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Fanfic / The Conversion Bureau: Not Alone

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"I believe in my whole the honesty, courage, intelligence, durability... and goodness of the overwhelming majority of my brothers and sisters everywhere on this planet. I am proud to be a human being. I believe that we have come this far by the skin of our teeth, that we always make it just by the skin of our teeth but that we will always make it survive endure. I believe that this hairless embryo with the aching, oversize brain case and the opposable thumb, this animal barely up from the apes, will endure."

The Conversion Bureau: Not Alone is a My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic. It is a different take on The Conversion Bureau; while not strictly necessary, reading or at least having knowledge of TCB is strongly advised.

Similar to mainline TCB, the Equestrian landmass appears suddenly in the South Atlantic. While humanity extended a (cautious) welcome to the ponies, there were those who had doubts. These doubts proved founded once the ponies' imperialism came to light, leading humanity to gear up for war. At the same time, there are also those ponies who disagree with the Princesses' actions.

The story is presented through newscasts, postings and other formats in addition to standard prose.

Dalek IX, author of the fanfictions A Hero and Friends of a Solar Empire, is writing a fan sequel to Not Alone, called Conquer The Stars. That story takes place 200 years later on a colony ship that has rediscovered the Equestrian Barrier... in an entirely different star system. Much of the original's open ending is expanded upon, both on Earth and in Equestria.

As of January 31, 2013, Starman Ghost decided to delete the story from, declaring that he refused to write in the Conversion Bureau setting anymore, to the shock of his readers, who did their level best to convince him otherwise. However, readers uploaded the story (with his permission) to other places, including the Spacebattles link above.

A second fan sequel has been posted to by another fimfiction author called Warwolf, with Starman's permission, as of February 11, 2013 called The Shadow of Ages, and is also a crossover with another Conversion Bureau fanfic called The Conversion Bureau: The Warrior's Way, itself a sequel to Warwolf's story The Shogun Six. The Shadow of Ages can be found here.

This fanfic contains examples of:

  • Author Tract : The author himself states the story was written to "set right" perceived issues with certain other pro-conversion TCB stories. Whether it works is left as an exercise to the individual reader.
  • Anticlimax: "Celestia's Answer" ends with Equestria vanishing in a bright flash of light, retreating away back to their home dimension.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Zigzagged. While ponies like Twilight Sparkle definitely qualify, there's also ones like Ice Breaker, Evening Star and Lyra, who do not agree with what Celestia is doing.
  • An Arm and a Leg: Several of the Royal Guards lose at least one limb due to the heavy wounds they sustained from battling humanity. Shining Armor lost both of his hind legs during the battle of South Africa.
  • Assimilation Plot: The typical TCB ponification crusade by Celestia.
  • "Ass" in Ambassador: Twilight Sparkle ends up offending the entire human race and sparking a war between Earth and Equestria.
  • Battle Trophy: In "The Battle Of South Africa", one soldier named Pieter hacks off a dead unicorn's horn as a trophy. This is not to be seen as a good thing.
  • Bittersweet Ending: For Earth. The good news is that Equestria retreats back to its home dimension and won't be bothering anyone else anytime soon, humanity survives, there is hope for peaceful coexistence with the ponies left on Earth, and it is made clear Celestia will answer for her arrogant actions eventually. The bad news is that the PER and HLF are still out there and still a problem, many ponies are still being held in the internment camps, South Africa is turning into a fascist hellhole, and several countries have started spending massive amounts of money (at the expense of education, healthcare and other programs) on their military forces and building weapons in preparation for a war that will never come.
  • Blatant Lies: Celestia, in an interview, states that she wants friendship between ponykind and humanity and she's not forcing humanity to accept ponification. If you're familiar with the usual conventions of The Conversion Bureau, you'd see that neither of these statements are true.
    • Confirmed by Luna herself when she says it wasn't Celestia's fault that the humans rejected her 'perfect gift' for resolving their problems despite everything she did to make sure they didn't.
      • Plus, it's revealed at the end that Celestia personally transported Equestria to Earth to purposefully assimilate them (instead of doing a simple diplomatic mission as she was entrusted by the rest of Equus).
  • Day of the Jackboot: After the war, much of South Africa is under martial law and the country is rapidly spiraling into fascism due to its millions of displaced people, staggering loss of infrastructure, and widespread hatred of the ponies.
  • Deconstructed Trope: This fic takes the essential premise and elements of The Conversion Bureau and then shows how they would play out realistically. For one thing, the humans aren't exactly happy with the ponies' offensively misanthropic attitudes and not every pony is on board with the Princesses' actions (and for that matter, the other nations of Equus aren't happy about it either).
  • Deconstruction Fic: This fic takes the original story and shows just how it would realistically play out.
    • First off, humanity is not flattered by the ponies' Holier Than Thou judgmental attitudes and blatant assimilation plot, declaring war as a result. Also, the effects of the expanding Equestrian barrier are further examined (the loss of infrastructure and displacement of millions of people causes a major humanitarian crisis), and it's shown that some ponies (and non-ponies) sympathize with the humans.
    • Likewise, we have reasonable motivations on both sides of the conflict (humans are not evil for the sake of evil or entirely saintly, and neither are the ponies for that matter), as well as consequences that leave neither side much better off.
    • Even the ponies suspect something's wrong with the conversion bureaus when they realize there's something seriously off with the newfoals.
    • Pony superiority over humans in battle was also shot down, as Rainbow Dash finds out the hard way. She initially wanted to go out to the front lines, "bucking all the humans before they could hit her," but this ambition dies very quickly once she sees the Royal Guards returning from the battlefield, many of whom are wounded badly or permanently disfigured.
    • The barrier is also given some deconstruction - the author points out that while magical barriers are strong, it is shown that they can be broken (specifically pointing to the Canterlot Invasion by the Changelings in Season 2). Thus, sufficient firepower is capable of bringing it down.
  • Didn't See That Coming: First, Celestia thought that the humans would happily flock at the chance to leave their former lives behind and go pony without fuss or muss. And when they declared war, she initially believed the war would be easy since humanity had a long history of conflict, divisions over past grudges and petty grievances against one another; she and Luna were taken by surprise and were not at all prepared for the humans to unanimously put aside all their differences and unite against them. She's also taken aback by the fact that not every pony was on board with the bureaus.
  • Divided We Fall: Subverted. When Celestia's true intentions for them became clear, humanity unanimously put its differences aside to unite against an enemy that was an even bigger threat than themselves.
  • Doomed Moral Victor: "The Longest Day" sets up Lyra and the EFH for a lesser version of this: they aren't killed, but Cheerilee loses her job, Mayor Mare's impeached, and they're all effectively exiled from Ponyville. In other words, standing up for what they thought was right meant they lost just about everything else they held dear.
  • Downer Ending: For Equestria. They are able to make it back safely to their home dimension in one piece, but their military is utterly decimated, and in their hasty retreat, the princesses were forced to leave more than 3000 ponies behind to an uncertain future on Earth. Moreover, the population is revealed to be losing their faith in the princesses, and the gryphon and zebra nations are not happy to hear about what Celestia tried to do to the humans. The story ultimately closes with the Gryphon Queen writing a letter to Celestia declaring her Omniscient Morality License revoked and it heavily hints they may even wage war against Equestria (which is exactly what happens in Conquer the Stars).
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Andrew/Iceman, after Eddy's ponification.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: Bon-Bon in "The Longest Day" on account of ratting out Lyra as the head of the EFH and outing Cheerilee and Mayor Mare as members.
  • Emergency Transformation: Eddy chooses to be ponified because he has terminal lung cancer.
  • The Evils of Free Will: In not so many words by Twilight Sparkle.
    "Ponification fixes all the problems with your people. We get rid of that pesky human nature and reconfigure you to live in harmony with others."
    • After being questioned about Celestia's border expansion, Twilight simply dismissed those 'silly' human politics and insists they'd all just be better off under Celestia's rule and that Celestia and Luna being Goddesses is reason enough the humans should trust their leadership, and why it's fine to accept relinquishing their civil rights.
  • Expy: Several elements of the story are borrowed from World War II: a nation rapidly gaining power under the control of a self-righteous, bigoted dictator begins expands into the surrounding world, and eventually crosses the line, bringing a large part of the rest of the world's full military might down on it, and resulting in the internment of suspected spies within the "allies" solely by ethnicity.
    • The Equestrians For Humans are based on the White Rose. Thankfully, they're not executed, but Lyra, Cheerilee, and Mayor Mare are exiled from Ponyville and have to start all over again.
  • Extreme Doormat: The Newfoals. While they can feel annoyed, sad, or frightened, they are almost completely incapable of feeling anger and don't ever assert or stand up for themselves, or complain about anything for that matter. Celestia specifically created the potion to make the newfoals "kind, loving, gentle, and selfless", but clearly, she didn't see that having those traits and a backbone were not mutually exclusive.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: According to Celestia, the Battles of South Africa and the South Atlantic (which was covered in four whole chapters) took place in only two extremely intense and brutal days.
  • Fantastic Racism: Twilight Sparkle is very biased against humans.
    • This seems to be common amongst the ponies, though not so much amongst the gryphons and zebras.
      • When one pony suggests resorting to violence against humans who want to turn them over to the SAS, he's immediately berated by his colleague for "acting human." This hypocrisy is made even more egregious when compared to Newfoal Thunderhead, who says he cannot think of mean things because of the potion's effects, but natural-born ponies clearly can.
    • It also goes both ways, and creates numerous problems for Evening Star, who has to hide from the humans even though she does not agree with Celestia on the necessity of ponifying them and tries to help them.
    • The Human Liberation Front is just as genocidal as the ponification crusaders.
  • Fictional Document: Played straight with all articles, though averted with CNN, Blogworld and Google.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: As shown with Thunderhead, the newfoals generally do not like swearing. Thunderhead himself at one point is even able to admit that he's "pissed off" during a tough repair job, but only because he was being pressured into it and he very clearly didn't like using that kind of language.
  • Hanlon's Razor: When we finally get to see Celestia's side of the story, she's genuinely clueless as to why humanity is rejecting her overtures, instead of being a deliberately genocidal tyrant.
  • Heel Realization: In "The Man From Cape Town", it's hinted that Twilight is beginning to have second thoughts.
    Twilight: Princess... this was all my fault, wasn't it? If I hadn't blown that interview way back then... maybe they wouldn't have thought we were their enemies.
    • Fluttershy does bring up the possibility that the ponies might have approached the humans the wrong way, heavily implying she herself is also doubting Celestia and doesn't think the humans are inherently bad.
      • Towards the end, Twilight momentarily considers using the potion on Shining Armor, but immediately shoots it down, feeling uncomfortable with the thought of him becoming a different pony. She then suddenly realizes that this was how the humans likely felt, coming to an understanding. However, she only focuses on the physical aspects of the change rather than the personality changes, so it's only a halfway realization.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Unicorns can magically steal guns from humans and shoot back.
  • Homage: The author has said that "The Battle of South Africa" was inspired by the Klendathu Drop from Starship Troopers (the film, not the book), and to a lesser degree the battle scenes in Passchendaele.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: What Twilight Sparkle expresses in her interview with a reporter.
    "We've seen what your greed and corruption have done to your world. How could we possibly let you into Equestria?"
    • Like a lot of other things, this is deconstructed - there are sympathetic humans (Andrew, Antonio, Russell, the Humans For Sapient Rights organization) and not-so-sympathetic one (Pietr, some of the bloggers, the HLF) in the story, and it's shown that some of the ponies and the other races of Equus don't buy into this depiction of humans.
  • Humans Are Warriors: Very much so. The Royal Guards are utterly annihilated by human weapons, and the gryphons identify themselves with humanity on this basis, and it's because of this that their queen declares Celestia a threat to their own survival.
    • Celestia also laments that it takes a long time to get ponies trained up to the level the Royal Guard deployed to South Africa was. It takes humans only a few weeks to get other humans trained enough to kill those guards.
  • Humble Pie: Rainbow Dash initially wanted to go out and fight with the Royal Guard, thinking it would be easy to buck every soldier she found. Then, she sees them after they come back from South Africa horribly injured and mutilated, and she gets to eat a fat slice of this.
  • Hypocrite: The ponies that follow Celestia. They accuse humanity of being greedy and selfish... and proceed to take humanity's lands away from them, cover the Earth in an expanding barrier that kills everyone, and deny entry into Equestria from unconverted humans. The ponies of Equestrians For Humans are all too happy to point it out to them.
  • Ignored Epiphany: Whenever Twilight questions the role her own mistakes made in causing the war, she's reassured by most of her friends that she's not at fault.
    • Similarly, Celestia has Luna constantly reassuring her she did the right thing whenever she shows a hint in wavering.
    • Seemingly averted when Twilight starts to express doubts in private, where, without the influence of her peers, she finally starts to understand some part of why humanity wasn't so receptive to ponification. Sadly, come the sequel, she's still in denial.
  • Incompatible Orientation: Andrew and Ice Breaker; Andrew is gay and not closed off to the possibility of Interspecies Romance, while Ice Breaker is straight and only attracted to mares. Thus, they remain Just Friends.
  • Inferred Holocaust: In-Universe - this story examines the effects of the expanding Equestrian bubble, such as human displacement and loss of infrastructure, something many other TCB works ignore.
  • Jerkass: Some of the bloggers. And of course, the ponies against the humans.
  • Karma Houdini: Ultimately subverted in the last chapter. At first, it seems like Celestia will get away with destroying several human cities, leaving thousands of people homeless, starting the war that cost the lives of several humans and ponies, and essentially trying to exterminate the human race. When she realizes she's going to lose the war, she takes Equestria and retreats. At the end, however, it's revealed that the combination of losing the war, missing their friends and family members they had to leave behind on earth, and the odd behaviors of the newfoals is causing the ponies to begin questioning her actions and some are even losing faith in her. Moreover, the gryphon and zebra nations deem her a threat to their own safety and make it clear they will not be taking this lightly. Granted, she'll probably avoid Karma for a while, but not forever.
    • Bon Bon as well. She sold out the EFH, likely knowing full well what kinds of things could happen to them, and she never suffers any kind of comeuppance (that we know of). The fact that Lyra was her best friend makes her snitching all the more deplorable.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: Ponies' magic vs. humans' technology.
  • Moral Myopia:
    • Bon-Bon brings up how they don't owe humans anything, saying that they're "weird". Zecora reminds her that the ponies once said the same of herself too.
    • One poster made by Equestrians For Humans asks why ponies can't be friends with humans, if they already are with gryphons and dragons.
  • More Dakka: The barrier's bombardment involves absurd amounts of this.
  • Muggles Do It Better: Rocket artillery beats force field. Machine guns beat Royal Guard armor.
  • Next Sunday A.D.: Written in 2011, and takes place in 2017/2018.
  • No Endor Holocaust: Averted with a purpose - the first major city to be wiped off the map by the expanding barrier is Cape Town in South Africa. The destruction of the city leads to the displacement of millions of people, creating a severe refugee crisis, and even after the humans win, the barrier has wiped out all of the infrastructures, leaving behind nothing but a blank patch of land.
  • Not Himself: Played painfully straight in the chapter "He's Dead", where Andrew describes the changes made to Eddy's personality after he's ponified.
    "He's a pleasant smiling zombie with wings."
    • "Aftermath, Part I" delves into why: in essence, Eddy's original personality was completely destroyed and overwritten by a new one provided by the potion. However, he retained his memories, basically fooling him into thinking he's the same person who drank it.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Averted with Quantum Leap in the epilogue, who admits that she can't modify the potion or create something like it, as she's just a climatologist.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Celestia, naturally. It's revoked in the epilogue.
  • One-Man Army: Shining Armor took down fifteen tanks by himself before being taken out.
  • Outside-Context Problem: The ponies are confused as to why they couldn't defeat the humans who lacked magic.
  • Persona Non Grata: Lyra, Cheerilee, Mayor Mare, Zecora, and any other ponies affiliated with the EFH are permanently run out of Ponyville.
  • Physical Goddesses: Celestia and Luna are worshiped as goddesses by the ponies.
  • Poe's Law: This fic is intended to satirize and deconstruct TCB, but some readers have mistaken it for merely being another straight fic of that sub-genre.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Chapter 18, "The Battle Of South Africa" is this for the humans. An artillery detachment and their escort get stuck in the mud and are ambushed by a small number of Royal Guards. An armored scout rolls in and changes the tide in favor of the humans, but the unicorns possess some of the guns and turn them against their wielders. By the time more human backup can arrive, the only combatants still standing are two human artillerymen.
    • Later, also the entire Battle of South Africa and the Battle for the South Atlantic end up as these. With all their newly gained territory reclaimed by humanity, Equestria ends up under siege, but at, an all in all, surprisingly steep price.
    • The whole aftermath of the war for humanity in general - Equestria has retreated and won't be bothering anyone else, but the troubles are far from over, as South Africa is turning into a fascist state and several countries start spending enormous amounts of money (at the cost of healthcare, education and environmental protection) beefing up their military forces and preparing for a war that will never come.
  • Rousing Speech: What U.S. diplomat Ellen Rowe gives after the United Nations General Assembly declares war on Equestria. Several readers also gave their own speeches in the comments section. The author of Friends of a Solar Empire and A Hero gave one.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The ponies are The Fundamentalist type. Celestia looks at human culture, instantly deems it barbaric, and creates the ponification potion to offer them the chance to "uplift" themselves into a "better state of being". When the majority of humanity makes it clear they don't want to change, Celestia decides to force them to accept it by expanding the barrier.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: The attitude of the pony apologists is that "our rulers are goddesses, they can do what they want."
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Once Celestia realizes that Equestria is going to lose the war, she decides to retreat back to their home dimension.
  • Screw You, Elves!: Humanity as a whole does not take kindly to the ponies' misanthropic and ambiguously genocidal attitudes.
  • Sequel Hook: The story resolves the Earth-Pony war, but leaves many possible sub-plots only partially concluded, or not concluded at all, such as the Gryphon Queen's letter and the direction South Africa is moving. The author specifically stated "If there's a sequel, I won't be the one writing it." As detailed in the description, two different Fan Sequels were written.
  • Shout-Out
  • Sociopathic Soldier: Pieter, who seems to be a combination of Types 1 and 2.
  • Stepford Smiler: The newfoals. "Aftermath, Part II" reveals even natural-born ponies find them creepy and unsettling.
  • Stylistic Suck: Some of the blog comments are deliberately poorly written.
  • Tearful Smile: Seen in "Aftermath, Part I" when Andrew apologizes to Thunderhead and the latter sheds Tears of Joy at finally being accepted.
  • This Means War!: Humanity's response to Twilight Sparkle's words and the destruction of Cape Town by the barrier.
  • Title Drop: During the US President's speech after the war is wrapped up.
    President John McCormick: We know now that we are not alone in the universe.
  • Totalitarian Utilitarian: Celestia is a Type 2. She seems to honestly think ponification would help solve all of humanity's problems but doesn't understand why the humans don't want to give up being what makes them human.
  • Trope Codifier: This wasn't the first anti-TCB to be published, but Not Alone helped to popularize the deconstructionist Anti-TCB subgenre and established many of the tropes commonly seen in stories of its vein. Some of those tropes include world building elements to avert Creator Provincialism, having Lyra Heartstrings be the head of a human sympathizing movement (as was seen in The Other Side of the Spectrum and the Negotiations series), and giving more insight to the other races' thoughts on the ponification.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Evening Star posts a blog giving tips on how to avoid getting ponified by spiked food and drink. Doesn't stop the more paranoid sort from accusing her of being in cahoots with the Empire and feeding false information.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Twilight, Shining, every pony that helped Celestia. Lampshaded when Shining tells Twilight that the war was inevitable, even though he doesn't know that Celestia purposefully sent Equestria to Earth specifically to assimilate the human race.
  • Urban Fantasy: Very much so. Like the original TCB, it explores what would happen when a High Fantasy world in a Medieval Stasis clashes with contemporary Real Life Earth.
  • War Is Hell: Touched on in "The Man From Cape Town", which centers on a young rookie soldier for exactly this reason: he's from the eponymous city that was destroyed by the Barrier and hates the ponies with all the passion you'd expect from something like that... but he's still very uncomfortable with using weapons and at the end of the chapter, muses on how much more he likes firing at a nonliving barrier than he does the idea of firing at something that can not only shoot back but has a life of its own.
  • We Are as Mayflies: Keeping with conventions for the genre, ponies typically live for several centuries.
  • We Have Reserves: One of the main reasons, coupled with Humans Are Warriors and Zerg Rush, and the already steep cost in the lives of the Royal Guards, why Celestia chooses to retreat at the end: even though humanity loses ten soldiers for every one pony killed, the humans still have a pool of about seven billion potential recruits, and could drown them in numbers alone.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: At the very end, the Queen of Gryphus pulls one of these on Celestia, and informs her that her Omniscient Morality License has been revoked.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: As of "The Longest Day", everypony who was part of the EFH has been effectively banished from Ponyville. To say nothing of all the ponies who were left behind when Celestia pulled Equestria out of Earth.
  • Zerg Rush: Humanity suffers ten casualties for every pony killed, but their sheer numerical superiority gives them a fighting chance, and ultimately allows them to win handily.
    • Celestia also notes that most of the troops fighting in South Africa are far from humanity's finest soldiers, being poorly trained rookies that were fighting out of their element, and with inferior equipment. If it had been a better trained and equipped fighting force, the price for the ponies might have been far steeper than it already was.