• Published 6th May 2012
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Space Captain Pinkie Pie - terrycloth



Rainbow Dash reveals the little-known fact that pegasi can survive in outer space.

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12: Party Games

Luckily for the cause of interplanetary peace, Rainbow Dash was still taped into near-immobility, and by the time she or Tess could move again it was too late for either of them to pretend that conflict was appropriate. The visiting ponies were almost done going through the vocal training regimen to complete Chance’s language patch, and they and the moon ponies could already mostly understand each other speaking out loud.

“Stupid verger force field,” Tess grumbled. “Next time…”

Rainbow Dash peered down at Tess over the edge of the table. The pegasus’ fur was still fairly sticky from the vacuum tape, and she had hours of preening ahead of her if she wanted to fly at full speed. “Any time you want a rematch, weasel girl.”

Twilight Sparkle looked up at Chance from her place in his lap. “’Verger’? I thought you said you turned off cognates,” she said. “Unless it means ‘one who verges’, I suppose.”

“Thought cough though dough tough!” said Pinkie Pie, over by the training program, bouncing in glee as another five points were added to her score.

“In which case the question would be, ‘verges on what’,” Twilight added.

Chance stroked his claws through Twilight’s mane, in lieu of a comb. “Once upon a time, in the magical land of the Milky Way galaxy…”

“Don’t sugar-coat it,” Tess said. “The singularity nearly wiped out all life, but that doesn’t stop crazy vergers from pushing right up to the edge of sustainable technology.”

“Ignore her,” Chance said. “She’s twitchy.”

Rainbow Dash laughed as Tess twitched and looked away.

“It’s a technical term,” Chance continued, frowning at Rainbow Dash. “She needs someone to go in and adjust her behavioral implants, but she doesn’t trust me, and there’s no one else left who’s qualified.”

“Behavioral… implants?” Twilight said, squinting as she tried to picture what that might mean. The first few images that came to mind were not very nice things at all. “Please tell me that doesn’t mean what I think it means.”

“I’m not sure I can even explain this in Equestrian,” Chance said, frowning as he doodled a picture of a ferret in his notebook. “Do you have a word for ‘amniomorphic’ – well, what do you know! You do!”

Rainbow Dash glanced at Twilight. “It’s your fault they have a word for that, isn’t it.”

“Maybe,” Chance said, continuing his sketches with a bipedal but scary, jagged looking ferret. “If she ever read a book on it by moonlight. We’ve been spying on you for months, collecting language data.” He drew a line from the original ferret to the scary one.

“So you’re wizard-created monsters, like griffons or manticores,” Twilight said, trying to ignore the ‘spying’ part.

“I thought they looked suspicious,” Rainbow Dash said. “Skulking star weasels…”

“We’re not weasels,” Tess snapped. “We’re moon ponies.” She paused for a second, then added, “God damn it, Chance!”

“Sorry, Tess, but I had to turn off cognates,” Chance said. “I had no idea if their language even used the same sounds.” To the ponies, he added, “The actual word is –“ he made a sound like an extremely hoarse bird trying and failing to chirp, “—but it’s short for ‘space ferrets’.”

“The important thing is that we’re…” Tess paused, and braced herself. “Ponies. Not monsters.”

“Well of course you are!” Pinkie Pie said, leaping onto the table. “Anypony that wants to be a pony is a pony to ponies!” As everyone stared at her, she added, “Oh, and I finally won your game, Chance. Which means it’s time for cake!”

“Pinkie,” Twilight said, “Chance was in the middle of explaining something important.”

“Cake is important,” Pinkie Pie said. “It’s not a party without cake. He can explain while it’s in the oven.”

“Um, hate to be the one to tell you this, Pinkie? But your oven is kind of smashed into a million pieces,” Rainbow Dash said.

“So we’ll use their oven! You don’t mind if we use your oven, doooo yoooou Chancie Wancie?” Pinkie Pie asked, grinning wide, giant sparkling eyes staring into Chance’s relatively small and beady ones.

Chance winced. “Well, it’s a special oven, Pinkie. Advanced oven technology. I don’t think it’s a good idea to play around with it if you don’t know how it works.”

Pinkie Pie laughed, and leaped off the table, heading for the door. “You sound like Twilight! But don’t worry, I’m a professional!”

-Go with her,- he told Tess silently. -Show her how it works.-

Tess sighed. “I’d better go with you and make sure you don’t blow anything up. The rest of you wait here. In this room.”

Rainbow Dash glared at her, and flapped her wings to hover up into the air, but then looked back at Twilight, not wanting to leave her alone either. “If anything happens to Pinkie you’ll be answering to me,” she said.

===

Pinkie Pie bounced into the kitchen ahead of Tess, and headed for the fridge. “You know your own kitchen better than me, so why don’t you find the flour and sugar and stuff, and I’ll get the milk and eggs and butter?”

“The what?” Tess said, ignoring her as she opened the cabinet with the cake mix packets. She heard a hiss as Pinkie Pie opened the fridge. “Hey! Stay out of there!”

Pinkie Pie stared at the contents of the refrigerator, then nosed it closed. “You moon ponies eat really strange stuff. I mean, that doesn’t even look like food.”

“Look, this is really easy,” Tess explained, pouring the cake mix packet into a baking pan and adding a little water at the sink. “All you do is take the mix and add a little water, then put it in the oven and tell it what it’s baking.“ She demonstrated.

Pinkie sang the second verse. “Just mix it up and beep beep bleep, no sugar, milk, or butter? That’s really kind of boring, how long will it be taking?”

The oven beeped again, and Tess took out the finished cake. “Five seconds.”

Pinkie’s eyes went wide. “Do it again!”

“Why?” Tess asked.

Pinkie Pie hopped onto the counter and stuck her head in the oven. “How does it work? Is it cooked all the way through? Do you use moon pony magic to make it cook so fast? Or time travel! Does it travel in time from the future where it’s baked to deliver it to us now?”

“No, it uses coherent light beams – damn it, Chance.” Tess closed her eyes, and calmly read out the overly verbose description of ‘x-ray lasers’. “Coherent light beams in the 0.005 to 5 billionths of an inch wavelength range.”

Pinkie Pulled her head out of the oven. “I have no idea what you just said, so I’m going to go with ‘magic oven created by evil wizards’. Is that okay?”

“Sure, whatever,” Tess said, one corner of her mouth turning up for a second, before slipping back into her usual frown. She tossed a smaller packet of mix at Pinkie Pie, who caught it in her mouth. “That’s the icing. It doesn’t need to be cooked.”

“Yay!” Pinkie Pie said, “I get to do the icing! You’re my second-favorite moon pony, Tess.”

Tess rolled her eyes as Pinkie Pie started whipping the frosting mix in a tiny bowl.

“You remind me a lot of Dashie,” Pinkie Pie said, a bit garbled around the spoon, although she had plenty of practice talking with spoons in her mouth. “You never smile though. What would it take to get you to smile?” Pinkie smiled at her, letting go of the spoon for a second. “Normally I’d try slapstick, but that’d probably just make you worry.”

Tess sighed. “Look, Pinkie Pie, it’s really simple, okay? If you want to make me happy, fix the ship, give back Warp and Wolf, and let us out of this crazy pocket universe you’ve got going here. OR…”

Pinkie Pie leaned close to her, expectantly.

“…let Chance mess with my behavioral implants and force me to be calm and happy, like a moon pony is supposed to be,” Tess finished. “Maybe I’d forget all about our friends, like he seems to have.”

“Or,” Pinkie Pie said, “you could enjoy the party, have some fun, and then worry about getting off the moon and finding your friends and what the poison joke is going to do to you later.”

Tess looked at Pinkie Pie, and tried to grin. Pinkie backed up, stumbling over her hooves with a look of terror on her face, and ending up falling into the sink. “Yeah,” Tess said, as she fished the pink pony out, “didn’t think that’d work.”

===

“Wait,” Tess said, as Pinkie Pie bounced down the hallway with the finished cake inexplicably remaining balanced on her backside, “The poison what?”

===

“This is amazing!” Twilight gushed, as she waved her hooves to zoom and scroll the three dimensional image of the crash. “I’ve heard of magic mirrors, but they were always ‘show me the fairest of them all’. Nothing like this!”

Chance and Tess were eating cake near the back of the room with varying degrees of nervousness.

“Wow, how did we survive that?” Rainbow Dash asked, as they watched the jar shatter in slow motion.

“You shouldn’t have,” Tess replied.

“Stop,” Twilight said, and the picture froze. She made a dotted box around a purple blur. “Computer, zoom and enhance.” Sure enough, it was her tangled saddlebags, marked with her cutie mark and bulging with books and, more importantly, the cure to the poison joke. “Computer, advance at 1% speed.”

In extreme slow motion, the ponies and moon ponies watched the saddlebags get ripped open by a sharp piece of glass, scattering the contents. “Stop,” Twilight said, then highlighted a spray of herbs erupting from a small torn packet.

“Well, that’s it, we’re hosed,” Rainbow Dash said.

Pinkie Pie giggled, and rustled her leafy mane. “Oh Dashie, it might not be so bad. My joke’s kind of growing on me.”

“What’s going to happen to us,” Chance asked, still sounding calm, but a bit scary at the same time.

“No pony knows!” Pinkie Pie said happily. “It’s a surprise! Maybe we can make it a party game – guess the joke?”

“It won’t be fatal,” Twilight Sparkle said, sighing. “I mean, we’re safe in here, right? If we were all disabled for a few days or weeks we wouldn’t die.”

Rainbow Dash curled up on the table, her wings folded tight to her sides. “Pinkie Pie’s already been joked, and her joke was completely harmless. Maybe ours’ll be harmless too. Right?”

“What do you mean by disabled,” Chance asked.

“It could do pretty much anything,” Twilight Sparkle said, zooming in on Thunder Lane to try to figure out if he’d been as lucky in the crash as the rest of them. “The last time I was joked I lost the use of my magic, and Rainbow Dash had her wings put on backwards.”

“Rainbow Crash!” Pinkie Pie giggled.

“But it could really do anything,” Twilight said. “Any joke. It’s not like it’s going to turn us into stone or something.” She felt a twinge in her back hoof, and glanced back at it, to see it turning gray and pebbly. “No… no!” she said, trying to scramble back away from her own hoof as the effect climbed up her hindlegs. She looked at Pinkie desperately. “Pinkie – Captain! Make it stop!”

“I’m not doing it!” Pinkie Pie said, but shook her mane and concentrated anyway. It failed to have any effect.

Twilight’s horn glowed as she tried to counterspell the transformation, but unicorn magic had never had any effect on chaos magic, and by the time her hindquarters were stone she collapsed, exhausted, grimacing in pain.

“Where’s the exit?” Rainbow Dash asked, leaping to her hooves. “I don’t care if the packet’s scattered across the plain, I’ll find the pieces and we can still make the cure, alright Twilight?”

“No – don’t go outside!” Twilight said, wheezing as her lungs hardened. “No pony who’s joked! It might… mess with… space…”

“Don’t worry, Twilight,” Pinkie Pie said, staring into the unicorn’s eyes as the wave of stone crept up her neck. “I’ll stay right here and keep you company. You won’t have to be alone.”

“I won’t… hear you…” Twilight gasped, and then her face was frozen in an expression of horror.

Pinkie Pie stared into the eyes of the unicorn statue, and waved a hoof in front of it a few times. “Huh,” she said. “Never mind then!”

“Tess,” Chance said, “I think you really need to let me adjust your implants before you suffer serious trauma.”

“She took off,” Rainbow Dash said. “Want me to go after her?”

-Tess!- Chance sent over the radio, but she didn’t respond.

“I think I’m going to have to add this to the list of bad party games,” Pinkie Pie said gloomily.

===

They found a brown and white unicorn which, by process of elimination, had to be Tess in the kitchen, fumbling at one of the guns from the refrigerator with her hooves. It wasn’t clear who she’d been planning to shoot. By that point Rainbow Dash had also turned, shooting stunning blasts of electricity from her mane and tail and wings whenever she got near any pony or anything metal, which was most of the ship. Chance was lucky enough not to be affected by the poison joke at all, although he’d been standing next to Rainbow Dash and got zapped pretty badly when she started to discharge.

“This isn’t as bad as it looks,” Pinkie Pie said, nuzzling at the weeping unicorn while Chance was off in another room, trying to write a program to track the individual leaves and flowers that sprayed from the bag, in the hopes of recovering the poison joke cure.

“It’s pretty bad,” Rainbow Dash said, stomping her feet with little sparks as she stood on the table in the middle of a perfectly empty room across the hall from the kitchen. “Twilight’s a statue, Tess is a basket case, and I’m stuck here next to all these awesome toys and can’t play with any of them. I can’t even go outside and fly because Chance thinks I’ll break his air lock.”

Pinkie Pie started to sing a quiet song, while combing Tess’s mane with a fork. "Some days are dark and lonely, and maybe you feel sad, but Pinkie will be there to remind you that it isn’t that bad!"

“Ditzy and Derpy probably left for home hours ago – if we got separated we were supposed to meet up back on the ground,” Rainbow Dash said. “I guess they might send a rescue team with another batch of magic bubble bath, but it’s Ditzy. And Derpy.”

“Mud’s healthy, though,” Pinkie Pie said. “Rarity’s always taking mud baths, right? I bet moon mud baths are super duper extra healthy, and good for your mane, too.”

“They won’t cure poison joke, though,” Rainbow Dash said, adding an “Ow!” as a particularly large snap of static electricity arced from one of her wings.

“They will if the bubble bath is mixed in with it, right?” Pinkie Pie said. “Just like if you mix up cake and frosting before you put it in the oven, it comes out as a horrible gooey mess but you can still eat it and you won’t die or anything.”

“Centrifuge,” Tess said, blinking away her tears. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash stared at her blankly. “Tell Chance to go gather up all the dust from the area the packet sprayed over, and put it through a centrifuge. Even he should be able to operate one of those.”

“I have no idea what you just said, but I’ll go get Chance and you can tell him. You won’t hurt yourself while I’m gone, will you?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“I’ll go with you,” Tess said. “I don’t want to be alone.”

“Hey!” Rainbow Dash said. “What am I, chopped lavender?”

“Don’t tempt me,” Tess grumbled, as she and Pinkie Pie headed down the hall.