• Published 31st Dec 2020
  • 1,141 Views, 218 Comments

They're EVERYWHERE! - Nameless Narrator



No one really knows how many changelings were present during the invasion of Canterlot. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, it also means that the love explosion scattered them all over the surface of Equus. These are stories of some of them.

  • ...
4
 218
 1,141

156, 387: 2

The group of thirty-ish changelings stopped in a small clearing after the infiltrator and three warriors sent to scout ahead returned with the news that there’s some kind of a pony settlement to the north of them. Two infiltrators were sent there again to figure out the details which, while being the basic and indisputably necessary tactic, brought with it its own set of challenges.

“For the last time - BARK IS NOT EDIBLE!” yells 387.

“Mphfufh?”

“We’re not wasting energy on hive link communication so stop trying to talk with your mouth full! It. Won’t. Work!”

*Gulp!*

“SPIT IT OUT! DON’T SWALLOW IT!” 387 facehoofs, “I swear, if I have to carry around a second concussed drone I’m going to make sure it’s you!

47989 acknowledges being mentioned by giving the back of 387’s neck a hug and licking his ear.

“And you stop slobbering all over my carapace. If you don’t get better by the time we find a stream or a slow river, I’m walking into it with you still on my back.”

“You know, you could try to reason with them instead of being all snarky,” 156 is sitting cross-legged in the center of the clearing, eyes closed.

“No. You ordered me to carry this waste of holes but I’m drawing the line at being nice.”

“Kinda amazing that they have the energy to screw around, anyway. They’ve been lugging the cocooned ponies we captured in Riverside all this time,” 156 looks around at the drones busy with crawling on trees, examining the foliage, and generally bumping into each other while trying to figure out what the non-rock-dirt-and-hole things surrounding them are for.

“Meh, drones. They dig and carry stuff, that’s pretty much effortless for their natural forms just like punching stuff is for us warriors and being tall, smug, and snooty noodles is for you infiltrators.”

“There’s way more to us than what you just described. Also, if you said anything even remotely similar back in the hive, you’d be kissing the crusher right now.”

“If the queen got a wind of you not immediately killing off a drone that stopped being useful, you’d be there before me and I’d be laughing until my lungs were gone.”

“I have half a mind to teach you some respect right here and now.”

“No, you only have half a mind if you think you’d be able to.”

“Oh? Does someone want to give the high score a shot?”

“Warrior high score is 3 so no, thanks,” 387 rolls his eyes, “And double no, this isn’t just a hole measuring contest, 156, it’s a fact. If we both were full on love, I’d happily accept you could crumple me into a ball and dribble me around. As things stand, though, you don’t have the love for all your fancy infiltrator enhancements and tricks and I have a warrior’s natural body, so take a note from 36658 and go eat a chunk of bark.”

“Does that mean I can have more?” the mentioned drone’s eyes light up.

“NO, YOU CAN’T! What species are you?!”

“But I like how crunchy it is...”

“Look at 47989! Look at iiiit! It still can’t blink with both eyes at the same time. This is your fault!”

47989 dazedly waves at 36658 to show there are no hard feelings.

“See? No biggie,” 36658 smiles.

“Is that so? Then it can walk on its own from now on.”

“Nope, that was a punishment for offering to quietly kill it and make it look like an accident,” 156 butts in with a smirk, “Oh my, I guess the secret is out.”

47989 gasps and bites 387’s ear.

“Ow! What the hole, you little derp?” 387 turns his head at the offending drone lying on his back.

“Pfbfbfbfbf!” 47989 sticks its tongue out.

“I should have left with the queen like 56 and 98...” 387 sighs.

“You mean as an emergency ration?”

“At least that way someone would be carrying me.”

“You do realize no one is forcing you to stay with us, right?” 156 still hasn’t even opened her eyes.

“Considering that only the two of us are of high enough rank with the personal knowledge to keep up at least some basic hive mind running for the others, the winner of today’s dumbest comment iiiiis!” 387 pauses for dramatic effect, “Youuuuu! A round of applause, everyone, if you will.”

The drones start cheering, some even add a few whistles. 36658 happily foams at the mouth from overstuffing itself with bark again.

387 walks over to it, grabs it by its neck, and violently punches its stomach several times. 36658 immediately proceeds to throw up all over him.

“Instant karma,” comments 156 as 387 rips out a clump of grass from the ground and starts wiping himself off with an expression of utter disgust.

“Hey, it worked!” 36658 clutches its stomach with a groan, “Owwww… almost worked.”

“What?” say 156 and 387 simultaneously.

“You made me throw up. That means I can chew all the bark I want and we don’t have to risk anyone slipping while jumping on me again.”

“You planned this?!” 156 finally breaks her meditation and looks up directly at the swaying drone, incredulity etched on her face.

“Well, yeah. We just need to do some fine tuning on the punching strength but for the first test it went pretty well.”

“Congratulations, you’ve reached levels of stupidity I never thought possible while at the same time still outclassing any plan 156 has put up so far. Bittersweet, really.”

“Seriously, high score in assholery incoming, 387.”

“Woooo!” cheer the drones, “High score! High score!”

“Don’t encourage him...” 156 sighs.

“You know… I feel a lot better all of a sudden,” 387 cracks his neck and stretches, “Anyone else wants to give the bark a shot? Punching that moron was pretty therapeutic.”

“Sure, but later,” 36658 nods, clearly considering the situation a perfectly valid quid pro quo, “I think I’ve had enough for now.”

57999 hesitantly raises its foreleg.

“I’d like to try but with a bit less punch-”

“No!” 156’s eye twitches, “Go… go hug a bush or something.”

“Woohoo!” the majority of the drones sprint out of the clearing and disappear into the forest.

“Excellent job, oh great leader,” 387 facehoofs, “How many do you think will return?”

“I’m sure a clever warrior like you can wrangle nineteen drones. Wait, fifteen. I forgot about 47989 and the three Silents.”

47989 nibbles absent-mindedly at 387’s head fin and the three motionless drones 157 mentioned don’t react whatsoever, sitting still. To her surprise, 387 lets the comment go for once, instead giving the Silents a worried look.

What are they, anyway?” he asks, “Everything about them just keeps rubbing me the wrong way.”

“Oh right, you warriors weren’t involved in the queen’s project,” replies 156, choosing her next words carefully not to upset the already fragile loyalty inside the group of survivors, “If I told you not to worry about them, would it be enough?”

“Hole no!”

“Okay, what about them bothers you the most? Let’s start with that.”

“The fact that when I look inside their heads, there’s nothing.

“I… see, the main part. I was hoping you were a little less smart,” 156 frowns, “Look, the queen needed bodies to break through the magic shield surrounding Canterlot. There weren’t enough drones and there wasn’t enough time or resources to hatch them. In light of that, the queen dusted off an old project of hers, no idea how old - a way to avoid nurturing the brain of new changelings, which is the most love-consuming part of our growth, and focus only on their bodies. We call those changelings Silents because, well, as you noticed they aren’t much more than just blank slates waiting for orders.”

387 gags, 156 shoots him a dirty look in response.

“Most of you low-ranks and the drones are still alive only because the queen created them so don’t give me that, otherwise it would have been your carapace splattered against the first cracks in the barrier,” she hisses at the now emptily retching warrior, “Besides, you wanted to kill 47989 because of a bump on its head.”

“That was out of mercy and for the sake of my sanity!” growls 387, “A deal between changelings! Not… not the queen and her mindless tools. What was stopping her from eventually replacing all of us like that?! Just her, a few useful unique top ranks, and an army of Silents.”

“Is it really that different from the queen ordering you to do something? It’s not as if you could refuse anyway.”

“No, don’t you dare defend her… her crime against nature!”

“Anyway, so what?!” 156 stares him down, “Do you want to leave them standing here until they starve now that you know what they are? Because that’s what they’re going to do if you don’t order them anything.”

“No, I don’t...” 387 hangs his head after a while.

“Then it’s settled. Discussion over. Topic closed,” growls 156. To her surprise, 387 quietly sits down and lets 47989 slide down from his back. The drone flops on the grass and starts rolling around in the warm sunlight, “Huh, what’s it doing?”

“Don’t know, don’t care,” replies 387.

“387?”

“I’ve always known you infiltrators were arrogant bastards who didn’t value the lives of anyone below your rank but until now I didn’t know that you were monsters with absolutely no honor who would be part of something this… abominable,” he breathes out through gritted teeth.

“You can think what you want,” 156 scowls, “The project saved more lives-”

“How many Silents were present during the invasion in total? Give me a rough estimate, please,” the final word slipping out like acid.

“Hundred and fifty thousand… give or take.”

“There were less than eighty thousand real changelings,” 387 bares his teeth at 156, “So tell me again how many more lives your insanity saved?!”

“If we had the time and resources to breed full changelings, we would have! Is that so difficult to get through your thick warrior skull?”

“Then why did we have to rush? Why didn’t we take over smaller villages, gain strength, and then go to Canterlot with a full army? Why did we arrive on the day when there were THREE alicorns present in the city and AFTER the ponies knew about us and erected that damn shield?”

“We went when the queen told us to,” says 156 simply, “We went because she wanted it.”

“But why?”

156 sighs.

“I don’t know, okay? Is that what you wanted to hear? Maybe if you asked someone higher, they’d know-”

“I did ask,” 387 frowns, “That’s the problem.”

“Who?”

“I asked 6 before I bashed his head into paste with a rock. He didn’t know either.”

Total silence.

“That’s impossible,” says 156 flatly.

“6 would disagree if he could.”

“I’m going to need some details here.”

“I told you before that I didn’t want to talk about but hey, now that I know you’ve done something waaaay worse and 6 was likely a crucial part of the Silents project, all my doubts are gone.”

“There is no way in hole a rank 387 would even remotely get close to touching rank 6, no matter what kind of a moment of surprise you could concoct. 6 could kill you with a glance.”

“He was the most smug, arrogant, heartless stain you could have found. Or maybe all the top ranks are like that, I don’t know. He got… peckish on the way to Canterlot, so he stayed a bit behind and started eating low ranks. I was part of the rear guard of the swarm and we quickly realized that we couldn’t run and 6 was nowhere close to stopping. Some seven thousand changelings got killed taking him down through sheer attrition. None of us were too full of love, not even the top ranks, so eventually… we got him. I finished him off and I was the only one who survived, everyone else either died of their wounds or during the fight itself. The queen didn’t even notice the entire rear guard was gone, she only kept threatening that if 6 deserted he’d be a dessert once we won at Canterlot. She didn’t ask me any questions or probe my mind, it just didn’t even occur to her that something like that could have happened.”

156 can’t think of anything to say to that.

47989 starts rubbing its head against 387’s side.

“What now?” the warrior asks quietly.

The drone hugs him.

“You should know that I only wanted to kill you so that you didn’t suffer. The rock you hit was pretty big,” mumbles 387.

“Amm gud,” 47989 blinks out of sync as it surprises itself by speaking. 387 goes ‘huh?’, raises his hoof to pat 47989’s head, decides against it and scratches the underside of its muzzle instead before turning towards 156.

“Fine, you were right, I was wrong… this time.”

The infiltrator measures him for a few seconds before replying:

“Let’s say that we both may have been not entirely right… at certain points in time, and let’s try to think of what we’re going to do from now on instead. After all, what’s the current status of our group? Report!”

“Three infiltrators, six warriors, sixteen drones, three Silents. Drone 47989 temporarily out of commission. Everyone else is hungry but in passable shape. We’re carrying thirteen cocoons with ponies, neither of which will last another week unless we find a fresh source of love to refresh the goo. The warriors are stationed around in a pentagonal pattern, we don’t have the love to maintain hive links across the necessary distance to keep up comms with the two infiltrators you sent to scout out the pony settlement, the Silents are waiting for orders, and drones are holes-know-where. We don’t have any technical gear at our disposal.”

“Well done, warrior.”

387 salutes, giving in to his instincts. 47989 stands up next to him, mimicking the gesture.

“At ease,” 156 nods, “Now, I recall something vague about my plans being unsatisfactory to you, 387.”

“Well,” he scratches his head, “Everything you said was more a wish than a strategy-”

“So we are going to prepare a basic plan which we’ll adapt based on the information my scouts return with.”

“We?”

“Yes, 387. I wouldn’t dream about proceeding without your input.”

“You’re just screwing with me now, aren’t you?”

“At this point it’s roughly fifty-fifty,” she nods, “Now go round up the drones in case we need to move out quickly.”

387 sighs.

“Yes, ma’am.”

Author's Note:

Greeeat, made it 2 chapters without heavy stuff, lore, and tragedy.
I just want to write something fun and then my head happens. Every. Single. Time.

Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!
Join our Patreon to remove these adverts!