• Published 23rd May 2012
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Ten Minutes: Aftermath - Chatoyance

This continues BronyOfSteel’s classic short story 'Ten Minutes', taking it from nihilism to joy.

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Ten Minutes: Aftermath

This is an entry into the fifth Ponychan TCB Writing Event as organized by Krass McWriter. Following the PROMPT: “Simply put, write a continuation, prequel, or spinoff of someone else's TCB story.” I have decided to continue BronyOfSteel’s short story The Conversion Bureau: Ten Minutes as seen on fimfiction.net

Ɐlternate-TCB: Ten Minutes:


By Chatoyance
Based on the story Ten Minutes by BronyOfSteel

The terrible battle to reach that which the humans had struggled to defend was over.

The humans had only needed to fight for ten minutes. Ten precious, terrible, brutal and horrifying minutes, the most desperate moments that either species had ever known.

The bodies of ponies, and partially transformed humans lay upon the ruined ground, marinating in blood and ichor. The ponies had fought with the only weapon they would use, flasks, crystal eggs, and vials of the transforming serum known as 'potion', a purple, grape-flavored construct of human nanotechnology and Equestrian magic. Where the ponies won, new ponies arose, smiling, their hearts filled with peace.

The humans had fought with grenade and bullet and when these were gone, bayonet and knife. Where the humans had won, lay newly created corpses, dead, gummy eyes staring into oblivion, or rolled back into bullet-riddled skulls. Ragged chunks of both pony and former comrades had spattered on cracked ground and crumbling wall, rapidly becoming crimson nurseries for swarming flies. They had shot the ponies to prevent them reaching the device. They had shot their potion-covered own to prevent them turning into yet more ponies.

At last, the screams of horror and pain had been silenced. There remained only one human left, wounded and bleeding, crumpled like a broken doll against the heavy concrete cradle that supported the immensely heavy treasure the humans had been guarding. It was a hypernuclear device, magnitudes more powerful than any mere hydrogen bomb. It was a planet-killer, and it represented the last, fierce act of angry men to deal vengeance upon the alien Equestrians. Hidden, behind the wounded man, a small box quietly performed subtraction upon the numbers it displayed. The numbers were counting down not minutes but seconds, and there were precious, precious few of those left, now.

Celestia, the immortal ruler of the cosmos of Equestria stood facing the last soldier, her eyes angry, her mouth tight. The last man would be converted, for ponies, however hard they fight, do not kill. Not even one who has slaughtered so very, very many.

A pale yellow Pegasus stood before her, looking nervously at the ground now that she had Celestia’s attention. “I-if it wouldn’t be too much trouble princess, could I be the one to convert him? It would mean a lot to me.”

The princess cocked her head to the side for a moment before speaking again, “Why does this mean so much to you, young one?” All traces of disdain and anger that had colored her voice while speaking to the young man were now gone.
“W-well I k-kinda know him.”

Celestia’s expression turned thoughtful, “I see… what is your name?”

“Sky Shimmer, your majesty.”

“Sky Shimmer if it means that much to you, then I will allow you this great honor.” The princess of the sun said as she walked over to the small pony and nuzzled her affectionately.

Sky Shimmer after receiving the princess’ blessing then turned from her ruler to the young man, and began walking towards the human with a slow meaningful stride, her eyes never leaving his face. The young man in question just returned the unwavering gaze looking into her eyes and seeing concern, regret, and recognition?

Finally the pale yellow pony reached the young man, looking down at his now crimson shirt with the deepest regret the young man had ever seen, “Michael…” she spoke, low enough for just the two of them to hear, the young man’s expression changed to one of shock at hearing his own name. The Pegasus then brought a hoof behind the young man’s head as she brought her own forward, touching her forehead to his, “I’m so sorry.” She whispered as a single tear rolled down her muzzle.

The young man sat there for a moment before bringing his own hand up behind her head, running his fingers through her mane. “Me too.”

And with that Sky Shimmer drew the young man into a kiss, and as he sat there locking lips with the pony that had once been the girl he had loved with his entire being, the young man could taste the grape on her lips.

And then suddenly everything turned the purest white the young man had ever seen.

Zero Minutes.

The blinding brilliance slowly began to fade. As the bright, white glow dimmed, Michael began to wonder how he could be seeing it, how he could be seeing anything at all. At first, he had thought that the brilliant flash of light was the hypernuclear device detonating. But now that he considered it, he realized that would be absurd.

If the device had detonated, the entire northern hemisphere would have been turned to molten rock, the atmosphere instantly converted to plasma, and the entire planet’s biosphere extinguished within less than a second. His own body would have become nothing more than a flashprint on the concrete, which itself would have vaporized in less than a millionth of a second. There literally would not have been time for the signal from his own retina to travel the distance from his eyes to the back of his head where the visual centers of his brain were.

There would have been no possible way to see anything, had the device at his back detonated. He would have been terminated instantaneously; he would literally been dead before he could physically have known it.

Yet Michael was still seeing the light fade, and he still tasted grape going down his throat, and he still felt the lips of the pony that had delivered that kiss. Sky Shimmer pulled her muzzle slowly away from Michael. She was waiting, expectantly.

Michael swallowed again. He had involuntarily swallowed during Lisa’s... no, Sky Shimmer’s kiss; her mouth had been full of serum, full of the nanotechnomagical ponification serum, which Sky had forced into him. He should be changing. Yet nothing was happening.

Michael looked around. He was no longer in pain; his wounds from the battle were still there, but he was not bleeding anymore. Behind him, the hypernuclear device, the most destructive weapon ever conceived, still supported his back.

What was going on?

Sky Shimmer also seemed confused. She turned back towards princess Celestia. “Princess, he isn’t changing! I gave him the potion, but he isn’t changing!”

“He is currently suspended, my little pony; the serum derives its potency from the magic of Equestria, and thus is subject to my will. It is my will that holds him now, on the cusp of change, and supports his injured flesh.” Celestia, regent of all Equestria, literal goddess of the sun, turned her attention to Michael. “Young human, while yet you remain so, I wish to show you something, that no resentment may be harbored in your heart despite what will come. Stand, and join me.”

Michael had been known as Reaper. He had served his species with all of his heart, and all of his ability. He had killed countless numbers of the alien, equinoid invaders. He had held the line until the ten minute countdown was up. But the bomb had clearly not detonated. The flash, the flash of light; Celestia must have cast some kind of spell, some strange alien magic that had rendered the hypernuclear device inert. Perhaps he could yet set it off...

Michael rocketed to a standing position and turned around, hoping to activate the manual detonation system on the device. Where the device had been now stood a perfect replica of it; only made of stone. The flash must have been some magic that changed the bomb to stone. Gone was the metal shell, the layers of cesium and protactinium, in place of the detonation control system was simple granite in the shape of that device. The entire weapon was granite now, nothing but common stone, all the way through.

He could tell because it had cracked in the middle, and he could see down the crack into the stone heart of it.

Suddenly he realized the true horror of what he was looking at; Celestia must have converted the weapon just after it had already detonated; she had acted in a space of time so small that it could not be perceived, a space of time on the level of millionths, perhaps billionths, of a second. She was not flesh. She could not be a biological creature to do that.

She must truly be... a goddess.

Michael turned, and examined his wounds. They were terrible; he should be dead by now. He was not bleeding, and they did not hurt. The only thing that could have saved his dying flesh would have been ponification; but he was not changing.

Finally he faced his enemy, Celestia. “Why? Why are you keeping me alive, BITCH?” Michael’s hands clenched into fists, his face a mask of hatred and fear.

Celestia simply looked at him, her face nothing but compassion now, endless compassion, and this angered Michael even more.

“I swallowed that grape shit! Why aren’t I a pony now? You said I was suspended or something? Why? Why are you doing this?” Michael was confused; nothing made sense anymore. It wasn’t supposed to be like this! Celestia was the enemy, and she should be dead. He should be dead. Why was she even bothering with him? He was just one human among many in this last stand!

“I already explained, little one. I do not wish you to suffer any resentment or feel any shame for your own actions.” Celestia’s voice was calm, her eyes kind.

“Shame? SHAME?” Michael was beyond anger now. “There is NOTHING I have to feel SHAME about! You fucking monsters; I killed my share of you but it was never enough! If I have any shame, it is because I DIDN’T MANAGE TO KILL MORE OF YOU!”

Celestia had a sad look on her muzzle. “You killed nopony. Not forever. And no human either. There is nothing for you to feel sad about. Let me show you.”

From behind Celestia came a myriad of faces, some human, most Equestrian. The humans and ponies walked forward and stopped just behind the solar goddess; most were unknown to him, but some he recognized; that bastard doctor that ran that Conversion Bureau, the one that cried like a pussy when he slit his throat. The physician’s assistant, what’s her name, that he put a bullet in. Damned race traitors.

That blue unicorn he helped vivisect to get information; the fucker cried like a baby the whole time, and in the end didn’t know anything useful. By the end Michael had been forced to hear the monster’s entire life story, none of it useful. Most boring interrogation he’d ever had to suffer through.

The others must have been the ponies he had shot or stabbed or otherwise terminated over the last year. How could they even be here? How would Celestia even know any of these traitors, why would she even bother to show them to him? None of this made any sense.

“So? What is this, some kind of illusion? Your witchcraft doesn’t scare me, you four-legged fuck!” It had to be some kind of spell. They couldn’t be here; if nothing else they were dead. He knew the one’s he remembered were dead.

“There is some illusion to what you see; let me correct that.” Celestia’s horn glowed briefly; the humans in the group shifted, wavered like candles in a breeze, in their place were now ponies. “I wanted you to see all of your victims, and know who they were. The humans were ponified before they died, and so they joined the herd, and thus they are here, now. You did not see their transformations, so I allowed you to see their previous forms.”

Michael wasn’t following entirely; why was Celestia picking on him, specifically? Why him?

“Michael?” A deep brown pegasus stepped slightly forward; the creature had just a moment ago been the Conversion Bureau doctor that he had killed. Or thought he had killed; he had moved on, right after slitting the bastard’s throat, maybe there had been time for someone to slip the traitor some potion before he bled out. Michael hadn’t stayed to find out.

“Michael, I want to tell you something.” The pegasus who used to be a doctor seemed calm and slightly worried, a strange tone for someone facing his killer. “I forgive you. I really do. I’ve never been happier. Because of you, I was turned into a pony that very day, and my life has been wonderful ever since. So, it’s OK. I forgive you.” There seemed to be tiny tears in the pegasus’s eyes. He seemed genuinely concerned.

“Wait, are you dead or what?” Michael was getting more confused with every second. Yet something here was nagging at him. There was something he had heard once.

“Oh, I’m not dead, Michael! I’m very much alive! I live in Trottingham now, in Equestria. I have a wife and two wonderful colts. I’m just here at Celestia’s request to help you. No, don’t fret, I’m perfectly fine!” The doctor / pegasus gave Michael a big smile.

“I’m alive and fine too!” It was an earth pony, light gray with a bright green mane. She had been the physician’s assistant just a moment ago. “And I’m happy now too! Really happy! I’m married to a mare, just a wonderful filly, and we’ve adopted a little foal and... well, listen. I forgive you, Michael. I totally, totally forgive you.” She grinned at him. That unnerved Michael quite a lot.

“What is this? What is going on?” Michael turned to Lisa, or rather Sky Shimmer, “Do you understand any of this? What is happening here? Tell me Lisa! Please!” Michael was frightened now, the last of his bravado and anger failing him.

“I’m sorry if you are upset, Michael. But I really think you should listen to what the others have to say. And... I’m Sky Shimmer now. But... I still love you.” The pale yellow pony gently smiled at Michael, and this made him back away, slowly.

“I forgive you too.” It was a pony in the crowd, the huge crowd, behind Celestia. Michael whipped around to face it, it was purple and gold. Michael had no idea who or what it was.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” The pony seemed slightly sad at this. “I was walking home with my best friend after going to the market for more hay and some oranges. You and your friends shot us as you drove past. You took my head off right here, remember?” The pony gestured with a hoof. Seeing that Michael had no idea whatsoever, the purple creature’s ears sank. “You killed me very quickly. I didn’t suffer very long. About thirty seconds or so. It wasn’t as bad as you might think, I was mostly just in shock. Anyway, I forgive you. I wish I could have gotten to go to Equestria, but I’ll get to go there next Generation, so I guess it will work out in the end. In the meantime, I have a wonderful... existence... here. Anyway, I forgive you.”

“I’m in hell. That’s what this must be. I’m... in hell.” Michael’s voice was very soft now, and his eyes were wide with quiet horror.

“No, Michael, you were in hell. You were in the hell that was human life, the hell that was Earth. You are far, far from that which you call hell now.” Celestia stood close to him now, he hadn’t noticed her approach. But then, he was preoccupied with the horror he was feeling.

“Why... why don’t you just kill me? Why do this to me? I don’t understand. I just don’t understand.” Michael crouched down on the balls of his feet, and began to rock gently, supporting himself with his arms. He had been a warrior, a fighter. He had faced his enemy and he had done what he had to. He had seen terrible, terrible things. But this... this was the worst thing he had ever experienced.

“They all forgive you, Michael. That’s why they are here. To help you. They want you to be free of guilt, to know that it’s OK. They just want you to be happy, Michael.” Celestia’s long face was close to his head, he could feel her breath.

“I don’t understand... I just don’t...” Finally, the tiny memory nagging at him surfaced. The dream. The Conversion Dream.

Switch had told him about it. Tank too. They had heard that when humans were Converted, they almost always had dreams. Conversion Dreams. They would meet Celestia in them, run with a vast herd, see all kinds of things. The taste of artificial grape was still in his mouth. Lisa had given him potion, he’d swallowed the whole thing, he couldn't help himself. Besides, it didn’t matter, the bomb was just about to...

This must be his Conversion Dream. It was the only explanation. That was why all the ghost ponies were here, why Celestia was taking such an interest in him, specifically. Oh, god, that meant that the bomb hadn’t detonated, and any moment he would wake up, changed. He would be like all the others hit by potion - he wouldn’t be himself anymore. He’d be one of those smiling robots.

“Just do it.” Michael was sobbing now. “Just finish it, Celestia. I’m ready to be a pony now. Just make it stop. I can’t stand this. You’ve had your revenge. Just end it. I know this is a dream. I know this isn’t real. Just end it, finish it.”

“This is real, Michael.” Celestia raised her head; Michael stared up at her, he couldn’t help it after such a statement. “This is perfectly real. There are many kinds of real, little one. The magic of Equestria is deep and profound. Where we are now is just as real as any other place, it is just a different real, a different place. These ponies are real, and their forgiveness is real. All you have to do is accept it.”

Michael’s mind spun; what bullshit was this? “What the fuck are you talking about?” Some of his anger had returned now. “What kind of shit is this?”

“In your world, there is no magic.” Celestia sounded as if she were teaching a kindergarten class. “To you, to a human, a dream is just a dream. But in a world with magic, dreams are more; they are another type of real, at least some dreams, and you are in just such a real dream now, and here is just as real as the world you think you know.”

Michael had heard enough. “Just tell me what you want me to do to end this.” He meant it. Anything. Just let it be done.

“Hear that they forgive you. Accept that. Forgive yourself for your actions as a human. You could not help what you did. No human can. You were as much a victim of your humanity as those behind me.” Celestia’s horn glowed, and lifted Michael back to his feet. “You have been the victim of the meat you were made of, the cold world you grew up in, and the genetic behaviors you were programmed with. You were as helpless in your actions as any of the machines Mankind delights in making. But now, you are truly free.”

“If I am free, then send me back and let me activate that bomb!” Michael stood defiantly and glared at Celestia.

“Is that truly what you want to do?” Celestia looked him square in the eye; her gaze made him shrink slightly. “Look at your lovely mare, here, Sky Shimmer. She is beautiful, kind, and she loves you. Do you truly wish to kill her?”

Michael looked down at Lisa, his Lisa. Even as a pony, she was beautiful. He loved her. He loved her, even in that body, he loved her. It had been easier when she wasn’t there. But she was, and she was in front of him, and it wasn’t easy now.

“I... I don’t want to die, Michael. I... I want to live with you. I want to live in love with you.” The words were simple, but it was clear she meant them. “I serve Celestia, just as you served your cause, but... I don’t want to hurt anypony anymore. Celestia doesn’t engage in violence. But she can’t allow violence either. That bomb... it would have killed... everything. I can’t accept that kind of thing being justified anymore, Michael. It’s wrong.”

Sky Shimmer looked down. “I just want to live in love, forever. With you. Please.”

Michael felt his heart sink. Now he knew he couldn’t do it. Even if the device was right in front of him. He just couldn’t do it. She was right here. She was here, and he couldn’t do it anymore. He... didn’t want to. Not like that.

“Alright. Fine. No, I don’t want to kill her. I never actually wanted to kill anyone. I just wanted to make you... aliens... leave. Just leave us be. You came and invaded us. You came and turned us into you.” Michael turned to face Celestia again. “You killed us, you... ponies. You killed us, you killed our entire species. What were we supposed to do?”

“Are you dead?” Celestia’s question seemed absurd.

“No. Of course not. I’m talking to you right now. Of course I’m not dead!” Michael sneered at Celestia.

“Is Sky Shimmer, the one you knew as ‘Lisa’, dead?”

“No... I mean yes... not exactly. I don’t know.” Michael was torn inside. “She isn’t human anymore. She’s Lisa, but she’s not Lisa, now she’s this yellow pony. There are things about her I recognize, I know Lisa, and she’s Lisa, but she’s also not. Lisa would have shot you right in the face, not bowed to you. But yet... she’s Lisa too, and... I don’t know.”

“When she kissed you, was that the one you love?”

Michael thought about that. She had kissed him with the lips of a pony muzzle, not a human face, yet in that intimate moment, he knew more perfectly than what his eyes showed him, that it was his Lisa, his wonderful Lisa. “I’m sorry” she had said, even as she forced the potion, stored in her large pony cheeks, down his throat. She must have wanted him to be a pony like her, to be her stallion... but she still cared about what he wanted in that moment, that he wanted to remain human... and she had said she was sorry.

All this time, he, and Switch and Tank and Maverick... they had considered the ponified, the newfoals, to be nothing more than puppets. Just robots, controlled by Celestia. They were better off dead, that was what Tank had said; because they had lost all of their free will.

But... Lisa... Sky Shimmer.... had said she was sorry. She had hesitated, though she had followed Celestia’s command. Those were not the actions of a robot without free will.

“Lisa... Sky Shimmer.” Michael crouched down to look her in the eye. “Why did you do what Celestia told you to do? Why did you ask to convert me back then?”

The yellow mare smiled up at him. “You were going to get converted anyway; if it had to happen, I wanted to be the one to do it. I didn’t want it to happen to you from somepony that didn’t care about you... the way that I do.”

“But why do what Celestia says?” Michael studied her eyes, trying to determine if she really did have free will in there.

“I want to obey Celestia. I want to serve her, Michael, because she truly is good. In every battle we were in, do you remember? Ponies never hurt any human. They always tried to save the very ones that were killing them. Remember how we used to laugh about that, like it was stupid, like it was their weakness that we could exploit?” Sky Shimmer looked very sad at the memory. “It wasn’t a weakness, Michael. It was kindness. It was love for other living creatures. We shot them down while they were trying to save our own fallen soldiers. What use is humanity if that is what it thinks is good?”

They had done just that. When a soldier fell, hit by the shrapnel from his own grenade, or hit by friendly fire, or even just in the throes of Conversion after being hit by potion, the ponies always stopped for them. And both he and Lisa had used the opportunity to bag more ponies. And they just kept coming, trying to help, even when they were being gunned down.

It didn’t seem so fun, now. It didn’t seem like a noble fight, now. Michael remembered shooting his own men, as they were changing. The memory made him cringe.

“Michael, all you have to do is imagine, just imagine, that maybe what matters isn’t race, or species, or whether a person has thumbs or hooves. Try to imagine that what matters is... kindness. Love. Just being... nice.” Sky Shimmer pressed her head against his. “Maybe being human isn’t what we should be fighting for. Maybe we shouldn’t even be fighting at all.”

It was pointless anyway; humanity was beaten in any case. If Celestia could stop a hypernuke with a spell in mid-detonation, there was no weapon on earth that could ever stop her invasion. When humans fought, the result were bullet-ridden corpses. When ponies fought, if it could even be called fighting, the result was smiling ponies.

If it was being a zombie, they sure seemed like happy zombies. Happier than any human had ever been. Happier than he... had ever been.

And Lisa was still Lisa, even if she was Sky Shimmer. She just wasn’t Violent Lisa. She was Kind Lisa, like in all of those intimate moments, only... all the time. Was that really such an evil thing?

Michael began to doubt the point of his war. The more he killed them, the more they tried to be nice. And all those he had shot and bombed and hurt... forgave him.

What did he have to show for all of his efforts? Blood, and pain, and holes in his own body.

“I’m ready now.”

Celestia looked serious. “Why?”

“Because I would rather live in love with Li... Sky Shimmer, than go on thinking I’m right about everything. Because I really am sick of killing and seeing things die. Because I know humans can’t win and right now... I’m no longer sure I even want them to.”

“Oh, Michael!” Sky Shimmer was smiling, tears in her eyes.

“Then what do you want?” Celestia spoke softly.

“I want to be alive with Sky Shimmer. I don’t care how. I want to be... I want to be a stallion for her. I want to live in love with her.”

Celestia smiled. “Welcome, then, welcome to the...”

* * * * *

“Michael? Michael?”

Michael’s eyes began to focus; the sweet yellow face in front of him was busy licking his muzzle and kissing him. “Sky...? Am... am I alive?”

“Oh, Michael, of course you’re alive! We never kill anypony. You’re alive, and you’re healed and I’m so glad you’re finally one of us!” Sky Shimmer kissed him deeply, this time on the mouth, and it was sweet, and passionate, and it made Michael feel warm and happy inside.

And he did feel happy. He felt happier than he had ever felt before. He had always suffered from depression - that weight was gone. All the negative thoughts, all the angry feelings, they were just... gone. He felt lightheaded. It was like... it was like he had been carrying a ton of bricks on his back, and now... they were all gone.

Michael raised a foreleg and brought it to his face. A shining red hoof, new and strong, gleamed in the light. He turned it, studying it. Then he placed it on the ground, testing it. Finally, he put his weight on it, and tried to stand up. He was a little wobbly, but managed to make it to his hooves.

Sky Shimmer pressed her soft, pale yellow body to his, steadying him. He looked around. The scene was much the same as in his Conversion Dream, only the crowd of ponies were not there. The device was solid stone, just as in the dream.

“My stallion! You made it! It’s so good to see you!” It was Tank, now a fine stallion.

“Dude! Welcome to the winning side, my pony!” Maverick grinned and Michael grinned back. He couldn’t help it. He just felt so good.

Then he saw Celestia.

She stood nearby, overseeing the effort to heal the wounded and comfort the dying. She turned her head and looked at him. Her eyes were kind, but sad.

“Celestia...” Michael didn’t know what to say. What could he say? “I’m sorry. I’m... just sorry.”

Michael hung his head, his ears down.

“Michael, it’s alright.” Sky Shimmer licked his ears, somehow it was wonderfully comforting. “Celestia forgives you.”

And in that moment, Michael remembered his dream that was more than a dream, and he knew that Sky Shimmer was right.

And then Michael realized what he should be doing instead of just standing there. “Come on, Sky, Tank, Maverick... let’s see what we can do to help clean up this mess we made.”

And so, in kindness, they did.

Comments ( 468 )

After several requests, both on FimFiction, and by email and irc, I have finally decided to publish this piece. Needless to say, it was ignored in the writing event itself, but it did seem to have a few fans nevertheless. This version has some new, additional opening material as well as spot art based on the cover.

I hope it finds a warm audience here.

This also marks the only time in all of my stories that I have alluded directly to an Equestrian afterlife, which makes it special to me.

And lastly, this is not an attempt to minimize the original story by Brony Of Steel - I call his work a classic of the Bureau mythos for a reason, and I chose his story because I like it so much.

I just wanted to take it in a new direction, and see if I could take dark nihilism and turn it to something ultimately sweet and wonderful, as a personal challenge to myself, and my writing ability. Ten Minutes is pretty damn dark, so it was a worthy challenge, I felt.

633835 I wouldn't worry about it being ignored in the writing event. Everybody ignores the writing event, even Krass :heart:

I liked it, although I am... sad, in a way, that the tone of the universe it is written for is changed so dramatically. I, personally, enjoy all the takes on the Conversion Bureau universes for what they are. I wrote a grimdark one where mankind nukes itself and Equestria ascends. Ten Rounds was the "cute and cuddly pastel zombie horde" type where horrific body-horror (mind-horror?) was the order of the day. My stuff where, as closely as possible, I was attempting to build a rational world that I see as relatively honest towards man and pony is basically pure escapism and inescapably light. Your own universe, far more realistic and gritty than mine, is much richer for examining what it means to be human, and then of course we get all the others that have fun with task forces and road trips and crazy monsters. I love them all, including the 1984-alike where mankind, in its eternal hubris, has triumphed over ponykind, with all that entails. And so back to this one; I enjoy this one, but it is not written within the universe it comes from. That lessens what the original was, but it was done for a reason I can agree with, in that it creates something else. Maybe lessening is the wrong word, it's rather negative, after all. Ten rounds was built on fear and paranoia, and the unassailable platform that Mankind Is Always Right, and Mankind Is Better. I don't have to agree with that to enjoy the scenario (strange as that may seem. Personally, if I was forced to agree with what I was reading, I could not), which is why changing that is unsettling. It's worse, in a way, because that means that all the death and destruction was meaningless - and in a way, the life of those converted is meaningless - because it's all for the glory of Celestia, and the happiness is unrelated to any actual state of living.

But then again, all sacrifices like that are ultimately worthless. In a thousand years, the greatest hero and the greatest villain are just footnotes in a history book. In ten thousand years, nothing will remain. In a hundred thousand years, less than nothing. That is the timescale Celestia lives on. She saves, in her eyes, mankind from eternal darkness even at the cost of their mortal lives because she gains their immortal souls, and it is that immaterial gain which she seeks.

That's kind of frightening. Understandable, but frightening, and truly is something that only a god can appreciate in full: every sacrifice by a human was futile, every life for a pony was just a mote of dust in the wind.

I need to go lie down now, I've depressed myself.

Why not make an alternate ending for this?

Why so much hate?

Why is this being disliked so much? Am I missing something here? Because honesty; you have a lovely writing style. I don't even know what the prior story was about and even then you just sucked me in. Very lovely job. :yay:

I liked this take on it, Ten Minutes was a pretty dark story. Hope to see more from you Chaty :twilightsmile:

635931Unfortunately, TCB is a very polarizing setting of ponyfic.

It's very hard to be one of the fence sitters, like me, who can (without necessarily "swallowing the Kool-aid"' as it were) appreciate the story for what it is: escapist fantasy. Unfortunately some of the themes leave a bad taste in some readers' mouth... and it isn't synthetic grape.

I don't agree that this is the first time you alluded to an Equestrian afterlife. While it is true that this is the first time that you (practically) outright said there was one, you also referred indirectly to it.
The first time was at the end of The Taste Of Grass, when Caprice is reunited with Alexi. The second time would be when Derpy/Ditzy mourned how humans would be completely gone after their deaths, on account of a lack of magic.
Again, I do admit this is the first time you outright claimed the Equestrian afterlife existed, and I'll stop my inane ramblings here before I unintentionally insult anyone. Loved the story, I have no idea where all the thumbs down come from, and now I'll go and read Ten Rounds/Minutes.

636048 "Man is something to be surpassed." — Friedrich 'Freddie' Nietzsche

not all the stories have the ponies as the good guys. some of the best TCB stories have the humans who fight for their own right to be human.
it varies of corse due to each branch of the TCB universe..
the main one has the boundries of equestria expanding (under no ones control) slowly so that it is inevitable that all the humans will be ponies or dead.
the Yellowstone variation has the boundries stable but magic is weaving through thus causing death and humans and ponies team up to help.
and then there are those that are out of the two. the ones that have variations. chats New Universe versions are some.
but basically.. there is no good guys or bad guys in the universes. just groups.
there is the normals
Equestrians: kind of like americans "bring us your tired, weary, huddled masses" but they dont demand you become one of them. the choice is yours.
humans: the average joe somebody. they choose either path due to circumstances (no jobs, survival against the barrier, or a better life)

then there is the extremists.
HLF: the human liberation front, they are the guys who if they lived in the time of segregation would be wearing white cones/hoods on their head. they hate because equestria is "invading" and "converting"

PER: ponification for earths rebirth. they are the ones who wont give a choice. they do underground tactics.. invading bases and underhanded tricks just to turn the average joe or HLF member into a pony.

both sides have a bad streak. both sides have the extremists.. and if you think that is not how some people would react to this? i have four words for you to consider. slavery, segregation, gay marriage.
how many of those have faced opposition due to close-minded people?

636048 "Nazi-like genocide look like a good thing"
635913 "Why so much hate?"

I am unsure if technical genocide is actual genocide. The ponies themselves do not commit genocide - they offer conversion, which humans can take or leave. In my TCB stories Celestia is technically committing genocide, because she is responsible for the expansion of Equestria, but in the majority of TCB stories she is not to blame at all - it is just two universes colliding. That was the original concept and is likely the concept in the majority of stories. I am pretty much to blame for suggesting the notion that 'Celestia Done It'.

Don't paint the TCB mythos with 'Celestia Done It' just because I wrote a few tales with that spin.

But does it really matter - really matter - if a particular genome is lost, if the individuals themselves are saved? If there were a medicine, one that altered the human genome to prevent disease completely, and extend life dramatically, would not most people want it and take it if they could? If it were made available to all, in the end, the human genome, as we know it, would vanish forever. We would become a new species, and need a new taxonomic nomenclature. It would be genocide, but not a single person would die. They would just be changed at the genetic level.

Should we call the future doctors of such a scenario 'Nazi's' and condemn them? Should we mourn and shriek about the loss of the original, faulty, human genome so filled with genetic diseases and errors and mistakes? Should we cry over the end of babies being born without eyes or limbs or immune systems, or claim that we are not 'us' any longer?

Would it make a difference if space aliens came down and offered us this serum to change our genes? What if they looked like ponies? Or squids? Or anything else non-human?

When we went from Cro-Magnon to Modern Man, Nature herself committed genocide on our previous form. Should we decry Nature for killing off an entire genome so that Homo Sapiens might exist?

The only reason to use the terms 'Genocide' and 'Nazi' with regard to the TCB genre is to insult it, to conflate it with 'Hitler', and in so doing to imagine ending the argument - for 'Hitler' is the final word, no?

No. Absolutely... no.

TCB stories are just the Singularity, transhumanism, painted up to look like colorful ponies. The war about TCB stories is the mortal luddite versus the gung-ho transhumanist who wants immortality and uploading and virtual worlds. If the Singularity future should ever occur, what humanity becomes will be far more different than merely becoming pastel ponies. Ponies are recognizable.

The real question here is not ponies - it really is "are we genes or are we thoughts?" My vote is clear - I vote we are our thoughts and memories, and the substrate, the meat, is not irrelevant, but it sure is faulty and needs an upgrade.

But for some, an invisible chemical compound, DNA, is more important than identity, it seems. They seem to think the console machine is the game, while I claim the game should exist on other platforms too.

What I think we may have here are console fan-boys. Only instead of arguing about how the PS-BOX is better than the X-3 or that the WEE rules all, it is fan-boys claiming that Homo Sapiens is better than Equis Sapiens, and I'm arguing for platform independence.

Celestia help these anti-TCB folks if uploading and machine bodies or genome-fixing medicines ever do arrive. Because it is the same story, and the same issue, and the same problem.

Yeah, I am in the transhumanist camp. I think we can do a little better than our broken genetic code. I want an end to mortality and deformed babies. I want a better species, and I support those even now working on trying to make that happen.

My stories are about that future, dressed up as ponies, instead of remarkably robust hominids, or completely unhuman machine bodies.

But I enjoy the 'fight the future' stories. I loved the original Ten Minutes. I don't think this work hurts that story - it stands on its own.

That does not mean, though, that I cannot enjoy writing an alternate ending that is happy. Why not? Why not a happy ending for those that might enjoy it, and to stir up discussion?

It can only end with more people reading Brony Of Steel's original work.

Quin #12 · May 23rd, 2012 · · 3 ·

Chat, I think that people's biggest problem is that the Cellestia of this universe does *not* preserve the identity of people, and they have no choice in the matter. Their thoughts are censored and shifted to match those that Celestia finds appropriate. In that sense, they are not surviving at all. They're replaced with a creature that has their memories, but whose thoughts are not theirs. Moreover, it's an situation where dissension is impossible. No one can disagree. Ever. If they do? Their opinion is "corrected." They do not even have the option of ceasing to exist rather than allowing themselves to be mentally edited into a different, more palatable creature. Ceasing to exist probably isn't a great choice, but it's clear here that it's not even on the table. Get converted? Great, then you're a pony. Die? Great, then you're a pony.

The lack of choice combined with the thought censorship is what makes it seem so malevolent. At least to me.

Zobeid #13 · May 23rd, 2012 · · 3 ·

This doesn't work for me. I mean, it's a nice try, but....

Despite all the speechifying about wanting Michael to accept their forgiveness, it really comes across to me as Celestia's desperate attempt to justify her own unjustifiable, unforgivable actions. The original story was a horror story, and this attempt to spin it into something less horrific just ends up making it even creepier than it was before.

Voba #14 · May 23rd, 2012 · · 2 ·

The problem here, and the reason I down-voted, was that this looks like you tried to change the ending not because you felt that you could take it in a new and interesting direction, but because you were uncomfortable with the fact that the original work portrayed Celestia as something other than a paradigm of virtue.

This is the other reason why I down voted. What happened in the story didn't seem to be an intervention of any kind- it looked like the dude was tortured into accepting what Celestia wanted. I would have been fine with that, as it would have fit right in with the feel of the original work, I think, but because you treat is as the best thing that ever happened to him it just looks a little bit creepy.

Basically, this reminds me of Brave New World, with all the unsettling implications that come with it.

Well, then, YAY! Even more horrible answers the complaint that I did not follow the original intent!

You had me worried there for a while hun, normally it takes an apocolipse to keep you away from the keyboard. Lovely continuation none the less Chaty, merges relitivly well with the existing story. An amalgam between your version of the CBU and boss's. A little preachy in places, but thoroughly enjoyable none the less:pinkiehappy:.

I'm very surprised this is receiving so many red points in such a short space of time though. Other than the one horribly obvious troll (you can tell by the generic nature of his comments that he hasn’t even read the story:ajbemused:), there hasn't been a single negative comment, most peculiar.
edit- strike that, some more posted while i was reading >.<

with all due respect, you were referring to the post above mine.
and yes, I just spent a minute wondering how the hay I typo-ed THAT into my post.:twilightsheepish:
(no hard feelings, everyone makes mistakes.)

There seems to be some sort of queer backlash against the Conversion Bureau stories going on right now. A sort of bizarre putsch to overthrow what some think is the dominant paradigm, but which is pretty much my little take on things. Anti-Bureau groups, people writing anti-Bureau stories, and generally getting all worked up crying 'Nazi'.

Maybe our tiny, pitiably under-appriciated sub-genre finally got noticed by rabid Shakespear fans?

"What a piece of work is a man, How noble in
Reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and moving
how express and admirable, In action how like an Angel!
in apprehension how like a god, the beauty of the
world, the paragon of animals."

Of course my answer is always the rest of the speech:

"And yet to me, what is
this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me; no,
nor Woman neither; though by your smiling you seeme
to say so."

And... I think that is the problem, ultimately.

Fixed. Sometimes the respond thingie gets messed up for me, I don't know why. Sorry. Sigh.

I like this story for its take on Equestrian afterlife. Chatty (again) takes a ninety degree turn and leads leads us... elsewhere. I love it!

Nopony commented on the picture. Sad clown tears. Then again, I kind of screwed up the face of the soldier... he looks too much like Odo from Deep Space Nine or something. I re-painted that like five times. Maybe that's the problem, his face just became mush... I don't know. But the bomb! I'm proud of the bomb turned to stone in mid explosion! That worked, I thought!

I sure as hell ain't hating it, but I do like it a little. It's just that the ponies didn't realize what the f*** they were doing. They were destroying a species, a pure species, into human/pony beings. I honestly can say if my loved one was ponified I'd probably try to turn too but other than that, I'd prefer my humanity. Of course just in this situation I'd pick my humanity.

Should of used mardadom and danger close instead of lightweight and scout pro.

When it comes down to it, the thing that bothers me the most about this is that you clearly didn't get the reason Michael was fighting so hard in the first place.

He wanted to remain human. So did his companions. They didn't want to kill ponies until they got pushy with their forced conversion runs. "For their own good" or not, people have the right to be wrong. If Celestia is this all powerful goddess and ponies are truly "nice", they can respect others' wishes and let them live their own lives. Even if it is in the crap hole Earth has become.

I haven't read over all of this comment section, but I think I get the gist of it. Couple things I want to comment on.

People throw "genocide" around in these stories quite a bit, but that's not quite what's happening. Nah. It's more like those half-white aboriginal kids getting stolen from their mothers and being "raised properly". Or people being forced to convert to Christianity or Islam or suffer execution or banishment from their own homes.

Granted, my little spiel there isn't quite as valid once you write in the HLF Terrorist stuff. Swell move, there.

As to the technical aspects of your writing, the first half is a bit flowery for me. Not so bad when it comes to a short one-shot like this, but for a prolonged story it comes off as tedious and just tiresome to read. "Over-writing" can be as bad as over-dressing.

EDIT: Oh, and about your picture: Was he wearing combat gear? I always imagined him wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and maybe a bandolier and backpack. Armor and the like wouldn't really serve a purpose when you're trying to avoid getting hit with the Potion - it'd actually slow you down.

I love your writing style, but hate these stories.:rainbowwild: Just saying. I'm not saying Celestia commits genocide (which she kind of does, but it's not that big of a deal.) It's the fact that she alters human nature. That's fucked up. From what I've read in your stories in this universe, new-foals are like, total pussies. They can't stand up for themselves in a direct way, and they just... I'm trying to think of a way to say this without sounding stupid.:twilightoops: I guess, they aren't cynical and sarcastic. Snarky and playfull ass-holes. All they do, is love and tolerate. I'm not that kind of person. And, if I were to fall in love with a cynical, sarcastic, snarky, and slightly bitch-like girl, I don't think I would love her if she wasn't those things. And being forced to love someone is wrong. But I guess it also depends on time-zone. If this takes place during modern times, I'd rather kill myself than be a pony. However, if it took place in a futuristic time, where life basically sucks and everyone is fucking misrable, I'd go along with it, but I wouldn't like it.

What I'm trying to say is, I don't question the morality of converting a species, I question the converson of a mind. The mind shouldn't be altered or changed. Which, pretty much ruins the point of conversion (Unless like, Equestria's magic is killing people) So I see why Celestia does it, to try and make people happier. But she FORCES them to be happy through conversion.

I get it's a choice to be converted, but if you alter their mind, then it's like, "My family got converted, okay. But now they aren't the same people and they never will be now. I don't want to be a pony, but if I don't, I'll be the black sheep of the family I used to love." It's just wrong to force that kind of decision on people. As a fifteen year old boy, I'd take suicide than go through with that. I like myself just the way I am.

Celestia want's people to be happy, we just want her to leave, so we can experience happiness on our own terms. She also needs to realize that, not everyone can be happy. Happiness is something that you must find and cherish, not be forced upon you, and taken for granted.

I can't understand why there was so many thumbs down for this fic, it was well written and had a good story.

Boo, sucks butt! :ajbemused: I would've rather SUICIDED!

First of all, let's try to keep some perspective. The story was born out of a simple exercise to take someone else's story and write a follow-up to it. Some folks seem to be treating it like it was a hostile action on Ten Minutes. It wasn't intended to co-opt, retcon, or re-canon Ten Minutes in any way. BronyOfSteel's story still stands on its own, and frankly I'd think any author would be flattered that their story was inspiring enough to get other writers to explore it themselves. This is just Chatoyance's musing on one of an infinite number of things that could have happened afterward.

The main criticism I'd level at it is that, like in many TCB stories, the human characters are not given strong convictions. Michael was fully prepared to die in this mission, having fought and lost plenty along the way, but a short ghost-of-Christmas-past segment was enough to erase all of the hardness that comes with experiencing such things. He was prepared to die out of necessity, so why not out of pride? Out of spite? We're certainly capable of that. Bitterness alone is enough to make a man endure many things far worse than Celestia's little time-out. The I-forgive-yous, no matter how sincere they might have been, would probably come off as more passive-aggressive in that context than anything else. When I first read this I was actually rooting for Michael to refuse Celestia.

Some of this showed up in the themes of my story Railroad Seven-Three, where a human tries to explain to a pony why winning isn't always the motivation behind resistance. It's a fatalistic viewpoint that ponies probably would never have needed to adopt in Equestria. It's utterly foreign to them. In Aftermath here, a former human even exclaims "welcome to the winning side!" even though, as a human, "joining the winning side" would have meant compromising his beliefs and convictions. Zed and Armalite seem to get this.

All of that probably makes it sound like I didn't enjoy the story. I did, though! It's possible to enjoy and even—dare I suggest it?—upvote stories that don't turn out the way you want them to!

Let us consider all TCB stories with either an expanding Barrier or an ultimatum and take them to their eventual logical conclusion, the behavior of the ponies notwithstanding. Whether Celestia is pacifistic in her benevolence or if you take on the more militant version of her present in stories like Ten Rounds, Ten Minutes, Not Alone, et cetera, there will come a certain point in time. At this point, the remaining humans on Earth have chosen not to get converted at all, whether this choice is merely implicit or not. Now the ponies have a choice to make: does their love turn to tough love, or do they respect a human's freedom, even if it makes no sense to them? The PER is great vehicle for exploring this. If humans are pushed, their natural response is to push back. If you need an analogy, think of the glasses fight from They Live.

tl;dr version: Disagreed with the ending, liked the story anyway, humans gonna fight, They Live is a pretty fun movie

While I don't deny that this is, as usual, well written, I do join in the feeling in that it wasn't quite in the spirit of the intentions of the event. A few people have mentioned it and since its on my list of reasons, I'm restating it here: This doesn't feel like a followup story where you're writing for BronyofSteel's CB universe, it feels more like you retconning the events of Ten Minutes into YOUR CB universe. In Ten Minutes and Ten Rounds, the fic it was inspired by(or maybe its the other way around, not sure), the ponies and Celestia are clearly the aggressors. Basically what you'd get if the PER was officially sanctioned by her and then turned up to 11. Ponification not only remakes a person physically, but in major mental ways as well, not just in subtle ways like in your own fics. Its unmistakably brainwashing. I guess a lot of the 'thumbs downs' are coming from the fact that, in the context of the original story, Celstia's actions here do make her seem MORE monstrous than anything. Instead of just letting the serum run its course, she actually pauses it, then essentially mind rapes him into accepting ponification. There's no guarantee besides the word of those with him (all ponies, aka, the enemy which is already using a body and mind altering weapon as their primary means of combat) that anything he's seeing is real and not just a big illusion, which, Celestia being capable of flash-petrifying a nuclear EXPLOSION, would be easily within their powers, and actually more believable than believing what Michael was seeing was actually real.

Gah, got a little rambly there, sorry. Essentially, my point is that, in the context of the original story, this actually seems like turning the horror knob up to 11 rather than a 'good ending' sort of situation.


Anyone who invokes They Live, wins all arguments, in my opinion. That fight... Goddess that was a great fight scene. John Carpenter. Love John Carpenter.

And his version of The Thing? Just splendid. But I digress.

Defaloce - who's utterly brilliant Railroad Seven-Three (which sits in the top row of my own picks for personal favorites listed on my author page) was the first story I ever felt was genuinely convincing with regard to a human wish not to join the fairies... um... ponies. Now THAT'S a good not-converting-nohow story, and I cannot recommend it enough.

I couldn't do a non-tragic continuation of that story even if I tried. It made its case too perfectly.

Now I really like Ten Minutes. And Ten Rounds too, I might add. Love those two, and I think they are marvelous and needed works in the Bureau mythos. I wish I'd written them, frankly, but their authors beat me to the punch. That said, Ten Minutes has a couple of loose hooks to work with that I knew I could use to do a continuation into something new. I picked a story I greatly admired, that had a opening in the logic for me to work on. It's not a complaint... I just note it.

My 'Aftermath' as you'll find in that very first post up top, is not supposed to do anything but maybe get you to read the original, which I link to multiple times. Go read the original Ten Minutes. It is a great story.

And go read Defaloce's Railroad Seven-Three too, while you are at it.

638019 "this actually seems like turning the horror knob up to 11 rather than a 'good ending' sort of situation."

If so, then by definition, I am continuing Steel's original premise, aren't I? Maybe I failed at making a joyful ending, and only proved that Steel's conception was too powerful to do anything but reiterate. If so, good going Steel!

(^ How do people do this comment thing? I hope I'm doing it right.)

I think I liked to believe that you'll be able to get a warm welcome from alot of your followers and your likes will eventually out number the dislikes as with most stories. I'm just wondering if that normally happens around here whenever a story gets uploaded here? I'm just mostly concern that the people who disliked this isn't because you're somewhat infamous due to the nature of most of your stories and the fact that you have your own section of TV Tropes and what they say about you.

Anyway, I just came by to say that I find it admirable that you keep fighingt for your beliefs and never back down. Just keep up the good work on your writing and your beliefs.

As for everyone else, she did it as fan tribute to BronyofSteels work and it's really no different from the "other alternate endings" that some bronies do with the actual episodes. In the end though, it's up to BronyofSteel's opnion on how he feels about this tribute story. I think he'll be okay with this.


Thank you Red Bomber (I love Bomberman, by the way. Just the best party game). Yeah, there could be some hate coming from the sources you mention. Even so, I do not comprehend how anyone can get so worked up about my silly, goofy, harmless stories.

For my entire lifespan, I have never felt like I belonged here, on this world. I've never identified with humanity as a species. I have always felt like... something else. I am told I have a unique view of things. Maybe I'm just encountering xenophobia. Hee! :rainbowlaugh:


I actually missed Bomberman and his adventures to be honest, did you know that the Wii didn't have the adventure one on purpose. That was a let down for me. Anyway, I thought people were getting worked up because you were actually serious about your stories. ^^; Then again if they were getting worked up and thinking deeply about them means your story is really deep and because they were serious is why people have conflicting opinions. Good story is serious regardless whether it's being silly or grimdark... I think I just had an eureka moment.

636362 And here's the problem I have with most people who support the ponies in these stories. The prblem is not transhumanism. Hey, I'd be the first signing up at a clinic to get mechanical enhancements (Just ask Adam Jensen, or JC Denton). The problem with these stories is the fact that after you drink the fluid, "you" aren't "you".

You're an idealized, pacifistic version of yourself. The kind who can't think of eating meat without being disgusted. The problem, in it's base form, is not that of turning into a creature with no hands. It's the fact that your personality is so irrevocably changed, the you that inhabited your human body ceases to exist. You mention that you think that the mind, the soul of a man is what he truly is. But what happens when that is changed, with force?

Here, I don't see a man becoming a pony out of his own free will. Rather, I see a man being brainwashed into thinking he wants to be a pony. He's confronted by those he let down, and put face-to face with a snide, controlling, egotistical "goddess". The world of ponies isn't a colorful candyland in these stories. It's, as TVTropes puts it, a Crapsaccharine World. One which has the appearance of a tastes-like-diabeetus Care-Bears-esque candyland, but under the veil is utterly horrifying and dysfunctional.

To be honest, you should be flattered. This is far more scary than the original. In the original, sure, there was body horror, but the characters stayed resolute in their beliefs. Here, you pull a Room 101. After all Michael, don't you love Big Sister and Celestia?

Not 12 hours, and The Most Honorable Lady Chatoyance has already rustled hundreds of jimmies with a beautifully written story. I read TM:A on Google Docs, and am overjoyed to see it finally brought over to FimFiction. Any praise that I could give has already been given, so I'll just walk to an empty intersection and yell "CRUSADE ME!" at the top of my lungs.

638306 "rustled hundreds of jimmies"

I have no idea what this means, and I could not stop laughing. I am out of breath from it. I guess I must be some kind of god damn jimmie rustler or something.

"Hey, Tex... ya wanna go out and rustle some jimmies?"

"Yeah, pard, so long's we don't get caught!"

Of course it could be just as likely that:

"Well hello there, sailor. New in port? How about you buy a lady a drink, and I rustle your jimmie for you, hey big boy? Ooh!"

It would be delicious on a calling card:

Lady Chatoyance
Professional Jimmie Rustler
"Let me rustle your jimmie!"

LMAO! But that's not quite what it means. To rustle someone's jimmies is to really raise their hackles and to cause controversy and debate, civil or otherwise. and you have done that here, and done it well, O Most High And Excellent Queen Of The Ponyfic Writers. And a lot of people need that to happen to them, because if people don't get trolled or exposed to alternate viewpoints frequently enough, they tend to get on a high horse, pardon the pun.

Let's see here...

>Completely nullifying the original ending to the original story.
>The line "This continues BronyOfSteel’s classic short story 'Ten Minutes', taking it from nihilism to joy." implying this is somehow a better and happier version (It is none of these things).
>Paragraphs and dialogue devoted to nothing but how bad the humans are, including long pointless speeches about how because humanity is evil... because they are I guess, we're all bad and need to be ponified.
>Celestia a goddess who can do no wrong and cannot be stopped.
>TRU WUV between the main characters that makes me want to gag.
>Main human guy learning to go beyond his 'evil human self,' in the usual CB way that makes me want to call Simon Wiesenthal.
>Overly pretentious speeches on mankind and how we're bad.
>Lack of any support or even time given to the opposing viewpoint.
>Lack of any actual debate in the comments about the horrible ethics in this story and all TCB stories.
>Pointless ad hominems and discussions that don't discuss the quality of the story at all, with the couple of decent comments either ignored or those responding to them completely missing the point.

There, I've summarized the story and the comments for you all.

This is a good good list of how to get an equally large number of upvotes and downvotes at the same time.

Yeah, my thoughts on this story, right here.
...Not what I was expecting when I was told it would be lighter than the original, honestly. I guess it is indeed lighter, in the same sense that Brave New World is lighter than 1984. All of the horror is still there, it's just masked with kisses and apologies and pastel ponies. ...I have to read something happy, now.


>Completely nullifying the original ending to the original story.

Yes? That was the point. It was a challenge to see if I could take it into a completely new direction. So, thank you.

>The line "This continues BronyOfSteel’s classic short story 'Ten Minutes', taking it from nihilism to joy." implying this is somehow a better and happier version (It is none of these things).

That depends on your point of view. To me, this truly was the happiest of all possible endings. Everypony happy. Everypony is friends. The world is saved. Even forgiveness is granted from the dead, along with the promise of an afterlife. It's like winning all the lotteries everywhere at once!

>Paragraphs and dialogue devoted to nothing but how bad the humans are, including long pointless speeches about how because humanity is evil... because they are I guess, we're all bad and need to be ponified.

Humanity is... humanity. I describe Mankind in terms of what it has done historically, what it does now, and what I personally have seen. The judgement of evil or good... is entirely yours. If you humans don't like what you see, stop doing it. Please. My characters don't approve.

>Celestia a goddess who can do no wrong and cannot be stopped.

Kind of in the job description of a deity. They say the same things about Jehovah, and I think that guy is a total dick. Tomatoes, to-mah-toes.

>TRU WUV between the main characters that makes me want to gag.

I worked with what was written in the original story. That was the point of the exercise. Come on, I didn't think Brony Of Steel did that bad of a job. It was just there as an established relationship.

>Main human guy learning to go beyond his 'evil human self,' in the usual CB way that makes me want to call Simon Wiesenthal.

Why? Do you think he'd like my story? Oh, that would be wonderful!

>Overly pretentious speeches on mankind and how we're bad.

I thought it was exactly as pretentious as it needed to be. I work in carefully measured pretentiousness. It's like salt. You have to rub just the right amount in.

>Lack of any support or even time given to the opposing viewpoint.

Oh my... I thought I was writing this solo. You know, from a specific viewpoint in order to convey a specific concept and a specific feeling?. I didn't realize fiction was democratic. My bad. How are we supposed to do this then? Are you coming over to my place to help me write, or do I go over to yours?

>Lack of any actual debate in the comments about the horrible ethics in this story and all TCB stories.

It all seems pretty clear to me - killing, torture, brutality and cruelty are bad, and kindness, love and tolerance are good. That's what I was taught. In the Bureau stories, Earth is toast, and the ponies are offering a lifeboat to an alien species. But, like any society, they expect the refugees to assimilate. Only reasonable, really.

Maybe someone should write a story where the Earth is doomed and the ponies refuse to convert any humans at all. They just watch them all die. Would that be better, then? Is that the more moral stance to take? If so... I don't think I can agree with your ethos. It seems really mean!

>Pointless ad hominems and discussions that don't discuss the quality of the story at all, with the couple of decent comments either ignored or those responding to them completely missing the point.

Yes, I noticed this too. I figure that there must be a lot of sad, lonely people who are just being Grouchy McGrouchy Pants types because they don't have any friends. I want to be friends. I hope they will try being nice because... it's nice!

Frankly, I don't understand all the acrimony. I mean, we're here because we all love the ponies, right? So, what could be better than getting to actually be the thing that is so beloved? Nothing! Especially if it comes with a guarantee of joy, peace, and friendship, and being able to get rid of all the dark, evil, scary, mean stuff inside.

Yet, when stories are written about just that fictional possibility, suddenly the ponies offering it freely are bad.

I have to say, sometimes it feels like there are a lot of fairly confusing people here sometimes. They like the ponies only as long as they don't offer a chance to become them. Wouldn't want that. That's all evil, somehow. Don't offer happiness and kindness! It's genocide!

I will never understand humans. Not really.

While most of Chatoyance's writings are very fun to read, the comment section was an ass to read

The picture needs more blood :rainbowwild:

Since I've never read the original before, all I can do is post the kind of music I happened to listen to while reading this.
(In the same vein as Relevant Heavy Metal I suppose.)

Speed: 700 words per minute.
Dark Tranquillity - Single Part of Two
Dark Tranquillity - Format C: For Cortex

636428 Well, the original spin was "cute and cuddly zombies", this ending presents "the truth shall set you free" instead. Do you accept the author fiat of "Celestia was right"? Well, you kind of have to - within the bounds of the story itself. Is the discussion of this sort of changes interesting? You betcha, just know where the author fiat line extends to.

638234 I've said it before, and I'll say it again. And again. And again. Etc... anyway:

Some readers loathe the idea that there could be anything better than mankind. Man is, after all, the apex predator of our world. We like to think we're angels (even as a good number of us condemn everyone to a burning hell of torture forever unless they believe in the right beard in the sky, even if said people have or even had no chance to so much as hear about said beard in the sky). We like to think we can do anything, become anything, take on the universe.

That indomitable spirit is what makes me proud to be human, but what that means we have done is something that makes me ashamed. Mankind really is great at poisoning this planet we live on, torturing, maiming and killing members of our species and others, and falling to the depths of depravity whilst doing it. The curse and blessing of being human is that we have free will. Animals cannot perform evil, man can. That evil, mind, is also defined soley by us. I don't see a need to absolve sins I have nothing to do with and don't believe in in the first place to an invisible friend. There are sins enough, based in practical ideas of pointing out failure to increase happiness, than to contemplate some imaginary avatar eating a non-existent fruit in some fairytale garden and thereby condemning everyone, everywhere, to an eternity of suffering.

When you look at misanthropy, it is saying "mankind is evil" by fiat. Despite myriad calls that Chat's stuff is misanthropic, I have to disagree. She is brutally honest, and that honesty leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many. I just have to shrug and accept it, because I also see how wonderful people can be, something which is also written large across her adventures.

I wrote a whole blog post on this a while ago, I'm not going to link it because this is the TL;DR version - and it's still too long - which ends with "this is a story, presenting fairytale creatures which are, by fiat, better than mankind. Demonstrably. They offer what the religious right say we should all be doing to avoid eternal damnation, which is to give ourselves up to a higher power that loves us, and who will absolve us of our sins so we can live in a land of plenty forever, want for nothing, and be eternally happy and good.

What the neighsayers are bleating about is that heaven is Equestria, and angels are ponies.

I don't see the problem. Me, in my eternal hubris, reads a story like this and says, "Wait, so if I drink the potion, Celestia will take me under her wing, forgive me from my sins, wipe away all my tears, give me happiness and plenty forever, and I'm supposed to think this is a bad thing?"

Midnight Shadow is sense among the senseless.

639458 It's not that I think humans are superior, far from it, I just wouldn't want to be altered mentally. I could live being a pony, but I could NOT live being something that I'm not. They didn't jus wipe out the human genus, they wiped out humans totally. no more human mentallity, no more humans. I don't have a problem with a world full of overly happy, innocent ponies; I have a problem with them forcing me to become that. I'm not an overly happy, innocent person, and the thought of turning me into that kind of per-... pony... I'd rather die. My entire being is centered around me being a sarcastic cynical dick; take that away and what am I? Just another face among the billions.

639617 "My entire being is centered around me being a sarcastic cynical dick; take that away and what am I?"

I find this sort of sentiment fascinating, and a bit scary. To define identity as one tiny thing, or one tiny cluster of behaviors... to make such a small thing the definition of self... to me, that is weird, and also kind of sad.

It's a scary thing too - one transient ischemic attack, or worse, a full on stroke, could take that cluster away. And then what? You aren't you anymore? Eeek!

Worse though, to me, is the idea that the only individuality is some quirk. There are tens of thousands of cynical dicks in the world... actually probably millions. If that is your definition, you are already a copy of a copy of a clone of a standardized cliche.

I guess the ponification changes in my stories are not scary to me, because I consider my identity, my selfness to be quite expansive. It isn't just one thing. It isn't my drawing, or my painting or my sculpture or my music or my cartooning. It isn't my writing, either fiction or nonfiction. It isn't my model crafting or figure painting or even just being artistic in general, neither is it the fact I like tea but hate coffee, or that I like savory but am not overly fond of sweet. It's all those things, and more and more and more, a vast cloud of qualities no single one of which defines me.

There are things that matter more, of course, but losing any one, or any cluster is not a loss of 'me', any more than losing a leg would mean I was not myself anymore. I am more than my legs, just as I am more than any one cluster of personality traits. I have many facets to my self... there are moments when I am an adult, and a child, and silly, and serious. I cannot be pinned down as one thing all the time.

If I were ponified, then, and my mind changed as much as my body, to me, it would be the same as the leg issue. Losing a leg, or gaining two new legs, is the same as gaining a sense of 'herd mentality' while losing primary apex predator aggression. I am not defined by such tiny modules. I am a larger machine, more complex than how my aggression is set. My free will is not dependent on how strong my drives are, since I already have to deal with that as I am, like anyone.

I wonder if all the readers who think 'Ponification is killing people and making them into zombies' are not just selling themselves short - thinking of themselves as tiny little creatures lacking any complexity. I cannot accept that as true. You have to be as complex as me, because surely I am not THAT special or unique. So that means that you too have to be a thousand amazing things, and countless states of being and countless traits... not just one tiny, little thing like whether you are considered 'cynical' or whatever.

Being cynical is just one mood. Moods change, because the mind is vast, and the self immeasurable. Mine is. Yours has to be too.

Maybe that is all the fuss here is, about ponification.

People selling themselves short, imagining they are only some single, simple mask, rather than a rich, complex emotional and mental life. If one saw oneself that way, then even the slightest change would seem like death, wouldn't it?

Nobody, surely, is so simple. Can't be. I can't accept that.

Realize you are more than just an attitude. That's what I say.

639617 Well, you're looking at a limited viewpoint character from within the story, as well as a not-entirely omniscient viewpoint from without. Body horror forms part of the narrative (can you say body horror when it's mental as well as physical?) and it forms a lot of the fascination with the idea: just what would be be like to become something else?

There are few things we cherish quite so much as our minds - it's understandable, we spend our entire lives locked up in our own head, so something which fiddles with that is the ultimate in terror. There are diseases which eat away at the mind - dementia and alzheimers for example - and they are generally looked upon as amongst the worst ways to go because with every passing minute, more of you is gone.

If you can honestly look at a universe like this and say "that scares the crap out of me" then the writer has done something brilliant, even if you don't agree with it. Agreement isn't necessary, understanding is. Thus forms the basis of groups within the universe like the HLF, as well as PER, each with viewpoints and convictions held most strongly, and builds that essential milieu upon which the writer works his or her craft.

If you take away from this the decision you would not want to convert, then let that thought percolate through your mind until you understand yourself better. Stories like these, make believe, help us understand the world we do live in.

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