• Published 16th Apr 2014
  • 1,726 Views, 35 Comments

Horizon - Nagmeister

Five kerbals go on an interstellar mission and run into a planet of colorful ponies.

  • ...

A Nighttime Meeting

Jebediah stared at the thing he had seen hiding in the shadows. He watched closely as it slowly approached, but said nothing about it to his crewmates. Instead, he continued talking with his fellow crewmen while it slowly drew nearer. When it got close to the clearing's edge, he radioed up to Horizon for the time until sunrise. Then, he proceeded to shout “Hey, what's that over there?”. This instantly drew the attention of all four Kerbals who heard him. Instantly, Bill and Bob saw what he was talking about. “You,” said Jebediah, “come out over here.” The creature exited the shadows with a look of defeat on its face, and Jebediah noticed that, unlike the other specimens that had been reported to be seen, it had both wings and a horn. In fact, it almost looked like the Unikorn of aincient mythology.

Interpreting that it could understand him from how it followed his command, he spoke up again. “What's your name, and what are you doing here?”

The purple Unikorn said, rather quietly, “I am Princess Twilight Sparkle of Equestria, and am one of the rulers of this land. I have come here tonight to observe you.”

Jeb gestured to his comrades. “Well, this is interesting. We're the first to make contact with an alien species, and we don't even get to do the whole 'Take me to your leader!' thing!”

The Unikorn Twilight rolled her eyes and said, “Well, if you're just going to poke fun at my position, I guess I'm just going to leave.”

Bob piped up before Jeb could say another word, “Wait! Don't go; there is much we could learn from one another. First off, how many species of your kinda re there? We saw two of your subjects, or at least they looked like you, earlier today.” As Bob said this, Twilight remembered both Rainbow and Fluttershy's reports. “But, that can wait. First off, we'd like to introduce ourselves.”

Jeb took the reins on the conversation as Bill and Bob were both about to speak. “I'm Jebediah Kerman, historic Kerbal and credited with the achievements of first Kerb in space, first Kerb on the Mun, and first Kerb almost everywhere else.”

Surprised that such a seemingly important figure would be sent to the moon, Twilight asked, “What did you do to get sent there? Surely, going to your moon must require an extremely bad deed, and I just frankly don't see it in you.”

Jebediah looked surprised and offended. “Going to the Mun requires a bad deed? I don't know what kind of crazy system you have set up here, but the Mun is one of the most beautiful places in the star system! Bob can attest to that; he was there with me in the lander.”

Twilight realized that the Mun of the Kerbals must have had a completely different meaning. She was about to ask about it when Jebediah asked, “What's wrong with this place, anyway? What kind of trip to any Mun is a punishment?”

Twilight sighed and said, “You obviously don't know about how things work here. When a pony does something wrong –“

Jebediah nodded and said quietly, “So that's what they call themselves...”

“ – they are sent to the moon as a punishment. The length of time can vary; for something like stealing a piece of bread, it can be only a few hours; but for revolting against the Princesses, it can be up to a thousand years.”

Jebediah just stared with his jaw halfway to the floor. “You send your subjects to the MUN whenever they do something wrong? Don't you know the Mun has no atmosphere? They'd suffocate within a minute and be dead long before their sentence was up. Also, ONE THOUSAND YEARS? That's longer than most of Kerbal history!”

Bob calmed Jebediah down as Bill finally spoke up. “That's interesting. But why not just use a more conventional system, such as prisons or other forms of detention?”

“Simple. Unicorns could use their magic to break out, Pegasi could ram their way through the doors, and Earth ponies could easily buck down a brick wall.”

Bob asked, genuinely curious: “So there's three types of you, then?”

Twilight grinned, “Well, technically four. There's also alicorns, which are like me: both Unicorn and Pegasus. I'm one of the only four currently in existence!”

Bob suddenly asked, “Why are there so few?”

Twilight responded, “Well, becoming an alicorn signifies you as becoming a ruler of Equestria. It's an honor that only the most faithful students of the Princesses have, and anypony who does get this honor should consider themselves lucky.”

Bob pushed the question further, “Well, what did you do to earn this honor?”

Twilight, again with a grin on her face, said, “Well, I saved Equestria from an ancient evil counter-personality of one of our Princesses, saved Equestria from an ancient evil god, saved Equestria from an invasion of bugponies, saved Equestria from being cast into darkness by an ancient evil --”

Jebediah said, “Well, it's been nice talking to you about how you saved the world from ancient evils, but as kerbalnauts,we have things we need to do. So, if you could just buzz off for the night, that would be greatly appreciated.”

Both Bill and Bob shot him rather angry stares as Twilight slowly walked away, looking almost dejected at being refused so suddenly. Jebediah sat down on one of the lander's legs and sighed, saying, “I hate government officials, rambling on about their 'achievements' in front of everyone who just doesn't care...”

Bill said, “You're in a particularly good mood tonight . . . ,Well, anyway, I'm going to go into the lander for the night. If you want, you can start setting up the structure so we can have more room to sleep, or can come in with me and use one of the lander's beds.”

Bob followed him in while Jeb sat out, looking at the mostly familiar star patterns. He stared somewhat longingly at Kerbol in the sky, much fainter and farther away even than when he had accidentally been slingshotted to thrice the orbital distance of Jool. As he stared into the night sky, he noticed a shape pass overhead. Thinking it was nothing, he continued to stare into the night.

Author's Note:

The first actual interaction between the two races! Expect much more detailed happenings soon, but for now this is just to serve as a bit of an introduction.