The click and buzz of a television turning on filled the otherwise quiet evening.
“… with Sunni and Shiite groups coming together on some key issues of the Republic of Iran’s new constitution.” The newscaster turned to her co-host, a bright and entirely fake smile on her face. “A bit of a bright spot for the Middle East, eh Eric?”
“That’s right Kathy. Speaking of things ‘bright and cheery,’ you ever wonder what happened to those ponies? Well, John Cammeron is here to give us an update in this special report. John?” The feed switches focus to a man seated just out of shot to their right. He, too, wears that ever-fake smile.
“Thank you Eric. Kathy.” He turns to the camera, his face suddenly serious. “Ponies. Two years ago and that word would have brought to mind images of majestic stallions running across the now-lost plains of the Midwest or, perhaps, little girl’s toys. But a year and a half ago, all that changed. In case you missed it, a new alien species stopped by to say ‘hello’ to humanity. But they’re not from space. These equines are from an alternate dimension.”
The feed cuts from the studio to stock footage, pegasi guards flanking the chariot of Princess Celestia and Luna as they touch down on the roof of the UN building in New York. The images are grainy and scratched. John’s voice continues over the footage as it passes. The UN General Secretary shaking Celestia’s hoof, unicorns demonstrating their magical abilities. Pegasi pushing clouds around or laying on them as human scientists run around, trying to understand the how of it all.
“An Earth where, they claim, the waters are pure and the air is clear. Requests to film or visit it have been routinely denied by the Nation of Equestria and all attempts at passing into Equestria have met with failure.”
A scene of a motorboat being chased by three pegasi as it rapidly approaches a strangely swirling vortex of some sort. The three pegasi suddenly break off as the boat passes some invisible wall. Three figures seem to be picked up and launched into the air backwards, their human limbs flailing. The pegasi circle around, coming in to snatch the invaders from the ocean waves. The feed changes, a green unicorn with a yellow mane sitting awkwardly in a chair made for humans.
“Human technology just doesn’t work in Equestria. Not right anyway.” A name plate popped up below her, declaring her to be ‘Sundrop Dewheart,’ Chief Technologist of the Nation of Equestria. “We don’t even know why. It should, everything seems to be the same. All the universal constants are there. But it, well, it just doesn’t. And human bodies, they react just as poorly to magic as the technology does.” A male voice, presumably the interviewers, cuts in.
“Do you have any theories as to why?”
The unicorn taps her hoof gently against her chin before shrugging. “It’s magic, ain’t gotta ‘splain manure.” The feed changes to the vortex again, this time as seen from the air. Surrounding it are several destroyers while a few aircraft carriers can be seen in the distance.
“So no humans in Equestria. And that's final, say the Princesses. But there is a way to visit the supposedly jolly land of candy-colored miniature horses. Become one yourself. In fact,” the feed changes again, showing a rundown building with the words ‘Conversion Bureau’ in neon lights above the door, though the lights are no longer lit, “until a few months ago, you could go to any mid to large sized city and apply to become an Equestrian citizen. And, by necessity, a pony yourself. According to statistics released by the Nation of Equestria, over two million human beings chose to do just that.” The feed cuts, showing a spinning ‘Action News’ logo.
“When we return.”
An elderly balding human, gesturing wildly with his hands as he speaks. “They took everyone who was going to be going. I can’t imagine what they were thinking.”
A spinning ‘Action News’ logo flashed onto screen, spinning an elderly balding man’s head into view.
“There’s only three real ‘Centers’ left in the world and two of those will be closing by the end of the week.” A name plate popped up below him, indicating he was Dr. Zimmerman of the newly created Harvard Business School’s Human-Equine relations board. “These ponies were really hoping that there would be a massive influx of humans wanting to be ‘ponified’ but it just never materialized.”
The feed cuts to a few scenes from outside various Conversion Centers, all of them still shots and showing only a few humans entering the massive double doors at the front. Zimmerman’s voice continued over the shots.
“They really underestimated both the draw of being a ‘pony’ and, well, how much we like being human. Other than the initial rush of some two million or so humans that were, ehh, ‘unsatisfied’ with being human, there weren’t many left to get.” The feed cuts back to him, gesturing wildly with his hands. “They took everyone who was going to be going. I can’t imagine what they were thinking.”
The feed cuts to a press meeting outside the UN building, with Princess Luna and Princess Celestia facing the camera. Princess Celestia began speaking, to the flashing of cameras and the whirring as robotic camera drones buzzed around her head.
“Any human wishing to apply for Equestrian Citizenship will, of course, still be able to do so. However, as the volume we expected wasn’t present, these processes will be done at any Equestrian Consulate.”
The feed cuts to a small line outside of one of the still operating Conversion Centers, now little more than a run-down building giving a 'free clinic' vibe. John's voice narrates over a mundane scene as humans enter the building slowly and cars zoom by, not even slowing down to wonder.
"At the cost of nearly seventeen billion dollars, over two thousand Conversion Centers were constructed in every country that allowed them. But even with the surprisingly large number of dissatisfied homo sapiens, that was still only barely a thousand per Conversion Center."
The feed changes to what appears to be a unicorn, though her dark ethereal mane and the extremely long horn on her head marked her instead for one of the Princess sisters.
"Verily We thought, oh excuse me." She clears her throat. "Yes, well, we thought it was a matter of course, you see? The magic field is expanding and with it's ... distaste for humans, we thought it would be best to get the majority converted right away. We, uhm, underestimated the love the majority of you have for you species."
The feed cuts to a young but bald human, his tee-shirt displaying a crossed out stylized alicorn.
“The Human Pride Front, of course, has no issue with anyone wishing to give up their humanity to become some horse. We just stand against the invasiveness of the original plan, that’s all.” John’s voice cuts in as the feed cuts to show protests outside of one of the larger Conversion Centers. A small column of empty space helps frame the smaller video of humans waving signs.
“The Human Pride Front points to the original ‘Welcome Speech’ developed by Twilight Sparkle, unicorn mage and student of Princess Celestia, one of the co-rulers of the Nation of Equestria, as evidence of this anti-human sentiment.” The text scrolled into view as John read it. “’Humans such as yourselves have brought your world to shambles, all because of the selfish greed of big business, and the horrible health habits of the majority of the population.’” The feed cuts again to police in riot gear shooting tear gas into the crowd of humans, holding shields to deflect the few rocks thrown. "'Ponykind faces overpopulation, in ways that the tiny land of Equestria simply can't keep together for long. That's why we moved into your towns and cities. Because humans can't handle the magic radiating from Equestrian borders, becoming a pony is crucial to expanding the peaceful, friendly aura that surrounds Equestria every day of every month of every year.'"
“Riots in many large cities caused several million dollars in damage after the full text of the speech was released to the public." The feed cut to John again. "The HPF claims that the changes made to the 'Welcome Speech' and the removal of Twilight Sparkle as Chief 'Overmare' of all Conversion Centers due to, as Equestria claims, 'stress related work injuries' were only covering tactics and the true source of this anti-human sentiment still exists in the form of the Princess sisters, as evidenced by the closed borders of Equestria and the fact that no study done by human or unicorn has ever proven that humans cannot exist in the so-called 'magic field.'"
The feed cut to the small fleet of warships that still sat near and, in some cases, right next to the vortex of energy that was the portal to Equestria. "However, Equestria claims that they are only protecting humanity from what could be an extensive health risk." The feed cuts from the warships stationed outside Equestria to a mint green unicorn with a mint green and white mane sitting in a very human-like manner in an expensive-looking English manor style room.
"The fact is, there are many ponies who would love to see humans in Equestria." The name plate that appears proclaims her as Lyra Heartstrings, noted pony musician and leader of the 'Ponies for Humans' movement. "But until we know more about what magic DOES to humanity, we just can't afford to take that risk." The camera view changes, zooming in to her face. She appears wistful. "I know I'd love to see humans in Equestria."
The camera switches over to another Conversion Center, this one sporting shattered windows and scrawled pro-human graffiti. John's voice narrates. "And yet the essential question remains. Is it humanities fate to go the way of so many species? To follow dinosaurs, dodos and Siberian tigers into the abyss of history?" The camera returns to the newsroom, showing John's 'serious face.'
"With still close to eight billion humans on the planet and that number still rising, it's the opinion of this reporter that we're still very much here to stay." The camera pans out to show Eric and Kathy, listening with 'rapt attention.'
"Well, I don't know about you but this is one reporter that's not giving up her thumbs." Kathy's remark brought semi-forced laughed from the two reporters with her.
"Yes, how would I manage to catch a football?" Eric looked at the camera with a smile as he continued his segue into the next portion of the news program. "Speaking of sports, Jim's here with the latest NFL scores and stats. Stay tun-"
A click and a snap as the static electricity discharge sent the night back to the blissful silence it had been.
Authors Note:Well, this is embarrassing. I read the TCB post over on EqD and saw the post here and, well, I just couldn't help myself. I mean, really? If something like that actually happened, I seriously doubt anyone but a few of the more ... colorful members of our community and maybe a few furries would take that plunge. A nice fantasy but the world that I was told about really didn't make much sense. Then again, I read maybe the first few chapters of the original, the first story of the Yellowstone series and a few odds and ends of other series so maybe there was more going on than I thought. But as it stands now, from what I remember, the entire concept was ludicrous. Take present day, add working nanotechnology, fusion and get pretty damned close to a post-scarcity society. Then, add 'ponies why not' and every gives it up for ... what? In the hopes of being a pretty, pretty pink princess pony? I just don't understand it.
Also, I used the canonical 'Welcome Speech' from Blaze's original 'Conversion Bureau' story, even as misanthropic as it was. Terribly sorry, Mr. Blaze but your version is still the best to stir some ... manure up.