"Human bodies are icky and big and ugly and...and mean! Humans are mean!" —Pinkie Pie
“Humans are harsh creatures, but they have to be because their world is harsh and dangerous. Sometimes in their pursuit to survive, they cross each other, and most times they make friends and can work together, but other times it doesn’t work out and they feel that they have to fight. They are mostly good, I think, but sometimes they just plain old turn bad .... and live to cause other humans misery.” —Twilight Sparkle (Yellowstone Continuity)
The Conversion Bureau (also known as TCB) is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic written by Blaze, which has in turn spawned other stories by other people using the same premise.The details of these fics vary Depending on the Writer, and they don't occur in the same canon, but they do share common elements. Conversion Bureau fics are set on an Earth some time in the future, where the island (or pocket universe) of Equestria has suddenly appeared in the sea. Unfortunately, the realm of Equestria is pushing into Earth's territory, and the magic of Equestria is lethal to humans. In a few short years, Equestria will flood Earth with magic, and there will be nowhere left for humanity to live. To fix this, Princess Celestia sets up "Conversion Bureaus" all around Earth, offering the humans the chance to be turned into ponies and eventually live in Equestria.Complicating that, however, is that ponification—as the process is called—is heavily debated both in- and out-of-universe. In-universe, this leads to ideologues forming terrorist groups. One, the Human Liberation Front (HLF), is violently anti-pony; the other, Ponification for Earth's Rebirth (PER), sees ponification as a sacrament which absolves humans of their vices, and which should be given to every human on the planet, whether they like it or not.Out-of-universe, the series has gained a reputation for having misanthropic underand overtones, as many stories argue that humanity is irredeemably flawed and show ponification making humans into categorically better beings with kinder, less violent minds. Other stories portray such alteration as brainwashing, with radical changes to beliefs, interests, and allegiance (notably, some still portray that as a good thing). Still others avert the problem by making the process not mind-altering or by providing other options.The original story can be found here. Spinoff fics can be found here, here, here and here. The majority of the Shadow Archetype of the stories (the curb stomps, Kill 'em All fics, Take Thats, deconstructions and the like) are found here.Some of the spinoffs have their own tropes pages:
Can’t Argue with Ponies: The ponies are often shown relatively close to canon: they don't generally swear, they're almost universally kind, and their society has a place for everypony. However, the ponies often drive home how humans are bastards.
Les Collaborateurs: It's mentioned that human scientists helped develop the ponification serum. Additionally, the world's leaders seem to have no interest in stopping what the ponies are doing, often because they are aware that the world is ecologically ruined.
Cosy Catastrophe: The prologue mentions that warfare and disease are decimating humanity, but what little we're shown of human society doesn't seem any different from present-day America.
Creator Provincialism: Very little of the world outside of the United States, Europe and Equestria is mentioned in most fics.
Dead Fic: Likely due to the backlash, Blaze seems to have abandoned the story and has no desire to go back and finish it, declaring it a mediocre Old Shame.
Emergency Transformation: This is the core idea behind the entire series. Either you die by the magical radiation of Equestria, or you become a pony.
In addition, one of the perks of the ponification serum is that the process instantly and fully heals the recipient, even going so far as to remove diseases or genetic defects. Several stories feature humans on the verge of death taking the potion to save their lives.
This is probably the reason why many FiM fanfic writers now Hand Wave the absence of humans by having Equestria as being on another planet or in a parallel reality, with the humans serving the role as aliens or The Fair Folk.
Please note that "Conversion Bureau Fanfic" is a very wide umbrella covering a vast amount and variety of stories. Simply because one trope is applicable to one fanfiction, does not necessarily make it applicable to all Conversion Bureau fanfictions. For example, "Ten Minutes," is a dark last stand, while "Conquer the Stars" is a Space Opera.
Adaptational Badass: Very prominent in Other Side of the Spectrum. A startling amount of ponies, including numerous background ponies, have been transformed into hardened soldiers.
Advancing Wall of Doom: The barrier serves as this, instantly vaporizing or transforming any human-made object in its path.
Affably Evil: Many members of the Ponification for Earth's Rebirth (PER) movement meet this description. They are almost unfailingly friendly and polite, and will usually begin a conversation with a human by trying to reason with them and convince them that getting converted is the best choice. If the human disagrees, however...
Aliens Are Bastards: A common depiction is of the ponies as xenophobic conquerors. To be fair, despite how polite they are about it, they are stealing land from the humans and assimilating them - sometimes by force.
The Alliance: Some fics feature every nation on Earth - sometimes even joined by terrorist groups - banding together to fight off the ponies.
Baleful Polymorph: Some stories have forced ponification as a response to the Human Liberation Front and humans that like being humans. Ponies usually see it as better alternative to killing them, but those getting changed tend to disagree.
Any story featuring the PER will involve this as well.
Battle Trophy: A Diamond Dog foot soldier in A Dark in the Light tends to collect armor, weapons and other gear as a form of this.
Black and Grey Morality: Several fics have this with humans or ponies occupying either side. Most visible in The Palladium Wings. Human privateers enslave, sell, torture and kill pony civilians. Celestia's government takes over human lands by force, denies aid to starving nations for a purely selfish reason, does mass killings and/or ponification of humans and engages in torture.
Black and White Morality: Occurs in several fics. Humans or ponies can occupy either side, depending on who the author likes more.
Brainwashed and Crazy: The Other Side of the Spectrum has the royal guards as such. This is due to Charter of the Guard they swore an oath on. It was enchanted so that they'd obey any order given by Celestia — even it if it is immoral, dangerous or just plain suicidal.
Caught Up in the Rapture: TCB-Earth often fits in the more pro-pony fics, with huge swaths of humanity abandoning Earth en masse and leaving their more jaded brethren behind.
Condescending Compassion: The ponies view on Humans, who "can't help" their barbaric and monstrous behavior, so they must be saved by ponification. Often, this leads to the humans declaring Screw You, Elves! and fighting back.
Conditioned to Accept Horror: Humans live in a steadily eroding world where things like theft, murder, and rape are common, and communities are forced to band together to protect themselves. Equestrians find the fact that violence occurs at all to be horrifying.
Then again, the view of the Earth largely depends on the author of the spinoff in question. While some do take place on horrific death worlds or burned-out techno-urban hellholes, many also take place on far more normal versions of the earth.
Depending on the Writer: Since the original's author, Blaze, has abandoned the story, there is little canon other than the initial premise.
The question of whether or not the Barrier was deliberately formed and used as an attack on humanity is a constant point of contention among the fanbase... and something that varies wildly from story to story. Even the authors themselves don't always seem to know which is the case, both in their universe and outside.
Also, how powerful and threatening the PER and HLF are varies by writer. Some fics have them as little more than street gangsters and a nuisance; others portray them as highly sophisticated paramilitary organizations with enough resources and firepower to rival a small country's army and being very dangerous.
Likewise, the attitude and motivations of Celestia. Sometimes she is benevolence given form, going out of her way to make peace with even her most hateful enemies and ensure an ending where everyone winds up happy. Other times she's shown as an absolutely merciless despot and conqueror, completely uncaring about human lives, unsympathetic to the human race's imminent destruction and ruthlessly disposing of anyone who inconveniences her.
Also, the effects of the serum. Sometimes, it just changes the drinker into a pony but leaves their mind intact. Sometimes it makes them more caring in addition to their bodily changes. Still others have it completely wipe the drinker's brain and replace with with an artificially happy personality.
The setting varies wildly with the writer. Some go for Next Sunday A.D.. Others go for a cyberpunkTwenty Minutes into the Future setting. And still others go for a setting where the ponies have won. One alternate spinoff even has the humans winning, at the cost of vaporizing all of Equestria and locking Celestia's forever screaming head in a box..
And the ponies themselves. How many share misanthropic views, or sympathize with the humans, or are just fed lies by a propaganda machine?
Despair Event Horizon: Due to Grayscale's premise, to say the concept and process of conversion are extremely heartbreaking is the understatement of the millenium. Both volunteers and doctors are often Driven to Suicide, or in rarer cases, Ax-CrazyFreak Outs, most often after a few months. And you don't have to work on the bureaus themselves to be driven to it, either: Princess Luna only visited a bureau once, and after spending some time with a young human girl, she got up, thanked her for the attention, found an empty office and locked herself in to cry alone. She never even came close to a bureau afterwards.
Detractor Nickname: The TCB-version of Celestia is often called 'Xenocidelestia', or other similar terms in order to differentiate her from her canon counterpart. Typically, the "Xeno," stands for "Xenocide," so it's not exactly a good thing. Other variations include X-lestia, Xelly, and Xenolestia, for similar reasons... although rarely, an utterly terrifying version called "Xenomolestia" shows up.
Recently, the TCB-Celestia has come to be called The Solar Tyrant by many who oppose this version of the character.
A new division has appeared on Spacebattles between Geno Celestia, who is outright evil, and Xeno Celestia, who is merely misguided.
TCB-Royal Guards have been referred to as "Celestians".
Domed Hometown: Equestria is surrounded by a magical dome. However, it can be passed through by magical creatures, but not by unchanged earthly life forms.
Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Discussed in Railroad Seven-Three. The average native Equestrian sometimes claims to pity humans rather than hating them; many humans in turn resent this. Balthazar in particular despises Celestia for what he views as an incredibly condescending attitude.
In one of the fics, Twilight mentions that a few of the remaining humans chose this instead of facing the restoration magic or getting ponified.
Grayscale has this in spades for both sides: for the humans, it's just an alternative to conversion, a process that kills them as the people they are; for the other side, it's the Bureaus' volunteers that kill themselves because of the massive emotional burnout that comes from what is essentially killing off innocents. Rainbow Dash (the POV character) remembers how, after the Bureaus began working, the suicide rates rose in Equestria and how over half of them were volunteers that had crossed the Despair Event Horizon. Things got so bad that a royal decree instituted that no one should work on a bureau for more than six months.
Elephant in the Living Room: Many TCB fics see humanity as inferior and call ponyhood morally superior while failing to acknowledge canonical pony jerks like Trixie, the Flim-Flam Brothers, snooty Canterlot nobles like Prince Blueblood, Rainbow Dash's Cloudsdale bullies, historical figures like Princess Platinum, Commander Hurricane, and Chancellor Puddinghead, or god forbid, King Sombra. The question of hostile native Equestrian races like Diamond Dogs, Changelings, dragons and gryphons rarely comes up, as well as the fact that the ponies are shown to get along with other intelligent species like the donkeys/mules and buffalos.
Enemy Mine: Some TCB fics have all of the nations on Earth putting aside all differences to combat the ponies. Hell even organizations like the Taliban pull off a Heel-Face Turn.
On the Spacebattles forums, The Draka are considered less evil. "Damn it, I have absolutely NO idea who to cheer for! On one hand, we have the xenophobic racist abominations of nature that violate almost every law and convention that exists, and on the other hand, we have the Draka!"
Often times when comparing the Nazis to the TCB Ponies, most tend to choose the Nazis as the lesser evil.
Evil Versus Evil: In some fics, both the humans and ponies are sociopathic xenophobes.
The ponies see humans as savage brutes. The humans see the ponies as xenophobic conquerors and despots. How right each side is depends on the story in question.
These are more the main view points of the PER (Ponification For Earth's Rebirth) and the HLF (Human Liberation Front) respectively. Most regular ponies and humans stay a mixed bag.
Subverted twice in Change of Life. At first, it looks like Applejack and Silver are both racist towards Robert, a human. It turns out Applejack distrusts him for being 'city folk,' and Silver just plain doesn't like him for personal reasons.
For Your Own Good: How some ponies feel about ponification. The PER love this justification to the point where they will forcibly ponify people or spike their drinks without their knowledge.
Gender Bender: The beta version of the ponification serum could only create female ponies. There are a few stories where it is accidentally given to a male.
Grey and Gray Morality: The ponies are fairly consistently portrayed as racist (speciesist?) to varying degrees, but genuinely believe that their actions are helping humanity and leaving them happier in the long run. Humanity is only trying to defend itself, its culture and its world but seems to take rather perverse glee in living down to its thuggish reputation in the process.
Hate Fic: There are a lot of fics that either examine its flaws or just go Kill 'em All on the characters.
Humans Are Flawed: Some of the spin-offs take this attitude in contrast to the original. Many have protagonists that are and remain human, become good friends with ponies, but does not sweep away the fundamental problems with humanity being apex predators descended from pack-hunter gatherers.
Humans Are Warriors: One thing both sides of the fic's fandom seem to consistently agree on is that humans are often much fiercer fighters than ponies. Whether or not it's effective enough to drive off Equestria and thye Conversion efforts is up to the author.
I Did What I Had to Do: In Last Man Standing, Celestia confirms the suspicions of many in a conversation with the last remaining human: she DID invade Earth deliberately. However, she points out that due to the merging of the worlds, either Equestria or Earth was going to be destroyed no matter what; she simply chose to try and save her subjects.
Idiot Ball: An Azure Future, in spades. After an entire story of wanting to remain human and not undergo conversion, the protaganist pulls a complete ideological 180, joins up with a terrorist organization and helps them successfully carpet-bomb a human settlement, then gases a cop whose only mistake was trying to give him a speeding ticket. Making the whole matter worse, the only reason he decided to help the terrorists was so they would convert him in exchange - something that is their entire purpose to do anyway. Not to mention he could've walked into any of a dozen nearby Conversion Bureaus and had the process done legitimately by trained professionals at any time. He receives nothing worse than mild disappointment from Celestia for the whole thing.
Knight Templar: The PER fit this trope perfectly. They believe that ponification is the right way and they see nothing wrong with forcibly dosing innocent civilians.
Celestia fits this trope in some stories too. She feels that by ponifying humans and wiping their technology from the Earth, she can give them a better life. In these cases, she has no compunction about committing sundry atrocities to do so.
Les Collaborateurs: It's mentioned that human scientists helped develop the ponification serum. Additionally, the world's leaders seem to have no interest in stopping what the ponies are doing. However, this is dependent on the author, so while this is sometimes the case, it is usually subverted just as often.
Lighter and Softer: Change of Life is this. In it, the Barrier is completely beyond Celestia's control and she is in fact doing her best to help the remaining humans. While the majority of ponykind does seem to pity humanity, it's more because of the latter losing their world than racism. Even the HLF is less aggressive than usual, preferring protests and rhetoric to open war.
Loss of Identity: Is a pony produced by the potion the same "person" as the human that it originally was? If not, is this a good thing, or is it unforgivable xenocide? The answer largely depends on what spinoff you're reading, how much the potion affects emotions, predispositions, beliefs, and allegiances, and the beliefs of the author; most of the fics where the answer is "yes, and it is xenocide" are a backlash response against ones where the answer was "yes, and it is a good thing", or at least a perception thereof.
The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: In some stories, turning into a pony fundamentally alters your personality. You keep all of your memories, but become much more predisposed towards happiness, nonviolence, and social interaction.
United We Stand presents a very interesting take on the mirror universe; while the pro-human Equestria is otherwise identical to the show's canon, it's heavily implied that its descended from the Generation 1 pony universe, which canonically already made friendly contact with humanity. Naturally, TCB Celestia views the pro-human mirror universe ponies as impostors and traitors.
There's also The Other Side of the Spectrum where a shell-shocked operative for the HLF is thrown into an alternate Equestria through a magical portal, whereupon his account of what's happening in his world horrify the Mane Six (and Lyra), and Celestia, enraged with how her alternate self is perverting the message of harmony that Star Swirl the Bearded and Clover the Clever taught her, declares war on behalf of Earth, all the while, according to that story's author, something else more sinister is going on behind the scenes. It also includes a few Take Thats to some of the Fridge Logic questions raised in the genre.
"Grayscale" has the scenario play out as usual... but all the ponies have the same characterization as the show, including/especially Princess Celestia, who does not have any control over the barrier and does make the process entirely voluntary. The Equestrians themselves are divided into those who believe they're committing genocide and those who believe they should save as many people as possible. It's mentioned that while the Human Liberation Front attacks the bureaus, so do ponies. The Mane Six nearly broke up when they disagreed about the process was right or not. Pinkie Pie did go insane and is in an asylum. The ponies who work at the centers themselves burnout mentally, and the readers see what happens as a pony doctor goes insane and tries to kill her coworkers, as well and being driven to despair and begging for someone to kill her.
"We tear them so the soul leaks out! Nothing left, and something grows, but it’s not what it was! Not what it was!
Moral Myopia: If the ponies do something questionable, it's okay because they're supposedly doing the right thing no matter where they're going with it. If the humans do something questionable, they're evil monsters.
Phonetic Accent: The Other Side of the Spectrum renders Babs Seed's Brooklyn-esque accent as such.
Physical God: Although Celestia was already somewhat a goddess in canon material, TCB stories tend to ramp this trait up to the extreme. Celestia is almost always completely unstoppable, and sometimes even omnipotent.
Twilight Sparkle: I think that Celestia angered Someone she couldn't fight back against.
Depictions of Celestia as a god in TCB stories range from "Canon Celestia," where she is more powerful than almost anything else on the planet (but still mortal, as shown in the Canterlot Wedding where she got taken out by Chrysalis), to "Eldritch Abomination" where she only looks like a pony, but is a vast, unkillable intelligence with limitless power.
Parents in Distress: A species-wide example in "The Children of Man", which has the now Sufficiently Advanced Cylons appear to defend their "parents".
WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF MAN, AND IT IS THE DUTY OF CHILDREN TO DEFEND THEIR PARENTS.
Protagonist-Centered Morality: The ponies are the "heroes" of the story, yet they force humans to either lose their personalities and all other aspects of their selves in the conversion process or be killed.
Likewise, some stories show the humans as evil simply because they didn't want to convert or they dared to defend themselves against the ponies.
Puny Earthlings: Many TCB fics have the ponies as being totally superior to humans.
Taken Up to Eleven in Option Gamma where the humans are horribly outmatched by all Equestrian species.
Reckless Pacifist: In Railroad Seven-Three, the PER threatens to stop the Railroad vehicle with a spike strip. One of the PER pegasi even explicitly points out the pickup truck would probably flip over... and there were ponies in the flatbed at the time. Shortly thereafter, we see they weren't bluffing about the spike strip's presence, either.
Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Complicated. The humans are normally the technology users regardless of time period while the ponies are the High FantasySugar Bowl paradise. However, the conversion is essentially a Utopia Justifies the Means plot while the Humans are trying to defend their values, even though these values are far more futurist than what Equestria has to offer. It's generally uncanny, essentially a reverse Avatar and all a matter of perspective really.
Scary Dogmatic Ponies: Spinoffs sometimes feature all the scary dogmatic alien types from the original in addition to two more.
Ponies as Religious Fundamentalists: Some fics show the ponies as crusaders who go out to convert - or kill - humanity on the orders of Celestia.
Ponies as Conquistadors: Some fics show them as planning to subjugate Earth and humanity to make them more "civilized".
Screw You Ponies: The "Ten Rounds" universe features this in spades, with the human characters resisting the Ponification to truly epic lengths. One called "Ten Minutes" ends with Celestia, along with thousands of ponies, being lured into the blast radius of a nuke.
Take That: All-American Girl mentions a "Humans Are Bastards" horror film called The Converters. The makers of which nearly got sued for libel.
There are plenty of stories that involve take thats being given out to TCB ponies, including "Wrong Universe," by Dalek IX, or "What would Really Happen," which is where a few people convert, but then everyone else goes back to their lives, pretty much fine with the world as-is.
Tautological Templar: Many stories have Celestia and the ponies completely failing to see anything wrong with the Mind Rape that accompanies the potion. Or failing to understand why the human race declares war on them after the effects of the conversion are known.
Technical Pacifist: On paper, the PER is biologically prevented from harming humans. In reality they find quite a few ways around this: Baleful Polymorph is their hat, obviously, but they also have no problem forcibly converting humans under hazardous conditions or with experimental, unstable serum versions. Both circumstances can, and often do, lead to death.
Then Let Me Be Evil: Humanity is constantly derided by the ponies as being savages and brutes. Some humans, the HLF especially, decide to embrace their brutish reputation.
Transhuman Treachery: Once a person goes pony, they may still feel attachment to individual humans. Any sense of love for the race as a whole is long gone, however, even if they ardently supported it before.
What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: One of the major contentions with the premise and its fans is that readers who would stand against the Mind Rape, xenocide and assimilation of humanity were the perpetrators orcs or lizards or beastmen or other stereotypically ugly sorts instead support it because cute ponies are the ones doing the "conversion".
What the Hell, Hero?: One of the main themes behind The Ballad of the White Rose. A group of rebellious young ponies discover that the death of humanity was no accident, and decide that Celestia has a lot to answer for.
What You Are in the Dark: The main theme of Checkpoint. An HLF soldier is confronted by a family of newfoals and holds them at gunpoint. Absent any witnesses to condemn him or allies to encourage him, their fate is purely his own to decide. He lets them go.
Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": The ponies essentially force mankind to "convert" en masse into ponies, as if they don't, they'll killed by the unstoppable barrier. The sentiments that ponies have towards this in some of the darker fics leans towards the type A variant.
The PER: Saviors of a fallen humanity? Or Quislings who've thrown away their humanity in exchange for "paradise"? Or Knight Templars who believe everyone should be ponified — regardless if they like it or not?
Zerg Rush: The "Ten Rounds," universes tend to rely on these, where groups of humans are usually overwhelmed by swarms of smiling newfoals trying to dose them all with ponification serum.
After the End: The Earth's ecosystems have all but completely collapsed, the population has been ravaged by disease, vast stretches of urban and suburban development have been abandoned, and the human population is dwindling rapidly as humans are ponified. Nineteen billion refugees inhabit a world which will be turned into Equestria in eight years.
Airstrip One: Earth's One World Government has grouped the former nations of the world into administrative zones. Most people still refer to specific regions by their old names.
Alien Geometries: Equestria's reality is a flat plane, rather than a planet. There is no “edge” to the land; traveling in any direction will eventually loop back around on the other “side”. Theoretically, this should apply to upward and downward travel as well, though no one has ever tested it for reasons that should be reasonably obvious.
"New Universe Three: The Friendship Virus" has nothing to do with The Conversion Bureau stories other than some name-dropping that could easily be exchanged with anything else. It's a retrospective tale of a world wherein a group of bioterrorists calling themselves “The Conversion Bureau” were inspired by My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to bring about a pacifistic utopian world by creating and releasing a DNA-altering virus that eliminated most differences between sexes. Genetic tendencies towards aggression and territoriality were rewritten, oxytocin production increased, but most importantly – as emphasized by the narrator's thoughts – testosterone production in males was cut down to one third. The result is that males and females both lose most of their violent and territorial tendencies.
Constant anti-nuclear power messages are becoming increasingly difficult to ignore, both due to their frequency, and due to the increasingly dramatic events ascribed to various incidents incidents.
The kinda-sorta TCB-related Friendship Is Optimal: Caelum Est Conterrens describes the 2011 Fukushima incident as "a nightmare disaster that would murder people for hundreds of years".
Recombinant 63: A Conversion Bureau Story indicates that the entire Japanese archipelago has been lethally irradiated, forcing the population to evacuate and spread throughout the world in a great diaspora.
There is also the bashing of religion as either evil or deluded.
A strong anti-genetic engineering message is also present in her stories as well.
The Bad Guy Wins: In New Universe Seven: Mankind Triumphant!, humanity reduces Equestria to a smoldering crater, decapitates Celestia, puts her screaming head in a box forever and enslaves all surviving ponies.
To those who see Chat's version of the ponies as evil caricatures of the ponies from the show, the rest of her stories qualify as this since the ponies not only win, they pretty much curbstomp any and all attempts to take them down.
Bittersweet Ending: On the one hand, the Earth is destroyed, the human species is transformed, all the humans who've ever died were lost forever, most traces of human culture or evidence we ever existed are gone, and those who have become ponies are relocated to new lives in Equestria. On the other hand, the Earth was wrecked beyond repair, mankind was in decline, and the ponified humans are now part of the ponies' cycle of reincarnation, shepherded by a being who is pleased by their happiness.
There are a couple of instances where she attempts to make ponies a little more grey (most notably A Taste of Grass), but these moments are still very few and far between compared to the constant glorifying of the ponies and demonizing of humans.
Blind Obedience: The ponies will follow Celestia and Luna without question.
Body Horror: Skimping on the ponification serum causes the person to die horribly as they are locked between human and pony form.
The pony body is a nightmare horror to members of the Human Liberation Front.
Some PER members see the human body as such.
Book Burning: While sorting through a shipment of media awaiting judgment by Princess Luna which will determine whether it will be saved or destroyed, the protagonist of Recombinant 63 comes upon a top secret journal containing the technical details of the ponification serum. Her first thought is that it should be burned on the spot because of the danger should it fall into the hands of those who would misuse it.
But I Read A Book About It: Gwen, the protagonist of Recombinant 63, never fails to have read somewhere about anything she faces, regardless of how obscure and/or highly classified it is stated to be. The reason given for her knowledge is her participation in a government/Equestrian effort to preserve human knowledge.
Censorship Bureau: Recombinant 63 introduces a program managed by Luna dedicated to selecting – in accordance with guidelines dictated by Celestia – what pieces of human art, music, and writing should be spared, and consigning the rest to destruction. The criterion for censorship includes eliminating information supporting or describing racism, sexism, nationalism, war, murder and crime.
Amongst the books rejected by Luna are any which "showed the evils that Man was capable of". It should be noted that this is her own loosened judgment, applied to written works that she feels worthy of secretly preserving in defiance of Celestia's standards, which are implied to be far more strict.
Books on ancient warfare are singled out for destruction above all others, for fear that the non-pony species of Equestria might learn from them and find some way to improve their political position, or that native ponies might look down on ponified humans as inferior or dangerous.
Officially, by the agreement of both the Earth's government and Celestia, all contemporary accounts of the Earth's final years and of the circumstances and details of its destruction are to be secretly archived beyond the reach of most individuals.
Cerebus Syndrome: Other than the usual implications and expected plot elements common to most TCB works, Chatoyance's stories were fairly simplistic until The Taste of Grass began developing Celestia's character and fleshing out the setting's details.
Cessation of Existence: The fate of humans, because they are among the rare species that develop in universes devoid of magical energy.
Colon Cancer: The PER: The Speed of Right: Michaelson and Morely.
Corrupt Church: Earth's religions. All of them. In fact, the concept of religion is often regarded as evil.
Cosmic Horror Story: Two universes in collision, the earth destroyed, and humanity forced to change species to survive the catastrophe.
Crapsack World: Earth's ecosystem is completely destroyed, the entire planet is governed by a corporate conglomerate, social mobility is rare, and the employment rate is frozen at 2%.
New Universe Two: The Most Decadent Thing exchanges the corporate hellhole for a hedonistic transhumanist equivalent of Idiocracy.
Crystal Dragon Jesus: A mild variant. Chatoyance openly admits that her version of Celestia has substantial similarities to the Old Testament God.
Cure Your Gays: The serum changes the drinker's sexual orientation to pansexual.
Curiosity Causes Conversion: Quite literally. Expressing even the tiniest bit of interest in Equestria draws the PER like flies to honey.
Cutting the Knot: In Tales of Los Pegasus, a police officer is confronted by a complex mystery involving a shooting, a forced conversion, a PER pegasus, and several conflicting testimonies. He briefly considers solving it, then simply sides with the PER pony and potion-bombs everyone involved.
Cyberpunk: Several elements of the genre are present in her stories.
Dan Browned: Chatoyance claims her stories are perfectly accurate hard science fiction. However, many critics have pointed out numerous technical inaccuracies, misrepresentations of facts and outright fabrications. See this review for an example, with citations.
Dear Negative Reader: Chatoyance has a habit of insulting critics and those who don't agree with her fanon.
Defeat Means Friendship: Played ramrod straight in Operation HLF Life. The PER attacks and successfully converts an entire fort full of HLF combatants. Upon waking up from the anesthetic effect of the conversion, the former HLF instantly and cheerfully obey the commands of their attackers.
Democracy Is Bad: Implied. Equestria is an absolute monarchy and it's shown to be a perfect world.
Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: In New Universe Seven: Mankind Triumphant!, humanity disposes of Discord by running his petrified form through a rock crusher. They then nuke Equestria, decapitate Celestia and stick her head in a sealed box.
Double Standard: This quote from the author states why the ponies are allowed to commit genocide against humanity and be in the right for it but humanity fighting back against the ponies is either evil or just misguided.
In my stories superior beings - truly superior beings - can do things that if a lesser being, like a human, were to do, it would indeed be evil.
Dystopia: Earth. Earth is ecologically ruined and humanity survives only because of technology.
Expy: Blackmesh Security is an expy of Blackwater USA with their negative traits ramped Up to Eleven
Fantastic Racism: Some members of the three types of ponies still think themselves better than the other two. This is a reference to the second season episode "Hearth's Warming Eve", where pony racism was presented as existing in the past.
Fate Worse than Death: Petrification is supposed to be the kinder and gentler pony alternative to the death sentence, but the soul of the pony being punished remains frozen within their stone form, unable to pass on into the afterlife and reenter the cycle of reincarnation. When times have changed sufficiently, Celestia is shown to reanimate petrified ponies so that they may fulfill their destinies. This is part of the plot of “TCB: The Reasonably Adamant Down With Celestia Newfoal Society!”.
Filibuster Freefall: Her early stories were mostly normal slice of life type stories with minimal messages and morals and misanthropy. Her later stories often have Heinlein-styled social commentary and exposition — and a heaping dose of misanthropy. Sometimes to the point where they overshadow the rest of the story.
Five-Token Band: Chatoyance, more than any other TCB author, seems to go out of her way to feature protagonists and side characters that are diverse in race and ethnicity.
Fix Fic: "Ten Minutes: Aftermath" was written as a response to the anti-pony , pro-human, sentiments of the original story, subverting the message of the original as part of a writing challenge set by TCB author Krass McWriter. The prompt was to "Write a story, or continue a story within another writer's universe." Unfortunately, this resulted in a great deal of readers revolting against the story, particularly when it came out that Krass neglected to point out that they should get the permission of the writer of the fic they were basing their own work on. Brony of Steel didn't even know the fic existed until Chat decided to advertise for it in the comments section of his own fic. A move that pissed off readers of the original fic as much as it pissed off readers of her fix fic. Readers have come to see Aftermath as less of a fix fic and more of a massive middle finger to the idea of Celestia being capable of losing, which Chatoyance has effectively admitted to hating, and is part of why she seems to utterly disregard season 2.
Amusingly, most of his vitriol is towards the missionary Elijah (who is notably one of the only religious characters not shown as a Strawman), who nevertheless actually shares his beliefs about Celestia and Luna. It comes to no ones real surprise when the two of them end up together after converting.
Foreshadowing: In Teacup: Down on the Farm, the titular character experiences regret over possessing memories of her difficult life on earth. She is told early on that such memories have value, but pursues having them erased anyway. At the end of the story, she learns the initial suggestion was correct all along.
A Form You Are Comfortable With: Celestia, Luna, and Discord all have bodies composed of pure magic. It's still enough to make most corporeal onlookers uneasy.
Among the many secrets about Celestia uncovered by the central characters of The 800 Year Promise is her ancient use of castration as a tool to breed healthier ponies.
Having been reasonably convinced that Wildfire and his wife won't divulge the truth about her many secrets which they have uncovered, Celestia heals the broken ribs he suffered at the hooves of a group of imperfectly ponified HLF operatives. She very pointedly does not, however, restore the testicle which was crushed in the same attack, going so far as to call it "the cost of his adventure" before advising him to avoid getting involved in her affairs again.
Generic Doomsday Villain: The Human Liberation Front hates ponies and anyone who sympathizes with ponies. And... that's about it.
Glad I Thought of It: In order to preserve various elements of human culture, the leaders of three incredibly distant cities demand that Celestia leave their population alone in the tenth story of Tales of Los Pegasus. Despite this, Celestia still discreetly checks in on them every hundred years or so in order to acquire any interesting new technology they may have come up with because she values human ingenuity. In other stories, it is revealed that this is one of the many reasons she is willing to permit ponification, and resettlement within her universe.
Gratuitous Rape: In Tales of Los Pegasus, an angry HLF operative attempts to rape a pony as part of a violent assault. This seems to have been included solely for shock value.
Grey Goo: In New Universe Four: Phoenix In Hooves, Earth has been entirely devoured by grey goo.
Heaven: The afterlife for ponies, where they dwell until they are reincarnated, or choose to ascend to a state where they can explore the multiverse. Celestia and Luna, however, are denied the latter option, because they are mysteriously bound to Equestria. Chatoyance has claimed she will one day address the reason the two alicorns are trapped.
Historical Villain Upgrade: An odd example applying to the entire human race. Humanity's myriad flaws and and atrocities are faithfully recounted, often with historical references; humanity's achievements are also listed and even celebrated as the reason that Celestia is willing to accept humanity being ponified. However, the upside of humanity is dwelt on significantly less often, and is sufficiently downplayed relative to the flaws to make forcible ponification seem like a good idea. To say nothing of the sheer impossibility of listing anything but highlights, which naturally lends itself to skewing the highlights to one view or another (in this case, the negatives).
Humans Are Special: Humans are one of the few known lifeforms to have evolved in a universe completely devoid of magic. As a result, they're among the rarest of sentient beings - those which lack actual souls.
Hypocritical Humor: In Going Pony two characters explain the technology behind the process of ponification for the reader, but in the story stop to wonder aloud why humans always try to explain away magic.
Insane Troll Logic: When the HLF villains of Recombinant 63 fail in their initial search of the city for the hiding and (unknown to them) ponified protagonist, they joke that that their headquarters has been found out because they haven't been murdering enough ponies to meet the statistical average.
Immigrant Patriotism: Many newfoals are incredibly enthusiastic about doing things the proper Equestrian way, and try hard to assimilate and fit in with the native population.
Improvised Weapon: In 27 Ounces, Dr. Pastern throws some serum at an HLF operative attacking her, killing her attacker.
The PER sometimes use squirt guns filled with serum in mass ponification attacks.
Informed Attribute: Despite supposedly being one of the most masterful infiltrators on Earth, the imperfectly converted Ralph Vitoni inevitably arouses the suspicion and distrust of the protagonists of any stories in which he appears within – and sometimes even before – his first spoken sentence.
In Name Only: Chatoyance's stories share little with the show except for names.
She herself actually says as much in this post on her own forum. She makes it clear that she is writing science fiction first, and pony stories second.
This is most noticeable in (the admittedly, by Word of God, explicitly experimental reimagining) New Universe Three: The Friendship Virus, which merely mentions the show a couple of times. It manages to arguably be a Conversion Bureau story In Name Only, with the eponymous "bureau" not being an institution that converts people into ponies, but instead, a group of bioterrorists inspired by the show to release a virus that makes men more like women in terms of behavior.
Magic Versus Science: Science and technology derived from it are inherently destructive to the environment. Magic can do anything science can achieve and more, all without harming anything.
Manipulative Bastard: Celestia is good at ensuring that events work in her favor. The only time she's failed to manipulate a situation to reach her own goal involved temporal and spacial shenanigans spanning two alternate realities, one of which she has minimal power within.
Manipulative Editing: Chatoyance has been known to delete threatening or attacking comments on her stories and blog posts. For death threats and threats of bodily harm, she regularly involves the moderators.
In addition, comments that oppose her views on stories have been know to disappear as well.
Meaningful Name: The Conversion Bureau worker named Dr. Pastern who eventually ponifes herself. a pastern is part of a horse's body.
Medieval Stasis: The show's cities and magitech are explained as being the leftover products of the Ponies' flirtation with industry, which was abandoned when the ponies realized that they were destroying their environment.
Mega Corp.: The Corporate Worldgovernment, which owns the entire world, and Blackmesh Security, which serves as their military police.
Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: In “The PER: Michelson and Morely”, the protagonists consist of the butch Nutmeg Morely and the feminine – and in the end, transgender – Ginger Michelson.
Nanomachines: The basis for the ponification serum. Also heavily used in manufacturing on Earth.
Omniscient Morality License: This quote by the author more or less cements Celestia as having this, due to the virtue of having a consciousness and awareness billions of times greater than a human mind. Essentially a living goddess, Celestia is described as being able to calculate possible outcomes and futures with inhuman ability.
In my stories superior beings - truly superior beings - can do things that if a lesser being, like a human, were to do, it would indeed be evil.
One World Order: Earth is ruled by the Corporate Worldgovernment. Equestria is ruled by Celestia.
Orwellian Editor: Formerly. It was widely known that Chatoyance removed comments she found inappropriate, rude, threatening or contrary from her Fimfiction.Net account and from the pages of her stories. A site update has since altered the comment field's behavior such that deleted comments now leave behind an irremovable line indicating their deletion, the identity of the poster who made the removed comment, and the time of its deletion, making it impossible to deny the past existence of removed posts.
Shortly after the change to the commenting system, Chatoyance declared that she would begin deleting comments liberally as a defense against harassment levied against her.
Chat has also gone on to try to claim that several deleted posts were deleted by people trying to 'hide the evidence' of making mean or threatening posts to 'evade punishment'. The new system does not reveal who actually deleted any of the posts, only the name of who originally put the post up. This leaves her claims in doubt, but she has such a rabid fanbase that they will take her word as gospel with no proof.
Otherkin: Chatoyance's Fimfiction.Net bio claims that she is "human-shaped unicorn". She is clear that this is just playfulness on her part, and does not truly believe it.
Outgrown Such Silly Superstitions: Humans who go through ponification usually come to view their former beliefs, no matter how religious they were before, as false and primitive. Even some humans before conversion start to see their former beliefs as flawed the moment they find out about Celestia.
Peace & Love Incorporated: The Conversion Bureaus were set up by the Worldgovernment to rescue as much of humanity as possible before the world was destroyed. Ponification is offered free and without charge to even the most impoverished people.
Perfect Pacifist People: The ponies are completely incapable of murder or cruelty, though they are capable of self-defense.
Properly Paranoid: The HLF believe that Celestia's benevolent talk is a front and that she is in reality leading a deliberately engineered takeover of the planet. They have absolutely no evidence to back this up and are... biased, to say the least. It turns out they are absolutely right.
According to "Ten Minutes: Aftermath," the nuclear warhead Celestia halts was powerful enough to glass an entire planetary hemisphere. Someone on Fimfiction.Net ran some calculations and found out that the device needed to do so had a yield of six petatons of TNT. For comparison, the asteroid that caused the K-T extinction "only" had a yield of ~96 teratons of TNT (~1.6% as powerful as the bomb that Celestia halts).
And the one that is used in "New Universe Seven" is strong enough to destroy one percent of the planet's mass (contained by the Barrier, but still), and the planet is still livable after losing that much matter.
Spirit Advisor: Celestia got the attention of the world government by appearing to each of the six hundred or so most powerful individuals in the form of a duplicate of herself that only they could see and hear, and then badgering them day and night, even in their dreams, until they agreed to meet with each other.
Straw Setting: Earth in the story could qualify as a straw dystopia, as it essentially is seemingly made of everything that the author does not approve of. Nearly every non-human creature has been driven to extinction, with the few left being unable to be seen by any but the richest. The planet is run by the greedy rich elite who only care about their power. All religions are Corrupt Churches, wallowing in wealth obtained by cheating the poor out of their money. Pretty much everyone has cancer which can be treated with over-the-counter inhibitors, but only the rich can afford complete remissions. On the other hand, for the first time in history, all humans are fed and watered.
The Stoic: Celestia never shows any emotions stronger than mild irritation or vague amusement.
Super Breeding Program: The 800 Year Promise mentions that Celestia has undertaken eugenics programs in the past, forcibly sterilizing ponies she deemed to be genetic undesirables in an attempt to strengthen the pony race against the other sentient species inhabiting Equestria.
Take That, Critics!: The Reasonably Adamant Down With Celestia Newfoal Society! has been interpreted as a rather caustic one against critics of the TCB-verse.
Tautological Templar: Celestia and the ponies completely fail to see anything wrong with forcedconversion and why the human race is so pissed off at them and fighting so hard against them.
Technology Is Evil: It's hinted that Celestia bans most technological development in Equestria.
Third Act Stupidity: In The 800 Year Promise. Ralph and his HLF co-conspirators are clever enough to hide amongst the ponies of Equestria for years. They've allegedly got agents at every level of Equestrian society – even in the palace, so there's no running to Celestia for help. All throughout the story they're one step ahead, always having figured out enough to know where they should be looking before the protagonists do. They've fabricated a cover story for anyone who questions them. They know enough about dragon culture and history to attempt to rouse them to anger against Celestia. Four chapters from the end they unsuccessfully sneak into a dragon's cave, beat up his “guests”, and die horribly when he comes home sooner than expected.
Villain Has a Point: Before dying, Ralph explains what the final members of the HLF have come to believe about Celestia, the destruction of the Earth, and the true nature of Equestria. Sharptooth, the only character present that is familiar with the princess and knowledgeable enough about the universe to make any assessment of it all thinks he's right.
This Loser Is You: Humanity is not shown in the greatest of light. While there are humans all across the moral spectrum in her stories, there is the underlying message that ponies are vastly better than humans.
Trope Codifier: Her works codified many of the many significant plot details of TCB canon, and many other Conversion Bureau stories at least contain elements of her work.
Unperson: Beings who become a “problem” for Celestia have a tendency to disappear. Later, some lucky civic area is gifted a surprisingly lifelike new statue. It's unclear how or if their disappearance is explained to friends or family, but it's clear that, aside from Discord, nobody hears about them in any history lessons.
Voodoo Shark: Earth and Equestria are established early on as being governed by differing physics models, with Equestria and every other known alternate reality being permeated by a force which destroys any Earthly technology it effects. Early on the reason is given that Equestrian physics breaks terrestrial quantum mechanics, which underlies both biology and the advanced technologies of the world. The details are further elaborated upon in Recombinant 63: A Conversion Bureau Story, in which it is revealed that the Equestrian reality is completely and utterly divorced from that of Earth, to the point that its matter is composed of entirely different fundamental particles. Despite being intended to explain the differences between the two worlds, it actually raises questions as to how the two dimensions are able to interact at all.
We Are As May Flies: The ponies can live for centuries, as various pieces of show-canon have been interpreted.
White Mare's Burden: Celestia and the ponies pity mankind, whom they view as an inferior species – not really living beings at all, given their lack of magic and therefore souls – and regard it as their duty to save them by transforming them into ponies in both mind and body. However, much like in real life, the darker aspects of cultural destruction are also present.