As it turned out, the ponies only needed one week to examine the items left by the human expeditioners. There was not that much to examine, and with the speed the groups worked, they were able to learn a lot. All the groups examined a total of four to five items each, but like the phone, they found that the items could not be used. They detailed the reason in their report to the princesses on the seventh day of their study, nominating the pegasus Quick Turn as the study group's spokespony.
"Thus we have determined, your highnesses, most of the devices are electronic in nature, and thus require a near constant infusion of electricity to function. As we do not have the means to safely get electricty to them without destroying them, we are at an impass as to what to do with them. As to the other items brought, they are items that are simply more advanced versions than we have now, such as spectrometers, binoculars, and various other items, we have yet to explore."
"As these are the only things we have from the humans," Princess Celestia spoke after a few moment's thought, "we shall seal them in a vault under guard, as well as a multilayered preservation spell until we have the ability to better understand their function."
Princess Luna continued, "We very much thank all of you for your hard work and contributions to our understanding. You are all invited to attend, in person, our full announcment of yours, and the discoveries of Princesses Twilight and Cadence, and their teams in a few days."
"Part of the announcment, which I will tell you all about here, as part payment for your help, we are considering asking some of you to stay on board longer for some things we have planned coming up. They are part of mine and Princess Cadence's discoveries. It will be dangerous, but your further contributions will help us immensely. We also plan to invite others to join the operation we have planned, to be elaborated on in the coming days."
At Princess Twilight's comments, many began talking amonst themselves, then began speaking up about their desire to go. Bright Star stayed quiet. She was interested in going, but the lack of information was disconcerting. Being asked to return for something they did not even know much about, made Star a little nervous.
It turned out, it was indeed a monumental announcment. Bright Star went to the announcement solely out of curiosity.
Princess Celestia was the speaker for the occasion, "Please settle down, everypony. What we have to ask of you is in relation to what we are planning to help the humans; a side project being planned out to maximize our aid to them, in the coming advent of magic."
After casting a look to the audience, she continued, "We are planning a spell that will, change, the humans into forms better able to handle magic coming to their world. We began preparations for the spell in secret, and indeed many aspects of what we are doing, are still top secret in nature. Many nations have been contacted, as the nature of the spell is expensive in both energy, and resources, both financial and material.
"The other aspect of our plans, is what will be done once the spell has been cast. We plan to send teams to Earth to assist the newly transformed in both better utilizing their new forms, as well as giving them what they need to adjust to their new abilities. We are still in the planning stages of this operation as well, and more will be announced in the future. I encourage any who wish to try, to study hard in your fields of expertise, as we may call upon you to contribute to the cause in the coming years.
"We tentatively plan to begin training for this operation within the coming year to year and a half. We need to prepare simulated environments so the explorers will be able to recognize obsticles, have an idea of the environment they will be sent to, and be able to recognize known elements in the human world. We will begin accepting applications on a limited basis, and screening out all who do not initially meet the critera for what we are looking for."
The Princess took a breath, and concluded, "I thank all of you for your time, and please bear with us as we prepare for what needs to be done to help.
To say Star was shocked, would be to woefully underestimate what she had expected. She had known about the portals, but the opportunity to be sent to another world, was one she would not pass up. She made sure to gather as much information before heading home, to ensure she had all she needed to make it onto a team to go to Earth.
"Mom? Dad? Scribe?" Bright Star called out when she opened the door to her parents' home. It was unusual to hear the house not bustling with activity, or the bubbling of her mother's test tubes and beakers in her little study lab.
'Maybe they're out for lunch?' She thought. A thud from the second floor announced that someone was indeed home, along with the grunting, mumbled expletives, then the sound of hooves on wood as the pony got up, and walked to the door. It was already ajar, but the knob lit up as the occupant of the room came out. "You fall asleep writing again, Scribe?" She inquired with a bemused smirk.
"Ha ha. I'll have you know that my thesis is coming up, so I was up preparing a rough draft. I'm sure you know what that was like."
"Somewhat, but I wasn't trying to explain how ancient cultures worked. Just their magic, so my thesis was a bit more involved than yours. Granted, magic is a big part of most cultures, as it's an almost universal component. Actual culture changes, and it's not as documented as magic is."
"Only because magic is more important to ponies, so it's what's generally written first. Add the fact that you're very talented in magic. Anyway, what brings you home? Mom and dad are on their anniversery. They'll be home later tonight." Scribe said, turning for the bathroom.
"Oh." Star realized. She let herself into the kitchen, got a glass of apple juice, and a bowl of spicy baked chips, then went to the front room to eat, while she read a book she brought with her.
She heard her brother come down stairs, into the kitchen himself, then return back upstairs to continue his work.
Her parents did return home in the late evening, and upon seeing her asleep on the couch, each gave her a kiss on the cheek, placed a blanket over her, then went upstairs to sleep themselves.
The clanging of pots and pans, then running water woke Star up the following morning. After getting her bearings on where she was, she gave a large yawn, stretched her front, then hind legs, and got off the couch. Walking into the kitchen, she spied her mother preparing some oatmeal on the stove, her father at the table reading the morning paper, and her brother already munching on some fruit, to take away the initial morning hunger pains.
"Oh, good morning dear!" Her mother called out, trotting over to kiss her daugher's cheek.
Accepting the kiss with a tilt of her head, Star replied with a smile, "Morning to you too! Basic breakfast today?"
"Basic, but nutritious. I'm adding some sliced fruit so anyone can add what they want to their oatmeal. I've also got some brown sugar for those who want it."
Thus, this was the typical breakfast at home, as Star and her brother had had since they could remember. Their parents, while living in the inner city of Canterlot, were fairly basic ponies, in keeping with the traditions of their ancestors. Star's father was a Unicorn, but was born to Earth Pony parents. He got his horn from his paternal grandparents, but it was his mother who instilled a love of the basics into him, which won over his wife, and mother of his kids.
It was this basic streak that Star loved, and would make her announcment, just a little harder than normal. She waited until everyone was finished eating, before speaking.
"So, I guess you've all heard about what the Princesses discovered?" Star started off.
"Oh yes," her mother replied. "Another world with different creatures on it!? Exciting!"
"A world without magic. I wonder what kind of place that would be like. How would they manipulate their weather, or raise their sun and moon, without magic? How would they do anything" Her brother asked.
Her father remained silent, having continued with his paper, so Star continued, "I've seen them. They have four limbs, like us, but they only walk on two. They use their front legs, or would that be their upper legs?, Anyway, they use them to manipulate their environment."
"Kind of like minotaurs?" Her father asked.
"Sort of, but they have one extra appendage, than minotaurs do." Star supplied. "I saw an up close view of their hands, as they called them."
"Interesting. But why bring this up now, sweetie?" Star's mother inquired.
Looking at her hooves, Star nervously spoke, "Because, there's a program that will be coming up in the next year or so, and I want to be part of it. It's going to be groups of ponies, trained, and sent to Earth, the home world of the humans. And I want to be on a team sent there. I came to let you know that."
All were stunned to silence by Star's declaration, and her growing determination as she spoke. Even her father lowered his paper to look at her in suprise.
"The princesses did announce that humans did try to come to our world a while back in the news release, but won't it be dangerous over there though? I've heard tales of ponies trying to live in magic-free environments, and those experiments did not end well. I wasn't aware that ponies were going to be sent to Earth." Her father replied.
"But dad, another announcement from the princesses did say that magic was going to be present in their world though, some time in the near future, or something. I was barely paying attention to the news. Is that true Star?"
"Yes. Magic is going to innundate their world in about a year, to a year and a half. The princesses know when that will be however, so I would wait for further updates from them, as to when that event will occur." Star replied to her brother.
"Well, you are the most magically gifted pony our family has seen in generations, so I'd say you're qualified, but that's not my place to decide. Which ever path your choose, honey, we'll support you. I just hope you know what you're getting into." Her mother cautioned, with a slight bit of worry in her voice. Star knew she could count on her family to trust her decisions.
"Tryouts and tests aren't for some time, so you don't have to worry for me so much. I'm going to spend most of my time working, and studying, as well as doing research on what they have planned. I've submitted my application to the program, but was told while I was in the castle, that there would not be any summons for some time. I just hope I make it in..."
"With your determination, and work ethic Star, you'll get in." Her father praised her. She gave him a strong hug, before returning to her seat.
"So, tell us how work's going, sweetheart."