Chapter Four - Conversations in Blue
Thessian Transport Ship, Firefly's Room, In Transit
June 5th, 2170
If there was a way to travel between Equestria and the Citadel in style, the Wave Runner was it. An Asari space-liner, it had been built only a year ago, for the sole purpose of ferrying people to the out of the way planet. With room for over four thousand passengers, the Wave Runner was the height of luxury and speed.
It had also been the only ship scheduled to depart Equestria anytime that month. Firefly had no other choice than to book two tickets immediately and leave that night. They would be catching a connecting flight to Mindoir from the Citadel.
Rainbow sat impatiently on her bed in the small cabin, watching her mother sleep quietly on the bed opposite her. The room was nicely appointed, beautiful and graceful just like the Asari, but that held no interest for Rainbow as she fidgeted anxiously. She was hungry, she was bored, and she wanted to get out of the stupid room and do something! Her mom had been sleeping the entire night, and she tried to watch something on the holo-screen but nothing good was on. Just some stupid movie about Turians and Quarians, and that had quickly lost her interest as soon as the kissing had started.
Rainbow scrunched her face up at the thought. Kissing was gross. She would never do something as uncool as that!
"Mom." Rainbow whined, staring at her mother's form under the covers.
Nothing. Firefly's ears didn't so much as twitch. Rainbow watched her carefully, not blinking as she leaned forward.
"Mom." Rainbow tried again, stomping a hoof down on the covers. Firefly didn't so much as groan at her voice. Narrowing her eyes, she tried again. "Mom. Wake up, mom."
Still nothing. How dare she ignore Rainbow's boredom!
With a huff of annoyance, Rainbow jumped off her bed to the floor. She bounced over to her mothers bed, flapping her wings to lift her up so she could put her forelegs up on the mattress.She stared at Firefly with narrowed eyes.
"Mom," Rainbow said, louder this time. "Wake up mom. I'm hungry."
Firefly's ear twitched but she made no other move, snoring softly, fast asleep.
"Mooommmmmm," Rainbow whined, dropping her head sideways onto the mattress. She looked up at her mother desperately, her stomach gurgling in protest.
Firefly groaned, rolling over under her covers away from Rainbow. She grabbed one of her pillow and dropped it over her head.
"Mom." Rainbow glared at her before jumping up onto the bed. Stepping carefully over the mattress, she started poking her mom with her hoof. "Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom. Mom."
"WHAT?" Firefly sat up in her bed, glaring down at Rainbow, who smiled up at her innocently.
"I'm hungry..." Rainbow said, sitting down on her haunches. "And I'm bored. Hungry and bored. Let's go do something."
Firefly sighed, dropping her head in acceptance. "... fine. Fine."
Pushing her covers off, Firefly stood on her bed, stretching her wings as she cracked her neck. "Come on, Dashie. Let's go get something to eat."
Firefly led Rainbow into the large buffet open around the clock. The ship held Thessian time, and Firefly still found herself confused on hours, so she just tended to ignore it and continue on like she was on Equestria. The buffet was about half-full, with the majority of its occupants being Asari. The rest were either bond-mates to said Asari, or the rare pony who had business off of Equestria, the Wave Runner being the quickest option available to them to get off planet.
Rainbow grabbed a plate from a stack, scurrying towards the rows of food laid out before her, eyes wide and stomach growling. Before she could make a mess, Firefly put a hoof on her back, stopping her.
"Let me help you, Dashie," Firefly said with a smile.
"Fine..." Rainbow rolled her eyes and gave a little huff, but she didn't put up a huge amount of protest. She looked over the massive amount of food, ignoring anything that contained meat. Thankfully, being a ship that solely made trips to and from Equestria, the Wave Runner was fit for the ponies' vegetarian diet.
As Rainbow pointed with her free hoof, Firefly helped her to put what she wanted onto her plate. Some fruit slices. A slice of cake. An appetizing looking Thessian vegetarian dish that was drizzled with an awesome looking red sauce. Rainbow's hungry stomach was ready to feast!
"Your daughter is beautiful!"
Firefly managed to not startle, and she turned to find a tall Asari smiling down at her. She had Turian markings painted onto her face, and her eyes were a little too wide to keep Firefly from wanting to scurry away. A young Turian female, her bondmate Firefly guessed, stood a few feet away, watching her wife with a look of long-suffering.
"Thank you," Firefly murmured, unsure of fully how to react around aliens. She had never actually interacted with any.
Firefly gives the Asari a cautious look, subtly making sure that she was between her and Rainbow. It never hurt to take precautions. At least that's what writing the Daring Do series had taught her. Always be prepared.
"Please." With a sigh of long suffering, the Turian stepped forwards, an apologetic look on her face. "Forgive my bondmate. She has no filter and tends to creep everyone out."
"It's alright." Firefly gave her a small smile, still guarded.
"Really, she's harmless." The Turian tried again, sensing that Firefly wasn't quite feeling her sincerity.
"Siti!" The Asari slapped the Turian's arm and gave a gasp of protest.
"Oh hush." The Turian waved her away, laughing quietly.
"You're all pointy," Rainbow spoke up for the first time. She had somehow managed to move forward without Firefly noticing, standing at the Turian's feet as she stared up at her with awe. The three adults looked down to see Rainbow looking her over curiously. She had never seen a Turian before in her life and the strange exo-skeletal look was intriguing her.
"Rainbow Dash!" Firefly blushed, embarrassment rushing through her at Rainbow's rude question.
The Turian and Asari giggled at Rainbows naive innocence, sharing a look with each other.
"It's fine!" The Turian turned and smiled at Firefly, reassuring her. She knelt down to be on Rainbow's level, holding out an arm for Rainbow to look at, her vest sleeveless. "Really, it's true. I am indeed very pointy."
Rainbow poked it with her hoof before looking back up at the Turian. "It feels like my hoof!"
She held her hoof up for her to see. Indeed, there was quite a bit of similarities between her hoof and the Turian's exo-skeleton.
"It certainly does, doesn't it?" The Turian giggled, standing back up and putting an arm around her bond-mate.
"Please, forgive her." Firefly stepped forward, gently pulling Rainbow back, blushing as she did so. She was incredibly embarrassed at Rainbow's inquisitive but racially charged comments. "She's a curious little filly."
"Really, I was being honest." The Turian waved her worry away, leaning her head onto her wife's shoulder. "It's no problem."
Bored of the conversation already, Rainbow took her plate and started searching for a table. There weren't a lot left, the room having filled up during their brief conversation. The Asari immediately saw the problem and stepped forward, smiling.
"We won't be offended if you decline," she quickly explained, addressing Firefly. "But we have a table if you'd want to come and sit with us."
Firefly glanced at Rainbow, who was smiling up at her in excitement, her wings buzzing. She looked up at her mom with big, wide, pleading eyes.
"Can we, mom?" She bounced a little while she did so, careful not to spill her plate.
Firefly thought about it for a moment before giving a nod.
"We would be delighted," she said, accepting the Asari's offer.
The Asari led the way, taking her wife by the hand and leading Firefly and Rainbow (who was walking three legged as she balanced her plate on her fourth hoof) through the confusing labyrinth of people and tables.
The table that they were led to already had two other occupants sitting, waiting for their companions to rejoin them. Both were Asari, sitting and chatting quietly as they sipped at some type of wine that Firefly didn't recognize. It must have been a Thessian vintage. They greeted the Turian and the Asari with smiles as they sat down.
"Veisha, Aethyta, these two fine ladies are going to be joining us," the Asari said, gesturing at both in turn.
"My name is Esra," She gestured between herself and the Turian, who gave a little wave. "And this is my wife, Sitiira."
"Veisha is an architect, and one of our best friends." Sitiira gestured at Veisha and Aethyta respectively. "And she is Aethyta. She's on her way to the Citadel."
"Hello." Veisha gave a wave to Rainbow, making the little filly giggle.
"Hey there, kiddo." Aethyta nodded, giving Rainbow a warm smile. Her voice was deep and husky. "Love the rainbow."
"Thanks!" Rainbow swung her mane back and forth before turning to her plate, eating a slice of pineapple happily.
"My name is Firefly." The pink mare gestured at herself before pointing to her daughter. "And this is my daughter Rainbow Dash."
There was a moment of silence as everyone at the table tried to figure out what to say to each other. Rainbow was completely oblivious to the matter, too busy picking through her plate.
The cake would be saved for last after all.
"What exactly are you doing on an Asari ship so far from home?" Like the woman she was, Aethyta broke the ice.
"I'm going to meet my husband on Mindoir," Firefly said, looking around the room.
"Mindoir," Aethyta drawled.
Aethyta, Veisha, Sitiira, and Esra all shared a glance with each other.
"Yeah." Firefly grimaced, understanding what they were saying to each other.
"You do know what is happening on Mindoir, right?" Veisha asked, watching Firefly carefully.
"I do." Firefly nodded her head. "He was part of the first military force on site."
"Military force? Sitiira's eyes widened and she looked at Firefly. As a Turian, she had been drafted just like the rest of her race at the age of fifteen to serve the Hierarchy. The Turians were the largest and most formidable military service in the galaxy, and that was largely in part to their need to protect the few dextro-amino garden worlds that existed, few and far between. "I didn't know that Equestria had any military force outside of your Royal Guard."
"It's an unfortunate necessity of moving out into the galaxy at large." Firefly nodded sadly. "My husband is a part of the Wonderbolts."
"The Wonderbolts!" Esra gave a happy cry, bouncing up and down in her seat excitedly. She clapped, nudging Sitiira with her elbow. "I know them! We're going to see them when they perform on Palaven!"
"I wasn't aware that the Wonderbolts fulfilled a military role," Sitiira said, impressed.
"We've all been forced to move outside of our comfort zones." Firefly nodded her head.
"You've told us what your husband does," Aethyta said, noticing Firefly's uncomfortableness with the conversation and tactfully changed it. "But what do you do for a living?"
"I'm an author!" Firefly smiled, much happier with this question than the last one.
"Oh?" Veisha asked, leaning forward excitedly. "Do you have any books published?"
"A few." Firefly nodded, smiling at her memories of her writing achievements through the years.
"Anything we would know?" Veisha asked.
"Maybe." Firefly shrugged. She had never followed the release of her books beyond Equestria. "I write adventure novels about a young, daring archeologist. I don't think there have been many sales outside of the sphere."
"Too bad." Aethyta nodded, downing her entire glass of wine. "We could always use more adventures."
"What do you do, Aethyta?" Firefly looked over Aethyta curiously.
"Ah, well..." Aethyta smiled, looking up at the ceiling. She waved her hand slowly in a circle. "I'm something of a wanderer. I guess you could say that I'm between jobs at the moment. When I find something that amuses me,I guess I'll settle down."
"Is there anything in particular you would like to do?" Firefly asked, wondering just what made the woman tick.
"Something close to my daughter." She didn't have to think long about it, giving a small smile at the idea.
"Oh? You have children?" Firefly asked, leaning forward. They had something in common there. Rainbow was one of the happiest parts of her life, and she wouldn't want to be separated from her for anything.
"A few." Aethyta nodded, her eyes going distant as memories of the past floated through her mind. "They're all grown and living their own lives, but I guess I just want to make sure my youngest is living a happy life."
"That's sweet," Firefly cooed, the thought making her heart flutter.
"Yeah..." Aethyta grumbled ever so slightly, glaring down at the table. "Just don't tell anyone. I've got an image to maintain.
"Your secret is safe with me." Firefly giggled into a hoof. No matter what she was thinking when she had first met this group, they were an incredibly welcoming group.
Firefly led Rainbow onto the observation deck, the little filly happily full and content. A sleepy expression was on her face.
"I'm tired momma," she murmured, yawning widely as her wings slumped down listlessly.
Firefly laughed, leaning down to lift Rainbow onto her back. The little filly instantly plopped down, her hooves falling down onto either side of her mother's barrel. "I know, dear, but I think you're going to want to see this first."
"See what?" Rainbow asked, perking up a little.
Firefly stopped in front of the large observation window that took up the furthest wall of the room. Rainbow looked out at it, but she didn't see anything worth remarking on, just the blackness of space.
"It's just space." Rainbow muttered, dropping her head back down. "That's boring."
"Just wait, dear." With a laugh, Firefly shook her head. "You'll see what I'm talking about."
They waited, mother and daughter sharing a moment together. Firefly pointed with a hoof when she caught a glimpse out the window.
"Rainbow, watch this," Firefly said.
Rainbow raised her head again and her eyes widened when she saw a Mass Relay come into view, the ship hurtling towards it.
The Relay grew larger and larger, and the two Equestrians get a glimpse of just how massive the Relay actually was. Its size absolutely gulfed the ship, making the Wave Runner seem pedestrian in comparison.
White blue streaks of lightning flared out from the relay, racing along the surface of the ship. Before they could even blink, the ship was hurtled towards its sister relay light-years away.
"Whoa..." Rainbow's eyes went wide, her tiredness forgotten.
"You're going faster than any Wonderbolt has ever flown, Dashie," Firefly whispered.
"Even Daddy?" Rainbow asked, her amazement growing.
"Even Daddy." Firefly giggled.
"Whoa..." Rainbow whispered, thoughts swirling through her head.