Fanfic: Project Sunflower

Project: Sunflower is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction by Hoopy McGee and can be found here.

It is the year 2038, and the Earth is slowly being consumed by a space-borne monstrosity dubbed the Black Tide, which is using nanotechnology to remake the planet into something hideously alien.

Erin Olsen works for Project Harmonics, humanity's last-ditch effort to find a new world before the Tide can wipe them out. But when that world is found, and it turns out to be occupied, Erin will need to find the courage to face the unknown in order to save the inhabitants of both worlds.

When you finish the story, a group has been started for authors to contribute stories set in the same universe, as it exists at the end of the story. Hoopy has started a side story that happens at the same time as "Project: Sunflower."

The long-awaited sequel, Project Sunflower: Harmony is here at last! and from the look of the Foreshadowing, it's going to be pretty good!

Tropes present in this work:

  • Advancing Wall of Doom: The Black Tide serves as a seemingly unstoppable one, slowly consuming the surface of the Earth- and everything on it- meter by meter.
  • And I Must Scream: Experienced by Erin/Sunflower, who can't even talk when Malachite takes over her body.
  • Another Dimension: The whole point behind Project Harmonics is to find alternate worlds for humanity to migrate to.
  • Background Magic Field: Equestria has one of these, and the Earth doesn't. This is part of how Twilight figures out that Erin isn't Equestrian, as she lacks contact with Equestria's magical field
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: Malachite used to live studying biology and saving lives, and later merged himself with a swarm of creatures who feed on life-forces
  • Becoming the Mask: Celestia notices that this may be happening to Erin/Sunflower towards the end of the story, as she is beginning to act more pony-like.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Twilight and friends, when going up against the chimera
  • Bond Creatures: The Fae Sprites, in relation to Malachite.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Erin, to her Ponyville friends in regards to her true nature, due to pressure from Dr. Velchiek. Literally unable to spit it out, once the Override was engaged.
  • Cuteness Overload: Erin's initial reaction to seeing the Equestrians for the first time. Also, every time she sees Marigold, her friend Meadowlark's little filly.
  • Cyborg: Many of Erin's abilities come from her cybernetic implants, which include wireless communications, enhanced vision and hearing, and chemical sensors in her nose, lungs, mouth and digestive system. She also records everything she sees and hears to be relayed back to the humans overseeing the operation. There is also the Override function, which Malachite manages to hack into at one point
  • Dramatic Irony: When trying choosing a movie from Erin's collection, the ponies unwittingly dodge several bullets with regard to sad or violent content - Fluttershy rejects Grave of the Fireflies because she can't bear the thought of what happens to the fireflies, and when she tries to choose Watership Down, Pinkie assumes it's a Bugs Bunny style comedy, and Rainbow rejects it because she wants action more than comedy.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: After the Black Tide has been defeated, Paul Velchiek starts appearing on talk shows, claiming that his project led to the Earth being saved and that he had stepped down willingly in order to talk to the press. When Erin finds out during her own interview, she angrily sets the record straight.
  • False Friend: Erin is afraid she is one of these to Twilight Sparkle and the other Ponyvillians. The longer she stays in town, the more guilt she feels regarding this.
  • Fantastic Racism: Several members of Celestia's Royal Counsel are dead-set against humanity coming to Equestria. Some of them even resign their positions and move away from Canterlot in protest.
  • Fish out of Water: Erin, once she gets to Equestria
  • Group Hug: Several, during the course of the story.
  • Heroes Gone Fishing: Before the Mane 6 go up against the Black Tide, there's time for a quick shopping trip.
  • Homeworld Evacuation: One is attempted after the Black Tide arrives and is proven to be nearly unstoppable. The humans use two methods: massive space arks (which are subsequently sabotaged by the "Earth-First" terrorist organization, which is bent on forcing the government to continue fighting rather than evacuate, which they call the coward's way out), and Project Harmonics, intended to find a suitable alternate dimension that humanity can move to. It instead leads them to Equestria and new allies, whose actions make humanity's evacuation of Earth no longer necessary.
  • Horde of Alien Locusts: The Black Tide.
    • And the fae sprites, almost more literally. Although they prefer eating animals and people before vegetation (then each other).
  • Humans Are Good: From the start, the focus of humanity is to open diplomatic relations with Equestria, rather than invasion, even though they know they'll invade if they have to in order to survive.
  • I Come in Peace: Erin's whole motivation for taking up her mission, though her superiors forbid her from opening diplomatic relations on her own.
  • I Gave My Word: On a species-wide scale; a condition of the treaty between Earth and Equestria is that any other habitable worlds discovered by Project Harmonics would be open to ponies as well as humans for exploration and expansion. When the Black Tide is defeated, a reporter suggests breaking this treaty; Robert Thomson, chair of the Committee of Human Survival, invokes this trope in a scathing reply.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Dr. Edwards may have come across as an ass in the early chapters, but he comes through for Erin after finding out what Dr. Velchiek did to her.
  • Living Lie Detector: Twilight Sparkle turns herself into one of these briefly, via magic, in order to question Erin/Sunflower.
  • Mana Potion: Twilight comes up with the idea of magic-storing jewelry, and the Arcanum (basically a collection of powerful unicorns) helps make it a reality.
  • Mind-Control Device: Dr. Velchiek had some of Erin's implants reprogrammed so that he could administer mood-altering drugs, take control of her body (which Malachite uses to his advantage), and put her into a coma if she tries to talk about who she really is.
  • Mind Rape: What the Black Tide does to Malachite, and is implied also does to several others.
  • Nanomachines: Used to turn Erin into a pony, the basis of the Black Tide... the story pretty much runs on nanomachines.
  • Minnesota Nice: Erin and her parents John and Lynne are from Minnesota, and are all very nice people, especially Lynne.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Black Tide, in an attempt to speed up its data gathering, strips away Malachite's fae sprites and absorbs bits of his mind, thus making it both much more dangerous, and vulnerable to the Elements of Harmony.
  • Noodle Incident: Exactly how Erin botched the house painting job.
  • Nuclear Option: Nukes were used in an attempt to fight the Tide before the story took place. It didn't work.
  • The Power of the Sun: Celestia unleashes this twice. The first time starts well, but ends with a devastating counter attack from the Black Tide, and the second is good, old-fashioned overkill against the Black Tide
  • Rejected Apology: Meadowlark, after finding out Erin's secret, largely because of the realisation that she allowed an alien to watch her daughter Marigold. Rainbow Dash takes slightly longer than her friends, but forgives Erin after learning that Velchiek stopped her from coming clean earlier using drugs and the Override.
    • No Sympathy For Grudge Holders: In the sequel, after months of silent treatment, Meadowlark walks in on Erin having dinner with Marigold at Ditzy and Dinky's house. It leads to a confrontation between Ditzy and Meadowlark the next day, and when the latter threatens to break up Marigold and Dinky's friendship if Erin doesn't move house, Erin snaps and tells her that she's given them more than enough time. "If you want our friendship to be over, that's fine! Just tell me so I stop hanging on and hoping you'll forgive me one day. But I won't let you blame me for your decisions!"
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Both Celestia and Luna take a very active role in events.
  • Super Strength: Erin's pony body is "enhanced" by the human scientists, to be stronger and faster than a creature her size should be capable of. So, she's a little surprised when she barely manages to keep up in a three-way race with Applejack and Rainbow Dash
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Where we first find The Thing in the Cave/Malachite, though in this particular case, the prison is self-made, due to an oversight by Malachite
  • Take That: A huge one to The Conversion Bureau.
    Reporter: Is it true that you intended that all humans migrating Equestria would be turned into ponies, perhaps against their will, in collusion with the Equestrian government?
    Robert: What the hell are you talking about? Are you insane? Where in the world did you get that idea? Even if we wanted to, we don't have the resources to turn seven billion humans into ponies.
  • Tempting Fate: Erin does this repeatedly while trying to find a job in Ponyville. She catches on to it after the third time, and walks off to apply for a package delivery job determinedly not thinking about how easy it should be.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Given to a reporter saying that humans should break their treaty with Equestria right after they saved them.
  • Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Erin is described as a tomboy by her parents, having loved her BMX bike while hating Barbie dolls. Yet at the same time she was playing games with toy unicorns (while casting her Barbie as a villainous sorcereress), and then there's her initial reaction to the Equestrian ponies.
  • Troll: Erin has her moments, especially after she's returned to human form - right after arriving, she addresses Carrot Top by name just to hear her Delayed Reaction to realising she hadn't told her her name yet, and she shows the Mane Six Despicable Me just so she can see Twilight and Rarity's reactions to Agnes's Unicorn obsession.
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: The story begins in 2038.
  • White and Grey Morality: Both Earth and Equestrian societies have fundamentally sympathetic moral codes, and even exceptions like Heart's Bloom or Dr. Velchiek act out because of stress and understandable fear. And even The Thing in the Cave, Malachite, doesn't like the idea of killing a sapient being, even by accident, although he's not very good at realizing what might be dangerous to other people. Word of God says that even the Black Tide isn't evil, just a repair module with some really bad programming.