• 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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16: Moon is Mine

Rainbow Dash flapped her wings slowly, hovering in midair. The mining ray was taped to her belly, with loops of tape going across her shoulders and haunches – it was longer than she was, and thick enough that she wasn’t able to walk with it on. Her legs were able to reach the safety and trigger buttons on the side, at least, although without being able to read the dials she was forbidden from touching the intensity and wavelength settings.

The moon ponies wore theirs slung over their backs. They were bulky, but not really heavy.

All three of them wore special anti-coherent-light goggles, taken from a box in the fridge’s crisper. “Without these, you go blind,” was Tess’ terse explanation. The lenses weren’t positioned quite right for a pony, and it took both moon ponies fiddling with the supposedly-adjustable elastic to get them on Rainbow Dash properly.

“How do I look?” Rainbow Dash asked, folding her forelegs across the mining ray’s huge square barrel, as if she was lounging on it instead of taped to it.

Pinkie Pie bounced a couple times. “Pretty awesome!”

“Pretty awkward,” was Twilight’s analysis.

Tess eyed the lazily flapping wings that were barely creating a downdraft, let alone enough lift to hold the mining ray in midair even ignoring the weight of the pegasus. “Physically impossible.”

“That’s my deal,” Rainbow Dash said. “I make the impossible happen!”

“Good,” Tess said. “We’ll need it, since none of us have the slightest idea how to actually mine with these things.”

“Why am I not surprised,” Twilight Sparkle said.

“It’s not like that,” Chance said. “We have a skill patch in the library, but we can’t get to it right now. So we’re just going to have to figure it out through trial and error.”

“The funny kind of error, or the oh my Celestia what happened to my leg kind of error?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“It’s kind of funny either way,” Chance said, grinning. Rainbow Dash laughed and held up a hoof towards him. He slapped it instead of hoof-bumping, but it was close enough.

===

The surface of the moon was quiet and creepy. The hills they’d come to mine were far enough down the slope that the ‘flat’ ground to either side of the rise was obviously tilted, and the moondust in the area didn’t glow. Even moondust they tracked from the still-glowing sections darkened as soon as they crossed the line into the dark area – apparently it was all in cahoots.

Rainbow glanced down at the piece of ‘smart paper’ taped to her fetlock. Tess had set it up to show her a transcript of what the moon ponies and the ponies back on the ship were saying, like the script to some sort of play, and supposedly she could write back using the fake quill hung around her neck, although mouth-writing was never her favorite thing in the world and she hadn’t actually tried it yet. The moon ponies weren’t being very talkative either, since trudging through the thick dust was tiring for ponies without wings. That left it covered with an uninterrupted stream of consciousness rambling from Pinkie Pie.

PP: The stars are yours my dear.
PP: They’ve never looked so near.
PP: They sparkle like your eyes,
PP: that spread as wide as pies,
PP: when I say have your stars.
PP: We’ll share the sun, it’s ours!
PP: It’s okay, dear, it’s fine…
PP: because the moon is mine!

Rainbow Dash grabbed the stylus, and wrote, ‘Is she singing?’ at the bottom of the page as the rhymes kept coming.

CE: Yep.
TS: Do you really have to ask?
TT: We can’t make her stop.
DH: Hi Rainbow Dash!
PP: Mine all mine, with rays or shovels
CE: Okay, I’m going to mark out the edge of the tunnel we want to dig.
PP: And other things that somehow rhyme with shovels
TS: Hovels?

Rainbow looked up from the nonsense on the paper as Chance started firing his mining ray. It was a bit disappointing not to see any visible beam – was that the goggles’ fault? – but a spot on the hillside glowed too brightly to comfortably look at even with the goggles, and as it moved across the slope it left a trail of reddish molten rock behind. When he finished, Rainbow Dash looked down to see if there were further instructions.

PP: Mine mine mine mine mine mine mine
PP: Mine mine mine mine mine mine mine
TS: PINKIE!
CE: Okay, now just zap everything inside that box.
TT: On it.
PP: Mine mine mine mine mine mine mine
TS: ARGH!

The three of them out on the surface started firing at the rock inside the box, and managed to make the rock glow bright red, then sort of slump and liquefy. The molten rock blocked the rays, though – it spit and bubbled as the mining rays played over the surface, like boiling oil, but most of it stayed pooled in the hole they were trying to dig.

Rainbow Dash shut off her ray, and wrote, ‘this isn’t working’.

DH: I wish I really did have a wishing star.
PP: What would you wish for?
CE: Do we need to use a higher setting?
DH: I’d wish for a million wishing stars!
TS: There were only ever three.
TT: I don’t think that’s the problem. We need some way to get rid of this molten slag so it doesn’t fill our bore hole.
PP: Wishing for impossible things is half the fun! There’s no point wishing for things you can do yourself.
TS: Actually, the most efficient wishes were always the ones that could be granted coincidentally.
TT: Can you please mute the transmitter if you’re going to talk about something unrelated? It’s really distracting.
PP: Nope! We have no idea how. Just like you have no idea how to mine. Do you want me to come out and help? I grew up in mining country, so I know a few things about mining.
CE: With coherent light? Or magical unicorn beams that act like coherent light?
PP: Unicorns would have made it *lots* easier! The miners I knew mostly used drills and picks and shovels.
TS: Are you trying to dig the hole from the top down? Maybe it would work better if you started at the bottom and let gravity work for you.
TT: And by ‘work for you’ you mean ‘cover us in molten lava’.
CE: We could stand to one side. That’d probably work.

Rainbow looked at the others, and shrugged. They shrugged back, and the three of them headed up over the hill. The moon ponies walked so slowly, though – Rainbow Dash could keep up with them flying upside down and backwards. When that lost its novelty, she glanced back at her paper to see if anypony was talking.

DH: How about yellow snow? My friends always tell me it’s good to eat but it’s so hard to find and when I do find it it smells rotten. I could wish for some fresh yellow snow.
PP: If you want to eat the yellow snow you have to make it yourself!
TS: Pinkie!
PP: With lemons! And sugar of course. Everything needs sugar.

Ugh.

===

Princess Luna stared at the council of mortal advisors with carefully measured disinterest, the better to hide her utter boredom. She had little to offer at such meetings – Princess Celestia preferred she bring up her ideas privately, so that the co-rulers could present a united front. But she attended, for her sister’s sake. Celestia was convinced that with time and exposure, the ponies of Equestria could forget that Luna had once styled herself Nightmare Moon, and tried to take over the world. Twice, if you counted her thousand-year banishment as a time of peace between invasions.

As this was the beginning of winter, business was even less interesting than normal – mostly, they were planning Celestia’s winter appearances, and budgeting for the various celebrations that graced the cold months.

Suddenly, Luna’s mask cracked, as a sharp, burning pain lanced into her skull. All conversation stopped, and Luna realized that every pony was staring at her. She forced herself to stop scowling. “I fear I must take my leave of this meeting, sister,” she said. “I seem to have a headache.”

There was a flash of confusion and alarm on Celestia’s face, but it was quickly subsumed in her normal calm amusement. “I suppose there’s little chance of any huge disasters being brought to light at this day’s Twilight Court,” she said.

“I pray you are correct,” said Luna, as the burning pain continued, if anything only getting more intense. “Guards, attend me,” she said to the two cat-eyed, bat-winged ponies assigned to her personal service as her night guard. They showed little of their Royal counterparts’ discipline, the concern clear upon their faces as they took their positions to either side, and escorted her out of the room.

===

Melting the moon rock from the bottom of the hill worked better, the molten rock flowing out of the hillside and down the slope of the moon, hardening into a dark slab that Twilight said was called a ‘mare’. And no, she hadn’t done anything useful like read a book on moon mining, or even ordinary mining, she just remembered random useless moon trivia.

It was still really boring. Rainbow Dash caught herself dozing off a few times because pointing the ray at the tunnel and just slowly… moving… it… was so boring. SO. BORING. Worse than bucking apples. Worse than bucking bucking bucking apples! It was like trying to clear the clouds by evaporating them with sunlight or something.

The dial to turn up the beam intensity started whispering to Rainbow. ‘Turn me. Tuuuuurn meeee…’

RD: Can we try other rays? This is slow.
TS: How far have you gotten?
CE: 0.3%
TS: That’s it? I don’t have my abacus, but I’m pretty sure that leaves us running out of air before you finish.
CE: This is the setting to melt rock. Turning it up higher would just waste energy.
RD: So that’s a yes?
TT: How do you possibly get ‘yes’ out of that?

The highest intensity beam made the mining ray heat up noticeably against her belly… and the rock she was aiming at exploded. Gravel sprayed everywhere – some bounced painfully off her face, and she was glad the anti-coherent-light goggles also worked against small rocks. Chance and Tess were screaming, or at least waving their arms at her to get her attention.

TT: I’m going to kill her. I’m going to bucking kill her!
CE: That was... dramatic.
TS: What happened?
RD: It exploded!
PP: Awesome!
RD: I know!
PP: If you have an exploding ray then you can mine a lot faster!

===

Crescent glanced nervously at every side passage the three ponies passed, as if judging his chances of escape.

“We’re not going to eat you,” said the night guard behind him, exposing her pointed predator’s teeth as she talked. “Princess Luna merely requires your services.”

“This is not her usual summons,” the blue-furred unicorn managed in a shaky voice. “She usually sends Moondancer…”

The three reached Luna’s chambers, and the other night guard unceremoniously bashed open the door with his shoulder as his partner hurried the unicorn inside. There, Luna’s hoofmaiden looked on helplessly as the Princess of the Night sat miserably on her bed, holding her head and grimacing, two medical unicorns already casting what healing spells they could, to no apparent effect.

“You fix,” said the guard in front, gruffly, standing aside to give him access.

“But I’m an astronomer,” Crescent protested.

“Please,” added the guard behind, emphatically.

A white and blue unicorn in distinctive purple armor approached from the hallway outside. “Hey! What’s the meaning of this!” demanded the guard captain, “My guards said they saw you kidnapping --”

The night guard bucked the door closed in his face.

===

“-0.211, 10505, -2195,” came Chance’s voice over the transmitter/receiver device the moon ponies had left with the ponies who had to stay behind.

“That’s another cake for Chance,” Twilight said, her horn glowing as she concentrated on the coordinates and remotely levitated a few tons of moon rocks out of the now swiftly-growing tunnel. Under Pinkie Pie’s direction, the moon-miners had changed their tactics, boring deep holes in the rock using the ‘melt’ setting, then exploding the rock from inside with the ‘explode’ setting, where the resulting kinetic energy was absorbed by the surrounding rock, shattering it into rubble.

Pinkie Pie dutifully slurped up one of the cakes from Chance’s stack. Twilight eyed the three piles of cakes, stacked next to each other on the edge of the table. “He’s really cooking. Why is Rainbow Dash going so slow?”

Tess answered, since Rainbow wouldn’t ‘hear’ the question unless she looked at her fetlock. “She’s having trouble keeping the mining ray steady.”

“You can still win, Rainbow Dash!” Derpy said, hovering next to the cake chart. They’d untaped her wings, since the plan had her flying all the way back down to Equestria soon and cramped wings might be bad, but they still didn’t want her wandering off too far, so now her tail was taped to the edge of the table. That had been enough leeway for her to completely destroy the cake fort, but that was okay, since now they had a much more practical diagram of the relative progress made by the three ponies on mining duty.

“No she can’t,” Tess said. “Even if she had a targeting computer, a hovering platform is inherently less stable.”

“She needs a cloud to sit on,” Pinkie Pie said. “Do they have clouds in space?”

“Nebulae?” Twilight suggested. “Really… tiny nebulae?”

“She can make space tornadoes, why not space clouds?” was Tess’ take.

Chance gave a new set of coordinates. “-0.153, 10560, -2204”

“That’s Tess,” Twilight said for the benefit of the other ponies in the room, concentrating as she moved another couple tons of rock at several miles’ distance.

“Let me do it!” Derpy said, reaching for the cake and knocking the whole pile over again. Twilight effortlessly held the falling cakes in place before they could fall too far, and Pinkie Pie restacked them. Again. Derpy didn’t notice, too busy eating her ‘moon muffin’.

Chance already had another set of coordinates for her. “I think I’m getting the hang of this. -0.211, 10490, -2192”

“That’s Chance – woah,” Twilight said, as her horn pulsed brighter against her will. “I feel –“ she started, then stumbled and fell as an intense wave of dizziness washed over her. Derpy tried to catch her, knocking over the entire cake chart, burying Pinkie Pie in a cake-alanche.

“Twilight? You okay?” Derpy asked. The purple unicorn didn’t reply, her eyes staring blankly straight ahead as her horn continued to glow fiercely. Derpy looked around the room helplessly. “What did I do?”

===

“Victory!” Luna proclaimed, her face still pained as her horn glowed brightly. “We have located and entrapped a foreign magical nexus upon our moon! The source is now under our power, and shall plague us no longer!”

“Then he was right?” asked one of the medical unicorns, incredulously. “Your headache was really caused by Lunar interference? It’s hard to believe…”

“It’s – it was an old rumor,” Crescent said, cowering back from the Princess’ display. “More of a philosophical rambling, really – a thought experiment that no pony dared test. Not – not until now.”

“What are you going to do to the creature?” asked one of the night guards, casually leaning against the door, which occasionally glowed as a unicorn outside tried to open it, or shivered as a pegasus guard tried ramming. Luna’s room was heavily reinforced, of course, and their efforts had little chance of success.

“This appears to be unicorn magic,” the Princess said. “As one of our subjects is responsible, we should be able to find out more about this incursion by –“

===

“Assuming direct control,” intoned Twilight Sparkle in a hollow voice, her eyes still blank and white. Her body glowed with the aura of her own magic, and as Derpy flung herself under the table to take as much cover as she could with her tail taped in place, Twilight lifted into the air, her mane and tail spreading out and waving gently as if she was immersed in a pool of water. She spun slowly, doing a full circle to take in the entire kitchen as if she’d never seen it before. The end of her survey left her staring straight into a grinning pink face, emerging from what at first glance had seemed to be a mountain of small yellow cakes.

“What art th—mmmph!” Twilight started to say, interrupted by Pinkie Pie shoving a cake in her mouth.

“It looks like somepony hasn’t been getting enough sugar!” Pinkie Pie said, giggling. “Here, have some cake!” With that she impaled a double hooffull of cake on Twilight’s horn. “You know, to take with you,” she said, as the purple unicorn’s magic vanished instantly from the violent contact, and she fell to the floor with a thump.

Twilight groaned, and put a hoof to the side of her head. “What happened?”

“Something really scary,” Pinkie Pie said. “I think it was trying to take control of your mind!”

“It sounded to me like it succeeded,” Chance said. “How’d you drive it out?”

“Right, right,” Twilight said. “Something latched onto my magic – why is there cake on my horn?”

“Because it really seemed to hurt when Chance punched you, so I thought maybe the cakes would be softer,” Pinkie Pie said. “But you look just as worn out this time. I guess next time I’ll just hit you,” she added, with a friendly smile.

“Well, if your evil ghost is gone, you dropped the last load halfway out of the tunnel. Do you want the new coordinates?” Chance asked.

“Actually, I think I’d better hold off on using magic until we figure out what just happened,” Twilight said. “If there’s some sort of unicorn parasite in those hills, maybe I’m better off pretending to be an earth pony for a while.”

===

“That was… confusing,” Princess Luna said, as her magic was abruptly cut off.

“You didn’t hurt her, did you?” Crescent asked, eyes wide with terror.

“Some external force interrupted the magical flow,” the Princess explained. “Specifically, a pink earth pony that I’m certain I’ve seen before.” Her expression hardened, and her voice returned to its determined official tone. “We must seek out Celestia at once, and demand to know what the Element of Laughter is doing on our moon!”

Crescent cringed. “Do you feel any better? Without the magical interference?”

“No,” Luna said, scowling, “It still hurts. Curse that pink pony! Every time we meet I find myself sorely vexed!”