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Starscribe


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When a race of powerful ancient beings return to Equestria after an absence of thousands of years, it isn't to the sort of world they expected. Twilight Sparkle is now the first and last line of defense in a conflict that will decide the future of her planet.

Yes, there is life on other planets. This would be fascinating news to Twilight, had they come under more peaceful circumstances. Unfortunately, Thanks to Equestria's princesses, that life is angry and has come for its due.


Art by the fantastic Zutcha, as usual. Editing by Two Bit and Sparktail.

This story was written based on a simple idea from the HiE group forums. I haven't followed the idea exactly, but there's still a spoiler warning for those who want to check it out.

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 206 )

Well that was nice. A little confusing at the end, but nice.

I liked it! Now I really want to read more. Any chances for a sequel?

Seriously?” That was Rainbow Dash again. “Twilight, only you could find us an alien who makes lists. This is the most boring disaster ever.”

Best line. :twilightsmile:


Really liked the theme of "humanity looking for friendship in the stars", but I'm a little confused on one point. Torres implies that her homeworld was uplifted in a similar way to what they expected to find on Equestria, but then the climax hinges on the fact that Equestria is the first alien world they've found, and their civilisation is humans-only. How does that work?

Celestia seems too much a hypocrite in these lines and the beginning. She claims that they are forcing her to work to their standards by threatening death, but in reality their threat is meaningless, merely a way to bring the danger of the red tide to a more understandable level.
On the other hand, it is obvious she uses her power as a threat during diplomacy, and holds advancement back in non-equestrian countries.
Her response to being let loose from military command in a peaceful fashion instead of executed for treason, negligence, and refusing to follow orders is to immediately threaten the ship above and potentially force this world into an impossible war. Never mind that this story makes it clear that her control over the sun isn't magical, thus her magical power won't be reaching the godlike heights assumed by base mlp. Her magic power wasn't engineered like the rest of her.

"Failure to maintain a stable civilization"... considering your other stories have not had a pattern of "deconstructing" Equestria as we see it in the show and claiming it's fundamentally screwed up in some way, like some do, I'm simultaneously unsure what to think and afraid to read on.:twilightsheepish:

Banchoking eat your heart out.

7023382

All for a sequel, say Yea. All not for a sequel, shut up and get out.

If we saw signs of their return, or… or decided to carry out their mission, I would have brought you here.

I'll... just take it that they showed back up without any signs, then?

Dipti #9 · Mar 12th, 2016 · · 10 · Judgement ·

Considering they can make alicorns Celestia and Luna arn't a threat to them. If you know how something ticks you can make the ticking stop. That comment at the end by Luna just because of that knowledge just rubs me the wrong way it's a hollow a threat as Rainbow boasts. If they wished they could produce a million Alicorns or even greater monstrosities if they so desired. If there is a sequel i hope the sun and the moon get there dues not torture or exile but defiantly removed from power. Gorgey stated quit planely their incompetence...

7023491 Torres's homeworld was a colony, I expect. Colonies also have to be built up and developed.

This was weird, but interesting. I liked the ending.

7023779
Dude's gonna have a heart attack.

Dunno, though. It kinda felt like it started in the middle of events and then... kinda stopped in a different middle of events. Somewhat incomplete. Should maybe have been somewhat longer.

A poor wayfaring mare of grief
Hath often crossed me on my way
Who sued so humbly for relief
That I could never answer 'neigh'

7024139
I would expect colonies to begin with all the technology of the colonising world, in knowledge even if not in ability to manufacture all of it. Torres makes a definite reference that her homeworld "independently developed to a class 1 civilisation", and that that was what they expected to find on Equestria.

That doesn't quite fit with just being a colony that only really needed to scale up stuff they already had, and more closely fits with being guided from a pre-industrial world by some of Celestia and Luna's predecessors. Celestia and Luna being referred to as EU-81 Alpha and Beta also pretty strongly implies there might have been EU-some-number-lower-than-81 responsible for guiding Oritheon and other worlds to the Kardashev 1 level as well.

It just sounds like there's something else to that story that didn't quite fit into the narrative we saw. It's not necessarily a bad thing to leave out details that would take a lot of explanation, it just makes me wonder what the answer is.

Personally, I have to say I honestly don't sympathize with Luna and Celestia in this. They fucked up, majorly. They surrendered to their fears and put their entire civilization and uncounted species at risk by trying to stick their heads in the sand. They tried to shut out reality and the outside world and the outside world decided that it didn't care. It didn't work and never could have worked. You can't run away from some things. Life will catch you up.

In my opinion, they're pretty unequivocally in the wrong here.

7023998 We make things that threaten us all the time. Sometimes entirely by accident. :rainbowlaugh:

7023601 That was Luna making the threat, though I don't think she was intending for it to be taken seriously.

The humans in this are sanctimonious and need a good drubbing upside the head. "Ponies aren't developing how we want so we'll force the issue, one way or another" isn't exactly congruent with "we want friends." :facehoof:

Story certainly did a great job of ratcheting up the tension, for me at least. I'm not sure I have any unchewed fingernails left. :rainbowlaugh:

7024919

You realize that from their perspective if they don't advance they die either way right? Their statement is equivalent to, "If you don't lead your people to safety, your goddamn useless, we remove you and find another way to save them from extinction."
Celestia and Luna have been hiding a world ending disaster that they were installed to work against. Then the humans come back to find their doing practically nothing in preparation to fight, and nothing at all to the idea of survival. Their only plan is to hope that they can friendship a force of nature. It was also made it clear that the sisters were holding back technology, not only from the knowledge they had but in how independents would advance.

7024951 They are leading their people to safety, as best they can. The humans' methods aren't successful against their foe, and they seem oblivious to this failing, so the Sisters are trying something else.

7024965
Apathy is not an actual solution to anything. It's not even attempting one. Sitting around going "trust in ~friendship~ and everything will work out for the best" is ludicrous arrogance, if anything. The humans may not be winning, but at least they're surviving. The apparently uncountable dead worlds they've already found, who failed to get their ass in gear in time and do even that much, kind of bears the fact out that wishing on a star is clearly not going to solve this.

7024992 They're not being apathetic, though. They're developing differently. Celestia explicitly mentions that Twilight keeps winning against every threat.

Regardless, the Equestrians' level of development is utterly irrelevant to the humans' goals; given their ridiculous infrastructural capabilities, if it came down to it they could scoop up the entire planetary civilization and make off with it before it could be destroyed. :rainbowlaugh:

7025048
She keeps winning against literally cartoonish threats from a children's TV show, though. That doesn't really translate, in any way, shape or form, into winning against a force that swallows solar systems and entire species whole. She has just nothing to actually oppose that with. It's entirely false confidence. Celestia is simply wrong about this.

Regardless, the Equestrians' level of development is utterly irrelevant to the humans' goals; given their ridiculous infrastructural capabilities, if it came down to it they could scoop up the entire planetary civilization and make off with it before it could be destroyed. :rainbowlaugh:

I suppose that's not wrong. :rainbowlaugh:

7025065
Those cartoonish threats are essentially the harbingers of this 'Red Tide' that's threatening the galaxy though.

To be honest, it isn't really clear what exactly the humans want in this story; Celestia and Luna are supposed to uplift the Equestrian, either to make it a province of the Human Space Empire, or so they can be friends with an alien civilization. Yet it seems to me that being friends with a civilization isn't the same thing as needing that civilization to be one the same level as one's own, and uplifting the species doesn't appear to have any goal other than making their civilization equal to one another.

It's... confusing, especially since the humans don't need the Equestrians to fight alongside them.

7025226

Those cartoonish threats are essentially the harbingers of this 'Red Tide' that's threatening the galaxy though.

If the rest of it was that easy to deal with, I don't think it would really be a problem to begin with. Under the bottom line, the show's cast really ended up not actually solving all that many of its problems by befriending them. They pretty conventionally beat the tar out of most of the rest in some fashion.

Yet it seems to me that being friends with a civilization isn't the same thing as needing that civilization to be one the same level as one's own, and uplifting the species doesn't appear to have any goal other than making their civilization equal to one another.

Why wouldn't you want to improve your friends lives just for the sake of making them better? I know a lot of fiction of this type tends to make an effort to be cynical and bitter these days just for the sake of it, as if that makes it more genuine, but simply uplifting them out of a desire to make their lives better from their perspective doesn't seem like it would really be that foreign of a sentiment to most people. The whole thing Torres says about uncounted people wastefully dying of old age because the princesses wouldn't give them proper modern medicine kind of encapsulates that, I think.

7025065 Well, the whole story here doesn't really fit within the framework of a cartoonish children's show, given the entire stratum of bones of the murdered victims of Discord. :rainbowlaugh:

Celestia is basically trying to save their planet by building a Planetary Friendship Cannon out of Twilight and her friends. So far the plan seems to be working (see: Tirek); we haven't even seen their final form, yet. :pinkiecrazy:

7025262

If the rest of it was that easy to deal with, I don't think it would really be a problem to begin with.

I think Starscribe is imagining them as somewhat more horrifying in nature, even though they were defeated. Moreover, even within the cartoon, I think you're underestimating how scary something like Discord or Tirek would be in the real world.

Why wouldn't you want to improve your friends lives just for the sake of making them better?

It's not unusual to want to improve a friend's life, but it is something else if you're improving their lives without asking if they'd be alright with that, or without their knowledge.

Something that always bugged me about how some people seem to see the MLP universe is that they're assuming that because their world isn't on par with our world, they must be less advanced. Yet, it seems to me that rather than being 'less advanced' because they don't know how, it's a matter of choice. Probably not a choice they've made on a conscious level, but a choice nevertheless. For example, Twilight brings up quantum physics in Hooffields and McColts, which probably means their science isn't that far behind us in the greater scheme of things.

My problem with the human's behavior in this story is that they apparently don't care to be friends with aliens who have, say, their own cultural and mindsets of how to do things. In a sense, they're not really interested in being friends with an alien civilization, but rather a human one--a small adorable human one that walks on hooves.

Sofar, this has my interest. Time to keep reading to see where the rabbit hole takes us!

7025424

I think Starscribe is imagining them as somewhat more horrifying in nature, even though they were defeated. Moreover, even within the cartoon, I think you're underestimating how scary something like Discord or Tirek would be in the real world.

They most certainly would be scary creatures for us measly humans, but they are problems that could be dealt with by modern society by say, dropping a nuclear warhead on top of their heads (and before you say anything about Discord I'll point out that it's clear his powers have some kind of limits given Tirek beat him, and he could definitely be beaten by a nuke). Now granted this would be a costly solution, but modern society could still make it happen.

Now consider that these humans are much more advanced than modern society, what with spaceships and teleporters, likely possesing orbital bombardment capabilities and likely a massive population that they can send millions of soldiers to what they know will be their deaths. This must be a damn powerful civilization.

Then consider that this highly advanced and powerful civilization lost Earth to the red tide, Earth. They would have likely fought tooth and nail for this world, and they still lost. Given this knowledge I would imagine that the Red Tide has much more to throw at Equestria than what its seen so far. I would also point out thatgiven the way its described, attrition is likely a major part of its success, and it doesn't matter how strong you are, if your opponent has enough stuff to throw at you, eventually they'll wear you down or even just get lucky.

7025851

(and before you say anything about Discord I'll point out that it's clear his powers have some kind of limits given Tirek beat him, and he could definitely be beaten by a nuke).

Tirek have ability to drain magic out of his victims. This is have he beat Discord. Nuke can't do the same thing so it rather unclear if you can beat Discord with it.

This reminds me a bit of King David's Spaceship.

For 7025851: Discord cannot be nuked but he can be stopped by other weapons.

Opinion: I can't say that Equestria has done the right decision though they are on the right path.The use of Elements of Harmony is,however, only temporary medicine for problem.Fighting with red tide is like fighting with cancer.If you use medicine (Elements of Harmony) you may get remission (break between enemies) but you can't count on remission forever because relapse can suddenly reveal itself and you will need to apply medicine again either you are dead.Unfortunatly,somewhen relapse of the red tide will be so powerful that no medicine will be able to cause remission again.Also at given time there is no sign that there is any effective method of "curing" red tide completly aside from escape.

We can suggest that magic is a core of the red tide and red tide can be beaten by proper use of magic but we don't even know about how magic works in this universe.I really don't like the concept Starscribe used in Ponies after People universe and the only thing I can do is to hope that he didn't use similar scheme again (spoilers for PaP ahead:we know that humans don't die while standing near ponies so that is at least one distinction from PaP magic concept) but this is a theme for another conversation.
We don't know what is magic in this particular story.It may have similar to PaP concept where in interacts only with souls and black holes or it may be a sort of field that exist in our plain of reality.

Whatever magic is,we have only two clear things:
1.Neither of the sides posesses an effective way for fighting the red tide
2.Elements of Harmony are a temporary desicion and sooner or later they won't be able to fight with threats of the red tide.

7025424

I think Starscribe is imagining them as somewhat more horrifying in nature, even though they were defeated. Moreover, even within the cartoon, I think you're underestimating how scary something like Discord or Tirek would be in the real world.

Personally, I'm subscribing to the "if it's not shown, it's not actually there" mindset in regards to differences from the canon setting, but that's something you could argue about, so I'm not going to contest this. I still think that admittedly global threats like this are not comparable to something that it expanding spherically through at least one entire galaxy and must be covering literally trillions of cubic light years of space at this point. No one single person can compete with that outside of a story for children, which I'd say this story has as one of its conceits that it isn't. The scales are just unimaginably larger. It's like comparing a speck of dust to all the oceans ever.

It's not unusual to want to improve a friend's life, but it is something else if you're improving their lives without asking if they'd be alright with that, or without their knowledge.

Something that always bugged me about how some people seem to see the MLP universe is that they're assuming that because their world isn't on par with our world

In this case, it clearly is less advanced, just factually. Humans are, between the lines, immortals who can move planets, with immense personal power, and don't even use anything the ponies would recognize as magic. Torres clearly expected everyone to be immortal by now, like the princesses that their species had engineered. I must give you the thing about outside influences possibly destroying a thriving native culture and in most cases, I'd honestly agree with you there, to a degree. Different does not intrinsically mean worse. We are also talking about things like medical technology here, though, which I cannot agree is, in any way, ever anything but a purely positive and constructive gain. Letting someone die when you had the means to prevent it is monstrous.

Uncounted generations of the native population had the possibility of seeing their lives and their time with their loved once extended far beyond their native capabilities, if Luna and Celestia had only given it to them. Those deaths are squarely on their own shoulders and they deserve to have to carry that guilt.

Besides that, in this case, there is simply no choice about letting them do things their own way. If they do things like the princesses want, they will die, no ifs, ands or buts, just like countless worlds before them. It's suicidal of them to act as if they have a genuine choice there - and what you do with suicidal people is to stop them from killing themselves, forcefully if necessary, for their own good.

just finished reading the whole thing, and WOW. like, holy shit. that was amazing. you should consider on writing a sequel

7025851
Wasn't it implied that Discord killed all those humans, though? despite all their technology? I agree, the red tide is clearly dangerous, yet it's also clear that Equestria isn't helpless despite their lack of a level 1 civilization.


7026162
But again, you're assuming that ponies would want to be immortal in general, or that they might not have a different relationship with such things, relative to humanity.

7026528

But again, you're assuming that ponies would want to be immortal in general, or that they might not have a different relationship with such things, relative to humanity.

Just deciding for them that all ponies are perfectly OK with dying and losing people they care about without even giving them a choice in the matter is the much bigger (and substantially more callous) assumption to make, if you ask me. It's not like anyone is proposing forcing them to take that kind of treatment. Denying it to them without even telling them the option exists, though, out of some kind of overconfident god-complex and disdain for the outside world, the way the princesses do? That's irresponsible and selfish.

Boom. We're here for an audit.

7026540
I'm not suggesting anything of the sort. The end resolution, involving first contact between Equestria and the humans, is the appropriate way of handling this situation--not sending cyborgs to pose as leaders of their species and direct their development according to milestones that humans think should happen.

7026731
For what it's worth, the way I'm reading it, Luna and Celestia had that option. Nothing in the story explicitly says that it was part of their mission to keep their origins hidden. They could have come clean to their people and introduced the technology and the cultural artifacts openly, if they had wanted to. They just chose not to.

7023491

Torres implies that her homeworld was uplifted in a similar way to what they expected to find on Equestria,

Are you sure about that? I just went back through to see if I missed something, and I couldn't find anything about Humanity being uplifted. The closest thing I saw was that she said Humanity could only try, and eventually fail, to protect developing worlds like Equis yet they say that Equis was the first sign of civilization they had found that hadn't been destroyed yet.

7026760
She states outright that her homeworld reached a "class 1 civilization" on its own, whatever that means in specific, so it can probably be taken as meaning that nobody ever uplifted humanity and they had to do it the hard way.

From what I can understand the first time they defeated Discord they needed some millions of space marines, the second time they needed six ponies with a magical set of jewelry and the third and hopefully last time a single pony willing to be his friend.

I'm just saying that if you confront the human way and the Celestia's way maybe Celestia is on to something

This story is totally awesome!!!

7026803 Hmmm... In sci-fi and not so sci-fi a class one civilization has complete control of all the energy and processes on a planet. Type 2 their star. Type 3 a galaxy. Maybe they were not uplifted but after getting comfortable they found remains and tech showing others had been around? It was a bit vague... Which isn't bad simply because it leaves the various options of what happened up to the reader.

7026803
Wait that doesn't make sense. According to the engineer/ambassador (same person), their are not other alien species outside of humans because, well they said every planet they went to was already dead. And its take humanity 50,000 to 200,000, depending when you make the argument from first human ancestor to first sign of civilization, had reached stage 1: space flight and industrial civilization. So by history, they would be progressing faster then the human race has.


Yet she indicated her world or one such world called Oritheon did it in 2-3000 years. Does that mean humanity colonize other words through genetic seeding and let them develop on their own like we did, with a faster rate due to genetic code, or am I missing something since I am pretty sure said her homeworld is not earth.

7027163
If it's supposed to refer to the Kardashev scale, at any rate. It's also stated that humanity has found other, abandoned worlds and the ruins of numerous dead species, so that part's a definite yes, if you ask me.

7027169
Might just be a corruption of "Earth" or maybe these humans were never from Earth to begin with. It doesn't really say.

This story was awesome. I think it would be cool to read sequel that goes into details about the changes Equestria goes through and perhaps a final confrontation with the red tide with Humans and Ponies working together.

7026528

Wasn't it implied that Discord killed all those humans, though? despite all their technology?

Yeah, they did die, but you also have to consider that it's very likely they would have held back in their full capabilities in that fight since they would have been going out of their way to avoid collateral damage given they wanted the planet's population to survive.

yet it's also clear that Equestria isn't helpless despite their lack of a level 1 civilization.

Oh clearly not, Magic lets them do a lot of things modern humans do with technology, and even things we can't do, but the point I was making is that if the Humans, with all their powerful technology and vast armies can't beat the Red Tide, but its clear the Equestrian method isn't any more effective. Now whether it would be any less effective is up for debate, I'm inclined to say it would be since without any way to flee the planet they've really only got one stand they can make, one defeat and they lose permanently, at least the humans are capable of fighting again should they lose a battle. Celestia and Luna's chosen method is just clearly (in my opinion anyway) wrought with problems and completely inadequate. Going back to attrition argument I made before, without advanced technology and hence a very large population, Equestria lacks any real way of sustaining heavy casualties like the humans have to, and that's just one area in which the Princesses plan is flawed. The human way clearly isn't working, but the Princesses way isn't going to do any better when the Red Tide pours more resources into its fight with Equestria.

7025907
The point of that example was that Discord's power has limits more than anything, he was beaten when Tirek grabbed him with magic without him expecting it, and he couldn't break free of that magic even after Tirek was gloating for a while that shows his power has limits. But for sake of argument anyway lets say that if he knew the nuke was coming he could easily put a stop to it, given how damn fast nuclear missiles can be it wouldn't be too difficult to drop one on him before he can react, or even bury one somewhere and spring it on him by surprise.

7027651 The big problem with your argument (and any other we could make) is that we don't know the nature of the red tide!
It seemed very abstract to me. If we don't what it is, we cannot judge what can or cannot stop it.
For all we know, Celestia migth be rigth to think she is onto something and that Equis can survive the arrival of the red tide, if it come to pass at all.
And she migth as well be totally wrong.

And we have no way to know.

“You told me you had an alien!” She landed on the table, though somehow managed not to step in or spill anything. “No offence Torres, but a funny name doesn’t make you an alien. Aliens are supposed to have lots of slimy tentacles, or… or maybe eyes on stalks like a slug!” She grinned, lifting her hooves above her head to imitate. “And they’d wiggle around when you talked, like this!”

imgflip.com/readImage?iid=40595741

old school sci-fi is a dirty pleasure of mine. tho, i have to ask. knowing twilight was in residence, and banning her from the meeting... did celestia play a batman gambit with twilight?

Comment posted by resonance deleted Mar 14th, 2016
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