• Member Since 13th Dec, 2011
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Raugos


T

Ebony Dew has a friend that nopony believes is real.

However, she knows in her heart that he exists.

After all, it's his heart in the first place.


An entry for the Science Fiction Contest run by Bicyclette.

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 45 )

I really liked this! Any chance we get to read more of Ebony and Tickles? They've really grown on me :trollestia:

This was intriguing, I love the world and all of this. I need more. XD great job!

This is a certified gooder.

I loved how you did the concept for this story. It was really touching

Nice work!

Just curious: is this story related to or inspired by the world of Changeling Space Program?

So this was a fun concept. I do get wondering about the long term consequences--if you really want to phrase it that way--will be for Ebony and Tickles as time goes on. They are essentially two different entities--heck, two separate creatures arguably--sharing one body after all. I don't doubt they can work out a happy life for the both of them with this arrangement, but I'm sure there will be many complexities they're not going to know how to best work out at first as they come to them. For example, I'd imagine Ebony exploring any sort of love life is probably more than a little awkward at times for Tickles (since clearly his tastes on that front won't necessarily align with hers, as heavily implied here in the story). :trixieshiftleft:

On that subject, I suppose I might as well ask...how did Ebony and Tickles come to the conclusion that Tickles is male? Was that something Ebony just decided in her youth and Tickles never objected? Was that just how Tickles himself decided to identify himself? Or, dare I ask it, is there some physiological part to Tickles's parts of the body that, biologically speaking, would be male, assuming he had a full body of his own for it to fully manifest with?

Or did you never think it through that far and don't really know how to answer? Because that'd be okay too--obviously Ebony and Tickles don't know all the answers themselves either, so no harm in the author not knowing at this point too. I'm really just asking for curiosity's sake anyway, given I've been cursed with an overanalyzing brain that can't stop itself from thinking about these sort of things. :rainbowlaugh:

In any case, I could see another story coming out of this if the chance to write it ever arises. I'd imagine Ebony's dad isn't going to give up having his way on this so easily after all.

11110132
It's possible, though I don't really have plans right now.

11110216 11110241 11110306 11110332
Thanks for reading! :pinkiehappy:

11110372
I haven't actually read Changeling Space Program, so that would be a no. It's generally inspired by other sci-fi media I've enjoyed, such as Mass Effect and The Expanse.

11110478

For example, I'd imagine Ebony exploring any sort of love life is probably more than a little awkward at times for Tickles

Could be awkward for her partner as well, since there's always a third party watching, or that they're technically servicing two at once. :twilightoops:
(I decided against squeezing in a joke about what self-servicing or "Go f:flutterrage: yourself" might mean for her.)

how did Ebony and Tickles come to the conclusion that Tickles is male?

The idea is that Ebony picked a male persona for him, and he just kinda grew into it. By the time he was developed enough to understand the concept, he was already comfortable with being identified as male. I just didn't have a way to fit that nicely into the story.

Or did you never think it through that far and don't really know how to answer? I've been cursed with an overanalyzing brain that can't stop itself from thinking about these sort of things.

Hey, it's cool. Gives me an opportunity to lore-dump! :twilightsheepish:

Anyway, these characters have been in my head for years now. In fact, Ebony and Tickles were originally conceived as the main characters in a spinoff for That Changeling's a Bad OC!; they just needed a bit of tweaking to fit into a sci-fi setting for the contest. It was a challenge condensing years of character milestones into a short story, though.

11110625
I actually did wonder if the idea might have evolved out of "That Changeling's a Bad OC!"--I can see how the two respective lores could've interwoven at least. :twilightsmile:

Would they not be a self sustaining system? I would imagine that the changeling could survive off of Ebony's emotions entirely, but I'm not sure if there's limitations. Which also makes me think that emotions are just optional or required specifically or magic. If Tickles is entirely grafted through Ebony and gets nutrients from her, then I think it might be entirely possible to have Tickles not require emotion. It would probably be uncomfortable if that did occur though.

Waiting for the finally accurate half bat half pony half changeling jokes.

You've manage to justify baplicorns as feasible, unironic entities -- truly a dangerous author :trixieshiftright:

adds to long list of changeling related raugos stories I hope will one day get follow ups

This was a delight to read, and i wouldn't say no to more of it.

The worst thing about great one-shots like these is that after you're done reading them, you just can't help but want more.

Some of that patented Raugos weirdness. Always a welcome thing.

Combat in a space capable freighter is not a smart idea.

It's a very well executed interesting concept - great story.

11110691

If Tickles is entirely grafted through Ebony and gets nutrients from her, then I think it might be entirely possible to have Tickles not require emotion. It would probably be uncomfortable if that did occur though.

My headcanon is that changelings need regular food to live, and love is instead necessary for reproduction, advanced magic and higher mental function. It may be possible for Tickles to subsist without emotions, but they probably would not consider that a life worth living.

You've manage to justify baplicorns as feasible, unironic entities

You know, it didn't even occur to me that she was a pseudo-alicorn until you pointed it out. :twilightoops:

How's this for an out-of-context statement from Ebony: "I became a princess after my closest friend grew a horn inside me!" :trollestia:

I’m just imagining Tickles with the Moonbase Alpha text to speech voice. Those characters were pretty good. Very nice story, it left me with the ‘oh no, there is no next chapter’ sensation.

You know, the issue of Ebby talking to herself the way she does could've been found out earlier on by just doing brainscans and seeing there were two different brain frequencies in her head

oh wow! this is such a great concept, and amazing in execution. I really want to see what's going to happen later, but leaving the story as is would be just as good.

11111709
Stop poking holes in my plot. They probably could've, yeah. :twilightsheepish:

Unfortunately, her parents were not viewing her claims in good faith, and she was not in a position to force them to verify her claims with a proper medical procedure. It's also complicated by the fact that they would want to avoid uncomfortable questions about why their daughter has freaky growths after getting an unsanctioned, experimental transplant.

Admittedly, I'd left that issue vague because I couldn't neatly fit it all into the story. Not with the contest deadline so close, at any rate.

Great story. A very interesting setting (the Hive fleet referance makes me want to know more, for one thing), and the characters are fun too. I can definitely ship it as well, never mind the awkwardness for Tickles.

Nice story, I wrote a short review about it.

11112015
Yeah, it was unsanctioned but the guy should've won a medical award for his work. But yeah, using Changling stem cells to create a heart needs more work to prevent things like tickles from being created.

11112384
You generally don't get any kind of award when the experimental transplant you're conducting is illegal. And even if you did, I don't know how eager you'd be to tell people that you won the Victor von Frankenstein Award for Experimental Medicine.

11112357
Thanks for the review! :twilightsmile:

11112384

Yeah, it was unsanctioned but the guy should've won a medical award for his work.

Unfortunately, as 11112984 has pointed out, he's not really in a position to gain positive recognition for it unless he can somehow scrub his record of unethical practices.

He might be willing to settle for plain old money, though, if he can find an unscrupulous benefactor to fund and refine his techniques. He'll also need to get out of jail first.

11113063
You should make a story about how that heart was developed though.

Wow, how have I never seen your stories before?! I'm looking forward to going through your (sizable) story backlog.

This story was very well-executed and thought-provoking; I found myself thinking about the characters for a long while after reading it, and here again the day after reading it. You do a great job of establishing setting and character with a very small word count--a difficult feat. I'd love to see more of these characters.

As an aside, I'd be very interested to see how a romantic relationship would develop between Kiln, Ebony, and Tickles. Mandatory consensual non-monogamy?

Well, that was interesting.
I've gotta feel sorry for Tickles, being trapped in someone's head your whole life must suck.

Wow. Now that's how you open a fic. Zero direct exposition and yet you set the world and circumstances up beautifully. Also, ya know, a freighter dropping through the cloud layer from orbit is a good hook any way you look at it.

Oof. Yeah, this is why certain harder sci-fi settings have rules against or managing firearms on vessels. Guess it applies to magic missiles as well.

I want more of this universe and these characters, The concept is wonderful

More please

Catching up with my read later list. Nice work Raugos.

A little bit of implied worldbuilding caught my curiosity.

This:

New Everfree had some really impressive cloud patterns—great, swirling waves unbound by pegasi magic, bringing rain and sleet to the marble-blue oceans. It was still too dark to make out details on the landmasses, but he knew that they had an almost Equestrian distribution of biomes, with a nice mixture of brown and green. Very few lights marked the presence of civilisation on the surface, unlike much of the Core Worlds. The visible curve of the western horizon had a yellow glow to it, heralding the arrival of a sun without an alicorn’s guidance.

Implies that Equestria still has alicorns in it in some capacity.

But this:

“The doctor whom my father paid for the procedure was jailed because of some other shady stuff he did later on. But before that happened, he was working for Glimmerlife.” She gave him a thin smile. “You work for a megacorp. Tell me, what’s the likelihood of the suits claiming that Glimmerlife owns a biological miracle like Tickles because he was made using their technology and resources? What’s the likelihood of me owing them every bit I earn for the rest of eternity if they save my life?”

Implies that those alicorns, whoever they are, either have very little effective power in practice, or aren't following the legacy of Twilight Sparkle/Sunny Starscout all that closely. Because allowing slavery on a technicality isn't very harmonious. I know that is just speculation on the part of the characters and not necessarily fact. But that two pony citizens/former citizens of Equestria consider such a thing plausible is telling in its own right.

11141713

those alicorns, whoever they are, either have very little effective power in practice, or aren't following the legacy of Twilight Sparkle/Sunny Starscout all that closely.

The idea is that alicorns still wield tremendous influence when they choose to exercise it, but they aren't omniscient, and Equestria as a spacefaring civilisation has grown too large for them to easily monitor and control. No king rules alone, especially for alicorns presiding over democratic societies, so they unfortunately have to be careful about how they spend their political capital in order to keep things running smoothly.

A couple of citizens being abused by a corporation is probably going to fly under their radar, unless the case makes enough of a splash in the media to attract their attention.

Excellent! Words fail.

11142049

The idea is that alicorns still wield tremendous influence when they choose to exercise it, but they aren't omniscient, and Equestria as a spacefaring civilisation has grown too large for them to easily monitor and control

Not even assention into demigodhood makes you know more than everyone else. Seriously you should make a story about the alicorns of a spacefairing Equestria and at least how one assended

this was a fun introduction to an eccentric OC! the batpony stuffie in Night Guard armor was a particularly nice touch, bringing to mind a boomer's idea of what a millennial is like. definitely feeling for Tarmac here, as the conflicting needs of professionalism, politics and personal connections collide.

ooh, a lot of neat backstory here! the introduction of the changeling heart, and the confirmation that "Tickles" is an imaginary friend. and i really liked the little touches of Kiln dismissing Ebony's meal as not what "normal ponies eat", and them losing touch as foals after Ebony having an episode at school. really brings to mind issues of neurodivergence and mental illness. i'm guessing Ebony is a multicore personality, and that this will be very plot-relevant later.

ha, of course! i figured it had something to do with the changeling heart, but the idea of the heart acting like a tumor and literally growing a brain, then a horn, i somehow did not think of. i like how referring to Tickles as a "cancer" is both literally true and incredibly deëquinizing, and i love how it brings up questions of bodily autonomy and all the other fun issues that come with two minds sharing the same body. from the description, i totally would have assumed that Ebony Dew had died, but then i remembered that this chapter takes place before the others! if she had, the changeling heart inside her piloting her body like a mech really reminds me of the climactic end of the book Blindsight, and is just so very neat.

haha, loved Tickles poking Ebony as she was about to get horny on main, yet another issue raised by two distinct personalities sharing the same body! and the implication that in the long term, Ebony and Tickles' positions could switch is a fascinating one, and i really like just how accepting Ebony is of this possibility. that a very non-normative (in multiple ways!) pony like Ebony could find a home and sense of belonging in the loose and practical periphery that she could not in the tightly regulated metropole is a great staple of the space opera setting, and a very nice thing to end the story on. Ebony is a great pony, and i love her. thank you so much for it!

11221467

i'm guessing Ebony is a multicore personality, and that this will be very plot-relevant later.

It was a good guess!

11221468

the changeling heart inside her piloting her body like a mech

Technically, aren't we all sapient jellies piloting flesh-and-bone mechs? :rainbowderp:

Tickles does need extra steps to do it, though.

really reminds me of the climactic end of the book Blindsight

Is that the novel by Peter Watts? The synopsis looks really intriguing.

My Google search initially turned up blindsight as a real neurological phenomenon, which is the ability of some people to respond to visual stimuli that they do not consciously perceive. I then realised that it was one of the themes being explored in Watts' novel. Learn something new everyday. :derpyderp2:

11221469

Ebony is a great pony, and i love her. thank you so much for it!

Thank you for reading, and for organising the contest in the first place! Ebony was a joy to write, and I'm so glad you love her too! :twilightsmile:

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