A man stood hunched over a collection of organized metallic rings which, in turn, sat inside a building of scrap metal. These rings were wrapped tightly in coils of copper cables that connected each of the separate rings to one another, thus allowing a continuous circuit of energy to traverse the scape that the metal and wires created.
The man wore a set of very tattered clothes that had seen far more years in service than they had originally been designed for. The poor tailoring skills of their owner were obvious if you looked at his ratty outfit for even the briefest of moments. A collection of stitches decorated the white shirt. Or at least, it had been white once, but each time a tear had made itself present the biped had closed the gap with any kind of string that had been on hand at the moment. This gave the outfit a horrible, clashing appearance as the separate strings of varying colors held the shirt together.
The appearance of the machine itself would easily distract you from the horribly stitched together clothing, though. The center of the apparatus was home to jumping green sparks that danced across the metal. Giving off not only an air of mystery and power, but also enough radiation to make a Geiger counter start screeching. The harmful efflux had been a calculated risk for the man, as he had lacked any other sources of energy that would meet the needs of the device.
Another byproduct of the device, aside from the static radiation, was the steam. This super heated water streamed violently out of several worn, metallic, mechanical orifices around the device at regular intervals. It acted as an energy force for the secondary parts of the machine and was being used as more of a backup for the outlying contraptions rather than a main power source.
The humanoid didn’t care about the dangers of the enclosed space though; instead, he put all his attention to carefully examining the full length of the odd contraption in front of him, occasionally ducking to deftly avoid a burst of the steam that would shoot about his head. While he examined the contraption, he would occasionally stop and apply an additional length of wire from a coil he had on hand or would tighten a screw that sat a little too loosely for his liking.
A loud and drawn out exhale came from the man as he straightened his stance and let his weary gaze linger once more on the collection of random metal and wires that he had designed, running over all the various details of the monstrosity for flaws. “That should do it, perhaps a bit too much variable in regards to the exit portal, which really isn't the best thing. Not that I could improve it; the device is using a random string of numbers for the coordinates of the exit portal. Anything too complicated and the device would most likely breakdown from lack of energy or computing power.”
The man paused briefly to look over his entire circuit of machines once again before he continued speaking. “I could hardly care where I end up though, whether it be drowning in water while the built up pressure of the several billion gallons crushes my bone structure, or melting in lava hotter than the surface of the sun. Anything is better than this never ending wasteland.” He spoke to himself. If anyone had been listening they would have thought him crazy; of course, there wasn't anyone though. There had not been anyone in a long, long time.
The inventor looked up at the slab of scrap metal that formed the roof to his little shack. Occasionally, he liked to believe that beyond that metal roof was a bright blue sky with the old, yet familiar, comfort of fresh sunlight that drifted down through the atmosphere and warmed his skin while the enjoyable scent of nearby flowers calmed his mind. The days would pass as if in a dream as he enjoyed the company of others and they all managed to drag themselves through the tough days, periodically chatting about the nuclear armageddon that was believed to happen soon without giving it any real thought.
His belief was ill-founded and he knew it; Beyond that roof was the ever changing, yet always the same, shamble of a dome that was composed of mud-brown clouds. No sunlight ever got through the thick mess and anything that might have hinted at the warmth of the light had died. Because of this, the memories at the back of the man’s mind of the yellow orb in the sky and the once flourishing gardens were more along the lines of vague dreams then actual recollection.
With a shake of his head to break his thoughts, the man turned his attention back to his work. “Dimensional folding though, quite an epiphany that one was. I never would have theorized that under normal circumstances, I don’t think. Of course, I’m still not entirely convinced that it’s possible, probably isn’t, the sheer idea of such a dramatic tearing of the laws of nature sounds like an impossibility on all grounds of scientific study and practice,” the man said.
With a quick snap of his fingers the man spun on his heel and took a look at the generator pumping the hybrid power through the heavy cables and into the set of rings in the middle of the room. It had taken ten years to create the device, ten years of scavenging for what scrap remained and putting it together into this monstrosity of metal. The end result was this collection of energy and directive currents that took up more of the room then the generator itself did.
“Well, no sense in putting this off I suppose,” the bipedal said after a look over what would be supplying the power. After a purposeful stride, the creature placed himself standing in front of a monitor that hung loosely on a nearby wall by only a single steel hook. Aside from said steel hook the only other adornments that the screen had were a series of wires running into and out of it. The creature began to tap the screen several times as he scanned the information that the console displayed in the form of scrolling numbers.
With a single glance to a series of green numbers and the flip of a switch on the side of the monitor, a hum filled the room as energy began to flood through the wires and into the collection of scrap metal the man had put together. A blue light began to circle around each of the rings and soon shot into the air forming a cylinder. The lights wavered unsteadily until they overlapped one another and a oval of blue mass was formed in the air.
The man gathered the items he would be taking with him, just a bag with a few of his more important inventions that might be necessary to his health and a collection of tools that he had managed to pull together in case he needed them. “What was that saying again? Ah yes,” he said with a grin as he turned to face the portal that had been created. “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” With those words, the bipedal threw himself into the blue abyss.
The chunk of rock he left behind, that had once been the home to so many, was left to spin onward around the sun. It carried nothing but the empty whistling wind and tons and tons of dirt, yet it continued to spin, on, and on, and on. Into the dark eternities.
Luna had just settled into bed after lowering the moon for the dawn, when a flash of blue and a loud, low noise filled the room. The sound itself resembled that of a watermelon hitting concrete, but without the shattering accompaniment. The alicorn looked over the edge of her bed to see a silhouette of something that definitely wasn’t a pony picking itself off the ground. In the moment of panic that followed, the princess instinctively tossed the mysterious creature against the far wall with her magic.
A gasp of pain shot into the air as the oxygen was forced out of its chest when it hit the wall, wherein the creature slumped to the floor. Luna ran to the creature and placed her hoof securely on its midsection to stop it from rising before she spoke. “Who or what are you and what do you want?” she asked the intruder, a cold tone in her voice.
“I would like to breathe, if that’s alright,” he managed to say with the last of the breath that remained in him, or at least Luna believed it to be a he, judging from the sound of its voice. Luna lifted her hoof slightly so that the man could inhale, but would allow her the ability to keep him on the ground. His inhale was more along the lines of swallowing air as he breathed in the life-giving oxygen. He coughed several times before his breathing became more regular. Eventually, the man returned to lying flat on the ground as he looked up at the blue alicorn that kept him on the ground, allowing him the opportunity to take in the features of her horn and wings.
“Well, that’s new,” was all he could get out audibly before he fell into another fit of coughing. In the silence that followed the most recent coughing fit, a muffled clockwork beat rose into the air and Luna looked at him the creature with a raised eyebrow.
“I do not take kindly to intruders. Explain yourself or I will be forced to take alternate measures for revealing the truth,” Luna replied. He blinked at her in startlement before he began to move his mouth in reply, then was interrupted as Celestia burst into the room.
“Luna, I heard the noise and came to check up on you, are you al-” She paused when she saw the creature that her sister had pinned to the ground. The man responded by turning his gaze to the new arrival and once again froze as his mind began to work around what he was seeing. “What are you and why are you here? More importantly, how did you get in?!” Celestia said, receiving a blink in response.
“I had just asked it that myself when you came into the room. I’m still waiting for my answer,” Luna said as she glanced to her sister and then returned to looking at the man on the ground. He managed to break out of his silent pondering at the words and coughed again.
“I teleported in,” he answered truthfully.
“Nonsense. The castle has magical wards; no one can teleport in. Even Discord had to sneak into the castle grounds. Regardless, there are additional teleportation wards on each of the main rooms of the castle. you can’t have just teleported in. Now tell us the truth,” Celestia said as she looked at the man.
“I am telling you the truth. I teleported in via a folding of dimensions,” he said as he slowly collected himself. He had been ready for just about everything when he had decided to jump dimensions. Talking ponies though, talking ponies was in the area of ‘just about’.
“And now you’re claiming that you can jump dimensions? Even Luna and I wouldn’t dare to try that. Who knows where you would end up. Even then, I can sense no magical power coming from you. There is no way you could have jumped dimensions and there is no way that you could have entered this room.”
“And yet I did. ‘When you eliminate the impossible, whatever is left, no matter how improbable, must be the truth’. I didn’t walk into the room, as the doors were closed when you came along seconds ago; I didn’t fly in, as there is no passage from the air outside; and I couldn’t have busted in through any of the walls, as the walls are obviously intact. Well, except maybe the one I was thrown against, but that is dependant on how hard the blue pegacorn threw me against the wall and, of course, if the constants of Newton’s laws exist in this world,” the man said and once more coughed into his hand.
“Pegacorn!? I am an alicorn. I don’t know who or what you think you are, but you will refer to me correctly while you are in my presence,” Luna said indignantly to the creature, whom was about to respond to her when Celestia cut him off.
“Regardless of your claims, you will still be put into the dungeons until what you say can be confirmed or, as is more likely the case, proven wrong,” Celestia said as her horn began to light up. The man was too distracted by the light show that was going off to voice his questions regarding what exactly she was doing. His silent questions were answered a split second later when he found himself in a metal cell.
“Already in the dungeons. That certainly beats my expectations. Didn’t even give me a chance to tell them that I didn’t have a name that I wanted to be known by and ask them to come up with one for me. Though I do suspect that perhaps that would have caused a few extra problems as things stood,” the man said and fell into another fit of coughing.
“Freakin’ automated system is on the fritz again. That’s what you get when the best metal you can find is a few decades old, partially melted, and more radioactive than the inside of an atomic bomb. Can’t believe I have to deal with this already.”
In her spare moments, the white alicorn found her mind turning to the odd prisoner that had recently taken a cell in her dungeon. With her mind distracted as it was, she felt the several duties of the early morning pass by with the all too common boredom that she carefully hid underneath the smiling mask she had adopted a mere decade after she had become a princess. Eventually, the first half of the day passed by and she excused herself from the meeting she was in at the time to check on their recent intruder.
As she descended the stairway into the dungeons, Celestia ran over a few possible things that may start happening when she arrived: the creature might begin to yell about how unfairly it was being treated, maybe it would stay completely silent when she arrived and would refuse to tell her anything, or perhaps it might say something that would lead to the reveal of a conspiracy that was under construction. She pondered over a few more similar circumstances as she made her way into the prison.
The princess immediately set out for the cell of the creature she had sentenced that morning. As she approached, she noticed that the guards who were walking in the opposite direction were looking over their shoulders. Puzzled, Celestia looked at the few prisoners who were also in the dungeon, most only for a week or so until their minor crime was finished being payed for. The ones nearest to the end of the hall were all looking at one thing in the cell that sat around the corner, the cell that Celestia had put the odd creature in.
When she rounded the corner, the princess saw what had made everyone else look at the cell and paused for a minute to gather her thoughts. In the cell, the creature sat, facing the metal door to his cell with his eyes closed and his head in his hands. Despite the fact that its face was obscured, there was no denying that it was still the same bipedal creature that had appeared in Luna’s room that dawn. It wasn’t the creature that was drawing everypony’s attention though.
Covering the stone wall behind the creature was a collection of chalk symbols and drawings that completely covered its backdrop in advanced mathematical and scientific equations. Celestia briefly noticed a few similar looking equations that related to light and how fast it could move. Other then that she couldn’t make heads or tails of what was written down on the brick wall.
“What is this?” Celestia asked. “What did you write down?”
The creature raised its head and a jovial smile crossed its face. “Oh, hello, missus white alicorn. I was just going over the dimensional teleportation algorithm I came up with to make sure that I did, indeed, go across dimensions, rather than just traveling across the universe and landing on an alternate planet. This is as far as I got though. Say, I already used all my chalk. I don’t suppose you have anymore?” The human looked once more at the stone surface behind him, then turned to face Celestia again. “And perhaps a new wall to go with it?”
“Umm... Tell you what...” Celestia paused with uncertainty as she looked at the creature, this was indeed quite a unique meeting. “Sorry, what is your name again? I don’t remember you ever giving one.”
“Oh, I don’t have one. I decided to ditch the last name I had and I haven’t settled on a new one to start calling myself. I briefly considered ‘Hamilton’, but I decided that I didn’t want to share a name with the inventor and entrepreneur of the digital clock, so I ditched that one. Then I considered ‘Sherlock’, but I decided that that would be a little presumptuous of me to take that name, so I never really did end up choosing one.”
“So, you don’t have a name then?” The human nodded his head in response. “Right; that’s rather intriguing, I suppose.” Celestia paused for a moment in thought before she continued. “If you tell me what you are, I will get you some more pieces of chalk and a larger, emptier wall. Deal?” she asked with a suspicious glare at the human, whom seemed completely ignorant of the look. He took on a thoughtful expression for a second before shrugging.
“Sure, can’t hurt I suppose. Would you like to know about the basic nature of human beings or would you prefer a physical explanation?”
“Humans. Hmm, I think a behavioral explanation would be of the most help right now.”
“Right then.” The man stopped as he tapped his chin and thought for a moment. “I suppose I’ll have to start with angels. Do you know what an angel is?” The shake of the head from the white alicorn prompted a further explanation. “Well, angels are beings of good who have the ability to call upon the unrestrained power of the cosmos to accomplish whatever is required to achieve the greatest good.”
“And your telling me this, why?” Celesia asked as her curiosity grew.
“Well you see, the paths that angels fear to tread, those are paths that we humans walk daily. Not because we are stronger than the angels, neither is it because we work for a greater good. No. The reason we walk these paths is because, despite all the intellect that we claim to have as a race, we are far more ignorant than any other living creatures. We kill each other for petty things such as land or oil. Then, on the following day, we preach to love your neighbor and donate to the charities of the lands we destroyed. Or at least we did.”
“Did?” Celestia managed to say was she tried to wrap her mind around a race that was devoted to destruction and hypocrisy. Realizing that the gaze of nearby guards had turned to her, she took a deep breath and steadied her expression in the pause of the conversation that the man had given her.
When the princess had gathered herself, the biped continued. “We decided to make larger and larger weapons, eventually making a double-edged sword so large it cleaved the entirety of the human race into shreds. I am the last lone survivor of our horrible planet.”
A chill ran down Celestia’s spine as the man explained what he saw humans to be. She didn’t trust the man’s words, but something about them rang true. Regardless, a promise was a promise and her horn flashed twice. The first time put the man inside another empty cell, this one more rectangular with an accessible brick wall about three times the size of what he had in the previous room. The second flash conjured a box of a dozen white pieces of untouched chalk into his cell.
The white alicorn began to cast a different spell to get back to her duties for the day, having spent a fair amount of time recharging her magic and being in a relative hurry. The human had given her more information then she had expected to receive and she wanted to have some free time to think about it. I should talk to Luna about coming down here and checking out this diagram; she always was the more scientifically involved of the two of us.
Just as the spell was about to be cast, a shout echoed to her from the cell where she had placed the human. “Thank you, Princess. This should keep me occupied for an hour or two!”
Did a prisoner in my dungeon, that comes from a place where they kill each other without thought, just thank me for giving him chalk? Celestia thought to herself with a smile on her face. “Thank you for the information, whoever you are. It was very helpful." The words that Celestia spoke were in a soft voice. Despite that, it still managed to echo to the ears of the human, who smiled in response before getting to work on the new blank wall that sat at the back of his cell. She didn't trust him, but then again, he hadn't really done anything that should make her doubt his word if his teleport was truly accidental. She would have to make sure Luna asked him about how he had appeared in her room and see if he stuck to his previous statement. With that decided, a large flash of light signaled the alicorn’s departure.