((This chapter is a parody and isn't intended to be taken as a serious part of the Stardust canon. Enjoy!))
“Um…h-hello? Is there anypony there? Rainbow Dash? T-Twilight? Anypony?” Fluttershy asked timidly as she inched forward. Gone were the rolling fields surrounding Ponyville, as were the comforting sounds of chirping birds, chattering squirrels and babbling brooks. All of the comforting signs of nature Fluttershy had come to love were gone; replaced with metal, stone, smoke and fire. There were no signs of life as far as she could see, and it unsettled her greatly.
The timid Pegasus had just cleared a pair of metal boxes and began to inch into a clearing just as three creatures appeared on the other side of the stone clearing between two of the large brick buildings. Bipedal, binocular vision, digigrade appendages, Fluttershy’s eye for animals easily cataloged the traits of the creatures that had entered her sight. The larger one waved and shouted, and the middle-sized one scooped up the smallest and began to run. Oh my, a family group? These two must be caretakers for the foal. But why would they be running?
Bursting from the shadows that the trio had just vacated came a monster, and Fluttershy’s eyes fell upon it just as they had the bipeds. Quadriped, insect-like physiology, extremely fast, she quickly summarized, and her eyes widened as she saw the unfolding events before her. The largest tried to backpedal but kept himself between the new arrival and the other two bipeds, while the insect dashed towards the trio with claws raised. The larger biped tripped and fell backwards, and the other two cried out in fear as the insect closed in for the kill. Predator species.
“Hold it right there, mister!” Fluttershy shouted as she fixed the insect with the Stare. All eyes turned toward Fluttershy and had this not been a life or death situation she would have shrunk away from the attention. Not now though, what she had just seen made her blood boil. “What do you think you are doing? Chasing down these poor innocent creatures?”
The scene of impending violence froze before the Pegasus as she trotted forward. The insect and the now-prone biped remained frozen in place. The expression on the insect’s face was hard to interpret but the biped was clearly frightened for himself and the others it was protecting. “There there, everything is alright now,” Fluttershy comforted as she stroked the biped’s head gently with a hoof. It seemed frozen in place much like a scared rabbit, and made no effort to run until prompted to. “Go on, shoo. Make sure that foal of yours is safe.”
Fluttershy gave it a comforting smile as it crawled and then ran away before whipping around to face the insect again, “DID I SAY YOU COULD MOVE?” The insect had begun to creep forward and reach with the two digigrade limbs attached to its torso but when it found itself under Fluttershy’s Stare again it froze in place. “You think you can chase innocent creatures just because you can? Did you not see it had a foal? Did you not see how scared it was? You should be ashamed of yourself!”
With each word Fluttershy took a step forward and the insect took a step back. With each step it lowered itself closer to the stone they stood upon, and was now using its clawed limbs to shield its face from the terrible Stare. When its back claws bumped into one of the metal boxes in the clearing which prevented further retreats, it began to whine piteously. Fluttershy wasn’t finished though, she was just getting started.
“AND YOU!” She screamed as she whipped around again to face another biped standing behind her. Unlike the previous bipeds this one wore some form of armor and had nearly managed to catch Fluttershy off guard with a strange silver tool it held in its arms. It froze in place; even its full-face helmet couldn’t protect it against the Stare. “You think you can sneak up on me? You are WRONG, mister! In case you couldn’t tell I am in a very bad mood and I’m not going to tolerate mean-spirited pranks while I’m teaching Mister Bugs here a lesson. Now DON’T MOVE until I get back so I can scold you properly.”
“You can’t escape your punishment, Mister Bugs!” Fluttershy turned around to face the insect again, which was trying to skulk away while the Pegasus was distracted, “Now, you are going to take me to your parents and we are going to have a long talk about what is appropriate behavior.” The insect froze in place, which prompted Fluttershy to scream, “DID I STUTTER? TAKE ME TO YOUR FAMILY NOW.”
The insect wailed and bolted down the alley with Fluttershy trotting after it, leaving the frozen biped behind.
16:52, 04/02/2015, WASHINGTON D.C.
Lana Jenkins led the stack with her shotgun raised. Lieutenant Fowler was right behind her as she swept the fire escapes and windows with her rifle, while Dryzimski covered the other end of the alley with his LMG. The trio grouped up at the mouth of the alleyway and then fanned out to sweep the parking lot where Matt was apparently at.
“Harris, this is Jenkins,” Lana called through the radio, “Where are you, man? Command has your signal as green but you’re not responding. Where the hell are you?” Her question was answered as she rounded a delivery van and she spotted the missing soldier. He stood as still as a statue with his arms raised in a firing position with the pistol in one hand and the ARC thrower in the other, and he appeared to be unharmed.
“Fowler, Jenkins; I found him!” She said as she rushed forward. Jenkins’ shotgun was still raised as she swept the rest of the parking lot before turning to face Harris. “Jesus, man, you had us worried. Harris? Yo Harris, anyone home?” Lana snapped her fingers a couple of times in front of the other soldier’s faceplate and got no reaction. Without any other alternatives she slung her shotgun and pulled Harris’s helmet off.
The male soldier’s face was white as a sheet and his eyes were wide and unblinking. “I can’t move, she said not to move. I can't move, she told me not to move...” Was all he could mutter between clenched teeth.
12:01, 08/01/2015, SITUATION ROOM
Bradford stood at attention as he faced the giant video monitor. The spinning XCOM logo vanished and was replaced with the silhouette of the Council Representative. A moment of silence passed between the two before the XCOM commander moved ahead with his summary for the past month.
“Data summaries for the month of July have been transmitted for Council review, as well as all the collected reports on all operations that have taken—“
“Commander,” The Council Representative interrupted. His voice was like gravel and nearly impossible to judge, but with the interruption Bradford could notice several hints of tension in the man before he continued, “Your efforts and the efforts of your men thus far are to be commended. However, this council has determined that your efforts are no longer necessary. New circumstances have come to light regarding the nature of our alien… guests, and it is the feeling of this council that the fate of humanity might better be served through cooperation and understanding in the interests of peace and… harmony. While the XCOM project served admirably in its role as guardian against aggression, this council agrees that an organization with such intentions in mind would prove detrimental to the future of humanity. Effective immediately, XCOM will cease all activities, its armed forces will disband and its weapons will be disarmed. Goodbye, commander.”
Without another word, the Council Representative reached forward and pressed a button on his console to end the transmission, leaving a stunned Bradford alone in the Situation Room.
12:04, 08/01/2015, UNKNOWN LOCATION
The Council Representative gritted his teeth as he lifted his finger from the disconnect button and turned to glare at the other occupant of the chamber he was in. He didn’t say a word but continued to glare in spite of those gentle blue eyes and timid smile.
“There there, that wasn’t so hard now was it?” It said, “We all want to be friends now so there’s no need for anyone to be mean anymore.” It hopped down from the chair it sat in and headed to the door. The door opened as she approached, revealing the helmeted and robed figure of an Ethereal. One of its four arms held the door open, the second held a small bag with a trio of marks that matched the marks on Its rear legs, the third held an umbrella while the forth carried a leash. The other end of the leash was attached to the collar on a cowering Chryssalid.
“Thank you, Mister E. You’re such a gentlecolt for holding my things while I was in a meeting. Did Mister Bugs cause you any trouble while he I was in there?” Any more of the conversation was cut off as the door closed behind It.
At precisely 5:00PM, every Television, mobile device, and computer received the same transmission.
“Um, good evening everypony!” The yellow and pink figure said with a shy and disarming smile, “I know you all have been very scared recently with all the terrible things that have happened lately, but I’m here to tell you that it won’t happen again! I’ve had a chance to talk with the Ethereal leaders as well as all your presidents, kings and prime ministers. We all agree that it's best if we all let the past stay in the past and be friends instead. So, I hope to get along with each and every one of you. Oh, and please remember, we’re all friends now and resistance will not be tolerated!”
The message ended on a cheery note, but the smile of the yellow and pink figure was to become feared by any who resisted her ‘friendship’. The rule of Fluttershy the Terrible had just begun.