• Member Since 18th Nov, 2013
  • offline last seen Jun 5th, 2020


If we can dream it then we can do it


All her life, Professor Lyra Heartstrings has passionately sought scientific proof for the existence of "human" beings, a technologically-advanced race of sentient creatures who theoretically ruled the world in a time before ponies. But now that Lyra stands upon the brink of Equestria's most important anthropological discovery, she's haunted with the gnawing thought that not all projects that begin should necessarily be finished.

(This is an entry into Obselescence's The More Most Dangerous Game Contest, with the Prompt Being a Re-Interpretation of JasonTheHuman's classic fanfic, Anthropology.)

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 43 )

This is really excellent. Just a solid take on Anthropology, with a lot of cool twists and a subtle way of foreshadowing the end throughout without revealing anything until the penultimate moment when everything becomes horrifyingly clear.

A good tale. It's a shame the author choose to go the "technology is evil" rout though.

This is a freaking masterpiece.

They way you wrote it was like a movie, and I could see it all clearly in my mind!
I really hope more people see this because you don't have that many followers, and I fear that this may get overshadowed by a story that isn't as good by someone with more followers....

Holy fuck. This was masterfully done. If this isn't a finalist, I might throw something.

Well... fuck. That was an emotionally draining story. I'm echoing the disappointment in it being a 'technology is evil' sort of ending, however, I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it because the little things that annoyed me about the story turned out to be the things that made it work in the end. That said, I'm going to go do/watch something a little happier now. That... wasn't easy to absorb.

However, consider yourself watched, 'Spag. I'm hoping for great things to come from you.

"...Where was it again, Professor? Fillydelphia"

“Ponyville,” Lyra corrected.

I see what you did there, 'Spag. Don't think that I didn't.

Each and every one of you know the pamphlets upon pamphlets of fully documented evidence

Emphasis mine. Why pamphlets and not essays?

“For our function was interrupted,” Bon Bon says. “A massive solar storm erupted eons ago, we hypothesize, but gathering astronomical evidence will have to wait. There are more pressing concerns at the moment.”

Then... couldn't Celestia just shut them all down again? And why would the Princesses let her keep these things if they knew they were so dangerous? Okay, they may not have known exactly how dangerous, but enough to suppress the knowledge of them. And how did they so suddenly appear in enough numbers to completely overwhelm the entire planet?

Also, please god throw in at least a few scene breaks!

I don't think it's so much about "Technology is evil", than about "Be careful when dealing with things you don't understand", and "Progress is not without its risks". The latter, in particular, is an idea a lot of nerds hate with a passion: that advancing technology and sciences are not an unalloyed good, or that there might be a moral dimension to the advancement of knowledge.

Lyra's drive is quixotic, all-consuming, unwise. We see the first glimpse of that when she goes diving in the caves beneath Dream Valley, endangering her own life. She's not a bad pony for being passionate about humans, no. But she's more than passionate, she's obsessive... and with everything Twilight told her, she still barges ahead with her unsanctioned experiments.

It's a common mistake, to think that your noble ends justify the sordid means you're using to pursue those ends. But Lyra commits a reverse error: she's so focused on the means that she never stops to consider there might be an end she's pursuing.


Nah, the lack of scene transitions is integral to the story. It's the first hint we get that things are not what they seem, and it builds up as the story progresses.

I got shivers at the end of this. Great job, although it could have done with one less scene in the middle. The switching from past to present tense was a bit jarring, and I think that sticking to one tense would have been fine. I was more confused by the tense switching then the scene swapping(which didn't confuse me at all, really).

Top three in my book.

Kick ass man , keep on keeping on.

You've got flashbacks that need section breaks between them. They confused the hell out of me. Like this:

“Oh Bon Bon.” Lyra chuckles delicately, stroking the fuzz behind Whiskers' lazy ears. “Please, after all these years of being best friends...” She takes a moment to gaze softly out the window. “I knew it would be worth it before I even set out on my expeditions.”

She trotted down the steps and then to the very front of an ampitheatrical classroom. A few voices coughed and others yawned while over four dozen lazy college eyes glared down at her from above. Nevertheless, with confident poise, Lyra fixed a crystal to a pedestal, shot a beam of magic into it, and projected a broad map of Equestria onto the white board behind her. Adjusting her glasses, the young professor pivoted towards the class, cleared her throat, and smiled.

But this, I still haven't figured out:

“So, entreating an enthusiastic openness of mind, I would like to discuss with each and every one of you today's topic: 'The Xenodisparate Forbearer Theory.'”

“Hard to believe that you first lectured college kids on that topic,” Bon Bon says with a slight giggle.

The first sentence takes place within the flashback. But the second sentence is outside the flashback, yet responds to what Lyra said within the flashback. :twilightoops:

Same here:

It was the most beautiful thing Lyra had ever seen, and her tranquil smile showed it, growing wider and wider across her tear-stained muzzle.

“Is that the moment when you knew?” Bon Bon asks.

If you're being artsy... don't. You're using up your readers' mental reserves figuring out the bare facts of what is happening where and when, which is what a writer is supposed to tell them, instead of figuring out something important.

5682938 ...eh, I see the transitions are deliberate. I still think they're overly artsy, but I see the effect you're going for. This one, though, is just broken:

“But of course. Celestia knows I did!” Fancy chuckled merrily. “After all, it's why I started funding you to begin with.”

“And who might you be, my little pony?” Hoity Toity asked, swirling a cocktail glass in his hoof.

Here there's no change in tense to signal the scene change.

5682999 Well, now that I'm all the way through, I can imagine why one might do things that way, but I don't think it serves this story. If Lyra were, from the start, within a simulation, or some altered state of mind, it would make sense. But if she is now preserved in some virtual reality, the final scene with Bon-Bon / robot would also be something in her memory, and so the present / past tense distinction would fall apart.

Great story, though I still don't cotton to the deliberate obfuscation.

I still don't know what to make of this story. On the one hand, I'm pretty sure I liked it. On the other hand, wat. That ending was so... wat.

Why does Filthy speak in an accent?



“Don't tell me you're on board with this lady's bogus theory!”

Would Hoity Toity really call this charlatan pseudoscientist a lady?

except the notion


relative to contemporary


“Do you?!” Twilight frowned. “Or have these palace walls and spacious oaken meeting tables drowned it all out for you over the years?!”



Fascism. And what cultural context for fascism do these ponies have, exactly?

Hell, how do they know what a singularity is, let alone integrated circuits?

I stopped reading after Twilight's talk.

I see everyone is thinking this needs scene breaks... But I think that would completely destroy the flow of the story. The way it's written is perfect and gets across just fine.

The ending is a bit confusing, though.

Hey, I wrote a review for this story. It can be found here.

Overall, I really like this story, even if I think it needed some tuning up here and there. It is a bit confusing, but I like the style, and I believe it is integral to the story.

I like this story. I just don't like what the cyborg hybrids do IN THE NAME OF HUMANTIY! Seriously, I'm all for preserving ourselves, but I just don't believe that we would order the cyborgs to spread an extinction-like event across the planet.

the issue i have with this is that the robots would be easily obliterated in this scenario. largely because they are limited by reality, and ponies and magic DEFY reality. reality cannot hold ground to that which breaks its rules.

this is generally just a confusing story. it makes no sense both in how this technology could be salvageable after such a long time, and that the machines could not dream of defeating the ponies. ESPECIALLY with discord at their side. he could turn the robots to chocolate with a snap of his talons and they would have no defense, as it is literally defying reality itself by turning alloys and sillicon into candy like majin buu.
not to mention the princesses are living charged particle cannons.

I like the premise of this story, love how it's executed, and disagree with the conclusion. I'd really love to see more stories where human precursors to Pony civilization didn't fall to their own stupidity or leave behind murderous artefacts.

5726056 Everything you said and more. If the robots could remain viable after all this time, wouldn't this be a robot world or the Matrix?

And the magic stuff... it's impossible if this is our universe. Magic defies all universal laws. It CANNOT exist in our world.

If this was the future of Middle Earth or the Harry Potter-verse... maybe. But set in OUR world, not a chance in hell.

What about fossilization?” Fancy Pants smiled in earnest. His monocle glittered from a city skyline full of bright lights. “Surely their skeletons could have been petrified in stone, or at least some traces of carbon residue—”

“That's just the thing!” Lyra swiveled to stare at him. She adjusted her glasses and said, “Astronomically speaking, mass extinction events happen every other Tuesday. There's no telling how many sentient civilizations once populated this globe, only to be annihilated completely by flame or fallout or worse.

This is just flat-out wrong. We KNOW of the mass extinction events which occurred when there was NO life more advanced than crabs! Intelligent lfie leaves highly visible and enduring evidence behind! Pottery, many alloys, any objects of precious metals, glass, silicon crystals... all these things would exist virtually unchanged in the ground for EONS.

5729203 you are actually wng there. what we create is not built to last. it would be dissolved back into the earth in short order, astronomically speaking.

5729232 :ajbemused:

No. Pottery shards exist from the very earliest time when they were fired. Hell, we even have stone tools from 400,000 years ago, which were little more than specifically chipped rocks.

Glass will NEVER spontaneously decompose. There a reason we can look at volcanic glass from half a billion years ago and it still looks as it did when the ancient volcano spewed it out. A lightbulb in the ground would retain its shape until that portion of the continent was subducted into the mantle!

None of the technology would work, due to complete corrosion of the vulnerable parts, but a large portion of any structure composed of silicon-based materials or corrosion-resistant metals or alloys would remain recognizable for millions of years.

Anyway, this story, as will all these "Equestria is Future Earth" nonsense fics NEVER BOTHER TO EXPLAIN WHERE THE HELL MAGIC CAME FROM!!!!

That is a TITANIC continuity problem in ALL stories of this type, whether serious or satirical. At most, the satirical stories poke fun at the implausibility of it.

Simply put, this story COULD NEVER HAPPEN even in a fictional setup because it violates its own internal plausibility. It also conveniently leaves out characters who could wink these robots out of existence with a thought (i.e., Discord). The scene shifts are so awkward and poorly framed no one can tell where one begins and the other ends without stopping and re-reading several times.

Frankly, it's a total mess, and exactly what I've come to expect from these over-rated contests.

5729270 one does not need highly detailed descriptions. however 400,000 years is chump change on the cosmic scale. would such things remain in a million years more?

either way, this story does not really work in that sense. though I will say you do not need to explain everything. how the magic came about is not important in comparison to the idea that the technology would not have corroded or simply vanished into the earth, or that machines could overpower the ponies when they manipulate reality and the ruling class can dbz the fuck out of threats.
one needs not explain the origin of the tree of harmony nor everfree. for likely the stories of how they came to be are lost to the ages.

I DO think, however, that the concept of previous civlizations existing before current equestrian is both plausible and an interesting idea. it is not earth, and there are many, many threats that could disrupt a society the point of collapse and leave what it created in ruin, its secrets lost. when you have a world with celestial ursas and sand worms, there are places where one does not tread, places where old secrets could be held.
windigos themselves are a prime example. windigos are attracted to concentrations of malice, discord, and darkness, as they feed upon it. a nation ruled by war would attract windigos quite easily, and the windigos would freeze the land.

So basically, Lyra discovered Ultron?

Author Interviewer

Oh my god, that was amazing. :D The ending is fantastic! I got a couple edits for you:

Honeybeak is first referred to as "Honeybreak".

I'd rather live my life as a clown than except the notion

Queen Twilight Sparkle

the darks gaps

my firm believe

This has a really Fucking scary ending!!!... I like that! (:

5729270 Yeah, thats a thing.

Ooh, I like! The lack of section breaks was a bit off-putting at first, but now, having realized the necessity, all is forgiven.

Keep up the good work!

What a :twistnerd:! (The large size did leave me suspicious that they were machines of war.)
The lack of any sort of divider (extra space, a line, anything) was a bit confusing, but I saw how it fit into the narrative soon enough. I really liked when the repetition started at the end.
I'm glad Lyra's as big a fan of Necrons as I am! :trollestia: And I think they like her, too.

“And you think these 'humans' is a logical place to start?”

these 'humans' are

This is a very tragic and sad story with a frightening ending.
I can't say I like it.

Of course we wouldn't. But the problem is, this is apparently what the machines assumed from whatever programming they originally had. And when sapient machines assume they're supposed to sterilize the planet of all (sapient? Nonhuman sapient?) life, then everyone's going to have a bad time to say the least... especially if said machines decide that some of their victims ought to be preserved via cybernetic conversion or destructive mind-uploading or whatever.

AI is a goddamn crapshoot in fiction, and for all we know might be the same IRL as well.

a technological singularity is the hypothesis that accelerating progress in technological advancement will cause a run away effect where in artificial intelligence will exceed human intellectual and control capacity thus dramatically changing civilization in the event known as a singularity.

This was a good story but I've really had it with the whole AI will kill us all thing. There's no reason to believe that will happen. A machine intelligence and a human can occupy the same space without even realizing the other is there at all. We don't even need the same resources. This notion that's been fed to us constantly by Hollywood is disgraceful as it prebiases us to fear AI before its ever even had a chance to prove itself one way or another. Have you ever seen what happens to an otherwise normal person when they are treated like they are some kind of savage beast waiting for the smallest excuse to tear apart everyone around them? They become the monster everyone presumes them to be. By fearing AI as much as we do we are creating a self fulfilling prophecy. At this rate AI will kill us all... because we force it to.

Humans are made of resources. If you’re building something why let the materiel go to waste?

that's why I'm fairly sure the end sequence is a dream.

Chilling yet fun.

Oh hey it's you I see you at cons sometimes

The philosophy of the lyre is bullshit. The classics have long been outdated and have become just a fun mukalura, and not a vital core of culture.

"Artificial intelligence" will most likely really kill us all, but it clearly won't be as similar to human intelligence as in this story (killing ponies, not taking them apart for resources? Seriously?) . Only "technology is evil" is taken out of this story, only without AI we ourselves will die out.
We need stories about how to make AI safe.

I think that’s the machine overseeing Lyra’s memory. All the story is in the past. But every so often present day commentary is sprinkled in from the AI in Bon Bon’s form.

Oh! That sounds like it makes sense, though I didn't reread the story to check.

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