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Day Two: Shipping And Handling
By Sunshine Laughter

...thing on. There! I am definitely getting the hang of this. Alright, hello everyone its...oh yeah... hello everypony, it's Sunshine and Millicent back and we are having one muffin of a breakfast here. As you can see, pancakes, yes they are real flour, real eggs, real everything here... and syrup. Here is something that will just fuse your implants: this syrup came out of a tree. I am not shi....muffin-ing you here. Out of a muffin tree. Trees apparently have syrup inside them, that's where it lives. How's that for amazing, huh?

"And it's really GOOD, too!"

Oh, man is it! Real syrup, real pancakes and this, this my friends is orange juice, and by that I do not mean that it is an orange colored liquid labeled orange, no, this also came out of a tree...

"Off of a tree. Oranges are fruit, remember?"

OFF of a tree, from a fruit, which is SQUEEZED right into a glass, and it is awesome, or would be, except that apparently it hurts my ulcer, so I can't have very much. See these? They are real tears, because I can't drink the real orange juice. Boo hoo hoo!

"When you are a pony, you will be able to drink all the orange juice you want, Sunshine!"

Rub it in, why don't ya. Boo hoo hoo hoo...

"I didn't mean it that way, Sunshine! I really didn..."

I know, I know... it's OK, Millie! You know, it's really hard to believe that you used to be some badmuffin terror of the favela, I have to say. Seriously, you were really like her? Oh, by the way, over there? Follow my finger. See that dark-haired girl with the fake leg? That's 'Razor', Millie's ex. Scary stuff, huh? You were like that?

"I don't like thinking about that now. Please don't... remind me?"

I'm sorry, I'm sorry Millie. God, I'm really doing well today, aren't I. Sorry. Hey, want the rest of my orange juice? I can't finish it all, you could have it if you want.

"Thank you, Sunshine. I like orange juice!"

It's that smile again. Man. I love that smile. It's almost worth giving you the rest of these pancakes but... nope! I gotta have some more of these... mmmm.... oh.... yes, I am getting used to this Conversion Bureau lifestyle, I have to say. Now these pancakes are all those adjectives they put on the box, only for honest real. Check this out. Light, fluffy, those little air-holes, the light brown color, and the taste, with the butter! Oh, the butter.... the butter... But enough of that.

Look where I am sitting! Low table? On a pillow? Surrounded by beautiful, beautiful ponies! I am sitting at the pony table, thanks to my best pal here, Millicent the pony. And you know what? It is just as nice and wonderful as I imagined. Everyon....everpony here is friends, they are all nice as can be, and we are having a fun time. Apparently I shouldn't have been afraid, according to Goldenrod over here - say hello Goldenrod!

"H-Hello? Who am I speaking to again?"

Humans, mostly. The Gov gave me this thing to tell the story of what conversion is like to the rest of the world. So, basically, I guess it's like a documentary on Bureau life, more or less. I've got an idea! Tell them about your conversion, what it was like, and what it's like for you now, being a pony!

"I'm... I'm not sure I could do that. I mean, how many people are watching?"

I haven't a clue. They never told me that. Hey, don't worry about that, just tell me. Just talk to me, tell me what you like and don't like about being a pony now, OK? So, what d'ya like about being a pony?

"Um... I... well, I like... I like having a tail."

That's interesting. I mean that's an interesting thing to choose as the first thing to say. What's cool about having a tail? Actually, I think tails are cool already, just looking at them I wish I had one, but... other than being pretty, what's a tail good for?

"It... it's kind of like pants, in a way. I mean, it covers your behind, you know? But it's also really fun to swish about, and I can swat things with it too. And... and it acts like a blanket, if you whip it over your flank, and I can sort of grab with it a little. Aquamarine and I actually held tails once, to see if we could do it. It was kind of like... like holding hands, sort of. And... well... it... "

What? I'm gonna have one myself soon, so I kind of need to know, you know?

"It just plain feels good. I'm serious. It's just really fun. And it feels good against the backs of my hocks and cannons. It just does. And when I whip it against my flanks sometimes. It... it just does."

Huh. Ok, Cool. I didn't know that. I'll have to try all of those things after I'm converted!

"I'd hold tails with you, Sunshine. If... if you wanted, I mean."

Hee! I'd love to, Millie. Millicent! What do you like about being a pony?

"Um... I haven't actually thought about it that much. I... just really like it."

But, well, why? If you had to name something, what... what would it be? The tail, like Goldenrod, or... I don't know, being pretty, or what?



"You said I was pretty!"

Well, you are. That's no secret. All ponies are really pretty. Even the boy ponies... the stallions. Equestrians are just a really handsome race.... but... of course... even, uh, there... you are really pretty just for you. Anyway, so tell me anything, something about what's fun about being a pony?

"Well, I like how I walk now."

You like how you walk? Why? In what way?

"I feel more stable. I feel like I can't trip, at least not easily. And I like the way my hooves go clippy-clop. And I know I could run really, really fast if I had the room. That's what I want to do, when we all get to Equestria. I want to run, really run, really, really fast."

Yeah. I can see that. Pony bodies look really strong and healthy. Powerful, too. And I like the sound of hooves as well. OK, great. Ummm... more pancake here, excuse me folks. Umm. MMM. Oh yeah. Um. Then, what... what would be something you don't like about being a pony? That's something I should hear about. Goldenrod?

"Something I don't like?"

Yeah, there must be something that isn't good, or as easy, or is a problem or whatever. It might be handy to know, before I become a pony.

"Well... you have to remember to keep your tail out of the way when... when you go, you know? And getting wet is no fun, because it takes forever for your coat to dry out..."

"Oh, yes Goldenrod, I know what you mean! I tried to take a shower in the evening after I was converted, and then I didn't know how to get dry, and I was afraid to ask for help. I did, eventually, and Sylvie came in and toweled me off, but even then I was still a little damp for like an hour after."

So what is the solution to dealing with being wet by yourself, then, Millie? Goldenrod?

"We need to help each other. It's hard for one pony, alone to do everything. We are meant to always help each other. Unless you are a unicorn, that's all you can do. So you shower with a friend, and then you can help towel each other off..."

"And comb each others manes and tails!"

"Oh yeah! That's a big one right there! You can't groom yourself at all, well maybe the tail..."

"Unless you are a unicorn!"

"Yeah, unless you are a unicorn. So, again you need to help each other for all kinds of things that..."

"Excuse me!"

Hello! Ah, a unicorn's perspective! So far it sounds like unicorns can do everything alone, is that the case? By the way, I'm Sunshine, this is Millie, and this is Goldenrod. Please join us!

"Thank you. Hi! I haven't chosen a proper name yet. I guess you can just call me Jan. Anyway, it isn't as easy being a unicorn as you imagine. I'm still using my mouth and hooves for lots of things. I've only just been able to lift anything with magic, and my control is terrible. But... even if I get really good with my horn someday, I can't see my own mane!"

"You could use a mirror."

"Oh. Yeah, I guess I could. OK, fair enough. But... doing everything on your own is lonely. Maybe I could brush my own tail and mane someday, or dry myself off with magic, but... I hope I don't have to. It's nicer to dry each other off, you know? And being groomed by another pony is much nicer than just doing it yourself. It isn't like just combing your hair as a human."

"YEAH! That's a point. As a human I'd just drag a comb across my head and be done with it. But as a pony..."

"No kidding... I LOVE having my mane brushed. Or... or nibbled."

"Oooh! Yes. Nothing better. It's not like having hair as a human at all. It's.... it's so..."

"Intimate. Hee hee hee!"

"Hee hee!

Well... I can see... I have a lot to learn, then. And I really feel left out here. Wow. OK, thank you, that was some really interesting stuff. Hey, Millicent, one thing I really want to know is....


We bring you a special report by Dan Mathers, Corporate News Network, via airship outside of New Denver, Northamerizone.

What you are seeing is the edge of the Great Barrier of Equestria, demolishing the megapolis of New Denver. These live scenes of the collapse of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Arcology, as it violently transforms into an Equestrian city nestled between hills and lakes show the extent of the damage caused by the steady expansion of the alien universe into our world.

Already almost 1500 miles in diameter, the Barrier shows no signs of stopping. Where once the proud ruins of the Arsenal Arcology stood, a magnificent tower of polycarbon, steel and plascrete, with its expanse of parking facilities and underground silos, now increasingly there is grass, thatched cottages, strange buildings and the largest infestation of trees this reporter has ever seen.

This once was the site of the nuclear interment center, now it is almost completely a large lake bordered by strange flowers and stalks. Where once the proud works of man stood testament to earlier days of wealth and commerce, now only silent, pointless meadows and acres of meaningless trees remain. It is truly a frightening sight, the history of both the rise and collapse of Denver being dissolved into strange, pastel greenery as the shimmering wall advances.

A recent recalculation of the expansion of Equestria by Worldgovernment scientists places ZP Day at 1,084 days from today, just barely over three years from this moment. ZP Day, the day when zero percent of the Earth as we know it remains, when the entirety of our planet is inevitably and horrifically absorbed into the advancing cosmos of Equestria. Unless some means can be found to stop this process, ZP Day must occur, and on that day, any human that has not been converted will have no place left to stand, much less run.

Earlier, we interviewed this corporate Science Advocate about the expansion of Equestria into our space.

"So, tell me, is there any way to stop this, this invasion of our sovereign planet by the cosmos of Equestria?"

"Well, Dan, the Worldgovernment Authority has put all of their resources into this very problem. We all remember the Three Days War, where every weapon on earth was used against the Barrier, to no effect. We've seen attempts by all the Zones to halt, repel, or destroy the Barrier, and we have seen all of the many efforts devised to combat the lethal effects of thaumatic radiation on human beings, again to no avail. It's not like we haven't tried, we have literally tried everything possible, and even a few impossible things too."

"Impossible things?"

"Bringing in the Druids, for example, World Prayer Week, not to mention the fiasco of the Wiccan Coalition For Earth's efforts. The fact is, and always has been, that our universe simply has nothing to combat thaumatic radiation with. We don't even know what it is, and there is no way to treat its effects on he body. What the Equestrians call 'magic' is, for all intents and purposes, just that, and we are dealing with a form of physics our universe has never encountered before."

"So where does that leave us?"

"It leaves us helpless, Dan. Completely, utterly helpless and at the mercy of forces beyond our understanding, and a realm possessing total dominion over our future. Fortunately, this alien domain is ruled by benevolent leaders, who have provided the human race a means of survival. Conversion, Dan. The bottom line here is that all human beings that can must be converted into Equestrian form if anything of our species is to survive this literally cosmic calamity."

"So it's a good thing the Worldgovernment is constantly building new Conversion Bureaus, then."

"Absolutely, Dan. It is truly a testament to the spirit of all Mankind and the vast wisdom of the Worldgovernment Authority that we have the Conversion Bureaus around what is left of our Earth. I cannot stress this enough: get converted. Get your family, your friends, and everyone you know converted as soon as possible. We have only one thousand, one hundred and thirty-three days left until ZP Day, and I can personally assure you, and all of your viewers, that there is no other solution available."

"What about space, what about the effort to revive the space program and move the population to Mars?"

"It was an interesting plan, and it might have worked for a very small number of people, but in the time left, and with the diminished resources still left upon our planet, it just would not be possible to send more than a small colony, and even then it was calculated that the chances of survival would be infinitesimal. If this had only happened half a century ago, things might have turned out differently, at least for an elite few. But for the vast bulk of humanity, even if space travel were still possible, conversion would still be the only hope for survival."

"So, when are you and your staff getting converted?"

"I am not at liberty to discuss this matter, Dan. We in the Worldgovernment remain in order to work on finding any alternative answer we possibly can, and to assist the teeming hordes of humanity in this dire situation. But when the time comes, you can be assured that we of the Worldgovernment will find our way to our proper destination. I can assure you of that with absolute confidence."

That was an interview recorded earlier this year that... wait, there is something going on, down below. As you can see in this enhanced view, a group of people are marching towards the Barrier! This is extraordinary! They appear to be... yes, they are Muslims For Christ... and a party from the Human Liberation Front. Look at them waving those banners! They seem to be marching straight for the Great Barrier, chanting something... no, no, they are singing. They are singing some kind of Islamochristian hymn, and oh, they are starting to stumble. I've seen that before, that's the effect of strong thaumatic radiation... oh, they are going down, they are just falling on the ground, some are shaking, some are writhing... they must have entered a zone of high thaumatic radiation.

Look, at that, folks, with HyperZoom technology from SamSonYota, what you are witnessing is thaumatic burns spreading across the exposed flesh of... this must be an intense field... the flesh is just melting here, I've never seen anything like this. Can we zoom in closer? That's exposed bone there, on what was, I think, a young man, probably a member of the HLF.

It was a brave attempt, but a futile one. I cannot imagine what these brave human souls thought they could accomplish, wait, wait, the banner reads "Horses Go To Hell". It seemed to be a protest, one that ended in tragedy, here in the vanishing remains of New Denver.

I'm Dan Mathers, and thank you for joining us for this special report. We return you now to your regularly scheduled infofeeds.


...There. Heya there. We're in classroom two now, and we're doing 'Basic Physical Skills For Equestrian Life'. Since it's so basic, it's a mixed class, so Millie and I get to be in the same place. And Goldenrod, Aquamarine and Jan the unicorn are here too. We're the Breakfast Pony Club all sitting here together. So, basically, I'm feeling pretty happy!


Hee hee! So, you're all probably wondering why I've got a bowl between my wrists. If I'd bothered to pay attention yesterday, I would have learned that human wrists are equivalent to pony foreknees, and the first human finger joint is the same as the fetlock on an Equestrian. Ponies used their foreknees and fetlocks in much the same way as humans use their hands.

See, I can lift a bowl or a cup, or pretty much anything else, using the sides of my wrists. Ponies do this all the time. Now a pony could also use their fetlocks, which have even better control - like how Millicent is doing right now. See, she can hold her bowl right between her fetlocks and it kind of looks like a human using their hands, almost, with the hooves and everything.

Now I can't do that, because my fingers aren't strong enough, or else they aren't wide enough or something. All I know is it's hard. But I can hold my bowl with my wrists - what will soon be my foreknees - and that is considered fine too, among ponies. In fact, sometimes it's easier, because that grip brings the bowl, or whatever, closer to the mouth.

"Fetlocks are better though, Sunshine. There's these little hollows here that kind of grip the bowl, see?"

Hmmm... I guess so. It's just the way the bones are. Huh. Well, according to our instructor, Blueflower Glade here, the principle is the same, and practice now will help me later, after I am ponified. I'm getting kind of excited about being ponified, by the way. It's really nerve-wracking wondering when they are going to call me. Aqua says they usually don't do anypony before the third day. Usually. I almost wish they'd just get it over with, you know? Then again, this is just my second day.

OK, now we are all getting tea in our little bowls, and we're supposed to drink it without spilling, using our wrists... or for the ponies, their fetlocks or knees. Both, I guess. It looks like some of the humans can use the sides of their hands successfully... that guy over there just sipped his tea, and as you can see, that bowl is right at his knuckles, where his fetlocks will eventually be.

I'll give that a try, I guess. Easy, easy, almos.... oh.... MUFFIN!

"It's Ok, Sunshine. Here, I'll wave down Blueflower. Excuse me! Blueflower? We had an accident!"

Millie! Oh... oh boy. Now I feel really dumb. Hi, yeah. I kind of had a boo-boo. Sorry.

"It's perfectly fine. Now here's some more tea, try again. Nopony gets this the first time! Just try your best!"

Thank you, Blueflower. Sigh. Tell that to the guy over there. Oh god, he's grinning at me. Oh, yeah, show off! Fine. I can see. Oh, that's cute.

I will not be beaten by some grinning ninny with oversized gorilla hands. Let's see... I'll try this again, only... damn! Well, at least it didn't spill again, that's something. I just don't get how this is supposed to work. I can do it fine with my wrists, heck, it's easy with my wrists.

"Try between your knuckles, Sunshine. Right there. That's kind of like the hollow spot here, just before my hoof. See?"

Hmmm. Ok, yeah, I can kind of see that. It does kind of dip in slightly there, just before that place where the thing that your hoof grows out of is. Kind of like between my first two joints on my hands. If I could use my thumbs, it would be a snap. Alright.... I'm doing it! Hey, hey, look, I'm doing it, I'm doing it, I'm...

"Excuse me! Miss Blueflower? Over here again! She nearly did it this time!"

Oh, I just want to bury my head. Oh, man. Millie...

"What? She said it was OK! Nopony gets this the first time, remember?"

You did. That guy over there did. Oh, wait! Score! Heh... he dropped his cup too! Yay! Show off.

"Sunshine. That's not nice. He's just trying to do his best, even if he is showing off at you."

Augh. Ok, Ok. I'm sorry Millie. Try to be nice. Always wish everypony the best. It's still hard for me, Millie, I guess I'm still just a mean old ape. Sigh.

"Don't fret, Sunshine. You're very nice and not mean at all. It's just that you could be nicer still. And I know you will be!"

Yeah, as soon as I'm a pony too. Hey, hi again, Blueflower. I nearly did it. I guess I just got excited when it started to work.

"It's not as important that you succeed, as it is that you go through the motion of trying. This is designed to train your mind to accept using your limbs in new ways. Just keep trying! We have lots of tea, and lots of cloth to soak up the spills. There you go. Smile! You're doing fine!"

Thank you, Miss Blueflower. Wow. She's really nice, huh, Millie.

"Oh yes, I think she is a very nice teacher. I like her too."

Well here goes again. Wish me luck.

"Good luck, Sunshine!"

Hee. Alright, between the knuckles, pretend they're fetlocks, like yours. Up, easy, easy... hey, that does work better... alright, SLURRRRRP. Hah! I did it! I drank like a pony! Ok, Ok, put the bowl down, there, easy, there... YES! I am the pony-est! I am pony-tacular! I got my pony on! WHOO!

"Congratulations! Very good. Now try again."

Ok, Miss Blueflower. Hee. Go me.

You know, I wondered how ponies dealt with the lack of hands. Yeah, they use their teeth a lot, but they also use their hooves, and now I know they use the sides of their legs. Fetlocks and foreknees can grip and hold things, and here's something really cool. Millie, would you do the grabbing thing again? Here, let me empty my cup. SLUURRRP. There. Ahhh. Now, do that thing again?

Yeah, see that? I love that. Ponies can pinch some stuff between fetlock and hoof. The back of the hoof... it's kind of flat, and soft back there, and they can grip pretty good. She can hold that cup just there, tucked next to the back of her hoof, pressed against her... ankle, I guess. It's a solid grip too... look. I'm tugging pretty hard here.

"Hee hee!"

I bet a pony could hold a lot of things in there. Tools, handles, maybe even door handles. You know, it's kind of the same effect as me... well like this, where I can grip the cup with my fingers by pressing against my palm. No thumb needed. Same kind of thing. I have to say I am kind of amazed, there are a lot of ways a foreleg can be useful for holding stuff. I never knew.

Hey, Goldenrod, that's pretty cool. You can sip your tea, holding your cup that way, in your fetlock... grip. I don't know what to call it. That's really cool. Yeah.

Hey, can you... wow Millie, you can do it too! Well, I guess that's three separate grips a pony can use. Maybe not having hands really won't be such a big deal. Jan, that is so cool. Balancing your cup on your hoof. Awesome. You don't even need your horn, you can do stuff without it. That's great.

Apparently... we're getting other things to play with now. Various shape and objects to practice holding and gripping. I'm pretty full of tea now anyway. Actually, too full. Miss Blueflower? Excuse me but... wait, one moment, I should turn this off and...

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