“Alright, any star…” With his free hoof, Atom pointed up to a bright red star. “How about that one? Or… would it be too cold? Red stars are the coldest after all, aren’t they?”
“Correctamundo!” Star grinned, reaching over and tousling his blond-and-blue mane, making the short locks even more raggedy. “Red are cold and blue are hot. Opposite from your… Earth pony color spectrum. It won’t be too cold. I have my own atmosphere. That’s how we’re breathing and all. But you have to be touching me, got it? Just hang onto my hoof.”
“Fantastic,” Atom breathed. “What else can you do?”
“I can do this.” With a sharp green flash, perhaps something akin to the opening of a rift, they were in a different place. A deep red star sat before them, a chilly air about.
“I—Uh—Should I even ask how that’s possible?”
“Ever heard of stardust spells?”
“They’re pretty useless unless you can breathe in space and stuff since there isn’t a spell for that. But if you gather even the least bit of stardust, there’s certain spells a Pegasus can perform. Go faster—the speed of light if you’re good enough—teleport, things like that. They all have limitations and stuff though. Wanna hear it?”
Tugging his arm slightly, she pulled him over to a stray meteor which they soon laid back on.
“Okay, so, flying faster. That one’s great but is totally useless on earth. I like that one though, it lets me go places really fast. Space is vast, after all,” Star began, Atom listening intently. “And then there’s teleportation. It’s super limited though. I can only go from one star system to another, and I can’t teleport to the same place within a single star system… It’s really only good for long distance travel, but hey, that’s okay. There’s a whole universe at my disposal and I can travel anywhere I want. I like it.” She gave a wide grin, staring up above her as planets passed by and nebulas twirled about.
There was a long silence as they just watched; this infinite expanse, filled with twinkling lights and countless worlds to explore, with new species and histories and technologies to be learned from. He had to wonder how much time she’d actually spent from home, and how often she actually returned home. Actually, he didn’t even know where her home was. She could be completely extraterrestrial, and he didn’t even know it.
“Where are you from?” Atom finally asked, glancing over. “Are you from Earth?”
“Yeah, actually.” Star didn’t even look over, just watched her playground pass by. “I am. I was born there. But my dad had the same ability I had. So did my grandparents. I bet they weren’t from earth. We all have the same cutie mark, too.” She rolled over slightly, just to show the outline of a nebula on her flank before going back onto her back and sighing. “That wouldn’t change what you thought of me, would it? If I were alien?”
Atom admittedly had to think on it for a moment before replying. “Nope. I don’t think it would. I’d go on adventures with you anyways.”
“Speaking of adventures… I wonder what’s happening back on Earth?”
“Earth again already?”
“We’d best ease you into it. Wait till I start taking you to see other planets with lots of aliens! There’s another Earth, you know. Not like yours. But it’s really great. Actually, there’s another corner of the universe that’s a lot like ours, just really different. Wait till I take you there. I can’t wait to see your face when you get to see humans! They’re fantastic. There’s lots of people you could go see. We could go see this one librarian I know. I’ve watched her for a bit. Or this one little red-haired girl from Leadworth. She could use an imaginary friend every once in a while, we should go see her! But for now—let’s head back to our Earth, ease you into it. Give you a small thrill before a big one.”
Atom wasn’t actually expecting such a speech out of her. It was obvious she’d never traveled with a companion before, seeing as she was getting so excited about having one now. There were often little stories about Time Ponies that would snatch up young ponies and take them on fantastic adventures flitting about; perhaps the space-traveler had been inspired by them.
“Well?” Star asked again, startling the green unicorn out of his thought.
“Oh, um—yeah, Earth sounds good. Small thrill. Right.”
“Fantastic! Let’s go!” Still attached to his hoof, she moved and helped him to stand and in an instant, shifted the duo through space again. They appeared in their own star system this time, floating through space just outside Jupiter.
“What are we doing near Jupiter? Aren’t we going to Earth?” Atom asked, gazing down at the ringed planet.
“Well I can’t exactly control where I go,” Star replied, grinning sheepishly. “But you know, flying fast. Let’s go!” Without waiting for the stallion to prepare himself, she zipped off, the hold on his hoof not loosening. He trailed behind, scared out of his mind, barely hanging on. Relief was in the breathy sigh he took when they landed outside Camelot; his mind was spinning, and he could hardly walk straight without falling over.
“You alright?” Star asked curiously, lowering her head to watch in interest as Atom stumbled about the ground, everything twirling about in his vision.
“Go… slower,” he managed out.
“Oh. Oh! Sorry!” Star laughed, abashed. “I should have warned you! Sorry!”
After a while, Atom corrected himself and stood up straight, swaying only slightly for a moment. He asked, “Where are we?”
“Canterlot? I know someone who lives here.”
“How?” Star’s voice was full of harsh confusion. Not many ponies knew others in different cities; that was at least one thing the space hermit knew.
“The internet, of course.”
“Shall we see them, then?”
“Yes. I’m sure she’s working right now, but we can always drop in.”
“Alright then! Let’s do it!”