• Published 1st Jan 2018
  • 1,895 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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A new day at the checkpoint

25 October, 1983 – H 6:30 to 13:00

25 October, 1983

The Truth of Arstotzka

The mythological creatures of Equestria

Nobody could believe their own eyes when the first Equestrian inhabitants crossed the checkpoint and, especially, when they crossed the border to reach the parallel universe. Creatures completely different from us that remind us of all the legends and the stories of the past, live on the other side of the border: Pegasi, Griffons and much more.

The most intriguing aspect of all is the body change that hits all who pass the frontier; as explained from the M.O.A., in fact, the aspect of those who cross the border changes according to the nature of the subject. This mechanism works from both the sides; we already saw people with wings or with horns on the forehead and the ones who traveled to Equestria experienced a transformation into another living being. The explanation for this kind of mutation is unknown at the moment, but still it didn't stop the curiosity of all the people from all around Arstotzka who want to know how...

"Watch where you're going, idiot!"

The loud voice of a bystander forced Hektor to look away from the newspaper he was reading while walking toward the checkpoint to begin a new day of work.

"Sorry" That's was all he wanted to say. The really cold wind and the upset and annoyed expression of the man that was standing in front of him took away the remains of the good mood he had before going out from his house.

Without even noticing the reaction of that man, Hektor started walking again. With a really slow pace, he rolled up the fresh newspaper to let it fit better in the trashcan next to him; then, after a brief look at his Inspector jacket and to the fur hat, he began to walk again without even looking in front of him. His eyes were fixed on the ground; sometimes, he focused his attention on the brand new boots he was wearing <<The benefits of my new job>> he thought quickly.

His job...it had to be the solution to all of his problems. In reality, it was only a source of other problems. Starting from that city, Orvech Vonor: an awful grey town filled with gloomy high buildings, few trees and no happiness at all; a place where it's clear that everybody is just trying to live day by day, aiming to survive despite the winter and the lack of money.

And what about the two unexpected guests that were sleeping in his house, while he was fighting the wind and the cold to go to work? For them, he had to go to bed without even having dinner, too. Why did he do that? They were not part of his family and, besides, he had to think to his family first, as the law commands...even if there is only his mother-in-law.

Katia...the only piece of the family left. Her deep and hoarse voice was still resonating in Hektor's mind.

"You know that they can't stay here any longer, stupid man...and you know that the little girl that is sleeping at our place is not Yara." The last sentence was heavy, but true; Hektor couldn't deny to himself that despite guests being sacred in their household, and that he couldn't leave two people in trouble alone, he was helping them especially because the of kindness and the naivety of that child was too similar to the one of Yara.

"Could I leave them to freeze to the death?" Hektor replied while slowly closing the door of the room where the little girl from the parallel universe was sleeping "It is my fault that they are stuck here, I could not bear the weight of this responsibility" he added while closing the door of his own room, from where a huge and constant snoring was disturbing the conversation.

"That doesn't mean that you have to sleep on the couch and that you have to starve to death" the old lady replied without even looking at him, focusing the attention on her wrinkled, short hands warmed from the heater "If you get ill nobody will help us".

He silently nodded to that dark but true statement while wearing and closing his jacket, preparing to go out.

"When they wake up, please be gentle with them and let them stay here a bit longer, if you can" He said to Katia while turning between his hands the shapka with the Arstotzkan eagle before putting it on his bald head "Today somebody will come to let them across the border...at least, that’s what I hope."

"I'll let them wake up; then, I'll send them to you at the checkpoint." Katia just answered, turning her tired eyes toward him without giving any expression that could let Hektor understand if she was happy to have a little longer with these strangers from the other world as guests or not.

"I'm sorry for you, though" Hektor suddenly said while opening the door to go out "I saw that you enjoyed to have fun with them yesterday" he added, smiling a little while hearing the rants of the old woman just before closing the door behind him.

With this episode imprinted in his mind, he was able to regain the good mood ruined before and, with his lips curved enough to paint a little smile on his face, he walked faster to reach his work station as soon as possible.

*****

The atmosphere near the checkpoint to the parallel universe was totally different from the day before. In front of Hektor, there was a completely different crowd waiting at the door of the checkpoint. People in line were speaking to each other and, as he could clearly see, lots of them had wings, horns and all kind of strangeness.

Hektor focused his attention on that huge crowd <<so they weren't the only Equestrians who remained here>> he thought in silence, looking out as a deep silence fell while all the eyes focused on him <<this day will be longer than the previous one, if that is even possible.>>

With his trademark slow pace, Hektor reached the checkpoint post "Stop right there!!!" somebody suddenly yelled to him while the clear sound of a weapon armed and ready to shoot made him stop

"Will we do this every day from now on, Ian?" Hektor asked while raising his head slowly to look better at him.

The soldier smiled a little and looked to him with an empty expression "I'm just doing my job Inspector, you know?" He then put the heavy rifle on his shoulder and, with the free hand, he opened the door of the booth in a few moments.

"You'll find another two letters on the desk...it seems that they like to write you" Ian said to Hektor while observing the crowd "More people than yesterday...and the pay is the same. This sucks".

"You're right" Hektor murmured before going forward. Before closing the door behind him, he stopped, turning his head to the blonde soldier "If somebody comes asking for two people named Discord and Sweetie Belle, please let me know" he said with a calm voice.

"Whatever" Ian exclaimed in an indifferent way while focusing on Hektor's movements.

The spartan booth looked the same as the day before at first sight, but after a quick look, Hektor could see some modifications. In front of his working desk, the wall was now marked with dark black stripes with some numbers on it <<A height scale>> he thought while checking something under the desk that gave the appearance of a panel to see the weight of something put on a scale.

<<They worked during the night to place all of these things in place>> the Inspector realized, making a disturbed expression when he sat on the same chair he used yesterday.

With his hands covered by the warm wool gloves, he took the two letters placed on the wooden desk, tearing apart the first envelope without even considering the risk of breaking the letter inside. With a firm grip, he opened in front of him the paper to look at what was written on it.

The letters on the paper, clearly imprinted on it with a classic typing machine, were the perfect way to realize from where the letter came from without even beginning to understand which words they were composing.

Inspector,

The first day of opening was a total success.

Everybody is surprised about the 'human form' of our new allies and of the 'Equestrian form' they take after crossing the border, but that's not a problem for the public security.

News has spread all over the neighbouring countries and it's clear that today people from all the nations will come to visit the parallel universe.

As the most powerful country, Arstotzka must help the neighbour countries and, at the same time, must keep the peace and order.

For these reasons, the Government decided to show benevolence, allowing anybody to cross the border, if all the documents are valid and in order.

The Holy Reign of Equestria took the same decision, allowing everybody from their world to come here. Therefore, there are no more the restrictions regarding the Arstotzkan or Equestrian citizenship to pass.

We provided new a instrument to help you in your working routine. An automatic machine will allow you to check the fingerprints of everybody; the computer under the desk is linked with our archives; just type the name of the person and a copy of the fingerprints of that person will arrive in a moment. It will be up to you to verify the identity of that person.

Glory to Arstotzka.

Ministry of Admissions

<<More work for me>> Hektor thought while bending back the letter to put it in the previous envelope. While staring at the other letter, he took a match and a cigarette from his pocket but a quick glance to the sign of no smoking stopped him. The annoyed expression painted on his face was the synthesis of all of his feelings.

Finally, Hektor opened the elegant and now familiar letter.

Dear Inspector,

I hope nobody from our nation gave you too much trouble.

Reports told me that a lot of Equestrians weren't able to cross your the checkpoint before the closing time and that, for this reason, they had to sleep in your world. I hope everything went well.

Some Arstotzkans had to spend the night here, too. I have to admit that it was intriguing to see their reactions after crossing the border; the physical aspect of the ones who came here changed from human to human and there were all different. We're wondering if the 'new aspect' depends on the moral features; we'll study this aspect and we'll share our discoveries with the representative of the Arstotzkan Government.

Now I want to focus the attention on an important matter: it came to my attention that yesterday two Equestrians were rejected at the checkpoint. I can't hide that everypony is really worried about them, especially for Sweetie Belle.

After a short investigation, we discovered that both of them did not have their documents in order; a strange thing indeed, considering that they were able to come into your world without problems. An internal investigation is in progress to understand how could this happen.

It was decided that two friends of the ones stuck in your land will come today to bring them the proper documents to come back here. I would like to kindly ask you to be gentle with them.

I want to advise you that from tomorrow you'll not receive letters from me anymore; as a matter of fact, I decided to assign the responsibility of foreign relations with the humans to one of my brightest friends. I’m sure you'll get along with her.

Please keep up the good work.

Best regards
Princess Celestia

Hektor couldn't be more puzzled after the two letters "two different worlds indeed" he whispered, speaking to himself while putting back the letter in its bright white envelope. "I hope the friends mentioned in the letter will come before close time" he then added while bringing the microphone near, coughing a little to clear his throat to be able to better speak to all the present.

"THE CHECKPOINT TO EQUESTRIA IS OPENED. HAVE YOUR DOCUMENTS READY AND RESPECT THE LINE"

With an unexpected self-awareness, he had no problems with the first 3 people, all of them from Republia. After the first day, his eyes were quicker and he had no problem at all in checking the documents.

Names...Surnames...cities...photos...everything was correct.

“You all can pass...cause no trouble”

His tone of voice impressed the people in front of him and Hektor himself. It was somehow cold and distant, in a way that he didn't expect. While he was following all the movements of the three excited humans that were walking toward the entrance to the portal, he got the microphone to call the next one in line.

“I'm getting the hang of this” he murmured to himself, waiting for the next one while giving a quick glance to his uniform.

There was no time to adjust the hat on his head when a girl with a strange light blue haircut walked in with a steady pace and an exalted expression. He wasn't so focused on her and on the horn on the forehead that he didn't realize that she was followed by a member of the Arstotzkan police that, by the expression of his face, was clearly angry.

“It's your job now. Do what you must.”

His rough voice resounded across the room before he violently shut the door, leaving Hektor with that strange girl whose eyes were fixed, for unknown reasons, on his hands.

“Reject me!!!”

“What?” The bald officer asked astonished while looking carefully at the face of the young girl in front of him, whose expression was clearly the one of a maniac of some sort.

“I was forced to come here by some humans with a strange uniform” she yelled while throwing on the desk all the documents she was holding in her hands “But I don't want to leave this place. You humans are so...wonderful.”

There were no word to describe the thoughts that were passing in Hektor's mind, especially when he realized that the one in front of him wasn't turning her light blue eyes away from his hands. “Arstotzka a nice place? Maybe you spent little time here miss...Lyra String.” For Unknown reasons, a smile grew on the face of the inspector as he spelled out that name, even if the atmosphere there was strange.

“But you human are fantastic” Lyra yelled with an happy expression on her face “You walk on two legs, you have fantastic dresses, you can use...HANDS!” on that word, she looked at her own hand, hugging herself and smiling.

The attention of the Inspector was fixed only on the documents on the desk; even if the babbling of the girl was distracting him from the checking process, he could see that everything was in order and that there were no reasons to reject her. Between the papers, there was a letter of complaint of some sort, on which he didn't focus, as his eyes were only for the girl’s documents.

“I'm sorry miss Lyra, but all of your documents are in order and I have to let you pass” he said while stamping the green stamp on her passport; before giving the document back to her, he saw the photo on it, confronting another time the equine face on it with the human one he had in front of him “I wonder how the transformation of the body works” he thought without even realizing that the girl in front of him was beginning to shed tears.

“Please mister, let me stay here a little longer” Lyra cried out without taking back the documents “they said that I will not be able to come back for months for my...behaviour.”

Hektor shook his head slowly, closing his eyes to not look at the sad girl “I have to do my job.” The hand of the inspector was pointing to the door for the portal “Next time try to be more...calm.”

For some seconds, there was only the sound of the breathing of the two of them; Lyra bowed her head, covering her face from the Inspector with her light blue hair. She closed herself in a deep silence, broken only by a few sobbing sounds. Hektor raised his eyes to the roof, clearly annoyed from the situation. Some other seconds passed before, with a serious expression, Hektor looked to the girl in front of him, trying to smile.

“Let's do a pact, miss Lyra” he said while taking the glove that was covering his left hand “Take this with you...it will remind you of our world while the time to go back will pass.” He could clearly see the cute face of the young Equestrian changing expression “You'll give it back to me the next time you come into our world” he added, laying the right hand on her documents and the gift he promised.

“Can I...really take it?” Lyra asked with a low and astonished voice, while slowly taking everything with both of her hands. At a nod of the Inspector, she jumped with uncontrolled joy and, with a quick move, she hugged him, kissing his cheek “Thank you, Thank you, THANK YOU!” she screamed while running to the exit “I will remember your kindness, Mr. Inspector” she said with a joyous voice before going out from the wooden booth.

Hektor remained stuck for some seconds, with his face completely red caressed from his naked left hand “This place...is crazy” he whispered, breathing deep before calling in the next person.

Instead of a civilian, Ian came in with his rifle on the shoulder “You said to warn you if somebody came here to look for two persons with strange names.”

Hektor's eyes opened wide as he heard this sentence. Without even asking anything, he took from a pocket of the jacket a sheet of paper. “Give this to him. It's my andress.” It was clear that Hektor was enthusiastic about the news “Tell him that he will find his friends there”.

Ian looked at him with an indifferent expression “First, it's a girl...two girls to be precise...two very beautiful girls I would add” a smile on that pale and active face synthesized all the thoughts of the soldier “Second...I think they're Equestrian, judging from those things on their back, something that reminds me of two wings...they will not find your house even in two days.” While speaking, he took with his iron grip the paper with quick, ugly writing “well...especially if she has to read the andress from here...a four year old child writes better than this.”

Aside from the questionable comment on his calligraphy, Hektor knew that he had a good point there.

“But I know somebody that could guide them...for the proper price” the tone of voice of the soldier changed, like his expression. He rubbed his thumb, index and middle fingers, remarking the concept expressed.

Hektor made a glacial face at that statement and remained silent for a couple of seconds; he closed his eyes, lowering his head and snorting while putting his right hand in a pocket of his loyal jacket. He took from it a banknote of 5 credits, giving it to Ian who, quickly, grabbed the light violet paper.

“It could be not enough, Inspector” Ian said with the tranquility that distinguishes him.

“Make it be enough. That is all I have” Hektor firmly replied, looking at the guard in front of him that, after a silent nod, walked back to the entrance and went out.

From the opened door, a tall and fat man came in, slowly walking toward the Inspector. On his back there was a big, white bag patched in some parts.

“Papers, Please” Hektor demanded to the guy in front of him, lowering his head on the left to better check the bag.

“Good day mister” he replied while giving the documents to the Inspector “I hope that everything is in order...I want to see if the parallel world can be a new market for me.”

While Hektor was checking all the documents, without even focusing on the man in front of him that, in the meantime, was checking all the few objects in the booth as if he wanted to see if there were valuable things, his thoughts were all for the aspect underlined just few seconds ago. The exchanges between the two world could be indeed a good occasion for a lot of people. Both worlds with a bit of cooperation could really both benefit from this occasion.

After a careful examination, Hektor didn't find any mistake on the documents. He was keeping them in his hands but, suddenly, the bag caught his attention. For unknown reasons, he wasn't able to look away from that huge, brown bag.

“I have to check the bag, sir.” The tone of voice left no doubt about the chance of answering no to that sentence.

“Why?” the man asked with a puzzled expression “My papers are all in order...and there wasn't anything written on the rules that the luggage must also pass a check”.

It was clear that something was bothering the one in front of Hektor; some little sweat drops appeared on his forehead, a sign that couldn't pass unnoticed.

“I wouldn't do my job in the proper way if I would let somebody pass without even checking what he is bringing to the new world. Won't you agree?” The quick gesture of the hands couldn't been misunderstood; it was an order that couldn't be objected. Slowly, the big man brought the bag on the desk, opening it to show what was inside.

<<Books, fripperies, unnecessary things...

...drugs!>>

Hektor's face changed completely. “It was an error to try that!”; his voice was so serious that the face of the merchant became pale and terrified for a moment; then, with a strange, regained calm, he put a hand in one of his pockets. With a smirk on his face, he pulled out 20 credits.

“An error somebody could oversee...after all, all the papers are in order, are they not?”

The money was a nice temptation and, according to the Rule Book, he had just to check the documents, nothing else.

He looked at the banknote on the desk...he took the passport to put it under the 'approve' stamper.

While he was going to stamp the visa, he freezed.

Possessing drugs was already against Arstotzkan law, something that was enough to call the guards in; but something else was hanging in Hektor’s mind.

<<Is it not my job to check that everything that could hurt our allied nation must be blocked, too?>>

It was unknown for him why he was thinking so much about the Equestrian interests; after all, he had to focus on himself, on what was left of his family.

But was the safety of a whole nation worth 20 credits?

In a few seconds, the alarm sounded loud all around. The person in front of Hektor a had few moments to realize what was happening before Ian could gain access into the booth by slamming the entrance door; without even asking about the cause of the alarm, he pointed the rifle to the man in front of the Inspector, aiming at his head; shivers passed through Hektor’s body as he focused on the cold, serious expression of the blonde armed man; his face could scare even the wolves lurking in the desolate Orbristan steppe.

A single word came from Ian, an order that was unappealable.

“OUT!”

“I hope the government pays you good money to be such a good dog to them!” The merchant exclaimed with rage in his eyes, before going out from the booth.

Clearly he didn't understand what the real motive behind Hektor's decision was; It was not for Arstotzka, it was to be in peace with his conscience.

“Come on! Bark! You dog!!!” Those were the last words he heard before the guest was silenced by the guard.

Silence...for a short time.

Hektor put the head between his hands. He had to rest his mind for a moment.

He realized in that moment that a connection between two different words could bring good things and great dangers, as the communication between two foreign countries do.

After all, the events that happened at Grestin Checkpoint were the perfect proof of what could happen when people don't get along for greed and power interests.

Could the same happen between Arstotzka and Equestria?

“NEXT!” Checking passports could be a good way to let those thoughts go away.

“Papers, please...wait a second...everything is in order. Cause no trouble!”

“Here is written you’re an unicorn, but you have wings. I don't need a special archive to realize that there is something wrong...” Red stamp, rejected.

“Please close your wings, Mr. Soarin; you could damage important objects. Your papers are in order. Please go forward.”

Time passed without him even noticing; his eyes were slowly becoming faster.

“The photo is different. I don't mind if it is old. Be more careful next time!”

Approved, denied, approved, denied.

"I don't care if you couldn't renew your passport at Canterlot bureau...with expirated documents, the access is denied."

Someone didn't want to share a word with him, someone else talked too much...every single one had a different behaviour and a different story. The most incredible thing for Hektor was that he could see the same reactions from humans and Equestrians.

<<The world is the same wherever you go!>> He thought, smiling a little while looking at a girl with a horn on her head that was passing through the door for the portal.

“There you are! You creep!”

A sudden sentence took the Inspector by surprise...a sentence that could mean only one thing: more trouble.

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