Twilight let out a deep breath as the blast shielding lifted from the bridge windows. Their sixty day journey in warp had been some of the most anxious days of her life. Now though, it would all be worth it.
Sixty seven years ago, the fledgling organization that was Equestria’s space program, discovered and captured an alien space probe. After decoding the contents of a golden record that was found attached to the probe, ponykind had finally received confirmation that they were not alone in the universe. After that announcement, many wanted to know what the next step was.
That next step, was this. Proposed by Twilight herself, the R.E.S. Harmony was the first vessel capable to exploring the reaches beyond Equestria’s solar system. As the the ship recovered from exiting warp, Twilight was immediately drawn to the large window in front of her.
Less than ninety thousand kilometers away, was the planet she had spent the last six decades dreaming of. The bridge was totally silent as every pony gazed at the light brown and blue orb in front of them. Though for Twilight, her excitement was dampened when one of the scientists aboard spoke.
“Your Highness? I hate to break it to you, but I doubt this planet could support carbon based life. Sensors show the atmosphere has dangerous levels of carbon dioxide, very little oxygen, and what look like lethal levels of carbon monoxide.”
Twilight’s ears sank as she heard the pony speak. “Can you tell how long it’s been like this?”
“I would guess it’s been like this for a couple thousand years. I’m also detecting areas of severe radioactive contamination. If the air doesn’t kill you, the soil and water will,” the scientist reported.
How was this possible? Had Twilight just spent the last sixty years of her life, countless hours of labour, and billions of bits, just to look a dead planet? Saddened, she looked at the wall behind her where the golden record was hanging. Every time she came onto the bridge, she took a moment to look at it, if not to remember how she felt when she first held it.
“Uhh, Princess? I just picked up a radiation flare coming from somewhere near the planet’s moon,” came the voice of one of the many ponies on the bridge.
Twilight perked up and walked over to the pony. “Any idea what caused it?”
“Not yet. Though it seems very similar to... our... engines...” The pony said as his voice trailed off.
Twilight looked at him, only to see him looking out the window, eyes wide with terror. Quickly looking around the bridge, Twilight noticed that all eyes were looking directly ahead. Slowly, Twilight brought her gaze to whatever lay ahead of them
Floating just a few short kilometers away was a leviathan of a starship. Its dark grey hull was only given shape by the thousands of light sources that ran across in long broken bands. By comparison, Twilight’s ship was a lengthy hundred and fifty meters in length. However, the vessel in front of her could easily be measured in kilometers.
A few tense moments passed as everypony looked out at the new arrival. In a moment of clarity, Twilight managed to stagger over to the communications station and begin a repeating transmission. The young alicorn hoped that her message was being received by whatever stood menacingly in front of her.
Before the mission launched, it had been decided that if contact was made with the aliens who made the probe, the ponies would broadcast a part of the golden record as a sign of understanding and goodwill. The transmission would be sent once in the alien language, and once in Equish.
“Hello from the children of planet Earth, and hello from the children of Equestria.”
Twilight watched as the ship’s radio broadcasted the message for the tenth time. Then on the eleventh time, something sounded different. Looking down at the headset on the table, Twilight picked it up and placed it on her head.
A smile formed on her face and tears began to flow from her eyes as she listened.
“Hello children of Equestria. This is the children of Earth.”