The Chronicles of Swarm: The Equestrian Front

by kildeez

Chapter 1: Chapter I: Friends and Enemies

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It began in the nothing between realities: that vast and empty space which serves no purpose but to mark off where one universe ends and the next begins. Most who knew about it referred to the great emptiness as the nether, as there didn’t seem to be any better name for it and nobody ever spared it much more thought. At most, it was only ever populated by little wisps of cosmic dust leaking from their universes or one of the many demigods capable of traveling between dimensions, and even the latter were just passing through on their way to someplace more important. So it’s a little strange that our story begins not with one of these incredible creatures, or in one of the magnificent worlds that populate the metaverse, but with one little wisp of dust, dancing about in the nether. Or at least, this thing looked like a wisp. It was actually something far more insidious, slithering about in disguise. In this, it was infinitely clever, for not even the God-like beings scouring reality for it would pay much heed to a bit of cosmic dust.

The wisp swirled about, whispering past the realm of King Arthur’s great Empire (currently celebrating its 700th year of prosperity), gliding around the world wracked with war between the Great Changeling Empire and the Union of Soviet Griffon Republics, and slithering by the planet populated entirely with sentient, talking hairbrushes, eventually happening upon a somewhat-large, glimmering pink ball suspended in the nether. The wisp felt it, touching it as if searching for some marker. After a while, something within the little wisp grinned to itself.

“I’m here,” the thing that looked like a wisp but really wasn’t said, the dust coalescing into its favorite form: two legs, two arms, a head on top, a tall and powerful body, and for style, a neat little officer’s cap with a dark gray uniform. The thing that looked like a man smiled up at all the beautiful galaxies and myriad little worlds spinning off in the distance, admiring what was destined to be his. He turned his attention back to the pink ball, gazing down at the world unfolding before him on the ball’s surface: with a dragon flying here, and a changeling slipping unnoticed into a royal ball there, here a griffon, there a pony…

“…Everywhere a goddamned pony,” he grumbled, nose wrinkling in disgust. “Well, we’re just going to have to fix that, aren’t we?

“So Equestria, is this your first time? Don’t worry: I’ll be gentle,” he said, grinning wickedly as he plunged his arm through the veil separating the little universe from the outside. “Not.”

The man’s eyes glazed over as his mind crept from his body and spread throughout the veil, scanning this way and that for any weaknesses. To his delight, there were many. Dozens, in fact, as if somebody had been here before and cleared the way…

“No…” he breathed, his mind returning to his physical body. He plunged his arm even deeper into the veil, anger blazing on his face. “No, it can’t be…”

Tearing his arm out of the veil, he finally threw his head in, scanning for something out of the ordinary. It didn’t take long to find just what he was looking for: a small cluster of Chinook helicopters, with the Stars and Stripes on their sides as they hovered along, far out of sight of any pony. The creature's teeth ground together, his fury raging. There was only one possible explanation for a bunch of American Jarheads in Equestria. “SWARM!” The man howled with rage, pulling his head back into the nether and hammering his fist against the veil. “You just couldn’t leave well enough alone, couldja, you old bastard!? You just couldn’t…”

Sighing, he massaged his temples. He knew he had to remain calm, getting angry now would solve nothing. Okay, he thought, this is a bit out of line with the plan, but so what? I knew this day was coming. Eventually, he was going to need to confront Swarm, he'd known that, though he’d hoped to be a bit more prepared. “But then,” the wicked grin crossed his face again. “It’s like you always said, Swarm: there’s no time like the present.”

Snapping his fingers, he watched as somewhere far off in the nether, a planet not too unlike the one that birthed him suddenly flickered. Several small ships suddenly left their universe for another, each at his personal command. “Alright, old man,” he said, watching as his forces closed in on the defenseless ball before him. “No more running. No more hide-and-seek. Let’s get this war started.”


Celestia placed the latest letter from her most faithful student on the nightstand by her bed, folding it over with the gentlest touch she could manage before closing her eyes, resting her head on the pure-white pillow and pulling the rainbow-colored sheets up under her chin. The bags under her eyes deepened as her lids slowly fluttered shut, the Princess thanking whoever might be listening for the near-daily letters from her most faithful student. They had become something of an escape for her: a way out of the terrible day-to-day stresses of being the Princess of Day. Of course, they were only a temporary escape, as the moment she put them down…

“Princess!” A frantic voice begged from her doorway. Celestia sighed, her relaxed smile fading.

“What is it now, Coponicus?” She asked, taking no effort to disguise the fatigue in her voice.

“Oh, I’m dreadfully sorry, Princess,” the Earth-pony astronomer said, his telescope still tucked beneath his foreleg. He pushed a set of wire-rim glasses further up on the bridge of his nose and peered at her with a set of deep lavender eyes set atop a thin body covered in a gray coat of fur. “I just had something else to report about those disturbances I’ve been noting in the sky.”

Heaven, give me strength, the Princess thought. “As I have already informed you a half-dozen times today, the green lights in the sky are none of your concern. They are part of a pre-planned exercise meant to benefit our allies, and that is all you need to know. Any strange shapes you see within are part of this exercise and are not meant to be questioned by anyone outside the royal family.”

“I…yes, Princess, I knew all that.”

“Then why are you still looking at them?” She asked dryly, her patience wearing thin.

“Well, it’s actually quite interesting,” the stallion continued nervously. “There appears to be a storm of some sorts gathering right around one of the lights.

“What?” Celestia bolted upright, throwing her covers into a pile at the foot of her bed. She stared up into her sister’s night sky, squinting for the little green lights shimmering in the distance. “Telescope,” she barked, holding out her hoof expectantly.

“Um, right,” the stallion trotted up to her and held up his telescope, which she snatched away and used to spy on each and every one of the lights. As she expected, she watched a small group of rotor-suspended aircraft appear within one of the strange, green lights and begin its journey to the ground, where they were supposed to land somewhere in the Everfree Forest, far from her subjects. Though still not far enough for her tastes. To think, she was going to let such creatures into Equestria, a place of light, whose very existence was meant to remain pure and free of the terrors of war!

“Desperate times…” she mumbled.

“It’s to the north, Princess,” Coponicus said, interrupting her thoughts.

“Right,” she said, mildly annoyed. She turned the spyglass northward, where a massive thundercloud boiled and rumbled with a strange green tint at its heart. “Have the pegasi…”

“Already done, Princess. I asked them to look into it hours ago. They said it’s not one of theirs, and what’s more, they can’t even get close to it! The cloud seems to throw lightning bolts around so randomly that getting anywhere near it is just too dangerous! Right now it’s high enough off the ground and far enough from Cloudsdale that it doesn’t pose any sort of a threat to our subjects, but still, it is strange that such an odd storm would be produced around one of those ‘lights’.”

Celestia grumbled again. “Have you asked anypony else about the lights?”

“No Princess, just as you ordered. I simply pointed the cloud out for the pegasi to investigate, and as I said, they couldn’t even get close. They probably never noticed the light.”

“Good, make sure it stays that way, and…” she sighed, trying to tap into her more diplomatic side. “Try to get some sleep, my little pony. You’ve been studying those lights long enough.”

“Er, yes Princess,” the stallion bowed before turning to leave, not even bothering to ask for his telescope back. The Princess remained at the window for a while longer, studying the strange cloud as best as she could. For the quickest second, she thought she saw one of the strange aircraft in the midst of it, illuminated by a flash of lightning as it struggled through the maelstrom. Then it was gone, the cloud an impenetrable layer of gray hovering over the forest.

“Swarm,” she whispered, as if saying the name any louder might awaken an ancient curse. “What are you up to? What have you not told me?”

“Nothing that needs to be any of your concern, Princess,” a voice tinged with a German accent replied behind her. Far from shocked, the Princess turned slowly to see a blonde man in an impeccably well-pressed tuxedo leaning against her bed, his face holding to its usual, nonchalant expression.

Celestia glared back at him. “Swarm, when I agreed to allow your warriors to aid in the defense of Equestria, I made it very clear that I would remain updated on anything and everything they were planning on doing.”

“Zat is why you have not been informed of this, as zis is not of their doing,” he extended a gloved hand towards the cloud still thundering away in the distance. “Zis is just one piece in the game, a pre-emptive move meant to ensure a greater chance for victory.”

“How is allowing one of your own aircraft to blunder right into a massive storm supposed to aid us? If anything, aren’t you putting your own men at risk?”

“A minor risk, perhaps,” he shrugged. “But the move it will allow us to make could preserve a very important piece for the later phases of ze game.”

“Game,” she snorted as she turned back to the window. “Please don’t tell me that’s all you think this is.”

Suddenly, the nonchalant look on the man’s face flickered, replaced by a deep frown for the quickest of moments before returning to its usual, neutral expression. “In the past five weeks, I haff lost five offshoots, Princess. Zat is five components of my very being, given god-like power to guide reality down its proper course, that have simply disappeared from the fabric of space and time itself, und while zis has been happening, a particularly nasty human world that shouldn’t have the capacity to do so has been jumping between universes. They have butchered millions of living, breathing, sentient beings for the crime of not being born as zey were. Believe me, Princess, nobody knows how deeply grave zis situation is, and how important it is that we spare Equestria this atrocity.”

The Princess was silent for a moment, taken off-guard by Swarm’s outburst, before she replied: “NoBODY?”

“It’s a human thing, you should be used to it by now,” he shrugged, the tiniest of smiles tugging at the corners of his lips.

“I’m still unsure about this whole thing,” she sighed, turning back to the lights in the night sky. “Allowing such creatures as your men into this world, a place meant to be a beacon of light shining for the entire metaverse…”

“They are professionals, Celestia,” Swarm replied, offering a reassuring pat on her shoulder. “How bad could zey be?”

Next Chapter: Chapter II: Chinook Down Estimated time remaining: 11 Hours, 18 Minutes
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