• Published 16th Feb 2012
  • 7,551 Views, 92 Comments

The Finger Trap - PPG Hunter

Ponies on Earth. Humans in Equestria. And one poor schmuck in the middle of it all.

  • ...

VII. A Royal Pain

It was a neat inversion of the old cliché. Instead of the alien demanding to be taken to the natives' leader, their leader was demanding that the alien be brought to her. The problem, of course, was that I was (and remain) the sort of person who has no business talking to anyone's leader. Had Col. Patterson known that his sacrificial lamb would be given an audience with this nation's royalty, I imagined, he would have been a bit more careful in his selection. Nonetheless, he hadn't explicitly forbidden me from meeting with Equestria's government should the opportunity arise, and in principle it would be an excellent way to learn more about the land as he had requested. "All right," I said to the armored pegasi. "I'll go. But how do I get there from here?"

One of them nodded at a nearby cart, simple in design but ornately decorated. "We can provide transportation for you -- and, if she so desires, for Ms. Sparkle as well."

"Oh, did Celestia say I could come too?" Twilight asked. "I didn't know if she wanted to speak with Adrian one-on-one, or if there was anything she wanted to ask me, or..."

"Her Highness does have some questions for you, Ms. Sparkle," the other soldier said. "But she's willing to resolve them through your usual channels. This is primarily an offer for you to speak on Mr. Parker's behalf."

"Do I... do I need someone to speak on my behalf?" I asked nervously. "And if so, shouldn't I get some proper legal counsel instead? No offense, Ms. Sparkle, but your personal relationship with the Princess can only do so much to keep me out of pony jail."

"You're not under any criminal suspicion," the first soldier answered, "not yet. You do not need an advocate. Ms. Sparkle's role would be merely advisory. Should there be any cultural misunderstandings during your stay at Canterlot, she may be more able than yourself to smooth them over." He looked at Twilight. "You have spent a fair amount of time among the humans, is that correct?"

"Only a couple days," Twilight said. "But since Adrian's only been in Equestria for a few minutes, I still have the advantage."

"Her Highness's point exactly." The soldier straightened its posture. "So, will you be joining us then?"

"Of course." Twilight smiled warmly. "I'd never turn down a chance to visit Princess Celestia. That's the thing I miss most about Canterlot."

"Excellent. Both of you, come with me. You too, Silverblade." The two war ponies walked to the cart, with Twilight and myself following, and worked together to fit and secure each other's harness. I was briefly amused by the idea of ponies pulling other ponies, until I considered the existence of rickshaws in our world. Without beasts of burden or motor vehicles, these creatures' transportation options were limited. I didn't know enough about Equestrian magic to say whether they could enchant vehicles to move automatically, but I suspected they couldn't do so reliably; otherwise such technology would have driven out non-magical transport long ago.

"So... do I just get in the cart?" I asked.

"That's correct," Silverblade said.

"Okie-dokie." Twilight had already stepped on and scooted to the far side of the cart. I took the seat next to her. "In the words of my people," meaning English, "Let's go!"

"One moment, human." The other soldier turned his head around to face Twilight. "Ms. Sparkle, do you know how to send signal flares or do I need to give you that spell?"

"Oh, I learned that spell long ago." Twilight laughed. "I remember practicing it when I was younger. I gave you guys all kinds of crazy false orders. Sorry about that, by the way."

"The time for that apology is long past," the soldier said, "but you have my forgiveness regardless. Now if you could send the 'mission accomplished, return to base' signal, I'd be grateful. The confirmation code is Khal Teng Two Seven."

"Got it." Twilight shot a burst of light up from her horn into the sky, where it exploded into a multicolored pattern of lines and spirals. "Was that right?" she asked.

"As surely as if Her Highness had fired it herself," Silverblade said. "That's everypony else's cue to fall back, and it should be ours also. Brace yourself, Adrian Parker."

"What? Why? How fast are you planning on -- WHOA!" Very fast, as it turns out. I quickly discovered that Equestria's ponies were capable of land speeds that were more appropriate for NASCAR than for the Kentucky Derby. I gripped the side of the cart and held on for dear life as I watched the two pegasi start flapping their wings. "Oh no," I groaned. "Oh sweet merciful baby Jesus, no." Sure enough, the cart and myself were soon lifted off the ground. We continued to accelerate, and I wondered which would come first: the sonic boom or the first-degree burns from the air resistance. Thankfully, it wasn't long before the war ponies leveled off their speed and my heart, having jumped into my sinuses, could finally settle down.

"The first chariot ride is always the hardest," Twilight shouted over the whipping wind. "But I thought you'd be more prepared for it! You humans have flying machines, don't you?"

"Yes," I responded. "We also have enclosed cabins to protect us from the wind and seat belts to keep us from plummeting to our deaths! Not so much here."

"Don't worry," she said. "These ponies are professionals. They won't let anything bad happen to you! Even if something does go wrong, they know how to recover from it and rescue anypony who's endangered by it."

"You better be right. I didn't come all this way to be splattered against the rocks!" I relaxed my grip on the cart slightly, though my body stayed pinned to the seat back. I looked ahead at what I assumed was our destination. A city of gold and ivory had been built on the steep face of a great mountain. Parts of it had been carved into the rock, while others jutted out precariously over the abyss. "Is that Canterlot?" I asked Twilight.

"Yes!" she answered.

"Must've been one hell of an engineering job," I said. "What in the world would inspire you ponies to build a city like that?"

"I have no idea," Twilight said. "I never studied local history. Maybe after we're done at the palace, we can go on the Canterlot walking tour and find out!"

"No thanks," I said. "I don't care that much!" I scanned the skies, doing my best to gauge our distance to Canterlot without looking down. We were at least a few minutes away at our current speed. "It's gonna be a while. How about some traveling music?" I asked.

"What?" Twilight asked back.

I pulled out my phone. "This thing plays music, remember? I have some songs saved on it! Human songs, obviously; nothing you'd recognize. But still better than nothing at all!"

"Oh! Yeah, go ahead!" she said. I scrolled through my MP3 collection to find a song that captured the spirit of my trip to Equestria or our trip to Canterlot. In the end, though, I came up empty and defaulted to my '80s Classics playlist. Batting first: "The Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. As I recall, I had to crank my phone's volume to maximum for it to be heard above the wind. "Safety dance?" Twilight asked as the song went to its chorus. "What does that even mean?"

"That's a good question!" I replied. "Don't focus on the lyrics. Just listen to the music! I have songs on here that even I don't know what they're saying. That's not counting the ones that aren't in English!"

And so it went. The music did its job: I don't remember how long it took us to reach Canterlot. I do remember that we arrived in the middle of Europe's "The Final Countdown." The pegasi slowed down more gently than they had sped up, so as not to throw Twilight and myself out the front of the cart, and eventually landed on the grounds of Canterlot Palace. The palace was a magnificent building by any standard, as large as any human castle and built from only the most luxurious construction materials.

The soldiers freed each other from their harnesses and faced Twilight and myself. "Ms. Sparkle, Mr. Parker, if the two of you could follow us," the one that wasn't Silverblade said, "we will take you directly to Her Highness."

"All right then," I said. Twilight and I stepped off the cart on opposite sides. "Lead the way." The two soldiers led us through the spacious corridors of the palace, and I could have sworn that Silverblade was humming "Danger Zone" all the while. Oh crap, I thought, it's a musical chazzwozzer. I'm gonna come back here in a year, go to a concert, and instead of playing whatever songs these ponies have written on their own, it's gonna be nothing but Kenny Loggins covers. I'm still a bit disappointed that this hasn't come to pass.

At last the pegasi brought us to a truly massive hall with stained glass windows on either side. Most of the windows portrayed characters I couldn't identify, but there were two with some very familiar faces. Both featured a group of six ponies, four of whom I could name as Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Pinkie Pie, and Rainbow Dash. The other two were a white unicorn and a yellow pegasus. Those must be the two she wanted me to meet next, before these guys interrupted. I wonder if she has any friends other than the Mighty Morphin' Pony Rangers. One window showed the six blasting with magic a large black pony with wings, a horn, and armor not unlike that worn by the two soldiers. The other displayed them likewise blasting an unusual creature with parts mixed and matched from a number of species, a grotesque parody of the hybrids of ancient mythology. "A pony of darkness and a god of chaos," I muttered, nodding toward the windows. "I guess your story checks out."

"I told you," Twilight said. "Why would I lie about something like that?"

I shrugged. "Well, I don't know how well the idiom holds up in your language, but in English we would say you had balls the size of a whale."

Twilight frowned. "It doesn't hold up at all."

"Balls. Testicles. Male reproductive bits," I explained. "We use them as a metaphor for courage, especially courage in the face of decency and common sense. I admit it doesn't exactly speak well of our species that we define our males by their willingness to do stupid things, but there's not a lot I can do about that."

"You can try not to fit that mold," she suggested.

"Believe me, I am," I said. "But one person can only do so much. Sometimes that's enough. Usually it isn't. In this case, it probably isn't." I spoke up to address the soldiers in front of me. "Hey, how much further until we get to the Princess?"

"Are you kidding?" Silverblade asked. "This is the throne room! Her Highness is right in front of us!" I looked ahead, and at the head of the room was a majestic white pony, six feet tall at the shoulders, with wings and a horn like the creature depicted on the stained glass. Didn't Twilight say the eternal-darkness pony was this one's sister? Must be a genetic thing. Her mane and tail shimmered and glowed with the colors of the aurora borealis and waved as though blown by a nonexistent wind. Her cutie mark was a stylized sun -- I guess that story checks out too -- and she was wearing a golden crown and collar necklace.

"Well. Don't I feel like a moron?" I asked rhetorically.

"As perhaps you should," the other soldier said. "How do you miss that? The entire room is built to make Her Highness the focal point."

"Honestly I wasn't looking for her in this room," I said. "I figured you'd say something before we entered her chamber."

"Why would we need to say anything?" Silverblade asked. "It would be obvious to anypony who was paying any attention where she was."

"That's just it!" I lifted my hand in an emphatic gesture. "I had no reason to pay attention to anything except where you two were going. I take my eyes off you for a second and, congratulations, I'm lost."

"Which would be a valid excuse," Silverblade observed, "if she were in any direction except the one you already had to look in order to see us."

"Enough!" the other soldier said. "We're here." And we were, after what felt like an eternity crossing the room. The two soldiers bowed before Princess Celestia. Twilight and I followed suit.

"Hello, Silverblade. Hello, Ironshield," Celestia said in a voice that radiated maternal authority. "To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Your Highness," Ironshield responded, "we present Twilight Sparkle of Ponyville and Adrian Parker of... um... Human...land."

"Thank you, Ironshield," Celestia said. "Thank you, Silverblade. You two are free to leave." The two pegasi rose to their feet and began the long walk out of the throne room. "Hello, Twilight Sparkle. Hello, Adrian Parker. Mr. Parker, there's no need to bow. You're not one of my subjects. Or would you like to be?"

"No thank you, Your Highness," I said, standing up but still averting my eyes. "And forgive me. I thought it was merely a sign of respect for your station."

"It's not," Celestia said. "It's a show of allegiance. But thank you anyway. And please, call me Celestia. You're among friends here. You don't need to be so formal."

"Respectfully, Your Highness, I would prefer not to," I replied. "As long as I'm here, I'm effectively a representative of the United States of America. If, God forbid, relations between our two nations ever deteriorate, I would rather not have done anything that could be used to blame me for the hostility."

"If such a thing did happen," she said, "I wouldn't dream of blaming you for it."

"It's not your blame I'm afraid of," I said grimly.

"Very well. If it concerns you that greatly, you may continue to address me in accordance with royal etiquette." A note of sadness permeated Celestia's voice. "But do lighten up. Like I said, you're among friends here!"

"I highly doubt that, Your Highness," I said. "I find I'm only among friends when I'm alone."

"Is that so?" she asked. "You sound like an old student of mine. In time she learned the error of her ways. I can only hope to teach you the same lesson."

"If you must, Your Highness, I wish you the best of luck," I said. "Because you'll certainly need it. But you didn't bring me all the way here just to make friendly conversation, did you? I would humbly request that we get down to business. You have questions, I have answers."

"So be it," Celestia said. "You're right, I do have questions. But first I'd like you to tell me your story in your own words. It'll give me a better idea of which questions need to be asked. The floor is yours, Mr. Parker. Tell me about your world, your people, your United States of America, and yourself."

My eyes bulged. Hoo boy. Where do I begin?

Comments ( 34 )

Awesome chapter so far, I think the next course of action is quite obvious. You must post more chapters post-haste! :trixieshiftright:

Parker needs to meet Cranky Doodle Donkey, the one person in Equestria who shares his world view!:rainbowlaugh:

DF #3 · Mar 31st, 2012 · · ·

Bahaha, I would have sit my drink had I been imbibing any! Oh god, the mental image. :rainbowlaugh:

I have to say that it is oh so refreshing to have an intelligent, sort-of friendly protagonist in a HiE story that wants nothing to do with it all.
With the exception of the limitet semi-hostillity he showed Twi in the beginning and his reluctance to walk-and-talk with the ponies, I find that he responds much as I would, if I were worried about the same things that worry him, at least. Such as fame and blame. Though, I wouldn't want the fame, either.

All in all, another excellent chapter, though a bit short on verbosity and "action".

Edit: After looking at the other chapters I realize that this chapter is the same length as the others. It just felt short for some reason.

Where's the next chapter? :fluttercry: Don't worry, I'll wait. :scootangel:

Humanity is the fusion of all opposites. We can be homicidally insane, and calm as a windless pond. We can be more cruel than anything you can imagine, but we can also feed the sick and hungry when it provides no benefit to ourselves. We know of great joy, we know of great sadness. Ask three people a question and you will have six different opinions.

We are a flawed race, but we are trying to correct our flaws. To ask one person to summarize what scholars and philosophers have debated for thousands of years, is an impossibility.

Just imagine the looks on their faces when he gets around to nuclear weapons and Mutually Assured Destruction!

:fluttershysad: This story needs more viewers.

I got linked here after someone commented that my own story was kind of similar. I enjoyed my stay!


I'm helping!

This story is a refreshig breeze in the sweltering sands of fanfiction. good job.

BOUT TO READ A STORY THAT HASN'T BEEN UPDATED IN OVER A YEAR, this is bound to lead to disappointment cuz i'll have nothing new left to read.

Very good story. Hopefully, it avoids that Humans Are Bastards idiocy that trips up so many.

I just realized something. This guy is similar to Adam Jenson in only one respect:

I am highly amused.

Lots of potential. Really good so far.

Can and will wait for more.

I'm having trouble with the whole "I like being alone" thing. If I liked being alone, I wouldn't mention it unless it was necessary. He's trying to get in and out as quickly as possible, and dropping emotional baggage like that just puts a neon sign over his head saying "Love me." Plus it makes him look like an emo.

I understand that Celestia's question is difficult but this long?
Nah, I merely jest! Though it is sad that there has been no sign of the author for seven weeks now. Pity.
Still, this lands in my favourites for the time it may update.

Raise communications barrier!

This guy takes antisocial to a new level. One might even suggest he's a sociopath without criminal tendencies, happy enough to be a little cog in the machinery but without any particular morality holding him back either if people interfere with his preferred mediocrity. I can imagine him retiring to a house on a large piece of wooded property, with signs saying "Trespassers may be shot" ... and when he sits on his porch, he does it with a shotgun.

What I'm getting at is, it may be refreshing to have a protagonist who truly doesn't want to be in his position of ambassador to Planet Pony, but this guy is so unappealing that I can't say I'm broken up that this is decisively inactive.

Buddy, c'mon update this story. Don't think it is too late to finish it. It took 6 years for Arrested Development to return, I'm sure you can return to writing this story.

Quite slacking and finish the story buddy, I demand free entertainment.

Oh, fudge. I was so enjoying this story and I see you haven't updated in over a year!

May I encourage you to continue this marvelous piece? It really is quite good. :eeyup:

This is freaking awesome. Too bad it's dead.

Personally, I doubt any nation would keep alien contact to themselves. It is simply too much of a risk to all humanity and the world has shown several times that it will band together against threats to them all (the World Wars being a rather large example, though there are actually quite a few other examples I could use).

I have to agree with FinalFan. I do enjoy the story, especially the portrayal of the ponies which stays true to the show (I find it rare that stories do that), but the character is pretty unlikable. Now, I get what you were trying to do. You wanted to write a story which dropped the typical perfect protagonist, who ends up being the hero, and you know the rest. The problem here is that, instead of avoiding that cliché by simply going away from that extreme, it instead moves to the opposite extreme, which is just as annoying. The way he treats them is especially annoying. You can be distant from something without being a jerk, and this guy doesn't seem to get that.

Still, it would have been interesting to see this continue, since it stopped right when it was just getting good.

I am greatly saddened by this story's inactivity :fluttercry:

Still, there is always hope:moustache:

Well I will fav this story, but I don't expect any updates.

I enjoy this story

wheare updater?

This was a fun read. Being Mr. Parker appears to be a state of suffering.

Isn't it sad when bad things happen to good stories?:fluttercry:

This story hasn't updated in 2 years, and you're just now getting to the good part. What the fuck, author?

I haven't read this yet, but I just saw this quote from the story:

"Have you ever seen the alternate ending," he asked, "where E.T.'s alien buddies come back to pick him up, find out we've slaughtered him like an animal, and nuke our population centers in retaliation?"

And I just had to give it the thumb's up anyway.:twilightsmile:

Last chapter? Two years since the last update? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! :raritycry:

This story has been hilarious! I have yet to read a story with a protagonist who so very very clearly does NOT want to be there! And your writing style cracks me up!

Somehow I doubt that after 3 long years you're likely to come back and continue this... And that is a tragedy! :pinkiesad2:

1667460 Will you be our new leader?

977222 I don't think it's Humanity in general, but each individual person.

"Safety dance?" Twilight asked as the song went to its chorus. "What does that even mean?"

it means that the era of disco is coming to an end, and it doesn't matter what disco dancers and club Owners think of you, because this band wants you to dance however you like, and is pressuring the club owner into leaving you alone if you decide to jump up and down, because it's safe to dance.

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