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Title Poster for TCB: Not Alone

The Conversion Bureau: Not Alone is a story written by Starman Ghost, based on Blaze's The Conversion Bureau. It is found on the SpaceBattles Forums, with its own page on TV Tropes. Starman Ghost descibes the story as a "satirical deconstruction" of the Conversion Bureau universe as a whole.

The story is told through blog posts, newscasts and other formats as well as standard prose.

As of January 31, 2013, Starman Ghost decided to delete the story from FimFiction, 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.

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, wherein of the original's open ending is expanded upon, both on Earth and in Equestria.

A second fan written sequel called Shadow of Ages  written by Warwolf is also available for reading.

Plot

In late 2017, a mysterious landmass appears in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean, revealed to be Equestria. It's covered by a barrier dome that appears to be inpenetrable and inhabited by a race of sapient ponies. Humanity is taken by surprise, but nevertheless extend a hand of friendship, leading to the openings of the Conversion Bureaus. There are those who have their doubts and these doubts prove to be founded when the ponies' imperialism comes to light. After a disasterous interview where Twilight Sparkle insults and offends humanity, as well as the expanding barrier destroying the city of Cape Town in South Africa, the United Nations gears up for war. Meanwhile there are some ponies that don't agree with what Celestia is doing.


Universe

The universe of Not Alone differs in that Starman chose to write the plot and how people would react, as a criticism of common plot points in TCB stories. When the barrier destroys a major city and Twilight Sparkle conducts an interview in which she offends the human race, the nations of the world put aside their differences to wage war on Equestria. The story is noted for having reasonable motivations on both sides - humanity is not saintly, but also are not uniformly evil, and only wish to protect their history and culture; the ponies aren't perfect, but also aren't genocidal, and believe they're only helping - as well as consequences that leave neither side much better off in the end.

The process of ponification is also explained by author fiat as a death of the original person's personality, replaced with a new personality written into the ponification serum, while leaving memories intact. The ponies aware of this and against conversion even call it such. The potion is supposed to turn a human into what Celestia calls a "typical pony - kind, loving, gentle, and selfless." However, the natural born Equestrian ponies are put off by the Newfoals' inability to be assertive or angry, an "uncanny valley" effect.

It is also revealed that Celestia is not even deliberately committing a "genocide" against humanity so much as she simply believes ponification will solve all of humanity's problems and doesn't understand why humans don't want to give up what makes them, them. When the gryphon and zebra kingdoms catch wind of what she tried to do, they are not pleased and become worried that Celestia could target them next and forcibly convert them. The story ends with a letter from the queen of the Gryphon Kingdom implying a possible war against Equestria (a plot point explored in the sequels).

Characters

There is no definitive main character in this story. Rather it has an ensemble of various people and ponies and follows them as the plot progresses.

Human Characters

  • Andrew Harris ("The Iceman"): A researcher living in a facility in Antarctica who comes into contact with a group of ponies and works with them. His story is told through his posts on his blog and standard prose. When his friend Eddy is ponified and subsequently changed, he falls into a deep depression but is brought out of it when he befriends a pony called Ice Breaker.
  • Antonio Olmos: A factory worker living in Brazil who takes in and hides Evening Star, a rebellious pony who wants to help humanity. He comes close to being forcibly ponified when he drinks a bottle of soda contaminated with the ponification serum.
  • Russell Kenye: A young man from Cape Town, one of the cities destroyed by the barrier. Due to his inexperience with anything military related, he isn't comfortable with the situation, enlisting only to escape being a refugee. Through a mixture of dumb luck and resourcefulness, he survives the brutal battle to reclaim South Africa, but his troubles are far from over.
  • Karen: Eddy's girlfriend and friend of Andrew. After Eddy was ponified, she rejected him and then calls the ponies out on "killing" him. She leaves the facility, unable to be around them anymore due to the painful memories.

Pony Characters

  • Ice Breaker: An Earth Pony colt working the same research facility as Andrew. He becomes remorseful when he finds that giving the ponification serum to Eddy fundamentally changed him and goes on to befriend Andrew after apologizing to him.
  • Quantum Leap: A unicorn mare and climatologist who works alongside Andrew's coworkers at the Antarctica research facility. She speaks out against the potion and reveals the true way it works to Andrew later on.
  • Evening Star: A unicorn mare hiding in Brazil with Antonio. She maintains her own blog in which she gives tips to people on how to protect themselves from tainted drinks and speak out against the Princesses' actions.
  • Thunderhead: A newfoal pegasus, once known as Eddy Pearson. After he was diagnosed with terminal cancer, he took the potion and was ponified. However, his personality and habits were so radically changed while his memories were left intact that his old friends no longer recognized him anymore. He's frequently depressed as a result, but is finally able to go on after Andrew apologizes to him for his treatment (even though Andrew was forced to lie to him to make amends.

Organizations

As with other TCB stories, there are a multitude of organizations rounding out the story.

  • Ponification for Earth's Rebirth: As like in other stories, the PER engages in ponification attacks, mostly by putting the serum into the drinks of unsuspecting people.
  • Human Liberation Front: In this story, the HLF is started in South Africa after the war against Equestria. They are brutal thugs that want to get rid of all ponies.
  • Humans For Sapient Rights: A grassroots movement that aims to have Equestrian ponies and newfoals have the same rights as human beings, including the right to due process and trials. 
  • Equestrians For Humans: A group started by Lyra Heartstrings, Cheerilee and Zecora, with a membership including ponies, gryphons, zebras and dragons alike. They believe in peaceful coexistence with humanity rather than conversion.

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