Lost In The Herd: Three. Letters From Home.
By Jennifer Diane Reitz



Chapter Four: Your Little Pony


Dear Stephen:

Listen, I am so, so sorry for the last letter. I didn't mean to lay it on so thick, and I didn't even know I was doing it. I worry about you, out there, and I just miss my old best friend, that's all.

If you feel the Human Liberation Front has something important to say, then I fully support you going to their meetings. We've been friends for years, and I trust your wisdom and compassion. I won't try to sway you one way or the other any more. I'll stick to writing about my own life. I am really sorry I made you so angry.

Months ago, before my Conversion, you and I were wondering about where the heck something like Equestria came from. I have some theories about that, based on what I have seen so far.

During the past two weeks -I'm sorry I did not write sooner, but I was kind of unsure how to respond to you- I've spent some time really looking at the world I am in. I started thinking about the fact that they have dandelions here, pretty much just like earth does. Dandelions are one flower I know, because they somehow have survived the ecodisaster, even in the Hazardous Exclusion Zones, even in the nanodumps and the Sludgelands. 'The last flower', some call them, and for most of humans, dandelions are the only flower they ever see anymore. Certainly they were the only real, alive flower I ever saw, back when. Remember how I used to stop whenever I would find one, and make you wait? Sorry for that. I guess I just found them amazing.

Now I find them delicious, but that is another story.

The issue here is that they are the same in Equestria. A little bigger, a little brighter, for all I know a little tastier, but as far as I can tell, they are the same flower. I would have no way to tell with things like trees, or grass, or other things like that - who ever sees those anymore out there? But dandelions, those I know.

We've already discussed how the constellations in the sky, as far as I know them, seem the same, more or less. Mostly. I've seen them change a few times now. Maybe they are some kind of projection, or maybe our sovereign Luna really does somehow control the night of this realm. I don't know such things. But mostly, except for when they change, they are the constellations I remember.

I am starting to think the connection between Equestria and earth is somehow fundamental. There are too many things here that are too similar to things from earth's past. I think that at some point, long ago, Equestria and earth were in contact somehow, and that the emergence of Equestria is not a singular event. Or maybe the connection was more subtle.

I've described my impression of Celestia - that she seemed like something both more, and other than a pony. Like she was some kind of sci-fi energy being just pretending to be a pony. I think I wasn't on exactly the right track. I think she and Luna are fairies.

Now don't get all huffy. Think about it with me here - throughout history, there have been endless stories of Alfheim, Fairylands, Faery Queens, and roving fairy bands. 'Thomas the Rhymer' comes to mind. The Eurussian Zone had a long history of such stories. So did lost Japan, before it became uninhabitable. The Panasians, even the Northamerican Alliance has stories like that.

What if there was some truth to them? What if there has always been a subworld to the earth, a related but thinly connected realm where beings of thought and will and - magic- existed. Maybe that is where all the stories of fairylands and fairy queens came from. Maybe such a realm, ruled by immortals, has taken many forms. Maybe a land of intelligent ponies is the latest experiment, or fashion. Or maybe this is just one such realm among many. Or, as I am beginning to think, this is the last fairy realm left.

Maybe the others died out, or separated too far from Earth to ever make contact again. Maybe Celestia and Luna are the last of their kind, the last immortal fairies of history, and this is their private cosmos, their magical land. And maybe the reason they have returned to salvage the earth, as I see the point of the emergence of Equestria, is because they feel they owe humanity something. Or if not humanity, the world, Nature, the rest of the living things of earth.

Now it's just a theory, and I don't have a lot to back it up, but something did make me think of it. I'll tell you about it, maybe you can tell me what you think. You were always better with the cosmic stuff than I was.

I was helping Perspicuity sort out her basement. Before you give me the usual, it isn't like that. I'm not being a sucker for a pretty flank here. Things are getting serious for me with Perspecuity. I really care about her, and I think she may just feel the same about me. I hope, anyway.

She lives in her telescope shop, upstairs. But downstairs, underground, she has quite the basement. The place is filled with stuff, things I never expected I would see in Equestria. An old-fashioned record player, the kind they had back in the - I don't know for sure, but, maybe the 1920's or so? It had a crank on it. I couldn't believe it. It looked for all the world like something from the human world. And maybe it was.

We were trying to find a box filled with gemstones. Like I said, the economy is kind of unfathomable to me, at least right now, and apparently precious jewels are fairly common. Still, they aren't on every corner, and she needed more to finish a telescope she was building for somepony in Hoofington. She reckoned that she had a spare box of gems somewhere down there, so we spent the day going through her basement.

In a corner, I found a set of shelves. They looked like they had been carved out of a single, huge slab of wood. They grow some incredibly big trees here, or so I have been told. On the shelves were boxes and knick-knacks and not a few books. One fell off the shelf when I was poking the boxes with a hoof, looking for gems.

The book was in English. Maybe. Sort of. Old English, I think. Really, really old. The only time I have ever seen writing like that was in holos from museums back from my college days. The book looked hand-made and hand-bound, and I mean to use those words rather than hoof-made or hoof-bound. It looked like a human world book, and it wasn't written in the Equestrian Script I am desperately trying to learn.

I asked Perspicuity about the book, and she hadn't a clue. It had just been in her family, she figured, for generations. Likely before Luna's banishment to the moon - don't ask, I'm not sure I understand any Equestrian history yet. I don't know what to take as real or fiction or what. For them, it's all real history, like the Great Economic Collapse, or the first Nanoplague. The basic thing I got from her is that the book was over a thousand years old.

It looked pretty good for being that ancient. Things don't seem to fall apart here the way they do on earth. I think entropy is different in Equestria, somehow. So the book was in pretty good shape.

I tried to look at what it was about, but I just can't read that Old English script stuff, if that even is was it was at all. I mean, I'm no expert, and maybe I'm wrong. Maybe it was just some ancient Equestrian script from a by-gone age. But it looked familiar to me, it really did.

I asked Perspecuity what she thought was the reason that Equestria was letting all of us newfoals in. She told me that Celestia had announced, some time ago, that Earth had been detected again, and that the creatures there needed the help of the Equestrians to survive. I thought about that a lot. Not detected, but detected again. That kind of supports my theory, don't you think?

What if there has always been hidden worlds affecting human culture and mythology - gods, demons, stories of monsters, and legends of strange and beautiful fairylands - and there is some ancient bond between us? Maybe this is all just so much foolishness. I don't know anything, I'm just a simple, working pony. But I thought I would tell you, because I thought you might find it curious. I mean, there are a lot of things here that look way too close to something derived from the human world. It makes me think.

Maybe it is just that Form Follows Function. A book or a pitcher is the same anywhere in the universe -or other universes- because the job they do defines what they have to look like. A table is a table because table-ness is a matter of practical need. That could explain everything right there. A barn is a barn is a barn, because that is what works.

Well, enough of all that heady, mane-shaking stuff. 

Let me tell you about my son, Rocket. 

Naw, he's not my son, but I just about feel like I somehow ended up adopting him. He really needs a father-figure, he never really had one I guess, and he's latched onto me like a Vanderwaals clamp onto plastcrete. He's changed a lot over the last month, I have to say, and he is no longer the whiny little colt he used to be. Pretty much now, if I say jump, he's in the air before the word leaves my mouth. He really wants to matter to someone, and that someone seems to be me.

It's not so bad. In fact, I guess I kind of like a little hero-worship, which is what this kind of feels like. I don't know what I did to deserve him thinking so much of me, all I did was have a talk with him after the telescope incident, and listen to him a bit. Maybe that was enough, I don't know. But he isn't a bad colt.

Right now, in pony school, we are pretty much near the end of class. We still do drills on Equestrian script and basic words and phrases and such, and we aren't done entirely with the basics of tool use, and, like I said, I don't know what to make of Equestrian history. It's clear though that things are winding down, because we've been having visits from job counselors, trying to help us find our place in society.

I want to find something I can do in Greater Fetlock. I want to be close to Perspicuity, that much I know for sure. She's been hinting that she could use a strong stallion around the shop, but I don't know how I feel about that. I'd rather have a job of my own. I don't exactly feel comfortable with that situation, considering my feelings about her. So, I've been a little concerned about what to do.

That darned colt ended up causing a mess again, but the mess found me what looks like a job. Maybe Rocket is some kind of Luck Pony or something. I'm expecting a four-leaf clover to appear on his flank at any moment, the way things go with him. His disasters are better than most of my plans. Dang.

Rocket and I were trotting around Fetlock - Greater Fetlock, not the small one - and once again he sees something 'cool' and gets all excited and dashes off without a thought. This time it was a fire truck, or rather cart, the first one I've seen here. It makes sense that Equestria would have fire departments, I mean the buildings are wood and thatch and all renaissance fair like I've said, so fire is going to be an issue.

The fire cart was red, which was really odd, since I am used to seeing emergency vehicles as only bright yellow fluorescent things. But red works, and the cart had some kind of mechanical pump and a big steel and brass tank. It looked like steel and brass, anyway.

The cart was made so that ponies could pull it, and we soon met the fire chief, or the equivalent of a fire chief, for Greater Fetlock, and he seemed pretty proud of his station and his team.

Of course, the reason we got to meet the chief was because Rocket managed to set off the hose, blasting most of the street and several passers-by, not to mention the inside of a bakery and... well let's just say that there was a mess.

Long story short, some of his team were retiring, and before I could say neigh, Rocket had already volunteered us both to be Fireponies.

So, if the tryouts go alright, it looks like me and the colt might just have ourselves a new career, and a pretty heroic one at that. I'm certainly going to do my best. Rocket and I have resolved to put in a little practice before the tryout. We figure that there will probably be a lot of pulling the cart really fast, pumping water, and holding hoses, not to mention knowing the streets. So we have set up a little practice area near the newfoal barracks where we try pulling ropes around and hauling heavy things in a cart we borrowed. I bought us a map of Greater Fetlock, and we try to memorize new routes every time we go visit Perspicacity, which is a lot.

Glimmershine - our pony school instructor, remember? - is pulling for us. Apparently we were the first in the class to show initiative to find our own way to fit in, and so she's sort of holding us up as an example of how ponies, working together, can do anything.

What has this dang colt gotten me into?

I suppose it's some sort of luck and all, but, well, no pressure, right? I don't know what I'll do if we fail the tryouts. I'm trying not to think about that. As best I can.

On another topic, I've been thinking more about taking an Equestrian name. 'Noah' just doesn't fit in here, and it makes me sound like a foreigner, and I don't exactly like that. It's not that anyone treats me badly for being a newfoal, it's just that there is this distance that comes from being a stranger... from a strange world. I don't feel like anypony distrusts me exactly, for having once been human, but... I think I would just feel more comfortable letting my past species kind of settle into being a complete non-issue.

I am thinking that if I make the tryouts, and become a proper Firepony, I will go with the name 'Wildfire'. According to a lot of old movies, that is a great name for a pony, the best. It would really seem to fit the job, too, plus it is kind of classy.

Now, if I don't make the tryouts, then I'm not so sure. It's kind of a toss-up between 'Old Glue' and 'Horsemeat' at this point. no pressure, no pressure. That colt. What am I going to do with him?

Oh! I have managed to find out the answer to your request. I think it is really incredibly open-minded of you, after all of my annoying preaching about how you should join me in Equestria (as at the beginning of this letter, sorry, again), that you would want to hear the other side of the issue. I can't think of a better pony to hear about the non-HLF viewpoint than our own ambassador Twilight Sparkle either. I can see why you want to hear it directly from her. And I am more than happy to help.

It wasn't easy, but I managed to find out her schedule, so you can see her in person. My new pegasus friend Skysinger knows a pegasus that knows one of the Royal Guard. I vouched for you, and explained things, and in the end he helped me out.

Apparently she is taking a tour of most of the Northamerican Conversion Bureaus, with one other of the original six ambassadors. According to my source, they are going to start with Los Pegasus -what used to be called Los Angeles- and then go on to Albuquerque, Memphis, Bloomington, Hamtramck, Lancing, and finally, New New York. Since you live in Michigan already, maybe Hamtramck or Lancing might be the best places to catch up with her.

I really feel that if you hear it directly from the horse's mouth, (I'm still me, as you can see), you will find that the Human Liberation Front may not necessarily have the best view of what is happening to the earth, or what is best for it, or for the human race. I am very excited to hear what comes of this.

Also, I wanted to congratulate you on finding a new ladyfriend. Hannah sounds like a wonderful woman, really nice and very smart. Wow, my old flyboy pal Stephen dating an actress! That is pretty awesome, my man. You should take her up for a tour of the city in your copter, if you can get clearance. That is pretty awesome, my man. I just hope Hannah turns out to be the one, you know what I mean. Maybe you could take her to see Twilight too. While nowadays seeing talking ponies is nothing special, how often do you get to meet a famous pony? I envy you that. Nobody famous goes through Fetlock. Not even Greater Fetlock.

I look forward to your next letter. I really appreciate you keeping up correspondence with me, Stephen, especially since we have to do this on actual paper and all. Well, you have a printer, but still. It's isn't as easy as just using the hypernet. I just wanted to let you know how much I do appreciate it.

Until next time, your little (fire)pony (I hope!)

Noah / Wildfire


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