"You're having a school reform already?" Janeway stared at the young, purple, princess. Though she hoped this would somehow lead to a better reason why Twilight had requested an emergency meeting with the Captain. "Didn't your government just agree to the academics, a week ago?"
Twilight blushed, "That was before the discovery of a spell the Shinobi have access to. It allows for the children to create duplicate bodies of themselves, made purely out of physical energy, and capable of transferring all knowledge they acquire, when reabsorbed."
Then Twilight got into explaining everything in great detail... and not aware the Captain wasn't in the mood for such ramblings. She had a ship to run, after all, but regardless, she listened to the girl talk about the mechanics. As it had been herself, that requested the girl be more thorough, during the last formal meeting they had.
"Like most constructs, they are controlled by the subconscious, and so technically just an extension of the caster. However, in this case, these specific constructs not only transfere all information they gather, back to the original, but allow the original to retain and even comprehend it, more efficiently then if the original learned it, directly. Normally, the caster maintains no knowledge of what their construct got up to.
The young Anthro let out a sigh, "I didn't realize how effective it would be as a teaching aid. And it is a remarkably easy spell to use. Children as young as 6 are capable of manifesting at least 1 duplicate. Without any prior training.
"Meanwhile, any studen with a stabilized core (typically that happens at 11), can manifest at least 10! Due to this, the older children have been playing hookie, while all their clones go to school. AND THEY ARE STILL TOPPING THE CHARTS!!! Even our Slowest learners have managed to complete months of lessons, in a single week. The teachers are actually having a hard time keeping up with their advancement! By our projections, they will have gained the knowledge of several doctorates, IN A YEAR!!!"
The girl took a breath, "The current education system is too flawed, with the introduction of this spell. So it was decided, all secondary level students, and above, will have their clones study for a year.
"While their originals learn from a Sensei. Who is not legally allowed to have more then 3 apprentices, at a time. They will continue to work under this mare, until they are legally adults (at 30). That's long after they graduated school, which is predicted to be 12. Though their parents, and even their Sensei, will always have rights over them.
"The Younger kids will keep their current schooling level, and we will wait to teach them the spell until their core is stabilized. Followed by a single year of secondary school, then learning from a Sensei, then introduction into the working world. This is intended to become our norm.
"We even had to rewrite when the foals will start gaining legal privileges, to reflect their education level."
"In a way, this is a good thing, as the children will be able to help us rebuild our society, much sooner then we expected... unfortunately... this means we will be having children, in the working world, far sooner then any parent wants. For rebuilding our society, it's very helpful, but what happens after we stabilize? Are we supposed to just get used to the idea that we run thanks to child labor? Is bad enough we are training 2 thirds of the older children as guards! Even if they aren't allowed in combat, we shouldn't be training CHILDREN to kill so easily!"
So that's why the girl asked to speak with her. Twilight was having a moral crisis about how her society was developing.
"My deepest apologies, Twily," Janeway sighed. The girl's nickname slipping out. "But, while I share your disgust, there is nothing I can do. The Federation has strict laws against trying to change other cultures, to fit our norms."
"But that's what your already DOING!!!" Twilight screamed, before covering her hands over her muzzle.
"I beg your pardon." Janeway raised her famous 'come again' eyebrow.
Twilight sighed, "The very reason the council decided to go through with this plan, is because you were in favor of us adding children to guard positions."
"I never said that!" Janeway narrowed her eyes. "I agreed you should train them on how to operate the ship."
"That's the same thing." Twilight buried her head into her hands, "The Guard was split up into multiple divisions, and put in charge of maintaining the ship. With the Federation's okay to train children for such positions, the council decided, 'in for a bit in for a bar'...
"As the Shinobi clans already having a system for child labor, and even child soldiers, we have been relying heavily on them, to help us set up new laws and regulations, more in line with humanoid thinking."
Janeway paled, "Humanoid thinking? You believe that Starfleet is in favor of this... and are seeking to emulate us?"
"I know you have children on many of your boats."
"BUT NOT AS SOLDIERS!!!" Janeway couldn't help but raise her voice. Then, as Twilight gaped at her, the Captain managed to take a calming breath. "I believe we have experienced another incident of Miscommunication... one of a truly grave nature."
"Even if you disagree..." Twilight sighed, "It doesn't matter. Your own Federation President signed off on our idea of School Reform... they said, since most of our population is made up of orphaned children, that we are going to have to rely heavily on them... to rebuild our society... while fully ignoring the consequences to our society, in the long term... I realize most foals start working at 15, and 12 isn't THAT much of a difference... but I worry where this will lead... our children shouldn't be consumed by a life of duty, over their own foalhood. The Shinobi insist they have ways to instill both... but they are also a largely military oriented society. Their very style of magic, is vastly focused on combat... is that what will become of us all?"
"Captain on the bridge!" called out Harry Kim.
The crew spared her a glance, but remained doing what they were doing, as they were trained to.
"ETA on that nebula." Janeway asked. It had taken them a few days to find something to suit their needs. Then a few more days to get to it. This Nebula wouldn't interfere with taking the main engine offline, while still protecting them from Borg scanners.
"3 hours Captain." Harry informed.
Janeway nodded... She had a lot to think about, and not nearly enough time.
Sasuke smiled as he lay on the blanket, looking up at the night sky of New Equestria. Applebloom was busy getting the picnic stuff ready for their friends... until she wasn't.
"OW!!!" Sasuke yelped, as AB wacked his leg.
"Don't think you can just laze about well Ah do all da work," AB glared.
Sasuke blinked, not really used to the idea of girls not willing to do everything for him. He was, after all, a very pretty, and smart, boy. Girls were always trying to impress him... but not Applebloom. She treated him like a person... it... it was annoying as hell.
Sasuke grumbled about bossy girlfriends, as he got to work laying out the food and plates... it was surprising it all fit into her picnic basket. Though given where they were currently seated, it really shouldn't be. Shinobi were capable of sealing things into scrolls, but they didn't have near the understanding of interdimensional physics as ponies.
"I told my family about you." Sasuke hesitantly glanced at her, as he worked.
AB stiffened, "Ah ain't realize we were that close yet." Wow, she was tactless.
Sasuke smiled at her, kinda liking the fact she was as blunt as a hammer. "My mom noticed how much we have been hanging out, and gave her blessing. So did my brother... Do... do you think your family-"
Applebloom sighed, "Sasuke, it's complicated. My family has a long line of Earth Ponies. There's been nothing in my family, but Earth Ponies, since before Equestria, the original Equestria, had been founded. That was a civilization stretching back, over, 6 thousand years... Grannie up and had a right fit, when my big sis told her she was in love with Rainbow Dash... and RD is at least another Pony... My family wouldn't understand..."
Sasuke hung his head, "Oh..." he really wasn't used to this either. The Uchiha clan was the pride of his civilization. All other clans longed to join them, especially through marriage... he wasn't used to being the lesser house... Applebloom dating him really would be worse then an Uchiha leaving the clan to marry into a civilian family... it would be a huge scandal.
"Let's just wait for Braeburn to tell Grannie he's gay, and THEN we can tell her 'bout ya."
Sasuke blinked, "You're actually planning to tell your family about me? You're just waiting for something more scandalous to happen?"
"I know that sounds bad-" AB tried to defend.
Sasuke found himself kissing her... it was a weird sensation. Given she had a muzzle, however short. He could feel her fur tickling his face. However odd it felt, it also made him tingle all over.
Applebloom seemed to melt at the sensation of his smooth skin against her fur.
"Get a room!"
The two instantly broke apart, as Scootaloo made gagging sounds at them. They hadn't even noticed her scooter pull up. She was dragging behind her, a large red Wagon, with a few other children in it.
"Well I think it's romantic," Sweetie Belle grinned, from her place in the wagon. "Two star eyed lovers, of different species, meeting in secret. It's something out of a fairy tale."
Applebloom blinked, looking at Sasuke... then back at Sweetie.
Spike crawled out of the wagon, with a new boy accompanying him. "Like that old story about the dragon and Princess, and the evil knight that wants to keep them apart."
The fillies blinked at him. "You realize the dragon is the bad guy and that, and the knight is trying to save the kidnapped princess."
The baby dragon gaped, "WHAT!? No he's not! Twilight told me that story, every night, since I hatched!"
Scoot giggled, "Best not tell Applejack. She would have a right fit if she knew Twilight's been lying to her son for years."
"She didn't lie!!!" Spike glared. "That's how the story goes!!!"
Applebloom opened her mouth to say something, before the new boy spoke up.
"Actually, both are accurate." he explained. "The Princess and the Dragon is an ancient story. Been around since before Equestria was founded. But after trade began with the dragons, they took offense at all the species-ist literature ponies had. And wrote their own adaptations of the classics... though they never really got all that popular outside dragon culture.
"Real shame to, cuz their adaptation of 'The Princess and the Dragon' had a new moral about inter species cooperation, and how dangerous bigotry was. By The All-Mother, that story was credited for why Dragon Lord Torch had such an 'anti violence' policy against ponies. Cuz he grew up with it as a child. And dreamed of a day Dragons really would be that open to ponies. Which was realized when his Daughter, Princess Ember, ascended to dragon Lord, and opened diplomatic talks with the ponies. Arguably, that simple fairytale is the very reason Dragons didn't go to war with ponies, a long time ago."
The boy finished his rant, and the other kids just proceeded to stare at him. After a moment, the colt blushed.
"I like History," especially history involving interspecies cooperation.
Spike smiled, putting an arm around the colt, "Guys, say hey to Thorax. He likes history."
Thorax just blushed, and was very thankful the other children decided to slide past that, and start their picnic.