• Member Since 17th Aug, 2014
  • offline last seen 2 hours ago

Halira


I write a variety of stories in different styles. Some are basic slice of life stuff, some are dark. I occasionally take some risks in terms of telling stories by doing some unorthodox things.

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When the ETS pandemic started spreading throughout the world the south in the United States was hit particularly hard. The south had a culture all its own with a stronger focus on conservative political beliefs, religion, and a strong belief in maintaining tradition and culture.

Having the ETS pandemic come strongest here was one of the greatest ironies ever. Now all of what the south was is about to be upended. For Mathew, a teen from a town in South Carolina it means far more than that. It meanst re-examining who he is and who he is meant to be.


Notes:

Shares same universe with: Pandemic by ASGeek2012 it is not required you read this story, but it will help understand some things going on in the background.

This story is considered an origin story for many of the characters in Pandemic: Picking Up the Pieces. This story is not required reading for that, but if you want to learn more about some of the characters this is where you'll find it.

Story is now complete and editing is underway. Many chapters are still pretty rough. I grew a lot as a writer as this story went on, and there is an increase in quality between the first half of this story the second half, and then the sequel.

Rating and Trigger Warning Notes: There are mentions of extreme violence at some points, general bigotry, LGBT characters (Lesbian and Transgender), there is no sex shown in this story but it's alluded to at some points

Chapters (69)
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Comments ( 630 )

His parents were a highly religious sort, they had tried to drill those same values into him. He believed in God, but didn't believe God was so hateful as his parents seemed to depict. When this had all started they had started making nasty comments about how this was how God was punishing the homosexuals for their filthy lifestyle. They had even shouted that kind of crap at people they saw on the street that were trying to cover up their changing hair color. One lady with bright pink hair had gotten into a shouting match with them about how she wasn't even a lesbian. There hadn't been much reasoning with his parents. They had seen this as the end times and for some reason had targeted gay people as the ultimate cause.

Seriously, the Bible sayeth

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

I got to ask....


What town in South Carolina?

8888903

Seriously, the Bible sayeth

"Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins."

You must not understand. As someone who grew up in the DEEP South, Texas, I've seen people that use their "religion" as a cudgel to punch down at ANYONE to make themselves feel superior. If you seem similar to them, same religious/political/business beliefs they are your best friend. However, if you profess even one thing differently from them, even the smallest or most insignificant thing, then you are a libby lib educated liberal and they will Hate your guts with a Capitol H. Take it from me, evangelicalism is a disease. This "god" they profess to worship? I would call a demon.

Mathew put on his jackwt wondering how long he would have until he couldn't wear it anymore. It wasn't too cold outside so it really wasn't needed, but he had a habit of wearing it all the time outside the house anyway, even in the hot southern summer.

I think you mean jacket for the bolded word.

Let's see how this story goes.

Interesting spin off of the original, I wonder how the guys parents zealotry will manifest in their new pony forms by dream they will have. For the sound of it I am guessing they will both come out as unicorns. I would imagine that they will do a complete 180 of the god punishment to a new design of his and that humans are not worthy anymore and the new form is special being. Maybe the dream with push them further along of their religious fever and try to intentionally spread the word and the disease to the rest of the world, could they first try with their own core members first and expect them to agree with them or turn on them? more likely they would see themselves as martyrs for god cause and their will still be firm believers still. Looking forward to see what will come next.

8888903
You're arguing with characters in a story. Characters who get shown up for being jerks within a few paragraphs, actually.

This amuses me.

8889001
I definitely wanted to take this into a different culture while keeping familiar with the original. The original town from the original story had a more moderate seeming culture, wanted to try something in a culture more ripe for embracing Sunset's dogma. Keep in mind it is a cultural tendency in the south not a rule, as there are lots of people with varying beliefs and different ways of interpreting their own belief systems. The first person that expressed any form of pony zealotry in this case was someone that Mathew's parents would have had serious issues with.


8888930
Putting this in Summerville which is an actual town that is not too far out of Charleston, South Carolina. Charleston itself is actually a bit of a more liberal haven in the south, but the suburban towns around it have a more conservative leaning.

8888956
Sooo.... basically like a pre-apocalyptic version of The Crysalids?

8889224
I've never read that so I cant comment. Just imagine the most hypocritical thing you can imagine from a religious person and you have evangelicalism at its heart. Do as I say not as I do. That is evangelicalism.

One reason I had liked Pandemic was that it had treated the issue of religion with care and respect, noting how religious fervor rises up in tumultuous times, and how something good can be made of it, a la Father Lyle and his congregation.

This spinoff rubs me the wrong way, both as a Catholic and as a writer.

In the former case, I don’t like it when religion gets so viciously smeared, despite my understanding that such people as depicted in this story do exist. But it would be utterly remiss and slanderous to categorize all religious people this way.

Second, the characterization of Matt’s religious parents insults whatever credentials I have as a writer, because the whole thing SCREAMS of a lazy writer cashing in on popularly demeaning stereotypes to garner all-too-easily-earned sympathy for a character and seal-clapping from an eager audience. Bashing the ignorant, bigoted, religious plebes is REALLY low-hanging fruit. If you’re going to criticize religion, at least do something creative and original to get your point across.

Aside from that, this story is okay.

8889355
I understand your misgivings and respect that it is a slippery slope dealing with religion. It is my intent to examine individual actions not bash religion.

In case you missed it it is a church that opens up their doors to be a shelter for the infected. Churches are private property and not something the government mandates to be shelters, so there is positive religious action in place as well. There are good and bad religious people, and badly misguided but otherwise good religious people. I think you might have focused exclusively on one aspect of religion on display here to the exclusion of others. And to clarify if it wasn't clear, Mathew is a Christian as well.

Yes, there will be some religious commentary. It is because this is a religious experience for many of the characters and they will interpret things differently based on their personal conceptions of faith. The early display of the parents was harsh, but for some individuals (note individuals, not religions) this is a very real thing and those impacted by such actions will often misdirect their resentment to the faith as a whole.

During a crisis like this the best and the worst elements in people come out and people look for people to blame. This isn't a religion thing it is a human thing.

Thank you for keeping this in mind. It’s just that negative stereotypes stick out more, so more people will notice the parents and not the church. Please keep this up.

8889125
I live in South Carolina (70 miles from Charleston, 40 from Columbia) so I know the area well

8889398
I live in South Carolina as well so decided to pull from an area I am familiar with. The people and events are fictional of course, but the feel for the area and places should hopefully be realistic as a result. There are a lot of people in that area, far more than most would expect and it is a pretty busy hub of people passing through so it makes sense as a place that would be hit hard by the pandemic.

8889261
Lets just say that in that book they burn vegetables that are misshapen to ash because they're "impure".

Honestly, I'm rather concerned for this site's reader base that the immediate response to this story has been reactionary comments on one paragraph in the first fifth of the first chapter.

Seriously, people. Laying into everyone who expresses acknowledgement of the bad eggs that no group can avoid having isn't going to help, especially when it's not clear that you ever read beyond the fourth paragraph before yelling at the story and/or the author. I know these are polarized and borderline-violent times, but come on, you can do better than this.

Nice start. This is now on my tracking list.

Interesting.

Ill be keeping an eye on this.

8889397
I believe the stereotype usage was intended due to how dogmatic new ponies tend to be, doubly so for those who fully accept the utopian dream. So I expect the protagonist will end up at odds with the vision as well, once he has it, seeing it through the lens of having to live with parents like that.

8890527
I hadn’t thought about it like that. Very interesting, and thanks.

That isn't to say they were making a nuisance of themselves. They also sat like he did with many of those who were at a stage they couldn't help themselves in order to offer aid. Fetching things for the inflicted and offering comforting words. He saw more than one embracing an individual who was clearly having anxiety problems. Tomorrow that population of fully transformed would be much larger, and Matthew hoped that they would all be equally as eager to help out.

afflicted

This was an interesting chapter, I wonder if his parents will change the attributed gender of god after they will have the prophetic dream? For the sound of it they will cling on to any thing that can constitute to try an make sense of the their world. I thought that his parents didn't know he was turning into a theastral with the bat wings and all, but it doesn't seem to be case? Would be funny to see Tonya become fast friends with his his parents. Keep it up

So it looks like our protagonist will be caught in the middle of the transformation when the cure is cast. I hope it will be before he becomes a she as so far it looks like that it part of the last step.

8892355
I am counting on increased acceleration already in progress due to large magic pool plus Sunset's final "acceleration boost" to finish things out.

Giving the focus on Tonya's situation, and the change in smell that warranted all the fully turned ponies' attention, a marification is in the cards for the protag. The framing of his family's beliefs involving Tonya into an unwilling marification might be interesting, but runs the risk of being... mishandled.

The whole bit with the soul reshaping from book 1 made every new pony be comfortable with who and what they become, with some exceptions, sure. This protag seems to be rather go-with-the-flow, so i don't know what could make him have too many issues with becoming her. Even more so with that soul reshaping going on. But we'll see where it goes.

I haven't read the original story but this one that's not 400k words sure has my attention so far

Just started reading this, and so far, I think you're off to a good start. I would have preferred a little more action in the first part of chapter 1, as it's a little heavy towards exposition, but it does set the stage well.

The interaction with Tonya feels spot-on. It also highlights something that I had in the back of my mind but didn't have it happen "on-screen", which is how gender identity might factor into the transformation. This is hinted at in Pandemic in the discussions Twilight has concerning the difficulty in reversing the transformation. It suggested that there were indeed cases where someone changed their biological gender upon transformation due to situations like that presented in this story.

A few people have complained that this story treats religion a little heavy-handedly. They are not wrong. However, it works for the setting of the story. There really are a lot of people who believe as the characters in this story do, and that needs to be brought to the fore where it makes sense to do so. Let's not forget how some religious conservative groups claimed Hurricane Katrina was punishment from God.

I still need to read the remaining chapters that have been posted, but so far this looks destined for the canon folder.

Just moved this to the canon folder. This is pretty much following how I would expect things to progress in other areas of the country.

This chapter was an interesting twist. I think I would have liked a few more hints that Matthew was thinking along these lines, as it was a bit of a surprise. Perhaps it could be played up more in future chapters, especially the past incidents that his -- or rather, her -- mother alluded to. Other than that, though, it is interesting.

I normally not that interested in TG stories, and I find that he/she settled too easily into the new gender with no prier signs that she was disgusted with himself even if he didn't know that about herself. That, along with the sudden acceptance of her mother... makes it feel it's going too fast. I wonder what will happen next?

8894107

8894104
Will be getting back to what the mother was talking about from the past in a future chapter. I may add some more things in an earlier chapter, specifically when Matthew is dealing with Tonya the first time.

8894122
I do think the pacing in this story is moving a bit fast. I hesitated to point it out as I tend to write really slow-paced stories, and I thought it might be my bias showing. Please do let us know if you add more content, I'd be interested in giving it a re-read.

Overall, though, it is a solid idea. Please keep writing. :twilightsmile:

8894137
Yeah, was trying to keep a faster pace for this one as I didn't want to have this turning into something six digits in words. Perhaps too fast though, and will see what I can do to slow it down. I just finished out a 235,000 word story and have another story already in progress that is going to be longer than that, so trying to balance workload a bit. Will look back over first and second chapters a bit tonight to see if I can flesh them out a bit more without too much content added.

Matthew hadn't slept well. Even with the big dose of sleep aid he had been awake off and off all night long.

on and off/off and on

I like this story so far. Starting the story when the transformation is ramped up at the end makes for a faster story but the mental changes happening faster puts a highlight on them. I'm very interested in seeing how different people handle this. I loved the fact the transformation was a benefit for trans people in the original story. That it is being explored more in depth here is nice. I hope that you don't throw away the opportunity to expound on both sides of the reactions with the parents. Doesn't seem like you will waste that opportunity with the fear the character is feeling.

Keep up the good work and I look forward to more on this.

P. S. Don't over work yourself.

8894104
Canon folder? Is there a group for the pandemic setting?

8894454
We will see the full reaction of the parents next chapter. There is going to be some drama

8894104
OK found the group. Apparently this is the only other story that fits with your canon. Still joining the group though.

There is some serious underlying horror regarding how becoming a brainwashed magical furry may or may not be an improvement for some human groups.

8896074
Humanity as a whole fears change

This is more interesting this time around, to see what is happening in and around his 'neigh'borhood where tension run very hight and everyone even more on edge with the TF running around with humans worried about their humanity striking out in panic and the new foals/ponies reacting more aggressively with outsiders because of it even devoicing their links to humanity for it. Interesting that some seek Solis in religion, not a subject that interest me but add another dynamic to the situation that is worth exploring, especially sense it was also part of their previous human lives. I am happy that the chapter won't be soally focused on on Matthew's struggles with his gender identity. The emerging schism between his parents was interesting, I wonder what those new pony instincts will react to it all. Interesting that they had already started to demolish the paved roads to make way for agriculture, it the herd instinct so strong that they would know how to do that or even when food is still flowing around easily enough?

I meant most of it, but I escalating the situation all the same."

I escalated/I was escalating

Well put me down for the father becoming human at the first chance he gets, unless he somehow gains a cutie mark. Now how will the mother take the offer I wonder?

8896400

Its sad that it takes some serious hatred to want to become human again if that was the case. For Jenny, it was being unsatisfied by being a pony mixed with stubbornness from being manipulated for so long. That at least had the appearance of being moral.

Personally I don't think the father will return to being a human. Being a pony doesn't make you immune from bad decisions or being a bigot, as Canterlot shows.

Or, he might not be a terrible parent and change his mind. Too much to hope for?

8896467

So far it looks like the father has an abundance of anger. He reminds me of the police chief from the original story a guy who is trapped in his way of thinking and when the status quo gets a major change he cannot adapt. The changes are just too much for the father and he just wants everything to go back to the way they where when they probably never be able to.

Hopefully get an explanation of what Matthew's father said that pissed off mom do much at some point too.

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