• Published 31st May 2014
  • 9,679 Views, 410 Comments

Second Contact - SpartanD014



When Spartan D-014 is randomly ejected from slipspace, he ends up on a strange new world. It's peaceful enough, but not all is as it seems...

  • ...
47
 410
 9,679

Chapter 09

CHAPTER 09


Over the course of the next six days, Adam and the pony scientists continued to repair the damage to the reactor, and, upon completing that task, began to repair some of the smaller things in the engines. And finally, midway through the tenth day of repairs, the pelican was once again in shape to fly. Adam circled the pelican, inspecting every last detail of it for the umpteenth time, running through his mental checklist. As the previous inspections had proven, everything was in good condition, and the flight to the moon, hopefully, would be a successful one. The final step in getting the pelican ready to go was to move it to the landing strip that Princess Luna had ordered to be created. Unfortunately, the strip would not be completed until later today, near nightfall. So, for now, Adam and the ponies were spending the rest of the day relaxing and celebrating. Pinkie Pie had baked several trays of cupcakes, which she was distributing out to everybody. Adam had decided to save his for later, for he was still not quite comfortable with taking off his helmet in the presence of the ponies.

Adam looked around, watching what each pony was doing. Doctors Gazer and Skychaser were talking with their assistants while the schematics of the reactor were on a tablet in front of them, Princess Luna was sitting alone, eating a cupcake, the guards were all in a perimeter formation around the crash site, and Twilight’s friends were all eating cupcakes together. Adam looked around, wondering about the whereabouts of the lavender unicorn. Then he remembered: a few days ago, he had given her limited access to the Wikipedia program on the pelican terminal. Since then, whenever they arrived, she would spend all of her time in there, reading anything she could think of. Adam smiled beneath his helmet and shook his head at her continuing want to learn. He then walked over to Princess Luna, to go over the plan for takeoff. She smiled as he approached.

“Hello, Delta,” she said, finishing off her cupcake. “Is your ship prepared for the launch tonight?” She had clearly been watching him do his inspections.

“Yes,” he replied. “Pelican dropships were built for vertical takeoffs, but horizontal ones were never out of the question. She’ll fly.” Luna smiled again and nodded.

“My sister will be joining us later today,” Luna said. “She told me that she wished to see the progress that was made, and to be there to wish us farewell.”

“Right,” Adam said. “About you coming with me…” Luna frowned, and glared at Adam. Adam quickly put up his hands. “No, no, no, you can still come with me.” At this, Luna calmed down. “It’s just… there’s no oxygen on the moon, and the spacesuits I have in the pelican don’t fit pony anatomy.”

“Ah,” Luna said. “That will not be a problem. I have the ability to summon a field of breathable atmosphere within a certain radius around me. So long as everypony remains in this radius while we are on the moon, we shall be fine.” Adam’s eyes widened, surprised that this was possible.

“Incredible,” he said. “Well, that makes things a lot easier. Hopefully, when we actually get aboard the ship, the damage will be negligible enough that we can get the ship pressurized.” Luna nodded.

“Tell me, Delta,” Luna began to say carefully. “I sense a great sadness within you… what has transpired to cause this?” At this, Adam froze up. It had come out of nowhere. Adam began to carefully pick his words.

“Something…” Adam began, not sure exactly what to say. He did not want to tell them about the Covenant. He would put that off as long as he could, to save them the pain. “Something… bad… happened to humanity a few years ago. A lot of people were… hurt… and the pain is still fresh.” Luna frowned, clearly seeing that he was avoiding the real question. She was about to press further, when a bright gold flash of light encompassed the area, and Princess Celestia appeared, along with several other unicorns. Princess Luna stood up, and Celestia ran to her. They embraced, and smiled at one another.

“Hello, sister,” Celestia said, smiling. Her gaze then shifted to Adam. “And hello to you, Delta.” Despite the fact that Adam had held her at gunpoint only a little over a week ago, her voice harbored no resentment or anger towards the Spartan. Adam nodded at her in greetings.

“Hello, ma’am,” he said. “All ready to see us off tonight?” Celestia smiled.

“Indeed I am,” she said. “These unicorn mages who have accompanied me will be the ones to teleport your ship to the landing strip, as soon as it is finished.” Adam nodded.

“Well, until then, we’re pretty much relaxing and celebrating,” Adam said. “I think Pinkie still has a few cupcakes, if you’re interested.” Celestia grinned at this, and walked over to Pinkie Pie.

“She doesn’t seem mad at me,” Adam said to Luna. “I mean, for me killing one of her guards and holding her at gunpoint.” Luna looked to Adam sympathetically.

“You have more than made up for you crimes here,” Luna said. “While nothing you do can bring that guard back… You have saved the life of another guard, and her student, Twilight Sparkle.”

“I’ve been meaning to ask,” Adam continued. “How is that guard doing?”

“Night Flyer?” Luna replied. “He shall be fine. While his wounds have taken much longer to heal with magic than Twilight Sparkle’s did, he will make a full recovery.” Adam laughed.

“That magic of yours sure does come in handy,” he said. Luna nodded in agreement. “In fact, once I’m back, I’ll-.” Adam was cut off as Twilight Sparkle exited the pelican, tears staining her lavender cheeks. Princess Celestia noticed, and ran to her student’s aid.

“Twilight!” she cried. “What is the matter?” Twilight ignored the Princess, and walked to Adam, grabbing him in an embrace.

“I’m sorry!” Twilight cried between tears. “If we had known, if- if we- we wouldn’t have…” Twilight could not continue as her tears began to overwhelm her once more.

“Twilight,” Adam whispered, trying to comfort her. “What are you talking about?”

“I- I read,” Twilight began, her tears subsiding, though she was still shaking. “The- the war… The Covenant… So many, gone!” Twilight burst into tears again, and Adam froze. He thought that he had blocked all pages relating to the Covenant. He had blocked the various species involved, the alliance itself, their history… But not the war. Adam cursed to himself as he realized that, while he had blocked everything about the Covenant themselves, he had blocked nothing about the Human-Covenant War.

“My god, Twilight,” Adam said. “I’m so sorry you read that.” Adam mentally reprimanded himself. He had taken every precaution to protect these peaceful beings from the truth of the Covenant, but it had all been in vain for a stupid mistake. At this, Luna and Celestia stepped in.

“What is she talking about?” Luna asked. “What did she read?” All of the other ponies, minus the guards and Celestia’s unicorn assistants, were now gathered around Adam, urging him to explain. Adam sighed.

“Are you sure you want to hear this?” he asked them gravely. They all nodded, and Celestia put a hoof on his shoulder.

“You can share anything with us,” she said. Adam sighed one again, and sat down on the ground. The ponies mirrored his movements, and all gathered around.

“Alright,” he began. “Here goes…

“31 years ago, we had a colony on a planet called Harvest. It was fairly small, it only had a population of about 300,000, and it was the most distant colony we had ever established. This colony was on the fringes of known space, and for that, we were careless…

“We made first contact, with an alliance of alien species known as the Covenant. We attempted to make peace, but they claimed that the world belonged to them, and that our presence there was desecration. They began an invasion of the planet. Compared to us, they were far more technologically advanced. They had massive warships that destroyed entire cities with beams of plasma that they fired from orbit. It didn’t take long for us to lose Harvest. But we were humans, and humans don’t back down easily.

“We sent a massive fleet, one of the largest ever assembled, to take Harvest back. And after five long years, we did it. But not before the Covenant burned the world and turned it into a ball of glass.”

By now all of the ponies shared shocked expressions that something so terrible could happen. But they wanted the full story, so Adam continued.

“But that wasn’t the end of it. The Covenant continued fighting us, and soon we realized that they didn’t want to subjugate humanity… They wanted us gone. All of us, men, women, children, gone. They didn’t care. We were a blight on the galaxy and an affront to their gods, so we had to go. They destroyed colony after colony, slaughtering billions of people. And while occasionally we would win a battle, the end to the war was not in sight.

“So we adapted. That’s what humans do when we’re met with a seemingly unsurmountable challenge. We adapt. We created new soldiers, new warships, and new technologies, to push the Covenant back. Everything we did had one singular purpose: to protect our original homeworld, Earth. And for a while, we did just that. We pushed back Covenant assaults, and while we continued to lose colonies, the location of Earth remained a secret. Or so we thought. On October 20th, 2552, the Battle for Earth began.”

At this point, most of the ponies in the group were tearing up, or, in Fluttershy’s case, were already crying. Even Rainbow Dash began to feel the moisture of tears collecting beneath her eyes.

“Most of us thought that was it: Earth was found, the Covenant were glassing, and many were dead. Until a miracle happened. One alien race that was a part of the Covenant, a race that we call Elites, started to disagree with the Covenant’s leadership. They had uncovered evidence that pointed to their gods not being real. This caused them to split off, and the Covenant was flung into a civil war. We took this opportunity to regroup, and, in the midst of the confusion, we eliminated their leadership. With nobody to listen to anymore, we stepped in and provided them with evidence that the gods that they were killing us for were not real, but were actually an alien race that had died off a hundred thousand years ago. Upon finding out that their gods were false, and their mission was a lie engineered by their leadership, the Covenant disbanded, and are now incredibly weak. We stepped in to the power vacuum left behind, and the Covenant are all but eliminated.”

All of the ponies, even Rainbow Dash, were crying at this point. Princess Celestia stepped forward, and placed a hoof on Adam’s shoulder.

“I’m…” she began, but was interrupted as she continued to wipe away her tears. “I’m so sorry. If we had known, then we wouldn’t… we wouldn’t have reacted to your presence with such hostility.” Celestia lowered her head, and stepped back. Luna raised her head, and wiped away her tears.

“How…” Luna asked. “How many were lost?” All of the ponies perked up at this question. They had all been wondering it, but were all too afraid to ask.

“Between the soldiers who died fighting, and the civilians who died in the glassing…” Adam began. “… We estimate that we lost about 23 billion humans.” All of the ponies tears were restored at hearing this, and Fluttershy fell to the ground, bawling. Rainbow Dash, still crying herself, flew down to comfort her Pegasus friend.

Adam began to feel anger welling up from within him. It was a problem he dealt with often, mainly whenever he recounted the story of the Human-Covenant War within his mind. He stood up, and began to stalk towards the pelican.

“Let me know when the launch strip is ready,” was all he said before he stepped inside and closed the hatch.


The ponies all stood in stunned silence after hearing Delta recount the story of the war. Occasionally a sniffle could be heard as the ponies continued to feel sorrow for the humans.

“23 billion dead…” Applejack said. “Ah just don’t understand! How can somepony hate somepony else so much enough to do that!” Twilight shook her head, wiping away tears.

“It’s called genocide,” she said. “The senseless killing of a group of individuals simply for existing.”

“Wow…” Rainbow Dash said. “I’m glad the humans won. What if the Covenant had come after us next!?” The ponies all nodded in agreement. It was not something that they liked to consider.

“Should we…” Fluttershy began to say, still crying. “Should we… comfort him?” Pinkie’s mane had fallen completely flat, but she perked up at this.

“Yeah,” she said somberly. “I still have some cupcakes…” Celestia shook her head.

“No,” said the Princess. “Right now, I sense great anger from Delta. We should give him some alone time. He shall return to us when he is ready.”

“I hope he’s not upset that I found that…” Twilight said. “If I hadn’t, then he wouldn’t have had to tell the story, and he wouldn’t be so upset…” Celestia walked to Twilight, and draped a wing around her.

“It is not your fault, my faithful student,” she said. “And now that we know, we can help him through it. For now though, we shall wait.”


SPARTAN LOG – SUNDAY, JUNE 1ST, 2556
LOCATION: UKNOWN
TIME OF RECORDING: 1729 HOURS

RECORDING STARTED…

They found out about the Covenant. And it’s my fault. I accidentally left the page on the Human-Covenant War unblocked, and that had everything that Twilight needed to know on it. She came out, crying, apologizing for how the ponies had reacted to me. I then explained to everybody else present what she was talking about… I told them about the war. They didn’t take it well. They were all crying when I left. However they took it, I’m sure they took it better than I did. God, I was there, I lost countless friends and loved ones in the war, and it still gets to me. I’m a Spartan now! These kinds of things aren’t supposed to affect me! Why… Why can’t I get over this?

*sigh*

… The repairs to the pelican are done. All I’m waiting on now is the completion of the launch strip, and the go-ahead from the Princesses. In a few hours, I’ll be aboard Lightning, and I’ll drop the rescue beacon. Once again, Spartan D-014 signing off…

RECORDING STOPPED.

RECORDING ARCHIVED.

SIGNING OFF…

Adam backed away from the Pelican computer, and ventured into the troop compartment. It had grown quite messy with the trash that had accumulated from his living in there. Before takeoff, he would have to clean it up. Adam figured that now was good a time as any, as he had, at this point, been sitting in his pelican alone for several hours, and he gathered up the various pieces of garbage lying around in the dropship. He then opened the back hatch, and stepped outside. The ponies were all sitting together, conversing quietly, but giving Adam his space. He was glad that they respected him enough to recognize that he needed to be alone right now. He dumped his trash next to the pile of damaged parts, and then walked back into the pelican. As he entered, he heard a pop noise, and the sound of parchment unfurling. He turned around, and saw that Celestia was levitating a letter that she had just received. She skimmed over it, then smiled, and rolled it back up. Princess Celestia stood up, and made her way to Adam.

“Delta!” she called out. “I have good news! The launch strip is complete, and they are all ready for us. Are you ready to go?” Adam smiled beneath his helmet.

“Just let me make one last inspection,” he said. “Then let’s get going.” Celestia nodded and stood back, allowing Adam to walk around the ship as he inspected each part. All of the engines had been cleaned, and any damaged part had been replaced. Luna had then kindly levitated the pelican for a few seconds, which allowed Adam to deploy the landing gear and get it in a proper, upright position. He circled the pelican completely, then walked over to the ponies.

“It all looks good,” he said. “You all help me clear up the area around it. Princess, you can tell your unicorn assistants to get ready.” The various ponies nodded, and walked off to do their tasks. The four scientists, Twilight Sparkle, her friends, and Adam all went to clear off the area around the pelican. When they were finished, they met back up with Princess Celestia.

“My unicorns are prepared to teleport the ship,” she said. “Are you ready?” Adam took a look back at the pelican, then stared at Celestia.

“Do it,” he replied. Celestia nodded to her assistants, and they each took a position around the pelican. It began to glow several different colors, and it began to shake. Then, there was a bright flash of light, and the pelican disappeared from in front of them. The unicorns all collapsed to the ground, exhausted, and the guards walked over to help them up.

“Excellent work!” Celestia said. “Delta, shall we now go to the launch strip?” Adam nodded.

“And just where is the launch strip?” he asked. He had ordered it to be made, but had not yet inquired about its position.

“It is located just outside of the Everfree forest, on the side opposite Ponyville,” Celestia replied. “Please, this way.” Celestia began to walk out of the clearing, flanked by her guards. Luna, the scientists, and the Ponyville ponies followed behind. Adam took one more look at the clearing, and then followed behind them.


Rainbow Dash flew alongside her friends as the group all made the journey to the launch strip that Delta had ordered. She was feeling mixed emotions about the flight. On one hoof, she would be among the first ponies ever to go into space! On the other, she would be entrusting her life to this human to fly them up there safely. Dash knew a thing or two about flying, and she found it hard to believe that that huge thing flew. But Delta seemed calm about it, and he had done it many times before. He had proven himself to be mostly trustworthy, so Dash decided to trust him.

As she floated along, her mind began to wander to the Covenant. Equestria had a population of only about thirteen million. For the humans to have lost 23 billion… It was impossible for her to wrap her head around. Dash banished the thoughts from her mind, and once again focused on the prospect of going to space. She wondered briefly just how fast the craft could go. Dash could break the speed of sound, she had demonstrated this talent several times, and that was not nearly enough to escape the atmosphere. She would have to ask Delta. Slowly, she dropped off from her position hovering next to her friends, and fell back to fly alongside the human.

“Hey,” she said. Delta did not reply at first.

“Hello,” he finally replied.

“I was just wondering,” Dash began. “If that ship of yours can go to outer space… how fast does it go?” Delta perked up at the question. It was likely taking his mind off of the Covenant.

“Well, the main engines themselves don’t go too fast, only capping at about 500 kilometers per hour,” Delta explained. “But the primary thrusters, which I use to achieve escape velocity, are capable at reaching incredibly high speeds. For example, on Earth, they can reach escape velocity, which is 11.2 kilometers per second. So it goes fairly fast.” Dash stopped flying and stared, wide eyed, at the Spartan. Could that be possible? Could something really go that fast? Well, Dash thought. I’ll find out soon. Dash continued flying and looked ahead. Just a few hundred meters away she saw light beginning to flood through the trees. She smiled. They were almost out.


After Adam finished explaining how fast a pelican could go to the excited Pegasus, he smiled, amused, at her shock. He then looked ahead, and noticed that they were nearing the edge of the forest. Only a couple of minutes later, and they were out. Once out, Adam noticed that, only about a hundred meters away was the launch strip he had ordered. And, while he couldn’t be sure, it looked to be the exact length he had ordered: 550 meters. As Adam drew closer, he noticed that it was not just a dirt strip, like he had expected. Rather, it was made out of a very firm material that reminded him of concrete, but with a darker color, and a more metallic texture. Whatever it was made of, he hoped the melting point wasn’t too low… Adam then turned to inspect his pelican. It was at the end of the landing strip closest to him, facing down the runway. Adam smiled, satisfied. He then checked his chrono. Already the sun was nearing the horizon, and the HUD read that it was 1831 hours. Very soon, they would be in orbit.

“Alright!” Adam said, turning to face the ponies. “If you’re coming along on the flight, step up front with me. If not, please stand back, and once you hear those engines come online, cover your ears.” The ponies did as they were told, with Princess Luna, Twilight Sparkle, Doctor Gazer, and Rainbow Dash stepping forward, and everyone else stepping back. Adam directed his head towards the pelican, instructing the ponies to follow him. Once he was at the ship, he stepped into the troop bay. Then, he turned to face them again.

“Now, these seats aren’t going to be the most comfortable,” he said. “But they should work fine. Come on up, I’ll strap you in.” Princess Luna was the first to step up, and she walked to the very back to the troop bay, by the cockpit entrance. She awkwardly sat down in the human-intended seat, and Adam brought the harness down over her. It barely fit, but it still fell within safety regulations. Adam repeated the task three more times, until all of the ponies were sitting in the seats.

“Okay,” he said. “Now stay put here, I’m going to run through the pre-flight checklist, then we’ll get underway.” The ponies all nodded, and squirmed in their seats. Adam walked into the cockpit, and secured himself in the pilot’s seat. He began bringing the various systems online, and began to check through everything, making sure it was all working. The reactor was generating plenty of energy, and it was all flowing to the correct engines. The engines were showing that they were operational, and ready to go. He pressed a button and closed the back hatch, then started to close the cockpit door. He stopped when he realized that the ponies may want to see him for the duration of the flight, and so he kept it open. Adam then spared a glance out of the window, and saw the ponies standing outside covering their ears. He spun the engines up to full power, and soon the sound began to permeate even the pelican. Adam turned on the intercom to address the ponies.

“Everyone ready back there?” he asked. He looked back behind him, and they all nodded. “Good. Prepare for takeoff.” Adam turned off the brakes on the wheels, and slowly inched the controls forward. Very gradually, they began moving down the runway, slowly picking up speed. He checked the speedometer every few seconds, waiting for it to reach the speeds necessary for takeoff. The dial slowly continued moving up, until it gave him the first confirmation. Slowly, he began to rotate the flaps and engine pods, angling them downwards. He felt a slight bump as the front wheel left the ground. There was still a hundred meters of runway left, and he intended to use it all. He rotated the engine pods even more, and felt another bump as the back wheels came up as well. Now off the ground, Adam angled the pelican upwards, and fired the engines. He looked out the window as the ground was falling away below him. Once at a respectable height, he pulled the landing gear up, and locked them in place.

“Takeoff successful,” he said over the intercom. “Firing primary thrusters at 85,000 meters.” Adam looked behind him and saw the ponies all sigh in relief. Dash, ironically, seemed to be the most nervous, likely because she was used to being in control when flying. Adam turned back around to focus on the ship systems. Everything was operating efficiently, as though it had never been damaged. He checked the altimeter every few seconds, waiting for it to hit 85,000 meters: the mesopause. 70,000 meters… 75,000 meters… 80,000 meters… The ship was quickly approaching the edge of the mesosphere, so Adam began to warm up the primary thrusters.

“All passengers, prepare for firing of primary thrusters,” he said. The ponies all tensed up in their seats nervously. The altimeter let out a rapid beeping noise as it read 85,000 meters, and Adam gave full power to the primary thrusters. He jolted backwards, his harness keeping him in the seat, and the ship fired forwards, exiting the planet. It only took a few seconds to break free of orbit, and Adam immediately set course for the moon. Once the course was laid in, he set it on autopilot, and freed himself from the harness, floating up.

Adam pushed himself into the troop compartment to check on his passengers. They were all a little shaken up, but everyone seemed to be okay. He angled his feet at the ground, and activated his magnetized boots. He quickly fell and clamped to the ground. Then, he slowly marched over to Princess Luna, and undid her harness. She began to float free around the cabin. Adam did this with the other three ponies, and soon, they were all floating above their seats.

“We’ll arrive at the moon in just over two hours,” he said. “I’ve set us on autopilot, and it will alert me when we’re just a few kilometers from the moon. For now, we can just relax and float freely.” The ponies were all attempting to adjust to the lack of gravity, though Rainbow Dash seemed to be the most confused. She was used to using her wings for transportation, but with nothing to flap against, they were useless.

“This is weird,” she said as she flipped around, occasionally bouncing off of the walls.

“Fascinating…” Twilight said to herself as she experimented with movement.

“Have a look out the window,” Adam said to the ponies. He pointed to the small back window set into the hatch. They all pushed themselves over to it, and looked through.

“Oh my…” Doctor Gazer said, putting a hoof to his mouth. “It’s… beautiful.” From the view out of the window, all of the ponies could see their home, Equis. Equestria was the center of focus, for it was where they had taken off from, but many of the other countries on the supercontinent were also visible.

“I remember the first time I saw my home from space,” Adam said. He thought back to his childhood days on Reach, living in New Alexandria. “It was the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.” His family had frequently travelled from Reach to visit the rest of their family on Earth, which gave him the opportunity to, at a young age, view his planet from space. He shook away the old memories, and looked back to the cockpit. They still had quite a bit of time before reaching the moon. In the meantime, they could exchange stories. Adam could tell them about humanity, and perhaps he could learn a bit about ponykind too.


The next hour and fifty minutes were occupied with questioning and storytelling by both species. Adam told them much about human history, and any information on Lightning that he thought was important. In return, they had told him about pony history. It seemed almost like something out of a fairytale. In the beginning of their world, the three pony tribes were constantly at war with one another. Finally, they made peace, and Celestia and Luna were born to be leaders. Adam already knew that they were immensely powerful, but he had no idea that their lifespans were a hundred times longer than that of a human’s. Then, a being named Discord had risen up, and plunged the world into chaos. Celestia and Luna used something called the “Elements of Harmony” to defeat him, and he was encased in stone. Then, a thousand years later, Luna became jealous of her sister, and Celestia was forced to banish her to the moon for a thousand years. Luna became quite embarrassed and ashamed as Twilight recounted this part of the story. Adam would normally have not believed a word he had just heard, but with his experiences in Equestria, these events seemed somewhat normal.

The story ended as Adam began to hear a rapid alarm coming from the cockpit.

“What’s that?” asked Doctor Gazer nervously. Adam stood up and navigated himself back into the cockpit.

“Strap in, everyone,” he said. “We’re approaching the moon.” Adam deactivated his magboots, secured himself in the pilot’s seat, and checked to see that the ponies had done the same. It had taken them some effort, but after a bit of struggling, they were all in their seats. Adam checked their distance from the moon: only three kilometers. He used the pelican’s short-range scanners to search for any UNSC ships in the area. On the third scan, it finally picked up the very faint IFF of Lightning.

“I’ve found Lightning,” he reported to the ponies. “Taking us in.” Adam then deactivated auto-pilot, and took them down to the surface of the moon manually. After flying for several more minutes, the pelican flew over a massive crater. On the opposite edge of the crater sat something that was rather out of place. Lodged into the ancient moon rock, and slightly tilted to the side, sat the Strident-class heavy frigate, Lightning.

Author's Note:

Well, I said last night that Chapter 09 would be out soon, and here we have it. Adam has now finally found Lightning.

It only gets more exciting from here, and I'm looking forward to getting the next chapter out. If you find any mistakes, either spelling, grammatical, or lore-wise, please inform me. I hope you enjoy, and thanks for reading!