Chapter Three: Birth
Ella and Chloe sat on the floor, apart. Alyssa was by the entrance
to the ponification room, her back against the white, unadorned wall.
Ella was somewhere off to her left, trying to squeeze herself into
the corner made by a counter-topped cabinet that met the wall on the
opposite side of the doorway. Chloe was in the far corner to Alyssa's
left, seeming to try to hide behind the thin metal pole of an
intravenous drip rack. Some part of Alyssa's mind imagined her as a
doe, hiding behind a tree. She was shaking, quietly.
could not entirely wrap her brain around the fact that Hannah was the
threat. She must have been HLF, Human Liberation Front. She must have
been some kind of dangerous fanatic. She never showed it. There was
no way to tell. Alyssa had liked her from the moment they had met.
She had talked about her life in Oregon, about her family. Hannah had
seemed intelligent, and polite. How could any of this not have shown
in her? How could Alyssa have been unable to somehow tell?
came through the heavy steel door that led into the ponification
room. Alyssa thought she heard the faint wail of an ambulance. They
must be tending the wounded and dealing with the aftermath out there,
down that hallway, past the other door, in Classroom A.
looked up, at last, to see Ambassador Sparkle, in the middle of the
room, by the stainless steel table, comforting Pie. The equinoid's
hair -mane- she automatically corrected herself, had lost all of its
curl, and hung limply down the creatures face. Her vast pupils had
contracted to spots, and it was clear that she was not the bouncy,
smiling being that Alyssa had come to know from countless newsfeeds
Pastern was conferring with one of the soldiers, who had opened the
ponification room door. Alyssa had startled at this, since she was
right next to it; she was too wrapped up in her own feelings to
notice that Chloe had jumped and set the IV rack to rattling.
and the soldier conferred for some time. Apparently the threat had
been 'neutralized'. All of the applicants had fled to the parking
lot, and it was unsure whether they would return for processing, or
leave altogether. Some had already fled. There was a plan to
transport what remained to another Bureau. Crews were dealing with
the aftermath. It was recommended that Sparkle and Pie be removed to
a place of safety immediately.
Pastern walked over to the Equestrian ambassadors and spoke in a soft
voice to both of them. Some decision was made, and it seemed that
Sparkle was fairly adamant about some point. Pastern returned to the
soldier at the door. Alyssa remained quiet. Sparkle and Pie will
leave, but only after the remaining humans in the room were
processed. They weren't going to leave anyone in the lurch. It
wouldn't take long, and the newfoals could complete recovery in
transit. It was something they had to do.
looked up at the Equestrian ponies by the table. Pie's hair was still
limp, but now Alyssa could see the blue of her irises. She tried to
imagine what it must be like for such creatures to have to deal with
the human world, her world, after growing up in an OZ-like fairyland.
They must be incredibly strong, incredibly brave, she concluded. She
could barely stand living in the world of Man, for them, it must be
like touring hell itself.
they were, offering a new life to whoever would take it. Tears began
to well up in her, tears for such a gift, tears for what they must be
suffering to be here, and tears for Hannah. She had liked Hannah.
Something very wrong must have happened to make such a nice-seeming
person do... what she did.
you OK? It was Dr. Pastern. Sparkle and Pie were looking at her now.
the one called Pie, Pinkie, bounced forward. She lowered her massive,
pastel head close to Alyssa's and all Alyssa could see were oceanic
eyes filling her vision. Scaaarryyy stuff. I know. But!
The pony seemed to brighten, her hair regaining some of its original
curl There's a better land, fur, fur away! For Ambassador
Pie, she was being remarkably subdued, but there was every hint of
her true nature in those quiet words. We're gonna go there, all
of us. So cheer up, little filly!and with that, she winked, and
bounced away. Alyssa's tears had stopped.
Alyssa would probably wake up in that land tomorrow. As a pony. And
so would Ella and Chloe.
crawled over to Chloe it just seemed better than standing up
and told her what she had learned. She took the shivering
girl's hand and held it. Alyssa wasn't good at knowing how to comfort
people, but it just seemed she had to do something. Chloe gripped
back. Apparently, it was the right thing to do after all.
joined the pair, in the corner by the intravenous rack. It was kind
of silly, Alyssa thought, but somehow sitting in that corner, not
really very well hidden behind the 'tree' of the rack felt strangely
safe. Perhaps it was some atavistic drive to find cover in a
dangerous world, Alyssa mused. Three little rabbits hiding behind the
only cover in their medical room veldt.
Pastern and Sparkle set up shop for the transmogrification process. A
sealed Erlenmeyer flask was removed from some kind of storage device.
Inside it bubbled a gloopy, purplish liquid. Three cups were
arranged, and measured doses poured into each one. Alyssa was
intrigued, despite everything that had happened, her mind easily
distracted by a chance to learn something new. Could this be all
there was to it? A few ounces of goop in a cup? Could total
physiological transformation really be accomplished with such a small
thing? It wasn't like she didn't understand the principle; 'magic'
infused nanotechnology miraculously rebuilding matter in but moments,
without heat, without conservation of mass, beyond normal physics.
But it was still just three ounces in a cup.
she grimly thought, a few grams of teflon-coated bullet could turn an
entire living person into a pile of unliving glatton. In the
terrestrial world, destruction was simplicity itself. It was easy to
destroy, and hard to build and create. Maybe in Equestria, this truth
was reversed. Maybe a few ounces of goop really could rewrite life
itself, if the principle behind it was the truth of another universe entirely.
first. She clawed her way up, using the IV rack for support, almost
frantically eager. There was the dream of escape in her eyes, and
Alyssa wondered if her own eyes showed how much she felt the same
way. Escape from a world where the violent human heart could never be
asked to undress, completely, and lay on the table. The position
didn't matter ultimately, but lying on her side was recommended. The
girl shivered from the cold of the steel surface. It'll be
ok. Dr. Pastern stroked Chloe's hair to calm her.
not that, it's just that this table is REALLY cold.
be all warm and comfy in no time! Pinky was rapidly regaining
her old self You'll soon have a lovely coat to keep you warm. I
wonder what color you'll be? Blue? Pink? Golden-orangey-yellow?
Heliotrope? Prussian Blu...
Go get the others ready! Twilight was using her horn to
levitate one of the cups over to Chloe. Dr. Pastern seemed intent on
checking Chloe's pulse and blood pressure.
up and began undressing. Alyssa remained on the floor, her heart
pounding. This wasn't the way she had imagined taking on a new life
in a magical land. Under siege in the back room of a clinic in
Lancing, soldiers beyond the doors, cowering in a corner.
again, when had her life really been any better? Everything was
always hard. Everything was always disappointing in some way. No, she
was disappointing in some way. Here was magic, real magic, right
here, right now, and all she could think about was what physics
supported three ounces of goop converting how many pounds of human
into a different weight of pony.
and the recent horror, of course. Her mind swirled with thoughts. Now
it was hard to think about... what had just happened down the hall.
It was like her mind just slipped off of dealing with it all, as if
all the noise and shooting were a slimy, oil-covered rock in the
lake, and her thoughts a boot trying to find footing on it. She
couldn't concentrate on it, it just kept slipping away.
is how everyone is dealing with it all. Maybe that was a blessing.
missed the beginning of Chloe's transformation. From her position on
the floor, she could see Chloe's hands just at the edge of the metal
platform, a foot and toes further down, just slightly off the bottom.
Though Alyssa knew she must be unconscious - there was some
discomfort in transmogrification, so a form of sedative was
incorporated in the mixture the parts of her body that could
be seen were jiggling and flopping a bit, as though puppeted by
this, the skin itself had taken a liquid sheen, and seemed to flow,
as if it were made of pudding. Chloe's foot rapidly retracted,
swelling and becoming lumpen in the process. Her fingers melted
together, and the mass swelled into a bulb and it too was retracted
away from the edge of the table.
braced against the wall and stood up, she thought she heard -or felt-
a strange sound in the air, a curious, almost musical thing, that
distinctly emanated from Chloe's molten form. It wasn't sound, not
really, but it was in Alyssa's head, in her body, and it made her
think of flowers and colors for some reason. The faint scars on her
arms, where the radiation in Petosky had burned her began to itch.
thaumatic radiation. It had to be. She was feeling some kind of
spillover from the forces at work inside of Chloe. She was feeling
looked more pony than human. The form was clear and unmistakable,
though her eyelids seemed an unbroken part of her forming head.
Somewhere in there her eyes were enlarging to improbable size.
Somewhere in there her brain was being reconstructed into a
non-primate configuration. Somehow her memories would be maintained
in all of that, even as components shifted, changed, vanished, shrank
or expanded. Magic was impossible, yet there it was, and it was real.
sprouted all over the nearly complete equinoid. It sprang up like
some verdant field of grass all over her body, delicate yet bright.
Chloe was a soft, pleasing yellow, the color of the dye that was put
and tail came in, bursting out like a flow of water from a tap. It
was an utterly improbable sky blue, pale as if from a fairy tale, and
silken like nothing Alyssa had ever seen. It shimmered like spun
glass, and almost seemed faintly translucent. It was truly beautiful.
process was over, just like that. Where once an overweight,
messy-haired human girl had lain, now a trim, surprisingly lovely
creature lay, breathing slowly and regularly, a slight smile on its
muzzle. Chloe the pony seemed lost in some sweet dream, and what fear
Alyssa had about Conversion fell away as she stared. She suddenly
envied Chloe going first.
Twilight was serious in tone lay down a blanket or something!
Equestrian dashed to the shelves across from the table and snatched a
thin, hospital-styled blanket. With a twist of her head the blanket
swirled open and landed on the floor, mostly smooth. These ponies
have astonishing control over objects, Alyssa thought to herself.
surrounded in faint violet light. The yellow and blue newfoal floated
above the steel table and landed, like a leaf, onto the blanket on
the floor. The glow from Twilight's horn faded.
to wake her. Gently. Ella was it? You're next.
went over to Chloe-the-pony and squatted next to her sleeping form.
She reached out a hand and slowly moved it down Chloe's yellow flank.
It was so soft and smooth and warm. She gave it an experimental pat.
Chloe? Chlooooeee? Time to wake up. Chloe?
she jiggled the newfoal's haunch, the delicate creature opened an
eye. The iris was the same pale blue as the mane, and it lolled to
gaze, unfocused, at Alyssa. Suddenly the pupil contracted into full
awareness. Lysssaaa? The voice was slurred, the pitch
somewhat higher, but it was clear that Chloe at least knew what she
time to wake up. You're a pony now. As she said the words, a
part of Alyssa's mind reeled at the bizarreness of such a sentence.
The world had gone mad, been mad, for a long time now.
our new filly doin? The bright pink head of Ambassador Pie
hung over Alyssa's shoulder, and she could smell the faint, sweet,
almost flowery musk Equestrians had in place of terrestrial animal odor.
a pony. Alyssa felt incapable of defining the situation further.
the Equestrian ambassador proclaimed, a little too loudly. Alyssa
noticed that all of the curl had come back to the pony's mane, and,
in the moment, she seemed as bouncy and full of life as she had
been... before. They certainly recover fast, she thought. Maybe
that's how they have coped with being in the human world without
being completely scarred by it.
stroked Chloe's soft hide. She couldn't help herself, it was
strangely mesmerizing, and it was a normal thing to do with an animal
to comfort it. Suddenly she stopped and withdrew her hand. Um,
sorry. I... well... I was just trying to... Stroking the body
of a naked girl she barely new was not exactly an acceptable
behavior; she had just realized that new form or not, this used to be
an ordinary human girl named Chloe, the same species as herself.
I don't mind... Chloe said dreamily I don't mind!
she said in a surprised voice Seriously, I... don't mind. At
all. Huh! The pony-girl seemed astonished at her own
reactions.How... did I turn out?
going to turn a lot of heads back in Ponyville! chirped Pinkie
Wooo... she turned out niiiiice. The way the pink pony
said the word made Chloe blush. Alyssa noted this, and wondered how
she could even see a blush through that soft coat of yellow. Maybe
Equestrian hair scattered light differently than terrestrial hair.
Maybe they even blush magically. That was a thought.
time the groggy little Earth Pony newfoal had managed to stand on her
own, Alyssa supporting her delicate weight as best she could during
the first attempts, she was surprised to find that Ella had already
been Converted. She had been so busy helping Chloe that she had
missed the transformation.
steadied Chloe and walked her off of the blanket, allowing Twilight
to float a coral colored pegasus pony down from the table. Ella had a
striking dark crimson mane and tail, with streaks of lighter shades
running through it. It was a dramatic look, but then, Alyssa
reflected, it wasn't as if there were any ugly ponies. Beauty, even
stunning beauty was unremarkable in their species. She wondered what
criteria these ponies used to judge their own relative attractiveness
within their culture.
beauty meant to these creatures, Ella had become a dramatically
colored entity. Alyssa found herself staring at the neatly folded
wings. She couldn't help but envy that. Suddenly, she wanted to be a
Pegasus more than anything in the world. To fly, to soar, to just
stop fussing over every little detail and just...
Twilight's voice was kind, but a little impatient.
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