• Published 15th Sep 2014
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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.

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Chapter 1: Tornado Season

I find myself on the wing in most of my dreams. I can't help it, there’s something in the pegasi brain that just gets up and says ‘flying, now that’s a good idea’. You get an itch between your shoulder blades that can’t be scratched, even if like me, you spend most of the day with all four feet on the ground. I was as guilty of dreams of flight as the next pony, but that night I did not find myself in the air, instead I dreamt of humans.

A succession of unfamiliar faces passed by my little booth. Each would shuffle in and hand me a slip of paper covered in incomprehensible text; then I’d pick from one of the many stamps and slam it down. The blow would transform the human into something new, generally a pony, sometimes a gryphon, occasionally even stranger beasts.

“An odd dream,” a presence behind my shoulder observed, after a dozen or so new ponies were made. I didn’t question the fact something was looking over my shoulder; it seemed to be part of the natural order. In fact, I couldn’t even turn to face it, though I had the impression of something dark and far larger than a mortal pony.

Another unrecognisable girl passed before me and I reached for an unfamiliar handle. For a moment the name, Rose, triggered a memory, but I ignored it and slammed the stamp down. A roar of green fire consumed the girl, leaving a dark insect in her place. A terrifying, alicorn-tall creature with a pockmarked carapace and ember red eyes.

“What!” the presence roared.

I rounded on it and-

-hit the low ceiling of my loft with a bang.

I fell back into bed, clutching my head and whimpering. While sleepwalking was not a thing pegasi had an equivalent of, due to natural selection, the number of interesting ways a flying species could fall out of bed was remarkable. I also appreciated their variety of curses and I swore like a sailor till I stopped seeing stars.

“Urgh, got to get a cloud house,” I groaned, shaking my head. Though come to think of it, I had no idea whether they had solid ceilings either. Groaning I tried to remember my dream but it faded away into the aether, no matter how hard I tried to grasp it. For some reason I felt it had been important, but the why escaped me. My wool gathering was cut short as I heard the water running in the bathroom.

“Oh, god damn it Swiftwing,” I snapped. Forget the cloud house, I needed to find a better place to live. Period.

The cubbyhole I called home was not large; a small bed and writing desk were squeezed under the eaves, a ratty chair sat in the far corner and a series of cupboards and a hotplate masquerading as a kitchenette took up the rest of the floorspace. There was only one door, which lead to a shared bathroom, a single window glowing with dawn light and, beyond a pair of lace curtains and a small plastic pony figurine on the desk, there was not a whit of decoration. At some point I would have to fix that lack, but I rarely spent time in the loft beyond eating and sleeping.

The sound of running water ceased and there was a hammering on the door. “Shower’s free Alex!” Swiftwing hollered.

“Urgh!”

Getting up with the dawn may have been second nature for most of Ponyville, but I hailed from a culture that considered nine o’clock to be getting into work early. The situation was not made easier by Swiftwing’s campaign to use up all the hot water every morning, though that was more a result of our hot water heater being a quarter century out of date than the mare’s love of long showers.

Biting the bullet I dragged myself out of bed and stumbled into the bathroom. Ignoring the mirror, I gathered a little fragment of aether around myself to preserve body heat and began my morning shower. Just a few minutes later I’d had as much as I could stand and emerged, shivering and wishing like hell I was better at weather magic. It would have been very nice to just summon up a cloud filled with piping hot water, but that was way beyond my skills, or budget.

I found myself lost in thought, staring at the pegasus in the mirror. She was a petite thing, a very rounded face, a slim frame and large wings. Her coat, though dripping wet, was a light cream, pale but noticeably off-white, and her mane and tail were close cropped and a pencil grey. The only real colour on her were the brown and white speckles that dotted her wings and her yellow eyes. All in all I was very lucky no one had been able to come up with a good horse pun off the name Hedwig.

“It’s you Alex,” I told her, dropping into my morning mantra. “It’s still you. It was you yesterday. It will be you tomorrow. Get going and deal with it.”

My head hit the mirror with a soft thunk. “Just don’t bugger things up again,” I murmured, fighting down tears.


An hour later, dry, preened, fed, and with a book open in my lap I felt a damn sight better. It helped that the book was interesting enough to take my mind off of things, ‘The Elementary Guide to Pegasuses and Their Magics’ was not light reading by any means and made frequent references to concepts that I barely understood. However, it was by far a better tutor than most pegasi and their ‘now do it right’ attitude towards teaching.

“Hmm, so if I...” I raised a forehoof and pointed it towards the sky. Trying to focus on the aether I spread my wings and, with a lazy flap, summoned a small wisp of fog in the frog of my hoof. It vanished the moment my wings stilled, but my smile didn’t. I think deep down there’s a disappointed eleven-year old in everyone from England who didn’t get a letter from Hogwarts; not having fingers was a little high a price to pay for magic, but I wasn’t consulted on the matter.

I paused and frowned. Following that line of logic I also had an inner six year old who wanted a pony, and was really confused about the whole situation. It was best not to pursue that one.

The spellbook continued on it’s own convoluted explanation of aether manipulation, before the unicorn author seemed to get bored with a subject he couldn’t replicate and moved on to the minutiae of cloudwalking. Glancing at the sun, I figured it was about time I got to the office and put the book away and trotted over to the window. My little loft did not have a staircase; a couple years ago whole the terrace of houses had been bought out by a property development and the attics knocked through to form some extremely low rent housing. They were colloquially known as the Pegasi Lofts, as no other species could hope to use them. It was more due to lack of competition than my own drive that had landed me a bed.

Throwing open the window I perched on the sill and spread my wings and took a deep breath. Ponyville had many scents, fresh grass, flowers, horse; but if nothing else though it smelt of life, of growing things and fresh water. It was far from home, but comforting in it’s own way, and I caught my wings on the wind, inhaling a great gulp of aether that went fizzing through my veins. My feathers trembled as they readied themselves to take to the sky and I sighed, contentedly; there was nothing like pegasi instincts to clear the morning cobwebs.

I decided, for a change, to try out my new spell. Summoning a wisp of cloud beneath my hoof I pushed down on it; the bundle of fluff gave for a moment, before trying to push back against my hoof like elastic. Doing the same thing with all four hooves was a test of my concentration but I managed it and I found myself standing on thin air and magic, all be it still in my bedroom.

“And now, to walk to work,” I announced, with a barely suppressed giggle. I struggled and stumbled like a newborn foal as I tottered my way through the open sky. It was a stupid way to get around, I had to keep my wings pumping to maintain my hold on the clouds anyway and every so often the little patches would escape and cause me to drop a half meter before I could catch myself. It was still, however, walking on air.

“Alex!”

I jumped a good three feet straight up as Swiftwing yelled in my ear, losing all coordination. For a moment I hung there in the sky as I tried to grab onto the aether, then dropped like a rock into the street below, hitting the ground face first.

“...ow.” I dragged myself to my hooves, shaking the dust of the road free of my coat. Swiftwing landed next to me, smirking.

“Good to see you’ve got the traditional pegasus crash landing down,” Swiftwing said, grinning. Swiftwing was a young mare, barely in her late teens by the human measure, with a turquoise coat and a neon green mane that she insisted wasn’t a dye job; though it was slowly staining our shared shower the colour of seaweed.

“Trust me, it was the first thing I learned,” I groused, shaking out my wings. “What was that for, anyway?”

Swiftwing bopped me on the nose. “Just messing with you. Though I’ll admit I’ve never seen a pegasus levitating before.”

I huffed, tossing my head. “Cloud walking on my own clouds,” I muttered as an explanation.

The aggravating pegasus cocked her head at me. Then, in a single smooth sweep of her wings brought a bed sized swathe of fog into existence beneath her. For a moment she poked at the cloud before dropping to her belly on it. Just as I was wondering if I was going to get an explanation she made a face and declared. “Nope. Don’t like it. Why not just use your wings?”

“I read in a book that pegasi could do it and wanted to try it out,” I admitted, shrugging. Swift rolled her eyes at me. “What?”

“You do know what they call a librarian in Cloudsdale, right?” she asked, smirking.

I recognised the set up to a joke when I heard it. “No, what do they call a librarian in Cloudsdale?” I replied, deadpan.

“Twilight Sparkle.” Swiftwing sniggered to herself, I cracked a smile, barely. “Anyway,” she continued, dismissing the cloud. “I’m headed to the field to deal with the newbies. Got anypony else joining us today?”

I checked my mental list. “Thankfully no. Got one new member two days ago but he was an earth pony. Shouldn’t be bothering you for at least a few months.”

Swiftwing laughed. “Okay, well when he finishes his flying machine let me know, otherwise I’ve got a flock of fledglings who don’t know their primaries from their alula waiting for me.”

I nodded. Swiftwing had been a godsend for many of the humans who’d found themselves with wings and not a clue how to use them. Despite sharing a bathroom I still hadn’t quite got the full story as to how the young weatherpony had ended up unemployed in the broken down loft eating nothing but last year’s hay. I had a suspicion that the local weather patrol was rather overstaffed, between sharing a small town with royalty and being run by a national hero. There always seemed to be a few young pegasi in from Cloudsdale hanging around Dash's office looking for an entry role. But in Swiftwing’s case, Rainbow Dash’s loss was the Club’s gain. I couldn’t speak for her cloud pushing, but Swiftwing was a great teacher... if a little dictatorial.

“Well have fun with it.” I allowed myself a smile. “For once it seems like I’ll have a quiet day.”

A boom split the sky and I covered my head with my wings as a thousand ‘Dash proof’ panes of glass rattled in their frames. Why do I give the universe straight lines like that?

“What the hay was that?” Swiftwing demanded, scanning the sky. A dark shape streaked across the sky, high above the clouds. It was a strange thing, an ugly angular collection of boxy shapes that had never before graced Equestria’s skies.

“That is a fighter jet,” I told her, sighing. The jet seemed to wobble, before going into a nasty flatspin. “A human flying machine.”

“Seems to be more of a falling machine.”

There was a glimmer as two small shapes were flung away from the jet as it continued to plummet towards Ponyville.

“Well, that’s my day ruined,” I concluded, groaning. And it had started so well. “We’re probably going to have at least one new pegasus for you by the afternoon.”

Swift put a wing around my shoulders. “Go do your hero thing, girl.”

I rolled my eyes, brushed her off and took to the air.


It was fairly easy to find the fallen jet, though it was a pleasant surprise to find it not in a thousand pieces but floating in Twilight’s magic. I came in for a gentle landing next to the alicorn who had her eyes screwed up in concentration as she lowered the jet to the ground in the center of Ponyville town square.

“Morning Alex,” she growled. The jet dropped the last six inches and hit the ground with a bang. She gasped for breath, her legs wobbling but stayed standing and I felt a chill run down my spine. Twilight’s sheer power was not something that was discussed much in Ponyville; a combination of factors such as denial and Twilight’s innate desire not to be the center of attention. But then she would go and do something like catch a twenty-five ton war machine and all of a sudden you remembered that the young alicorn was more than capable of demolishing an offending house.

“What is this?” she demanded, not looking away from the fighter.

“That would be Royal Air Force Tornado,” I sighed, glancing at the insignia. The canopy had been jettisoned, though there was no sign of the crew nor the ejector seats.

Twilight rubbed the bridge of her nose with a hoof. “It came through the barrier, didn’t it?”

“Yeah... sorry.”

“Argh! This will have thrown everything out of alignment,” Twilight snapped, cantering away. “It’s going to take all day to fix!”

I shook my head; at least when she was busy grumbling she wasn’t trying to give ‘welcome to Equestria’ speeches. A moment later Rainbow Dash swooped in low overhead and dropped a pair of ponies, clad in horrendously stretched flight suits, at my feet.

“Delivery for you, Alex,” she called, hovering next to the struggling pair as she scanned the sky. “I’m going to see if I can’t find those parachute chairs before they give somepony a new window.” And then in a multicoloured flash she was gone.

I rolled my eyes and extended a hoof to pull the helmet off the nearest pony. “Hi,” I said, fixing a comforting smile on my face. “Welcome to Equestria.”

The newest member of our club, a cobalt coloured unicorn stallion, stared at me for a moment. “Tony, why are there ponies?” he asked his compatriot.

“Because ponies are awesome,” his friend snapped, still struggling with his helmet which had fallen down over his eyes. There was a pop and it came free. “Oh...” He stared for a moment at Ponyville town square, most of the locals stared back. “I stand by my statement.”

“Urgh, you and your bloody ponies,” the unicorn growled, fighting his way free of the mangled flightsuit.

His friend, Tony apparently, just laughed. “You’re just mad because you have hooves.” He turned to me. “So, this is going to sound strange, but we’re not usually ponies.”

“Yeah, you’re usually bipedal apes,” I replied in a deadpan, pointed a wing at the large jet fighter parked behind me. “I don’t know what could have given it away.”

Tony frowned. “Oh... this isn’t the first time this has happened, is it?”

“It’s the hundred and fiftieth and hundred and fifty first by my count, and I doubt it will be the last,” I informed them, a bitter note clear in my voice. With such a large disturbance to the barrier, we’d get at least one more new pony today. It was hard not to be angry about that.

“I told you you shouldn’t try and do a ‘sonic rainboom’,” the unicorn grumbled.

It was getting harder not to be angry.

“Anyway,” I cut in. “My name is Alexis Kingston. To answer your next couple of questions. Yes, this is Equestria. Yes, like from the cartoon. Yes, are ponies now and yes that was Rainbow Dash that just saved you.”

Tony grinned. “Can I...”

“Her fan-club meets every thursday.”

He beamed. “Awesome. But actually I wondered if you’d give me a hand out of this?” His flight suit bulged as he tried to stretch his wings.

“Sorry.” I held up my forehooves. “No hands.” The pair groaned. “Still, I’ll do my best.”

Between the two of us, we managed to free Tony, or Flight Lieutenant Tony Acey, as his suit proclaimed. About three seconds after he had his hind legs free the sky blue pegasus hurled himself into the sky with an almighty leap. He hit the ground face first.

“My name’s Louis Hubble by the way,” the unicorn said, as his friend swore vociferously.

We shook hooves. “Pleased to meet you.”

“Why can’t I fly?” Tony demanded, struggling to get to his feet.

“Because Discord thought the adaptation spell would be funnier if it didn’t come with any muscle memory,” I growled. The smarmy bastard was owed a buck in the family jewels for that one, and for the dozen other ways he’d made my life a living hell.

“There’s really a chaos god running around?” Louis inquired, raising a brow.

“I wouldn’t say he’s doing anything as predictable as running, but yes.” I surveyed the pair. Tony had finally found his feet, but his hooves were all over the place and he looked as if he were trying to strike an exotic pose. Louis was far more composed, with his forehooves placed neatly on the ground before him as he sat on his haunches, watching everything with a quiet intensity. “Now, speaking of which. I’m going to have to teach you to walk.”

“Walk?” Tony interjected, jabbing a hoof a at me. “Not fly?”

I rolled my eyes. “Tell you what, if you can get to the town hall before me, I’ll teach you to fly right now.”

“You’re on!”

Tony made it all of three steps before tripping over his own legs and ending up face down in the dirt... again. I didn’t even bother to move.

“He’s never heard the phrase, ‘walk before you can run’, then?” I asked Louis, who had long suffering expression on his face.

“He’ll be jumping off buildings by tomorrow.”

Tony scrambled back onto his hooves and rounded on his ‘friend’ but whatever he was going to say was lost as a small herd of ponies stampeded into the square, lead by fluttering Crystal Cog. The Barn had arrived. A crazy mix of unicorns, pegasi, earth ponies and a dragon or two, the Barn was, as far as I could tell, made up of all the humans who couldn’t bare the thought of living in a world without the internet. As such they had an obsession with technology and were attempting to rebuild as much technology as possible. I hadn’t known them to have any great success, the laws of reality seemed too different in Equestria for electronics to work.

The Barn ponies looked rather like their collective Birthday, Christmas and Hearths Warming presents’ had come early and swarmed the downed aircraft. I couldn’t blame them for their enthusiasm, no doubt Crystal Cog would be regaling anypony in earshot as to how this was the chance of a lifetime to study human technology in Equestria.

“Hey!” Tony roared, trying and failing to hurry after them. “Get your hooves off that! That’s Air Force property.”

I put a hoof on his shoulder. “Don’t worry, I’ll stop them doing anything serious to it,” I assured him.

“That’s not the point. How the hell am I going to explain to my CO getting hoof prints all over the wings?”

My grip tightened. Ah yes, there was a critical detail I may have missed in the introduction.

“That... not going to be much of an issue.”

“Urgh, well I guess I wasn’t going to be able to explain crossing dimensions anyway,” Tony continued, the subtext flying clean over his head. “Still, if it’s all the same to you I’d rather they got off my baby before they hurt-”

Louis interrupted Tony’s rant. “There’s a way home, right Alex?”

“...let’s get you to the office,” I said, after a long pause. “There’s a lot I have to explain.”


To call the Club headquarters ‘offices’ was a rather grandiose term for a small bedsit conversion perched two floors above the Quills and Sofas store. The owners, Mr Davenport and his wife, Ida Down, had been very generous and allowed us to rent their second apartment for a song, and we’d got the song from Pinkie. As every bit saved was a meal on somepony’s plate we were very grateful for the assistance, even if it did mean I had to teach the two newest Club members how to deal with stairs, in addition to walking.

“Three one, four two,” I called, as they struggled to keep their gait steady. “Three one, four two. Three one, four two. And watch the final step... There.”

The pegasus and unicorn came to a halt at the top of the stairs. Tony with his wings half extended for stability.

“Why do ponies have stairs again?” he demanded.

I grinned. “Just wait till you try a ladder.”

The office itself was three rooms, a tiny kitchenette, three desks crammed into a front room and my office/storeroom in the rear. The only one of our regular employees present was Lyra; the mint green unicorn sat behind her desk sipping from a comically oversized coffee mug as she went through a stack of paperwork. A large number of printed signs adorned her desk, from ‘bureaucrat at “work”’ to ‘do not feed the pony’ and ‘do not ask me about hands’.

“Is that-” Tony began, staring at Lyra who, without looking up, tapped the hands sign.

“Don’t trust the fanon,” I told him. “Now, if you’ll follow me we can talk in privacy. Still need a beat?”

“I think I have it now,” Louis said, shrugging. The pair followed me into my cubby hole of an office, stumbling on occasion, but both stayed on their hooves. It was my experience that, once new ponies started getting into the rhythm of a four footed walk they were able to get around okay, though it would be a few days before they got into trotting, let alone cantering.

My desk, like much of my life, was decorated more by detritus than any personal effects. Since last night I’d gained a dozen folders in my inbox and somepony, no names, Lyra, had been through the file cabinets and left half their contents over the floor. I pulled a couple of cushioned stools out from under the desk for the pair of pilots to sit on and took up residence in my own lumpy chair.

“Right,” I began, once they were seated. “So, this is going to be a long explanation. First of all, how much were you guys into the show?”

“I dabbled,” Louis explained, sighing. “Hard not to when you’re paired up with a, ‘brony for life’, I think you said?”

“Yep, big fan,” Tony agreed, grin spread wide across his face. “Started watching right at the beginning and never looked back. Had my own OC and everything.”

“We dodged having ‘Dog and Pony’ as our call sign by this much,” Louis added, holding up a hoof. He frowned as he realised that he no longer had fingers to hold apart.

“Okay, well in that case I can skip the setting stuff,” I continued, pulling leaflets out of my desk. “The short version is that, about eight and a half weeks ago a human known as Taylor found a pair of Rainbow Dash themed goggles at a yard sale and, after sleeping with them on, woke up on a cloud just outside of Ponyville. As you can probably guess, a flightless pegasus claiming to be a human turning up caused a bit of a stir, but eight hours later another new pony turned up halfway into the Everfree. She’d zoned out while on a nature walk listening to a special mix of the show’s soundtrack and managed to wander into another world.”

“Huh, wish I’d heard about that one sooner,” Tony muttered. I shot him a nasty look and continued.

“Anyway, the mane six end up chasing their tails for two weeks while three new ponies a day arrived in town in various states of confusion until they figure out it was all Discord’s fault.” The pair winced. “Yeah, turns out the Q wannabe decided he didn’t want to just rule over one universe but two, so set up this long over complicated scheme to crash our realities together and a thousand years later-” Because it is always a thousand years. “-we humans turned ponies represent the leading edge of this catastrophe.”

There was a moment’s stunned silence. “But Discord reformed,” Tony pointed out.

“Yeah, but it’s like uncrashing the Titanic, or at least that’s what I’m told. The magibabble goes way over my head. But with his ‘help’, Twilight was able to set up a barrier that dropped the flood of humans down to a trickle so we’re surviving. As long as there aren’t too many crossings-” I fixed Tony with a pointed glare. “-or too large a disturbance to the barrier. Then we should be fine and there will be no interuniversal catastrophe.”

Tony shook his head. “Huh, well I guess that’s why you want to keep the plane.”

I failed to keep the sorrow off of my face.

“What?” he demanded.

“Alex hasn’t said anything about us getting home,” Louis explained, after a moment.

I hung my head. I hated this part. “We do not have the ability to send you home at this time,” I said, in a very small voice.

“You’re kidding. Tell me you are kidding,” Tony demanded. “You just told me Twilight is holding two fucking universes apart! She can’t open a hole for two people to slip though?”

“Not without letting four more in,” I snapped, glaring back. “And even then it isn’t that simple. In case you haven’t noticed, you’re not exactly a human right now.”

“So? In the show Twilight can turn ponies into tiny sprites. Just make with the magic.”

Tony was beginning to get on my nerves. “First, that’s a temporary transformation and a completely different school from the metamorphosis that you’re after. Second, the Princes is not your personal wish granting machine. And third, we can’t transform ponies back into humans.”

“There’s a magic mirror that does just that!”

“No there is not!” I roared, slamming my hooves on the desk. Tony tried to rise but ended up in a tangled heap on the floor. There was a good chance that alone was why he didn’t take a swing at me.

I took a steadying breath. “The mirror just makes you look like a human. It doesn’t change your biology, and nor does it provide access to Earth.” I waved a hoof. “It’s like... a humanized mirror of Equestria, not home. If you went home to Earth right now you’d be burned by the oxygen as you suffocate to death because there’s not any aether to breathe.” Shaking my head I continued. “Just, please, trust me when I say we’ve been looking for a way back, but there isn’t one and nor is there anything on the horizon.”

Tony finally managed to get back onto his stool, a task made harder by the evil eye he kept fixed on me throughout the process. Louis just sat, very calmly, not even moving his ears as he stared into the middle distance.

“I’m sorry,” I added. Pointlessly.

Tony glanced at his wingmate, and sighed. “There’s really no way back?”

I shook my head.

“Welcome to Equestria,” I repeated, bitterly.

“This is a lot to process,” Louis admitted at length.

“Yeah, I’m trying to find an easier way to break it to people,” I sighed. “But it’s better than letting you wander around thinking this is some grand adventure and you’ll be home by the end of the week. That’s just cruel.”

“I don’t know, I wouldn’t have minded,” Tony muttered, glaring at the grain of my desk.

“There are some pluses,” I continued, spreading my wings. “You can be flying by the end of the week if you work at it, and I’m given to understand magic is a fascinating subject.”

“But it’s not home,” Louis completed, hanging his head.

“Look, Alex. I’d love to learn to fly,” Tony interjected. “But I really can’t stay here. I have a wife back home and she’ll be worried sick.”

I just shook my head. "I'm sorry."

Tony leant forwards, his wings creeping outwards as he spoke in a frantic babble. "I get that, but I'm already going to be late after the debrief and Mary is never going to believe why. She already thinks that the pony thing is silly, but as long as we can get back soon, I can be there before she gets a call about us being MIA.”

There was nothing more I could say. I had no power to stop that call.

“Come on Alex, work with me here. There’s got to be some way we can fix this. Some forgotten spell, a deal with Discord, that’s how these things work in the show right? Otherwise we’re going to be trapped here and if they don’t know what happened back home they’ll just think we crashed somewhere and they never- and they never... Oh God...”

Louis put a hoof over his friend’s shoulder as the pegasus slumped, wrapping his wings over his face.

Tony began to sob.

I took a deep breath, pulled myself off the chair and went round the desk to put a wing over the grieving pegasus. It gets us all in the end. That moment of realisation that, despite the breath in our lungs, for all intents and purposes crossing over to Equestria was a death sentence. No one would ever know that you were trapped on the other side of the mirror; they’d just assume you’d been lost in some silly accident, or met some grizzly fate. Everyone you’d ever know, ever loved, ever been angry or upset at, they were gone. And you’d never be able to get back to them.

There were a lucky few in Equestria who’d arrived with family; more who had snagged a friend or two for the ride, but in there wasn’t a pony among us who couldn’t describe that soul sucking loss that came from never going home again. That’s why I just sat there next to Tony, as his equine body was wracked with sobs, acting as a rock in the current; even as my tail went numb and he matted my coat with briny tears.

It was a half an hour later when Tony finally slumped to the ground, spreading his wings to push us off.

“So now what?” he grumbled.

I shared a look with Louis, who looked back with weary eyes. “Nothing. Or anything if you want to look at it that way. The Club will make sure you stay on your feet long enough to find what you want to do with your life, and that can be anything. You’re blank flanks and there’s a whole world of opportunities out there. Today though, we’ll sort you out with a place to live and citizenship; you can then read a couple of our primers and just take some time to not do anything.” I looked over at Tony, who didn’t raise his head to meet my eye. “Take all the time you need to grieve.”

“You’ve done this a lot, haven’t you?” Louis asked, as I returned to my perch behind my desk. I didn’t sigh as I sank into the chair, but it was by force of will; my arse didn’t thank me for sitting on a cold wooden floor for anything over a few minutes.

“Seventy three times and counting,” I replied, forcing a grin. I slipped ‘So you’re a Stallion Now’, ‘One Hundred and One Things Not to Say to Rainbow Dash’ and ‘The Bronies’ Guide to Equestria’ across the desk. “Now, you’ll want to at least flick through The Guide. Hasbro got a lot of things right, but there’s some fairly major differences and this’ll stop you saying anything wildly offensive.” Or you know, just yelling like an idiot when you learned that Princess Celestia had an official consort, like me. “I’ll leave you guys to talk for a little while, then Lyra will sort you out with somewhere to camp when you’re ready.”

I trotted toward the door.

“Thanks for all this, Alex,” Louis said, smiling as I past.

“It’s my job,” I replied with a shrugged. “Oh, and when it hit’s you. The Club will be there for you.”

Louis blinked, looking confused as I excused myself from the office. He’d understand soon enough, Tony might have realised things first but they were both in the same boat when it came to grief. Even me.

The door closed with a dull thud.


“Coffee?” Lyra interjected, banishing my grim thought by levitating the giant mug in my general direction.

I grimaced. “Urgh, how much of that is backwash?”

“...I’ve been nursing it for about an hour now,” she admitted, gazing into the dark liquid.

“Later then.” Lyra was an unceasingly generous pony, but for all that we loved her, she wasn’t always so hot on thinking through her gestures before hand. I sighed. “How goes the paperwork?”

Lyra shook her head. “Urgh, don’t ask. We’re out of emergency citizenship forms again.”

“What?” I exclaimed, my wings flicked out, almost upsetting a lamp. “We... oh right, a hundred fifty one members.” Back in saner times, Equestria delivered emergency citizenships only under very unusual circumstances, Princess Luna was emergency citizen number twenty nine and Discord was number thirty one. My number was fifty eight, and in a month or two we’d be into our second century.

“Right, I’ll go talk to Twilight then.” I repressed a shudder. “Wish me luck.”

It surprised many of our new arrivals that Equestria, despite being a magical land ruled by an immortal diarchy, ran more due to bureaucracy than anything more sane like magic or friendship. It made a certain amount of sense when you turned your head and squinted, I’ll admit; an immortal and unopposable (by mere ponies at least) ruler rather forestalled anything like revolts and was more than capable of keeping any noble factions in check. As such, Celestia had never had to set up anything like a parliament and instead the wheels of government were made up of career bureaucrats that, somewhat mindlessly, translated the will of the Princesses into actual action.

If you weren’t one of the Princesses you tended to be shit out of luck when trying to get your hands on anything out of the norm, and our little incursion of humans into Equestria was so far out of the norm there was talk of setting up an entire department just to deal with us. At some point in the future I was going to be asked to join that department and then I’d run away screaming, but that was a problem for future Alex to solve. And luckily for all the Club members, we just so happened to have a secret weapon to fight the bureaucracy, the newly crowned Princess Twilight Sparkle.

A short while later I alighted on the balcony of the Rainbow castle with a weary sigh.

“Who?” the challenge came, catching me off guard.

“Oh!” I stepped through the gap in the doors into an anteroom. A tawny owl regarded me impassively from it’s perch. “I didn’t see you there, Owlowiscious. I’m here to see Twilight.”

“Who?”

I had a feeling I knew where this was going.

“You know, yay high, wings, horn, surprisingly purple. Could you tell her Alex is here to see her?”

“Who?”

“...Me. Alex. That weird pegasus that hangs around with all the ex-humans.” I shook my head. “Oh this is just too ridiculous. Where’s Spike?”

“Who?”

I rolled my eyes and trotted deeper into the room. “Never mind, I’ll find Twilight myself... Let’s see, she’s probably in the lab. I think that’s on floor-”

“Twoo.”

I froze, then rounded on the owl. “You can say things other than who?” I demanded, jabbing a hoof at the offending creature. He nodded, and I facehoved “Urgh... you must think me a right-”

“Twit.”

There was a moments silence as I glared at Owlowiscious. Then I shook my head and walked away. “Alex, you just got slammed by an owl. This is not your finest hour.”

Twilight’s lab was, indeed, on the second floor and I found it without much difficulty. As I think I’ve mentioned, I find Twilight to be more than a little disconcerting at times, and her laboratory design did not help matters. The alicorn princess was, as anypony would tell you, a meticulous organiser, but she tended to flick between projects with alarming speed. Her laboratory was filled to the brim with arcane machines (in various states of dismemberment), alchemical reagents (most bubbling, some overflowing) and chalkboard after chalkboard of incomprehensible diagrams. Somewhere buried near the back I spotted the makeshift EEG she’d used on Pinkie Pie, though it had significantly fewer lights than it had back in the show.

“Twilight!” I called out, picking my way through the future set for a Frankenstein movie and trying very hard not to touch anything. “It’s Alex.”

A pink corona swelled around me and everything in the universe seemed to take a step to the right, without alerting the contents of my stomach. There was a crack of dissipating arcana and I found myself in a cleared area of the lab, beside Twilight Sparkle as she wielded her horn like a lethal weapon in the direction of a massive disk of steel. Inlaid in precious metals on the disk were the representations of the six pillars of reality ‘Sola’, ‘Aether’, ‘Vita’, ‘Materia’, ‘Arcana’ and ‘Prime’ in their traditional star shaped pattern. Precious gems of mathematical precision were locked in copper cradles around the structure, along with rare woods, strange reagents and barely constrained lightning. The entire edifice (one that was probably worth more than Ponyville) was merely a foundation for the the barrier spell which was a writhing mass of chaos in the air above. Lines of force, lines of light, threads of gold and lightning and vines wove and writhed in agony as Twilight focused her magic on the thrashing tangle. I couldn’t even begin to imagine the spell that lay before me, a thousand years of study would have still left me scratching my head, or running for the hills before it blew.

“There you are!” Twilight exclaimed. “Spike found you, then?”

“Actually I needed to see you, what’s-”

Twilight cut me off. “No time. The barrier doesn’t want to seal and I can’t figure out why. How did those idiots get into Equestria?”

I sighed. “By going supersonic just as they went over a rainbow.”

The barrier froze and Twilight rounded on me, horn still sparking. “Super sonic?” she demanded, mouth hanging agape.

“Yeah, you know breaking the sound barrier,” I continued, taking a smart step backwards. “Kind of like Dash when she Rainbooms. Though faster and with a great deal more fire.”

Twilight blinked. “Oh! It’s a phase transition!” She rounded on the spell and, with a few deft swipes of her horn, set the spell to rights. A moment later the thrashing had ceased and the mind-bending array of components settled from their eye-gouging insanity to a merely unsettling thrum of barely constrained magical energies.

“There we go,” Twilight sighed, letting out a long held breath. “Phew, that was a tricky one. Let’s hope we don’t get any more ‘planes’ through the barrier any time soon. But how many of those can there be on Earth anyway?”

I rolled my eyes. “Planes? Tens of thousands at least.”

“What!” Twilight’s wings shot out and I had to duck as she rushed past me to a nearby desk and began pulling out papers. “No no no no no. I have right here. Aircraft cruise at roughly five hundred miles per hour.” She brandished the page of spidery notes in my face.

“Passenger aircraft cruise at that speed,” I corrected, pushing the paper away with a wing. “Military craft can go up to mach three; they’re rarer but there’s still a lot of them.”

“Urgh! I had ‘rockets’ as going that fast,” Twilight growled, sifting through her notes.

“They do too.”

“Oh this is just great,” the alicorn grumbled, dropping down onto her haunches and slamming her head against the table. Judging by the number of small divots left by her horn it was far from the first time it had received such treatment. “I’m going to have to figure out a patch for a hole before another of these damn supersonic planes smashes through. How many are there on Earth, anyway?”

I shrugged. “Not something I’d know, a couple hundred per country maybe.” Twilight’s ear twitched and I hastily added. “But the pilot of this one was specifically trying to do a sonic rainboom.”

Twilight took a deep steadying breath and seemed to take a moment to count to three. “Okay Twilight, you just need to rearrange a few things and everything will be fine.”

“While you’re rearranging, can we get some more emergency citizenship forms, we’re all out?”

Another ear twitch.

“Fine,” she snapped. “I’ll add yet another thing to my list.” She rounded on a blank sheet of paper and attacked it with a fountain pen. “Anything else?”

I began to back away. “That’s okay, Twilight, nothing to worry about.” I cast around for the exit, but the teleportation had completely thrown my sense of direction. To hell with it; I’d take to the skies and find a window.

Twilight looked down at the scrawl on the sheet and sighed. I leapt into the air but Twilight caught my tail in an arcana grip and I stalled out, landing in a heap. “Oops. Sorry that usually works better on Rainbow Dash.”

“Don’t worry about it,” I grumbled, stumbling to my hooves.

“No, I really mean that,” Twilight continued, hanging her head. “I’m just really stressed out by this barrier patching, and all the contingency planning, and researching the castle, and not to mention how much has been going on in the Dusk Court. Anyway, I’m sorry for yelling at you.” She held out a hoof. “Friends?”

“Never anything else,” I told her, smiling as we shook. “I’m sorry for dumping paperwork on you as well.”

“Urgh, I must have kicked a lot of puppies in a past life,” Twilight grumbled, turning back towards the barrier. “Only truly evil ponies have to deal with so much bureaucracy.”

“And Princesses,” I added, grinning.

Twilight rolled her eyes at me. “Well that goes without saying. So that’s a hundred and fifty humans in Equestria?”

“Fifty one,” I amended, staring into the shifting mass of the barrier spell for a moment. “It was a two seater plane.” I had to look away, the boundary between worlds was vomit inducing at best.

“Well, this hole’s a big one, but I should be able to shore things up. Another human may slip through the cracks later today but hopefully they’ll be the last one for a while.”

I looked across at the Princess; there was an earnest faith in her eyes. It was reassuring in a way, that at least one pony believed everything would be alright. “How is the barrier holding up? In general, I mean.”

Twilight frowned. “It’s holding. In fact, barring some large scale catastrophe I think it will even protect us against the full weight of the collision.”

“Collision?” I inquired, trying to keep the worry from my voice.

“Yes, our universes are still colliding,” Twilight informed me, in her dispassionate lecturer tone. “Even through the barrier is keeping the worse of effects from presenting, it’s going to be many years before they rebound and start to drift apart again. Best case scenario we close up all the holes over the next few months and we only wreck the lives of a couple hundred people.” She sighed, emotion creeping back into her voice. “I’m still working on that one.”

I sighed, then bit the bullet. “What’s the worse case?”

Twilight closed her eyes. “Everyone in both universes dies.” She shuddered then shook herself. “That’s really unlikely, though,” she added, hastily. “Most likely Equestria’s physics overlays your universe’s, extinguishes your sun and we have to save as many humans as we can before they freeze to death. Probably by dragging them through the barrier and turning them into Equestrians.”

It seemed to take Twilight a moment to realise why that option would be just as unpalatable. “Oh! Of course I’m doing everything in my power to stop that happening,” she assured me, without much effect. “It would take a fleet of those ‘planes’ to critically destabilise the barrier. We should get through things with just a few dozen more minor crossings.”

I sighed. “I guess a couple hundred lives wrecked seemed a small price to pay to avoid losing the planet,” I told her, forcing a smile.

“I’d prefer to save everypony,” Twilight agreed, gazing into the heart of the spell. “But one thing my friends and I have learnt after all our adventures, is that sometimes even your best isn’t enough. And at least this time there’s nopony working against us.”

Glowing green eyes flashed before me and I shuddered, as if somepony had stepped on my grave.

I didn’t know why Twilight’s words had made me so afraid.

Author's Note:

This week's blog is on:
One Hundred and One Things Not to Say to Rainbow Dash and why so many poor jokes laid down their lives for this chapter