• 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.

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156, 387: 3

156 measures both infiltrators sent out for detailed scouting as the higher-ranked one reports their consolidated findings regarding the nearby pony settlement set up in the middle of the forest for reasons unknown to the group of changelings.

“It’s not actually an organized town, that’s the problem,” explains 918, “It’s some kind of a... logging camp with semi-permanent buildings. There are four foals, and out of the estimated eighty ponies we’ve seen ten mares and it didn’t look as if there would be many more. With several exceptions, all stallions we saw were in great physical shape. If we try to use force, it can backfire really badly, if I may offer an opinion.”

“Huh, sausage fest,” comments 387, “At least that makes our job easier.”

“I was half expecting you to say your job, seeing that all three of us are female-”

“...am not...” mumbles 1988 quietly, earning a slightly raised eyebrow from 387 and his entry to the conversation being completely missed by 156.

“-and your warriors are, you know, warriors,” finishes 156.

“Still changelings,” 387 shrugs, “I’m not seeing the problem here.”

“The problem is that we don’t have the love to make any big changes so your natural disguises are the only way we can do this, and I doubt that a suddenly arriving squad of barely female bodybuilders would blend in.”

“Some stallions dig that and I respect them for it. Still, six to one stallions to mares,” sneers 387, “If they’ve been here for a while then I’m pretty sure we could waltz in undisguised and win just due to our leg holes. It’s not as if the mares would object to some relief.”

“What about the foals, can we use them in any way?” 156 nods at 918.

“47989 could use someone around its level of intelligence,” 387 nudges the drone resting by his side who looks up, gives him a dizzy smile, and nuzzles his hind leg. 387 frowns and carefully pats its head, “Now you’re making me feel bad for saying that.”

“As you should,” 156 looks at him meaningfully, “The drones aren’t stupid, they just don’t have access to the hive mind information or any personal experience with anything past hive duties- STOP CHEWING ON THAT TREE! BOTH OF YOU!”

36658 covers its mouth and gives her the most innocent look it can. 57999 sitting next to it drops the small piece it’s been holding and nibbling on left behind by 36658’s rampage and hides its forelegs behind its back.

“A-hem,” 918 clears her throat, “May I continue?”

“Go on,” 156 nods, “387, stop interrupting.”

918 gives him a nervous look that ends on 156.

“387 is right, though. The levels of pent-up lust we felt while snooping around were off the charts all over. Very little love, though, so we still have to cocoon anyone we capture to get a decent amount. As for the general mood, the ponies don’t seem to be aware of any danger. It is possible that the news about the changeling invasion haven’t reached this place at all yet.”

“That opens some interesting options...” nods 387.

“Such as?” 156 raises an eyebrow.

“I mean, ponies didn’t know about us before the invasion at all, did they?”

“I’m not aware of it, no.”

“Sooo… why would we need to waste love on disguises?”

“Warriors...” 156 rolls her eyes, “How do you intend to replace someone’s beloved without looking like them?”

“They literally just said there’s no love there. Any amount we can get would be through cocooning.”

“We can still go for affection or friendship.”

“And if ponies have no clue who we are, what’s stopping us from earning it without a disguise?”

156 opens her mouth to object but to her absolute shock realizes that she’s out of arguments. She’s always done infiltration the usual, quickest, and least traceable way but like this… when they don’t have the love already and there’s no quick fix to be found…

“They’ll attack us on sight even without knowing the news. We look terrifying to them!” she finds a viable objection.

“Here’s an idea - we throw a drone their way and see what happens.”

“Stop trying to get rid of 47989!”

“As fun as it would be to watch it trying to write the first drool-to-ponish dictionary, I wasn’t thinking about 47989 this time. Neither the bark-eater and its newfound apprentice. Of course, the Silents are out of the question too.”

156’s brain freezes. Did a warrior just outplan her?

“We likely won’t be able to get the drone out if things get hairy,” she shakes her head, “They outnumber us and, as 918 said, they’re in great shape physically. Plus, logging camp means easy access to tools, namely axes.”

“Any volunteers?” 387 calls out without even turning his head.

The small crowd of drones eagerly listening while either lounging around, digging out small holes in the ground, or trading interesting twigs and rocks gathered before the warriors rounded them up for the report, they all raise their forelegs.

47989 does so too. 387 grabs its hoof and lowers it.

“It’s going to be dangerous and if things go wrong, we won’t come for you. Even if you try to escape we’re going to move away from here so that you can’t lead the ponies to us,” 156 reiterates the situation, completely confused by the drones’ eagerness, “You’ll die!”

“I didn’t even get to see a pony in Canterlot!” one raises a voice.

“Yeah, and in Riverside it all went holes up because the queen was hungry again.”

“And nuts!” comes another voice from the back.

“That too!” more drones nod, “She kept yelling about her being alone and empty and banging her head on the walls.”

“Looked cool with her mane, though,” adds one, “Good ear for the rhythmic beat too. Unts unts unts-”

“Unts unts unts unts!” the drones start headbanging in the air as one.

156 glares.

“Screw it, one less mouth to feed,” she facehoofs after solid twenty seconds of watching the drones figure out a beat, each adding its own version and turning it into a chaotic mess.

Horrible croaking grunting cuts through the melody as 36658 starts choking. With a roll of his eyes, 387 walks over there and punches it several times until it throws up.

“Hey, that’s a cool sound! Lemme try,” the bashing of 387’s hoof on chitin inspires a drone to start smacking the carapace of the one next to it. Them being drones, it results in no damage.

“Who’s the lowest rank here?” asks 387, completely drowned out by the drones discovering the magic of music, unfortunately each at its own pace and style.

“What?”

“Who is the lowest rank here?!” 387 raises his voice.

“Whaaaaaat?”

“SILENCE!” calls out 156, sending out a mental prod everyone’s way. That tiny bit of energy is a small price to pay for her sanity, “The next drone to make a noise gets eaten, starting from hooves so that it can watch. Understood?”

Hasty nodding.

“Ehm, who’s the lowest rank here?” 387 tries again.

A hoof raises in the back of the drone mosh pit, this time with far more hesitation than before.

“What’s your rank?”

Silence.

“Rank. Drone!” 387 frowns.

The drone shakes its head and covers its mouth with its free foreleg.

“You can speak now, 156 won’t eat you,” 387’s eye twitches.

“91887,” peeps the drone quietly, not letting its eyes leave 156.

“Did you volunteer to go make the first contact?” asks 156.

“Mhm,” 91887 nods, encouraged by currently not being eaten.

“Alright, I will transfer the full map to you through the hive link,” 156’s stubby horn flashes.

91887 keels over with a yelp of pain and starts foaming at the mouth, its eyes rolled back and its legs twitching.

387 facehoofs.

“What the-?” 156 rushes over to it.

“What did you do?!” one either terminally brave or doubtlessly suicidal drone jumps between 156 and 91887 in an attempt to stop the infiltrator. 156 just effortlessly shoves it aside and puts her horn to 91887’s head. The foaming slowly stops, and 91887 sits up, clutching its head.

“Owowowowowwww...”

“Congratulations,” says 387, “You tried to copy an infiltrator-level detailed map into the head of a drone who hasn’t been hooked up for at least three weeks. Wanna see how it’s done?”

156 turns to face 387, fury burning in her eyes.

“What do you think you can teach me about mental skills, warrior?”

“Nothing,” 387 shrugs.

“And don’t you dare forget th-”

“I don’t have to,” 387 points at the brave drone, “You, rank?”

“9999.”

“Did you hear the report?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Good. The camp is that way,” 387 points in the vague direction of more and more greenery, “Go.”

Some drones start chanting: “Hero! Hero! Hero!”

It quickly grows as the other drones join in, although slightly muffled not to annoy 156 again. Drones are fully aware how close to being a snack they are whenever a high rank is around.

9999 disappears into the foliage, followed by an absolutely incredulous, jaw-dropped expression of 156.

That is the level of detail drones can handle,” 387 smirks, smugness positively dripping from him.

156 breathes out.

“I must have spent way too much time among ponies...”

“Hey,” 387 shrugs, “I spent way too much time inside the hive. If we put your infiltrator ego down a notch, we might just make a good duo.”

156 takes a long breath, at first to bark out something derisive about warriors again but it changes into an exhausted breath out.

“I’m sorry for losing my cool like that,” she says, “Don’t take it the wrong way but without the queen I’m the one in charge here and… and I’ve seen enough death in the past month than I ever wanted to. I don’t want to risk losing anyone here,” she glances at the drones who twitch in sync, “Even through their own sheer stupidity.”

47989 walks over and drops a beautiful purple flower in front of her. 156 looks around the now stomped down clearing due to it having been a changeling resting place for several hours.

“Where and when do you keep finding these? I swear there’s nothing more than grass around here.”

47989 shrugs.

“Everyone, grab the cocoons and let’s move!” orders 387, which makes 156 snap out of her flower-induced confusion.

“Right, right,” she shakes her head, “We have to get out of here. 1988, go keep an eye on 9999. If it walks too far from us, it’ll forget how to speak ponish. Don’t risk interfering with anything that happens to it, though. I’ll leave a pheromone trail for you to find us later.”

“Understood,” the ‘female’ infiltrator heads off.

***

Omigosh, omigosh, omigosh! REAL PONIES UP CLOSE! I can almost touch them...

“By Celestia’s divine backside, what the hay is that thing?” a burly-sounding earth pony who’s been sawing a log with his friend using a double-handled saw looks up and immediately trots over to a stump with a sharp axe buried in it.

9999 realizes that for some unknown reason, the bush in which it was hiding and gathering courage is several pony lengths behind it now.

“Hi!” 9999 puffs out its chest. It’s on a mission and there’s nowhere to run, “Don’t be scared, I don’t bite.”

“Scared?” the other earth pony stands up to his full height, “You ain’t the scary one here, little critter.”

9999 gulps, looking up... and up... and up.

Remember - nowhere to run, nowhere to run, nowhere to run!

However, there’s a limit to bravery when faced with something three times one’s size and armed.

“EEEEEEEK!” 9999 turns around and bolts, “THICK BUSH IS BEST FRIEND!”

Its legs pick up speed, too bad that all of them are in the air already as the earth pony scoops 9999 up.

“Sheesh, calm down, critter,” the pony raises 9999 to his eye-height, his plate-like hoof easily supporting the drone’s midsection as its legs keep flailing wildly, “I’m not the one with sharp teeth here.”

“In the game of rock-teeth-axe, axe always wins!” squeaks 9999, “I just wanted to see a pony up closeeeeee!” it goes limp and starts sobbing, “Now I’m gonna get hacked in half and then there’ll be two 4999s and I dunno where the 0001 is gonna beeeeee!”

The second pony walks over, axe-less. In 9999’s eyes, though, the potential of the axe is ever-present.

“It’s terrified.”

“You don’t say...” the huge one gives 9999 to the axe one. He’s smaller but that just means all his deadliness is more concentrated.

“Pleeeease don’t break me with math, axe ponyyyy...”

“What are you even-? Nevermind,” the axe pony huffs and firmly shakes 9999, “Can you calm down for a second?”

In light of the continuing lack of maiming and integer-proof division, 9999 wipes its eyes and examines the pony holding him in closer detail.

“YOU’RE SO FLUFFY!” 9999’s eyes light up.

“I am not!” the pony huffs indignantly.

“Must be all the coat conditioner your wife sent you,” the huge pony snickers.

“That bottle is filled with vodka and you know it!”

“Oh suuuure.”

“You’re both so squishy and fluffy!” 9999 starts touching and nuzzling the axe pony’s fetlocks. It suddenly freezes, “Oh holes, that’s why the disguise idea didn’t work last time...”

“What disguise?” asks the axe pony, narrowing his eyes.

“Did I say that out loud? Oops,” 9999 scratches its head, “Well, 87789 tried visiting some ponies after coloring itself up with this soft rock that makes lines. It didn’t end well.”

“You mean… chalk?”

“I… dunno. Maybe? I can tell you how it smells and tastes and feels. Do you eat this chalk thingie?”

“Hay no. It’s a rock, ponies don’t eat that. We can’t even smell that.”

“Then I’m out of ideas.”

“What happened to your numbers friend?”

“Resting in pieces,” 9999 salutes, “So far from the high score but it was a good effort.”

“Oh...” the axe pony lowers 9999 down, “That explains why you were so scared. Don’t worry, nopony’s gonna hurt you ‘round here. When you’re deep in the forest most of your time, you see worse things than small, weird, bug ponies.”

“Ohhh yeah,” the huge pony laughs, “Like that unicorn who travels the northeast wilds. He had a mare with him that caught fire when she got mad. I’m not slapping that plot ever again, heh.”

“Anyhoo,” the axe pony stands up and stretches, “What now? You gonna run off back into the forest or what?”

“Can’t! I’m supposed to have a look at what’s going on with this place,” 9999 shakes its head.

“S’posed to?” the huge pony raises an eyebrow, “Did somepony send you here?”

“Mhm,” 9999 nods.

“Who?”

“Can’t say in case you’re bad guys.”

The two ponies exchange glances.

“I guess we should take you to the foreman.”

“What does that word mean?” 9999 tilts its head, adding suspiciously, “Is that an axe thing?”

“The pony in charge.”

“Phew, good. That’s a great idea!” 9999 hops up and down, “That way I can make a good impression and everyone will be happy.”

“I’m sure you will. Hop on, it’s a bit of a trek even without your stubby legs,” the axe pony grabs 9999 and puts it on his back. To his friend, he adds, “Can you finish up here? I’ll take the second half of your shift tomorrow.”

“No biggie.”

Riding on the axe pony’s back, 9999 quietly squees to itself.

Ponies are so warm and fuzzy!

Ehm, I mean… mission accomplished!

Author's Note:

If anyone thinks there's bound to be a heavy metal drone band...






...they're absolutely right.

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