• Published 19th Mar 2015
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Across the Sea of Time - Meep the Changeling



Three nerds are summoned by a mysterious force to save Equestria by helping an Artificial Intelligence build a starfaring Changeling civilization in an attempt to save the world.

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4 - When in Alien Rome & The Hive Queen

Tess’s Personal Log: Stardate… August 10th…

Well, fine. If you spoilsports won't do it, I won't either. It would have been fun! Besides, who knows maybe the whole ‘slingshot around the sun’ thing works and we could get some asshole to post it on the web for us and some guy might have found it funny, or somthing.

Well, duh Phoenix! I know that gravity does not work that way. I may not be a science geek but I still like me some science. It was a joke, admittedly not as good a joke as what you did to Ed. Kudos for that. I’m still giggling about it. Anyways, I should get to the log.

I awoke on the RV’s couch in a daze. As I sat up I noticed Kaily talking to someone hidden from my view by the sink. I seemed to recall a rather nice fantasy of picking up a hot anthro bug girl while on an alien planet. “Awww man… That one was awesome.” I groaned wistfully.

“Good dream?” Kaily asked. She turned to look over her shoulder at me.

“Yeah, we picked up a cute shapechanging bug girl. I was hoping it would have lasted long enough for a date… The good ones never do,” I answered.

A raven haired French looking human girl came into view, stretching to see me over the sink. “We can totally do a date if you want!” She winked at me, and suddenly her body was consumed in green fire leaving behind the humanoid version of the alien bug girl from what I had assumed was a psychotic break induced fantasy.

I felt my heart seize up. The world grayed out for an instant before coming back into focus. I sat bolt upright, eyes fixed on… a hot anthro bug girl in an olive green bathrobe. “Sweet! It’s still going on! Your name was Ad’ika right? I’ll take you up on that date, lunch, right now, before I snap out of it for real.”

“Tess, this is actually happening.” Ed called from the driver’s seat. He sounded like he didn't believe it.

Kaily nodded in agreement. She held up my pill bottle and shook it. Nothing rattled around inside. “You’re out of meds. We packed only enough for the trip. This is actually happening. If you seriously doubt us, you should probably treat it like the real thing. You don’t want to scare her off.”

Ad’ika smiled and sat back down, “I do not know how Human dating works, but she’s fine. Changelings are very direct about our attractions and desires. I’ll prove it, I would enjoy snuggling with any of you because you look comfortable to cuddle. Also whatever the soft squishy things your females have on their chests are called, they look like they would make nice pillows. Seriously, you guys look like you are designed for snuggles. It’s not fair.”

Kaily sat there in silent shock for a few moments as I squeed. At last Kaily held her face in her hands and groaned, “Oh my god, the first alien ever encountered is a xenophile…”

“Xenophile?” Ad’ika asked.

I smiled at her. “It means someone who is attracted to alien or foreign cultures, customs, or appearances. In this case Kaily means you have an attraction to creatures outside your own species. But I mean that makes sense, your planet has multiple sentient species. Now, see, it doesn't make any sense for me. I like non human species over my own… But nothing in our species history exists which would make that have any sorta sense to it.”

She nodded, seemingly interesting. Then she paused, “Wait, so you mean you are sexualy attracted to me?”

Jackpot! This trip was finally going where I wanted it to. “Yeah! You are much more attractive as a humanoid though.”

“I thought you were just having an extreme reaction to my scent.” Ad’ika grinned and squirmed in her seat a little shyly. Turning to Kaily she asked. “Did she have any attractions before she met me? I want to make sure that she’s not being manipulated or-”

Kaily picked up my laptop, opened the screen and turned it around. “This is the desktop image she has used for the last three months. You tell me.”

“Kaily!” I snapped, “I’m trying to-”

“Hey that’s pretty cool!” Ad’ika exclaimed as she studied. “If this species is that pretty in the visible spectrum they must be a riot in UV! What do you like most about them? I like the quadrupedal lower body segment that has advantages and when paired with the human like upper body… I don’t like that thorax though. If I ever learned this form I’d try and integrate it into one single body segment. More like a centaur’s.”

Double jackpot! I grinned and slid over to the table and gently took my laptop, “Here, let me see that a minute.”

I quickly clicked through a few folders until I had my stash of pervy and not so pervy insectoid art. “These are just pieces of fantasy art, but you might appreciate them. So, you are saying that she would be cute like this? Because I so agree.”

I opened the alternant image for Ad’ika to see and turned the screen a little so she wouldn’t have to crane her neck. She nodded, “Yeah that’s much better! That abdomen would have made it hard to mount her… Is it just me or is her chest bumps things a bit smaller in this drawing?”

“It’s not just you. The guy who paid for this version to be drawn asked for smaller ones. The jerk. Those are called boobs by the way.” I commented.

“What are they for? I have some bits riding on ‘food reserve containers’.” Ad’ika commented.

“Lot’s of things. Attracting a mate, sexual pleasure, feeding children, feeling better than other women because yours are bigger, and like you said, they make good pillows. Especially Kaily’s.”

Ad’ika blinked and looked between Kaily and I for a few moments, “Oh… you two are together.”

“Were not monogamous.” Kaily answered, “Well, most humans are, but lots of people from our generation aren't. Go ahead. Do your thing Tess and alien clone of Tess. I’m going to keep Ed company.”

I stuck my tongue out at her as Kaily got up and sat down in the passenger's seat. Then I turned my attention back to my laptop, and because Ad’ika was into it too, started to show off my collection. After a few dozen pictures Ad’ika stopped me by pointing to the screen, “Hey I could totally do that one!”

I blinked in surprise. The picture in question was remarkably like a changeling, in fact it was close to her current form, just mega busty, almost hyper levels of busty. Also the waist was appropriately waspish, and instead of the fullplate like exoskeleton Ad’ika was currently sporting the drawing’s exo was smooth and streamlined. Basically a super busty, sunble anthro bug girl with cute lady bug patterned wing covers, and a pair of ovipositors.

“R-really?” I asked, blushing a little.

“Yeah. Tell you what, I’ll make you a deal. If you let me feed off you I’ll take that form whenever you like.”

“You’re serious?” I asked. Usually girls were not this accepting, even in my fantasies.

“Well, to be fair I’m going to do it anyways.” She giggled, but then cleared her throat and put on a more serious expression. “Look, I get that you want to screw me. That’s totally fine! Everyling sleeps with her friends. It’s just how our culture works, but… I’m going to be honest with you. I would like to be friends, best friends in fact with an adorable alien. Now, from what I can tell, humans work like ponies with their sexual relationships. You seem like you guys establish a relationship strictly for sex and sometimes companionship comes with it. That’s not how changelings do it, and since I am not undercover I would like this to be a real relationship.”

Oh snap this was actually happening. I had just showed a really hot bug girl I wanted to bang my porn collection of creatures like her, and she actually existed. “Oh… crap… ummm…. Sorry for treating you like just an orifice-”

“Oh no that was actually very sweet of you! It made me feel welcome.” Ad’ika said with a smile.

“What? Why? How?” I asked in surprise.

“Like I said, we’re a casual species. I would like to do a traditional changeling form of relationship with you. We form small clusters of individuals who in the human sense are friends, but sexualy active. We don’t do marriage, we don’t do any official commitments, only the bond between individuals and their desire to keep everyone in their personal cluster happy matters,” Ad’ika giggled, “I explained this to a pony friend once and she thought it sounded cold… But it isn’t it’s just as loving as any other form of romance, but we always leave room in our hearts for anyling, or anyone else who might fit into the cluster.”

“That sounds like it keeps your hives really close knit.” Kaily called from the cab. “Though disease must be a problem.”

Ad’ika nodded, “That’s the point. A large group of lovers who may have lovers outside your group helps the community feel more like a big family. As for disease, our hive cannot become ill. Our Queen’s technology has removed desease from our lives entirely. Er- cyber technology which uses nanites to replace the natural immune system. All Emerald Hive members get the implant for free and it simply disassembles anything that enters your body which isn't food or a part of you or another person.”

“So,” I began, “you would like to be my friend, and we just have sex on the side?”

She nodded. Now that I was sure I understood what she was talking about doing, I could offer my own ideas.

“Tell you what. I’ll take that deal, but you have to accept a few human ideas. When we find a lover we really like, we do things like sleep together, go on dates, spend time alone-”

“Oh! Like best friends!” Ad’ika beamed, “Being best friends with an alien is a squish list item of mine. I accept!”

“Squish list?” Ed, Kaily, and I asked together.

“A list of things you would like to do before you die.” Ad’ika clarified.

I giggled. That was adorable. “Ok then, deal. So do we do anything official?”

“Nah. If you don't mind I would like to eat though. I used a lot of energy today.”

I nodded, “Sure we have some snacks over-”

A full body tingle washed over me as a fine pale green mist rose from my skin and flowed to Ad’ika’s lips like a river of steam. After a few seconds the mist stopped coming off me and the last few wisps vanished down Ad’ika’s throught. A dull throbbing headache hit me like a brick, nothing too bad, but definitely irritating. “Ow… Right… emotavore.”

“Are you ok? Some creatures are very easily hurt by-”

“Fine, just a headache.” I said rubbing my temples.

“R-realy? Just a headache on your first time? That’s weird… but great! Because you are delicious! It’s like your love was made to be eaten! Filling, tasty, and…” Ad’ika trailed off for a minute her eyes focusing on my laptop‘s screen.

“What is it?” I asked curiously.

“C-can you actually do that with a breast?” Ad’ika asked, “Because that seems like a fun place to put a few eggs.”

I could feel Ed and Kaily’s wines from all the way in the cabin. “Lieutenant…” Ed said in a strained tone.

“Yes?”

“Maybe you could finish showing your new friend your porn collection when I am not trying to drive. Or you know, present.” Ed asked.

I giggled, “Sure! Sorry… Wasn’t sure this was real.”

“Yeah it’s fine. Just… stop it.” Ed begged.

Rolling my eyes I leaned in close to Ad’ika and whispered, “Not naturally, but with advanced medical technology, I’m sure something could be arranged.”

<Awesome! We’ll have to see if Her Highness will let us do that, but let’s stop bothering your Captain.> Ad’ika said telepathically. “So, let’s trade cultural information!”

Kaily quickly returned to the table, “Now this is a conversation I want to be a part of!”

Chief Engineer’s Log: 12th of Harvestide '09 EoH

The trip to the Emerald Hive took far less time than I thought it would. It was also not very eventful. While Ad’ika was more than happy to talk about her species and learn about our own, Tess kept the conversation mostly focused on her shapechanging. I could already tell Ad’ika had a thing for Tess, so she was more than happy to provide Tess with many fascinating demonstrations of her abilities.

I would have enjoyed them more under different circumstances. I do after all have a degree in astrobiology, and here was an alien girl who could alter her biology in seemingly any way she liked. Simply put, I was jealous of her.

My jealousy wouldn’t prevent me from becoming her friend. My glee at her being a living, breathing, alien ensured we would become friends, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t hurt my feelings. It had taken me years to start a relationship with Tess, I spent countless hours being romantic towards before she realized she had feelings for me. It had surprised me when she told me she hadn’t noticed before because she wasn’t sexualy attracted to humans, but in the end she fell in love with my personality and we had been together ever since.

Yet, with Ad’ika, hardly a day had passed and yet the two of them were already in the first stages of love. Most people think it takes a long time to fall in love, which is factually incorrect. It only takes milliseconds for someone to fall in love.

That’s strictly scientifically speaking of course, most people would call the stage Tess and Ad’ika were at ‘lust’. They forget that all loving relationships begin with lust. It’s only when the lust lasts for a long time that we start thinking of it as being love.

I was a human, Ad’ika was not. Because of Tess’s oddities that meant the instant lust response worked in their case. I wasn’t worried that I would be abandoned by Tess since she found someone far more attractive to her. I was angry that my body didn’t have that sort of attractiveness in my love’s eyes.

If they lasted as a couple for any real length of time, I would have to look into the science behind Ad’ika’s shapechanging. Maybe I could build a device to replicate it. I might also be able to get the power to make Tess’s eyes glow with lust, love, and desire.

These thoughts consumed me for the entire trip. It wasn’t until the Sagan’s radio crackled to life and a female voice began speaking to me that I snapped back to reality.

“Welcome to the Emerald Hive, also known as the TFV Phoenix.” It said, “I am Phoenix, the artificial intelligence in control of this vessel. Judging by your vehicle's damaged state, make, and model, any radio communications tools you may have are likely damaged. As such I do not expect a reply, I am sending this message only to greet you and to request you park your vehicle in Cargo Bay 3. The Airlock will be opening soon and is on your left.”

It sounded exactly like SHODAN, but without the random pitch shifting, time scaling, and that reverberating stuttering thing. “Um...” Tess and I said together wordlessly.

“Whatever you say, Shodan,” Ed muttered from the driver seat, “That has to be a coincidence, right?”

“What do you mean? Is there something wrong with Her Highness's voice?” Ad’ika asked curiously. Her face taking on a concerned look. In her current humanoid form it was much easier for me to read her emotions.

Tess nodded, “I’m sure it’s just a coincidence, but she sounds exactly like an artificial intelligence which bugged out and took control of a space station, killing everyone on board.”

“Oh!” Adi’ka exclaimed brightening up, “My ancestors had to replace her original voice modulator. That’s not how she originally sounded, and it’s ok, all she wants to do is help us. Well, that, and occasionally take potshots at Tazzleworms.” She closed her eyes for a moment then flinched before opening them again, “Ow…”.

The AI’s voice crackled over our radio again, “Clever! I hadn’t thought of relaying information through Ad’ika’s hive link. Please refrain from doing so again, my children cannot handle the higher frequencies I use to emulate their telepathic links. That said, there is nothing to be afraid of. After all...”

The AI’s voice suddenly was accompanied by a background mechanical humm, faint electronic notes, and the other aspects of the SHODAN voice, “... what is it you fear? The end of your trivial existence?”

Before I could panic, the extra creepy qualities of her voice vanished as quickly as they came, “Apologies, I couldn’t resist. For the record, I can not harm you. My programming forbids me from killing non-hostile humans. Additionally, I require a humans services to unlock portions of my programming. We will discuss this in detail when you arrive.”

“Fucking prankster AI…” Ed grumbled sounding more then shaken, “Ah there's the door.”

“Were you on the station Captain Tylor?” Ad’ika asked in concern.

“No, but the whole thing was, um- Made into a training simulation. The idea was to provide a sim which could help train people to react rationally in the worst situations. It… It didn’t work.” he answered steering the Sagan into the cargo bay.

I didn’t see the entrance at first, I had assumed it would be in the large hill a few kilometers away from us. Instead, a large hatch opened in the ground, sand spilling onto a ramp as the door slid apart. The hatch and ramp was maybe a hundred meters wide and perfectly square. It definitely was made for loading and unloading really big things.

Ed drove us inside and parked a short ways from a single changeling who stood by an interior door. He was much taller than Ad’ika, standing about my height. He was just as thin as her normal form though, and his horn looked more like a stinger or blade. Even with my dislike of insects, I had to admit, the red sash he had on to mimic a federation uniform was just adorable. “I’m guessing that’s a male, given the physical differences.”

“That’s Captain Skriit, he probably wants to welcome you before you go to medical.” Ad’ika informed. “Oh! Um, don’t assume someling’s a male if they look like him. He’s a Royal, the whole caste looks like that. Unless you can see in the ultraviolet spectrum you should wait until someling speaks before identifying their gender.”

“Realy? What’s UV have to do with it?” Ed asked as he shut off the engines and unbuckled.

“We have patterns in our exoskeletons which only appear in the UV spectrum. Males have a stripe from nose to back, females don’t.” she explained as she struggled with her own buckle, “How do-”

Ed reached over and unbuckled the straps, “Like that. Right, everyone on your best behavior. We don’t want to offend the leader of a country.”

I nodded, and was about to say something when Tess exclaimed, “Ah ha! I knew I packed it!” then took a flashlight out of her suitcase and clicked it on.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

Tess pointed to the violet glow, “Blacklight. I packed it because I thought we were going to get a hotel room.”

“And what are you doing with it?” I asked, more confused.

Tess pointed the light at Ad’ika, who winces instantly. “Wow that’s really bright!” portions of her exoskeleton glowed slightly purple under the blacklight, revealing a pattern which resembled my tattoo in shape. Rather than being composed of flowers and vines was simply arcing lines.

Tess clicked it off, “That’s awesome! We should take you neon bowling sometime.”

Ed sighed and opened the door, “Come on, let’s behave for five minutes.”

“Did- did you just make my pattern visible to you? How did you do that?” Ad’ika asked completely confused.

“Blacklight. It’s a ultraviolet light, some substances which react with UV glows in the visible spectrum under intense ultraviolet light. It’s a phenomenon called fluorescence.” I informed as I got up and stepped out just after Ed.

“Yeah,” Tess said, “We use the effect for a lot of stuff. Like my tattoos, ghostly white in normal light, bright glowing purple in black light.”

Ed turned around, “Wait, you have tattoos? Where?”

“They are not exactly on places I show off to guys Ed.” Tess teased. I heard her hop out of the Sagan, followed by Ad’ika.

The second Ad’ika left a very authoritative voice filled my head, <Ensign! What are you doing?>

<Sir, a quadrupedal body is not able to easily use human made devices. I shifted to comfortably sit and make use of a safety harness sir.> Ad’ika replied. She sounded a little scared.

<Not your body Ensign, you are out of uniform while officially on duty!> He pointed with a hoof at the olive green bathrobe we had given Ad’ika to prevent Tess from just galking at her all day.

Tess quickly offered a salute to the changeling Captain, who returned it just as Tess announced, “Sir! Ms. Ad’ika informed us you had appointed her as our Ambassador. This is a ‘ambassador's uniform’, a gift given as a token of good will which also serves to let crewmen identify foreign ambassadors on sight.”

Clever girl. I had to hand it to her, I never would have thought of that.

<I see. In that case, I apologize. The documentation we have on your culture does not make mention of this… Though I am aware you change uniforms from time to time.> The captain said as he trotted up to Ed, offering his hoof.

Ed shook his hoof quickly, “I apologize for my Tactical officer speaking out of turn. She has grown quite fond of your scout. My name is Captain Edward Tylor, USS Sagan.”

<Captain Skriit Bartor, Emerald Hive.> For a split second flashed a smile which destroyed the ‘hard ass officer’ impression he obviously groomed to perfection. Even after it vanished I couldn’t help but see him as a rabid fanboy, <I wish I could greet you properly but Her Highness has requested you be brought to medical as quickly as possible. As soon as you are able I would love to offer you dinner in my quarters, we have food supplies for such occasions and several of our non-changeling residents are excellent cooks. I have been wondering how human food tastes for some time, perhaps you could share recipes beforehand?>

“I was under the impression your species consumes emotional energy.” Ed said with a frown.

<We do, but we are able to eat small amounts of organic materials. There is no nutritional value to doing so, but flavor is something of a hobby for my people.>

“Then I will happily share any recipes my crew has available.” Ed said with a strained smile. I could tell he was stressed out, aliens had asked for human recipies and he can’t cook. I decided not to tell him that Tess is an excellent cook and just watch him squirm his way through the conversation.

A blue line and a red line suddenly blinked into existence on the floor. They ran from where the four of us were standing to the door which led deeper into the changeling’s facility. The AI’s voice popped back into existence, “Captain, there will be plenty of time later for pleasantries. This is a medical emergency. Please follow the blue line to my medical bay. Ensign Ad’ika, as you have been appointed ambassador I have arranged some special training sessions for you to take while these three are healed. Please follow the red line. Additionally I will modify your new… uniform to accommodate your wings. Place it in a fabricator unit enroute to training. Captain, would you please have some Workers move a repair unit to this cargo bay? I am going to repair the federation land cruiser.”

I liked the way she had said ‘uniform’, she had a sense of humor and wouldn’t spoil a good joke.

“Yes your Highness,” Captain Skritt and Ad’ika said out loud together. The two instantly following the orders they were given.

“Um, If you don’t mind I would rather you not-” Ed started.

“Do not worry Captain, I will not modify any existing systems aboard the… Sagan. However, it must be cleaned as the vessel is saturated with residual Hawking Radiation. Since I will have my drones cleaning, they may as well repair the damage at the same time. Additionally, the Tritanium plating on your hull is more than a total loss. It needs replaced.” she informed.

Ed blinked, grinned, suppressed a squee, and asked, “You are going to replace the hull with Tritanium?”

The inner door shut behind the two Changelings. The AI’s tone shifted to a more kind and playful one, “Well duh! Frankly I don’t know how you survived a time displacement of this magnitude with a fiberglass skin over a twenty first century Winnebago. Besides, I like ancient Terran vehicles. It’s a hobby.”

“Wait,” I asked quickly. “You know we’re not ac-”

“Shhh! Don’t say anything about that! You might break their little hearts. We can speak freely in the medical bay… You may wish to hurry my systems indicate that cellular decay is already setting in. Meaning, every cell in your bodies is dying at the same time.”

There is nothing like the phrase ‘every cell in your body is dying at once’ to get me moving.