• Published 17th Jul 2017
  • 3,922 Views, 829 Comments

An Exercise In Management - Nameless Narrator



A simple drone "accidentally" failed to leave the Badlands hive for the invasion to Canterlot. He was only two weeks old, one of the clutch specifically created to break through the protective shield. Now starving, he's just trying to survive.

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8: Onwards to Infiltration!

We managed to sneak through the almost dead town without the few scattered street lamps proving any obstacle. We did get spotted by a pony across the street, but I hid behind Eight and we passed without any problem, though he did take a second look at Poke Stick, likely thinking about why a colt would be outside at this time of night.

Eight stops in front of a door of a small single-story house and knocks on it repeatedly. A bulky brown earthpony with blonde mane opens after few attempts, giving her a surprised and barely awake look.

“Oh hi again, Breeze. Did you forget something here-”

“Let us in.”

The pony’s eye go glassy, and he opens the door wide, not even twitching as I pass through. Eight wraps her forelegs around his neck and gives him a long, deep kiss. The fact that his neck bulges as her tongue digs deeper and deeper makes me feel a certain kind of way. She breaks the kiss, leaving a trail of green, sticky saliva dripping on the floor.

“Good, now go into the cellar, grab some blanket and wait for me.”

Without a word, he walks off.

“Alright, what’s the plan, King?”

“...can you do that tongue thing to me too…?”

“Unlike Poke here, I can hear you when you mutter to yourself.”

“I said nothing! Get your ears checked.”

“I totally heard you mumble, boss.”

“You be quiet too!”

Poke shoves his forelegs into his mouth.

“Yeph, boff. Oopf, forry, I shust talked. And mmgain.”

“QUIET!”

He freezes completely as he hears Eight’s raised voice.

“I wish I had that kind of authority.”

“You… will.”

“Just a figure of speech, Eight. I’m not your king or anything. On top of that, I’m pretty sure that if any changeling finds me they will bring me to Chrysalis who will be… curious. She likes to dissect things which interest her.”

“That’s just a rumor, she simply kills whoever she finds even remotely threatening. Ponies, however, will be eager to find out anything pertaining a race percieved to be hostile.”

“Caught between a rock and a hard place...”

“Not caught yet, but you should start thinking about a plan.”

“I had one! Get some love, start a life in disguise, get more love. Repeat until fed.”

“And then?”

“Repeat until fed up?”

“The queen planned the invasion so there could be more to life than that. We used to have culture, we used to be… more than parasites. At least that’s what the hive mind hinted at.”

“Look, I don’t mind pretending to be a… woodcutter or something, but that’s secondary to getting some love.”

“It’s not about pretending. We lost so much that we’ve become so single-minded, so focused on getting love that we can’t do anything else.”

“Miss Eight? I know I was supposed to stay quiet-”

“What is it?”

“I’d like to pretend I’m an infiltrator. I know it won’t work out at first, but I can learn over time.”

“That’s how ponies learn as foals, Three. We, sadly, rarely get second chances. Which brings us back to our current situation. How do we use this opportunity, King? We are undetected in a hostile town, but we have options. I wish we had a real infiltrator we could ask for the best course of action, but we don’t, so any ideas are welcome.”

Devour, spread, REBUILD!

I clutch my head.

“We must- we must- f- feast- no… no no no, that’s what got us into trouble the first time. We’re not big. We’re not like that. I’m not like that. Find someone else who will lead a war!”

We are the experience, we are the knowledge. We must conquer, we must enslave, that is the only way to survive!

“No! We mustn’t- we even can’t! That’s just not possible. There are THREE of us! What happened to the others? You KNOW! TELL ME! Stop screaming nonsense and just tell me...”

We will not allow you to endanger our survival. This is the only successful way!

“Successful? SUCCESSFUL?! Is hiding in the middle of the Badlands a SUCCESS? Is starving every day a success to you? Is using newborns as suicide squads A SUCCESS?”

Temporary measures taken for the greater good of the Hive. You cannot understand what changelings have gone through.

“You are trying to make that happen again!”

We must grow. We must overwhelm the other races. They will never accept a predator among them. Griffons and minotaurs kill us on sight, ponies and zebras will do so as soon as the news spread. Our survival must be ensured by force, that is the only way!

“N- no...”

“Boss, boss?”

I’m lying on the floor, and Three/Poke is shaking me.

“My head hurts...”

“He’s lost almost all his love. How?”

“They… they took it. They want me to fight… they need feeding… they will take it all away if I don’t obey...”

“Move, Three.”

“Yes, miss Eight.”

Eight’s nose touches mine, letting revitalizing warmth flow into me.

“Better?”

Groaning, I unsteadily stand up.

“Considerably. You know-”

I hesitate, then take a deep breath, and press my head against her neck. She’s still like a statue.

“-I’m sorry. No matter your motivation, you are my best bet for survival. If you ever need anything, you can tell me. I might say no, but at least I’ll know.”

“I need to know your plan to keep us alive, King.”

“I guess we need one now, do we?”

“The hivemind can be chaotic, but if your… guess is correct, then we need it more than ever.”

“Alright, alright. Is there somewhere we can sit around here?”

She nods, and leads us to a sparingly furnished living room. The couch and an armchair are enough for the three of us, though. To my utter shock, Eight sits Three down on the chair while she lies down next to me on the couch, putting her head into my lap.

“Wh- wh- wh- wh-”

“I can lick, or I can bite down. Your choice, my breeder King.”

“Hnnngh- our current situation isn’t the greatest, but I think we need to-”

Infiltrate.

“-get to know the town first. Eight, what do you know about the guy in the cellar?”

“He’s one of the two members of the local peacekeeping force.”

“Wow, you swiped an important guy. ”

“I pick my targets well.”

“That might not be the best thing, because anything wrong with him will get noticed.”

“Possibly, possibly not, King.”

“How come?”

“He was eager to prove himself to be far more than he really is. This town seems fairly peaceful, and I heard that they form a militia whenever something bigger crawls out of the swamps. It’s likely the police duo are just for show. I think I’ll be able to assume his place for few days without noticing. I’ll just have to dig in his head a bit for any close relatives living nearby.”

“You sure?”

“No, but I believe I can.”

“I… you know what? I’ll trust you on this one.”

“I won’t fail you, my King.”

“So, if you’re starting tomorrow- well, today, actually, then you should get digging soon.”

“As you command.”

She gets up, giving me a… smile? Weird.

“Wait, Eight.”

“Yes?”

“Are you sure our host isn’t going to cause a commotion when your venom wears off?”

“I’ll make sure, trust me.”

“Then… then take Three with you, please.”

“That would be directly detrimental to the mission.”

“...he deserves to see more in his life than a dank cave, Eight. Most drones never left the hive, and the ones I saw leave died immediately...”

“I will… do my best, King. Hey, Thre-”

She stops, looking at the now untransformed drone sleeping curled up in the armchair.

“-maybe in the morning.”

“Yeah. One more thing, Eight.”

“Hmm?”

“You’ll need all the love you can get for this so you don’t have to rush or be careless.”

It only takes some focus by now, and I feel my strength leaving me as I transfer most of the reserves Eight gave me back, and some to Three.

“Whoah, dizz-”

As I keel over, Eight catches me with her forelegs and lays me down on the couch.

“Sleep, King. Thank you for trusting me.”

“...mmph...”

“Trust between changelings is more valuable than love.”

She’s saying something, but I’m way too weak to understand it.

“You just did a very silly thing... again. I guess I'll just have to make sure that doesn't bite you in the plot too hard.”

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