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My Little Cracky Crossover

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Louis hated seeing Carl like this. His golden coat was dull, his honey-colored mane and tail hung limply. His right wing held at that awkward angle, neither hiding nor completely revealing the damage that griffin had done to him. The feathers on both his wings were bedraggled, Louis doubted that Carl could've flown with his wings in that state, even if there hadn't been all that damage to his flight muscles and tendons. To see a pony with such a gift for profiling reduced to this, living in a tiny trailer, picking up trash at a carnival, it was like seeing a Renoir hanging in a smokey pub. Louis stepped out of the crowd towards his old friend. If his plan worked, Carl would be back to doing what he was good at, the calling that had etched itself onto his flank as a young pony.

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He couldn't decide if it was worse trying to ignore what was going on in sickbay to focus on the needs of the crew as a whole, or standing there next to Kane's bed staring at his lover's body. He was laying there, so unnaturally still, with that /thing/ on his face. His whole muzzle was covered, two of the creature's legs gripping his bright blue mane. That was maybe the cruelest part, that if he only looked at the creature on his snout, he could fool himself into thinking that it was somepony else laying there. But inevitably he'd look down and see the cutie mark on his lover's flank. That unmistakable north star that he'd admired since long before they'd actually gotten involved, and he'd know that it was real, and it really was Kane being attacked by that creature.

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"If I were a pony I believe my response would be, 'Go to hell.' If I were a pony."

Jim couldn't help but turn to look at his old friend, his former first officer. The golden-brown feathers and beak that were so inscrutable to many ponies, those who focused on the "alien" features. But Jim knew his old friend better, could read the light amusement in the ruffle of feathers in his wings, the flex of his front talons. They were neither of them the young stallions they'd once been, stretching their wings under the suns of newly-discovered planets. But by god they'd survived, and proven they weren't quite ready to be put out to pasture, either.

Jim moved to take his seat in the captain's chair. The place he'd been destined for since the day the image of the old-fashioned wooden ship's wheel had etched itself on his flank. They weren't ready to go back, not yet. Once they returned, the Enterprise would be decommissioned, and they'd have to go back to the lives they'd found for themselves.

But not yet. First he'd steal just a little longer in the captain's chair, on the ship he loved and called home, that shared a name with the ship where he'd fallen in love with Spock the first time. To answer Chekov's request for a course heading, he drew inspiration from his T'hy'la's cutie mark, the binary star that shone from his emerald flank. That, and the energy still flowing through him after having averted a major war. "Second star to the right, and straight on 'til morning."

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He was glad they'd gotten Glasses back. The geeky little unicorn had always been polite about twisting his hoof to work with them, unlike Wondercolt, and considering what that pony was doing while Glasses was missing, the unicorn also seemed to be the safety switch on the earth pony. That lead him to consider a theory he wasn't sure he really wanted to consider, but kinda seemed important. Fusco looked around, making sure nopony was paying attention before leaning forward to ask Carter her opinion on the matter. "I'm glad Glasses is safe and all, and thrilled that he and Wondercolt have that mutt, but--is it just me, or was John's reaction a little out of whack for them just being partners in the work sense?"

Carter just raised an eyebrow, "I know when to give curiosity a rest, like asking details of their quest. Some mysteries are best left unsolved, especially when trying to stay uninvolved."

Fusco gritted his teeth and turned back to the paperwork he'd been finishing on one of their legit cases. He hated when Carter pulled out the "wise Zebra rhyming mystic" schtick, because since she wasn't pure Zebra, she tended to only use it on dumb questions and dumber people. He got it, don't ask questions he didn't really want the answer to. And any extra knowledge about the "Stallion in a Suit" and his shadow geek meant more information he might have to lie about in an official investigation.

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In the ringing silence after the explosion, there were no words, no thoughts. He registered Sam walking away, controlled anger in every line of his body, mane and tail. He could see Wordy standing there, allowing Jules to cry against his shoulder, her wings tucked tight against her body. Greg walked past Ed, his old friend frozen like a guardian statue, his wings flared, eyes fixed on the spot where Lou had stood. As Greg knelt to comfort Spike, he wished he was a pegasus like Ed, with wings he could wrap around the young unicorn where he'd crumpled to the ground. But Greg was just an earth pony, all he could do was put one hoof around Spike's shoulders and allow him to scream and sob against his chest, and try to hold him together in the wake of the explosion. Later, he might be able to appreciate Lou's willingness to sacrifice himself, so that Spike wouldn't get the both of them killed trying to save his friend. For now, there was only a numbed sort of acceptance and grief that one of his team was gone.

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There were days (especially lately) that Jim questioned what about insanity he found attractive. Granted, Elisabeth had seemed fairly sane back when they'd met. Well, sane as any unicorn as interested in magical and medical studies could be. And he loved his kids, really. Josh was as headstrong and hot-headed as everyone who knew Jim and his family could expect (and thank god the colt hadn't inherited his mother's magic. The explosions would've rivaled anything Discord ever thought about doing.) Maddy and Zoe were both unicorns, but Jim was holding out hope they'd avoid some of the craziness. But then Elisabeth had gotten involved with this project, and the whole family was part of a colonization project. Deep in dragon-held territory. And somehow, while he still loved Elisabeth, even while she got excited (rather than terrified, like a normal pony) about the new breeds of dragons they were seeing, and new insights into dragon behaviors, he was also becoming more and more attracted to the leader of this insane colony.

Not that Nathaniel was any more sane than Elisabeth. Less, probably. The pegasus seemed to revel in the challenges. Hell, there were a couple of times Jim thought Nathaniel was itching to go out with a knife in his teeth to fight off a dragon with his own four hooves. And Jim couldn't make too many claims to sanity himself, because he happened to find that attractive in a stallion. And every so often, Jim thought he'd seen a look on Nathaniel's face that made him think the pegasus found him just as attractive.

Which left Jim wondering when and why, exactly, he found insanity attractive, and wondering exactly what an earth pony like him was supposed to do when caught between loving a fantastic unicorn like Elisabeth and falling in love with a strong pegasus like Nathaniel. And how to deal with that lech unicorn Malcolm making eyes at Elisabeth; and Maddy's (reciprocated) crush on that young pegasus, Mark; and what he'd have to do when Zoe got old enough to be considering dating /anyone/ . . .

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Diana stumped along a a decent trot (add "for pony her age" and she'd kick you into next week.) She scowled at the lovely spring morning, snarled at the few greetings she received from some of the braver residents (inmates, more like,) and scowled at the new blooms in the flower beds. Because none of the others here at Bayview were pegasi. The few unicorns could still use their magic, although they tired much more quickly and had to rest longer to recover their energy. The earth ponies might get a bit creaky and crackly as they walked, but over all they could still do most things they'd always done. Diana, alone, felt her body had become a cage. Her wings were still of fine shape and size, and she kept them well-groomed, but her days of zooming through the air were long gone. She was lucky if she could flutter enough to skip a step or two on the way to dinner. It was a bitter thing, to look up at the sky and know she couldn't be up there where she belonged.

"Hi ho, Diana. Princess Luna has asked me to come along and investigate a cave near the crystal empire, seems there might be a bit of a dragon infestation, don't you know. Care to come along?" Tom came trotting up, his fedora somehow simultaneously making him look the doddering old fool and just a touch dashing. Diana did some quick mental calculations, yes it was the third Thursday, that was usually some sort of fantasy adventure with Princess Luna. The old fool had a bit of a pash for her, unlike most ponies who fell for sweet, sunshiny Celesta.

Diana rolled her eyes, "Haven't the time, Harvey was looking particularly smug when I saw him earlier. Obviously the odious little hoofwart has some kind of scheme going." She offered Tom a wicked grin that had caused many stallions to fall head over hooves for her, and many more to start whimpering in fear. "Care to join me in sticking a pin in the little toad's schemes?"

"Oh I say, that does sound like fun. I'm sure the Princess won't mind me giving the caves a miss today." Tom's grin made Diana wonder again whether Tom really was barmy, or if he simply played it up for crowd. Either way, he made a good right-hoof-pony when there were money-grubbing, weaselly ponies like Harvey to thwart.

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Jean-Luc cherished the quiet moment, walking hand-in-hand with his wife through the Picard vineyards. Marie had shooed them out for a picnic lunch, insisting that she had grand plans with her nephew. The toddler had grinned and babbled in her arms, completely unconcerned about his parents stealing some time away.

He had just turned to say something to Beverly when there was a flash, followed by a familiar voice, " . . . just a few guests for tea, aren't you the princess of friendship and harmony?"

"Q! What is the meaning of this?" Jean-Luc demanded, before the sight in front of him robbed him of all words. There was a large, almost Chinese-dragon-looking creature. It had a tan yak's head with one deer antler and one cow horn, and a single fang sticking out of its mouth. It had a dark brown furred body, and a red lizard's tail. Its front right leg was a lion's, front left was an eagle's talon. The back right leg was a green reptilian leg, while the back left was a third shade of brown with a horse's hoof. The creature was staring at him with a befuddled expression.

"Oh my. I meant to bring the lovely Cadence and Shining Armor. I appear to have reached a bit further afield to bring our guests." The creature turned to address . . . a group of . . . ponies? They were all colors no natural pony could be but since two had wings, one had a horn, and one had both, Jean-Luc wasn't sure natural standards really applied here. As the six ponies and the patchwork creature started arguing he was more certain than ever that he was far from his normal reality.

"Jean-Luc, is that really you?" Beverly's quiet question made him look over. One glance and he completely understood her hesitation. Next to him stood a pony similar to the six arguing, but with a certain extra length of leg and line that indicated that this was a full-grown mare, while the others were perhaps only adolescents. Her mane and tail were Beverly's golden-red, but her body was Starfleet Medical blue, and on her hip was a caduceus. A quick glance down showed he was also in horse form. His coat was a red somewhere between command red and the color of his favorite claret from the Picard cellars. His tail (after craning his neck to look) was a deep royal purple.

"Apparently so. My colors are a bit flashy for my taste." He tried for a bit of humor, and was gratified to see her smile.

"Oh, I don't know, l think you look rather regal. And that touch of curl in your mane is adorable."

Someone snapped their fingers, there was another flash, and they were back holding hands in the vineyard. Q stood in front of them with an apologetic look on his face. "Terribly sorry. That's a reality you shouldn't have been pulled to."

"That . . . odd creature, the piecework one, he sounded like you."

Q grinned, "And so he should. Call him a . . . splinter of myself. The details get quite complex, but basically he's a fragment of my being. The lessons he learns, however, transmit to the whole of me."

Beverly shot the omnipotent being an arch look, "And what lessons is he learning?"

"Why, the value of loyalty and friendship. Those little ponies have taught us so much already . . . However, least said, eh? Contact between your reality and theirs is off-limits, strictly speaking. Kiss the baby for me, would you? Ta ta."

Jean-Luc couldn't help but chuckle, "As if anyone would believe us if we did tell them.

Beverly shook her head but joined in the laughter. "I can't help but wonder what Worf would look like there."

They laughed together the rest of the way to the house.

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Cadfael was watching a batch of tincture for coughs as he prepared herbs to infuse a bottle of wine for another curative when Hugh showed up. The wiry unicorn demonstrated that he'd listened to the last lecture about barging into his workshop, quietly slipping in and sitting on the end of the hearth away from where Cadfael was working.

Despite the Hearthwarming miracle, friendship between an earth pony and a unicorn was still somewhat unusual and tenuous. But Cadfael felt that he and Hugh had recognized like minds and spirits, and enjoyed a rare understanding of each other's natures. Quite a crucial thing in unsettled times such as these.