ASH/HCC: Coherent Super Stories #26 - Pitch Reel featuring Brighthorn

Dave Van Domelen dvandom at
Thu Mar 10 15:04:07 PST 2011

     [The cover shows an adorable cartoon unicorn in colors suspiciously like
those of Brightsword II's costume.  Her horn glows like a plasma sword.  The
cover copy reads, "Coming this Fall to (insert network)!"]

 .|, COHERENT                                            An ASHistory Series
 '|` SUPER STORIES                        #26 - Pitch Reel
        Featuring Brighthorn             copyright 2011 by Dave Van Domelen

     It is a brightly lit, pastel landscape of simple shapes, even the
shadows are muted tones.  The foreground is mostly flat, with a few "ball and
stick" cartoon trees, but hills rise in the background, and there is a
distant mountain.  A few clouds drift across the sky like paper cutouts.  In
short, it is a cartoon world.  A cute cartoon world.
     From the right, a trio of colorful unicorn ponies enter, giggling and
chattering amongst themselves in voices that all sound roughly the same.
They are as simplistic in appearance as the scenery, and if they don't look
quite like paper dolls, it's a near thing.  One is purple with a straight
white mane and tail, another is pink with a curly green mane and tail, while
the third is white with a frizzy brown mane but a stubby black tail.
     Suddenly, birds streak across the sky from left to right, followed by a
stampede of cute little animals.  The unicorns look at this in alarm, their
conversation forgotten.  Then the pink unicorn sees something off to the
left, and shouts.
     Kalli, the purple unicorn, hasn't quite noticed the new threat yet.
"Meebs, what are you...SASQUATCH!"
     At this, the trio turns and runs off to the right as everything starts
to shake.  Slightly, at first, but more intensely as the THOOM THOOM THOOM of
some approaching footfalls gets louder.
     At the last second, Dizzy pokes her head into view, looking up, and
says in a vaguely spacey tone, "It's...."
     Then a giant hairy foot descends from the sky.  The shock of its impact
sends Dizzy tumbling out of view.
     A logo grows into view from the bottom center of the frame, with a font
that puts hearts inside every closed loop.

                         )                        (
                         ( BRIGHTHORN AND FRIENDS )
                         )                        (
                         (  Enter the Sasquatch!  )
                         )                        (

     "But the Sasquatches have always stayed out of Pony Valley," Kalli
says.  Numerous ponies, some with unicorn horns and some without, have
gathered in front of a building marked "City Hall".  "This is a violation of
ancient treaty...what would make them do that?"
     "Bigfoot?  More like big meany!" one of the crowd opines.  
     "Oh dear!" exclaims a small gray pony wearing a monocle and a top hat.
"Someone needs to do something!"
     "But you're the mayor, Mayor Haystack," Meebs cocks her head to one
side, pushing the limits of her animation model.  "Aren't *you* supposed to
do something?"
     "I am?" Mayor Haystack seems taken aback at this news.  
     Kalli sighs, and mutters under her breath to Meebs, "So much for putting
him in City Hall to keep him out of trouble.  Who would have known we'd
actually *need* a mayor who could do things?"
     "Well, maybe he won't be too useless?" Meebs suggests.
     Kalli just stares at her.
     "Oh, all right.  Hey, where's Dizzy?  We got separated running away from
the Sasquatch!"

               *              *              *              *

     Dizzy ducks behind a barn, and the animation quality immediately shoots
up, suggesting a sequence that will be reused.
     Opening a secret panel in the barn wall, she withdraws a fake blonde tail
and somehow manages to clip it onto her own stubby one.  Then, don't ask how,
she attaches a blue diamond mask to her face.  Of course, if you can accept
that horses are building barns and city halls at this point, it's just one
more of that sort of thing.
     "I call upon the power of the light!" she shouts confidently, no longer
sounding airheaded, and the vacant expression in her eyes is replaced by a
determined glint, then a literal glow, which spreads until she's just a
silhouette limned in golden light.  A closeup shows her mane lengthening and
turning a blonde color to match her false tail.  A red stripe runs down her
back, then warps and changes into the shape of a sword.  Her hooves turn
bright blue, and her horn powers up with a golden glow.  "I, BRIGHTHORN, WILL

               *              *              *              *

     In the countryside, giant feet are everywhere.  The angle is such that
even in the distance all you see are the lower legs and feet of the
Sasquatches, moving up and down and stomping around.  It seems more like
random milling about than any sort of organized attack, though.
     Brighthorn gallops into shot.  "Hullo up there!" she shouts.  "Why are
you here?"
     She barely avoids a foot that comes down near her.
     "How rude!" she snorts, then plunges her glowing horn into the nearest
     A bellow of pain accompanies the foot rising rapidly out of shot, and
Brighthorn tumbles backwards as her horn is yanked upwards.


[September 8, 1996 - San Francisco, California]

     "Anyway, what happens next is she fights a few more, gets knocked
around, and then the other ponies and unicorns rally to help her and together
they drive the Sasquatches back into the forest.  Once there, Brighthorn
would find out what made the Sasquatches leave, and so on," the DSHA agent
explained, pulling out some penciled storyboards.  While most DSHA agents
were more like the "federal agent" police type, this was one of the
"Hollywood agent" variety, in charge of helping make superhero licensing pay
off.  The money brought in by licensing helped pay for some of the damages
caused by superhero battles, and let the government pay a stipend to those
who might otherwise be driven to crime by poverty.
     "The animation is a bit rough, they're trying out some new computer
animation techniques that are supposed to look like paper cutouts, a real
budget would probably let them work out the bugs.  The head animator's young,
but she has some really good ideas, and wants to make a girls' show with more
     Brightsword finally realized that her face had been stuck in a "NO
EFFING WAY" expression of horror for several minutes now, and shut her mouth.
     "I am not a unicorn," she said through gritted teeth.  "I am not a
'magical girl' either.  And there's no WAY I'm signing off on a cartoon about
me as a magical girl unicorn.  I don't care HOW talented the artists
are...and yeah, it does look pretty crappy right now.  Why don't you pitch
this to Lady Lawful?"
     "Um, we did, at the storyboard phase.  She suggested we bring it to you.
She said you'd love it," the agent shrugged sheepishly.  "In fact, she
recommended we add the magical girl transformation sequence, said you'd be
all over that sort of thing.  She even pointed us at a supernormal programmer
friend of hers who helped us with some of the coding for that sequence."
     "Oh, DID she...?"


Author's Notes:

     Written for High Concept Challenge #18, "The Unicorn/Sasquatch War".  I
don't know if Tim Munn was specifically trolling for My Little Pony riffs
when he picked this topic, but by gum he's getting at least one.  

     If anyone's finding this via a pony keyword search, it was written for a
newsgroup that specifically bars use of intellectual property without
permission (beyond Fair Use), so it's all parody and injokes here.  I will
not be crossing my ASH universe over into Equestria.

     The animation style is meant to be something like South Park meets
Powerpuff Girls with the cute dial then cranked to 11.  If actually greenlit,
it would have come out about the same time in the ASH universe as South Park
did in the real world.

     Lady Lawful knows several programmers who could have been the one
mentioned in the agent's last line, but I'll leave it to Andy to decide who
did the job and what they did with the program themselves later.  :)  "Why
does Captain Dogooder have a pony mode?"

     There's plenty of other easter eggs stuck in this story, but I'm going
to leave them as an exercise for the reader.  Otherwise, the notes section
might end up longer than the story!


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