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Meep the Changeling


Channeling insanity into entertaining tales since 2015-01-19.

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[Third Person] Alternating Perspectives

In a world shaped by the powers of magic and steam, where every nation is ruled by immortal god-kings and god-queens, there is an era of peace never before experienced by mortals and immortals alike. People grow, live, and die all without ever being attacked by bandits. Major wars are a thing of the past, with only small local skirmishes occurring in more primitive sections of the world. International trade allowed wizards and engineers to tame the world so all may experience a little luxury.

To many, life couldn’t possibly be any better. For those living on the far northern borders of Equestria, that peaceful world is but a fantasy. In the northlands, wild animals still roam the woods, even venturing into cities and towns. Farmers whisper of crop-destroying monsters lurking in the dark. Local sheriffs keep a wary eye on the sky, ever watchful for the first sign of a griffon hunting party. Wizards regularly ward the area around local communities, fearing the dark magic cast within these lands long ago might one-day resurface.

This is the world Tractor Pull grew up in. This is the world the young stallion longs to escape. To the southern lands of peace and plenty. All he needs is a chance. A chance which unknowingly comes to him when he meets a mare in a snowbank one frigid winter’s night.


Featured on: 4/11/2018 at 7:26 AM UTC :yay:

Chapters (11)
Comments ( 259 )

Buckle up, dear readers, you're in for a hell of a ride!

Ohhh! Well now this has an interest grabbing start.

A cursed crystal pony perhaps?? Or something other.... can’t wait to find out.

This seems like an interesting story. I can't wait for the next chapter!

Another Meep story, probably another favorite in a few chapters. 👍

Calling it now. She's Roman and feeding them a line to maintain a ruse. The suit is to avoid carrying pathogens home.

Curious, most curious indeed. Quite some trauma on Tractor, but he's working on living. I wonder what's his greatest fear.

So, zombie legionnaire? I can get behind that. Not literally though, sorry but I'm no Cadence.

A story to be rewriten to be published is bound not to have all the usual characters and pony situations. I'm rather curious on how will you do it without sounding forced. But I expect you to succeed marvelously :twilightsmile:

8857613 Oh I can have the usual. I just ahd to create a key for replacing things later. Which I did. It's cake realy.

Also, she's not a zombie :P

I’m liking where this is going. Excellent beginning; can’t wait to see where this leads!

Well, the cover and title imply some measure of undeath at play. Or something like it.

Is her containment suit just higher on the quality spectrum than the mass produced guard version or is it a league of its own and implying lost tech? Though for a part time guardspony and history student, it could be difficult to distinguish between lost tech and suitably advanced private organization.

You have captured my curiosity. I look forward to seeing more of this.

8857606 No, since Alpha previously held the Prime slot at 0%, and is now a unconnected remnant on a 5 year loop. No this is the first root universe out, 1% divergence.

Weekdays are collage

I think you meant "college".

He was nervous

Missing period at the end.

My name is, Aemiliana Tarquinius Cyprianas.

I don't think that that comma should be there.

This looks very interesting. I'll definitely be following this story.

Also, I think you might have mentioned it elsewhere but if so I likely missed it -- when is this set, chronology-wise, in respect to the show?

8858117 Uh... This is EoH 8 so, 3 years after season 5, presuming each season is a year and season 6 onward never happened. And that's only for the prime timeline, Beta. It's complicated. Meep's multiverse does include a timeline that is the show canon universe, but this one ain't it, this is the modern steampunk timeline. The canon one does appear once in a chapter of a previous story though, Lyra 7%.

There's definitely more to Ameili than she is immediately admitting. I'm guessing time travel and Sombra's involvement.

8858117 Thank you for the corrections I will implement them. Howeaver, the comma before her name is correct according to the style guide I use (Creative Writer's Style Guide by Christopher T. Leland). It's an example of what is referred to as Tone Modification. The comma here serves to control how the sentence is to be read, with a slight pause before her name to draw attention to it for the reader. In universe it implies she stops speaking for a moment before continuing, perhaps to draw breath for speaking her full name. While this is absolutely not okay to do in narration it's perfectly acceptable in dialogue as there's no other mark to indicate a brief pause and sometimes people have noticeable pauses while speaking.

That being said, there are probably other style guides which say to never ever do this. But the one I am using says it's cool.

Also, I think you might have mentioned it elsewhere but if so I likely missed it -- when is this set, chronology-wise, in respect to the show?

Check the heading of chapters. I always put the year on there and the number is always intended to be set with 0 being the year Luna returned, and each year thereafter being one season's worth of events. Howeaver I don't count anything after season 4 to be cannon for my AUs. This AU is also not the one I normally write in. It's new.

8857184
nah guy , she's a puppy smiles style zombie in that suit and wears it to make sure nobody else catches the ancient curse from the lich king that destroyed Roma.

Now he was here. Walking home from college, halfway to having earned a Bachelors of Science in Archeology. He could have already been amongst the few brave souls who were exploring the remains of the Crystal Empire and other lands which never recovered from the Lich King’s reign of terror a thousand years ago. If only his parents had seen value in anything other than growing wheat.

Is this a thousand years in the future? Ir is the Lich King Sombra?

8859907 This is Sombra. Most ponies do not know his name, only his title. This is an alt universe to my normal one.

8861743
those you don't learn history's mistakes are doomed to repeat them. Mostly that he's one of my favorites.

Interesting.
I'm guessing she's the lich that destroyed pony Rome, no longer in the world conquering business.

A tank-pone, a fire elemental, a sheriff, and a leper walk into a bar....

8869946 The bar exploded for reasons which amazingly enough were entirely unrelated.

Yeah, she's ancient. Probably some sort of revenant.

This fic is awesome, cant wait for more!

8858994
The note about the chronology is interesting, because of the immediately noticable lack of the returned Crystal Empire, which would have reappeared nearly half a decade ago in standard Canon. Obvious other setting differences like tech aside, I am curious what other key events have or have not happened.

8870089 The Crystal empire did come back, but in this timeline Equestria pushed north and settled the unoccupied territory. The Crystal Empire itself is just a city state, not a proper empire. Cadence is stationed there primarily in case Sombra rises again.

As for tech levels, because it will be some time before we get there....

In this timeline Celestia and Luna went to fight Sombra and LOST. They lost hard. They didn't die, but were significantly injured, Celestia even lost some of her power permanently. But they also wounded Sombra pritty badly, physically and spiritually. This allowed a group of normal ponies to stage a last minute save the world mission, and they were the ones to banish Sombra, not the Sisters. Since one of the heroes was a tinkerer, and those six saved the world, ponies wanted to be like her.

Why her specifically? She dealt the "killing" blow with, well.... Only it was steam powered rather than gas powered.

A small cultural revolution occurred and technological items became commonplace as ponies felt that making or having those things was cool and kinda heroic. Magic didn't die out of course, it's far too cool, useful, and can do things nothing else can. But this Equestria fell in love with brass, steel, steam, and clockwork. Especialy after Celestia herself began using technology to supplement her now weakened self since magic couldn't restore her to a pre-Sombra battle state.

Incidentally, with Celestia's powers reduced, Luna's fall to Nightmare Moon wasn't because she felt unloved. Here it was because she dipped too close to dark powers while trying to find a way to let her sister return to her old self. She struck a deal, and while Celestia's magical strength was restored, the entity she made the bargen with took her body for itself.

Huh, that could work. The latex, I mean. If her bits haven't melted yet, that is.

He really needs some boy to get the edge off. Being that strung up is not healthy. How long has it been? How many years for a school sweetheart's death? Trac also needs therapy. Doesn't equestria have a decent healthcare?
He's being stubborn about not having it, isn't him? :facehoof:

Wait, bi-weekly decent into Tartarus? So over seven hundred cases worth of prisons and/or deaths every year? How many million people are there in their town? That's hellish for anything small. Or is Rec being dramatic and considering fat ponies stuck in toilets as decent into Tartarus?

“Py-ROMANCE-r,” Trac groaned covering his face with his hooves. “It’s not just a bad pun, it’s a badly made pun…”

For fuck' sake Meeps, that was bad and you should feel bad for making us suffer it :facehoof::rainbowlaugh:

You can say things get heated in the bedroom though. An ever present warm bedmate. No balls to get blue either! :trollestia:
Gods that last one is depressing :ajsleepy:

C'mon Trac, you're a history buff. How many more signs you need to realize she's older than dirt? You can't mean to tell me that archeology schools in the land of Alicorns don't dedicate entire semesters to "the mummy you were studying just rose from it's grave. What to do now?" "Time displacement counseling 101" and "Daring Do, you, and why you should always bring more rope."

8870337

He really needs some boy to get the edge off. Being that strung up is not healthy. How long has it been? How many years for a school sweetheart's death?

12.

Trac also needs therapy. Doesn't equestria have a decent healthcare? He's being stubborn about not having it, isn't him? :facehoof:

He went to it. He used to be way worse. The incident in which he died was much worse than you think it is.

Wait, bi-weekly decent into Tartarus? So over seven hundred cases worth of prisons and/or deaths every year? How many million people are there in their town? That's hellish for anything small. Or is Rec being dramatic and considering fat ponies stuck in toilets as decent into Tartarus?

He's being dramatic to a degree. The town has 75,000 residents, counting the town itself and the populations of the farms and clan homes which are under the town's jurisdiction. Keep in mind that Equestrian prison sentences are short and focus on rehabilitation vs incarceration and Retort sees quite a lot of repete "customers". You also have incidents to deal with such as drifters and other travelers who are up to no good.

C'mon Trac, you're a history buff. How many more signs you need to realize she's older than dirt?

He's a history buff who is tired and just got back from writing a term paper. Well, in his head. He needs to get that on paper still.

You can't mean to tell me that archeology schools in the land of Alicorns don't dedicate entire semesters to "the mummy you were studying just rose from it's grave. What to do now?" "Time displacement counseling 101" and "Daring Do, you, and why you should always bring more rope."

They do. But all of those are next semester. He's still in the "how to dig and not break things" segment.

This chapter is interesting. I like the whole Elemental thing. Would we be able to meet more Elementals?

8870356
12 years? Damn. That must have been an ugly death indeed.

Well, at least he'll have a nice story to tell and reinforce the need for those classes.

8870449
Yay! I would love to see drawings of the types of Elementals we will meet in the story in pony form.

8870457 Hummm... I can try. I dont think I could capture them well in my usual art style, and my hand drawing is pretty bad. But I can try.

8870468
Ok, just try the best you can do.

Oh, the Elemental, neat.

“Py-ROMANCE-r,” Trac groaned covering his face with his hooves. “It’s not just a bad pun, it’s a badly made pun…”

Hahaha!

If a boiler explodes INSIDE the tank then shrapnel is the least of your concern.
Being par-boiled by a hundred gallons of supercritical boiling water will render your corpse unrecognizable far more than any shrapnel could.

8884287 They are using a magic rock to heat water for that boiler. Humans have the same technology and are very very worried about those kind of boilers exploding at all.

8884329
Honestly, your setup for steampunk, assuming that this is how most high-end boilers operate, is about the only way I would accept steampunk as a viable technological progression path. And even then, I'm impressed at how much power they are getting out of steam. I'm guessing they're using a high-pressure turbine setup for getting power from the steam produced by the boiler?

TANK! TANK! TANK!

I wonder how the Wonderbolt feels about STEEL BAWKSES having her name :trollestia:

Huh, so our zombie pony is a thousand year old cursed soldier sustaining the course keeping her immortal emperor dead by her (and nation) continued existence. She is fully skeletal, ain't she? Shame, her beloved's eternal warm hooves ain't much help on sheer bones.
Considering the name of the fic, though, I should've gotten that before :derpytongue2:

I have no idea how much all the military stuff matches with reality. It is interesting, but that gun is pure madness. Who's the lunatic that designed that? Can the flak part elevate more than the main gun? I can't see it being useful if not, considering there's quite the limit for how much you can lower the breech in a turret.

8884484

I'm guessing they're using a high-pressure turbine setup for getting power from the steam produced by the boiler?

Well of course they are. That's what we do right now to power almost everything you use.

Fun fact: Nuclear reactors are really just boilers. They work by using the uranium to vaporize water which goes up a tube and spins a turbine. A civilization that never switched away from steam power would probably just think of uranium and other nuclear fuels as well, fuels for a boiler. They may not a reactor a reactor if they were using steam power for a few hundred years and focused on tradition rather than "Oooo! Shiny new thing!" (humans kinda blow through tech trees really fast :P). After all, reactors are boilers which simply burn neutrons instead of wood or coal. This distinction may not be important to certain cultures (Aside from their technicians).

Heck, coal power plants are literately just HUGE boilers. Natural gas plants are also just really big boilers. The computer age is powered by steam driven turbines, which is honestly still the best source of power generation we have on every metric other than eco-friendlyness.

There's surprising amount of power in steam, even small scale. About 30 gallons of water and a bit of fire can completely destroy your house.

Or could spin the ever loving crap out of a micro-turbine.

I have very little trouble believing that a nuclear fueled boiler could be used as a mobile power supply for an armored fighting vehicle and make it just as effective as a combustion engine powered one. After all, our "nuclear submarines" are powered by steam :P

8884517

I wonder how the Wonderbolt feels about STEEL BAWKSES having her name :trollestia:

Very happy. She got royalties for licensing out her name and image to vehicle manufacturers. The Spitfire aircraft are still in service.

She is fully skeletal, ain't she?

In a way yes, in another, no.

I have no idea how much all the military stuff matches with reality.

Surprisingly close to early WWII tank ideas, actually. There were a lot of crazy ideas tried back in the early days of tank warfare. But the idea here is the Bronco is horribly designed. That gun setup diminishes the fire capacity of both weapons. The lighter atank's barrel is, the faster it can be brought to bear on a target. This is a plot point.

8884536

After all, our "nuclear submarines" are powered by steam :P

Don't forget about our aircraft carriers as well. The engines and the catapults are run directly by steam and everything else on the ship is powered indirectly by steam.

I have very little trouble believing that a nuclear fueled boiler could be used as a mobile power supply for an armored fighting vehicle and make it just as effective as a combustion engine powered one. After all, our "nuclear submarines" are powered by steam :P

Well, the use of nuclear power in armored vehicles was studied quite a bit in the '50s because...well, the '50s, with projects in both the United States and the Soviet Union to design a nuclear tank. The trouble is basically two-fold; first, it's really difficult to build a reactor small enough to fit inside a vehicle that also produces a usable amount of power and isn't a complete maintenance hog. An aqueous homogenous reactor, for instance, can be made very small, but they have serious corrosion issues because of hydrolysis of water producing hydrogen and oxygen, the formation of sulfuric acid from the sulfur salts used to transport the uranium, and of course the radiation itself (which transmutes structural materials). All of this adds up to a really nasty combination, especially when you consider that leaking coolant will contain extremely radioactive fission fragments. Plus, since the coolant is laced with (probably) enriched uranium, it would be very easy for anything that did leak to get into a geometry allowing a supercritical excursion...not that it will go off like a bomb, exactly (though flash-boiling the water means it might as well have), but massive radiation doses are no one's idea of fun. A pressurized-water or boiling-water reactor is easier to work with (though not what you might call easy), but is much harder to make small enough for a tank.

And that brings us to the problem of radiation. Even if you're not too terribly concerned about radiation exposure as such, on a practical level you have to shield the crew from the output of the reactor or they're going to become incapacitated or die before they can actually do anything useful with your fancy nuclear tank. Shielding is heavy; it has to be heavy, heavy is what makes it work (crudely speaking). So once you've put enough shielding on to keep the reactor from killing your crew quickly (slowly is fine; after all, if they die of radiation-induced cancer in thirty years, you still got a good few battles out of them!) you have a tank that's horribly overweight even if it's not that big, and even before you start putting in bits like armor or weapons or, you know, the things that make a tank a tank.

For that reason, both the United States and the Soviet Union eventually concluded that the idea of a nuclear tank was totally unworkable and unusable. The same kinds of problems show up when you look at things like nuclear locomotives or nuclear aircraft, although in the latter case it's at least conceivable you could overcome them if you just made the airplane big enough (in the former case, it's pretty much always easier to park the reactor on the side of the line, generate electricity, and use it to power electric locomotives, like in France). Nuclear reactors only become remotely practical where these issues can be overcome more easily (as in space, where you can solve the radiation issue by putting the reactor on a long boom--much lighter than shielding, and which you need anyway for radiators) or where their advantages are large enough to outweigh the difficulties of compensating for these issues (this basically means military ships, especially submarines).

Incidentally, to put my pedantic hat on for a moment, it's not quite true to say that nuclear and natural gas power plants use steam to generate power. Or rather, it needn't be true; in both cases, gas turbines (jet engines, in other words) have been proposed for use in generating power. After all, a gas turbine is just a steam turbine that isn't turned by steam, crudely speaking. In the case of nuclear reactors, various issues related to the development cycle of those plants meant that such ideas have never really been implemented (but see the British gas-cooled reactor designs; they were halfway there in using gas in the inner loop), but in the case of natural gas plants I believe most plants nowadays, certainly most new builds, primarily use turbines with steam only as an auxiliary heat-recovery system rather than the primary generator, so that they can get higher efficiencies out than would otherwise be possible.

On another note, I'm not so sure that it would be a good idea to use a turbine in a tank, even without the whole "nuclear" thing. There were a lot of attempts to use turbines in rail locomotives, and they never ended particularly well. I suspect that an old-school reciprocating steam engine would be the go-to choice for a tank; a reciprocating engine with a gearbox is probably lighter and definitely simpler than a turbine with a generator and electric drive, which is a great virtue for any piece of military equipment. (A turbine with a gearbox would be horribly inefficient at low speeds, so not at all a good match for a tank). Of course, given your description of the Bronco as being terribly overengineered, I could see it being saddled down with a theoretically nice turbo-electric propulsion system that in practice never works that well; that's certainly happened in reality!

8884654 Thank you! I learned a few new things :3

Well, the use of nuclear power in armored vehicles was studied quite a bit in the '50s because...well, the '50s

Quite true! and one of the most fun things about fantasy fiction is making it ip a foot into sci-fi by asking "what if this crazy idea could work?"

Since this is a world where sorcery exists we can assume that magical solutions can be found for technical problems with designs. Obviously this can't mean anything is possible or the story's drama wold collapse under the weight of the magic system's ineptitude. But we see in the show that enchanted items exist, so inanimate objects can be made to cast spells. This means you could make magical parts for otherwise mundane machinery.

That being the case, it's certainly within the realm of plausibility for pony-made reactors to be miniaturized without those issues. Tanks corrode too quickly? There's got to be some anti-rust charm invited way back in medieval times to keep those swords we see in the Castle of the Two Sisters all shiny and not, you know, piles of iron oxide on the floor. Bare metal doesn't last longing the elements.

As for radiation, we see that ponies can create force fields on the personal scale and even all the way up on the city-scale. These shields block solid matter and directed energy attacks alike, it's not much of a stretch to assume they can block rads too with the correct configuration. So as long as the reactor doesn't need to devote much of its power to maintaining enchantments its running, we can assume they just put the thing behind an energy bubble. That would also serve to keep the weight to a minimum.

Now reducing mass is something of an issue. I can't think about anything I've seen in the show which implies pony magic can do that. But fortunately it dosn't have too! Unicorns have telekinesis, magic can therefore create what is effectively anti-gravity. It dosn't matter how much a tank weighs if when you switch the reactor on a substantial amount of the tank's weight is counteracted by lift. That would complicate the controls a bit, you'd want to sling that pull to help you turn, or train your pilots to deal with the added momentum.

As for using a turbine in a tank, no that's not the best idea. But you could make it work and we see in canon that pony technology is often built in ways that make us humans scratch our heads. Remember the weather factory? What even was most of that stuff? XD Non-humans shouldn't be replaceable by humans in costumes. They got to do somethings differently than us or why even have non-human characters in there at all?

Of course, given your description of the Bronco as being terribly overengineered, I could see it being saddled down with a theoretically nice turbo-electric propulsion system that in practice never works that well; that's certainly happened in reality!

That's the base idea. It's a fact that a tank's own worst enemy is itself. IRL they break down all the time. They are surprisingly delicate machines.

Incidentally, to put my pedantic hat on for a moment, it's not quite true to say that nuclear and natural gas power plants use steam to generate power. Or rather, it needn't be true

Quite true, but most if not all but two or three reactors are using ancient designs because hippies keep cockblocking the best source of clean power we have. The only reason nuclear waste is an issue now is those same hippies prevent proper storage facilities from opening ><

I could be wrong though. Maybe more modern plants exist as more than blueprints. I would love to hear about them if that's true.

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