1. Member Since 22nd Sep, 2011
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I'm the creator of Otakuworld.com, Jenniverse.com, the computer game Boppin', numerous online comics, novels, and tons of other wonderful things. I really love MLP:FiM.

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Set in the Conversion Bureau universe during the years after the last human is gone, Newfoal Teacup faces the fact that however much she tries to fit in, the fact of once having been human must always set her apart.

As Featured On Equestria Daily!

First Published
14th Oct 2011
Last Modified
24th Oct 2011

Oh, super; whoever this was came from a country that doesn't speak Equestrian/English. Not only does she have to contend with the stigma of humanity, she'll end up getting mocked for not being able to express herself correctly. One would hope that they might send somepony who can relate (:derpyderp2:) to that to help her.

>>12706

You hint as gently as a sledgehammer. :ajbemused:

Loved it, it also helped that I was listening to the Safety Dance. :twilightsheepish:

SSSS AAAA FFFF EEEE TTTT YYYY Safety. DANCE! :pinkiehappy:

This should make for an interesting story. Looking forward to more!

So, anyone wanna bet on a time-skip for chapter two? It seems likely based on the story description, as this chapter takes place on more or less the very last day of Earth. On the flip side, it doesn't matter to me if Chatoyance decides to take the time (:pinkiecrazy:) to go into more detail about Teacup's earlier days first. It's just that a time skip seems more likely.

>>12758

Some time skipping is inevitable with a story like this one, I seriously do not imagine anyone wants to read about the boring process of learning a language, for example. That said, I don't want to leap overly rapidly through time here, I kind of want to savor some moments with this tale. I'll try not to be overly self-indulgent about that, best I can.

DreadedCandiru2 is right that there will be a guest, eventually, but it will not be to help our little newfoal cope with language. Rather, there is a core issue about being human that I shall address here, and it is far more problematic than not knowing the local lingo.

In this story, I want to taste and smell Equestria as a real place, and see if the human heart, whatever the form, could live in it.

>>12748 You're just obsessed with this song, aren't you?

Odd....I'd thought that Equestrian and English were one and the same.....

>>13076

MLP:Fim is shown in numerous countries on earth, and you can find dubs in German, Spanish, French, even Dutch out there. The product is not only for English speakers already. Which version is the 'true' version? The one we see first, of course. For the French, their version is the True one, and English is the bastard version of the show.

But that aside, consider the result of taking the Conversion Bureau premise as literally true, by suspending disbelief. In my version of the CB universe, I suggest that Equestria has had a constant background connection with Earth, and has been part of the great history of stories of fairylands that all cultures have. That said, Equestria would be its own universe, with its own culture.

One could, then, interpret the show version as a metaphoric deformation of what a 'real' Equestria would be. When we see a cultural reference from modern day earth in the MLP show, we can imagine that that is a translation from something uniquely Equestrian, like how jokes in anime have to be re-written, sometimes entirely, because there simply is no cultural equivalent between Japanese and English sometimes. Rainbow Dash may not be '20% cooler' ('cool' deriving from originally 1920's Black American subculture) but 'something something' that is unique to 'real' Equestrian culture and history. We hear the nearest English equivalent.

This is how I play my CB stories. I take the premise as literal reality, and run with it as such.

Now, all of that stated, I offer that maybe, just maybe, Equestrian language might contain elements of Old English, ancient French, and of course Latin, as well as possibly even more ancient earth languages, because of those possible brief contacts between the two universes that would have created our own history of fairy stories and tales of magical lands.

But more likely it is entirely unique, made up of the sounds that equines naturally make, or would make, if they had vocal cords and a Broca's area in their brains. Equestrian linguistics could be utterly alien. Probably would be, considering.

To me, that is the essence of good fantastic storytelling: take your premise, however impossible or bizarre as literal fact, and then work out what that truth must imply if it were actually real. I figure that if one does that well enough, the story kind of writes itself, it naturally progresses from the nature of the contrived reality.

>>13091

nice explanation, and since we are talking about small, talking equines, it makes sense that their language would be fundamentally different from any human language. still, this raises one question:

how did the unicorn talk to her?

>>13222

The unicorn was a newfoal, released to the street. Commonplace in the Conversion Bureau universe; many converted humans remain and do not immediately emigrate to Equestria. They continue their training at the Bureaus, usually in the same city in which they converted.

Almost all Conversion Bureau stories have the earth covered in the converted, the newfoals vastly outnumbering the remaining stock humans. This story takes place right at the end, when all the newfoals are called to Equestria for the final purge of the earth.

Doubtless that unicorn was a native of Jersey, formerly New Jersey, before the fall of the United States.

You did a really good job creating such a dark dystopia. I kinda wish a semi-expert in dystopia settings gave you a critique, but that's not likely and I can't really try myself. :twilightsheepish:

:trollestia: sez:: "Remember kids, unregulated capitalism is a breeding ground for pure evil."

Oooh, another one. I like the fact you're playing with the idea that humans (the newfoal, in this case too) can't speak Equestrian. I'd like to know why (if you're going to address that at all and not just leave it as an intriguing plot-point) because that in itself could tell us a lot about the world.

I love it!

I wonder which one of the four from the second story will appear.

>>13091

One could then probably write a fanfic about either an original character or established one commenting on how the spell that allows them to understand human languages and be understood by human beings isn't quite perfect; as a for instance, Ditzy Doo could remind herself that her name makes perfect sense in Equestrian but turns into a slang term that implies that she's mentally challenged when said in the leading human language because it doesn't translate into a concept human minds can understand.

Oh my, well-meaning meddling! These are sweet and sorrowful, despite being happy. Melancholy, might be the word. You've got an avid reader, here. Well done.

Petal Confetti returns? Yay~ :yay:

Foreshadowing?

Foreshadowing.

Very much foreshadowing; also, the last stage in the assimilation process.

"A childhood in a scary, dangerous, poisoned world. Mean people doing cruel things. Parents who didn't know the first thing about parenting. Feeling lonely and alienated, all the time. Needing to run away into books and videos and music and anything else that offered some escape. Angst, despair, knowing that one day you would grow up to be one of them – all grey and hollow and dead inside, consumed by money and stuff. A lifetime of gray cities and  gray skies and gray people doing gray things, all while the world died and billions starved and children in some foreign land worked as slaves to make your shoes and your threevee and your clothes."

And with that... I think you summed up what everypony loves about this world we all enjoy so much, a world that isn't like the one we're in now, where happiness, contentment and your place are as clear as the mark on your flank. Not that our world is quite as bad the Earth of the CB Universe but it could very well be us one day. Who knows... maybe something as small as children's cartoon can actually teach us something and change it all. :fluttershysad:

>>14147  You hit the nail right on the head...I'm sad now.

I have a feeling that they're going to find out why something like that isn't done as part of the Conversion.

Honestly, that first part of this chapter about monkeys and alternate realities just doesn't seem to tie into the story at all. It's nice out of context, but instead of being Teacup's retrospective the section is part bad prologue and part monkey rant. It matters to the story how Teacup views events instead of how some omniscient monkey-hater makes various analogies to poo-flinging during it's cosmic storytelling. Not the most sympathetic narrator's voice you had going there.

>>14147

I have to agree. The main reason people have such a kneejerk negative reaction for TCB is that they see it as ponies coming to earth today, where humanity is relatively at peace with itself. But not in this world. Overpopulation, disease, crime everywhere... that is the world that would need to be touched by the ponies for the TCB story to take hold in the most sensible way, where billions of people would in fact take the offer of a happier, simpler life as a pony.

And I don't know how I feel about Teacup's idea... just completely foregoing one's past? I can see the logic in it. The two of them would finally be able to be happy and open to everypony else, but they lose the last part of who they originally were: human. I'm sure there was a reason that the Conversion process didn't involve memory alteration. Maybe it would have put off many would-be convertees? Perhaps. I know that if I was in the situation that the two of them faced, I would never willingly want to forget who I was, regardless about how dark and painful that life was before. Our past is a factor in what makes us who we are. The other factor is how much we let our past shape us.

Anyway. Catoyance, you are doing an amazing job with this. I am truly envious of your abilities to display Teacup's plight and dismay of her emotions. I cannot wait to see what you have in store next.

"Humanity had never been truly happy, and it had always fought itself, a monkey endlessly punching it's own face for nothing other than spite. It couldn't help itself. The flaw was in the meat. The same thing that made Mankind able to rise up in a hostile universe had left it universally hostile."

I can hardly describe how angry this paragraph makes me.

>>14287

Sorry. I admit that I am kind of excusing the violent, horrific history of Man here a bit. I can see how that could make some folks angry, like maybe I am just making up arbitrary excuses to pardon humanity for ten thousand years of sociopathic brutality, rather than just condemning Man as essentially evil, outright.

I admit I am, a little. I do have pity for Man. But not without some basis.

I honestly reason that the deep, historic evil of Mankind is not really a choice. Not entirely. We evolved as omnivorous hunters struggling to survive in a world where resources were always scarce. Humans have always fought and killed each other for the basic necessities of life because, often, there just wasn't enough to go around. It is a common theory that this constant warfare between groups acted as a ratchet for the evolution of our intelligence, the arms-race we needed to be as clever as we became.

And, of course, rape and genocide are fantastic tools for manipulating genes to secure their own propagation. Selfish genes make selfish animals.

So I do blame physics. I do blame the universe itself. Yes, humans have the power of choice, I'm not saying otherwise, but we are animals, and our genes strongly control us. I pardon Man on those grounds, that the meat takes some of our choice, collectively, away. The monkey may punch itself in the face, but... Nature made it do that. It's hard to beat Nature.

We may have choice, but as a species, we have been evolutionarily selected for those traits that would help a hunter-gatherer survive in a world without enough, and such traits must include greed, willingness to kill and steal, willingness to do whatever it takes to survive.

In the modern world, those traits make captains of industry and corporate gods, and lead to enslaved children making Nikes and Ipads. It was no different in ancient Rome or Babylon. I really do excuse Mankind a little, on the grounds that I do think the species can't truly help it.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not pardoning humanity entirely for evil here, I'm just saying that it may be fair to recognize that Mankind's deepest and most awful flaws are built-in. Any individual that can rise above that, I applaud. Overcoming an inborn genetic bias is no small feat.

If I accepted that the world is the crapsack it is because the species had total choice, total freedom, and that butchery and genocide was the preferred option, I don't think I could cope.

That is why I am making excuses for the human species here. I'm not saying we shouldn't do better, or that we couldn't benefit from a bit of transhuman re-writing of our genes, or that we shouldn't take responsibility for our personal choices.

I'm just saying, maybe Mankind deserves a little pity sometimes, rather than simply disgust.

>>14372

It's obvious that you feel strongly about this stuff, but I still don't think it belongs in your story entirely. What you did is basically break away from actual story-telling to shove your worldview down the reader's throats. And I would say the same no matter what your opinions had been. There are many problems: It's your voice, not a character's, and it's a very polarizing topic presented as if there is only one true side. It doesn't add another viewpoint to the story because it's omniscient and therefore everything it says is implied to be absolute.

I want to hear how Teacup views the big events. We see her history and personality, so what does she think of Humans? Does she have the same views that you do? Does she even know how she feels about Human history in view of everything falling into Dystopia? That kind of stuff would add to Teacup's character and give some meta-context about the Big Events. When it starts off, it seems like she's talking about events, but then her voice is lost to yours. I don't care about your opinions or your meta-level knowledge of everything, I care about Teacup and what she knows and believes.

Anyone else have opinions? Anyone wanna discuss author self-inserts? Nope? Well, I tried, because I care. I like your writing, Chatoyance, and we need everyone willing to voice their honest dissenting opinions about the human condition. I just think that in the first.....ten....paragraphs your personal viewpoint and opinions overrode your character and storytelling to the detriment of both your opinions and your storytelling.

>>12821

I'd question the need for ten years - that's a real long time not to get acclimatized, but that's a personal thing. I can definitely understand it.

>>14509

I will consider what you have said.

My purpose in those opening paragraphs was not to espouse any particular view, but rather to give a cosmological background and reason for the emergence of Equestria, a motivation for the compassionate Princesses to even bother to save the humans at all (rather than to just take the earth and let the humans die), and to provide some brief sense of the cosmic scale of the absorption of an entire planet into another universe. Personally, I adore that kind of background information when I read science fiction, which is the genre I consider the Conversion Bureau stories to be, despite Equestria being a magical place.

I was doing the science-fiction trope of a cosmic overview, a powers-of-ten zoom, before diving back into the story proper.

Teacup couldn't possibly know any of that stuff. Yet I felt it needed to be described, somehow. I don't know any other way but by using an omniscient narration for such a thing. I'm used to this sort of technique from old-school science fiction stories.

Too old-school, perhaps?

>>14684

Personally Chatoyance I rather enjoyed that overview, the perspective is fascinating and leads to you being able to settle the story mentally in to the larger world it exists in. That said I enjoy older sci-fi so I'm probably biased.

Have to agree with >>14705 - I liked the overview. Sometimes it's easy to see that the author's particular views are being extolled upon at length, sometimes clumsily. I don't get that here. I liked the really wide-picture zoom and it helps set the backdrop to an intriguing story.

Keep it up, Chatoyance. I'm half-wondering if we'll see a certain dark-blue sunset-maned unicorn if the girls make it to Ponyville. I guess he's still living at the library...

I should think that at the end of their journey, Petal and Teacup will learn why it is that Celestia decided against erasing their memories of Earth straight from the Princess's mouth; they might not want to hear it at first but they won't be able to deny how good her intentions are.

>>14709

I personally adore your Midnight, and may I have your permission to do a cameo of him if it should happen that things make sense to work out that way?

Your work is one of the three stories that most inspired me to even write. So you know.

You never really mention cutie marks... Does Teacup even have a cutie mark?

>>14509

Chatoyance-

You have a great story here, however, I must agree with Derpmind here.  We all know(or at least have an inkling anyway) that the  CB stories are set in a dystopian future.  When I was reading the first few paragraphs, I almost wanted to stop and find something else.  But I didn't.  I have a rule when I am reading that if I still lost interest after 5 pages, that's that.  But you brought that runaway train back to the station and I am really looking forward to the next chapter.  Please keep your writing on track.  You have improved so much and I am hooked.

Ya, even I know a Beholder when I read about one. Bad news, best just to face fate and get stoned in the most literal sense.

Great. She survives getting shot out of the sky by the HLF only to get petrified by a Beholder.

EEeeeeeeeeeppp!

I think the reason that memory wipe wasn't offered as part of the conversion might be as simple as nopony being able to even think that it might be necessary.  Since the level of horror experienced by humans was literally unfathomable to the citizens of Equestria - it just wouldn't be something they'd come up with.  I'm sure that compassion for the newfoals would have been predominantly high, and that Celestia would have offered selective amnesia if She'd understood the possibility of the need for it.

I'm hoping that Teacup and Petal will be able to figure this out for themselves, though whether or not it will help decrease their envy and anger.....?

It's sort of telling that Teacup (I sort of like how it sort-of-but-not-really matches her obsolete human name) and Petal had such different pre-conversion lives; perhaps Celestia decided against mass memory erasure so that new-foals could compare notes like this to help mourn whatever good things were lost.

>>15493

That does make a lot of sense; since nopony is even close to messed up enough to even understand why the new-foals feel empty inside, it would never occur to them that there are things that somepony else would need to forget.

>>15667 No, Celestia decided against mass memory erasure because that would be cruel to the humans who did want to keep their memories.

The "MOVE LEGS MOVE" bit seemed really out of place.  Mood Whiplash, anyone?

Do I detect a trace of OC shipping? :rainbowderp:

>>15749

I have suffered massive panic attacks in my life; there have been times where I have been paralyzed by fear. The expression 'paralyzed' is not hyperbole, it really feels like that. This scene is drawn from my own personal experience, something I lived through in the real world. I got myself moving by mentally shouting at my own limbs, just like Teacup. I also used pain to unfreeze my limbs so that I could move. Write what you know, correct?

On the other side, I have also experienced another weird quirk of neurology; once I needed to stay somewhere, but my terror was so great that my legs moved of their own accord, trying to run even though I was lying down. They just kept scrambling, and I was forced to grip my surroundings to hold my position while my lower limbs struggled against me. Shouting at them in my mind didn't work there.


Petal's technobabble-fu is still strong, I see.

Also, a fascinating hypothesis as to how to a pony might turn into a Discord-level threat to society. (Though one has to wonder, if those statues are petrified mind mages, how did Celestia get them all to pose like that?:derpytongue2:)

>>15893

If you want to survive a battle with with a truly formidable magical power, never zap them from the front, never even let them know you are there.

Celestia isn't dumb. She'd turn a threat to stone while it was busy doing whatever it was up to. Look at the ponies in that garden on the show sometime. They were caught unawares. They are all in the middle of doing something: reading a scroll or petition, running, dancing, they had no idea they had just been zapped. They were ninja'd. Stealth kill.

My belief is that Celestia may be all smiles and soft voice, but that is velvet covering a cast iron, spike-knuckled fist. She's an immortal ruler. She knows how to rule.

>>15893 Thaumobabble-fu, you mean.

>>15899

Which, of course, means that having troubling memories of Earth is simply something these two are going to have to deal with; it might be unpleasant for them but Celestia is not only immortal, she is far more intelligent and wise than they. She can see a harmful consequence to their plan that they do not.

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