HFY in Equestria: A Tribute to "Level With Me"

Jul 10th, 2013
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  1. Twenty years ago Equestria turned its eyes to the stars. With the magic and technology we had at our disposal it was an almost trivial feat to lay the foundations for a space program. Our progress was steady and astoundingly exponential, surpassing even our most optimistic predictions. Within a year we had the prototype for our first working spacecraft. Within five years we had achieved interstellar travel. In seven we made first contact. In ten we joined the galactic community. After twelve we had more allies than we could count and a kingdom that spanned the stars.
  2. However all good things must eventually end and our golden age of space exploration was no exception to that rule. As a race, Equestrians are very sedate when compared to some of our more... active allies. We were and are a people of scholars and traders, content to live our quiet lives pursuing our special talents. As such we had only a token military presence which existed primarily for policing and show, though more often the latter than the former. We were held in good standing with almost every sentient race in the known galaxy and disputes with our galactic neighbors were few and far between and never escalated to such a point that diplomatic solutions weren’t possible.
  3. This made us quite soft, though we never thought much of it. Why should military be a concern when we were friends with everyone? This was something one of the more aggressive upstart races sought to exploit in a fit of expansionism. Suddenly and without warning a race calling themselves the Vasari struck their first blow against us. While we were still reeling from the attack and trying to understand what had just transpired they struck again and again, taking colony after planet after system.
  4. When we had finally gotten over our shock we immediately attempted a diplomatic solution, surely we could fix what could be none other than a terrible misunderstanding. Imagine our shock when the entire diplomatic envoy was killed. We could hardly comprehend this aggression, it was a concept even more alien to us than the aliens that surrounded us, to simply attack another unprovoked, to want nothing more than to kill and take what another owned. We were at a loss as to what to do, but thankfully our allies were not. “Fight them!” they told us, “Defend what is yours!”
  5. So, with no other option available, we did. For the first time in our species’ history we mobilized for war. Our attempts at defense were laughable though. The use of magic for offensive purposes had been a strictly forbidden thing and there was little existing knowledge about it and with our reliance on magic our technology was lacking. Anything we threw at them was turned away with little more than a second thought. And all the while we continued to lose ground. The whole time we always sued for peace, we always asked for mercy. None was ever given. There were no prisoners taken, there were no words exchanged. Only too late did we realize this was a war of extermination, and by that time we had only one world left. Equestria.
  6. When we realized the inevitable course of action we did the only thing we could do. We shrouded the entire planet in enchantments and spells of defense and protection. Hundreds of magical barriers were put in place by our most powerful wizards, but even then we knew it would do little more than delay the inevitable. It all happened so fast, within mere months, the galaxy at large had no idea we were even in trouble and our allies that did were too far away to help when we sent out a call for aid. Then when the Vasari finally reached our home they arrived in numbers that no sane being would ever dare oppose. It is fitting, then, that our plea was answered by a race who could be widely considered to be lacking in sanity.
  8. The bridge of Her Radiant Dawn was a place of chaos, the flagship of the Equestrian Navy being currently anchored at the fore of the defense fleet and situated behind the now failing shield spells.
  9. “Another shield is down!” an officer yelled. The chaos redoubled itself at those words, words which had been repeated more than two dozen times that day. It seemed that for every shield the Unicorn Corps managed to erect the invading fleet shattered two. It was almost impossible to see the stars through the constant wall of turbolaser fire that pounded away at Equestria’s defenses.
  10. In the middle of it all stood Celestia, Princess of the Equestrian race, a single area of calm in the storm of panic that occupied the bridge. Beside her stood her right hoof, Twilight Sparkle who was significantly less calm, barking orders at a mile a minute, doing her best to direct the defense of her homeworld.
  11. “How has it come to this?” Celestia asked, so quietly that Twilight almost missed it. “What did I do wrong?”
  12. Twilight ached to see her old mentor like this. Throughout the entire ordeal Celestia had taken everything as a personal failing, attributed every loss to her own imagined incompetence.
  13. “Princess?” she said, trying to get her attention. “Please, don’t keep doing this to yourself, you couldn’t have known. None of us could have.”
  14. “I should have though.”
  15. Twilight sighed, how many times had they had this exact conversation? She had lost count. It numbered far too many, though. Celestia was convinced of her own failure.
  16. “Is there no one near that can help?” Twilight asked.
  17. Celestia shook her head. “Every friendly asset within range of Equestria combined could not aid us and I will not ask anyone else to die for us in such a hopeless fight. I’m afraid we are on our own.”
  18. “Your Highness!” came the panicked voice of a comms officer. “We’re being hailed!”
  19. Celestia’s eyes widened. “By whom? The Vasari?”
  20. The comms officer shook his head. “No, Your Highness, the signal is originating from further outsystem than that. It looks to be coming from our stargate.”
  21. “Put it on screen.” she ordered.
  22. The main screen blazed to life and the entire bridge went silent as what might possibly be the last thing anyone expected appeared before them. A monstrous biped in hulking, wicked armor as black as the void gazed at the assembly. It’s helm was removed and a face covered in ragged flesh and scars stared impassively at them all.
  23. “I am Admiral Anon, my fleet has just arrived in system and we’re preparing to warp jump to your location now.”
  24. “Admiral...” Celestia began hesitantly. “I was unaware that humanity had any significant presence near Equestria.”
  25. “We do not.” he replied simply.
  26. “I’m afraid you’ll have to elaborate a little more than that, Admiral.”
  27. “My fleet contains fifty-four ships, hardly a significant presence.”
  28. “Fifty... Admiral, you realize that this invasion force contains well over five hundred ships, correct?”
  29. “I do.”
  30. “Then surely you must realize there is little you can do for us. Please, do not put yourself at such risk for our sake. I beg you, I don’t want anymore blood spilled over this!” she pleaded.
  31. “I’m afraid that is not an option, Your Highness. We have an accord with your nation, a defence pact. We take our obligations very seriously. And since we are the closest to your world it is our duty render whatever assistance we can.” Anon explained, far too casually for the situation at hand.
  32. “Please, it would only lead to your deaths if you were to enter this fight!” Celestia begged. “I will not ask you to die for us!”
  33. “Then we will not die for you.” Anon replied. “We will die to uphold the values humanity has always revered. So that even if Equestria falls this day you will know that you did not walk into the night alone, that we were there with you in your final hours. You see, humanity does not have allies, we do not have friends. We only have brothers and sisters. And, above all else, humanity takes care of its own.”
  34. Celestia could only stare dumbly in response. While the princess just looked, Twilight took that opportunity to ask the first question on her mind.
  35. “Admiral, we’ve hardly had any contact with your kind over the years, why would you risk so much for us?”
  36. A sad smile came over the human’s face. “Because we know what it’s like to lose your home. So long as the human race exists, those that call us “friend” will never have to know what it’s like. Now prepare yourselves, we’re en route.”
  37. Without a further word the display cut off.
  39. “This is Admiral Anon to all ships, initiate warp jump now.”
  40. As one, the fifty-four ships of the human fleet disappeared from realspace, flashing across the galaxy in a bolt of lightning.
  41. “Ready all weapons, I want every ship unloading everything it has the very millisecond we revert to realspace.”
  42. “Aye sir.” the weapons officer replied.
  43. With an explosive crash the fleet tore a hole into realspace that blotted out the stars. True to their orders, at the very instant of reversion every ship let loose with every weapon it possessed, filling the short distance between the two fleets with a hail of ferro-uranite rounds, warheads, and laserfire.
  44. “Captain Barnwell.” the Anon said.
  45. “Aye sir?”
  46. “Fire the Doomsday Cannon.”
  47. “Do you have a primary target?” the captain asked.
  48. “No. Just burn them all.”
  49. The order was given and the entire ship began to hum with energy. Within moments a storm of nuclear fire erupted from the human flagship.
  51. Celestia could only watch in awe as the humans barreled into an enemy fleet ten times their size, guns blazing and seemingly without a care in the world. The Vasari took incredible losses in the opening moments, having grown complacent with the Equestrians’ lack of resistance. The first ships hit were all caught with their shields facing the wrong way or in some cases disengaged altogether.
  52. The aggressor fleet’s reaction was vicious, when the element of surprise was spent the Vasari wasted no time unleashing their fury upon the newcomers. Within seconds over a dozen human ships were reduced to flaming ruins as the Vasari began to redirect their weapons from Equestria and halt their charge of the planet.
  53. The human fleet finally closed with the Vasari, the crews of the fatally wounded ships overloading their reactors and detonating their vessels among enemy vessels. The ships cut straight to the heart of the enemy fleet, halting only once they’d grabbed the attention of every ship there. The aggressors then seemingly collapsed in on themselves as they swarmed upon the humans in what amounted to a starship brawl.
  54. “Open a channel to the humans again!” Celestia ordered. It took only seconds for the comms officer to have a channel open to Admiral Anon.
  55. “You do not have to die like this!” Celestia all but yelled at him. “Enter the shield, we’ll protect you!”
  56. Anon smiled. “You cannot even protect yourselves, Celestia. Besides, we have them right where we want them.”
  57. “What are you talking about?” Twilight demanded, near hysteric at the humans’ apparently suicidal actions.
  58. “We have them exactly where we want them. We shall hold them here.”
  59. “Why? For what purpose?” Celestia demanded.
  60. The admiral made an exaggerated show of checking his wrist. “Five more minutes.”
  61. “Until what?” Celestia pressed.
  62. “I have always heard the sunrise on Equestria was the most beautiful event in the entire galaxy. I always hoped I would see it for myself one day.”
  63. Celestia’s eyes widened in shock and horror. “You don’t...”
  64. “It’s the only way.”
  65. “You could move though!”
  66. “The instant we did they’d follow. We have to hold them here, bog them down so they don’t notice until it’s too late.”
  67. “There... has to be a better way.” she half pleaded.
  68. “Goodbye Celestia. For those we cherish, we die in glory.” The admiral saluted smartly, then the link went dead. Twilight looked between Celestia and the main screen, confused.
  69. “What does he mean by that, Princess?” she asked.
  70. Celestia made no response but to clench her eyes shut, twin streams of tears beginning to make their way down her cheeks while her horn glowed a brilliant golden. Then slowly, ever so slowly a bright glow appeared over the horizon of the planet. The glow was followed by a great golden orb, the star of Equestria.
  71. “What are you doing?” Twilight asked, the beginnings of panic entering her voice.
  72. Celestia did not respond, only continued her royal duty of raising the sun. Twilight looked between Celestia and the two fleets locked in bitter close combat. She could do little more than watch in horror. The great orb shot through the sky, growing ever nearer to the two fleets. In barely a moment it was over, the sun passed and now hung peacefully in the midday Equestrian sky and now no ships save their own inhabited Equestria’s gravity well.
  73. When Celestia opened her eyes there was nothing to look at, save her sun. The vast bulk of the Vasari’s military assets had just been incinerated and their allies would take care of the remaining threat. It was over.
  74. Celestia turned to Twilight, for once in her long life, completely without any idea of what to say. Twilight looked back, equally as stunned.
  75. “Well,” Twilight ventured. “This is gonna make one hell of a friendship report.”
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