We're All Grey

by Imperaxum

Chapter 1: Not evil, nor good.

"In war, whichever side may call itself the victor, there are no winners, but all are losers."
~Neville Chamberlain

"So, what's our destination?"

Gerald Tucker opened his eyes, shaking his head of lingering mental cobwebs. He wasn't looking forward to today. Turning to face the speaker, he sighed as he relayed the coordinates.

"49°21′37″N, and 0°51′26″W" he said, rubbing his eyes.

"Uh, Tucker, you're going to have to give me something more." his friend replied, frowning.

Oh. Right.

"Imagine a building. One with a half-circle. No, one that is a half-circle. And there's a pool perpendicular, a, uh, rectangular pool." he said, scratching his head.

"Alright. I'm still not really sure on this, though." she said rather dubiously.

Tucker stared straight ahead in deep thought, wondering how he could possibly describe this place in better detail, when it struck him. For her part, she

"It lies in the middle of a field of crosses." he said, his expression darkening almost imperceptibly.

"Huh?" she asked, frowning.

"White crosses. Barely reaches my waist. Fields of them . . ." he trailed off, frowning.

His companion stared at him blankly for a moment, before a look of realization transformed her face.

"Here we go!" she gasped as her eyes began to glow a solid, incredible white.

But it wasn't the realization he was looking for . . .


One moment a space of air above a blank patch of dying grass, the next a blinding flash.

Tucker shook his head and patted himself down. Satisfied that all his limbs were still intact, he took a moment to take in the completely new environment. It was like someone had slapped his entire body with a sheet of ice, minus the sensation of his bones breaking. Northern France in the winter time was, to put it mildly, different from the flight deck of an aircraft carrier cruising in the Caribbean Sea.

He zipped up his jacket, and turned to his companion.

"Twilight?" he asked to the unmoving creature.

When she did not respond, he followed her gaze to the sight before him. Lo and behold, simple white crosses stretched on for hundreds of feet in tidy rows, wilting flowers popping up here and there to add a burst of fading color to the sea of white. Off in the distance, a half-circle monument stood solemnly over the fields.

One could almost feel the somber nature of the area emanating off the ground.

Neither Tucker nor his equine companion moved for some time. Minutes, seconds, hours; they blended and mixed in the enveloping silence, punctuated solely by the howling of the raw, cold wind as it twisted among the unnatural forest. Finally, the one called "Twilight" broke the stillness.

"Tucker, where are we?" she asked.

He opened his mouth to answer, then paused, letting the wind wear his throat dry. Fitting, given the location.

In time, he too spoke. "A memorial."

"Very specific of you." she huffed, rolling her eyes.

He didn't respond for a few seconds, never taking his gaze off the rows of crosses. Finally: "Are you familiar with our history yet?"

Her gaze dropped. "No, I'm still only in prehistory. There's so much culture to learn, so many foods and languages and customs and-"

"Let me give you a quick lesson," he interrupted. "Second World War."

"Second World War . . ." she repeated to herself, frowning over the words as she did so.

"Yes. We're in Normandy, France, where Allied forces landed in 1944 to liberate Western Europe from Nazi Germany," he said.

Her frown grew. "Wait, what? Can you explain this?"

"Come with me." he called, walking off through the crosses on a well-worn path.

As she caught up, he continued. "You want a sum of things? A man named Adolf Hitler took control of Germany in 1933, invaded Poland in 1939, then Norway, France the year after, then Russia. Oh, and there were Japanese, Italians, and Americans, just to name a few other belligerents."

"What?!" she said, wide-eyed.

"Wasn't called World War Two for nothing." he said with a bitter smile.

"Wait, so there was a first world war, then, right?" to which she got a nod. "You went to war? Over what? Why would you fight each other?"

Tucker paused, a thoughtful expression crossing his face. "An absurd of amount of 'reasons', Twilight. But looking back, most people say because Hitler murdered twelve million civilians."

"Twelve millio-" Twilight stopped abruptly, color draining from her face as the number sank in. "Twelve million!? MILLION? How? Why-"

"Yes. And here was where liberation started. These beaches." Tucker said forcefully, as a dazed Twilight Sparkle followed his hand as it swept across the stark sands.

"Bu-" she started, the took a deep breath and looked up. "Why?"

"Americans, British, Canadians - they swarmed up these beaches into machine-gun fire. Are you familiar with machine guns?" he said.

She nodded. "Uh, yes. I've read about them, at least. But . . . these beaches are totally flat. How did they protect themselves?"

He laughed bitterly at that. "They didn't. Thousands were cut down."

Twilight sat back on her haunches, contemplating the thought. She looked horrified - then understanding, if no less horrified.

"So, that's what that memorial was to?" she said finally.

"Yes. The fallen." he agreed.

She blinked away a few tears, the information of the day not letting go. "Why would you tell me this?"


"Why? You said humans were capable of monstrous things when we first met, that you had a history of violence, that you even killed each other - but, but - this? Why, Tucker?" she said rapidly, shaking her head slowly.

"Why did this happen? There are reasons, none of them remotely good enough. Why did I show you this?" Tucker said, getting a nod to both queries. "I have another place we need to go . . ."




Different. Same.

Twilight shook her head once and looked up to her new position. All around her, were bleak, roughly-hewn stone crosses and little grave tablets. In the center of it all was a large earthen mound, with a huge cross perched atop it. It was different in details to the other memorial, but no less bleak. Just as cold, and bitter, in both senses.

"Tucker?" she asked.

"La Cambe Cemetery." he said.

"More dead from the beaches?" she said, downcast.

"Yes. These were the men, some of the graves, at least, who were behind the machine guns." he said. He anticipated a reaction. He got one.

She backpedaled, wide-eyed. "This . . . is a German cemetery?"


"Why does this exist? You said the killed millions! There were evil!" she nearly screamed. Luckily, no one else was outside to hear in the unpleasant weather.

"Twilight listen to me."

She glared at him, then slowly relaxed. "Alright."

He smiled and glanced around him, and began speaking. "This is a lesson about humanity that I've needed to do for a long time. Ever since we discovered each others' species existed, really. Not wanted, mind you - but need to."

She nodded once.

"Before you really start reading about our history, you need to understand a couple of things. Yes, Nazi Germany was directly responsible for twelve million dead innocents - but!" he said, putting emphasis behind the last word as Twilight looked more and more disgusted with the graves around her.

"-but, these men were not. They weren't fighting for the right to kill millions of defenseless people - what truly human being would do that? Sure, there were SS. And Gestapo. You'll be reading about those names for sure. My point is, these men fought for their country, for each other. Not for genocide, but because of duty to their orders, duty to each other, duty to defend their territory from attack!"

Twilight stared at him blankly.

"My point is - my point is that you can never take things at face value with us humans, with out history. There were moral, good men in the Wehrmacht, and sadistic barbarians in the US Army. There is no black and white, only grey. Really, World War Two was one of the clearer greys, as far as wars go."

Twilight closed her eyes in thought.

"Humans are capable of great evil, of unspeakable cruelty and horrendous deeds on an incomprehensible scale - and of great kindness, selflessness, and love. We're not evil, and sure as hell not good."

He pointed out the La Cambe. "Respect these men, the ones with the MG-42s, as much as you respect the ones who charged into their fire. None of them were evil. War is a silly, cruel thing that causes humans that never had a problem with one another in their lives to kill each other. War isn't evil, either. Hell, it's a lot darker of a grey than kissing puppies, but sometimes the consequences of not fighting would be even worse.

"The soldiers who fought here, died here, who lie in tens of thousands of millions of graves around the world cannot be judged. Not like things in your world can.

"Maybe someday you'll learn how lucky you are. In your world, it seems, in Equestria - there is black and white. Harmony. Humans are pretty chaotic, as things go - but chaos isn't evil. Not here, at least.

"Twilight, you're going to learn a lot of things with me about this world, and I hope I'll learn a lot about yours in time. Just remember this is a spectrum of grey. You'll see humanity at its worst, most vile and cruel self - and I dearly pray you'll see humanity at its best, most loving, understanding, self. I hope you don't hate us by the end of this."

She nodded once, but with realization filling her already-huge eyes.

And finally, for better or for worse, it was the realization he was looking for.


In memory of all those who gave their lives at Normandy. In the bunkers, and in the beaches.

They all deserve it.

Author's Notes:

I'm planning for this to become a series of Twilight exploring humanity for what it is - its ups and downs, horrors and wonders. Awe, and fear.

Oh, and I'll explore the universe I've set up a bit. Maybe.

Hope you enjoyed.

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