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"Hang on a second," Rainbow Dash said, breaking up the brief squabble that had broken out across the table through volume and force of personality. "Why do we all have to agree on everything? Can't we, like, each do our own parts and glue 'em together?"
Rarity, as usual, spoke out against the idea. "We are not making a... a collage!"
Twilight Sparkle held up a hoof. "No, I think she's got the right idea." Rarity looked shocked, but Twilight continued. "Rainbow Dash, what's your favorite part of Equestria?"
"Duh! The sky," Dash replied, rolling over on her cloud chair.
"Then you can be in charge of the sky on our new world. Fluttershy can handle the animals, and Applejack can handle the plants."
"Begging yer pardon, Twilight," Applejack cut in, "but I mainly know about farming." She paused, looking surprised. "A lot about farming. You been putting stuff in my head again?"
Twilight shook her head. "I think it's part of becoming a... a god. What about the rest of you?"
Dash looked thoughtful. "Huh. I do know a lot more about the sky and weather and stuff. Did you know you can set the weather up so it works by itself? Like in the Everfree?"
"I know all sorts of interesting things about animals," Fluttershy said, animated by the thought of her favorite subject. "There are more than a million kinds of bugs in Equestria!" She cowered again, adding, "And some of them are kind of mean."
"How are you on plants?" Twilight asked. "Do you think you can handle plants and animals?" Fluttershy considered, then nodded timidly. "Okay. Rarity, how do you feel about handling the earth?"
Rarity looked confused and offended. "You want me to work with dirt?"
"No, the earth. Rocks and gems and mountains and volcanoes. The foundation of the world."
Rarity considered this briefly. "I admit, I have a talent for gems, but if you're talking about foundations, I think that would be Applejack's department." Twilight looked over at the farm pony, who considered the matter as well.
"I reckon I could give it a go... if'n you wouldn't mind giving me some advice now and again." She looked to Rarity, who nodded.
Twilight considered. "We'll need someone to handle the water... rivers, oceans, that sort of thing. Rainbow Dash, think you can squeeze that in? It's sort of a weather thing."
"Yeah, sure, whatever," Dash replied. "But Fluttershy has to do the fish and stuff."
Rarity looked pensive. "What is there for me to do? I can't demonstrate haute couture before we've even made any people."
"Then you can make the people," Twilight suggested, only to be interrupted on two fronts simultaneously.
"Now hold on a second, Twilight, I ain't lettin' her fill our world with a bunch of upper-crust socialites!—"
"—Hey, how come Rarity gets to make the people? I totally had some cool ideas!"
Twilight raised her hooves in surrender. "All right, we'll work on the people together. Rarity..." She paused, thought carefully. She was having trouble thinking of a contribution the unicorn could make, and from the look of it, Rarity was having the same problem.
"What about you, sugarcube?" Applejack asked Twilight. "What're you gonna do?"
"Oh, I thought I'd do the basic framework. The shape of the world, how gravity works, what the sun and moon do, that sort of thing." Twilight looked over at Pinkie Pie. "And Pinkie can, uh... Pinkie?"
"Yes, Twilight?" the two-dimensional shape that looked like a cut-out portrait of the earth pony with simple shades and darkened borders wondered.
"...never mind. You can be in charge of all the weirdness in the world."
"Woo hoo!" Pinkie declared, raising her flattened hooves.
"Oh! Ideaaaa!" Rarity suddenly sang out. "I'm already giving advice to Applejack; how about I help all of you with your ideas as well?"
"What?" Rainbow Dash protested. "No way I'm letting you near the sky. You'll style the clouds. Clouds don't need styling!"
"Um, maybe you could help me make the animals... pretty. If you don't mind." Fluttershy offered her best supportive smile, which looked a lot like her timid smile.
"You can help me out, Rarity!" Pinkie Pie offered. "How much lava do you think goes into a lava cake?"
Twilight forced a smile, looking to Rarity, who looked like she was beginning to have second thoughts. "Well! That's certainly generous of you, Rarity. Moving right along..." She gestured, and a three-dimensional drawing appeared in the center of the table, near the blob of worldstuff. "I'm thinking of going with a spherical world. It's self-contained, but offers avenue for expansion—"
"Wait, won't stuff just fall off the bottom?" Applejack asked.
"No, 'down' is at the center of the sphere, so everything falls inward," Twilight replied.
"How do you expand something like that?" Rainbow Dash added. "Wouldn't you want it to be flat so you could stick more bits on the sides?"
"Some of the worlds I looked at in the catalog are joined to other worlds," Twilight said, flipping her copy of the book open and indicating an illustration. "Each of the lights in the sky is its own sun, very far away, and ponies can travel from one to the other by using specially modified... well, they're something like fireworks and something like hot air balloons."
"Well, why don't we just make something like that to start, then?"
"I was thinking, instead of us making absolutely everything, why don't we find other gods who've made their own worlds and let our ponies meet their ponies?" Twilight paused, then looked to the Caretaker. "We can do that, can't we?"
With the agreement of all involved, two worlds can be joined, the Caretaker responded. It is difficult to sever such a bond, however, even if the gods agree. I note that such a bond exists between your world and Equestria.
"So our people could visit Equestria someday?" Pinkie said. "Ooo, we could throw them a Welcome To Our World party! Y'know, we should really come up with a good name for it."
"Well, how're they gonna get here? Equestria ain't no fancy ball with stuff stuck to it," Applejack asked.
Twilight admitted, "I'm not sure. But other worlds in the book are joined by special gates or passages. We'll figure something out."
"Ooo! Ooo!" Pinkie raised a hoof and waved it, the motion causing her hoof to blur and leave lines hanging in the air. "Can we have a donut world? I want a donut world!"
"No, Pinkie," Twilight sighed. She'd seen toroidal worlds in the book, and technically there was nothing wrong with them by themselves, but trying to extend 'up' in such a way that other worlds could be meaningfully connected would be a headache. As for the idea of a world in rectilinear space actually shaped like a donut...
"How about a layer cake world? We could have a world here, and a world here, and a world here..." Pinkie began stacking her hooves atop each other, which was especially disturbing once she got up to five.
"Oh, a cupcake world! People could live on the icing and dig their way down to the cake underneath. They'd have to be careful of the cream filling, though—"
"Pinkie!" Twilight barked.
"Aww, you're no fun," Pinkie pouted, folding her (many) forelegs over her chest.
"I must admit," Rarity said, "I'm a bit uncertain about this... 'sphere' idea. I saw a rather charming ring design in the book—"
"Why do we even need ground?" Rainbow Dash said, perking up. "Just make the sky go on forever. We give everyone wings—"
Applejack glared at Dash. "I must be hearing things, because if you think for one second I'm gonna let you get away with not having good, honest dirt—"
"Girls!" Twilight yelled, glaring around the table. Fluttershy, despite being the only pony not to contribute to the chaos, hid her eyes behind her forehooves. "Deciding this is my job, and I'm going to do it." She paused, then sighed. "If you all think a sphere is a bad idea..."
"All I want is sky, and lots of it," Dash said.
"And ground," Applejack added.
"And cupcakes!" Pinkie chimed.
"Pinkie, we need ponies to make cupcakes," Twilight groaned.
"Ooo, right, we have to invent the universe first," Pinkie agreed. Twilight looked oddly at her.
"Pinkie Pie. Can you come up with one idea—just one! That makes any sort of sense?"
Pinkie Pie adopted an intense look of concentration, appearing to tap her hoof to her chin. In her current state, it looked fascinatingly surreal, as if one portrait were being switched out for another faster than even godly eyes could see.
"How about..." Pinkie said. "We make a world that's a big ship. Big enough to have land and sea and sky inside. And when the people are ready, we can show them how to sail the ship into other worlds... so they never have to leave home to go exploring!"
The ponies blinked.
"That sounds... pretty cool, actually," Rainbow Dash said.
"It'd have to be an awfully big ship. And what would it sail in?" Applejack pondered.
"Well, there is a sort of space between worlds," Twilight murmured. "It could travel through that. Somehow."
"Oh my! A vessel eternally sailing the sea of nothingness... so romantic!" Rarity enthused, eyes wide.
"As long as there's room for animals, um, I don't mind," Fluttershy said.
Twilight grabbed her quill, began sketching in the air, replacing the spherical design. "If it's going to travel, it should have a front and a back..."
"Make it a big tube, with all the stuff on the inside!" Pinkie suggested.
"What about the sky?" Rainbow Dash demanded.
"A big hollow tube, silly! There's plenty of room for sky."
"How will the ponies get out to meet other ponies?" Applejack wondered. Twilight suddenly looked excited, beginning to sketch more vigorously.
"We can divide it into wedges," she said. "Imagine we take a ring-shaped slice of it, like this. If we divide the ring into six pieces, we can make every other piece land, and the pieces in between can be... well, a sort of clear wall, like glass. We make down out and up in, and when you look up you can look through the glass and see out."
"But there'll be nothing to see!" Dash protested.
"There'll be other worlds to see," Twilight said. "We'll arrange things so that they're... well, like stars. And the ponies in our world can steer it to whichever one they want to visit."
"That doesn't answer how they'll get out," Applejack pointed out.
"Duh!" Pinkie answered. "They'll just make a tunnel down! And they can have smaller boats to fly from our world to the other world and back!"
"It sounds way too complicated," Dash said. "Wouldn't it be simpler to put everything on the outside?"
"It'd make down... complicated," Twilight said. She'd seen some rather elegant formulas of gravity and centrifugal force that she was already toying with using.
"And making the world a ship wouldn't? Ponies'd fall over sideways every time the thing started or stopped! And where you gonna put the sails, huh?"
"It'd be more like a firework," Pinkie chimed in. "With one end going whoosh!"
"You want to make the world a big firework?" Rainbow replied, looking aghast.
"No, silly! Then it'd explode!"
A brief silence fell over the table, broken by Applejack. "Well. That certainly is a... Pinkie Pie idea."
"It wouldn't re-ca-pit-u-late Equestria," Rainbow Dash admitted, looking at Twilight.
"I do think we can do better than some sort of tube," Rarity chimed in.
Twilight glanced at Fluttershy, who'd fallen quiet. "What do you think?"
"Well, um, I—" Fluttershy began.
"Fluttershy," Rarity snapped, fixing her gaze on the pegasus, who flinched, then drew a deep breath.
"Well, you haven't considered what you're going to do about a sun and a moon, up and down are going to get very confusing near the center, and I don't think we'll be able to explain how to make everything work to the people without going down and doing it all ourselves, and I think it'd be much more exciting if they could work that out without having to ask us to do every little thing. Not to mention, if the glass cracks or breaks, it'd be a huge problem for everyone." She paused. "But, um, whatever you want to do is fine."
Twilight let her head sink to the table again, covering her eyes with her forelegs. Rainbow Dash's bright idea hadn't actually solved anything.