• Published 22nd May 2014
  • 5,690 Views, 292 Comments

Renegades - TheAndyMac

When the Hive speaks with one voice, what do you do when your voice speaks out of synch? For two changelings, there is only one answer; run.

  • ...

Escape and Evasion: Final Report






Queen Chrysalis was many things. She was charming, when she needed to be. It was a skill that had served her well, every time she deigned to take personal control of an infiltration, insert herself into the top of her target's hierarchy, and topple it from within. Some tasks were meant for more stable minds than an infiltrator's, and if it weren't for her charm, then there would be noling with the skill and the dependability to undertake them in her place.

Where she wasn't charming, she was powerful. Especially with the love of a dedicated 'suitor' or two behind her. When mere...mundane charms failed, the only way to bring a target under her spell was to do so literally. Most changelings could dominate a subject, given the opportunity, but Chrysalis had turned it into an art.

She was regal, too. Tall, long-limbed, she wore the role of warrior queen like a well-fitting shoe. It helped in the rule her hive, lent her the presence she needed to convince her subordinates that her way was the best. That her laws were not worth questioning.

And where that regal presence failed, she was harsh, and brutal. When talk would not keep the generals in line, she resorted to swift, direct action. No mercy, not where it served no purpose. If an example had to be made, she would make it.

Not to say that she didn't love her children. For that's what they were; each and every changeling was her child, be they the rare few that she had personally carried, or the vast majority who had been grown, created using her seed but none of her own effort. And yet she loved them, each and every one, unconditionally. Their successes brought her joy, while their failures cut her deeply.

And it was those cuts that lent her this ruthlessness. For even the most loving parent knows that a misbehaving child has to be punished, and for all her love Chrysalis knew that her children existed to bring her power. Perhaps that was why she loved them; not out of maternal affection, but because of the gifts they brought. Or perhaps that was simply the cynic's view.

No matter, because the one thing above all else that Chrysalis was not, was patient. She had patience in the mission, true; when infiltrating, there was no other way. She played a game that would stretch over weeks if not months. But she had no patience for fools.

General Stead swallowed a lump as he stood before his queen, her face as still and grim as if it were a piece of rugged granite. He knew the price of failure; like all generals, captains and drone adepts, he had clawed his way up from the ranks of the lowly drones and up the ladder of success one rung at a time. He had earned and picked his name, Stead Ley Weaver Fall, one precious syllable at a time, carved his own armour one damned piece at a time. And at every step, every sound and every plate, he had seen countless others who had failed, and been...recycled.

It was his own life on the line now, and for every hour that his queen sat motionless, his fear grew tenfold. By the sixth hour he was almost ready to dive into a tank himself, and get it over with. By the seventh, he was seriously considering finding a sword or a spear to fall on, when she stirred. He forced his aching legs to something like attention, and waited for her words.

"Call off the search."

Her words were slow, and tired. The product of long hours spent simply thinking; no motion, no food, no water, no rest. Just endless though, that left her more exhausted than any battle could.

Stead nodded, despite his own desire to keep up the chase. The irrational wish to run the two traitors down and teach the world a lesson about rebellion was almost too tempting to ignore, but in truth her words were not unexpected. The pair had fled into Equestria, where the hive would dare not follow, and where the rebels could blend in and disappear. If they lasted that long, at least. In truth it was likely that Equestria would do the hive's job for it, and lead the two into an early grave.

"Of course, Your Majesty. Shall I recall the guard?"

"Only if you can ensure they say nothing of what happened here. Or else they might split the hive apart."

Stead swallowed again, already sure of what was coming. "It will be difficult to ensure their silence, Your Majesty. I... I know how you might want to proceed, of course, but I think it would be best if we found-"

"You will execute one in ten," she said, her face growing grimmer yet. "Find the ones who would be most likely to talk. Aberrations may breed loose tongues. The example should ensure that the rest remain quiet."

Stead ducked his head, eager to be gone. "As you wish, Your Majesty."

He turned to go, but a shout from Chrysalis stopped him short.


"Yes, Your Majesty?"

"If I hear a word of this being so much as breathed around the hive, I will personally feed you to a Tatzlwurm. Am I understood?"

"P-perfectly, Your Majesty."

Chrysalis did not have the patience to suffer fools. Nor the patience to go chasing after drones who were long gone. Simple pragmatism told her that they were no longer a threat; only the spread of their legacy posed any danger to her rule, and killing them now would do nothing to stop any spread.

And, though the deaths of a hundred loyal drones cut her to the bone, she knew that the death toll would be even higher should she force them to enter that place. No, far better that she save the time, effort and casualties, and simply let Equestria deal with them. There was a reason no changeling went there, after all, and she wondered idly if they'd even last a week.

Author's Note:

A side note about changeling names; every time a (former) drone passes up the ranks, they are permitted to add one syllable of their chooseing to their name. This does tend to bring about names, especially among higher ranking changelings, that are odd to say the least, being little more than a collection of interesting sounds.

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