• Published 2nd May 2013
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Stardust - Arad



Can Twilight earn the trust and friendship of people who are by nature suspicious and hostile to anything that isn't 'human'?

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Stardust Supplemental Files (Pt. 1)

PRESIDENT ADDRESSES NATION AFTER ALIEN ATTACKS, ISSUES ORDERS FOR MOBILIZATION OF ALL NATIONAL GUARD REGIMENTS NATIONWIDE.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL CONVENES TO DISCUSS GLOBAL CONCERNS AFTER ATTACK ON US CAPITOL. COUNCIL CHAIRMAN CONCLUDES MEETING, ‘APPROPRIATE ACTIONS ALREADY BEING TAKEN.’

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WARNING: Access to this file is RESTRICTED to personnel with TOP SECRET clearance or above. Attempts to access this file without authorization will be reviewed and be grounds for TERMINATION AND/OR PROSECUTION. Distribution of this file may only be done with authorization from Cmdr. David Bradford, failure to provide authorization will result in TERMINATION AND/OR PROSECUTION.

PROJECTID: Stardust
DOCUMENTID: 043020150932

Attached notes by: Dr. Kim Ngo

“This is the translated document written by ‘Twilight Sparkle’, the alien specimen captured during operation HAMMERHEAD (link redirects to HAMMERHEAD mission files, authorization required) by XCOM personnel. The document is in the form of personal correspondence between subject ‘Sparkle’ and another entity known as ‘Princess Celestia.’ Summaries of the relationship between subject ‘Sparkle’ and ‘Princess Celestia’ can be found in this section of the Stardust files. (links redirect to STARDUST/GOVT/VIP and STARDUST/SPARKLE/REL, authorization required)”

Translation Start:

“Dear Princess Celestia,

I don’t know if you’ll ever get to read this, but I feel it’s my duty to record what has happened. If I can find a way back to Equestria(1) then I hope this can explain.

After you had returned to Canterlot(1), the Elements and I freed Discord(2) but I’m afraid I fell for one of his tricks. I know you said that Fluttershy(2) would be the most capable of reforming him, but he challenged me with a bet. If I won, he’d reform. If I lost, he would turn back to stone. I was so confident that I could win the bet since it was directly related to my studies on magic and friendship(4) but now I fear it was just a trick that I fell for.

The moment I agreed, Discord sent me someplace far away. As of this writing I am still unsure of just how far, but I suspect I may be on another world entirely. I’m afraid it isn’t a peaceful place like Equestria is. The moment I arrived, I saw three of the local inhabitants die to a monster. When the monster found me, I—[the following section is crossed out thoroughly and could not be translated]

When I woke up, I found myself in a laboratory. After some surprises and confusion, I was able to speak with one of the locals who called himself ‘Charles Shen’. In hindsight I should have asked what Charles and the others call themselves, since they certainly aren’t ponies(3). They’re bipedal, mostly hairless and have forelimbs that end in claw-like appendages much like Spike's(2). Judging from what I’ve seen in my short time here, they are tool-users and are extremely clever. I am actually writing this letter with an invention Charles called the ‘ballpoint pen,’ which is a quill with an inkwell inside. Genius, I know!

Charles also described his people briefly, and it sounds like they’re very much alone. They are very suspicious of strangers because they’ve been attacked so much. I can’t think of any reason why anypony would be so mean, especially to a race as clever as Charles’. Charles himself is very curious and asked me several questions on a variety of subjects. I think he also asked questions on behalf of others who weren’t in the room; he described a tool he wore that allowed him to speak and listen to others too far away to hear!

I hope I get to see Charles tomorrow, he’s the only friend I have until I get back home.

I’ll keep writing these letters, though I have no way of delivering them at this time without Spike. I think it will be a good way to record how things progress. In the mean time, I’ll do what I can to help Charles and his friends. I’m the first pony they’ve ever met, so I’ll do my best to leave a good impression.

Your faithful student,

Twilight Sparkle”

(1)- The location names described are ‘best guess’ translations according to subject ‘Sparkle’. The translations were initially completed by subject ‘Sparkle’ herself through nonconventional means. A detailed explanation of subject ‘Sparkle’s’ translation method can be found here (link redirects to STARDUST/SPARKLE/ABILITIES, authorization required), and a list of locations and a map transcribed by subject ‘Sparkle’ can be found here (link redirects to STARDUST/EQUIS, authorization required)

(2)- As above, the names of other beings are ‘best guess’ translations using ‘Sparkle’s’ method. A list of all current beings described by subject ‘Sparkle’ can be reviewed here. (link redirects to STARDUST/POI, authorization required) Illustrations by subject ‘Sparkle’ are available for nearly all entries.

(3)- The self-identified race that subject ‘Sparkle’ belongs to, which is further divided into four sub-groups. The species name itself is another ‘best guess’ translation. A rather exhaustive list of every intelligent and non-intelligent race can be found in these two locations. (links redirect to STARDUST/SPECIES/SAPIENT and STARDUST/SPECIES/NONSAPIENT, authorization required). Illustrations by subject ‘Sparkle’ are available for the majority of entries.

(4)- Subject ‘Sparkle’ has repeatedly referenced the ‘power of friendship’ and other similar concepts repeatedly. While entirely speculation, it is theorized that subject ‘Sparkle’s’ species is passively telepathic and gains strength or cohesion in numbers. Without a larger sample size this only remains speculation.

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RESEARCH REPORT
Codename: Avalon
Project Goal: Interrogate ‘Unicorn’ retrieved during Operation Hammerhead, 04/02/2015
Project Status: SUSPENDED (04/02/2015)
Attached notes by: Dr. Moira Vahlen

Interrogation of the subject commenced upon its regaining consciousness, but the subject was able to escape its cell through unconventional means. Standard containment procedure was set in place, but before the security team could subdue the subject, Dr Charles Shen was able to contact and establish communications with the subject. The means of communications between Shen and the subject is currently unknown but he reports that the subject is not hostile and very cooperative. Based on that statement and other evidence, Avalon is suspended, and Stardust will take its place to research this apparently willing subject and its abilities.

Personal notes:

I can appreciate how exciting this is, but Shen should go play with his toys in engineering and mind his own business. The research and interrogation of alien subjects is the purview of my team, and he overstepped his bounds by volunteering to interact with the subject. On THAT note, I swear that old man has a death wish for even volunteering in the first place. Entering an area alone with an alien with unknown capabilities was foolish in the extreme. Even an unarmed Sectoid is dangerous due to its mental powers, and the subject…this ‘Twilight’ has proven to have powers that are an order of magnitude more dangerous than the diminutive aliens that first attacked in Europe.

It is more frustrating that Shen suggested modifying the nearly-completed science lab to house ‘Twilight’ as well as conduct future research on it. Drs Ngo and Mills were instantly enamored with the idea, much to my aggravation. Yes, I believe Shen’s evaluation of the specimen’s powers being too great for current facilities to contain. I am also forced to agree with Shen’s assessment that if the specimen were hostile then it would result in significant bloodshed attempting to subdue it by force. ‘A more subtle approach,’ is what Shen said.

I may be opposed to the idea of an alien in the XCOM facility that’s not in Containment, but I would be lying if I didn’t at least acknowledge the potential benefits that this might provide. The specimen has demonstrated a mastery of an ability capable of effects commonly known as ‘telekinesis,’ ‘translation,’ illumination and ’teleportation.’ I’m quite certain that there’s a more rational explanation than what it told Shen. His initial translation after first contact was ‘magic’ and I nearly hit him with my tablet. There has to be a more rational explanation, and I will be the one to find it.

I don’t think I’ll ever tell the others this, but I am a little bit excited at the prospect of Stardust. It’s not every day that a scientist can meet a being that can violate the laws of physics at the wave of a hand, or horn in this case. Well, not without risking life and limb in the process these days. Kim is ecstatic about the prospect of speaking with the subject and learning about an entirely alien culture. Joel has been grinning like an idiot after Shen’s disclosure at the myriad of sapient life from its home world. So long as they maintain the necessary work in other projects, I see no reason to dampen their enthusiasm. Yet.

During Shen’s debriefing and medical scans, I also took note of the subject’s nature as a self-described academic and had asked him several questions and was very curious in general. I’ve left standing instructions for Stardust personnel to answer any questions the subject poses so long as they’re comfortable with it and it doesn’t jeopardize the safety of the project or this world in general.

My chief concern (out of the myriad of concerns brought up by Stardust) is the means in which the specimen can understand us, and what she did to allow Shen to understand her. His translated explanation involved the bridging of concepts between two separate languages, but I am still convinced that this ability may be misused to pull information from a person’s mind. I’ve instituted mandatory daily screenings for both physical and psychological changes for anyone that spends time with the subject.

The others may be all for it but I will NOT let this ‘translation spell’ be cast upon me.

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CONSTRUCTION REPORT
Construction/Modification: Science Lab
Construction Goal: Convert B3F Science Lab for the purposes of Project Stardust
Estimated completion: 12 Hrs.
Attached notes by: Dr. Charles Shen

After debriefing with the commander and the other doctors, it was decided that Containment was not going to be adequate for holding the new specimen for long periods of time. Containment was designed with short-term holding in mind, and it’s apparent that our new guest will be with us for a bit longer than anticipated. The lab was nearly complete when this situation presented itself; all that was missing was some electrical and plumbing work plus the interior walls and testing equipment. Some simple modification to the original blueprints will allow us to create something akin to secure living quarters for the specimen as well as ample testing space for its many talents. The most challenging portion of the modification is going to be the acquisition and fabrication of the monitoring equipment that the science team has requested. They’ve given new definition to the word ‘thorough.’

Personal notes:

I don’t know if simple words can describe what happened today.

To meet and speak with an intelligent being from another world... the mind can barely grasp the monumental importance of this moment for humanity. My only regret, which isn’t much of a regret at all, is that this will likely be classified for hundreds of years.

The alien itself was not at all what I was expecting to encounter. After the monstrous horror of the invaders, seeing something the size of a large dog look up at you with fear and hope in its eyes is jarring to say the least. She (I’m guessing it’s a she due to tone of voice) called herself ‘Twilight Sparkle’ and appears to have found herself in the middle of our war with the invaders quite by accident. She’s a student and a librarian and has a tendency to be extremely verbose in her explanations. I also saw a hint of the obsessive-compulsive as well, though I’m no psychologist. I just have my impressions as a father to go off of.

Quite simply, it was shocking how human Twilight's mannerisms were. Of course the science team didn’t care much about my personal impressions on her personality or body language, they were more concerned about the content of our discussions. Doctor Mills looked like a kid in on Christmas when I started talking about griffons and dragons, and Moira had a homicidal look in her eye when I tried to elaborate on the ‘magic’ that Twilight had described.

The fabricators are currently making all the necessary equipment for the Stardust lab now, current estimates put completion time at between ten to twelve hours. I still can’t believe David agreed…well, scratch that, I can. He’s always been reasonable when we make suggestions if our logic is sound. I still remember his rather vocal displeasure at Moira’s request for live captures, but he still agreed to it.

I’ve also been appointed the de facto contact for Twilight, at least for the moment. I’m pleased to report that thus far I have been cleared of any immediate suspicion of mental tampering by Medical, along with daily check-ups planned for the future. While it’s inconvenient, I completely agree with the necessity of such precautions. I would be mighty surprised if any evidence was found of tampering with my mind, but I suppose mind control is supposed to be undetectable by the victim until it’s too late to resist.

On that somewhat disturbing note, I have to keep reminding myself that despite Twilight's innocent appearance and intellectual mannerisms, she is still an alien capable of projecting enough physical force to destroy any holding cell we currently have with her mind if the mood strikes her. Perhaps there is some form of mental manipulation in play here, designed to encourage comfort and understanding around our new guest. It's quite a bit more benign than the horrific mind control we're used to seeing if that turns out to be true, but still a concern nonetheless. Again, those security protocols sound like a wise precaution.

I can tell the science team is excited despite the risks. About ten minutes after Stardust received its impromptu approval, Kim gave me an entire stack of paperwork for universal arithmetic and insisted I give it to our guest as soon as she’s moved to the new lab, to gauge her grasp of mathematics and other concepts. Since she wasn’t privy to most of our conversation I think that the good doctor will be rather pleasantly surprised. I think Mills and Ngo are both pleased as punch to have someone to actually talk to, rather than poking dead bodies and guessing at the meanings of markings.

As for my plans, I’m curious if her translation spell can be extended to written works. She mentioned her inability to read the paperwork abandoned in Containment, but she never explicitly said she tried to translate it. I imagine if I were to bring her a book, she’d find some way to read it. I guess I’m not so different from the science team; I just had to find something interesting to experiment with.

Author's Note:

Supplemental Information:

Divisions: The XCOM organization is divided into three primary branches; Research, Engineering, and Operations. Research is responsible for all technological breakthroughs as well as housing and interrogation of alien specimens. Engineering is responsible for the fabrication and maintenance of all base equipment as well as refining designs produced by Research. Operations consists of the soldiers and pilots who actively participate in combat operations against alien incursions. The XCOM Operations Commander, David Bradford, is overall commander of the facility as well.

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