• Published 15th Sep 2014
  • 5,884 Views, 335 Comments

The Humans in Equestria Club - billymorph

With a over a hundred humans in Equestria and rising it’s Alexis’ job to keep them safe and sane. But with two worlds colliding she finds herself facing mad gods and queens to save her home.

  • ...

Interlude 2

Celestia, Princess of the Sun, Ruler of the Tetrarchy and all Equestria was, as usual, too late. A laundry list of problems had kept her away from the portal. Not least of which the worried frowns that always greeted her when she visited the High Energy Magic Department. She’d procrastinated, frittering away time in meetings over mobilisation. There would be plenty of time to react should the worst occur, Celestia was sure. This time at least, she would not be taken by surprise.

“No chance at all?” she pressed.

The stallion shook his head. “I’m sorry, Princess, but we are drained. It will be at least a day before we can open another portal, and that’s assuming the humans are able to get their side back online.”

Seven were in the hospital, burned by the backlash from the failing portal. Despite a Wonderbolt messenger she had been late once again. It always struck Celestia as ironic how, the greater her power grew, the less she seemed to be able to use it. Every villain seemed to write, in big red letters, at the top of their master plan, ‘TAKE OUT CELESTIA FIRST’.

Centuries of practice in self control prevented Celestia from throwing a desk through a wall. “I understand, doctor,” she continued. “We will have to seek an alternative for now. Please continue the repairs, and pass on my thanks to your entire team.”

The doctor nodded and hurried away, leaving the Princess alone.

She shook her head. How had it come to this? Or rather, how had it come to this, again?

Every time she felt that Equestria was finally under control, something came along to shatter the balance and throw Twilight, and her friends, into mortal danger. Celestia sighed; it wasn’t fair. The changelings were supposed to be a non-threat after the wedding but, instead, were more powerful than ever. The humans were supposed to be safe, but now it looked like Discord’s half-baked scheme would destroy an entire world. She was supposed to charge to the rescue, but once again, she found herself with no enemy to smite.

A pity; it had been far too long since she’d last got to ‘take her bridle off’, so to speak. Chrysalis would have made an excellent target if she hadn’t, quite wisely, escaped to a different universe. Instead, Celestia found herself standing, quite useless, amidst the organised chaos of the High Energy Magic Department. Already the technicians were shooting her the odd, dirty look. No doubt she was disrupting things just by her aura.

Picking her way through the crowd, she made her way over to the only pony that looked as lost as her. A grey maned pegasus who was still staring in horror at the broken portal.

“Viceroy Alexis,” Celestia began, “we must talk.”

“Why?” Alexis croaked, not looking up. “Why bother? You know what happened. It was a trap... It’s always a trap.”

“There are more questions to answer, yet,” Celestia said, a little terse for her liking. “Come. We will talk over tea.”

Alexis’ glare hardened. “Yes. Because the world is so much better with tea.”

Celestia arched an eyebrow at the mare. She could count on one hoof how many of her ponies dared to be sarcastic to her. At another time that would have been refreshing, but there was little time for verbal jousting.

“Come,” she repeated, in a tone that allowed no alternative.

Alexis flicked her ears in irritation, but stumbled to her hooves and dropped into step next to the Princess. “Let us get back to the Palace,” Celestia continued, in a far more pleasant voice. “We have a lot to discuss.”

“Right, right,” Alexis muttered, staring at the floor. “Time to save the world, I guess.”

“Nothing quite so dramatic,” Celestia said, smiling softly as she gathered a spell. It was subtle, as all her magic tended to be, speeding their steps as the pair made their way through the university. “Now, can you start from the beginning?”

Alexis shook her head. “What do you think happened? Chrysalis was waiting for us. There was a small army of drones hidden in the facility, and the moment we figured out...” She petered out as she realised they were now standing outside of a small reception room. “Okay. How did we get here?”

“There are ways of travelling beyond teleportation,” Celestia explained, smiling as she ushered the pegasus inside. “Now, do you have a preference of tea?”

Alexis’ glare could have cut steel. “I was wondering where Twilight picked up that habit. No.”

Celestia arched her brow, a move that had once sent an elderly minister running for cover, if anything Alexis’ glower just intensified. Sighing, Celestia gestured for a maid to bring them something strong. “Now, you were saying about Chrysalis,” Celestia said, taking a seat on one of the plush sofas. “Please, continue.”

Alexis perched on the edge of a comfy chair, wings hanging open as if she were about to take flight at any moment. “Right. Chrysalis has... she’s built an army. There’s a nuclear power plant under her control and she’s trying to conquer the rest of Britain as far as I can tell.”

Celestia pursed her lips. “That is an impressive level of escalation, for a changeling,” she said, diplomatically.

“Electricity works as magic, or at least close enough for changelings,” Alexis growled, shrugging. “Because, you know, Earth wasn’t screwed enough before.”

“And she attacked the portal, I presume?”

“Yes.” Alexis spat the word. “She snuck a god damned battalion of drones up and tried to cut the power. We... Pinkie...” She took another deep breath, shuddering as she seemed to fight off the memories. “Pinkie saved me first. I told her I didn’t want to be there, so she got me out... God, what was she thinking?”

Tea arrived, buying Celestia a precious few moments to gather her thoughts. Alexis was distressed and agitated, and under different circumstances Celestia would have given the poor mare a few hours to calm down. Instead, it would be best to show a little vulnerability to pull Alexis out of her shock, and snap her protective drive back in gear. Then, once Alexis was functional again, Celestia could draw from her as much information about the situation as possible.

“She was thinking of her friends first,” Celestia assured her, with a warm smile darkened with a measured amount of worry. “But I must ask, did you see what happened to the rest of the Bearers, to Twilight?”

“What do you think happened?” Alexis demanded, her head snapping up. “The changelings got them. Because, you know, every bloody time we try to do anything, Chrysalis has somehow got a god-damned army up her sleeve!”

Okay, that was anger not protectiveness... it was workable.

“Alexis, we took all reasonable precautions against Chrysalis,” Celestia assured her. “We have never taken her threats lightly. Now--”

“Yes,” Alexis interrupted, fanning her wings. “Which is why your first response was to send seven completely unarmed mares into a war zone.”

Celestia flinched. Anger at the nearest authority figure was less acceptable, but still a workable solution. “As you well know, those six represent the most powerful force in Equestria, the ma--”

“If you say friendship, someone is getting punched,” Alexis snapped, stomping a hoof down on the chair. “You have a hundred stallions just hanging around competing to see who has the biggest breastplate and you didn’t even think of sending along one to watch the door?”

Arching an eyebrow, Celestia elected to ignore that comment. She needed to calm the mare down; an admission of guilt would work wonders. “Very well, I made a mistake, and I need you to help me fix it.”

Alexis’ scowl deepened, but she stayed mercifully silent. Celestia poured a cup of tea, and gave herself a mental pat on the back before continuing.

“Now, you said Chrysalis has obtained a source of power and an army. How, and how much?”

“Electricity is magic,” Alexis repeated, glowering at the cup. “And Chrysalis has hijacked a nuclear power plant. She’s summoning, or breeding, an army and is doing her best to conquer more power plants.”

“And how much power does she seem to have?”

Alexis shook her head. “I don’t know. I barely know how to translate it into magic terms.” She frowned a moment. “It’s about a gigawatt. So maybe thirty million basic light spells.”

The musical clink of cracking porcelain was Celestia’s only audible response. A hasty repair spell prevented the cup from shattering altogether and, with some effort, Celestia relaxed her death grip.

“And, how often would she be able to use these, thirty million spells?” she asked, in a non-committal tone.

“That’s per second.”

Ah, so mobilising the military had been an appropriate response after all. A pity. Celestia forced herself to take a deep breath and quell the rising panic. Twilight would be fine, of course. She had faced down far greater threats than Chrysalis and come out the victor.

“That’s bad, isn’t it?” Alexis pressed.

Celestia nodded. “Yes. We will have to attempt a second crossing. When Cadance arrives we will start preparations immediately.”

Alexis grunted. “Right. When will she get here?”

“Six hours,” Celestia replied, with a comforting smile.

“Six hours?” Alexis repeated, starring opened mouthed. “You aren’t going to do anything for six hours! What the hell are you waiting for, Chrysalis breaking down the doors of the castle?”

Celestia blinked. She wasn’t sure she could remember the last pony who had raised their voice to her. “Cadance’s train arrives in six hours,” she pointed out. “We can not do anything until she arrives.”

“You’re just going to sit on your hands until she gets here?” Alexis demanded, springing to her hooves. “What the hell? Did you run out of faithful students to throw at the problem?”

“Alexis Kingston!” Celestia boomed, drawing herself up to her full height, towering over the diminutive pegasus. That another first for the generation, it seemed to Celestia that humans didn’t react like her little ponies. “There are four ponies capable of crossing to Earth. One is already there. One is miles away and both Luna and I have duties here. Duties including holding our realities apart.”

Alexis spread her wings, snorting in fury. “So, you are just going to sit here, on your cake filled arse, while Twilight and her friends risk their lives?” She threw up her forehooves. “Of course! Because when have you ever done anything to fucking help around here?”

“I have the power for one,” Celesia snapped, holding up a hoof. “One crossing. Any rescue I attempt would require Twilight to return us. There is too large a risk of us both getting stranded on Earth, and that would be disastrous.”

“So you are going to sit here, drinking tea, until someone else solves your problems for you?” Alexis snarled. “Was that your plan when Chrysalis invaded? Was that your plan to save Earth? Was that your plan for the Club? Just swoop in and steal all the credit once the hard work was done?”

“VICEROY ALEXIS,” Celestia roared, rattling the windows. A halo of power bursting into sudden, furious, life behind her. “I will not be spoken to like that by a member of my government!”

Three centuries of rule had softened Celestia’ public persona. But not so very long ago armies had turned at the sight of Celestia, Ruler of the Heavens, Princess of the Dawn, armed and in all her fury.

Alexis didn’t blink.

“Fuck you, I resign!” she roared right back. “My friends are in danger, and you DON’T CARE! Tell me what we are going to do!”

A line had been crossed. Celesia wasn’t sure when, nor how the conversation had slipped so far from her control. She no longer cared. There were a hundred crises to deal with, and clearing off a pegasus-shaped scorch mark from the wall was not one she wanted to add to the list.

“You will do nothing,” Celestia snarled, voice as cold as the windigos. “Leave.”

Alexis froze. Her wings folding down as she, at last, realised just who she’d been insulting. “What--”

“Leave my sight and never come back,” Celestia continued. A small wisp of smoke began to trail from the sofa beneath her. “Now.”

Ears folded flat, Alexis slipped off of her chair. “I--”


Alexis fled, half flying in her haste to flee the room.

Celestia raised her cup to her lips. It was empty, the contents long boiled away, and she began to swear vociferously. Stalking over to the doors she threw them open.

“Private Steel Shod!” she snapped at the guard. His parade perfect posture was somewhat undermined by the fact his shin guards were knocking together. “I want my sister, and everypony of rank, in the war room, in fifteen minutes.”

“At once, your Majesty,” he squeaked, and hurried away.

Celestia rolled her eyes. Perhaps Luna had a point about Equestria’s steel rusting over the years.

“Cake filled, am I?” she growled.

Very well. If Chrysalis wanted the sun so badly, she would face its full fury.

Chrysalis hated many human inventions. From a distance, she admired humanity’s tenacity. Their victory over a universe that was so hostile to life was a triumph of strength over nature. She was less than enthused by the speed they turned that strength against her, however. Tanks, aircraft, satellites, nuclear power, Chrysalis had learned of all of humanity’s greatest weapons from little Alexis and prepared herself accordingly. She completely failed to take into account one of their smallest weapons, though.

The flashbang.

Three of the hated capsules soared into the mass of changelings surrounding the Element Bearers. Chrysalis hurled herself from their hive mind, casting a frantic spell to seal off the drones just in time. Their network crumbled under the onslaught of light and noise that reverberated from mind to mind in a psychic cacophony. A hundred drones collapsed like puppets with their strings cut.

Chrysalis scrambled, scraping together the drones that had been at the outer edge of the blast into a makeshift swarm. Three humans, two she didn’t recognise and that Maynard, had charged the downed changelings and were struggling to free the ponies. Snarling she focused fire on the interfering monkeys, who ducked down and began shooting back with their infernal assault rifles.

A pop-crack heralded Twilight Sparkle’s arrival on the scene.

“Come on, everypony, get up!”

She wrenched her friends to their hooves. The herd scrambled towards the shielded airlock, humans a few steps behind them offering covering fire. The spell parted as they approached, revealing a frantic pink pony who all but dragged her friends through the doorway. Roaring, the drones charged, hurling spell after spell at the retreating ponies. Twilight’s spell snapped back up, sealing the airlock. Chrysalis wasted her drones against the wall of magic.

Snarling to herself, Chrysalis forced herself to back off. The changelings swarmed around the human’s portal room, searching for any little crack that might allow them access. It was secured far tighter than Canterlot, though, and the queen glared by proxy at the meddlesome cube of concrete. It took her a few moments to realise that the subtle tension of the portal spell had vanished long before the humans threw their flashbangs.

“Oh, well now that is interesting,” she purred, stepping out of the hive mind. There was a moment’s resistance as the new-made drones fought and squabbled with each other for control and the queen sighed. Soon, soon she would be able to return to her true family, and not rely on the spell summoned nincompoops that served her on Earth.

Shaking herself she returned to happier thoughts. The portal had failed, which meant, far from slipping from her grasp, the Element Bearers had trapped themselves far more securely than the Crystal Caverns ever could. Chrysalis began to laugh. If she’d known getting those foals to walk into their own prison would be so easy, she would have tried it months ago.

Still smiling, she stood, and began to hum to herself. In fact, things were going so well, she deserved a little indulgence. Dipping into the vast well of magic filling the swarm, she began to sing. “This day is going to be perfect. The kind of day of which I’ve dreamed since I was small.”

Drones swarmed around her, as she made her way through the empty halls of the nuclear power plant. The lights had failed, replaced by the faint glow of changling magic.

“When the ponies broke my crown,” she snapped, magic flaring around her. “I swore I’d tear them down. Now watch, as my revenge consumes them all.”

As she stalked through the halls of her stolen prize, two hundred miles away, Pinkie Pie took up the counterpoint. “This day was going to be perfect,” she sang, her friends sitting in a dejected heap around her. “An adventure, and fun for one and all.”

“But instead of pulling through.” She pulled her friends closer, and whispered, “I wound up failing all of you. And it’s the end now for all ponies big and small.”

“I don’t care now just what it takes,” Chrysalis declared, marching across a catwalk. “Nor who stands in my way. The humans, they shrink under my gaze.”

Far below, a spell circle rumbled and, with a crack, a newly formed drone appeared. It stumbled away, dropping into step as the hive mind welcomed it.

“Though ponies kick and scream, they scoff and mock my dream!” She slammed her hooves down. “Soon, I’ll rule them one and all!”

She tossed her head and marched away. “The setting sun will seal their doom. This dying world will mark their tomb. Run in fear for soon it will be time!”

“No way to slip our fate,” Applejack sighed.

Dash nodded. “No chance to save the day.”

“Hope? It’s not our place to say.” Fluttershy hung her head.

“My plans now stand complete,” Chrysalis snapped. “And those that I’ll soon defeat?”

“A chance, to escape in any way!” Rarity wailed.

Twilight stepped up and, in a strong soprano, cried. “Girls now do not fear our doom, our brave hearts she can not consume. Stand now beside me, our rescue will come soon!”

Triumphant, Chrysalis burst out onto the roof of the power plant into the full sun. The titanic spell awaiting her was already half charged and hummed with barely contained energy. “Now, our destiny arrives! For us, to rise again once more. They’ll tremble at my feet, my victory will be complete, and soon the sun will be all... mine, all mine!”

To her Royal Highness, Princess Twilight Sparkle,

I, Alexis Kingston, Viceroy of Human Affairs, resign.

I should leave things there, but I don’t want to have to explain this twice, and I don’t want to give you the opportunity to change my mind. This is not a decision I’ve reached lightly, nor is it one that has come upon me suddenly. I am writing this letter in a wing-cast, but I’m not writing it because I am in hospital. I am resigning because I can no longer do what you expect me to do, and I’m unsure that I ever could.

In six months, I have lost my home, my family, been hospitalised twice, kidnapped, mind controlled and almost died on half a dozen different occasions. That’s not the life I am supposed to live. It’s Viceroy Alexis’. She’s some strange caricature of the person I used to be, and every day I find myself trying to step in her role, but I can not fill it. She’s supposed to be brave, but I’ve spent my life in Equestria terrified. She’s supposed to be heroic, but my mistakes have cost more lives than they’ve saved. She’s supposed to lead, but between Star Charge and Cog I’ve almost torn the Club apart. She’s supposed to bring comfort but... well, I’m no longer helping the Club, am I? I’m ruling it.

I don’t want to be Viceroy Alexis, Twilight. I want to be Alex Kingston. I want my crappy job, and my jerk of a boyfriend, back. I want to be able to sleep in without fear that somebody is going to die because I didn’t say hello. I want to be able to fly all day without missing a dozen appointments. I want to have a life. I want to live my life. If I stay, I will never get any of these things. I’ll end up ‘the Viceroy’, some stranger trying to save strangers for reasons I don’t understand.

In the months we’ve known each other, I have done everything you have ever asked me to do. I have not done so peacefully, nor has it gone smoothly, but I know now it was a mistake. I don’t know why I didn’t run, like everyone else, when you asked me to set up the Club. Maybe at the time I was scared of disappointing you, or maybe I was terrified I’d make things worse, but in the end you picked the wrong person. I’ve tried to fake it. I’ve tried to be the person-- or rather, pony --that you’ve wanted me to be, but in the end, I’m not her. I’ll never be her, and, honestly, I don’t want to be her. I’ve been desperately trying to fit myself into this mould of a pony that everyone wanted, and I’ve pushed myself to the limit to make myself that pony, but it hasn’t worked.

I am not Viceroy Alexis. I can not be the fearless leader of the Club. I can not help you save the world.

I just want to be me.

So I resign.

Star Charge sighed refolding the letter and sealing it. He shouldn’t have read it, but couldn’t hold himself back. People, ponies, and all other thinking, feeling beings fascinated him. Ponies especially as, out of every species, they had been the ones to make love, tolerance and harmony work.

Alex was supposed to be simple. She had been an obstruction to integrating people into Equestria. She was a symbol of all those that tried to hold onto a broken world, popular because of denial, not due to any redeeming features. Star’s attempts to save her had been cynical in the extreme. They were an attempt to maintain popularity until the day he would naturally replace Alex as the leader of the Club. That day had come, he had Alexis’ resignation in his hooves, and yet...

His legs felt heavy as he climbed the tower. Star Charge knew he could destroy Alex. It was a skill, to know what to say to undermine a person, to expose their fears and play up their weaknesses. It was not a talent worthy of a cutie mark, but still, it was there to be used. With the letter, he had enough ammunition to tear down Alexis, and her Club. It would be easy, but he didn’t want to.

Alex stood on a balcony, her forelegs hung over the rail as she stared off into the distance. It would not take much of a push to send her tumbling, in both the literal and metaphorical sense, but that was not why Star Charge was there. He was not there to save Earth, nor the Elements, nor, even, Equestria. In the end, they could save themselves.

He was going to save Alex.

Because she had given everything she had.

Because no one even realised she needed saving.

Because, when you stripped everything else away, it was the right thing to do.

“So,” he began, leaning over the rail next to Alex. “What are you going to do?”

Author's Note:

The song in all its glory:

This day is going to be perfect
The kind of day of which I’ve dreamed since I was small
When the ponies broke my crown,
I swore I’d tear them down
Now watch, as my revenge consumes them all

PP: This day was going to be perfect
An adventure, and fun for one and all
But instead of pulling through
I wound up failing all of you
And it’s the end now for all ponies big and small

I don’t care now just what it takes
Nor who stands in my way
The humans, they shrink under my gaze

Though ponies kick and scream,
They scoff and mock my dream
Soon, I’ll rule them one and all!

The setting sun will seal their doom
This dying world will mark their tomb
Run in fear for soon it will be time!

AJ: No way to slip our fate,
RD: No chance to save the day
FS: Hope? It’s not our place to say

My plans now stand complete
And those that I’ll soon defeat?
R: A chance, to escape in any way!

TW: Girls now do not fear our doom,
Our brave hearts she can not consume
Stand now beside me, our rescue will come soon!

Now, our destiny arrives
For us, to rise again once more
They’ll tremble at my feet
my victory will be complete
And soon the sun will be all... mine, all mine!

I'm sure many of you are groaning now, but when am I going to get the chance to do that again? :twilightsmile: This week we have a new appendix chapter too, 'Twilight's Summary of Changeling Biology, Behaviour and Magic'. This should fill a couple of gaps in the changelings' in this setting, as I'm aware I'm drifting a long way from the fanon with them.