Something Stays

by Str8aura

A-ha! The internet, right where I left it

The first word Fermi heard when he woke up that morning was 'Earth', and he highly suspected it was the reason he got up so quickly.

"We got a cache from Earth! We need to grab it while we can!" York elaborated as the two white coated ponies ran from the lab Fermi had fallen asleep in.

"Earth" was a rather friendly name. To the world outside the Canterlot Astrosciences Lab, it was officially called Exoplanet Medea C, which wasn't a name that inspired nearly as much awe in the general public as York and Fermi agreed it deserved. "Earth", by all accounts, was what the inhabitants used to call it. Attention had first been drawn to it by the arrival of its Arecebo message, a lovely collection of bits and boops that pointed Equestrian telescopes in exactly the right direction to stumble across the derelict planet.

(The message also decoded into some weird pixels, but nobody was sure what to do with it and it was promptly chucked out.)

Earth was a (once) life-bearing, star orbiting exoplanet with a nitrogen-oxygen atmosphere. Three of the species it had once harbored were immediately obvious- one was the Human race, whose remains made up for the majority of York and Fermi's research. One was the Rabbit race, who were currently the dominant species on the planet. And one was the Intertube.

"C'mon, it's gonna leave our grasp!" York urged as Fermi took the controls of the compu, activating his horn and attaching it to the computer's much larger spell matrix. The machinery built into the lab was often likened to a giant horn; once the helm was taken, it launched magic across millions of lightyears, coming to a stop at the fringes of Earth's atmosphere- and deep into the Tube. This close to it, Fermi could only imagine what a great beast it had been when it lived. Now, the body of energy that permeated Earth's home galaxy was dead, harmless even to the needle that Fermi controlled. Fermi had no idea how a planet without any trace of magic had discovered and tamed The Tube, but their most impressive feat was what they had done once they controlled the beast- using it to store information.

By encoding information in the waves of energy, humans had sealed proof of their existence- and decoding it all was Fermi's job.

Tendrils of magic plucked something out of the Intertube's corpse, grasping it before snapping back to Equestria with the data in tow.

There was a painful ten seconds where nothing happened.

Then, the screen booted up., the header read. Dick-suckem was the bin's owner.

"17 text files." Fermi breathed. "We've never collected this much data from The Tube in a single run."

"We could get an actual account of Earth life. Maybe a description of what a human looked like." York agreed.

"This could change everything. We're reading all of it. I couldn't go to sleep with the knowledge that we have this much information on an alien species at our hooftips, let alone Humans."

York took hold of the bulky mouse. "Ready when you are, Fermi."

When the sun creeped over the horizon, Fermi and York were no more tired than they had been 7 hours earlier. The reading hadn't taken much time- none of the files were more than 15 kilobytes. Far more exhaustive, however, was the theorizing.

"Alright, lets sum up." Fermi began, procuring a drawing pad. "They must have the basic equine form- if we developed as far as we did with these bodies, alien species certainly evolved in a similar way."

York nodded. "That makes sense. So, what do we know humans have? The author references an instrument, ah... here!" She lifted a printed document. "I took da gitar ann began hreding so saxileh. This means a human has to have digits for strumming, probably dragon-like."

"The author is described as 'mowning' in this sentence." Fermi pointed. "It's an advanced language, but I take it to mean 'moaning.' They have mouths, and likely a respiratory system."

"But how many?" York wondered.

"When the author kisses their partner, they 'lok and ressle tongs'. They seem to have multiple tongues then in a Tatzl-like fashion."

"'He stoked the fracefull cruve omy kisney'. Kidney? External organs?"

"That's not evolutionarily advantageous." Fermi pointed out.

"But what if they're covered in a blubber of some kind? Look- 'I bushed reddiyl wen hee saww how phat my ass was'. 'Phat' here implying a pronunciation similar to the thorn. Clearly, their bodies are covered in thick layers of fat to protect themselves from predators."

"With all the references to measurements, they seem awfully tall. Fat would only lopside them more. Do they have tails for balance?" York tried to visualize, quickly drawing a new paper and sketching a doodle outline of their findings.

"Perhaps its the mentioned girth of their cocks that counterbalance. Or alternatively- in doc 12, Speaker 1 says in the first line, '>u c a coot catgurl prowlking through dawoods, rasing her tale evntigninly.' 'Catgirl' in this case may be a metaphorical term, introducing the first speaker as one childlike and naive- but it could also imply catlike tails."

"The second speaker- How do they say it? '>whu goes tere, i roar, and u c 4 b41ck 4nd r3d dr4gun in f0rng 0f hs1 c4ve.' What would they represent in this conversation?"

"Dragons definitely lived among humans." York suggested. "This one is a hedonistic beast trying to teach the ways of the world to the younger one. See how childishly the cat speaks in this conversation, substituting Ws for Ls."

By the end, they had a diagram of a furless equinoid creature with an extra malformed leg, external amniotic sacs, twin muzzles, internal organs buried and working under thick layers of fat, two dewclaws on each hoof with a three knuckle long thumb at the back, and drooping cheek jowls.

"Yes," They said. "Evolutionary perfection." And submitted it to a scientific journal.