Sunday, March 29, 2020

Displacement et alia, Ch1: Well, we have to start somewhere; now, don't we?

[Main Page for this story]
[Originally posted at Fimfiction.net.]

You read the long description[1] ⹁right? ᠎ No, don't answer; I can't actually hear you. ᠎ I noted this in the long description ⹁which you should have read. ᠎ I don't know if you read it, because I can't hear you.

Got it?[2] ᠎ Good. ᠎ So, here's what we're going to do ⹁and by "we" I mean "me", we are going to do this in "Choose Your Own Adventure" style.

HAVE YOU ⹁dear reader, READ THE LONG DESCRIPTION?
IF NO: Go read the damned thing.
IF YES: Continue on this page.

Look[3] at all of the heavy-lifting[4] we just did. ᠎ I don't have to tell you the beginnings of my tale of woe.[5] ᠎ You know that I was dressed as Tsukasaˌ you know it was Anime Boston where I bought the thingˌ you know it was a level 99 staff with a silly[6] name. ᠎ You know I'm in Equestria.

Everybody still on board here?[7] ᠎ Good.[8] ᠎ So, ⹁once upon a time,[9] a human appeared in Equestria. ᠎ Her name was Celestabellebethabelle[10] temporarily Tsukasa (つかさ) ⹁which you should know by now, she was in a body not her own,[11] and she was three feet off the floor of Princess Luna's bedchambers.

Three feet does not ⹁in fact, give one time to spin into a decent position for a landing. ᠎ Thank God[12] for anti-concussion magic, because: damn. ᠎ I mean, I think it's actually more of a combination of three spells[13], but the point? ᠎ The point is: oy motherfucking vey![14]

Anyway, Luna said, "What manner of beast are you?" and in response I sort of groaned out:

"I've read this fanfic."[15] ᠎ Not the best response ever, but ⹁you have to remember, at this point I'd just been yoinked out of my home dimension, stuffed into a different body ⹁which happened to be fictional, and dumped into a ⹁different, fictional world. ᠎ Also, I'd fallen several feet and hit my head on the cold stone floor.

"I assure you," Luna said in her princessly way, "this is quite real. ᠎ I know ⹁more than most, the difference between the real and the imaginary," which ⹁you know, she would say. ᠎ When was the last time someone came out and said, 'Hi, this is totes a work of fiction,' or, 'I am singularly unqualified to tell the false from the real'?

The pain ⹁at this point, was passing. ᠎ I sat up and touched a hand to my head.

"I'm human," I said. ᠎ Also: still in costume.

The hand that touched my head ⹁that being the right one, almost knocked my hat off, but that was as nothing compared to the fact that ⹁while my hat was still on, my wig was not in evidence. ᠎ My hair ⹁however, was doing a really impressive 'Tsukasa wig' impression. ᠎ Like, really, really impressive.

Now, by this point you're probably[16] saying, 'So, you knew you were in a displaced story, right?'

To which I reply, 'Screw you; I just hit my head on the floor and only avoided traumatic brain injury via the intervention of magic.'

Anywho,[17] at this point I was still getting my bearings and wondering whether it was a dream or a hallucination.

Luna ⹁Princess of the Night and founder of the School for Gifted Pegasi, said, "Ah. ᠎ One of the creatures Twilight Sparkle has described."

"Has she indeed?" I asked as I got to my feet. ᠎ While still operating on the hypothesis that this was all in my head, I none the less started to place myself on a timeline. ᠎ Assuming this wasn't one of those stories with non-canonical human encounters[18], that meant Equestria Girls had come and gone.

Luna ⹁being Luna, responded with, "She has indeed."

We were about eye to eye. ᠎ That brought up a potential problem. ᠎ It would only be a problem if this were a darker and grittier ⹁some would say 'stabbier', version of the My Little Pony we all know and ⹁presumably,[19] love. ᠎ The problem (potential only ⹁remember) was simply this: I was standing at full height looking a god-level royal in the eye.

"Should I..." I started. ᠎ Clearly that had gone wonderfully, so much so ⹁in fact, that I decided to try doing the exact same thing again. ᠎ "Should I," I asked, "be bowing?" ᠎ That that worked proved ⹁semi-conclusively, that this was a 'Try, try again,' situation instead of a 'Definition of Insanity' situation.

"That will not be necessary," Luna said.

She's got a nice voice, that one.

"Do you have any idea how I got here?" I asked rather quickly, the pace practically tripping over itself as I moved from one word to the next. ᠎ "Because I have no idea how I got here."

"You appeared to teleport into my bedchambers and fall on the floor," Luna said with a completely straight face ⹁and a level tone to boot.

"I'm--" that was a stammer. ᠎ Not my most eloquent ever. ᠎ I looked around. ᠎ These were ⹁indeed, chambers with a bed in them. ᠎ "I'm in your bedchambers?"

"You are."

Yeah, ⹁so, stabby seemed like it might be on the table even if this weren't all that dark or grit filled.

"I-- I, um... I'm sorry?" I said.[20]

"For what?" Luna asked; "if I may ask."

That, by the way, is precisely the kind of structure for which the question comma was invented. ᠎ The first two words form a question, while "If I may ask" is not a question and would ⹁in fact, generally be punctuated with a comma. ᠎ All and sundry know[21] that one does not follow an 'if I may ask' with a question mark. ᠎ A dash? ᠎ Maybe. ᠎ An ellipsis? ᠎ Sure. ᠎ An ellipse? ᠎ It'd be weird ⹁and you'd need some artistic chops to draw a proper ellipse[22] in a size that fits cleanly into a line of standard text, but it still makes more sense than a question mark.

Now, to business.[23]

First, of course she may ask. ᠎ I somehow magically invaded her bedchambers; she's got all the right in the universe to ask me whatever she wants. ᠎ Second, for invading her her bedchambers ⹁obviously.

"For invading-- for somehow invading the privacy of--"

"It is clear to me that this is not your fault," Luna said. ᠎ After a pause she added, "Or you that you are an impressive actor."

"Oh," I said ⹁finally managing to get back to a casual ⹁instead of afraid of immolation, mindset, "I am not an impressive actor. ᠎ I can't act for sh--" ᠎ Stopping in the middle of a one syllable word is a skill that will serve you well should you ever find yourself magically transported into the bedchambers of a god-princess pony. ᠎ God-pony princess? ᠎ Whatever. ᠎ Have I said that before? ᠎ I think I have, but do not know.

Regardless, ⹁after the awkward pause, I said, "For something that probably shouldn't be uttered in the presence of royalty."

"Merdae,"[24] Luna said.

I gawked.

"αφόδευσι,"[25] Luna said. ᠎ "Merde. ᠎ Scheiße. ᠎ Shit."[26]

By now my mouth was hanging open. ᠎ Not really something I'm proud of, but: damn.[27]

"I have never understood the idea that my sister and I are somehow naive innocent creatures with virgin ears that have never been ⹁and will never be, tainted by the vulgar language of common ponies."

"O," I said slowly ⹁allowing my brain to reboot, before finishing with a quick, "k." ᠎ After a beat of pause I said, "Thing one: I'm not a pony."

"So I have noticed."

"Thing two, there's . . . like . . ." I swear she was amused by my inability to words properly, "decorum or some such."

"In court, yes." Luna said. ᠎ "During official functions, yes. ᠎ In the context of a royal meet and greet,[28] yes." ᠎ A pause. ᠎ "We are not in those places; we are in my bedchambers."

So, I can't actually see my own face. ᠎ Any time that I say something about the appearance of my face ⹁unless there are reflections involved, it's a 'best guess' kind of situation. ᠎ Pretty sure I blushed at that, though.

Here's a disturbing thought ⹁if ever there were one, what if a god-pony thought you found them physically attractive rather than realizing you were simply embarrassed?

"S-sorry about that," I said ⹁stammering back in full force.

Thankfully ⹁though, ⹁spoiler alertˌ I suppose, that thing from two paragraphs up did not ⹁in fact, happen. ᠎ Instead Luna said, "I believe that we have already established that you are not at fault." ᠎ At this, I relaxed somewhat. ᠎ "There is still the question of how you came to be here."

"Yeah," I said, "I'd like an answer to that one myself."

"What is your most recent memory, prior to your arrival?" Luna asked.

"Um . . ." I said in the universal language of 'I'm going to have to think about that.' ᠎ "I was at a convention . . ." ᠎ That sinking feeling[29] set in around nowish, but I wouldn't identify the source for a little bit. ᠎ "Do they have conventions in Equestria?"

"By 'convention' do you mean a gathering of individuals united by a common interest, at which there are speakers, merchants, and . . . I believe the term is, 'swag'?" Luna asked.

"Yeah, pretty much; also cosplayers," I said.

"Then, yes, Equestria has those," Luna said.

"I wasn't really sure what to do, because the panelist I'd hoped to see no longer did panels," I said.

"A tragic fate indeed," Luna said. ᠎ To fully understand ⹁though, you must realize that it was said with the utmost seriousness.

"I'd known that, of course," I said. ᠎ "I guess I mostly went because I'd been trying to get there for so long that it felt like ⹁even without her doing panels, I might as well give it a try now that I actually could go."

Luna nodded.

"I got a few complements on my costume." ᠎ I gestured to what I was wearing. ᠎ The sinking feeling intensified. ᠎ "A few people took pictures of me. ᠎ I wandered around and eventually . . ." ᠎ Down and down we go.

The silence I had lapsed into eventually drew its own response.

"Yes?" Luna said in that encouraging, 'Keep going,' kind of way.

"I went to the dealers room..." ᠎ It wasn't sinking anymore; it was falling. ᠎ The bottom had dropped out. ᠎ "...to see what was on sale." ᠎ My eyes dropped to the floor. ᠎ There it was: the instrument of my downfall.

I squatted down to pick up the staff. ᠎ I considered all manner of profanity. ᠎ But instead ⹁as I actually took hold of the staff, I said, "I know what happened," in the sort of defeated way you say, 'Everything good about my life has been utterly destroyed.'

The staff was shaped like a question mark or a shepherd's crook. ᠎ And there ⹁perfectly placed, was the red ball ⹁suspended without any visible support, in the gap that made the top a hook instead of a circle. ᠎ When I picked it up, the ball moved with the rest of the staff ⹁as if they were a single connected whole. ᠎ It was what I had wanted; the price was too high.

At this point I was sort of weak in the . . . everything. ᠎ Knees are the part everyone always talks about. ᠎ I used the staff as a third leg ⹁which is what staffs are for[30] when you think about it, and returned to a standing position. ᠎ There was some difficulty in that ⹁due to the aforementioned weakness, but I pulled it off.

Luna simply looked at me expectantly.

I sighed, looked at the floor, looked back up, and spoke, "There's a meta-fictional construct comprising a sub-genre of pseudo-crossover works in which someone dressed as a character from one work," I gestured to my costume, "is dumped into your universe," Luna raised an eyebrow, "or a version thereof."

The eyebrow stayed up.

I sighed. ᠎ Again. ᠎ Then I explained, "Where I come from, your world exists as a popular story ⹁in serial format," I was pretty sure that Equestria didn't have TV, thus: 'serial format story' instead of 'TV series', "as well as several . . ." I'd never really paid attention ⹁beyond the existence of Vinyl Scratch, to the examples where modern technology invaded the pseudo-medieval world of Friendship is Magic; in other words: I had no idea if movies existed in Equestria, "um . . ." yeah: no idea ⹁which meant no idea if I could just say they were movies, ". . . plays depicting Princess Twilight's adventures in the human world, and another play ⹁with significantly higher production values, about a temporarily successful invasion of Equestria and how it was eventually repelled."

"It seems that we are quite popular in your world," Princess Luna said. ᠎ Massive understatement.

"You have no idea," I said. ᠎ Cliché response.

"You seem quite calm for one interacting with what he believed to be a fictional character and world."

"She," I said.

"I apologize," Luna said.

"There's no need," I said; "assuming that the tropes and genre conventions held true, the process tried to make me male."

"That is most unconscionable," Luna said.

"I agree entirely, which is part of why I'm still hoping this is a dream or delusion," I said.

Luna said, "I assure you it is not," which is just what a delusion would say. ᠎ After a beat[31], she added, "Though, I suppose that is what you would expect a dream or delusion to say."

"Pretty much," I said, "but as much as I might hope for things to be otherwise, the feelings of dread and defeat currently warring for dominance inside me are indicative of the fact I think you're correct."

The truth was that I wasn't calm so much as nonplussed[32], and that had left me with a pretty flat affect[33] ⹁which could easily be misconstrued[34] as calm.

Luna nodded.

"I believe I now know enough to proceed," she said. ᠎ Exposition successfully dumped; now we can move on to the plot. ᠎ Woo. ᠎ "Please follow me."

She opened a door with magic, and led me out of the room.

As we walked, she talked.

"There are spells that will help make your present condition more bearable until such time as you can be returned to your own body," she said. ᠎ "For that ⹁and for returning you to your world, the best pony for the job is undoubtedly Princess Twilight Sparkle."

"The human world she visited--" I started.

"I not your own," Luna interrupted ⹁quite rudely. ᠎ "Princess Twilight was quite detailed in her descriptions of that world's history and culture. ᠎ If it embedded our world ⹁and itself, as works of fiction within it, I believe she would have noted that fact."

"Well, she did live in a library on her first visit," I said ⹁assuming ⹁without evidence, that the movie Equestria Girls was an accurate depiction of events in this multiverse.

"She does that," Luna said. ᠎ Luna is ⹁officially, my favorite princess. ᠎ She wasn't originally. ᠎ Before I got dumped into her bedchambers by a contrived and overused plot device, I thought of her mostly as, 'That princess the writers keep forgetting the existence of,'[35] but now. . . now I see her as she truly is: Princess of Non-Neurotic Deadpan Snarking.

Unfortunately, my story does not take place in Canterlot ⹁at least not primarily, so I don't actually spend much time around my now-favorite princess.

"So if you know . ? ." I asked. ᠎ Let it be known that one does not need to actually ask a question in order to ⹁you know, ask a question.

"Of the two foremost experts on portals between worlds," Luna explained, "she is one."

"And the other?"

"Her pen-pal."

Sunset Shimmer. ᠎ I really should have seen that coming.

I said, "Ah," and ⹁just like that, we arrived at our first destination.

Luna knocked upon a doorˌ it openedˌ and there was Princess Celestia.

"What fell creature is that?" Celestia asked with uncommon dread.

"Are you calling me fierceˌ cruelˌ terribleˌ sinisterˌ malevolentˌ particularly destructiveˌ or deadly?"[36] I asked with ⹁what I hope was, complete deadpan. ᠎ "I ask because I'm not entirely clear regarding that point."

"She's simply been waiting to say that again since the first time we saw Tirek," Luna said.

Celestia cocked her head to one side, shrugged her . . . I think they're still called shoulders in a pony. ᠎ Whatever, she shrugged those things, and gave a silly little smile like she was a foal caught with her hoof in the cookie jar.[o]

"Oh," I said. ᠎ "Ok." ᠎ And ⹁truly, it was. ᠎ Who doesn't want to cry out, 'What fell creature is that‽'[o+1]

"I am ⹁however," Celestia said, "genuinely curious as to your nature."

"Well, I was a human ⹁from a world where this world was just a work of fiction," I said, "and I'm still definitely in human form, but I think I might actually be some kind of digital construct ⹁which merely looks human, instead of an actual human right now."

An eyebrow was raised.

There was silence.

Finally I said, "If you're expecting me to properly interpret which of the things I just said you're raising an eyebrow at . . ." ᠎ Insert end of sentence here, should you have it on you. ᠎ (I did not.)

The eyebrow went back down, and Celestia said, "Perhaps you should simply tell me what has transpired."

Did she ever use words like "transpired" in the series? ᠎ I don't remember. ᠎ On the one hand, that is the sort of thing a wise mentor figure would say. ᠎ On the other hand, consider the intended audience and the patronizing assumptions people are wont to make about them.

So I told her.[o+2]

Luna ⹁for her part, was very interested in the prospect of a video game that:
a) Was more advanced than Pong-era console stuff,
b) Did not require magic in order to run, and
c) One could become trapped in.

Should points b) and c) seem contradictory to you, remember that there's a difference between what is sufficient for operating a program and what is included in that program.

Celestia was amused by my claim to be named Celestabellebethabelleˌ my staff was confirmed to be a genuine magically thingamabobˌ[o+3] the mechanism by which I arrived could not be determined ⹁because that would be too easy,[o+4] it was decided that I should probably adopt a pseudonym ⹁like "Tsukasa" or "Mary Sue" or "Oh God, not another one!", if I wanted to maintain my privacy in light of the fact that my biography[o+5] would probably be the easiest thing to transmit to my homeworld ⹁in light of narrative conventions.

Then it was off to Ponyville. ᠎ They did not ⹁in fact, stick the strange creature nopony had ever seen before on a train full of ponies. ᠎ No, the second ⹁and final, destination on Luna's 'I believe I now know enough to proceed' tour of Canterlot castle was to a launching and landing area. ᠎ The ride was via Pegasus chariot ⹁which gave me a wonderful view and did not ⹁in any way, make me afraid of falling to my gruesome death, and I was told that a letter had been sent to Princess Sparklepants[o+6] so that my arrival would not come as a surprise.

With that, this show was officially on the figurative road. ᠎ Because ⹁where we were going flying, one didn't need (literal) roads.

- - - ~ ~ ~ ⁕ ⁕ ⁕ ~ ~ ~ - - -

[1] For those who don't know what this is, a lesson. ᠎ Click the story name, this will take you to the story page. ᠎ When you get there, there are words. ᠎ The words under the tags and above the chapters are the long description.
(Onsite Link)

[2] If you responded to this, may God have mercy on your soul. ᠎ How many times have I already said I can't hear you?[n]

[3] I mean this figuratively, of course.

[4] Ditto.

[5] I mean, ⹁technically, I don't have to tell you anything. ᠎ It's just that I'm stuck in a displaced story; what else am I going to do?

[6] This is the part that you read literally.[n+1] ᠎ The name was "Ludicrous", and if you can't see the pun, I can't really help you.

[7] Don't answer.

[8] This is a rhetorical response; I still can't hear you.

[9] Between Rainbow Rocks and The Cutie Map ⹁seems to be. ᠎ You had better fucking know this; it was in the long description. As for when I left my world, funny story that. It was the last day of Anime Boston 2018. Yes, that does make zero chronological sense. Yes, I do know what day that was.

[10] Still a joke.

[11] Yes, that includes a dick. ᠎ No, we are not going to talk about it. ᠎ If you're really so damned interested in biology, look up what a "perineal raphe" is.

[12] I suppose ⹁technically, that Luna is more of a lowercase "g" god.

[13] The spells in question seem to be:
Stop ⹁inertia be ignored, before you damage yourself further!
Pain, pain, go away!
Grey matter, heal thyself (of the damage inflicted before the first spell took effect)!

[14] I am not now ⹁and have never been, a Yiddish speaker. ᠎ Someone[n+2] once said:
In a figurative way, Yiddish is the wise and humble language of us all, the idiom of frightened and hopeful humanity.
Let words like "Shmuck" and "Shlubbly" roll off your tongue and you'll find that it is a language that begs to be spoken. ᠎ Even some of the cool German words ⹁like "Dreck" and "Kaput", come to English via Yiddish.

I totally had to restrain myself from using "Schlong" in footnote [11], because ⹁while it's a great thing to say, it would have obliterated the serious nature of said footnote via it's informal nature.

[15] Technically what I read was a fanfic pitch. ᠎ Don't me wrong, it was 93.6 percent fanfic ⹁with just twenty words of explanation at the front, but it was by no means a complete work. ᠎ Just an idea as demonstrated via its first scene.

To wit:
The Element of Magic didn't know what to do with Sunset Shimmer so it fell back on an old standby . . .

Sunset Shimmer remembered pain. ᠎ She placed a crown upon her head and it twisted and broke her. ᠎ Then she had lost herself, became a cackling caricature, crossed lines she swore she'd never cross, and finally: more pain. ᠎ The corruption burned away in a rainbow fire that hurt but refused to consume. ᠎ She'd thought the pain would last forever.

Now, though, it was gone. ᠎ Just a memory.

When she blinked the tears from her eyes she saw magnificent desolation. ᠎ A grey on grey landscape so pocked and pitted that it might have been a minefield. ᠎ The sky was black, but that made no sense. ᠎ It wasn't dark; she cast a shadow.

She felt exceptionally light as she picked herself up, it only added to the surreal quality of . . . everything.

Moments after she was on her feet, she heard the sound of galloping. ᠎ It approached impossibly quickly, but when she turned to face it, that thought was banished by something far more dire. ᠎ The source of light --the thing that made her cast a shadow on the grey wasteland-- wasn't the Sun, or Moon, or even the stars.
᠎ It was Equestria. Sunset's home hung in the sky, it was magnificent in the light of the unseen Sun. ᠎ The daylight it reflected shone down upon her . . . and the thing she stood upon.

Any lingering doubt about her location was demolished when Nightmare Moon --a creature from foals' tales-- finally finished her gallop toward Sunset. ᠎ At another time Sunset might have been incredulous or afraid or --more likely-- a bit of both. ᠎ With Equestria hanging in the sky above them, though, Sunset couldn't find it in herself to care.

"What manner of beast are you?" Nightmare Moon asked Sunset.
[16] Still can't hear youˌ and thus I am forced to guess.[n+3]

[17] That's a legit word. ᠎ First known use 1850. ᠎ That's pre-Civil War. ᠎ It's been a word since before the people of the United States ⹁north and south, grudgingly acknowledged ⹁at the cost of the lives of 650ˌ000 to 850ˌ000 men[n+4] and God knows how many non-men, that slavery might ⹁perhaps, be wrong.

All of that being saidˌ that was the "Anyhoo" spelling. ᠎ Can't tell you about the "Anywho" spelling's vintage off the top of my head.

[18] Not the safest assumption ⹁all things considered, but one has to make assumptions if they're to reach conclusions.

Whitehead and Russell started with five assumptions. ᠎ Result? ᠎ It took over three hundred pages[n+5] to get to the point where they could conclude "1 + 1 = 2".

Peano started with nine assumptions. ᠎ Result? ᠎ Takes about three lines to conclude "1 + 1 = 2". ᠎ Which would you prefer? ᠎ And ⹁no, I can't hear your answer. ᠎ More assumptions leads to quicker results. ᠎ And if your assumptions are flawedˌ ⹁sooner or later, you'll hit a contradictionˌ and boom: you've learned something.

[19] I do not ⹁actually, presume this. ᠎ You could be hate-reading. ᠎ You could be a hyper-intelligent shade of the color blue who is interested in this document purely for its anthropological value. ᠎ You could be being forced to read this at gunpoint as part of a psychological torture regime. ᠎ The possibilities abound.

[20] Strictly speaking ⹁and it is often good to speak with strictness, "I'm sorry" is not supposed to be a question. ᠎ There is a form to questions that those two words ⹁one of them a contraction it should be noted, simply lack. ᠎ That having been said, the English language often marks questions not by words or grammar but instead by rising pitch as one approaches the syntactic terminus. ᠎ This allows for a degree of flexibility ⹁which can be put to use by ones such as myself upon discovering oneself to have invaded the bedchambers of a god-princess.

[21] All and sundry know nothing; no knowledge is universal.

[22] A proper ellipse ⹁by the way, is precisely twice as wide as it is tall. ᠎ For those who don't understand words such as "wide" and "tall", the major axis has a scalar magnitude double that of the minor axisˌ and ⹁furthermore, the minor axis is vertical. ᠎ This is the canonical proper ellipseˌ and the fact that I can produce no evidence supporting this claim should not ⹁in any way, be taken to mean it is incorrect or ⹁Heaven forfend, unfounded.

[23] This is not a toast. ᠎ Do not raise you glasses. ᠎ Do not clink.

[24] This is the Latin word for "shit". ᠎ It is in the singular ⹁just one shitˌ not multiple shits, dative. ᠎ The dative is most commonly rendered into English as "to" or "for". ᠎ She literally said, "for shit." ᠎ In Latin.

[25] See previous, but in Ancient Greek.

[26] Frenchˌ Germanˌ and English for "shit" in that order.

[27] I know that I've done the whole "⦑conjunction⦒ ⦑colon⦒ ⦑italic 'damn'⦒" thing already ⹁thank you very much. ᠎ That's the point. ᠎ Princess Potty Mouth's polylingual profanity hit me with the force of a cold stone floor to the head.

[28] I am aware that ponies speak English. Not just because I have seen the show, but also because I was speaking English to a pony who was speaking English back to me. Even so, 'Meet and greet'? Of all of the words and phrases that could be translocated from our world to Equestria, why that one?

[29] The one that has ⹁heretofore, gone unmentioned. ᠎ Still, look at the first word of the title. Consider the story you're reading; consider the significance of conventions in the genre. ᠎ (Not to be confused with genre conventions.) ᠎ You know what sinking feeling I'm talking about. ᠎ You'd have felt it yourself in my place.

[30] That and bopping people ⹁of course. If we want to get technical and exhaustive, the function of a staff is ⹁in fact, threefold: providing a third point of contact with the ground or floor ⹁as though it were an extra leg, bopping people, guiding ruminants ⹁such as goats or sheep.

[31] Since this is the second time I've used the word "beat" in this fashion, I suppose I should define it. ᠎ A beat is a pause that's longer than the full stop at the end of a sentenceˌ but shorter than what you think of when you read the word "pause" or ⹁indeed, the phrase "a short pause".

[32] Definition:
non·plussed
/nänˈpləst/
adjective
1. (of a person) surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react.
[33] Medical jargon definition of "flat" ⹁second meaning:
characterized by general impoverishment in the presence of emotion-evoking stimuli
Medical jargon definition of "affect" ⹁also the second meaning:
a set of observable manifestations of a subjectively experienced emotion
Thus: medical jargon meaning of "flat affect":
characterized by a lack of emotional expressiveness; emotions are experienced but not displayed
Basically, think Maud Pie.

[34] Look this one up your own damned self. ᠎ It's a perfectly ordinary word ⹁neither medical jargon like [33] nor commonly misused like [32], so ⹁honestly, you shouldn't need to look it up. ᠎ If you do, that's your own damn fault.[n+6]

[35] The reason that they say not to end your sentences with propositions is because at one point a bunch of stodgy old men ⹁possibly joined by stodgy old women, wanted English to be like Latin. ᠎ It is legit impossible to end a non-incomplete Latin sentence with a preposition, so they said you weren't allowed to do it in English ⹁where it works just fine.

This is also the reason they tell you not to flagrantly split infinitives. ᠎ Can't do that in Latin. ᠎ Why? ᠎ Because in Latin most infinitives are a single word. ᠎ Can you insert another word into a single word? ᠎ Absa-fucking-lutely.[n+7] ᠎ It's called "tmesis" ⹁which comes from the Ancient Greek "τμῆσις" ⹁which in turn means "a cutting". ᠎ Still, not something you do all the time.

The point here ⹁though, is that even though I could have written, "That princess, the existence of whom the writers keep forgetting," I don't need to. ᠎ End your sentences with prepositions, begin your paragraphs ⹁or even books,[n+8] with conjunctions, fracture the frightful fetters of linguistic prescriptivism! ᠎ Damn the manˌ and down with the grammatical oligarchy!

[36] These are the definitions of "fell". ᠎ If that was not known to you, you probably have no idea what "one fell swoop" means. ᠎ Shakespeare must confuse you greatly. ᠎ I suggest a dictionary and a running gloss. ᠎ (I'm not sure just one of those things would be enough for you; use both.)

[o] I assume; I've never actually seen a foal caught with their hoof in the cookie jar. ᠎ "Which cookie jar?" you may ask ⹁in spite of the fact that I can't hear you. ᠎ The cookie jar.

[o+1] I am fully cognizant of the fact that there are probably a great many people who don't particularly want to. ᠎ I am also aware that I switched punctuation. ᠎ I assure you, it has not escaped my notice. ᠎ Dread is a hard thing to get right. ᠎ Celestia nailed it ⹁don't get me wrong, but for the general public I believe that crying out ⹁to the point an interobang is justified (because a question mark just won't cut it), is probably a better route.

[o+2] If you're expecting me to tell you personal details about my life before my arrival, you are vastly mistaken about the kinds of things I'm willing to divulge. ᠎ Want to know more about me? ᠎ Build a portal to here, so that I might go back there, and ⹁as reward for giving me a way home, I'll have a nice long talk with you ⹁in which we can trade notes about our political leanings and favorite Douglas Adams books.

[o+3] Technical term.

[o+4] Not even being sarcastic. ᠎ It would ⹁quite literally, be too easy. ᠎ Certain things are required for a story to actually function as a story, and if we'd figured everything out then and there, this wouldn't. ᠎ If this didn't function as a story, then I would not be writing it as a story, and you would not be reading it right now. ᠎ The very fact that you are here reading these words in this footnote means that that could not have happened.

The name for this is the "anthropic principle" which states that ⹁since in order for a story to be read it must first be written, any story that is read must necessarily have a arisen from a set of conditions that allowed for the writing of said story. ᠎ Therefore, the fact that you are reading this means that things were not so easy as to prevent a plot from forming ⹁which means that anything that would make the situation that easy is necessarily too easy.

See? ᠎ Like I said: not even being sarcastic.

[o+5] The thing you're reading right now.

[o+6] Any objections that she doesn't wear pants will be ignored because ⹁as repeatedly noted, I can't hear you.

[n] Two sentences in the long descriptionˌ two sentences in the main text of this chapterˌ one sentence from which it can be inferred in the long descriptionˌ and one sentence from which it can be inferred in the footnotes. ᠎ As such, depending on whether you include the long descriptionˌ footnotesˌ and inference, this question has multiple answers.[m]

[n+1] And figuratively ⹁for that matter. ᠎ Read it every damned which way you can.

[n+2] Isaac Bashevis Singer ⹁winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize for Literature, in his Nobel Lecture. ᠎ I cite my sources. ᠎ Saying that in-line would have broken up the flow of things ⹁though.

[n+3] No, I am not. ᠎ Not even close. ᠎ I am in no way forced. ᠎ I say now ⹁to you, "That was just a rhetorical flourish." ᠎ Don't believe me? ᠎ Read the thing in quotation marks; I totally said that.

[n+4] Hacker, J. David -- 2012

[n+5] The words:
From this proposition it will follow, when arithmetical addition has been defined, that 1 + 1 = 2.
appear on page 379 of the first edition of Volume 1 and 362 of the second edition of the same. ᠎ The actual proof has to wait till Volume 2. ᠎ In the first edition of Volume 2, it falls on page 86. ᠎ I have not read any other editions of Volume 2.

[n+6] Yes, I use "damn" ⹁and variations thereof, a lot. ᠎ Deal with it.

[n+7] For those wondering why it's "Absa" instead of "Abso", it's because within the word itself everyone knows the "o" is a schwa, but if you just have the "Abso" one is liable to pronounce that "o" like the one "so", and that's not a schwa. ᠎ Not even close.

[n+8] It worked for Apuleius ⹁didn't it?

[m] Those being twoˌ threeˌ fourˌ and six. ᠎ Five need not apply.

Author's Note:

You want me to make notes?* Ok, let's talk notes. I have things I've wanted to note. Apostrophes get lots of love. Commas ⹁though? They get no love. This is clearly wrong, and I shall topple any government that says otherwise.°
Also, hey, see this ""? That's a question mark. Cooler than the one we have, now isn't it?

Is that not what you wanted?[·]

Well how about this:
.hack//SIGN was an anime that ran from April 4, 2002 to September 25, 2002 and had 28 episodes in total. It explored themes of depression, the isolation and detachment that can come with it, as well as anxiety, abuse, and dysfunction. It's character driven story also addresses escapism and the limits thereof, along with other coping mechanisms.

In the simplest terms and most convenient definitions, it was the story of Tsukasa and his time trapped in a Japanese online game known as "The World" (in English.)
That better? {+} Or did you want some sort of manifesto about why I'm writing about my life stuck in a world with talking ponies with, in a body not my own, where the only humans around[] come in more ⹁and more outlandish, colors than the complete output of the Skittles brand?

Really not sure what to write in an "author's" note that I wouldn't already have put in the footnotes. So I guess this is where we part ways. Tune in next time for "How I got to Ponyville, and what I set on fire once I got there".{}

§

* After all of those footnotes I generously gave you, you want more?

You can get them forward, backward, upside down, upside down and backwards, and completely vertical with no fore or aft bias. In other words, Apostrophes get a system. With ⦑ ‛ ' ’ ⦒ you effectively have ⦑ ( | ) ⦒, and with that you can do all kinds of things.

Why is there no vertical comma? Where is the comma version of the "typewriter apostrophe"? Why is the reverse comma left out of so many fonts? What the fuckadoodle() people?

Why should I be stuck in Equestria with an incomplete system of typography that lacks even the most basic considerations?

° In the interest of complete honesty: No. No, I will not.

[·] You had better not be answering. I can't hear you.

The original run contained 26, one of which was just a clip show. Two additional episodes were released on DVD.

{+} Please tell me you didn't answer. Or don't. Not like I'll hear you either way.

[] If the next world over can truly be called "around".

{} We're not calling it that. Not even close.

() Totally a legit swear. (That I just made up.)



⁂  ⁂

So, with this, we have chapter one.  There wasn't a plan here.  None whatsoever.  Probably why I started off sending people to the long description.  No idea why I chose to dump the protagonist in Luna's bed chambers.


The numbering of the footnotes was originally supposed to be placeholders that would all be replaced with actual numbers once I knew what those numbers would be.  So we had {[1] [2], [3],...} as the footnotes for the text, {[n], [n+1], [n+2],...} as the footnotes for the footnotes, and then {[M]} as the one footnote for one of those.

I skipped ahead and wrote a little bit of meeting Celestia before the story reached that point, so I didn't know what number the footnotes in that section would have, so I started the {[o], [o+1], [o+2],...} since, you know, "o" comes before "n".

When I let someone read it pre-publication, they liked the placeholder footnotes, so I left them as is.


The human vs. Pony scale here completely ignores all attempts to figure out the size of the ponies.  This is not, it should be noted, intentional.

Tsukasa is somewhat short, attempts to figure out the relative sizes of humans and ponies tend to have the Equestria Girls characters about eye to eye with Celestia, Luna is shorter than Celestia . . . it made sense at that time.

Then I looked at some imaged for reference and realized exactly how much shorter than Celestia Luna actually is.  This would make protagonist a full head shorter than an Equestria Girls girl.  Of course, since traveling between worlds results in a body swap, that's never going to come up anyway.

It's probably for the best, honestly.  The ponies really are little.  Placing protagonist as eye to eye with Luna makes her about as tall as the average pony is when they stand (vertically) on two legs, and has the ponies about waist high when they're standing normally.

I think that works better than the actual apparent scale, which would have the ponies closer to knee height normally, and chest height when they make the effort to be vertical.

That princess the writers keep forgetting the existence of
Let me show you something from the finale.  Not a finale.  The finale.  The the last regular episode --the two part special that ends nine seasons of Friendship is Magic-- with only a distant epilogue to follow.

This is the thing that I wish to show to you:
Rarity: It's the first shift in royal power in over a millennium.
That's from the first half of the two part finale, which means that it's mirror image is the second half of the two part premiere.  In that, Luna (after being banished for a thousand years) returned, was redeemed, and took her place at Celestia's side.  The monarchy became a diarchy.  Royal power was completely altered.  (Princess Cadence, while she retroactively existed, had no real power at that point.)

It's not precisely clear how much time passed between the first episode and the last, but one thing that is clear is that it's nine years or less.  It is possible that in universe time passes at an average of one year per season, it is possible that in universe time passes more slowly, it is not possible that it passes more quickly.

It has been less than a decade, possibly significantly less, since Princess Luna became one of the royals in charge of Equestria again.  As far as the writers are concerned (it's not just Rarity, because no one even considers correcting her; it's the whole damned universe) royal power hasn't shifted in over a thousand years, which happens to be over a hundred decades.

This is, in many ways, the most important episode of the show.  A bad ending can sour everything that came before.  It's the one episode that we know, beyond doubt, got checked and rechecked by people at all levels of production to make sure absolutely nothing was off.  While many episodes may represent the idiosyncrasies of a single writer, this was essentially signed off on by the franchise as a whole.

The kicker?  Luna had a speaking part in the previous scene.  It really puts the whole thing in perspective.  While she does occasionally get to do something in this episode or that, her contributions are considered non-existent by the writing staff themselves and she exists primarily as someone for Celestia to speak to (about Twilight Sparkle.)


There's a degree of fun in writing from a condescending point of view.  I would never tell people that they aren't prepared for Shakespeare if they don't know the definitions of "fell".  I don't know the definitions of "fell".  I had to look them up.  But hopefully snarky displaced first person narrator knows them off the top of her head and she'll look down on you if you don't.

Likewise, it took a lot of damned time to figure out how many assumptions were used in the Principia Mathematica by Alfred North Whitehead and Bertrand Russell (not to be confused with Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Issac Newton.)  Hopefully snarky first person narrator knows that, along with the page numbers of various significant passages (across multiple editions) from memory.


I suppose I might as well discuss the Principia now, since I've mentioned it.

In some class, I don't know which, Dr. John Brunette was talking about axioms and assumptions and proofs.  It was probably a class where we used an axiomatic approach to the construction of the real numbers.  I don't know if he mentioned Russell by name, my memory isn't that specific.

What I do remember is that he told us about someone who decided to do things with fewer givens than most people use and decided to prove the rest.  He mentioned how the person took hundreds of pages to prove that one plus one equals two, something most people would accept as a definition.

Later in life, I mentioned something about this and someone I was talking to threw a divide by cheese error because ⟨very short proof⟩.  They did it using a system I had never seen before, and didn't fully understand.  The reason that I'd never seen it, for whatever it may be worth, is that I tend to work with the real numbers, and the Peano axioms are for the natural numbers only.

Now, to be clear, part of the reason that Russel took so long to prove "1 + 1 = 2" is because he wasn't trying to prove it.

He didn't like set theory.  Russel's paradox is something he thought up that demolishes naive set theory.  (Consider the set of all sets that are not members of themselves.  Logic go boom.)  Set theory didn't work.  Russell wanted a version of mathematics built up from solid first principles of logic, not a system that didn't even work properly.

So he set out to create that.  (And he had help, see:Alfred North Whitehead.)

Together they painstakingly built up a foundation of mathematics based in rigorous logic.  Every little thing was proven, no matter how small it might be, while they built toward the point where they could say, "See?  This works."

When Russel announced the paradox with his name, Ernst Zermelo had already discovered the same paradox, but had not published it, two years prior.  Zermelo took a different approach.  He set out to created an axiomatic set theory that lacked such paradoxes.  It wasn't perfect, and was augmented by Abraham Fraenkel.  Zermelo-Frankel set theory, with (ZFC) or without (ZF) the axiom of choice, is the foundation upon which almost all modern mathematical theories are based.


Luna being an avid gamer is a pretty common fandom thing.

"Yes, I do know what day that was." -- April 1st.  Not part of any plan, just happened to be the last day of Anime Boston 2018.

"perineal raphe" -- Look it up if you're interested.  It's a feature of how the human body deals with creating sexual dimorphism.

[15] This was a silly idea I pitched once upon a time.  The whole thing is in the footnote.  The Elements of Harmony do various things.  The first one we learn about is that they banished Luna/Nightmare Moon to the moon for a thousand years.  So at some point them sending Sunset Shimmer to the same place (and time) popped into my head.

"hyper-intelligent shade of the color blue" -- Line from Douglas Adams.

"This is not a toast. ᠎ Do not raise you glasses. ᠎ Do not clink."-- Reference to a line from Douglas Adams.  (Not sure how widespread the terminology of "clinking" is.  It's when you touch glasses together during a toast.)


"If you're expecting me to tell you personal details about my life before my arrival, you are vastly mistaken about the kinds of things I'm willing to divulge."  -- While I could claim that this a deconstruction of the underdeveloped nature of main characters in displaced fics, it's actually a pretty straightforward bit of characterization.

Here's a conversation from the comments at Fimfiction going into a bit more detail:
Not-Me:
You could shown that as bits and pieces in each chapter showing their past before displacement.
Me:
The main character said, in no uncertain terms, that she wouldn't be revealing her past pre-displacement (because she wasn't comfortable with doing so, though that bit was more implied than outright stated.)
Not-Me:
Also, the main character not wanting to talk about it? That's more of an in character thing that she'd rather not tell others inside of the story, but not outside, as in the readers.
Me:
If you paid more attention, you might note that main character treats the fourth wall like a one way mirror. She may not be able to see what's going on on our side, but she's well aware that her memoirs will be read.
She's sending this out into the multiverse, she already said she's weirded out by the idea of people who know her reading it, and there's only so much she's willing to share with strangers.

If I seem snippy in that exchange, it's because (owing in part to stuff I didn't quote) it's pretty clear the person didn't actually read anything I wrote in the story (or description) itself.


"anthropic principle" -- Some people look at the laws of the universe, note how if they were just a smidge different we couldn't exist, and then wonder about how perfectly calibrated they seem to be.  Other people point out:
Well, yeah.

The universes that can't support intelligent life don't have any intelligent life in them to look at their physical laws and say, "Dang, these laws seem pretty craptastic when it comes to conditions for intelligent life."

Of course the results are always going to say "This is a universe in which these results could be gathered"; that's a necessary prerequisite for getting the results in the first place.
This is known as the "anthropic principle" of cosmology.

This should not be confused with the "strong anthropic principle" which states that universes are compelled to create sapient life, and therefore must be conducive to life by their very nature.


The oldest Roman novel that survives in its entirety, which is therefore the oldest novel of any kind that survives in its entirety,* is The Metamorphoses of Apuleius which is more commonly known as "The Golden Ass" (Asinus aureus).  It begins with the word "at" which means "but".

If memory serves, it ends with a conjunction as well.

* Given how widespread they are now, it's kind of hard to believe that novels were once a strictly regional thing.  That being said, it happens to be true.

3 comments:

  1. I read the first bit and a few of the footnotes and enjoyed what I read.

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