• Published 1st Jan 2018
  • 1,938 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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Apparent calm

Author's Note:

Note:

I’m truly sorry for the delay. I hoped to be able to publish this chapter sooner, but it was...well...a busy period.

I hope you like the chapter. Have a nice day.

cheers

???

The taste of the cigarette was sweeter than usual; as he slowly inhaled the smoke to let it fill his lungs, Hektor rose his head with his eyes closed, as to better feel the sensation it was giving to all of his body.

After a few seconds he opened his eyelids; in front of him, the sun was painting the sky a splendid color whose shade was something between orange and red. That huge red globe of light was slowly lowering itself between two big hills. There were no clouds, no people, nobody...except for Sarah and Yara who, between a joke and a laugh, were enjoying what was left of the food of the picnic.

The man let the smoke come out from his mouth while staring at his wife and his daughter; they were so beautiful, so happy. Looking at them was enough to find the will of struggling to keep living.

It was beautiful for him to see the ones who he loved the most so happy. It was a nice view for him.

...a view that, suddenly, made him smile in a strange and sad way.

“Memories...a sweet and bitter shelter in which we hide sometimes” he mumbled while turning his focus to the sky above him, focusing on the first stars that, despite the still brightened sky, were beginning to appear.

“So thou are aware that here is no reality.”

A loud and solemn voice coming out of nowhere took Hektor by surprise, stopping him from taking another puff of his cigarette. When he looked back at the ground, his daughter and wife weren’t there anymore; there was just a wonderful yet empty natural panorama.

“They had to be so close to your heart to be in thine dream.” The feminine voice spoke again, this time from behind the Inspector who, with more calm than expected, turned to check the source of that sentence.

An astonished expression was painted on his face when his stare fell on the being that was looking at him: a dark blue Alicorn with a long, sparkling mane coloured like a dark and serene night with a serious yet calm expression on her muzzle. A glance to the cutie mark of the mare, a white quarter of moon on a completely black flank. Hektor didn’t need much time to realize who was standing in front of him; Twilight’s book had entire chapters regarding her.

“You...you are Princess Luna, if I’m not mistaken.” The human spoke with a respectful voice that let his interlocutor smile while her nice light blue eyes were following the movement of the human that, after his sentence, bowed his head.

“Thou are correct, Inspector.” She drew nearer to the human who, probably to fight the nervousness he was feeling, took a drag of his cigarette in silence.

“When we discovered that thou were dreaming while collapsed after the events at the checkpoint, we realized that it was the perfect occasion to know the one responsible of Arstotzka and, above all, Equestria’s safety.” There was both determination and pure curiosity in her behaviour; she was able to show authority with every movement she made but, for unknown reasons, Hektor felt no sort of discomfort. It was clear that she had no evil intentions.

“While collapsed…” The human repeated those worlds “Do you mean I’m unconscious in this moment?”

The Princess nodded briefly without losing eye contact with him “The fact thou are dreaming means that you’re alive, if you’re wondering about it.” It wasn’t easy to understand if the smile on her face, appeared after the reaction of the human to that sentence, meant amusement or something else.

That moment lasted little, as the face of the dark blue Alicorn became suddenly serious “While talking about the topic, we need ask you what happened inside the booth?” She folded her large wings, looking smaller than before in front of Hektor’s eyes “We know that changelings heavily attacked the checkpoint between our worlds...were they able to breach through our defences?”

Hektor’s right hand reached his head, still covered by the shapka made by Rarity and Sweetie Belle; it was as the pain felt when hit by that strange creature came back, annoying him in a disturbing way. Nevertheless, he had to answer to Luna’s question.

“Allow me gather my thoughts. I want to fill you in with every detail of what happened.”

Between a blow from his cigarette and a stare at the sunset, Hektor began to explain in every detail what happened in the checkpoint booth, answering every question the dark blue Alicorn asked him. Despite the calm attitude she was pretending to have, her muzzle betrayed discomfort and worry; her eyes, dark as the night, were the perfect place in which Hektor could find such kind of emotions.

“So it was all a plan from Chrysalis to try to pass the portal...but why?” The right hoof reached her chin while her sight left the Inspector’s face, as she needed to focus on something else to better sort her thoughts.

“Do you know the identity of the creature that attacked me?” The question came while both of his hands were busy lightning another cigarette, despite the fact that he remembered he didn’t have any left <<Advantages of dreams, I think>> he found himself briefly think while smiling a little.

“Thou were attacked by the Queen of the Changelings, human. You’re lucky to be alive.” Hektor had just the time to process for a second what he had just heard before the Princess continued to speak in a more worried way “But then...why did she wanted to reach thine world?” She became silent for a moment, clearly lost in thought.

“Was she able to cross the portal, human?” The determination and the authority in her eyes were uncommon; it wasn’t easy to sustain such a kind of sight. “I’m sorry, but as I said I was knocked out by that...being. I can’t confirm what happened next.” His eyes went to the lowering sun whose light didn’t hurt his eyes, allowing him to gaze again the wonderful Equestrian sunset with an expression of disappointment that surprised Luna.

“I wasn’t able to do my job, Princess. I wasn’t able to defend the border from unauthorized trespassing.” All the words that could flow out from his mouth stopped in his mind; there was no need of adding anything less, nor to annoy a ruler of a foreign world with babbling regarding his feelings.

To his surprise, a nice, genuine smile crossed the Alicorn’s face “Thou couldn’t do anything more...besides, thou actions were really important for us.” The interrogative expression of the Inspector let her understand that she had to better explain “Uncovering her allowed us to know that something is going on. Without you, we wouldn’t be in alarm...and that could lead us to future disaster.”

“Now, instead, we can plan the next move knowing that the Changelings are planning something...something that probably involves thine world, too.”

Shivers went through Hektor’s spine <<Why else would she be so eager to come to Arstotzka?>> words that weighed in his mind like a mountain; in those hours, Katia could be in trouble and he could do nothing about it.

Lost in his thoughts, the Inspector didn’t realize how the Princess shortened her distance from him “I’ll go to inform my sister about what you told me. We have to ponder our next actions.” She looked at the human in front of her, showing him a gentle smile, as she wanted to reassure him “In the meantime, I suggest thou rest. You’re in Ponyville hospital and doctors are taking care of you. I think that by tomorrow you’ll be able to wake up.”

“I hope so.” Hektor simply said while focusing on the clear, red sky.

“Do you know what is the main difference I found between our words, Princess Luna?”

The question surprised the dark blue mare; she tried to look in the same direction the man was looking in, realizing that there was nothing of particular that could gave her a proper answer “No, human. I wasn’t able to see thine lands yet, to be honest.”

The brown eyes of the human were still aimed in the same spot: the sunset “Your sky is clearer, nicer...more pure.” He took the needed time to take another blow from his cigarette “You were able to keep your sky beautiful...something that we thought wasn’t necessary.”

“We decided that progress, power and organization were more important than anything...and then our sky became grey.” He added while looking at the Princess for a brief moment before focusing on what remained of his cigarette to not see what kind of reaction she could have to his words.

She just stared at him, smiling again.

“We want to let you know that we’ll ensure that you don’t nightmare until you wake up...it’s the least we can do for everything you did from the day thou fulfilled thine duty to Equestria.” She made some step backwards before bowing her head, showing respect the Inspector would never expect. “We wish you a farewell Inspector. We suggest thou recover your energy, as thou will need them as soon as thou can get up.”

The man simply nodded steadily, looking the Princess straight in the eyes “I deeply thank you, Princess Luna. I hope to go back to my work as soon as possible.”

She closed her eyes for a moment and, after a brief smile, she turned her back to the human while walking away from his sight. When he was left alone, he looked at the spot where Yara was playing with her mum, allowing his memories to flow again, in an unstoppable torrent of nostalgia.

*****

1 November, 1983 - H. 01:00 - 03:00

The loud sound of steps were echoing in the almost empty gray corridor of an underground facility placed somewhere in Arstotzka. There were two different kind of sounds: the first one was heavy, caused by two pairs of heavily reinforced shoes; the second one was much lighter but still well cadenced, a sign of the fact that there was somebody walking in a very determined way.

The two Arstotzkan guards that were guarding the iron door leading to the conference room saw, in the brief light provided by some neon light on the roof, three people that were coming closer: two of them were wearing their same suit, meaning that they were of the same side...the third one, however, was the one that caught their attention.

A slim girl of a strange yet undeniable beauty was walking between the two soldiers. Her pale face, surrounded by long straight slim green hair, was relaxed and calm...her eyes, however, were fixed on the two men in front of her in a way that, for a moment, disturbed them so much that both felt chills flowing down their spine.

She was a dangerous lady...a dangerous Equestrian, considering the strange black distorted horn on her forehead and the stranger bug wings on her back.

When the group drew near, the two guards near the door stood in their position, standing at the position of attention to show their respect to the girl...she was surely the one they were waiting for.

“Queen Chrysalis, you’re waited for inside.” One of the soldiers spoke to the girl who, in response, gave him a sly smile that made him turn his gaze away; without knowing why, he felt threatened by that same glare in a way he couldn’t react, something that didn’t escape the other soldier’s attention.

The pale Queen took a step forward and waited for her escort to open the doors. Her green deep eyes could stare, from that moment, at the big gray room to which she was gaining access. A satisfied smile made its way on her face, a sign of approval of the well placed furniture that beautified the space; elegant yet not vulgar or too tawdry. her attention, in the end, finished on the big brown round table, near which three men were seated with some kind of paper in front of them...near which there was a wooden chair with a high backrest with some fine golden lines refining the structure.

From the farther point from the door a black officer with a pair of rounded glasses raised his head, looking at the new guest for a moment before showing her the same seat she was focusing on with a move of his right hand “Queen Chrysalis...please take your seat and join us. We were waiting for you.” His flat tone of voice had something that disturbed the Queen; yet she knew that it was not the time of babbling...she choose to come there for a reason.

“Finally I meet you...I was tired of communicating with you just through agents.” She slowly walked to the indicated point, seating in the chair with a regal attitude and enjoying the comfort provided by her seat “I didn’t expect to see that there is even another member coming from my world, though.” She added while focusing on one of the members of the meeting that, judging by his body, wasn’t an human at all.

“My name is Kaeloth, Queen Chrysalis...ambassador of the Griffonian Kingdom.” The winged man rose for a moment from his chair to give to the girl a respectful bow that was liked by her, as shown by the satisfied grin on her face “Finally I have the honor to meet the ruler of the Changeling population...I want to express my esteem for your organization and my deepest sorry for how the Equestrian kingdom treated you and is continuing to treat you.” He added with a serious tone of voice while sitting back without turning away his focus from the pale horned girl he was facing.

<<Ambassadors would do and say anything to gain the approval of the one their talking to.>> The Queen thought while showing a smile of approval before becoming serious, waiting in silence to know if her trip and the incident she had to face at the Equestrian border were really worth the effort.

Her wait lasted just few moments.

A blonde man wearing a high officer’s brown jacket stood from his chair, clearing his throat before speaking “I’m glad to see both of you today around this table, representatives of Griffonia and of the Changelings. Both I, Konstant Varusov, and Mister Vonel here, member of the Ministry of Information, were eagerly waiting for this moment...the moment to finally meet who we hope to have as future allies.”

Neither Chrysalis nor Kaeloth showed any sort of reaction to that opening statement; it was clear that the M.O.A. officer was able to attract all of their attention, as they were looking at him with interest. Figuring that out, the man smiled before continuing his speech.

“When the portal between our worlds opened, we could only have relations with the Kingdom of Equestria...fortunately, we were able to have contact with you, to know that there were more skillful, more organized and more prepared nations than the one to which we have to share our invisible border.”

“Tonight it’s Arstotzka’s intention of creating a new alliance...to forge a powerful chain that will unite our three nations in a growing project that will allow us to become more powerful in every aspect we mean to grow.” The words flowed out from his mouth with a charisma that immediately had the approval of the Griffonian Ambassador.

It was immediately clear that Varusov wasn’t able to have the same effects on the Changelings Queen, who reacted to that speech with a loud, evil laugh.

“Why should I consider an alliance with the same nation that brutally murdered one of my subjects?” Even if her sentence came while laughing, all the people seated understood the rage and the hostility she was feeling towards them “Not to mention that there are also chickens involved in this deal...a race that personally I don’t like.”

The reaction of the Griffonian Ambassador to those harsh words was immediately stopped by the sound of a moving chair; all the eyes went on the dark agent who, without any expression of emotion on his face, began to slowly walk toward the Queen.

“I’m sure you knew that we couldn’t allow a spy from an unknown country to come into our territory to scout our activities. We had to act for our sake...as you did with our spy sent into your hive, as you Changelings call your lands, days ago.”

The faces of all those present changed to that news; the one that struck Vonel’s attention was Chrysalis who, in a weird way, hinted a satisfied smile while looking with more interest at that weird, impassive man who was able to talk about issues of death without any concern.

“And as a ruler, you’ll surely understand that the alliance Arstotzka wants to offer to both yours and the Griffonian nation is not an alliance moved by true love for your kind, but from other interests...power, information...advantages over other nations that will not be included in this deal.” He stopped his movements to face all the three representatives at the table, whose focus couldn’t be at a higher level.

“Such as Equestria, for example...a nation that has a deep knowledge of this strange kind of energy called magic, that lives on green and fertile lands, that has plenty of resources and that isn’t able to proficiently exploit them...resources that I’m sure our nations could better use.”

A sly smile made its way on the M.O.A. agent’s face, something so unusual that seriously hit Varusov’s mind; it wasn’t easy to see him smile, even in that threatening way “Actually we have to deal with them, as they represent our door to your world...but a nation inhabited by beings who aren’t able to control their own border.”

“We were already able to gain total control of the portals between the worlds; with your help, we together could be able to gain more than that...and I think both of your nations are interested in gaining power through the demise of Equestria...or at least revenge, judging by the intel that reached my desk.” Those last words came out from Vonel’s mouth while he gave a quick glance to the horned Queen, who looked more willing to cooperate than before.

“You surely know that Equestria is one of the strongest nations on our continent, despite what you said, Mister Vonel.” Kaeloth took the right of speak without asking anybody while stretching his wings, relaxing a little in silence before going on “Their knowledge of magic is difficult to fight, not to mention their army and the power of the Princesses and their heroes: the Bearers of the Elements...they were able to tame the God of Chaos, not to mention what they were able to fight and beat in the past.”

Those words struck Chrysalis’ pride hard, who let escape a bitter grimace; her people and herself were beaten by the same ponies that the Griffonian was referring to.

“There wasn’t an entire powerful nation from another world willing to fight them in the past, I think.” Varusov rose from his chair, too, attracting everybody’s attention “They have magic, but we have other kind of weapons that they don’t know how to fight...while by cooperating we will all be able to have enough knowledge to surpass them.” The brief nods of approval from the parallel world’s guests were all that the blond officer needed to see.

“Tomorrow the portal will surely be closed due to the chaos brought by our guest and due to the...forced rest our border Inspector had to take.” A direct yet not angry glare reached the Queen, who limited herself to smile in a not likely evil way. “We’ll have plenty of time to discuss the terms of our cooperation.

“I think it would be useful to clarify something that I see is bothering you.” Vonel took advantage of the brief silence came after Varusov received the approval of both the parallel world’s guests to speak again while adjusting his glasses on his nose “Regarding the Equestrians you mentioned Ambassador, the information I received from our agents in Equestria let me understand what the reasons are for their winning...cooperation and powerful inner magic.”

“Allow me to tell you this: it’s simple to divide a group to deal with them one by one...and regarding their power...” A dark smile transformed the calm face of the black agent, who showed again, to Chrysalis’ pleasure, how he could become self confident and dangerous.

“I think it’s enough to say that here magic doesn’t work.”

The Changeling Queen smiled, perfectly knowing what it could mean.

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