• Published 5th Dec 2015
  • 3,438 Views, 96 Comments

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 4: Restoring What Was Lost

Chimeron Joe dan Bohr CI left Spacecraft One to deliver an address to the nation about the state of Earth, then to send word to all of his embassies in the other six nations explaining Earth’s plight to them as well and to request help from their leaders, for even the nations of klackon descent wanted to contact Earth to get their help with establishing contact with Kholdan.

Meanwhile, Dr. Eureka returned to Spacecraft One with a massive group of assistants in labcoats following behind him, three hovering stretchers following them, piloted by Positronic Brains—small supercomputers that used positrons instead of electrons to triple their computational power, making them almost sapient, but not quite.

“Hello, my three lovely patients!” Eureka said brightly. “We’re here to cure what ails you and set you right!”

The three newfoals groaned slightly in protest, and Eureka sighed.

“I know, we left you waiting for almost three hours,” he said, wringing his hands. “But we had to reserve the operating room in the hospital closest to the docks for the next twelve hours, and we had to gather a lot of medical instruments not normally found in a hospital. So, forgive me if we kept you waiting for too long.”

That was not why the newfoals groaned, so they tried a different approach to get their message across: the three of them shook their heads for a couple seconds before the lack of continual stimuli forced them to cease.

“Come now, don’t let that tyrant boss you around!” Eureka scolded with a shake of his head. “Humans don’t let others decide their lives for them, you know! And I know that deep down, each one of you wants to be human again, even if you don’t think you do.”

Turning to his assistants, Eureka started barking orders.

“Green! Get the stretchers in position!” the doctor commanded. “Johnson! You, Fujimoto and Montoya are to get them onto the stretchers! Lacks! Place analyzers on them once we’re on our way so we’ll know exactly what to fix when we get there!”

The assistants swarmed around the three newfoals, three of them picking them up to place them on stretchers that moved by themselves.

Once again presented with stimuli, the newfoals found themselves able to make slight actions, and they all reacted differently: The pegasus weakly moved his wings, trying to fly, but failing. The earth pony tried to squirm out of the grip of the Protean holding him, but he also failed because he was incapable of putting full force into his actions.

The unicorn, however, attempted to use magic, resulting in a few plasma bolts arcing from her horn and striking the Protean carrying her, forcing her to let go. Now free, the unicorn channeled magic into her legs to provide a continual stimulus while also launching streams of magic at her fellow captives, granting them a continual stimulus, as well.

The sedatives were still in effect, so moving was hard at first, but the unicorn pumped more magic into herself and the other two newfoals, filling them with enough strength to counter the effects of the sedatives inside them.

“Listen up, bullies!” The unicorn giggled creepily. “We’ve figured out how ta counter yo sedatives! I still gots power left, and muh two homies heea is capable of breakin’ jaws and bones! We’re takin’ control of dis ship and we’re returnin’ ta New Equestria! All of ya, get out of heea, except fo’ Doc Eureka! We’ll need ta brin’ one of ya back fo study so da ponification potion can be made ta work on ya! And remember our names! I is Mystic Scarlet, da pegasus be Sonic Azure, and da earth pony be Tough Amber!”

The other two newfoals nodded in agreement and popped their shoulders, preparing to attack.

But apparently, the scientists came prepared: a creature resembling a green Velociraptor carrying a gun that was most likely a laser pistol stepped through the sea of scientists and glared at the newfoals.

“Oh, you haven’t seen an Intelliraptor before, have you?” Eureka chuckled. “They’re almost as smart as we are, and far more clever than the original Velociraptors. With enough time, an Intelliraptor can even learn how to speak in human, klackon, and Protean languages! Take Captain Va’Rak of the Elder Lodge tribe, here! Show them, Va’rak!”

The genetically reconstructed and enhanced dinosaur opened its mouth and spoke in a gravelly voice.

“Come quietly, or I will resort to force,” Va’Rak growled. “Will you give up peacefully?”

To make his point, Va’Rak bared his teeth, flexed his claws, and undid the safety on his pistol, aiming it right at the unicorn’s horn. “When you’re human again, you won’t be needing that horn, anyway,” Va’Rak added with a sneer. “You can’t say that I won’t shoot just because we need you alive. I’ll just shoot your horn clean off, and your resistance will end right there. So, will you come quietly? We hold all the cards, not you.”

Scarlet sighed and stopped the flow of magic from her horn, resulting in the three of them crumpling to the ground like rag dolls.

“Thank you for your cooperation,” Va’Rak said as he turned around. “We don’t want to resort to violence.”

The three Protean scientists picked up the newfoals again, who didn’t resist this time and allowed them to set them down on the stretchers, which started to move on their own again while a woman scientist placed a device covered in pulsing lights on each of their foreheads.

In the streets, the newfoals glanced around at the alien architecture the Proteans had constructed. Most buildings were cylindrical with domed tops, mostly in shades of red or blue, but a few buildings were rectangular, such as the hospital they were approaching. Proteans in all sorts of forms leaned out of open windows to watch the procession pass by on the sidewalk, all the way to the hospital, where the scientists headed directly for the operating room they had reserved.

“Okay, Miss Scarlet’s the most dangerous, so let’s get her out of the way first,” Eureka told the scientists. “Provide them with food and help them eat, and then we’ll get started.”

“Anything in particular?” a scientist asked as Professor Lacks removed the analyzer from Mystic Scarlet’s forehead and plugged it into a positronic brain to interpret the data on the former human.

“Just things from a normal Lalandean diet,” Eureka replied. “Just get them sandwiches on Verdita bread, and throw in whatever else you can think of that we’d normally eat. If they’re going to be human again, they’re going to have to ditch the herbivorous diet, anyway, so throw in meat if you think it’ll help. Maybe some Quench Fruit on the side.”

At the mention of eating meat, the newfoals started to writhe, attempting to escape, but with no further stimuli, they quickly lost the ability to do anything besides move their eyes and breathe.

“Doctor Eureka?” Professor Lacks called, motioning him over to the positronic brain’s three-dimensional hologram display, which showed the information on the woman-turned-unicorn. “I’ve found evidence that her original DNA is still in there. It’s been rearranged to result in her current form, but she still possesses the same amount of chromosomes as humans, klackons and Proteans: twenty-three pairs. Her brain has been altered severely, but applications of Heteromorphic RNA should be able to restructure it to its original form. With that done, we’ll be able to apply anti-psionic devices to break the hold on her mind, then send in more Heteromorphic RNA intended to rewrite her DNA and cellular structure to her original form. She should be human again in a matter of three hours after we begin.”

“Get the lab instruments to work on producing the Heteromorphic RNA and loading them into LoFAJI cartridges,” Eureka ordered. “Once her treatment is prepared, move onto Mister Azure and perform the same operations, then once his are ready, make the same preparations for Mister Amber.”

“Understood,” Lacks replied with a nod before typing on the console.

“Okay, patients, it’s eating time!” the scientist who left earlier to get food sang as he returned with three trays. Each one had a Closbeast Burger, a single Quench Fruit, and a glass of water with a straw.

At the sight of the burgers, the newfoals recoiled slightly, but they were unable to do much else, for once the trays were divided among them, a scientist joined each of them, picked up the burger first, and took advantage of methods to produce desired reactions from stimuli to force each former human to take a bite from the burger, then coaxed their mouths into chewing, then swallowing, helped them wash it down with a few sips of water, then repeated the process until the burgers were completely eaten, and moved on to the blue fruits.

Having no control over their own mouths was pure torture for the newfoals, especially since they had been forced to eat meat and couldn’t prevent it. At least the odd blue fruit was delicious.

“Okay, get Miss Scarlet onto the operating table,” Eureka ordered. “Lacks, are the cartridges ready?”

“Hers are,” Lacks replied while giving a pair of LoFAJI cartridges to another assistant, who brought them to Eureka. “I’ll get started on Mister Azure’s cartridges right now.” She grabbed the analyzer from Sonic Azure’s forehead and replaced Mystic Scarlet’s analyzer with his.

Once the unicorn was on the operating table, Eureka spoke directly to her.

“Miss Scarlet, I know you think you don’t want this, but I can assure you, that’s just the mind control talking. We’ve found that the real you is still in there, in your DNA, and these two injections will help in setting her free.” Motioning to a helmet-like device covered in high-tech gadgets, he continued. “Once your brain has been restored to its original structure, this device will be able to break your ‘queen’s’ hold on you, and you’ll be capable of free thought again for the first time in years. Once you have that ability restored, I will ask you what your thoughts are about being able to think for yourself again. All you’ll have to do is think the answers, and the psionic stabilizer will read your thoughts and display them on a screen for us to see.”

Mystic Scarlet groaned, but the partial sedation quickly made her response fade into silence. She tried to shy away from the strange injector Eureka was holding, but once again, her body wouldn’t respond. She watched, afraid for the first time since her ponification, as the doctor loaded it with the first cartridge, pressed it to her neck, then met her eyes with an apologetic look before pushing a button and saying, “This is for your own good.”

She felt something enter her neck through her pores, but only barely felt it, for her sense of touch and pain was incredibly dulled in this state.

The injected substance flowed to her brain, and now she could sense the effects. Her mind became torn, part newfoal, part human. The suppressed human mind was finally fighting back after years of imprisonment, given newfound strength from whatever Eureka had injected into her, free of its cage at last. Wires attached to her body sent signals to displays all over the room, updating the scientists on the state of her brain.

This kind of stimulus was powerful enough to give her the strength to cry out and thrash around, so she did both.

“Stop it!” Mystic screamed. “I like muh new life! I don’t wanna go back! Make it stop!” Her thrashing was countered by the scientists holding her down with MonoSkin straps, but the screams continued, tears streaming down her face as the two minds warred with each other, the human mental structure starting to suppress the newfoal structure, until the newfoal mental structure finally broke down, utterly destroyed as the human mental structure took full control, still under Celestia’s thrall, and still a newfoal in body, but with some differences.

The most notable differences were that she could fully feel negative emotions and that she could curse again, so with her last bit of energy before the sedatives took complete hold again, she forced out some very vulgar insults aimed at the scientists (including some very clever uses of the f-bomb), then went limp again, her thought processes confused and muddled by the change in mental function.

“Her brain has been successfully restructured so human thought is the optimal thought format,” a scientist informed Dr. Eureka, who nodded in affirmation.

“Well, that’s phase one out of the way,” Eureka announced. “That took about half an hour, so we’re making good progress. Put the psionic stabilizer on her, and we’ll move on to phase two.”

Mystic tried to sift through her thoughts that no longer matched how the ponification process had intended them to be structured, but the differences proved too hard to work with while she was still under Celestia’s thrall. A human mind, and even a truepony mind, is meant to exist independently, not under the control of another.

However, at the mention of the helmet device, some amount of resistance welled up inside her confused mind , and she struggled again for a few seconds, too confused to even attempt to use her magic, and the helmet was lowered onto her head and secured with a strap beneath her chin.

The confusion grew as the machine went to work, applying anti-psionic energy to her confused brain, confusing her even more as her thoughts started to war with each other.

She loved Queen Celestia. No, she hated the tyrant who stripped her of her own free will!

Being a pony was so much fun! No, it was a living Hell!

She wanted to just go back to New Hoofington and return to the life she had there. No, she wanted to go back to being a human living in Washington, D.C.!

Her life in New Equestria as a pony was better than her old life as a human had ever been! No, she wasn’t a citizen of New Equestria, for “New Equestria” didn’t even exist! Her home world was Earth, and she was an American! She had freedom to think and believe as she chose to, and the freedom to express her thoughts and beliefs! Why would anything less be preferable?

She enjoyed having magic! No, magic was a pitiful excuse for giving up her freedom! Being an ordinary human with free thought but no powers was far better than living her entire life just to please some tyrannical nag while the only thing she got out of the bargain was magic!

The thoughts continued to war with each other, with the ones placed there by Celestia losing as her mind was slowly being restored to independent thought.

Eventually, independence won, Celestia’s control was severed, and though bits and pieces of the thoughts placed there by the Alicorn tyrant still remained, they would fade away with time now that her free thinking found such notions to be ridiculous.

“Her thoughts have stabilized,” an assistant announced. Eureka nodded in thanks before addressing Mystic.

“So, how do you feel?” he asked. “What are your first impressions of having free will for the first time in years?”

How did she feel about suddenly being able to think for herself? It was like waking from an incredibly long sleep, but she wasn’t completely sure if her experience in that state was a dream or a nightmare.

Her thoughts were displayed on a screen, and Eureka nodded. “I figured you’d be confused. You’ve been trapped in there, suppressed for a very long time by that outer shell placed there by the transformation. Now, do you still want to remain a pony? Or do you want your human body back?”

Mystic was unsure. Her old human name—Martha Carver—was trying to well its way back to the surface, but she wasn’t sure if she truly wanted to be Martha Carver again. She was free to think for herself, and was a human in mind, but having magic was convenient.

Once again, the screen displayed her thoughts, and Dr. Eureka nodded again. “I understand your concern. You miss your old self, but you don’t know if you want to give up magic for it. If you let us continue restoring you to human form, we can induce artificial evolution into the pinnacle of life: an allomorphic, shape-shifting, sapient being. Of course, I mean we can make you a Protean, like us. You could change to any form you wanted, and if you really felt you needed your magic back, you could shift back into your current state. So, how about it?”

They wanted to make her one of them? If she could turn into whatever she wanted, there really was no point in remaining a unicorn. She could shift between human and pony at will! And forget being a unicorn, she could turn into an Alicorn! She could also use Protean powers to allow her to serve as a spy for them! There was absolutely no point in remaining a pony if she could be whatever she wanted to be, whenever she wanted. She wanted to become a Protean very badly, now, so with a bit of strength, she nodded eagerly before losing the ability to respond again.

“Very well,” Eureka said, standing up. “I’ll deactivate the sedatives now that we have your cooperation. Being genetically reconstructed isn’t painful in the slightest. You’ll still feel the changes, but it won’t be painful. More like a new sense of awareness replacing the one you have right now as your body reshapes itself. We’ll unstrap you as well, but please don’t try to move in the middle of genetic reconstruction. It won’t exactly ruin the process, but it may slow it down. I’ll get Professor Lacks working on an artificial evolution cartridge mapped to your human DNA once the second shot of Heteromorphic RNA is injected to rebuild your DNA and cellular structure into that of your old self.”

The doctor installed another cartridge in the injection device and held it to her neck, pushed the button, and in the blink of an eye, something else entered her bloodstream.

As the serum flowed through her, she started to regain full awareness and control over her own movements without the need for stimuli.

“Are you ready, Miss Scarlet?” Eureka asked as he loaded the final cartridge into the injector.

“Please, call me Martha Carver,” the ponified woman insisted. She was going to be human again! And then go even beyond it! Celestia couldn’t ever provide her with that!

“Okay then, Miss Carver, we’ll need to get you in a hospital gown, first.” Eureka said as he motioned for another scientist to retrieve one for her. The scientist returned seconds later with a gown, and handed it to Dr. Eureka.

“Sit up please, Miss Carver,” Eureka requested. Martha eagerly complied and held out her forelegs to go through the armholes. “We have to protect your dignity once you’re human again, and I think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Thank ya, Doc Eureka,” Martha said happily. “We were wrong ta think of ya as enemies. I’m sorry fo’ all we did.”

“You’re welcome, Miss Carver,” Eureka replied as he tied the gown together on the back, leaving room for a larger human frame to fill the space. “And there’s no need to apologize. You were being mind controlled. That ‘Celestia’ is at fault, not you.”

After motioning for Martha to lie back down, Dr. Eureka pressed the injector to her neck, pushed the button and said, “now for phase three! Enjoy the ride, Miss Carver! Next stop: Humanity! And if you were obese or something like that back as a human, don’t worry about it. Your body will be restored to an optimal state befitting your current age, so the worst that could happen is wrinkles and gray or white hair, since Total Immunity isn’t bestowed with this shot, but with the artificial evolution serum. Have fun! I’ve heard stories that the transformative process feels amazing.

Martha nodded, then waited. For about a minute, she felt nothing, and saw nothing change. Had the injected substance failed?

No. It hadn’t. A few seconds later, her internal organs started to change, along with her bones, blood vessels, and her body’s actual shape. The process was slow, but not in a bad way. Like Dr. Eureka had said, it didn’t hurt at all. It felt incredible, like becoming something more than she had been before, old awareness gradually shifting into a new awareness that was greater than the one she had as a newfoal. The awareness was one she had had before, and feeling it slowly return brought back fond memories of her life as Martha Carver before she became Mystic Scarlet.

Her knees slowly reversed direction, returning at long last to the two-legged style a human was meant to use. Her limbs grew longer, and fingers and toes started to sprout from her hooves. She was tempted to flex them, to feel her digits move again for the first time in what felt like forever, but she waited. She still didn’t have hands and feet yet, and Dr. Eureka had warned her against it, anyway.

Her ribs restructured themselves to match human anatomy, the organs meant to be contained in them properly placed as they shifted to functioning the way they did in a human body, especially her heart and breathing rates, and human mammaries sprouted from her chest, making her very thankful for the gown already being in place.

As her limbs continued to change, the hooves softened and reformed into hands and feet, the fingers and toes already complete.

Almost everything had been restored to human, except she still had a pony’s head, a red mane and tail, as well as still being covered in red fur everywhere. Even her restored human parts were coated in fur for some reason.

The tail fell off next, followed by incisors and canines forcing the molars that were where they were supposed to be out of their way. Her muzzle shrank into her face until she had a nearly perfectly human face, excepting the horn and massive eyes.

The horn simply fell off as the skull restructured itself, having no connection to the red piece of bone, with tissue rushing in to fill the gap. Her eyes began to shrink and change color from green to brown, and her pony ears fell off as human ears grew in on the sides of her head.

The mane fell out as thick black hair replaced it, flowing all the way to her waist, and all that remained was the fur.

Finally, the fur fell away, leaving behind unmarred dark skin, leaving Martha Carver completely restored to the form of a forty-five year old American woman of African descent (the term “African-American”, as well as other “hyphenated American” terms had been deemed too dividing by the American populace in the 2650s, so they changed to putting current nation first, ancestry second, which helped break down many cultural barriers between ethnic groups that were hostile towards each other before).

“Now, Miss Carver, how do you feel?” Dr. Eureka asked with a knowing smile.

"I feel crunk, Doc!" Martha replied before letting out a string of profanities all aimed at Celestia.

“Ah, feeling sassy, are we?” Eureka chuckled as he motioned for some actual clothes to be brought for the woman. “Very good. It’s obvious you’re happy with being human again. But why stop there? Once we finish with the other two, we’ll induce artificial evolution in all of you, and you can join us as Proteans!”

“Sounds crunk ta me, Doc!” Martha replied as all the men left the room so the female assistants could help her get dressed.

A minute later, Martha was dressed in a red casual blouse, a green and white plaid knee-length skirt and cream-colored flat-soled shoes. Simple, yet practical.

Martha left the room and looked at her still-brainwashed companions, who were staring at her in shock.

“Hey, don’t feel bad fo’ me, got it?” Martha demanded. “I thought I wouldn’t like it at first, but it felt d--- crunk when they turned me humaine again! And dat’s not all they’s gonna do! Once we’s all humaines again, they’ll help us become like them! They can turn inta just about any kind of livin’ thin’ whenever they want! If ya miss bein’ a pony dat badly after they’s done helpin’ us out, ya can just turn inta one! A lot gained, nothin’ lost! I promise, it’ll be a real thrill!”

Hours later, the pegasus and earth pony had also been returned to human form, and they weren’t showing any desire to return to being newfoals, either.

The pegasus turned out to be Henry Williams, a forty-three year old American of mixed descent (formerly called “mutts” by some) who used to be an accomplished businessman who had built a massive corporate empire that did many acts of goodwill (including buying out corporations who were terrible to their workers and/or consumers to provide better jobs or service to the mistreated individuals) by the time he was only twenty. He had curly red hair, a nearly neutral skin tone that leaned slightly towards Caucasian, kind amber eyes, and in spite of having spent twenty years as a newfoal after running his company for only three years, he still had a youthful, energetic look to him. He’d been outfitted with a royal blue business suit, an orange tie, and shiny black business shoes.

The earth pony was actually Takoda Tojima, a forty-four year old American of Sioux and Japanese descent. He had been a jack of all trades, both strong and brilliant, capable of many tasks, and though he wasn’t a master of any of them, he was well-rounded and a quick learner. He had dishwater blonde hair and determined hazel eyes as well as a strong, well-set jaw. He’d been outfitted in a black and white checkered flannel shirt, a violet baseball cap supporting a team called the ‘Hidden City Intelliraptors’, blue jeans, and a pair of white and yellow sneakers.

Once all three restored humans had settled down from the excitement of finally being themselves again, Dr. Eureka and Professor Lacks approached them as the three of them sat in chairs outside the operating room, grinning widely.

“So, are you three ready for the final phase?” Lacks asked with anticipation. “There’s no turning back from here, but you’ll become just like us: immune to everything, able to take any form you want with less energy than it takes to think, and as a bonus, you’ll be the first Protean Terrans!”

“Can we really take any form we want?” Takoda asked warily. “Mother and Father said one must not blindly accept the words of a complete stranger.”

“Everything we’ve done so far has helped you, so why doubt us now?” Eureka asked before sighing and shaking his head. “Well, Professor Lacks here has misspoken. There is one limitation: you can’t turn into anything that isn’t alive. So, you can’t turn into a rock to blend in on a mountain, for one thing. But you can take any living form you want. This includes mixing and matching parts and biology to become your own custom being, such as an anthropomorphic animal, a plant-animal hybrid, or even something completely out of your imagination. You are limited by how much matter is in your body, though. You can’t change into anything with significantly more or less matter than you have in you already. But, once you’ve been artificially evolved, I can teach you about some interesting tricks while you grow accustomed to the Protean abilities.”

“How long will it take us to grow accustomed to them?” Henry asked, worried that it could take days or months.

“Well, some struggle with it for years, but others master the powers in a matter of hours,” Lacks replied as Dr. Eureka loaded the LoFAJI with Martha’s evolution serum cartridge. “And seeing how you instantly remembered how to walk and move like humans when it normally takes months to relearn how to walk, you three should be fully capable Proteans by the end of the day.”

“What is we waitin’ fo’, then?” Martha shouted eagerly. “Shoot me up, Doc!”

Without wasting any time, Dr. Eureka pressed the LoFAJI to Martha’s neck, pressed the button, and the evolution serum tailored to upgrade her specific DNA entered her system. The injection lasted about three seconds as the entire cartridge was emptied into her, then Eureka moved on to the two men while the serum started to rewrite Martha into the pinnacle of human development.

Once all three were injected, Eureka sat down to talk to them as they waited through the transformation that had no impact on their outer appearance, but rewrote every cell in their bodies one by one, granting them omniform traits so they could change at the cellular level, as well as bestowing Total Immunity on them.

“Now, I said there are a few tricks to getting around the limitations of Protean transformation, so while we wait, I’ll share some of them with you,” the doctor began. “First, though you can’t turn into anything with significantly more or less matter than yourself, you can tweak the process of transformation to first turn into something that rapidly loses matter or rapidly gains it, then once your matter has changed to an acceptable amount, turn into what you wish to turn into. Now, if the difference in the amount of matter isn’t too great, you can pull off the transformation anyway. Hence why the Chimeron was able to shift into that bratty princess even though her body clearly had less matter than his does.

“Now, there are also tricks to getting around not being able to turn into something non-living to blend in or for some other purpose,” Eureka continued as the cellular transformation completed and the serums moved on to restructuring their brains to be able to control the transformation ability. “First, you could think up a living form that looks just like what you want to turn into, then turn into that organic lookalike, instead. Also, you can turn into something that can generate organically created versions of certain materials to use as natural armor. Since a cell can be rewritten to produce just about anything as long as the proper materials are provided to the cells as nutrients, one simple and popular application is organic steel. Carbon and iron are required for steel, and both are in the human—and by extension, Protean—diet. Actually gaining this armor will take some time, for cells will need time to convert enough carbon and iron into steel to actually produce said natural armor, and even then, it’ll need to be cells near the surface that perform such a task, since the optimal place for the armor is over the skin. You can keep the organic armor in any form as long as you retain the cells that connect it to the skin each time. Otherwise, it’ll fall off. You can reattach it, though. Just reform the cells that connect it to the skin, and the organic matter that it took with it will enable you to reattach it. There are many other applications, but the organic steel is one of my favorites.”

Finally, the three restored humans’ brains finished being restructured, and the transformation was complete, leaving the three of them more aware of every part of their bodies than before, as if every part of every cell was like a limb they could control, but without the confusion one would expect to have from the awareness of billions of limbs.

“Congrats! You’re Proteans now!” Lacks cheered. “Let’s get started with teaching you three how to use your new powers!” After calming down, Lacks started to speak to them like a schoolteacher would to prized students in an advanced private lesson. “Now, the basics are that you don’t have to really focus to change shape unless you’re attempting a form that’s significantly different in structure than your current form. So, becoming ponies takes a bit of focus, but, if you change into a form you’ve used before, the fact that your subconscious and your cells remember the form will make acquiring it easier. For any form that’s not too different from whatever form you are currently in, or for one you’re familiar with, all you have to do is want to be it, and apply a very slight level of thinking to it. This will make maintaining control difficult until you master it, for you’ll most likely change form often just by being curious about a certain alteration. Eventually, your mind will set up barriers to stop simply wondering about a different form being enough to become it, but for fast learners like yourselves, I’m sure you’ll have it down pat before sunset.”

Clearing her throat, Lacks said, “First, let’s cover the basics: changing skin colors. Try for blue skin, first, since blue is one of the four human skin pigments that mix together to make natural skin tones. Doesn’t matter the shade, any blue will do.”

All three new Proteans picked the first shade of blue that popped into their heads, and all three turned to different shades: Martha had picked a midnight blue, Takoda turned a sky blue color, and Henry had turned the same shade of royal blue as his suit.

“Good, now for something more complicated,” Lacks said. “Pick any shade of green. Human skin pigments require a delicate balance of tones to achieve green, and many shades of it are outside the range that balance can produce, so you’ll most likely rewrite your pigments just to achieve the shade you want.”

Martha changed to a leafy green color, Takoda changed to a green shade one would likely find on a Terran tropical bird, and Henry changed to a neon green color.

“Good!” Lacks exclaimed, applauding the quick change. “All three of you picked colors outside the very limited green spectrum that human skin pigments could combine to form if artificially blended, so you all showed you are already capable of rewriting your pigments with ease. It usually takes a Protean born here four years to develop that much control. Now, try reverting to the pony forms you had before we restored you. Remember, if you decide to help us instead of just remaining here until Earth is restored, you could use the pony forms to infiltrate the enemy and bring back information, or you could use their own powers against them.”

Frowning, the three shifted into the forms they had as newfoals, then waited for their next instructions.

“Okay, now, try to change into different variations,” Lacks suggested. “Martha, try becoming an earth pony version of your form, Henry, you try to become a unicorn, and Takoda, you try to turn into a pegasus.”

All three nodded, and within seconds, Martha had become a red earth pony, Henry turned into a blue unicorn, and Takoda became a yellow pegasus.

“Okay, each of you shift to the pony form you haven’t tried yet,” Lacks urged.

After a couple more seconds, Martha was now a red pegasus, Henry shifted into a blue earth pony, and Takoda changed into a yellow unicorn.

“Excellent!” Lacks cheered. “Now, I think you’re ready for something even more advanced. Try mixing and matching features. Try two features at once, for starters. Strength, magic and flight. Pick the one that your original newfoal form had, and tack it back on.”

They nodded again, and Martha turned into a “pegacorn”, Henry became an “earth pegasus”, and Takoda changed into an “earth unicorn”.

“Excellent,” Lacks said eagerly, rubbing her hands together. “Now, try all three at once!”

The three Proteans in fusion pony forms looked to each other and smirked. She had just asked them to turn into Alicorns! If they could pull that off, they could assist the other Proteans on the front lines, helping them in battle as they took the fight all the way to Celestia, herself!

“Gladly!” all three cried as one as all three shifted into fusions between all three tribes, becoming Alicorns, complete with the boost in all three abilities and slightly larger stature that came with being the ultimate kind of pony.

“Now that’s impressive!” Dr. Eureka cut in. “Does that form already have a name?”

“You just had us turn into Alicorns, Doctor,” Henry replied with a tone that sounded like he felt he could take on the whole universe. “They’re the most powerful kind of pony, and Celestia’s one, herself. There are a few others: two of them would most likely be sympathetic to our cause, one of whom is confused and trying to adjust to the ponification of Earth and may be able to be swayed as well, besides those two, there's also Celestia’s nephew, who she personally turned into an Alicorn so he can serve as the governor of ‘New Equestria’. His center of government is where Canberra used to be. If we take the fight all the way to Celestia, we’ll have to get past him, first.”

The three Proteans in Alicorn form reverted back to their default forms, and Lacks said, “Good, that’s a wrap. You’ve proven you’re capable enough with your new powers. By the way, the Chimeron himself has extended an invite to the three of you to join him for dinner at The Hallowed Academic Mansion, the home of every leader of Clericorum since its founding. You’ll attend, right?”

“Of course!” the trio of Terran Proteans replied eagerly.

“Very well, wait here for the escort he’s sent to bring you to his mansion safely,” Eureka told them.

The three responded by sitting down and waiting patiently for their escort to arrive, chatting amongst each other excitedly.

Author's Note:

And Chapter 4, on schedule! Like everything so far? If so, let me know! If not, let me know what you didn't like, and I'll see what I can do as long as I don't have to move things too far from what I've established so far.

Anyway, tell me what I could do better, and let me know what I did well! Chapter 5 will be published this Saturday, so keep an eye out for it!