• 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.

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Lecture

21 hours before arrival at Equestria

The discovery that Fluttershy's cutie mark let her understand the alien's speech had two near-immediate consequences. The first of these consequences took place on the bridge.

“Ladies and gentlemen!” Twilight tapped her pointer(1) against the ground. “As you are most likely aware, we have recently discovered that neither of our groups knows all that much about the other. In order to reduce this gap, I have decided to present a lecture on the basics of Equestrian life-forms and natural magic. In this endeavour, I am aided by five assistants -” Twilight's pointer spun around to point at the assistants one by one - “Sweetie Belle, the unicorn; Rarity, Sweetie's sister and another unicorn; Scootaloo, the pegasus; Apple Bloom, the earth pony; and Spike, the dragon.”

This last one caused a brief muttering amongst the assembled aliens.

“Is something the matter?” asked Twilight.

“Are dragons a sentient species?” asked one of the aliens. A human, Twilight suspected, though the different alien species proved very hard to tell apart with any surety.

“Yes.” said Twilight.

“Your homeworld hosts two sentient species?” asked another of the aliens.

“No.” said Twilight. The alien looked confused, so Twilight clarified. “My homeworld hosts at least fifteen different known sentient species, of which ponies are only one.”

That caused a bit of a commotion in the room.

Twilight rapped her pointer against the floor. “People! Please remain calm. I'm sure that you have a lot more questions, but there is a fair amount of material to go through, and if we're going to get through it all I will have to ask you to hold any further questions until the end.”

The group quieted down.

“Now, the first item on my list is a brief overview of the magical and physical differences between the three pony races. For this part of the lecture, I would like to ask Applebloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle to remain at the front; Rarity and Spike, take a seat for the moment, your part will come later.”

Twilight took a deep breath. “We shall start with the pegasus. A pegasus pony is most easily identified by their wings, and their magic centres around flight and the manipulation of weather...”

* * *

The other consequence of the discovery that Fluttershy could understand the aliens was that she joined Var-aQ's training class.

Not as a pupil – her reaction to Var'aQ so much as giving her a fierce look was to immediately run away and hide – but rather as a translator.

Results were mixed.

“He, um, he says that he's going to start teaching you about battlefield taunts now.” Fluttershy quietly told the other three ponies.

Var'aQ yelled something.

“He, um, he says the point of a battlefield taunt is to distract and demoralise an opponent. For example...”

Var'aQ spent a good ten minutes yelling in Rainbow Dash's face.

“Oh dear.” said Fluttershy, blushing. “I'm not repeating that.”

“Then how in tarnation are we supposed t'learn?” asked Applejack.

“Oh, I couldn't.” said Fluttershy. “It was very rude. Besides, it's not true. I've met Rainbow's mother, so I know.”

* * *

“...and that's the basics of unicorn magic.” said Twilight. She was gratified to notice that several members of her audience appeared to be taking notes. “Now, we move on to the subject of cutie marks. Rarity, Spike, if you would step up to the front for a moment, please? Now, a pony is not born with a cutie mark; you will notice that these three fillies do not have theirs yet. A cutie mark appears, as a manifestation of natural magic, when a pony finds out for themselves what their special talent is; these three fillies are at approximately the right age to obtain their marks, which they may do any day now.”

Twilight spun her pointer around and pointed it at Rarity's hindquarters. “Over here, you can see Rarity's cutie mark - a design of three diamonds, symbolising her ability to find and bring out the beauty in almost anything. As a side effect, she is also able to cast a spell that can locate gemstones in the nearby area; as gemstones are nothing more than the physical manifestation of the idea of beauty.”

Several of the aliens looked confused at that remark, and several raised their paws.

“Questions at the end, please.” said Twilight, firmly. “Write them down for the moment(2), I may answer them during the course of the lecture. Now, while a cutie mark always represents one major talent, or destiny, it may incorporate a number of minor talents which help the pony to achieve that destiny. Rarity's gem-finding spell, for example, helps her to gather the materials which she needs in order to manufacture her clothing. Fluttershy's cutie mark represents her talent at looking after all sorts of animals; and, in order to help her to do that, it permits her to understand the language of any sort of creature. My own cutie mark –” Twilight's pointer spun about and pointed at her own hindquarters – “represents my affinity with magic; it allows me to use a far wider selection of spells than most unicorns, and both gives me greater reserves of magic and helps me to recover those reserves more quickly.”

Twilight paused for a breath. “There are a very wide variety of cutie marks in Equestria; however, some designs are more common than others. But the design is only a part of the cutie mark – two ponies with cutie marks that are visually indistinguishable may yet have completely different interpretations of what the mark means, and therefore completely different special talents. It is theorised that the visual appearance of the cutie mark is defined by the subconscious mind of the pony at the time when the mark is obtained; that is to say, the cutie mark takes the shape of whatever it is that that pony thinks would be the best depiction of their special talent. For reasons as yet unknown, it often, but not always, takes the form of three similar objects; as shown, for example, by Rarity's triple diamond mark.”

Twilight's pointer spun around to point at the baby dragon. “Spike, here, is not a pony, and he thus does not have and can never obtain his own cutie mark. However, this does not mean that he is unable to access magic; dragon magic is simply different from pony magic. It centres around fire-breathing, physical strength, and the acquisition of a 'hoard', or a collection of valuable items...”




(1) A long stick made out of, apparently, diamond. Sunek had managed to get it out of one of the replicators for her.

(2) She couldn't help but notice that Sunek had been doing so from the start of the lecture, and was already starting on his second notebook.