• Published 5th Dec 2015
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The Conversion Bureau EarthGate Saga: Through the EarthGate - Dolphy Blue Drake

A colony ship from Earth to Alpha Centauri never made it, somehow ending up in another system. 6000 years later, they have finally found a way home. But there's something wrong with the legendary 3rd planet from Sol...

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Chapter 2: The Empty Cradle

Back on Funestis, in the Clerisiac capital of Elder Lodge, Spacecraft One was waiting at the docks. Transport craft were built to serve as both boats and spacecraft, so the Chimeron’s personal dropship would have to set out to sea before taking flight to the EarthGate.

The Chimeron himself climbed aboard, six Singulons following behind him, their virtually impenetrable MonoSkin armor made from monopoles completely black and covering them from head to toe with the exception of the mouth area, where a mask made of materials that weren’t virtually impenetrable served as the method for them to breathe (monopoles, and by extension, Monopolium, from which MonoSkin is made, has incredible mass for even a tiny amount, requiring gravity control systems in the suit to prevent the wearer from being crushed, and the sheer gravity of it would make a breath mask of it worthless, for all the air would get stuck due to the gravity of a MonoSkin mask).

Following them were a large group of scientists bringing the knowledge of the many sciences they had discovered with them, including the means to become Protean beings, the secret to Total Immunity, artificial gravity, the technology used for the EarthGate, and many others.

After the scientists came a group of traders, eager to establish a currency exchange system with Earth’s various national currencies, as well as to determine how valuable commodities from the Lalande 21185 system were to Terrans and how valuable Terran commodities would be to the Lalandeans.

An escort of two All-Environment Naval Experiment Assault Crafts (or AENEACs, for short) with a handful of troops on board each and a single Flattop interplanetary “aircraft carrier” (carrying Kineticore manned fighters, a couple Excelsior flying humanoid battle robots made of solid hydrogen, and Gyrfalcon bird-shaped robotic fighters) waited right outside the docks, awaiting Spacecraft One’s departure. The three spacecraft were to escort the Chimeron’s Dropship through the gate, then follow behind on the way to Washington, D.C., to only provide backup if things got ugly, for Spacecraft One had only light weapons for self-defense.

“Engaging hover thrusters,” the captain of Spacecraft One announced as the craft gracefully took to the air enough to head out to sea. “Now engaging rear engines. We’re heading to sea, everyone.”

After a couple minutes of making it into open waters, the captain radioed the other three spacecraft, then announced, “Now engaging Vertical Takeoff thrusters. We’re heading for space.”

The four spacecraft escaped the atmosphere of Funestis, passed the orbiting platforms and cities built on them by various nations, Clericorum included, and entered the space between planets, where the EarthGate stood before them.

“Now entering the EarthGate!” the captain announced excitedly, wiping away a tear. They were about to do it. Earth was within reach. The home of their ancestors was just on the other side. There wasn’t a dry eye to be had among anyone on all four ships. Even the most battle-hardened veterans couldn’t keep from getting emotional, for this one dream was what their nation had been striving for since day one, when Joe dan Bohr I rallied them together, organizing them to build Elder Lodge and establish the Clerisiac Empire.

With Spacecraft One leading the way, the four spaceships flew through the portal and found themselves in Earth orbit. Even with that odd pink bubble surrounding it, the Proteans aboard the ships easily recognized the blue sphere that had raised humanity into the mighty people they had become by the time they left to spread to Alpha Centauri, only to wind up in the Lalande 21185 system, instead.

“Engaging navigational computer for autopilot,” the captain announced. “The autopilot will take us to the mouth of the Potomac River. Beginning descent.”

As the four ships passed through the bubble with slight interference, everyone able to see the ground below began to notice something strange: there was no sign of the constant artificial lights visible from space at night. It was night, and yet, it was as if every city had gone dark. As if Earth had become a ghost town the size of an entire planet.

“Ch-Chimeron dan Bohr?” a scientist whispered nervously. “I-I think something terrible awaits us when we arrive.”

“That may be the case,” Joe replied, biting his lip with nervous tension as he subconsciously used his Protean abilities to shapeshift slightly, retaining his general visage, but gaining a klackon exoskeleton over his otherwise human-looking body. “Everyone stay alert.”

After a few minutes, the craft finished its descent and touched down on the Atlantic Ocean, near the mouth of the Potomac River. But instead of a city of great splendor and relics of the past, a simple town of wooden houses with thatched roofs met their eyes.

“This is strange,” Joe muttered, shifting back to a normal human appearance. “Everyone, be on your guard!”

After the Dropship stopped next to land so the passengers could disembark, the hatch opened, and Chimeron dan Bohr stepped out onto land first, accompanied by the six Singulon soldiers serving as his honor guard. The scientists and traders followed nervously, and the AENEACs radioed that they were standing by for backup, troops at the ready.

The town wasn’t completely dark, there were some lights coming from the houses, and a few equine-like creatures roamed the streets, but not a single human was to be found.

The strangest thing of all, though, was that some of the equines were talking to each other. In English!

Slowly approaching a pair of conversing equines—a blue one with wings and a red one with a horn—Joe cleared his throat to get their attention, resulting in their already large eyes bugging out when they saw him and his group.

“Greetings,” Joe said, waving a hand in a sign of friendship. “We mean no harm. I am Chimeron Joe dan Bohr CI of the Proteocracy of Clericorum. We are representatives of the descendants of the colonists sent to Alpha Centauri six-thousand five years ago, and we wish to reestablish contact with the nation who sent us on our way so long ago. Where can I find the President of the United States of America? Everything appears to have changed since our ancestors left, so I’m not quite sure where the U.S. government is, now.”

“Why would ya want ta talk ta humaines when bein’ a pony be so much moe fun?” the red one, a female, judging on the voice, asked, provoking odd looks from all the Clerisiac emissaries.

“What kind of question is that?” Joe asked, scrunching up his face in confusion. “Our forebears were human, so we just want to establish contact at long last with those who sent our ancestors to the cosmos so long ago.”

“But being a pony is so much more fun!” the blue one, a male if the voice was any indication, protested, confusing the Clerisy even more. “Queen Celestia loves us so much! In fact, we have some friends who can show you just how much fun it is!”

“Potion them! Now!” a female voice cried from further down the street, where the Clerisy could barely make out more quadrupedal forms. Bottles of pink fluid flew through the air, but the Clerisy didn’t seem at all frightened, confusing the equines.

“Everyone, stand your ground,” Joe said sternly. The group complied and just let the potions hit them, resulting in…

Nothing. Nothing happened at all. Whatever the equines expected the potions to do, it was clearly having no effect.

“WHAT?” the female voice from before screamed in shock as the equines in the distance approached. revealing a deep blue, horned equine with a silver mane and tail, a platinum tiara, and burning red eyes leading a large group of white-furred equines in gold armor carrying spears. “Why didn’t they turn into ponies? What’s going on? The potion turns humans into ponies!”

“Ah, tinkering with gene tailoring, are we?” a scientist chuckled, wiping the pink fluid off of his lab coat so it wouldn’t stain. “Sorry, but we of the Clerisy are masters of the many sciences of genetic construction. We’re not exactly human ourselves, anymore.”

“But it still should’ve worked!” the furious blue mare screeched. “You should’ve all turned into newfoals!”

“Sorry, but as Dr. Eureka said, we’ve mastered genetic reconstruction, and we even can construct new species from scratch,” Joe said with a shake of his head. “Using it, we redesigned ourselves to be a combination between human and klackon, as well as having DNA that can restructure itself as we see fit. We’re not humans. We’ve artificially evolved ourselves past human into Proteans, allomorphic shape-shifters. Observe.”

Shape-shifting was simple for one born a Protean. It was as easy as moving your arm, and required very little thought. The Chimeron was born a Protean, so he had no trouble with it at all. To demonstrate, he first shifted to the form of a klackon, then back to his normal human shape with different colored skin, shifting through the entire visible spectrum of colors rapidly, then into a cross between a human and a Typhoeus—a dragon-like creature created using the power of chaos biogenics for military purposes—then back to his default human-looking form. He finished with a bow.

“So you can change shape,” the equine huffed. “That still doesn’t explain why the potions didn’t work!”

“You haven’t pieced it together yet?” another scientist scoffed. “Here, let me give you the watered-down version: we’re immune to everything. The secrets of Total Immunity have made our entire race immune to everything, for our very cells resist anything that would rewrite them besides themselves. We even show no signs of aging! I may look like I’m in my early twenties, but I’ll have you know that I’m sixty-three! We just keep going strong until the minute we keel over, and without examinations from a doctor, we’d never know death was even near!”

The equine whickered and backed up in shock. She understood that explanation.

“This is bad,” she muttered. “Great Aunty’s not going to like this at all!” Turning to the Proteans, she started to throw a tantrum. “That’s cheating!” she whined. “You’re not playing fair!” Suddenly, her face turned red with anger, and she bellowed, “Everypony! Attack!”

“Yes, Princess Birthright!” the battalion of equines shouted as one before charging at the emissaries. Now, the Proteans were worried.

“Chimeron dan Bohr! We’re civilians!” a merchant screamed. “They’ll tear us to bits!”

“Radio all three ships for backup,” Joe ordered. “In the meantime, my honor guard will form a living wall to block all their attacks. Singulons are nearly impossible to defeat when they’re defending, especially without technology from our system.”

Without a word, the six singulons stood side by side, about a foot apart, slowly walking towards the advancing enemy, finally coming to a stop when the advancing equines were only seconds away.

With the buildings on either side, the singulons took up the whole road, leaving no room for any ground-based troops to simply maneuver around them.

“You think you can block our way?” a soldier equine scoffed. “Ponies are superior to all! Take this!”

The pony tried to stab a singulon with his spear, but the spear had no effect. The MonoSkin armored soldier said nothing and backhanded the pony across the face, throwing him into the air from the heavy impact, sailing over the heads of his comrades and out of sight.

“A single MonoSkin suit has almost as much mass as the planet Mars!” another scientist crowed. “Something that dense is far too resistant to attacks for a simple spear to work! Just look at what a simple backhand did to that foolish soldier! The gravity manipulators were even redirecting most of the mass away from the hand at that time! Had they not done that, his head would’ve popped off!”

“Unicorns!” Birthright screamed. “Tear them to pieces! Use magic!”

After cries of ‘yes, ma’am!’, the horn of every “unicorn” soldier took on an aura matching their eye color, and wave after wave of energy-based attacks fired from the glowing horns, pummeling the singulons hard with lightning, fire, balls of pure energy, energy blades, and many other types of attacks, but the singulons still stood strong with only a few gashes in their armor, which quickly repaired themselves due to the intense gravity of MonoSkin pulling the material back together, mending the suits to appear as if they had never taken damage. The life support systems in the suits would tend to the wounds the wearers had taken from the few attacks that made it through, so they’d be good as new in seconds.

“Why isn’t anything working?” Birthright screamed, dropping to the ground and banging the road with her forehooves like a young child throwing a tantrum. “Pegasi! Just carry the earth pony and unicorn soldiers over their heads!”

The winged soldiers, now identified as “pegasi”, started picking up the ground-bound troops and took to the sky, too high for the singulons to reach, forcing the singulons to fall back to protect the Chimeron as the flying ponies started to land, surrounding the Chimeron and civilians and blocking off the singulons, who began punching and kicking to try to get through the sea of soldiers.

“We can’t fight!” a merchant screamed. “I’m just a Hi-DIE Tanker pilot! I deal in shipping plasmas from Megiddo on Funestis to Masonia on Naumachia! I’m only here to set a trading standard for plasmas being shipped to Earth! None of us know how to fight! We’re unarmed, untrained, and inexperienced! They’ll destroy us unless a miracle happens right now!”

As if on cue, an Excelsior flew towards them from the direction of the Flattop sitting in the ocean, accompanied by two Kineticore fighters and a pair of Gyrfalcons. In addition, two battalions of Pasticcios (“beings” built for military purposes consisting of klackon and human biology, as well as mechanical parts) fell from the sky with the aid of parachutes, two hordes of Speed Demons (bipedal reptilian war creatures genetically designed for the sole purpose of being insanely fast) disembarked from the two AENEACs and began rushing towards them, and a pair of Ur-Titans (giant bipedal humanoids based on the ancient titans of myth) disembarked as well, shaking the ground with every step as they approached the town.

The ponies didn’t even have time to react before the flying machines closed in, firing energy-based weapons at the ground, forcing the ponies to fall back to avoid complete annihilation from the shots of plasma from the Gyrfalcons, delerium-116 (or D-116 for short) crystal-based energy beam shots from the Kineticores, and quantum laser blasts from the Excelsior.

Next, the ground units closed in. The Speed Demons arrived first, biting and clawing at the ponies, forcing them further back. Then the Pasticcios arrived, firing lasers at the ponies, pushing them back even more. Finally, the two Ur-Titans arrived, every step towards the ponies forcing them to give ground without even needing to attack until the ponies had no choice but to retreat, for they were clearly outmatched.

With the battle won, only Princess Birthright remained behind, kicking and screaming as she hit the ground over and over, once again resembling a toddler throwing a tantrum.

“You can’t bring all that junk to protect you!” she whined. “It’s not fair! We were gonna win! You bunch of meanies! I’ll get you for this! Daddy and Great Aunty’ll make you pay!”

The Chimeron walked towards her until he was close enough to touch her, then slapped her. Hard.

“Grow up!” he snapped. “You were beaten, but none of you actually died! All of those shots were warning shots! Where we come from, you can’t afford to make warning shots! You’re lucky we didn’t decide to just obliterate you! Stop acting like a toddler and grow some dignity!”

“You hit me!” Birthright blubbered before crying like some child who was only “sorry” because they got caught. “You’re all bullies! If it weren’t for your stupid machines and monsters, you’d be dead! You cheat!”

Joe had had enough. Shifting into a non-bipedal form was tricky, but with a little focus, he managed to pull off shifting into a spitting image of the brat before him, minus the tiara, and still wearing his robe and suit, which was quite baggy on this form.

“Look at me!” Joe said in a snooty, incredibly fake and whiny female voice, provoking chuckles from the Proteans and dead silence from Birthright, who just stared in shock. “I’m Princess Birthright! I’m a spoiled, bratty unicorn who throws tantrums when I don’t get what I want! I look like a grown-up, but I act like I’m four!”

The emissaries erupted into violent laughter while Joe shifted back to his default form, and Birthright scowled at all of them, finally getting to her hooves and giving them the iciest glare they’d ever seen.

“You’ll get yours, just you wait, ‘Proteans’!” Birthright snapped. “We’re not letting this mockery go unpunished! Enjoy your victory while you can, for the next time you face us, you’ll die! We own the entire planet! The humans are gone, replaced with newfoals! You came home forty years too late! If you value your lives, you’ll just pack up and leave, closing that gate behind you!”

With that, the snobby excuse for a princess disappeared in a flash of light, leaving the Clerisy alone in a world where they were the only traces of humanity remaining, and even they weren’t strictly human anymore.

Author's Note:

There we go. Chapter 2. Now the schedule I mentioned in the previous chapter will take over: Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday. Let me know what you think, and if you have questions, I'll explain to the best of my ability. I don't always have the Scifi mode Civilopedia on hand, but if you guys want, I could post a blog post with the whole Civilopedia in it, since it's an open source, free to share text file.

EDIT: All the chapters are up, but the rest aren't published at the time of this edit. If you want to preread any upcoming chapter before its release date (as long as it's only the chapter right after the most recently posted one), PM me with your reason for seeing it (I'd love it if you're interested in helping make the saga into a group project with a fic or two of your own and need to see the next chapter early so you can better plan your addition!), and if I deem the reason suitable enough, I'll give you the link to the next chapter and the unpublished view password.
WARNING TO ALL: Don't abuse this offer. If even one person lies to me about their reason and their actual intention turns out to be any kind of troll act (this includes sharing the password and link with others I haven't given approval to or trying to cheat the system by using shortcuts to get to the other chapters you don't have my permission to view yet), I'll change the password to something so hard to decipher, even I won't be able to remember it without having it written down, and no more people will be given preview privileges beyond those who already have been given such privileges and haven't abused them. Any abuse by those who still have those privileges after such an event will result in me changing the password again and not giving it to anyone.