• 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 23: Beckoning

Chapter 23: Beckoning

“They’ve been in there for a while…” Digit said, her nose pressed against the window as she stared at the house. It had been an hour since Chrys and Liz had went into the house. The grubs had climbed into the front seats, while I got the whole back row to myself. Shift and Echo had fallen asleep, leaning against each other adorably.

I yawned. “They have a lot to talk about,” I said. “Give ‘em time.”

Digit looked back at me. “So the humans in there are our family?” She asked.

I bit my lip. “In a way…” I said. “I mean, your mother isn’t exactly human anymore, but like me she never wanted to lose the family she’s known for the past twenty-five years. They fed her, raised her, loved her—if that doesn’t make them her family, I dunno what does.”

“Do you think they’ll… consider us family?” Digit gestured to herself and her sleeping siblings. “We were never human…”

I smiled, sat up and laid a hoof on Digit’s shoulder. “You’re Chrys’ children. I’m fairly certain that’ll make you family.”

Movement out of the corner of my eye made us glance towards the house. Digit reached back and shook Echo’s shoulder. “Guys!” She said quietly. Echo and Shift woke up quickly, shaking the sleep from their heads as Chrys emerged from the house.

- - - - -

For the next hour, I explained everything that had happened since my birthday; becoming Chrysalis, meeting Trixie, encountering Prima, laying the eggs, and, finally, remembering… everything. I even included the ‘schizophrenia’, though I downplayed it as much as I could; no doubt they didn’t need more to worry about. I gave every detail I could, answered every question my family had. There weren’t many—either they were too shocked to come up with any questions or the situation wasn’t quite as complex as I’d thought… Probably the former.

“And that’s it…” I said, finally. I sank into the chair across from the couch, exhaling deeply. “I know this whole thing’s… well, screwed, but… Call me crazy, but, it could have turned out a whole lot worse.”

Mom was staring out the window at the truck. “So you came in the truck because you… have a lot of eggs?”

I nodded. “Yep. I’m laying more everyday… And probably a LOT more, before too long.” I patted my stomach.

“You have children…” Mom said softly, before turning to Dad. “Eric, our baby… has children!

Dad laid a hand on Mom’s leg as he stared blankly at the floor. “This is insane…”

I snickered. “Put lightly, yes…” I bit my lip for a moment. “...I’ve hatched three of them… Do you wanna meet them?”

My family looked at me, surprised. “Your… babies?” Sarah asked.

“Not so much babies anymore…” I said. “Changelings age quickly. They’re more like teens or young adults. Two girls and a boy.” I turned to Liz. “I’ll go get ‘em.” I stood up and headed towards the entryway. “I’ll have Trixie come in, too. I want you to meet her. Liz, could you close the blinds so the grubs can look… normal, you know?”

Liz nodded as I walked out the front door. As it shut behind me I relished in the cool air on my skin. I actually felt silly for being so afraid of telling my family… Hell, it reminded me of when I told them of my bronyhood, only on a much, much bigger scale.

I walked towards the truck, seeing the grubs and Trixie watching my approach. I wondered if the other ponies had been doing the same thing we’d been doing… Keeping in touch with their families, not thinking their humanities were mere shams…

I almost bumped into the truck. Shaking my head I reached up and opened both the doors. “It go okay?” Trixie asked, though she seemed to know the answer.

I nodded. “I want you guys to meet the family.”

“Are you sure?” Echo asked. “I mean, will they really consider us--”

I cut her off. “Yes. You’re my children, and I’m their family. They’ll love you all the same.” I looked to Trixie. “I want you to come, too. I met your family, it’s only fair you meet mine.”

Trixie hesitated a little bit, then nodded. I triple checked to make sure the street was empty, then gestured for her to come out as the grubs climbed out of the cab. Same as before we surrounded Trixie and walked towards the house.

I glanced down at Trixie. “...You know, we really need to get your hat and cape back. You look naked without ‘em.”

Trixie smiled. “Glad to see you’ve cheered up.”

I looked at the house, feeling a great warmth inside. “I guess I worried for nothing.” I looked to the grubs. “Now, kids, best behavior with your grandparents and aunts. We’re closing the blinds so you can ‘go casual’, so to speak. And don’t be nervous; they’re gonna love you all.” I noticed Shift’s eyes lighting up. “But don’t think of them as food sources. They’re relatives. Loved ones. Love them back.”

Shift blinked a few times; I half expected Shift.exe to stop working before he finally nodded. “Very well, mother…”

I tousled his hair. “And crack a smile or two; loosen up.” We approached the door. “All right, here we go,” I said before opening the door.

We filed into the house. I led the grubs and Trixie into the living room, where Liz and my family hadn’t moved. We walked around the couch and stood next to Liz. “Guys,” I announced to my family. “This is Trixie…”

“Hi,” Trixie said, a little awkwardly, with a small wave of the hoof.

“And these are my children…” I continued. “Digit…”

“Hi!” Digit said eagerly.


“Hello…” Shift said; his smile actually looked genuine.

“And Echo.”

“Hi,” Echo said, wringing her hands nervously.

My family stared, awestruck, at the grubs. “So…” Penny said. “These are their… disguises?”

I looked to make sure the blinds were drawn before nodding. “Yep. Kids, go ahead.”

With three bursts of green flame the grubs took their normal forms. My family jumped in surprise, but quickly relaxed.

There was a long, long pause. My family stared at the grubs and Trixie, unable to find their voices. Really, what do you say when your son or brother comes to you as an alien queen and shows you his/her new children?

Finally, Sarah got up; Penny followed suit, and my sisters walked around the table and knelt before the grubs. “Hi…” Sarah said gently.

Digit smiled and stepped forward. “Hi, Aunt Sarah! Hi, Aunt Penny!” She sat in front of her aunts, not dropping her smile. “I couldn’t wait to meet you! Mom told us a lot about when you were kids!”

My family took a glance at me at the word ‘Mom’ being dropped. I stared off to the side, biting my lip awkwardly. Since I’d gained my true memories I’d sort of… loosened up, in a sense. I tried not to consider myself a boy or a girl. Changelings often learn to not let gender color their perspectives, either on disguising themselves or harvesting love. Nowadays I occasionally referred to us, jokingly, as the ‘Asari of Equis’. I was still rather unsure about what I’d prefer Liz and Trixie to refer to me as, in terms of ‘he and she’. They’d taken to calling me Chrys, the “best of both worlds”, but otherwise the issue seemed as gray to them as it did me.

Penny slowly reached out and stroked Digit’s head with the ends of her fingers. Digit quickly pushed her head into Penny’s hand, like a contented cat. Penny smiled—a sight I often enjoyed seeing—and sat down with her legs crossed. Sarah did the same as Shift and Echo tentatively approached.

“Hello…” Shift said awkwardly, rubbing a foreleg uncertainly. He glanced to Echo, a pleading look in his eyes.

Echo rolled her eyes (which is impressive, when you’re of a race that doesn’t have pupils), and sat beside Sarah. “Mother was anxious to talk to you,” she said. “You really mean a lot to her.”

Sarah smiled, her eyes glistening somewhat. “I know… Chris means a lot to us, too.” Slowly, she wrapped an arm around Echo and pulled her close. Echo hugged Sarah to her, lovingly nestling her head in her aunt’s shoulder. Shift hesitantly stepped forward and sat between Sarah and Penny, unsure of how to proceed. Penny finally broke the ice by putting an arm around him. Shift looked at the arm draped around him in confusion before softly smiling and nuzzling Penny.

My parents finally decided to step in, getting off the couch and approaching the grubs. Digit immediately walked up to them, beaming. Mom knelt before her, a small smile on her face, and gingerly stroked the side of Digit’s head. Digit immediately reared up and threw her forelegs around her grandmother’s shoulders in a hug. If Mom was uncomfortable about the weird bug-horse alien creature hugging her, she hid it well as she smiled warmly and hugged Digit back. Dad seemed quick to adjust, grinning happily as he knelt before Shift and Echo. He pulled the pair in close for a hug, which the two happily accepted.

Liz grinned at me as we watched the introductions. I put an arm around her shoulder and pulled her close, watching happily as my family lovingly embraced, welcomed, my children. Trixie watched patiently, smiling warmly at the proceedings; she seemed happy that things had worked out.

I could feel tears of joy falling down my cheeks. This whole affair—the transformation, learning the truth, the sudden burden of responsibility I’d need to bear… It wasn’t quite the disaster it could have been.

My family—my human family—not only understood and sympathized with what had happened to their son, they still accepted, embraced, loved me, no matter how weird things had gotten. Right now, they were welcoming my odd little children with open arms, treating them as family, even with the difference in species.

Family didn’t mean kinship through blood, or even species, I knew that now. There wasn’t some firm rule stating what was and wasn’t a family… Family was the result of a group of people—friends, comrades and such—that built a foundation of companionship, unity, support and, yes, love, so firm that nothing… nothing… could split them apart.

If this wasn’t family… I don’t know what is.

- - - - -

For the remainder of the night we mingled, talked, everything a family does at a big get-together like this. Mom prepared a nice dinner for us—a feast of delicious (looking) lasagna and biscuits; since the grubs and I didn’t eat food, Mom didn’t have any troubles providing for everyone. Trixie got what would have been my share. The grubs and I remained in human form, under the guise of proper etiquette. We talked for over two hours, until the candles in the center of the room had almost completely melted. The grubs had countless questions about what my parents and sisters did, both for work and for fun.

Finally, as the clock struck nine and everyone’s full stomachs started taking their tolls, everyone parted from the table with a series of yawns. Liz and I helped Mom clear the table, stacking the dishes by the sink. “See why I’d rather get paper plates?” I asked Liz, smirking as I laid the last of the plates on the counter.

Liz rolled her eyes. “It’d be more expensive to keep getting them rather than keep getting dish detergent…”

“Yes, but washing dishes involves work…” I said pointedly. “And therein lies my issue-- grpmh…” My hands flew to my cramping stomach. “Oh, boy… ‘scuse me!” I turned and bolted out of the kitchen and out the front door, speeding towards the truck.

- - - - -

Chris’s mom watched Chrys through the window as he sprinted across the lawn towards the truck. Chrys lifted the truck bed door up and clambered inside, pulling the door shut behind him. She turned to me, frowning. “He knows we have a bathroom, right?”

I laughed. “Oh, no, Chrys is just…” I stopped laughing and bit my lip. “He’s… laying more eggs.”

She looked out at the truck again with a concerned look. “Should we… call someone?”

I shook my head. “No, no, Chrys can handle it, Mrs. Barton…”

She turned to me again, waving a hand dismissively. “Oh, please, call me Jane.”

I nodded. “All right. But anyway, Chrys is actually getting used to it now, from what he’s told me.”

Jane raised an eyebrow and looked out the window again. “How many eggs does he have in there?”

“About thirty,” I said before running the sink and beginning to scrub a plate clean. “...and counting. Chrys kinda lays more, the more he’s ‘fed.’”

“And he’s only hatched three?” Jane asked, astounded.

“Well, they hatch when provided with enough love,” I said. “Chrys and I figured that out when the grubs hatched.”

Jane turned and noticed me working. “Ah ah ah! No! You’re the guest! At most, you can help dry and put away the handwashes.” She made a ‘shoo’ gesture that made me step to the side, allowing her to work. I began loading their dishwasher in silence anyway, if only to clear the counter.

“So…” Jane said, after a few quiet moments. “You’re… okay with Chris in all this?”

I nodded. “He’s been through so much… We’ve been through so much. If I wanted to back out, I would’ve done it weeks ago.”

Jane smiled. “How’d you two meet?”

“At a brony meetup in Portland,” I said. “We started talking and, before long, we went out to dinner.” I laughed. “And it was all downhill from there…”

Jane jerked her head towards the truck outside. “He really seems to care about you.”

I nodded. “He loves me… and I love him too. This might be what every mom hopes to hear about their kid, but… Chrys is… sweet, he’s funny, he’s gentle, he’s always there to offer a shoulder to cry on… He always wanted to make me laugh, make me happy… We almost never fought, and when we did, he was quick to admit where he was at fault.” I barely noticed that I’d stopped moving. “He… He actually didn’t change all that much when he became Chrysalis, you know? Even with his… second half. And he knows what lies ahead for him. He’s told me, so many times, that I don’t have to stick by him in all this… That I don’t have to get tangled in this mess…” I turned to her. “But I want to stay. I want to be with Chrys, no matter what hits him. I love your son, Jane. I love him.”

Jane stared at me, eyes widened. Then she placed the plate she was holding in the sink, came forward and hugged me tight. “You two are lucky to have each other…” She whispered.

I hugged her back. “I’m the lucky one.”

- - - - -

Ridiculous Fishing, sadly, did little to distract me from the absurd number of eggs I was laying in the truck. I actually developed a system for these birthing periods, very similar to counting down between thunder and lightning, to determine when I was finished laying the latest ‘batch’. After a half hour of straining, pushing and grunting, I’d ended up more than doubling the egg count from that morning. I stood up and observed my handiwork (yet another phrase I questioned if it applied with equines), wiping sweat from my head with a hoof.

The growing egg pile was getting to the point that I’d need to start stacking the eggs, or at least stick them to the wall in amber. “Well, crap…” I muttered. There was always at least one problem, wasn’t there?

The door opened behind me. I turned to see Liz climbing into the truck bed. “Hey,” she said as she pulled the door down.

“Hey…” I said, rubbing the back of my head. Liz approached and noticed the growing egg pile. “Yyyyyeaahhh, there’s a lot.”

“What’ll we do?” Liz asked.

I looked at the pile. “I… honestly don’t know. I don’t think we should hatch them yet, maybe wait a while… Like until after Discord’s dealt with.”

“Do you think you’re ready?” Liz asked. “To… lead them again? I mean, it’s not exactly…”

I breathed heavily. “My actions cost us dearly… But I’ve changed. I won’t let hubris cloud my judgement again. We’ll start small… Not so many that we’ll blanket the land…”

“And food?” Liz asked.

“We’ll try and live with the ponies peacefully,” I said. “The changelings will be individuals. They’ll look for their ‘special someponies’, maybe even look on Earth. It’s not a perfect plan, it doesn’t solve any potential population problems, but… But it’s something.”

I stared at a single egg on the edge of the pile. A grim thought came to me. “I’ve also been considering the idea of… aborting.”

Liz blinked. “What?”

My voice quavered. “It’s harsh—extremely harsh, but… I could… dispose of eggs in the event that we grow too many in number. The larvae inside don’t receive brain activity until they’ve been fed sufficient love—when they gain consciousness they immediately, instinctively, begin to break from the egg… It’s certainly not pretty, but… it’s an option.”

“So, if you wanted, you could... completely stem the growth of your people?" Liz asked.

I shook my head. “Well, no—I mean, any female Royal can lay eggs without a mate, but at nowhere near the rate a Queen lays them. Drones and Soldiers need a mate, of any species, to reproduce, but they’re capable.” I walked forward and gently stroked one of the eggs. “But these are thoughts for the future. These eggs are the symbol of our people’s rebirth… Both from extinction, and from the atrocities we’d committed.”

Liz put a hand on my back. “You did some bad stuff, sure… But knowing, and regretting, what you did is a good sign. You’ve been given a second chance, and you haven’t wasted it.”

“For the most part…” I muttered out of the corner of my mouth, not quietly enough. I gave a deep sigh before taking human form. I noticed that Liz didn’t even flinch at the burst of flame that accompanied my transformation. “Let’s head back inside.”

We climbed out of the truck, pulled the bed shut and locked it before heading inside. Mom had already prepared the guest bedrooms for Liz, my sisters and I. She hadn’t counted on Trixie and the grubs, so she had to pull out the camping mats and sleeping bags for them to sleep in the living room.

As Liz went into the bathroom I threw on my pajamas—that is, I changed my human form to look like I was wearing pajamas. As I was pulling the covers aside, a knock at the door made me look up. Penny was standing in the doorframe. “Hey…” she said.

“Hey,” I replied. “...Listen, thanks for… For everything. Coming out here, not… not freaking out at the whole Chrysalis affair, being so great with the grubs… I couldn’t ask for better sisters. Better family.”

Penny smiled. As she entered, though, her tone became serious. “How are you doing with all this? I know you were worried about how we’d react, but… Are you okay? I’d be surprised if you weren’t at least a little freaked out, even after three weeks.”

I rubbed my wrist. “Not gonna lie, I… I do kinda miss things being… normal, from a human standpoint… Not worrying about kids just yet, or the future of an entire race… I miss when things weren’t so… so fucked.” I looked Penny in the eyes. “But let the chips fall where they may, I guess. This is who I am, this is the hand I’ve been dealt.” A pause. “...And I think I got all my panicking and screaming out of the way, waaaay early on.”

Penny smiled softly before hugging me. “I want you to sing Aria to me sometime, when this is all over.”

“You got it on your iPod, don’t you?” I said, smirking and receiving a poke in the ribs for my trouble.

- - - - -

The next day was one of enjoyment and bonding. Trixie, sadly, couldn’t leave the house, but the grubs offered to ‘take shifts’ in staying at the house and keeping her company, in between trips to the shopping mall, a zoo, lunch and a movie. I still felt a bit guilty at keeping her left out, even if there wasn’t anything we could do.

We finished the day by ordering several pizzas from a local place my parents adored. It was at this time I learned that I hadn’t shaken off the instinct to shove pizza down my gob the moment I saw a slice; I nearly gave everyone a heart attack when I started gagging, but everyone got a good laugh over my embarrassed pout. We then spent the remainder of the evening watching a couple movies. We started with the second Avatar, decided on a majority vote, then decided to find a really really bad movie to mock in the spirit of MST3K.

After Earth was the obvious choice.*

When all was said and done the family shuffled off to their respective beds to sleep off the exhausting, yet still fully enjoyable, day. As Liz and I filed into our room I collapsed bodily on our bed and dropped my human guise. I laid my head on the pillow and let drool drip into the pillowcase with an exhausted gurgle. Liz joined me after changing into her PJs. “Your family’s just wonderful, Chrys…” She said, sounding half-asleep.

“Yep…” I said, simply, barely able to keep conscious myself. A thought occurred to me. “You know, we… haven’t even talked about your family…”

“Because it wasn’t me who turned into a changeling,” Liz said.

“Yeah, but still…” I said. “You traveled halfway across the country for me, without so much as a phone call.”

Liz crawled closer to me. “I’m more than capable of making my own decisions.”

“Never said you weren’t,” I replied. “I just think, maybe we shouldn’t… shut them out. I think you owe them at least a general idea of what’s going on. You don’t have to tell them about the changeling-thing, just tell them this was a… romantic fling, or something. This doesn’t have to be all about me, Liz.”

Liz smiled and stroked my head. “I guess I can… call them tomorrow morning.”

“Sorry to sound cheesy,” I said, feeling myself drifting off to sleep. “But, really, family’s too important to lose…”

- - - - -
May 20th

“Chrys! CHRYS!!” I awoke to Liz’s voice, feeling her violently shake me. “Wake up!!”

With muttered gibberish I immediately sat up, shaking my head to wake myself up. “What! What, what is it…”

“Come on, there’s something you need to see!!” I felt Liz gently slap my face, forcing me to open my eyes. Through the blur that comes with interrupted sleep I could see a Liz-shaped blob running through a doorway-shaped blob. Shaking my head again to get my vision back I glanced at the clock on the bedside table; 10am. Frowning, I stumbled out of bed and hurried into the hall and down the stairs.

My family, Trixie and the grubs were there already, staring fixedly at the TV. “What’s up?” I said, still blinking the sleep out of my eyes.

“Look!” Liz said, pointing at the TV. I forced myself to focus on the TV, seeing that it was displaying the news. It depicted an image of a city, said to be Des Moines, Iowa. There were a few strange, almost Aurora Borealis-esque waves of color flickering in the skyline. The headline read ‘Strange multi-colored explosion over Des Moines, city in midst of evacuation.’

“‘Multi-colored...’” I read aloud.

A thought sparked some light into my brain. “They showing a video of the explosion?” I asked.

Penny was already ahead of the game, handing her phone to me. I took it in my magic and saw it playing a YouTube video of shoddy quality. The person handling the camera was pointing it at Des Moines, a great distance away, air sirens wailing in the background.

I barely caught a glimpse of a light-blue streak over the city before an immense ring of, indeed, rainbow-goddamn-colored energy exploded outwards over the city and expanded into the distance. The resulting boom nearly blew out the speakers on Penny’s phone.

I absent-mindedly dropped the phone to the carpet, my eyes wide, my jaw slackened.

I was silent for a good ten seconds before finally, aptly, summing up what was on everyone’s minds.

“Holy. Fucking. Shit.”

Author's Note:


Forgot to mention last time, but the working title for the previous chapter was "Family is Forever 2: Electric Boogaloo".