• Published 14th Sep 2013
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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 III

“Hey, Pog?”

“What's it now, Frem?”

“We've got a malfunction in the brig. Two of the forcefields are down.”

Pog suddenly sat up a lot straighter. In the slavery business, this was one of the phrases one never wanted to hear. There was only one thing that could make it worse.

“Which cells?”

“Um... the one with the giant insect in... and the one with the intelligent lifeforms.”

That was it. Intelligent, hostile lifeforms, on board his vessel, was Pog's worst nightmare.

“Well, at least it's not that wooden wolf thing.” said Frem.

Pog reached over and whacked Frem on the back of his head. “You idiot!” he said. “The wolf thing would have been a thousand times better!”

“Ouch! What was that for?”

“The wooden wolf thing, you bumbling imbecile, is just a bundle of instincts in a body. We tag it, transport is, and send it to a new cell, easy as stealing candy from a baby. A creature that thinks is bad news. A creature that thinks and has the demonstrated ability to break out of a cell is the worst possible news! They can sneak around. They can make plans. For all we know, they can get hold of a communication terminal and call for help!” Pog stalked angrily over to the locker on one side of the bridge, and slammed it open.

“So... what do we do?” asked Frem.

Pog tossed him a long, wicked-looking rifle. “We stop them.” he said. “Set that on stun. We'll knock 'em out first, then figure out how to keep 'em locked up for next time.”

* * *

There wasn't much to inspect, in the brig, aside from a short corridor leading to a door, with buttons at its side. Red Dawn reached for the buttons, only to be stopped by Flam. “No.” said Flam. “If I were designing this place, those buttons would make a bell ring somewhere, and let them know we're out. Let's not advertise our freedom just yet; the longer until they know we're free, the better.”

“Then where do we go?” asked Dawn.

Flam nodded at a grating next to the lift. A bit of telekinesis to spin the screws out of their sockets(1), and the grating floated aside. “Let's take the ladder.” he said.

“Iiiiiiii dunno.” said Dawn. “That ladder is really not designed with quadrupedal anatomy in mind.”

Flam shrugged. “So we can't go up.” he said. “Let's go down.”

“Let's jus' GO!” said Applebloom. “Even Ah know that hangin' around here's not the best idea if that fellah comes back!”

“I do believe that filly has her priorities in order.” said Flam, hopping onto the ladder, and managing to hook his forelegs loosely around a rung. “Come on, everypony, down we go! Let's move, move, move!”

* * *

“Flim,” said Twilight, “can you take the over direction spell for a few minutes?”

“You've only been... gah... ten minutes, dear.” said Rarity. “I can... hold it... some time still.”

“Not enough.” said Twilight. “The other ship is moving a good deal faster than we are. We need to speed up, and I'll need all you mares' help to do that.”

“If you say so, darling.” said Rarity. She tapped her horn to Flim's, transferring the spell.

Flim promptly dropped to his knees. “Good grief!” he said. “You – you were holding this for four hours?”

“Yes.” said Twilight. “Girls, formation, please. Now, what I'm about to do is a little theoretical, but it should increase our speed by a significant factor. Everypony, concentrate on your elements, please.”

“You got it, Twi.” said Applejack.

“Alright, now...”

* * *

Captain Anderson, on the bridge, tapped his com badge. “Jorge?” he said. “How exactly are we suddenly doing warp five with a warp four engine?”

“Oh, darnit, she's doing it already.” said Jorge, speaking from the engineering bay. “Captain, we'll probably get up to around warp six before they're done. There's no immediate danger to the ship, but I do need to talk to you, soon. Privately. In person. I'll be up there in a few.”

“You're sure there's no danger to the ship?” asked Anderson.

“Yes, sir. The speed improvement is due to one of our VIPs taking... steps.”

“Without my permission.” said Anderson.

“Yes, sir. I do believe I can explain why.”

“And why is it, Mr. Trent?”

“That's what I want to talk about, sir. In private. Face to face.”

* * *

The turbolift in the Ferengi ship hissed open, and a dozen randomly aimed stun bolts filled the corridor before anyone would have had a chance to react.

The corridor was empty. There was no sign of the prisoners.

“Be careful with that.” said Pog. “If you waste too many shots, I'll have to take it out of your wages.”

“But -” objected Frem.

“Tell you what.” said Pog. “I'll pay you a bounty of one strip of gold-plated latinum for every prisoner you stun.”

Frem grinned.

“And charge you one piece for every twenty shots you fire.” continued Pog.

Frem's face fell.

“Including those you just fired.” finished off Pog.

“But -” objected Frem.

“It's my stun rifle.” said Pog. “I get to set the terms.”

Frem sighed. “Oh, very well then.” he said.

“Now why don't you go and check whether our prisoners are hiding in their cells?” asked Pog.

Frem looked out at the two damaged cells. There was no way to see into the back of the cell without leaving the turbolift. “Why don't you?” he asked.

“Because,” said Pog, “I'm letting you use my stun rifle for a very reasonable price. Plus, I'm the one paying the bounty, so it's only fair that you should be the one who takes the risk. Don't worry, if they rush you I'll stun them from here.”

* * *

“Their sisters have been kidnapped.” said Jorge, very quietly, to Captain Anderson. “By a Ferengi ship with a three-day lead.”

“Huh.” said Anderson. “Ferengi ships can do... warp six, right? We'll never catch them.”

“Not at our normal speed, no.” said Jorge. “That purple VIP is doing something... it's like she's added another warp core into the circuit or something in the forward observation deck. No power worth mentioning, but she's changing the geometry of the warp bubble for extra speed.”

“Wait, she brought a warp core aboard? How did we not pick that up?”

“As far as I know, sir, no. She's somehow faking it, but however she's doing it, it's working. Anyhow, changing the warp bubble geometry can only speed us up so much. We won't be doing more than a hair above warp six, at the very maximum. At that speed, it'd take us several months to catch up with a ship doing warp six, and that Federation ship will be rendezvousing with us in just four days, even with our higher speed. And apparently they think the Ferengi are headed towards Orion...”

“Well, then we're going in the right direction.” said Anderson. “At warp six, let me see...Orion's only a few days away.”

“Yes, sir.” said Jorge. “We can't catch up. I didn't exactly want to tell them that outright.”

* * *

“Alright, Flim.” said Twilight, her eyes glowing as she, and the other Element-bearers, floated up in the air. “You can drop that spell now, thanks.”

Flim promptly did so. “My goodness!” he said. “I could hardly hold that spell up for two minutes!”

“Wha' exactly are we doin' here, Twi?” asked Applejack.

“Changing the warp bubble.” said Twilight. “Streamlining it.”

“Ah, so we go faster?” asked Dash.

“Precisely, yes.” said Twilight. “Even with the Elements of Harmony, we can't get anywhere close to matching the power output of that warp core, so this is the best way to speed us up.”

“Ah thought the Elements o' Harmony were the most powerful magic you could get.” said Applejack. “You say this warp core thing's got 'em beat?”

“Several times over, in raw power output.” said Twilight. “The warp drive doesn't have the flexibility of the Elements, but it's very, very good at the one thing it does do.”

“So... how fast are we going?” asked Dash.

There was a long moment of silence, then Twilight said “Faster than the ship we're chasing.”


“Only a smidgen faster.” continued Twilight. “It's going to take us a long, long time to catch up at this rate. Flim, we're going to need your help.”

“I, um, I don't think I can really help with that spellwork.” said Flim, nervously. “It seems very advanced...”

“Not with the spellwork.” Twilight assured him. “We can keep that up. But we can't leave. Sooner or later, we'll need you to bring us something to eat. Oh, and see if you can find a bucket.”

“Um... okay.” said Flim. “But... I can bring you food and stuff, and I can see how you can continue a spell while eating, but, um... won't you need to sleep at some point?”

“They took my sister.” said Rarity, venomously.

“Sleep,” said Dash, narrowing her eyes, “is for the weak.”

(1) Unicorns do not need screwdrivers. Earth ponies and pegasi, on the other hand, do.