In the days when the galactic government was just being forged, mighty fleets crossed vast distances in sub-lightspeed ships, communicating across long wave sub-ether radio. In these ships, meaningful travel took an unfathomable time, and what with the size of space (Big), even when two ships did arrange to meet, their meeting was largely spent playing an enormous game of interstellar Marco Polo. By the time hyperspace had been invented, and the journey time reduced to mere hours, there were a great many of these aging hulks stuck out there still trying to locate each other. At around this time, the use of the teleport was in its infancy, and beings were just being slung through millions of tiny wormholes in order to travel without ships, which is exactly as unpleasant as it sounds. Magical teleportation had existed more or less as long as magic, so the invention of a less reliable and less pleasant alternative looked like little more than the work of some sort of universal competition commission. Still, it is a universal fact that anything that exists will be morally objected to by somepony, someone or somepan-dimensional-monstrosity, and magical teleportation is no different. Religious groups, moral guardians and just plain jealous life-forms everywhere disdained magic in all its forms, in that unique kind of stupidity found only in intelligent species.
All of these methods of travel are infinitely less surreal than the Infinite Improbability Drive, which, although technically infinitely fast, has quite enough problems to keep it out of mass market by a significant margin. Any changes internal to the ship tend to be reversed on turning the machine off, but the fallout of so much improbability could cause many, many problems to anything it passes, anything from raining fish to the spontaneous creation and immediate combustion of the mayor of Warsaw. For anypony unused to the idea of infinite improbability, the effects of being on-board while the drive was active were very disturbing to say the least. To imagine what it is like, it is suggested that you consume at least two Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters and stare directly into the mind of a complete lunatic. Or rather don’t, because that would be a silly thing to do.
Fluttershy squeeked in terror as her hooves seemed to melt into the floor, Her head was rising as her neck lengthened, and her hair seemed to seperate into hundreds of... leaves?
“Fluttershy, you’re turning into a tree, stop it!”
Rainbow dash had backed into a wall, and as her fellow pegasus snapped back into her usual shape she turned to look for Rarity. “What the hay is going on?”
“Darling, please, try to compose yourself a little. If I am honestly expected to believe I am currently surrounded by small dancing brooms wearing tacky shoes, I can hardly do it with you getting me more stressed than I already am. Some of us would like to go mad with dignity thank you.” Rarity huffed.
The universe around them twisted up like a sodden sponge being wrung out, and from it squeezed the very stuff of creation, which was a rather disappointing grey blue colour. From it grew a million new worlds, which groaned for an instant under their own sheer absurdity before popping out of existence again.
“Then again,” Rarity said, sounding embarrassed “perhaps dignity can be discarded for a moment or two.” She got down from the pegasus’s back, to where she had leaped with a shriek as one of the lurid worlds had slid towards her.
Fluttershy had backed towards them, and the three huddled together as everything continued to go completely and utterly oatmeal.
“Being a tree wasn’t how I expected it at all.”
“It never is” said a small clam as it hurtled past, caught in a tornado composed only of other shellfish.
The three sat thoughtfully on what seemed, at that moment, to be the ground.
“Are we all seeing the same thing?” asked Dash, staring up as a turtle whipped past in the aforementioned tornado, studiously ignoring the “shellfish only” rule and wearing the closest to a “Haters gonna hate” expression a turtle can muster.
Fluttershy nodded, Rarity chipped in;
“And a turtle”.
“Thousands of odd looking things constantly repeating the phrase “Seriously, it’s not a girls show, just watch this”, and sitting at glowing boxes all around us?”
“Ok, either I’m mad and I just think you two are answering me, or this is really happening.”
“Or,” squeaked Fluttershy “We’re... all mad, and seeing the same non real thing?”
The others considered this, but were interrupted. A voice rang out from above. It was chirpy, tinny, and had any of them known the word, computerised. It seemed to be painfully cheerful, and in a mood to share that mood with everypony it met, whether they liked it or not.
“Four hundred and twenty five thousand and nine to one against and falling. Isn’t that just great guys? This is Eddie, your shipboard computer, just alerting you lovely strangers to our current improbability rating. Don’t worry guys, everything will be hunky-dory in just ten minutes”
There are times in life when it seems events have reached a sufficient crescendo that any spectators could be reasonably expected to remain in place while, say, a series of adverts were played, as long as a conclusion to those events is promised. Failing that, the narrator will sometimes take this as an opportunity to annoy everypony, and switch to some other part of the story, which currently holds far less attention, in order to keep all parts moving at a roughly equal pace. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy notes this phenomenon as extremely annoying, if necessary. In closing, it notes that the inventor of cliffhangers can officially go and stick his head in a... whereupon the article ends.
“Infinite imper-what now?”
“Improbability!” Chirped Pinkie. “That’s so cool!”
“And what” asked Applejack, her voice flat, “does that mean in real language?”
“Only that they’ve been rescued by THE MOST ADVANCED SHIP IN THE UNIVERSE!” Pinkie was almost squeeling “I’m so JEALOUS!”
Twilight shook her head. “But Pinkie, why is that a good thing?” Twilight almost shrieked “WE LOST OUR FRIENDS!”
“Oh, well...” Pinkie paused, glancing at a wall screen “I’m jealous because for starters, we’re going to be in this pod for ages until it finds the nearest space port. They get to have a super adventure while we’re gonna be sitting here twiddling our hooves! I’ve always wanted to try going to infinite improbability, I mean anything can happen around you, and you can’t get really hurt, so you get to see SOOO much! They’re safe, and I’m sure I have an idea for finding them as long as they stay on that ship. Besides, I know the pony that stole it, and he...”
“STOLE?” Applejack and Twilight shouted in unison.
“Oh yeah, he’s nice. A bit odd if you know what I mean.” She leaned in close and spoke out of the side of her mouth “To be honest, he’s pretty weird; he wears the strangest clothes and he’s always talking about going to parties and other stuff, it’s like he doesn’t think about anything else.”
The pony she was currently talking about was lounging in a chair, staring absently into the cocktail he had levitated in front of one of his faces. His other head was staring at the feed from the cameras of the lower decks where the strange ponies had ended up. His name was Zaphod Beeblebrox, and as the probability ratio normalised he took a sip from his glass. He has not only his own article in the Hitchhiker’s guide, but whole others dedicated to his career, wardrobe, romantic conquests and likely mental disorders. He had grown the second head because it had seemed like a good idea at the time, and the second unicorn horn was simply for style. The asymmetry of having them both on the same head had not occurred to him. He was wearing a long coat with more than the usual spectrum of colours on it, and a paisley lining in red. On both his heads rested mirrored sunglasses several sizes too large, the purple colour of which clashed in what he thought was a dashing way with his silvery coat and blue streaked mane. He was currently enjoying his eighth very strong drink, and idly scratched his cutie mark (a picture of himself).
“Eddie, I have to say, you did well this time around. Freeyow! That white one is a LASERBEAM. Should I get a third horn? No, it wouldn’t go well. Would it? Whatever. I hope that Rainbow colt hasn’t called dibs on either of those lovely fillies.” He chuckled, finished his drink, and slowly fell out of his chair.