• 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 5: Contact

Chapter 5: Contact

I sat behind my desk, glaring at Dane. Clarice had waited a good hour after my son’s incarceration before choosing to call me, but I couldn’t blame her for not wanting to be the bearer of bad news. At 4am she called me and said my son was dragged out of his house by the police, arrested for reckless driving and escaping custody. Bail was substantially more expensive than Dane’s usual antics usually brought, and even then I had to call in a couple favors to ensure we wouldn’t hear any more of it from the courts. After Dane had been released I had him brought into my office so we could have a chat.

Dane, god bless him, was an idiot, made complacent by the wealth I’d made the mistake of sharing with him. He squandered it on booze, women and questionable substances, rather than on an education that would teach him how to run Seismic. The more trouble he got into, the less likely having a half-competent heir became. Tonight’s little stunt, however, had shown me he wasn’t fit for it. The future of this company was bleak, but it was doomed to failure if he were put in charge.

“I’ve had enough, Dane,” I said, trying to sound calm and level-headed, when in reality I wanted to toss him out on the street. “You’ve done some stupid things before, but I really didn’t think you could top them.”

“I didn’t do anything, dad!!” Dane attested desperately. “I was just sleeping at home when those pigs came barging in, yelling at me and dragging me out!”

“You went on a drug-fueled rampage through Augusta and escaped police custody!” I yelled. “They have you on camera, in your less-than-flattering briefs! Then, when you couldn’t have possibly done anything more idiotic, you returned home and fell asleep!!”

“That wasn’t me!!” Dane cried; his eyes were even tearing up. “Someone must have stolen my car!!”

“Someone who looked exactly like you?!”

“It wasn’t me…” His gaze dropped to the floor and he quietly began to sob.

My expression softened. Whenever Dane did something stupid he at least didn’t try to deny it, merely apologizing and saying he wouldn’t do it again. Tonight, however… Not only did he do something far more idiotic than I ever expected of him, but he also claimed it wasn’t him. Either he was too drunk or drugged to clearly remember, or there was more to this...

I looked behind Dane to Travis, standing stoically behind him with his arms folded. I couldn’t ask for a better ‘asset’ in Travis; he was an enormous man, yet much smarter and quieter than his size implied. For a steady forty grand a month, he would chauffeur, run security and ‘procure’ easy labor, and he was worth every penny. “Travis,” I said. “Escort my son home, and have two men on your security detail ensure he stays there.”

“Yes, Mr. Halford,” Travis said, opening the door behind him. Dane stood up and walked towards the door before looking back at me. There was none of that insufferable smugness, no confidence…

“It wasn’t me, dad…” He said before turning and walking out, Travis right behind him. I stared at the door for a moment before dialing on the phone and putting it on speaker.

“Clarice?”

“Yes, Mr. Halford?”

“Call Mr. Foster and tell him I have need of his expertise.”

- - - - -

I sat on my bed, blankly staring at a picture of me- the human me- and Liz. The house felt so ludicrously empty now. I wasn’t even crying… What good would it do? It was my own stupid fault that Liz left. I couldn’t blame her if she never came back, if she just moved on, found some guy who wouldn’t hurt her like I did.

When I managed to stop wallowing in self-loathing, my thoughts always drifted back to the almost animalistic desire to keep Liz here, the way I’d grabbed her in my magic and refused to let go. I’d felt as though I would force her to stay if I had to. Was this what changelings were willing to do to feed? Hold people- or ponies, rather- against their will, either to feed off of them or keep them out of the way to be impersonated?

I cursed myself for thinking of feeding. Somehow my body knew I’d lost my source of food and was reacting in kind. This wasn’t hunger… It was withdrawal. Love was like a drug that didn’t waste you away, but hurt you more when you stopped taking it. A very slight pain in my stomach was the only thing I felt at the moment, but I knew, over time, it would feel like something was eating its way out of my abdomen. I needed to find something to feed off of. This meant doing what Changelings were good at… But where could I start? I could never bring myself to commit a literal form of identity theft...

A crash and a yowl outside broke me out of my stupor. I got off the bed and carefully approached the window; if I was out of food for a while, I’d need to remain in my Chrysalis form as much as possible to ration what love I had left. I pulled the curtains aside and peered down the street. Mr. Phillips, down the street, was leaning out his front door while a small form bolted away from toppled trash cans.

“Bedford!!” Mr. Phillips yelled. “If I see your cat again I’m gonna toss it into the river!!” He slammed his door, the slam echoing into the night. I focused on the silhouette of Gwyneth, retreating to the safety of Bedford’s house.

“There’s an idea…” I murmured.

- - - - -

...a terrible idea… I amended ten minutes later, hugging the now enormous outside wall of my house and twitching my mouse nose. This seemed rather desperate- which it was- but it was really my only option at present. It was also even stupider than my little car stunt, seeing as turning into a mouse- something roughly a percentage of my natural size- was dumping my love reserves like a burst waterbed.

This is stupid this is stupid she’s gonna eat me then puke me up with all the other rodents she ate and gobbed on my porch oh my god oh my god what am I doing what am I-- there she is. I spotted a pair of eyes, glistening in the moonlight, staring directly at me from several feet away.

Stay cool… I thought. Stay cool-- OH SHIT!! The eyes suddenly bolted forward. I dropped my guise, returning to Chrysalis form.

“Surprise, you little shit,” I said, grabbing Gwyneth in my magic. I lifted the hissing and spitting cat into the air. “Oh, shut up.” I focused my horn and fired a green haze at the cat. The haze suddenly became a blob of slime that practically swallowed the cat, drowning out its yowling. The cat twitched for a few seconds before becoming still.

This was another perk I’d discovered in my little experiments with changeling magic. I could spawn this slime, likely used to hold the subjects of impersonation in a place they couldn’t interfere. Apparently it could put its victims into some kind of vegetative state, ensuring no attempts at escape, as evidenced by Gwyneth’s sudden stillness. I levitated the suddenly petrified sphere of goo and placed it carefully behind the trash bins beside the house, praying I wouldn’t forget to come back once I was finished feeding. I looked into the cat’s petrified eyes and focused. The usual warmth enveloped me and I felt myself dropping in size. I looked at my cat form and sighed. This could actually work! I thought happily. I turned and ran towards Bedford’s house, bolting through the cat door.

If I thought Bedford couldn’t become any more of a stereotype for crotchety old ladies, her house proved me wrong. It had the usual flowered wallpaper, various old dolls lining the shelves, an aged TV in the living room- everything an old lady would have in the least creative TV show. Bedford was sitting on her couch, having fallen asleep while watching TV.

Uh oh… I thought, prowling towards her. Hope I can still feed while she’s asleep… I leapt onto the couch and rubbed up beside her. A familiar flowing sensation drifted from her into me- nowhere near as much as I had gotten from Liz, but it felt welcome to stave off the withdrawal. I lay on her skinny, boney leg, and tried my hand at purring.

Bedford smiled- the first time I’d ever seen her do so- and lazily lifted a hand to stroke my head. The flow of love strengthened, and I could feel the strain of maintaining this form quickly lessening. With nothing left to do but stay and feed, I opted to quietly watch the TV. Bedford had fallen asleep watching old Western movies. Shaking my head I looked to the side and spotted the remote. I quietly pulled it over with a paw and began flicking through the channels.

Most of the channels had old interviews, documentaries and shit I could never get into, but I eventually found a local news channel. I nudged the remote away and lay my head down.

“...still no leads on the group behind the explosion in Vancouver yesterday. Investigators are struggling to discover what type of armaments explode in a red and purple color…”

Hell-o. I thought, sitting up. The screen showed the side of an apartment building in Vancouver, the wall scorched and many of its windows blasted out.

“The explosion that startled everyone in the Vancouver area set off most car alarms in the surrounding five blocks and shattered the windows of the closest apartment complex,” the reporter continued. “Authorities are still struggling to discover what type of explosive was used, but no one was injured.”

I tilted my head to the side. Given what was happening to me, it wasn’t a stretch to assume that someone else was going through the same changes as me. Whoever they were, they must have been a unicorn practicing their magic with roughly the same amount of restraint as a redneck with a shotgun.

Knowing there were others out there made the ache in my heart lessen; I wasn’t alone. Wherever these other ponies were, they were going through the same shit I was. If I could find them, maybe we could find out what was happening… and how to reverse it.

I ate my fill from Bedford before clicking the TV back to the channel I’d found it on, and leapt from the couch. I quickly, but quietly, ran out the cat door and, once a safe distance outside, returned to my Chrysalis form to ration my love. I approached the trash bins and found Gwyneth, right where I’d left her, and picked up the sphere that encased her. “Let’s see if I can get you out of there, huh, you little shit?” I murmured as I crept through the screen door.

I set the petrified cat on my couch and sat in front of it, thinking of how I could get her out without killing her. I lit up my horn and focused on the resin. Slowly I felt its hard surface soften, and saw the faintest sign of movement in Gwyneth’s eyes. “There we go…” I muttered, staying the course. Before long the sphere was malleable enough that I could reach in with my magic. With a few tugs Gwyneth came free with a loud ‘shlock!’ I set her shivering form on the floor. “I actually feel bad about that…” I said, opening the screen door and nudging my head towards the outside. “Get.”

Gwyneth staggered out the door; as she disappeared into the darkness I thought I’d made a mistake. If I needed more of Bedford’s love, I might have a harder time getting Gwyneth out of the way again. Rubbing the back of my head I decided to just head to bed with Liz--

Oh, right. My head lowered. The bed was gonna be feeling pretty empty for a while… With a heavy sigh I stood, turned off the light and walked towards the hallway.

“Found you.”

I spun around at the feminine voice, seething with hatred. I’d left the screen door open, and in its frame stood a figure I couldn’t make out in the darkness. And right now, they were looking right at my natural form. Worse yet, they didn’t seem all surprised to see a changeling.

“You did this to me,” the figure said. “And you’re going to change me back.”

“What?” I said in my infinite wisdom. The figure took a step into the house. Carefully I lifted a hoof to the side and flicked a lightswitch. I gasped. The figure seemed to be dressed for discretion, with a black wool cap, black hoodie and old jeans, but it wasn’t the outfit that took me by surprise.

The figure raised their arms to shield their eyes from the sudden light. Only, instead of hands, the figure had hooves. It was the same with their feet, bright blue hooves that barely fit in the old jeans the figure wore. They stood shakily on their legs, which looked uncomfortably warped to be more… pony-like. Beneath the wool cap I could make out a long stream of silvery hair that stretched past the figure’s shoulders. The figure lowered its hooves and I got a look at their face. It was definitely pony-like, with bright blue fur, indigo eyes and a three-inch long horn protruding from their forehead. What caused me to take a step back, though, was how their face was more like a muzzle. The figure, recovered from the flash of light, took another step towards me and scowled.

“Change. Me. Back!!” Trixie snarled.

Author's Note:
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