• Published 17th Oct 2016
  • 5,732 Views, 153 Comments

The Cloudsdale Report - Novel-Idea

After an entertaining evening meeting Sunset’s newest friend Twilight Sparkle, Princess Celestia seeks an old intelligence report that may hold a secret from Equestria’s past that will forever change Equestria’s future.

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Addendum: CL-989-I34 File Attachments

Author's Note:

Note: Upon confiscation of Miss Sunglint's camera, discovered the originals were damaged. According to Miss Sunglint, her camera got wet when she was caught in a freak Everfree storm while she was flying to Cloudsdale from Manehattan. Storm verified by Cloudsdale's Equestrian Weather Patrol offices.

Reconstruction of the photos are now complete and can be seen above. Camera and film relocated to Canterlot ESS secure storage unit J-47 with the tag CL-989-I34-E1.

Comments ( 78 )

Gah! I really want to see that confrontation with Future Twilight now!

Seriously though, this just turned into one of my favorite AUs.

Yeah, i was right when commented on the announcement. This i s most amazing. I really didn't expect this plot turn, so another point to you.:twilightsmile: Great job and well done! :heart:

You know, I never believed that this AU could have been one of the alternate timelines done during the season 6 finale.

Well done for making a twist well-executed.

Well, that was not the direction I was expecting this AU to take. I am usually not a fan of time travel within a linear time line due to all of the contradictions involved with it, but I have really liked these stories so far so I am going to continue reading. I just hope that this ends up with a positive outcome for everybody, I just can't see that happening, but you have already surprised me once so let's see what happens. Also, let me just say that not only have I enjoyed your stories so far, but they have been very well written.

Don't worry, Celestia! Once Twilight gets her friendship together, she'll solve this and you and your world will never have existed! :yay:

Not much I can say other than VERY well-written piece. The exchanges, emotional content and wrap-up in this story are all superbly done as usual. I never expected it to be one of the alternate timelines created during the "Cutie Re-Mark", presumably BEFORE the real mess starts (though, hopefully, things will go a lot better in this timeline than the ones we've seen in the two-parter) . At any rate, I will definitely be looking forward to more of your work as soon as time and inspiration will allow.

I still want Twilight and Sunset to become GF or BGFS Best Girl Friends

Oops. didn't realize this was a sequel to something. Time to backtrack i guess.

Wow, folks. Seriously... just wow. Thank you all for your comments, upvotes and encouragement that actually has Cloudsdale sitting most of the day in the Feature Box! :pinkiegasp:

7649373 Oh, you'll definitely see a confrontation. That much, I promise (Please do not notice the lack of details regarding said confrontation). And thank you! That means a ton to me, especially since I wasn't sure how this was going to be received. :twilightsheepish:

7649553 Thank you ever so much! I do hope you enjoy the ride!

7649625 It's funny, I was really worried folks would figure this out much sooner and that I had telegraphed it way too much! Apparently not! :twilightblush:

7649682 :trixieshiftleft: Who said anything about linear? :trixieshiftright: As for the outcome, well, you'll just have to wait and see (Sorry, but that's just one I have to tease you about!) But thank you! I appreciate this greatly!

7650040 :rainbowlaugh:

7650206 And that's going to be the big question, huh? What's actually going to be the result in this particular timeline? /dun-dun-dun! :pinkiegasp: As for the next, it's already undergoing editing and I have a special plan for it!

7650744 I'll have you know that I categorically deny any claims that I have multiple pairs of Twilight and Sunsets in my possession that happen to be in close proximity to one another! ...oh wait, you didn't say anything about that, did you? Errr... as you were! :scootangel: (Don't worry, all shall be revealed in time)

Wait, Hold up, you are saying that this is complete, it's just so short a story, are you going to make ANOTHER sequel or what?

You know, that's one thing that I was never completely clear on with Starlight's spell. She always stayed in the past, so either she was pulled back on the same real-time as Twilight in the future, or she'd actually have to live through a dozen doomsdays. The episode suggested the former, but in your AU it would probably be the latter (which is a lot more rewarding to imagine).

...or Celestia will just yell at a completely clueless Starlight Glimmer from her own timeline until the poor mare wets herself. :trixieshiftleft:

Interesting. Usually these type of stories are really long that is why I don't read them. But this one is different. I'm gonna read it and its prequels too.

good story, I like it, keep up the good work

Really interesting. And it's true, if you think about it, there's no unaltered timeline—even the one where the race happened, Starlight and Twilight and Spike were still there in the past. Anything could be different from what it's supposed to be.

Is it necessary to read the preceding stories before I read this one?

7653236 I would strongly recommend reading Applications and History as they add much more context (and are quite amusing, I like to think), but it's not strictly necessary. I try to write stories so they stand alone as well as working together.

7653236 It took me entirely to long to realize that the square root of negative one is I. This is why I'm a liberal arts major, I can't even get simple math puns quickly.

7653459 At least you remembered it on your own. Most people have to be told.

7651103 derpicdn.net/img/view/2016/9/16/1250798__safe_screencap_cute_animated_scootaloo_sweetie+belle_grin_cutie+mark_happy_the+cmc%27s+cutie+marks.gif

7651249 Think it more like a TV series (that may have started in Season 2 instead of Season 1. :unsuresweetie:) and you just read the Season Finale. But you've got plenty more seasons on the way, a couple movies and some other cool stuff waiting! All of this is part of the same ongoing story though!

7651310 Something I spent FAR too much time thinking about. (Seriously, I think I workshopped that for like a month or two. :derpytongue2:)

7652209 That's actually really funny, because I usually write really long, drawn-out novels. I'm just trying a different kind of episodic storytelling here. Apparently folks like it! I hope you enjoy the rest! :pinkiehappy:

7652413 <Engage Mysterious/Cryptic Voice> All shall be revealed in time! </end voice> :scootangel:

7652572 Thank you kindly!

7652770 Time travel's a little evil, don't you think?

7653459 Don't feel bad. It's why I'm a novelist. Math and I don't get along. (Because honestly, I didn't get that at ALL). :twilightoops:
7653471 Heh. What I said up there. :rainbowderp:

Yes. Just imagine if something truly, truly horrific happened because of Starlight's tampering with time, and she learns of it after Cutie Remark.

That would destroy her.

Two ponies are going to suffer the most because if this.
One, princess twilight, for effectively losing her entire world. All her friends will be different people with different destinies. Honorable mention to dash without her mark for being the fastest Pegasus alive.
Two, sunset shimmer. Specially if ascended. Obviously I'm going for the shipping angle, but how will she fell off she finds out she "stole" her lover's destiny? That twilight is the one that should ascend? This is considering that bacon horse shall ascend to stop Luna or something.

Basically this can easily become rather sad... But that only means the stakes are that much higher :rainbowdetermined2:

Following you now (just read the prequels and this one), and waiting anxiously for the next installment! :pinkiehappy:

7654362 Oh there is so very many ways I could tease you for your insightful comments. So many ways I could throw red herrings in your path or not and say that I did or not and not! So many possibilities! So many options! I just can't choose!

That being said, all shall be revealed in due... time. :twilightsmile:


7656409 I know that. But she knows that another timeline successfully navigates at least one world-threatening scale crisis (since Twilight lives to ascend, instead of freezing to death in Nightmare Moon's Eternal Night), and she knows she is not in that timeline anymore. Even an immortal sun goddess is going to experience some worry over that realization.

Because she can't fix the timeline if it all comes crashing down before Starlight and Princess Twilight reappear for her to...vigorously remonstrate with, after all. So she has to find a new successful path, or its poof for all her little ponies. :pinkiegasp:

Basically, she's going to be desperate: somepony derailed her millennium-long master plan to save the world, and she didn't even notice for several years. Sun-day is coming fast, and she has to jump tracks and improvise and hope there is more than one path through the astronomical odds against her.

I would be freaking out right now. Totally a good thing I'm not a millennia old sun goddess facing the possible end of the world, isn't it? :derpytongue2:

7650040 Indeed. I always felt Starlight Glimmer got of easy for multiple counts of temporal omnicide. Logically each timeline existed from the day of the non-rainboom till the time Twilight arrives in the alternate 'present' and is then erased as soon as another cycle starts. That makes Twilight an unwitting accessory.

7656748 that true but it depend on the discord there i mean there might be a few that see her misfortune as funny and seeing the sun princess lose her cool might be a delight to them and might play interference cause time travel is many things...

Now I wonder if she is going to try to fix the timeline so that canon happens, or if she will try to preserve this timeline.


Indeed. The notion of not simply dying, but never having been due to time travel shenanigans frankly gives me the existential horrors. I headcanoned the notion of the Conservation of Souls, by which the soul cannot be erased even by paradox, to make the situation a bit less ghastly for myself, but that led me to ponder the idea of a fanfic in which the "original" timeline is haunted by the souls of all those who would have been born in the new timelines but didn't in the original...

7656460 Aha! However, she didn't have this knowledge beforehand! So in essence, she would end up doing exactly what she was doing: preparing. (And my head is starting to hurt from this temporal logic thing). After all, suddenly forcing Twilight into a role she wasn't prepared for would likely fail miserably. In addition... there may be other forces at work which she hasn't mentioned in this story. Or maybe she did? :unsuresweetie:

7656867 Now that's the real question... were they erased or not? :pinkiegasp:

7657190 I'm not sure even Discord has temporal abilities. He would be way too OP. You know, nothing at all like how one unicorn can suddenly mind-control the former (?) Bearers of the Elements of Harmony... oh... :facehoof:

7657732 Cloudsdale occurs the year 997. If she wants to change things, she doesn't have a lot of time. :pinkiesad2:

7657820 Ah, quantum theory combined with the thoughts on the true nature of self. Always wonderful to ponder in the Hour of the Wolf. :pinkiecrazy:


You know... I had an interesting conversation with one of my co-workers today. It was about the multiverse and parallel universes. How people who believe they are real believe in destiny even if they don't know it, and how literally NOTHING is impossible if they do exist.

An alternate universe is born every time a character makes an important decision, or something is different from "the way it was suppose to be." Here is the question you must ask... What is considered an "important decision or event?" Every living creature is made up of billions of particles all moving together. Is it considered an important event if one atom in our arm moves to the left instead of to the right? Does that mean I have created over trillions of alternate universes just typing this response?

I should probably stop here before I triple this page's length, but here is a thing to consider: If a universe's story is discontinued, does it really die, or is it continued by one of our alternate counterparts?


In Discord's case, a bit of OP is quite canon. Not much short of the Elements can really bother him, and at least personally I like the idea that Starswirl's little toy spell doesn't effect him simply because his perception of time, space, and causality is violently different than ponies.

My view of Discord is much more of a lightly anthropomorphized elemental force that expresses itself as a draconequus for convenient pony interaction, though.


Now that's the real question... were they erased or not? :pinkiegasp:

To be honest, I hope not. Did the Tree/Table of Harmony provide enough mass energy to effectively create the new timelines, or were they reusing the content of the original?

Though that leaves another nightmare fuel thought. The final timeline where they end up can not be the original, as the new one had Twilight and Starlight in it's past, even if she didn't stop the Sonic Rainboom. That means they both disappeared from the original timeline and never returned. The one they're in now is an incredibly close copy, but that's what it is, a copy.

I've been thinking of writing a short fic in which a representative of the Time Space Administration Bureau shows up after the Cutie Remark and gives them a warning not to mess with time travel again as creating and destroying those alternate timelines caused dimensional shockwaves that affected TSAB administered worlds. In the process he'll mention that if it had happened in TSAB juristiction Starlight Glimmer would be facing multiple counts of temporal omnicide, and Twilight Sparkle would be charged with being an accessory.

Just binge-read all 4 stories; excellent reads. Faved, followed, liked, and eagerly awaiting next one...:yay:

The suspicion from Celestia was a nice touch; makes me wonder if those sort of reports are why she realized Twilight's potential in the first place...

7658895 I would question that definition of destiny. Just because it’s happened to a version of you… I don’t know, I just don’t see that as destiny (though the idea is both terrifying and fascinating)

Well, according to quantum theory, yes indeed. Every single decision creates a branching timeline of infinite possibilities.

As for your last question… well, that’s a doozy. :rainbowderp:

7658907 Well, he IS essentially Q. He was probably just napping. :trollestia:

7659420 It’s amazing how complicated the whole alternate timeline thing can become, isn’t it? :twilightoops:
Sounds like a fun story idea. Go with it!

7660302 I’m glad you enjoyed it! As for Canon Twi, well, Celestia got to see if first-hoof!

7667641 i just want to know thats all as a sad ending to this franchise would ruin the enjoyment its giving me

7667634 per infinity and applying it to the quantum mechanics of the multiverse, we are making infinite amouts of alternate worlds every millisecond (tecnically more often but that is the smallest measure of time I can think of)

This means that proficy and destiny is 50% of infinity always right, and 50% always wrong.

This means that Destiny is less of a "fact" of something and more of luck that your mind followed the right path to take you down that world to that destiny.
Mean while another you is following another path to a different destiny.

So I agree with one Twilight being a librarian and maybe never becoming an alicorn while the other one from the show is a magical researcher and becomes the alicorn of magic.

7668027 Can't say anything! I can't! It would ruin everything! :raritydespair:

7677420 Something to keep in mind for the rest of Wavelengths. :duck:

7677854 Says the Original Timeline. After all Celestia wants to return the Original Time. HOWEVER, if she does that, then she LOOSES Sunset Shimmer!!

7678244 Despite this knowledge, to her, the current timeline is the real timeline. While there may be another... it's never quite clear what she means by "I will fix it." :trixieshiftright:

7704798 Sure, but I meant that I assume at some point THIS Celestia will figure out that her Timeline is NOT the "real" one. Also what she would loose by trying to "fix" it. At least that's my ASSUMPTIONS on what this will all eventually lead to.

I could be totally wrong though!

7709019 I guess you'll just have to wait to see if/when worlds collide. :trollestia:

7711925 Your response reminded me of this song:

7712092 I'll call and raise you a pony Worlds Collide:

Okay, so caught up on this series overall and... well at first I thought it was interesting but... not really all that into it, mostly curious. Nothing really wrong per se just, personal taste issues. Mostly two issues, 1. Age issues. Sunset should be a LOT older then the rest of the ponies, given she was about Twi's age at the start of the series back when Twi was just a filly. Maybe a bit younger, just.. the whole trying to make the ages work right doesn't quite feel right to me and feels a bit off. However.. I really can't blame that on the story.. that's mostly just an issue brought on by the utter and total lack of thought EQG put into things when it created this whole mess. And story did do a good job of making why Sunset is friends with these younger mares work and.. yeah good points. Though do think just tossing Rara in is a tad much. Second issue is the more personal taste one, preference on AU's. At first this felt more like a "I want this story that won't work in canon at all... I'll just ignore that and say it's an AU" type deal which... not necessarily bad, are an uphill climb for me to like. BUT this story... oh damn did this story change all that. Seeing just how events played out in one of the alt-timelines the finale created? Oh that is such an awesome idea. And the changes.. do mostly work. Again biggest issue is the relative ages of Sunset to the rest but yeah, EQG issue more then story issue.

Now as to speculation... on the plus side, from the report, it seems this is the product of the very first time loop, so there is some good news, since that was the "Sombra War" timeline, not one where Equestria was just outright conquered. So there is hope. We know Tia, Sunset et all will find a way to deal with NMM, Discord, Chryssi, and Sombra is the event that will give them trouble. But they are still fighting, so might be able to win. And, with just how simple, yet far reaching the change to the timeline is.. it works really well to explain how things got this way. And also fills in some other timelines events. Chryssi wins is from the timeline Twilight spent the begining of the loop trapped in a gem prison, so that photographer simply never noticed Twi, no pictures, no report, meaning Celestia doesn't take any special interest in Twilight, leaving her to not develop far enough to be in position to call out Chryssi at the wedding and end up freeing Cadance. Third timeline, NMM wins, that's from the massive epic battle Twi and Starlight fought, something that would be a LOT harder to keep underwraps. Sunset learns about it, sees ANOTHER alicorn, and that just pushes her over the edge before Celestia could bring her back, making her turn against Celestia and give into her darkness. So without either her or Twilight, nopony to wield the Elements against NMM. Just.. love how well all this works out.. all from such a simple starting point.

So yeah this story took the series from "Decent, fun enough, but not a personal fave." to "Sweet mother of Celestia... MOAR!"

7760267 Your comment was freakin' awesome. I love deep dives into my stories. :pinkiehappy:

Regarding age, I'm not going to beat around the bush. I cheated. I outright cheated. In the "Fall of Sunset Shimmer" comic, it shows a filly Twilight in the background as Moon Dancer, Lyra, Minuette, Twinkleshine and Lemon Hearts compliment Sunset on her mid-term. However, now you've got two things that contradict each other. Twilight is shown to be roughly the same age as everypony else (since Amending Fences). So, in the end, I needed to simply choose. So I mentally erased filly Twi from the picture and moved on. And that's not even taking into account the temporal differential between Equestria and CHS. But as you said, there's only so much one can do. :unsuresweetie:

Regarding friends, thank you. The Origins Arc of stories will actually explain how they became friends in far more detail. There is a reason Rara is there, folks just haven't seen it yet. But it will be revealed in How Not To Use Your Royal Prerogative. :scootangel:

Yeah, I think the reason why everyone reacted so strongly to Cloudsdale is because I already had two stories set up in the timeline and it looked like just another AU... only for folks to find it's not an AU at all, but an AT: Alternate Timeline. (Yeah, they could be the same, but most folks don't use them like that).

The funny thing is... these stories started because I wanted to tell a story of what might have happened if Sunset Shimmer had actually gone through the portal in Friendship Games while Twilight was dealing with the time loops. I even have a few blog posts and author's notes to that effect! This was always the plan, because to tell an effective story in an alternate timeline, I needed to figure out how that alternate timeline resulted in that version of reality. How they succeed and how they failed. I ended up doing so much worldbuilding, these stories just naturally grew out of them! :rainbowlaugh:

However, I'm afraid I can't comment on your speculation in any way. :pinkiegasp: After all, I can't give away the biggest secret, can I? :raritywink:

Thank you very much and I hope you find the rest of the tales just as enjoyable, especially in this new light! :twilightsmile:

7782785 Even without the comic, still hard to buy Sunset as close to Twi's age, simply because Sunset had to go through the portal either before, or shortly after the Rainboom, otherwise, how would Twilight have never heard of Sunset before? Hell wouldn't the first thing Celestia did be to introduce the two of them? But, as noted, that's mostly an issue with EQG simply not giving a *buysomeapples* about logic at all. As to Rara, it could work, and eager to see the explanation. On it's own, her just, being name dropped felt like the story was trying a bit to hard. Sunset and the rest of the Canterlot unicorns being friends instantly made sense, she befriended Moondancer, who brought her into the group. How an Earth Pony that had no interactions we know of with these ponies in the original timeline added in.... glad to see that's getting explained.

And yeah just eager to see where this is going, why there was no mention of Luna during that time trip... did something happen and she was not purified from NMM? Just an oversight on AJ's part? Maybe she's back at Canterlot running things and making handling the logistics side of things behind the scenes while Celestia leads from the front? And just what Celestia meant by "Fix this".

As to AU versus AT, I get the distinction you are going for, something like this, or FOE is an Alt timeline, things are the same, come from the same place, except one little event happens differently, and as a result the two take different paths. Where as something like Days of Wasp and Spider, or Sereg's "Truthseekerverse" stories are AU's, things are similar, it's still fundamentally the same world, but with a wider, more varied number of changes to fit the story needing to be told. The major thing with this series, would be less AU versus AT and more, it's exploring an official, canonical alternate timeline, versus one created just for the sake of the story.

Ohhh right and the B5 reference/comparison... i SO love stories like that, where you'll go along, it'll be good, have some interesting stuff, but then, partway through, you get to just one event, one chapter, one line, just something gets revealed that makes you go "Holy shit!" And suddenly everything before this takes on a whole new meaning.

The image in this chapter isn't loading for me.

7800820 You can try this for a direct link: https://i.imgbox.com/23iMdkKk.png

Or maybe it'll kick in below.


The only reason the changelings would have picked those cutie marks is if the real versions actually had them; otherwise, they would have been found out even more immediately.

In addition, Rarity in the Nightmare timeline still had her normal cutie mark, as did Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy in the Chrysalis timeline, and we see that Applejack found that her true calling was still at her farm in the Sombra timeline (making it nearly certain that she had her normal cutie mark as well).

The cutie mark represents a pony's special talent (basically, the skill or concept at which they are naturally attuned with and adept at, which is not a characteristic that changes with experience, practice, mindset, or anything else), which is an aspect inherent to their soul, and does not depend on what paths they take through life. Even if say, an alternate Twilight never tries to practice magic, all it means is that she would never find her cutie mark, and would feel unfulfilled for the rest of her life. The only way to change them is with extremely potent magic.

This is still so good on my second read through it...I love your take on this aspect of Equestrian government, the more practical and small-scale consequences of time travel, and just Celestia in general. This particular bit of your magnificent AU even inspired me to write a story of my own (due to be published in a couple hours probably), in the same general vein but with a much more canon and long-term perspective.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this alternate timeline develops, and what happens when the meeting between our canon timeline ponies finally occurs. I can already tell it's gonna be an amazing journey. :twilightsmile:

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