An explosion of dust came from the mountainside, followed quickly by an orange ball of of slowly drifting energy that dripped molten rock in its wake. All eyes were on the orb, looking to see what had emerged after being in the tunnels of the base for so long.
"Hello!" The cheery voice of Blue Sun greeted the changelings below her. "Have you been good to the humans?"
A few chitters of nervous discussion were heard before some drones flew off in separate directions, each soon returning with an adviser in tow. Catalyst's orange magical orb drifted slowly to the ground, landing with a slight roll as it glanced off of the dursine flooring before bursting into flame and disintegrating. The two queens and the bejeweled defective changeling stood opposite to the row of eager advisers, waiting for their report.
"Queen, not-minotaur curious. Few hurt from mountain. I expand hive! Very small now, but big soon." The Hive adviser quickly blurted, their eagerness following their steps toward Blue Sun. The drone's progress was halted by a larger, more armored hoof pressing against their chest.
"The defective." The Warrior adviser stated. "It still lives? Has its hunger not overtaken it?" The adviser added with narrowed glowing eyes to the white drone hiding behind Blue Sun.
"Every drone is precious to me, Warrior adviser. I would never hurt any of my hive." Blue reminded all of the advisers. "When I went after Queen Catalyst and the defective, we were able to find these strange rainbow rocks that hold love like a battery." She explained, pointing to the mentioned rocks that rested in the defective's leg holes.
"A battery?" A nearby drone questioned, its head turned sideways with confusion.
"It doesn't matter right now," Catalyst stated with a dismissive wave of her hoof. Her mood quickly turned sour when she pointed to the hive they all stood in. "What does matter, is the absurdly large structures you've built on the human's territory!"
Blue's attention was now grabbed by all the buildings around her, part of her bursting with pride that her hive had accomplished so much in only a few hours. "Did you speak with Colonel Bunker about this?" She asked calmly, turning to the advisers assembled before her. "Or Doctor Vahlen?" Blue added, and saw the Hive adviser shrink away nervously. "Chief Shen?"
"N-no, my Queen. I thought you like big hive." The Hive adviser explained. "You gone so long, I have to do something. What is drone without hive?"
Catalyst buzzed with annoyance while looking to Blue Sun. "This is your hive, Blue Sun. Punishment is up to you, not me."
Blue sighed. "I'll have to speak with Colonel Bunker about this. Hopefully she isn't upset." Blue then turned to motion the defective forward to the center of the discussion. The white drone nervously obeyed the command of her queen, its ears folded down while trying to appear as non threatening as possible.
"Warrior adviser." Blue commanded, "You will bring the defective somewhere safe in the hive for now while I speak with the humans. No matter what, the defective is not to be harmed."
The adviser bowed its head. "Yes, my queen!"
"What about me?" The hive adviser asked. "Punishment?"
Catalyst appeared unhappy with the drone but Blue barely noticed. She instead placed a hoof on the adviser's shoulder, causing it to flinch with worry at what might happen. "I will speak with Colonel Bunker. If everything is alright, then we'll just have a talk. If she isn't happy, then we'll have a talk."
The adviser's eyes widened at that before bowing. "Yes, my queen."
"Now, what do you all have to tell me about what's been going on since I went into the mountain?" Blue asked her advisers.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Unofficial War-room
A large room with an equally absurd round table dominating the center was filled with heads of state and generals from all sections of the globe, each standing huddled in small pockets of allegiance to either their home country or political allies. The room was cold with stone floors and metal furniture; one large LED screen presenting a grand map of the world large enough to park a bus onto embedded in the wall that dominated the attention of everyone present.
Blips of color showed regional conflicts, the countries themselves outlined by green, yellow or red for which countries had been unaffected, reported sightings, or who had lost contact all together. The countries of China and India were bright red with Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Russia being a reddish-yellow.
"What the hell are they doing here?" The Prime Minister from Britain whispered, pointing to the small cluster of gentlemen from North Korea. "Did they want to come make more demands now that there's aliens everywhere?"
His train of thought was soon interrupted by the South Korean President cautiously approaching his northern counterpart. The two groups stood opposite another in an icy standoff that attracted attention from others in the room, each leader staring the other down. Taking a few slow steps forward and raising the tension even further, the North Korean leader stopped just a few paces in front of the South Korean President. The two stood there, staring at one another for what seemed like an eternity before the North Korean leader made the first move.
"In light of the recent invasion, I wish to discuss peace between our peoples." He stated carefully, offering a sincere bow to the South Korean President to assure him of his resolve. Continuing to speak from his bow the North Korean added, "I will unite Korea as one, under the people's rule, but now is not the time to be fighting a war on two fronts."
The South Korean President was taken aback by this sudden shift in policy, even more so to the fact that his long time rival had just given a symbol of respect by bowing to him. In return, he bowed as well without comment before the two arose. "Is this simply another truce?" he asked cautiously.
The other shook his head. "No, it is a genuine peace. I will not have my generals worry about an invasion from South Korea and her allies while we will be under inevitable siege by these freakish monsters from space. This is, of course, assuming we can trust you."
"Very well then. We will have to formalize this after the meeting today." The South Korean President agreed, still shaken by this unexpected development.
"Leaders of the world!" A voice announced, calling attention away from the meeting of the two Koreas. "Please find your seats; The meeting is about to begin."
The two leaders nodded at another and took their seats. After a few minutes, the rest of the people gathered had found their places and awaited the report on what was happening.
The Russian president was the first to stand, motioning to the map behind him. "As you can see, the world is under attack." he stated pointedly. "It is not Russia you should all fear for once, it is these invaders from another world." He added, pressing a button on the laptop before him to add a picture to the large screen. The image of a town being swarmed by hundreds of changelings with different colors popped up, followed by photos of people being coated in a slime-like material before being cocooned and carried off.
"So far, the armies of the world have been ineffective against this foe." The Russian explained, showing a video of Russian soldiers firing away at very hot bubble shields that slowly approached them made from different colors of magic. "Standard munitions do nothing against these barriers, and they are too hot to approach. These aliens, dubbed 'changelings' by American scientists, are able to maneuver through them with ease and seem immune to the heat generated by them."
Another slide appeared, this time in a smog covered city in China. "They are masters of ambush and assault," he continued, a new video clip showing meteors raining from above the city and crashing into buildings with large chunks of debris raining in a dusty cloud below. "They become the weapons themselves, as we have been unable to find a single device amongst them that would be capable of this kind of destruction."
"Well they must have something that fuels that kind of destruction." The British Prime Minister pointed out. "They can't wage a war entirely on will alone, can they?"
"Why are they wrapping people in those cocoons?" The French President asked. "Are they taking them somewhere?"
"What are those shields made of?" The Israeli President questioned. "Not even a tank shell was able to get through it from what I just witnessed!"
"Our best guess," The American President stated, "Is that these aliens are fueled by 'love'."
The entire room slowly turned to stare at President Amelia. "It sounds insane, given what they're doing on the screen, I know." She continued, unphased by the room's attention. "If you remember, we were in contact with the changelings just weeks before this invasion happened. Scientists have been studying as much as they could about the changelings, and from what they tell us, they live entirely off of emotions, the most powerful of them being love."
"That's absolutely ridiculous!" The French President blurted, pointing to the still image of a changeling pouncing on an Asian citizen. "Does that look like the face of a creature of love to you!?"
Amelia shook her head. "It could be a disease of some kind that makes them behave this way, we're not certain. What we do know, however, is that not all of them are so cartoonishly evil as this invasion makes them appear." She replied, pointing to the same photo. Pressing a button on her own laptop, a new image of Blue Sun waving and smiling to a scientist appeared.
"Cute." The North Korean leader deadpanned.
"This is Queen Blue Sun. She has been under voluntary study with us the past few weeks and has shown absolutely no signs of aggression or hostile action during her stay." Amelia explained, pressing another button. Now an image of Blue being covered in her slowly swarming grubs was shown, one of them nibbling on her ear. Grumbles of disgust dotted the room's vocalizations, yet Amelia continued. "Queen Blue Sun is the leader of her hive, and her hive all share the same characteristics as she does. Blue-Purple in coloration, even tempered, respectful of others, and a need to ensure that their hive gains enough love to sustain itself and grow."
"So they are parasites of love?" The French President questioned. "If they wish for love, then why attack us? They will gain nothing but fear and hatred if this is their plan."
"One common thing we've noticed is that these swarms of changelings are all colored differently, yet we haven't seen a single queen among them." Amelia explained. "Our scientists theorize that this could be the result of a lack of organization or leadership."
"How did they even get here?" The German Prime Minister questioned. "If they are so leaderless, then they should have never made it to our planet in the first place."
The Russian President took the stage now, revealing a photograph of large crystalline pillars arching with purple-green energy. "Not long before this invasion began, some kind of wormhole opened in northern Siberia. A different kind of alien emerged and attacked the local garrison, killing all present. Before we lost communication, helmet cameras were able to transmit the incursion to us."
A video soon displayed showing Russian soldiers on patrol returning to their base via truck, the group complaining about the cold and sharing cigarettes. No sooner had the truck reached a gated checkpoint did a loud screeching pierce the lazy calm of the base. The soldier's view shifted wildly, wondering where the sound had come before a leader ordered them out of the truck and to enter the base.
The video cut ahead, showing the soldier with a few of his allies hiding in a dark room, their rifles all pointed towards the door in front of them. For a few tense moments, nothing happened. The soldiers questioned each other, asking if the creature had gone. Soon after, the doorway they had been guarding burst open in a spray of metal shards and splintered wood causing the soldiers to seek cover. A few gunshots rang out loudly in the small room before a cloud of black smoke billowed forth and swarmed each soldier one by one. The viewpoint of the last solder saw the bodies of his comrades completely drained of life, like mummified husks crumpled with clothing suddenly made far too large for what remained of their bodies. The video cuts out to static on a freeze frame of red eyes with a green background and purple smoke radiating outward.
The room was deathly quiet after witnessing the video, and the Russian President continued. "We do not know for certain if this is related to the invasion in Asia, but this creature appeared in the same moments as they did. It is safe to assume they may be related and act accordingly."
"So we have alien bugs and a smoke monster invading the world." The Canadian Prime Minister put succinctly. "What are we going to do about it?"
"Obviously, we must find some way to counter these invaders." The French President stated. "I don't think anyone here is planning on allowing their people to become food for these changelings and smoke monsters, are they?"
"What do you suggest? We have tried all that we can think of within the realm of reason." The Japanese Prime Minister pointed out. "Perhaps your friend Queen Blue Sun may be able to help?" he asked to Amelia.
The room soon became a low rumble of discussion and ideas bouncing off of each other, each leader and general unable to come up with something that might help with their current situation. Faces became covered in the palms of frustration as quickly as ties came undone from stress. Old enemies began speaking together after their usual connections could think of nothing, and the room joined together in a mess of worry about what was happening. As tensions reached their threshold and concern gave way to exaggeration, the temperature of the room shifted quite suddenly. One of the nearby stone walls had begun emitting a cold fog that drifted lazily to the ground in a cloud, and the leaders of the world backed away as bodyguards and secret service members formed a line of pistols and sub-machine guns between the fog and their leaders.
Equestria, Throne Room of the Crystal Empire
The blackened crater in the center of the room was billowing fog from it, becoming a mysterious pool with worried voices of distortion coming through. Princesses Twilight, Cadence, Celestia and Luna stood around the pool looking in.
"You're certain this is where Chrysalis went?" Queen Sanguine questioned, giving the pool a suspicious look from further back.
"I am certain." Celestia stated. "My sight extends to where ever the rays of the sun touch, and I have seen thousands upon thousands of changelings on this world."
Queen Sanguine was taken aback by this. "Wait, any sun?"
Luna was the next to speak up. "I control the arrangement of the stars, Queen Sanguine. Did you think that our world was simply draped in a blanket of my creation?"
Queen Sanguine was now left open mouthed and questioning her place in the cosmos at that moment as the Princesses continued unphased. "Are all of us going there?" Twilight asked somewhat nervously. "What if they don't want our help?"
"King Sombra has escaped to their world through same magic that I taught you to defeat him, Twilight." Celestia explained. "He is our problem, as well as Queen Chrysalis. Neither of them should be where they are, and it is our duty to bring them back."
"We must remain here, in order to safeguard Equestria and maintain what balance remains in the cosmos." Luna explained.
"Once again, it will be solely up to you, and your friends, to save the day." she added with a small amount of bitterness.
"My friends are coming?" Twilight asked with a mix of excitement and nervousness. "How did they find out?"
At that moment, the doors leading to the chamber burst open with Pinkie Pie leading the way. Her bouncy entrance soon skidding to a halt at the sight of the foggy pool and her eyes went wide. "Whoa! Far out!"
The remaining elements walked or flew in after Pinkie, all seeing the pool for themselves before spotting Twilight. "We came as quick as we could, Sugarcube." Applejack announced. "All our cutie marks started glowing and when we couldn't find you at the castle we got a message from the Princess tellin' us to come quick."
"Are we really going to another world?" Fluttershy added nervously. "I mean, we've been to the Breezie's world and that was nice, but nopony has been where ever we're going, have they?"
Luna and Celestia shared a uncomfortable smile for a moment before Celestia reassured them. "We may have been known to them in the past as Khonsu, but they've hopefully forgotten us long ago by now. I'm certain that you'll all do well. You've fought Tirek and Discord together and emerged unharmed, haven't you?"
A nearby vase came to life with the likeness of Discord himself blowing literal raspberries at Celestia before reverting to its original ceramic form. The scene was so common for the all present that none batted an eyelash, save for Queen Sanguine who was now even more confused.
"Khonsu?" Twilight questioned. "Why have I never heard that name before?"
"Well..." Luna explained with an awkward smile, "It was one of our darker phases that we don't like to talk about."
"They may have a book about us, now that I think about it." Celestia mused.
"Do you think they still write in Hieroglyphics?" Luna added, also interested.
"Well, the world isn't going to save itself, is it?" Rainbow Dash interrupted, pointing to the noisy pool of fog below her steady hover. "A bunch of creatures in trouble, a bunch of changelings causing problems and King Sombra being evil. Sounds like a job for us!"
"Speaking of changelings," Rarity pointed out, "Will you be coming with us, Queen...?"
"Sanguine." The orange queen finished. "No, I have to remain here to watch after the changelings that refused Chrysalis. Without me they would probably cause the same havoc they are where you're going, or simply starve."
The six elements, Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy and Twilight moved closer to the pit with expressions from surety to anxiety. Twilight took a deep breath to marshal her courage before stating, "Well girls, its now or never."
"Yay, adventure!" Pinkie Pie shouted, swan diving into the portal and vanishing with a huge cloud of fog to announce her exit from the world.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Unofficial War-room
The guards standing in front of the portal didn't have to wait long before the growing sound of cheer grew closer to the room. Aiming their weapons with renewed purpose and suspicion, they were greeted by the embodiment of pink in pony form sliding across the floor, forehooves first like a waterslide, into the wall on the far end of the room.
Half of their weapons remained on the small equine while the others covered the entrance. More noises could be heard, some whooping with excitement, and others screaming in terror. The confusion mounted even further as multi colored pastel pony after another warped into the room with a burst of fog accompanying their entrance. First a light blue one, then a white, then an orange, a purple, and a yellow one dumped themselves in a heap before the foggy portal shut itself closed.
Blinking and disoriented, the small creatures collected themselves before noticing the wall of very tall and none-too happy looking non-minotaur pointing unfriendly looking devices in their direction.
"Hi!" The pink pony blurted fairly loudly while un-crumpling herself like an accordion from the wall. "I'm Pinkie Pie! What's your name?"