• Published 12th Dec 2013
  • 8,726 Views, 559 Comments

A Friend In Need - sopchoppy



Something has happened and Twilight finds herself in a strange and dark new world. The Bipeds here have strange magic, advanced technology, and a lot of problems. She needs a few friends, and they just might need her. WORM crossover.

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Interlude 2 - Yamada

Jessica Yamada entered the room and thanked her years of experience in counseling parahumans for the ability to maintain her stride and her smile as she looked at the purple unicorn standing at the rail looking over the bay. Armsmaster’s report had seemed to bend over backwards to avoid using the term ‘unicorn’ but Jessica couldn’t think of a better way to describe Twilight Sparkle.

The wind was blowing her mane and tail out behind her and Jessica once again fell back on her training to avoid putting Twilight in the boxes labeled ‘cute’ and ‘harmless’ as her instinct was wanting to. With parahumans, evolutionary instinct was a very dangerous thing to fall back on.

She had been briefed of course. A small file with a picture and the facts as they were known, but a picture didn’t quite prepare you for the real thing. She likened it to the first time she had seen a moose in real life rather than TV. You really didn’t quite grasp how large the animals were until you stood next to one. While she knew she would be meeting someone that looked like a unicorn, her mind hadn’t really grasped that until she had walked onto the roof.

The current favored theory was that ‘Twilight Sparkle’ was an off profile case-53, since there had never been a case of extreme bodily changes that wasn’t. Hardly mentioned in the notes was a small section written by Miss Militia that proposed Twilight could be telling the objective truth and was, in fact, an actual alien. If it was the first, more likely option then it had left her with a body that, if not unpleasant visually, was certainly one of the most physically altered anyone had ever recorded. Again, if the first theory held true then her appearance had apparently led her to create an elaborate alternate history to make sense of it.

As they approached Twilight flicked an ear and turned around to face her and Velocity. She was adorable.

“Twilight, this is Dr. Yamada. She’d like to talk with you about last night, and what you do and don’t remember. She thinks she might be able to help you piece some things together.” Velocity introduced her and Jessica took an instinctual half-step forward to shake hands, but halted the motion. Twilight, of course, didn’t have hands. She settled for a congenial smile that came easily in the present company.

“Really?” Twilight asked. “That would be great, I’m certainly not making much headway on my own so far.”

“I’m pleased to meet you Twilight. Would you like to come with me to my office? I find a quiet atmosphere can help, but we could talk here if you would prefer?”

“Oh, no, your office is fine with me. Thank you for taking the time to speak with me,” Twilight replied.

“No trouble at all. While were walking why don’t you tell me about your morning,” Jessica replied, as they started to walk back towards the elevator. Twilight fell in beside them, her hooves making quiet clopping sounds as she walked. The unicorn seemed to think about for a second before nodding in assent.

“It started with fire.”

Jessica had too much experience to really be surprised, but she chalked up another victory of her training over her instincts.

“Well, that’s certainly an interesting way to begin the day.”

“I didn’t mean to light the sheets on fire. I woke up from…a bad dream…I think, and I didn’t remember where I was at first. Being a doctor I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how strong emotions can sometimes cause uncontrolled local resonances in the field. Being a magic talent makes those resonances more…vigorous when they occur. Don’t worry though, I’ve trained extensively to limit their occurrence.” Twilight paused and took a steadying breath as they turned another corner and entered the hallway with her office. Jessica took the opportunity to try and parse some of what she had just heard.

“This is the first time in, years…well I think…that I’ve had a feedback flare. Nothing to worry about. Just a bad dream and waking up in another dimension threw off my control a little, no nothing at all.” Jessica noted that Twilight’s breathing had increased and seemed to be looking towards her for a confirmation of her assessment.

“I’m sure you’re right Twilight. Going through what you did last night, waking up in a strange place, it would upset anyone. But we’re here to help you however we can. You’ve got nothing to worry about.” Twilight let out a calmer breath at that and smiled. They stopped at her office door and she turned to Velocity.

“Thank you Velocity. I’ll give you a call when we’re done with our talk.”

“No problem Jessica, see you in a bit Twilight.” He waved to the unicorn and walked away as Jessica used her keycard to unlock her door. She flicked on the light and stepped inside, Twilight following just behind her.

“Go ahead and take a seat anywhere you like Twilight.” Jessica said and waved her arm to indicate the two chairs and the sofa. Once Twilight was all the way in she closed the door behind them and walked over to her desk to pick up a notepad and pen. Twilight had climbed up on the sofa and spread and folded her legs underneath her, so Jessica took the seat opposite. She flipped the cover of the notepad over and jotted down a few quick notes in short hand.

“Oooh, that looks so much more convenient than a scroll and quill,” Twilight said with obvious envy, and Jessica looked up to see the unicorn looking at the notepad with longing.

“I have some extras in my desk if you would like one.”

“Really, you don’t mind?”

“Not at all, here let me-“ Jessica cut herself off as a purple glow surrounded Twilight’s horn and a matching one wrapped around her desk. She heard the drawers open and close in quick succession before a notepad and pen floated out behind it to hover next to Twilight’s head. Its cover flipped over and the pen began to jot notes on its own while Twilight jumped off the couch and wrapped her in a hug.

“Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you. Just wait until I can transmute one of these! I could create lists twice, no, three times as fast!”

“You’re very welcome Twilight,” Jessica said with a smile. She returned the hug with a light one of her own, noticing that the pen had kept writing even while Twilight seemed solely focused on her. When Twilight released her and settled herself back on the couch Jessica took the opening that the conversation had left her.

“I got a chance to look at the list you made last night. I take it you like making lists?”

“Of course! They’re practically perfect for procedural planning purposes. How else would you keep track of all your projects, and your progress on all your projects and whether you’ve double checked your projects properly? Plus you get to check things off when you do them, which is one of the best feelings there is!” Jessica nodded and smiled as she took several quick notes.

“Yes they certainly can be quite helpful. I take it you work on a lot of projects at the same time.”

“Yes, I’m the personal student of Princess Celestia. I usually have an assignment from her, which often spawns several sub-projects as I research the assignment. Then the research from those sub-projects often creates sub or parallel projects of their own, which sometimes illuminate interesting tangental research not directly related to any of the other projects. I also do independent research on my own with a similar nested hierarchy. Of course those projects always come after the ones given to me by the princess.”

“That sounds like a lot of very important work for just one pony. I imagine that can get stressful.” Unlike her previous rapid-fire responses, Twilight hesitated and nervously scuffed the couch with one of her hooves before responding.

“Yes, sometimes it can be. But I have the best assistant in the world. Spike really helps me a lot, and besides anything the Princess asks me to do is obviously too important to require anything less than my full attention and skills. She’s done so much for me, and for Equestria as a whole, the very least I can do is giver her my absolute best. I…I…just know that my being here is somehow my fault. I was doing something for her, something important and…and it went wrong somehow. Now I’m here and she’s in Equestria, counting on me to do something!” Twilight trailed off into sniffles and Jessica got up from her chair and took the box of tissues off her desk. She knelt down next to the couch and held them out to Twilight who telekinetically took a couple and started to wipe her eyes. Jessica rested a hand gently on one of Twilight’s forelegs.

“She sounds like an amazing pony Twilight. She can probably handle what you were working on if it comes down to it. She’s likely more concerned about your whereabouts than whatever it was you were working on.”

“But what if she’s disappointed in me!? What if I failed some kind of test? What if I get back and she doesn’t want me to be her student anymore!?” Twilight’s breathing started to speed up and tears reformed again in her eyes.

Jessica began to slowly stroke the fur under her hand and responded in slow gentle tones.

“I very much doubt she’s anything but worried about you Twilight. Besides, just think about all the new things you’ll be able to tell her about when you get back - notepads for one!” That produced a hiccupy laugh and a smile from Twilight and the pony seemed to firm up with the thought.

“That’s right, I’ve already taken notes on several things that could lead to breakthroughs for Equestrian science since I’ve been here. Even if I did…fail…something I can show her all the work and research I did while I was trying to get back. I’m sure that will convince her I’m good enough for a second chance! Thank you Dr. Yamada, that’s such a great idea.” Jessica noticed that the pen under Twilight’s control was nearly blurring as it took notes now, pages flipping every few seconds. Now that it looked like Twilight’s resolve had firmed up, Jessica took a gamble and decided this was the best time to press for more details.

“You said you thought that your arrival here in Brockton Bay was somehow your fault, even though you told Armsmaster you couldn’t remember the event. So what makes you think that? What do you think happened?”

“Well, I’ve thought a lot about that last night while I was trying to get to sleep, and more this morning since I woke up. My working theory is I was involved in some kind of large magical accident that somehow breached a number of dimensional barriers and left me stranded here. I can’t remember the event besides a few scattered memories, but I’ve been involved in magical accidents before and their effects can be quite random and dramatic.” Twilight’s tone had shifted now, becoming almost professorial the longer she spoke. Her earlier emotional tone almost gone.

“I see. Some of your earlier statements seemed to indicate you were already thinking of a way to get home. Is there some way I or the PRT could help you do that?”

“Yes, yes, yes, yes. Well If I am correct in my hypothesis I’m going to need to recreate that event, in some kind of controlled and directed fashion. Of course to pursue that goal in the most productive manner I’m going to need access to your world’s magical research libraries, meetings with anypony with a special talent in theoretical physics or magic. Eventually, I will need an isolated location a safe distance from population in which to conduct tests. If you think it would useful I’ve sketched out a few ideas and detailed notes of my working assumptions.” Jessica took a moment to process that and make a few more notes before responding.

“I don’t think I know anyone with knowledge in theoretical magic, but I may be able get you in touch with a few physicists.” Twilight smiled and clopped her fore hooves together a little at that. “You said you had been in a magical accident before, could you tell me about that?” Twilight fidgeted uncomfortably for a moment before speaking.

“Yes. On the day I discovered my special talent I had an uncontrolled magic surge. I accidentally transformed my parents into plants and destroyed a section of the castle.” Twilight shuddered a little, and Jessica took a few notes. “It was, until two days ago, the most scared I have ever been. Worse, it was my fault. If Princess Celestia hadn’t shown up and calmed me down I don’t know what would have happened.” Twilight smiled briefly before frowning and fidgeting nervously. The notepad and pen started to quiver in mid air.

“Take a deep breath Twilight.” Jessica punctuated this by breathing deeply herself. “Your memory may return in time. We don’t know what happened so you shouldn’t assume that is was your fault.” Twilight seemed to settle down after a moment, the notepad steadying in the air. “Why don’t we change topics for a moment? You mentioned discovering your “Special Talent.” Could you tell me what you mean by that? It may be that we have different words for the same thing.” Distracted from thinking about Princess Celestia, Twilight seemed to perk up and resumed the professorial tone she had at the beginning of the discussion.

“A special talent is what you are best at, what you most enjoy doing. It’s an integral part of your personality, you shape it and it shapes your life. That’s not everything it is, but until I study your language more thats probably as close to a definition I can come to. I assume Armsmaster’s special talent is enchanting materials and machines, and the girl I met on the roof could talk to bugs and make them listen to her.” Jessica wrote all of this down, It was a surprisingly insightful piece of philosophy for someone the people who briefed her assumed was an early-adolescent. She mentally revised her own estimate of Twilight’s age up a half a dozen years.

“So what’s your special talent Twilight?”

“Magic.”

--------------

Three hours later, Jessica Yamada sat at a conference table. Miss Militia, Armsmaster, Assault, Battery, and Director Piggot were there as well. Someone that she recognized from the Chicago office was on screen, as well a few other people that she did not. Jessica flipped back through her notes for a moment before she heard the Director speaking and looked up.

“Okay everyone, we’ve had Ms. Sparkle for a day. What are your impressions? Since this morning covered Armsmaster’s and Miss Militia’s interactions already, and I trust everyone has already had a chance to go over the relevant files, let’s start with Assault or Battery.”

“She’s like if someone combined Vista, Accord, and an absent minded professor into body designed by Glenn Chambers for maximum cuteness. Its actually pretty terri-“ Assault cut off with a pained grimace and Battery began speaking instead.

“She’s polite, well-mannered, driven, and, yes, cute. It has a way of disarming you without noticing it. She levitated a knife right past Assault’s head this morning at breakfast before either one of us had a chance to react to it, and we were explicitly watching for her to do anything threatening. Part of it was her skill with her telekinesis. She can levitate and finely control at least a dozen objects without seeming to look at them or pay them noticeable attention. While Assault and I had been watching her use her power to eat her breakfast, she had been manipulating several other objects around the room. It’s worth noting that she didn’t appear to recognize this as any great feat of ability, and I conjecture that her TK is quite a bit more powerful and controlled than what we have witnessed so far.”

“Thank you Battery, that’s helpful information. Dr. Yamada, How did your session with Twilight go?”

“First of all, my personal opinion is that Twilight Sparkle is not a case-53 or delusional. While there is no way to verify much of what she says, it has a level of consistency and detail that is not found in people suffering from mental illness. I suppose someone could have implanted a lifetimes worth of memories consistent with a radically different alternate reality, but I can’t imagine the motivation behind such an act. She seems earnest and cooperative with the hope that we can provide the resources to get her home. She’s very intelligent. Even disregarding subjects where I have no frame of reference, she quickly left me behind in physics and math.” Jessica paused to take a sip of water and Brian from Chicago’s intelligence division started typing rapidly, while the others became more alert. Director Piggot took the opportunity to speak.

“Alright, I have long since ceased being surprised by life. So let’s go with the idea she’s sane. Is she stable? Would she work with us? Do we want her to and if that answer is yes how do we best arrange that?” A section of the screen that was previously blank clicked on and showed a middle aged gentleman sitting behind a desk. A small bar underneath his feed displayed ‘Deputy Directory of State.’ Jessica looked around the room and was a little astounded that no one was reacting more to the idea that for all practical purposes this was a first contact scenario with a friendly alien being. She supposed everyone had become somewhat jaded to the fantastic. She supposed in a world of superpowers, parallel dimensions and the Endbringers that everyone in the Protectorate and PRT had become more than a tad jaded.

“I would say she is mostly stable, but she has been ripped from everything she knows and thrown into a hostile world. She’s stressed, nervous, and worried. I haven’t spoken with her long enough to be confident in a diagnosis but she also seems to have some obsessive/compulsive behaviors regarding organization that she has adapted to use as a coping mechanism. If treated gently, given time to adjust, and assistance in her research she could very well be an asset. But keep in mind she comes from a very different culture that my discussion with her has only scratched the surface of. While there seem to be broad similarities, there are bound to be things she views very differently than we do.”

Miss Militia nodded at this. “It took me many years to completely adjust to America and its culture. Ms. Sparkle is many times more removed from her surroundings than even I was. She will need someone to shepherd her into this new world if we hope to help her and be helped in turn.” Jessica nodded and smiled at Ms. Militia. She had hoped someone would understand that point.

Armsmaster spoke up for the first time. “It is…surprising given my initial impressions, that what she said could be the literal truth. However, it seems whether it is or not is almost a moot point. Dr. Yamada, where would you place her age? As I mentioned in my briefing I couldn’t get a good read on that, she seemed alternately very young and more mature depending on the topic of conversation.”

“That’s actually a complicated question. I noticed the same thing when speaking to her. She had a trigger event at a time that my best guess is equivalent to 5th or 6th grade. Due to the power she expressed during the event she was taken under the wing of her country’s ruler as something like an apprentice. Twilight has several of the hallmarks of a child prodigy, and I would guess that even in her own society she was not well socialized. Again, this is little more than guesswork and it could be that her society judges things very differently than ours, but I would probably equate her to a first year college student. Just getting out in the world and learning to be independent. However, she is as knowledgeable as a college professor with the social maturity of someone in their early teens.”

The Deputy Secretary of State cleared his throat and spoke for the first time. “Depending on how much her culture varies from ours, we have several plans for a situation like this. Before I give the go ahead on any of them I want to make sure we are not jumping the gun here. Since there is no indication that contact with her society is imminent and everything so far points towards her being friendly we can afford to take the time to be sure. I’ll send some state people out there for interviews. If she has been traumatized moving her around would likely only serve to destabilize her. The Protectorate and the PRT has handled this well so far. As you all are the only ones that have had contact with her I will leave it to Protectorate East-North-East and the Brockton Bay PRT to make temporary arrangements until we're up to speed and confident on what and who we are dealing with.”

Miss Militia spoke up, “I have a suggestion. Regardless of what her age may be, she is young to our world. I can think of one local agency that was designed to provide support for the young and powerful.”

Director Piggot frowned slightly. “You’re suggesting that she be housed by the PRT.”

“Yes,” Miss Militia continued, “The PRT has support facilities and staff we do not here. More importantly the Wards would also give her a ready made group from which to learn from and bond with. I imagine they will be better at breaking through cultural barriers than any of us would be.”

Jessica nodded at this and spoke up to reinforce the point. “There is no ideal solution for her situation, and I would recommend strongly against her being exposed to situations where violence is expected, but the Wards are probably as close as we can come to a controlled introduction to our society. They have all experienced trauma and most are likely to be sympathetic to her and provide an emotional support structure.”

Director Piggot looked like she had swallowed something bitter, but nodded nevertheless. “If that is the case then we can arrange it. Deputy secretary if you could forward any material you think is relevant to my office?” The Deputy nodded. “Very well. Thank you for your time everyone. If you think of an additional pertinent information please attach it to the proper files and send an email out. Dismissed.” Jessica stood up with everyone else and made her way out into the hall. It had been a long exciting day. She believed she owed herself some takeout and some mindless tv watching tonight.



As she made her way down the hall she thought she heard Armsmaster muttering something about “spells.”

Author's Note:

Part of chapter 2 rewrite