• Published 16th Apr 2014
  • 1,728 Views, 35 Comments

Horizon - Nagmeister



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

  • ...
3
 35
 1,728

Pleasant Company

The sound of a weapon being brandished took Flash Sentry's attention as he perked up awake. The camp was relatively peaceful, except for the footsteps that seemed to be falling all around. He poked his head out of the tent flap and looked around, but quickly turned back as he was unable to see anything in the darkness. Suddenly, something sliced open a hole in the side of the tent. Flash quickly donned his armor and, looking around, flew up into the air.

He looked down on the camp, trying to see what was going on. The campfire had been relit, and ponies in dark cloaks surrounded the camp. They had taken his comrades prisoner, and he knew that they didn't have very good chances of survival. So, he did the only rational thing someone could do in his situation. He ran.

The dawn slowly began to break as he flew at his fastest speed towards the spire of the Crystal Empire. He arrived as the sun slowly crested the mountains, and landed at the guard outpost. Shining Armor was waiting, expecting him to have returned with the target. “Sir,” he stated breathlessly, “we were attacked.” Shining Armor's did his best to hide his concern at this development. “How?” he asked, eyeing the soldier in front of him.

“There was a group of black-clad ponies. They advanced on us at night, and overpowered the watch easily. There were at least ten of them. I –“

He was interrupted by a flash of red coming from the general direction of the expected catch. It slowly climbed higher into the sky before exploding, signaling its location to any and all ponies who may be around. “That can't be good,” stated Shining Armor flatly.

Hanald closed the hatch as his finger instinctively went for the engine activation button. The strange natives who he had only heard of before were surrounding the spaceplane, and some had started trying to attack it. He was glad that the plane had micrometeorite armor, else it may have had been quite seriously damaged. The whining of the engines slowly faded in from nothing and grew in pitch as they spooled up. He watched the thrust counter on them slowly climb until the plane lurched ahead, leaving behind the ponies in a cloud of snow. “Easy does it,” he said to the plane as he gingerly pulled the stick back to pitch the plane up. Its nose gently lifted up and almost immediately the plane flew into the sky. He thought he had lost the attackers until something hit one of the wings.

“Shit!” he proclaimed as he felt the thud reverberate through the plane. Status reports confirmed that something had impacted the wing, and had broken one of the RCS ports. “Well, that's not good,” he said to himself as he started pulling the plane into evasive maneuvers. It was a good thing that he'd been a Kerbal AF pilot, otherwise he wouldn't have been able to prevent another potentially fatal impact to the wings. He activated the external cameras and was surprised to see that some of the natives were using their own wings to catch up to him. Not wanting to be taken down, he pulled the plane into a 90 degree climb and shoved the engines to full throttle. They followed his craft, with surprisingly high speed and agility. Of course, once he got to about four hundred knots, they couldn't catch up. He leveled out the climb and started flying towards the south, even though he knew he didn't have the fuel to get there. White contrails flew from the wingtips as the plane was enveloped in flame and a reddish-orange light.


Jeb sat in a room in one of the many castle towers, watching the world below. It was a decently sized rectangle, and featured a bed, a small kitchen, and a window. The bed was somewhat small for a creature of Jeb's stature, obviously having been designed for the slightly shorter ponies, but still mostly fit him nonetheless. The kitchen was rather spartan, containing only a counter and oven; apparently, these ponies hadn't learned how to use refrigerators yet, so Jeb pilfered a replacement minifridge from the lander to keep his food from spoiling. Thankfully it ran off its own power supply; Jeb hadn't seen a single electrical outlet or device during the entire trip. The room had a red carpet covering its marble flooring as well as bearing the mark of one of the leaders. Speaking of which, the only one he'd actually been introduced to was the “Sun Goddess,” or as she called herself, Princess Celestia. He had met a few guards, too, but most of them seemed wary of his presence. One even dared to point his weapon at him. Jeb had dismissed him, but now realized that he probably wasn't the only one who would think that way. As he watched below, he observed the ponies go about their daily lives. “Oh look, that one stole that other one's lunch money,” he said, looking at one of the many school campuses spread throughout Canterlot. He stared for a while until a rapping at his room's door broke his concentration. He sighed and walked over to it. He opened the door, expecting a guard to ask him to come to the throne room for questioning, display, or some other purpose, and was instead greeted with a lavender wing-unicorn, or as he had heard them called by the guards, Alicorn. “So, Princess Twilight Sparkle,” he said.

Twilight nodded at him and took a seat in the room, magically closing the door. As she closed the door, she stated, “Welcome to Canterlot, Jebediah. I've been given permission by the other Princesses to ask you a few questions, as long as you're willing to answer them.”

“Certainly!” he almost shouted.

“Well, for one: What actually are you?”

“I'm a Kerbal, resident and dominant species of Kerbin.”

“Have you met any other sentient species in 'Kerbin'?”

“Other sentient species? We're the only ones there,” Jeb replied.

“Is it nice there? Is it like here?”

“From what I can tell,” he said carefully, trying to give away as little as possible, “it mostly is.”

“Now, for the final question of this session: Where is your ship?” she asked. “You must be from beyond the sea, because no Kerbin exists on this continent.”

“Well, not quite beyond the sea.”s

Twilight's face lit up in surprise at this statement. “Well, what do you mean? Where are you from?”

Iebediah realized he'd given too much away. “Well, I'm not sure my superiors would be okay with me answering that,” he somewhat lied. They probably would, but would also be angry because he didn't ask them first. “But, what harm can it do? I'm not from this world.”

Twilight's eyes shone with pure delight as she realized that this being was completely different from anything that existed in Equestria, or anywhere else she visited or may visit in the future. This 'Kerbal' was potentially a completely different, new branch of biology! The possibilities were endless! She could become the first to –

Her thought rant was interrupted by Jeb tapping her lightly on the shoulder. “Um, Princess Twilight? You alright?” She looked at him and said, “Got to go for now! See you later!” before she vanished in a flash of light.

Jeb sat dumbfounded at what had just happened. “Wha...? How?” he asked himself. He immediately decided that he had to go down to the main chamber of the castle and ask what the hell had just happened.

Twilight sat in her study in the Library. She was writing something in her personal log about the new creature she had discovered when Spike burst in. “Twilight! Come quick! Something's happened!” As soon as Spike said these words, Twilight sprinted out of the library as fast as she could.

A crowd of ponies was already developing around the scene. Trying to ge ta peek, she nudged her way through the crowd until she was in the front row. The... thing lying on the ground seemed to be made of metal and had all sorts of wires of various metals as well as some sort of glass window on it. On the strange little window, all anyone could see was, “Awaiting Input.” Twilight was the first to try decide what it meant. She walked up to it and poked at some of the buttons protruding from various sides. As she clicked one, a small boom resounded followed by the separation of the thing from its bottom part. The charred part hit the ground with a clang and cracked. The rest appeared to be okay, and the screen had changed to “Stage Sep Confirmed.” Another button changed the message again, seemingly to a list of instructions. However, she still had no clue how to operate it, so shoved it into her saddlebags and went back to the library.

Jebediah was walking down the huge flight of stairs when he ran into the guard. He was just walking on patrol when he saw the strange green creature clad in what appeared to be leather and cloth descending. He instantly raised his weapon and said, “Don't move. If you move, you're dead. If you try to run, you're dead. If you don't tell me what the hell you are, you're dead.”

“Move, man! I need to get to the princess.”

“Answer my question!”

Jeb replied by simply removing an ID card from one of his pockets. Looking over it, the guard could see it clearly wasn't a fake. It stated the name Jebediah Kerman, as well as some other physical features. “Alright, you can pass. But I've got my eyes on you,” he added as Jebediah brushed past.

Jebediah continued down the circular flight of stairs until he reached the throne room level. Inside, he could see something was going on. He opened the door just slightly to see what was going on without being noticed. Unfortunately, the door made a huge creaking sound, so every pony in the room instantly turned to face him. He walked out of the door with his hands up, looking at each pony in the room. “Ah, I see you've decided to join us,” said Celestia. “It is good to have you here. These ponies all have concerns regarding you and your nature.”

“I'm bound by contract to not disclose some of the info, but most of them I'm happy to answer.”

Celestia immediately went to introduce him to all who had gathered. “Fillies and gentlecolts, I would like to introduce you to our castle's newest guest. I would like to introduce to you, Commander Jebediah Kerman!”

Scattered applause quickly gave way to concern as they looked at him. Clad in black leather and blue jeans, he was strangely calm, as if he'd been through this kind of situation before. “Ladies and gentlemen, I am honored to be here today. Your leader Princess Celestia was kind enough to offer me and my comrades housing in this castle, and for that we are thankful. You may have many questions that you want to ask me, but I request that you hold them until the end of this speech.

“About one year ago, four other Kerbals and I left our home planet of Kerbin to perform a scientific mission to yours. About two weeks ago, we first arrived in the system. We landed in a nearby forest and set up a small base of operations around our lander. Yesterday morning, your leader caught wind of our arrival and allowed us to take up a room in this castle.

“We do not want to cause any harm to your people, and will not unless they put our lives at risk. We also hope that we will not inconvenience you for the duration of your stay. In the meantime, if you have any concerns, you can –”

Jebediah's personal communicator buzzed. “Hold on for a second, I have to take this call.” He went into a side alley and pressed a button. “Talk to me, Alsted.”

“Hanald's plane just took off!”

“What? Where?”

“It's heading south, but fuel readings are too low for it to get to you without expending too much fuel to make it back to orbit.”

“Urgh, get on the radio channels with him!”

Bill and Bob were just sitting on a field, recharging the rover's batteries, when something reentered the atmosphere. “Hey guys, got a probe drop going on about three kilometers from your current position,” Hanald relayed. They watched as it cooled off and deployed its chute, and decided to go for it. The rover, while only half charged, had more than enough battery power to get there and back, as well as most of the remaining way to Canterlot, before recharging. They got in the seats and put the rover in gear, and started driving.

The rover's wheels whined under the massive speed they were managing. As they drove, the two Kerbs heard the familiar sound of a heatshield separation. “Well, looks like they found it,” said Bill to Bob. Bob simply nodded and floored the accelerator even harder. They soon pulled up to where the spacecraft had landed, but it was nowhere to be found. Bill relayed this to Alsted, and the three of them decided to drop off the rover out of sight of the town before trying to find where the craft went.

They hid the rover inside a red barn on what appeared to be an apple orchard before heading into the town. Many of the ponies gave them interested looks, while some had fear or hatred. Most simply ignored them. They eventually came to a treehouse structure, where they knocked on the door. It was quite some time before an answer came. “Sorry, but I'm not accepting visi– Oh, it's you.”

“Hello?”

The creature sighed before asking, “What do you want?”

“We're just here for the thing that fell from the sky.”

“I'm sorry, but I can't let you near it.”

“Why not? We own it, after all.”

“As a princess, I have the right to decide whether or not you get it, and I decide you don't.”

“Well then, I guess that since we can't take it, can we at least look at it for a second?”

“Fine, as long as you don't let it leave the library.”

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------BEGIN LOG
PROBE 1A LOG II

SENSOR DATA:

ALTITUDE 134.3M ABOVE SL

TEMP 21C

FUEL 0.0%

ATM PRESS 1.012ATM

GRAV CST 9.81M/S^2

ACCL 1.00G

AWAITING COMMAND

>SEP HEATSHIELD

HEATSHIELD SEP CONFIRMED

>ACCS HD

LOADING FILES

.

.

FILES LOADED

>LOGI.txt

ACCESSING LOGI.txt

.

.

ACCESS DENIED

>LOGII.txt

.

.

RECORDING IN PROGRESS. ACCESS DENIED.

>CAMFEED

DISPLAYING FEED

FEED DISPLAY COMPLETE

>TRANSCRIBE AUDIO

TRANSCRIPTION COMMENCING

.

Unknown voices detected. Voice1(V1), Voice2(V2), and Voice3(V3) will be used as substitutes.

13:21:06 (V1) What... what is it?

13:21:07 (V2) I don't know!

13:21:08 (V3) Is it dangerous?

13:21:14 (V1) Don't touch it!

13:21:14 (V3) Why?

13:21:15 (V1) You don't know if it has dark magic!

13:21:17 New Voice Entry: Voice4(V4), Voice5(V5), Voice6(V6)

13:21:17(V4)Move aside, the Princess is coming through!

13:21:19(V5)Whatever it is, I'm sure that she can handle it!

13:21:20(V6)Ooooh, what is this?

13:21:41 INPUT DETECTED, HEATSHIELD SEP CONFIRMED

13:21:41 (V6) AHH! Oh, it's harmless.

13:21:59 INPUT DETECTED

13:22:01 (V6) Well, whatever it is, may as well take it with me

14:03:17 LOW BATTERY, RECORDING TERMINATED

LOG COMPLETE

SHUTTING DOWN
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Well.” said Bob.

“Yep.” said Bill.

“We have all the information we need, thank you for your time.” said Bob as he left the building.

“Did we actually get anything from that?” asked Bill.

“Nope.”

Hanald sat in the cockpit as the plane cruised through the atmosphere. The whine of the engines had died down as he slowed to a more efficient speed earlier to save fuel. He was already half out of fuel and was barely half way there. He would certainly be able to get to the target LZ; the problem was that he wouldn't have the fuel to get to orbit. Alsted's voice suddenly came through the radio, and he had a slight tone of distress. “Hanald! What are you doing?!”

“I'm just flying down to the LZ,” Hanald said innocently as he fought the controls against a cloud.

“You don't have the fuel!”

“Of course I do! Wait, something's on the radar.”

It appeared to be an extremely large thing, about two kilometers above the surface. Even more than a hundred kilometers away, it was still extremely visible on the spacecraft's screen. “It's... massive!” was all he could say. Suddenly, tens of contacts appeared on the screen. “What...?” was all he could say before he saw a cloud of ponies descended upon him. With no choice, he dove down and prepared to land.

He spotted a relatively long flat zone that he could only guess to be a road of sorts and aimed for it. The plane was in a steep dive, nearing mach 1, when he pulled up and leveled out. The plane's speed quickly dropped, and he aligned himself for the landing. Apparently the road wasn't as deserted as it looked from twenty kilometers up, because there were ponies running off the road for their lives as he approached. He hit the button to extend the landing gear, and was greeted by a familiar whirring. “Getting a bit low,” he said to himself as he lowered the flaps and opened the airbrakes. Suddenly, a familiar jolt reverberated through the plane. “Touchdown!” he stated as the plane rolled to a stop. He opened the hatch and stepped out, only to be greeted by a wall of weapons pointed at him. “You, thing, come with us,” said one of the guards pointing a spear at him. “Shit.” was all he could say as he was handcuffed and put into a cage.

Jeb sat in the hallway, pondering what to do. Hanald had left the cockpit radio on and he could hear all that was going on. “You are an enemy of the state,” said one voice. “We should put you down!” said another. “Wait, guys, I'm just a visitor!” Hanald's voice was loud and clear compared to the others. “Shut up, creature!” said the first voice. “Captain, what should we do with him?”

“Take him to the block.”

Jebediah instinctively went to where the lander would be to grab the rifle, but he realized that he had no clue where to go. Suddenly, the radio chirped again. “Hey, what's this? I hear someone inside here!”

“Hello?” said Jeb. “Where am I?” he said, trying to elicit some information to the guard.

“Little filly, I have no clue where in this... thing you are, but you've just landed on a road almost directly under Cloudsdale.”

Cloudsdale, then. He got up and walked over to the throne room. Once inside, he went straight towards Celestia. “Jebediah, what –“ she began to ask, only to be cut off by Jeb. “I need to get to a place called Cloudsdale, and I need to do it fast.”

Author's Note:

This chapter is mainly a setup for something rather big I have planned, but as always, feel free to point out any grammar, spelling, flow, or logical errors in the story!