• Published 14th Sep 2013
  • 6,571 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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Preparation

“Who are you?” asked Flam, putting his ear to the cell wall.

“My name's Red Dawn.” replied the voice from the neighbouring cell. “I've been here a little over a week now.”

“Really?” asked Flam. “I don't suppose you've got relatives on their way to rescue you, by any chance?”

“If I don't even know where I am,” asked Red Dawn, “how is anyone supposed to find me?”

“That's a very good point.” Flam nodded. “Are they -”

“Ask her where she's from!” whispered Applebloom, in the sort of penetrating, highly audible whisper that children are very capable of.

Flam frowned at the filly, asserting grown-up authority. “Are they treating you alright?” he asked

“I've been... a little bit hungry. But things are looking up.”

Flam looked horrified. “They were starving you?” he asked.

“Nothing like that.” replied Red Dawn. “Just... I have a very, um, specialised diet. Medical reasons. I had some trouble getting hold of the right food.”

“Ask her where she's from!” whispered Applebloom, even more penetratingly.

Flam gave her another glare. “Treating you alright otherwise?” he asked.

There was a crashing sound from the cell opposite as the timberwolf reformed and tried to walk through the forcefield again.

“More or less.” said Dawn, ignoring the timberwolf. “They won't let me out, but aside from that I've been alright. And to answer your friend's question, I'll tell you where they got me if you tell me where they got you, alright? And then we can get through the rest of the introductions.”

“Fair enough.” said Flam. “My name is Flam, and I am a travelling salesman, most recently in Canterlot.”

“Ah'm Applebloom, from Ponyville.”

“I'm Sweetie Belle. I'm also from Ponyville.”

“Scootaloo, Ponyville.”

“I'm Spike. Also from Ponyville. Does that wolf do that often?”

“Constantly. I don't think it learns. My name's Red Dawn.” said Red Dawn. “And I'm from Manehatten.”

“Really?” asked Applebloom. “Hey, do you know mah Aunt an' Uncle Orange? They live in Manehatten!”

“Manehatten's a big place, little filly.” said Red Dawn. “I've never met your uncle.”

“Ulp!” said Spike. “Urrrrrrp!” And in a wash of green flame, a scroll burst from his mouth. He whipped off the ribbon, dropping it to the cell floor, and glanced at it.

“Huh.” he said. “It's blank.”

Flam, meanwhile, was staring at the seal on the ribbon. “Is that... is that Princess Celestia's personal seal?” he asked.

“Eeeeyup.” said Spike. “Told you my correspondent would be able to find your brother.”

“You're – quill-friends with – Princess Celestia?”

“He works for Twilight.” explained Sweetie Belle. “She's Celestia's student.”

“But why would she just send me a blank sheet of paper?” asked Spike. “I don't get it.”

“It's probably a request for information.” said Flam. “She wants you to write something on it and send it back.”

“Hmph. Makes sense. Hey, Scoot can you -”

There was the hiss of a door opening. In a matter of seconds. Flam dropped to the ground, lying on top of the ribbon and seal; he pushed Spike to the ground on the far side of him, so that neither the baby dragon nor his sheet of paper were visible from outside the cell. By the time Frem stopped outside their cell, the only sign of anything unexpected having happened in the cell was that three fillies were all trying far too hard to look innocent.

Frem ignored this. He was quite certain that the Ferengi cells were inescapable. “Everyone comfortable?” he asked. As he did so, there was a sudden lurch through the whole room. There was a shimmer in the air, and a loaf of bread appeared next to a bowl of water. Another shimmer, and a large ruby joined them. “I do hope that's a suitable lunch.” he said. “Anything else you need?”

Spike stood up, looking over Flam's back. “Can I have a glass of orange juice?” he asked. “A glass a day is really important for the growth of healthy scales.”

“Orange juice?” asked Frem. He tapped rapidly at his pad, and frowned at the result. “Hmmm. I guess there's no harm in it...” He tapped again, and a glass of orange juice appeared.

“Thanks.” Spike walked cautiously to the glass, and took a small sip; then he swallowed half the orange juice in a single gulp. He picked up the ruby and gave it a suspicious look. “This one isn't going to take me anywhere, is it?”

“Nope.” said Frem. He tapped a few more buttons on his pad, and different types of food appeared in all the other cells.

“If I may enquire,” asked Flam, “just what exactly was that lurch?”

“Warp drive coming online.” said Frem, with a wide grin. “We're on our way now – if anyone's even noticed you're gone, it's too late for them to follow. There's no rescue on the way.”

* * *

It had been the work of a moment for Celestia to return to Canterlot with the Element-bearers, and hammer on her sister's door. “Luna!” she called. “Luna, 'tis a matter of great urgency!”

There was silence from within the moon princess' chambers. Celestia knocked harder. “Luna! 'Tis not the time to sleep!”

Twilight turned around and slammed both rear feet into Luna's door; the door separated from its hinges and flew into the opposite wall with a bang!

“AAAAAAH!” screeched Luna, leaping out of bed. “We art under attack!” She leapt up, tangled in her blanket, and promptly crashed to the floor.

“Luna!” said Celestia, firmly. “You are not under attack. I need your help.”

Luna's blanket moved about for a moment, and then Luna's head finally emerged, her horn glowing. “'Tis the middle of the day.” she said. “What is of such importance that -”

“Spike's been kidnapped.” said Twilight.

“...oh.”

“Have we any visitors in orbit at the moment?” asked Celestia.

“There was one yesterday.” Luna said. “Some sort of trader, has been there for a few weeks...” She closed her eyes, and her horn glowed brighter for a bit, as she tracked the position of objects in Equestria's sky. “He... he hath left.”

Celestia frowned. “This is not good.” she said.

“What would Pog want with Spike?” asked Luna.

“Pog?” said Celestia. “The trader's name was Pog?”

“Why, yes. Be that of import?”

“Spike sent a note.” explained Rarity. “It included the name 'Pog'.”

“Luna,” said Celestia, “I'd like you to go to the throne room, please. Try to reassure the nobles. Tell them that someone I care about very much has been kidnapped, and that Canterlot isn't being invaded. I sent the guard looking for a pair of traders called Flim and Flam; I suspect that they might know something. If you need us, I and the Bearers will be in my tower. I need to talk to the Federation about this.”

* * *

Spike waited until Frem left, and then counted to a further twenty before he did anything further. Then he strolled back to the hidden sheet of paper, with half a glass of orange juice in hand.

“Scoots,” he said, “can you come here a moment? I need a feather...”

“Orange juice as ink, I guess?” asked Flam.

“Yep.” nodded Spike. “The dragonflame will heat and dry it in transit, so it'll be readable when it gets there. Until then, it's invisible ink...”

“Are you still alright in there?” Flam asked, knocking on the cell wall.

“Oh, yes.” replied Red Dawn, drily. “Wonderful.”

“Do you happen to have a way out?” enquired Flam.

“No.” said Dawn. “I don't even know if these rooms open, no matter how to make them open. Did somepony on your side say something about dragonflame?”

“Yes.” confirmed Flam. He glanced over to where three fillies were gathered around Spike, making suggestions about what to write. “We can get a message out for you, if you want.” he offered. “Anyone you want to send anything to?”

There was a long silence on the other side of the wall. Then Dawn asked “Dragonflame's a kind of one-target messaging system, isn't it?”

“Yes,” agreed Flam, “but in this case the target's pretty highly placed in Canterlot. Probably one of the Princess' personal secretaries. I'm sure we can get something put in the mail for you.”

There was another long silence. “No.” said Dawn, after a while. “There's no-one I'd like to send a message to.”

“That's... very sad.” said Flam, quietly.

“I have my reasons.” said Dawn, on the other side of the cell wall. “It's not like I don't have any family, you understand.” she said. “It's just that I can't send them a message through Canterlot. They... wouldn't be easily found.”

Flam nodded. “I quite understand.” he said, thinking of his brother's skill at hiding from royal guards. “I'm in very much the same place myself.”

Dawn raised one black, chitin-covered leg and inspected the holes. “I'd rather not talk about it.” said the changeling, quietly.