• Published 14th Sep 2013
  • 7,442 Views, 498 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.

  • ...

Pursuit, Part II

As he had every one of the last three days, Frem approached the cages with a small, hand-held device. “Meal-time!” he said, sounding annoyingly cheerful.

Flam's horn began to glow.

Aside from being a salespony, Flam was a magical engineer; it was his mind that had conceived of, and designed, the Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000. And every magical engineer knows that a complicated device will only work as long as the internal crystals are properly aligned. Throw the alignment off, and nothing will happen.

So he reached out his telekinesis to the inside of the slab that the Ferengi was holding, grabbed some delicate internal component at random, and tugged on it. Hard.

There was a crunch from the slab and, for some reason, a wisp of smoke escaped. Frem's annoying cheer vanished in an instant.

“Oh, come on! We're only one day out of Orion!” he yelled. Grumbling, he dropped the useless data slab and walked towards the cell, reaching for a control panel not visible from the inside.

So that's where the manual controls are.

Once Frem had sent in their food and left, taking with him the broken data slab, Flam reached his telekinesis into the wall behind the control panel, and started doing his best impression of an angry minotaur in a china shop.

* * *

“Twilight?” Rarity tapped her friend on the shoulder. “Twilight, it's been four hours. It's the end of your shift. Let me take over maintaining the spell, and get a bit of rest, okay?”

Twilight nodded. Rarity leaned forward, touching her horn to Twilight's; the magic glow flowed from Twilight's horn to Rarity's, and Rarity staggered.

“Oh!” she said. “Darling! You've been holding this up for four hours?”

“I can take it back, if I have to...” said Twilight, nervously.

“No, darling. I'm still fresh. Go get yourself something to eat, visit the little filly's room – you won't believe how strange the facilities in this place are, by the way – and take a bit of a nap. I can hold this up – nnnn – as long as I need to.”

“Could I perhaps help?” asked Flim, from behind the other two unicorns.

Twilight turned to look at him, and raised an eyebrow.

“Well, I am a unicorn, after all.” he pointed out. “And I'm not entirely unused to keeping a pre-cast spell going. I don't know how difficult that particular spell is to maintain, but I could keep a piece of machinery running for several hours at a stretch. And if it helps to save my brother...”

“You can take the shift after Rarity.” said Twilight. “I'm going to get something to eat, and then I need to go and talk to someone...”

* * *

“Well, it looks pretty awesome.” said Rainbow Dash, looking over the giant, swirling warp core. “You say this thing is what move this whole... building thing?”

“Yes, um, ma'am.” nodded Jorge Trent, the second human on the ship. He was officially the head of engineering, the first mate, and the second-in-command. Since he was also the entire engineering division and half of the crew all on his own, most of these titles were rather empty.

Dash looked again at one of the pinnacles of Federation technology, and gave her final verdict. “It doesn't look all that fast.” she said. “Awesome, yeah, but not fast.”

There was a hiss as the turbolift opened, and Twilight stepped out. She had half a dandelion sandwich floating in front of her.

“Ah, Mr... Jorge, is it? Captain Anderson said you might be able to help me with a few questions.” she said.

“Ah? Um... maybe?” he said..

“Why is the warp bubble spherical?” asked Twilight.

“Um... what?”

“The warp bubble.” repeated Twilight. “Why is it spherical?”

“Oh, well, um, you see...” He took a deep breath. “Warp bubble geometry is a fairly complex field, but in short, with only a single warp core creating the bubble, a spherical warp bubble is the stablest configuration. Other geometries are possible but would require further warp cores to anchor the effect to; a prohibitively costly exercise.”

“But it's not all that streamlined.” pointed out Twilight. “Wouldn't a more streamlined warp bubble be faster?”

“In theory yes.” said Jorge. “But, in theory, a faster engine can be created by simply diverting more energy into the warp core, as opposed to trying increasingly more complex bubble geometries. Our core can't handle it; feeding too much energy into the warp coils would leave us stranded here, unable to pass lightspeed. With our technology, energy is cheap; warp cores are not. Oh, and it's Mr. Trent, or Jorge, not Mr. Jorge.”

Twilight swallowed another bite of her sandwich. “My apologies, Mr. Trent.” she said. “If there were some way of changing the warp bubble geometry, would that damage your engine?”

“That's impossible without completely stripping and rewiring the entire core.” said Jorge. “It would take weeks, unless you happen to have another warp core on hand.”

“And if I do have another warp core on hand?” asked Twilight.

Jorge gave Twilight a sceptical look. “Well,” he said, “that could work, but I know for a fact you didn't beam any warp coils on board with you...”

“No,” said Twilight, “but I think I have an idea. Dash, can you fetch the girls, please? I'll need them all in the forward observation lounge.”

“Something wrong, Twi?” asked Dash.

“The trail's getting fainter.” she said. “We're not going fast enough.”

“Wait, trail?” asked Jorge. “What trail?”

* * *

With a pop and a fizz, the forcefield in front of the cage holding Flam, Spike, and three fillies suddenly collapsed.

“Spike, m'boy,” said Flam, “of all of us you're going to be the toughest. Would you please step out there and see if there's any little traps waiting?”

“Me?” said Spike, stepping backward. A flash of green light filled the corridor for a second, making Spike step even further back. “But... if there's traps there...”

Flam sighed. He picked Spike up in his telekinesis, and tossed the dragon through where the forcefield had been.

“Ooof!” said Spike, as he landed in the corridor.

Nothing else happened to him; no crossbow bolts flew, no swords dropped, no strange effects made him dissolve and reappear elsewhere. He just lay there.

“Well, then.” said Flam, stepping smartly forward. “Follow me, girls.”

He stepped out into the corridor, glancing both ways. Looking into the cell nextdoor, he saw what appeared to be a young buffalo maiden; with surprisingly well-kept makeup (including, apparently, false eyelashes), especially considering that she'd been here a week longer than Flam.

“Red Dawn, I presume?” he asked.

“The very same.” said the changeling buffalo.

“Excellent. If you'll just give me a few moments to work on this control panel... I think I'm getting the hang of this... there.”

With a pop and a fizz, the forcefield in front of the changeling's cell suddenly collapsed.

“Excellent!” said Dawn. “Now all we need to do is find the door leading out...”

“I doubt,” said Flam grimly, “that it's going to be anywhere near that simple to get out of this prison.”

“CUTIE MARK CRUSADER PRISON ESCAPEES, YAY!” yelled three loud voices right behind Flam.