“The Shape of Things to Come”
Twilight quietly stepped into the classroom, taking the first seat she could find. It was the first time she really noticed how tall she really was, as almost every student took pause and looked up at her with slightly raised eyebrows as she took her seat. She nibbled her lip slightly, as she sunk into her chair slightly in an attempt to make herself a little less noticeable.
The teacher, a rather tall looking giraffe came in, holding his head up high and seemingly enjoying the fact that he was quite literally head and shoulders above all his students.
“Good morning students.” he said in an authoritative voice, and everyone droned a hello in return. The teacher raised his eyebrow slightly before turning to the holoboard behind him and switching it on. “Alright then, first off, I wish to give your minds a brief little exercise,” an incredibly complicated series of mathematical formulas appeared on the holoboard, and every student except Twilight let out a groan of frustration.
“Oh come now students. It’s just simple quantum mathematics.” he said, having already switched the holoboard on, displaying a complicated line of formula and taking his seat before turning to face his students. “Now, can anyone tell me what these equal too? It counts for thirty percent of your grade.” he said, seemingly noticing the groans of frustration from the students. Twilight meanwhile, arched her eyebrow and nodded her head slightly.
“Fascinating…” she murmured, already beginning to jot down the formulae on a piece of paper as fast as she could, already working out the problem in her head and quickly applying her answers to the paper. Within less than two minutes, she had completed the problem and put down her pencil.
Is this it? she thought, arching an eyebrow again. Is that all we have to do? Rather underwhelming if I do say so myself. She furrowed her brow slightly, quickly giving the rest of the room a scan. Every other student, regardless of their species, seemed to be in utter torment trying to decypher the formula. She looked towards the desk where the teacher sat, and he seemed absorbed in reading the book he had brought with him. She began to drum her pen on the desk impatiently, nibbling her lip again. After nearly three minutes and thirty-five seconds of waiting, she decided the best course of action might be to turn her work in so that she could at least get to the next class early.
“Um, excuse me Professor,” she asked, raising a hand. The professor raised an eyebrow slightly, not taking his eyes away from his book.
“Yes Ms. Sparkle?” he asked, seemingly already expecting some form of complaint.
“I seem to have finished the equation, might I be excused from the class?” she asked
The giraffe sighed. “Alright then. Let me see your work,” he said, motioning for her to come closer. Twilight stood up, quietly walking over and placing her finished test on the desktop.
“There you go Professor…” she stood up straight, glancing down at the name plate on the desk first. “Picard.”
Professor Picard simply nodded, taking the notebook in hand and looking it over. As he did so, Twilight noticed his eyes widening more with each line of equations. Twilight, shifted her weight slightly, unsure if his look of shock as a good thing or not.
“Umm...Professor Picard?” she asked tentatively. “Is there something wrong?”
Professor Picard looked up at her and then looked over at the holoboard. “Wrong? What do you mean?” he asked, his voice still heavy with confusion.
“You seem troubled.” Twilight stated matter of factly.
Professor Picard raised his eyebrows again, “Troubled? I’m shocked!”
Twilight tilted her head ever so slightly. “Shocked? Why are you shocked?”
Professor Picard blinked. “Because that equation,” he pointed a finger towards the holoboard. “Is supposedly unsolvable, and you solved it in only six minutes!”
Twilight blinked, following the professor’s outstretched finger to the holoboard and raising an eyebrow. “Is that what that was? I assumed it was all part of the test.” she said, looking at the professor quizzically.
Professor Picard shook his head. “No, no, no! Those aren’t even supposed to be here,” he stood up and flicked the holoboard to another set of equations that, while still obviously higher level mathematics, were noticeably simpler then the previous ones. “These are supposed to be today’s equations.” he said, motioning towards the new display.
“Oh…” Twilight said, subconsciously biting her lip again. “Then have I made a mistake? Do wish that I take the test again?”
“By no means Ms. Sparkle!” Picard said, standing up and picking up her notebook. “I believe you’ve proved yourself enough for this class,” He said, his voice surprisingly spirited compared to the previously half-asleep drone from before. He was already halfway out the door before he came to a stop. Twilight had remained in place, eyebrow raised in confusion. The teacher’s rather hectic and emotive response didn’t match his previously stoic and pursed lip mannerism.
“Professor where are you going?” she asked.
“To Admiral Luna” He said quite adimately before turning his head to the rest of the students inside the room, ”I will return in a bit so please, until then, do these equations on the board,” he flicked a switch and the board now displayed a much simpler series of quantum equations. Professor Picard then turned to Twilight.
“Now, Miss Sparkle, if you don’t mind,” he motioned towards the door and Twilight followed, albeit rather apprehensive, as now the entire class was staring at her with a mixture of surprise, suspicion and anger, most likely because they were all forced to stay behind while Twilight was granted permission to leave.
“Excuse me Professor Picard,” Twilight said, raising a hand slightly. “I think it might be prudent for me to remain here. I haven’t even fulfilled the full quota for the class and-”
“Nonsense Miss Sparkle! You have absolutely no need to remain in this class, come now, we mustn’t daddle!” he said, taking her by the hand and leading her out of the room.
“Now as you can see High Admiral Luna, Miss Sparkle has managed to solve the Roddenberry Theorem entirely on her own.” Professor Picard explained as High Admiral Luna silently studied Twilight’s notepaper.
“Most interesting,” she finally said, looking towards Twilight, who the entire time, hadn’t said a word, and was simply attempting to maintain her stoic aura. She was in the presence of the High Admiral of the entire Federation Fleet no less, and therefore, had to be on her absolute best behavior. Twilight didn’t dare to face the alicorn, for fear of looking out of her place. In Saddle Arabia, one always made sure to never look one outside of family who was higher in authority directly in the eye unless directly instructed to do so. But Twilight could still tell that Luna must have been sizing her up for something, as the alicorn’s dark blue eyes scanned her with a highly critical aura.
“Professor Picard you are excused.” Luna unexpectedly spoke, sitting up from her chair. Professor nodded, standing up and giving Luna a customary salute. Luna returned simply nodded slightly, obviously used to the protocol and waited until the giraffe had left the room before turning to walk towards another door that was on the opposite wall. “Excuse me for a moment while I call my sister.” she said, closing the door behind her and leaving Twilight alone.
Twilight meanwhile, subconsciously began to twiddle her thumbs and nibble her lip. She wondered what had caused Luna to see fit to call her sister. Surely it must have been a serious misstep on Twilight’s fault, since she knew full well that Luna was speaking of Celestia, President of the Federation. And if Twilight’s misstep was as bad as she feared, what consequences would she suffer? Would she be sent to a remedial class to be disciplined? Would she be expelled? If that was the case, she knew that any honor to her family’s name would instantly evaporate, and therefore, she would be held responsible for shaming her entire family. There would be no way for her to return home if such an event occurred, and she would most likely have to find a job on some backwater world under an assumed name and pass herself off as an Equestrian. Despite her best efforts, she felt her heart beat quicken as her mind began to whirl in a paranoid dervish, her thoughts becoming more and more worrisome.
But, to her credit, aside from an accelerated heart rate and a near fanatical nibbling of her lip, she didn’t show any outward signs of stress in the slightest. However, her tightly held stoicness was shattered the instant the door across from her opened and she nearly jumped out of her skin.
“Worried are we?” Luna chuckled gently, her tone surprisingly warm. She sat down at her desk again. Twilight shook her head tersely.
“By no means High Admiral. I am perfectly calm.” she answered, not noticing the waiver in her voice until after she had finished speaking. She reflexively clenched a fist slightly when Luna raised an eyebrow and smiled whirly.
“Well, it’s understandable to be somewhat worrisome Miss Sparkle. It is not everyday that one is invited to speak with my sister.” she said and Twilight’s eyes widened slightly.
“You mean that Celestia herself is coming?” Twilight asked, having nearly fallen out of her chair upon hearing Luna’s words. Luna nodded simply.
“Yes, in fact, she should be here any second.” she answered, looking up at the clock on the wall. Twilight’s eyes darted about, wondering if there was any place she could potentially hide under. She also gripped the arms of her chair just a little tighter.
All of a sudden, her senses were assaulted by an explosion blinding light and the sound of magic being employed. Next thing Twilight knew, she had lost consciousness and slumped to the floor.
Twilight let out a groan, finding herself on the floor. She tried to remember why she even was on the floor, only to see a pair of elegant white high heels paired up with a pair of jet black boots. She looked up to see High Admiral Luna looming over her, a slightly bemused expression on her face. Next to her, standing a good five inches taller, was an alicorn with a coat as white as the purest snow and a wondrous multicolored mane ebbing and flowing gently behind her as if carried by a breeze. It was Celestia, President of the Federation, and her face carried with it visible concern.
“I apologize very much for the shock Miss Sparkle,” Celestia said kindly, leaning down to help a shocked Twilight to her feet. Twilight was quick to notice her own shock, and forced herself to look as if she had expected the alicorn all along.
“Y-You’re welcome, Madame President.” Twilight said, tipping her head in reverence. Celestia simply chuckled calmly, her voice sounding like the gentle cooing of doves.
“Oh that’s quite alright, I shouldn’t have chosen such an explosive manner of entrance. I should have considered your stress.” she said, as she motioned for Twilight to sit down. Twilight walked rather stiffly towards the chair Celestia had indicated and sat down, smoothing out her now slightly wrinkled uniform.
“Now, Miss Sparkle, my sister has told me about your solving of the Roddenberry Theorem. And to put it frankly I’m impressed,”
Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Impressed? How so?”
Celestia smiled. “Well, I have been attempting to solve it myself for the past seventy years, but apparently it only took you five minutes.” she said, taking a seat of her own.
“Well, actually it only took me two minutes to solve it...the other three were me waiting on the rest of the class.” Twilight answered, unable to help herself from feeling a little pride at her accomplishment. Celestia raised her eyebrows slightly.
“Two minutes? Well that is certainly something.” she said, chuckling again.
Twilight merely maintained her calm and calculated aura, hoping at if she didn’t act overconfident or emotional, it would hopefully make her previous fainting spell seem slightly less embarrassing than it probably was.
“Madame President, might I ask what the formula was designed for?” she asked, having not yet discovered why exactly this ‘Roddenberry Theorem' was so important. Celestia nodded.
“Well, first, I ask that you call me Celestia. This is an informal meeting, so no need to worry about protocol Miss Sparkle,” she said, chuckling again. “And to answer your question, the Roddenberry Theorem was an attempt to explain the way a theoretical wormhole through space time were to work. Basically it’s the key to unlock how to make wormholes.”
Twilight nodded understanding. “And therefore provide a method of time travel?” she asked, following a hunch.
Luna nodded. “That is a potential use, yes. But a slightly more practical use is to provide a way to transport an entire fleet to a location without the need of warp drives. This would of course be incredibly useful for trade. Warp drive fuel is expensive after all.”
“Fascinating.” Twilight whispered, her mind still comprehending the thousands of doors that were now opening due to her own insite.
“Miss Sparkle, if you wish, I have a proposal for you,” Celestia said, and Twilight turned to look.
“If you believe you can stay on this level of academic excellence then I would be honored to promote you.”
Twilight arched an eyebrow in confusion. “Promote me? To what?”
“To be this academy’s newest instructor,” Luna said, “Provided that you can maintain your own studies, which, if this is any proof, shouldn't be a problem.” she motioned towards the notepaper sitting on the desk.
Twilight sat there for a moment in silence, her hands clutching the armrests just a little tighter then was warrented. A promotion? Already? It was a shock to say the least. She honestly hadn't expected to receive such an honor, but the most surprising aspect was that she had apparently earned this entirely on her own, with no nepotism due to her father’s name. It confirmed everything that her mother had said. She was unique. However, even as Twilight felt her pride swell, her conscious told her it would be best to tread lightly.
“Well Miss Sparkle? what do you say?” Celestia asked.
“Well, Madame President,” Twilight began, only for Celestia to wave her hand slightly.
“Please, call me Celestia.” The alicorn insisted, and Twilight nodded slightly.
“Well, Celestia,” Twilight began again, the frankness seeming strange to her. “Aren’t I rather young to function in such a position?”
Celestia shrugged slightly. “Well, to tell the truth, yes, yes you are. But don’t worry, you’re father was only thirty when he attempted to solve the theorem during his tenure here.”
“He did?” Twilight asked, surprised that her father had never made any mention of this before.
Luna nodded. “Yes he did. In fact, several members of your family have attempted to solve the Roddenberry Theorem. So it seems appropriate that you be the one to finally solve it. Consider it a way of continuing your family’s legacy.”
“I truly am honored.” Twilight said, sitting more erect, but still feeling out of her depth. “But I still feel that I might be too young and inexperienced for the responsibility for an entire class. What if they react adversely towards me?”
Luna stepped in again, “No worries Ms. Sparkle. Yes, some students might be jealous of you, but I assure you that if any of the students cause trouble, simply speak with me and I shall personally handle them...swiftly. Understand?”
Twilight nodded slightly, “I understand. What class shall I be given?”
“Advanced theoretical mathematics seems the most obvious,” Celestia said, “But really, it can be any class of your choosing. It’s all up to you.” the alicorn handed Twilight a tablet that displayed the classes that were currently in need of new professors. Twilight took the tablet and carefully scanned the classes. One class in particular however, leapt out to her.
Military Tactics and Logistics.
Twilight arched an eyebrow slightly. As a Saddle Arabian, she had been educated from birth with the various ways logic was used in everyday life, and it’s military applications were one such example. And, out of all of the classes she had taken as part of her entrance exam into the Saddle Arabian Science academy, she had enjoyed their tactics and logistics program the most. The hundreds of possible combinations and ways to undermine an opponent of equal intelligence were always incredibly entrancing for her, as they all orbited around logic.
“Well, Miss Sparkle, have you made a decision?” Luna asked, and Twilight nodded.
“Yes, I have decided,” Twilight answered, handing the tablet back to Luna. Luna nodded slightly and studied the tablet.
“Ah, Military Tactics and Logistics. Interesting,” she said, handing the tablet to Celestia, who read it and smiled.
“Well, my little pony, it seems you have earned your first promotion.” Celestia said, standing to her feet and extending her hand for a shake. Twilight looked at the hand and up at Celestia, before tentatively shaking the hand as respectfully as possible. She had noticed the use of the term ‘pony’ in Celestia’s greeting, and couldn’t help but tighten her jaw slightly in annoyance. She wasn’t a pony, but a Saddle Arabian, and she was proud of that fact.
“You’re welcome Madame President. But if I may be allowed to say that, as a respectful reminder, I am not a pony, but rather a Saddle Arabian.” she said, humbly tilting her head. Celestia nodded.
“Yes of course, Professor Sparkle.” Celestia said, “I’ll be sure to remember that. All members of the Federation are equal in my eyes, so no need to worry yourself.” and with that, she firmly shook Twilight’s hand. “Miss Twilight Sparkle, I, Celestia Sunborn dub you Professor of Military Tactics and Logistics.” As she spoke, Celestia’s horn glowed a shimmering golden hue and with a flicker, a elegant name tag appeared on Twilight’s lapell, bearing her full name and her station as professor.
Twilight looked down at the medal raised eyebrows. The fact that she had only been in the school for a mere two days and had already been promoted was a complete shock. She swallowed and looked up at Celestia, who simply bowed her head in respect.
“Congratulations Miss Sparkle, may you bring your students much knowledge,” Luna interjected, giving Twilight a salute. Twilight, still dazed by the shockingly rapid turn of events, nodded dumbly and gave a quick salute.
“Am I excused?” she asked, looking between the two alicorns, and Celestia nodded.
“I see no reason for you to remain here. Luna will send you the appropriate textbooks as soon as the paper work has been filed.” Celestia said, before looking down at her wrist watch. “Oh my, it seems that I’m late for a very important meeting, so I give you both farewell.” And with that, her horn glowed again, and she evaporated in a fine golden mist, leaving Luna and Twilight alone.
There was a silence between the two before Luna escorted Twilight to the door. “Dear Miss Sparkle, I must say I am impressed. It’s not every mathematical savant that earns such a rapid promotion from my sister. She must see something in you, something truly great.” she put a hand on Twilight’s shoulder. “And I must admit that I see that too. And if you keep on this path, I’m very much assured that you won’t fail. Now, go and prepare for tomorrow’s classes.”
Luna opened the door and Twilight, who hadn’t said a word since Celestia left, nodded, quietly walking out of the office, her mind in the clouds.