• Published 20th Nov 2011
  • 10,927 Views, 73 Comments

The Humanification Bureau - Ezn

In the grimdark future of MLP, there are only humans.

  • ...

Act One: "The Metamorphosis of Twilight Sparkle"

Act One: "The Metamorphosis of Twilight Sparkle"

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."
– Clarke's Third Law

Ponies from all over gathered around the large, elevated metal stage that had been air-dropped right in the center of the Canterlot ruins. Their benefactors – the strange creatures who called themselves "humans" - had broadcast a message about the meeting all around the area surrounding Canterlot two days prior, making it very clear that this would not be an event to miss.

Among the throngs, a young dark grey earth pony with a dirty pitch-black mane was standing perfectly still, lost in thought and without concern for the ponies that jostled and pushed around him.

His name was Monochrome, and he'd heard a lot of conflicting rumours about what the humans had planned for the ponies that day. Some – the ones who had stayed at home – said they planned to drop a bomb on Canterlot and kill everypony there. Others – the eager ponies who were pawing at the base of the stage – believed that the humans were going to cleanse Equestria of the evil that had overtaken it, and return things to how they used to be... in the old days.

To Monochrome, the old days were nothing but old stories, told by old fools. His Equestria had never been the peaceful, green paradise of those stories, and he had never seen the mythical Princess Celestia raise the sun, or the mysterious Nightmare Luna raise the moon – and had only dim memories of the celestial bodies themselves. He'd seen a dirty old unicorn skull with an oversized horn at a flea market once, but that had likely been a hoax.

"Hey, Mono," came a soft voice from above. "You didn't tell me you'd be here."

Mono looked up to see the speaker, a silver-maned white pegasus mare. Her name was Ruffled Feathers, and she was the only pegasus he knew – one of the few who spent any time below the clouds.

"Likewise, Ruff," he replied. "What's a bird like you doing with your face so close to the dust?"

"I'm just curious," she replied nonchalantly. "I'm sure you've heard some of the rumours about the humans by now."


"What do you believe?"

"I believe in making up my own mind, based on firsthoof evidence."

"Oh, Mono. Scientific as always..."

Monochrome shrugged at his friend, and the two of them turned to face the stage, from which some commotion could be heard.

"Uurgh, I can't see anything from down here," complained Feathers. "I feel so sorry for you poor ground-crawlers."

As if incited by Feathers's complaint, a silent contingent of giant screens floated out from somewhere behind the stage, arranging themselves in a wide circle around the stage, and slanting themselves so that everypony could see them without straining their necks.

Once all the screens were in position, soft, calming music began to play, quietly at first, but gradually growing in volume.

"It's starting!" exclaimed Feathers, finally landing and tucking in her wings.

The music continued until there was silence in the ruins of Canterlot, and then faded out. A spotlight flicked on and beamed onto the great metal stage. Seconds passed, and the tension in the air grew. Monochrome could hear the nervous breathing of the ponies around him.

A full minute passed, and still no-one stepped up to the stage's lone microphone. Monochrome knew that the humans were a secretive race, preferring to airdrop self-building, unscalable monoliths and hide in them then to send any of their own out into the open.

Many of his friends claimed to have seen humans, of course, but accounts differed. Some said they looked like just ponies, but all of them were alicorns. Others claimed that they bore a closer resemblance to Discord the Draconequus. Still others believed them to be giant spiders.

Monochrome shivered at that last theory, and hoped that the humans would continue to stall them, if that was the case.

Suddenly, the screens were filled with a flash of white light. As the light dimmed, everypony focused intently on the screens, squinting their eyes to finally get a glimpse of a human being.

"So they do look just like ponies!" exclaimed Ruffled Feathers. "I knew it!"

A lilac unicorn with a dark purple mane stood in the middle of the stage, glancing around her with a look of intense pain in her eyes. Slowly, she walked over to the stage's lone microphone, adjusting it with her magic just before she reached it.

"Greetings, ponies of Equestria," she said, her voice faltering slightly. "My name is Twilight Sparkle."

Murmurs of confusion rippled through the crowd, dying down when Twilight resumed her speech.

"I've been informed that you still know me as the Element of Magic, and the twice-saviour of Equestria – once from Nightmare Moon, and once from Discord. Is this true?"

Twilight's words were met with happy murmurs, followed by a thunderous stomping of hooves, and loud cries of "Saviour!" and "Hero!".

"I'll take that as a 'yes'," Twilight said, her tone becoming more cheerful. "And, in answer to some of you, yes, I have come as a hero and a saviour – or rather, as the forebear of one."

Excited chattering overtook the crowd, and Monotone shifted nervously in his horseshoes. He shot a nervous glance at Ruffled Feathers.

"I'm not sure I like where this is going," he said. "If this turns ugly, then I want you to fly out of here immediately."

Feathers waved a nonchalant hoof at his concern, silently telling him not to worry so much.

"I'd like to get straight to the point," continued Twilight. "In the short time since my return, I have seen much of Equestria as it is now, and it's not looking good. This whole world has been corrupted with more cancerous, evil magic than I ever thought could exist. It is no place for ponies to be living."

A wave of sadness and shame passed through the crowd. Some grumbled about the misdeeds of their mothers and fathers, while others stared at their hooves in silence. To hear Twilight Sparkle, one of their greatest heroes and every young unicorn filly's role model, say such hard words was not easy to take.

"You poor ponies don't even have a sun or a moon, thanks to the vicious power-grabs of selfish, short-sighted unicorns."

Monochrome and Feathers had seen the sun and the moon every day and night up until they were four years of age. Nopony would ever forget the day the moon came up during the day and collided with the sun, shattering both into millions of pieces. Shards of burning sun rained across the land for days afterwards, burning up farms and killing hundreds.

"But there is a way out of this," Twilight said resolutely, "for everypony. All you need to do is trust our human benefactors, as I have come to."

Twilight's words had an unmistakable edge of sadness and resignation, and she hung her head for a moment before continuing.

"The humans have amazing technology – they can do things without magic that not even Princess Celestia could do with it. It was the humans who brought myself and my friends Applejack, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy back to life. All they asked in return for this was that we tell you, our people, about their plan for your future, in your own terms."

"They're making plans for our future now?" asked Ruffled Feathers. "Well that's presumptuous."

"The humans come from somewhere far away, a beautiful land, free of the dark magic that has twisted and ruined Equestria. They have taken pity on our plight, and have offered to take every last one of you out of this doomed land, and back to their home!"

The giant image of Twilight on the screens was replaced by a slideshow of photographs of the humans' home. Huge, clean waterfalls cascaded down leafy green cliffsides, and flowed into strong, blue rivers, which passed by clean, colourful buildings made of glass on their way to the wide, magnificent sea.

Monochrome's eyes almost popped out of his sockets, and he and Ruffled Feathers joined the thunderous stomping of hooves. The scene was so bright that it hurt his eyes, but he felt he would sooner die than shield them from such magnificence.

"It's... beautiful..." whispered Feathers. "They still have sun..."

"I take it you would all like to go there," said Twilight, once the cheering had calmed down.

"YES!" screamed the crowd. "YES!"

Twilight smiled sadly as the beginnings of tears appeared in the corners of her eyes. She sighed deeply, still not ready for what she was about to tell her adoring audience.

"You can't," she said. "We can't. Not as ponies..."

Everypony's eyes grew wide, and Monochrome sensed the mounting aggression in the air. He shot a desperate look at Feathers, who ignored him, still looking up at Twilight. There was going to be a riot.

"But wait!" shouted Twilight, the volume of her microphone increasing dramatically. "There is a way that we can get there. I've been told that that their world is... incompatible... with the magic that flows through ours. As ponies, we would surely die upon entering it. But we don't have to enter their world as ponies!"

Monochrome gulped. He knew all too well of Equestria's many suicide cults, and had lost a number of friends and acquaintances to them. He had really hoped that this would be different.

"The humans have pioneered an amazing method of, for lack of a better word, humanifying ponies," Twilight said. "All you have to do is go through a painless medical procedure that will take all of thirty seconds, and you'll become a non-magical human, capable of surviving in a beautiful world, untainted by magic."

The crowd murmured with dissent.

"And to prove the ease of this process," Twilight announced, taking a step back from the microphone. "I – and simultaneously, my five friends, who are giving this same speech in different parts of Equestria – will be the first to undergo humanification."

The crowd gasped.

"Don't worry, my little ponies! I'll still be the same Twilight Sparkle you all love, just with fingers instead of hooves. Humanification doesn't change who you are on the inside!"

"What are fingers?" asked Feathers.

"Guess we'll find out soon," replied Monchrome, nonplussed.

Twilight Sparkle raised her forehooves for silence, and awkwardly brought herself up into a two-legged standing position, teetering slightly as she rose. The crowd fell silent, and all eyes watched her intently, not even daring to blink.

"Farewell, Equestria..." Twilight whispered. "Goodbye... magic..."

Ducts opened up on the floor of the stage, and columns of pink gas pumped out of them, obscuring the crowd's view. The columns formed a concentrated pink cloud, which slowly grew smaller, until it was roughly the height of Twilight, as she tottered on her hindlegs.

Eventually, the smoke cleared. Where a purple unicorn had swayed on her hindlegs moments before, a light pink hairless monkey now stood, gazing in awe at her new hands. Twilight's long, purple hair was the only thing that remained as a reminder of her former appearance.

"Eww," Feathers said, nudging Monochrome. "No wonder the humans have been hiding from us this whole time – they're really ugly!"

Just then, a hatch opened in the bottom of the stage, and what looked like another female human climbed up to the surface. The lines on her face showed her to be physically older than Twilight Sparkle. She was dressed in a long white coat, and carried another just like it in the crook of her left arm.

The older woman placed the coat over Twilight, fastening it together at the middle. She then approached the microphone.

"Hello, uh, every pony!" she said enthusiastically. "I'm Doctor Helen Kage, and I'd like you all to know that Ms Sparkle here is going to be just fine! How do you feel, Twilight?"

Twilight reached out an unsteady arm, which Doctor Helen braced against herself, helping Twilight to cross over to the microphone stand.

"It – it feels a little weird," Twilight began, reaching out to touch the mic stand with her hands. "But not, uh, not in a bad way. It wasn't painful or anything..."

Her voice trailed off as she rubbed her hand against the microphone stand.

"And these hands!" she said suddenly. "You ponies are going to love them!"

Twilight and Dr Helen looked into the floating camera and smiled. Helen gave a thumbs-up, which Twilight tried – and failed – to imitate.

Monochrome didn't know what to make of all this. Twilight Sparkle seemed fine, and he got the strong sense that she had been telling the truth about "being the same as Twilight as before". Her shrunken, but still purple eyes twinkled with happiness, and she seemed genuinely pleased with her decision.

"LONG LIVE PONIES!" came a vicious shout from somewhere in the crowd. "DEATH TO THE NEIGH-SAYERS!"

A loud bang echoed across the Canterlot ruins, and brilliant bolt of lightning shot right towards the stage. However, an opaque protective bubbled had already closed around the two humans, and the screens went dark as a plume of smoke rose of its sleek surface.

"Do not listen to the words of the violent, friends!" came the desperate voice of Twilight Sparkle over the speakers. "Place for you to get humanified – 'humanification bureaus' – will be set up all around Equestria, starting tomorrow. Come in peace, and you will be saved."

Another loud bang was heard as the giant metal stage's rocket boosters – previously hidden from sight – activated, sending the stage and its occupants high into the sky.

Two explosions in such a short space of time were too much: the crowd went wild. Monochrome saw Ruffled Feathers zip off into the sky, and took a second to smile to himself before he had to dodge a stray hoof, and step out of the way of an oncoming stampede.

More bangs went off in the crowd, and Monochrome hurried along to the edge of the ruins, were the crowd thinned. He was bumped, jostled and bruised, but eventually he made it.

The trip down the mountain was largely uneventful. Everypony was still fighting amongst themselves up in the crowd, and Monochrome winced at a few more bangs as he slowly made his way down.

He stopped near the foot of the mountain, and looked up into the sky. The stage was nowhere in sight, but he could see the giant screens slowly drifting away from him.

Monochrome had a lot to think about.

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