• Published 1st Apr 2012
  • 1,192 Views, 16 Comments

The Shape Shifter - MiiaTheLamia



Follow the tale of Michael, a shape shifter on an Earth ruled by Humans and Equestrians

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Chapter 2: First Contact

AN: And thus, after such waiting time… AVAST, CHAPTER 2!
Sorry for such lateness, some things came up that I had to take care of.
Either way, enjoy!
-Cabbage

The Shape Shifter
Chapter 2: First Contact

The dark void slowly started to fill with a light mist that started forming into a house’s interior. Another memory. A loud knocking at the door rouse the attention from the couple having breakfast inside. ‘I didn’t expect what was about to happen.’

*****

Date: October 19th 2473 AC
Location: Andrews & Sparkle Residence, Vancouver, Canada
Age: 22
9 months ago

A knocking was heard coming from the front door, gaining the attention of Twilight Sparkle. She took a quick glance at her husband, Michael Andrews, and spoke.

“Michael, did you hear someone at the door?”

“This early? Never mind that, maybe it’s something important. I’ll get it.” He said as he got up, calmly walking to the door.

“I wonder who it is…” She mused to herself as she got on all fours and trotted after Michael.

Michael opened the door. “Yes?”

“Good morning Mr. Andrew,” a man in a military uniform complimented “I’m Lieutenant John Baker from the EDA, more formally known as the Earth Defense Army. I was sent here to inform you that you have been selected for boot camp for mandatory military service starting tomorrow. A recruitment bus will be here by 15:30.”

‘Wait what? You, in the army? This may be interesting… ’ Brother commented in Michael’s head. He just ignored him and opened his mouth to reply to the man, but was cut by Twilight.

“Military service? Just like that?” She questioned, and then looked at her husband with accusing eyes “You signed into the military without telling me?”

He was stunned from her reaction, and then replied. “I did not do such thing! I’m as surprised as you are! But…” He turned to the man “if it’s mandatory as you say, then I guess I don’t have much choice, now do I? Thanks for letting me know.” He said, closing the door as the soldier walked to a jeep. He looked at the clock. ‘8:20, I still have about seven hours before that bus arrives… Well I guess I better make the most of them.’

‘I’m DEFINITIVELY looking forward to this…’

‘Shut up…’

*****

The house faded from existence, the mist that formed it now turning into a training course. ‘Saying the train was intense was an understatement for the other recruits, but for me, with my boosts in speed and strength, it was rather unnecessary. But I did all the exercises without questioning, half due to not wanting to make the rest of them take on punishments because of me, and half because Brother didn’t want anyone finding out about my abilities.’

‘You got that right. Hey, what about your squad?’ Brother said as he popped up into Michael’s memory.

‘I was just getting there.’

The memory was now focusing on the mess hall, were the recruits were eating, each table with a group of six. ‘I used to sit down with my squad. We where six in total.’ Seated on the same table as Michael were two ponies and three humans.

‘It was composed by Larry Stanford, our medic…’ There was a young man probably around 21 years old and had blond hair and deep blue eyes sitting in front of him.

‘Really naive kid, always optimistic, and if I recall he talked about animals NON.STOP. Good kid though, had his mind in the right place. You liked the guy, right?’

‘…right. Then there was Matt Parker, our explosives expert.’ Sitting right next to Larry was a 19 years old kid from the streets with a gangster attitude. He had black hair and eyes.

‘Oh god that one. Hotheaded idiot. Always with the ‘you dawg’ and ‘sup G?’ crap. Couldn’t stand him, and I think you weren’t too fond of him neither, now were you Michael?’

‘I don’t think he was meant for the army, but eh, he got the job done. Now this here is Scarlet Night,’ Sitting to Michael’s left was a crimson coated unicorn stallion with a blond mane. ‘He was our heavy weapons guy, since he could just use that magic of his to levitate and shoot guns around without using his hooves. And that magical shield overlay of his really came in handy.’

‘Going to be honest here Michael, I simply LOVED the guy. He was the one to always lighten the mood with some joke. Wise guy I tell you. You two were really good friends if I may add.’

‘…Yes we were, but I rather not talk about it. Finally there was Rainbow Dash,’ to his right, there was a cyan colored pegasus mare with a rainbow colored mane. ‘She was our scout and support member, due to the fact that she could fly and spot enemy forces for us, giving us a clue on what we could bump against. We were really close friends.’

‘Hey that reminds me: didn’t you two have some chemistry going in there?’

‘WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?! WE WHERE JUST FRIENDS! PLUS I’M A MARRIED MAN! WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?!’

‘Suuuuuuure you didn’t.’

‘ANYWAY! I think that’s about it.’

‘Aren’t you forgetting about someone? You know, some captain?’

‘Oh right, him. Dwayne Thompson, douche bag extraordinaire and our captain.’ Sitting to the far left in the opposite side of the table, was a black haired man with green eyes, with a scar crossing his right eye down to his neck. ‘We all hated him to be honest, he acted almost like a machine, never showing feelings, only cold calculating reason.’

‘Feeling’s mutual my dear friend, although I never really understood why he used to sit with you five instead of the other instructors and officers. I wonder…’

‘That was just one of his ‘getting along with the squad’ tactics. Failed miserably if you ask me. Anyway, we were considered an elite squad after 2 months, and got assigned to investigate a planet wide communications blackout in Mars, one of their last transmissions stating ‘Unidentified vessels detected outside perimeter’.' The mess hall was slowly replaced by a ship interior. ‘We went in a small task force of four frigates. Ten minutes from touchdown inside the dropship, and we saw the ‘unidentified vessel’. I guess you know what happened next Brother…’

*****

Date: December 14th 2473 AC
Location: Mars Colony 7-A, 10 Minutes to LZ
Age: 22
7 months ago

Larry took a curious glance at the dropship’s window, and noticed an enormous object floating above the colony. “Guys, uh… What’s that?” Everyone looked at what he was pointing at. Their mouths got wide open. There, right on top of the main building was a cruiser sized vessel of unknown origins.

“What in the hay is that ship doing over here? Hey Mic, you think they’re going to be a problem?” Rainbow Dash asked Michael while staring out the window.

FIVE MINUTES TO LZ!

“Eh, as long we’re done in time for diner…” He replied.

‘Suuuuure… Diner...’

‘Yeah- WAIT WHAT DID YOU JUST EMPLY?’

‘Oh nothing…’ Brother joked in a singing manner. ‘Seriously though, I think we’re headed for a shitstorm… Head first.’

‘Ah shut it. We’ll be fine, probably just a communication bug’

“Hey Rainbow, 50 bucks say that we’re headed for a shitstorm. Another 50 say we’re not. Either way I win!” Scarlet said trying to lighten the mood in his own way. Through jokes.

‘I like how he thinks!’

“Yo dawg that’s a big ship! I wanna blow it dawg!” Matt said in his usual slang.

“Everyone just SHUT THE HELL UP!” Dwayne yelled over the commotion. "CPL. Andrews, stop thinking about diner.” Michael let out a sigh and nodded. “PVTs Stanford and Rainbow, stop staring out the window.” Larry quickly turned to face him and gave a nervous salute in compliance. Rainbow simply turned to Michael. “SPC. Scarlet, stop trying to make impossible wagers.” Scarlet wove a hoof at him dismissingly. “And PVT. Parker, if I hear you talking like that again I swear I’ll shoot you in the ass!” Matt froze in place at the thought, and simply muttered a ‘Yes sir’.

“As for that ship,” He continued “that’s why we’re here. Command thinks that’s what’s causing the blackout. We don’t know if they’re hostile, just keep alert.” Everyone nodded in compliance.

OK WE’RE HERE, ECHO SQUAD YOU HAVE GREEN LIGHT.

After hearing the pilot’s voice over the speaker, they all sat up and waited for the door to open. When it did, they jumped out, taking formation. Rainbow hovered above them, her rifle at the ready, Scarlet took point, levitating two chain guns each at his side, surrounded by Michael at his right and Dwayne at his left, both wielding a rifle, and Matt behind handling a ridiculously big grenade launcher with munitions fed from a ‘bag’ on his back.

“This place’s a ghost town man. I don’t like it.” Larry said.

“Pfft. This is so cliché. 20 bucks say that when we turn that corner we’re going to see dead…” He trailed off as they walked around said corner, only to find a pile of corpses, both human and equine. “…bodies. Well, so much for first contact.”

“Daw- I mean… Dude are you a wizard?” Matt asked, almost slipping into his slang.

“Can it you two” Dwayne ordered as he moved to investigate the pile of death. “Hum… Burn marks… Plasma maybe?”

“It’s possible, I mean they’re aliens right? Wait…” Rainbow joined in before noticing a glint in a building. “Oh horseapples. EVERYPONY TAKE COVER!” As soon as she warned them, a trail of purple light shot from where she noticed said glint. The light burned through Dwayne’s chest armor, killing him instantly. Several bipedal figures emerged from the buildings shooting a hail of plasma at them.

“Ah shit Dwayne’s down! Rainbow get down here quick! Scarlet put on your shield and give us covering fire!” Michael yelled at them.

“You owe me 20 bucks Michael, remember that!” Scarlet said as he ran out of cover, shield up, attracting the attention of their aggressors.

Overhead, one of the EDA’s frigate ships, the Summer’s Rain, started flying straight at the alien ship. They could see a blue glow around the ship as the Summer began firing it’s weapons, flickering the blue glow coming from the opposite ship. Then, out of nowhere, the Summer got ripped apart by green plasma orbs and lasers coming from the ground. It blew up in a ball of crimson flame. Panicking, Michael started to contact the task force leader vessel, The Moon Spirit. “Spirit this Echo 2-6, we have hostile contact with alien forces, squad leader is down in an ambush. Looks like they knew we were coming. We just saw the Summer blow up, what the hell is going on? We need some directions here!”

…“This is The Moon Spirit’s captain speaking. We can’t reach you. There appears to be AA emplacements near your location. We need you destroy it or else we’re not get out of it alive. Uploading coordinates to your HUD now.”…

“Roger that Spirit, over and out.” Michael switched the radio off and turned to the others. “Ok guys, Command needs us to take out some AA’s, let’s clean up here and then plan this thing.”

By the time they got out of cover, Scarlet had already done most of the work. Matt began to randomly shoot his grenade launcher at masses of enemies, Rainbow was on a cloud picking off targets in cover, while Larry and Michael did what they could from cover.

‘Told you shit was going to hit the fan.’

‘Unless you have any ideas on how to help, I highly suggest you shutting the hell up.’ Michael mentally replied.

‘Actually, I have one, but you have to trust me on this one.’

‘I’m listening.’

‘See that pile of bodies that Commander Douchebag was investigating?’ Michael looked at said pile. ‘Go there, absorb some of the bodies, cut your arm and make it form into another body.’

‘CUT MY ARM? ARE YOU FUCKING INSANE?! AND HOW EXACTLY IS IT GOING TO HELP ANYTHING?’

‘Relax Michael, just do it. You can regenerate your arm anyway, so what’s the big deal?’

He started running towards the hill of death. ‘If you say so...’

As soon as he arrived, he hid himself from the others view and began following Brother’s plan step by step. He cut his arm off, and before it fell to the ground, he picked it up and made it reform to a new body. ‘Still not sure how an empty shell is going to help.’ He though as he regenerated his lost appendage.

‘Now just connect yourself with it and transfer part of me to it, so I can get control. Don’t worry, I won’t run away, you know perfectly well that I can’t live without you. Literally.’

‘And how the Hell am I supposed to do that?’

‘Dude just think about it, I dunno. We are trying something new after all.’

‘Think about it… What if…’ He grabbed his ‘clone’ in the head and concentrated. When shell began to become dark, he let go. It opened it’s eyes, full white, with no pupils whatsoever. ´I guess it worked…’

“Well… I’m in control now, and since this body as most of your abilities, I made some personalization.” Brother said with his new ‘body’. “However I can’t be out of your mind for very long, and though this shell may have most of what you can do, it’s not as indestructible as you are.” He said moving around a little bit, switching into various forms. ‘And I can still talk to you like we use to, so don’t worry.’ Michael heard him in his mind, Brother’s lips forming a smile. “I’ll keep in touch. Catch you later.” He was off, cloaking somewhat and sneaking behind enemy lines.

Michael ran out of cover again and next to Scarlet, who had stopped firing and was extending his shield. “Did you save someone for me?” He playfully asked after killing three exposed attackers. ‘Brother, how’s it going there?’

‘This is too easy, they don’t even see me coming! Speaking of numbers there’s about seven of them left.’

“I think I handed them their shit back!” He joked, facing Michael. “What were you guys doing?” He yelled to the rest of the squad.

‘Ok, they’re done. Meet ‘me’ behind the Death Hill (Trademark) to form up again.’

“I was picking them off!” Rainbow shouted over a cloud.

“I was blowing them up G, you don’t see the ‘BOOMS’ and ‘BAMS’ in there?”

“That was you? Well then you’re excused for missing so much.” He replied.

“Me and Larry were back there just shooting what we could. Not much after what you did, I might add” Michael said matter-of-factly. “Let’s see what we were up against and then take care of that AA.”

They all went to the building where they could see tons of massive AA emplacements set up on the roof. They examined the alien corpses. They where bipedal, reptile like creatures, each around 1.80 meters tall. Their armor consisted of a helmet covering their entire heads and simple plate on the torso with two power batteries in their backs, probably to supply the weapons with power. Suddenly Michael’s radio started to blare.

…“Echo 2-6 this is Spirit, you have enemy forces closing in on you. Be advised, there’s something big coming your way. Emphasis on ‘big’.”…

“Echo 2-6 copies, out.” He turned the radio off and faced the squad. “Ok guys looks like we have company. We split into two teams. Larry, you and Matt go in there and bring the building down. Rainbow, Scarlet, you’re with me. Don’t let them inside the building. Rainbow, take a cloud and pick them off while me and Scarlet take their attention. You all ready?” They all nodded.

As they took positions, Michael remembered Brother’s request, and while they weren’t looking, he activated his powers and sped off at tremendous speeds to the rendezvous. When he arrived, Brother was leaning on the rotting elevation. “About time, I was getting worried… Not that I needed to, right?” He smirked.

“Right… So how do we do this?”

“Just absorb me like you did to that retard all those years ago. Shouldn’t be that hard.”

“Ok then, here we go.” Saying that, Michael grabbed Brother’s shell as tendrils shot into it, turning it into his body.

‘Ah how I missed this. Now let’s go, you have a perimeter to protect.’

‘Let’s.’ He began sprinting, reaching his position just in time for the enemy assault to begin. Wave after wave was repelled, bullet after bullet was shot. Then Larry’s voice could be heard on the radio.

…“Hu Mic, Larry here. You’re not going to like this. Matt was hit really bad while planting the last charge, and I don’t have enough supplies for so many injuries. I don’t think he’ll make it. He told me to just get the hell out, because he was going to blow this place sky high.”…

“Damn… Ok man just get out of there, I’ll call for extraction.” He switched frequency. “Spirit, this is Echo 2-6. Get us that evac you told us about, AA is about to go down. Over.”

…”Echo 2-6 this is Spirit, we read you loud and clear, friendly dropship is inbound, ETA ten minutes. Over.”…

“Copy that. Over and out” Michael once again turned the radio off. “RAINBOW! GET LARRY OUT OF THERE. WE’RE GETTING OUT IN TEN!”

“YESSIR!” She replied with a mock salute, then flying inside the building in a blur.

“Hu… Michael?” Scarlet called him with a nervous tone. “Remember that ‘Big’ thing that command warned us about earlier? I think it just found us.” Michael turned to where he was pointing a hoof. A 20 meter high machine with four mechanical legs and a huge cannon on top of a 360º rotary platform. Michael went pale.

‘I have a bad feeling man, get out of there!’

“Crap.” Was all that Michael could muster as his body froze in place when the barrel of the walker began to glow a bright white, pointed directly at him.

Noticing this, the crimson unicorn ran straight at him and pushed him away from a wall of light. “LOOK OUT!” His voice was silenced as his body disintegrated into nothing, the light grazing Michael’s body. Michael’s grazed body tried to regenerate, but the charred arm and leg could not stabilize, starting to break down. He was shocked.

‘I guess we just found our weakness… Man, if it wasn’t for Scarlet, we would be goners.’

‘This is not good. We have to get out of here.’

He started to crawl away from the walker, which was closing into the building. Still stunned from his injuries, he saw Rainbow and Larry leaving, the colossal machine not detecting them. Rainbow noticed her injured squad mate and friend, flew in his direction and picked him up. Larry was close behind, yelling something at the radio before there was a loud explosion. Rainbow and Larry took him to the extraction point, and with a glance behind they saw the building with the AA’s falling on top of the hostile machine that blew up in flames.

The dropship arrived, and they loaded him inside. He could faintly hear Rainbow tell him something, her lips making something similar to ‘don’t die on me, you’ll be ok.’ Larry just sat quietly. They looked into the dropship’s window as the alien ship could be seen being swarmed by rounds and missiles from the EDA task force. His vision got invaded by black, and then there was nothing.

*****

‘When I woke up, I was aboard the Spirit, and was told that thanks to our efforts, the alien threat was neutralized, I got discharged from my injuries, and was sent home. Rainbow is still in the army, along with Larry. The visit me and Twilight sometimes, keeping in contact. Both of them became close friends of ours. But for some reason, I doubt that this war is far from over, and as only just begun,’

‘Over the course of this last seven months, my body recovered. I can use all my abilities again without my body destabilizing.’

‘I never really cared for Dwayne's death, and Matt’s sacrifice wasn’t in vain. That day I lost a good friend too. Scarlet would still be alive if I wasn’t such a stupid moron and hadn’t frozen up.’

‘His death wasn’t your fault Michael, we’ve been through this tons of times before.’ Brother’s shadowy figure started to fade. ‘Well, it’s morning. Time for you to wake up.’

*****

Date: June 2nd 2474 AC
Location: National Highway, Vancouver, Canada
Age: 22
Time: 15:25
Present Day

Michael was driving his car back home, when suddenly the sky began distorting. Then, bright flashes could be seen as several alien craft appeared over the city.

‘They’re here…’

‘They’re headed towards the city. Twilight is still there.’

Michael put his car into full throttle and picked up his phone. He began making a call, and then someone answered.

“Hey. Yeah it’s me. I need a favor.”

Comments ( 4 )

Chapter 2 is done! And...well, seems I have some good and some bad to say. Fluttershy?

:fluttershysad: "Ok...um..."
:fluttershyouch: "Please don't get mad at me for this..."
:fluttershysad: "The story felt...bland. I never cared much for fighting, but...well..."
:fluttershyouch: "I think you should do this, Steel...I'm not too good..."

As you wish. Ahem, to put it bluntly, the imagery wasn't imagery. There wasn't enough information to paint a clear picture. The language used was bland and never really inspired much of a reaction. I didn't feel overtly happy with Dwayne's death, I didn't feel impressed by Matt's sacrifice, and Scarlet's death rolled off my shoulders like so much dust...wow, I feel really mean saying that. Anyway, ahem...

What you need to do is read over this story again, take apart EVERY SINGLE SCENE, and re-construct it. Lengthen every scene, use more imagery, more language. Create more of an emotional attachment to the characters. The deaths had absolutely no effect on me because the characters were never explained; they felt like bland NPCs in a video game and nothing more. There was no story, no personality, it felt like you were just grabbing characters to kill them off later.

What I suggest is for you to read your own story, and see if you feel any kind of emotional impact. This story is short enough to effectively re-write without much trouble, unlike my Silent Ponyville story which, at this point, is longer than I could ever manage to properly re-write. Not to say I won't attempt it...but yeah.

Read through the story, and focus on the story, and on what you're telling people. You're making mistakes that I made when I started writing, the most glaring being the 'show, don't tell' error. What you need to do is picture each of these scenes as Mike. What is he thinking? What are his opinions on the environments and characters? Instead of telling the reader what is in the scene, have the characters speak to the reader through their thoughts. You can reveal much more about a character simply through how they interpret an environment, or their first impressions of another character; a humorous character like Scarlet would likely make a bad quip about how the pony/person talking to him has a 'country drawl that sounds like a landslide in the mountains'; Mike would likely interpret situations in his typically depressed way, pessimism pervading his thoughts, while Brother added his own.

Do this, and I think you could both stretch out your story, and make the chapters much more revealing. As for pacing, this war scenario really should be in Chapter 6, not 2. There is a TON of stuff you skipped out on that could make this story better; how did Twilight first speak with Mike? How did they fall in love? Was their marriage quiet, just friends and family coming, or was it a public spectacle with thousands of visitors? What were their dates like, and what do they talk about? And that's just what you could cover on the relationship! There's so much stuff you could do with this story!

*Steel takes a deep breath, letting it out in a slow sigh. He turns to Fluttershy with a smile as she claps.*

:yay: "That was great...!"

Thank you very much, Miss Fluttershy.

*Steel makes a short bow to her.*

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the story. Bottom line; read your story and see if you can feel the impact. If you don't feel anything when a character dies, then you're writing your story incorrectly. Every death should have some form of impact, from the joyous fall of a villain to the melancholy defeat of the hero. At this rate, if Mike ever falls in the story, I'm afraid I'm not going to feel a thing, when what I really want to feel is heartbreak. Anyway, good luck on your story writing!

1134420

*Nods head vigorously* That. Thanks for the critic. I was desperate for one. I have to admit that yes, this is could be much, much more. I'll keep what you said into consideration, and expand this.
To be honest, I always had the feeling that the characters where bland (and quite so). That may be a result of me being better at knowing what to do, instead of HOW to do it. (As a consequence, behold my gigantic writer's block that has been going for months.)
You can say that twice.
*shrugs* If there's home for improvement (and there is), I'll use it.

Again thanks for the critic.

(And again, your comments amuse me to no end.)

1134457

I always aim to entertain as well as teach. I find that thinking about the story constantly helps solve writer's block; if you're constantly producing new scenes in your head, then the connections between them become easy enough to create.

Always think of something entertaining, something that grabs your attention, and play that scene again and again until you're absolutely certain of every single twitch, every single gust of wind and every single tumbleweed. Then, you write.

If you ever need more critique or tips, don't be afraid to ask me!

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