• Published 1st Mar 2012
  • 54,597 Views, 3,452 Comments

Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Lone Ranger - AdmiralTigerclaw


A mission to investigate a far off world takes an interesting twist.

  • ...
85
 3,452
 54,597

Archive Three: Communication

[DRAMATIC READING LINK]

Mission Log:
September 12th, 2257

Today was a fiasco.

The day started about the same as it has the last two weeks. Smarty Pants showed up at the crack of dawn, sat down in front of the terminal, and continued to attack the English language with a passion only matched by religious fanatics. (It is in a brief insight upon making that joke that I do hope in all honesty that I am not the subject of religious speculation. While I would be flattered by the implications, I don’t think I’m ready to handle my responsibilities as God.)

As per our little unspoken routine, I left her to learn and went back to observing the town. I’ve been recording patterns trying to discern what kind of routines these ponies have. So far, I’ve been able to identify the pony equivalent to a nine-to-five workday, and I’ve witnessed the younger ones being ushered off to school. I’m looking for other kinds of patterns that may help me to figure out if they share a ‘workweek’ schedule, or if they have some other arrangement.

During this time I was interrupted by the return of the white pony, who I’ve come to nickname ‘Gemstone’. She’d brought another pony with her, which I recognized as the orange one I’d seen on that farm a while back. She seemed to recognize me, but didn’t appear very concerned. Perhaps because she’d seen me, and likely has been hearing about my presence for some time.

They had scrutinized me briefly, Gemstone circling me much the same way as the day before and making an ‘ugly’ face at me once more. This continued to confuse me on what it was about me that offended her when she started tugging on my flight suit.

With her TK...

Since I had not actually interacted with any of the TK abilities of the unicorns until this point, I was taken by surprise by the action and momentarily panicked. Predictably, my startled response triggered an equally startled response from Gemstone. And in what now seems to be a humorous chain of events, resulted in what appears to be a TK equivalent to a shove.

Luckily, nothing was been broken, but I estimate I had left the ground and traveled about ten feet backwards. I’m not sure how much of that was my pushing to get away from her, and how much was the force of her TK. Either way, I cannot travel that far on my own power. But it presents a useful insight into their non-physical strength.

After this experience, I was left slightly wary of the pony TK, which only served to complicate matters when Gemstone, having gotten over her own shock, tried to nudge me physically. It had seemed she wanted me to follow her from the way she was behaving. However, the direction she wanted me to go led directly into the middle of the town. I am certain she did not understand my hesitation in this matter, as she seemed to insist ever more forcefully that I go with her.

I am uncertain as to how exactly the situation was allowed to escalate. I tried my best to keep things low key. But in the end, I found myself hogtied and being carried along by the orange pony, who I’ve decided to nickname ‘Cowgirl’. To think it would come down to that…

On the plus side, I got a closer view of the town from my upside-down vantage. Being tied up and immobile while being hauled around by one of the locals did quite a bit to make me look less like a threat. Unfortunately, it was hard to jot anything down with my arms tied together behind my back…

The destination Gemstone had in mind appeared to be her place of employment. From observation of the inside once I had been dumped on the floor and untied, I would speculate that she is an entrepreneur of sorts. From the looks of things, a tailor. I’d seen a few of the ponies wandering around in accessorized clothing. But it was so rare to see that I couldn’t really make any observations on the fact beyond this. I have no clue as to their styles or fashions.

From Gemstone’s behavior, I believe now that the reason she’s been giving me ‘the eye,’ is the design of the GSA flight suit. As I have mentioned in a previous log, I’m not very camouflage as the bright, orange color of the GSA suit is intended for ease of identifying in the event of rescue.

I can safely say however that while they have clothing, their cultural development has been far more lax than human society. Seeing as they have fur, they do not have a need for the minimal light clothing humans wear. Instead, pony clothing seems more like the accessorizing one would normally see in hats and sunglasses. As a result, their treatment of clothing, or lack thereof, is much more casual. So casual in fact, that Gemstone seemed completely at home attempting to remove my flight suit the same way someone would grab an ugly hat off your head.

I understand that ponies do not know about human modesty, and I realize that it is very likely that Gemstone is not methodical like Smarty Pants. So she likely has no idea how inappropriate this behavior was, and I have yet to develop the communication skills needed to inform her. The only option was to resist her efforts.

I was rewarded by discovering just how stubborn she was, and just how much more power she was packing in her TK abilities. Because not five minutes later I was once again tied up, in the buff, while she casually measured me from head to toe without so much as batting an eye.

Thankfully, Smarty Pants arrived not long after that. And after throwing a piece of cloth over me (she must have figured it out studying), she apologized. And I quote her words for the record.

‘I sorry.’

She continues to improve at an incredible rate.


Mission Log:
September 15th, 2257

hello people. i am learning great words. i will talk more.


Mission Log:
September 15th, 2257

I have noted the existence of an entry I did not type. I can only assume that Smarty Pants has been doing more at the terminal than I thought. She copied the grammar and punctuation of the log heading quite well, but of course, her incomplete grasp of written English still shows in her message. Still, I will leave the entry she made alone for the records. However, I am activating password protection to prevent accidental deletion of critical files. It would be a total catastrophe if I lost the data pertaining to the events transpiring here.

In the last three days, Smarty Pants has started to move away from the computer terminal and engage me more and more in conversation. It sounds like I’m trying to converse with a 3-year-old. But Smarty’s brilliance shows in the speed at which she’s learning the rules. However, I note that it frustrates her quite a bit when she tries to convey ideas more complex than her vocabulary can sustain. Whenever this has occurred, she would become increasingly upset and then go work through the terminal for ten minutes just to find one word.

I’m starting to think that she may be obsessive compulsive. The more I observe her and learn from our ‘practice,’ the more I notice her apparent desire to organize and notate everything. This is not a bad thing considering this situation. However it does say something about her personality and potential psychological issues she may have. (Assuming pony psychological health is near or similar to a human's. I'm afraid I did not take Alien Psychology 101, since that would require a daily commute half way across the Milky Way.)

Spike showed up with Thunderbow early in the afternoon. I wonder if he's a baby dragon. The way Smarty was indicating the dragon images back in August, I was under the impression that they got quite large.


Mission Log:
September 16th, 2257

I realized today that having spent six months in space with little more than a treadmill, and a month and a half all but idling around here that I’ve not been maintaining GSA standards of physical fitness. So this morning when Smarty Pants arrived I was busy with a pyramid set. To our mutual humor, she began counting off in English as I went, then alternating to something I’ve not heard before. I was a bit distracted at first by how funny it was to have a pony spotting me that it didn’t click that she was trying to teach me how to count in her language.

I honestly enjoyed her company as she tried her best to hold an idle conversation. Her sentences are becoming more fluent as she gets comfortable with English sentence structure, but her vocabulary is still lacking. The largest words out of her mouth are two syllables.


Mission Log:
September 17th, 2257

I alternated my routine to a run. Those pyramids had made me sore but nothing I can’t handle. Smarty Pants ran with me, somehow managing to read her notes and not crash into obstacles at the same time. Keeping up with me was a non-issue with her four-legged canter as well. And even though I finished my run all but gasping for air, she looked like she hadn’t even noticed the distance. I suspect that given both her ‘equine’ nature and the small town country environment, that traveling long distances on foot was natural to her.

We did not speak as much, me having been too busy breathing. But she seemed to be looking for something anyway. Once the run was over and I was resting, she spent the rest of the day going through the Raven’s database once more.

With her busy, I occupied myself doing some routine safety checks on the Raven. Turbopump valve seven appears to be jammed. I'm not sure when this occurred. But this mechanical problem could result in a risk of SCRAM engine failure mid-flight. While not catastrophic, it would result in having to dump all SCRAM fuel overboard and powering into orbit on the mains. Which would leave me with significantly less fuel to perform orbital maneuvers with. The idea of having to remote the Arrow into low orbit is not a fun one.

I was forced to fix the problem myself. It took six hours, seeing as I'm not a mechanic. However, where the mission had lacked in crew, I was at least stocked with plenty of spare parts and manuals. And when I get my hands on whoever designed these manuals...


Mission Log:
September 18th, 2257

Pyramids again this morning. And Smarty continued to search the database upon arrival. She seemed more determined every hour to find something. The few times I checked on her she seemed to be going through screens and menus at an ever increasingly feverish pace. I checked the history after she was done for the night, and from the looks of things, she’d narrowed something down to meteorlogical conditions. Perhaps she was trying to figure out how to tell me the weather forecast.

Gemstone also showed up at the Raven early in the afternoon as well. There was a bit of hesitation on my part, naturally, as the last time we’d met, I ended up getting paraded across town and stripped to my birthday suit. But this was quickly brushed aside when she ‘levitated’ an object from a saddlebag she’d been wearing (much the same way a human would wear a hip-pack or backpack).

The item turned out to be some kind of matching outfit. The workmanship (workponyship?) was exquisite, and well fitted. The color, a gentle blue, was easy on the eyes after the screaming orange of my GSA flight suit. Unfortunately, I appear to be allergic to the dye in the fabric (I had come into contact with the fabrics previously with no ill effect.), as I had a rash within thirty seconds of trying it on. That ended up taking cortisone cream to control.

After this reaction, the white ‘unicorn’ seemed to think about it for a moment before suddenly becoming excited and taking off at a gallop. I suspect she has something else in mind.


Mission Log:
September 19th, 2257

Twilight. Sparkle.

According to the Ravenstar’s extensive library of the English language, these two words were roughly the closest match to the meaning of Smarty Pants’ real name. This appears to be what she has been searching for the last few days. Upon discovering this, she had excitedly jumped up, pointing to herself. It’s an oddly insightful name. Both her coloring, as well as the marking on her flank seem to fit the words perfectly. It makes me wonder how close the names of the others I’ve met match with their colors and markings. Personally, I like the name.

This morning’s exercise alternated to running once more. Twilight, I might as well get used to her proper name now, again followed beside me (effortlessly, mind you) as I performed a Fart-leg style routine, alternating between jogs and sprints. Thunderbow met up with us somewhere around the one mile mark, making silly faces at me and generally being a pest. Then she would half-hover, half prance alongside me while snapping repeatedly. According to Twilight, she was telling me not to give up.

When we had finished, Thunderbow mentioned something and took off. Twilight then told me that it was the weather. Rain, starting this evening, ending tomorrow evening. When I asked what Thunderbow’s real name was, Twilight just stamped, muttering something that sounded to me like some kind of swear. Then she disappeared into the Ravenstar in the now familiar routine of looking stuff up.


Mission Log:
September 20th, 2257

:BEGIN TRANSCRIPT:
Conversation between subjects: Capt. Randolph ‘Randy’ Edwards (RE) and Sapient ‘Equine’ Lifeform ‘Twilight Sparkle’ (TS) . Recorded September 20th, 2257 @ 09:35, GMT.

- [VIEW VIDEOGRAPHY]

(RE) Are you ready?

(TS) I am ready.

(RE) What is your name?

(TS) [INCOMPREHENSIBLE]

(RE) What does that mean?

(TS) Twilight… Sparkle.

(RE) Very nice… Okay, next-

(TS) What is your name?

(RE) … Captain Randolph Edwards of the Earth Global Space Agency.

(TS) You have long name.

(RE) You can call me Randy.

(TS) Okay Randy.

(RE) Can you describe what you are?

(TS) I am [INCOMPREHENSIBLE].

(RE) What does that mean?

(TS) Most close word is ‘pony’. But that word is not right.

(RE) Okay. So where do you live?

**Significant pause, Subject Twilight Sparkle is thinking.

(TS) I live in [INCOMPREHENSIBLE]. But best words for human are ‘Pony-town’.

(RE) May I call it ‘Pony-ville’?

(TS) Why?

(RE) It sounds better.

(TS) Okay Randy.

(RE) Thank you Twilight Sparkle.

(TS) You can call me Twilight.

(RE) Thank you, Twilight. May I ask what you do?

(TS) I am a student.

(RE) Are you? What do you study?

(TS) I study science.

(RE) What kind of science?

(TS) Human word is… too big. I cannot say it yet. Close word is ‘magic’.

** Subject Randolph Edwards appears surprised.

(RE) So you study magic?

(TS) Yes.

(RE) Is this what you use to pick things up without touching them?

(TS) Yes. I use magic from my horn.

**Brief Pause. Subject Randolph Edwards writes a note.

(RE) Can you tell me how that works?

**Subject Twilight Sparkle takes a moment to think, then shakes her head.

(TS) Human science is not have ex… ex-p…

(RE) Experience?

(TS) Yes. Ex-per-ee-ince… Humans have no ex-peri-ence with magic.

(RE) Can you show the camera some magic then?

**Subject Twilight is silent. Subject turns and lifts a roll of paper up without direct contact.

(RE) Thank you Twilight.

(TS) You are welcome. I know humans will like to see magic. I want to see more tech-no-edge-E…

(RE) Like the computer?

(TS) Yes! I like the computer!

** NOTE: Subject Twilight Sparkle had no trouble with the word ‘computer’.

(RE) So I see… You have spent a lot of time on the computer.

(TS) Yes. I have found it teaches very well. It is like books. It is like lots of books, but without the books.

(RE) Do you like books too?

(TS) I like books a lot! I want to show you my home. It is a place to keep books… The word is hard…

(RE) A Library?

(TS) YES! Li-brary. My home is a library. I would like you to see it.

(RE) Perhaps we can do that soon. But I don’t want to scare the ponies in town.

(TS) It will be okay. If I am with you. No-pony is afraid of me. So they will not be afraid of you.

**NOTE: An interesting quirk of language. Subject Twilight Sparkle has associated the word ‘pony’ with her race, and developed a hybrid word based off the word ‘nobody’ that identifies her group.

(RE) That sounds good then.

(TS) Can I ask what you do?

(RE) You want to know my job?

(TS) Yes. I want to know your job.

(RE) I am an Astronaut.

(TS) Astro-not? What does an ‘astronot’ do?

(RE) I fly between the stars and look for answers to the secrets hidden there.

(TS) I like the stars. Maybe after I show you my home. You can show me the stars?

**Subject Randolph Edwards laughs at the statement.

(RE) You would like that wouldn’t you?

(TS) I would.

(RE) Perhaps I will show you. But it is not easy, and you must work very hard.

(TS) I will work hard. I will work hard as long as it takes. You want to see magic. I want to see more tek-nowl-ge, and the stars. But maybe not today. There is too much rain.

(RE) Yeah, it is a bit wet outside.

(TS) Are we done?

(RE) I think we’r- we are done.

**Subject Twilight Sparkle is not yet familiar with contractions.

(TS) Can I watch r-… re-cor-ding?

(RE) You can watch the recording.

::END OF TRANSCRIPT::

Mission Log:
September 20th, 2257

Twilight spent the day with me in the Raven. She was enthusiastic as ever when I asked her to record a brief conversation with me. It was short, but after re-watching it, I realized and noted several things I hadn’t while talking. The girl has the heart of an explorer in her and I look forward to seeing more of her ‘magic’. Especially the way she mentioned that she studied it like science. If what I suspect is correct, these ponies could lead to a breakthrough in a field previously unknown to mankind.

Since the rain was coming down so hard all day, I decided to let her stay at the Raven again. This time I let her sleep in the crew habitat module. She likes the bed more than the passenger compartment seats. It doesn't bother me at all either. There's like, six bunk units and multiple Zero-G sleeping bags in here...

Author's Note:

Hey! Do you like what I write? How about the music featured as the title track for Arrow 18?
If you'd like to support me and also get a little something out of it for yourself, consider supporting me on Band Camp: https://samuraipenguinstudios.bandcamp.com/

Arrow 18's title track is "Harlock's Passage" which is part of my album "Trans-Atmosphere: The Cosmic Concert". 12 tracks at 7 USD (Or more if you so wish). This way, everyone wins!

Patreon coming soon... ish. Soon as I figure out how to make it work for me.