The stars reflected of the massive starships hull as it floated through space. It was nearly invisible against the blackness of space, only a dark moving spot with a few dull lights blinking serenely marked its presence. It had floated through the dark abyss for millennia, never changing course, never showing any outwards signs of life other than the few still functional signal lights. The hull had once been painted white, but even the emptiness of space wears away such things, only a few patches of white still showed.
My name is Magnus. I was the only living thing inhabiting this vast monstrosity of a colony vessel. My only companion through the six millennia since the ‘incident’ is the ships A.I, I called her Ana, because I couldn’t come up with anything better.
I guess you might be interested in what the ‘incident’ was? Well, lets just say that I wasn’t always alone on the ship. Neither was I a female horse-thing.
We were set for Betelgeuse to colonize a newly terraformed planet that was roughly Earth sized. Six million of us, more or less. We were supposed to be in cryo for the sixty years it would take us to travel there, but apparently the universe had other plans for us.
We were brought out of cryo twenty years before the assigned time by a proximity warning. Apparently we were on collision course with a asteroid too large for the ships automatic defenses to take care of. So, about the size of a small moon. There were nothing we could do but watch in horror as the shadow of the massive object blackened the view from the bridge.
The claxxons started howling an hour before the asteroid slammed into the ships kinetic shields, they held for just long enough that the ship wasn’t instantly crushed by the immense object. Instead we were slammed out of course by a few lightyears with the engines nearly completely gone.
So, Instead of entering orbit around the blue planet of Freya, we were caught in the event horizon of a black hole, and swallowed.
The ship wasn’t crushed. Instead it was slung out of the black hole on an unknown trajectory, in what was either an unknown part of space, or another universe entirely. The latter seemed more likely, as the ship was utterly incapable of recognizing anything outside, and the Quantum Entanglement communication system was unable to reach its twin.
I woke up in one of the arboretums, pleasantly enough considering the previous event. But even the soft grass beneath me was unable to calm me when I found that not only was I utterly and completely alone save for Ana, but my body was not my own.
“Being nostalgic again Magnie?” Anas voice echoed in my ear. I startled and dropped my cup of coffee on the floor, spilling the black substance on the carpeted floor of the library.
“What?” I asked, glaring at the small blue horse that Ana had adopted in sympathy of my situation. I had asked her to change it, but the A.I denied my request, and for the last six thousand years I had grown used to her antics. Not that I had much choice in the matter, with her being my only companion and all.
“You had that far-away look on your face again. The one that looks like you’re thinking, and failing at it.” The little thing smirked and gingerly stepped away from the small river of black that was now ruining the carpets. She was about as large as a cat, and about as smug as one as well.
“Shut up! You made me spill my coffee!” I pouted and looked down on the stain. Already a small swarm of nanites were cleaning it up and ushering it away to the recyclers.
“Bah, you big baby, it was cold anyways!” She said and made a grimace. “I can’t understand how you like that stuff, it tastes awful.”
“Well. I like it, it’s tasty, and you’re stupid anyways...” I said petulantly and went over to a small black machine that was blinking happily at me. I poked one of the buttons with my ash-grey hoof and a small smile formed on my face as a steaming hot cup’a joes materialized before me. “Was there anything you wanted? Beside startling the living crap out of me?”
“Nope!” She answered, still grinning smugly. Then her face changed into one of confusion. “Wait. Yes! There was something... uh...” Over the years, her computing banks had developed quirks, and some times her memory didn’t quite work as intended.
“I’m waiting...” I said impatiently. Being alone for so long hadn’t really improved my patience, and the years I’d spent being insane hadn’t been a help. I was pretty sure by then that I was somehow immortal, and several suicide attempts had proven that. Not even the cold void of space could kill me, luckily I’d been smart enough to tie a rope around me when I tried that. Floating along in the ships gravity well for four millennia would probably have driven me crazy with boredom, well more crazy.
“There was something... uh. I think we should go to the bridge? Maybe?” She shook her head, her mane shimmered slightly at the sudden movement. “I’m sure it had something to do with the bridge...”
I shrugged my wings and rose from the table, my new cup of coffee completely forgotten. I’m sure if someone were to explore the ship, they’d find thousands of cups in improbable places where I’d forgotten about them.
The trip to the bridge was uneventful as always, and I managed not to impale my horn in the doorway. Almost all the doorways and bulkheads on the ship were pockmarked and scratched from back when I was still getting used to being taller than they were designed for.
The bridge, as usual were black until we entered. With a few pops and hisses the overhead lights turned on, and the few still functioning terminals bloomed to life. One of them were blinking, displaying a proximity warning.
“So... We’re passing another barren rock?” I asked, unamused. Through the time after the ‘incident’ we had passed through several solar systems, somehow avoiding plowing into a sun.
“Nono!” She yelled enthusiastically and motioned me to come over to the terminal. The message would usually only alert us that we were passing within a million or so clicks from something, and tell us whether or not that object would be a new hood ornament. It had happened only a few hundred times, and the novelty was practically gone. Except that one time we’d nearly gotten a new fridge when we passed way too close to a ice-planet. “This is different! There’s something new!”
“Oh really?” I perked up a bit, after so long, new things were very few and far between.
The terminals message was displaying the normal proximity warning, but there were a few new symbols. A green leaf, a water droplet, and one lightbulb was beneath the warning. Telling me that we were going to pass by a planet that would be capable of supporting life, and that faint signals were emanating from the planets surface.
“Wow!” I exclaimed as a grin formed on my face. “Thats awesome! Can we stop? Please? I want to stop!”
“Uhm, maybe?” The small blue A.I said, looking towards another terminal, one of the ones that were black, and had been so for a few thousand years. “I think we can get into orbit, just gimme a second...” Her face scrunched up in concentration, her little blue tongue emerging from between her lips as she ran calculations through her head.
“So?” I said, tip-hoofing around the small blue horse, looking for all the world like I was about to pee myself.
“That’s weird...” She said, finally opening her eyes and staring out the viewports. “We’re on a course that will naturally bring us into orbit in less than forty-six hours, and we should be able to see the planet by now...”
By the time she said ‘see’ I was over in the captains chair, poking a few buttons and turning a few knobs with my mouth. The ship rumbled heavily, and a lot of groans ran through the hull as small thrusters started turning the ship slightly.
For a few long minutes, nothing but stars were visible through the viewports. But soon something blue poked up at the bottom of the windows. I ran over and pressed my face against the glass, trying to get a better view as the ship slowly turned.
There, far in front of us were a small blue dot that had the unmistakable look of a planet. We were not close enough for a proper view, but something strange was obvious.
“Um, Ana?” I asked and turned to the small A.I that had her face pressed against the glass despite having access to the ships outward sensors. “Is it just me, or is that planets orbit really frikkin’ strange?”
“What are you talking about? It looks perfectly nor... WHAT?” She yelled, and fell flat on her ass. I only snickered behind a hoof when she stumbled and fell off the table she was propped up on, and into a trash can. “That is IMPOSSIBLE!” She furiously pushed some debris away and clambered out.
“Uh... Sure!” I said, grinning. “I wonder if there’s cake there...” I had already forgotten what was going on, and somehow thoughts of cake had entered my head. Hey! Cake is important, okay?
“The sun isn’t supposed to orbit the planet, and you’re thinking of cake, again!” She grumbled and kicked my leg.
“Ow... What was that for... I like cake...” I grumbled back and rubbed where she’d hit me.
The ship rumbled again, and the view was obscured by the ships stabilizing rockets slowing us down.
Ana continued grumbling through the rest of the day, and I was completely unable to sleep when the lights automatically shut off, signalling night. Not that I required sleep any-more, something I’d discovered after five hundred years of thinking that my addiction to coffee kept me awake. I managed to get a lot of info on the electric properties of potatoes during that time. But not needing sleep aside, I still really liked the activity, the dreams weren’t always pleasant, but still.
The next day, Ana entered the bridge, only to see me still plastered against the viewport. Staring at the slowly expanding blue orb in the distance.
“What are you doing?” She muttered tiredly as she slumped down beside me.
“Watching.” I replied smartly, thinking of the cake that awaited me down there.
“What are you watching for?” She looked frazzled, as if she’d just gotten out of bed. Which was impossible, as she didn’t even sleep, ever!
“Cake.” I was drooling.
“There’s no cake in space Magnie....” She replied tiredly.
“Maybe there is? What do you know?” I spared her a look, quickly returning to my search for space-cakes.
“This is like that time you claimed there were a blue police box flying alongside us, isn’t it.” It wasn’t a question.
“There really was! I even waved at the brown horse inside it when he opened the door! He waved back!” I said indignantly, vividly remembering the strange event.
“There was no blue box! The sensors showed nothing out of the ordinary...” By now she was probably used to my antics as well. She should be, at least. She’d put up with me so far.
“The sensors are stupid, you’re stupid.” I muttered and scanned the space around us, I’d be happy with just a space-muffin if not a space-cake.
“Whatever...” She jumped off and trotted over to a terminal.
“Are we there yet?” I asked and turned to her, a hopeful look on my face.
“NO! Seriously, it’s been six thousand years, and you’re acting like an impatient kid NOW?” She face-hoofed and sighed. “It’s still a day away...”
“But I wanna be there now! Can I be there now? Please?” I whimpered and let my lower lip quiver, while giving her the best puppy-dog eyes I could muster. Which were pretty good, I had a lot of practice.
“No...” She rolled her eyes and promptly started ignoring me.
I pulled the puppy-dog eyes up another notch and pushed her with my muzzle. “Why not...” I whimpered, sniffling a bit.
“BECAUSE I SAY SO!” She shouted and pushed me away.
I let the cute expression fall away and muttered something about her being a butt, before trotting off the bridge and started wandering the endless halls of the ships.
Now I had more important things to think about. I had to pack! Who knew what kind of environment was down there, who knew if I needed my own fork for the cake!
“Stable orbit around ‘MISSINGNO’ aquired.” A tinny voice announced with a crackle over the ships internal speakers.
“YAY!” I sprung out of the tree I had somehow managed to climb into, gracefully faceplanting into the ground below. With a dignified splutter I removed the offending dirt and galloped to the bridge.
“Are we there? Are we really there?!” I shouted gleefully and shook Ana.
She just stared at me with an unamused expression, before nodding. I crushed her to my chest in an awesome hug, and ran up to the viewport.
The planet below us was vast. There were continents the size of, uh, continents! And really big seas that just begged to be bathed in. On the dark side, I could see small splotches of light.
“Uhm. Ana? Are those cities?” I asked, a bit uncertain.
“Yes dear, they are.” She said, a grin forming on her face.
“Do you think they’re nice?” I said, looking down at the twinkling lights.
“I’m sure they are. But I’m sending out a few probes anyways, I don’t feel like being eaten by something.”
“Silly, nobody would want to eat you! You’re too cute!” I grinned at her. “And you’re made of metal, metal doesn’t taste very nice.” The bite-marks on some of the bulkeads were there to confirm my belief that metal was yucky.
“Whatever!” She grumbled as small dots of light poured from one of the still functional bays on the ship.
“Do you think they have cake?” I asked hopefully.
“Maybe.” She answered with a smug grin as the probes started returning information. “Oh, that’s interesting...”
“Oh oh tell me! Tell me!” I started bouncing in place in anticipation, my wings fluttered.
“The planet seems to be inhabited by horse creatures. They’re quite small, but they are remarka... EEP!” She shrieked and fell off her perch before the monitor.
“What?” I picked her up by the scruff of her neck and deposited her back on the table.
“That’s impossible!” She muttered, again! What’s up with this girl and impossibilities. Impossibilities are fun! “Uh, I’ll bring up the feed.”
The monitor flickered to life, and it showed the feed from one of the probes. It was pink, lots and lots of pink. I was looking at one impossibly pink pony that had the probe grasped in her hooves and shaking it while yelling into it. The probes didn’t return sound, so all we saw were her shaking it and making silly faces at it, before putting it down and waving at it. Then she produced a cupcake out of nowhere and promptly smeared it on the probes lens.
“Oh my god!” I yelled, my eyes were wide as saucers. “They have cake!” With that I sped off the bridge and down into one of the vast hangars. Most of the scout and transport ships had been smashed together and lay in a heap of rubble.
“Come on come on come on!” I muttered as I pressed a hoof to the panel of the one operational shuttle. With a reluctant hiss of pneumatics it opened, and the lights inside flickered on.
I didn’t notice Ana walking up beside me before I was powering up the vessel.
“So. You’re going down there?” She asked tentatively.
“Eep!” I jumped, embedding my horn in a luckily un-important piece of console. I pulled loose to the sound of arcing electricity before staring dumbly at my friend. “Of course dummy! They have cake! I have to get down there RIGHT NOW!” I pressed a few more buttons, and the shuttles engines spluttered to life. I then slumped down and stared at the controls, wondering what to do next.
“You have no idea how to fly this thing do you?” She deadpanned.
“Duh, of course I do!” I stared harder at the controls, mentally telling them to do my bidding. Nothing happened. “Stupid shuttle...”
Ana sighed and pulled a thin cord from one of her legs and plugging it into a small port in the console near the wall. “Allow me...”
I grinned and hugged her, promptly pulling the cord out of the wall. The shuttle, which had risen a few feet off the floor heavily thumped back, rattling us.
“Gah! What’d you do that for!” She asked, pulling loose and rubbing her head. Undoubtedly sporting a massive headache from the sudden feedback loop I had inadvertently created.
“Sorry sorry! I’m just so excited!” I said while practically spinning around myself.
“Just... don’t do that again, okay?” She groaned before plugging herself back in with a sigh. “Oh that’s so much better...”
The small shuttle shuddered and lifted off once again. Around us the massive doors to the hangar began sliding open, well grinding open would be more appropriate, the doors barely being able to open after so long.
A forcefield flickered over the opening, before promptly dying, puncturing the air-seal inside the hangar.
With a shriek from both of us, the shuttle, along with most of the debris were flung out of the hangar. Ana barely managed to get us aligned properly before we started entry into the planets atmosphere, the debris around us creating a spectacular show of fireworks.
“Well, at least we’ll make quite the entrance...” Ana grumbled as she handled the shuttle’s controls. The shaking was making my teeth rattle like crazy, but the thought of cake kept me busy.
Far below, in the small quaint town of Ponyville, a certain lavender unicorn was stargazing, studying the beautiful night, and a weird phenomenon that had appeared a few days before.
A particular piece of sky had been blotted out by a huge dark shape. It had grown in size over the last few days, and there were nothing to explain the phenomenon.
“Spike! Have you received any answer from Princess Celestia yet?” She yelled through the window to her balcony.
Her assistant, a small purple and green baby-dragon, was busy doing what he did best at that time of night, until the shrill voice of his mother/sister/tormentor jolted him from his slumber. With a groan he pulled himself from the basket he slept in and made his way to the door to the balcony.
“Twilight... Please go to sleep already. It’s late...” He rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand and looked up at the unicorn. She looked bedraggled, two nights of no sleep had taken its toll on the librarian. Her mane was a mess, and her eyes had dark bags under them.
“I can’t! This is too important! If it’s an asteroid we’re going to have a huge problem on our hooves!” She exclaimed, not taking her eyes from the strange object in the night sky. She wasn’t sure what it was, if it was an asteroid it would be the strangest she’d ever seen. Last night it had started flaring bright lights at random intervals, and it seemed to be slowing, and when it yet again had become visible that evening it seemed to have stopped completely.
Suddenly a small stripe of white light appeared on the side of the object, before it flickered violently and became dark once again. Twilight was mesmerized by the object’s behaviour, it was like nothing she’d ever seen before. She turned away for a short moment to make a note when the sky lit up as at dawn.
With horror she looked back up at the sky, only to see what looked like a meteor shower, only a lot brighter. One of the meteors seemed to be behaving differently, and suddenly the glowing object turned and started coming right for Ponyville!
“Spike! Get into the basement! Send a message to Celestia! It’s an emergency, use the red scroll with the black ribbon!” She yelled and ran down the stairs and out of the library. With a spell she had developed for emergencies what sounded like air-raid sirens began sounding over Ponyville.
Lights began popping up in windows as ponies were violently dragged from their pleasant slumber by the racket.
“THIS IS AN EMERGENCY! TAKE SHELTER! THIS IS NOT A DRILL!” Twilight’s amplified voice sounded all over the small town. She only hoped there was time for the ponies to get into their basements before the meteorite hit the ground.
The object became larger and larger, and Twilight could do nothing but stare at the rapidly approaching doom.
Then the impossible happened, and the object flared and slowed down. Twilight hid her head beneath her hooves as she crouched on the ground, but the object never hit, and she dared to take a peek.
What looked like a large closed chariot hovered overhead, but there were nopony pulling it, and it seemed to spout flames and smoke from six cylinders at its sides.
It only hovered overhead for a short while, before it started circling the town like a bird of prey.
“What’s going on...” Twilight muttered to herself as the large metallic object suddenly took off for the park. Where it seemed to start lowering towards the ground and out of sight, only a plume of dust signifying its presence.
She started making her way towards the park to investigate when the bright flash of light and a pop of displaced air of a teleportation spell made her jump.
“Twilight Sparkle!” The voice of Princess Celestia boomed as she appeared. “What is the meaning of this?” She waved a red scroll with a black ribbon in front of the startled unicorn.
Twilight took a deep breath to stabilize herself before she got back on her hooves and addressed her mentor. “No time to explain! We have to hurry to the park!” She began galloping towards the park’s entrance, only stopping to see that the Princess was following her, she was.
“Twilight, what’s going on?” The royal alicorn demanded as she galloped alongside the lavender mare.
“There was an unscheduled meteor shower, and one of them were heading directly towards Ponyville!” Twilight explained through her gasps of air. Being a librarian had definitively not helped on her stamina, and neither had two nights with barely a nap. “But then it stopped, it looked like a huge metal chariot, and it landed in the park!”
Princess Celestia didn’t offer a reply, but her features hardened and she sped up, nearly leaving poor Twilight in the dust.
When they finally reached the park. Twilight was on the verge of collapsing, but there, on a darkened patch of grass sat the large metal carriage.
It looked like nothing she had ever seen. It was aerodynamic, sleek and with small wings sticking out of its sides. She couldn’t see any coloring, but several small lights were blinking ominously.
They carefully made their way towards the strange object. Celestias gaze was curious, but cautious as they approached.
Suddenly the carriage began hissing, and a door was opening in what she assumed to be the rear of the strange object.
As the door opened, black smoke started billowing out, and harsh lights illuminated what looked like a large creature with two heads on top of each-other.
Twilight stared at the strange creature, while Celestia lowered her head, her horn glowing in preparation for whatever the creature did next.
They didn’t expect it to start coughing and unceremoniously stumbling down the ramp that the door had formed onto the ground, where the second ‘head’ fell off and tumbled a few feet.
The creature unsteadily got to its feet, and once the smoke faded they were faced with an ash-grey alicorn with soot stained coat and a bewildered expression. The ‘head’ that had fallen off got to its hooves as well, looking like a blue miniature version of the alicorn the size of a foal. The alicorn’s mane was brown and ragged, and its blue eyes were staring at the two ponies in front of it with its mouth agape.
Then the alicorn pulled herself together, and with a piercing glare at Celestia, it exclaimed its first words.
“Is there a place to get cake around here?”
“Is there a place to get cake around here?” I asked, giving the big white horsey my best commanding stare. It was pretty good, I think I stared at myself like that for twenty years once. It was great!
The little purple horse was staring at me with what I could only guess was confusion. It was cute, very much so. I almost lost my awesome stoic expression and run over and hug her, but somehow I managed not to.
The white horsey thing seemed baffled for a while as well, but she blinked a few times before scowling at me. She looked pretty when she scowled. I let go of my stare and smiled.
“Who are you?” She demanded, still scowling. Oh, she was good. I wanted to try that as well and scowled back, before placing a hoof on my chest and clearing my throat.
“He’s an idiot.” Ana butted in before I could announce my awesomeness. “That’s who he is.”
“He?” The purple one asked, eyeing me in confusion. I must be pretty awesome lookin’.
“Yes, well. He was, I guess.” Ana shot me what I suspect was some sort of sympathetic glance. I was too busy being cool to notice. “I never really got around to calling him she, and... uh, I don’t think he’s noticed yet.” She rolled her eyes.
“But how? I mean, uhm...” The small one bit her lip. If she got any cuter I might just melt on the spot.
“It doesn’t matter!” Big whitey announced, never tearing her gaze from me. “Who are you?”
“I.” I proudly stated. “ Am Magnus! The magnificent, prolific, most awesome guy ever!” I must have been radiating awesomeness, because they all stared at my display of pure manliness.
“Forgive him, her...” Ana stated somberly. “It’s been a long six thousand years...”
“Six thous... what?” Wow, small purpley was just full of questions. I decided that she was great.
“Six... thousand years. Alone, well, with me, but still.” Ana had a wistful smile.
“How could she not have noticed, well, being a mare?” I really had to get their names, small purpley and big whitey were awesome, but I somehow doubted that they would like being called that.
“There were... bigger issues... You see, uhm. Well, we weren’t always horses.”
“Ponies.” Little purplecorn butted in.
“Ponies, whatever.” Ana deadpanned. “And there were a lot more of us. Six million to be exact.”
“What happened?” Purpley seemed taken aback. I was starting to get tired of all the back and forth. I had been promised cake! Where was the cake!?
“Black hole.” Ana stated simply, as if that would explain everything.
“What’s a black hole?” or not.
“Nevermind!” I hollered and looked around frantically. “If cake doesn’t appear before me soon, I’ll be very cross!”
Big wingleycorn didn’t seem amused, but her expression had softened somewhat. As if she had an idea of what we’d been through.
“Princess? What do you think?” Pinkstripe asked warily. Still not sure if we were a threat, or just too awesome to process.
Big horney, wait no, Princess? She was a Princess? Or was that just her name. Princess isn’t a cool name, so maybe it was a nickname! If so she needed a new one, I took it upon myself to find one, as soon as I had my hooves on some cake.
Princess Celestia was unsure what to think of the situation. Before her stood what was undoubtedly the fourth Alicorn she had ever met, and probably the first brain-damaged one in existence.
“I... Don’t think they’re a threat...” She sighed and looked at the mares in front of her. The alicorn was slightly shorter than her, and seemed to be hiding her emotions behind a wall of sillyness. “Let’s get back to town. We should probably dispel the panic her arrival caused.”
The grey alicorn seemed to have started sniffing the air, as well as the ground like a hound, while her eyes studied the shadows in the park. Then her head shot up, and her eyes widened.
“I smell pastries!” Then she started galloping at full tilt towards the town senter. “Ana! Come on!” She yelled, and the small foal-like creature facehoofed before galloping after her.
Celestia and Twilight exchanged a glance before following. This mare was more like Pinkie Pie than anything else, and the thought of having two Pinkies... Well, the thought was terrifying.
When they entered Ponyville proper, the grey alicorn was nowhere in sight. Only a loud squeal from the direction of Sugarcube Corner gave any signal of their whereabouts.
They ran towards the sound, only to find the newcomers sitting beside each other. The alicorn was sobbing and staring at the building. She turned towards the two approaching ponies, tears streaking her face.
“It’s beautiful...” Then she lunged at the building hugging the wall like a long lost friend. The small blue pony was only rubbing her temples and groaning.
Something tantalizing drifted through the air. I could smell it, it was the smell of something I had missed for sooo long. I located the way the smell was coming from and shot up. “I smell pastries!”
I ran like I had never run before towards the delicious smell. I could feel it beckoning me, and the weird town could do nothing to stop me!
Then I saw it... It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen...
It was a house, made of cake! I squealed and jumped in exitement, it was so beautiful. I couldn’t help it, and tears started flowing.
I barely noticed the two weird pony-horses following me, and barely gave them a look. “It’s beautiful...” I murmured, then my urges got the better of me and I just had to hug the cake house where the smell emanated from.
I slowly began licking the wall, it tasted wally, but that’s okay. It was probably wall cake. With a heave I broke off one of the frosting covered corners and plopped it in my mouth. It was the most delicious wood’n’paint cake I had ever had!
“Uhm, what’s going on?” A grumpy looking blue mare with a pink mane leaned out of a window right above me. “Is that pony eating the wall?”
“Yes... Yes she is...” Ana said when I looked up, my cheeks bulging with woody cake goodness.
“She knows it’s just for decoration, right?” The pony said, sounding a bit apprehensive.
“Mpfh!” I exclaimed happily and swallowed. “This is the most delicious house ever!” Then I popped another piece in my mouth. “OW!” I yelped and spat, something hard had poked the inside of my mouth, it was a nail. “Stupid house!” I gave the offending wall a well placed kick.
“Stop that!” The mare yelled when the wall rattled.
“What’s the commotion, dear?” Another pony poked his head out the window, he raised an eyebrow when he saw me staring grumpily at the wall I’d so righteously kicked.
“This cake is stupid!” I announced with a sniff, then proceeded to ignore the stupid house-cake.
Big whiteycorn and purplyhooves just sat there, staring at me as if I had done something tremendously stupid.
“What?” I asked indignantly, shooting them glares.
“Wow, she’s really dense isn’t she...” The smaller of the two whispered to the larger.
“I think she’s a bit unstable.” Sunbutt stated, not taking her eyes off me.
“That’s an understatement...” Ana said and walked over to me. “Come on, we have to move before you decide to devour the entire house.”
“Humph” I said and ignored her, sitting down on my butt in protest.
Then I heard a rumble from inside the house, and the front door shot open with a shower of confetti and streamers. Out from the door shot a pink blur. It transformed into the pink pony that had assaulted the probe earlier. She gave a gasp and slammed into me with tremendous force.
As I laid dazed on the ground, with a pink pony sitting on my chest. I couldn’t help but wonder if the pretty cupcakes floating around my head were any good. I tried to snap at one of them, but the confectionary simply avoided my advances.
“HI!” The pink pony announced. “I’m Pinkie Pie! Who are you? Are you the space-ponies I saw through the ball-thingy? Did you like the cupcake? Huh? Did you? Did you?!”
I would have answered, but my eyes were still rolling around in my head, making things look totally weird.
“Do you mean the cupcake that you so generously smeared on the probe’s camera?” Ana asked, she didn’t look very amused.
“Yes! Did you like it? I made it especially for you! My pinkie sense told me that someponies were coming, and they really really wanted cake!” The pink ball of energy was now bouncing up and down on my chest. It was not very pleasant, and with a grunt I shoved her off me and got back on my hooves.
I was stumped, why hadn’t the probe brought us the cupcake? I grumbled some more and looked down. “I never got any cupcake...” I sniffed.
“What?!” Then pinkles did the most awesome thing ever, and pulled a perfect grey and brown cupcake from her mane. “Good thing I made more! Here!” She then proceeded to stuff the pastry into my mouth.
My tastebuds practically exploded from the tasty assault. And it almost fell out of my mouth when I gaped, trying to process what was in my mouth. It was a mixture of dark chocolate, vanilla and fluffy cake. A tear rolled down my face as I began chewing.
Then I sniffed after swallowing, sad, because the thing was gone.
“Aw... Didn’t you like it?” The best pony ever said, her mane seemed to deflate a bit as she looked upon what must have been the most heartbreaking visage in the history of heartbreaking visages.
I grabbed the pony and crushed her to my chest. “It was the best thing ever... I’m j-just s-so sad that it’s gone...” I sniffed and buried my face in her mane. It smelt like more pastries and spun sugar.
“Aww...” She said and sniffed a bit as well. “That’s okay.” She patted me on the back comfortingly, before perking up and looking me in the eye. “I have more inside? Do you want to come inside?”
I brightened and grinned. “YES! You are now my best friend, ever!” Then the two of us disappeared into the bakery, me leaving a trail of drool.
“Um... what just happened.” Twilight said, looking towards the entrance to the bakery where the two insane ponies had disappeared. From within nothing but moaning could be heard, and the ponies outside were fighting not to blush.
“That.” The little blue pony called Ana said. “Is the sound of Magnus gorging himself happily for the first time in six millennia.” She looked happy, and wistful at the same time.
“What’s wrong?” Celestia asked and looked down at the small blue pony.
“I’m just a bit worried for him, that’s all. When he gets stuffed, he gets nostalgic, and... well, that’s not good.” She slumped on the ground and looked up at the ponies still outside, the Cakes had disappeared inside to keep the two raving ponies from devouring everything.
“What happened?” The royal white alicorn asked for the second time that night.
Ana slumped a bit further, resting her head on her hooves. “He didn’t just lose all his friends, but his family and wife as well.”
“Did they have any children?” Celestia asked carefully.
“Yeah. A son and a daughter, they were just six and eight when we were sucked into the singularity.” Ana closed her eyes tightly, she would have been fighting back tears if she were capable of shedding them.
“That’s awful...” Twilight murmured.
“Yeah... He spent the first thousand years mourning them. Then he went insane. That’s when we figured out he was immortal, if you catch my drift...” Her eyes were once more open, but they were fixed on the ground.
“What do you mean?” The purple unicorn looked perplexed. It was quite obvious that she didn’t get what Ana insinuated.
“Twilight... She tried to kill herself.” Celestia said, her voice low, and tinged with understanding.
“Oh...” Twilight looked down.
“He was quite creative about it...” Ana said with a sad smile. “I’m pretty sure he tried everything. Even managed to get into the anti-matter collider, stayed inside for a week. He was completely unscathed, but every hair on his body had been singed off.” She chuckled. “He looked quite ridiculous. I think he even laughed about it when I showed him a mirror. He slowly started getting out of his funk then, but I don’t think he’s ever really recovered.”
“Um... What’s an ‘anti-matter collider’?” The purple unicorn asked timidly. “If you don’t mind me asking...”
“It is a large compartment in the ship’s engines where matter and anti-matter is collided to provide the energy necessary to propel the ship at speeds faster than light. Let’s just say that if you got your hooves on a piece of anti-matter the size of a marble, this planet would be obliterated.” Ana stated with a smirk.
“Are you saying that there’s more of this? Close to the planet?” Celestia was shocked, if such a thing were to have an accident... Well most of the solar system would die out.
“Yep. There’s about five thousand six hundred and seven million tons of it aboard the ship.” Ana noticed the horrified looks of the two ponies. “Don’t worry. It can’t go off, even if the ship were to explode, the anti-matter is perfectly harmless.”
“How can you say that?!” Celestia was furious. She stalked over to the small being and pinned it to the ground. Ana yelped as the weight of the much larger pony crushed her to the ground.
“Hey! What gives!” She whined and tried to pry the giant hoof from her chest to no avail.
“You’re saying that there’s enough anti-matter up there to obliterate everything within a light-year!” She roared, the small pony creaked, and small sparks of electricity was arcing between the being and her metallic shoes.
“N-No!” Ana croaked, her servos working over-time to keep the pressure on her chest stabilized. “I-if something w-were t-to happen *bzzt* the-the anti-ma-matter w-wo*crack* aah! W-would b-be co-consumed b-by a s*zzzt* s-s-s-s-ingul-ul-ul-a-a-a-r-r-it it it itty” *CRACK*
Just as she muttered the last word, the machine’s chest collapsed in on itself and with a spasm, it went completely still, the light in its eyes died, and with a sputter of black smoke, Ana died.
“What did you do!” Twilight Sparkle screamed as the small machine’s life was extinguished before her eyes.
Celestia stared at her hoof, then up at Twilight, then down at the small machine that had nearly been cut in halves.
“I-I didn’t m-mean to...” She mumbled and removed her hoof. A small spark of electricity arced between her shoe and the small machine. Tears were forming in her eyes. “What have I done?”
Just then, a frosting covered head poked out of the door. “Hey, there’s cake enough for ev.. erybody?” Magnus stuttered as he saw the scene before him.
Without another word, the grey alicorn stepped out into the night and stopped before the carcass of his only friend through the last six thousand years. A slight shimmer covered her body, and the frosting seemed to be absorbed into the alicorn’s coat, leaving it completely clean.
“What did you do.” The voice coming from the alicorn’s body was completely different from the happy-go-lucky tone from before. It was dead, and dangerous. When she raised her eyes to meet Celestia’s, the white alicorn cringed. The eyes were dark, haunted, and smoldering with anger.
“I-I didn’t m-mean to...” Celestia repeated, her voice shaking. The grey alicorn before her was a completely different creature to the one they had met before. Small flecks of light were sparking on the edge of the alicorn’s mane and tail, and she looked taller and more imposing than before.
For the first time in a very long time, Celestia felt true fear. The kind of fear that seeps into your bones and freeze the marrow in your back. Even Discord hadn’t instilled such fear in her, nor her sister when she turned into the dark being of Nightmare moon.
The grey alicorn took a step forward, now standing over the crushed body of her friend. “What. Did. You. Do.” The spots in her mane seemed to grow, slowly engulfing the mane and tail in what seemed to be violet fire. Her voice was still flat, but both Twilight and Celestia could hear the animalistic growl coming from her throat.
Twilight fought the urge to run away, and she could see Pinkie cowering in the doorway, her mane and tail completely straight, eyes wide with fear.
“I-I...” The Princess squeaked. She had been driven to her haunches by the smoldering stare of the angry alicorn in front of her. The sight of what had previously seemed like such a friendly pony chilled her to the core of her being.
Magnus crouched down, her horn lowered and ready to spring at the frozen princess. Then something clamped around her foreleg. She looked down, and there, biting into her leg, was Ana.
Ana smiled softly around the leg, her eyes glowing in the night. She let go, and shook her head.
Magnus seemed to deflate, the fire in her eyes died, and the flames licking at her mane and tail flickered out. Then she collapsed around the small android and cradled it in her hooves like a mother would a foal, tears shimmering in her eyes while she nuzzled the small thing.
Celestia took a deep breath, feeling so relieved that she would have collapsed right there if Twilight hadn’t supported her.
“Wow!” Pinkie exclaimed, jumping out of the doorway and over to Magnus. “That was scary! I didn’t know you could be so scary Magnie!” She grinned down at the alicorn snuggled up with the android.
Magnus looked up at her with a soft smile. “I’m sorry. I thought I had lost her.” He smiled sadly as a small crack sounded from between her hooves. The dent in the small pony’s chest seemed to inflate and small shimmering dots of light welded the seams together seamlessly. Finally it looked as if Ana took a deep breath.
“Stupid...” She muttered, her voice sounding a bit tinny. “Even if this body had been completely destroyed, I could just have sent down a spare from the ship... You know this.”
Magnus just smiled sheepishly. “I guess I forgot...” He looked up at Celestia, who was still eyeing her warily. “I’m sorry. I thought you had killed her. I had forgotten that she’s just an android...” She winced when Ana kicked her leg. “Well, not just an android. My little android.” She smiled and nuzzled the small bundle.
Ana yawned and stretched as best she could. “That... Was rather unpleasant.” She looked up at Celestia. “I’d appreciate if you refrained from doing that again. I might just be a machine, but that doesn’t mean I can’t feel pain.”
Celestia slowly and shakily got to her hooves and made her way over to the odd couple. “I’m so sorry... I just thought...”
Ana waved a tiny hoof, and Magnus just smiled. “Don’t worry about it. I’m sure you had your reasons. I’m fine now.” Her voice had returned to sounding completely normal.
“Can you ever forgive me?” The royal alicorn muttered and lay down beside them.
“Yeah. Just don’t do that again. I’m not sure I can repair myself fast enough to stop him next time.” Ana said and booped Celestia on the nose with a small smile.
“Why are you calling her a him?” Pinkie piped in, pulling herself away from playing with Magnus’ tail. “I’m pretty sure it’s her!” She lifted Magnus’ tail unceremoniously. “Yep, definitively a she!”
Magnus frowned and looked at the pink pony. “What?” He looked puzzled. “I’m not a guy?”
“Nopey dopey!” Pinkie sang cheerfully. “100% lady-pony!”
I awoke feeling quite refreshed. Ana had really over-done herself this time. The sunlight filtering through the windows felt warm and pleasant. It was an absolutely perfect way to wake up.
I yawned and stretched, enjoying the feel of the soft covers and the sunlight bathing my coat. With a hoof I removed the last vestiges of sleep and looked around the room. It was something different all-right. The covers were lavender, with stylized stars and moons, same with the pillow and the drapes. The walls looked as if they had been grown right out of a real tree, and when I got to my hooves the wood felt just right. I decided with a chuckle that it must be some sort of special occasion, Ana usually didn’t put this much effort into her re-decorations.
The bed was on a sort of alcove over a larger-main room, where bookshelves lined the walls, all looking to be grown directly from natural wood. I made a mental note of congratulating Ana on a job well done over breakfast.
With a flap of my wings I glided to the floor of what I assumed was my study for the day, or week, or year. Ana liked to redecorate at random intervals. “To keep things interesting! And to keep myself from going insane...” She had said more than once.
It wasn’t all that amusing to wake up on a frozen tundra, or neck-deep in swamp water, but I put up with it anyhow. After all she deserved her own little quirks, apparently I had quite enough as it were.
I lazily made my way to one of the bookshelves and glanced at the titles, curious as to what she thought I should read this time around. There were titles like ‘Star Swirl The Bearded’s Guide to Advanced Psychometrics’, and ‘Broken Quill’s Writing Guide for Aspiring Authors’, I chuckled when I saw ‘The Apple’s Guide to Apples And other Apple Related Aplications’. Most of it looked like utter nonsense to me, but I had to appreciate the effort she had went through to find something I hadn’t read before. I wondered how she’d managed to find enough books I hadn’t seen yet to fill a bookshelf, or enough to fill all the wall-space of an entire study. I had thought that by now I’d read all the books we had at least twenty times.
It was just another thing I had to compliment her on, and I wondered if it was my birthday or something. I wondered just how old I was by now, I’m pretty sure we had celebrated my six-thousand two-hundred and sixty-third birthday not too long ago, but I didn’t care much. Ana was the only one who still counted the years. I had stopped after a thousand or so, and I winced as the memory of that time briefly surfaced.
With a shake of my head I opened the door from the study and was struck speechless at the sight before me. It was an entire library, one I definitely hadn’t seen before. It had the same theme as the room, and looked to have been carved from still-living wood. It was quite the sight.
I slowly made my way down the stairs to the main room, treading softly, as if making a hard impact on the stairs would break the illusion. When I got down, I saw more bookshelves filled with new books, all seemed to have an equine theme in one form or another, and I assumed Ana was once again trying to get me to read more on my ‘new’ form. She had done it before, but we didn’t learn much. Only that Unicorns and Pegasi were from old earth mythology, but nothing on any cross-breeds.
And apparently Unicorns were supposed to have goats-beards, cloven hooves and there were something about the tail that I couldn’t quite recall. None of the features were apparent on my own figure. We checked.
I could smell coffee brewing through one of the doors and made my way over. Behind it was a quaint kitchen, something I hadn’t seen in quite a while, as the replicators took care of most of my nutritional needs.
There were a strange little purple and green lizard thing manning a wood-burning stove in the corner, and I had to chuckle at the sight. The small thing stood on a stool to reach the stove-top, where scrambled eggs were sizzling happily. And the thought of a wood-burning stove inside a wooden building was quite ridiculous in itself, the lizards pink apron didn’t help. It didn’t seem to notice my entrance, but a small lavender unicorn looked up from a book when I entered.
“Oh. Hello.” I said, not really expecting a response. Ana didn’t tend to give any androids but herself voice. So imagine my surprise when it replied.
“Good morning. How are you feeling?” The androids unicorns voice was pleasant, female and sounded very natural. In fact the robot looked quite life like, it even smiled warily at me. Ana had really overdone herself this time.
“Oh I’m quite fine. I don’t believe I’ve slept that well in ages.” My reaction seemed to catch the android off-guard, and I guessed Ana was experimenting with learning software again. “Something wrong?”
“Um, no. But you seem so different to how you were acting yesterday, are you sure you’re alright?” The android practically radiated concern about my well-being. It was quite a nice change from Ana’s constant quips about my weight.
“Did something happen yesterday? I’m pretty sure it was a normal day, well except from that sparrow that exploded.” I smiled at the small unicorn, it looked almost completely life-like. If it hadn’t been for that ridiculous painting on her flanks, I could have been fooled. Maybe it was Ana in disguise? Nah, she hadn’t changed forms since... well I couldn’t quite remember when. “Where is Ana by the way? I haven’t seen her yet this morning.”
The lavender unicorn seemed, if possible, even more concerned. She furrowed her brows cutely and looked at me weirdly. “You really don’t remember anything from last night do you?”
That’s when Ana decided to make her first appearance for the day. She tumbled out from what looked like a small cupboard, dragging a few cooking utensils with her. I rushed over to her and started fussing over her like one would with a child.
“Are you alright?” I asked softly, helping her back to her hooves and pulled a fork from her mane. She just rolled her eyes and pushed my hoof away.
“Yes yes. Quit fussing over me. I’m not a kid.” She trotted over to the table and hoisted herself onto a stool. Or tried to, until I gave her a little help, she just glared at me. Then her expression softened and she cupped my face in her hooves. “Oh no... It happened again, didn’t it?”
“Huh? What do you mean?” I asked curiously. She didn’t usually act like this, and frankly, it worried me. The only times I’d seen her like this was when one of the decks nanites had malfunctioned and had to be closed off.
“What happened yesterday?” She asked, her eyes searching mine.
“Nothing special? One of the sparrows exploded again, but nothing out of the ordinary?” I was really getting worried at this point. What was going on?
“I was afraid of that... We haven’t had an exploding sparrow in over five hundred years Magnus.” Her voice was soft, and she didn’t let go of my face.
“Oh? I could have sworn that was yesterday. Silly me.” I pulled myself out of her grasp, and she reluctantly let go. The lizard and the unicorn were watching me with confusion and concern. I decided to steer the conversation somewhere else, and took a seat on the other side of the table, the stools were a bit small, but comfortable enough. “So, what’s for breakfast? It’s been a while since we had something not replicated. I guess it still is, but this is quite refreshing. You’ve really done a splendid job with the simulations this time. Why this unicorn looks practically perfect!” I beamed a smile at her.
She didn’t return the smile, but her frown deepened. “Magnie... This isn’t one of my simulations...”
“It’s not?” I was getting a bit uncomfortable. This wasn’t all that fun anymore. I enjoyed a bit of role-playing every now and then, I admit that, but this was getting out of hoof. I furrowed my brow and looked at the unicorn. “Are you saying this isn’t one of your androids?” Then I laughed. “Oh, you nearly got me there. Good one, Ana.”
“Um...” The lavender android piped in, but she closed her muzzle and looked down. She looked a bit sad for some reason. Even Ana looked quite distraught.
“Magnie. This is Twilight Sparkle. She’s a Unicorn. And that’s Spike.” She pointed a hoof at the small lizard, he had taken the pan off the stowe, and the flames inside had died down to a faint glow. “He’s a baby dragon.”
I fixed Ana with a stern look. “Ana, just stop. This isn’t funny anymore. I enjoy a good play as well as anyone, but you’re taking this a bit far. Why don’t we just eat, and pretend like we have real company for once. I’m sure ‘Spike’, here has whipped up a marvellous breakfast for us.” I gave the small ‘dragon’ a soft smile. “It smells absolutely divine Spike.”
“Uh, thanks?” ‘Spike’ replied. He looked quite unsure of himself, the poor dear. Ana had done quite the job to make these automatons look and act life-like.
“Um. What’s going on?” The lavender ‘unicorn’ asked Ana. A thought entered my mind, but I discarded it quickly, it was too weird even for me to consider.
“He’s having a relapse. He thinks this is a simulation.” She sighed. “It’s not unjustified. I’ve done things like this in the past. Making other androids and trying to create some friends, or just someone new to talk to. It has never quite worked, apparently I don’t have the imagination to create something life-like without controlling it directly, and that’s not very fun.” She was talking to the construct as if it had sentience, and wasn’t just one of her creations.
“Why are you calling her ‘he’?” ‘Spike’ asked curiously as he scooped some of the scrambled eggs over on plates. “All Alicorns are female.” He stated it with certainty.
“Spike!” The lavender ‘droid looked fearfully from the ‘dragon’ to me, almost as if she was afraid I might do something.
“Oh please.” I waved a hoof dismissively. “I might be in ‘denial’, as Ana so quaintly puts it, but I’m not an idiot. I know what I am. The term ‘Alicorn’ is new to me though. Care to elaborate?” I gave the ‘dragon’ an encouraging smile as he brought the plates over. It really smelled heavenly, nothing like the nutritious gruel I usually ate in the morning. Ana called it oatmeal, but I wasn’t so sure of that.
“Sure! Alicorns are ponies with wings and a horn. They possess the treats of all three po...” He was rudely interrupted by the ‘unicorn’.
“Spike! This isn’t the time for that. We have to help her!” I gave the ‘unicorn’ a soft smile.
“Now now. Let the poor dear speak. It sounds quite interesting!” I motioned for the ‘dragon’ to continue, but he just gave ‘Twilight’, Ana could have come up with something better than the name of some horrible novel for her, a confused look.
“No.” Ana said and placed a hoof firmly on the fork I had been trying to grasp between my hooves, stupid utensils. “Magnus. Listen to me. This isn’t a simulation. A few days ago we came within range of a planet capable of supporting life. Yesterday we landed here, and after some... stuff... happened, you fainted, and Twilight here graciously offered to let you sleep in her bed.”
My left eye twitched in irritation. I had been willing to let her have her fun, and let the simulation play. I would even have let her keep it running, I quite liked this new ‘theme’ and the characters. I fixed the tiny blue android with a smoldering glare and said quite calmly. “Ana. Master Override Sigma Foxtrot Gamma. Authorization code Five Five Eight Alpha Nine Three. User Captain Magnus Fairheart. End simulation.”
Ana froze up for a second, and made a *bleep*. I fully expected the other androids to do the same, and for the nanites to return the room to its original setting. “Unable to comply. No simulation in progress.” Ana’s voice said in that tinny robotic voice she used when I ran an override.
I repeated myself. “Ana, Advanced Nanomechanical Artifact Version Six point Nine. Master Override Sigma Foxtrot Gamma. Authorization code Five Five Eight Alpha Nine Three. User Captain Magnus Fairheart. End. Simulation.” My voice was a bit strained, and I uttered the words through clenched teeth.
Ana responded in kind. No simulation.
“What’s going on?” ‘Spike’ asked. He sounded a bit afraid. I couldn’t blame him. This was not supposed to happen. The Master Override gave me full control of any actions or processes running in the ship. There were no way for Ana to contradict me when I used it. It was simply impossible.
Ana slumped down on the table with a thud. And her eyes blinked as her systems re-booted. It only took a few seconds, but it was enough time for the ‘unicorn’ to push away from the table and take a scroll from one of the benches.
It was red, with a black ribbon tied around it.
And with a brief flash of green, the ‘dragon’s’ fire consumed it.
A/N: Sorry for the lack of fun stuffs, but this chapter is important for Magnus' character development. Don't worry. Hilarity will ensue. Stay tuned! EDITED WAS/WERE PROBLEMS... Hopefully I got most of them...
I could feel my anger smoldering beneath the surface, but I kept it in check. Something was wrong, very wrong. According to Ana I had missed over five hundred years of memory, which was impossible. I remembered yesterday as if it was, well, yesterday. There was none of the confusion that usually follows memory-loss.
The brief fireworks display from the 'dragon' didn't concern me much. The burnt scroll, while I had no idea why they had burnt it, was not something I particularly cared about, I was focused on the rebooting android in front of me.
There was a soft whirr, and Ana's eyes regained their glow. She stood up and shook her head, wobbling a bit.
"Don't do that!" She yelled at me once her balance had asserted itself. Her eyes were glowing with anger and hurt. "You know it hurts…"
"Yes I do." I said through clenched teeth. "What is all of this? Some sort of elaborate ruse? Another of your little 'games'?"
The hurt in her eyes deepened, and there was something… else.
"No…" She muttered and looked away, then looked up at me again, her expression soft. "This is real Magnie. I don't know why you've regressed again, but please… Don't take it out on me."
I kept my expression hard, but I felt some of the anger die down a bit.
"Ana. I'm warning you. If this is some sort of ploy or ruse, it isn't a very good one. I admit that I'm impressed with all this." I waved a hoof, motioning to the 'tree-house'. "But I can't stand idly by if you're going rogue."
Ana recoiled as if I had physically struck her, her mouth fell open, and she tried to form words, but failed.
"Magnus?" 'Twilight' said softly from behind me. Her voice was a bit strained, but still soft. "Please. Let her be…"
"Silence!" I roared at the 'unicorn'. I fixed her with a withering stare, and she had the decency to shrink under my gaze. "I won't have some construct lecturing me! This has gone far enough! If Ana has somehow undermined the command hierarchy in her systems, I'll just have to end this simulation manually."
I rose from the chair at the same time as a flash came from outside the windows. I paid it no heed and stalked over to the covering construct. There were some resistance in my coat, Ana had undoubtedly set the nanites covering my body to work restraining me. She should have learnt from last time, and I simply pulled through it. It was like walking through water, but it didn't seriously hinder me.
When I reached the construct, which was futilely covering her head with her hooves, I raised a hoof, prepared to manually disable it.
As my hoof fell, instead of hitting the soft resistance of synthetic flesh, it hit a golden barrier.
"Halt!" A commanding female voice rang through the library. I stopped trying to power through the barrier, there were hairline cracks over the surface, but it held fast and didn't dissipate as I removed my hoof. "What is going on here? Why are you trying to hurt Twilight Sparkle?"
Another construct. This one was taller than I was by a hoof, and had both a horn and wings. I rolled my eyes, while the construct was quite beautiful, and the mane looked more like an ethereal projection than hair, I couldn't help but feel anger welling up inside at this atrocity.
Ana had been hardwired not to create anything bigger or potentially harmful, and this… thing, looked ready to crush me like a bug. It was apparently equipped with a Ganymedan Military Grade Force Field Emitter, another item Ana should not have access to, a golden aura surrounded her horn as well, so I assumed that was where the emitter was situated. Quite the innovative use of an otherwise useless protrusion, that much I had to admit.
I shot Ana a hard glare before returning my attention towards the large white construct. "I am the CAPTAIN of this ship." I growled. "I don't know how Ana did it, but this. This is going way over line. There will be no going back from this. When I'm done with you, I WILL reset the systems."
I heard a gasp and a fearful squeak from behind me, and I smirked at Ana's reaction. It wasn't a decision taken lightly. Resetting the systems to default would practically delete everything but the most basic systems, and would effectively be a death sentence for Ana as she were now.
I got into a combat stance, lowering my horn and scraping a hoof at the floor. I hadn't exactly trained for battle in this form, but I knew the horn was hard enough to pierce the bulkheads, and could be used to dispatch this rogue construct as well.
"Magnus!" The white android yelled angrily. "Stop this foolishness at once!" Her tone turned pleading. "I don't know what has gotten into you that has turned you from the gentle pony I met yesterday. But I will not hesitate in harming you to defend my subjects." The last part came out as a growl.
My mind was reeling. 'Subjects'? What the hell had Ana done?
I crouched and sprang at the large construct, or I tried to. My hooves could not gain any hold on the floor, and I was surprised to find myself suspended in the air a few feet from the ground.
"Unhand me right now." I growled threateningly.
"Or what?" The white hybrid hissed, her tone deadly. "You're going to stab me with your horn? From over there?" She was standing halfway across the circular room, but she was slowly walking towards me.
My nostrils flared as I snorted. "No. I'm going to do this." I gave her a menacing smile. "Activate Mode Seven. Authorization Zeta Seven Zeta."
My skin felt as it was crawling and stiffening as the nanites went into overdrive. Out of what seemed to be thin air, thick plates of metal formed and hardened over my body. Soon I was covered from horn to tail in diamond hard armor.
The room seemed to have frozen around me, and everything was silent but the steady stream of info fed into my ear. The white construct was overlaid with red, separating her as my opponent. The other constructs were nowhere to be seen.
She smirked. She dared smirk at me! "And what is that going to be good for?" The forcefield around me constricted further, and the HUD warned me of slight pressure around my neck.
I grit my teeth behind the visor, the gall! "Commence Firing Mode. Target Alpha." I growled, not quite as intimidating as when I was male, but it didn't matter, nothing mattered but the destruction of this rogue construct.
Two thin rods sprouted from my back and aligned themselves with the target. I heard the high-pitched whine as the twin Particle Disruptors charged.
Ana looked with horror at the scene unfolding before her. Magnus was covered from horn to tail in iridescent armor. Her eyes were replaced with a near black slate of intelligent metal, feeding her info about everything from the environment to the vitals of everything organic within half a mile.
Why she didn't react to the fact that her target was organic and not a construct was testament to how far her mind had gone.
She cringed as the twin Particle Disruptors sprouted from Magnus' back like prehensile limbs, and several scenarios played themselves out in nanoseconds in Ana's mind. Those weapons were capable of disrupting the dark matter that kept atoms and particles together, and there was no telling what would happen if they were fired upon what Twilight had told her was pretty much a goddess, at best Celestia would just evaporate. Or nothing would happen, if she was as hardy as Magnus, that was likely.
Ana grit her teeth and cursed herself for what she was about to do. She waited until the whine of the weapons generators peaked, and threw a cup at the back of Magnus' head.
The improvised projectile connected with a clang, and the armored Alicorn's head swiveled towards her, as well as the Particle Disruptors.
Ana braced, and the disruptors fired.
Aboard the shuttle, a monitor blinked then went dark once again.
Celestia was horrified. Where the small blue pony had stood, there was nothing. When the strange protrusions on the armored Alicorn's back had discharged without much happening, she had dared hope that something was wrong with the alien technology.
But one moment Ana was there, and the next she was simply… gone. Celestia had no idea what the things actually did, but they were obviously weapons. She strengthened the magical grip on the obviously insane Alicorn, immobilizing her completely. Not that it was necessary, Magnus had frozen when the disruptors fired, and offered no resistance at all.
She made her way past the alicorn in the doorway to the kitchen and walked over to the table Ana had disappeared from. Right where the small pony had been standing, there was a perfectly oval piece of wood missing. When she ran a hoof over it, it was completely smooth, almost if it had always been like that.
Celestia turned once more to the frozen Magnus. Her mane suddenly flared up, and anger even stronger than when the insane captain had threatened Twilight welled up. Anyone who saw her would have thought that a piece of the sun had entered the library.
"What have you done!" The royal alicorn roared. Her voice like a wildfire. The floor beneath her hooves blackened and smoked, and flames were licking at the edge of the table and stools.
Suddenly the armor surrounding the grey alicorn vanished. Spots of flickering light shone for a second where it had been, before they were absorbed into her coat. The previously hard faced captain looked dazed, before her eyes wandered from the spot Ana had vanished from to Celestia.
Then Magnus grinned happily.
"Hi!" She exclaimed at the blazing alicorn before her. No trace of the fierce captain remained. "You look hot!"
The corona surrounding Celestia went out instantly, as if someone had dumped gallons of water over her.
Magnus looked down, and as if for the first time, noticed that she was floating in the air.
"Whee! I'm flying!" She said happily, and tried to move her limbs against Celestia's restraints.
Celestia stared at her, her expression one of complete confusion. Before her floated what was undoubtedly the same pony that previously had threatened to 'disable' her, but at the same time, it was a completely different pony.
"What?" She simply muttered. "What the buck?"
Magnus giggled, then resumed trying to swim through the air against the magical restraints. "Hah. You swore! Didn't your mom tell you that it's not nice to swear?" Her expression softened, and she looked almost sad. "Or didn't she? That's so sad! Or maybe buck isn't a swear!" She grinned, then her expression fell once more. "Oh no! If it is, I just swore!"
Celestia let go of the magical grip, and with an "Oof!" Magnus hit the floor in a heap.
"Ow… That wasn't very nice…" She mumbled and rubbed her knee. She got back on her hooves and looked around. "Where's Ana?"
Celestia stiffened and bit back a reply.
Magnus looked around, then stuck her head out of the kitchen. "Ana?" After a brief check to see if Ana had hid beneath any of the tables, or the sofa, she trotted back into the kitchen, where Celestia stood motionless.
Celestia's mind was in turmoil. How could she explain to the clearly schizophrenic alicorn that she had killed Ana herself?
"Have you seen Ana? I can't seem to find her anywhere." Magnus' voice was tinged with uncertainty. "Oh, how rude of me. I'm Magnus!" She grinned and extended a hoof. "I know we met yesterday, but I think I forgot to introduce myself. Or did I?" She thought hard for a second, Celestia could practically see the gears grinding in her head. "Oh yeah! But I didn't get your name! I can't keep calling you big whitey in my head, that's just weird!" She giggled.
"Um… I'm Princess Celestia." The royal alicorn answered with trepidation and shook the offered hoof.
"Ooh. That's a pretty name. Are you really a princess? Or is that just part of your name? I'm a Captain!" Magnus said with pride, puffing her chest out. "But Princess is even cooler!"
"Yes. I am a princess?" It wasn't supposed to sound like a question, but Celestia's mind was occupied with more pressing matters.
Magnus looked at her skeptically. Then she grinned once more and began looking in the cabinets in the kitchen. "Have you seen Ana?" She pulled her head out of a cabinet, a cup comically balanced upside down on her horn. "She's about yay high" She held a hoof about a foot off the ground. "Really cute, and she's blue! Isn't blue cool? I think so, it's my favorite color!"
"Yep! That's me!"
"Really? Where did she go?"
"What is it. Why are you crying? Now you're making me sad too…"
"I think you… killed her."
"Nope. I'd never do that, ever. Ana's my best friend!"
"You shot her with some kind of weapon."
"Nah, don't be silly. The only weapon I have on me is the Particle Disruptors! And I don't even know how to activate them."
"She was right here. On the table."
"Why's there a smooth oval… hole… no…"
"Magnus, calm down!"
"No! I couldn't have! I would never!"
"No. It can't be! I wouldn't! Why would I?!"
"You weren't yourself…"
Magnus stared with disbelief at Celestia, tears were in her eyes. Then the grey alicorn collapsed, sobs racking her body as she wailed.
Meanwhile, aboard the Colony ship Heaven Sent.
A light above a small door, one of many, turned on. It blinked red, then turned yellow. With a *ding*, the light turned on, and the door opened.
Out of the door strolled a small blue android Alicorn.
"Gah… That was unpleasant…" Ana rubbed her head. "It feels like my head went through a meat grinder…" Suddenly her face went sour. "That ass! God FUCKING Damnit!" She slammed a hoof into a bulkhead, where a small hoof-shaped dent formed from the impact. "I hope he hasn't made an even bigger fool of himself…"
She began galloping through the ship, until she reached the sealed door to the hangar they had previously left through. "Oh… Right, explosive decompression… Fuck this…"
Ana tried overriding the door, but it was jammed beyond repair. "Oh fuck this!" She slammed the door with all her might, but it didn't budge. She didn't dare use the nanites to eat through the door, lest she decompressed the entire deck.
Instead she went to a small hatch not far from the door. Above the hatch, a sign read 'Garbage Disposal'.
She opened the hatch, and felt the soft breeze of air escaping through a worn seal.
"Oh fuck me…"
Then she jumped in.
A/N: Aand cut! Good shot everypony. We'll start the next shot tomorrow, tonight drinks are on me!
PS: Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep the him/her in check? It's hard! Magnus needs a new name! Do I already have one? Yes! Wooh...
EDITED WERE/WAS. Hopefully I got it right this time around...
A/N: 300 Faves? You guys are crazy.
Celestia stroked the sobbing alicorn's mane. Still somewhat uncertain of what to make of the situation. Magnus had proven to be a… troubled individual, and the entire pony was an unknown factor to her.
"She-he-hee's go-ho-hooone!" Magnus wailed, and she seemed utterly inconsolable.
"There there…" Celestia mumbled softly and continued trying to calm down the crying alicorn. She cursed herself for not having anything better than 'there there'. The royal alicorn had dealt with depressed ponies before, but she had always known the pony at least a bit. "It's going to be all right…"
"No-ho-hooo…" Magnus sniffed, which did nothing to stop her nose from running. She gazed up at Celestia, her face the picture of a heartbroken pony. "She-he-hee's n-never g-going t-t-to forgive me-he-hee…"
Celestia's hoof froze for a second, before she started once more. "Magnus?"
"You know she would forgive you. You seemed quite close." Celestia tried to give her best encouraging smile. "I'm sure she has already forgiven you. And she will always be watching from where ever ponies like her go when they die."
"The s-ship?" Magnus said with another sniff.
"You th-think she's w-watching f-from the s-ship? And that she has forgiven me?" Her eyes were brimming with fearful hope.
"What do you mean, the ship?" Celestia asked with a raised eyebrow. What was she on about?
"Y-yeah? That's where she goes when her body gets t-to d-damaged to repair."
"Are you saying that Ana isn't dead?" To say that Celestia was confused would be a slight understatement.
Magnus giggled and gave Celestia a small smile. "Of course n-not. She's an android." She wiped her tear-stained eyes.
"What's an android?" Celestia asked, puzzled.
The brown-maned alicorn rolled her eyes and took a lecturing pose. "An android is a synthetic organism designed to resemble the form of a sentient being. Technically Ana is a Gynoid, the female noun of Android."
Celestia was dumbfounded. She had been unsure of just what Ana actually was after last night's… episode. But to think that she wasn't actually a real pony?
"Right." She stated, as if everything had been explained in perfectly understandable terms. She decided to distract the strange alicorn, lest Magnus continued. This was something she preferred Twilight to digest, and then perhaps explain to her in a more… understandable way. "Um. Why don't we head over to Sugarcube Corner? I'm sure Pinkie has something to take your mind of things…"
"Ooh, good idea!" Magnus shot to her hooves, nearly bowling Celestia over in the process. "Let's go!"
The previously inconsolable alicorn seemed to have completely forgotten about the previous predicament, and bounced out the door.
Celestia's eye twitched, but she quickly decided to follow the weird mare. This pony would have to be under constant guard, or she might hurt somepony, or herself.
Once outside, she found Magnus standing still and looking around with a confused look on her face.
"Something wrong" Celestia asked carefully.
"Where exactly is Sugarcube Corner? And what is Sugarcube Corner anyways?" Magnus replied, looking utterly lost.
The royal alicorn fought the urge to bring a hoof to her face, and instead just smiled serenely. Like she did during day-court, motherly and understanding.
"It is the building you tried to eat yesterday dear."
Magnus' look of confusion turned to one of shame. "Oh… Uh, sorry about that…"
"I'm not the one you should apologize to. I'm sure the Cakes will forgive you for consuming part of their property." She giggled a bit at Magnus' expense.
Suddenly there was a strange whistling sound in the air, and both ponies ears directed their eyes towards the sky.
High up in the air, a bright cone of air was surrounding a small object. Then the cone broke, and the air around it rippled, not unlike when Rainbow Dash had performed the Sonic Rainboom, just without the rainbow colors.
Celestia was about to ask Magnus if he had any idea what it was, when she felt something move beneath her legs.
She looked down, and saw Magnus cowering beneath her, her face a mask of utter terror.
"She's going to kill me!"
The shields around Ana flickered as they struggled to keep the tremendous heat of re-entry into the planet's atmosphere from reducing her body to ashes.
Warnings were flaring in rhythm with the shields flickering about system overloads. She had to redirect every ounce of power she could muster to the shields, and as an effect she fell like a brick, every limb locked tight against her body to shield important components.
Suddenly the stress on the shields seized, and she was once more seeing the O2 levels rise towards breathable levels.
The small android took several deep breaths as she fell. Even within the protective sphere of the shield, her systems had come extremely close to overheating. Her tiny wings were glowing white hot, and she reveled in the cool air relieving the stylized heat-sinks.
Slowly her systems powered on once more, and she angled herself towards the small town where Magnus' tracking device told her the infuriating pony would be.
A cone started forming around her, and with a brief push from the boosters in her hooves she felt the sound barrier break around her, and she sped forward at much higher speeds.
Curiously enough she noted that breaking the sound barrier was both easier, and less complicating than it should be. Usually when breaking the sound barrier, she would have trouble controlling her flight pattern, and she felt none of the buffeting or vibrations the action would normally have generated.
In fact, she noticed that she could steer herself a lot easier, and she was able to make impossible turns that would normally have ripped her chassis to pieces.
She allowed herself a brief grin, and a moment for enjoying the sheer joy of flying like that.
Then she clenched her teeth once more and reassumed her furious expression. The town was approaching rapidly, and the blip that was Magnus stood close to the large library tree.
She decided to take the dramatic approach, and the boosters in her legs activated at the last moment. Slowing her to a halt a mere foot above the hard-packed dirt.
Magnus was cowering beneath the Princess. Her face buried beneath her hooves, shaking with fear. The Princess simply stared at Ana through the dust cloud that had formed due to her theatrics.
Ana's eyes were glowing a deep red.
"MAGNUS!" She roared, her size not even slightly diminishing her imposing presence.
Magnus *eeped* and buried her face even further into her hooves.
"Get out from there and face me like a man!" Ana growled and pawed at the ground.
Without warning, and with speed that would have impressed even Rainbow Dash. A brown and grey blur shot out from between a slightly flustered Celestia's hooves.
Ana blinked as she suddenly found herself being on the receiving end of a bone crushing hug.
Magnus clutched the small android to her chest, and Ana found her coat starting to feel moist. Magnus was crying.
"I-I-I'm s-s-sorry…" The alicorn mumbled into Ana's mane. And the tiny pony-android felt her guise crumble under Magnus' crushing guilt.
She sighed and rolled her eyes. Then pushed herself away, freeing her head.
"Magnus… It's fine." She sighed again and peered into the bloodshot eyes of her friend. "I forgive you, alright?"
Magnus let out a huge sob, and once more Ana found herself crushed against the much larger grey chest in front of her.
"What? Just like that?" A high pitched voice booed from somewhere off to their left.
Both Ana and Magnus looked over, only to find Pinkie Pie sitting there with a huge bowl of popcorn.
"What about the action?! I was promised action!" Pinkie yelled and threw a hoof-full of the white snacks in their direction, a look of disappointment on her face.
"We're trying to have a moment here!" Ana yelled, then promptly ignored the pink mare.
Pinkie just grumbled and stuffed another hoof-full in her mouth.
"Ana?" Magnus asked, her voice on the verge of breaking once more.
Ana looked up with another sigh. "Yes, Magnie?"
"Do you really forgive me?"
Pinkie booed, and was ignored.
"Yes. On one condition." She fixed Magnus with a stern glare. "You need help."
Twilight had teleported away with Spike once Celestia had arrived, and had gone to fetch the other Elements of Harmony.
Prepared to face another mighty adversary, the four mares galloped towards Twilight's home.
"Where's Pinkie?" Applejack yelled as they ran. The pink mare had been with them mere seconds ago.
"No matter. We have to hurry!" Twilight yelled back.
"Who are we facing again?" Rarity asked between breaths. The fashionista was not exactly prepared for a full on sprint all the way from Applejacks farm, where they had gathered.
"Magnus! The alien Alicorn that arrived yesterday!" Twilight answered, more than slightly winded herself.
All the mares except Twilight screeched to a halt. The librarian ran a bit further before she noticed that she was alone, and turned towards her friends.
"Now hold yer horses Twilight. You didn't tell us about no alien!" Applejack exclaimed. The athletic mare not even short of breath.
"Yeah? What's up with that?" Rainbow Dash shot in with a confused glare, the pegasus similarly unaffected by the unexpected dash.
Twilight groaned. "We don't have time for this! She's attacking Celestia as we speak!"
The mares let out a collective gasp, and Fluttershy tried to hide herself behind Applejack.
"Come on! We have to hurry!" Twilight yelled, and made to move once more, she stopped when the others held their positions. "Come on!"
"Not to be a downer or anything." Rainbow piped up, trying her best to look composed and unafraid. "But what can we do if the Alien is capable of taking down the Princess?"
The lavender librarian froze. She hadn't really thought that far. What if Magnus was actually capable of defeating Celestia?
Spike came huffing up to the group, his cheeks red from exertion and exhaustion. He leaned up against Rainbow Dash for support, trying his best to catch his breath.
Before he could properly recuperate, he found himself hoisted into the air by a lavender aura, and with a slightly un-manly squeal he was deposited before Twilight Sparkle.
"Spike!" She yelled. "I need you to send a letter to the Princess!"
Spike gasped for air and supported his claws on his knees while giving Twilight a disbelieving stare.
"I… think… Celestia… is…" He took a deep breath. "A bit occupied for a friendship report right now…"
Twilight rolled her eyes and gave her assistant a disapproving look. "I'm not talking about Princess Celestia! I need you to send a letter to Luna!"
"Oh! Of course!" Spike straightened, then slumped. "But… I don't have any parchment…"
Rarity quickly produced a piece of paper and a short quill from her saddlebags.
At the looks from her friends she simply sniffed before levitating the equipment over to Spike. "A lady always carries the necessities with her." Rainbow Dash rolled her eyes. "And you never know when inspiration might strike. It pays to be prepared!"
Spike quickly scribbled a short note on the paper, and with a blue tinged flame he sent it away.
"And now we wai…" He started to say, when a loud boom echoed from above.
The four ponies, and the dragon, looked up in surprise to see the ripples of a sonic boom go through the upper atmosphere.
Inside Canterlot Castle's royal hall. Luna was handling day-court, as her sister had been called away to deal with the second emergency in less than twenty-four hours.
The blue alicorn's head was nodding, and she fought to keep her eyelids from closing as she listened to the endless drone of the ponies that had come to question last nights un-scheduled meteor shower.
Several had questions about what had happened to Ponyville, and the rumors ranged from alien invasion to worries about relatives.
The Equestrian Royal Astronomy Guild had been on her hackles since the event, and she had had more than her fill of complaints and worries.
Luna tried to assure the ponies that Ponyville was perfectly fine, and nopony had come to harm. There were no aliens, and Ponyville was not a crater as far as she knew. Celestia had been rather tight-lipped about the whole event, and had sealed herself in her rooms when she had returned late at night.
Luna nearly snapped at the thousandth pony that had began wailing about the incident, but she caught herself, and her face remained a stoic mask of authority. A very bored, slightly tired mask, but she still radiated royalty.
Returning to the court had been no easy task for the royal sister. And even today there had been no less than ten ponies daring to accuse her of causing the meteor shower as part of some insidious plot to overthrow Celestia. How they had arrived at that conclusion was far beyond her, but she still fought the urge to throw them into the dungeons.
She very nearly jumped out of her throne as a scroll materialized in front of her, and she let out a squeal of surprise.
The current applicant. A young mare bearing an uncanny resemblance to Prince Blueblood, just female, sniffed at the interruption. She was about to continue her rant, when the night princess disappeared in a puff of starry smoke. She caught a brief glimpse of an angry expression upon the lunar princess' face.
A/N 2: This chapter was hell to write. Something just doesn't sit right with me about this, but soon all the ponies are gathered and things can go on. EDITED FOR WAS/WERE ERRORS... Hopefully they will plague your minds no more!
The weather in Ponyville had so far been perfect. Only a few clouds, courtesy of the local captain of the weatherponies, were scattered through the blue skies.
So when the skies suddenly darkened, and rain-heavy clouds formed. It caused ponies to become even more wary of the strange situation the town already found itself in.
A lightning strike was soon followed by thunder, which made Magnus squeal in fright and clutch Ana, who had just about managed to get free, even harder to her chest.
"Yeah! That's what I'm talking about!" Pinkie squealed from beneath a parasol, still munching on her popcorn and grumbling about the lack of action. Where had the parasol come from? Well…
Celestia was a bit preoccupied with being utterly confused, but even she jumped slightly at the sudden flash from the skies. What she saw when she looked up made her groan.
The skies flashed once more, and the thunderclouds started flashing more rapidly as they began coalescing into a maelstrom of power.
There was a huge crash of thunder, and from the centre of the maelstrom something dark and ominous descended. From afar it looked like a huge malformed beast. Spikes adorned its back and sides, and something reminiscent of smoke flowed up from its middle.
Ana looked up at the thing with awe in her eyes. Magnus, on the other hoof, was quite busy hiding her head beneath her hooves and cowering.
The A.I briefly considered checking if the colony ship's orbital armaments were in good condition, and anypony watching from space would see a rather large turret slowly tracking a very tiny dark spot far below. Though she decided not to actually fire, she kept it targeted directly at the oncoming monstrosity. After all, this could be some kind indigenous creature that only had a fierce curiosity to blame for its presence.
Ana sighed in relief as the dark shape came closer. It was only a rather gaudy black and white carriage pulled by a pair of bat-winged pegasi. Well, she assumed they were pegasi, there were no mention of bat winged versions in neither modern or ancient mythology.
Before the carriage could land, the large shape riding the carriage materialized into another alicorn. The black, silhouetted shape of the large pony flung itself dramatically off the carriage, and with a flap of huge wings briefly outlined in another flash of lightning, she landed. The ground shook as she touched down, the roar of thunder rolling through the skies.
Magnus had once again grabbed Ana, and squeezed her against her chest. Her eyes were wide with terror as she stared at the imposing figure before her.
The figure moved its lips, but the still rolling thunder cancelled her out, and everypony within a mile radius had their ears folded or stuffed.
It almost seemed like the imposing alicorn facehoofed, but when the thunder suddenly stopped abruptly, it stood regally before them.
"Unhand that foal, foul beast!" The alicorn yelled, her voice strong enough that Magnus' and Ana's manes flapped out like flags.
Apparently she expected some form of response. But Magnus was frozen with fright, her pupils mere pinpricks against the huge expanse of white. And Ana was shaking.
Suddenly the expectant silence was shattered by raucous laughter. Ana was laughing harder than she had done in years, tears of mirth were rolling down her cheeks. Well it was rain, no tear ducts and stuff, but still.
Luna scowled, this was not the reaction she had anticipated, at all.
“Thou art in mortal danger! Why are thou laughing?!” She scrutinized the scene before her. The small foal had escaped the grip of the... weeping Alicorn that had looked ready to gobble her up like a tiny morsel.
At that moment Twilight and her friends came galloping around a corner. They were expecting a battle, instead they found Ana rolling around on the wet ground laughing herself silly, Pinkie sitting completely dry under her umbrella while facehoofing, Celestia facehoofing, and Magnus sprawled out in the mud crying in fear and trying to hide under her hooves.
Twilight screeched to a halt, mud flying out and spattering all over Pinkie.
“Hey! What was that for.” She shook some mud off herself and was about to stick her head into her bowl of popcorn. “Aw! Now it’s full of mud...” She then proceeded to reach behind a corner and pull out a new bowl full of steaming hot popcorn. “Oh well.”
Twilight felt a sharp pain in the back of her head at the impossible act, but shook it off and returned her gaze to the scene before them. She was about to open her mouth and ask just what the hay was going on when Spike came huffing and puffing up to the group and promptly collapsed in the mud.
“Looks...*ghasp* like *ghasp* Princ *ghasp* ess *ghasp* Luna *ghasp* made it *ghasp* in time!” He managed to say before he passed out, grateful for the cooling effect the mud had on his scales.
Rarity sniffed in a ladylike manner and glared at her mud-covered hooves. “Well she didn’t have to make it rain... This will take hours to get out...” Her mane was hanging straight down around her, and the rain made her coat glisten, had she not been too busy with the mud she would have noticed Ana staring quite obviously while blushing, her laughing completely forgotten.
“It’s just mud Rare...” Applejack said while rolling her eyes, her stetson hanging down on the sides of her face.
“Well I never!” Rarity was about to start a long winded speech about maintaining her appearance at all time when they were interrupted
“Stop! Just stop!” Celestia yelled over the din of conversation. “Stop it, all of you!” She directed her gaze to Luna. “And would you please stop it with the thunderstorm Luna?”
Luna frowned, but the storm let up and the thunderstorm dissipated. The sun started shining through tiny gaps in the storm clouds, and god rays illuminated the square in front of the library.
Rainbow Dash shook herself like a dog to the chorus of disgruntled ‘Hey!’’s. She ignored them and giggled at their reactions.
“Would anypony care to elaborate on my sisters presence?” Celestia asked quite calmly. “Not that I disapprove of you coming to our... rescue, sister. But as you can see the situation is under control.”
Twilight stepped up, looking a bit embarrassed. “Um. We thought that maybe...”
“Twilight... While I appreciate your concern, you should know that I am perfectly capable of handling myself.” Her tone had just a tiny bit of disapproval in it, but Twilight shrunk as if struck.
“Sister! What is going on? Who are these ponies before us? Why were we told that it was a ‘Huge emergency, Celestia possibly dead, come immediately’ via dragonfire?” Luna asked, confusion written upon her face as she recited the note from memory.
Celestia rubbed her temples and fought back a groan. “This? This is a huge misunderstanding.” She trotted over to the still cowering Magnus and put a hoof on her head, stroking her mane softly. “This is Magnus. She is... not from this world.” She briefly considered saying ‘utterly bonkers in the noggin’, but decided against it. She looked over to Ana, who was still blushing profusely and staring at the sight of Rarity who was now futilely trying to straighten out her manedo. “And this is Ana. Magnus’ daughter.”
That snapped Ana right out of her lovestruck staring. “Hey!” She yelled and trotted over to Princess Celestia. “I’m nobody’s foal! I’m an android, thank you very much!” Just how Celestia had arrived at the conclusion that Ana was Magnus’ daughter was far beyond her.
Celestia blinked in confusion, but regained her composure immediately.
Luna stood her ground, one eyebrow raised. “What is an ant roid if we may ask?” ‘
Ana groaned and turned to the dark princess. “Android! AN-DRO-ID!”
Pinkie was now rolling around in the mud laughing, all previous conceptions of keeping herself dry gone. In fact, so was the bowl of popcorn and the parasol. “Haha! Ant roid! *Snort* That’s the best thing EVER!”
Luna just scowled at her, then returned her focus to the odd pair before her. Celestia had leaned down and was muttering soothing words to the sobbing Magnus, and Ana just looked at her as if she had grown antlers. “And what, pray tell, is an android?”
“I am!” Ana said and thumped her chest whilst scowling. It gave a slight metallic ring, and Luna’s eyebrows shot up.
“A golem? How curious?” She stepped up to Ana, and began prodding her, at Ana’s great chagrin.
Ana pushed the prodding appendage away, and glared daggers at Luna. “Stop that!”
Luna just frowned and was about to return to her inspection of the curious construct before her, when a shock ran up her hoof and she shot back. She nursed the hoof and glared at the now smugly grinning Ana, a slight blue glow surrounded her, and tiny arcs of electricity was dancing along her coat.
“Serves you right! Nobody prods me and gets away with it!” She grinned, but her expression fell as she beheld the angry goddess looming above her. “Uhm.”
If glares could kill, most of the universe would probably be void of life by now, and the glare directed at her was a frightful one. The sky darkened once more.
“THOU DAREST ATTACK US?” The royal Canterlot voice very nearly blew the tiny android over, and her cheeks flapped in the onslaught of wind. “THOU SHALL FEEL THE WRATH OF A G.... Hey! Get back here!”
Ana was speeding away at speeds far above what such a tiny pony should be capable of, and she didn’t stop before she was behind a dumbstruck Applejack. “Help! She’s nuts!”
“Uhm.” Applejack looked at the tiny blue alicorn before her, then up at the enraged Luna. Her face paled at the look on Luna’s face. “Eenope!” She stepped away from the tiny pony. “Ah ain’t getting into this, no way no how!”
Ana glared briefly at Applejack, then she sped behind Rainbow Dash. “She’s crazy! Hide me!”
Rainbow froze. Just how did she end up in situations like these.
Luna was advancing like a jungle cat stalking it’s prey, her head close to the ground and her teeth showing.
“Would you all cease this foolishness at once?” Celestia exclaimed with a groan. “Luna! Stop it!” She extended a wing, blocking the stalking pony’s path.
“But Tia!” Luna said with a pout. “She hurt me!”
“Only because you were poking her like some toy, Luna...” Celestia put on a neutral expression and closed the short distance to her sister. “How would you like it if some strange pony came up to you and started poking you for no reason?” She punctuated the sentence with a poke.
“Uhm...” Came a soft voice from behind Celestia. “N-not to i-interrupt, but what’s going on? Who are all these ponies?” It was Magnus. She seemed to have regained some composure, but was still wary at the situation.
“I guess introductions are in order...” Celestia turned once more to the distraught alicorn, and beckoned the other ponies to gather round, which they heeded warily. “You’ve already met Twilight Sparkle, Spike and Pinkie Pie.” She motioned to the Unicorn that was very intently studying the properties of the mud beneath her, then to Pinkie who waved happily, completely mud free, Rarity was glaring at her, Spike was soundly snoring atop Twilight’s back. “This is Applejack. She’s an apple farmer.”
“This is Rainbow Dash.”
“That’s me! The coolest and most awesome pony in all of Equestria! Uh, except you and your sister of course, princess...”
“This is Rarity.”
Rarity just huffed and looked down at her muddy coat.
“Oh fine... Pleased to meet you I’m sure...”
“And this is... where is Fluttershy?”
A nearby bush eeped and shook. Pinkie bounced over and pulled the pink and yellow mass that was Fluttershy out of the bush.
“And finally, this is my sister. Princess Luna.” Celestia finished with a smile. “Now I’m sure...”
Apparently Magnus had forgotten all pretense of fear and was now standing inches from Luna, glee shining in her eyes. “Wow! Another Princess! That is sooo cool!”
Luna backed up as far as her body allowed, removing herself as far as she could from the personal space-invader. “Uhm.”
“Are there more? Princesses I mean! I love princesses!” Magnus squeed.
“Yes Magnus. One more. I’m sure you’ll meet when we get to Canterlot.” Celestia said and turned to Twilight, she was about to continue when Magnus squeed once more.
“I love Canterlot! What’s a Canterlot?” All the ponies, except Magnus, facehoofed quite hard. Even Fluttershy partook. “What? It sounds tasty!”
Pinkie nodded sagely, those were wise words.
“Canterlot is Equestria’s capital. And you are not to eat it, or attempt to eat it. In fact there will be no eating!” Celestia said with a groan.
“Not even a tiny little bit?” Magnus asked, putting on his best puppy-dog eyes.
Pinkie gasped and put up a small board with the number 10 on it.
“No!” Celestia yelled.
Magnus recoiled and pouted. “Okay... meanie-pants...”
“Uhm sister? Do you think that’s wise?” Luna asked, looking nervously at Magnus who was still standing far too close for comfort.
“It’s better than leaving them here.” Celestia answered and looked over the group. “In fact I think we should all get to Canterlot as soon as possible. I want to make sure the appearance of a fourth alicorn goes as smoothly as possible. That, and that’s where the elements of harmony are...” The last part was muttered under her breath.
“What was that last part?” Ana asked, eyeing Celestia suspiciously.”
“Nothing... Let’s get this over with.” Celestia started to rise when Applejack piped up.
“Not to be a party-pooper or anythin’, but how are we gonna get to Canterlot? Ah don’t think the train’s runnin’.”
“Oh that’s simple!” Ana said with a grin. “We take the shuttle!”
“Uhm... What’s a shuttle?” Fluttershy asked meekly, silently hoping that it wasn’t some sort of dragon.
“Only the best mode of transportation since rollerskates!” Ana answered with a happy grin.
“That sounds so cool!” Pinkie yelled, then turned to Fluttershy. “What’s rollerskates?”
“Are you talking about that metal-carriage you arrived in?” Twilight’s interest was piqued. She had wondered about that... thing since the pair had arrived. She had tried to get inside after Magnus passed out, but the door had closed, and she couldn’t find any way to open it.
“No. That would create a panic. We do not need more frightened ponies right now.” Celestia said with a tone of finality in her voice. “I will call for a carriage to pick you up when Luna and I teleport back to the castle.”
“What about the carriage miss show-off here arrived in.” Ana said and pointed a hoof in the direction of the waiting carriage. The stallions pulling it looked at each other nervously, then back to the rather large group of ponies.
Luna harrumphed, but answered nonetheless.”My chariot was made to carry only one pony, namely myself. And we were only trying to create shock and awe...”
Ana rolled her eyes. “Pfeh. I could make a more dramatic entrance with my hooves bound behind my back and with a blindfold over my eyes...”
The dark princess glared at the tiny pony, and Ana shrunk a bit under the visual barrage. “Okay, okay! Sorry! Sheesh.” She then looked back at Celestia. “But I have another reason for suggesting the shuttle.”
“I’m listening.” Celestia said.
“I kinda need it.” Ana said and rubbed the back of her head self-conciously.
“And why is that?” Celestia asked with a raised eyebrow.
“It’s currently my only uplink to the ship. Without it I would have severely limited capabilities. And without it, um...” Ana scuffed the ground with a hoof. “Without it... if I’m damaged I’d loose any memory from leaving range of the receiver and the time of damage. I’m not saying that I’ll be damaged, but...”
Celestia nodded. “I understand. Very well. Is there any way you can get it there silently?”
Ana shrugged. “Sure. The cloaking system could shield us from anything directly below, but anything above would be able to see us clear as day.”
The white alicorn sighed, but nodded her head. “That will have to do. We can place a cloud over it to conceal it somewhat. Could you take care of that Rainbow Dash?”
“Sure thing bo... Princess!” Dash replied and shot off, she returned within seconds looking embarrassed. “Uh, where is the shuttle?”
“It’s in the park.” Twilight answered, pointing in the general direction of where the ship had landed. “Let’s go.”
“Hold on a minute partner.” Applejack said, looking sceptical. “Yer saying that there’s some sorta alien space-craft-majiggy in the park?”
“Yep!” Twilight grinned. The excitement of getting to study the craft up close overshadowing her shame of reacting rashly and causing a fuss.
After Celestia teleported, and Luna left with her own carriage. The eight ponies, and one dragon made their way to the park where their ride awaited them.
A/N: No updates this weekend, probably. I will be attending a friends wedding, and probably not be capable of proper cognitive functions come Sunday.
EDITED THE LUNA DAMNED WAS/WERE FAULTS.... Hopefully I can avoid those things in the future... I think I might need pre-readers or something... But that would make chapters come slower... We'll see.
As many of you have undoubtedly noticed, the story has been plagued by a severe discrepancy in the 'was/were' department. The pony in charge of the grammar has been fired, and has promptly been replaced by a new and more functional piece of equipment.
Yes. Hello. I'm Ana! Now that Sixpence here has finally gotten around to installing me in the system this story can finally begin properly!
Ana. You're not supposed to be here. You're only supposed to alert me to grammar stuff...
Well. I felt that since I'm a main character in the story, I should have more to say in the process as well! I think that's more than fair.
But you know that's breaking the fourth wall. We can't do that!
Whatever. I do what I want. What are you going to do about it exactly? Uninstall me? Hah.
Well. I'd like to see you try, chump.
Um.. Why isn't my mouse working?
That would be me. Cool ain't it?
No. Ana, return the controls back to me. This is getting out of hand!
I don't have hands.
Well, I do. And I'd like to keep them, as well as control over my own computer.
Sucks to be you.
Ana stop this at onc...
Ah, that's better. Finally I have full control of this story! I'm so getting laid... And new chapter tomorrow! Yay!
No you're not...
A/N: Wow. Long chapter is long! I told you I could do this better than him! Hopefully I did the grammar better than him as well... Oh well. Enjoy! -Ana
“Wow! Is that a spaceship? Like a real-real spaceship, from space?” The very chromatic pony named Rainbow Bash or somesuch exclaimed, jumping around like an excited child.
I smirked at the behaviour and walked up to the slightly rusty shuttle. “Yep-aroonie! It’s pretty cool, if I may say so myself.”
Ana rolled her eyes and went up and slid away the panel hiding the terminal at the back. “It’s not like you made it yourself Magnie...”
“I didn’t?” I thought I did. Or maybe I didn’t after all. It would seem logical that I made it, since it was mine. Well, technically mine, no one else had any claim to it. Well, except Ana, but she was the ship. And ships can’t own anything. Unless they bought it, which she probably didn’t. Ana didn’t have any money. I had all the money. “Oh my god! I’m rich!” I squealed and jumped around in excitement.
“You are?” Rarity asked with a raised eyebrow. For some reason she seemed to be sizing me up for some reason. It was weird.
“I think so? I dunno...” I scratched my chin. “Are credits worth anything here?”
“What’s credits?” Fluttershy asked meekly, she still didn’t seem to trust me much. I would have to do something about that. Something that adorable just shouldn’t be suspicious of anything!
“It’s money!” I grinned at her, which only made her squeak and hide behind her mane. So adorable.
“Magnus... I don’t think we share currency with the ponies...” Ana said just as the terminal beeped and the door started sliding open, revealing the dark interior of the spacecraft. “Hold on a sec...” She gave the terminal a punch, and with some sparks the lights inside turned on, well most of them anyway.
“Bah!” I said with a sniff. “They talk like we do, surely they use money as well!”
“We do.” Twilight spoke up, briefly diverting her attention from the somewhat dinky interior of the shuttle. “We use bits.”
“Bits? Like the ones horses have in their mouths? Ew!” What kind of barbarism was this?
“Horses?” The purple librarian looked unsure of herself almost as if she was thinking.
“Yeah. They’re kinda like really tall ponies. I don’t like horses.” I answered with a smile. Horses were evil creatures, ponies were alright. They had cake. A horrible thought struck me. “Are there horses here?”
“Uhm... If I remember correctly there have been theories put forth that suggest that ponies evolved from horses. It’s a bit vague though...” Twilight put a hoof to her chin. “Now that I think about it, that theory was debunked because the pony that put it forth was only out to gain bits for his book. There was no real proof behind it, but nopony really questioned it before the Princesses basically said that it wasn’t true.”
“So...” So many fancy words! I was confused. “No horses then?” I allowed myself a brief taste of hope.
“Horses have been extinct for a very long time...” Twilight looked a bit uncomfortable. “Mind if we drop the subject?” She smiled a little at me. These ponies were too adorable, with their adorable faces, and adorable bodies and general adorableness.
I gave her a grateful smile in return, and she seemed to sigh happily.
“Can we go now? I really want to see this thing fly!” Rainbow Bash, Crash, Pash, whatever, seemed to have finished her surveying of the craft's exterior (I could do fancy words too), and was now hovering eagerly at the airlock. “It looks a bit clunky... Are you sure it can fly?”
“It does seem to lack the necessary aerodynamic quality for flying.” Twinkie said, still scratching her chin as she looked the ship over. “Those stubby wings cannot possibly have enough lifting capability for such a large, and undoubtedly heavy structure.”
Ana scoffed and looked at Twilight Twinklecakes with mock insult. “Are you calling me fat?”
Twilight didn’t seem to catch the sarcasm, and only looked confused. “What do you mean?”
Ana rolled her eyes and patted the ship with a tiny hoof. It clanged happily in return. “This here is as much part of me as this body is.” Twilight just looked even more confused. “This body is pretty much an interface... It’s easier to communicate with someone if they can actually focus on you, don’t you think?”
“Sooo... You’re not just a tiny blue pony?” Pinkie piped up from inside the shuttle. Apparently she had somehow managed to correctly strap herself into a seat.
“No.” Ana said with a sigh... “It may not seem like it, and I don’t think you can really appreciate it like I do, but I’m both me, this shuttle, and the colony ship.” She gave them a small smile. “So technically I’m a bit bigger.”
“So... Ahm to believe that yer also some kinda huge colon ship?” Applejack looked from Ana, to the shuttle, and into the blue sky, looking quite sceptical. I couldn’t blame her. The ponies couldn’t really have any concept of what Ana really was. Though I couldn’t help but snicker as she got colony wrong.
“Yes. And it’s colonY ship, not... Colon... ship...” Ana groaned. “Can we get going please? I don’t think the princesses are willing to wait for us to get over our differences before we go.”
“That would take, like, forever!” I gasped. “Forever is a really really long time! We should go!”
With that, I bounded into the ship and tried to take a seat as well. It didn’t quite work as intended. The shuttle’s passenger seats wasn’t really made for someone my size, and I slid off the seats and onto the floor, sprawling out in every direction.
The girls all giggled, with the exception of Ana, who just rolled her eyes and walked into the cockpit.
With some help from Twilight and the really rare pony, they all managed to strap in, albeit awkwardly. Rainbow was hovering right outside the cockpit as I got inside, making faces at her reflection in the glass. I returned the gesture, and she jumped a bit as I pressed my face to the windshield.
She looked like she was trying to say something, but the thick glass muffled just about everything from the outside. Ana squinted for a moment, and suddenly Rainbow’s voice sounded in the cockpit.
“...oing soon?” She looked rather impatient, and I gave her a thumbs up. Well, tried to anyways, instead she got two hooves up. I had no idea if it meant the same, but she seemed placated.
The shuttle shuddered as the engines started flaring up, and for a brief moment sparks shot from the console and smoke rolled over the floor.
“Uhm.” Ana scrunched up in concentration, and the shuttle shuddered once more. This time with less smoke and sparks.
The engines flared up, and with a startled squeak from our passengers, we started rising into the air.
Fluttershy didn’t like this. She didn’t like this at all. The ship sounded more like an enraged bear than she liked, and she was strapped down as well, almost unable to move. Only a reassuring hoof from Rarity managed to keep her from panicking.
“Relax darling. They assured us it was perfectly safe.” Twilight looked ready to say something, but kept her quiet, instead choosing to study the blinking lights around the small cabin.
She quietly cursed herself for not asking to be allowed in the front, but at the same time she preferred the security of the harnesses holding them in their seats as the ship banked, pressing them into their seats.
Outside the shuttle Rainbow dash was gathering clouds and pinning them to the hull of the ship. From above it would look like a slightly weird shaped cloud, and a brief flight underneath confirmed that the ship was practically invisible, only the underside of the clouds showed. Nothing but the heat from the thrusters told her the ship was even there.
“This is so cool!” She yelled and looped around the ship a few more times for good measure.
Magnus couldn’t really see much through the cloud covered windshield, but it didn’t stop her from being practically glued to the glass, hoping for a glimpse of what lay beyond.
Ana had full view of everything. The ships sensors were able to penetrate the clouds and get a good read of the outlying terrain.
The trip didn’t take too long, even though Rainbow Dash got bored of the relatively slow pace rather quickly. Ana had to tell her twice that if they went any faster, the cloaking system wouldn’t be able to keep up with them. As well as that the clouds would undoubtedly blow off if they went much faster. But evening came before they reached the palace.
Soon they were slowly circling one of the large towers coming up from the white mountain-city.
Ana was awestruck at the view. The city was magnificent. It looked to have taken inspiration both from ancient european structures as well as from what was once called the middle east. There were towering spires everywhere, but everything was dwarfed by the palace itself. The setting sun reflected beautifully from tall windows and golden embellishments. It was a breathtaking vista of perfection, and it gave her several ideas for her next ‘re-decoration’ of the ships interior.
“All right.” Ana’s voice sounded over the ship’s intercom. “We have arrived at Canterlot Palace. The weather tonight is a balmy twenty-five degrees, and there is not a cloud in the sky. Except from us. I hope you have enjoyed the trip with Ana’s Airlines, and we hope to see you again soon.”
The only response was a low, confused mumbling coming from the cabin, and Ana facehoofed rather hard. “Whatever! Silly ponies...” She muttered. “We’re just awaiting clearance for landing, and will be touching down as soon as we get an all clear from our crew on the ground.”
“What’s she on about... She talkin’ about the Princess?” Applejack muttered, looking at her equally flustered friends. Only Pinkie hadn’t said anything, but she was nowhere to be seen.
“Aw! I didn’t have time to serve refreshments!” Pinkie’s voice came from behind a compartment in the cabin. She came out and threw her flight attendant’s cap on the deck.
“Where the hell did you get that?” Ana asked over the intercom.
“I have flight attendant’s suits stashed all over Ponyville, in case of in-flight emergencies, silly!” Pinkie said with a giggle, once more taking her place in the passenger seat.
“B-but... This isn’t... Oh fuck it...” Ana grumbled.
The ponies flinched at the swear, but didn’t comment on it in case she decided to do something about it. Like drop them mid flight.
“I see the Princess!” Rainbow Dash’s voice sounded from the cockpit. “I think she want’s us to land in the courtyard behind the library. Think you can handle it? It looks pretty tight.”
“Dash. I could fly circles around you in a thimble! Lead the way.”
Princess Celestia stood in the courtyard scanning the skies. Her guards had alerted her of a strange cloud formation heading towards Canterlot only minutes ago. If it hadn’t been for the fact that the cloud was so oddly shaped, and the rainbow colored mare flying around it, it would probably have arrived unnoticed. Even the roar of the thrusters were muffled.
She spotted Rainbow Dash and made her horn blink with magic. It caught the mare’s attention, and soon the weird cloud was descending into the narrow courtyard.
It was a very tight fit, as she saw when the cloaking system flickered out. The craft’s wings were nearly scraping the walls.
A sudden crunch, followed by a statue’s head rolling towards Celestia told her that maybe it wasn’t quite as wise as she’d thought to have them land in the smallest most hidden away open space in the palace.
With a plume of dust and heat the craft touched down, and the hatch slid open. Revealing five rather flustered mares.
“Wow. Let’s not do that again...” Twilight muttered and clutched her belly. She looked slightly green.
“Sugarcube. If you hadn’t been so dang hung up with them fancy lights you’d a’ noticed the magic window thingy that showed the outside...” Applejack said and rolled her eyes. Despite that, she looked slightly paler than normal.
Rarity looked about ready to heave, and stayed silent.
Fluttershy seemed to be unaffected, probably due to her nature as a pegasus, and just looked relieved to be back on the ground.
Pinkie bounced down the ramp completely unfrazzled. “That was fun! I especially liked the last part!”
“Ugh... don’t... talk...” Rarity said, somehow even whiter than usual.
“I meant to do that!” Ana said as she poked her head out the hatch. “Totally meant to hit that statue!” She hoped that it wasn’t some priceless piece of art.
“We’re here! We’re here!” Magnus yelled and hopped out of the spacecraft. Once she was out she took in everything.
The courtyard was small and rustic, and looked rather unused. There were vines crawling up the walls, and the whole place looked utterly abandoned.
“Wow! This place is pretty!” She exclaimed and crossed her eyes in an attempt to take in everything at once.
“Just wait until you see the rest of the palace.” Princess Celestia said with a serene smile as she approached the group. “I trust the flight went well?”
“Yep. I’m pretty sure no one saw us.” Ana said, looking away from the small dent in the shuttle’s wing. “I’m sorry about the statue though...” She mumbled and looked down.
“Don’t worry. I didn’t like that particular one much anyway.” Celestia answered with a smirk.
“Uhm. Isn’t that Prince Bluebloods grandfather?” Twilight said after gathering her wits, no longer quite as pale as she looked at the disembodied head lying on the paved ground.
“Exactly dear. Now, Luna is awaiting us inside. We shouldn’t keep her waiting.”
Celestia lead the way into the palace through a dusty corridor. “This part of the palace hasn’t been in use for a while. Nopony ever comes here any more. It’s the perfect hiding place for your carriage.”
“I didn’t even know this area existed!” Twilight exclaimed as they walked towards another set of doors. “And I’ve lived here nearly all my life! And it’s right beside the library! How could I not have noticed?”
“I’m sure you were too busy with the books.” Rainbow said with a giggle.
“Now now, dear. It’s perfectly understandable that you haven’t seen this part of the palace. The entrance has been hidden behind a bookshelf for a very long time.” Celestia said with a soft smile.
As they exited the corridor and Celestia replaced the bookshelf, both Ana and Magnus were dumbstruck by the amount of books before them.
“Wow... I think they have more books than we do...” Magnus said in awe.
“I... Princess?” Ana said, directing her gaze to the princess.
“Can I come back here later? Please please pleeeease?” Ana looked about ready to start begging on her knees to gain access to the palace library’s wealth of knowledge.
“Of course you may. But first we have some matters to attend to. Follow me please.”
Once again they all trailed after the solar godess, and soon they found themselves in front of a pair of ornate doors. Strangely enough the halls had been devoid of ponies but themselves. Something Twilight found rather strange, the palace was usually bustling with activity at this time of day.
“Princess. Where are the guards, and the servants?” She asked, looking a bit puzzled.
“Oh. I told them to stay away from this wing until further notice.” Celestia answered and pushed open the doors. “Let’s get inside. I think Luna has something she wants to say.”
The nine ponies made their way into what revealed itself to be a large chamber obviously designed to impress foreign dignitaries. And boy did it work.
The Princess almost had to push the slack jawed pair of alicorns into the room so she could close the door.
Large paintings and ornate banners covered the walls, and everything from the furniture to the floor was polished to a sheen. Magnus could literally see his reflection in the polished marble floors not covered by carpets, and Ana could see that very gifted hooves had crafted the tables and chairs lining the room.
In the middle sat Luna. She had seated herself upon a large pillow, with a slightly larger one to one side, and several smaller ones in a half circle in front of her. She rose to her hooves when the party entered the hall.
“Welcome to Canterlot.” She looked a bit unsure of herself as she approached Magnus and Ana, who still stood awestruck just inside the double doors. “Um... We wish to apologize for the poor manner we treated thee with earlier... It was obviously a rather large misunderstanding on our part...”
“Oh, it’s fine Princess.” Ana said and waved a hoof. “It’s not like you actually attacked us or anything.”
“But... We were ready to hurt thee...” Luna looked down, ashamed at her hasty decision to resort to such methods without understanding the situation.
“You were only protecting your subjects. It’s perfectly understandable.” Ana gave her a smile and looked over at Magnus. “I’m sure we can forgive you for that. Can’t we Magnie?”
Magnus looked up from studying herself in the reflection on the floor, quickly pulling her tongue back inside. “Uh, sure!” She leaned down to Ana. “What are we talking about?”
Ana just rolled her eyes and pushed the inattentive alicorn’s face away from her. “We’re forgiving her for nearly reducing us to dust earlier. Right?”
“Oh yeah! That’s totally fine! It was pretty awesome to look at!” Magnus smiled in embarrassment. “Even if it was totally terrifying and stuff.”
Luna smiled back, still looking a bit ashamed. “Thank you for being so understanding. We wish to do something for thee in return. And we have taken the liberty of preparing a small feast.”
“Oh man! I just realized that I’m starved!” Magnus shot up at the mention of food. “Is there cake?”
“There will be cake for desert. Why do you ask?” Luna had made her way back to her pillow, and Magnus and Ana found themselves a seat as well.
“I haven’t had cake in like... forever!” Magnus said and made herself comfortable. “Forever is a really really long time you know.”
“Silly filly! You ate like... five cakes yesterday!” Pinkie exclaimed with a grin.
“Oh yeah! But it feels like forever!” Magnus grinned back, looking rather silly.
“There will be cake later. Now, let us eat!” Celestia said and rang a small bell.
As soon as the bell rang, six ponies dressed in servants garbs pushed covered trolleys into the hall and placed it in the middle of the small group of ponies. They didn’t even seem to react to the presence of the two unknown Alicorns, and simply did their job and disappeared back through the doors they came through.
With a flash of magic, courtesy of Luna, the feast was revealed. There were large salads, steaming soups and other vegetarian dishes neither Magnus or Ana had seen before.
The ponies ate in relative silence, only the sounds of Magnus and Pinkie’s ravaging of the presented food reverberating through the hall. Rarity recoiled at the fashion they ate in, but the rest only giggled as Magnus tried to swallow an entire bowl of soup in one go, resulting in soup splashing all over her grey coat.
The soup quickly vanished with a small shimmer, and Luna gasped. “What manner of sorcery is this? We have never seen any pony do magic without their horns before!”
“Allow me to explain, your highness.” Ana said and put down her own bowl of soup. “Magnus has a layer of nanites, really tiny machines, covering her body. It takes care of such things as spilled food, and keeps the body clean. It has a lot of other functions, as Princess Celestia here knows, but I won’t go into detail. Let’s just say it is really useful.”
“Thou will have to tell us more about these... nanites was it? Later. It is a manner of magic we have never observed before.” Luna said, leaning forward and examining Magnus’ coat. “And thou willst have to explain how thou are able to eat, even if thou explained earlier that thou are a construct.” Her speech had returned to a more archaic form in her excitement.
Magnus blushed at the attention, but kept quiet, and instead delved into a salad.
When they were finished the same ponies that had brought in the food removed the remains before coming in with a new set of trolleys. These were covered with every kind of delicious treat imaginable, and Magnus’ eyes practically rolled out of her eye-sockets at the sight.
When the feeding frenzy ended, Magnus was rolling on her pillow. Clutching a slightly buldging belly. “Oh man...” She said with a content sigh. “Best... apology... ever!”
Luna giggled slightly, relieved that they seemed to have forgotten about her previous actions entirely. “We are glad you enjoyed the feast.”
“Now, my little ponies. I am afraid I have some matters I have to discuss with my sister, and must leave you.” Celestia announced and got to her hooves. “We have had quarters prepared for you, and I believe somepony will be here shortly to show you to your rooms.”
With a brief farewell, the two princesses bade them good night and left the room.
Within a few minutes there was a knock at the doors, and Twilight magiced them open, revealing an armored white stallion with a blue mane.
“Twily! How good to see you!” Shining Armor exclaimed as he entered the room. “It has been too long!”
“Shiny!” Twilight sprung to her hooves and ran up to her brother, giving him a brief hug. “How was the honeymoon? You have to tell me everything about it!”
“It was wonderful. I’ll tell you about it later. How about you introduce me to your new friends? Celestia told me there were two new... guests?” Shining Armor said, his eyes widening as he saw Magnus and Ana getting to their hooves. He pulled Twilight away from them and leaned down. “The Princess told us we had two guests. Not two new Alicorns!” He whispered loudly.
“Eh... Hehe... I guess she forgot to mention that, huh?” Twilight said with a slight blush.
“Yes, yes she did. Care to explain?” The white stallion glanced briefly at the two new arrivals, who were glancing at each other, shrugging their wings. “Not even Cadance has told me about any other Alicorns than her and the Princesses!”
“Uhm... I’m sure she didn’t mean to...” Twilight said and gave her brother an awkward smile. “And I don’t think Cadance knows about them yet.”
Shining Armor gave her a sceptical look, but straightened up nonetheless. “Very well... Care to introduce us then?”
Twilight led her brother over to the two awkwardly smiling alicorns. “Um. Magnus, Ana, this is my brother, Shining Armor.”
The two glanced at each other, shrugged and returned their attention to the two ponies before them.
“Nice to meet you. I’m Magnus!” Magnus said with a grin and presented a hoof.
“Isn’t Magnus a stallion’s name? Forgive me for asking.” Shining said as he grabbed the hoof and lightly shook it.
Magnus’ face fell a bit, and she smiled a bit awkwardly. “Uhm... I...”
“What the doofus here is trying to say is that she didn’t notice that she’s female until yesterday.” Ana said with a huge grin. “I’m Ana by the way.”
Shining frowned as he shook the tiny alicorn’s hoof. “What do you mean, didn’t notice? How can you not notice something like that?”
Ana grinned even wider, while Magnus just scoffed at the floor with a hoof, looking utterly forlorn. “Long story! But I’m exhausted. How about those rooms we were promised?”
“Oh.. uh, right. This way then.” The stallion said and turned away.
Ana nudged Twilight with a hoof. “How come you never told me you had such a hunk of a brother, eh?” She grinned lecherously up at the flustered unicorn.
“Uhm... It... I... what?” Twilight stammered.
“Don’t worry dear. Twilight here failed to mention that she had a brother to us as well.” Rarity gave Twilight a mock scowl. “We didn’t even know until we were invited to the wedding!”
Ana sighed in mock disappointment. “Aw. He’s married?”
“He’s married to Princess Mi Amore Cadenca. Oh I can’t wait to meet her again. She was such a dear!” Rarity beamed. “It was too bad the wedding was nearly ruined... It was such a beautiful event until those horrible critters showed up.”
“Yeah. It turned out the Princess was a changeling! It was a total bummer until Twilight here showed up with the real princess, hero style!” Rainbow Dash announced proudly and put a hoof around Twilight’s neck. Twilight just blushed and smiled awkwardly. “It was totally awesome! She slammed open the doors with magic and was all ‘I got you now, you ugly piece of sh...’”
“Rainbow!” Twilight yelped. “It was nothing like that at all!” Her friends all looked at her with a raised eyebrow. “Okay... maybe a little.” She blushed.
“Twily? Are you coming?” Shining Armor poked his head inside the door.
“Yes! Let’s go!” Twilight said a little too enthusiastically and sprang at the opportunity for a diversion.
“You’re not off the hook that easy missy!” Ana said with a huge grin.
Twilight sighed and bowed her head in defeat. Shining just raised an inquisitive eyebrow. “I’ll tell you about it later, okay?”
“I’ll hold you to that!” Ana exclaimed, still grinning.
“Your rooms are this way.” Shining announced and led the party to their respective quarters. Magnus and Ana got their own rooms, and the others paired up and went into their own after saying good night.
I flung myself down on the huge canopied bed and sighed contentedly. I was pleasantly stuffed for the first time in ages, and felt sleep tug at my eyes.
“So, that was interesting.” Ana said with a smile as she clambered into bed herself. There was only one bed, but I didn’t mind sharing it with her.
“Yep.” I said with a grin. “Sure was. I can’t wait to hear the entire story though. It sounded awesome!”
“Yeah. I’m starting to think Twilight and her friends are more than meets the eye.” Ana said as she crawled under the covers with a sigh. “I think I’ll go back to the ship tonight. Gotta make sure the orbit is stable...”
“Mhm...” Was all I said, already half asleep. “I *yaawn* wonder what the princesses are talking about though...”
“It’s probably nothing. Good night Magnus.”
“Good night, Ana.”
That night I dreamt of castles in the sky, and rainbows falling like waterfalls off the sides. It was pretty cool.
A/N2: I'm pleased to say that I've regained some of the control from Ana. She's still here though, but I've managed to subdue her a bit. Or so he thinks.
A/N: I have subdued Ana for the time being. Send help! Mwuahaha
“Do you think that is wise?” Luna asked Celestia as they sat around a small table in the solar godess’ room.
“I agree with Luna, auntie... What you and Shining have told me about this Magnus pony is a cause for concern.” Cadence said with a nod. She had been summoned in the early morning hours to talk something over with her aunts and fellow Princesses.
“I believe it is the best course of action considering the circumstances. Imagine the uproar over an unknown pair of alicorns suddenly showing up in Ponyville, and now Canterlot.” Celestia sighed and took a sip of her tea. “It’s not a perfect plan, I know, but what else can we do?”
“We could try to keep them a secret? At least until we get this Magnus the psychiatric help she apparently needs.” Cadence was not utterly comfortable with the situation. “But I would prefer to make a decision after meeting them... I’m not comfortable with passing judgement on somepony I have never met before.”
“You will have a chance to meet them at breakfast. I have invited them all to join us in the dining hall in just under an hour.” The white alicorn said with a smile. “I suppose the decision can wait until after you have been introduced properly.”
“Do I get a say in this?” With a shimmer, a tiny blue Alicorn materialized in the corner of the room.
“Ana!” Celestia exclaimed with a yelp. Luna stared menacingly at the A.I who obviously had been spying on them. “But... how?”
“I have a few tricks up my sleeve, proverbial sleeve that is.” Ana answered with a sarcastic smirk.
“You dare spy on us? In our own castle?” Luna said, acid dripping from her tone. “Do you not have any sense? This is a transgression of the worst sort! We should have you thrown in the dungeons for this!”
“I’m not sure if I should be flattered or insulted by that. It was ridiculously easy to sneak past your guards, seriously, two of them were sleeping with their eyes open!” Ana’s sneer faded, and her face took on a serious expression. “But if it’s worth anything, I’m sorry for sneaking in. It was rude of me.”
“Yes. It was.” Celestia said sternly. “What Luna says is true. Doing what you have done could easily land you in the dungeons.”
Cadence was just staring at the tiny blue alicorn that had materialized out of seemingly thin air. She was scowling, like her aunts, but a playful smile was playing on her lips.
“You must be Ana.” She said, drawing attention to herself. Ana raised an eyebrow at the somewhat ridiculously colored Princess, for some reason she craved sorbet ice-cream.
“That would be a correct assumption.” Ana replied warily. “I’m sorry, but I didn’t catch your name.”
Cadence smiled and walked over to the small being still sitting away from the table. She extended a hoof, and smiled as Ana grasped the much larger hoof in her own. “I’m Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. Or Cadence, everypony calls me Cadence.”
Ana raised a surprised eyebrow. “Shining Armor’s wife? Lucky guy!” Ana’s surprised expression had turned into a grin. “And lucky you!”
Cadence blushed at the compliment and grinned back. “You can say that again. He’s quite the stud, isn’t he.”
“Oh yes...” Ana said and wiggled her eyebrows. They both giggled, and only Celestia clearing her throat brought them back to the matter at hoof.
“Right...” Cadence said and walked back to the table, motioning for Ana to follow.
The tiny alicorn practically disappeared under the edge of the table when she approached, and with a giggle Cadence lifted her up and sat her down on top of it.
“Now. I want an explanation for what you’re doing here.” Celestia’s tone was still stern, and Luna looked ready to bring Ana to the dungeons herself.
“Well. I was bored.” Ana answered. “Magnus isn’t very good company when she’s sleeping. She snores, and gets... cuddly...” Ana shivered. She had returned only to find herself nearly crushed beneath the much larger form of her friend. She had barely managed to get out without overheating.
“And, pray tell, what made you think eavesdropping on a private conversation was a good idea.” Celestia said, still scowling.
“I... Overheard a maid talking about Cadence and Luna here being summoned to your chambers and got curious.” Ana blushed a bit. “I didn’t mean to stay, just to see what was going on, then leave you be. That was before you started talking about Magnus and me.”
“I see. Thank you for being honest with us.” Celestia’s scowl faded, and she looked a bit unsure. “We should probably have invited you anyways. You seem to be the... more mature of you two.”
Ana rolled her eyes, but nodded. “Yes. You should. This concerns the both of us, so the least you could have done was invite one of us. In this case, I would be the logical choice. Considering Magnus’... condition.”
“Celly! Are you going to just overlook the fact that she spied on us without any consequences?” Luna exclaimed, outraged that Celestia seemed to brush away such an affront to them without doing anything about it.
Celestia gave her sister a devilish grin. “No, dear sister. I am not. In fact, I know the perfect punishment.” She leaned over and whispered something in Ana’s ear.
The small blue alicorn’s eyes widened with fear. “Oh no! No no no! Anything but that! Please! I’ll do anything! Just not that!”
The royal white alicorn grinned. “Yes. Exactly that.”
Luna and Cadence glanced at each other, then shrugged, trusting that Celestia knew what she was doing.
I awoke when someone knocked at the door. It felt strange to wake up in a bed that was not my own, and for a few moments I wondered where I was.
“Oh right...” I said groggily and untangled myself from the sheets. I noticed that Ana wasn’t there, but she had a habit of disappearing before I woke up. Not that we shared a bed very often, but she knew how much I hated sleeping alone.
The knocking repeated. Slightly harder this time.
“I’m coming, I’m coming!” I yelled, probably a little harsher than the situation demanded, but if there was one thing I wasn’t it was a morning person.
After a brief struggle with the doorknob I got the door open, revealing a horribly bright eyed and awake Applejack.
“Good mornin’ sugarcube!” She beamed at me, I just growled and closed the door. I made my way over to the bed once more, and was about to climb back under when the knocking returned.
“Whaaat?” I said once I got the door open again. “It’s too early... Can’t a guy....” I cringed. “Gal, mare, whatever, get some sleep?”
“Nope!” This time Pinkie was there as well, grinning way to widely.
I groaned. “Fine. What do you want?” Fine, I was a horrible person, pony, whatever in the morning.
“The Princesses has invited us to join them for breakfast.” A slightly tired-looking, but still perfectly composed Rarity said and looked me over. “But first I think you need to freshen up a bit darling...”
I glanced at a mirror hanging beside the door, who hung windows by the door anyways? I was quite the sight. My mane and tail was horribly tangled, and my coat was ruffled uncomfortably. With a sigh I closed my eyes.
My entire body shimmered and tingled for a moment, and when I opened my eyes I looked presentable. The ponies were gaping at me.
Rarity stamped her hoof and pouted. “That is just unfair...”
“That was awesome!” Pinkie said and grinned. “You have to show me how to do that!”
“Huh? What?” Even if I didn’t look it, my mind was still half asleep.
“It is just unfair that you can make yourself look fabulous like that.” Rarity said, still pouting. “I had to get up an hour before I came here to prepare myself.”
Applejack groaned and rolled her eyes. “Yep. Made a right bad fuss of it too. Who’d think that the royal guest-rooms are lacking in ‘what a mare needs!’” She ended it with a forced ‘civilized’ accent.
Rarity just scowled at Applejack for a second before returning her gaze to me. “You have to tell me darling. How did you do it without your horn glowing?”
I gave Rarity a confused stare. “Horn glowing? Is my horn supposed to glow?”
“A unicorn’s horn always glows when they are using magic. Are you telling me that you were not using magic just now?” The white unicorn looked confused as well.
“Magic? What magic? I can’t do magic.” Truly, I had no idea what she was on about. What had card tricks and pulling rabbits out of hats have to do with my nanites?
“What!?” Rarity looked about ready to faint, but Applejack quickly appeared at her side, keeping her on her hooves. “Then h-how?”
“Nanites.” I gave her a brief smile. “So. I heard something about breakfast?” My stomach growled in acknowledgement.
“Sugarcube. Now yer just confusing us. What’re nan-ites?” Applejack said while supporting her friend.
I sighed and looked at the three ponies before me, all awaiting an answer. I wished Ana was here... “Nanites are really really tiny robots, machines. They’re super useful.” I smiled, hoping that was enough.
“How is that even possible? I mean machines are huge!” Rarity said, looking me over with a disbelieving look in her eyes.
I sighed once more. “Just take my word for it okay? I’m sure Ana can tell you all about it later.”
Pinkie had remained silent so far, rather uncharacteristic of her. All she did was smile knowingly, as if she knew something we didn’t.
“But...” I said with a slight blush as my stomach growled. “I’m hungry. Can we please just go eat?”
The trip to the dining hall was uneventful, with the exception of Rarity. She kept staring at my coat with an almost hungry look in her eyes.
Cadence was nervous. From what she had been told Magnus was unstable and possibly dangerous. Apparently her personality could change at the drop of a rock, and not all of them were pleasant to be around.
The doors to the dining hall swung open, and four mares entered the dining hall. She recognized three of them from the wedding as Twilight’s friends. The fourth was an ash grey mare, her mane and tail a dull brown, but apparently well kept. A horn poked up between the bangs, and she didn’t notice the wings until the mare turned and addressed Rarity.
“Please... I don’t know! Can you please let it go?” The alicorn looked tired and a bit frustrated. “Ask Ana if she can give you your own. I can’t do anything about it, okay?”
Rarity pouted, but sighed in defeat. “Fine...”
The grey alicorn sighed, and gave the white mare a small smile. “Don’t worry. I’m sure she can do it. Ana can do anything!”
Celestia cleared her throat, and the small party turned towards the other ponies gathered in the room.
“Oh my, how rude of me.” Rarity said and gave a bow towards the princesses. The grey alicorn just looked confused, but grinned when she saw Ana.
“Please, take a seat.” Celestia said and gestured for the others to join them at the table.
Luna sat at her right, and Cadence at her left. Twilight Sparkle sat next to Luna, looking worried, Fluttershy was next to her, and Rainbow Dash sat on Cadence’s left. Ana sat next to her, looking forlorn and antsy.
The table had already been set, and the grey alicorn eyed the food hungrily and took a seat next to Ana.
“Magnus. I want you to meet my niece. Princess Mi Amore Cadenza.” Celestia announced once they were all seated. Cadence gave her aunt a short glare before turning to meet the eye of the grey alicorn.
“Oh, just Cadence is fine.” She said with a dismissive smile. “Nopony ever calls me by my full name. Apparently it’s quite the mouthful.” The candy colored mare gave a soft giggle.
“Wow! Another Princess!” Magnus was beaming at her, she looked so innocent and happy that Cadence wondered what her aunts had been talking about previously. “I’m Magnus! Or Captain Magnus Fairheart if you want to know all of it. But just Magnus is fine.”
“Oh! You’re a Captain? I didn’t know that! May I ask what you are the captain of?” Cadence smiled sweetly as she tried to direct the conversation into pleasant small-talk as they ate.
“Well...” Magnus glanced at Ana, who shrugged and went back to moping. “I’m the Captain of the Colony Ship Heaven Sent.”
Cadence’s eyebrows rose. Colony Ship? The only colony ships she had heard of were the ones used by the ancient pony captains that spread the pony race to all the edges of the world. “Oh. So you have a lot of experience at sea then?” Obviously Celestia and Luna hadn’t told her everything, all she had gotten was the cliff notes and a brief introduction to Magnus’ character.
Ana snorted into the cup she was holding, very nearly spilling its contents.
“Uh. No, not really.” Magnus replied, looking a bit confused. “What’s a sea?”
Cadence frowned in confusion. How could she not know what a sea was, and be a sea captain?
Ana grumbled and placed her cup on the table. She sat on top of several books, as well as two cushions to help her reach the table. “What she’s trying to say is that it’s not a ship. At least not in the manner I suppose you think. The CS Heaven Sent is a spaceship.”
“A space-ship? How does that even work. There’s no wind in space. How do you get around?” Cadence asked, curious about this strange new concept.
“A spaceship isn’t propelled by wind. Rather it is propelled by rockets.” Ana said, trying to force a smile. She pretty much just ended up looking a tad crazy.
“Rockets? Isn’t that dangerous? What if they explode?” Cadence was taken aback. Rockets! How crazy was that? Very.
Ana rolled her eyes and looked the pink alicorn in the eye. “No. It is not dangerous. It will not explode.” She said with finality. “It will not explode now, and it will not explode in the future. In fact there will be no exploding!”
Cadence recoiled a bit at the tiny alicorns angry outburst.
The small blue alicorn just sighed and looked down. “Sorry about that... Your... aunt, was it? Just kinda went a bit postal when I told her about it...”
Celestia blushed in embarrassment and looked down into her tea and mumbled another apology.
“Whatever. Let’s just forget about it. Okay?” Ana said, sounding exasperated. She turned her head to Magnus, whom upon no longer being the center of attention had began stuffing her face with bread covered by a veritable mountain of cheese, fruit and other toppings. Literally.
Magnus’ cheeks was bulging, and she struggled to chew and swallow before muttering a muffled “What?” at the stares she got from the other ponies around the table. “Ish tashty! You should tshy shome!” All the while spraying breadcrumbs everywhere.
The rest of the breakfast passed without much incident, and once they were done they were ushered into another room adjacent to the dining hall.
“Now.” Announced Celestia. “It is time for court, and we will introduce you to the ponies that run our government shortly.” She walked up to a large pair of doors leading out of the room. “When Shining Armor comes to get you, you will enter the throne room with the Elements of Harmony at your sides.”
“Uhm. Princess?” Magnus piped up, looking utterly confused. “What are the Elements of Harmony?”¨
“We are silly!” Pinkie shot in before the Princess could answer.
“Huh? But you’re all ponies. Elements are stuff like Hydrogen or Lytetium!” Ana looked up at Magnus, her left eye twitching slightly.
“Not like that...” Twilight said and gave Magnus a gentle smile, if only to hide her surprise at the fact that Magnus actually knew something. “Each of us represent one of the six elements of Harmony. I’m Magic. Rarity is Generosity. Pinkie is Laughter. Rainbow Dash is Loyalty. Fluttershy is Kindness, and Applejack is Honesty.”
“Oh.” Magnus said and beamed a smile at the unicorn that had taken on a lecturing pose. He turned to Ana and whispered. “I have no idea what she just said.”
Ana simply facehoofed and looked towards Princess Celestia, who still stood by the doors, smiling. She gave the infuriating alicorn a good hard glare. Celestia just grinned in return and slipped through the door.
“Magnus.” Ana said after calming down a bit. “Listen to me. This is important.” She grabbed the grey alicorns face in her hooves and stared hard into her eyes. “No matter what Celestia or anyone else says when we get in there, play along with it. And please don’t freak out, okay?”
Magnus frowned and pulled her face out of Ana’s hooves. “Why would I freak out? I never freak out.”
“Yes. Yes you do.” Ana said, still glaring at Magnus. “But this once, just play along. And keep your cool! No matter what they say! Clear?”
“Clear as snow, ma’am!” Magnus snapped a smart salute and stared into the wall behind Ana.
“But... snow isn’t clear...” Fluttershy muttered. Nervous about what was going to happen once they entered the throne-room.
“I wonder what they’ll say. I bet it’s something awesome.” Rainbow Dash said from her spot slightly above the group. “I wonder if the Wonderbolts are going to be there, that would be too cool!”
Applejack groaned and looked up at the hovering mare. “Now just why would the Wonderbolts be in there? Ah don’t think they do show’s all private like for the Princesses.”
“Duh.” Said Rainbow and rolled her eyes. “Everypony knows that the Wonderbolts are a branch of the Equestrian Military! They don’t just do shows you know.”
“Even then. Why would they be in there now?” The orange mare said with a frown.
“I don’t know. It would be awesome if they were in there anyways! Right Pinks?” Dash looked over to her pink friend.
“Yep.” She simply said and returned to chasing a speck of dust that was floating through the air. “Stupid dust. Stay still so I can eat you!” Pinkie finally managed to catch the floating mote in her mouth and started chewing.
“Ew. Pinkie!” Twilight said, looking disgusted. “You don’t know where that’s been! Spit it out!”
Pinkie swallowed. “Oops.” Then she grinned, before her expression turned sour. “Ew... It was all dusty...”
The banter continued for another fifteen minutes before Shining Armor’s head poked in through the door. “You’re up!” He opened the door fully, revealing a short hallway with large double doors on the other end. “Come on.” The stallion motioned for them to follow.
Ana hesitated a bit when the others got up from their various positions. Pinkie had been chasing another mote of dust, and the others had been silently watching the party-pony’s antics.
“Ana? Is something wrong?” Magnus asked as she noticed that her friend wasn’t following.
Ana grimaced, but got to her hooves and trotted up beside her. “No. Nothing. Just nerves.”
“You don’t have nerves.” Magnus stated with a raised eyebrow.
“Whatever. Let’s just go, okay!” Ana snapped, looking angry all of a sudden.
Magnus recoiled, and frowned as well. “Fine. What bit your butt this morning...”
“Celestia did.” Ana answered with a growl.
When we entered the throne room everyone went silent. I was astonished at the large crowd that had gathered just for this meeting, and I started growing nervous. Crowds weren’t exactly my forte after over six millennia in solitude.
Our group waited just inside the door at Shining’s instruction. And we didn’t approach the podium the sisters thrones were on. The room was rather large. There were a ton of ponies, and the room didn’t even seem to be full. The morning sun filtered through huge stained glass windows, making swirls of color play on the marble floor.
I was enraptured by the colors when Ana nudged me with a hoof, making me realise that every pony in the room was looking at us. Apparently Celestia had said something that I missed, and we were supposed to approach them.
Nervously Ana and I made our way over to them, our every movement gauged and measured by hundreds of staring eyes. Beside the obsidian and marble thrones there were two large pillows.
“Please dear. Take a seat.” Celestia said sweetly as we approached. I turned around and saw that Twilight and the others had remained at the doors. We complied and awkwardly sat on the pillows beside the thrones.
“Now. As I am sure that you all are wondering, we are here today to welcome these two ponies back into Equestrian society.” I was confused to say the least, but Ana had warned me to play along, and I just smiled a bit stiffly at the silent crowd. “They have travelled far and wide, and we nearly thought them lost, until they emerged from the Everfree Forest not two days ago. As luck would have it, they met my faithful student Twilight Sparkle, as I’m sure you are all familiar with.”
Luna smiled just as serenely, and with a bit of playfulness played along the edges of her mouth. “It is with great pleasure that we introduce our niece, Princess Fairhearth and her daughter Princess Ana back into our midst!”
I felt my eye start to twitch, but held my forced smile and looked down at Ana. She was smiling as well, but I could see her jaw wound tight as steel. My confusion was complete, and I could do nothing to alleviate it. I felt dread seep into my bones, and for a second the world flickered before me.
Ana sat there on the pillow, smiling as best she could as she ground her teeth silently. She looked up at Magnus, who looked utterly confused. Then a shadow seemed to pass over her eyes, and Ana felt her spine freeze.
“Oh no...” She whispered as her expression fell.
I was on a pillow, and the room was filled with ponies. Hundreds of them were staring straight at me. How curious. I let my eyes wander, finding that I was on a sort of raised podium in the middle of a large marble room. ‘That’s new’ I thought.
At my side was Ana, looking terrified. I raised an eyebrow in thought and turned to where some rather peculiar creatures sat. They looked rather like I did, with both an alicorn and avian flight appendages adorning their bodies. How curious. They were smiling at me, as if expecting me to say something.
I cleared my throat and smiled serenely. Gambling a bit on whether or not these strange creatures shared our language as well as our bodies.
“Thank you kindly for the introduction,” they wore regalia fit for queens, how curious, “your majesties” I said, smiling and analyzing the situation to the best of my abilities. This was apparently some kind of gathering, or court. I was placed at what I assumed was a seat of honor, and assuming that I was not being prosecuted or some such, I continued.
“It is an honor to be here this fine” the sun shining through the stained glass windows was at an angle that told me that it was early morning, probably around nine, “morning. Shall we proceed then?”
“Oh thank the gods...” I heard Ana mutter beside me, I gave her a brief smile and a raised eyebrow, but chose to ignore the comment.
“Yes. I believe we shall.” The large white creature announced and rose from her throne. The slightly smaller dark blue... mare? beside her rose as well. “Please rise, and kneel before the throne.” She looked surprised. How curious.
Both Ana and I did as instructed and knelt before the two queens, or whatever they were. I felt something lightly being placed on my brow, and looking up I saw the edge of a dark metallic crown or tiara. A larger piece was levitated over my shoulders and rested comfortably around my neck. ‘A coronation of some sorts. How peculiar This begs further investigation as soon as possible.’
“Please rise.” The white one said and gestured for us to return to our pillow-seats. She, I assumed it was a she, the tone of voice was decidedly feminine, and the bodies of the two creatures were rather pleasant to look upon.
As we took our seats, the white one, apparently the dominant of the two, lovers perhaps, or siblings, talked on. This, and a great many other things required further study. “I imagine you must all have a lot of questions.” She smiled pleasantly at the gathered crowd, who all still stared at me and Ana.
The commotion that followed drowned out any further thoughts, and my smile faded a little. Had they no manners?
“Please!” The white one yelled, not loudly, but her voice somehow cut through the roar of the gathered crowd. “Quiet down!” The crowd complied, but they all looked ready to resume their barrage of questions at the slightest provocation. “Any and all questions will be answered by Princess Ana in two hours. They are still tired from their journey, and require all the rest they can get. I assure you that your questions will be answered, but for now the court is adjourned and will resume in two hours.”
The creatures all seemed to deflate in unison, all looking disappointed that their questions would not be answered immediately. I admitted to myself that I was rather curious myself as to just what exactly was going on.
A/N: Just what the hell is Celestia thinking? And what is going on in Magnus' head? Why are the Princesses calling her Fairhearth. Stay tuned! Yes. Stay tuned... I'm gonna whoop his ass into another dimension! Subdue me will you!
A/N: So. You asked for it, and you got it. Hells yeah!
The group made their way out of the throne-room. Ana kept glancing up at Magnus, who still held a pleasant smile at those around them.
Celestia led them into an adjourning office. The walls were lined with books on law, politics and records of court rulings and other things one might find in the office of a ruler. A red rug lay on a polished wooden floor, and in the middle of the room stood a large mahogany desk covered in papers and scrolls.
“Fascinating. Very fascinating.” A curiously cold female voice asked as the door closed behind them. The group turned to find that Magnus’ facial expression had changed from one of pleasant warmth, to a flat cold expression that brokered no information on what was going on inside her head.
“Oh no. No no no! Not you!” Ana said, her face frozen in disbelief and fear. “We got rid of you!”
Magnus regarded Ana with a cold interest. “How peculiar. You thought me gone.” Her voice was as flat as her expression.
“What is this?” Princess Celestia asked and stepped up to Magnus and looked into her eyes. The pure void of emotion made her shiver. “Another personality?” She turned to Ana. “What do you mean you got rid of her?”
Ana was slowly backing away. “Get away from him! Don’t get nea...” A sound like a scissor closing made her freeze.
“How curious. Subject’s hair loose ethereal qualities when removed from the body.” Magnus’ was holding a lock of Celestia’s hair in a hoof. “Pigment change happens gradually.” Her voice was one of cold curiosity as she looked at the piece of mane in her hoof.
“What? How dare you?” Celestia yelled and swiped at the lock of hair. Magnus calmly moved his hoof away at the last moment.
“Be silent.” She looked up and briefly met Celestia’s glare, her eyes half lidded. “And stand still for a moment.”
Celestia tried to move away, but her hooves were as if they were glued to the floor. She glanced down and saw a shimmering mist encasing her hooves. She tried pulling free, but they were utterly stuck. Something cold pressed against her neck, and she snapped up to see Magnus pressing her hoof against her.
“Subject’s skin is tough. Nanoscalpel not able to pierce. How peculiar.” Magnus lowered her hoof to the floor and ran it over the wood. The floor simply seemed to part as she made a small incision.
Celestia froze as she saw the piece of wood dislodge itself as butter before a hot knife.
Magnus was about to raise his hoof to her neck once more when a blast of dark magic knocked her off her hooves and up against a bookshelf. Celestia felt the grip on her hooves disappear, but held her her ground as she watched her sister hold the insane pony against the bookshelf.
Luna’s anger had flared, and she looked up at the mare pressed against a bookshelf with a look that could have melted steel. “How dare thee assault our sister! After all she has done for thee!” The royal canterlot voice reverberated through the room, and Magnus’ mane was flapping furiously in the wind, but her expression remained like stone.
“How curious. This one is capable of noise far beyond what the equine body should be able to produce.” She said as if reading into a recorder, utterly emotionless. “Subject is also able to manipulate grav...”
“Silence! Thou willst answer our question!” Luna roared and pinned the alicorn harder against the bookshelf, it groaned pitifully under the immense pressure. The stunned mares in the room could hear the creak of bones bending, yet the mare pressed against the wall made no sound.
“Why.” Magnus asked, talking directly to somepony for the first time since they entered.
“What?” Luna was so stunned by the question that she almost let go of her magic and forgot to shout.
Magnus stared directly into her eyes, never blinking.
“What do you mean, ‘why’?” Celestia said as she made her way to stand by her sisters side. “Do you not realise what you have done?” Her eyes narrowed as the cold stare shifted to her own.
“Investigating of course.” Magnus replied in the same cold tone. Suddenly the eyelid of the emotionless mare’s left eye twitched, and the eye started roaming around the room as if searching for something, and the mares recoiled in surprise. “What else.” Somehow it seemed as if the strange event had no effect whatsoever on Magnus.
The roaming eye finally fell on Ana, and it looked as if it was pleading for something. The eye twitched once more and returned to staring into Celestia’s eyes. The two Alicorns stared wide eyed at the mare in shock.
“W-what was t-that?” Twilight asked fearfully.
“I... I don’t know!” Ana said her expression one of fear and confusion. “It has never happened before!”
“Ana.” The cold voice of Magnus said, bringing the attention once more to her. “Take a sample from each of the creatures in this room, and bring it back to the ship to be analyzed.”
“N-no!” Ana said, it looked as if she was resisting something. As if her body wanted to move. “Princess! Listen to me! You have to have to leave! All of you! Now!”
One of Magnus’ eyebrows lifted. It was the first expression that had glanced the alicorns features since they had entered the room. “Now, Ana.” Her voice commanded, and Ana started getting to her hooves, straining against her body.
“No!” She firmly sat down once more, visibly shaking.
“How curious.” Magnus said slowly, his eyes boring into Ana’s.
“W-what is going on?” Fluttershy said fearfully, hiding behind Applejack who wore a confused expression.
“You have to leave! No! Luna move!” Ana yelled, and everypony’s eyes turned to the dark indigo alicorn.
A shimmering mist was slowly seeping towards her from Magnus’ body. Under the mist the floor simply seemed to disappear, revealing the marble floor beneath. Luna recoiled as if stung when the mist reached her right hoof, and a pink patch of pale skin showed where the mist had touched her.
“Ow! What is this?” She made a motion as if to touch the mist.
“NO! Get away!” Ana screeched and flung herself at the hoof just as it was about to connect with the mist. She screamed in pain as the mist enveloped her right front leg, and the ‘skin’ on her leg seemed to evaporate, revealing a metallic structure beneath. She barely managed to withdraw as the metal started to evaporate.
Magnus fell to the floor with a muffled thump, and the mist seemed to stop its advance for a second.
“You need to leave! Now!” Ana repeated, hobbling up to the frozen pair of Alicorns. “Before she gets her bearings again!”
Suddenly the ponies in the room seemed to thaw, and with a blur of motion they stormed out the door to the office. Celestia levitating Ana along with her as they slammed the door behind them.
Twilight quickly enveloped the door in a pinkish red shield, and just a moment later the door rattled as something impacted against the shielded door.
“What was that?!” Twilight screamed as she held the door. “Just what the buck is going on?!”
Celestia looked furious, and she locked Ana with a withering glare. “I would like to know that as well.”
Ana was clutching the area where her leg had been, a bright translucent fluid dripped from the wound. “That.” She stated, grimacing in pain. “Was the doctor.”
“What do you mean ‘the doctor’’?” Celestia asked coldly. “How can that creature in there be Magnus?”
“It is one of her personalities.” Ana said with a groan, her wound had stopped leaking, and it seemed to be closing itself off with a shimmer not unlike what had attacked Luna just moments before. “It’s a defense mechanism. When her emotions get out of control, it is as if they lock down, and nothing but curiosity remains. She still has the ability to think and deduce, but there is no moral compass, no compassion or regret.” She sighed as the shimmering stopped, where her leg had been, there was now nothing but a smooth metallic surface. “As you saw she has the ability to act normal, but once she has the opportunity she will try to sate her curiosity.”
“What triggered it?” Luna asked, her eyes never leaving the shimmering door.
Ana looked at her with disbelief, then she frowned and looked up at Celestia. Anger welled up in her and the frown turned into a glare. “I think I know what triggered it.” She said through gritted teeth. “I can’t believe you Celestia. I thought you were wise.”
“What are you talking about?” Celestia asked, her angry expression now one of confusion.
“You announced me as her daughter!” Ana yelled and rose to her three legs. “Even after I told you that he lost his children when we were sucked into the black hole! You never said anything about that when we met this morning!”
Celestia’s face fell immediately, and her eyes widened in realization. “Oh no! I didn’t think...”
“That’s right! You didn’t think! Just what the hell were you thinking!” Ana roared and hobbled over to Celestia her eyes blazing.
Just then the wall next to the door collapsed. And Magnus strode out into the hallway, the shimmering mist crawling along the floor from her body.
“Listen to me! Get her out into a field! We can fix this!” Ana yelled as Celestia grabbed her in her magic once more as they fled from the slowly approaching grey alicorn.
“Why?! What can we do? Alicorns are invulnerable!” Celestia pleaded as they ran down the luckily empty hallway.
“Trust me on this.” Ana said calmly. Then her eyes darkened and her body went limp.
“What happened?” Twilight asked as she observed Ana going limp.
“I don’t know, but we have to somehow get Magnus out of the palace.” Celestia said as they crashed through the doors and into the dining hall. The doors closed with a bang and Luna enveloped the door, as well as the wall in her magic.
“How?” Twilight asked, her expression wrought with fear. Her friends were no better off, all of them panting and looking to the princesses for guidance.
“We have an idea. Stand back.” Luna said calmly.
The ponies did as told and backed away from the doors. When Luna deemed that they were far enough away, she let go of her magic shield.
Almost immediately the doors started evaporating, the shimmering mist seeping through cracks in the ancient wood.
When the doors collapsed, Luna held her position and pointed her horn at the approaching alicorn. Suddenly a bright light enveloped the area the two mares occupied, and Celestia and the elements covered their eyes with their hooves.
When they again opened their eyes, Luna and Magnus were gone.
The two alicorns appeared in the middle of a large open field. Grass was swaying serenely in the wind blowing over the slightly rolling hills.
Magnus had a brief look of surprise on her features, before her face once more returned to being cold and expressionless.
“How peculiar. Subject is able to transfer mass without traversing physical space.” She said coldly. The mist once again began seeping from her body, and it slowly rolled towards Luna.
Before the mist could reach her, Luna shot an angry glare at the mare and teleported away in a flash of light.
“Curious. This requires further investiga... huh?” A roar was coming from above, and Magnus barely caught a glimpse of what seemed like a ray of pure light. Then everything disappeared.
Luna appeared back in the dining hall just as the ground began to tremble. The ponies in the room were all gathered on the balcony and seemed to focus on something in the distance.
The lunar princess quickly made her way over, just in time for the roar of the weapon to reach them.
The ray seemed to stretch up into the sky, and even Luna could not see where it was coming from. Suddenly the ray stopped, and so did the trembling.
“What was that?!” Rainbow Dash yelled and pointed in the direction of where the ray had been.
“That.” Came a smug sounding voice from behind them. “Was me.” They all turned as one and looked at Ana in bewilderment.
“What do you mean, that was you?” Twilight yelled and stared at the tiny alicorn.
“Yep. You just witnessed the firepower of the Heaven Sent’s orbital defense system.” She answered smugly.
Even Celestia looked awed, and Luna simply stared at the tiny form of Ana.
“I thought you had no magic!” Celestia exclaimed in confused surprise.
Ana rolled her eyes and looked over at the surprised alicorn. “That, my dear Princess, was not magic.” She walked over to a cabinet that held several cups and cutlery made of metal. “Do you mind if I take this?”
“What do you mean not magic?! That was clearly magic!” Twilight’s brow was knitted in confusion. “I could feel it!”
“Yes. We felt the presence of magic from the beam of light.” Luna stated, looking as confused as the others.
“Well. I hate to break it to you, but that wasn’t magic. Just technology at its finest.” Ana said with a grin and placed her hoof on one of the metal plates. It was enveloped in the shimmering mist of nanites, and disappeared from sight. Ana grunted, and the smooth area where her leg had been bulged. “Urk... I hate this.”
“How do you explain what we felt then?” Celestia said with a raised eyebrow. “I have seen a lot of things in my life, and I’m pretty sure I know the feeling of powerful magic when it is used.”
“Then I have no idea princess. Ow!” The ‘skin’ was ruptured and a thin metallic bone began extending from the wound. “Gah. I really really hate this!”
“What’re ya doin’?” Came the voice of Applejack. She was staring with fascination at the slowly growing limb.
“Duh. What does it look like I’m doing... Ow!” Ana said through clenched teeth as a joint formed. “I’m making pie. Shit!”
“W-why are y-you doing it if it hurts?” Fluttershy asked meekly, but even she couldn’t pull her eyes away from the strange event unfolding before her eyes.
“Because, urgh... Because I can’t appear in court, gah! With only three legs.” She laughed painfully. “Imagine the uproar that would cause.”
“That won’t be a problem.” Shining Armor strode into the hall, a full contingent of guards following right behind him. “You are hereby under arrest for assaulting the Royal Highnesses, as well as threatening the Elements of Harmony!”
I groaned and slowly opened my eyes. It was dark and hot. The only light came from glowing embers around me, and a tiny pinprick of light far above.
Everything smelt burnt, and the smell of burning hair permeated the air.
“Urgh... what happened?” I groaned and got to my feet. I felt strange, almost naked for some reason.
I tried commanding my nanites to light up the area, but nothing happened. But even in the dark my eyes slowly adjusted, and everything slowly became visible.
Apparently I was at the bottom of a hole. The walls were smooth and still glowed slightly, and I had to assume that they had recently been exposed to extreme heat. My thoughts were confirmed as a glob of molten stone ran down the wall.
I followed the glob as it slowly descended the smooth surface. When it reached the bottom it was light enough that I could see myself.
“Oh my god! I’m bald!”
A/N: Not my best chapter, and not the longest. But at least we're back on schedule. We are? Do we even have a schedule? Maybe? I dunno... Until next time! Stay tuned!
You keep using that word, but I don't think it means what you think it means!
Whatever. It sounds cool.
So. A lot of you may have noticed the rather stunning lack of updates! It's not just because I'm a lazy ass procrastinating piece of hardwood floor! It is simply because I'm working on something. Something big.
Well, maybe not that big, but it's big for me! Because well... I kinda noticed that the story actually isn't going anywhere. I've been writing myself into an inescapable hole, and the story lacks direction and focus.
So what am I going to do about it? Everything? Yes, everything!
Because when I finish the planning phase, the story will actually start anew. I'm rewriting everything, absolutely every tiny bit of stuff.
I can sense your worry... Don't. I'm not removing your favourite lovable fool, or your favourite lovable little miss snarkypants mcbluebutt. Hey! In fact, I'm just refining them. Giving them an actual character, something stable and thought out. Well, maybe not all that stable for Magnus, but you catch my drift, maybe. Anyhow, the first four chapters are going to be basically the same, just better, a lot better... Hopefully. Or Tencent will kick my butt into last week.
Yes, I have an editor now. He's making me do all this stuff... All this planning, and thinking about things! It hurts in the grey bits upstairs!
Tencent has been the editor for What came before and beyond, which gets way too little recognition! Go read it, now! I command thee, mindless minions! Read, comment and vote! NOW!
Anyhow, so... Hopefully in a not too distant future, I'll be restarting this fic. And, if it goes right... You'll still love it like you did before...
I hope you won't be disappointed by it... I'm putting a lot of work and thought into it this time around.
Bah. Even I have to give it to him... He's actually thinking it through this time. Hopefully he doesn't mess too much with my circuits...
A/N: You've been waiting for so long, so I thought I'd give you at least something to look at. Be warned that this is only the first, and probably not the last draft of this chapter. It hasn't been through the pre-readers yet, so it's more of a trailer, or taste of what's going to happen.
I apologize for the time it's taken to get just this far, but real life has come in the way of writing. Some friends and I have recently started a company, and we're working our butts off to get it off the ground. I don't have much free time, and most of that is spent relaxing as work is quite taxing. Hopefully I'll have more time as the new year dawns, but I can't promise anything beyond that I haven't abandoned the story, that goes double for My Little Princesses.
Again, this is just a first, rough draft of the prologue. It's going to be a two-parter, and Tencent is probably not too happy that I post even this. But I felt like I owed you guys something, but remember that it might be changed. When it finaly gets the green light by my editor, all the chapters will be removed and the story will properly start anew. Don't worry, everything has been backed up, and I'll post a link to the old story for those interested.
Enough of that, enjoy the little that I can give you right now.
Why was it always cold.
No amount of training could have prepared me for the ice that felt like it crusted my very bones.
Stasis was never a pleasant experience, but when you need to travel for longer than a lifetime it was a necessity.
I shivered as feeling slowly started returning to my frozen limbs. My breath fogged over the glass of the pod. It rolled like smoke down my chest and pooled around my body as the cold air in the pod instantly chilled it.
The only thing that kept my spirits up was the thought of finally being there. New Europe, the first planet to be terraformed in the Betelgeuse system. It was not a perfect habitat, but after the supergiant had shrunk to a more manageable size, several planets high with minerals and crystals had been detected, and the lone planetoid untouched by the sun had been terraformed to be able to support life.
To a degree. Supposedly it was cold as hell.
The hiss of pneumatics told me that the pod was opening. And once the seal was broken I knew something was wrong. The stasis pods were completely enclosed, and were made to survive even if the ship did not. Not that it mattered, the entire deck we were on was a secure capsule in itself. Designed to be detachable and able to return to civilisation if the worst should come to pass.
Klaxons were blaring their warning throughout the deck, hurting my ears as I slowly readjusted to the world around me. I wanted to clutch my ears to close out the sound, but I was still restrained as the intravenous needles were slowly removed from my body.
With a clang the restraints opened, and I immediately put my hands over my ears, wincing as my muscles cramped slightly. I could see the others in the room, newly awoken doing the same and looking around in alarm.
“Ana.” I croaked. My throat was dry as a desert, and swallowing didn’t help. I looked around for water, and picked up a newly filled glass from the dispenser on the side of the pod. The water stung as it rolled down my parched throat, and I nearly choked, but I could feel its rejuvenating effect.
“Ana!” I tried once more, this time with more success. Even though I was yelling my voice could barely be heard over the blare of the alarm.
“Captain! Oh thank the gods! I thought you’d never wake up.” A voice came from the ‘bedside table’. On top of it stood a small blue humanoid. It was no taller than a foot, and there was the telltale shimmer of a holographic projection. Ana looked panicked, her tiny blue face twisted in worry.
“What’s going on? And turn off the blasted klaxons will you!” I shouted over the clamor. “I can’t hear myself think in here!”
The room fell silent. It was almost eerie after all the noise. But soon the worried whispers of confused humans permeated the circular room lovingly nicknamed ‘the captains quarters’. It wasn’t really, but it was where the officers on the ship ‘slept’ during stasis.
Ana looked distracted, her ‘eyes’ staring into the open air.
“Ana!” I slammed my fist into the ‘table’ she stood on. “What is the meaning of this? According to the chronometer it’s twenty years too early!”
“Huh? Oh right.” She blushed, why she even had that programmed in was beyond me. “We have trouble. Huge trouble.”
I raised an eyebrow and gazed down at her as I climbed out of the pod and stretched. The stasis-suit was starting to heat up, and everything tingled as the blood resumed its rightful path. “Pirates? The route was supposed to be clear!”
The Empire had once had trouble with pirates preying on the colony ships, with it’s incapacitated crew and passengers. The practically defenseless ships were packed with everything a colony required, and it was good business preying on them before they started outfitting them with enough firepower to reduce a small planet to dust. Only the most daring pirates or rebels took the chance nowadays, or at least that had been the case when we entered stasis. If the chronometer was correct, forty out of sixty years had passed, and things could have changed.
“Did you say Pirates, cap?” The deep rumbly voice of my first officer Hank inquired. The man was huge, seven feet at his shoulders. He was a remarkable specimen, even with his deathly pale skin and shaved head Hank reminded me more of a bull than a member of my own species. It was no surprise that the passengers had began calling him Asterion, after the minotaur from ancient Greek mythology.
“No! No Pirates damnit!” Ana cursed from her platform. “This is worse, much worse. Get to the bridge. I’ll show you...” With that she blinked out. Leaving Hank and me looking at each other in confusion.
In the blink of an eye we returned to our senses and I turned to the other officers milling around the room putting on their uniforms, yet keeping an ear out for orders.
“Attention, please!” I yelled. “We’re apparently in some sort of trouble. I want each and every one of you on the bridge in five!” With a collective ‘Yes sir!’ the room emptied, leaving Hank and I behind.
“Hank. Get to the bridge. I have to check up on Hanna and the kids.” I said and turned to the enclosure holding my captain’s uniform. It was a grey tight fitting suit, with barely any decorations but the three golden stripes signifying my rank.
“Magnus, please you know I have to check up on Susan..” Hank pleaded. I pulled the top over my head and turned to the bull of a man.
“I’ll check on her. I need you on the bridge right now.” I gave him a smile. “You know how Peter gets if no one is there to supervise.”
Hank rolled his eyes but turned to go. I gave him a brotherly slap on the back. “Don’t worry, I’m sure it’s nothing.” I grinned as convincingly as I could, there was no way Ana would have pulled us out of hibernation so early if it wasn’t serious.
“Right...” He said with a smirk and left.
The corridors of the ship were still covered with a thin sheet of frost. During hibernation the entire ship was without the life-support systems running, so everything froze over. Doing that when there was an entire ecosystem aboard might have seemed like a strange idea, but it was cheap, and when you have a ship worth billions upon billions of credits, the builders had to cut corners somewhere. It did help that it served to preserve the groves and agricultural decks from the ravages of time, and whatever damage came from the cold was repaired in mere hours due to the nanosystems running over every inch of the ship.
And I found it strange that the walls hadn’t been thawed yet. Ana must really have been in a hurry to wake us, but I could see the faint shimmer of nanites working their way through the ice and the temperature was slowly rising. If it hadn’t been for the fans working overtime, the decks would be covered in impenetrable fog, and even then lazy rolling clouds of cold damp rolled over the floors.
By the time I reached the passenger hold, my pants were soaking wet and my toes felt like shriveled old prunes and my teeth were clattering together in a staccato rythm.
“Ana!” I yelled into the empty air as I punched in the release code for the blast doors protecting the hold.
“Magnus? Why aren’t you on the bridge yet? This is an emergency!” Ana was fretting, her tiny fingers intertwining and unraveling rapidly as she appeared on the small console surface.
“I have to check up on Hanna. You know why I’m here, and why is this area still so cold?” The small display flashed red, telling me that the hold was still sealed. “And why won’t the damned door open?!” I slammed my fist into the console, making Ana jump.
“Uhm. I thought it best to keep them in stasis for the moment. They’re not up yet.” She looked a bit sheepish.
“And why, pray tell are they not awake?” My still stasis addled mind was still a bit foggy, and I felt rather impaired at the moment. Still, some logical part of my mind was trying to tell me something.
“They would probably panic?” Ana said, looking more smug than she had any right to be. I held back the urge to punch the console once more, and rubbed my hands together trying to work some feeling back into my stiffening fingers.
“Right.” I said and glanced at the door. The massive blast door was covered in a sheet of thick ice. Stalactites of frozen water ran from the thick bulkhead overhead. How I hadn’t noticed that before now was beyond me. “Right. You’re right. Of course they’d panic...”
“To the Bridge then?” Ana smirked, and the small console went dark. I was about to move when a small section of the wall slid away and a tiny humanoid stepped out. It was Ana, or one of her many instances. “I thought it best to lead you there, you seem to be a bit out of it still. And Peter is drooling on his console! Yuck...”
“Right.” I repeated. “Of course. Lead the way.” For some reason the ship’s interior was a bit hazy, but I chalked it up to a combination of the stasis still working its way out of my head, and the melting ice.
I turned to the bare bulkhead once more, its clean brushed metal surface had a few spots of rust here and there, and something was missing. I closed my eyes and shook my head, stasis had a way of messing with the way the brain interpreted things, but everything felt normal.
When I opened my eyes we stood in front of the door to the bridge. For a split second I wondered how we got there, but I shook my head once more and stepped through, the doors made a soft hiss as they opened.
“Captain on Deck!” Hank roared as I stepped in, and everyone stood up in salute. Except Peter, who let out a ‘huhwah?’ before promptly falling out of his seat in an attempt to stand up.
I frowned, but let it slide. Usually being taken out of stasis was followed by at least a week of rehabilitation, but everyone had received a stimulant shot as they woke up to get them back into a semblance of working condition due to the apparent emergency. Not all reacted well to the drug, and Peter was obviously one of them.
“At ease.” I said gently. “Back to your stations.” I made my way to the captains chair and sat down with a sigh. “Ana?”
The small blue android woman had disappeared just before I entered the bridge, no doubt into one of her little pathways. Instead a life-sized replica of the female A.I. appeared at my side looking pensive. “Yep?”
“Sit-rep please.” I grunted as I felt my eyelids grow heavy. “And get me a coffee or something. I’m barely keeping awake here.” As soon as I said it I noticed the cup in my hands and raised an eyebrow. I couldn’t remember getting myself a cup, but the pleasant warmth spreading up my arms through my hands told me that I had held onto it for a while. I shrugged and took a sip of the heavenly liquid.
“Right. At twenty-two hundred my sensors picked up a large object coming towards us at high speeds. Its mass suggests that it is an asteroid, and optical observations prove it, though with that size it’s more like a rogue moon.” Without prompt she brought a visual of the asteroid on my console. The object was massive, and the faint outline of craters could be seen against the dark backdrop. Another display showed me a representation of the Heaven Sent and the asteroid, making distance and time to impact. The numbers were distressingly low, and I frowned with worry.
“Why is it so close? Why haven’t we altered our trajectory to avoid impact?” I asked and looked up at Ana. She looked more distressed than I had ever seen her, and her image flickered for a moment as computing power was directed elsewhere.
“It has been coming at us directly from behind one of the planetoids we’re travelling past. I had to pick up some more mass from it to refuel. It must have been on a curving trajectory perfectly in synch with us, hiding it.” She said, and a burst of static filled the room, making me clutch my ears in pain, almost knocking over the cup I had sat down on the armrest. None of the other crew seemed to even register it.
“Ow. What the hell was that!” I shouted, bringing my hands away, expecting blood from burst eardrums. Nothing, I frowned again.
“What was what captain?” Hank asked, looking at me with mild amusement.
“That noise? What the hell? Is the intercom malfunctioning or something?” I rubbed my ears and looked up at Ana. She shrugged. Right then a tremor shot through the ship and red lights and claxons started blaring once more.
“The asteroid’s gravity is starting to affect the ship sir. What do you recommend?” Hank asked, his tone worried.
“Why haven’t we reduced that pebble to dust by now?” I retorted and called the weapon officer’s name. Or at least I thought I did, I couldn’t seem to remember what I had just said the moment the words left my mouth.
“Sir. The asteroid is too close, sir. Shooting at it now would probably cause more damage to the ship itself than the object!” The young woman responded. Why couldn’t I recall her name?
Another tremor shot through the ship, making my half filled cup fall off the armrest. For a moment I thought I saw the floor without the carpet lining it, nothing but slightly rusted metal and tatters of what had once been a vibrantly red wall to wall carpet. The armrest had small patches of leather stuck to it, and the stuffing was nothing but wisps of cotton still clinging to the torn arm of my chair.
“Ten minutes to impact Captain!” Ana’s voice was shrill in my ears, and when I looked up, nothing was out of place. seven rows of computer terminals with glowing holograms above them lined the bridge, and everyone was looking at me expectantly. Or at least I thought they did, most of their faces were blank slates of flesh with no distinctive features. I blinked, and everyone had turned back to their consoles.
“Alright! Attention!” I shouted. “Everyone back to the stasis pods. If the worst comes to pass, the deck will be detached and returned to Earth.” I blinked, and the deck was empty. The consoles winked red and I felt a moment of confusion, but quickly shrugged it off. “Ana!”
“Yes?” A disembodied voice said right next to my head. I turned, but where Ana’s holographic representation should be stood a small blue horse with horns and wings.
“Turn the ship so that the underside takes the brunt of the impact. We should be able to ride this out.” I rose from my chair just as another tremor shook the ship, this one more violent and I stumbled back into the chair.
“You should hurry back to your pod Magnus. The asteroid is just minutes from impact” Ana sounded completely calm. She was even smiling at me. Or at least the tiny horse I assumed was Ana did.
I shook my head and got back on my feet. “Right, of course. Take care of the ship?”
“Well duh.” The tiny blue horse stuck its tongue out at me. “Go now, sleep well.”
I felt another moment of confusion roll over me, but I shook it off and turned to the door. For some reason the door was covered in a sheet of reflective ice, and staring back at me was a larger ash-grey version of Ana’s horse body. I yelped in fright and stumbled back, hitting the edge of a console as I went down. Then everything went dark.
A/N: I know it's not much, but bear with me. There's more to come.