I took a little more time with this one to think thoroughly about how I wanted to present 42 and the others as individuals. Personalities will match more towards their actual persona from the show and 42 will become more 'Spartan' like. If you want an excuse for previous deviations from character, put it down to stress from the situation. That's all for now people. Thanks for your cooperation and attention to this story. -SuperIntendant
Chapter 3: Humans? Sounds Dangerous.
Twilight observed diligently as she sketched 42 while he twisted and furled a knife between his... eer fingers. The group had been sitting, or standing in 42's case, in the library for about twenty minutes now, where Twilight and Celestia had politely asked him questions for about ten minutes before they realised he would not give any more information on the topics they had pressed on other than what he had told them previously that night and some meagre scraps of information in this room such as his species name, Human. He had also labelled some basic body parts to help them with their confusion on his plentiful digits and such but Twilight had a hard time remembering them all as she attempted to label the sketch she had drawn out. She had no idea what he looked like under the armour so she just sketched him in his combat attire and labelled that instead. Applejack asked him as to why he was so reluctant about giving so much away he explained that his training dictated to never give any info to the unknown and all interaction up to this point had been a gross violation of this artificial instinct. Rainbow still wasn't very comfortable around him, not that any of them were but she was the most aggressive at this point and every time she tried to get in his face he would simply point the knife at her and she would sit back down. Twilight saw this as incredibly rude and dangerous of a creature but then again maybe all Humans interacted with each other violently. Twilight turned to face the Princesses who shared similar looks of perplexity as they tried to think of a way to mingle some explanations out of his mind. Celestia's and Luna's horns lit up as they began to talk to one another telegraphically and twilight soon joined in.
'How do you suppose we got about this?' Celestia called through the spacial void of thought.
'Perhaps it would be best if thou started on a lighter topic.' Luna had worry etched on her face as she realised that 42 was now observing them. While she was sure that he could not read their thoughts he would still see the glowing horns among the trio as a rather odd occurrence and could take it the wrong way. Twilight pitched into the conversation at this point.
'I agree with Luna. We have to build up his comfort around us. One wrong move and we could all end up chocked of life by his rather menacing weapons. His body is also nothing to take lightly. Celestia nodded at Luna who in turn nodded at Twilight. They all turned to face 42 and Celestia spoke up.
Aidan watched with peaked curiosity as the three horned ponies conducted what would be telepathy at a guess. While they may be able to hide their actual words Aidan could always derive the point of the conversation from their body language. That is if Pony body language worked in a similar state to that of a Human. The mind conversation transpired quite quickly and the three ponies turned to face him as the other ponies re-drew their attention after discussing quietly amongst each other. The tall, white one was the first to speak.
“So 42, what of Human culture then?” Aidan wasn't sure what exactly they wanted to know but culture as a whole would be a good way to settle in with these ponies as long as he steered well clear of sensitive areas and things that may frighten them. He would pick his answers carefully.
Twilight was happy to see that 42 had eased up a bit as his stance loosened just a titch and he sheathed his knife to cross his arms.
“My answer depends on what you want to know.” he replied which seemed fairly justified to Twilight. There were some things she probably didn't want to know about a species who could turn one of their members into such an efficient killing machine. Twilight was about to ask something but rarity jumped at the chance to get her questions answered. No doubt it would be fashion related.
“What about fashion darling. I would adore to hear about trends among the stars.” her eyes beamed at 42 as he reaching for a small device on his wrist and tapped it twice before a blue light radiated from it. Rarity seemed to annoyed that he was ignoring her question and when she began to speak again he held up a finger to silence her. She crossed her forelegs with an audible 'hmmph' and 42 continued to tap and drag one of his fingers down the device but none of them could see what he was doing. 42 then reached into his pouch on his left thigh and pulled out a small, brownish cuboid almost identical in looks to one on the small of his back where his tail should be. He tapped the device once more and the circular yellow light on top of the cuboid flashed twice in response. He then tossed it to the ground and pressed the device one final time. The small cuboid on the floor emitted a blue tinted light which grew more and more opaque until it looked almost as though the blue cone of light was solid. The cone was quickly filled with the 3D images of some, what she assumed to be, Human clothing items. They rotated before the group as they admired the handy work of 42's magical cuboid. Rarity 'squeed' with delight and quickly began to jot down the clothes key features in a small design book she had kept on her that night. Twilight was impressed that Humans could do so much 'magical' things with technology but 42 hadn't finished and she listened attentively as he explained the clothing.
“Yeah, so Humans like to keep things relatively simple because flashy is seen as quite tacky amongst us. Also last time I checked before shipping out, navy blue was the 'in' colour.” Rarity finished her jottings with an annoyed tut. If what 42 was saying was true then half her clothes would be looked upon with disgust by those around her should she ever go into space. Twilight used the gap in conversation to put her question forward.
“What about education, how does that work with Humans?” 42 pondered this a second to himself as he picked his words carefully for the answer.
“We do twelve years mandatory from the age of four but you can do much more with other courses which can go on for up to an extra thirty years. Only careers like fusion drive engineers need to go in that long but military counterparts only need to repair them so the course is much shorter. That's all I can say on that topic.” Twilight was impressed at how highly Humans valued education. She supposed it wouldn't be possible to get to where they are now without it though so high education was probably a no brainer. Luna took her turn with a question.
“And what of thou's free time? What does thou do for entertainment?” Pinkie picked up on this question especially and bounced in anticipation as she waited to listen how Human enjoyed themselves and threw parties. If they did throw parties that is.
“Well, plenty of people enjoy video games and sports but I think the night life and music are where it's really at for the time being.” Luna was eager to understand the concept of 'Night Life'. Ponies had a few after dark bars but probably nothing compared to these Humans if it was the big thing going down at the moment. Perhaps Humans were nocturnal. Luna decided to push further with her question.
“What do you mean by 'Night Life' exactly?” 42 didn't see this as a harmful question and went into a large explanation on the whole concept of night clubs and the accompanying music, such as house tracks and Electronica. Pinkie was especially interested in Humanity's ideas on how to throw a proper party. It all seemed rather involved with large amounts of alcohol with ratings so high that a shot would probably kill a pony. Applejack smirked at the last part.
“Well shoot, ah was hoping to see you plastered but if you drink stuff as strong as rubbing alcohol then ah won't get to see a real party animal.” 42 chuckled slightly at this. Twilight was relieved he was starting to open up to them a little, if only a tiny bit, progress was being made. Celestia was fascinated with what music humans could produce with instruments they surely didn't have and she was eager to learn.
“42, you wouldn't happen to have any songs from your species on you?” Celestia was patient on the outside but was looking forward to hearing new styles of music, one of her favourite pass times whenever she could get a chance to have some freedom from the royal Canterlot duties she would attend a concert in disguise as another pony with her magic or would request a song from the palace orchestra. 42 tapped the device on his left wrist again and it lit up once more with a soft glow as he shuffled his fingers over the surface, all the while talking to Celestia.
“Well, I personally am not a massive fan of the modern artists bar a few but I have plenty of songs from the 2000s. Hang on let me play you something a bit more recent first... 'ah' here it is.” He tapped the screen once and music began to build up out of thin air, Celestia guessed he was playing the song through some speakers in his armour. Most likely the ones he talked out of.
“Now this song is a brilliant revitalisation of old classical but adding new aspects to modernise it. Composed by one of my favourites, Martin O'Donnell, 2416-2517.” The song began to pick up as Celestia listened to the classical style she knew taken and twisted into something she had never quite heard and the weird guttural choir voices from the Humans were a nice touch to. The ponies sat there in silence and listened to the 'very' powerful music flowing through the room. What Celestia assumed to be violins picked up and produced a sound so unique and beautiful it would make Octavia blush and become jealous. Celestia observed 42 as he drummed his fingers on his chest plate to the music. It was quite obvious that he loved the particular track because he did not miss a single beat as his fingers tapped the inspiring tune. The music came to a peaceful close and the ponies clapped at the amazing tune they had just heard. They all agreed, Humans could make beautiful music. Twilight was amazed by what Humans could create despite their, so far violent nature, on the outside. Of course if any of them wanted to fully gain his trust and hopefully friendship, then they would have to answer some questions for him. Twilight cleared her throat.
“So 42, we've heard about your culture what would you like to hear about ours?” Twilight pulled several encyclopedias from the book shelf as she said this and hovered them around 42. He observed the front covers before taking the Equestrian Encyclopedia of history. He began lightly flicking through the pages as Twilight continued to talk. “History is always a good start, I could teach you about the Princesses and how they raise the Sun and Moon but I think they would be better suited for that.” Luna beamed at her chance to show off to this foreign creature and present her words of wisdom about the land of Equestria but the creature named 42 had other ideas.
“Woah, woah, woah. Back up a bit. Did you say those two ponies.” He pointed over at Luna and Celestia who shifted their gaze away from him as he scrutinized them. “Those ponies right there... move the Sun and the Moon? I think you may be mistaken for some simple physics there darling.” 42's half stoic attitude faltered there for a second as he stated it like they were blithering idiots. Celestia was the first to reply.
“Whatever do you mean by such a statement.” Celestia could see the annoyance on Luna's face as 42 questioned their ability to perform one of their most vital roles.
“I mean that there is no such thing as a geocentric solar system and what Twilight said there seems to give off the impression of medieval intelligence and understanding of the Universe around you.” He grabbed a piece of paper and a quill from the nearby table and passed them to the group. “Draw me how you think the solar system works.” Celestia and especially Twilight were getting a little agitated at this point by his rather blunt attitude towards them on this subject.
“Thy does not see how you can question thee's ability to raise the Sun and Moon, surely someone does those tasks for thou on thou's planets.” Luna let this out with a snarl as she took the quill from the group and scribbled a quick diagram on how the solar system worked. She passed the paper over to 42 along with the quill, he examined it before flipping the paper over and drawing his own model and pushing it back towards the group. They observed it but Luna and Twilight instantly guffawed at such a model and turned back to him as Celestia continued to examine it in silence.
“How can you draw such an inaccurate model of the solar system? How would the Sun be raised everyday if we orbit it?” Twilight was confused at this new revelation and slightly taken aback that an alien who travelled through space could get something so simple so wrong. Luna spoke up next.
“Surely this is a mockery and thou's version of a practical joke? There is no way thou's idea could work.” 42 crouched down before them in a menacing manner.
“Oh and it's more believable that two ponies move gargantuan objects in space but the more powerful of the two couldn't even pin me to a wall? Answer me that Luna.”
Luna jumped right into Aidan's 'grill' as anger exploded across her face.
“Thou will silence thou's tongue before the true power of an Alicorn is tested on a certain blue object.” This pony meant business and Aidan was willing to meet her half way as he tensed his fists. These ponies were trying to call him out on something so simple to grasp and were treating him like the idiot.
“Bring it bitch. I've faced grunts who are more intimidating than you.” That plucked the last straw and Luna dug her hind legs into the ground to lunge at 42 but before she could so much as move 42 leaped atop of her and brandished his knife in his right hand. He brought it down before anyone could stop him and Luna yelped in surprise expecting to feel the sharp pain of Knife entering her neck but instead felt a cool sensation and the side of the blade brushed against her fur. Turning her head she could see 42 had pinned her to the floor by a large ornate chest piece she had decided to wear today. The knife had went right through the tough metal and into the wooden floor. Luna was amazed if anything that a creature could even do that to a metal such as Deratium (Element found only on the planet of Equis). 42 stood up and Twilight forced a bit of space between the two as Applejack and Rainbow worked on pulling the knife from the floor.
“Pinkie lend me an Rainbow a hand. He wedged it proper into the ground.” Pinkie Pie bounced over to the two ponies and helped them remove the small blade from the ground, it would have been a short-sword by pony standards but for a Human it was quite short in comparison. Twilight scolded 42 in the corner now but he didn't seem to care as he looked over at Celestia. She had jumped from the sudden violent outburst but now continued to observe the diagram as she tried to figure out how both groups could to be right. Celestia doubted that 42 would have a reason to lie about such a thing but then again you couldn't protest with the evidence of her and Luna raising and lowering the massive objects every day and night. She sighed and gave up for the night.
“We all seem to be a bit high strung at the moment as one would expect from such an event. Why don't we rest for the night and consolidate on our thoughts in the morning?” Everyone but 42 nodded at this but she didn't get a no either and all the ponies cleared a space on the floor from 42 to sleep but he went over to the north wall and slumped in the corner, well clear of any of them. Celestia rubbed her temples at the action. He was making it difficult for any sort of peace to take a full effect. The other ponies returned to their various sleeping bags and settled in for the night. Twilight flicked the light switch with her magic but the room still had a faint blue glow emanating from the dim lights over 42's armour. Twilight watched as he pulled purple weapon from his back and cradled it in his arms before leaning his head against the wall and fell into what she assumed to be sleep. She couldn't tell why but his presence oozed am atmosphere of protection despite being an incredibly violent creature, she batted the thoughts away an laid her head on her pillow to catch a good nights sleep.
Dreaming, that was it, dreaming. But why did she still feel so terrified. Luna ran and ran as the large blue monster chased her at a steady pace through the warped and twisted Everfree forest. The creature was a mangled environment of 42 but in place of his helmet was the terrifying face of a soulless and merciless alien warrior as a sinister smile worked across its face. The twisted delusion of her mind seemed to revelling in the chase and was on purposely letting Luna wear herself out so the fight at the end of the chase would be that much easier. It pulled the long metal weapon from its back that Luna hadn't seen in action yet. The tip of the barrel was replaced by the small head of a wolf and the creature pulled the trigger to spout large swaths of flame as the Princess of the Night. She continued to narrowly evade the jets of flame and she felt tears begin to trickle down her cheeks as death harried her from a few metres behind. She was so occupied on dodging the flames that she hadn't noticed the large log the intersected the path. He forelegs tripped on the large piece of wood and she went flying forward before face planting the floor. She tried to get up but a large boot was placed on her back and pushed her back down to the floor.
The new 42 grunted with happiness as he spun her onto her back with his left foot and brought the boot down carefully on her fragile neck as to make sure he didn't break it and end her life so quickly. She watched in terror as he laughed at the tears rolling down her face. He pulled a rusty knife from a sheath on his chest and began bellowing a hearty laugh with slowly morphed into a cackle.
“So weak, just like the rest of them.” Luna winced at these words and this only made 42 laugh harder. He reached his left hand behind his back and pulled a large chain seemingly out of nowhere. It jingled and 'clinked' in the soft breeze and on every loop of the chain sat a rusty hook. Some where caked in dry blood while others held a much more horrifying cargo. The heads of all she held dear swayed in the breeze as they were all impaled upon some of the rusty metal hooks. There was one hook which was actually clean and 42 pointed at it with his knife.
“Guess what's going on there then.” he practically chuckled as he said this. She screamed with all her might as a large hand descended upon her slowly and blocked her vision off completely. She felt cold metal press against her throat and with one swift motion it was yanked against her flesh.
This chapter took way to long for something so short. I actually re-wrote this 3 time and each version was massively different from the other but now I have an idea in how to fill all the little gaps in loop holes in my story so writing will be that much easier. Everything will have a knock on effect, so you know... don't miss something and read the chapters properly.