P. E. R.
Michelson and Morely
The Speed Of Right
"Across the vastness of the multiversal interstices, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and warm and driven by the Magic of Friendship, regarded this earth with pitying eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans to ponify us." - Horse G. Wells
It was the fourth year since the emergence of Equestria in the North Pacific, three years from the day the Worldgovernment had initiated the most profound effort ever undertaken - the evacuation of the human species to another realm, the cosmos of Equestria.
Two universes were in collision, Equestria and Mundis, and the Earth had been caught in the middle. The ever-expanding, shimmering sphere in the Pacific would engulf the entire planet before shrinking and vanishing forever into the interstices between realities. Within that time, a space of only five to seven years, humanity would need to emigrate as a whole, or perish when their world utterly ceased to be.
But the price of escape to the green and welcoming new universe was absolute. Only native Equestrians could exist within the strange physics of the invading cosmos, and so for humanity to survive, Man must become Newfoal - Homo Sapiens transformed to become Equus Sapiens. Thus it was that the Conversion Bureaus were created, where a serum made of nanotechnology and the very stuff of magic could offer three ounces of freely given salvation to any soul who desired it.
But for some among Man's ranks, this free choice of survival was insufficient. The spirit of Humanity was too precious to gamble on personal whim or even conviction. Humanity must be rescued whatever the cost, from all threat, even from himself. So it was that the Ponification for the Earth's Rebirth took up a sacred crusade, to convert the whole of humanity, with, or without consent.
For those belonging to the P.E.R., Mankind - that pretentious, foolish, hairless ape - could not possibly be trusted to choose survival for himself. That they themselves were, or had started as human, was a fact pretentiously, foolishly, hairlessly lost on them.
The piñata hung from the bleached branches of the long-dead tree. The papier-mâché creation was large and colorful, festooned with bright ribbons and a vibrant purple coat of polypaper strips that resembled coarse fur. It had been made in the shape of a burro.
The dead tree with the piñata stood in a courtyard of sorts, around it, from the ruins, had been built a city of large shipping containers, conglomerations of metal sheet and the remains of plywood, glassine panels and even sections of plascrete clearly taken from sidewalks. Snaking through the favela-town, above the narrow paths between the buildings, hung long stretches of bound cable and wires that provided the two hours of electrical power that Little Aztlán enjoyed.
A mariachi band played Las Mañanitas as the crowd happily watched the children led in to surround the piñata like a small pack of candy-hunting wolves. It had been a very long time since anyone in Little Aztlán had even seen candy, much less such a large and marvelous piñata, and it was all because of the clowns.
The tall, thin clown wore a red nose and a wide, ruffled collar. He also wore a tight, short, yellow, polka-dotted dress with balloons filling out the bosom, and cheap, fake jewelry adorning his legs, wrists, fingers, neck, and of course, his pierced ears. A faint morning stubble contrasted with the light orange wig, and a conical hat somehow completed his absurd costume. His face was painted white with far too much lipstick and red dots for cheeks. Long, fake eyelashes stuck out like someone had implanted hedgehogs in his eye-sockets. Strangely, the entirety worked, a little too well. Some called him 'El payaso de puta', and it truly was disturbing how well he looked, despite the stubble. It just wasn't right, but... candy is candy.
The short, squat clown was dressed like a pirate, albeit one from a circus. A green curled wig, bright violet pantaloons, a loosely buckled swash and army boots strongly suggested that it must have not been a very good circus. In her crude belt a polyboard sword was stashed, covered in glue and sparkles. Apparently it was a budget circus as well. She sweat a great deal, wrung her hands and looked worried. Meanwhile, the tall clown minced and giggled at the crowd in a performance that had made at least one child cry, an elder señora need to suddenly leave, and which required one of the mariachi to adjust his paquete privado.
The two clowns had made quite a show, thus far, with some truly terrible magic acts, and a rather suspect balloon animal bit that included far too many colorless balloons with what appeared to be reservoir tips. There had also been the incident with the musical number - though it was forgiven on the grounds that the gringo clowns could not possibly have understood what they were singing. That said, after the third chorus of "¡Mierda, Joder, Cabrón!”, one of the favela elders had suggested that perhaps it was time for the piñata now.
The children of the favela were clustered now around the papier-mâché burro, one child had been selected to be blindfolded and had been given a stick. The band began to play a happy tune as the child was spun in place.
"You didn't say there'd be this many humans!" harshly whispered the short, squat pirate clown. "This isn't going to work!" She continued with a panicky edge "We're going to end up as glue and gelatin desserts, and I hate Jello!"
"Oh, Nutmeg, you silly, silly pony. We're doing it all... for the foals!" The tall clown smiled beatifically, a pleased pierrot of precious, pretty perfection. Or so he imagined, anyway.
"We aren't ponies yet, and we aren't going to be unless we leave NOW!" The short clown wasn't whispering anymore "We should have left the moment we saw how many humans were here! Lets. Go. NOW!"
"Nutmeg... Nut-meh-he-he-heg...we CAN'T leave now, we simply MUST see the happy smiles on all the precious little muzzles!" The tall clown batted his overly long lashes, beaming like an expectant mother.
"You are FUCKING INSANE!" The short woman glared at her partner clown.
"Nutmeg! Now that's just not pony in the least! Shame on you. And in front of the..." The tall clown looked over at the scene suddenly unfolding. Shrieks and screams had filled the air just after the piñata had been struck - as soon as the impact had registered, the device had immediately begun spinning rapidly spewing a glittering purple fluid over the gathered children, dousing them completely. "... ah, yes... foals." A wide, red, lipstick smile spread across the tall clown's face as the children, as one, fell to the ground blanched white as dough, their limbs already swelling into the stubby bulbs from which Equestrian hooves would soon sprout.
The squat clown was dragging the tall one by the neck, her fingers clutching multiple necklaces of beads in a death grip. "Ow! You're hurting me, and you're totally ruining my couture!"
"RUINING YOUR COUTURE?" the short clown tore off her green fright wig, tossing it down a side passage in the hopes of misguiding their fairly upset pursuers. "That'll be the least of your worries when..." she was panting now "... the entire favela... gets their hooves on us!"
The two clowns ducked down an alley and through a maze of crates and pottery. Angry voices, some in English, more in Spanish, shouted very un-pony things, mostly involving which parts of the clowns should be torn off and shoved down which orifices. On the whole, none of it was particularly genteel. The pair crouched between crates as a crazed mob ran past screaming and yelling like scalded, rabid, speared baboons who had finally decided that the hunter in the short pants and the pith helmet was Probably Responsible.
"Oh, how I wish I could have played with the little darlings, seen them take their first happy trots!" The tall clown sighed delicately, wistfully.
"You smell that?" The short clown, Nutmeg, grabbed her companion's necklace and gave it a sharp jerk "That's the trots, and I'm having them right now, and they are NOT happy!" The look in her eyes was somewhere between Slow Dissection and Burning Alive, but there was no doubt that it was intended to kill, if just a teensiest bit horribly. "What in Equestria possibly brought you to imagine this plan was a good idea?" Nutmeg was hissing now, a form of speech normally left to snakes and the very pissed.
"You, actually. You mentioned that the 'hoof that rocks the cradle rules the world' and my mind naturally went straight to piñata's bursting with Potion. Anypony would have come to the same conclusion!" The completely earnest look was not the least amusing. Well, maybe a little. Under circumstances involving less chance of being chopped into chorizo, it might have been endearing. In a 'I am completely doomed to a life of utter failure' sort of way.
"Come on!" Nutmeg grabbed her partner and dragged him, stumbling, out of their hiding spot. Instantly she began to pull him down the same path the mob had taken. After a few dozen feet, she veered them away and down a staircase into the underground maglev tunnels where they had previously stored their gear. Nutmeg used her thumb and the codeword 'Horseapples' to cause the Intelligent Lock she had placed on a rusted locker to open. Immediately, she began tearing her costume off, while pulling forth her fatigues and boots.
"Oh, such a shame, really..." her partner was sighing "...back to being a drab little pony again." He reluctantly took off the yellow, clinging dress and put on his own fatigues and boots. "I counted fifteen of the little darlings. That's fifteen more foals in the world for Celestia! Oh, dear..." the makeup was hard to remove, but he was making a valiant effort.
"What? What is it?" Nutmeg was worried, and rolled out on her back, in the middle of pulling a boot on, to scan up the stairs for pursuers.
"Fifteen, Nutmeg. That's an odd number. I don't mean the number is strange, I mean that it isn't even. How will we divide the score between us?" Nutmeg stared up at her partner. He was worrying about the count now?
"The bloody score isn't what I am worried about being divided!" Nutmeg finally had her boot on and was busy snapping the autogrip laces in place. "You do understand that human parents can become just a tiny bit... oooh... murdery... when you forcibly change all their children into ponies without their permission? You do get that don't you?"
"Oh, you're right..." by now her partner had managed to get all the makeup off, and had his favorite pink tanktop on. "...you should get the extra point. It's only fair, you did end up stuck with the pirate costume. It wasn't that good, really. Sorry about that. It just happened to fit."
"The only fit is the one I'm going to have if you don't get a move on!" Nutmeg threw a boot at her partner. "Now put that one and let's get the muffin out of here!"
"No need to be shirty with me. I was only trying to be generous." He began pulling on his boots.
"And take off that stupid wig, Ginger!"
The sound of running feet and angry men echoed down the stairwell, the sounds of a mob insane with rage. It was almost certain they would be killed in the most horrible of ways the moment they exited the underground, and their plan had been the nearest thing to a complete failure, scoring only fifteen new conversions towards the goal that would permit their own. They had lost a valuable potion sprayer, had made total idiots of themselves in front of an entire favela, and Nutmeg's underwear would never be the same.
Still, there was no denying the fact that for Fifth Column Knight Ginger Michelson and his Squire, Nutmeg Morely, this had been their most successful effort yet. It was, in fact, their only successful effort, not counting the day they were first sworn in to the P.E.R. and Ginger had accidentally knocked potion all over another recruit. Sadly, that hadn't counted as score.
Somehow, some way, they would earn their conversions. One day, they would be hailed as Celestia's secret agents of ponification, and enter Equestria in triumph! One hundred points each, and they would be granted full ponyhood with honors! They were true-hearted warriors of friendship, Knight and Squire of the Ponification for the Earth's Rebirth, and they were absolutely going to save the muffin' world.