Reaching the Stars

by Mcyav


Chapter 1 - A Daily Routine

The piercing screech of the alarm filled the room. Being stirred from his slumber, Rust Bucket stared at the clock resting on the bedside table. 6:30pm. His shift started in half an hour. As he climbed out of bed he surveyed the room. It was small, with a bunk bed that only just fit in on either side. The bottom bunks had a small table in between them, with a large central screen that functioned as the alarm. There were only two lights in the room that switched on every twelve hours, giving the workers ten minutes to leave the room. Grabbing his bush hat from the draw under his bunk, Rust left his sleeping compartment, stepping through into the living quarters. He headed for the kitchen, spotting a dark green unicorn sitting at a nearby table as he did.

“Afternoon' Rusty! Sleep well?”

“Afternoon' Wires. Not to badly, thanks.”

“Good! You want some of this?” Rust Bucket looked over at the bowl Wires was holding. It appeared to be a mixture of oats and some strange dried fruits.

“What is it?”

“Oats and fruit. Genius.”

“Go on then. I don't feel like trying to make something after last time.”

“There's another bowl in the fridge. Knock yourself out.”

He took a few steps towards the fridge before opening it, revealing a chaotic scene of food and drink scattered hopelessly. Sighing, he dove in, scouring the small, cold fridge in hopes of finding his breakfast.

“Hurry up Rust. You're holding me up. I got fifteen minutes before my shift starts.” He tried to rise in panic at the new voice, his head crashing into the top of the fridge as he did.

“You okay Rust?”

“Fine! Yeah. Just looking for breakfast.” He let out a small groan, “That really hurt.”

“Move up, what ya looking for?”

“A bowl. Oats and fruit inside.” Rust looked at the pony who had forced them self into the fridge. She had a light blue coat that shimmered in the light. Her mane was an intense electric blue while her tail was just a shade darker than her coat. Her wings...

“Rust. Rust! Hello? Rust!” A crimson blush filled his cheeks.

“Uh, yeah! Sorry.”

“Whatever. I found your bowl.” As she spoke she pulled a small white bowl from the fridge. “There ya go. Now I can get mine.”

“Thanks... Wait, I don't think I know your name.”

“The name's Blue Amp. And no, I'm not free later, or any other time.”

“What? Were you suggesting that I...”

“You know damn well what I'm getting at. Now I've got to go. I'm down in security today, and if I don't hurry up, I ain't getting there in time.” With that Blue Amp left, leaving Rust with his bowl.

Rust walked out of the kitchen and sat himself at the table across from Wires, who was staring at his PDA.

“You down in engineering today?” Rust asked, trying to start a conversation.

“Yeah.”

“You working a full shift?”

“Yeah.”

“You gonna respond with more than one word?”

“No.” Rust sighed heavily and began to eat. The oats were rather soft and had a pleasant taste. The fruit however was a different matter. It lacked taste and any texture. Grumbling, he forced himself to eat. A twelve hour shift was already a hard one, and hunger pains would only make that worse. Upon finishing his meal, Rust placed the bowl on the table and began to slouch in his chair.

“Five minutes until you need to be leaving.”

“Where's my evening gone?” Rust smiled.

“Same place as always.” Wires responded, grinning back at him.

--------------------------------------

The trip to engineering was a short one. Their living quarters were located at the end of a long corridor, and you had to pass engineering to get to anywhere else onboard. The corridor itself was only just wide enough for two ponies to pass by and was dimly lit by tube lights on either side of the thin, metal panels above the walkway. Underneath the walkway were pipes that pumped water and sewage, respectively, around the ship. Electrical wires and communication lines ran in the overhead panels, keeping the corridors clear for travel and allowing for quick repairs if they were ever needed.

By the time Rust and Wires arrived in engineering, the other shift had just finished. A multitude of different coloured ponies filed by as quickly as they could, each rushing to their living quarters or somewhere to unwind, most likely the bars upstairs. The pony behind the desk was a light brown pegasus. In his hooves was a newspaper. Rust stood there confused. That wasn't the normal pony sat behind the desk. And he had a newspaper. He'd last seen one in Equestria, a few years before he signed up for this program.

“Green one. You're called Wires, yeah?”

“Yeah I am. Who the hell are you?”

“Doesn't matter. Your boss is off sick and I got called to cover. I work in security. That's where you're working today.”

“But I was told I was working a normal shift down here!”

“Nope! You're wiring in security. Go on!” Wires mumbled something under his breath before leaving the room.

“You get a normal shift Rust.” Rust stared at the security guard in front of him.

“How do you know who I am?” The guard looked up and pointed at the screen on the desk.

“I work in security. It's my job. Also anyone that enters the room comes up on this screen.” Rust grumbled as he walked past the desk into the room behind it.

Engineering wasn't really a room. It was a large, open area filled with machinery and overhead catwalks with another similar space on either side of the walls. From the entrance, three pumping stations could be seen, each at least fifty feet tall. The overhead catwalk was also in view, working its way between each of the pumps. On the far left, at the bottom of some stairs, was a door leading to the electrical systems. On the right was the small corridor that lead towards the engines. Rust Bucket looked around the room in front of him. There were several ponies already working at the pumps.

"'Scuse me.”

“Oh sorry.” Rust watched the grey unicorn as he walked past. “Wait, You seen the big fella down here yet?”

“Him? Yeah, he's in the engine room.”

“Thanks!” Rust quickly made his way to the engine room. At least if he was working, they were bound to have some laughs.