• Published 5th Aug 2013
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The Titan's Orb - Old Man Dusters



Callum lives a miserable life on Earth. But that is soon to change, as some unexpected visitors will change his life forever.

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Chapter Four: Early Complications

Stepping into my room, I was instantly greeted by Rainbow Dash, donning a warm grin.

"Hey dude! So, Rarity's come up with some sort of plan."

"Brilliant," I replied, "let's hear it."

Before Rarity could elaborate, Applejack walked up to me and squinted at my face.

"Sugarcube, what in tarnation has happened to your chin there?"

At that, Rarity looked at me with more attentiveness and spotted the bruise that had formed, along with the small bloodied tear in my lip; she gasped and promptly dashed up to me, knocking Applejack out of the way in order to tend to me.

"Darling, that looks really painful! How ever did this happen to you?"

Rainbow Dash frowned and opened her mouth to speak, it was pretty clear that she was going to accuse Twilight, and even though she'd have been correct, I didn't want to cause any further hostility between the two of them.

"I tripped over, on the way back from talking to Twilight." I blurted out.

Rainbow Dash gritted her teeth and gave me a look that clearly said, 'I know that you're lying'. She was just about to question my excuse when Twilight walked in behind me; as she did so, Rarity turned to face her and pointed at my mouth.

"Look at his face, just look at it..."

Twilight peered at the blemish and then gave me a subtle glare, clearly assuming that the first thing I'd done was grass her up by reporting her attack; luckily Rarity finished her sentence before she could speak.

"You must have hit something pretty hard when you fell over, did you land on a rock or something?"

"Somewhat, it was one of the flowerpots just on the patio. I tripped over my own feet, rarely happens, but I'm guilty of it from time to time. I swear I'm not usually this clumsy."

Twilight looked at me and raised an eyebrow, obviously she not expecting me to cover for her. Perhaps this could be the start of earning her trust? I winked at her, and for the first time in a while, I saw the corners of her lips raise, just a little, it wasn't much, but it was definitely a start.

“Yeah,” She said, “it does look pretty bad. I hope it's not too painful.”

I then noticed the expression on her face change, it was the same look I had seen on my mother's face this morning, that faintly shimmering sense of regret; she had felt bad for hitting me. But alas, just like with my mother, the expression only lasted for a short time.

“Well, I suppose you should have watched where you were going. The Princess sent us to you because you're supposed to be able to guide us, so if you're not capable of guiding yourself past your own limbs correctly, then you're hardly the right guide for us.”

{Um, ouch...} I thought to myself.

That was more than a mere jab, she was pushing it, no, she was pushing me! The realisation then crossed my mind that she might have been trying to provoke me into flipping out or something. It was as though she wanted to ensure the others were also mistrustful of me, but it wasn't going to work.
The others were once again shocked, but kept quiet, even Rainbow Dash, who looked like she was about to explode, remained silent.

“Quite right, it shan't happen again.” I said, chuckling sheepishly.

Playfully batting away Rarity's hooves from my chin, I asked the pearly white unicorn what the supposed plan she'd come up with was; she respectively backed away and sat on the floor, flicking her perfectly curled mane aside with glamour, I couldn’t help but smile, even on another planet, she managed to retain her style.

“Well, you see, when the Titan's Orb was separated from our world, some of its essence was left behind. Princess Celestia had Twilight absorb this essence into her body with magic, meaning she can use a tracking spell that will point towards the direction of the orb.”

I hummed with interest and looked at Twilight, then back to Rarity.

{Could have mentioned that earlier.} I murmured in thought.

“Well that makes things a lot less complicated.” I stated enthusiastically.

“That it does,” Rarity continued, "so all we need to do is have Twilight use the spell and we can embark right away.”

The others hummed and nodded in agreement, clearly wanting to get a move on.

“Well, that's going to make this mission easier by a long shot. But now we need to take care of the dark matter of faking my death. How best should we go about that?”

Now I thought this would take forever to plan out, until Pinkie Pie came out of nowhere and blew my mind.

“That’s easy-peasy, one-two-threesy! All you need is Twilight to use her cloning spell, and make it look all dead-like and make it out as if it was your body!”

I was gobsmacked, Pinkie Pie, out of all ponies...
It seemed as though she had the ability to generate a perfect idea at random intervals, a perk that would surely come in handy over our mission.

“Pinkie, you’re a genius!” I praised.

“No I’m not, I’m a pony!” She giggled.

Every pony in the room laughed, even Twilight smirked. The unicorn then approached me and explained that the spell was not only difficult to cast, but that it would never create a completely functional copy of me, due to the complexity of such a feat, the clone would be more like a mirror image of myself, unable to conjure his own opinions and thoughts.

"Would you like a demonstration of the spell?" She asked.

"By all means, fire away!" I replied.

Twilight's horn began to glow brightly, followed by a thin stream of purple light coming out of my chest, it wasn't painful in the slightest, it just felt really warm, it was the strangest sensation. The stream of light gathered into a shimmering ball in front of me, which only grew bigger and bigger, it was one of the most amazing things I'd ever seen in my life!
The ball of light began to stretch out, it twisted and turned and I then noticed that it was shaping into the form of a human, shaping into me. The light was so pure, I almost felt like I was in a trance, and in a split second, the light faded.
And right before me, stood a replica of myself.

"Whoa..." I breathed, utterly mesmerised.

The others giggled quietly as they watched me process this event, gazing at my clone with wide eyes.

"Whoa." The clone spoke.

I jumped back a good few feet and nearly shat a brick.

"You can talk?" I asked with awe.

"I can talk?" He asked in reply.

I circled the clone in absolute awe, observing myself from another's perspective, it was beyond surreal.
And damn, was my arse really that good?
Giving my clone's bubble-butt a firm poke, he turned to look at me.

"Jeez, take me out on a date first at least." He spoke.

Everypony (myself included) laughed aloud at that, it seemed that the clone could even form his own sentences, the hilarity went on for a few minutes before Twilight brought it to a close.

"Alright, that's enough now, it was only a demonstration." She huffed with amusement.

Her horn once again shone brightly, and the clone started to glow in turn; small pieces of his body then began to break away into wisps of light, which faded away into nothingness. In his very last moments of existence, he began to sing depressingly, accepting his end.

"Hello darkness, my old friend... I've come to talk with you again..."

His singing came to a halt as his entire being eventually fell apart and vanished altogether.

"Well... That was an experience..." I murmured.

Settling down from the event, we all got back to business.

"Right, so in all seriousness, how are we going to do this?" Asked Applejack.

With nobody offering to make a suggestion, I put forward an idea.

"Well, we could possibly simulate a break in, and play out that I was killed by the intruders, then there's a plausible excuse for my death which wouldn't be looked into."

"And how are we be able to do that? I can't just conjure up some people to break into your house." Twilight grumbled.

"It's simple, we break in ourselves! I could kick the front door down, and we just smash a few things here and there, and it'll look like someone's broken into the house." I explained with a toothy grin.

The girls all looked around at one another, shrugging, and then looked back to me.

"Sugarcube, is that really necessary?" Applejack asked.

"Why of course, it needs to look authentic! Besides, we could all blow off some steam before heading out, nothing relieves stress better than breaking a few things." I replied.

"Hm, I suppose you're right..."

I headed over to my wardrobe, and pulled out a huge rucksack, the biggest I could find.

"What's that for darling?" Rarity asked.

"Supplies, for the journey! You've all got bags, why shouldn't I have one?" I answered.

"Hmm, touché." She replied.

"So, when do you plan on trashing this place then?" Rainbow Dash asked.

That made me think, what did I need to take? And what about the dogs? I couldn't leave them here or they'd run away, I wanted the best for them; but who would look after them for me? Perhaps I could tie them to something for when Oliver or my mum got back, but that might look suspicious. Was I overthinking this?

That's when a thought hit me, I had a really close friend, Bruce Harding. He was one of my best friends, and would definitely look after the dogs, he was a brony like myself, and was a huge lover of animals. Bruce was a top bloke and would be more than happy to take care of the dogs for me, even if the police ended up searching for them.
He only lived a couple miles away too, it would be about a forty minute walk at most.

"Today if we can, but first I have to do something..." I replied to the pegasus.

"And what is this something that you have to do?" Twilight asked.

"I need to find somewhere for the dogs to stay, so that they're safe, I have a friend who might look after them." I explained.

"No," the unicorn commanded, "we are not delaying the mission for the sake of your mutts, we can just-"

"I'm sorry, I don't think I heard that correctly," I interrupted, scowling at her.

Taking a step forward towards her, Twilight gulped, realising that she'd genuinely offended me.

"It's funny, it almost sounded like you just called my beloved dogs, mutts."

I scowled deep into her large eyes, causing her to shiver; my genuine glare was on par with Fluttershy's stare.

"N-No, you heard wrong... You can inform your friend, but you better know what you're doing..." She stuttered.

"Oh, excellent! No problems then." I cheered, bursting back into my usual smile.

I picked up my rucksack, and headed to the door.

"Alright, I'm going to fill this thing with supplies, are you girls okay with being in here on your own for a bit?"

They all nodded, besides Twilight, who sat there grinding her teeth, clearly embarrassed and angry, and Dashie's quiet giggling wasn't helping.



I headed downstairs and into the kitchen. The first place I searched was the cupboard, a perfect place to find snacks and non-perishables; Oliver was prone to snacking throughout the day, and so the stock was frequently diminished in as much time as it took to restock it.
Thankfully, my mother had been shopping only two days prior, so I had a lot to choose from; I decided to think long-term and grabbed things that would last a long time without going bad, (fruit and such would need to be found along the journey, rotten food in my bag was the last thing I needed).
I ended up grabbing a good twenty bags of salty crisps, very many sweets and chocolate, (mostly for Pinkie), a massive box of Weetos, a bag of pasta, a truck load of Pot Noodle, and every tin of baked beans I could find; although I hated beans with a passion, I knew that I'd need them for protein, it was a no-brainer that I wouldn't be eating meat for a while.

With meat on the mind, I thought hard on the issue, even if I became a vegetarian, the ponies would find out one way or another, and when that happened, any kind of friendship that I'd currently formed with the six would go straight out the window. I fought hard to let the thoughts blow away, and decided that I'd cross that bridge when I came to it.
For now, I needed to get my other supplies besides food.
I dashed around the house grabbing things I might need, sheets of paper, some pencils, my toothbrush and accompanying toothpaste, my Swiss Army knife, phone and solar phone charger.
I also grabbed a few rolls of toilet roll from the bathroom, going vegetarian was bad enough, I wasn't going to use leaves to wipe my arse if I could help it.


I headed back upstairs, now with enough supplies in my rucksack to last a good few months, I opened my door to find the six ponies chatting to one another, they all smiled as I walked in.

"So, Callum, who's this friend of yours that we're going to meet?" Rarity piped up.

Before I could answer, Twilight jumped up.

"Meet? I said nothing about meeting him!" She barked.

For once, I decided to hold my ground and see where it got me.

"That's quite funny Twilight, because I don't remember asking for your permission."

She opened her mouth to speak, but I continued before she could utter another word.

"Look Twilight, I'm throwing away my entire life to do this, and I'm well aware there's no going back. The last thing I want to do before leaving is ensure my pets are safe, and I'm not going to let you take that from me.
Now I'm only going to say this once, I'm taking my dogs to my friend, and you are not going to deny me that right, okay?"

Clenching her jaw, Twilight was clearly about to object, which was when she spotted her friends eyeing her, waiting for her reaction. Swallowing her anger, she remained silent and nodded reluctantly.

"Following your question Rarity, his name is Bruce Harding. He's an animal lover, just like you Fluttershy."

At that, the butter coloured pegasus jumped up with delight, instantly growing more talkative.

"He loves animals? Oh wow, that's wonderful! What animals does he have?" She asked excitedly.

"You can ask him in a moment, I'm about to call him on Skype." I replied.

"Uh, sugarcube, what in tarnation is a Skype?" Applejack asked.

I knew that they'd know nothing about Skype, or any PC programs for that matter, but it felt nice to explain something that Miss Egghead Sparkle didn't know anything about.

"Well, Skype is a really useful application on this device of mine, that allows me to communicate with anyone across the the world instantly."

Everypony was amazed, they had never been shown such technology.

"Across the whole planet!" Rainbow Dash asked.

"Eeyup!" I replied with a huge grin.

I looked at Twilight, who was now back to her old original self, eager to learn; about goddamn time...


Opening my laptop screen and hitting the 'on' button, it instantly sprung to life, the screen lit up with the 'Acer, Empowering People' logo, before going to the login screen; I entered my password and went to my desktop, and instantly regretted it, as my desktop background was that of the Windows logo, with Derpy Hooves sticking her head through it.

"Hey!" Rainbow Dash shouted, "That's Derpy!"

I looked from pony to pony, only to find them smiling and giggling at the image, I had expected them to be horrified at seeing a cartoon image of one of their kind on my computer screen.

"Uh, yeah! That's Derpy alright! Although to be perfectly honest, I was expecting you all to be a little unsettled at seeing her on here, I'm not sure how much you know about the cartoon."

Thankfully Rarity cleared the mist and clarified what they all knew.

"Well dear, during our mission briefing, Princess Celestia explained to us about how we co-exist in your world in the form of an animated story for children. Broadcasted via your, um, what is it called? A talvision?"

"Close, it's called a television, or just T.V for short." I corrected.

Rarity gave an interested 'hmm' in acknowledgement, and I decided to carry on with my query.

"But I don't get it, I would've thought that you'd be freaked out by knowing that you're a T.V show here, what gives?"

"Oh trust me darling, we were to start with, incredibly so in fact. But the Princess explained everything in thorough, and even used a spell to show us some of the cartoon directly, it might have been rather weird at first, but we soon adjusted to the facts. I must say at least, it was quite entertaining to see myself as an animated character, you humans are very talented with your work."

Humming with understanding, their reactions made a lot more sense. Still, I didn't expect Celestia to do such a thing, and besides, how did she acquire a memory spell that included a vision of the show in the first place?

"Might I ask, how did Princess Celestia get a hold of the footage to show you?" I asked.

"She didn't say, only that it was something she'd acquired from a previous visit, why?"

"I was just curious." I replied.

A previous visit? That must have been the 'My Little Dashie' crisis, just thinking about it again made me shudder.



Now I knew that the six were aware of the show, it made it a lot easier to use my computer without having to hide all the ponified stuff lying around, it would also make talking to Bruce less awkward for them. With that in mind, I double clicked on Skype and waited for it to open.

"So what else did Celestia tell you about this place?" I asked.

"It's Princess, Celestia. She has a title, use it." Twilight snapped.

Well, Twilight's good mood didn't last long. Although, it was understandable that Twilight wanted the Princess's name to be spoken properly, as she was the ruler's prize student.
It was Rainbow Dash to answer my question, although it was barely an answer at all.

"She didn't say much in detail, she just told us is that we'll need you to guide us as it might be dangerous."

{Well, she got that right.}

"But I don't get it, why me?"

The cyan mare shrugged, for she did not know the answer; by the looks of the others, nopony knew.
Yet another mystery to be solved.



Skype made its usual popping noise to indicate it had booted up. I clicked on Bruce's profile, and then clicked on the message bar and began to type.

Callum: Hey broski! How are ya?

The ponies stared at the screen in confusion.

"I'm not seeing anything..." Twilight moaned.

"Wait for it..." I replied.

Bruce: CALLUM! *glomps*

The other ponies were amazed.

"So, those words, just came from some dude in another part of the world?" Dashie asked in awe.

"That would be correct." I smiled back.

"What is a glomps?" Rarity asked.

"It's sort of like a dive hug, I think..." Fluttershy quietly answered before I could speak.

I wasn't quite sure how she knew about glomping, perhaps the word existed in Equestria? I'd figure it out another time, but for the time being I got back down to business with Bruce.

Callum: Bro, can I ask a huge favour of you?

Bruce: Ugh, your favours are always costly. What is it now?

Callum: I need your help, kinda urgently actual.

Bruce: What do you mean? Callum, what have you done?

Callum: Can I just call you?

Bruce: Yeah, sure, I'm worried though...

"Okay girls, I'm about to hit this button here, and then he will be able to see me from here" I pointed to my webcam.

In the blink of an eye, Twilight darted away from the behind the computer, and while the others bunched up together, ready to greet my friend, however I felt it would help make things less complicated if he didn't know about the ponies.
The less people involved, the better, I just needed to get the dogs to safety and move on.

"To be fair, I think you lot should stay out of sight." I instructed.

Moaning in protest to my killjoy, the girls stepped to the side and watched from the side, still eager to see how Skype's video calling worked. Hitting the call button, Skype started ringing and in a few seconds, Bruce's face appeared on the screen.

"Right, talk to me, what the bloody hell have you done?"

Giving a heavy sigh, I didn't really know where to begin other than that I needed his help.

"I need to ask you a favour, a big one, and it needs to be kept between us."

"Callum, I'm not going on a date with you."

The girls lightly giggled and I quickly muted my microphone before he heard them.

"Dude, I'm joking, and you're really freaking me out, what is going on?"

Unmuting my mic, I told him that I needed him to look after my dogs as I'd be going away.

"That's it? Fuck sake Callum, you had me really worried!"

I winced slightly at the language, worried the girls would take offence, although they seemed relatively fine with it, despite a few concerning looks between one another.

"I don't think you understand, I'm going away, and I'm not coming back."

His cheesy grin was gone instantly and he froze, processing my words.

"What... What do you mean?" He eventually spoke.

"Look, can you take care of my dogs for a few days? Yes or no?"

"Well yeah, easily, I love Chilli and Archer to bits, but what do you mean you aren't coming back?"

"Can you come and pick me up? I'll explain in person." I told him.

"Well, my car's in the shop at the moment so I can't come to you, so you'll have to come to me, is that okay?"

Rolling my eyes, I was hoping he'd be able to just swing by and pick up the pooches and be done with it, but at least it wasn't too long of a walk.

"Roger that, I'll get walking then."

"Okay, alright, I... Um... Better clean up this place! Where to begin, uh, ah! Dog food, baskets..." He trailed off.

Knowing his mind was now on the dogs and wouldn't start questioning me until we were physically together, I said goodbye, to which he dipped his head and joked that he'd put the kettle on; I thanked him and said I'd be over as quickly as possible, and then hung up.

Emitting a heavy sigh, I turned to face the girls with a weak smile; it had been SO difficult not to tell Bruce about the girls, but the last thing I needed was him going apeshit over Skype when I just needed him to say yes about the dogs.

"Well that was awesome." Rainbow Dash stated with a grin.

"Heh, yeah that was Skype." I replied.

"That must have been very difficult for you, but I can definitely see how things would have become a whole lot more complex with us being on the camera." Rarity added, giving my shoulder a friendly pat.

"Indeed, now I just have to walk the dogs to his, it shouldn't be too long a walk. Out of interest though, is there a way of magically travelling back and forth between two spots?" I asked.

Rarity looked up from admiring her shiny, polished hooves.

"Well, now that you mention it, Twilight could generate a Pullie-Portal for you..."

Twilight instantly started shaking her head and started mouthing the word 'no'.

"A what?" I asked, completely ignoring Twilight.

Rarity went on to explain that a Pullie-Portal is a two-part spell that essentially worked like a boomerang; the first part of the spell would be cast onto me, making me the boomerang. At a later point in time, Twilight would then cast the second spell in front of her, teleporting me back to that point via a portal.

"That's... That's EPIC!" I exclaimed.

"Yeah it's certainly one of the more complex spells, I wouldn't be able to cast it to save my life..." Rarity agreed.

"So how are we going to get there?" Rainbow Dash asked.

"You're not going, Callum goes alone with the dogs and we will wait for him." Twilight ordered.

"What?!"

Before Rainbow Dash could start a further argument, I backed up Twilight in suggesting that it would be safer and faster if I made my way alone while the girls packed up their camp and prepared to leave.

"Then how's Twilight gonna know when to pull you back?" Dashie retorted.

Rarity cleared her throat as if to silence the lot of us.

"I do believe that you are all forgetting that there are two unicorns here. How about I accompany Callum, so that I can ping Twilight a quick signal when we're ready to return."

"Nice thinking Rarity!" I praised.

Rolling her eyes in annoyance, Twilight gave a small huff to herself.

"Ugh, if it gets us out of here any sooner, then fine."

I looked at the others, and to be honest, I was perfectly ready to go now if I could, now that I knew the dogs would be safe, I was ready to leave this hell hole without a second thought.

"When we finish trashing this place, we could head off right away; what do you girls think?" I asked.

"No objection here." Rainbow Dash muttered.

The others all nodded in agreement.

"Awesome, in that case, I believe it's time to get a move on."

"So, what happens now?" Applejack asked.

"Now?" I replied with the biggest grin ever, going over to the corner of my room to grab my cricket bat...

"LET'S ROCK THIS JOINT!"

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