Equestrian Space: Short Stories

by Shirlendra

The Relays

The pony sighed. Another broken conduit, this one looked like it had been sheared nearly clean through. The pony maneuvered its work bag into place, the small magnetic clamps locked into place on the side of the small relay station known simply as "ERS-054". After removing the broken conduit the suited pony swiftly replaced the section of cabling and screwed the access panel back down.

Three broken conduits, all completed today. It was time again to check the control systems and make sure everything was functional and maybe, a quick shower and a nap on the way to the next station. The pony picked up the gear bag and secured it to their chest using a series of straps. The pony confirmed the straps were secure and used the hoofholds, a hold over from the earliest years, in the hull of the station to reach the control panel.

Reaching the control panel, the pony smacked the on button with a hoof. The display scrolled through the boot up procedures and confirmed that the station was, once again functioning. The pony idly scanned through secondary menus for a few minutes, confirming everything was functional as the system indicated. The pony punched in a all clear code for the station and watched as it confirmed sending, before pushing off from the station. The pony used tiny blasts from its suits backpack to maneuver back towards its ship, floating just far enough away from the station so that it wouldn't interfere with the repair procedures.

Reaching its ship, the pony quickly moved inside and after cycling the airlock, striped off the suit. The pony moved to its console and punched in the autopilot before heading to the tiny living quarters. Just large enough for one repair pony on a quick jaunt to accommodate for a day or two. The Pony turned on the water and stood beneath it for the allotted forty five seconds of water. The pony exited the shower, wrapped a towel around their mane and checked the autopilot. Satisfied with the result the pony headed over to the tiny cot. Lying on their back, mane drying slowly in the towel the pony couldn't help but wonder how those conduits had gotten damaged in the first place before falling into a deep and restful sleep.

Several hours later, the pony re-awoke to the helpful alarm of the ships autopilot, indicating that the destination was near. The pony stretched and rolled out of bed and headed to the pilots seat to look out the window, it is greeted by the sight of the small gray station nearly identical to the one it just left. This station turned relay, designated "ERS-014" was built into a natural asteroid. It was one of the earliest stations in the system and had been on the fritz for weeks.

The pony pulled up the schematics of the station on the primary console and scanned them thoroughly. After rereading several poorly written sections which some previous tech clearly could not of been bothered to do properly. The pony gathered the necessary tools and shoved them into the gear bag strapped to their trusty suit. After squeezing back into the now dry, if a bit smelly suit the pony jams the helmet back on and makes sure all the seals are reading as green.

The pony stepped into the airlock and cycled it, allowing them to open the outer door and step into the void. Space, as the pony knew was cold. And despite the heated suit a small shiver went through them each time they stepped into the dark. The pony uses the small jets on its suit to maneuver towards the little station, taking a moment to reread the specs on a small hoof held tablet built into the suits arm.

The pony touched down with no sound and just a small thud through the suit on the ancient entry pad. The pad itself scarred with countless miniature meteor and debris strikes from previous repairs. Reaching the airlock the pony tapped a hoof on the entry button. Which, flickered for a moment before the exterior door opens. The interior is dark for a moment while the recessed lights warm up and fill the space with a soft light.

The walls are bare rock, the floor little more than a series of constructed walkways and as the pony walked into the little station. It can't help but wonder if it were ponies or machines which carved out the expansive interior. The lights above only function just above the catwalk, throwing the rest of the former station into darkness. The pony knew, from the schematics that this relay was in fact once a station. Housing a crew of a few dozen, and enough support personnel to support the various constructions in the rim.

The station the relay resides in had been dark for years, ever since the great expansion it had stood abandoned. Moving deeper into the relay the pony located the central elevator and after playing with the controls for a moment, the ancient elevator sprung to life and the doors opened, ready to accept the visitor. The pony takes a short uneventful trip through the elevator to the command center, situated in the deepest part of the asteroid and reinforced heavily enough to withstand nearly anything. The doors of the elevator open and the pony stepped out into the entry hall.

The lights here were much harsher, prompting the suits built in visor to snap down. Shielding the ponies eyes from the glare, The pony shrugs, lights weren't their concern. The pony moved to the oversized door at the end of the short entryway, passing the ancient barricades and hidden mounting points where anti personnel weapons once sat housed. The great door was open, no surprise and the pony strolled inside.

What was a surprise however, was that there was a set of sophisticated gear sprawling across the inside of the room. This was not the old dusty consoles which sat nestled against the walls, no it was almost as if this gear was feeding off of the various consoles. The pony looked around, but with no one else in sight the pony seemed to relax a little before saddling up to one of the nearest consoles, still untapped. The pony scrolled through menus, data, messages, everything that had passed through the station.

Somehow it came as no surprise that the messages appeared to of been duplicated. But how no one noticed it on the far end... unless that's why the station was on the fritz. The pony thought through the issue and drummed a beat with their hoof. The messages, copied and resent it only added between a few seconds to a few minutes but enough messages at once could of caused backups, delays.

The pony stood from the console, shutting it down. It had to report this, it had to let someone know. As the pony tapped on its helmet to begin a encoded message it felt a prickling at the back of its neck, no more than a moment before the blade sliced cleanly through the ponies suit and buried itself in its neck.

Three figures stood, and watched the pony convulse before its movements slowed and finally stopped. They watched for a moment more before the one who had done the deed growled through its suits built in communications, "Only Equestrian."