• Published 1st Mar 2012
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Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Lone Ranger - AdmiralTigerclaw


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

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Archive Five: Mysteries

[DRAMATIC READING LINK]
Mission Log
October 13th, 2257

It's been three days since Twilight managed to get a rough translation of her friend's names down for me. However, we still cannot nail down a clear translation for Cowgirl's name. So far, Twilight Sparkle has tried reversing the words, changing the pony-language version of the words with synonyms, looking for intuitive similarities in the English words, and even doing a few full scale etymology searches on the word Health. She just couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t getting the translation to fit.

I have observed a relapse of her working habits, and discovered to a minor level of concern, as well as annoyance, that in the last three days she's logged 64 hours up-time on the terminal. The Raven's passenger compartment has started to look like a hamster cage with the amount of those old parchment papers she's filled it with. And she appears to be at a borderline delirium level of behavior. Her mane is unkempt, and even for a creature of alien physiology, I can see the bags under her eyes and her increasingly unsteady, borderline 'unhinged' nature as she sorts.

However, attempts to remove her from the computer this time around have resulted in her manic, if almost panicked response of begging for just a little more time, and using her magic to push me away. I am unsure as to how I should go about such a situation. The prospect of upsetting her to the point where she either uses what I suspect is some powerful TK ability, or performs an Extra-teleport on me leaves me cautious.

It is only by convincing her to take a break to get a snack that I have found time to write this log.

There is little to report from my missing instruments right now. Since adding RF transceivers to all of them, I have not noticed any go missing. However, I am still missing a camera, an audio recorder, and a seismograph from the initial 'wave' of thefts. I still suspect the younger ponies. Simple curiosity makes the most sense. Older ones seem to be wary of messing with them. But children wouldn’t have that manner of hesitation. However, I have no way of knowing unless they go after something. Perhaps I'll bait the thieves with a spectrum analyzer. It's got a pretty fancy display... You can’t beat a fancy display and lots of blinky lights.


Mission Log:
October 15th, 2257

New useful fact: Unicorns have no resistance to tasers.

Well, technically it was a 156-volt solar power cell... One I fed into an inverter, a ten to one step up transformer, and a 160 kilo-ohm resistor, ending in the cable I used to give Twilight an 1100 Volt zap. But for all intents and purposes, it was a taser. I pretty much had no choice. She’s been at it non-stop for five days now and has refused to listen to me. I figured the best way to remove her with minimal resistance would be to stun her. And thankfully, I was right.

Thank goodness electrical equipment was one of my qualifying points for this mission. At 6.9 milliamps, there was no danger of hurting her. I’d hate to think what would happen if someone who didn’t qualify tried the same stunt.

Interesting thing to note, for about half an hour after applying the shock she was unable to reliably use her TK abilities. I hypothesize that this may extend to her higher ‘magic’ abilities as well. Though for obvious reasons, I did not choose to pursue study of this phenomenon.

Zapping the unicorn seemed to sober her up. After watching her for an hour to make sure she would be okay, I sent her home. I honestly hope her ‘college student’ style study habits don’t become any kind of routine. This place is a mess…


Mission Log:
October 16th, 2257

I spent all morning cleaning up Twilight Sparkle’s ‘notes’ that had been left in the Raven. Its strange that despite how methodical and organized she is, she can so easily make a total mess of her study materials. She’d somehow managed to sneak half-a-dozen books into the Raven amidst the hundreds of parchment pages she writes on.

What gets me more however is how much she displays such a human-like obsession tendency. Of course, behavioral characteristics wouldn’t be the express product of a human mind. To say that would be conceited. But to be able to observe nearly the same symptoms and characteristics as what would appear in a human case is quite interesting. I’ll do my best to document this in detail. Doctor Zepher will no doubt consume it like a firestorm in a Eucalyptus forest.

Twilight Sparkle’s concerning psychology aside, I began my plan to lure out the equipment thieves today. I placed a portable spectrum analyzer in the park and rigged it on top of a wireless motion detector. The moment that thing moves, I’ll get an alarm in the Raven and be able to track the transceiver.

On another note, I took inventory of my stores just before making this entry. Looks like I’m going to have to head back up to the Arrow some time in November or sooner at the rate I’m consuming meals. I’ve been getting free handout meals from the ponies here and there, but that’s only served to stretch my surface rations. If I make it clear to them that I’d like to get a little more of their food, I might be able to push that back to the end of November. I could go longer if I could communicate well enough to do work for the local currency. But I’m not seeing that happen.


Mission Log:
October 17th, 2257

Well, that was quick. Early this morning I was awoken by the remote alarm on my motion detector. Some one, or as Twilight puts it 'Somepony’ yanked the spectrum analyzer. It will take me some time to narrow down its location. Performing a one-point search with a tracer beacon is time consuming work. It’s not that I can’t find the beacon. I know exactly what direction it’s in. And it’s pointing right at the apple orchard and farmland. The problem is I don’t know how FAR I may have to walk.

Rather than try and stumble blindly into the signal, I’ll head to different parts of town and take a signal scan so I can triangulate the exact position tomorrow. I’d have done it today, but it started pouring rain about an hour after sunrise.

Rainbow Dash (I really do like that name better than ‘Thunderbow’) dropped by too. I’m guessing she’d been coordinating the storm and now she wanted out of the mess.

It was a rather intriguing day to say the least. Having grown accustom to Twilight’s rapidly improving English skills, I’ve allowed myself to be complacent with having a ‘pony’ translator on hand. Dash pretty much wiped the slate clean and almost forced me back to square one.

I say ‘almost’ because now that I was aware of how little I could understand her talking, I was also aware of how much I could read her body language. In the time I’ve spent in Sparkle’s company, I’ve inadvertently picked up many of the more subtle gesture habits the ponies had. I could almost grasp at some of the more basic ideas she tried to communicate, such as being hungry after working so hard in the morning. Thus I shared an MRE with her. Interestingly, she didn’t seem the least bit bothered by the meat I was eating. I cannot make any conclusions.

We passed a considerable amount of the day just goofing off. I was surprised that here and there I actually picked up on a few ‘pony’ words. I guess being around a pony who was constantly translating back and forth was going to do that eventually, but it wouldn’t be enough to really cross the gap. I made a game out of it, which Rainbow Dash seemed to enjoy to some extent. But unlike her friend Twilight Sparkle, she seemed to have a much shorter attention span, and very little patience. Anything too difficult and she’d turn away and look for something to mess with. I learned quickly not to leave anything I didn’t want her to mess with where she could find it.

Eventually, the pegasus just curled up for a nap in one of the passenger seats, ignoring any further attempts to ‘play’. She was probably tired from working anyway.

Some time in the mid-afternoon hours, she awoke while I was reviewing possible ascent profiles to reach orbit. I didn’t notice her at first. I was busy trying to figure out the best time of day and the direction of launch so that I could reach the Arrow with a minimum delta. It was only when she tapped me on the shoulder and pointed at the simulation (scared the crap out of me) that I took heed of her.

THIS seemed to get and hold her attention. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised. A fast flying pegasus like her should naturally find flying stuff interesting.

I wish I had Sparkle here to translate, because what came next was like a torrent of pony questions. I caught the five Ws in the mix (surprised me that I recognized them...) But I couldn’t answer them adequately. All I could do was bring up the computer and show the Pegasus various videos on all things aerospace.

I wouldn’t say she gobbled it up like Twilight did taking to language, but she practically drooled at the two hundred year old SR-71 Blackbird. Perhaps I can build on my interactions with her with this material. It would certainly help me expand my associations with pony-folk other than Twilight Sparkle.


Mission Log:
October 18th, 2257

I still haven’t seen Twilight Sparkle since I’d shocked her and sent her home. It is possible that my actions concerning her were over the top, but I am not yet worried. The last time she disappeared for a few days had been longer. And even if there was a problem, I’m sure one of her friends would find a way to communicate to me that there was trouble.

I set out early this morning to triangulate the location of the beacon I’d planted on the spectrum analyzer. Since I was going to be walking all over ‘Ponyville’, I decided to make it my morning run.

This would probably mark the first time I ran through the town proper without some kind of escort. Many of the locals appeared to be apprehensive of my presence so early in the morning. More so because I was clad only in my running shorts and shoes, and carrying what would be to them, a strange, beeping stick. As far as I could tell, it wasn’t my lack of attire that bothered them (the times they’ve seen me I've been wearing a GSA ground uniform). I’m willing to bet it was my, to them, relatively furless body.

However, my lack of clothing did seem to be of particular issue with at least one pony. When I stopped to take my first reading with my tracking device, it was near the boutique that belonged to Twilight’s friend Rarity. Apparently the beeping coming off my tracker was louder than I thought, because while I was busy scribbling location, signal strength, and bearing on a wrist mounted note pad, she came out of the door next to me.

She promptly chewed me out.

How did I know she was chewing me out? Simple... I recognized the aggressive postures from the other ponies when they had been angry. And this was the most aggressive I’d seen her behave towards me. I am not sure, but I am suspect that after the situation we’d gone through a few weeks back involving her friend, Apple... something-or-other, and the explanation she’d gotten from Twilight, my appearance now in almost ‘nothing’ may have been misinterpreted as ‘indecent’.

I got a toga out of it though. Well, it was a white sheet of cloth, but it’s my log, I can call it a toga if I want. Toga-toga... Toooooga.

The second place I took a reading from, now looking like I belonged in a fraternity, was the bridge on the far side of the market. Nothing really interesting to report, but I did meet this pony that looked a lot like the one I’d seen my first few days on the ground. Poor thing looked more terrified of me than my grandmother’s cat, Rex. Maybe she was from out of town. I recall butterflies on her flank mark.

I left her alone to get my third reading and decided to make sure I got it a good distance from the others. So I jogged to the farthest corner of town I could get.

Surprise-surprise, I was in the middle of writing down my last set of readings when I was nearly scared right out of my ‘Toga’ by a sonic boom.

Okay, I’m an aerospace pilot. All you boys know I know DAMN WELL what a sonic boom sounds like, and that was no clap of thunder. I can tell you that much. I spent at least five minutes looking at the sky for a possible source. Contrails, meteor fireballs, even previously unseen pony military aircraft. But nothing...

Imagine just how much more startled I was when I turned to head back to the Raven and found Rainbow Dash grinning at me. I think I about knocked her right out of the spot she was hovering. Last time anything got in my face like that, I had unknowingly ran the risk of being turned to stone. (I think.)

But that didn’t faze her, because not a second later did she start babbling in pony with such a level of excitement I had only ever seen from Pink-Pie. I honestly couldn’t catch a thing she said, but in retrospect, she looked pretty disheveled and exhausted. Perhaps she had been nearby and the sonic boom had startled her too.

I did my best to calm her down, but for some reason, she only seemed to become agitated, if not downright hostile. But there was nothing I could do since I couldn’t decipher her endless stream of incoherence.

We parted ways with her in a foul mood, and I returned to the Raven to wash up and plug my readings into the map. And while I’m thinking about it, I’m going to pull the Arrow’s high-resolution camera surveillance footage from the ten to noon hours. See if I can’t spot anything passing overhead.


Mission Log:
October 19th, 2257

I sit here this evening pondering two unusual things.

The first being that my triangulation seems to place the location of my spectrum analyzer, and by logical extension, my recording instruments in a secluded corner of the Apple orchard. I don’t see it (theft) as something Apple- Cowgirl would do. However I checked to make sure my directions weren’t mixed up or my bearings misread. That signal was definitely on her property.

The second was that the Arrow actually DID have something to show me concerning that sonic boom yesterday. At 10:33 and 40 seconds local time, the high-resolution camera tracked a refraction anomaly in the shape of a cone about a half-mile east of town. The anomaly clocked at approximately 300 meters per second traveling on a westward course until it vanished in a flash. The thermal imaging camera captured the same event. A warm object could be seen traveling along a westward course, building up velocity until it seemed to break the sound barrier. Unfortunately thermal imaging lost it over Ponyville. I have no idea what it was that could have broken the sound barrier. But I know at least myself and Rainbow Dash had noticed it.

I’m sure if I can get Twilight to translate for me, I can explain to Dash what that sound was. Perhaps I’ll go visit her in the morning. I hope she’s not mad about the other day.


Mission Log:
October 21st, 2257

It rained again today but I didn’t let that stop me from doing what I had to do in visiting Twilight’s library.

Apparently kicking her out of the Raven had done little to stop her from pursuing her continued research into the translations of her friend’s names. The place was a disaster. Books and papers everywhere, three portable chalk boards with a combination of English lettering and pony script on them, and in the center of the hurricane, Twilight, passed out drooling next to a spilled ink well. She had a feather pen hovering next to her head somehow in one of her ‘magic’ TK fields, spinning in place as if it was stuck in the last motion she had directed before she’d finally succumbed.

Spike was in the process of trying to quietly organize part of the mess when I showed up. He seemed no less exhausted, if I could make anything of his lizard-like features.

I decided to help clean, which he seemed grateful for. I think. Poor little squirt looked tired but seemed to gain renewed vigor with my assistance. By the time Sparkle finally woke up, it was past noon and we’d managed to put a few FEMA crews to shame. The only thing left of the mess was the part she had been sleeping on.

She seemed surprised I was there and began desperately trying to apologize for the mess. At least, until she noticed there was no mess. Twilight really did look terrible though. She had ink on her face, her mane was frazzled, and I could smell that she likely hadn’t taken a bath in a few days. Though while Spike and myself had been cleaning we tried to ignore it. At least there were no flies in here. But I was reminded of a drunken bum that’d fallen asleep with her last bottle of Jack Danie-

Wait a second...

[LOG TERMINATED]


Mission Log:
October 21st, 2257
[SUPPLEMENTAL]

I just finished looking through the computer on the history of alcoholic beverages. And I can’t believe it. The reason Twilight Sparkle can’t find a proper translation for her Apple friend’s name is because the translation doesn’t work directly. She was looking for the direct translation that kept leading her to the words ‘health’ and ‘vigor.’ But given the nature of pony names, there’s almost always a certain ironic meaning to their names that match their personalities. For ‘Cowgirl’, her name translates to Apple ‘health’, but that doesn’t seem to make the right kind of sense. Not with names like ‘Rainbow Dash’, and ‘Twilight Sparkle.’ Those names seem to strangely fit like socks and shoes... ‘Apple Health’ does not.

But there is one thing that fits, it also happens to be an alcoholic beverage that fits the theme of her name and personality perfectly.

‘Apple Jack.’

And the word ‘Jack’ itself according to the computer records once meant ‘health’ and ‘vigor’.

When I tell Twilight tomorrow morning, her mind will probably be blown.


Mission Log:
October 22nd, 2257

Called it.

When I visited Twilight Sparkle this morning and explained what I had discovered, she practically started bouncing around in excitement. It only took her a few minutes to examine the meaning, review the printouts I’d brought, and confirm what I found. But when she did, it was like a bomb had exploded and she started bounding around repeating the same sound over and over again like it was the greatest thing in the world.

It took some time to allow her to get control of herself, but once she did, we got down to business.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s logs that I’d been talking to her about the disappearance of my instruments. After explaining where I had traced them too, she agreed to help me recover them, and that she would have a talk with Apple-Cowgirl (Now Applejack) about why I was detecting them on her property.

Apparently, she’d had a talk with her friend once she’d cleaned herself up yesterday afternoon. And the farm-pony would be expecting us to drop by today to find out if things would be under control.

That seemed to be the plan when we walked over to the farm. However, when we arrived, Applejack seemed a bit nervous. Twilight explained to me that Applejack said things might be a bit more complicated than we first thought.

The farm pony led us to a back corner of the farm. There was what appeared to be a small, elevated shack back there. Something that reminded me of a cross between a tree house and a chicken coop...

Seeing that pretty much confirmed my suspicions that the pony children were the thieves. And I couldn’t fault them for it. After all, the stolen instruments would probably be ‘really cool’ to them.

But when we opened the door... Well, let me just describe what I saw in detail.

I recall immediately noticing six ponies. Four ‘children’. Orange, white, and yellow for one group of three, and a fourth whose best description I could come up with would be ‘rocky road’ ice cream. The remaining two ponies were much, much bigger.

One a dark blue color which I recall locking eyes with almost the moment I recognized it, and the other, larger than the first still, a silk-white creature who’s entire posture and bearing just screamed ‘In Charge!’ at me.

If that wasn’t enough to tell me that things were indeed ‘more complicated’ than we first thought, both Applejack and Twilight Sparkle immediately kneeling on their forelegs made it click in my mind what I had been told a few weeks ago.

These were the pony ‘Princesses’.

So four kids and two pony princesses were the thieves...

I’ll just end this log here and say in the most sarcastic text I can manage:

‘Lovely...’