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Fanfic / Cultural Artifacts

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Cultural Artifacts is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfiction by Dan_s Comments.

Stop me if you've heard it. A human appears in Equestria, and then goes on to have adventures with the inhabitants.

Only this time, the human's house also comes with them, and still has functioning utilities. The human himself, although fit, is also at the latter end of his life. On top of that, the Equestrians and Human cannot speak the other one's language, nor be understood. The mysteries surrounding his arrival also drive the plot forward, with old and new villains showing up much sooner.


This fic contains examples of:

  • Accusation Fic: To a lesser degree than Drawn With The Night, "Lesson Zero" is not seen in a favorable light, not just for Twilight's actions, but also for both Celestia and Twilight not dealling with the underlying issues.
  • Achievements in Ignorance: After being summoned by the army to potentially meet with the Big Guy, Derpy needs a foalsitter. Who does she hire for the job? The Big Guy.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: Ponies seem unusually random because they completely lack impulse control.
  • Alien Arts Are Appreciated: Besides Ponies enjoying Fantasia, Applejack is moved to tears listening to Johnny Cash.
  • Aliens are Bastards: The Big Guy, Discord, and Nightmare Moon all think that anything the Ponies can do to themselves is far worse than anything they can do the ponies.
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  • Alternate Universe: It splits off sometime in season 2 between Lesson Zero and Mare Do well.
  • And Then What?: Lyra has finally encountered a human. Now she doesn't know what to do, like a dog that actually caught a car.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Rarity gives Celestia one about the Big Guy.
    Rarity: So when he's still tried to be a friend or at least a loyal subject, why are you getting ready to fight another bout?
  • Armor-Piercing Response: Rarity's response to Celestia asking if she shouldn't fear the Big Guy after he not only manages to horrify every villain and even recruit Discord is a very blunt "No."
  • Badass Grandpa: He is old enough to have taken part in World War II. It's implied that he got de-aged a bit.
  • Back from the Dead: Applejack's parents
  • Baleful Polymorph: Poison Joke turns the Big Guy into an irresistible male Alicorn.
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  • Batman Gambit: The Big Guy pulls one on Nightmare and her servants with Discord's help.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Celestia wants to have friends of her own? The Big Guy makes sure she's surrounded by countless ponies who praise her for banishing the Big Guy.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: The fragment of Discord inside the Big Guy is changing towards a more Harmonious slant than his canon counterpart. However, even he has his limits as Chrysallis found out.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The Human's behavior is odd by pony standards. Which makes Discord's fragment very interested.
  • Character Development: Trixie goes from envying Twilight to becoming proud of herself.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A guardspony is seen in the dimensional mess and turns out to be a sterile Changeling Queen.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: When the Big Guy is kidnapped by Tear Twirler and Trixie.
  • Cute Bruiser: The Ponies may be absolutely tiny compared to Big Guy but he describes them as all being 200 to 400 pounds of solid muscle. Fluttershy flies while carrying him long enough for Big Guy to install gutters on Applejack's barn without straining herself at all.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: Humans, Ponies, and Griffins all have some differences.
  • Don't Ask, Just Run: During a Noodle Incident, Dinky sees the Big Guy running and sensibly follows him instead of asking questions.
  • Doorstopper: 43 chapters — ranging from 2,000 to 20,000 words apiece, for a total of 652,469 words.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • The Big Guy gets imprisoned and tortured by the Ponies... after he saves Equestria from Nightmare and her followers.
  • Sunset Shimmer shows up in the final chapter... after the human vanishes and her knowledge would have been useful.
  • The Dreaded: Pinkie Pie. A pair of Gryphon spies thought the rumors about her were just propaganda and are horrified to realize she's real.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Sunset Shimmer is mentioned by Vladimir Blueblood long before the events of Equestria Girls are supposed to take place. In fact, he wonders why the Princesses haven't told the Big Guy about the multiversal portal. Sunset appears later, after the battle with Molybdenum Blossom.
  • Epic Fail: Discord tries to make Celestia see the Big Guy as a stud muffin but, due to her tastes changing over the centuries, she instead finds him incredibly cute (like a puppy).
  • Erotic Dream: Between the Big Guy and humanized Luna. This causes some issues when the actual Luna enters that dream.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Over the first few weeks, the Big Guy shows the ponies assorted films - from Fantasia to Godzilla to Sailor Moon. At first they think that these are documentaries, and even when Rarity hypothesizes that they're just stories, Twilight scoffs at the notion.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Discord is many things, but is neither a rapist, nor do the things the Ponies did to themselves before Heartswarming Eve.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Discord laughs off the idea of being afraid of The Big Guy, until he thinks about it.
    Discord: I'm not afeared of this upstart! Who came up with the plan that held those maniacs enthralled. Who thinks the atomic bombs were the lesser of two evils. Who actually read and compared Mein Kampf and Rules for Radicals. Celestia! Don't go! Don't leave me alone in here! Please.
  • Fantastic Racism: The Canterlot Nobility towards the Big Guy and Selene Dreamer. Some Ponyville Ponies also feel this way towards The Big Guy. Furthermore several ancient pre-unification Earth ponies feel this way about modern Equestria.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The Big Guy and Celestia undergo this. Played for Drama, as neither are amused by what happened. The Big Guy, especially is furious when Luna demands that he not ruin Celestia's reputation, while Celestia is not under similar restrictions.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Selene Dreamer , Luna's foal, says "Abomination" after overhearing it from gossiping Canterlot Nobility. Celestia, Luna, and many others… didn't take it well.
  • Good Is Not Nice: The Big Guy suggests the plan out of The Conversion Bureau to Nightmare and her followers. This leads them into thinking they need Discord to deal with the Big Guy rather than vice versa.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Molybdenum Blossom. Among her deeds are killing Starswirl the Bearded, creating the Wendigos, and creating the plant monster which created the Village of the Blanks.
  • Horrifying the Horror: The Big Guy scares the crap out of the villains, including Discord.
  • Humans Are Flawed: Leans towards this, along with showing that the ponies aren't purely good either.
  • Humans Are Special: When talking about her experience of being transformed into a human, Luna notes that a lot of stuff, like how an hydroelectric dam functions, just made sense.
  • Humans Through Alien Eyes: The Ponies don't understand the human either. Among other things, they believe that Godzilla and Sailor Moon are real.
  • Humans Are Cthulhu: Some of the Big Guy's actions seem like this to the ponies. And Nightmare.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Luna and Celestia admit that when they were transformed into humans, the world seemed so much more alive.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Trixie. She outright states that even though she's being paid and will likely be rewarded afterwards, the best part of looking after the Big Guy is his friendship.
  • Ironic Hell: where the Big Guy thinks he is. And even Discord believes there's a strong case for this being true in-universe.
  • Irony: While everypony suffers nightmares after hearing the Big Guy's scream, Trixie has sweet dreams instead.
  • In-Series Nickname: The filly Celestia and Nightmare Moon from another dimension are called Celly and Nightmare Woon. After using the elements on Nightmare Woon, she is replaced with Woona.
  • Insult to Rocks: According to Luna, calling one of her officers a jackass would be an insult to jackasses.
  • Interspecies Romance: There are several ponies interested in the Big Guy. Fluttershy, Derpy, Lyra
  • Karma Houdini: The ponies which try to rape Alicorn Big Guy suffer no real consequences beyond Celestia's disapproval, similar to Drawn With The Night.
  • Know When To Fold Them: One of the Big Guy's tactics in unconventionally dealing with threats.
  • Kudzu Plot: One of the minor complaints about the fic.
  • Language Barrier: The Big Guy is incapable of even creating sounds that the ponies can recognize as their speech, and vice versa. Later averted with inter-dimensional ponies.
  • Mercy Kill: When Celestia asks what she should do if the Big Guy is right to fear her, Rarity tells her to just let him die then.
  • Mind Hive: The Big Guy has company in his head A shard of Discord, and an entity named Tom.
  • Mind Rape: The Princesses inadvertently do this to him after Pinkie Pie throws him a surprise party.
  • Never Found the Body: the Big Guy disappeared in the final battle.
  • Never My Fault: The ponies that assault and try to rape an Alicorn Big Guy expressly believe this was only due to Poison Joke. Bon Bon shoots them down, hard. It only made the Big Guy appear attractive. Their decision to assault him was all their own Not Brainwashed.
  • No Name Given: Big Guy.
  • Not Afraid to Die: The Big Guy thinks he's already dead. Considering his age, this is not so surprising.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Prince Blueblood even has Celestia fooled!
  • Offing the Offspring: Molybdenum Blossom did this to her son, Starswirl the bearded.
  • Old Flame: It seems that Discord and Celestia had a relationship, and Discord is still fond of her. The Big Guy uses this knowledge to troll Discord.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: The Token Human is only known as Big Guy.
  • Opposites Attract: Celestia and Discord, the Big Guy and Derpy, and most notably, Pinkie Pie and Glorious Sunrise. When that lattermost comes to light, it causes Shining and Cadence's minds to simply break for a bit.
  • Overshadowed by Awesome: Blueblood actually excelled in the school for gifted unicorns, but no one remembers because he was classmates with Twilight who was in a league of her own.
  • Prince Charmless: Prince Vladimir Blue Blood says he hated playing this role just because it was the only way Princess Celestia would accept his presence due to her feud with his mother.
  • Primal Fear: The other species (Griffins, Dragons, etc) are terrified of the Alicorns, especially considering Nightmare Moon's actions before turning on Equestria.
  • Reality Ensues: What does the Big Guy do when Pinkie Pie breaks into his house and throws him a surprise party? Screw This, I'm Out of Here!.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: Apparently Celestia once caught a pair of guards having sex on her bed. All she'll say about it is "They should be finished counting the penguins in a few more years."
  • Red Baron: In addition to what his friends call him, the Big Guy is also refereed to as "The Ponyville Monster" by the news media and most of Equestria.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: Celestia lists the Big Guy's accomplishments in Equestria and asks "Shouldn't I be concerned about such a creature?" only to receive a simple "No" from Rarity.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When the Big Guy returns home and finds a surprise party waiting for him, he relocks his house and bolts.
  • Sense Freak: Ponies find being human intoxicating because humans think more. According to Discord, ponies don't have impulse control because they don't need it. No pony would ever walk up to the edge of a cliff and peer over it when they've already done so a dozen times, nor would they consider jumping off; but humans do. Upon learning this, The Big Guy refers to being human as "the ultimate acid trip for ponies".
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: The Big Guy has lived through the Normandy Invasion and liberating a Concentration Camp.
  • Shout-Out: The Big Guy shows them videos of G1 My Little Pony. Considering some villains from G1 showed up earlier, this is cause for concern for the ponies. The G3 episodes are briefly mentioned as well.
    • Consequences Of Unoriginality after Poison Joke turns The Big Guy into an irresistible male alicorn.
    • In Chapter 7, Holly Hock says that Rainbow Dash is the fastest pegasus at ground level but "There's a mare a lot faster at altitude," likely a reference to Dainty Dish from Higher Flier Or My Little Blackbird.
    • Another is to Story of the Blanks, with a Village filled with zombies.
    • Indirectly to The Last Unicorn, when Luna and Celestia are turned into humans and experience things that they never felt as a pony.
      • Somewhat more directly later on, as Filly!Celestia watches The Last Unicorn in a loop until Woona convinces her to stop.
    • There are quite a few shout-outs made throughout, but one of the most notable is from Babylon 5, where Blueblood and Trixie convince a few nobles that their drinks contain one half of a deadly poison. The original scene can be witnessed here.
  • Spanner in the Works: Luna creates a plan for her and a trio of the "cutest and smallest" ponies under her command to be found by the Big Guy during a storm so they can access his home. Shortly before the storm, the Big Guy returns home to find Pinkie Pie threw him a surprise party and bolts.
  • Statuesque Stunner: Celestia's humanized form is described as being incredibly beautiful while also being 7'9" without her horn.
  • Sword of Damocles: Shining Armor's sergeant describes the Big Guy's situation as having a giant sword (Equestria's military might) hanging above his head by a hair.
    • When Blueblood is (briefly) given the Regency, he immediately rounds up well over 500 ponies who have 'slighted' him in some way or another, and levied death warrants against them. Well, and an Arranged Marriage or two. Celestia, upon her return, stamps a blanket pardon — which she can revoke in whole or in part at any time. Considering that they're all stuck-up Idle Rich, this cheers her up to no end.
  • Take That!: Against The Conversion Bureau. Not even Celestia thinks it's such a good idea, and later the Big Guy defeats an insane XenoCelestia by dosing her with Potion and cutting off her horn.
  • Talking with Signs: How the translation barrier is broken with the help of the Interdimensional Ponies. Even then, there are a few subtle differences between their written language..
  • The Big Guy: The human. Also used to emphasize the difference in scale between objects designed for humans and ponies.
  • The Mind Is a Plaything of the Body: When Celestia and Luna (and later other ponies) become humans, they feel things that being a pony just doesn't afford them.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Trixie gives on to Twilight Sparkle over how she has everything anypony could ever ask for: friends, respect, magical power, and the ear of the princesses but still wallows in fear. Twilight has only ever experienced Celestia's love yet is more afraid of her than Trixie, who's only ever experienced the princess's anger. While Trixie's life has been and still is far harder than Twilight's, she'd never want to trade places with her.
    • Bon Bon gives one to Twilight Sparkle saying that while she didn't like the Big Guy, at least she didn't be friends with him just to get access to his books.
    • Bon Bon gives one to the mares that tried to rape alicorn Big Guy, telling them that everything they did came from deep within themselves, just amplified and brought to the surface.
    • Blueblood gives a whopper to Celestia.
  • Token Human: Big Guy.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The reason Big Guy mostly sticks to his bicycle is his truck has a limited amount of fuel and he has no way to get more in Equestria.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The Big Guy to Nightmare, her servants, and to a lessor extent, Discord.
  • Tranquil Fury: When Pinkie Pie ruins Luna's plan, she speaks quietly and calmly while being described as 90% of the way back to Nightmare Moon.
  • Unwanted Harem: Even though most of the ponies can't understand him, some are still smitten with Big Guy. He himself notes that he's too old to worry about romance.
  • What You Are in the Dark: The power of the Alicorn Big Guy reflected the true nature of a pony and brought it to the surface.


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