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While trying to fix Starlight's meddling with time, Twilight winds up face-to-face with herself. As she prepares to leave, her other self tries to persuade her to stay and help save this version of Equestria. And her other self makes some pretty compelling arguments.

Chapters (2)
Comments ( 33 )

Wow. Ouch.
I can't really put into words how I feel about this, more so than usual. It's not really my forte. But...
Y'know, it's been over a year since the last time a story drew my attention enough to read it without outside pressure of some sort.
I'm not sure what I expected from reading this, but I can definitely say I wasn't disappointed.
So good job on writing something strong enough to get my attention and good enough to not make me regret it.

That's an obvious moral quandry in Cutie Re-Marked, and with alternate world travel in general. I try to lay a grounding for such stories in Post-Traumatic (particularly in "A Robust Universe", in the context of which Twilight-Prime would have been making a strategic decision to invest her efforts in stopping Starlight (who was realizing these possible alternate worldlines with her spell) rather than fighting individually in each timeline against whatever horror Starlight had accidentally unleashed in that one. But it would still be emotionally hard for Twilight-Prime,

The evidence is that Zecora from the Chrysalis Triumphant Timeline was the only one who instantly understood this, and agreed with Twilight-Prime's orderings of priorities, which says interesting things of what Zecora may have learned from The Harmony.

Interestingly, under my concept of how Alternate Worlds work, Twilight Sparkle-Prime did not snuff the existing worldlines that Starlight Glimmer-Prime created when she meddled in the timeline. What Twilight did was prevent Starlight from spawning any more worldlines and letting them drain away the ontological energy of the prime-line into the alternates (which might have eventually resulted in one of the alternates becoming the prime-line).

Which means ... all those worldlines still exist. Including the one that Zecora may have died in. Though we don't know exactly what happened there -- but it sure looks like Chrysalis defeated her. Though, given that Zecora is a subtle sort of character, fully as tricky in her benevolent way as Chrysalis in her malevolent way (and why not? They're both at least half-Zebra in the SWSV), there may have been something else going on there as well.

("Strike me down, and I will become more powerful than you can imagine" level trickiness, I mean).

"She’s right. I’m running, leaving her behind, to save myself. And it hurts."

Two different perspectives, two sides of the same coin...

Damn. Deep. And dem feels. Nice one.

This... sucks. :raritydespair: (I mean the entire situation that both Twilight found themselves, not your fic!)

It is very well written, in the sense that you show both sides of the situation: how Alt!Twilight is desesperate and thinks that Twilight-Prime is being selfish, and how Twilight-Prime understand the problem of her alternate but can not run the risk... :fluttercry:

It is a very good work.

Ouch. I like this concept a lot, and she does have a good point. I never thought of all that in the season finale.
:ajsleepy:

It's rather odd to me that she's calling Original Twilight the self-centered one. If that's the reasoning, then why should THIS Twilight be the one whose timeline supercedes all others? If only one can exist, shouldn't it be the better one? If she's so truly miserable, why would she WANT to keep this timeline intact? Clearly, so many more people die in this timeline. And above all of the other timelines we've seen, this one seems like it's the closest to them actually BEING the same person - it sounds like this Twilight has only a year's difference, even seeing the same spell from Starlight. So all she's losing, in exchange for the lives and peace of thousands, is a year of bad memories and experiences.

It's clearly the grief and panic and strain talking, and honestly, I can't blame Twilight for leaving. I'd be freaked out too if I met an alternate version of myself who was acting like this. Maybe Twilight should have stayed and tried to help, but then she theoretically has an entire universe to be concerned about; she's not wrong that her disappearing could cause it to cease to exist. That either means this tragic timeline would supercede that much more positive timeline, or that an entire universe of unique lives would cease to exist altogether. So, tough as it may be... I really can't blame Twilight Alpha here.

Whew, that was fun to analyze. XD

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. This alternate Twilight is demanding that Original Twilight stay and help her because Original Twilight's world shouldn't be more important than any other. But by saying that, she's implying that her miserable, broken world is the most important one, for no greater reason than that she (understandably) doesn't want to die and see her hard work go to waste, or to have to keep living in pain and know that help was just out of reach. She's literally demanding that an entire, peaceful, well-defended world cease to exist because she thinks that her hellhole is also important.

And she called Original Twilight self-centered?

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Well, to be fair, her reasoning is that with a time travel spell, it doesn't matter whether or not PrimeTwi leaves now or in two years; the end result will be the same.
So she's asking PrimeTwi to give an ultimately insignificant amount of time to help her entire world, not asking her to choose to save her world at the expense of PrimeTwi's.
Which I guess is why it's so hard for PrimeTwi to refuse.

...weird thing is, Twilight Prime could have solved everything with just a few words... "The Smooze is sapient. You can reason with it."
After all, the main universe's Green Glob is hungry, sure, but also very, very friendly. Like a puppy version of Galactus.

7365418 Still rings hollow and hypocritical. If at any point Prime!Twilight's seriously hurt or killed (and from the state of Alt!Twilight, it's clear she's alone and thus, her version of the alicorn tetrarchy is for some reason unable to help her, presumably dead or out of commission, which means that Prime!Twilight can be as well), she damns her world and all she cares about because she felt obligated to play hero to a world that might as well not exist. All it takes is one slip up, and she already can't afford any slip ups that aren't where/when Glimmer is.

It may be an insignificant amount of time comparatively, but it risks everything she cares about practically. That's what it is to have the weight of the world on your shoulders. She can moralize it and self-deprecate and loathe all she likes, and her double can weep and wail and condemn, but the double is demanding she wager everything she has and is on a cause that is not hers, on a world that is not hers. Prime!Twilight might be selfish, but she's also taking the safest bet she can with the burden she bears. The alternate is no less selfish for demanding that her parallel clone risk everything for her and her world.

There is no moral quandary here. This isn't about right or wrong. This is about saving a planet, and unfortunately for the alternate, the original has the cards in her hand. That's all there is to it. She would've done the same, and if she hadn't, then she would need to ask herself where she gets the arrogance to think she's entitled to put an entire world on the line for the sake of another and still call herself a protector.

Why bother going through all this if the alt timeline will just cease to exist the moment Twi fixes everything?

If the alt-universe theory is in play... then ALL the possibilities MUST exist regardless... rendering time alteration moot to begin with.

And if it's that stupid DBZ time mechanism where only actions by characters result in a branched timeline... then just summon Goku to blow up the baddies because why not it makes no sense anyway. :trollestia:

7365452 Unless this is an evil Smooze that is like, Blob Dalek, or something like that and enjoys exterminating life.

7364791 She should have just shot her alt self in the face.

Because, she basically killed her off anyway... might as well have some fun with it!

"Hee hee! I killed myself, but I'm still alive! So much existential crisis!" :pinkiecrazy:

"I'm leaving myself to save myself... and I'm realizing this is so F'd up that this is why the Time Lords used to be so strict about interfering with their own time line..." :trollestia:

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I mean, I'm not saying she's right, just that it's an understandable point of view.

7364791 But that's not fair to the Twilight in this story. The Prime Twilight has no actual evidence of what happens when she goes back to fighting Starlight. Sure, the Twilight of this story is obviously on the edge, but it's pretty well earned. She's been fighting a magic eating monster for a year and has no way to stop it.

I think you're being too hard on the Twilight in this story. She's not wrong in saying that Twilight would be selfish to leave. She's choosing to save her world instead of help another, there's no other way to interpret than but selfish; it's her friends lives, her family's lives, her neighbors, her associates, all of it is her own. It may be the right decision, but it's absolutely selfish.

Plus, Twilight has no jurisdiction to decide what world deserves to exist. It's not her fault these words do exist, and she's got good reason to try and restore her own. But if all of these other worlds knew for absolute certain that Twilight's action wI'll erase them completely from existence, for you honestly think they'd be for that? As hard as their lives are, they're still their lives.

Wow, some people really are ball busters in the comments huh?

Just able to sacrifice a world without a second thought of the consequences. Just because they came first.

At the very least, Twilight felt pain in what she was choosing to do. I see people going "too bad, alternate universe, you can suck my ass" and I'm just like wow. At least understand that you're hurting someone in your decision to abandon them. Either that world stays shitty and it's more or less your fault for not trying to help, or they cease to exist entirely, and that's a whole different level of fucked up.

People aren't save files you can just delete, you know. You're going to remember them, you're going to know that you doomed them one way or another, and denying either of those things makes you a shitty person. Twilight isn't a shitty person because she understood what she was doing and made the best choice for her. She felt anguish, remorse, and maybe even regret.

But hey, what do I know. I'm an idiot that probably would have stuck around to help because I'm an idiot.

This story is a perfect example of the old saying "damned if you do, and damned if you don't," and one only needs to look at the comments to see this ring true. No matter what Twilight Prime does here, it doesn't sit well with her own sense of morals and fair play, never mind those of the readers. Sure, she could spend some time trying to "fix" this world. But then she could potentially do that with any of the worlds that she came across. Where does she draw the line? A few hours of assistance? Days? Months? Years? She may very well be "wiping out" alternate timelines when she leaves, but she didn't create them in the first place. Starlight Glimmer made the mess, and Twilight is being forced to clean it up.

The first thought I had after reading it, was certain similarities to the finale Star Trek: The Next Generation Episode. Which is to say, when all the alternative timeline versions of the Enterprise spill over each other, there's one which had been fighting the Borg for years. They were so desperate not to "correct" the rift that linked their timelines together, that they actively attempted to resist doing so, only to end up being destroyed. All the while, the original Picard from his own timeline, continued on regardless of what fate it would result in for all the alternative timelines.

Kinda similar, I guess. Anyway, neat perspective.

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I've been saying Starlight essentially ended up creating each of these complete separate timelines/parallel universes, and is thus responsible for how horrible they all turned out. The wars, the devastation of nature, the likely dead Luna in almost all but two of them, the baked and wasted apocalypse-world with no sun or moon in the sky likely signifying Celestia and Nightmare Moon killed each other on her return.

But, like you, downvotes start popping up. Not entirely sure why, it makes perfect sense.

7367613 I think you have the episodes Parallels and All Good Things mixed up. While Picard did jump around 3 different times in his life in All Good Things, it was Worf who was jumping around alternate timelines while time progressed normally. Near the end of Parallels was where the one Enterprise, devastated from fighting the Borg, attempted to stop Worf correcting the incident.

Loved it. Simply loved it.
Now, I didn't read all of the comments (currently at work, inserting a word here and there :trollestia:) but here are my thoughts.
It shouldn't matter one tit whether that universe stays or gone as far as Twilight Prime should be concerned. True, she has no idea for sure whether they stay or not, but the fact remains. There was a potential world there, full of people, full of life, and she decided to forsake them. Whether that universe ends up not existing or not, it doesn't matter to Twilight. She condemned them to death either way. Even if it ends up being merged, when the decision came up she made her choice, and being lucky enough to be justified later on doesn't make up for it.
Was she right to do that? That's a bit hard to say. Should she have endangered the only chance her own world had for another world that might end up gone anyway? It is a terrible choice, and the burden of answering it the way she did will stay with Twilight forever. The only true consequence of her choice is the weight of a world on her soul, and that's something she might not be able to bear after some time.
Of course, if you really want to know what the right choice was all you have to do is ask; WWOPD (what would Optimus Prime do)?

You know the funny thing is that Twilight never realized that whatever is destroying this world is still a potential threat in her own, so she missed out on the opportunity to gather valuable intel. Now, if the smooze ends up becoming a problem down the road, she'll remember this Twilight mentioning it and probably kick herself.
You'd be amazed how useful foreknowledge is for dealing with an enemy quickly and without casualty. She could have found out where it came from to keep a look out, what was tried to stop it that failed so she doesn't waste time doing the same things, and ultimately find a method of defeating it with the help of another twilight so that if and when the smooze showed up, she could make fast work of it.

You know, I really like the concept of this story. I like it, and I want the story to be really good because of it. I want to like the story.

But... I'm finding I really can't like the story itself. I didn't enjoy reading it, nor did it grab me. That's really because of one important detail, or rather, the lack of it.

We don't really get to see inside the head of either Twilight directly outside of a few spare lines in the narration. This Smooze Twilight more or less speaks for herself with her dialogue, true, but even in the first chapter we should've seen more, gotten an idea of more of what's going on. We're not told a thing about the timeline outside of a description of Smooze Twilight, and what said Twilight says about the events in her timeline. We're not given a description of the castle, or the surroundings if it's not in the castle. We have no idea if Smooze Twilight's friends might be around, or who might've died, or anything. We have no idea what's going on around them as they speak, or any grounding. It leaves me unable to picture anything but them talking in a featureless void.

Adding on to that is the lack of any sort of substantial use of the first person narrative. Had this story been written in third person instead of first person only a few words would have to be changed around for there to be no difference at all, and that says the first person narrative is completely wasted. We should be seeing a lot of their thoughts outside of dialogue. The fact that they're able to exchange so much says that their lives aren't in immediate danger, that there isn't anything happening around them that requires they speak so fast. So why is the pacing so quick?

The failing hurts even more because the story attempts to use the first person narrative to its advantage, by showing us the same events from both perspectives. Great, I love that idea, and executed well that can be brilliantly effective. But here the two chapters are almost entirely interchangable! We see Smooze Twilight think of Twilight Prime as self-centered, then in the reverse chapter Twilight Prime thinks "she probably sees me as self-centered." Why don't we get to see their perspectives after Twilight Prime's departure? Some thoughts, or even just a few lines of dialogue, Smooze Twilight with herself, and Twilight Prime and Spike with each other, would've been something. But without it the story feels so repetitive that the opportunity provided by the two opposing viewpoints is completely wasted.

The lack of Spike's thoughts or feelings is odd. He's required to be there because he's present with Twilight Prime in the episode, but from this story it feels as though if he didn't have to be there because of the episode, he wouldn't have been. There's one little line from Smooze Twilight about not having seen Spike in a while, but we don't really get a sense of how that makes her feel.

And that's what feels so lacking in this story. What are they really feeling? Smooze Twilight hasn't seen Spike in a long time. Why? Is it because he's off fighting the Smooze elsewhere? Is he leading a group of ponies in survival shelters? Did he die? What does that make Smooze Twilight feel? If he's dead, shouldn't that shock and horrify her? Her lack of reaction outside of a single throwaway line is unbelievable.

This story could use a substantial rewrite. I'd prefer to see a much longer discussion between both Twilights, with some more thought about what's going on in the Smooze Twilight timeline, and a lot more differentiation between the two perspectives. Give us a reason to have two chapters, and a reason to use the first person perspective.

I'm sorry, I just can't like the story in the shape it is in. Please don't take this the wrong way, or as a personal attack, as it is not meant as such. I hope this critique can be of some help. :twilightsmile:

7368926 Thanks for the correction, it's good to meet a fellow trekkie.

Ugh, this is good, and quite emotional too. Have a favourite.

Powerful. I really like AU philosophy, and this is great.

It's nice, concise, and complete as it is, but if you ever wanted to make it a longer story, that could be really good, too. Even so, if you choose to leave it like this, it's just as good.

... Dang. That almost sounds like the same kind of dilemma that the story itself is about.

Wow, this almost made me cry with how emotional it is.

Well, Twilight is sure to remember this timeline, and torment herself for her choices.

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