their hotel. When waiting for them to come downstairs, Star is suddenly come across by his parents whom he has not seen for five years. Star is immediately hostile toward them--mainly his father, Star Scraper--when his friends show up to prevent a fight between them. Much to Star's chagrin, they agree to go to dinner with his parents. Star hesitantly talks to them about his current life, by which his parents are shocked to discover he is a Marine. Eventually, the stress of their questions becomes too much, and Star walks out around the restaurant to breathe, when he is confronted by his father. The two fight, and his father pins him, about to start beating him up, when Diamond Spice--Star's mother--discovers them and forces his father off of him. His father continues to show immense disrespect to the point where Star throws a violent punch to his throat, before storming off, fuming. Ash, Anchorage, and Night soon catch up in downtown along the riverfront where Star finally unloads on them for destroying his mood on the trip. Being primarily at fault, Ash and Anchorage apologize. After a talk, the four settle down to watch the sunset, proceeding to mention a late Solar Wave when doing so.
A day later, storms come to Coltlumbus and keep them inside. Star simultaneously comes down with a sudden sickness, which he assumes to have been contracted from his father, and is forced to sit out ConFest at the hotel. A fireworks show causes Star to experience a major panic attack, by which he decides it is time to put an end to the stress. He talks to Night about becoming more vigorous with Pastel, but also learning that she had been lying about making money through Star's insurance and that she is gravely at risk of going out of business after six months of not receiving payment from Star. By the end of the week, they return to Manehattan. During this time, Arc is taken to GenTech Tower, where he is forced to go through tests against his will.
The morning preceding deployment, Star wakes after another heavy dream. Unable to fall back asleep, he prepares for the day ahead, followed by Nightpath who wakes up a bit later. The two head out before 6 AM to the pier where crew members were gathering ahead of boarding, and Star steps onto the ship to get ready. A day later, Star is taking part in a mass cleaning session around the ship. When he finishes mopping the berthing floors, he comes across Silver Edge, being lectured by his chief. He briefly leaves, waiting for the chief to walk away, before returning to his friend and finally speaking to him, at last hearing Silver's reasoning for leaving the Marines for a switch to the Navy (as abruptly told during a pre-deployment briefing). He is then caught off guard when he learns that Silver has discovered his secret, and that he is seeing Ray. Star lets the conversation carry on as he tries to explain to Silver that he is simply confused and does not truly understand his friendship with Ray. While they are talking, an alarm goes off, signalling a pony has fallen overboard.
Almost every sailor and Marine on the ship gathers in the hangar bay for name calling and are forced to wait hours before learning news of whether or not it was a false alarm. The news comes in the form of a PA-system announcement by the captain, who proudly states that the sailor is now safe and being brought back to the ship. Two weeks later, Star is sitting with Ashfall in the commons quarters, watching Anchorage and his fellow division shipmate, Gallant, play ping-pong intensely. Ash, having heard that Star spoke to Silver Edge recently, questions him on it. Anchorage picks up on their conversation whilst playing and mentions how he had known long before that Silver would make the transfer to the Navy and also abruptly winning the match, shocking Star and Ash, before leaving to return to his duties.
The Eclipse is approaching the first of the beacons when it is suddenly struck by a surfacing submarine which, when Star looks down on his radar screen, notices eight approaching warships. Just then, a transmission comes through on the radio from one of the ships.
- Star Shooter: Star is a young pegasus, emotionally troubled from the events of the first story, and a Lance Corporal (Corporal as of chapter 20) in the 25th Battalion, 4th Marines unit of the New Lunar Marine Corps and the main protagonist in which the story takes place from his point of view.
- Nightpath: Night is a draft earth pony in the 25th Battalion, 4th Marines unit of the New Lunar Marine Corps, and considered Star's best friend, despite their rough start in the first story, originating as an orphan from Baltimare. He specializes in nuclear engineering and is a grunt on the L.R.S Eclipse in the reactor chambers.
- Silver Edge: Silver was a unicorn in the 25th Battalion, 4th Marines unit of the New Lunar Marine Corps and another one of Star's good friends. As of chapter 26, he has transitioned from the Marines to the Lunar Navy and is now a Petty Officer 3rd Class, and a member of the Eclipse's operations room.
- Ashfall: Ash is a muscular earth pony and a Corporal in the Lunar Marines, in the 1st Infantry Division, 3rd Marine Regiment. Despite constantly arguing like siblings, he is best friends with Anchorage. Between them, Ash is the most physically built.
- Anchorage: Anchorage is a pegasus sailor in the Lunar Navy, ranking at Petty Officer 2nd Class. He has northern-Equestrian roots, making his accent most notable about him. His best friend is Ashfall, and the two constantly argue. Between the two, however, he is the most intelligent. Anchorage also has a love for playing ping-pong with his division shipmate, Gallant.
- Shadow: Shadow is the Captain aboard the L.R.S. Eclipse, the largest aircraft carrier in the Lunar Fleet, and is also Star's friend whom inspired him to enlist (and likely talked him into doing). He is also Star's commanding officer. The origin of their friendship dates back to Star's first year after moving to Canterlot, where another friend of his introduced him to Shadow.
- Arc Nobis: Arc is a Second Lieutenant in the Lunar Marines and was Shadow's second-in-command Marine aboard his ship, the L.R.S. Eclipse. Out of everyone by far, he has the most experience in battles and missions, and Arc suffers from multi-personality syndrome created by post-traumatic stress, which can be triggered by total darkness. Arc's alt-ego is cold and looking to kill anyone it sees. He is highly expectant of Star and the rest of his friends, but realizes how well disciplined and trained they are in situations.
- Snow Storm: Snow is a Lieutenant in the Lunar Marines, and leader of a squadron specializing in eliminating cyber threats and real-world ones. His personal belief is that current Lunar Marines do not receive the same amount of training he did at the start of his military career.
- Javelin Charm: Javelin is the communications specialist of Lieutenant Snow Storm's unit. He met Star at the Lunar Marine Officer School (under a poor first impression, but the two later make amends).
- Hardstaff: A pegasus sergeant in the 25th Battalion, 4th Marines unit of the New Lunar Marine Corps and Star's squadron leader.
- Ray Blitz: A pegasus whom Star bumped into in Whitetail Woods in the epilogue of Beginning. The two quickly befriend over the span of just a few months, and Star develops feelings for him which he chooses to keep locked away.
- Armet Mace: Wealthy and famed CEO of GenTech Incorporated, a company with a recently-constructed headquarters in the city of Manehattan.
- Aphrodite: Sergeant Major in the Marines, head of the geology office at Joint Naval Station Manehattan, and is Star's "second boss". She wears her mane in a bun.
- Magnus: An earth pony Marine working in Aphrodite's office.
- Argonne Lunis: A unicorn stallion that stands "a few inches taller" than Star. He also works in the geology office, and was given the nickname "Argony".
- Solar Wave: The deceased friend of Star and his fellow Marines/sailors, as well as the main concern of Star's post-traumatic stress. He was a yellow unicorn stallion in the 25th Battalion, 4th Marines unit of the New Lunar Marine Corps, having been killed after leaping atop a cooked grenade during the Battle of Manehattan. He is only seen in flashbacks within Eye of the Storm.
- Rose Shine: Star's upstairs neighbor in Canterlot. The two formerly had interest in each other, but a shift in events changed that and the two decided to simply remain friends.
- Star Scraper: Star is a rough, stoic former-military stallion and is highly expectant of his son and constantly scolded him, and is the primary reason behind Star Shooter running away to begin a new life.
- Diamond Spice: Diamond is a caring, worrisome, average mother that despises Star's decision to leave, but accepts of his decisions.
- Sea Watch: Quartermaster aboard the Eclipse. His rank is finally established in EoTS as Petty Officer 2nd Class.
- Vernon: The Eclipse's bridge communications officer, ranking at Petty Officer 3rd Class.
- Lemoore: Mare sailor who works in the operations room on the Eclipse, ranking at Petty Officer 3rd Class.
- Gallant: Gallant is an earth pony sailor who is in Anchorage's division. He bears some similarities to Solar Wave. Gallant is introduced as 'one of the best ping-pong players on the ship'.
- Tacimo: Tacimo ranked at Senior Chief Petty Officer in the Lunar Navy and Shadow's former boatswain aboard the Eclipse, whom repeatedly clashed with Shadow in arguments regarding orders.
- Doctor Haywalker: Star's base doctor from Beginning and moving into this story. He refers Star to his old acquaintance, Doctor Pastel, to help handle his post-traumatic symptoms.
- Doctor Pastel: Owner of a psychology office in Manehattan whom Star is referred to by Haywalker. Both her and Haywalker previously knew each other and once dated.
- Doctor Davenport: Unicorn base doctor at Naval Station Manehattan.
- Skillshot: A soldier Star meets at Fort Fetlock, who is from Appleloosa.
- Sunset Haze: A sergeant in the Lunar Marines, assigned to lead Star and his unit during the 'Crisis' sub-climax. He is part of Ashfall's unit, the 1st Infantry Division, 3rd Marine Regiment.
- Flawless Rivet: ???
- Zjitzo: ???
Millennia: Eye of the Storm has received mixed to positive criticism with 13 likes and 3 dislikes, and has 527 views with over 10,300 total chapter views. It is praised as a major improvement of writing in the first-person perspective over Beginning, along with imagery and world building (such as occasional sci-fi elements), emotion-showing, pacing, as well as having (unintentional) a similar theme/resemblances to Apocalypse Now, but criticized for occasional repetitive use of words.
Just like Beginning, despite mass amounts of views, it can be assumed the lower-than-average ratings come from users believing that it is another Lunar Republic-Solar Empire war story and leaving dislikes without reading. As compared to Beginning, however, at its current progress, Eye of the Storm has received far less ratings but similar amounts of views.
Although Eye of the Storm is still very much a work-in-progress, Thunderblast has shown interest in further expanding into a third, and possibly later, a fourth story, stating, "I don't exactly know what I want to do with Millennia. Quite a bit was left out or altered in the training sequence of Beginning, which I plan to fill in throughout Eye of the Storm in little bits. I have ideas to possibly last the series until a fifth story, but I have to decide what is right, and to me, the right thing is conflicting. Side stories would be fun to write, but they don't give the feel of a full-blown book, much like what Beginning and Eye of the Storm are meant to be, and I want to keep this series in a pair or trio of consistent-length stories that build atop one another. I do not want to keep the series going longer than it should with ideas that may be recycled from previous stories, but I don't want to end it prematurely, either."
In April 2017, Thunderblast confirmed a third and possibly final story in the Millennia saga to come in the future and stating it will take place "a quite a bit of time after the events of Eye of the Storm". The following month, the third story was confirmed to be titled Millennia: Starfall and is due to be published in late 2018 and is expected to be the longest story of the series. On June 12th, it was confirmed that Starfall will have 66 chapters total, 24 more than Beginning and 20 more than Eye of the Storm, and is set to introduce many new characters.
However, it has since been hinted toward the possibility that Starfall could be split up into two individual stories of equal length (40-42 chapters each). Thunderblast said "that will only happen if I have so many (perfect) ideas I want to fit into one story. If it is split up, it will be the same story, just with different beginnings. The second part would pick up almost immediately after the first, if not a small time period between ends and beginnings. It's the finale, after all. I want to make it the best one of the series". There has not been any word yet if he plans to go through with splitting the story up.
- The prologue of Eye of the Storm starts off one week after the epilogue of Millennia: Beginning.
- When completed, it is expected to become Thunderblast's longest story in word-count, anywhere in between 160-175k+ words. Originally, only 36 chapters were planned, but in late 2016, six more chapters were added to the list to accommodate more story, bringing it to 42 chapters total, much like Beginning. In July 2017, three more chapters were added to the plan along with one more in August, bringing it to 46 chapters total.
- Rather than training and introduction to military life (Beginning's plot), Eye of the Storm revolves primarily around Star struggling with war-related stress, depression, and sexuality acceptance as the primary internal conflict. It is also a major improvement from Beginning in terms of how it is written in first-person POV, and covers inconsistencies overlooked in the first story.
- While it is not the first story written by Thunderblast to feature homosexuality, it is the first he has written with an extended relationship of said type.
- Eye of the Storm's timeline occurs between January (a week after the events of Beginning's epilogue) and August 2015.
- Chapter 6 was posted at exactly 12:00:00 EDT on January 1st, 2017 in the United States, making it the first story to be updated in the U.S. in 2017.
- On September 18th, 2017, Thunderblast lowered the rating of the story from 'mature' to 'teen'.
- Characters from The Veins Run Deeper, including Night Shadow, make a brief cameo in chapter 20.
- The P.T.S Alder, as mentioned in chapter 12 and seen in chapters 13 and 14, is derived from the real-life USCG vessel, the Alder, based in Duluth, Minnesota, on Lake Superior.
- The name Eye of the Storm is derived from one of Thunderblast's favorite songs.
- The story's theme song is Battlefield 4 - A Theme For Kjell, with the secondary theme being Beyond Music - Digit by Digit.