• Published 9th Aug 2014
  • 13,205 Views, 239 Comments

Changeling: The Movie - Obselescence



"Dear Princess Celestia, as your (former) most faithful student, I feel I have to warn you that this is probably a trap. Chrysalis cannot possibly be serious about this. Why would anyone, much less her, want to shoot a documentary on us?"

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Take One

“What is a pony?” Chrysalis mused, from atop her ugly dirt-throne. “What is a pony, really?”

“If I may speak, your Highness...” A nameless drone from the dozens that served her personally stepped forth. “From the explosion we caused at Trottingham, we can guess—”

That you are wrong!” Chrysalis finished. She sighed. A drone stepped up to rub her brow for her. “Obviously. You were not supposed to answer. The question was rhetorical.”

“Of course, your Highness.” The drone bowed and scampered away into the darkness. Hopefully to get working on that drink she wanted. Where was that, anyway? She’d sent out the pheromones to indicate minor discomfort five minutes ago.

Which made her drink at least six minutes too late.

“Refreshments for your Highness,” said another drone, arriving with a glowing green sac of liquid nourishment, which it presented to her with a flourishing bow. “Have you any other needs, wants, or fleeting desires?”

“None at present,” said Chrysalis, giving her loyal servant a light pat on the head. The hivemind was lagging a bit on the uptake today, but the presentation remained impeccable. Points for that, always. She punctured the sac with a fang and drained it slowly, savoring the love suffusing the goo. It tasted of honeymoon and passionfruit. “Excellent,” she declared, smacking her lips. “From the Manehattan stock, yes?”

The drone paused.

“This question is not rhetorical.”

“From the Manehattan stock, yes, your Highness.”

“Ah, Manehattan.” Chrysalis reclined in her dirt-throne, careful not to put too much weight on the parts that had started crumbling. “A good raid.” Mostly by dumb luck, but she wasn’t going to shave any chitin on that. Three ponies captured, the city in disarray, only six workers with bubblegum stuck to them. A good raid was a successful raid, and a successful raid was one on which there had been any particular success as opposed to horrifying, catastrophic failure.

Which did make the lack of successful raids as of late a little disconcerting...

She sighed and sipped her nutrient slime. At least the drinks were still good.

“Hail to the mighty Chrysalis,” she declared lazily. “Queen of the numberless swarms of the changeling hive and absolute ruler of all she surveys.”

Which wasn’t much in the pitch-black of the hive’s sprawling tunnels, as it turned out. The pulsing blue luminescence of her minions helped a bit... but only a bit, as it merely brought the darkness up from unholy to visibly dim. And turquoise-shaded.

Or was it more of a seafoam? Surely not teal...?

Oh, how she longed for the olden days, when she’d lived above ground. Before she'd needed bioluminescence to survey her sprawling territory, and her changelings had the freedom to roam wherever she wished. Of course, it had also been the desolate and loveless corpse of a kingdom she’d just finished pillaging, but she couldn’t help missing the leg room. She stretched out reflexively and hit a rock.

Ow.

There were some methods of expanding her now-meager domains—with neutral hues, she had to add—but those had all proven failures. Expanding the tunnels took time and distracted the drones from her casual whims. Claiming the surface was still a maybe, at best. The Badlands sun did have that unfortunate habit of boiling things alive. Not to mention Chrysalis’ faint-but-sneaking suspicion that Celestia—curse her forever—used it to spy on her.

The best way of all was to just up and take it from someone else. And that was her current plan, but Equestria was proving unusually resistant to being stolen. Not even because of Celestia and her sun—curse her again, so on and so forth—but also that infernal Cadance, Shining Armor... and Twilight Sparkle. Who had foiled her twice now. Two times. A number more than zero, and therefore unacceptable.

“What is a pony?” she wondered aloud, tossing away the soggy remains of her drink. What strange power protected them from all the incursions, invasions, and attempted political decapitations? Not biology, clearly. It was a predator-prey relationship. Changelings encased ponies in sacs of love-retentive slime for later consumption, and ponies had not thus far seen fit to do the same.

Thus far.

“Do ponies even make slime?” she asked a nearby drone.

He shrugged.

“Well, there you go,” said Chrysalis. “We don’t actually know.” She stood up from her dirt-throne and paced about. “We don’t know if ponies can do something as basic as making slime.” She allowed a drone to slap her forehead for her. “That’s wonderful.”

Another drone nodded and grinned. “Wonderful indeed, your Highness!”

Chrysalis decided to let that one go. There were far more important matters to address now than the hivemind’s tenuous grasp on contextual conversation. There was simply no hope on that one. Surely even the poor inferior ponyfolk knew sarcasm better than the average changeling.

“...Wait.” Chrysalis stopped. “Is that how they keep finding us?” She bit her lip. Could it be? Was it really that simple? Surely the problem wasn’t so trivial as not understanding the prey. A failure to blend in with the populace. She hadn’t needed to learn anything about their crude, disgusting ways while masquerading as Princess Cadance, but everyone had bought her disguise and mind control spells so easily that she’d just assumed...

“Quick!” She turned to a drone. “What do ponies eat?”

The drone stiffened. “I, uh, ah... Love?”

“No, we eat love,” said another drone. “They eat... bunnies, I think. I know they like bunnies.”

“They eat plants,” insisted a third. “You know, grass, trees, and houses. I’ve seen it. ”

“Now that’s definitely not right,” said the first. “Plants can't love.”

“Well, I know it's not bunnies. Have you seen what's in those things?”

“Hold on a minute,” said the second. “What if they feed the plants to the bunnies, and the bunnies have love for the plants, which they then eat?”

“Does that work?”

“I think it would.”

“You’re a genius!”

You’re an idiot!” Chrysalis roared. Idiots, the lot of them, and only partly because they all thought with the same brain. Which was an idiot. Overworked and understaffed. It didn’t have to be that way, of course. She remembered fondly the lovelier days, when she'd had smarter minions, better contributors to the hivemind. Drones who could bring the drinks on schedule...

But those days were long gone. A fading shadow of the distant past, just like her dreams of prompt service. She’d grown to accept it, if not like it. Leaner times simply meant leaner servants—except in the head, where they grew thicker.

“It is clear to me,” said Chrysalis, pacing down the ranks, “that we do not understand the first thing about ponies. Their food, their culture, their sarcasm... None of it. And this makes us easy to detect!” Self-evident. Even Twilight Sparkle, stupid and dumb as she was, had seen past her act as Cadance. There was simply no hope for the rest of the hive—stupid, if not also dumb.

“We must know more,” she declared. “We must observe them as they are. As they live in the wild.”

“But how, your Highness?” chorused the drones. “How can we study them if we are so easy to spot?”

“Hm...” Chrysalis sat back on her dirt-throne. “A dilemma, to be sure.” She scratched her chin, keenly aware of her drones' expectant gaze. She needed to think of something, for their sake, if not her own. Clearly they weren't about to do it for themselves.

A moment more of silent thought. “Well, how would they learn about us?” she asked, rhetorically. She looked upward toward the sky and saw darkness. Because she was underground. But she also saw the smallest hatchling of an idea. “Of course, the sun,” she murmured. “Celestia—curse her once more for good measure—openly spies on us. Why can't we do the same?”

A glint sparked in her eye as the full plan coalesced in her mind. Yes, that would work!

Or—or no, no, it wouldn't.

No, there it was again! “Aha!” Chrysalis laughed. A genius plan! Sure to work! Worthy of conception by the Queen herself!

...Worthy of a shot, at any rate. She shrugged. What else was there to lose?

“Summon the workers,” she ordered, to the cheers of the hive. “We're off to Equestria.”

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