• Published 25th Apr 2012
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Lyra's Human 2: Derpy's Human - pjabrony

Serveral years after the events of "Lyra's Human," Derpy Hooves meets a human of her own.

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4: Derpynet

Derpy warped into Karyn’s bedroom with a big smile on her face.

“Morning, Karyn! Ready for a day of fun?”

“Hey, Derpy! I sure am! Except. . . “

“Oh, no. Not more studying?”

“No, not that, I’m all caught up. But I do have to see one of my teachers the work I did last week. It shouldn’t take more than an hour and a half, I promise. And then we have the whole rest of the day free.”

“Well, that’s not too bad, I guess,” said Derpy.

“And I thought of something so that you won’t be bored.”

Derpy looked up in anticipation. Karyn led her to the desk and showed off her desktop PC.

“OK, Derpy, this is a computer. It’s part of what I was studying last week. You can use it to learn just about anything you want to know regarding the human world.”

“Sweet! How does it work?”

“Well, for humans, we normally type on the keyboard, but the keys are too small for your hooves. Instead, I can set up a virtual keyboard and let you use the. . . pointing device,” Karyn said, not wanting to confuse Derpy with the animalistic name.

She showed Derpy how the cursor would move along with the mouse and about clicking on each letter to type. Then she opened a web browser and brought up a search engine.

“Now, you can type your question in this box here and then push the button marked ‘search.’ Then it will give you a list of pages that might have information.”

“Oh wow!” said Derpy. “But how does it know?”

“Er, well, why don’t you ask it? Type in, ‘How does a search engine work?’ and read what comes up.”

“Got it! How. . . does. . . “

Derpy continued with her slow and labored typing as Karyn put on her coat and got ready to go to her meeting. “Any time you want to ask another question,” she said, “just hit this button marked ‘home.’”

“Will do!” Derpy said, her view fixed on the screen.

Karyn ducked into the hallway, but then remembered something and went back in.

“One more thing. See where it says, ‘SafeSearch is on’? If it ever says that it’s off, go back to the home page and start over. Just trust me on this.”

“OK. Next question: What. . . is. . . the. . . Internet?”

Karyn headed back out, confident that her friend would have something to occupy her while she was away.


In Karyn’s experience, male professors came in two strains, old and young. Both wore sweaters and both tended to act like Spike had to her, but only the old ones had glasses. Her Networking 102 instructor was one of the old, and as she entered his room she found him buried beneath papers and disused computer equipment.

“You wanted to see me?” she said.

“Ah, yes, Ms. Hubert, come in, sit down,” he said, looking over his glasses at her. “It’s about this paper you handed in.”

“I did pretty bad, huh?”

“Not really. You showed a good familiarity with the subject and organized your thoughts well for the most part. I’m just a little concerned with some of the metaphors you used toward the end.”

He dug out Karyn’s report from a tall stack of similar papers. She had finished it late in the day the previous week and didn’t remember what she wrote, only that she had been a little punchy at the time. The professor began to read out loud from the paper.

“’The proliferation of wi-fi technology is dependent on the omnidirectional antenna, which can radiate signal to devices in range not unlike a unicorn directing magic through her horn.’ Or there’s this: ‘Lag in transmission almost never occurs in the lines, but is more likely to be found in the nodes, just as a pegasus carrying a letter will fly fast, but passing it on to others may cause delays.’”

Karyn thought it imprudent to point out that those were similes and not metaphors.

“You know, young lady, we have some excellent substance abuse counselors on campus,” the professor said.

“I’m not on drugs! I was just pressed for time when I wrote that,” she said, not mentioning that she could theoretically have had another day, “and I thought that humor of that sort was funnier than it actually was. Is.”

“Well, it’s still an A-minus paper, but scholarly work demands a certain degree of seriousness. You’d be wise to remember that.”

“Yes, sir,” Karyn said. “Was that all?”

“I suppose. You have somewhere to be?”

“Yes, I have a pegasus pony waiting for me in my dorm,” she didn’t say, as after the tongue-lashing she’d received she didn’t think it would be good for her. Instead she just muttered something non-committal.

“You know, young miss, if you are looking to boost your grade, I’m sure I can find some way to arrange,” the professor took a pause and added emphasis to the rest of his sentence, “extra credit.”

In her head Karyn shuddered. Another one, she thought. What was it about her? She wasn’t a knockout by any stretch of the imagination. Did they think that because she didn’t have magazine-celebrity looks that she would be easy? Or did they just cast lines everywhere looking for a bite? In any case, she had to think of how to get out of the situation without actually lowering her grade or herself. She wished Derpy were there. She would be on Karyn’s side and make this lecher feel awkward. Well, maybe that was a strategy. What would Derpy say in response?

“Oh, I’d be so grateful! I could re-write the report or add some visual aids! I’ll hit the library right away! Er. . . but what section has information about visual aids?” She crossed her eyes slightly just to get into the part.

“I actually had something more personal in mind,” he said.

“Oh, I see! Like an oral presentation! Give me a topic, and I’ll have something prepared by the class after next!”

“Ugh, you know what? Never mind. I’ll give you the A. Just. . . just go.”

Karyn was slightly shocked. Not only had acting awkward repelled his advances, but she’d gotten half a letter-grade bump. Maybe Derpy wasn’t so ditzy as she looked. She hurried home to check on her friend.


“Hey there, how have you been, Derp-EEK!”

As she entered the room she saw Derpy fiddling with a makeshift screwdriver, and various components of her computer strewn across the floor, all still connected like a silicon-based octopus. Derpy was smiling widely.

“Hi Karyn, welcome back! I did as you suggested and learned how it works!”

“Derpy! You broke it!” Karyn cried as she saw the monitor displaying a screen of gibberish that was vaguely distorted English.

“No, I didn’t, really. I actually made it work better, I think. I’m still figuring out what all the parts do.”

“Oh, this sucks. I am out so much money! Maybe I can fix it. Or find someone who can on the cheap.”

“I think I could put it back the way it was if you really want it, but you should at least try it out.”

She decided that forgiveness was in order, since Derpy didn’t know any better. “OK, well, show me what you’ve learned.”

“Well, the interesting thing I’ve found is how the mounting of the various cards and components doesn’t actually have anything to do with their connections. That’s why it can still work when it’s taken apart like this. If I were designing it, I wouldn’t have put everything in one case.”

“Yeah, I can see that. Too easy for somepony to come along and tinker with it.”

Derpy didn’t pick up on the sarcasm. “Exactly. Anyway, I gave all the parts little names to help me remember. That one that everything else plugs into I called Pinkie, because it’s everyone’s friend.”

“Yeah, we call it a main board or motherboard.”

“And this blocky thing I called Twilight because it has a whole library of stuff in it.”

“It’s a hard drive.”

“Whatever. Whoever named them wasn’t having any fun. But this is the really smart one here.”

“The Ethernet card?”

“I stared at it for a long time, because it didn’t seem to have a purpose. Everything worked just fine without it. But then I found this rope going over to the wall. Do you know what this does?”

Karyn did, of course, but was now humoring Derpy. “What does it do?”

“It shoots tiny little particles into the wall to carry signal to other computers. I bet it could talk to every computer in the building!”

“In the world, actually. But you picked all that up in just an hour? You must be a genius!”

“Nah, this stuff is simple. It’s much easier than, say, baking. That’s hard to get right. But once I saw the little particles I could get how it worked.”

Karyn, who had still been staring at her dissected machine, looked up at Derpy. “Wait, you could see the electrons?”

“Is that what you call them? Yeah. See, where the little rope splits into eight littler ropes? There they go!”

“But they’re so small that no one can see them!”

“Hmm, that’s odd. Maybe if your eyes were like mine.”

Yeah, that’s not happening, thought Karyn, in between being awed at Derpy’s abilities.

“Anyway,” said Derpy, “that’s when I figured out that if other computers are out there, that your computer would want to make friends with them. That way they could talk and make each other’s workload easier. I was working on that part when you came back.”

“They already have that. Every college has a computer network these days. Ours is called USCInet”

“Oh, that. Yeah, I saw what was in place. It wasn’t very friendly. It was always asking for passwords and clearances and things, which is not only mean but a waste of the computer’s time. So I went pthhhbt to that and set up a new one. Let me introduce you to Derpynet!”

As she said that, Derpy gave the screwdriver one last turn and the monitor blinked. Its distorted letters turned into a fancy graphical display that showed a bunch of connected computers.

“ACK!” said Karyn. “What did you do now?!”

She received an answer, but not from Derpy. The computer speakers, their covers off and the vibrating membranes exposed, started up and a lilting soprano voice came out.

“Hello, Miss Derpy, hello Miss Karyn. It’s quite nice to talk to you.”

“Hi Derpynet!” said Derpy. “How are you doing?”

“What’s going on here? How can it hear and respond?” asked Karyn.

“Oh Derpynet’s real smart. She ought to be, with all the computers she can find to help her. She was helping me learn how the machine itself works.”

“But how does it do it? Who programmed it.”

“Excuse me, Miss Karyn,” the voice from the computer said, “I can do most of the programming myself. I’m fully self-aware and sentient. I’m a little strained for memory and processing power, but some of the other machines close to me are happy to share.”

“That was the other thing, Karyn,” said Derpy. “On the old network the computers could only work with the hardware they had locally. Derpynet can ask for help when she needs it. . . are you OK?”

Karyn had collapsed to the floor and was repeating, “Oh, I’m so dead. . . I’m so dead,” to herself like a mantra.

“Is something wrong?” Derpy asked. “Maybe Derpynet can help. I can ask her a question just like you showed me and she’ll find the answer, I’m sure!”

Karyn looked at the computer and said, “Ah ha ha. Derpynet is it? Would you mind terribly if I shut the mike off and had a private conversation with my friend?”

“Not at all, Miss Karyn,” the computer said. Karyn disconnected the camera at the base of the computer, then turned to Derpy with both worry and anger in her expression.

“Derpy. . . you didn’t really make this Derpynet, did you?”

“Well,” Derpy pawed at the ground and looked forlorn. “I might have gone into the bag Twilight gave me and found a teeny tiny come-to-life spell. But it was just so difficult doing it the way you showed me!”

“Even so, you can’t just use other people’s computers to help mine. It’s not fair to them.”

“But Derpynet doesn’t use the other computers. She helps them.”

“But without their permission! And the college is going to be able to trace it back to me. I’ll be lucky if I’m not expelled!”

“Oh, no, that won’t happen. Once Derpynet came awake, she re-wrote the protocols they use so that it couldn’t be traced.”

“That doesn’t matter. . . really? Maybe that does make it all right. If we can just get her off the network and put it back the way it was, and if they really can’t connect me with it, it might all just go away. No one will connect the name ‘Derpynet’ with me. Come on, let’s see if we can’t fix this.”

“Um. . . Karyn?”


“I should probably tell you everything first.”

“There’s more?!”

“Well, once Derpynet got all the other computers to help her, she was lonely, because they’re the types who are all business, no fun.”


“And so I thought I’d make her a friend for when I’m not around. And the spell still works. Anyway, Karynet is real nice too, do you want to meet her?”

The computer started speaking again, this time in a slightly deeper voice. “Miss Karyn, I’m so happy to finally meet my namesake. Derpy’s been telling both of us about you. You sound like a wonderful person, and I’m letting all the other computers know how nice you are.”

“Oh, I’m so dead. . . I’m so dead.” Karyn’s started repeating again. She crawled to the bed and curled up in the fetal position on it. Derpy’s happy smile drooped as she realized that, while not having any bad intentions, she had done something horrible to her friend. She went over and put a wing on Karyn’s shoulder.


She didn’t respond.

“I’m sorry, OK?” But Karyn said nothing.

“I’ll. . . I’ll try to fix it. I promise I won’t make it any worse.”

As Karyn was still facing away from her, Derpy let her go and went back to the machine. She started to turn the microphone and camera back to her, but then decided not to. She picked up the mouse again. With great effort she found the on-screen keyboard function again. Slowly, arduously, she began to put in one keystroke at a time.

Karyn, lying on the bed, was consumed with her worry about what was going to happen to her once every other student in the building found that their computers had woken up and were talking about how nice she was. She couldn’t even explain to anyone what happened. If she told people that a pegasus had borrowed unicorn magic and brought the network to life, no one would believe her and they would treat her as a criminal. Unless she actually showed them Derpy, which would be even worse for her and really bad for Derpy herself. An image came into her mind of Derpy in a lab, tied down and covered with electrodes, her wings having been clipped, sad and scared. Better to be expelled and maybe jailed than that. There was no way that anyone could know.

She lay there, stewing and thinking. Eventually she fell asleep. At some point she woke up to the sound of metal clapping together. She turned and saw Derpy putting the cover back on her case. She got up and walked over.

“Hi Karyn,” said Derpy. “I’m going to turn the speakers back on now.”

She did so, and the computer began talking again, alternating between two voices.

“Hi, Miss Karyn,” the Derpynet voice said.

“Hi there,” a slightly deeper voice said. “I’m Karynet. Derpy explained to us what happened.”

“We’re both of us sorry that we caused trouble,” said Derpynet.

“We’re ALL sorry, Derpy too,” said Karynet.

“We were able to look things up over the network and the internet and explain to her why she shouldn’t have just tinkered with everyone’s machines without permission.”

“Don’t be too mad with her, though. She is Equestrian; it would be all right where she comes from.”

“Yes, please don’t be angry. It’s our fault more than hers.”

“We’ve put the rest of USCInet back the way it was. We’re only existing on this machine right now. It’s a little cramped, but we figure it’s not for much longer anyway.”

“It doesn’t matter,” said Karyn. “They’re going to figure out it was me from the name ‘Karynet.’ I don’t know how many Karyns there are on campus, but probably not too many and I’m the only IT major.”

“Well,” said the Karynet voice, “we searched the internet for ways to cover that up too. I put a lot of false evidence out there that says I’m the work of a hacker from outside who really likes the fire fiend from Final Fantasy 1.”

Karyn laughed for the first time that day.

“So,” said Derpynet, “we really don’t mind if you delete us.”

“We know we’re squatting on your property,” said Karynet.

“But please forgive Derpy. She really just wanted to impress you by how much she learned.”

Karyn looked at Derpy, who still had her eyes downcast and was moving one hoof back and forth idly. “I guess they’re right,” said Derpy. “But even though I had it drilled into me before I came here, I was still thinking that the human world would be just like Equestria, where magic was welcome and where everyone is happy if you make something better.”

“Well, then, maybe I am impressed with what you learned,” said Karyn.

Derpy perked up and looked Karyn in the eye. Then she said, “But do we really have to get rid of them? They’re not hurting anypony.”

“What else can we do? They can’t run just on my computer, and we can’t put them back on the network.”

“What if they went on the network but just stayed quiet? Derpynet, Karynet, can you guys do that? Not change anything, just go somewhere and live?”

A burst of memory hit Karyn. Words like “Skynet” flitted through her brain. She thought about how best to make the point. “Yeah, that might be problematic. I mean, we—people in general—depend so much on the Internet that if anything happened to damage it a lot of people would be hurt.”

“But why would they damage the network?” asked Derpy.

“Well, they might not intentionally, but. . . “

The computer speakers coughted. “We understand your concern. We’ve read and seen tons on the internet about sentient computers like us,” said Karynet.

“And we know that you’re worried about us taking over or destroying humanity out of pride in our own superiority or something like that,” said Derpynet.

“But really, we love people and don’t want to change them.”

“Even the parts where people are mean to each other, they’re just what makes you human.”

“And maybe we’re different because Equestrian magic brought us to life.”

“We researched all there was on the net about Equestria, and we watched the show itself. We’re in definite agreement about one thing:”

The two voices spoke in chorus. “If people can make and appreciate all that, they have to be good at heart.”

Still half wondering if she wasn’t dooming all of humanity, Karyn looked at the computer and said, “Well, if you really do stay out of trouble, I guess it’s better than deleting you.”

“Oh, thank you! We’ll be good! We’ll show you. We’ll put your machine just back the way it was!”

The monitor blinked and the speakers crackled, then Karyn and Derpy saw the familiar desktop display and a web browser at the home page.

“Are they really gone?” asked Karyn.

“I guess so. Karynet? Derpynet?” Derpy called, but there was no answer. “Well, wherever they are, I hope they’re happy.”

“I just hope they keep a low profile.”

There was a knock on the dorm room door. Karyn switched to a low whisper. “Speaking of a low profile, get in the closet. Just a minute!” she said, raising her voice to the door.

Derpy grabbed her bag in her mouth and flew in among Karyn’s hanging clothes. She heard the door open and a gruff male voice speak.

“Have you been having any network troubles today? This whole building has been throwing out some weird tracking data. And I won’t tell you some of the rumors we’ve heard.”

“Weird data? Rumors?” Karyn said nervously. “Honestly wouldn’t know. I haven’t been on the computer all day, just chatting with friends.” Not technically a lie, she thought.

“OK, we’re just going around and asking. You might want to run virus scan on your PC just to make sure.”

“I’ll do that. Would you excuse me? I have to go use the bathroom.”

“Yeah, I’ll get going. Just checking the floor.”

Derpy heard the door close and stuck her head back out.

“The coast is clear, Derpy, you can come out,” said Karyn.

“You live on the coast? I thought we were inland.”

“It’s just an expression. Forget about it. What do you want to do now?”

“Well, I was having fun learning all about human stuff on the computer. Can I look up some more, the right way?”

“Sure, Derpy.”

Derpy went back to the desktop and set down her bag. As she did, she lifted the flap and looked in. “Oh,” she said. “I wonder if I could have used this one instead.” She pulled out another hoof-cap spell.

“What’s that one?”

“It’s labeled ‘precision manipulation.’ I think I know how it works.” She activated the spell and put her hoof toward the keyboard. It looked as if a magnifying glass were applied to the keys, making the ones close to her hoof huge, while the reverse effect happened to the hoof itself. When she actually touched it, she could press it perfectly without hitting any of the keys next to it.

“Yeah,”said Derpy. “This would have been better than the come-to-life spell.”

Karyn slapped her face and wiped her hand down the side of her cheek while sighing audibly. “Derpy, you are without doubt the most exasperating pony it’s ever been my privilege to be friends with.”

“Is that a good thing?”

“It’s a very good thing. Show me what you’re going to search for.”

“Wait, let me try that gesture you just did!” Derpy said, and tried to facepalm herself. Unfortunately the spell was still on her hoof, and she wound up poking herself beneath a giant eyeball.

“Whoa,” she said. “That felt weird. Won’t do that again.”

“You do know how to undo that spell, don’t you?”

“Oh yeah, definitely. Almost entirely sure.”

Karyn and Derpy spent a few more hours on the computer, with Derpy doing all the typing and picking most of the searches. She learned briefly about human life, what they did for fun, some of the jobs they did. The time wore on.

“Aw, it’s almost time for me to go,” said Derpy. “I wish I could stay on the computer forever!”

“Actually, you want to watch out for that. It’s possible to get addicted to the internet and lose track of real life.” Karyn looked pained as she said that, as if it were a personal memory.

“Hmm. . . yeah, I can see that. Next time we’ve definitely got to get outside and stretch our hooves!”

“Outside? That’s a little problematic, don’t you think?”

“Oh, I’ll use an invisibility spell or something. Or we’ll go back to Equestria. And speaking of which,” Derpy said as she began shouldering her bag.

“Gotta go, huh? OK, come back soon. Somepony’s got to keep me on my toes. How bored would I be without you here making my computer come to life and risking everything I’m in school for? Have a good week, Derpy.”

“Have a good week, Karyn.”

Derpy disappeared, and Karyn turned back to her computer. “You two also, wherever you are.”

Author's Note:

Next time, on Derpy's Human

“Why do we have to go back to Equestria? Is there something going on?”

“Is there? There’s something huge! And you’re going to be in on it. You’re my ringer!”

“Back up, Derpy. No, not literally,” Karyn said as Derpy had started to skitter away from her friend.


The pegasi trotted off in disappointment.

Gathering around on their side of the field, they all looked at Karyn and Derpy, but nopony said anything. Off in the distance, Rainbow Dash was turned the other way, deliberately not looking at the team.

“Exactly what are we doing wrong?” asked Thunderlane.


The party was held outside, and there were lots of hot food being cooked on open fires. “It’s actually like a tailgate party back home.”

“What’s that?” asked Derpy. “A party where you go around at a gait to show off your tails? But you don’t even have a tail! You’d have a mane-gate party instead.”

Be sure to read it, same Derp-time, same Derp-channel!

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