January 29th, 2258
We have him. He's alive... Though I must express regret that we couldn't save his legs. At first, I thought the scrying spell we watched the Raven depart with was having trouble following its speed. But then as it began to tumble, I could only feel horror at what I was witnessing. But it was Luna who saved him. I never felt so much power gathered for a single teleport in my life. Matching position, speed, and direction with something to the accuracy that she did was something I thought was impossible. But she did it. I could see the flash in the viewports of the Raven as it tumbled. But I didn't see her leave until the vehicle was destroyed by its own speed.
It wasn't until after that I learned what happened from Luna.
When she arrived in the cockpit, she'd been pressed against a panel almost immediately. She tried to grab Randy with her magic so they could leave, but the same resistance that protects humans from magic prevented her from doing so. Not that she didn't try, but it was too hard to concentrate in the tumbling vessel. So Princess Luna did the only thing she could. She latched onto him, encased him in as many shields as she could muster, and held on with everything she had until the Raven had been consumed by its death throes.
I am told, even as I write this, that Luna had said that as the Ruler of the Night, she could not, and would not allow the darkness to take Randy that day.
Princess Celestial found them in the water off the east coast of Equestria, both burned, but very much alive. However, the conflagration had taken its toll. I'm told by the Canterlot Hospital doctors that no amount of our magic can repair the deep burns that covered Randy's legs, and even if we could have saved his legs, he likely wouldn't ever walk again.
Luna, resistant to many things far beyond what a mortal pony could withstand, has only received minor injuries for her deed. Though she'll be regrowing the feathers on her right wing for a few months. She says it's a small price to pay for the survival of her friend.
Either way. They're alive. They're both alive. Randy is sleeping now. But before the doctors sedated him, he said something odd.
“Tell Dan: 'You owe me a new pair of legs when you get here.'”
I guess this means this letter is really addressed to Dan. I don't know who you are, Dan, and I don't know why you owe him legs, but I guess it's a given by the way humanity has acted throughout its history that you will come. Humans are a very noble species, never willing to leave another behind, pushing themselves beyond their own limits and dedicating unbelievable amounts of resources even for one friend.
I hope you don't feel the need to go that far this time. We will protect him until you arrive. That I promise you. In the last six months, I've learned so much from your species. A new language, new technologies, and even the chance to visit the stars themselves. Randy gave that all to me. He allowed me to do it, even when I should have known better. And he allowed it for Rainbow Dash as well.
She won't leave his side, you know. Hasn't left his side since Luna returned with him. They joked even as his face contorted with pain. She told him that even the best crash every once in a while and he'd have his wings again soon enough. He didn't understand, but at the same time, I think he did.
Captain Randolph Edwards has taught us all so much, even if he wasn't trying. There are cards from across Equestria I have to read to him, even a few from some dragons who watched the Raven go down. There's a world out here, a world that knows a hero when they see it. And all he had to do was be our friend.
And I'm happy to call Randy... no humanity itself, my friend. I don't want to test the waters. I don't want to get a feel for each person I meet from your world. I want to cast a blanket on all of you, to call you all my friends with the hope that you will do the same for us without hesitation. If Randy's time here has taught me anything, it's that no matter who or what you are, there are friends out there waiting for you among the stars waiting to share the wonders of their worlds. And no matter how different you may be, how alien you may look, friendship is universal.
I await your response, Dan, Humanity. Your ship is an envelope for my letter, and I hope to have pen pals soon. We are here.
now, and forever.
CLOSING CREDITS AUDIO
"Across the Frontier"
By Ernest 'Admiral Tigerclaw' Hart
From Stellar Frontier REBUILT