42w, 1dThe Sci-Fi Ponies
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7w, 1dTechnology VS. Magic
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The USS Vector is outfitted with the most advanced military technology to date. Not only does it perform colony establishments, it is also outfitted with a hanger capable of carrying a number of smaller ships rivaling that of a small fleet. It is powerful enough to lay waste to several star systems on its own, as well as setting forward operation posts after it has done so.
Its crew numbers in the billions, each and every one of them always ready for any scenario. The ship itself is able to fill entire battlefields in seconds by means of orbital drops, backed up by the armament of itself and its fleet.
However, contrary to popular belief, the Vector is primarily used to establish large colonies at an extremely fast rate, hence the large crew. They are deployed by the millions in order to upbring cities from scratch, while also maintaining a permanent military force. The Vector is responsible for the construction of more than a dozen colonies during the past decade, though terraforming planets is still a matter that takes years.
Both a mothership and coloniser, the USS Vector is the most powerful vessel under the banner of the USC.
“Atlas?” Luna asked. The giant had been staring through the window for a few minutes now, completely unaware of his surroundings. She brought a hoof to his leg and tapped it, causing the human to abruptly turn towards her.
Luna cleared her throat. “I am ready to depart, Commander.”
“Right then.” Atlas began walking towards the door. “Let’s go.”
Luna waved her goodbyes to her sister, then followed the man as he walked over to the chamber’s entrance and pushed the door open. Once outside, two Night Guards stepped into view. Some other guards that happened to be nearby stumbled in surprise, as well as a few maids and servants.
Both of the guards saluted Luna. “Do you need our assistance, Princess?”
“Yes,” Luna said, “I do.” She and Atlas continued walking, followed by the two guards. “We are visiting the humans’ starship. I request that both of you keep your composure at all times.”
The order caught them by surprise, but nevertheless they both nodded at the same time. “Of course, Princess.”
The entire group continued walking with Atlas leading the way. Luna watched as the intricate mechanisms in the man’s armor worked each time he moved; how the synthetic muscle contracted and stretched. There was a lack of extensive information regarding the human’s armor, but it was definitely a wonder. The fact that the human right in front of her was literally a fallen star only added to the few demonstrations they had made when it came to their capabilities.
After walking through a few hallways, the group finally reached the courtyard. Atlas pointed upwards with one of his hands, tracing what seemed to be another falling star or a meteorite. Luna contained herself from doing anything, assuming that this new object was the “Dropship” Atlas had mentioned.
Not much time went by before the falling star became a flying contraption, similar to the ones she had seen when the human admiral came to the palace more than four months ago. As it approached she could hear the deep humming of whatever force allowed it to fly, most likely anti-gravity, if she remembered correctly.
It landed in the middle of the courtyard, ruffling the leaves of the nearby trees and blowing dirt in every direction. It ended facing away from the group, and a ramp on its back began to lower itself, displaying the insides of the small vessel. Screens covered both of its sides. The seats, like the ones on the ship that crashed down more than four months ago, were clearly not designed to be used by a pony, as they were far too big and uncomfortable.
Atlas walked into the ship, followed by Luna and the two guards. The ramp then automatically closed, leaving them isolated from any external contact. Soon after, the ship began to ascend into the skies. Luna approached one of the sides, looking through the artificial windows. She watched as they flew above Canterlot Mountain, past the cloud layer, and higher than any pegasus had ever dreamed. The horizon stopped being a straight line and instead became convex, confirming what the human book said about planets. Once far enough from the ground, they began to fly past several pockets of light which Luna assumed were her stars, but after reading the human book she would be lying if she said she was sure. There were always a few stars she did not have control of, but they were few and far in between. It had been a long time ever since she began to add constellations, bigger stars and smaller stars, yet the book stated that stars were several thousands or millions of times the size of a planet. All in all, these were times of discovery.
Memories started rolling through her mind as they flew near the moon, where she could see another, smaller human vessel floating by. It was a cold prison made of grey dust which, to add insult to injury, happened to be the very thing she represented. On the other hoof, it was exciting to be one of the first ponies to leave the planet, not considering her banishment a millenia ago. She sighed and looked away from it, instead focusing on the windows by the other side of the vessel.
The massive, metallic behemoth that was the Vector came into view. The dropship began to circle the enormous beast, giving the ponies inside a clear look of how big it actually was. Several artificial lights adorned every section of the starship, and both of its sides had small holes in them, most likely hangar bays, according to the human book. Luna squinted, and was barely able to see a few humans working on the outside of the ship, presumably repairing small parts of the hull.
“Capable of annihilating entire systems... Amazing, isn’t it?” asked Atlas, looking down at the ponies. Both of the guards nodded, unable to take their eyes away from the virtual windows, while Luna stood quietly, observing as the dropship closed in on one of the holes by the Vector’s side. Separating this hole from the vacuum of space was a blue shield of sorts, which posed no resistance as the dropship slowly flew through it, entering a large chamber with similar vessels spread across it; some of them even hanging from the ceiling, neatly stacked together.
The ramp lowered itself once again, and Luna walked out with her two guards standing by her sides. She saw several other humans nearby, all of them working with their ships, engaged in conversations and playing card games. Many conversations stopped as the humans realized she was there, then resumed in whispers. A familiar figure stood out from the crowd of humans, bearing a set of metallic wings upon its back. Luna recognized this as another one of Becker’s guards, the female one. Atlas stepped near the Princess and waved at the other human, then pointed towards the far side of the massive chamber. She followed Atlas’ finger and spotted a figure clad in a white set of armor walking through a doorway and heading towards her, past ships resting on their landing pads and clusters of humans talking to each other. The two Night Guards took their positions at her sides, assuming a statuesque stance, eyes hardening into a militant glare, despite their clear disadvantage in size.
Once he was in a talking distance, the Admiral spoke up, “Princess Luna, isn’t it?”
“Indeed, Admiral Becker,” Luna said, offering her right forehoof to the man, who shook it with a firm grip.
The Admiral smiled. “Welcome to the Vector, the largest ship in the USC. More than six hundred kilometers in length.” He gestured towards the doorway he had just walked through. “Shall we begin our ‘tour’?”
Luna returned the smile. “Of course, lead the way.”
Becker nodded and turned, walking back towards the doorway, followed by Luna, her two guards, and Atlas. Every eye in the chamber was hooked on them as they exited into another area of the ship.
As they followed the Admiral, a door slid out from the ceiling and blocked their path. Luna looked behind her to see another door close on them, leaving the entire group locked in a small chamber.
“Excuse us,” Becker said, “this is simply a safety procedure.”
“Scanning,” a deep, distorted voice said. Almost immediately, a red grid began to scan the room. A screen on one corner displayed a picture of her body, including the two guards. It somehow managed to show her muscle and bone, yet all that had been used was the eerie light show of red gridwork.
“Xeno-lifeform: Carbon based, equine anatomy, oxygen breather. Analysing...” A small claw came out of one of the walls and pinched one of the guards, who yelped in surprise. It then went back into the wall holding a bit of the pony’s hair on it.
“Probability of disease outbreak: Zero.” The door in front of them opened with a hiss. “Temporary civilian status: Active. Remember, stay with your escort at all times and keep away from restricted areas, otherwise you may be terminated on sight.” Luna could not hold back a gulp, it seemed that the humans had a rather harsh penal code.
“Let’s keep moving, shall we?” said Becker, leading the group of ponies into a large hallway.
Luna examined every inch of the corridor, noticing the symmetrical aspect of almost every area, the tubes and cables that ran across the ceiling, both spread equally along the corridors. The air was cold and sterile, like that of a hospital. Everything was incredibly perfect, no stains on any surface, no nothing, yet it was far from “Royal”, lacking the delicacy of the marble that her palace was built with, instead using sturdy metal. Everything that was necessary was there, leaving no space for decorations nor other types of miscellaneous items. There were only two words that could describe such a thing.
“First things first,” Becker said, “You asked about what was going to take part in your battlefield, didn’t you?”
“Yes, we did.” Luna said, following the Admiral through several more cold hallways. They walked past a couple screens that displayed a bar of what seemed to be food with the words “If you waste it, you’re wasted.”
“You have already seen human soldiers, including heavies and raiders.” Becker rounded a corner, were a sign that said “Tram Station” was placed. “But you have yet to see our mechanized infantry.” He led the group into an area that roughly resembled a train station. A few humans were sitting on some seats, reading large books, and some even seemed to be listening to music, if Luna was hearing right. Her appearance seemed to distract them from their tasks, as they all fell quiet and stared at her. It was not until the Admiral shot a glare at them that they returned to what they were doing.
“Mechanized infantry?” asked Luna.
“You’ll see.” Becker said. Not too long after the Admiral’s answer, a train cart loaded with passengers stopped by and opened its doors, allowing the humans to walk out, only leaving a few inside. Becker’s group then walked into it, and the doors closed behind them with a loud hiss. The cart began to take speed, moving through the insides of the Vector.
As the cart sped through the ship, Luna moved over to one of main windows, just as they passed over one particular area. It seemed to be a factory of sorts, like those she had seen near the more industrialized parts of Equestria, instead filled with humans supervising automated machines as they built other machines, and overseeing conveyor belts that carried parts from one point to another. All the sounds coming from the factory fused together to form a sort of march, the clings and clangs of metal clashing against metal making for a spectacular rhythm.
The cart then entered a tunnel once again, leaving the factory area behind, yet it still remained inside Luna’s mind. It was impressive, even for her. The Vector was only one of many ships possessed by the USC, meaning that what she was seeing was nothing more than a fraction of their actual capacity. Never had she thought that such things could exist. Entire buildings dedicated to the mass production of several products, sacrificing the delicacy of quality over quantity. Even then, it seemed that the humans had achieved both of those principles, manufacturing items in large numbers while retaining surgical quality.
Slowly, the cart came to a stop, and opened its doors, leading into another labyrinth of hallways. Becker walked out, with the three ponies and the giant following suit. “This,” he said, “is our motor pool.” He moved over to a large set of metallic doors, and they automatically slid into the walls. The Admiral walked through the doorway, into the next area. Luna and her guards moved in after him, and gasped upon the sight.
She found herself standing in, by far, the largest section of the Vector she had seen so far. A massive corridor with enormous bipedal machines resting on the sides. They were perhaps ten times bigger than most humans, with the joints on their legs bending backwards and their feet ending in three toes. Their arms ended in strange tubes rather than hands, which Luna assumed were weaponry.
Near the metallic monstrosities stood several humans, performing repairs on the former or engaged in conversations with one another. They regarded her with curious expressions once they noticed she was there, resuming their chatting once again, but in whispers.
One of the machines was walking backwards into the wall, with one human standing in front of it. “A little more,” he said, “right, stop now.” The machine obeyed, stopping and hunching over. A hatch opened on the top of it, revealing another man sitting inside a cabin. Becker and the rest of the group took their positions nearby.
“Alright, you know the drill,” said the human in front of the machine, “routine check. Servo group one, go.”
“Copy,” said the machine’s pilot. The hatch on the bipedal vehicle closed, and once again it stood straight, the sounds made by the mechanisms in its legs echoing throughout the chamber. Luna and the guards gawked as it took a defensive stance, its feet landing with deafening thumps upon the metallic floor, yet leaving no dents.
“Check. Servo group two, go.”
The machine moved its torso, looking round the chamber, then back at the human standing in front of it.
“Check. Boosters, go.”
Blue, fire-like energy began to gout out of several hatches on the machine. It leaned forwards, to the point of falling, but the “Boosters” kept it from hitting the floor, forcing it to stand up.
“Check,” the man said. He looked behind him and glanced over to the ponies, then looked back up at the machine. “Let’s see how the voice module is doing.”
Without warning, the machine let out a deafening, metallic roar that made the floor under Luna’s hooves shake. “STAY DOWN OR FACE JUDGEMENT!” it bellowed. The two guards by Luna’s side stumbled back, while the Princess managed to maintain her composure.
“What do you think?” Becker asked.
“It is... impressive.” Luna looked back at her two guards, who were still nervous after the demonstration.
The Admiral smiled. “You wanted to see what would be joining you in the battlefield, and now you have seen most of it. I’m afraid I have to attend to some rather important matters, so Atlas will be your escort for the rest of this trip.” He walked over to the giant, conserving his smile. “I already added you to the database and I had the technicians do some ‘upgrading’ to your armor, so you should head to an armory.” Becker then turned towards the door leading to the tram station and began walking away, leaving Luna and her two guards with Atlas.
“Alright then,” said Atlas, “let’s get to the armory.”
Luna followed the titanic man as he made his way towards the tram station, but instead taking to the many corridors that snaked through the Vector. The occasional human crossed paths with them, often regarding the Princess and her guards with curious looks.
After walking for a good few minutes, they reached the entrance to another area, with the word “ARMORY” set upon a sign hanging from the ceiling. Inside there was a distinct lack of humans, but one stood out from the rest.
Standing amongst a group of men was a human, except this one was not wearing armor. Instead he was covered by a plain, blue shirt, a pair of pants, and a set of boots. It was the first time Luna had seen an armorless human, and the data in the book she was given was somewhat vague when it came to their physical appearance. She noticed how muscular they actually were, and the lack of fur made their structure stand out even more. Apart from that, they did not look as alien as one would expect.
The three ponies followed Atlas into a chamber, and a door closed behind them.
“Initiating decontamination cycle,” said the unknown voice. Soon after, various nozzles that were implanted upon the walls began to spray a clear liquid on them. It stung, but thankfully dried much quicker than expected.
The next door slid open, leading into a circular room. “Stay here,” Atlas said, then walked onwards, leaving the ponies on their own. Once he was inside the next chamber, the door closed, only leaving a small window for Luna to see what was happening.
Inside the chamber in which Atlas was, several arms could be seen waiting with an almost predatory stance near him. Two of them approached the giant, taking a hold of his shoulder pads while another pair began to unweld them. The two arms grabbing his armor then forcefully pulled the shoulder pads off of him, while the rest of the arms retrieved a new set of large, blue shoulder pads from a hatch on the wall. Luna watched in awe as they placed the pieces of armor on Atlas’ shoulder and welded them together with the rest of his suit, proceeding to pry the remaining armor plates off of him and replacing them with ones that were even bulkier. She had not expected their armor to require such procedures, especially not with a mere change of metallic platings.
Atlas turned around and walked towards the exit. Luna stood back while the door slid open, allowing the man to enter the room the ponies were in.
Celestia quietly sipped on her cup of tea. She was sitting in her reading room, near the fireplace that was set next to a small table. On said piece of furniture was the ‘book’ the humans had gifted her with.
She set the cup of tea upon the table, and raised an eyebrow as the book lit up by itself. She leaned in, looking at the small screen.
“Hello, Princess,” came the voice of Admiral Becker. Celestia looked at the device, noticing that it was displaying the face of the same human that spoke up.
“Ah, you should read a bit more. This particular function should be somewhere around the section of the early twenty-first century.” He smirked. “Anyways, your sister should have arrived by now...” A knock on the door made Celestia take her eyes away from the device. “There you go.”
Slowly, the door to the room was pushed open, followed by her sister, Luna, walking in. She made her way over to Celestia’s side and sat down, sighing.
“So,” the Admiral said, “do we have an agreement?”
Both sisters looked at each other, staying silent for a few moments. Luna gave Celestia a single nod, and the Sun Princess looked back down at the device.
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