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Anon fights segregation (Complete)

By Lurkernon
Created: 19th December 2020 11:48:12 PM

  1. Originally published November 2014
  2.  
  3. Prompt:
  4. >"My shop is for ponies only. NO humans allowed."
  5.  
  6. Apparently, segregation exists in Equestria.
  7.  
  8. What do?
  9.  
  10. ----------------------------------------------------------------
  11.  
  12. > Start organization dedicated to the advancement of non-pony species.
  13. > Gather griffons, diamond dogs, zebras, and other nonpoonies to your cause.
  14. > Early efforts at protests are small, but prominently staged in Canterlot.
  15. > Until they are quietly and brutally put down by unsympathetic guard.
  16. > Faced with the reality that protest is not going to change anything, your actions turn darker.
  17. > Stones replace signs.
  18. > Molotov cocktails replace stones.
  19. > You are declared a maniac and forced to go underground.
  20. > That's okay.
  21. > The dogs have plenty of places to hide.
  22. > And your griffons are worth five pony guards each.
  23. > A year down the line.
  24. > You make your first move.
  25. > Your rioters hit hard and fast.
  26. > Dozens of shops in manehatten trashed, looted, and burned.
  27. > The worst offenders - those who did not merely ban ponies, but revelled in their racism.
  28. > It's to much, to soon.
  29. > Nearly a third of your raiders are taken prisoner.
  30. > But you learn from your failures.
  31. > Your loot will be traded on the black market - sold for bits that will fund your efforts.
  32. > The next targets are smaller, more widespread, less defensible.
  33. > But now, you have a PR problem.
  34. > In the eyes of the common pony, you're raiders, thieves, criminals.
  35. > Degenerates lining their own pockets, not revolutionaries supporting the cause of equality.
  36. > Counter-groups, seeking to 'protect the noble citizens of Equestria' from the 'degenerate pillagers' spring up.
  37. > Racial purity groups in disguise, but worryingly popular.
  38. > And then a golden opportunity falls into your lap.
  39. > Appleoosa had long been one of the most open towns in Equestria.
  40. > Buffalo, ponies, and others living in relative equality and peace.
  41. > A choice for which they are now made a target.
  42. > Your front's ears catch wind of an impending attack on the town, to 'drive out the bringers of disharmony and all who would support them'.
  43. > Ponies included.
  44.  
  45. > The guard will, of course, arrive far to late.
  46. > It's going to be a massacre.
  47. > One of your agents approaches the sheriff.
  48. > He agrees to accept your help, so long as your militia behaves itself.
  49. > You agree.
  50. > Two days before the raid, you kidnap reporters from three of Equestia's foremost newspapers.
  51. > A rough decision, but they have to see the truth.
  52. > When the would-be 'purifiers' descend on Appleoosa, they instead find an ambush of well-armed, battle-hardened militia.
  53. > They are disorganized, approaching one group at a time.
  54. > Intended casual butchery turns to total rout.
  55. > And all through it, the newsponies record everything.
  56. > When the story breaks, of course, their tales have been twisted.
  57. > But the kernel of truth is undeniable.
  58. > Your forces were the ones protecting the town, not trying to level it.
  59. > Doubt begins to form.
  60. > Word begins to spread.
  61. > The name Anonymous, long since forgotten by most ponies, becomes a household word again.
  62. > Now you have a working plan.
  63. > Those who accept true equality, you aid and protect.
  64. > Those who refuse, you pillage and loot.
  65. > Discipline becomes the norm, rather than a luxury in your ranks.
  66. > You receive shelter from sympathetic ponies across Equestria.
  67. > The guard is not fast enough to catch you. They've never dealt with anything like this.
  68. > Instead they try and strike at the source.
  69. > Your supply caches.
  70. > How they find them is never entirely clear, although you have your suspicions.
  71. > What is clear is that in two days, nearly a half of your resources across Equestria are lost.
  72. > With the political climate in Canterlot at the moment, there is only one outcome in the trials of your captured allies.
  73. > Guilty.
  74. > Imprisoned.
  75. > But amid the pain of loss, an unexpected boon.
  76. > The thestrals of the Night Guard are already viewed with suspicion by many.
  77. > When they see how your captured are being treated, the first cracks appear.
  78.  
  79. > Two weeks after the trials conclude, you receive your first defector.
  80. > The next, eight days after that.
  81. > The next, three.
  82. > Most are returned to their positions, to feed you information on the guard's activities.
  83. > It doesn't take the royal guard long to try another massive raid.
  84. > This time, you are waiting.
  85. > Now you have prisoners too.
  86. > And in contrast to the almost total silence in which the guard has held your lost, the prisoners you take are allowed to send word back.
  87. > Popular opinion begins to shift.
  88. > You are no longer boogeymen, burning shops in the night.
  89. > Less than a month later, a force of royal guard and your militia quietly meet at the bottom of a valley.
  90. > Prisoners are exchanged.
  91. > Tears are shed.
  92. > Another battle is won.
  93. > A tense peace falls across Equestria in the following months.
  94. > Your militia skirmishes with a few self-proclaimed 'purification squads'
  95. > But there are no more major raids, no more massive guard operations.
  96. > The final boon you need comes nearly a year and a half later.
  97. > The Changeling hive had been in a state of near-social collapse for ages.
  98. > They had finally reached out to Equestria to seek peace, but the nobles' council in Canterlot, hardened by anti-equality sentiment, refused.
  99. > Total civil war occurs in due time.
  100. > Your organization opens its arms to the fleeing changelings.
  101. > They can have a new home, one that does not fear them.
  102. > It is not a popular decison.
  103. > Two major fragments of your group break away.
  104. > One is crushed by the royal guard.
  105. > The other rejoins after its leadership suddenly develops a severe case of blade-in-throat syndrome.
  106. > When all is said and done, there are now suddenly several thousand dedicated new recruits to your cause.
  107. > You have soldiers, government, territory where the 'purification squads' and 'Equestrian nobility' fronts dare not roam.
  108. > You are a state in all but name.
  109.  
  110. > You can be denied no longer.
  111. > Word is quietly sent to you from Canterlot.
  112. > The princesses are willing to negotiate.
  113. > They offer a total pardon for you and any who operate under your banner.
  114. > And a promise to begin ramming through legislation to make species-based segregation and assault illegal
  115. > In return, they seek the disarmament of your organization.
  116. > It's a fair offer, from their standpoint.
  117. > But, do you dare?
  118. > The purification squads and angry voices will not disappear - not even when the new laws come.
  119. > Especially not for those such as griffons and changelings.
  120. > This fight will not end with mere ink in a book.
  121. > Do you dare to give up so much of what you have won?
  122. > Do you accept the risk that you may place more lives - non-equine and pony alike - in danger?
  123. > But, do you dare to refuse the best offer to end this half-war you're likely to get?
  124. > Do you dare?
  125.  
  126.  
  127. ----------------------------------------------------------------
  128. [At this point I left the thread for several hours. Although the ending to the above had been meant to be rhetorical, people started suggesting courses of action. I wrote alternate endings for the options suggested.]
  129.  
  130. > You stared at the message long and hard.
  131. > You spent days in consultation with your highest lieutenants.
  132. > You did your best to gauge the popular sentiment towards all the options among your varied subjects.
  133. > No, not subjects.
  134. > Citizens.
  135. > Griffons, diamond dogs, changelings, zebras, even sympathetic ponies.
  136. > Some had families or friends in Equestria.
  137. > Some had lost families or friends to Equestria.
  138. > No choice would satisfy all of them.
  139. > A week later, with a heavy heart you touch pen to paper and begin writing your response.
  140. > You only hope it is the right choice...
  141.  
  142. Multi-ending mode, go!
  143.  
  144. > Ending 1A: Inclusion, good end.
  145. > Your answer to the princesses is short and to the point.
  146. > Their idea has merit, but a total disarmament at this point is not possible.
  147. > Instead, you offer a compromise.
  148. > A proper, negotiated ceasefire between your militia and the guard.
  149. > Celestia and Luna would begin pushing the legislation through.
  150. > For every step forward you saw, you would begin drawing down more of your forces.
  151. > It is not a solid plan.
  152. > It requires trust.
  153. > But if there is to be any coexistence in Equestria at all, trust is going to be necessary.
  154. > Where better to start than at the top?
  155. > The princess' reply comes indirectly.
  156. > An announcement that the first legislation making it illegal to discriminate against a law-abiding subject of Equestria in matters of public property and resources.
  157. > For a first step, it is a small one.
  158. > After all, most of the nobles' court regards you still as lawless brigands.
  159. > They cannot bring themselves to even consider the idea that you might some day be a lawful subject of Equestria again.
  160. > Probably presume that they will merely bring their citizens back from your influence.
  161. > But the princesses have trusted you to play along.
  162. > And so you do.
  163. > Of course, small steps are met with small steps.
  164.  
  165. > Your first disarmament takes place in regions that are already well under your control.
  166. > But the announcement that your militia will cease activities in certain regions comes as a total surprise to the nobles' court.
  167. > Celestia's proclamation that militia members who lay down their arms will be given full pardons comes as a double slam.
  168. > By the time they realize what they have begun, they have already passed two more bills making segregation increasingly illegal.
  169. > Now the pressure is on them.
  170. > For the first time, however unwanted, they are producing results.
  171. > Now it is our turn to trust the princesses.
  172. > Your militias still walk the streets, but instead of wielding blades they call on the guard.
  173. > The efforts are not without incidents.
  174. > Lives are still lost.
  175. > But each of you take of your own sides' failures, and correct them.
  176. > For the first time, they work with the guard - not against.
  177. > The nobles' court tries to halt all further legislation until your militia are 'properly punished'.
  178. > But the avalanche is already begun.
  179. > The vast majority of Equestria's subjects and yours alike are tired of fighting.
  180. > Twenty years later.
  181. > All is not yet well.
  182. > Bigotry still holds steady in some regions.
  183. > But tonight, you face the culmination of your efforts.
  184. > You are the guest of honor at a party in Canterlot tonight, to be recognized for your efforts in resolving a long-simmering conflict.
  185. > Your honor guard - changeling and griffon, minotaur and pony - face the gold-clad royal guard.
  186. > Both lines raise varied limbs in salute.
  187. > And for the first time, you bow to a princess with a smile.
  188.  
  189. --------------------------------------------------------------------
  190.  
  191. > Ending 1B, inclusion, bad end.
  192. > If there is ever to be coexistence in Equestria, trust is to be necessary.
  193. > Where better than to start at the top?
  194. > If only that trust had filtered down.
  195. > When the first orders to disarm came down, there was grumbling.
  196.  
  197. > Inevitably, success was not universal.
  198. > In some places, the guard still sided with those who would support 'purity'.
  199. > The second set of disarmament orders was met with open arguing.
  200. > Some branches outright refused.
  201. > Blood being spilled was only a matter of time.
  202. > Still you drove ahead, stubbornly determined to see this to its end.
  203. > Success was never instantaneous!
  204. > If they would only hold out long enough, progress would be made!
  205. > The nobles' court was passing more laws, however grudgingly.
  206. > All you needed was more time, and things could change.
  207. > The third set of orders was the breaking point.
  208. > Assault by guards, conflicting opinions between races, and sometimes near-starvation had failed to break your organization.
  209. > The drive for peace did.
  210. > Two, three, four subgroups broke off.
  211. > Refusing to stand down, staking their claim in various regions.
  212. > You drive ahead, praying that they would turn to the cause of peace when you brought more results.
  213. > Twenty years later.
  214. > You resided in a manor in Canterlot.
  215. > Along with the remainder of your loyalists, you had received pardons for your actions.
  216. > But you had lead less than twenty percent of your once-subjects to this 'victory'.
  217. > Six separate successors to your organization had not chosen to follow your steps and receive a pardon.
  218. > In you opinion, most of them did not deserve such.
  219. > Without you guidance, your resources, your contacts in the Equestrian government, none had come as close to peace as you had.
  220. > They had nearly all devolved to their roots - wild raiders, robbers and pillagers.
  221. > And in turn, the efforts in Canterlot to shift the national opinion had slid back.
  222. > Why should they tolerate, when the other races continued to attack them?
  223. > You and your peace-seekers were barely accepted, staying to certain regions that still remembered the goodness you had brought.
  224. > And every night, you looked out the window and wondered.
  225. > Could you have done better?
  226. > Could you have brought peace?
  227.  
  228. --------------------------------------------------------------------
  229.  
  230. > Ending 2A: Seperatist, good end.
  231. > Your reply was delivered to Celestia in due time.
  232. > It was also delivered to four of the most prominent of the Equestrian newspapers.
  233. > A declaration of independence deserved to be public, after all.
  234. > And that was just what you were delivering.
  235. > A declaration that however noble the princess' intentions were, they could not force the will of their entire country.
  236. > Only by standing strong and standing together could you survive.
  237. > And so that was what you did.
  238. > You stood together.
  239. > When the guard was mobilized to stare down your militia in the territory you had declared your own, you stood together.
  240. > When Equestria fell to the bare rim of civil war, you stood together and stood strong.
  241. > You opened your gates to all who would seek refuge.
  242. > Equestria danced close, but never fell.
  243. > The guard was called off.
  244. > You made your second announcement:
  245. > That conflict with Equestria was not your goal.
  246. > So long as they would not halt those who sought safety with you, peace was and acceptance was all you sought.
  247. > To be treated as an equal - if not as a person, then as a nation.
  248. > The first few years were a terrible trial.
  249. > Food was short, and refugees many.
  250. > But you persevered.
  251. > Barely any of your citizens could use magic.
  252. > Science replaced it.
  253. > Steelworks and shipyards sprung up.
  254. > Griffon knowledge of the winds, changeling engineering, minotaur metallurgy.
  255. > All combined to bring you life, and then prosperity.
  256. > And when your newborn nation failed to turn into a haven for murders and criminals, public opinion in Equestria began to shift.
  257. > How evil could you be?
  258. > Your citizens were not slaughtering each other in the streets.
  259. > Perhaps your choices had a logic to them?
  260. > And slowly, grudgingly, the nobles' council begin to catch up.
  261. > Began to accept.
  262. > Equality, true equality, began to come into law there as well.
  263. > Twenty years later.
  264. > Equality was making slow, painful progress across Equestria.
  265.  
  266. > Especially with so many dedicated supporters coming to your lands, it would be many years before it came in truth.
  267. > But that was a thought for later.
  268. > Today, you had visitors.
  269. > Some of the Equestrian nobles were nervous to be coming to your new capital.
  270. > You could understand why.
  271. > A faint simmering of resentment still hung just out of sight.
  272. > But as they entered your Hall of Law and saw the ranks and ranks of guard - your guard - saluting them, you could see their fears fading.
  273. > These were not the ragged militia that had once ravaged their lands.
  274. > These were a proud, dedicated force that aimed to do what the Royal Guard had been meant to do.
  275. > Protect their citizens.
  276. > All of them.
  277. > As the princesses enter the hall, you rise and bow to them in greeting.
  278. > And for the first time, they bow to you in return.
  279. > As equals.
  280.  
  281. ------------------------------------------------------------------------
  282.  
  283. > Ending 2B, Seperatist, bad end.
  284. > Celestia's error had been keeping your negotiations secret.
  285. > When your proclamation hit the streets, the nobles' council had been infuriated.
  286. > Legislation was quickly run through severely curtailing the princess' power.
  287. > Your only true allies had been gelded.
  288. > When the guard was called out, you stood strong and together against them.
  289. > Equestria's guard was dealt twin shocks that day.
  290. > One, when your militia held the bloody ground against the once-invincible guard.
  291. > Two, when they were ordered to suppress Equestrian subjects protesting the unprovoked attack on you.
  292. > You were hardly surprised.
  293. > It was just this suppression that had originally driven you from protest to take up arms.
  294. > Protests turned to riots.
  295. > Suppression turned brutal.
  296. > The guard crumbled under the strain.
  297. > For the first time in living memory, civil war came to Equestria.
  298. > Brother against sister, daughter against father.
  299. > Inevitably, some true criminals chose to take advantage of the chaos.
  300. > Inevitably, it was blamed on you.
  301.  
  302. > Again you held the line against the second wave of Equestrian guard.
  303. > You fought them with minotaur steel and griffon cannon, changeling ichor and even pony magic.
  304. > By the end of the year, it was clear that no true progress would be made against you.
  305. > The guard retired to lick their wounds and adapt to this new threat.
  306. > In the meantime, the reformed nobles' council continued to secure their power base.
  307. > Which meant pandering to their harshest 'purity' elements.
  308. > Those years were the toughest.
  309. > Refugees flooded across the border to your lands.
  310. > Dodging Equestrian guard patrols however they could, lest they be imprisoned for aiding the enemy.
  311. > Your forces aided them as best they could, but it was never enough.
  312. > Food ran short.
  313. > Somehow, you survived.
  314. > Twenty years later.
  315. > You rest in your room far above the hall of law in your new capital.
  316. > The report in your hand casting strange shadows on your desk in the light of the guttering candle.
  317. > The nobles' court was cranking up the rhetoric against you.
  318. > The Equestrian guard was mobilizing again.
  319. > Another war loomed on the horizon.
  320. > Of your victory, you had no doubt.
  321. > The first series of repeating rifles were being rushed to your troops to make ready for the inevitable invasion.
  322. > They would hold the line.
  323. > But you wondered.
  324. > You wondered, staring out into the pouring rain beyond the glass and feeling a wetness on your cheeks despite the windows being closed.
  325. > How much more blood was to be spilt?
  326. > How many more lives would be lost?
  327. > Could you have avoided this?
  328. > Could you have done better?
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