• 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 7: Labor

Chapter 7: Labor

“This isn’t happening this isn’t happening this isn’t happening…” Ray repeated, curled up in a ball and rocking back and forth on the living room floor. I was busily flicking through Netflix to find “Boast Busters” to show him Trixie’s role on the show.

“Dude, relax…” I said, not looking at him. He’d been panicking since his “great and powerful” outburst. It seemed I wasn’t far off the mark in assuming there was less and less of Ray Bassett in the pony beside me.

“How can I relax?!” Ray cried. “Whatever’s happening isn’t stopping with changing our bodies! I said something that wasn’t… me! It was somepony else--” I looked at him and raised an eyebrow. Ray made a few incoherent noises of confused frustration. “You see?! I’d NEVER say that!!”

“Look, maybe we’re getting more and more like the ponies we’ve turned into, but we don’t need to worry about it,” I said.

“Oh yeah?” Ray asked, glaring up at me. “And what about you? What are you like on this show? Have you started acting like this… Chrysalis character?”

I frowned and bit my lip. The most ‘Chrysalis’ I’d seen was when I tried to keep Liz from leaving, and in the dream a few hours past. Other than that, though, I hadn’t felt any different. “I don’t think so.”

“Well, good for you…” Ray said, rolling his eyes. “At least you get to stay you to a sense.”

“How do you know you’re really changing?” I asked. “How do you know you weren’t an arrogant show-off before the first?”

“Please…” Ray said, tossing his head back again. “The Great and--” He paused, irritated. “I would never stoop so low as to boast. I would only announce my skills to all that would hear--”

“See, that!” I said. “Where’s that coming from? From Trixie, or from Ray?” Ray scowled, but avoided eye contact. I shook my head. “Whatever, let’s just watch the episode, okay?”

The episode began, the two of us watching in utter silence. The tension was quite palpable; I decided we had enough problems to deal with without being at each other’s throats. With a sigh I turned to him. “Look, let’s start over, okay?”

Ray was quiet for a moment, but he eventually sighed and nodded. “Yeah.”

I paused the episode. “Right. So, let’s try to get to know each other, huh? Where you from?”

“Vermont,” Ray said. “I lived in Burlington until I moved here to attend UMA.”

“Oh, you’re a student there?” I asked. “You take Intro to Sociology? We might have had some classes together.”

He shook his head. “Nah, I had that a few years back, I was getting my Master’s in Engineering. Should have gotten it next month, actually, if I hadn’t… you know.” He groaned. “Worst birthday ever…”

“It was your birthday?” I asked. “Mine was on the first… Back when this started, come to think of it.”

Ray stared at me. “...Bullshit.”

“What?”

“I started changing on my birthday, too!” He said, standing up. “When I was going to bed that night, this,” he gestured at his cutie mark. “Showed up on my side!”

“...Huh…” I said.

“How old are you?” Ray asked.

“Twenty-five…”

Ray gaped, wordlessly. After a while he found his voice. “You’re bullshitting me.”

“You’re twenty-five, too?!”

Ray shook his head. “This doesn’t smell like a coincidence, man…”

“No, no, it has to be…”

“Dude, on our twenty-fifth birthdays, which both shared the same date, we both started turning into... ponies!” Ray approached me. “How could this be a coincidence?!”

“I don’t know!” I snapped. “So, what, what’s happening is less random than suddenly spawning hooves, horns and different ‘bits’?”

Ray sat on his haunches and threw his forelegs into the air. “It’s basically all the sense we can make of this! It’s closer to any theories we could make.”

“‘Theories,’” I pointed out. “No facts, other than ‘we’ve become ponies,’ no leads, no halfway viable options. All we can do here is lay low and pray to every deity imaginable that some lead will come flying through the window.”

Ray leaned his head against the seat behind him. “...I just don’t like having no options, you know? Any progress we can make is better than just sitting here.”

“I know,” I said. “But trust me; first lead we find, we’ll pursue it. At least it’ll feel like we’re trying.”

My stomach growled; it seemed like I’d need another ‘visit’ to Bedford’s sometime soon. “I think I might need to step out for a bit--” I bent double as I felt like I’d been shivved in the stomach. “Jesus…” I groaned.

“What?” Ray asked, sitting up.

“Something’s wrong, I… URGH!!” I wrapped my forelegs around my belly, which felt as though I was gonna be the victim of a chest-burster. “God, it hurts!” I fell off the couch and knelt on the floor, my breathing painful and slow.

“Sh-should I call someone?” Ray asked before shaking his head, realizing for himself how stupid that would be.

A cold sweat began to form around my brow. “Oh god, oh god, oh go-- AUGH!!” My entire body felt wrong. The light shining through the windows was too bright, the air felt stifling, suffocating.

The room itself somehow felt wrong.

Basement… Part of my mind- an unfamiliar part- said urgently. Basement… now…

I scrambled to my hooves and threw the door open. I nearly tripped down the aged stairs and into the pitch black cellar. Ray was calling after me but I couldn’t make out what he was saying. The moment I felt the basement’s chilly, damp air, I began feeling better, save for the increasing pain in my abdomen. I bolted for the farthest corner of the basement and curled up. Ray arrived at the bottom step and flicked on the lightswitch to the side. The moment the single lightbulb dangling from the ceiling lit up, some now-apparent feral side of me made me hiss viciously at him. “NO!”

Ray, with a face like he’d walked in on a male friend performing ‘manual relief’, promptly turned the light off without a word. I’d hoped that the darkness would somehow appease the pain, would get it to stop, to leave me alone… But as the seconds passed the pain only increased. My shouts became agonized screams. Tears of pain fell down my face as I stamped on the floor. “Please, please, god, make it stop…” I sobbed, my jaw clenched tight enough to chew through steel. Suddenly a single thought entered my mind, one clear thought that cut through the pain.

I wish Liz was here…

The pain reached a crescendo. I stood on all fours- the pain seemed to be moving… downward? Towards my--

At that point I remembered what the role of a queen is in an insect, or at least insectoid, society.

“Oh, fuck my life,” I whimpered.

The next three minutes were not what you’d want to discuss with friends over drinks. Without wishing to delve into ‘icky’ territory, I’ll just say that my pain abruptly ended with three wet ‘splat’s from right behind me. The pain vanished. My breathing became normal. I fell to the floor, drenched in sweat.

“...Chris?” I heard Ray call. “...You okay?”

“Turn the light on, Ray…” I panted.

“...You sure?”

“Yes,” I said firmly. “Please.”

The light clicked on. Ray hesitantly stepped down from the bottom step and approached me, his gaze focused on the spot behind me. Knowing what was behind me, yet still completely unprepared to face it, I slowly turned around.

Behind me were a trio of foot-tall, poison-green eggs, pulsating and occasionally twitching. They were all covered in a viscous substance that I was concerned was inside me in the first place. The surface of the eggs were very slightly transparent; in each of them I could spot a still, equine form.

Ray seemed to notice the look on my face; one of horror, confusion and despair, all wrapped into one. “...So I guess it’s your turn to panic now?”

- - - - -

I tapped my fingers impatiently against my desk as I hung behind Mr. Foster, who was sitting in my chair and busily typing at my computer. He was quickly searching through the video logs from the computer in my son’s car. He’d requested his car come pre-installed with a basic PC and webcam, so that he may record ‘vlogs’, as he called them, and post them on the internet under the impression that people cared about how much of my money he’d spent that day.

The webcam, it seemed, was going to be money well spent. The model I’d bought for him always remained on; a little agreement made between the webcam’s manufacturers and the Department of Transportation, in hopes of identifying car thieves and obtaining sufficient evidence to put them away. And right now, Foster was finishing accessing Dane’s car’s memory banks.

“Got it, sir,” he said. “It’s all right here.” A lengthy stream of video opened on screen.

“Find the footage from around 2am this morning,” I said. Foster scrolled to the given time- no one was in the driver seat. He set the footage to play at triple speed, sat back and watched. For a minute, nothing happened. I considered telling him to speed it up when the driver door opened.

The stranger got in the car, opened the window and tossed something into the passenger seat. He was a young fellow- likely in his twenties- with dark brown hair and a rather average face. He was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, yet was making no attempts to cover his face, likely not expecting the webcam to be streaming at the moment. “Okay…” he said, leaning back and closing his eyes.

He was suddenly engulfed in an emerald flame. I leaned forward in disbelief as the flames vanished, leaving my son- at least in appearance- in the driver seat. The Dane lookalike looked down at his attire. “Nah, too modest…” He became engulfed in flames again, and when they faded he was in his briefs. “Lovely…” He stared down towards his groin. “Wait, hang on, that’s a bit generous.” A pause. “Much better. Okay…” He took the wheel and began to drive off.

I took the mouse and paused the video before turning to Foster. “You will tell no one of this. You will find your payout to be much more substantial for your discretion.”

Foster nodded his head rapidly. “Yes sir. No one would believe me, anyway…” He said, sweating like he’d seen a ghost… He may as well have. He stood out of my chair and walked quickly out of my office without another word. I sat back in my chair and rewound the footage until I found the original intruder’s face, just before his first transformation.

“What are you…”

Author's Note:

A bit shorter than I'd have liked, but I feel like it'll get things moving forward.