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  • T Hard Reset

    Twilight gives her life to stop a changeling invasion. Repeatedly.
    37,399 words · 42,838 views  ·  4,896  ·  72
  • T A Stitch in Time

    A sequel to Hard Reset
    70,648 words · 23,493 views  ·  3,489  ·  50
  • T You Can Fight Fate

    Twilight discovers that the Elements of Harmony aren't as benevolent as she thought, and crosses time and space in order to stop them
    61,759 words · 14,298 views  ·  2,742  ·  39 · sex · gore
  • T A Taste of the Good Life

    A down-on-his-luck chef from Manehattan moves to the rural town of Ponyville as part of a get-rich-quick scheme. But he gets a bit more than he bargained for.
    70,814 words · 10,172 views  ·  1,567  ·  21
  • E Birds of a Feather

    Owlowiscious has seemed distracted ever since Twilight started spending more time in Canterlot. Maybe Luna can help figure out why.
    2,388 words · 2,404 views  ·  452  ·  5
  • T The Moon Glows Gently

    Luna always follows her heart. That's not necessarily a good thing.
    8,774 words · 3,347 views  ·  557  ·  7
  • E An Important Letter

    A love story, waiting for an ending
    1,702 words · 2,938 views  ·  373  ·  4
  • E Eakin's Rapid Fire Pony Fics

    A compilation of tiny random stories
    20,791 words · 5,557 views  ·  561  ·  8

Blog Posts71

  • 4w, 3d
    The Dos and Don'ts of OCs

    OCs. An acronym that sends a cold shudder down the spine of so many long-time FimFiction readers, and not without good reason. Nary a day goes by without the ‘New Stories’ box being graced with a story wherein some new pony wanders into town and befriends our beloved cast. And for the most part, these stories are... less than good. Which is a shame, really, because a good OC can open a ton of doors for an author to take their stories in directions that just aren’t possible if they restrict themselves to the canon personalities of established characters. And since I’ve been turning over questions about when and where they’re properly applied this evening, I figured I might as well share (read: inflict) some of my wisdom (read: bullshit-laden ramblings) onto all my adoring fans (read: people who sneezed mid-click and accidentally ended up here) while I try to hash out the things I’ve done right and wrong in the past. Some of the conclusions I’ve reached are common sense, while others are a bit counter-intuitive. And like all ‘Rules for Writing,’ the best stories are often ones that know when and where to break them.

    DO: Make sure your OC has a life and identity of their own

    Nothing makes a world start to feel claustrophobic like a network of characters who all share some pre-existing connection. The mare who just happened to be Twilight’s classmate back in Canterlot. The stallion who became a champion lasso-tosser after he just happened to watch Applejack win some tournament. It’s cheap and lazy characterization, and it defines your new character only in relation to another one. Imagine meeting a real-life celebrity on par with the Mane Six. Sure, they expect that you’ve heard of them, but going on and on about how you went to kindergarten together and you still have a scrap of the blankie they drooled on during naptime and omigosh isn’t it just kismet that we’re meeting again like this is a great way to get a complimentary escort out the back door by a large, burly man wearing a three-piece suit and an earpiece.

    Bottom line: Your character should be able to carry a story that never intersects with the canon cast at all, at least in theory. If you do need to break this rule, try to do it retroactively. See Cheese Sandwich and the events of Cutie Mark Chronicles for reference. The connections are already existed, but the characters would be interesting even if they didn’t. It’s the gravy rather than the meat, is what I’m saying.

    DON’T: Clone an Existing Character

    ‘My OC Tabula Rasa is a total nerd and bookworm! She’s usually pretty level-headed, but she can get totally crazy when she thinks she might disappoint her mentor, Brincess Belestia.’

    Yeah, we already have that character. If you’re using an archetype that’s easily filled by an existing character, an OC might not be the right tool for the job. The exception is when your OC can serve as a shadow archetype to an existing character, a ‘there but for the grace of God go I’ warning who differs from the established character in only minor ways but ended up going in a totally different direction. A Sunset Shimmer to your Twilight, or an Algae Bloom to your Cloud Kicker. These sorts make great antagonists or anti heroes, generally.

    DO: Beat the Shit Out of Them

    Want your audience to like your original character? Make them suffer. Not randomly, mind, but as a direct consequence of one of their own screw ups (corollary: make sure your OC screws up from time to time). It’s a bit of a balancing act; an OC sentenced to death for littering is only going prompt eye rolling from your readers, but when in doubt harsher is better. Actually, I’d suggest making all your characters suffer as a general rule. Letting your universe knock them over and then kick them when they’re down only for them to learn a lesson and get back up again stronger than before is pretty much always compelling. Who doesn't love rooting for an underdog? It can be tough to follow through on this, especially since you probably like this character and want to coddle them. Fight that impulse. If you fudge the die rolls for them, so to speak, your readers will pick up on it. Do you want a Mary Sue? Because arranging events so that they always work out in your OC’s favor for no good reason is how you get a Mary Sue.

    DON’T: Tell Me I Should Like Them

    What makes readers think a character is awesome? That character does awesome things. That’s it.

    Obvious, right? But a lot of people put the cart before the horse and just expect readers to like their OC because they give them attributes that they think are cool and expect it to rub off. If any of the following phrases appear when you’re describing your character...

    ‘Invented a groundbreaking device that gives him the power to...’

    ‘Received numerous awards for...’


    ‘The best [whatever] that [authority figure] has ever seen’


    And so on and so forth

    ...then odds are I probably won’t give a damn . Nobody cares who your OC is going into the story. What they actually do on the page is a thousand times more impactful. Really, it’s just the old ‘Show, Don’t Tell’ advice gussied up in a new outfit. And don’t think you can slip these sorts of things past readers as long as you give your OC flaws to ‘balance them out.’ This isn’t some sort of point-buy RPG system, it’s a story. Give them core traits and beliefs, sure, but those things can lead to positive or negative characteristics. It’s actually better when strengths and weaknesses both feel like outgrowths of the same attributes.

    DO: Buy a Slow Cooker and Learn How to Use It

    This one has nothing to do with writing, I just really love my Crock-Pot. You can convince a truly absurd number of people you’re some kind of cooking savant when the limit of your ability is actually ‘chop stuff up, toss in pot, set to LOW for 10 hours.’

    Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments.

    65 comments · 1,317 views
  • 6w, 5d
    Character Roleplay Meme: Azalea and Twilight Sparkle

    Same deal as last time.


    Twi: I’m Twilight Sparkle, alicorn Princess of Equestria. I’m 28.

    Az: Like there’s anypony out there who doesn’t know who you are at this point. We can barely go two weeks without your picture showing up in the paper.

    Twi: Heh, yeah, I guess I have been a public figure for a good while now. You get used to it after five years.

    Az: Five years since your coronation. You weren’t exactly unknown before that.


    Twi: That’s actually kind of complicated. Pegasus, obviously, but age is trickier.

    Az: Depending on how you count, I’m some combination of 22, 37, and 6. All us former changelings have the same problem. But hey, three birthdays a year!

    Twi: You might think she’s kidding, but we actually do celebrate two different ones. You’re so spoiled.

    Az: Rotten. And you wouldn’t have it any other way, would you?

    Twi: Never in a million years.

    Az: They’re really more like half-birthdays, though. All the friends and family I knew back in Trottingham celebrate the one from the pony I used to be, but here in Ponyville we have a different one. Pinkie really goes all out, but then there’s quite a few of us who consider it our ‘official’ birthday.

    Twi: The first few years I was pretty down on it, but as time goes by I find I’m glad that it didn’t just end up being the anniversary of the changeling invasion. Better to have happy memories associated with it than bad ones.


    Az: Geez, what doesn’t? I hit the jackpot when I landed her. To think I nearly sabotaged the whole thing for myself by psyching myself into believing she’d never look twice at a pony as bland and ordinary as me.

    Twi: There’s nothing bland about you. If anything you’re even more special than I am. There are four Princesses, but there’s only one pony who can calm me down when I get a little manic the way you can.


    Az: I had a really hard time believing she was actually interested in me. And there have been times when she pushed me out of my comfort zone that I thought she was just completely crazy. Which she is.

    Twi: Hey!

    Az: In good ways, dear.

    Twi: Hmph. Well I guess that’s alright then.

    Az: Mostly good.

    Twi: Anyway, after we got off to that rocky start there were definitely things I hesitated about confiding in her.

    Az: That was partly my own doing, considering how I reacted the first time you dumped something big on me. And it’s not like I wasn’t hiding stuff from you at the time myself.

    Twi: That was probably for the best, all things considered. If you’d mentioned your past on the first date there wouldn’t have been a second one. I was still an eensy bit of a bigot toward changelings at the time. You should have seen my right after I broke out of the loop.

    Az: Yes, Butterscotch told me about the dinner with your parents where you nearly tore his head off.

    Twi: Not my finest moment.

    Az: Should we change the subject? Because it sounds like the moral of this story is ‘if you’re a racist and lie to your special somepony, you’ll end up ascending to be a Princess and fall in love.’

    Twi: I’m not saying that! Bite your tongue or Press Release will have my head. He already lectured me for an hour about what would and wouldn’t be appropriate to say for this interview.

    Az: I can see the headline now: ‘An interview with Princess Sparkle and the six-year-old who impregnated her.’

    Twi: Don’t use that headline. In fact, don’t even write that... you’ve already written it down haven’t you?

    Az: On the plus side, if there’s a coup and you get overthrown I’ll finally have you all to myself.


    Twi: We actually met on a blind date, so it wasn’t really necessary.

    Az: Oh really? I seem to recall somepony trying to get me to come into her library with ‘Want to see if we can extrapolate this trend line?’

    Twi: I can’t believe you remember that.

    Az: I remember every second of that night like it was yesterday. Every one.

    Twi: Well, I seem to recall being told that I ‘really knew how to make a mare all wet.’

    Az: We were in a lake at the time, for context. Oh, and of course we do have pet names for one another. Isn’t that right, water walker?

    Twi: Absolutely, grounding wire.


    Az: Remember the time Cloud Kicker almost walked in on us ‘assembling a bookshelf?’

    Twi: I try very hard not to. What about the marriage proposal that ended up with both of us in the lake? Again.

    Az: I’m not letting you change the subject that easily. Of course, it’s a good thing Cloudy wasn’t a few minutes later or she’d have stumbled on me calling you ‘Darkness Nightsha—’

    Twi: Next question, please.


    Az: Nope.

    Twi: Very nope.


    Twi: Most ponies have heard that in the months after the Regalia melted I started eating a ton of food to fuel the ascension process. What’s not as well known is that wasn’t the only... uh... enhanced appetite I experienced. Most of the fantasies got checked off the list pretty quickly.

    Az: That’s not a figure of speech. There’s an actual checklist she keeps in her nightstand. Me, I’m just looking forward to her not being fat anymore.

    Twi: I didn’t complain when you were the pregnant one, you know.

    Az: If you’re ever looking for new ideas, I’m sure Cloudy could suggest a few.

    Twi: I don’t know, she’s mellowed quite a bit since she got promoted into Rainbow Dash’s old job.

    Az: Maybe not as much as you’d think. My cousin has stories that are definitely not appropriate to print in the paper. They get up to things you wouldn’t believe.


    Az: Twilight here has a history of freaking out a little bit when she thinks somepony she cares about might be in trouble. She tends to make some rash decisions, and she can get a little controlling. Like the time she tried to have me thrown in the dungeon.

    Twi: What did you expect? I’m hundreds of miles away negotiating trade arrangements with a pack of Diamond Dogs when I get a letter telling me you, Rarity, Cloudy, Morning Glow, and Shooting Star are heading out to the edge of the freaking Badlands to look for a changeling nest.

    Az: They needed a guide who knew what to look for. You weren’t there; Rarity would have gone out there all by herself, the state she was in at the time. I can promise you Princess Celestia wasn’t thrilled about the idea either.


    Twi: There were definitely some jealous pangs for a couple of months whenever you hung out with Cloud Kicker, especially since you two used to date.

    Az: That was a whole other life, and I wouldn’t exactly call it dating. More of a very sensual interrogation.

    Twi: To be fair, though, you’ve never been the biggest fan of Star Gazer.

    Az: That’s different. First of all, she hurt you pretty badly back then. Second, you two were married.

    Twi: If it’s in an alternate timeline, it doesn’t count.

    Az: I guess I should just be happy you came back with less baggage than some of your friends after all that. For all I know they could have gone and turned you straight or something.


    Twi: Like I said, we’ve experimented pretty liberally already.

    Az: Actually, after what you’ve told me I’ve always been a little curious about Princess Luna. Maybe she’d be up for some excitement once Star Swirl finally kicks the bucket.

    Twi: Azalea! That’s a terrible thing to say. I know you aren’t his biggest fan, but he really is a genius.

    Az: He’s a jerk.

    Twi: Those aren’t mutually exclusive.

    Az: We’ve never really seen eye to eye, and he made a heck of a first impression that morning in the marketplace.


    Twi: Now and then. Lately over what I’m allowed and not allowed to do while I’m pregnant. And she says I’m the controlling one.

    Az: You are the controlling one. And it’s not unreasonable to forbid somepony in your state from jumping into a freaking volcano looking for a magic eggbeater.

    Twi: Spatula.

    Az: Whatever. But there have been others. The first conversation we had after I ran out on her because of the changeling venom thing was probably the biggest one.

    Twi: Yeah, any fight that ends with accepting a date from another mare out of spite is a bad one. Although if I’d known what Algae Bloom was like I wouldn’t have.

    Az: Turned out just fine in the end, though.

    Twi: I guess. In hindsight, I wish I’d handled that whole debacle myself instead of dumping it on Cloud Kicker. Maybe things would have turned out differently and I wouldn’t have had to throw Rainbow Dash in jail a few months later.

    Az: It was only for a few weeks. And she did kind of bring it on herself. The whole Applejack thing had her pretty out of control for a while there.

    Twi: Or what about the time you nearly took my head off because I leased your shop?

    Az: Oh, I was furious. That whole Badlands trip had just put me through the ringer physically and emotionally, and then I get back and you basically dictate to me that I have to move in with you and start putting money towards rent payments I had never agreed to make?

    Twi: I didn’t tell you that you had to move in with me. I just calculated the financial implications of a number of different possible scenarios is all. But I’ll admit that you running off like that did make me want to sort of tie you down in Ponyville. I was really scared.

    Az: Welcome to my life! You think I never worry about you when you do exactly the same thing? But I really did almost break up with you right then and there. Thank goodness for Bon Bon.

    Twi: Yeah, I’m glad she was there to defuse it like that. Although I do feel bad that it spoiled the surprise she’d been working so hard on.

    Az: Lyra said yes anyway, which is all that really matters in the end. I’m sure she was annoyed at the time, but someday it’ll just be a funny story that they can tell their daughter.


    Twi: They’re great! It’s quite the extended clan, and they were all really warm and welcoming the first time we met. Although I wasn’t exactly the center of attention on that trip.

    Az: Yeah, my parents pretty much fell in love with her the minute they found out about us. Then again, bringing their child back from the dead goes a long way towards winning their approval.

    Twi: You hit it off with my parents pretty quickly too.

    Az: The one pony that I was most nervous about winning over was Celestia, actually. Being invited for a three-hour private tea with a mare who you clobbered in the back of the head with a baseball bat before she casually flung you out a window on your last encounter made my heart skip a few beats.

    Twi: I was most nervous for when she found out you had been a changeling once. Then of course it turns out she knew that since before I’d even met you.

    Az: The rest of them were a cakewalk by comparison, and we get along great. Cadance was one of our bridesmaids, and even talked me down from a minor panic attack on the wedding day. Best sister-in-law ever.


    Twi: Way ahead of you. In fact, we’re about to expand it from three to four.

    Az: We decided to keep the sex and race a surprise this time, although I know my parents would be thrilled to have an earth pony for a grandchild. Not that they don’t love Leafy horn and all, but my extended family definitely leans in that direction.

    Twi: Based on the how hard he kicks, I think there’s a good chance they’ll get there wish. Oof.

    Az: You’ll get no sympathy from me. Try having something with a pointy, stubby horn on its forehead squeezed through your birth canal, then we’ll talk.


    Twi: I have some paperwork I should really finish.

    Az: Before you do, feel like grabbing something to eat?

    Twi: Do you even have to ask? I ate three hours ago and I’m already starving again. Deli?

    Az: You read my mind. Dibs on your pickle.

    16 comments · 781 views
  • 7w, 5d
    First World Author Problems

    Cataloging the suffering of all us poor writers with thousands of followers.

    "My story was only in the feature box for three days? Didn't anyone like it?"

    "God, I hate that one tiny pixel of red in the likes-dislikes ratio."

    "It's so awful to reply to all your comments, refresh the page, and find that fifteen more have been added in the last five minutes."

    "I'm so well-established that the top ten entries in my story box never change. It's getting so repetitive."

    "Would the EQD pre-readers please stop spamming me with e-mails telling me my story's been accepted?"

    Any I forgot? Add them to the comments or do a blog entry of your own! If two or three of us do I'm sure we'll reach at least half the readers on the site.

    43 comments · 803 views
  • 8w, 1h
    Character Roleplay Meme: Main Course and Ebony Glimmer

    Well, since Wade tagged me in his blog post, I thought I’d give this a shot. Might be fun. You can read the rules over there, and I’m sure you can guess who the characters are. I’m going to shake it up a bit, though. I’m going to skip the ‘Tag other authors’ step since I generally find the whole chain-letter style ‘challenge’ to be annoying. If you want to get in on it, just jump in with a post of your own! Second, I may decide to do a second round of these ‘In-character answers’ with fan-submitted questions. If you have a particular Q you’d like Main and Ebby to A, stick it in the comments. I’ll use whatever questions are most upvoted.

    I may also do one of these for Twi and Azalea. And before you ask, no you won’t get a straight answer about the weathervanes.

    So without further ado...


    MC: My name’s Main Course. Earth pony, turn 36 next week. I run the Grassy Knoll here in Ponyville, it’s not technically affiliated with the one in Manehatten, at least legally. Not any more, at least. Although I am a silent partner so you could say—

    Ebby: I think they’ve gotten the point, dear.

    MC: Right, sorry. Next question?


    Ebby: Your lover! Ooh, doesn’t that make it sound exciting? Like we’re sneaking out for secret trysts. Like, ‘Well, hey there tall, dark, and sexy. Why don’t you ditch that nag of a wife and come be with a real mare?’

    MC: Hmm... tempting offer. You know she even tried to kidnap my daughter once?

    Ebby: That witch!

    MC: But seriously, though, this unicorn is technically Lady Ebony Glimmer, but everypony in town knows her as Ebby. As for age...

    Ebby: Think very carefully before you answer that question.

    MC: ...she’s in her late—

    Ebby: Ahem!

    MC: Like I was saying, she’s in her mid-thirties. Next question. Quickly, please.


    MC: Strongest, toughest mare in Equestria, right here. Fighting the toughest fight in the world for... what’s the count?

    Ebby: 2,397 days. But you’re exaggerating about how tough it is. It’s there, but it’s a lot easier than it used to be. My turn: I married a stallion who sees the best in everypony. The number of little ways he’s saved me... well, I can’t even begin to count that particular number. Everything I have today, my friends, my home, two wonderful foals, I wouldn’t have any of it without Main. I probably wouldn’t even be breathing.

    MC: You’ve paid me back ten times over. All that was you. I just cheered you on when you needed it.


    MC: ...

    Ebby: We should be honest, Main. It’s okay.

    MC: I certainly don’t anymore. But yes, right after she reconciled with Scootaloo and we started dating, there was a part of me that didn’t trust her. I would find excuses not to leave her alone with Scootaloo, even though I knew I was being ridiculous. I thought... sorry, would you give me a second?

    Ebby: No, Main, don’t... if you start crying them I’m going to start and then where will we be?

    MC: I thought it might be another act. I thought one day I’d come back and you and my daughter... I’d never see her again.

    Ebby: The important thing was that we worked through it together. We’d recently been seeing the same therapist, and he did couples counselling too. Dating three weeks and already in couples therapy doesn’t exactly sound like a promising start, does it? But I think we both already knew by that point we were in this thing for the long haul.

    MC: Like I said, when my wife sees something worth fighting for, she fights for it. Tooth and nail.


    Ebby: Can’t say I have. Kissing him and then punching him in the stomach worked better anyway.

    MC: There’s some relationship advice you won’t read in Cosmare.

    Ebby: You might be surprised, actually.


    MC: There were definitely a couple of very dark, very low moments early on, but not really the kind of funny-embarrassing you’re asking about.

    Ebby: Yes, Main Course humiliated me quite a bit right after we met. And I know that the connotations of that word are pretty negative, but that’s not really what I mean by it. I mean he got me to humble myself, and to realize that I didn’t necessarily deserve to have something just because I wanted it. That was... pretty different from the way I was raised.

    MC: Geeze, this is getting depressing. I’m gonna say that my official answer is when we had to tell my sister that we needed to rush the wedding because I had... uh... Ebby was slightly pregnant at the time. Didn’t hear the end of that one for months.


    MC: I think my last answer pretty much covers this one too.

    Ebby: We didn’t even wait until we were dating.


    MC: We’re actually pretty vanilla in the, er, intimacy department. But whatever we lack in quality we make up for in quantity!

    Ebby: Main! Goodness, now everypony reading this is going to think I’m some kind of nymphomaniac who’s lousy in bed. What my husband means is that we make it a point to be physically intimate with one another whenever possible, and I don’t mean just sex. Hugging, cuddling, nuzzling, that sort of physical contact with another pony is something I denied myself for a very long time. I... being touched by a stallion was an issue, let’s leave it at that.

    MC: Right. And especially given what Scootaloo grew up around... I want to set an example for her, you know? I want her to get that ponies who are in loving and healthy relationships do that for one another, and I hope that she’ll be able to open herself up in the same way. We’re not answering the question, are we?

    Ebby: Actually, for me the answer is I’d like to travel more as a family. Ginger’s getting old enough that we can start taking him on longer trips, and I do miss travelling from my pre-Ponyville days. The problem is that somepony will never take a vacation.

    MC: The Knoll is a lot of work!

    Ebby: The only way I got him to take his last vacation was to have Pinkie fire him for a week.

    MC: She can’t actually fire me. I just decided to humor her and didn’t come in for a few day.

    Ebby: Mmhmm. Of course, dear. I’m sure that’s exactly what happened.


    MC: I think probably Scootaloo and Ginger for both of us. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost either of them.

    Ebby: I agree. Except I know from experience what I’d do, and it isn’t a pretty picture.


    MC: I would never assume cheating. Both of us have worked too hard for what we have together to risk even making the accusation, much less committing the act himself.

    Ebby: I don’t know... some of your waitresses are awfully attractive... and you and Pinkie do spend some late nights at the Knoll together...

    MC: Come on, Ebby, don’t even kid about that.

    Ebby: Oh, all right. Yes, I’d trust that it was something perfectly reasonable and innocent. Even if it were Rarity.

    MC: What do you mean ‘even if it were Rarity?’

    Ebby: You don’t have to play dumb. The two of us talked it over mare to mare and we’re still friends.

    MC: I legitimately have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Ebby: Really?

    MC: Really.

    Ebby: I thought for certain that you knew. Let me put it this way; if I hadn’t entered the picture when I did there’s a better than even chance that you’d be married to her now instead of me.

    MC: What?

    Ebby: You’re both good friends, you both own small businesses you’re passionate about, and you’re both physically attracted to one another. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.

    MC: You’re the only mare for me, honey.

    Ebby: I appreciate that. Oh, and one other thing. If, Princesses forbid, I were to keel over dead tomorrow, she has dibs.

    MC: Excuse me?

    Ebby: Well, I would want you to remarry and not just wallow in grief. Ginger and Scootaloo need a mother figure, and Rarity’s the mare that I would pick if it were up to me. I think you’d be happy together.

    MC: I cannot believe we’re having this conversation.

    Ebby: If you want to pick a potential future replacement husband for me, you’re welcome to. Fair’s fair.


    Ebby: Just to break my husband’s brain a little further after that last answer, I’ll say a chance for him to see what being married to Rarity would mean physically. Except of course I wouldn’t want to be left out...

    MC: I had an answer, but that one’s better.


    MC: Absolutely. Sometimes even screaming matches. But never in front of Scootaloo and Ginger, and never without being able to say ‘I love you’ and go to sleep together that night. So I think that means we’re doing pretty okay.

    Ebby: For me, I think one of the hardest things to accept was that, well, I’m not Scootaloo’s favorite parent. I know she loves me but... if I’m being absolutely honest, she’s more your daughter than she is mine at this point.

    MC: That was never my intention.

    Ebby: It’s fine. For goodness sake, Main, she works her hooves to the bone in the kitchen just to impress you. You have more in common with her these days than I do, and she just glows with happiness when you even so much as smile at her. My daughter loves me and she’s happy. What sort of mother would be dissatisfied with that?

    MC: I guess this is as good a time as any to mention that while we might not always agree with one another, parenting-wise, we always back one another up. If there’s a disagreement we hash it out in private. Even if, say, somepony tries to ground our daughter for the rest of her natural life.

    Ebby: I know that was an overreaction, but you understand why it struck a chord, right? Plus it led to a good conversation between us.

    MC: She experimented. There was nopony at that sleepover who wasn’t trustworthy. Would you have rather she tried it for the first time around ponies she didn’t know?

    Ebby: I would prefer if she’d never tried it at all.

    MC: Two mugs of hard cider is pretty tame, Ebby.

    Ebby: I know, I know. Let’s just... can we get the next question?


    Ebby: Oh my goodness, yes! Of course Silver Scroll is here in Ponyville, and even if she was a little wary of me at first she came around. Now she practically begs us to let her foalsit Ginger, and she and Scootaloo go up flying at least twice a month just to catch up. And I was so nervous when I met his parents, but they’re the sweetest couple! I hope Main and I are still so very in love at that age. And his Mom even knitted me a Hearth’s Warming sweater! I couldn’t ask for a better set of in-laws. Sorry, I’m babbling. Main, did you want to talk about meeting my parents?

    MC: ....

    Ebby: Main?

    MC: Speaking of my parents. one of the things they taught me growing up was that if you don’t have anything nice to say, you shouldn’t say anything at all.


    MC: We’re married with two foals. I think we’re slightly past that point.


    Ebby: I guess... I guess we should finish helping Scootaloo pack.

    MC: Probably. Can you believe that she’s leaving for culinary school in just three more days?

    Ebby: ....

    MC: Whoops.

    Ebby: I CAN’T BELIEVE SHE’S LEAVING AGAIN! What if the others are mean to her? What if she gets homesick? What if... what if...

    MC: We should probably cut this short. She’s been like this for weeks whenever this comes up.

    And done! That was fun! If you have questions you’d like to see Ebby/Main answer, or suggestions for Twilight/Azalea questions, stick them in the comments below.

    17 comments · 773 views
  • 10w, 13h
    Why I Took Down 'Magnum Opus Dissonance.'

    So, if you were on late last night/early this morning, you might have seen the latest story I wrote in a sleep-deprived, ninety minute haze: Magnum Opus Dissonance, about a suicidally depressed Octavia lamenting that one of her works had overshadowed all her others, and chronicling the depression and intrusive thoughts of violence that lead up to an ambiguous choice to OD on painkillers and commit suicide. You know, just a little light and fun reading at four in the morning.

    It no longer appears on my story list.

    Blame my mother (Hi, Mom!) who called me up a little while ago worried about what I'd written and what the consequences, both for me and my possible readers, could be. Now my mother has known about my presence here for a while now, and while she's not exactly thrilled about it she's been willing to put up with it as long as it doesn't negatively affect other aspects of my life. For her, the story crossed a line. If never been one to shy away from writing about dark and uncomfortable subjects, but not really this viscerally and not in a way that might affect somebody or read as an encouragement to take negative action. I'm not really afraid that someone is going to read No Good Answers and go out to rape someone. Or read Reign and... uh... trap themselves in an unresolvable time loop? I guess? But, and I'm not saying any of you would do this kind of thing, I can see how MOD might read as advocating or glorifying suicide. Obviously it resonated as something that felt true, based on the comments asking if it might have been partly autobiographical. It isn't, thank goodness. At least it might seem like I'm advocating it to the twisted sort of mind who might be susceptible to considering it in the first place, or on a more practical note it might look that way to future employers or anyone who manages to link this profile to my real-life identity, which probably wouldn't be hard to do.

    If, as a brief aside, you or someone you know EVER has those kind of persistent, intrusive thoughts then GO GET HELP! The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is just a phone call away.

    Anyway, the story's gone now, or at least is no longer visible on the site. Those of you who didn't get to read it, don't worry too much. It's hardly some forbidden masterpiece. And don't worry about this becoming a recurring thing, either. It's not like Hard Reset 3: Thinly Veiled Excuse to Write Pornography That Incorporates Time Loops is languishing in my Google Docs list because of some sort of maternal censorship conspiracy.

    I mean, not more than twenty, maybe twenty-five thousand words of it at least.

    Still, wouldn't hurt to put something a little more light-hearted out there instead of some of the darker/sadder one shots I've been putting out lately. We'll have to see if my muse can pull herself out of the funk she's been in lately and try to come up with a little rom-com for good measure.

    Anyway, TL;DR the story's gone and you shouldn't kill yourself

    88 comments · 1,209 views
  • ...

After fighting off the alien fleet that menaced Earth, XCOM turns their focus to warning other worlds of the possible threat. When Doctor Moira Vahlen is accidentally sent to one of those worlds, she learns that the the invaders have attacked Equestria. Who will protect them from the horrors they're about to face?

Sorry, I should clarify that last bit. Who will protect the aliens from what they've just gotten themselves into?

First Published
9th Aug 2013
Last Modified
9th Aug 2013
#1 · 66w, 6d ago · 13 · 1 ·

Just a fun little one-shot I threw together on my phone during downtime over the last week or so. Wanted to experiment with a story that shifted perspectives frequently and somewhat non-linearly. Let me have a lot of fun writing the same scenes from two viewpoints. Hopefully it's still fairly coherent.

#2 · 66w, 6d ago · 9 · 1 ·

>>3017830 "little". Yeah okay. Commencing Read.

Edit: While. I have never played XCOM, or read it or what have you. But despite my confusion. This was cool as hell.

#3 · 66w, 6d ago · 4 · 2 ·

Seems like a good read.:pinkiesmile:

#4 · 66w, 6d ago · 4 · 2 ·

Pfft... That... Was SO *ing amazing, you do not even know... My mind... BLOWN...

#5 · 66w, 6d ago · 5 · ·

The vicious aliens that I hate so much have been wiped away without a sweat. By civilians, too! Never have I felt so weak. :ajsleepy:

#6 · 66w, 6d ago · 5 · 1 ·

Oh Celestia, you are such a terrible troll. That wasn't nice at all, sending her eggplant.

I did enjoy the bit about the moon.

Overall, amusing. Poor aliens.

Of course, at least half of that was bad luck on their parts.

#7 · 66w, 6d ago · 12 · 2 ·

This was exquisite. The translation confusion, the epically failed assault on Cloudsdale, Mister Screamy, the amazing bureaucracy catalyzing Berserker... Fantastic work.

"Oh, you fledgling interplanetary civilizations are just so adorable!" declared Luna. "You're all awkward, none of your old social paradigms quite fit after your philosophical and ideological growth spurt, and you start noticing other planetary bodies in exciting new ways. I just can't wait to come and visit!"
Not only is this hilarious, it also implies that if ponies are not an interplanetary civilization, then they've certainly encountered one. I suppose it would explain why the princesses are princesses if Equestria was just a colony world...

In any case, thank you for this. A magnificent tale of epic curbstomping.

#8 · 66w, 6d ago · 1 · 1 ·

HAHA, That Was Hillarious! A Mighty Fine Read Indeed!:rainbowlaugh:

#9 · 66w, 6d ago · 5 · ·

Well that was an unexpected curbstomp. I am... not sure how to feel about this story, especially since I keep mentally comparing it to Arad's "Stardust" (which takes a much more serious and "realistic" approach to the whole thing), which is probably to be expected. I see you nerfed the aliens by a ridiculous amount and/or buffed the ponies by the same. Seeing the ponies being portrayed as so massively OP usually doesn't sit right with me but... Eh, it's a comedy so I suppose that works.

What the hell, thumbs up from me.

Question though: Shouldn't the moon have been destroyed by the Temple Ship when it turned into a black hole upon its destruction?

#10 · 66w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

Eakin, can i hug you?

#11 · 66w, 6d ago · 6 · ·


Well, it felt little to me, probably a side effect of writing several scenes twice. XCOM is a good game, if you catch it featured in a steam sale it's worth looking into if you like turn based strategy. Keep in mind that it's VERY punishing though, even on easier settings.


It's... uh... a really durable moon?

I've never liked the "The ship will turn into a black hole and destroy Earth!" thing. Because it would turn into a black hole with the same mass as the temple ship and therefore have no more effect on the planet than the ship in orbit would.


You could have if you'd been at Bronycon! Maybe next year.

#12 · 66w, 6d ago · 7 · 5 ·

"Oh, you fledgling interplanetary civilizations are just so adorable!" declared Luna. "You're all awkward, none of your old social paradigms quite fit after your philosophical and ideological growth spurt, and you start noticing other planetary bodies in exciting new ways. I just can't wait to come and visit!"

This is my favorite part. Not quite sure why; it could be the casual tone, comparing our entire world to a adolescent reaching puberty, the implication that Luna's visited several such worlds in the past, or maybe the implication that ponies are a highly-advanced space-faring race.

I have one small point of contention, namely the green gas. If you're referring to what I think you are, that gas isn't supposed to melt everything; it's supposed to trap subjects in a thick layer of silk/goo stuff, keeping them alive but immobilized until an alien craft can reach the area and pick them up. That's why you always find those gas-leaking pods on abduction missions; it's even depicted in one of the introductory cinematics. It's certainly within the realm of possibility for them to use chemical weapons, but in the game at least, they didn't.

Didn't affect my enjoyment of the story, however. Nice work. :heart:

#13 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·


I just assumed that it had Red Matter from Star Trek inside it. As for how THAT is supposed to work, either... Uh... techno-babble.

#14 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·


Yes, that bit and Mr. Screamy were my personal favorites to write.

I guess I derped on the effect of the gas. Could have worked just as well with them getting covered with their own goop and being blinded that way, I suppose.

#15 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·

>>3018562 Ever play Sins of a Solar Empire? Endless Space? Halo on Legendary? Earth 2160? Supreme Commander: Forged Alliance? Those game from my experience can and will punish you with instant death if you make a mistake. Or to many of them. Company of Heroes: Blitzkrieg Mod is one such game. I remember this one match where a friend and I failed to take a bridge, and we got pushed back to our mainbase. We didn't lose though. Oh no. We were 'Mericans. After taking out a dozen Tigers, a few Tiger II's and assorted other tanks we pushed'em back to the bridge were we started taking our turff back. Three hours that match lasted. Even on expert on that map we've taken' them down in 30 Mins. That one took us three hours on hard.

#16 · 66w, 6d ago · 5 · ·


Oh, that one is easy to explain. See, the red matter from Star Trek works based on the Oh Look A Moose!

*runs in the other direction*

#17 · 66w, 6d ago · 18 · ·

That's XCOM, baby! :rainbowdetermined2:

#18 · 66w, 6d ago · 12 · ·


I've played most of those games as well as the new X-Com, and let me tell you... I don't think they compare.

In X-Com not only will one stupid little mistake or stroke of bad luck punish you with instant death for a squad member, but it will have a domino effect where everyone else suffers/dies as well. I've had at least one hilarious moment where one of my squad members gets killed horribly, which causes another one to panic and shoot blindly, killing another squad member. This causes ANOTHER squad member to freak out and run out of cover and get a helping of plasma to the face. Rocks fall, everyone dies, mission aborted and now you are down your most highly-trained and well-equipped squad and the worldwide panic levels are rising because you failed so badly. And in Ironman mode there is no reverting to a previous save. You have to live (or not) with every single one of your mistakes. And they build on top of each other.

#19 · 66w, 6d ago · 3 · ·


Instant loss would be merciful. XCOM is a war of attrition, where each little screw up is another click of the ratchet you can be in a no-win scenario for weeks and not realize it.

And f*@k the panic mechanic. I like most of the game, but nothing makes me want to put the game down for good like the game taking away control of my guys from me.

#20 · 66w, 6d ago · 10 · ·


I think it is hilarious, but then again I am a Dwarf Fortress player.

I just think of it as a tantrum spiral.

#21 · 66w, 6d ago · 8 · 2 ·


Eh, I didn't like this too much to be honest.

#22 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·


In what way, specifically, if you don't mind me asking?

#23 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·

So...  The Princesses Celestia and Luna ARE the Council?

#24 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·


Probably not the whole Council, all I meant to imply between that and what Celestia said about not offering them overt assistance was that she might have had a hoof on the scale, so to speak.

#25 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·

XCOM seems to have a non-trivial amount of interest with authors, it would seem.

XCOM: EU is alright, but it was a chore for most of the time I played it. I prefer playing excruciatingly long games of Civilization or Total War.

#26 · 66w, 6d ago · 1 · ·

It's hard to not compare an XCOM fic against Arad's, which probably isn't very fair.

I love me some OP ponies, though, if only because it's hard to imagine beings with magic as an everyday facet of their lives living on a planet alongside most of D&D Monster Manual as NOT being way tougher than the fuzzy cuteness would imply.

#27 · 66w, 6d ago · 5 · 1 ·


It's a nice change of pace from all the 'rawr human' stories that overplay our abilities somewhat but I've never liked OP ponies.  This was alright for what it was, though I've never touched XCOM so some of the specifics were slightly lost on me.  It was ... well, this was alright.  Not great, not mind-bending, not hilarious (to me anyway), just alright.

Good job!

#28 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·


Those sort of games do have more 'marathon' appeal, I will admit. What I like about XCOM: EU is that putting together an assault, executing it, and watching it work (or not) happens a good deal more quickly. They're all good games, although Gal Civ 2 is still my favorite 4X.

I did enjoy Blue's fic, which is one of the reasons I stayed away from the absurdities of the game itself and put the focus more on Equestria reacting to the aliens. Room in this town for both of us, I hope.


I love Stardust, as I mentioned in the author's note. Heck, go to my user page and it's my #1 incomplete story. I even tried to make Vahlen arriving and getting 'captured' by Twilight a little role-reversal homage to how it played out in that fic. You can probably spot a few other references to Stardust fanon as well (Vahlen mentions a brother, it 'wasn't the worst day of her life,' because that would be the day of that phone call, Bradford is the Commander rather than the unnamed player, etc) and this may well be a Stardust-compatible 'what if.' They're pretty different tone-wise, though.

#29 · 66w, 6d ago · 16 · ·


I didn't like how the invaders were turned into a bunch of ineffective jokes, and I didn't like Celestia and Luna talking down to Moira. It just rubbed me the wrong way, to put it mildly.

#30 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·


I prefer the regular Civilization series over Galactic Civilizations. Gal Civ 2 only had a few natural barriers to prevent anyone from entering territories, which is something I prefer. A huge expanse of space with a color layered over it doesn't do well enough to impress my imperialistic needs.

I need land! :raritydespair:

#31 · 66w, 6d ago · 3 · ·

The "invasion" seems rather out-of-character for the XCOM aliens. It's entirely too localized (why stop after cloudsdale?)

#32 · 66w, 6d ago · 5 · ·


I confess this bugged me as well.  While agreeing that the aliens would find pegasi in general to be hard targets, skycities like Cloudsdale aren't hosting the majority of the Equestrian populace.  It seems like there'd be more casualties before the aliens would be turfed out of a place like Manehattan.

#33 · 66w, 6d ago · 6 · ·


This was actually my initial thoughts on it and I still have a bit of an issue from it.

I just keep telling myself not to take it at all seriously, that it is just a silly parody. Like XCOM: Equestria Unknown.

Though yes, Condescending!L&C was more than a bit annoying.


I, on the other hand, despise OP ponies. Also OP humans. Basically, I don't like Mary-Sue races.

#34 · 66w, 6d ago · 9 · 1 ·

Headcanon Accepted.

Celestia and Luna are on XCOM's 'anonymous' funding board.

I also couldn't really stop laughing.

#35 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·


Not sure if you've played the original X-COM, but from what I've played of the new X-COM, the old one was a lot meaner with soldiers panicking and being mindcontrolled.

Also, I never could get into the new one.  Just so many things that I didn't like, compared to the original.

#36 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·


Well usually there are a few days between attacks, and Luna resolved the invasion within the week, plus... uh...

Yeah, the real reason is that I had a couple jokes for 'XCOM aliens attack Cloudsdale' and no fresh material for a second 'invasion' anecdote. This is very much a 'humor trumps verisimilitude' sort of fic, hence the comedy tag.


I've only played Enemy Unknown, though the others are sitting in my steam library untouched after I snapped up the lot of them for five bucks. Mind control I don't mind, that's a legitimate enemy action. Random panic gets me, though. If it just made them freeze up I'd be fine with it, but having them actively try to kill themselves just pisses me off. It's more or less and instant reload to the start of the turn for me.

#37 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·

>>3019120 Fair enough, I suppose. It just feels like arming the Predators (from the franchise of the same name) with Nerf weapons and poking fun at them for it. It can make for good fiction, but suspension of disbelief is more difficult to maintain.

#38 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·

Magic = OP :rainbowlaugh:

#39 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·


Although, I did notice that both this fic and Blue's feature Equestria casually/accidentally repelling an enemy incursion :trixieshiftright::trixieshiftleft:

#40 · 66w, 6d ago · 45 · 9 ·

Okay, it was funny. Mildly.


1)Celestia and Tia-- you made them obscenely arrogant, condescending, and shall we add UNFEELING. They were blase' about this alien invasion, yes, but they were also obscenely unsympathetic and inconsiderate to a species that had just seen huge portions of their population wiped out in a war. The good doctor had probably seen friends and loved ones reduced to bloody gibbets, and your Celestia was toying with her? What a bitch. Double bitch, because she apparently sat on her fat tuffet and watched while earthlings were slaughtered by alien invaders.

2)Can you say God Mode Sues? Arrogant bitch God Mode Sues, too. "You primitive little species... you're so cute and quaint" oh screw you, Celestia.  And screw the pretentious ivory tower college professor that came up with all that asshattery about 'antiquated and outdated paradigms.' Every generation born thinks it's debunked all the "old fashioned" ways of thinking... then they all grow up. That or they stay in college where noone expects them to do anything useful and get tenure.

3)Oh, we haven't "evolved" to the point of a One World Government? First off, NEITHER HAS EQUESTRIA.

Second off, there's few reasons an entire species would have a one-world government.

-Because there's more than one planet and the people that DON'T agree with the government on one planet can move to another, to set up a system of governance that meets their wishes.

-Because all dissent and difference of opinion-- in short, all free will-- has been crushed.

Guess which of those two would be most likely. And it's not going to be a sparkly magical mommy figure sitting on the throne of skulls it took to make that one-nation empire, either.

#41 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·

:rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh::rainbowlaugh: too much TOO MUCH

#42 · 66w, 6d ago · 5 · ·


I once had my entire team in Enemy Unknown panic, whereupon they all started using their turns to rush forward and blast aliens.  The mission ended without giving me back control of any of my forces.  It was like, "Well, okay then!"

They did end up shooting each other a bit during the crazed blitz, but that seemed like a small price to pay for watching the show.

#43 · 66w, 6d ago · · ·

... I cant even stop laughing, that was too much fun.  This made my day:pinkiehappy:

#44 · 66w, 6d ago · 8 · 1 ·


I think I would have come to this conclusion sooner had I not skimmed some of the parts, but yeah, I completely concur with this.

#45 · 66w, 6d ago · 11 · 1 ·


Upon further reflection, going to have to second all this (including the having skimmed some of the parts bit).

#46 · 66w, 6d ago · 5 · ·


Also, you forgot to mention how Luna calling Humans primitive is HILARIOUS because, which species has landed on the moon again?

#47 · 66w, 6d ago · 30 · 1 ·

>>3019543  Mind, I'm a temperamental bastich, and easily disgruntled. Guys like me don't stay gruntled long.  It started out funny-- with the alien invaders faceplanting so hard because of how strange some things in Equestria are--- but it quickly fell into patronizing "humans are pathetic" territory, complete with a treacly 'we ascended past those primitive notions' topping. And it went right up my nose.

What happened here was the equivalent of what happened when Napoleon and Hitler tried to invade Russia... it was the Russian winter and the miles-deep territory that defeated them as much as the Russian resistance.  You don't get to congratulate yourself on your military superiority just because the enemy wasn't wearing the proper shoes for the terrain.

#48 · 66w, 6d ago · 2 · ·

This is hilarious. I can't stop laughing at how outclassed the aliens were.

#49 · 66w, 6d ago · 2 · ·

I played X-COM: Enforcer on the PC about five times and I have to say I can't wait to read a story that will bring that kind of nostalgia. Also, that game had some of the coolest looking skins I've ever seen. Halo should take after them.

Also, the level editor was really hard to understand.

Will read this story after I watch Big Bang Theory to get caught up before the new season starts.

#50 · 66w, 6d ago · 4 · 1 ·

I loved the story but i think the only thing i didn't like was the way Celestia and Luna looked down upon the human race and almost didn't seem to give a merry fuck about the humans suffering. But i still found this to be an awesome story!

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