• Published 1st Jan 2018
  • 1,940 Views, 140 Comments

Between Arstotzka and Equestria: Papers, Please - A_Storyteller



The border between Arstotzka and Equestria opens. Will these two words be able to coexist? And...How much can the events be influenced by the decisions of a simple checkpoint's Inspector? - A crossover between "Papers, Please" and MLP

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Blackout

31 October, 1983 - H. 07:00 - 16:00

“Glory to Arstotzka.” There wasn’t too much belief in Hektor’s voice, a clear sign of how the Inspector was facing his duty that day. The events of the morning had a deep impact on his morale; every action and every thought was made without enthusiasm and will, as he was some kind of machine programmed to just do his job.

After following with his eyes the walk toward the door for the portal by the female brown pegasus he allowed through, he gave a long stare to the hourglass, as if it would make the sand fall faster from the top to the bottom.

<<I hope the time will pass soon.>> He thought while turning the object upside down, allowing the sand to flow again before calling in the next traveller.

The sound made by the entrance door opening with too much force took the human by surprise; when he rose his head, he found in front of him a green mint mare with a light cyan mane. From the top of her horn to the bottom of her hooves she looked happy; too happy probably.

“Good morning Inspector, I’m so happy to see you again.” There was something in the joy painted on her muzzle that surprised the Inspector. After a brief moment of confusion, Hektor realized who the pony was; the look of the glove hanging in the middle of the pendant she was wearing let the Inspector smile for the first time in the day.

“Good morning, Miss Lyra.” Hektor found himself surprised; he was able to remember her name, even if there were lots of travellers that had come in front of him since that day. <<How could I forget somebody so fond of humans?>> He thought hiding a laugh.

“You remember my name, mister?” The mare stopped her trotting, looking astonished at the human she was facing “You’re...you’re so kind.” She added, blushing a little for unknown reasons before patiently focusing on his hands, as she did before.

The expression of the human was serene as everything that happened before was blown away by that wind of joy that came inside the room with Lyra “It’s hard to forget the one to which I gave one of my gloves.” he said while pointing at the mentioned item, letting the mare blush more “By the way...you can keep it without any problems. As you can see, I have a new pair now.” he added almost amused while raising both his hands, turning them to let her see the gloves he was wearing, which were practically identical to the one she had.

“I would not give it back either if you asked for it,” The answer came as a joyful teasing, something that made the Inspector smile again.

The peaceful moment they were living came to an end when the human regained a serious expression; it was time to think back to the work “I think you’re here to go back to Arstotzka so...Papers, please.” The voice of the human was gentle yet determined; at the sentence, Lyra answered with brief nod and, with calm, she looked inside the pockets of her pony size green heavy jacket for what she was asked for.

“I’m so happy to go back to your world.” She spoke as it was difficult for her to contain the excitement she was feeling in that moment “Your society is so interesting and I want to fully understand your history and your habits; but above all...” a happy giggle interrupted her speech for a moment, showing to the human her happiness “...I’ll be able to live again like a human.” She clapped her forehooves happily while a clueless Hektor sighed before beginning the routine check on the documents in front of him <<At least I don’t need to ask the motive of the travel.>> He thought shaking his head.

Issuing city: check; expiration date: check; entry ticket and validity: check - check; photo and information regarding the traveller: check - check. The eyes of the Inspector were rotating fast, proof of the attention he was putting in his work; he was indeed so focused on the papers that he didn’t notice how deeply the mint coloured mare was staring at him.

“I hope you’ll have a good time in Arstotzka.” Hektor said with a gentle tone while stamping the approval sign on Lyra’s passport “Cause no trouble, Miss Lyra. It was nice to see you again.”

“It was nice to see you too, Mister Inspector.” The reply came with a sincere happy expression that made her look cuter than before. After putting back all of her documents, she took from a pocket what looked like candies of many kinds of flavours. “I stole them from my best friend” She said with a poorly covered smirk “It’s a way to thank you for what you did for me back then.” A shade of red painted her muzzle while she looked away from the man in front of him “I-I hope you’ll like them.”

At the look of the rounded candies on his desk and of the embarrassed mare, Hektor smiled with a sincere happiness inside “I’m grateful for the thought, Miss Lyra. I’m sure they taste delicious.” He said while bowing his head, careful to not let his shapka fall down.

“I hope so, too. I risked my life to take them...If Bon Bon caught me-” she left her sentence unfinished, feeling shivers going down her body just at the thoughts of the imagined scenario.

After taking some steps back, Lyra raised her right hoof to salute the Inspector before trotting happily toward the portal. “I’ll be human again.” Hektor heard a little happy laugh before the door closed behind the unicorn.

Hektor removed his fur hat from his head, scratching it with his right hand while staring at the door through which the Equestrian went out <<How can our world be so appealing to her? I think here they live more happily.>> He mumbled clueless without being able to find a proper answer to his question; without looking any further for it, he focused on the candies, taking one of them at random; after tasting it, a satisfied smile made its way on his face <<One of the best chocolate flavoured candies I’ve ever tried.>> He could continue for hours, but he knew he couldn’t waste time; after putting the candies in a drawer, he worked to quickly regain his typical composure, adjusting his clothes and putting back the shapka where it belonged before speaking loudly the routine order for the travellers outside: “NEXT!”

The meeting with Lyra had positive effects on the Inspector; even the way he stamped the denial prints on the rejected travellers was more positive. His behaviour changed completely from the beginning of the day.

“How is it possible that you didn’t know the rule regarding the mandatory dressing, mister? Do you say that it was indeed strange to see almost everypony dressed while in the line outside the booth? Now you know why. DENIED.”

“Please refrain from offering me bits to allow your passage even if you haven’t an entry ticket miss or I’ll have to call the guards. DENIED...and please take back your money from my desk.”

The scene of the royal guards dealing with the angry unicorn that tried to bribe him lasted less than a minute; they had no problem immobilizing the defenseless pony and to bring him out of the room while menacing him with their lances.

With a neutral expression Hektor followed every piece of action that happened in front of him, a scene that made think about something in silence. <<It’s a good thing they made this place magic-proof...I already met too many Equestrians that could cause problems with this talent they have.>> A thought that came while deeming how easy it was for the guards to prevail over the unicorn

Thinking again about what had happened, the human realized that Flash Sentry, for the first time since he worked there in Equestria, wasn’t there. A sigh underlined the regret he felt for everything that happened to the guard, until his mind went back to his duties as a checkpoint Inspector, something that saved him plenty of times from bad thoughts and regrets.

Antegrians, Arstotzkans, Griffons, Kolechians, Equestrians...dealing with the travellers presenting their papers to him was the best way to avoid thinking about his problems, about the life he was living, about the fact that despite all of his efforts he was barely able to bring home the money needed to pay the rent and coal for the heater and to buy what was necessary to prepare a meal for him and Katia.

<<Judging by the way they behave here, I think that life here is better.>> It was not the first time Hektor found himself thinking about it. The thought was becoming more and more frequent.

“Cause no trouble.” He said to the Crystal pony he had just approved before calling in the next applicant without even waiting for the exit of the previous one.

“I see you’re doing good work here, Inspector.” A known voice coming from the entrance door led Hektor’s eyes in that direction; a brief look to the light green earth pony that was walking toward him allowed him to immediately understand who he was facing. Despite the switch to the Equestrian body, it was easy to figure out the identity of who was coming near his desk.

“Good morning, Jorji.” Hektor spoke while giving to him an amused look caused by his new look “Even in your Equestrian form it’s easy to recognize you.”

“I think I look great in this pony body.” The old man replied while focusing on every part of his new body; hooves, mane...he kept his beard too, not to mention the almost closed eyes that distinguished him “You instead always look awful with your dull face...you should consider the idea of looking more easy going.”

“You’re not the first to tell me this.” Hektor admitted while letting go a sigh of resignation before showing his right open palm to Jorji “Papers, Please.”

With the calm that characterized him, the human in pony shape took what he was asked for from an internal pocket of his dark brown jacket, giving them to the Inspector with some difficulty “It’s not easy to fully understand how the’re able to grab things with...these.” He sentenced while looking at his own hooves with a perplexed expression.

A smirk lasted on Hektor’s face for few seconds before it turned serious again, meaning that all of his focus went on his checking routine. An eyebrow rose and a frustrated face were clear signs of the fact that something was wrong “The passport expired two weeks ago...were you really were able to pass with this kind of document? Even the issuing city is wrong.”

As expected, Jorji didn’t look worried at all from the matter raised in that moment; he simply looked at the bald human, keeping his usual and steady attitude “The actual Arstotzkan Inspector didn’t tell me anything about that...he was more interested at what I was telling him regarding Obristan girls...I think you could be interested, too.”

With a self-explanatory face, Hektor looked at the pony in front of him while stamping the denial print on the passport, before giving it back with the entry ticket that, unexpectedly, was in order “I’m sorry Jorji. I can’t let you pass with incorrect documents...even if you were able to cross the Arstotzkan border.”

“Don’t worry, I understand you.” The old man didn’t look angry or nervous at all “I’m sure I’ll be able to find here someone that will be able to sell me proper documents...luckly I brought money with me to face every drawback I could find here.”

<<Really?>> Hektor found himself thinking in that moment while staring at Jorji that, stoically, was preparing himself to go out from the booth.

“I hope to be able to find where that nice pink mare lives.” Jorji spoke while trying to scratch his light green forehead “Maybe you already met her...she has a positive attitude and it’s nice to stay with her; she even promised to organize a party for me. I hope she will be willing to give me hospitality for the night, as I don’t know where I could go.”

Hektor understood immediately who he was talking about; his eyes became wide when an idea came in his mind “Maybe you’re referring to miss Pinkie Pie? The one to which you suggested to come here with a completely fake passport to try to cross the border?”

“I hoped she would be able to pass.” Jorji answered with a disappointed tone of voice “To tell the truth I tried this idea in the past...and I was unlucky, too.”

With the certainty about the fact that both of them were talking of the same pony, Hektor continued “She told me that you can just ask any Ponyville inhabitant where she lives...it seems that everybody knows her.” While speaking, he put the right hand in one of the pockets of his jacket to grab a sheet of paper he brought from home “Considering that you’ll meet her for sure, can you gave this to her?”

“I just have to keep a promise.” He added after looking at the interrogative glance the bearded pony game him; with a quick nod and an affirmative sentence. He assured the Inspector that he would fulfill this task with no problem.

“Maybe next time I’ll come here you could look the other way, as a thanking gift for a friend?” The face made by the Inspector was a sufficient answer to Jorji that, without saying anything more, saluted the Arstotzkan before going out from the room.

Once alone, Hektor allowed himself to laugh <<I’ll look forward to the day you’ll finally have proper documents...or for the day I’ll have to let you be escort by the guards to the jail, Jorji.>> He waited to become serious again before calling the next applicant into the booth.

It wasn’t easy to keep the calm with the travellers that came after Jorji. Of the seven travellers that came after him, six of them had improper papers and, to worsen the situation, each of them let him lose time in long and useless explanations, as nopony was willing to listen him properly; the border guards had to intervene several times to solve the problem.

One of the rejected Equestrians, a white unicorn with expensive elegant clothes and a blonde finely combed mane, said something that attracted Hektor’s interest while escorted out from the booth:

“Your inferior race should not bear such responsibilities as guarding the border between two worlds. You’re unreliable for sure...not to mention the barbarian behaviour you humans have. The cruel way you humans mistreated that poor Pegasus lady is a clear example of what I mean to say.”

The personal opinion of somepony that came in front of him saying that he needed any kind of passport to travel. As his high rank and status allowed him to do everything he wanted to, wasn’t important to him; the fact that puzzled him was that other ponies shared the same sentiment, something that could bring trouble in the near future.

Even the way the guards looked at him was, for a moment, unsettling; it was clear that the actions of Dari Ludum had a very negative impact on the way Equestrians saw humans.

<<And I can’t blame them.>> Hektor shook his head, letting out a worried breath <<Come to think of it, people in Arstotzka did exactly the same.>>

His thoughts were interrupted by a white soldier wearing the royal guard armor that, suddenly, opened the entrance door in an unexpected rushed way, making it bang on the wall.

“Mister Inspector...Princess Twilight Sparkle is waiting outside to come in.”

Hearing the news, Hektor’s expression changed completely <<What is she doing here? Maybe she has to cross the border...or maybe she wants to speak again about Flash Sentry.>>

Wondering was just a waste of time and he knew that “Please let her come in.” he said while adjusting the gloves on his hands by pulling them to let them fit better.

Twilight came in alone, even if at least five guards with a particular kind of uniform were clearly visible before the door closed.

“Good day, human.” Twilight said with a distant voice, looking at the human in front of her that, in response, bowed his head in a respectful way more than usual.

“It’s nice to see you again, Princess Twilight.” The response of the human was met by a little smile that, in a sort of strange way, looked like a smirk for a second. “Do you have to cross the border for Arstotzka or-”

“Urgent matters are calling me into your world. It seems that your bosses have to talk with me.” Her way of speaking was harsh and fast; it was difficult to know if because she had no time to lose or because she was still keeping a grudge with him for what had happened.

Despite everything, he was still facing one of the rulers of Equestria and he had to behave properly; there was no room in that moment for anything less that fulfilling his duties “Then I have to check your papers, Princess Twilight.” He said with a calm voice while inviting her to come near the desk.

To his surprise, his request was met by a irritated expression of the purple Alicorn “I have no time for bureaucracy matters. Let me immediately pass.” Her tone of voice was one that didn’t allowed any kind of response, but regardless Hektor kept calm and didn’t move from his position.

“Please Princess...you have to understand that the Ministry of Admissions instructed me in checking the documents of every traveller that came in, regardless their status or role.” He looked straight into Twilight eyes while speaking; it was clear that she was annoyed by the situation, but there was something more than rage in her eyes; something that he had not seen before.

Those same eyes closed while a frustrated sigh came from the Princess mouth “Alright, but be fast.” She just said while taking from the internal part of her purple elegant dress the passport and the entry ticket.

The human smiled while taking the papers from Twilight’s hoof and, with extreme attention, began to examine them. There were no flaws and every piece of information looked correct. He then stopped for a moment on the picture of her muzzle, realizing how the serene and cute expression on it was completely different from the one she had in that moment.

...too different.

Suddenly, his look went on the lines painted on the wall in front of him; he needed a few seconds to see that the height on the passport was different from the Alicorn he was facing. He knew that the document could not be exact about it, it happened before...but it was another slight difference that added with other ones.

His focus went back on Twilight, who had clearly enough of waiting.

“Princess Twilight. I know that it will sound strange but...may I check your cutie mark?”

The expression on her face became a mix of concern and frustration; it was difficult to see which of the two side was dominating. Regardless, her reaction was judged strange by the Inspector, whose look became more serious.

“Are you insulting me, human? I’ll be sure to report everything to your superiors once I’m in your world.” The eyes of the purple Alicorn became menacing in a way Hektor never saw before; everything in her pose was shouting danger, especially the dark expression that was dominating her face. To her surprise, the Inspector didn’t falter, keeping the eye contact with the Equestrian while moving his left hand under his desk, looking for something specific.

Since the day he came in Equestria, he had never used that kind of button; the rule book was specific in stating that it’s preferable to use this function only if deemed necessary, as it could cause problems to the traveller, hurting him/her; he kept in high regard such a kind of warning, deciding to use it only as a last resort in extremely doubtful situations.

The kind of situation he was in that moment.

Twilight had just the time to see a little smirk on the human’s face before listening to a feeble *click* sound coming from the desk’s underside; then, something that she wasn’t expecting happened.

The Princess gave an interrogative look to the human, remaining silent for some seconds before, suddenly, closing her eyes and grinding her teeth, in a pure state of pain.

She began to move all around the room, waving her head in desperation in front of an astonished Inspector; he didn’t know what was happening, but he was right: he wasn’t facing Princess Twilight at all.

She then faced again the Inspector, giving him a horrifyingly angry look; Hektor took a few steps back while looking at Twilight’s eyes that, slowly, were changing color, passing from the light purple he knew to a strange shade of green.

“ENOUGH!”

The shout from the Alicorn came with a different and much more hoarse tone of voice; the time to consider that aspect was practically zero, as a sudden green flame engulfed the mare completely, allowing him to see her body no more.

<<Is-Is she burning? Was this the consequence of using the anti-changeling system?>> All of his thoughts were interrupted by the creature that was standing in front of his wide open eyes.

Instead of a purple Princess, there was what could be described as a mix between a pony and a bug; the black body had some holes at the hooves level, something that immediately took the human’s attention. When his sight rose again, he focused on the bug-like wings and on the unstraight horn on the forehead.

<<Is she some kind of Alicorn, too?>> He found himself thinking while looking at the face of the green coated mare that, in those long seconds, looked calm and quiet.

That moment of peace lasted little; the creature took a deep breath and, finally, opened her eyelids, showing to the human in front of her two dark, green and menacing eyes.

“Finally. I couldn’t stand that sound anymore.” she said with a smirk to the helpless human who was trying to keep calm in front of a creature he never saw before.

“I can sense your well hidden panic...and it’s nice.” Her voice became almost sensual at the same pace of her muzzle “I have to admit that I didn’t expect them to build an anti-changeling system. I didn’t expect to be discovered by you, to tell the truth.”

The silence after those words was broken by loud sounds coming from outside of the booth; shouts, panic, sound of wood and iron clashing...it was as a battle was happening outside.

“If you’re wondering what is happening outside” The Changeling spoke when she saw the Inspector staring at the entrance door “I can just say that I wasn’t alone...my subjects followed me to give me cover in case of trouble...in a situation like this.” she added at last while not look away from her interlocutor, whose focus passed back on her “You can stay relaxed, as nobody will disturb us for now.”

Despite the fact that his head was firm, Hektor’s eyes moved left and right very fast in search of something he could use to defend himself if it was needed. The time he had to focus on that activity was cut to zero as the black Changeling, with a more determined expression on her muzzle, drew near the desk “I see you’re trying to figure out a solution to your problem...whoever told me that you humans are good thinkers was true. You would be a good subject to my hive.”

“But.” the word came while she bended all of her four holed legs “I can’t let you think of any sort of idea...and I can’t lose any more time here. So…”

She didn’t finish her sentence as she turned her back to the surprised human. He hadn’t the time to react to her swift action; he had just the time to feel a huge pain to the head.

The last things he was able to see were two hind hooves directed straight to his face.

Then...blackout

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