The Endless Blue
Written for TCB Event Nine:
Coral lay floating on her back atop the gently rocking waves, staring up at a sky that grew ever clearer day by day as the Pegasi worked tirelessly, gathering and purifying the smog layers. She twitched her limbs, sinking below the level of the water, then inhaled deeply. She didn’t struggle, for she wasn’t harmed by the intake of water.
Coral was a seapony, though she hadn’t always been. Once she had been Myra Fisk, a relatively normal girl caught up in the normal, run-of-the-mill lifestyle, her only dream to be a part of the ocean. She’d gotten her wish and far more when she had been captured and ‘volunteered’ for use in a PER, or Ponification for Earth’s Rebirth, experiment. Something had gone very wrong with their latest batch of the ponification elixir and instead of becoming a unicorn, pegasus, or even an earth pony, she had become a seapony, the rarely seen subaquatic variant of the pony race. After being rescued from a confinement tank, she had went on to join a colony of the graceful creatures below the oceanic surface in Equestria, and had, like the rest of her new race, promised that should Equestria need them, they could be called upon.
Equestria had called, and the Seaponies had answered.
Seaponies had not been accounted for in the original production runs of ponification serum, since they had been such a separate society. But as the earth ponies cleansed the land and the pegasi cleansed the skies, it had become clear that the sea required such a steward as well. Thus, the rogue research that had resulted in the newfry Coral was taken and perfected, and ocean-side bureaus constructed. Seaponification was now a fourth possible result when drinking the elixir, depending on the imbibers pysche, outlook, and other, genetic factors.
Early on, the work had be ridiculously difficult. The seaponies, unable to breath the anoxic, toxic, and just plain icky waters of the sea. They had employed human-built scuba gear and, even if they looked ridiculous, they had gotten a start on the coastlines surrounding the bureaus from which they were based, working the water just as pegasi worked the air. The growing bluezone around each ocean bureau stayed that way, supported by the innate magic of the seaponies, even when they had gone to sleep. The brown muck dared not replace the pristine blue.
Coral had found herself with a pod (or was it a school?) from her new hometown, Currents Crossing, and she had taken to her job clearing the sea with gusto, reveling in the way the currents, coaxed along by her fin and tail, would pull the nastiness free of the water, leaving behind only that which nature intended. The muck was passed from pod to pod, added to and built up, concentrated, until it would be forced into the barrier for ultimate purification.
Coral today, however, found herself popping up out of the moonpool access to the bureau’s interior, having been called by the staff as an assistant orienteer for the day. at least it kept her from having to mess with the itchy brown water.
“Ah, there you are, Coral!” greeted Beach Blanket, a sandy unicorn with a grass-green mane. “We have a special little somepony for you to teach the ropes to today...”
* * *
“Mommy? Daddy? This stuff smells like that icky medicine when I have a sniffly nose...” complained Regina to her parents, a pegasus now going by Spring Greens and a unicorn named Bob. His wife kept pushing him to find something better, soemthing more Equestrian. He kept Bob more to vex her than for any other reason.
“Don’t worry, Reggie, that’s good stuff. Once you down that, you’ll be a pony like your mom and me.”
“Now Gina, you have to drink drink drink all at once, remember...” Spring nuzzled her daughter gently, who giggled at the feeling of her mother’s fuzzy snout.
Regina stared into the cup. She couldn’t remember her parents ever being human at this point, but they had chosen to let her stay human and make the choice to undergo ponification for herself, rather than even think about forcing it on the young girl; the choice they had been denied thanks to the vehicular accident though it had saved their lives. She took one last look at her parents through human eyes, then swallowed every last drop of the slightly bitter grape-flavored elixir. The technician administering the liquid caught her in his hands and laid her gently on the table as the potion began its work.
* * *
Regina laughed, feet in the sand, as a world of bubbles flowed all about her, popping and reforming in endless streams, whirling in a tornado of soft light all about her. Finally, the bubbles seemed to flow in a direction towards the shoreline and down into the water. Forms could be seen laughing and playing among the waves. Regina knew her mother and father had warned her against going in the water, but the bubbles beckoned to her and the happy, dancing shapes amongst the waves did the same. regina took a deep breath and ran into the water.
She plunged into the warm waves, arms flailing about. She’d never had the chance to learn how to swim since most bodies of water large enough to do so in were toxic or private, but it was soon a moot point, as a pair of the creatures she has seen earlier, beautiful transparent form seemingly made of flowing amber, swam beneath her arms and buoyed her through the water. she had forgotten to keep holding her breath, but it plainly didn’t matter as she didn’t seem to even need to breathe... Not that the little girl even noticed, as the bright, multi-color seaweeds rising from the fathoms-deep ocean floor catching her attention. When the world was shades of brown and grey, any color at all was welcome. The sheer gem-like brightness overwhelmed her senses, leaving only a pure joy.
Soon, she was drifting alone under her own power. The two ethereal beings assisting her sharing a silent giggle as the girl played, darting through and around the seaweed. Soon, however, she found herself alone in front of a massive mound of coral, blue as deep as the midnight sky on one side, the joyful yellow of the springtime sun on the other. A doorway stood, open and welcoming, positioned between the two. Regina drifted forward under her own power, entering.
Immediately within stood a pair of perches, backed by pillars, the right composed of obsidian flecked with silver and the left pearlescent, a pastel rainbow of colors highlighting wherever the light chose to reflect at the viewer. Regina’s eyes grew large as she stared at the glorious beings who ‘sat’ upon the twin thrones, their tails wrapped around the perches at the base, white on the left and to the right midnight blue.
Their smooth tails trailed up to a round, though oblong belly, which narrowed to the chests. Four fins sprang from them at that point, two pectoral fins at their sides and long, slowly waving dorsal fins angling outward. Their equine heads sported a single long horn each and flowing manes, the left side a pastel rainbow of color and the right the night sky, sparkling with stars.
“Are you... are you the Princesses?” spoke Regina, her little eyes unbelieving. “I thought you were winged horses!”
“Oh, my dear, we two are a great many things,” The being on the left spoke, “and very soon, you will be one of the great many things we must watch over.”
“You, young one, will have a difficult, but worthy life ahead of you when you awake. Fate has chosen for you a different from that that of your parents.”
“I’m gonna be an earth pony?” asked Regina of the two, who both shook their heads in return.
“Neigh, my young subject, you are to be a pony of the Sea, not one of the earth. But do not fear, for they are every bit as important as any of our subjects,” replied Celestia from the left.
“Indeed,” added Luna, “and if I am not mistaken, your time with us grows short. Please remember, Child of the Sea, that we shall always watch over you.”
Regina smiled and nodded at the Princesses as the scene faded from her vision. Slowly, it was replaced with a light glow and a feeling of floating. Regina awoke fully now, staring through glass at her parents, who looked on, frightened expressions on their faces as the Technician tried calming them.
“Our Daughter was supposed to be a Pony, not, not a FISH!” yelled Spring Greens. Bob was trying to get his wife to calm down, though not a word he said could be heard over Spring’s yelling.
“This is not an unusual occurrence ma’am! We’ve been getting seapony converts since the seaside bureaus were built, and there’s been pains taken to ensure that mixed-tribe families have everything they need on the other side. We’ve already called in a previous seapony convert to help her adjust.”
Regina popped her head up out of the tank she’d been placed in. “Mommy, don’t yell! I talked to the Princesses and they said everything will be ok!”
Spring turned to her daughter, a parent’s love replacing the fright she had felt. Bob smiled at Regina. “How are you feeling, Reggie?”
“Just fine, daddy.”
“That’s good, Gina. How...how’s the water?”
“It feels good Momma.” Regina dropped back into the tank, swimming a small circle, her tan tail flicking water out as she went. She had wound up with a pastel purple mane and green eyes.
“Well, look at you go, Regina! You’re all ready to get out there and clean the seas, already!” spoke the technician. Spring and Bob stared at him. "Oh, but, heh, of course some...pony...her age would never be expected to work like that. You three, after her orientation period, will be placed in one of the coastal regions near a seapony colony, probably Currents Crossing, and that’ll be that.” The technician smiled at the somewhat relieved parents.
* * *
“Ah, and here she comes now, Coral. Hello Regina!” The staffer turned and smiled at a tank being wheeled in by an earthpony volunteer. She quickly unhitched and went back to her business, leaving two nervous parents, two seaponies, and one human in the moonpool alone.
“Hi!” chirped Coral. “Are you ready for some REAL water, Regina?”
Regina nodded from her tank, where she had perched on the lip again. She could feel the subtle calling of the waves already. The tide would be going out soon.
“Now, hold still for a moment...” The staffer reached into the tank and gently picked Regina up, resting the newfry on her forearm gently.
Regina giggled. “That tickles!”
“Oh, sorry dear...now hold still.” The staffer leaned down and slipped Regina into the seawater.
A thousand sensations hit Regina at once, everything from water temperature to salinity, from the moonphase to even the time of day, all read from the water around her. Regina floated in place a moment, eyes closed, giggling.
“Well, are you ready, Regina?” Coral nuzzled the newfry out of her reverie.
“Oh, Yes, please! But...I don’t wanna be Regina anymore...”
“Oh?” It usually took weeks for a newfoal or newfry to pick an Equestrian name. Coral leaned forward, listening.
“I wanna be Brightkelp, like I saw in my dream!”
Spring looked at Bob with purpose. “At least our daughter has sense enough to pick a proper name.” Bob chuckled to himself. Maybe he’d get one soon...or not.
“Well Brightkelp, follow me!” Coral lept into the air, then splashed down into a dive, leaving the moonpool room and heading out for the seapony dormitories, just offshore beneath the waves. Brightkelp, the newfry once known as Regina, stopped at the surface to gaze at the sun as it set behind the ever-approaching barrier.
Someday, in place of the brown haze, the poisonous muck of the sea-as-it-was, someday the little newfry Brightkelp would stare out at a sunset beyond the endless blue.