• Published 28th Apr 2016
  • 7,101 Views, 235 Comments

Clean the Slate - Earth Galvanising

Time is a priceless commodity, and an even greater weapon. As one pony stumbles through fate blindly, with no clue on how to solve the jigsaw of his destiny despite Celestia's aid, how will he fare against the Flow of Time in his second life?

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0. Soft Reset

"Tell me, whose side, you're on."

Is it strange to want a restart? Is it odd for someone so young to already want to have "their" time again? More often than not, one would simply say, 'yes, it is strange to want a re-do, especially for someone so young!'

Yes, it is strange to wish for such a thing. Stranger would be a teenage boy, on the cusp of his seventeenth, wishing for such an opportunity. To be reborn, and to make better use of his time. To grow up and impact the way the world works in someway, leaving a legacy to be remembered. Ordinarily, one would blame such wishes to emotions; regret, guilt, sadness, loneliness, etc. Uniquely, for such a young man, that was not the case. No, he had no feelings of sadness or guilt. Sure, there may have been some regret and loneliness mixed in there, but ultimately, many actions are derived from such an emotion. Put simply:

A boy wants to be remembered for something in his life. Though, he's certain that in this point in his education, there was naught that could be done to reach such a goal due to such an obscene amount of procrastination. There are always five-minute heroes, like particularly brave policemen, or remarkably successful doctors. But ultimately? They are remembered only by their titles - 'that fearless policeman' or 'that miracle doctor.' Names are forgotten, it is always the way.

It is why our story begins with a semi-alert boy, lying splayed out across a double bed. His headphones blasted music in the early hours of the morning, scant minutes after two o'clock. The window in the corner of his room allowed the nighttime breeze to flow in, leaving the curtains rustled as it did. The boy felt the wind on his face, but made no sound or reaction. He simply laid there; eyes half-lidded with calming breaths. Often, the boy found himself running over the same train of thought each night; a fresh start. Usually, he simply wondered what it'd be like, to be able to start from scratch, before falling asleep due to exhaustion.

Tonight, however, was different. A small light flickered above the boys face, illuminating tired-ish brown eyes, and a messy brunette bed-head. A text message displayed itself on screen, expected and unsurprising.

Uncle P: Happy 17th Birthday, Bryan. I'll be over at some point today.

Uncle P: Now go to sleep!!

The teenager, Bryan Herring, sighed. He loved his Uncle Phil, really, he did, but the constant suffocating nature of his mothering often irritated Bryan, and the text messages (though less intense than the usual face-to-face confrontation) proved only to make the boy simmer with annoyance. That being said, his uncle did have a point; Bryan was getting quite sleepy at this point, and so decided to catch some Z's before waking up at six a bit later. Removing the headphones from his phone, Bryan cut the music off and gave his purple headphones a quick once over (one earcup was hanging by the wire, and though it hadn't broken yet, you can't be too careful). After ascertaining that indeed, the Beats were no more damaged than before he donned them, Bryan wrapped himself in his thick duvet, and closed his eyes with two final thoughts.

In the morning, I'll be seventeen officially.

What a fucking waste.

Bryan opened his eyes to the sight of blinding white. Wincing, he quickly jammed his eyelids shut, allowing the organs beneath to adjust to the intense light level of the dream he was obviously having. With a small "tsk," he opened his eyes again to the same retina-destroying light, but managed to keep himself focused enough to keep the eyes open.

Surveying his surroundings, Bryan found that he was surrounded by the white eye-fire, and attempted to shield as much of his eyes with his hand as possible. Honestly, why even dream something like this? His sub consciousness was a dick. The teenager scratched the back of his head, what was he supposed to do now?

So he wandered the empty plains of light, in an attempt to find something worthwhile in the dream. He walked and walked, long gotten over the fact he didn't have clothes here, and simply kept strolling. There was nothing. Empty, empty white. A sigh of aggravation tore through Bryan; he wanted to wake up, just so he could get gone with this useless dr-

Do you want a retry?

What the hell? Bryan looked around, trying to find the source of the strange voice. It was a deep, almost modulated sort of voice. Like it was talking through a computer. A Guy Fawkes mask appeared in Bryan’s head, and he smirked. Either way; he focused on finding the thing that had made the noise. Setting off at a light jog, he proceeded to search the blanc landscape with a bit more focus.

So he jogged, and jogged and jogged, noting that he wasn’t actually feeling any kind of exhaustion at all. The benefits of dreaming, I suppose, he thought as he continued to find nothing out of the ordinary. Eventually, he came to a halt with seemingly no difference from where he started, to where he was now. With a sigh, he figured he wouldn’t get be finding the owner of the mystery voice anytime soon, especially seeing as willing them to appear didn’t work, I mean, it is a dream.

“Are you gonna show yourself at all? Or are you just gonna sod off now that you’ve asked that vague question?” The teenagers voice echoed through the expanse. He waited a few seconds, and then a few minutes, and with yet another “Tsk,” Bryan began to try and wake himself up, that is until, the ground shook beneath him.

Do you want a retry?

This time the voice was a bit louder, and less modulated too. It seemed… feminine? Bryan tried to hone in on where the voice came from, but it was like standing in sphere made of stereos. The boy pondered his answer, placing one hand on his hip and the other behind his head. Obviously, of course I want a “retry,” but why is that even up for debate? I’ve been quite sure of that fact since-

His though process came to an abrupt stop as the white scenery changed to a dark room, with shattered glass littering the floor, spatters of red on the walls. Bryan widened his eyes and looked at himself, he was wearing torn clothes, his side gushed with the familiar red that was all over his hands. Before him were two prone figures that no matter how much he wanted them to wake up he knew they wouldn’t and he’d bealoneagainandhewasntreadydontgodontgoohgodplease-

The room disappeared and was once again replaced with white, Bryan found himself without clothes again, on his hands and knees, breathing heavily. Sweat (or maybe it was tears?) dripped down from his face and splashed at the solid white below him. His mind reeled in the aftershock of the scene he’d been returned to, and quickly tried to gather his thoughts. What the hell was that?! I thought I’d stopped having those dreams! Stumbling back to his feet, Bryan rapidly surveyed his surroundings, looking for the slightest discrepancy, before his eyes fell on a glowing yellow light.

The fates have dealt you quite the unfair hand, child.

The orb glowed as the voice rang out again, and the boy realised that this was the source. He tried to reply to the ethereal… thing, but found his throat dry, and mind unable to form sentences. He let the orb continue. It seemed to dim slightly, as it spoke this time.
A once ambitious and adventurous boy, full of hope and dreams, barely thirteen, and the ones he loved taken away in such brutality.

The orb seemed to show sadness, and Bryan noticed offhandedly that the voice was clear, and spoke with the voice of a woman, hell, an angel. It soothed his nerves, even while it (she?) brought up repressed memories and feelings.

I can give you what you desire, child.

“…what?” The dumbfounded teenager found himself, yet again, grinding to a stop. Any whirring thoughts and emotions about the orb, and the past it spoke of, went through the window, and Bryan started to doubt he was dreaming. The orb glowed in amusement at the child’s confused expression, “What do you mean, my ‘desire?’ Do you mean…?”

Do you want a retry?

This time, Bryan thought long and hard about his answer. For the last four years, he has wanted nothing more than to go back and start again, to prevent the tragedy that plagued his late-teens, the very source of his problems. He wanted to go back and feel his mother’s love again, see his father’s smile, and their collective pride. He wanted he family back, he wanted his life back. But if this thing was truly implying that he could go back, then, what happens to him here and now? Does he just wake up in the body of a child, with no recollection of the last seventeen years? It was a risk. A huge risk; if he went back, then… could it all be avoided?

Bryan stared at the orb, it glowed in a patient, yet caring light, reassuring him once again that whatever was happening, was not malicious. He stood there for what felt like hours, hell even days, before he finally came to a conclusion. If things were sent back to the start, then he’d make damn sure to remember that night, if nothing else, he would be damn sure that he remembered that day, what happened, and how it would never, ever happen again. He shut his eyes, took in a deep breath, and looked the orb down with a resolute fire in his eyes.
“Yes. I want a retry.”

Very well. The clock winds back, all is undone. The trees become saplings, the cities become villages, and the men become boys. For a better future…

I clean this slate.

The glowing yellow light expanded, and at the same time, brightened exponentially. Before Bryan could react he was engulfed, and the soothing voice whispered into his ear like his mother once had.

Be strong, child. The life you begin is in many ways the same, yet unmistakably different. You are very important to this world, do not forget this.

His breath hitched, different?

Sleep well, Bryan.

The world went a shining gold, and Bryan was gone.

"...tulations," A strange voice stirred Bryan from what was certainly an oversleep. He felt too well-rested and energized to have only received four hours sleep. He noted, that the weather outside must be quite nice, because the breeze was warm, and sunlight shone through his closed eyelids. "It is very rare for such a thing to occur, Mrs Herring." Bryan's mind went still. ‘Mrs Herring…?’ He felt himself move, like he was being cradled in someone’s arms. Which doesn’t really make much sense considering how large the person would have to-

The dream came back to him. The orb, the white, the flashback, the offer, his acceptance. Immediately, Bryan tried to open his eyes, only to find they weren’t opening. He tried to move his arms in order to rub the sleep from them – he couldn’t move his arms. He quickly found that he couldn’t move any individual limb; he could only wriggle around a bit. And even that felt different. It was like he was on his back, his arms and legs dangling uselessly in the air, while his neck craned a bit.

Another thing that bothered him was the air around him. It smelt clinical – like a hospital, yet there was an unmistakable country air behind it. Where the hell was he?

“This is the first time an alicorn has been born in, well, centuries!” The unfamiliar voice spoke again. Alicorn? What was he talking about? Slowly, Bryan managed to open his eyes, light seeping into is retinas. It blinded him momentarily, and for a second, he thought he was back in the white canvas dream world. But, shapes started to form from blobs, detail slowly returning to the scene before him, and when it did, he could almost feel his brain go into complete system overload and shutdown at the same time.

Directly in front of his eyes was, for lack of a better word, a horse. Not a normal horse, oh no, the horse was a strange crimson, almost maroon, and wore an expression on its wildly cartoonish face. A smile on its face, and eyes that looked at him exactly how-

“Born with his cutie mark, too! These are some very, very special occurrences,” The doctor spoke up again, looking at down at the foal in his mother’s arms. The mark he spoke of on his flank showed a collection of white gears, with the roaman numerals for one to twelve in a circle, in black lettering, representing a clock on top of the cogs. A bright red line pointed to ‘XII’ on his mark, with a smaller, brighter red line pointing at the same marking representing the minute and hour hands respectively. The doctor was in awe; there have been very few instances in the past where a foal has been born with his mark, and almost none of them were alicorns!

The doctor looked out of the window in the hospital room, and stared at the castle looming over all of Canterlot. He hoped that the arrival of this foal wouldn’t mean a bad omen for the world, and was simply a special occasion. His thoughts were interrupted once more by the sound of the other stallion in the room, the husband and now father, speaking to his new son.

“Hello, son,” another voice caught Bryan’s attention; and just managed to make out a dusty yellow horse with wings (A Pegasus? What the ever loving fuck is going on?!) staring down at him with again, another warm smile. The voice itself was wildly familiar, and sounded exactly like his father’s had. “It seems you’re a very important pony!"


Brain fully surpassing overload, Bryan's thoughts started going a mile a minute. He immediately recognized that this is what the dream meant by something different. Of course, he was expecting something like social changes, like friends, personality, home... But no. Of course not, there was no way he was allowed something that easy. No, he had to lose his entire species, and become a goddamn horse, Sorry, I mean "pony." Besides, what in the nine unholy hells was a cutie mark?! If he could move his mouth, rest assured that the now ex-human would be unleashing an unholy amount of expletives into the world. Though, it'd look quite strange if a supposed 'newborn' suddenly started screaming 'fuck' at the top of its lungs.

"He has your coat, hun," The male voice (his father) spoke again. Eyes slowly trailing over to the woman (mare?) that held him, he took in all over her features. Her face seemed rounded and feminine, more so than the stallion beside her. She too, had wings, ones that shielded his own frail body (honestly, he was getting shivers in here!). Her coat was a dark cherry red, with a long mint green mane falling just over the side of her neck. It was matted, presumably following the physical stress of child birth, and her expression was a tired, yet clearly delighted smile. With a hoof (oh my god hooves what in the-) Bryan's new mother stroked the mane behind his neck, making him shiver involuntarily.

"I don't know, Bow. I don’t remember my coat ever being such a strange colour," The mare cradling spoke to her husband without turning to him, fixated on the foal in her arms. As expected, the young alicorn had a short mane having just been born; his coat was an odd mixture of blue palettes, a pastel blue dominating the majority of his fur with almost highlights of darker blues all across his barrel. She gasped slightly upon seeing his mane; it bore a close resemblance to her late father's mane in his youth; and her eyes welled up again. "H-he has his mane, Bow, look!" The man in question was a smooth mixture of oranges, reds, purples and blues, bearing an incredibly close resemblance to the mother’s late grandfather.

The yellow stallion, Bow String, crept towards the bed, and for the first time in his new life, Bryan saw the loving of both his parents at the same time. It made him realize that the decision he'd made in that dream land was the right one, because the affection he felt from the two ponies before him was no different to his human parents, and while he missed them both dearly, they weren't too far from each other personality-wise anyways. Mustering up as much energy as he could, Bryan willed his mouth to curl into a smile, equally as loving as the two before him. He closed his eyes, and smiled as wide as he could. They both gasped.

"Look, Hegese, honey, he's smiling at us!"

"I know dear, I know!"

The two parent continued to coo their newborn foal, gushing over his smile, his small wings, and the mane of his grandfather. After a good while of this, the doctor cleared his throat, reminding the new family that there was indeed another pony still in the room. While unwilling to take their eyes of their child, and his eyes off the parents he'd missed so much; Bryan, Bow String and Hegese Herring all looked towards the doctor so that he could speak his mind.

"Do you have a name prepared for him, Mrs Herring, Mr String?" The doctor tilted his head with a serene smile, very much enjoying the love and affection in the atmosphere. It was moments like these that made the grueling, not so nice moments all the more worthwhile. The two parents stared into each other’s eyes, seemingly deciding on the fly what to name their child; something fitting for the mark on his flank. Without saying even a word, the two ‘debated’ over what to name their new born foal, and after what felt like forever, Hegese smiled broadly at her husband, who in turn just nodded his head with another small smile.

"We do, doc," she began, slowly letting her eyes drift towards the foal in her arms, noticing that his eyes were starting to fall - all ready at their half-lidded stage. With all the stress that came with pregnancy, all the struggle and emotion, she could honestly say that the smile (still present) on her foal's face had been so very, very worth it. With another deep breath, and smile as calm as the sea, Hegese spoke clearly for the doctor.

"His name is Quantum."

Bryan fell asleep, the smile still present. 'Quantum…'

He liked that name. He liked it a lot.

As night fell and blanketed the land of Equestria, upon a tall balcony in a large castle overlooking the capital of her country, Princess Celestia sighed as she stared up into the moon, more specifically, the silhouette that covered it. She’d done this most nights for the last nine-hundred or so years. For an immortal such as herself, one year, two years a decade, a half century, they weren’t as significant to her as they were for her subjects. No, it was the centuries, the millenniums, that dragged on. And yet, as we reach one-thousand years, sister, these days couldn’t be any longer…

Looking away from the moon, and instead opting to stare out over her balcony, the sole monarch of the land considered the coming years. The new bearers of the elements have been born, Discord’s statue was showing signs of activity, and Twilight Sparkle, a new born as of today, lay in the middle of the mess that was to come. Celestia felt guilty; mistakes that she’d failed to rectify would fall on the shoulders of such a young mare in just a few years. The goddess of the sun let out a wistful sigh, wishing for days long gone, Before Discord, before the royalty, the elements, Sombra, and this duty. Days when he was still-

Her reverie was interrupted as a knock echoed on her chamber doors. With a grumble of half frustration, and half confusion, Celestia opened the door with her magic and turned to the Night Guard Captain that had disrupted her night. There was excitement in his eyes, and anxiousness in the way her carried himself, awkwardly stepping from hoof to hoof. He bowed his head upon seeing the Princess of the Sun. She addressed the Pegasus, keeping as much impatience as she could out of her voice and putting on a terse smile.

“Captain,” She began, wincing internally at the irritation that had leaked into her voice, “To what do I owe the pleasure?” The Guard quickly rose again to his full height.

“Ma’am, news from the hospital,” The Guard began, not sure of how the princess may react to his news of the new born colt, “An alicorn has been birthed at Canterlot General.” Celestia’s brow instantly rose in surprise. This was unexpected. Over the centuries, yes, alicorns have been appeared. But they’re usually from a state of evolution through magic. For one to appear naturally from birth, like she or Luna had, was a very odd thing indeed. She would have to make time to meet this foal.

“I see, is that all, Captain?” Eager to return to her stargazing (she was never as good as Luna had been at placing the damn things), Celestia attempted to drop the hint that she wanted to be left alone. Of course, she only ended up being disappointed.

“No ma’am, there’s more,” She sighed inwardly. Of course there is, “The colt was born with his mark, Princess,” Now, her interest was most definitely piqued, and her hopes rose an infinitesimal amount. A colt alicorn? Born with his mark, no less? Could it mean… No, there’s no way of knowing. I need more information. Shaking her head, Celestia asked her question.

“I see. Do you have a picture of this colt’s cutie mark?” The guard nodded, and handed his princess the photo he’d taken while at the hospital earlier.

Celestia took the photo with her magic, and ushered the guard to leave. With a quick salute, the stallion cantered off to continue his patrol. Alone once again, goddess inspected the photo, and it took about a second for her to completely freeze.

White cogs… Black numerals… Red hands…

She knew the name of the foal before he’d even met him. Her breath hitched as Celestia slowly trotted to the four-post bed in her chambers, and sat down on the mattress. She hadn’t seen this mark for years, centuries, millennia, and yet it was there, imprinted in her memory, fresh as the first time she’d laid eyes upon it. She didn’t even notice the lone tear rolling down her cheek, but it was not of sadness, no, overwhelming joy.

The mark meant one thing:

Quantum had finally returned to her, and she’d be damned if she let him go again.

Author's Note:

Welcome to 'Clean the Slate.'

Basically, this is a culmination of ideas I've had for four years now, drawing inspiration from other fics on here. It's been a long time coming for me, and I think I'm finally ready to get on with writing on here again. I'm fairly certain 90% of people thought this was gonna be the opening to some sloppy shipfic with one of the mane six. Nope, sorry.

I noticed there's a severe lack of Celestia ships on here, and I feel I need to rectify that, so kick back, relax, and enjoy the show.

Updates will be whenever I feel like it, but there'll usually be at least one a week.

Let me know what you think of the opening down in the comments, and ratings, corrections and criticism is always appreciated.