• Published 14th Sep 2013
  • 6,573 Views, 492 Comments

Equestria's first warp drive - CCC



The Enterprise pays a visit to Equestria. Luna decides to go and see what this new thing in the night sky is.

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Prologue: Luna's Busy Night

Captain's log, stardate 41582.9

We have reached orbit around the planet tentatively identified as M-Class Number 390-epsilon. Long-range imaging suggests that a number of primitive species inhabit this planet, in a largely agricultural society. Therefore, the Prime Directive prevents us from attempting to establish any communication with the local lifeforms; furthermore, we will need to keep any cultural disruptions to a minimum. We have a team of anthropologists aboard, who will be cataloguing the natives, and attempting to reach an estimate as to how long it will take them to reach warp capability. Also onboard, we have a team of subspace engineers, here to study the subspace anomalies which first attracted our attention to this area of space.

Unfortunately, relations between the two groups of scientists, and the crew, have been less than cordial throughout the mission so far. It is my hope that the data gathered by the scientists will give them better things to do than to pick fights about whether or not Lieutenant Commander Data is alive.

End log.

“What, prithee, is a 'stardate'?”

Captain Picard jumped. He spun his chair around, and was quite shocked to find himself nose-to-muzzle with a large, black, horse.

A horse with decorative clothing – a tiara, some sort of fancy horseshoes, and another piece of decorative metal across its chest. A horse with a mane that looked like a starry night; black, with specks of light scattered here and there like stars – a mane that blew impressively in the non-existent wind. A horse with a long, sharp horn protruding from its head.

Yet, despite all that, it was still a horse. And it was in his ready room. For Captain Picard, diplomat, explorer, there was only one phrase that he could use at this point...

“What are you doing here?”

The horse raised an eyebrow. “We had come,” it said, “to ask of thee that selfsame question.”

The door to the ready room hissed open, revealing Worf and two security men.

“Captain.” said the Klingon, keeping his phaser trained on the horse.

“Stand down for the moment, please, Mr. Worf.” said Picard. He turned back to the horse; there was one question that had to be answered before anything else. “You said 'we'.” he pointed out. “Are there any other of your people on board ship?”

“NAY!” said the dark horse, with sudden volume. She spread previously unnoticed wings, in what was likely intended to be a threatening gesture. “WE ARE PRINCESS LUNA, MONARCH OF THE NIGHT! THOU SHALT TELL US WHO THOU ART, AND WHAT THY PURPOSE IS IN OUR NIGHT SKY!”

Picard winced. “In a minute.” he said, standing up and backing away slightly. “Worf?”

“We detected a subspace disturbance in your ready room, Captain.” said Worf. “We did not detect any other such disturbances.”

“Thank you.” said Picard, then turned back to the Princess of the Night. “Princess Luna, I must apologise for the delay. You caught us rather by surprise. I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard, of the starship Enterprise, belonging to the United Federation of Planets. We are here on a peaceful scientific mission, and our intent is merely to observe. May I offer you a cup of tea?”

“TEA WOULD BE APPRECIATED.” bellowed Luna, furling her wings. “THOUGH WE INSIST ON NO MILK. MILK IN TEA IS AN ABOMINATION UNWORTHY OF OUR ROYAL PALATE.”

“Indeed.” said Picard, wondering if the loud Princess would be insulted were he to back away a little further. Ignoring the replicator in his ready room, and the com badge on his shirt, he turned to one of the security personnel at the door. “Johnson, could I ask you to fetch us some tea? Earl Grey, one pot, two cups, on a tray. No milk.”

“NAY!” cried Luna. “FIVE CUPS! ALL SHALL HAVE TEA!”

Picard simply nodded, once.

“Yes, sir.” said Johnson. He knew the rules; aliens of pre-warp societies were not, under any circumstances, permitted to find out about more technology than was absolutely necessary. In this case, Luna had stretched the law almost to breaking point by – somehow – appearing in Picard's ready room (which suggested that she most likely was from a post-warp society, with the worrying possibility of the Q Continuum); but until they were certain, the bare minimum of technology was to be used in her presence.

Which meant that Johnson had to walk four metres, to the nearest replicator that was out of sight of the Princess, and order the tea from there.

* * *

“The Captain has just sent one of the security detail for tea, Commander.” said Data.

“Acknowledged.” replied Riker. “Do we know how the alien got there yet?”

“Sensor logs suggest some sort of subspace fold, Commander. I have done some preliminary work, based on earlier observations; it appears to be a form of transportation optimised for short distances.”

“Short distances, hmm?” asked Riker. “How so?”

“The power requirements of the subspace fold grow more rapidly as a function of distance than our own transporters, Commander. The energy required for transportation is equivalent at a distance of approximately three point zero one nine four three kilometres.”

Riker raised an eyebrow. “Approximately?” he asked.

“I have only a single teleportation event to draw inferences from, Commander. It is unavoidable that I should be making a few assumptions under these circumstances. I will be able to draw better inferences should the sensors be in a position to pick up a second event at close range.”

“I see. Well, now that you know what it is, can you stop it?”

“Yes. The simplest and most reliable method would be to activate the warp drive; the subspace stabilisers will then prevent the formation of the subspace fold.”

“Interesting. But that'll stop it everywhere within a certain radius of the warp core, am I correct?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Alright, then, can you stop it selectively? I don't want to cut Luna off from her ride home, but I would rather like to prevent her from exploring any of the more secure areas on board ship.”

“Very well, sir. May I modify our shields for this purpose?”

“You may, Mr. Data.”

* * *

“I must apologise, Luna,” said Picard, “I don't believe that our teacups are quite suited for your physiology.”

“THY VESSELS ARE SUITABLE! DOST THINE CUSTOMS STATE WHO SHOULD POUR THE TEA?”

“Customarily, it is the host who pours the tea.” stated Picard, lifting the teapot and pouring for all five cups.

Picard had often considered himself very lucky in his crew. By now, he had no doubt, Data was monitoring the room, ready to step in should anything go wrong. Riker would have control of the ship, taking care of any other emergencies that might crop up.

But, right now, what bought a small smile to Picard's face was the sure and certain knowledge that, by this time tomorrow, people would be quietly passing around a video file of Worf politely sitting down at a tea party.

Of course, he wouldn't officially Know about it unless it was specifically bought to his attention.

Then the Princess Luna's cup floated up to her lips. Johnson, the security guard, who hadn't had diplomatic training, almost spat out his tea at the sight. Picard, who had had diplomatic training, simply swallowed his own mouthful of tea.

“That is – a most intriguing capability.” he said. “Might I ask how it is done?”

“MAGIC!” replied Luna.

“...Ah.” said Picard. “If there is some cultural taboo against discussing it, then I apologise -”

“THERE IS NO TABOO! THE MAGIC IS FOCUSED THROUGH THE HORN” - Luna raised her left front leg to indicate her horn - “AND INTO THE TEACUP, LEVITATING IT.”

“...I see.” said Picard, who didn't.

“THOU SAID THAT THOU WAST HERE TO OBSERVE.” shouted Luna. “WHAT EXACTLY IS IT THAT THOU HAD INTENDED TO OBSERVE?”

Picard considered his options for a few moments, then decided to go with the truth. “Two things.”he said. “Firstly, we wanted to see whether – well, whether we could safely contact your people.” He took a sip of his tea. “We have had some... bad experiences in the past, and we have therefore crafted a list of criteria which a – civilisation must meet, before we open a conversation with them. The first of these criteria is the development of the warp drive – faster-than-light travel. Have your people ever experimented with this?”

“NAY! IT IS A LOT OF EFFORT TO LITTLE GAIN – LIGHT IS FAST ENOUGH FOR TRAVEL OVER ALMOST ANY DISTANCE ON THE GROUND.”

Picard was suddenly very, very glad he'd been cautious about displaying modern technology.

“WAS THIS – WARP DRIVE – WHAT THY SHIP WAS DOING ON THE WAY HERE?”

Picard saw no reason to deny it. “Yes.”

“IT DID NOT LOOK TOO DIFFICULT. I SHALL RETURN SHORTLY!”

And, with that, Luna was gone.

Worf immediately put down his still-full teacup, and stood at attention.

Picard hit his combadge. “Picard to bridge. Did you see where she went?”

“Yes, Captain.” answered Data. “The subspace distortion took her to the planet's surface. We have shielded the engine room and all sensitive areas against subspace intrusions, with the exception of your ready room. Should I seal that now?”

“No.” said Picard. “There's nothing in here she hasn't seen already, and I'd like to talk to her again. For the moment, try to keep track of her location.”

“Are any of the science crews aware of what's been happening in here?”

“No, Captain.”

“Good. Keep it that way for the moment, I don't want to get mobbed. Did you see how the alien levitated that teacup?”

“Yes, Captain. It appears that the alien has some biological mechanism for directly manipulating subspace. Captain, the alien lifeform has teleported itself off our port bow. It is accompanied by another alien lifeform. It appears to be waving at us.”

“They can survive in vacuum?”

“Unknown, Captain. They are currently encased within a bubble of air, which is held in by a forcefield. This forcefield appears to be generated and maintained by the new lifeform.”

* * *

Shining Armour was not feeling at his best. Being woken after a mere hour-and-a-half sleep would leave anyone cranky; it hadn't helped that Princess Luna had told him that she wanted him to put up a small forcefield, but not why.

The fact that he was planning on proposing to Cadance, his sister's old foalsitter, on the next day was not helping his mood at all.

And now Luna had teleported him up to some terrible height, and all he could see was the ground rushing by, so terribly, terribly far under him, so distant that it didn't appear to be getting closer at all.

Shining found himself wondering how long it would be before he hit the ground.

Then he felt Luna reaching out into his shielding spell, and twisting it in some unfamiliar way...

...and then the ground was gone, and there were just stars everywhere.

“HUZZAH!” cried Luna. “WE HAVE DONE IT!”

“Done what?” asked Shining Armour, suddenly very wide awake. “What have you done to Equestria?”

“ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!” replied Luna. “WE HAVE SIMPLY MOVED SOMEWHAT. NOW LET US RETURN!”

* * *

“I have to admit,” said Picard, from the shuttlecraft's copilot seat, “that was by far the fastest development of warp drive that I have ever seen. And to do it so many times in a row is even more impressive.”

“It is not an easy trick,” puffed an exhausted Luna, too tired to shout, “and it is extremely hard to steer.”

“Who – if I may ask – are you two?” asked Shining Armour, keeping a wary eye on the strangers.

“I am Captain Jean-Luc Picard, of the starship Enterprise, belonging to the United Federation of Planets. And the pilot, here, is Lieutenant Commander Data, of the same starship.”

“I thank thee for the rescue.” said Luna. “No doubt out sister will have some harsh words for us, for requiring one.” She took a deep breath. “Dost we thus meet thy criteria for a meeting?”

Picard considered his answer for some time. “You are... unique.” he said, finally. “And we are a cautious people. There is much that we stand to learn from you, and we might be able to teach you something, as well. But – for the moment – I would prefer to keep our meetings small, and controlled.”

Luna took a deep breath. “Thou said earlier that thou camest to observe two things.” she said. “What was the second?”

“Ah. Your... solar system is... odd. The sun moves around the planet; that's very rare. We came here to observe that, to see what might be causing it.”

“Ah!” said Luna. “That I can answer for thee!” She took a few more moments to finish catching her breath. “It is moved by my sister, Celestia. We invite thee to the Summer Sun festival, to be held three days hence in Manehatten, that thou mayst see this for thyself.”