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Starscribe


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My Little Pony is more than a franchise--it's propaganda, carefully crafted to introduce the human world to its neighbor a universe away. But instead of slowly influencing a few thousand little girls, the show took off, and built up metaphysical influence that is awaking its fans to latent magical abilities. The powers that be are doing everything in their power to suppress this change, and the magically inclined disappear to secret containment sites, never to be seen again.

Jackie doesn't care about any of that, she just wants to attend a convention with her sister and get them both back home again. But magic is insidious, and even takes hold of those who try hardest to reject it. She should probably just run away, but these ponies are just so dang cute.

Updates daily until complete.


This story is a prequel to Friendly Fire, but since it's a prequel that story isn't required to understand it. Likewise, this story is not required to understand that one. It was written as a Patreon reward for Two Bit. Thank you so much for contributing over the last few months to get this story written!

Cover by the fantastic Zutcha, who has done every one of my covers so far. Editing by Two Bit and Sparktail.

Chapters (16)
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Comments ( 101 )

Interesting. I'll be following this closely.

I often wondered what Jacqueline looked like when she wasn't equinized. And it is confirmed both Jacquelines are one and the same, and the fact that both got thestral is not a coincidence. I wonder if Jacob's relationship to her as a close friend who would grow distant with time would be similar to Alex's relationship with her, which happened nearly exactly like that, and both are tempered by battle and time.

Luring non-equines (not yet, if ever) away by the human enticement of meat, how clever. It would be a real wrench in the assortment if an inherent vegetarian, or a thestral got mingled in the crowd. I guess distaste for meat comes before magical abilities, then symbols come after that. Then obvious things like altered hair color and horse ears would come after all of that, and people would then wear caps and cut their hair to hide them. Especially those in the know trying to keep civilians out of it. "The less you know, the better. Avoid Bronies, and their merchandise."

Why do Equestrians think providing magic to those without, and populate unoccupied places is their duty anyway? It seems arrogant and presumptuous to insist so. Not at all unlike Eurasians thinking with absolute conviction it was their sworn duty from conception to immigrate, expand, and multiply wherever possible, and conform whatever and whoever they come into contact with. Being meddlesome was no less disastrous to the Equestrians than it was to the Eurasians, and anyone they cross paths with. It must truly be beyond their capacity to refrain from being nosy.

A brony and an anti-brony walk into a convention. Shenanigans ensue.

9080744 is here, what a time to be alive.

Beware, lengthy comment
I'd like to call her an imbecile, had the situation not been so fantastical and absurd, and not a scrap of irrefutable evidence to back anything up is apparent. There's always some kind of trick, save the most obvious: Cross dimensions to Eques, and come back home to Earth again. That's nearly the only thing no one can call a trick, save insanity and delusions, an LSD trip. Or a nightmare you can never wake up from, coma.

Fiction within fiction always has its paradoxes, does it not? You can make it as real as can get, and make up whatever consistent rules, yet it never escapes the page or screen. Always it'll be speculative.

Isn't it a coincidence that this chapter started virtually reaffirming what I said prior. And I think Jacqueline is actually kind of like TD Powell: Contrary to what Harlequin thought, it isn't about mere enjoyment alone, just inherent exposure. And I do think she did indeed detest it, having fallen asleep or in a daze as the disinterested are like to do. He was merely disinterested, but she goes further to active detest. I can relate. Even now, this thing is being kept on life support well after it left its prime. The near infinite demographics that continue to worship this thing to the point of invading and crossing over everything that exists has never been done to this extent with anything. The nearest thing is The Chipmunks and The Simpsons, the latter of which, like SpongeBob Squarepants, have suffered seasonal rot, as this series will if it does not end.

In other words, I share her annoyance. I have often hinted at using them silly pronouns, but never fully committed to them. Others will fully do so, and feed the meme, which is exactly what this show is, now, in addition to being formulaic.

Ironically, the secondary series, which was hinted at in the original tale, has actually held up more than the primary one, and introduced one of the greatest characters of all time, animated or no.

In fact, she's the closest thing this subverse has to a main character for what I have seen, Jacob and the two zombified leads from the original one-shot being mere observers more so than plot pieces. SPOILER ALERTThe one shot seems to infer turning targets under eighteen years of age into hollow shells, shallow caricatures of their former selves seems to be the intent, as that's what happened almost immediately, yet everyone older seems oddly immune to that, only altered in physical shape from what little we saw of them.

What this crew has to face is less nightmare inducing to the readers than what's going to happen to later victims under eighteen. Ironically, the opposite is true for them. You won't be there to know what happened to you, or you would be in a constant haze. But adults and early victims will know the full horror of what happened, as the parents of the two leads from Consequences are just barely hiding their outright horror at what happened to their kids, who only see them as caretakers rather than parents now, even with intact memories. Specifically harming children is a special kind of evil.

Two chapters in, and I need MOAR!

Continue, pl0x!

I kind of want to slap Jackie, but I can understand her actions.
Damn, things got bad fast.

Starscribe writings? Insta intrested :twilightsmile:

Feels about right in light of how these two end up later.

Hold on. Harley, the expert extraction agent, just sent herself and an innocent human into an unsurvivable plummet? Which will either require a Pegasus rescue or land them in worse trouble? The expert did that?

*slow clap*

Yikes! That's the kind of cliffhanger you usually see at the end of every Goosebumps passage. Good Godsss.

Go away to Eques, the most surefire solution more ponies should be taking advantage of but aren't. Surely they know it's only a facade, a guise at this point. It can always be restored even with better wisdom obtained, but your own life cannot.

9086096
My money is on it being intentional. Why is to be determined, but she did it in purpose.

Comment posted by AATC Fanboy deleted Aug 4th, 2018

well... that is the surefire way to make her wake up from the illusion she put herself in...

“Am not.” Harley spun around, straddling Jackie’s lap. The sudden weight was enough that she nearly fell over the edge—would have, if she hadn’t caught herself with one hand at the last moment. The thrill wasn’t entirely unwelcome. “And I can still fit on your lap.” She wrapped her arms around Jackie, pulling her close for a kiss. Unfortunately, that also meant unbalancing her already precarious perch.

Smooth. Quite so if it turns into a nice catch and romantic flight by Harley. Much less so if someone else has to do the rescuing.

You know, despite this particular type of con-story being a mixed bag, this one is turning out to be refreshingly fun.
Well done.
... And I totally agree... makes much more sense that Harley intended to get them falling. Let's see... panic? Involuntary magic reflex? Survival instincts? Assumption that Jackie has been in denial or intentionally hiding it and wanted to force the issue.... politely? Maybe surprise adds flavor? Whatever the case, totally loving Harley.

9085134
Been too long since I read the sequel, what happened to them again? Death by bombardment, giant lich dragon or in the field?

I think I just entertained a crossover idea: Harlequinn meets Ezri. How would these two get on with each other? Would they clash well, or not?

I suspected this was her intent to begin with, more so after another stated it, but one thing leads to another, and the implication of what we already know about ponies is made through the incident: They have no qualms whatever with going around Au Naturale, in stark contrast to humanity, or what they perceive of it.

I'm sure these two are going to have sex, but I am not interested in seeing it. I'm more intrigued in seeing Jacob go steady with her sister. It'd be nice to have an inner monologue about what Jacqueline thinks about this. Does she approve, or does she not? Is she fully supportive of them?

Also, will Harlequin officially tie the knot, in Ezri's spirit? I'd like to see they both got the kind of fulfillment they deserve. Food wise and romance wise.

9081225
I've seen you mention this Consequences story both in my story's comments and this one. I have to admit that I'm not clear on which story you are referencing. I tried doing a quick search just to find out what's being referenced, but there are over 17 (possibly more) pages of stories with that in the name. Can you private message me a link to that just to clear that up for me?

That was a pretty good time to express one's inner batpony.

“What about you?” Harley asked, apparently not as committed to getting them back on time as she had initially seemed. “Does it bother you that I’m with other people sometimes? Can we…” She gestured vaguely. “Can we do this again?”

“It’s cool,” Jackie lied. “Yeah, it’s cool. I do want to do this again. Soon.”

It's always good to start a new relationship out with lies.

There is an oddly large number of changeling-dating batponies named Jackie. Is there a reason behind this? I've become rather curious.

9088117
There's always a Jackie in every world (they use pseudonyms at times, of course). And there usually is a bug nearby. Well, as long as it's a Starscribe story. :derpytongue2:

9087567
I'm pretty sure they are talking about Casualties, a story by Starscribe set in the same universe as this one. It was submitted to a Transformations group contest under the name "Consequences", but the title was changed for standalone release. Hope this clears the confusion.

9088821
Yeah, that helps. I'm wasn't aware of the previous name.

9088574
Interesting, I'll have to start keeping a look out. It'll be like looking for Stan Lee in a Marvel movie.

9089423
No, no it was not.
9089445
HAH. Yeah, the right one is up now.

9089451
Forgive me for paraphrasing Beorn from The Hobbit:

"Good heavens! Don't pretend that authors can't count! They can. Six isn't fifteen and they know it."

:trollestia:

I will say it. You know that person in horror, suspense, mystery, and action films who has lots of sense, and is generally logical? The one who, in spite of this, has precious little impact? I think that's Harlequin.

Similar to, say, Sam Loomis, she's got brains. She's got wit, reflexes, heart, you name it. Ideally, everyp- everybody should listen to her. Everypo- body should take her advice. And like Sam Loomis, it falls on deaf ears and she's too late to prevent disasters of virtually every sort. Had they all done so, many people would not have been murdered, falsely imprisoned, or worse, suffered horrific mindrape.

As far as I can see, it's an all or nothing situation: It's best to know nothing, and be in the sticks, or inquire, and never think for a second to slow down or back out. Both extremes are the safety zones, especially to be in the know. Anything in between is certain death, even if specifically to the desire to not be an incubator. And stay away from urban high schools, shopping malls and airport terminals. Namely, urban settings and government offices as a whole. That's where the worst is to happen.

Also, prior to that, there's the very real risk of being left in a cell to stave and thirst to death. On the bright side, you won't end up becoming a walking incubator that way, so no one will suffer on your account in that manner.

On track, do I imagine things, or does she face needless prejudice? I don't know what she did, but I don't think she ever committed a crime. I imagine she's a law abiding citizen. If you are going to prove me wrong, by all means do it. I certainly would not mind seeing what her life was like before. She's seems nice enough. She only seems to get angry when it's warranted, and she seems to rein in her anger to not hurt anyone. She's in control of her own feelings, and very wise.

No one in large groups seems good here. All of them on both sides are extremely rash and reckless, and it causes so much fallout, which really hurts civilians. Only individuals not associated with any party seem to have any good or decency. Why do I feel like this is not unlike real life?

But if she could convince Harley to change her own mind, that would be different.

Oh Boy if there's wrong ways to start a relationship this is certainly among them. Never begin something that needs for the other to change in order to work out. It won't end well.

Did Hayley and Jackie live through the sequel? Did Jackie even get there? I can't right remember :applejackunsure:

It's interesting to watch someone in as unusual a situation as Jackie is in mostly just engage in screwing up a relationship. Life goes on, I suppose.

9089829
Everybody survived, save one individual who's not here yet.

Questions left unanswered, half-truths and growing doubts, and now an illegal infiltration looking for answers.

I foresee zero problems. :pinkiecrazy:

Is Nnity trying to condition us

Unity, I believe.

I admit that I haven't read the story that this is a prequel for (I am not sure how much I'd need to know), but this really seems sketchy and like humans are the good guys...
Sure, magic would be great, but the ponies aren't being at all up front about this. Unless it's something like Fivescore, this is sounding like they're infiltrating... which makes it ironic and a bit hypocritical that the changelings are on probation.

Considering this has less views than its predecessor, I presume most of its current and would be readers know the twist already, as it was a major mystery with a twist there, too. The reveal already happened at this point then, but before I go any further, I'm going to issue a spoiler alert.

On Eques, many of their sufficiently intelligent specie are hoofwaved by ponies at large, and deemed just as mythical as they are on Earth. There's mention minotaurs aren't a thing at one point. What wasn't stated was the fact they may have existed, but went extinct. If you should see one, it's only a facade that will come off rather soon. And most of them don't like their facades at all. Other things like gryphons and dragons are real, but less numerous than you'd expect. And a minority of them likewise bear a facade, but not most. And they lack an inherent adversity to it.

Ponies do rule and run the world, more or less as we see it, but they omitted some things about their world, and Equestrians hide some of their less savory aspects, even less than petty bullies. Blatant misandry or dislike for males for all but their biological need is a major one. I won't go into them all, but their philosophy is treated like a religion, and like a religion, no place must remain untouched and unfettered by it, but they chose a more subtle approach that wouldn't be called out right from the start. To them, lacking magic is something no being should ever have to suffer, not even unknowingly.

Lastly, what do you think my first paragraph implies about anything or everything else? How do you think it would tie in? Thatis what they are hiding with such severity, and are covering the bases. Don't expect Jacqueline to get her answers by investigating. Only certain people are allowed down there, and there is a very specific reason they are permitted, unbeknownst to her, she has it. Her sister likely does not, and is to be kept out.

Guess who is in there? Hint: she has fiery hair. Flaming redhead who is most frightening when she's being legitimately, unironically nice.
I think this is enough clues for anyone who read through these spoilers.

Espionage is an underrated sister bonding activity.

9091342
I didn't remember that part. The one about species being wiped out I mean. I did a little about being equestria's beliefs that began all the problem. Them and their own demons.

Damn ponies bringing problems wherever they go :derpytongue2:

she wanted to know, now she'll experience first hoof...

Once again, much like in LOPE: PAP and the story this is spawned from, the Equestrians secretiveness only makes things worse. In the former, it made a bad situation far worse and cost more lives than needed to be sacrificed. In the latter, the entire plot, and most stages of it are kickstarted by and continued by that same kind of secretiveness. Here, they have no good reason for it beyond arrogance and conceit. At any point they could have been forward had Lu not given strict orders not to say anything. There was a narrow window in PAP, even though there were still many chances to spill the beans. Here, there is no deadline, and it screams incompetence. Nice going, Celestia. Will you two show some damn competence for once?

It shouldn't be a surprise rapid, immediate TF feels like being burned alive, and induces comas. No wonder it was supposed to be gradual and drawn out over several months or years. It reminds me of Roald Dahl's The Witches, where the victims of the rodent potion are explicitly described as feeling constricted and crushed, like having their torso and limbs in a vice, and it's being slowly turned without letting up. The narrator even states, he could feel his insides going up in flames, or running down him like a pulp. The film visually shows this as the insides of victims turning into green smoke that floats away and dissipates, only leaving the bare minimum of their mass behind. Why does the disease, plague version make it sound like it's so painless? And if it is, how?

9093598
Because it is drawn out. Your body can go through a great deal of changes over a month or more, but trying to crush that into minutes is overwhelming to the nerves.

9093737
No. I am referring to the quarantine stuff. A single building with thousands of occupants with an aggressive virus that shows its symptoms in a matter or minutes, and takes total effect about as quickly. The CDC seals the entire place off with efficiency that no government in recent date is known for having, and police and soldiers ready and willing to shoot anyone who tries to escape before three days are up await at every window and door with high caliber weapons, and everyone inside is physically altered by it seemingly showing no bad feeling other than straight terror, but no clear agony. By all rights, it shouldn't be comfortable. Yet there are many tales where things like that happen and are painless, which doesn't bother me when the tale is not especially detailed, and not trying to pass itself off as something that could happen.

Set it in a world where regular SOL stuff happens, show regular mundane things minutes, hours or days beforehand, then turn the world on its head with something like that, and it kills the immersion when something like that is overlooked. What happens afterwards, being somebody else, and acting like a zombie from the virus rather than yourself I can buy. Not being in pain is another matter. Just fear. This should be excruciating, but no mention is made of that.

One of them spoke. Somehow she could make out the words, even if the context was now completely lost on her. “You need to get away. Your heart… exposure… don’t belong…”

Poor planning on everyone's part. This fact finding trip was a bad idea, the lack of security on that balcony when they have people who can fly was pretty questionable too.

I wish it could be a major twist to me as it was for others. But you only get one big reveal, that's all.

As I said before, had the Equestrians been entirely forthright from the very start, all of this, and even the worse things later would have been averted. This is more incompetence than malevolence, and the US governments' more naivete than malevolence, too. This would explain Jacob getting the full rundown, the full spiel. Looking back on it, he really got it easy. Things were explained to him bit by bit intermittently early on on account of him and several others being on the move, constantly on the run due to their urgent situation. Once in a safe position, the rest was given without further interruption.

Forgive me if I am mistaken, but I recall her having mentioned she got her mark well after all of the others got theirs. Here, she never even met most of them, if any, and already has it. I must be mad.

And as I thought, gradual exposure is ideal, but instant is lethal if it's not caught in time.

Did I forecast who she was going to meet, or did I not? Seems to me, she's more fit for office than those two idiots, in spite of being a rookie. Do I make a hasty judgment in this?

Had they been forthright as opposed to entering their mission under false pretenses, or worse, openly omitting facts rather than telling the whole truth like they would to Jacob, so many thousands of people would not have died hideously, been falsely imprisoned and half dehydrated and starved in their cells, and even turned into mindless zombies. It would seem to me we've got the wrong ponies in office. Get rid of them.

I hope my comments aren't off putting or preachy. That's not the intent, I swear.

9095635
Considering this is a side story to one in which all of that was discussed and approached in the story, yes, it's coming as quite preachy. At least to us that have read it, dunno about others.

But the actions of the government are not naivete, as is stated in the main story. They are being influenced by Nightmare Moon, if I'm not mistaken, or a demon of the sort.

9095747
And that is left very much hanging.

On track, it would have to take advantage of their own naivete to do, I'd imagine. There's no implication there's straight mind control.

Now that I mentioned a certain thing in another SPOILER ALERT comment, do you recall what I said, now? Namely, the detail I mentioned? That with the possible exceptions of Changeling, Dragon and Gryphon, all intelligent specie in their world are only a facade? Do you recall that now? And even amongst them, several individuals are likely in a guise.

How come her sister lost her feet, but she was converted? Doesn't that imply that "shielding" her caused an incomplete transformation?
For that matter, define "lost." Are her feet ponified now, and she'll be able to use them if they finish casting Baleful Polymorph: Horse, or are they actually damaged or nonfunctional (and if so, why the difference)?

9095908
Lost them in that they are currently hooves.

9095786
I do remember you saying that, but I can't remember that from the story, sorry. I don't buy the naivete angle too much though, there's always interests involved. Also, a lot of mind influencing.

Oh hey, Sunset.

“Neither.” Sunset stopped a few feet away, and those bright blue eyes seemed only compassionate. “I blame myself for this… what you’ve suffered, none of Unity’s guests should endure. It’s my fault you were as curious as you were, instead of being satisfied. The other two weren’t damaged… but you were. I am the regent. Your pain is my fault.”

Yeah, and you might want to look into improved physical security for things like unguarded balconies that lead to near magical death.

she probably won't mind...

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