Purple Point: His Life in Space

by Alden MacManx

What To Do Now?

Cosmic Lotus, 19.329 light-years from destination, according to the navigator’s best guesstimate…


Sunrise Flight oofed some under the force of Ixia’s massage. “My, you’re tense today, Sunrise,” the yellow changeling told her friend.

“Yeah, trying to get used to being without Radiance for a while. With him hibernating, it feels so strange not to feel him around.” Sunrise said, face through the hole in the table. “I’ve never felt the like before.”

“I’m sure it has to be a strange feeling. Like disconnecting from the hive is to us changelings.”

“It could be. Since we were separated, we don’t read each other’s minds, but our thought processes are so similar, the effects are almost the same. We have the same database, but our differences allow us to come to different conclusions. Our similarities, on the other hOOF…” Sunrise grunted as Ixia found a particularly tough knot in her back.

“You are not him, neither is he you. It’s perfectly normal to have anxiety about being away from your brother for the first time since you were born. Just relax, okay? You will be all right.

“Just how do you manage to be able to be a pegasus, anyway? You do well in flying, cloud walking and weather control.”

“I cannot say for sure, Ixia. When Mother formed me in Radiance’s head, bringing me back to what I should have been, it was like she had gifted me with all the experience I needed. She was a Wonderbolts auxiliary in Baltimare, and must have passed on the information.”

“Good enough an explanation as any.” Ixia said as she managed to untie the big knot in Sunrise’s back before working on her right leg.

“Ixia, the way you’re untying my knots, I won’t be walking for a while.”

“Nonsense! After you steep a bit in the tub, you’ll jell together nicely. That I’m sure about!” Ixia laughed as she got the knots undone. No knot could withstand the assault of her trained hooves!

Once the massage was done, Ixia tipped Sunrise into the hot tub and let her steep like a tea bag. “This is so much better, Ixia. I should have come yesterday, but I let too much pile up after Radiance went to sleep.”

“You’re forgiven, just don’t let it happen again. You know what it will be like, resetting you.”

“Painful, but so worth it!”

Ixia took a seat outside the tub, her head level with Sunrise’s. “So, just what were you doing yesterday?”

“Training under Eon to pull a duty engineer shift. He’s a hard taskmaster, but Radiance and I have faced tougher, and triumphed.”

“So that’s why Eon was so torqued last night,” Ixia said quietly. “Just what did you do to him?”

“Showed him that I know just as much as my brother does, but I don’t have his telekinesis, so I have to use workarounds. So, I tied him up in knots. I also showed him my command of invective is just as good.”

“Just what did you say to him?”

“When he became too condescending, I snapped this at him,” Sunrise said before saying something in Saddle Arabian. “Translated, that means ‘may a thousand thousand fleas make a nest in your space suit’s lining.’”

“I’m going to have to remember that one. So, what else have you trained on?” Ixia asked.

“I have worked my way through this ship from one end to the other since the halfway party, learning how to stand watches on just about every station aboard this ship, or at least a helping hoof. I saved Engineering for last because brother dearest knows that cold. So do I, but I must remember to use tools, not spells.” Sunrise said as she soaked up the heat in the hot tub, wings out and relaxed.

“So, you have all Point’s knowledge and spells in your head?” Ixia asked.

“I have it all in here,” Sunrise said, tapping her head with a hoof. Ixia noticed she tapped her head in unicorn fashion, alongside the horn, if she had one. “I can’t USE the spells, but I have them all. Everything he knows about this ship, I know as well. He knows EVERYTHING, down to the source codes for CONN.”

“I didn’t know Point was a programmer.”

“He’s not. He read the programming for CONN one night as it was being set up. That’s how he knows it.”

“Being an eidetic brings its own problems, he has said.”

“That is so true, Ixia. However, I’m not as rigid as he is, so it’s easier for me to move on. He just could not let go of thoughts that caused him issues. His biggest fear was for ‘him’ to take over again, so, he lived his life in a constant state of paranoia. I bet now he is sleeping soundly, and enjoying the time off.”

“I’ll bet you’re right, Sunrise. I know not to make a bet against you. You’re just too good at figuring the odds.”

Sunrise furled her wings as she struggled to get out of the tub, Ixia lending a hoof with her own telekinesis. “So is he, but to him, the calculating is a cold hard decision. With me, it’s more instinctive. I don’t care how I get to the conclusion, I just take it and run.”

“Just how do you manage to beat your brother much of the time?”

“Simple. I trust my feelings. He thinks it out, I go by what I feel. Works, doesn’t it?”

“Passion does beat logic, much of the time.” Ixia said as she helped Sunrise dry off.

“Point does not like to show his passions, because he thought it was an outlet for his other half. Problem is, he was right. Being passionate about anything was his other half’s domain, not his. Say what you would about Radiance Glow’s other half, he sure did live life to the fullest.” Sunrise said as she spread her right wing and started preening.

“And that scared him. I know. He was so badly frightened of his other half. Once he got electrocuted, and you came out right in his head, he started relaxing a lot more.” Ixia said.

“That he did. When Flix separated us, it took another load off his mind- that of not having to knock up a mare to help me live. He would have done so, no matter how distasteful it is to him, but he’s glad he does not have to do so.” Sunrise explained.

“Just why is that? Is he gay or straight?”

“Neither, actually. He was assaulted when he was nine years old, sexually assaulted. He managed to escape, but he never told anypony about it. The assaulter moved out of the neighborhood shortly after, and we never did find out anything more about him. I remember it, but I can’t feel it, if you know what I mean. I think it woke me up some, because it was after that incident my memories become sharper.”

“He’s never mentioned that to anypony I know. That’s not in his records, not even the in-depth one House Path did after the wreck.”

“Point is passionate about secrets. He will never betray a confidence, nor will he ever say anything he does not want heard. Thing is, I know all about them, and I’m under no compulsion NOT to talk about them. However, I will not willingly hurt my brother. He does care, but he has to allow it to happen.”

“Maybe the hibernation will do him good, giving him a chance to rest and think things over.” Ixia said as Sunrise finished preening her right wing and started on the left. “What about you? You’re fitting in quite well aboard. You’re pleasant, approachable, and taking Point down a peg or two at the card games.”

“So, there is a dichotomy between us, despite my being in his head all these years. I know what he knows, but I am quite my own pony. I have a different perspective on everything. Witness my help with the inventions he has been bashing his head against for years.”

“You’re doing well, he is on the mend, and may you find a place that suits you aboard here.” Ixia told her friend.

“Mare of all trades, master of some. I just have not decided what to master.” Sunrise said as she finished her left wing.

“That will be up to you, not me, him, or anyone else. Think on it.”

“Oh, I will, Ixia. Same time in four days?”

“Already have you blocked in!”

Sunrise took her leave of the spa, refreshed and looking her best. Thinking, she decided to head to the park before dinner, to see if anypony was about. There were some ponies and others about, Commander Bluequill and Ortzi getting some wing exercise in, while Skye Path was working on her herbs.

Curious, Sunrise walked over to Skye. “Just what are you growing here? I don’t know those herbs.”

“Some exotics I grow for potions. Not good for much else until they are prepared.” Skye told her.

“I had best keep my distance, then. One thing I will never be is a farmer or any type of horticulturalist.” Sunrise said wryly. She had proven that earlier, one of the first things she had tried. Didn’t work. How she managed to poison an entire hydroponics tank, she really didn’t want to think about. Fatima has yet to forgive her.

“Don’t worry, Sunrise. Just stay back a pace or two, and all will be fine.” Skye assured her.

“Believe me, I will!”

Sunrise wandered about the park for a while before taking wing, doing some laps, enjoying the feel of the air going through her wing feathers. As she flew, Ortzi called her over.

“Ae you going to be taking part in Saturday night games, Sunrise?” Ortzi asked as she settled on a perching place.

“I missed the last two, standing watches. I should be there this week. Any other questions, student of my brother?”

“You are not going to clean me out, are you?”

“Now, why should I do such a thing?” Sunrise asked in mock surprise. “You should know by now how to defeat me. Did you not take first place in the last competition Point and I took part in? You and Galen took out Point and I in the bridge tournament.”

“That we did. I practiced Point’s lessons in observation and pony studies. You two are very hard to read, but I managed it. I figured out one of Point’s tells.”

“Which one did you catch?’ Sunrise asked.

“His nostrils flare a little when he gets a bad hand. Very slightly, but it is invariable with him. From that, I know when he is bluffing or is in a poor position.” Ortzi reported.

Sunrise nodded in approval. “Not bad, student. Have you noticed a similar tell in me?”

Ortzi smiled as much as his beak allowed. “I will not tell you your tells. You will have to tell me mine, and I know you will not do that, because that will be telling.”

“Well told, Ortzi. If the game selected for Saturday is one with teams, shall we pair up?”

“Yes. I would rather battle with you than against you. The way you handle Point in some of the games is frightening.”

“About time someone gave him a challenge, yes?”

The next day, Captain Path had Sunrise report to his office for a review. When she arrived, the Captain had printouts scattered across his desk. “Do sit down, Sunrise. I have been trying to decide what to do with you, seeing as you arrived under ‘unusual circumstances’, as can be explained.”

“Have you come to a decision, Captain?” she asked, sitting down opposite Wandering.

“I have. I could simply assign you to be the ship’s janitor, but that would be a waste of your talents and skills. For the past few months, I have been sending you to various places around the ship, seeing where your talents lie, being sure you are not simply a copy of your brother, who is extremely talented in his own right.

“From the reports I have here,” he said, looking at the printouts, “You have performed with distinction in almost every task put to you, with a few notable exceptions. For instance, I will not assign you to Hydroponics nor food preparation. Fatima would have at me if I put you in hydroponics, Emerald Green would be upset if you were assigned to the Park, and Doctor Zubon would not be happy if she had to stitch you shut again.”

Sunrise blushed a bit, her ears reddening. “So, I managed to drop a knife and it cut me.”

“Thirty-six stitches worth of cut. Point was livid after.”

Sunrise snorted some. “Don’t I know it.” She could remember the tongue-lashing he had given her, he being upset enough so the normal back-down password they use, Tordenkakkenlak, did not stop the harangue. Privately, she had to admit she deserved it.

“What I have decided is to make you a generalist, a supernumerary I can plug in just about anywhere to help out. Up in Control one day, power systems monitor the next, helping in the labs the day after, working with Willow on the weekends, ultimately answerable to either Commander Bluequill or myself. Willow specifically asked me to assign you to him, but I won’t do so full time. Willow is unique.” Wandering told Sunrise.

“That he is, Captain. I like working with him, be it a drama, a comedy, or a dialogue.”

“Your skill complements his, for sure. Now, one thing I can do for you, for the rest of the week, is to assign you to Ixia. You may not be able to do massages like she can, but you can learn to do mane cuts and hooficures, right?”

“That I can, Captain. I will not have you regretting my appearance aboard your ship.”

“I don’t. Your coming out has improved Point to such a degree, I do not have to worry about him being happy and whole, because now he is. Before, he was an extremely competent, highly skilled half a pony, running from himself because his other half was too dreadful to contemplate, for him.”

“In Point’s eyes, the former I was indeed dreadful. I am so glad he is now stable. He can now face his greatest fear and conquer it.” Sunrise said with a slight smile.

“Conquer it?” Wandering asked with a questioning look.

“Look me in the eye and argue, with a good chance of winning. Plus, once whacked with a clue-by-four, his stuck thoughts can find resolution. So, I have a powerful left.” Sunrise said with a slight smile.

“He told me before going into hibernation. I know Techbird is going gaga over finally getting the VR spell to work, at least in small scale. I have a report from Chrome Hive saying that your insights were a big help. The patents from that spell alone will pad Point’s coffers for a long time, as well as yours.”

“Not to mention the Foundation’s. That’s a real driving passion for him. No foal should go through what he did at the hooves of others. You want to hear something funny, Captain?”

Wandering smiled. “I’m willing. What’s so funny?”

“Point is afraid of being around children, or he was. He could not think he could be around a foal without his will crumbling some and allowing the other I to take over, a perfectly justifiable phobia in his eyes. Now, I can’t be sure. He will do anything for them, except be around them.” Sunrise reported.

Wandering took in the information with a bit of a frown. “Why am I just finding out about this now?”

“Because Point never talked about himself. I do not have his limitations, so I am free to talk about him. He wants to save small children from his past, but he could not stand to be around them, hence the Foundation. Maybe now, he can handle being around them.”

“He’ll be in for a rough time when we get back home. Schools will be fighting to get us aethernauts to lecture. Primary schools especially.”

“That will be his problem, Captain, not mine. I’m going to enjoy life, now that I have it. Let him be grumpy. I’m not!” Sunrise said with a smile.

“Dismissed, Sunrise. Your new duty postings will be up starting Monday, so, until then, wander about some and see what you like, okay?”

Sunrise saluted smartly with a wing. “Yes, Captain!” she said before marching out of the cabin.

Sunrise kept busy the rest of the week, working with Ixia part of each day, and helping wherever she could the rest of each day, keeping herself occupied productively until Monday. Upon waking, CONN informed her that her first duty shift will be in Medical, assisting the duty med techs as well as learning more medical procedures. She tackled the assignment with enthusiasm and gusto, impressing Doctor Zubon and the medical staff with her ability to learn. She explained that she was drawing on Point’s knowledge, but needed practice to use it, since she was not a unicorn. Epic Prose took her under his wing to show her first aid and advanced medical procedures a pegasus could use. A week of that and she was moved to Navigation, then Sensors. Each week, her position rotated, exposing her to more and more systems aboard the Lotus.

After six months, Sunrise was honored in front of all the crew on Saturday night at an All Hooves assembly by the Captain in recognition of her flexibility of thought and skill in learning. She was permitted to put a broken ring of rank stripe on her uniform cuffs. “Not because we think any less of you, Sunrise, but for the fact you personally have not been through the various preliminary classes and tech schools all of the crew have attended. Once we get back to Equus, and you undergo the training, you will be allowed to sew a full rank stripe on your cuffs.” Wandering announced while presenting her with a certificate of achievement.

“I understand, Captain. Just because I went through it as Point, not as Sunrise, does not mean I should be credited with the classes. I have no difficulty with accepting that premise. We’re all friends here, and you all know where I stand with you, right?” Sunrise said from the stage, tucking the certificate under a wing.

“You got that right, Sunrise!” Willow called out from where he was at in the audience. The sentiment was echoed by everyone in the mess hall. Blushing, Sunrise stepped down from the stage, happy to be recognized for her achievements, not her brother’s.

Cosmic Lotus, 15.553 light-years from destination, more than likely…


Radiance Point woke up from hibernation, still covered in the goo from the pod. He let out a yawn and a long stretch before rubbing the goo from his face so he could open his eyes. “How are you feeling, brother of mine?” he heard from close by.

Point managed to get his eyes open, to see his sister next to him, holding a large towel. She began cleaning his face off, so none of the goo would drip into his eyes. “Better than I can recall feeling in a long time, save when Mother got us sorted out. Has it been a year?”

“Exactly one year subjective time, as you asked for. I made sure I had the duty here this day, so I could help wake you up.”

Point accepted Sunrise’s support as she guided him to the shower stall. “Duty? In the hibernation area? Just how did you manage to pull that off?” he asked.

“I’ll give you the full story over a mug of coffee after you get cleaned off, Radiance,” she said as she got him into the shower stall. She turned on the water, adjusted to the temperature she knew he liked. Point showered off the goo, emerging from the stall looking good, feeling better, and wide awake.

Sunrise passed him a clean towel, giggling. “Your mane looks a mess like that, Radiance,” she said, his mane lying flat on his neck, the striping not as prominent as usual.

“Book me an appointment with Ixia soon, then.”

“No need to, I can do it myself. That is, if you trust me to do it right.”

“When did you learn to style manes?” Point asked in surprise.

“Radiance, you have been asleep for a year. What do you think I have been doing since you went to bed, sit around and eat bonbons?” Sunrise snapped.

“Whoa, easy there, sister!” Point said with a small smile. “Just what have you been doing for the past year, anyhow?”

As they walked from the hibernation area to the mess deck, Sunrise filled her brother in on just what she had been doing, and what the results were. Point listened closely to all her achievements. Just outside the mess decks, he stopped and looked at his sister. “Sunrise, I’m proud to be your brother. I’m so fortunate to have you as a sister, out of my head and beside me, where you belong,” he said with sincerity.

Sunrise hugged Point with forelegs and wings. “I’m proud to be your sister, Radiance. Think the Far Star can stand up to our presence?”

Point hugged back. “Far Star? Let’s hope the ship and crew can stand up to the two of us now!”

Over Point’s first meal in a year, and between welcome backs from passing crew members, Sunrise brought Point up to speed on ship’s gossip. “You have got to be kidding!” he said at one point in the tale.

“No, I’m not, Radiance. It’s quite true. ColdFire and Xanth had a colt together, named Skyborn. More of Flix’s meddling. He’s such a cute little one, too.”

“I heard something about ColdFire being pregnant, but I never really gave them any credence.” Point looked around. “Where are they?”

“In hibernation, all three of them. Don’t worry, you won’t have to put up with a little colt just yet.”

Point looked into the depths of his coffee mug, looking for comfort. “That’s not it, Sunrise. Mother and I had a long talk while I was hibernating. Now that you are out, I have figured out what has been missing from my life all this time. The support of a family. Once this expedition is done, I’m going to find me a mare and raise a crop of foals, ensuring I raise them properly. I’ll take the lessons Father taught me and most definitely NOT follow them.”

Sunrise looked as if Point had slapped her across the face with a hoof. “You intend WHAT?”

“You heard me, Sunrise. You’re not blind. I’m sick and tired of being lonely. All this time, I thought I was doing the right thing. Instead, all I have been doing is making a mess of myself. A highly successful, ruthlessly determined mess of a pony. I need to get fixed. Fortunately, I have a few years yet to effect repairs before our job really begins.”

When Point finished his little speech, the silence on the mess decks was almost complete, broken only by the sound of four trays, three coffee cups, two forks and a spoon hitting the floor. All eyes were staring at Point. “What are you all staring at? Do I have some gel behind my ears or something?”

“Radiance, they are as surprised as I am about what you said.” Sunrise said quietly. “You sleeping with a mare is the last thing anypony expects to hear from you.”

“So? I’m entitled to change my mind! A good sleep is conducive to new thoughts, right? I’ve been asleep for a year! If I can’t change my mind after that nap, something’s quite wrong!” Point declared firmly.

“You’re not known for changing your mind, Point.” Crystal Twist said, picking up her dropped tray.

“I am known for learning, and if I can’t learn from some more information given to me while I slept, then what good am I, Twist?” Point asked.

“Your reputation precedes you.” Twist retorted.

“Buck reputations, enjoy reality!” Point snapped out before draining his coffee mug.

“Your new reality is a lot different than your old one, Point!” some pony called out.

“Get used to it!” Point shouted. “Come on, sister, let’s go to the Park.”

In the park, brother and sister wandered the trails. “So, how is the training field holding up?” he asked.

“Very well indeed. We now have it on twelve hours a day, four days a week. That does not harm the upper level plants any,” she replied.

“Good. You in charge of maintaining it?”

“Who else would Galen trust to make sure it works right?”

“Me, but I was asleep. You’re a good second choice.” Point replied just before Sunrise kicked him.

“Brother, you still haven’t learned not to be an ass at times.”

“That’s why I became so good at what I do, sister. So, they would want me no matter how much of an ass I am.” Point replied, shaking the leg Sunrise had kicked.

“That and your swearing is literate, elaborate, and interesting to those who could understand you.”

“And incomprehensible for those who don’t.”

“Too bad I already know them all.” Sunrise said just before Point muttered something that earned him another kick. “I am not!”

“You could have fooled me.”

“Welcome back to the waking world, brother.”

“Does it have to be so painful?” Point asked before getting whacked with a wing.

“Yes. Don’t be an ass, and I’ll stop.”

“Good learning tool…” Point muttered.