A/N: This story is set in the Conversion Bureau: Ten Rounds universe created from Blaze's original TCB universe by Defoloce
Zero-Nine-Two-Eight-Two-Zero-One-Six He repeated the sequence over in his head as he input the numbers into the large device sitting at his feet. To think that all of humanity’s technological progress had been reduced to this and what they carried was mind- boggling and truth be told, only served to amplify his rage. He watched as the interface blinked to life indicating that the device was now armed and above the console six numbers winked into existence, 10:00:00 and two button pushes later started counting down.
“Remind me again why the hell we’re giving them ten minutes?” one of the group of twelve, the one known as Hawkeye, asked.
“Because the safety measures built into the detonator require a minimum of ten minutes of time.” The young man said as he stood from the device. “And besides, I thought you enjoyed a challenge.”
“I enjoy challenges that are possible, what we’re going to do here could be considered suicide.” He said as he checked the action on his M110 marksman rifle.
“No one’s making you do this Hawk.” Another of the group, who sported only a wicked looking machete and a pump action shotgun, responded.
The young man shrugged “Doesn’t matter, we’re all dead men anyway, might as well as go out doing something meaningful.”
“Too right… well I guess I might as well get to my position, it’s been an honor fighting with all of you.” Hawk said as he began to walk off to the stairs, “Oh and Reaper? call it a hunch but I think that you might finally be able to rest after this.”
The young man smiled at the jibe, but there was no humor in it. “I think you might be right Hawk… Okay everyone let’s get to our areas. I don’t want a single one of those four legged fucks getting within 5 feet of this place.”
With that the rest of the group of twelve humans began to filter out through the building covering entrances and doing their best to prepare a decent defense against the coming onslaught. The building was, ironically enough, an abandoned conversion bureau, one of the places where this whole nightmare had begun. Despite the fact that this place was one of the centers where humanity was passively extinguished it served the group’s needs perfectly, it was easily defensible and built to withstand quite a lot of punishment.
As the young man approached his window overlooking the entrance where one could already see the beginnings of the pony horde that would soon besiege this place. They always seem to be getting better at detecting humans, couldn’t have taken them more than five minutes to pinpoint us this time he thought to himself as he checked the magazine of his M416 rifle, satisfied that everything checked out he loaded the mag and chambered a round, giving the building one last look-over before all hell broke loose. Further down the floor he noticed one of the relative newcomers to their group who was also covering the entrance, he couldn’t be more than three years younger than himself but the kid was shaking all over as the realization of what they were about to do hit him. Sighing slightly the young man walked over to the obviously scared kid and put a hand on his shoulder, the kid’s head jerked up from where he had been nervously scanning the front lot to look at him. “Relax kid, everything’s going to be fine.”
The kid just looked down from him silently for a few seconds taking several deep breaths before looking back up. “Thanks Reaper, I needed that.”
“No problem.” The young man replied as he walked back over to his own position.
Outside the bureau dozens of ponies moved about the buildings, milling about until finally one pony finally stood out in the middle of the lot in front the bureau and with a magically amplified voice began yelling as other ponies started advancing on the building, “Humans! The kingdom of Equestria beckons you to a better life, lay down your arms and accept the invitation of our majestic princesses to a life of peace and friendship!” Before the pony could continue on his tirade the crack of a single shot rang out and pony pitched backwards collapsing to the ground in an instant, a pool of blood already beginning to spread around his body.
“How about no!?” Hawkeye shouted from his perch on the weather coordination center
With the death of the speaker, the true onslaught appeared to begin and ponies began to flood the front lot heading for the entrance of the bureau, as potion bombs and bolts of magic arced overhead. The humans inside responded with a hail of gunfire, but the number of ponies appeared to be too great for them to be held off for long.
The young man calmly centered his sights on a pony galloping towards the bureau and fired a single shot, the all too familiar recoil causing the rifle in his hands to jump back in response as he watched the pony collapse to the ground. He then raised the rifle and began firing at the sky as pegasai flew around the bureau looking for an opening in which they could enter the building and get at the humans within. It took him three shots this time but finally he connected watching with a grim sense of satisfaction as the Pegasus spun out of control and crashed to the concrete behind another building.
Despite their horrendous losses the ponies continued to advance towards the human’s stronghold and it was painfully apparent that it was a matter of seconds before the ponies would be inside. The young man and the kid continued to pour fire into the advancing ponies as they stood their ground on the 2nd floor, then quite suddenly a potion bomb clipped the top of the window the kid was covering, splashing the concoction all over him. The young man turned just in time to watch as his former comrade rapidly transformed into a light orange unicorn.
“My God… this feels amazing…” he said as he shrugged off his clothes and turned to face the remaining human.
The human in question turned and raised his rifle, preparing to once again put down a former comrade for what seemed like the hundredth time in the last two years. But before he could pull the trigger a bolt of magic slammed into the front of building disintegrating the wall he had been standing behind and knocking him from his feet. By the time he shook the lights from his eyes and rose to his feet once more a pile of rubble had appeared between him and the recently turned unicorn, he could hear the new convert’s voice from the other side, directing even more ponies into the bureau and encouraging them to “befriend” the remaining humans. The young man grimaced and sprinted further into the building locking a door behind him as he delved deeper into the complex, blocking off the pegasai who were rapidly swarming the fresh hole in the front of the building.
As the young man ran through the myriad of hallways the radio on his belt crackled to life, “Reaper if you can hear me, we’re falling back to the center of the building! Voodoo and Roadie are down, and I’ve lost contact with Hawk! If you’re still up at the front man, those bastards will cut you off if you don’t hurry!”
Hawkeye could hear the radio next to him squawking but he ignored it as he centered his crosshairs on one of the potion unicorns on the far side of the lot and fired once again. He had already burned through most of his ammo and what little he had left wouldn’t last him much longer. The ponies had been trying valiantly to get him in his perch in the weather coordination center on top of the bureau. Luckily he had managed to stack enough stuff in front of the doors to keep the pegasai out and so far none of those bolts had managed to hit his area yet. More potion splattered the wall in front of him as he continued to fire, taking out as many of those unicorns as he could. One finally managed to get into position and Hawk had a split second to jump backwards as the front of the room caved in from the concentrated magic. He cursed as he slid himself towards the back wall, unable to stand as some of the debris had broken his tibia. He drew a Beretta 9mm from its holster and continued to down the pegasai as they entered the medium sized room, finally managing to reach the far wall as the gun clicked empty. Cursing even more as he realized the grenade he had saved for just this occasion was missing no thanks to that magic bolt. So much for my blaze of glory… he thought as another wave of pegasai entered unimpeded, he looked past them into the sky wondering what it will be like on the “other side” as he called it, and then they were upon him.
The young man continued to run, closing and locking doors behind him as he continued weaving throughout the second floor of the bureau, doing his best to avoid the ponies that now swarmed throughout the building. He finally made it into the inner chambers of the bureau and began barricading the door he had just entered when he heard a noise behind him; he immediately dove for the ground watching as two arcs of electricity shot past him into the door. He rolled and started running for the nearest security gate, knowing that with his rifle hanging uselessly on his back and his pistol securely holstered his only option was to run from the pony that was behind him. He dodged and weaved as additional arcs from the stun gun shot out in an attempt to incapacitate him. With one final effort he sprinted past the security gate slamming it shut behind him, drawing his pistol, and facing his pursuer all in one fluid motion. However, the gunshot that was supposed to follow never came. Standing on the other side of the gate, looking up at him was pale yellow Pegasus with a red mane, a stun gun strapped to her back. The young man tried to bring himself to shoot the pony before him as he done so many times in the past, but he couldn’t, every brain cell in his body screamed at him to pull the trigger but despite all this he couldn’t. As he looked into the pony’s eyes something stirred within him, they looked so familiar and from within the depth of his memories a single name rose to his lips, “Lisa…”
The girl he had met while passing through Missouri, the girl he had fallen completely and totally in love with, the girl who had become his best friend… the girl he had failed to save from them. He remembered it every day, he remembered the ambush the ponies had set for them, how they crippled three quarters of the humans there before they even had a chance to react. He had been forced to watch as they converted her right before his eyes, he had watched as the girl, the person, he would do anything for become nothing more than a mindless slave in front him. He had survived that day, the young man had somehow continued on, but his soul never left that place. After that day people started calling him Reaper, because ever since then wherever he went, death for the followers of Celestia followed in his wake.
Several tense seconds passed before he lowered his pistol and turned from the pony in front of him. “You should leave here… while you still have a chance.” And with that he walked off leaving the pony behind.
The pony, whose name was now Sky Shimmer, just looked at the ground confused, and for some reason saddened. Why had the human spared her? Why did he seem so familiar? These questions bounced around her head as she felt something within her mind threatening to burst, she raised her hooves to her temples as her head continued to hurt, she closed her eyes attempting to blot out the pain but failing to help relieve it at all. Deep within her something stirred, it grew in volume until it overcame everything else, and suddenly the memories came flooding back, tears formed in her eyes as she realized who had just stood in front of her no more than twenty seconds ago. Michael…
Less than fifty feet away from the conflicted Pegasus, the young man cautiously entered into the main foyer of the bureau. As he began his entrance into the open three shots stitched across the wall behind him, “HEY, HEY, HEY!” he yelled as he jumped back.
“Oh shit… sorry Reaper, but damn am I glad to see you, I thought we’d lost you.” One of the humans occupying the center of the room said as the young man turned the corner, scowling.
“…We’re all that’s left?” he asked as he looked on what was less than half of the original twelve humans that had occupied this place earlier.
Tank nodded solemnly, “Yeah I guess so, Voodoo and Roadie were surrounded the second the bastards broke into the building, Hawk’s gone silent, Thunder got cut off when we pulled back, and Gunner, Colombo, and Tallahassee got blindsided by a single shock pony… took em’ all out in less than ten seconds flat.”
“Damn…” the young man said as the losses weighed heavily upon him.
“Anyways, we’ve got something more important right now; before they got to him Thunder barricaded himself in one of the anterooms and tipped me off to something… Celestia is here.”
The five remaining humans took up positions around the foyer facing outwards towards the entrances where their attackers would no doubt pour from. Their eyes nervously continued to sweep the room, looking for the slightest sign of activity. The young man took up his position behind the information desk along with Tank and the device they had brought to this place. Everyone jumped as they heard a series of shots from the rear where Dozer was stationed.
“Contact rear!” He shouted as he continued to fire.
And then it started once again, ponies burst through what seemed to be every door simultaneously flooding the room in what appeared to be a tidal wave of pastel colors. The humans once more continued to pour fire into the ponies, this time managing to successfully halt their advance halfway between the door of the foyer and the circle of overturned tables and furniture that marked the humans’ last stand. The ponies huddled behind any cover they could find from columns to the chairs that had once seated potential new converts. The constant barrage of fire dwindled to a trickle of its former volume as they started choosing their shots with more care.
“They’re moving in with more potion throwers!” Tank yelled as he spotted the telltale apparatuses of the specialized unicorns on the balcony overlooking the open room.
“Don’t let em get set up!” Dozer yelled from behind as he raised his M249 SAW and started to suppress the unicorns on his side best he could. This, unfortunately, left the ones on the ground quite capable of moving forward once more, and before he could realize his mistake they leapt over the makeshift wall and tackled him to the ground. Dozer struggled with the two earth ponies that had managed to get to him, while Tank screamed at him to let him get a clear shot. Finally the much larger man managed to snap one of pony’s necks while tank finally managed to get a bullet into the second. Dozer lay panting on the ground as he stared in horror at what had once been his left hand; now a red forehoof and his gaze lowered to his left leg which was also rapidly changing color and sprouting fur.
“…Dozer man…” Tank stammered out at the now changing human in front of him.
Dozer struggled to his feet once again, an impressive feat considering he only had one foot that would even respond to him. “D-don’t worry about me man, I-I can still fight.” He said as he shakily raised his weapon in his remaining hand, the conversion process already making it hard for him to continue resisting. He managed to fire one last burst into an advancing pony before the changes finally reached his mind and he succumbed entirely.
Tank grimaced darkly as he watched his former friend fall to all fours, his facial features already lengthening. Tank sighted down his M16 and muttered a quick prayer for the soul of his friend before finally letting loose another burst into the now complete red earth pony before him.
The young man felt the bolt of his weapon click empty once again as he attempted to take down a pony darting from cover to cover across the room. As was almost entirely unconscious reflex at this point, he ejected the spent magazine and reached for a fresh one, slotting it in and pulling the action back chambering yet another round.
“Down to two mags.” He announced as he re centered his sights onto the advancing ponies and resumed firing.
“I’ve only got one full one left, and roughly half a clip already in.” Tank responded from behind him. “At this rate we’ll run dry before the time runs out.”
As if hearing his pessimism the ponies seemed to double the effort of their advance, moving ever closer to the center of the room as the humans did their best to hold them back. The young man noticed movement on the top floor of the room once again as he looked up from his sights. What he saw on the balcony drained the color from his face, “MAV MOVE, NOW!” he yelled at the man covering the western side of the room.
“wha-?” he said he turned towards the voice that was yelling at him just in time to see the potion bomb heading straight for him. He barely had the time to even start changing his expression to one of shock before the bomb impacted him squarely in the chest. A few seconds later a green Pegasus extracted himself from the remnants of Maverick’s clothes and joined the advancing ponies.
Switch saw what had happened to her comrade and began to backpedal furiously from her former position heading towards the desk where the young man and Tank stood, doing their best to cover her. She almost made it too; roughly halfway to the desk another potion bomb came flying from the balcony above and much like Maverick hit her dead on, the unicorns above had had plenty of time to bracket their targets. This time it was a pale pink earth pony that took the place of the human.
“… Well I’d say we’re good and fucked now.” Tank said as he took in the ponies that now surrounded them.
The two remaining humans maintained their position behind the desk in the center of the room, the ponies that surrounded them continued to stay behind their makeshift cover. Every once in a while a single pony would dart out and charge them only to be felled by the humans. It took the young man a few seconds to figure out why they weren’t just rushing the desk, but when he saw the unicorns back down from their positions on the balcony it became abundantly clear.
“Hey Tank I think-“the young man stopped speaking midsentence when he saw the look in his comrade’s eyes. He knew that look, he had seen it many times before in his past, that look of resignation to one’s fate.
Tank put his hand on the young man’s shoulder as he placed the M16 next him. “Reaper you’ve always been the best shot out of all of us. You’ll do better with this than I ever could; all I can do to help now is make one last distraction.” He pulled out a single flashbang. “Make each one count brother.”
Before the young man could say anything back, Tank pulled the pin on the flashbang and tossed it over the edge of the table. The deafening noise and blinding light left the ponies around them incapacitated for a few seconds, that was all the time Tank needed to leap over the desk and draw a wicked looking knife from its sheath on his shoulder. He then proceeded to lay into them, stabbing the first one he encountered directly through the throat as he brought his other hand clenched in a fist into a second one’s muzzle crushing it inwards with a sickening crunch. He then withdrew the knife and pivoted slashing the blade through two more before they had any idea what was happening. At this point the ponies had finally recovered from the disorienting effects of the flashbang and began to fight back.
The young man could do nothing but watch as Tank was eventually overwhelmed by the sheer numerical superiority of the ponies. One finally managed to get him with a stun gun and he fell to the floor, out of sight of the young man convulsing from the electricity that had shot through him. The ponies slowly advanced towards where he had fallen, and the young man heard him stammer out from behind the barricade. “D-damn you a-all.”
“Get some ponification serum over here.” A voice called out.
The sounds of meager resistance sounded from behind the pile of furniture for a few seconds and then all was silent. Now the young man was all that was left.
The young man felt his rage begin to boil over at everything, at the loss of his comrades, at the ponies, and this whole dammned situation. He scowled as he loaded one of his two last clips and raised his rifle over the counter, ready to kill every single one of the damned ponies that had destroyed his life. Unfortunately he never got the chance.
The second he brought the rifle up it suddenly started to glow before finally being wrenched upwards out of his grasp, and giving him a vicious uppercut. He started to stumble backwards, his mind filled with pain and stars from the attack before suddenly being knocked backwards ten feet to crash into the device behind him with an astounding force. As he smashed into the device he felt three of his ribs crack and one break completely, puncturing the skin above it and dying the shirt he wore crimson with blood.
He gasped in pain as he shook the stars from his vision and sat up, his back against the wall next to the device. He made an attempt to draw his pistol from its holster but it was already flying away from him the second he reached for it.
“An admirable effort, but like the rest of the resistance from your race, ultimately a meaningless gesture.” Spoke a voice the young man had once heard only over the TV or radio, it was voice that carried all the regalness and power of royalty while still retaining its grace. The possessor of the voice strode into view in front of him, standing in front of the last human on earth, was Celestia, Equestrian princess of the sun.
The young man tried to rise from his position on the ground and so strike at the pony in front of him but he only rose a few inches before his body refused to move any further, the pain becoming too much for it to function in that way. And so all he could do was glare at the princess in front of him with the most intense hatred he had ever felt.
“Really, just what did you all hope to accomplish here? I mean besides joining the great Equestrian nation.” She said striding towards him, an arrogant smirk dominating her face.
The young man just glared at her in response.
“Well then, I guess it’s time we got to the main event.” The princess said levitating over a bottle of potion. “You should be honored, the last human to be converted, what a tale you’ll have to tell your foals in the future.”
With that she began to tip the container forward, seeking to cover the young man in its contents, when suddenly a voice rang out, “Wait.”
The princess stopped almost immediately and turned to the source of the voice, a confused expression on her face. “Yes, what is it my little pony?”
A pale yellow Pegasus stood before her, looking nervously at the ground now that she had Celestia’s attention. “I-if it wouldn’t be too much trouble princess, could I be the one to convert him? It would mean a lot to me.”
The princess cocked her head to the side for a moment before speaking again, “Why does this mean so much to you, young one?” All traces of disdain and anger that had colored her voice while speaking to the young man were now gone.
“W-well I k-kinda know him.”
Celestia’s expression turned thoughtful, “I see… what is your name?”
“Sky Shimmer, your majesty.”
“Sky Shimmer if it means that much to you, then I will allow you this great honor.” The princess of the sun said as she walked over to the small pony and nuzzled her affectionately.
Sky Shimmer after receiving the princess’ blessing then turned from her ruler to the young man, and began walking towards the human with a slow meaningful stride, her eyes never leaving his face. The young man in question just returned the unwavering gaze looking into her eyes and seeing concern, regret, and recognition?
Finally the pale yellow pony reached the young man, looking down at his now crimson shirt with the deepest regret the young man had ever seen, “Michael…” she spoke, low enough for just the two of them to hear, the young man’s expression changed to one of shock at hearing his own name. The Pegasus then brought a hoof behind the young man’s head as she brought her own forward, touching her forehead to his, “I’m so sorry.” She whispered as a single tear rolled down her muzzle.
The young man sat there for a moment before bringing his own hand up behind her head, running his fingers through her mane. “Me too.”
And with that Sky Shimmer drew the young man into a kiss, and as he sat there locking lips with the pony that had once been the girl he had loved with his entire being, the young man could taste the grape on her lips.
And then suddenly everything turned the purest white the young man had ever seen.
What if this storm ends?
And I don't see you
As you are now
The perfect halo
Of gold hair and lightning
Sets you off against
The planet's last dance
Just for a minute
The silver forked sky
Lit you up like a star
That I will follow
Now it's found us
Like I have found you
I don't want to run
Just overwhelm me
What if this storm ends?
And leaves us nothing
Except a memory
A distant echo
I want pinned down
I want unsettled
Rattle cage after cage
Until my blood boils
I want to see you
As you are now
Every single day
That I am living
Painted in flames
All peeling thunder
Be the lightning in me
That strikes relentless