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71w, 15hThe Sci-Fi Ponies
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A blue portal opened amidst the empty space, bending and swallowing all light around it. As the space warped, the portal began to expand, and a massive starship started to push through. It was official: the USS Vector had reached its destination.
The ship had spent three days in hyperspace, heading for “Zeta-Twenty”, a mining station orbiting a small rocky planet. It had gone silent roughly six days before, and the Vector had been dispatched to investigate. The station itself was large and ring-shaped, with several antennae protruding from almost every section—some of which were bent, or simply not there at all. Docked right at its center was a large cargo vessel, and a myriad of lights could still be seen flickering in every section of the station, signaling that it was at least still powered.
Deep inside the Vector was its command bridge, a large chamber outfitted with consoles that had both men and women sitting in front of them. When they were not typing on or managing their stations, the technicians were either voicing commands through their commlinks or, more rarely, sipping on a cup of coffee.
Aside from the consoles, the entirety of the walls were composed of virtual windows, including the ceiling. This allowed for a panoramic view, even from the inside of the ship, while still keeping the bridge safe from any immediate damage that could be caused from the outside.
Standing in front of the main window was a single man clad in a suit of white armor, its shoulder pads a golden yellow. The right one was adorned with the logo of the Colonial Guard, while the left one had a vertical blue stripe on it with a star in the middle. It was the typical armor of an Admiral.
His name was Adam Becker, a veteran of the CG who was entering his early three hundreds. He was a respected man amongst the USC, known for his heroic actions and loyalty to the USC.
He folded his arms and gazed out through the window, attempting to get a better view of the station as the ship continued to move towards it. He was brought out of his thoughts, though, by the quaking sound caused by someone walking up to him. He turned around and found himself face-to-belly with a titanic man clad in heavy armor, also known as "Atlas". The Admiral glanced up at him, then went back to his previous task of looking out the window.
"So... that's Zeta-Twenty, right?" Atlas inquired, then folded his arms.
"Yes, it is,” the Admiral replied. “Normally there should be some other ships around here, carrying supplies back and forth, but I don't see any. Besides, it’s been on blackout status for what? Six Terran days now?”
“Guess so,” Atlas mumbled.
The Admiral nudged Atlas with his elbow and gestured back at the window; the ship was getting considerably closer to the station, where it began to pass through a cloud of debris, composed mostly by the twisted remains of small civilian ships, cargo crates, and even the occasional body.
"This ain't looking good..." Atlas said. He then glanced at the Admiral, who was completely impassive. The tension grew as the ship slowly closed the gap between itself and the station. Everyone on the bridge was silent as the Vector slowly slipped across the field of debris, the space-station growing bigger as the two got closer. More details could be seen as the distance diminished, the Admiral noticing that ‘Zeta-Twenty’ was somewhat damaged. Some gaps could be seen, most likely made by explosions, and most of the antennae that were still standing were either bent or missing parts.
“Anything on the sensors?" demanded the Admiral to no one in particular, unfolding his arms and facing the general direction of the bridge's crew.
The crew over at a cluster of particularly large consoles began working rapidly, shuffling through a multitude of information. They sat there for a while, immersed in their work, until one of them stood up and said, "There’s nothing on the scan, sir... just scattered energy sources from inside the station, probably emergency cells. No life signs..."
The crewman's statement made Atlas flinch on the inside. He turned to face the Admiral, who was looking out the window once again.
Atlas watched as the Admiral’s face slowly twisted into a scowl. "Set course, move behind the planet," he ordered, and almost immediately the ship began moving faster, circling around the planet.
Only a few seconds afterwards an alarm began to sound off, accompanied by several several emergency lights. A crewman stood up, yelling, "Sir! Multiple contacts! Three Ubor frigates!" He then sat back down, continuing to manage the console. Soon after, three small ships dashed from behind the planet, heading towards the Supercarrier.
These ships were small, almost minuscule compared to the Vector, but what they lacked in size they made up for with superior speed and maneuverability. Their design was much different from the average Human ship; Ubor engineering being somewhat crude in that area, as they often went for frames with sharp edges and cuts complemented with ridged ends and spikes. Whereas Humans prefered their ships smooth, sturdy and well made. True, it took longer to build a ship by the standards the Humans had, but it paid off in the end. Another difference was that most of what the Ubor built were coated red, while the Humans favoured blue, though they had no real preference.
The automated voice from the ship then spoke up, “Attention all crew members, multiple Ubor ships detected nearby. Assume battlestations, and prepare for possible boarding attempt. Code: SET, REPEL, CAUTERIZE.”
Becker turned around to face Atlas. "That means you as well, son."
The giant nodded, and started running towards the tram station along with several other men, the chorus of their footsteps resonating throughout the ship.
“SS Batteries: ON.”
Becker sighed, looking through the window again, his arms behind his back. Outside, the Ubor frigates were flying loops around the Vector, evading the rain of fire the carrier’s turrets unleashed on them. The Admiral knew that they would not last long, but he also knew that they were not meant to. The Ubor often left some cheap scouts wherever they attacked, used as expendable forces to keep the enemy in one place, only to come back in more numbers, many more. His expression remained unchanged as he watched one of the frigates explode due to turret fire.
The Vector’s tram system was thought to be a lifesaver by many, seeing as the ship was several kilometers long. It ran through the entire vessel, capable of getting everyone to wherever they needed to be and fast. The only problem was that, sometimes, the trams could get a little cramped.
Atlas stepped onto the tram station, pushing through several other men. He did not have to wait for too long; a tram soon stopped at the station, its doors automatically sliding open and allowing several troopers to step inside, Atlas being one of them. It then closed its doors and began to speed through the interior of the ship.
The tram reached its stop, and everyone eagerly walked out. Atlas moved through the ship’s hallways, heading towards the ‘Drop Center’, his designated battlestation. Some simply called the launch tubes ‘Man-cannons’ as the troopers inside were literally launched out of the ship at supersonic speeds, either in individual drop pods or in pods capable of holding entire squads.
One of the tactics involving the Drop Center during ship-to-ship combat was to launch a swarm of drop pods at the enemy ship. They would either punch right through the hull of the vessel in order for the troopers inside to rapidly board the ship, or should they be unable to pierce the hull, the pod would be capable of latching onto the ship, allowing the trooper inside to get out of the pod and walk along the hull, looking for a hatch or another spot they could use to board the vessel. Heavies often chose the latter, seeing as they did not have individual drop pods, instead using only their exo-suits.
As Atlas ran through the long hallways leading to the Drop Center, he was soon joined by a group of Heavy Troopers. They passed by the motor pool, watching for a brief moment as pilots climbed into their combat walkers, and all other kinds of vehicles. After running past the motor pool, he looked through one of the virtual windows lining the hall to catch a glimpse of one of the frigates exploding into a cloud of twisted metal and fire.
They made their way to the Drop Center, into the 'Heavy Infantry' section. Atlas and two of the troopers that were with him walked into a chamber that had three large tubes, where another soldier greeted them. He and the two troopers got inside of a tube, and a transparent hatch closed behind them, sealing them shut and locking them in place. Heavy troopers did not need pods, as they could easily be launched out of the ship, making use of their suits as their own drop pods.
Admiral Becker was still standing in front of the window, observing as the last frigate was turned into a smoldering chunk of metal. Some of the crew around the command bridge began to cheer, while the Admiral slowly shook his head. He carefully examined the surroundings of the Vector. “There...” He saw five bright flashes in the distance, followed by the appearance of five more Ubor ships. The whole crew stopped cheering, and fell silent.
One man broke the silence, "Sir... five ships just came out of hyperspace: three Ubor Super-Dreadnoughts, one carrier and another frigate."
The Admiral sighed, and slowly turned towards the crew, "We won't hold against that many ships; prepare for a jump."
One of the men stood up, "But sir! We don't have enough time to-!"
"Make it a blind jump, we don't have another choice! I am not letting them take this ship!"
“Sir yes sir!”
Once again, the deep, metallic voice of the ship spoke up, "Attention, all crew members begin preparations for imminent hyperspace jump. Code: LOCK, CHARGE, EVADE. Attention, all crew members..."
Atlas was still inside the launch tube when the ship’s automated voice boomed across the hallways. The soldier standing in the chamber next to the three tubes grabbed onto a railing as the Vector’s hyperdrive began charging up. Atlas remained still and held his breath. The Vector rapidly accelerated, the force pushing Atlas against the launch tube.
In a span of milliseconds, the Vector was propelled into a flash of blue light. Atlas felt the pressure on him subside, followed by a massive headache. The last thing he saw was the soldier in the chamber collapse onto the floor.
“No! There will be no more negotiations!” the half lion, half eagle barked, “This has to end now! You have expanded more zan enough, and have even begun to twist and deform the face of Gryphos! Just a few weeks ago, your ‘Ponies’ desecrated an ancient Gryphon temple and turned it into their camp! The old tales were true! Ponykind has always been a plague!” The Gryphon Ambassador, Ivan Razorwing, stood up and pointed his claw accusingly at Celestia, who remained in her chair, her solemn expression unchanged. Razorwing began pacing around angrily, constantly shooting furious glares at Celestia. He wore a red robe embroidered with gold, which had the shield of the Gryphonic Kingdom sewn into it with the finest of threads.
“You have disrupted the natural order of ze world! Not only do you control ze sun and ze moon, for the benefit of your country ONLY! But the increasing population of pegasus ponies in Gryphos is beginning to cause the weather to stall! Soon, ve vill have to pay THEM to make OUR weather function!”
“What Razorwing says is true; ponykind can live in harmony, but only among ponies and ponies alone. Or else they bring trouble to our own.” said Docaro, the Zebra Ambassador. He wore a dark green cloak, and underneath it several golden rings and other types of jewelry jingled every time he moved.
Celestia opened her eyes and looked at Razorwing, who shot another angry glare her way.
“I’ve already told you, Princess. Either you give us part of your land, or ve vill throw those vile pests back to Equestria.”
Celestia took a deep breath, considering her options. If she refused, there was no way of knowing what the Gryphons would do. It was always a gamble with them, even centuries ago.
She opened her mouth to speak, but almost as if on on cue, a deep, low growl shook the palace. As Celestia and the two Ambassadors stood up, a bright blue light flashed from the night’s sky into the meeting room. She frowned before taking flight and racing through the long hallways, followed by the two Ambassadors.
They ran past many of the confused and scared palace servants before they reached the castle’s courtyard. Another deep, but loud growl surprised them. They looked ahead, and their minds refused to believe what their eyes were showing them.
The moon was not visible anymore, and neither was the rest of the sky. Something was eclipsing it, something massive that was slowly inching its way over the city. Parts of it glowed blue, and hundreds of tiny specks of light adorned its entire form. It was bigger than Canterlot, probably by several hundreds of times. It was no dragon and neither was it a mountain. It obscured the sky and replaced the stars with its own blinking lights, while floating effortlessly far above the castle.
Celestia’s eyes widened. She could not believe such a thing was heading towards Canterlot. The monster slowly lost its momentum, and came to a complete stop. It then released a final growl, this one being far louder than any of the ones before it. The ground began quaking, and the windows across the city began shattering as the growl swept through it.
Razorwing stood still as the windows around him shattered. He too could not comprehend the situation, but slowly the gears in his head started moving again. He scowled and looked at the Princess.
“Y-You! This is your plan, is it not!?” he snarled. “You summoned this... thing! I have had enough of this! You and your kind have taken things too far!” Following his statement, Razorwing took flight, and headed back towards his room to fetch his guards and begin the trip back to Gryphos.
The Alicorn Princess was bewildered. She had heard Razorwing, but she simply could not be bothered to respond. Deep inside, she knew that after this, there would be no way to change his opinion.
She bit her lower lip, looking at the ground. The city had lit up already, the screams of terror echoing throughout its streets as Canterlot’s inhabitants panicked at the sight of the monster that hovered above them.
Being more than a thousand years old, Celestia had seen her fair share of monsters, spirits and other kinds of evil creatures. She had lived through the reign of Discord, witnessed wars, and had had to banish her own sister to the moon when she turned into a monster. Even considering her life experiences, this was completely out of her grasp; there was no prophecy, no legend, nothing. “Perhaps... perhaps it is finally the end of days?” she thought to herself.
She banished that last thought from her mind.“No,” she thought. The Alicorn mare lifted her head and put on a stern expression.
“No!” she said to herself out loud. “I do not care what that monster’s purpose is; I will not allow it to hurt my subjects. It shall face me first.”
With her newfound determination, Celestia unfurled her wings and leaped into the air.
Luna took in a deep breath, filling her lungs with the sterile air of the medical facility she was in. She then spent a few seconds adjusting the white overall that was covering her body, making sure the attire was sealed and leaving no room for anything to come into contact with her dark blue coat. Once done, she sighed through the surgical mask placed over her muzzle.
She mentally prepared herself for what was about to come, gathering all of the calmness she could manage. The Princess examined her surroundings for anything she might have missed, but everything was just as before. The group of four unicorn guards standing between her and the metallic door had not moved an inch, and the nurse by her side scratched her head, waiting for the Princess to continue.
“Are you certain it is ready?” Luna asked, looking to the nurse.
“Yes,” the mare responded. “It stopped thrashing about an hour ago, and even... talked to us.”
Luna looked at the door guarded by the four ponies, and gulped. It would have been a blatant lie to say that she was not scared, but she had to keep herself calm, especially considering what was waiting for her beyond the door. Her mouth was dry, but she nodded at the guards regardless of her fear.
The four armored ponies saluted her, then turned around. Each of them inserted their horns into a series of holes in the metallic door, and shortly after a mechanical click sounded, signaling that the door had been unlocked.
Slowly, the Princess trotted towards it, and the guards stepped aside for her. “Stay outside, I wish to be alone with it.” She gently slid the door open with her magic, and walked into the adjoining room.
As she closed the door behind her, her eyes were immediately locked onto the creature lying on the medical table located in the center of the room, which was composed entirely of white tiles. She slowly began her approach, the sound made by her hooves as they hit the floor resonating through the chamber.
She stumbled back as the creature lifted its head and looked at her with its red eyes, its stare drilling into her soul. She frowned and moved closer to it, swallowing her fear.
“You... look different,” the creature said, its voice raspy and distorted. “What are you here... for?”
“I am Princess Luna, ruler of the night.” She began pacing around the bed. “But the biggest question is: who are you?”
“I... am nobody,” the creature replied. “Nothing but a distorted reflection of what I used to be...”
“Very well, then. What were you?”
“They took that away from me...”
“The memories... only shards now.”
“Are you saying you were not always like this?”
“Yes... they turned me into a monster.”
“Who are ‘they’?”
“The machines...” The monster let its head rest on the bed’s pillow, looking up into the ceiling. “All that’s left... is pain. I remember the pain... only pain.”
“Why are you here? Why did you attack us?”
“That was not me... it was them, controlling me... But the signal is gone, now I control... It is a twisted joke; to let you see what you are doing, but be incapable of stopping yourself...”
“You did not answer my first question.”
“Nor did your disciples answer mine...” The monster sighed, “Where am I?”
“You are in our land, Equestria.”
“What... is the name of this planet?”
“You... what are you?”
“We are ponies.”
“Are you... synthetic?”
“I am... on Earth, but with your kind instead... and speaking the same language... Luna, I must warn you...”
“About what, exactly?”
“If... if I made it here, then others can do so as well...”
“What do you mean?” the blue Alicorn asked, her voice taking a tone of wariness.
“I am merely the first...” It coughed, fluids beginning to seep out of its mouth. “Of the inevitable many. This world is not yours... not anymore.”
“Why do you say that?” Luna stopped pacing around, trotting closer to the creature.
“Pray to your gods...” The creature took in a deep breath, then sighed it out as steam, “That your kind will live to see another day.”
“What will happen!?” the Princess asked, furrowing her brow and looking directly into the creature’s eyes. “Where did you-” Right on cue, a deep growl shook the room, making dust fall from the ceiling.
“I recognize that sound... The gears... they are already turning.”
The object hovered above Ponyville and Canterlot, and as it ceased to advance, it released a final growl, the loudest yet. Everypony on the plaza dropped onto the ground and plugged their ears with their hooves.
Twilight could faintly see the dust being lifted off of the ground as the shock wave advanced towards Ponyville. She closed her eyes shut as the wave hit the town, making the windows vibrate loudly, yet they did not break. She slowly stood back up, and so did everypony else. Everything was perfectly silent until a mare decided to change that.
“The horror! The horror!”
That was enough to trigger the panic button on the rest of the ponies. They began running in every direction, some of them crashing into each other. Several of the Royal Guards that had been stationed in the town were attempting to calm them down, with no luck. The best they could do was to keep them from running out of the town and into the woods. Twilight was surrounded by the multitude of panicked ponies. She was confused; she had to hide somewhere, but her brain was refusing to comply.
“Twilight!” a familiar voice called out to her.
The unicorn turned to the source of the voice, Sugarcube Corner. She could see that Rarity was standing at the entrance, waving at her. Twilight began galloping, closing her eyes and hoping not to crash into anypony. Halfway to the building, she crashed into another pony, making her fall and roll a couple times on the ground. She quickly stood back up, her coat dusty, and continued to make her way towards the bakery, galloping as fast as her legs allowed her to.
Twilight came crashing into the store, followed by a series of gasps as she collapsed onto the floor, panting. Rarity sat down next to her.
“Are you okay, Twilight?” she asked, to which Twilight replied with some frantic nodding. “Oh, nonono. You are NOT okay darling. Your coat is all dusty and your mane... Oh no, I must do something about this!” She levitated a brush and began to adjust Twilight’s mane.
Occupying the store, aside from Twilight and Rarity, were Pinkie Pie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, and the Cakes. Pinkie Pie, Applejack and Rainbow Dash were looking out the window, observing the behemoth that floated above the ground. Fluttershy was sitting by one of the tables, her mane covering her face.
Carrot Cake trotted out of the kitchen, carrying a small plate that had a cupcake on it. He placed it on the table in front of Fluttershy, who looked up at him and gave him a small smile. “Thank you,” she whispered.
Carrot Cake smiled. “No problem, sweetie.” Afterwards, he walked back into the kitchen.
Rainbow was sitting in front of one of the windows, looking at the object that currently obscured the stars and recently emptied the streets. She looked up with a confused expression, then stood up and walked over to the table where Fluttershy was, noticing that she had been joined by Rarity and Twilight.
Rainbow cocked an eyebrow, looking at Twilight. “Uh, Twilight? Do you know anything about what just happened? I mean you must’ve read something about it in one of your books and stuff, right?”
“I was just talking to the girls about that... My books have never said anything about such a thing. I don’t know if it’s dangerous, or if it’s even alive for that matter! All I can say is that it must be using a HUGE amount of magic to keep itself in the air.”
“Uhm... Twilight?” Fluttershy nervously clopped her forehooves together. “I need to tell you something... It might be important... I guess... I mean, it’s okay if you don’t want to...”
“No, it’s okay. What is it?”
“Uhm, well... do you remember the meteor shower a few nights ago?” Fluttershy asked, looking at Twilight from behind her pink mane.
“Yes...” Twilight got closer, eager to hear what her friend had to say.
“And the one meteor that landed nearby...?” Fluttershy inquired again.
“Yes, the one I wasn't allowed to see because of the guards that kept saying it was royal business, the meteor the Princess told me not to worry about...” Twilight huffed, then rolled her eyes.
“Uhm, yes, that one... You see, I was up that night watching the meteor shower with Angel Bunny... And when the meteor landed, I kind of... Uhm, I hid under my couch... And then...” She took a deep breath, “And then I looked out the window and saw... something... It had two red eyes that... that glowed, I think... When I saw it looking at me, I screamed, and then it just disappeared.”
“I see...” said Rarity, “That is indeed, somewhat creepy. But what does it have to do with the meteor? Do you think that-” She was cut off by Fluttershy.
“Yes, I think it came from the meteor... Later that night, some guards came by, and told me it wasn’t safe... and since I had nowhere else to go, and couldn't leave all my little animals behind, they offered to stay to make sure nothing happened.”
“Oh, wow.” Twilight conjured both a quill and a piece of paper, and started taking notes.
“But... that’s not the most important part. The next day I snuck out and made my way to where the meteor had landed, and hid in some bushes. There were... a lot of guards around it, but it turns out it wasn’t a meteor at all...”
The three mares looked at her, dumbfounded. “Well, what was it then?” said Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy turned around to see that Pinkie and Applejack had been listening as well.
“Oh...well... uhm... It wasn’t alive... but, it was so weird... the only thing I can say is that it gave off the same feeling that other big floating thing does... They are... similar...I couldn’t see anything else because one of the guards caught me... He told me to never ever talk about it...” She finished by hiding behind her mane once again.
Twilight placed the quill and paper on the table, and scowled, “If they are related... I wonder how many of those red-eyed things Fluttershy talked about could fit inside that huge thing above us.” The mares shot each other some worried glances.
Applejack cleared her throat. “Twilight, ah was meanin’ to tell ya’ll ‘bout somethin’. Y’see, ah was watchin’ the big floaty thing, and ah noticed that on its side it had summin’ written on it. Though it was kinda wierd lookin’, y’know. Ah couldn’t really make out much of it.”
Twilight stood up, and trotted towards the window, followed by the other five mares. She looked up at the massive contraption, her mouth hanging open due to to its sheer size. Applejack was right; there was something written on its side. Due to the size of the object, the letters were big enough to be visible from quite a distance. Twilight began scribbling the words into the paper she had brought. Upon finishing, she took a look at it. “It sorta looks like Equestrian. It’s only slightly different...”
Pinkie Pie began bouncing up and down. “Oh! Oh! Does it say ‘Doom’? Or something like, ‘The Eater of Worlds’?”
Twilight shook her head, dismissing Pinkie’s crazy antics. “N-No, It says U-S-S... Vector?”
Rainbow Dash cocked her head to the side. “ ‘Vector’? The hay is a ‘Vector’?”
The lavender unicorn scratched her head. “It's supposed to be some sort of mathematical concept, not... whatever this thing is. I’ll have to go to my library and see if I can find anything... “