• Published 6th Sep 2013
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Five Score: A New Hive - bossfight1

Chris, on his twenty-fifth birthday, begins going through some inhuman changes. Set in the Five Sco

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Chapter 20: What We Had

Chapter 20: What We Had

May 17th

I wiped sweat from my brow as I climbed down from the truck, having just put the last of my new eggs in towards the back. We’d put plenty of space between them and the actual luggage we’d managed to grab from our house and Trixie’s apartment. I was surprised at how our house hadn’t been looted in our absence; but then again, Prima’s drones had cordoned off the place with very official-looking yellow tape, and people in our neighborhood often kept to their own business. While we grabbed everything we might need—food, valuables, medicine, basically everything in the average “bug out” package—Liz expressed concerns about the house. We had no one to turn to to look after the house while we traveled out west. Trixie had similar concerns about her old apartment; she couldn’t talk to her landlord anymore, but she didn’t want to just leave him hanging.

Thankfully I came up with a plan; using a recent picture of hers I took on the form of Ray. I needed Trixie’s help to get my voice to sound as much like Ray’s as possible, but eventually I got close enough that I was able to call up her old landlord and explain that “I” was going out west to see the family. With that, Liz and I were clear to pick up everything Trixie needed for the roadtrip, and Trixie’s concerns of eviction were, for the moment, abated. Our own house was still going to be left empty, but our neighborhood was never considered rich enough to burglarize, so we just locked the doors and windows. We still had the issue of the immense hole in the kitchen floor, but laying plywood over it would have to suffice until we got back.

I called my parents the night before, telling them that Liz and I were driving out to visit. I’d told them that we’d finished classes and wanted to celebrate with a little road trip. I didn’t want to just see my parents, though—I wanted to talk to my sisters, Sarah and Penny, who lived together in Kentucky. I gave them a bit more of an honest explanation, saying that I desperately needed to talk to the whole family about some ‘serious issue’. It took some work but I eventually convinced them to agree to fly over to St. Louis, under the guise of a ‘big family reunion.’ Working out the issue of getting the family together was surprisingly simple—but then I still had the changeling thing to break to them, which would be considerably more complicated.

As for transport, Liz and my cars weren’t exactly big enough for the trip west, and I didn’t like the idea of driving separately. Thankfully, Dane was able to convince his dad to give us a truck—a 22 footer, with a flat-nose cab that had a back seat for Trixie and the grubs. The truck bed was definitely oversized for the luggage we were bringing, but it was perfect for the unknown number of eggs I’d be laying.

And eggs, there were plenty of. Over the next two days I’d ended up laying about thirty eggs, and I had a feeling this was just me getting back into “the swing of things.” Before Discord’s uprising I could lay as many as two hundred eggs in a single day. Our vast numbers combined with the limited quantities of love were what originally drove me to target Equestria so long ago…

And there lay the problem I would face when Discord was gone—I wanted peace with the ponies, more than anything, but I also didn’t want my people to go hungry, especially considering how fast we’d grow in number. Incubation was the best solution I could come up with for population numbers, but getting ponies to willingly supply love wasn’t plausible.

Liz and I tried to maintain an attitude of, “we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” but this was too big an issue to put off. We needed a solution, soon.

“Here’s the last of our stuff…” I looked over to see Liz carrying a pair of heavy suitcases towards the truck. I reached out to take them from her, but she gave me a somewhat quizzical look. “...You don’t have to look human, you know? There isn’t anyone who would see you, and I think it would be easier loading this stuff into the truck with your magic...”

I shrugged. “I am Chrysalis, nothing can change that. But I’m not cutting off the life I’ve known—that’s why we’re making this trip.” I took the bags from Liz, and my arms trembled from the weight. “...You’re right, though, magic would help here…” I hefted the bags onto the truck. When I turned back to Liz, her eyes were fixated on the eggs.

“...Does this technically make me a mother, at 24?” She asked with a small laugh.

“Hey, you haven’t exactly had any…” I coughed. “...input.”

Liz shoved my shoulder with a scoff. “You’re disgusting.”

I raised an amused eyebrow. “That disgusts you? Not my wet and sticky ‘produce’?”

“Hey, mom!” A voice from the house called.

“Speaking of which…” I said as I turned to three teens approaching me.

“What do you think?” Digit asked.

I’d told the grubs to work out their ‘default’ human disguises—names, outfits, stuff like that. Shift and Echo spent time working on forms that seemed to speak to them, but I needed to tell Digit around twenty times that she couldn’t just snag a form she’d seen on TV. She finally decided on a Japanese-looking girl with pigtails, a knee-length skirt and a jean jacket. All in all, this seemed acceptable, considering how much of my inner Otaku she’d gotten from me.

Shift looked a bit more serious and, truth be told, forgettable—in fact I worried if I’d have trouble recognizing him in his human form. He had short brown hair, glasses and a somewhat gangly form; my guess was he wanted to surprise any enemies we may face by not being as weak and helpless as he appeared. To add to the “nerd” effect he wore a rather ugly sweater vest over a white shirt and tan slacks.

Echo’s form reminded me of Kinzie from later Saint’s Row games. She had shoulder-length brown hair tied into a ponytail, and wore thick glasses and an outfit that looked straight out of some pretentious boarding school. She looked… nice. In fact, she reminded me of…

I looked between Echo and Liz, seeing a number of similarities, from obvious things like skin tone and hair color, to more subtle things like the both relaxed and confident way she carried herself.

Liz seemed to notice, too, seeing as she didn’t take her eyes off Echo. “...Wow…”

Echo smiled shyly. “You like it?”

“You three look good,” I said, nodding approvingly. “Now, names.”

“I’m Yoko Kazumi,” Digit said proudly. “It means ‘sun child’, ‘harmony and beauty’.”

I raised an eyebrow and smirked. “How long did it take you to Google that?”

Digit gasped in mock offense. “Mother, I’m hurt! I can’t believe you’d think that I’d--” She dropped her pretense and giggled. “About twenty seconds.”

I smiled at her and turned to Shift. “I’m Adam,” He said simply.

A pause. “Adam…?” I asked, gesturing for a last name.

Shift shrugged. “Why should I need to put detail into this form? It’s not like I’ll be human a lot…”

“Actually, if we’re gonna be here for the long haul, you might as well get comfortable.” I said. “Humans might react less favorably than ponies to changelings walking around. Might be best that we just stay under the radar when in public, okay? And it might help to have some kind of story set—better to have one and not need it.”

Shift rolled his eyes and dragged a foot along the ground. “...Adam… Kennedy, I guess.”

I rubbed his head playfully. “Atta’ boy.” I turned to Echo. “How about you, hon?”

“Jennifer, or Jenny,” Echo said. “Jenny Miles. I’m a student at Hyde School in Woodstock, Connecticut.”

“Overachiever…” Shift muttered playfully; Echo gave him a little shoulder bump.

“Play nice, you two…” I said. I looked between Liz, the grubs and the truck. “All right, I think we’re all set to go… Where’s Trixie?”

The grubs gave each other perplexed looks. “I haven’t seen her since this morning…” Shift said.

“I haven’t seen much of her since we came here,” Digit added.

I frowned. “I’ll go get her, see what’s up.” I turned to Liz. “Why don’t you get the truck started in the meantime.”

I entered the house, checking every room for some sign of Trixie and calling her name. I entered the living room to find Dane on the couch, hunched over a computer watching…

Of course, I thought, rolling my eyes at the sight of ponies on the screen. “Hoping for some context on all this madness, huh?” I asked. Dane spun around, his hand reflexively reaching for the laptop lid.

“I-I was just…” he sputtered.

“Dude, it’s cool…” I said. “To be honest, curiosity is what attracts a lot of future bronies. That’s how it got me. Anyway, you seen Trixie? We’re heading out in a bit.”

Dane shook his head as he closed the laptop. “Nah, maybe Lucas has? He’s in the kitchen.”

I nodded appreciatively as I headed down the hall, while Dane got up off the couch and headed outside. In the kitchen I found Lucas looking disappointedly into his fridge. “Hey, Luke, you seen Trixie?” I asked.

He shook his head. “Nah, man. You seen my beer? Had like twelve cans in here yesterday, now they’re all gone…”

I tilted my head. “Nnnnoo, I can’t stand alcohol of any flavor—tastes like ass.” I noticed the back door some distance away from the fridge.

I headed through the back door and looked around. The backyard was little more than a patch of dying grass, though the forest beyond it was actually kinda pretty. And some distance in, I could make out a pale blue tail sticking out behind a tree. Frowning I walked quickly into the forest towards it.

“Trixie?” I asked as I got close to the tree. I could hear what sounded like a sipping noise as I got close. “...Trixie?”

“...Oh, right, that’s my name…” Trixie said, her voice slurred. I caught a glimpse of a drained beer can tucked beneath her tail.

Hoo, boy… I came around the tree to find Trixie sitting with her back against the tree, a beer held aloft in her magic. She took a generous sip before looking up at me.

“Heeeyyyy Chrys!” She said. I noticed, there were a lot of empty cans around her.

“...So, yeah, fuck livers, right?” I asked, raising an eyebrow. I sat on the ground next to her. “What’s up?”

“Nothin’s up…” she said, her beer can wavering dangerously. “Can’t a guy get a good drink?”

“A good drink, singular, yes…” I said, but she was too busy laughing to hear me.

“Sorry, sorry, I shoulda said… ‘Can’t a GIRL get a good drink?’” She took another sip.

“...Trixie, what’s up?” I asked.

“I told you, nothin’! Just having what fun I can, after… after all this ssssshit happened…” She threw a foreleg around my shoulder and pulled me close. “I ever tell you what I was gon’ be?”

I felt a twinge of guilt; I’d been hanging with Trixie for over a week, now, and I hadn’t bothered to learn anything about her. I shook my head.

“A track star!” Trixie said, waving a hoof grandly. “I was gonna join some of the best teams out there, I’d be like the goddamn Road Runner… Meep Meep!” She broke into hiccuping laughter, nearly falling into me; I took the opportunity to carefully pull the beer can from her flickering magic and put it to the side.

“But then, this!” She gestured at herself. “Hooves, horn, cutie mark… Even my damn manhood, gone in three days… My life, gone… Then I see you, think I have a chance at getting it back, but nnnnnnNOPE!!” She removed her leg from my shoulder and sulked away from me. “Turns out you get to keep your life… But even then I didn’t stop hoping… Every night I kept hoping, praying, that we’d find someway to put this shit behind us… It was the only thing that really kept me going… A hope that I’d get my life back...”

“...Then you… told me that I had… That Ray Bassett was never real… That he was just some made-up person meant to conceal the Great and Powerful Trixie, who couldn’t do a damned thing to save herself—save anyone—from that bastard, Discord…” She shook her head and hugged herself. “I might’ve not believed you… But then I started remembering, Chrys… First, the whole thing in Manehatten, being banished, giving false hopes to those ponies… That filly… I told ‘em I could protect them…”

“Then I started remembering everything else… The shows, what few friends I had, my little power trip with the Alicorn Amulet… It all started clouding over my life—Ray’s life… That life was a lie, but I didn’t want to lose it… That life was more successful than anything I could hope for as Trixie… and I couldn’t lose my family… So I started…” She kicked an empty can. “...It helped, helped keep me from remembering any more… I don’t want to lose that life, Chrys, but it doesn’t look like I have a choice…” Her shoulders shook with silent sobs.

I moved closer and pulled her into a hug. “...Do you know why we’re going to my family’s place in Missouri?” I asked. “It’s to show them what happened to me… But also to show them that I’m not planning on losing them, on leaving them. To show them that Chris Barton isn’t going anywhere.”

“You never had to go anywhere…” Trixie said bitterly. “You can just throw this on…” She gestured at me. “...And you can walk around in public…”

“Yeah, but you think I can just ignore being Chrysalis?” I asked. “I have kids to worry about now! The future of the changeling race! So I have a lot of shit to deal with down the line… But I’m not losing sight of my human life. Yeah, it’ll be tough, balancing the two—loving my family and worrying about the welfare of my people—but I’d rather struggle with two lives I love than completely forsake one.” I lifted her head to look up at me. “And the same can apply with you, Trix.”

Trixie looked up at me silently for a moment, tears streaming from her eyes. For a single, uncomfortable moment I feared that, in her drunken stupor, she’d try to snog me. Then she rested her head into my shoulder. “...Can we stop in Vermont? That’s where my parents are, in Burlington… I wanna see them…”

I nodded. “Sure.” I chuckled. “You ready to head out, or should I bring you a bucket first?”

Author's Note:

Oh, hey, twenty chapters.
*blows single party favor*

I focused on Trixie this chapter because, truth be told, I felt like she was just... there, to be honest.

As always, feedback in the comments.

*looks at clock* ...Oh, look, it's 5:30 am, that's interes-- *WHAM*