• 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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18: Three Dreams

Twilight Sparkle walked through the gleaming glass halls of the techno-sanctuary, every wall covered in moving pictures, flashing indicators, and scrolling script in a language she didn’t understand – yet. Around her, ‘ponies’ of a hundred varieties – weasels, yes, but also bears and birds and monkeys – went about their inscrutable business, talking to each other without words, or poking at the walls, occasionally sparking a rainbow cascade of glowing, snaking lines. Ahead of her was a towering doorway of dark iron, surrounded by valves and pipes and gears, guarded by two massive clockwork statues.

One of them spoke a sentence to her in the language she didn’t yet know. “I’m here to see the wizard,” she said in Equestrian. Her horn glowed as she presented them with a glowing, pulsing spark taken from her saddlebag. The giants’ eyes glowed, and each shot a faint ray at the spark, then they stood aside satisfied with what they’d scanned, and the door opened onto darkness.

She stepped inside. As her eyes adjusted, she could see that she was alone in a dark chamber with no exits. A surgical bed sat in the middle of the room, surrounded by mechanical arms. One had a fearsome copper claw, another a circular saw blade. A voice spoke harsh words in the language she did not yet know, and, guessing as to the meaning, Twilight stepped towards the table, and set a hoof on it.

“Wait,” said a gruff voice, in broken Equestrian. “You understand consequences of procedure?”

“I do,” Twilight found herself saying. “And I accept them eagerly. Bind my soul in chains, that I might join the sisterhood of the stars!”

“Then get on table, pony,” it said, with an unfriendly chuckle.

She did, and found her hooves snared and clamped, spreading her out on the metal surface. The copper claw clamped around her neck, leaving her rapid breathing labored. The saw started to spin, and lowered towards her forehead.

“Shouldn’t there be some sort of anesthetic?” she squeaked.

“You will forget pain,” the voice said, and then the saw hit.

Luna and Warp watched from an unseen observer’s booth above the operating floor as Twilight’s skull was sawn in half, horn and all, and a glowing crystal inserted into her brain. She never stopped screaming, the whole time.

“This is… very… inaccurate,” Warp said, staring in morbid fascination.

Luna seemed unfazed by the horrific display. “Is what she desires possible?”

“If we were able to leave, you mean?” Warp asked. “Beats me. She could probably find a cyberneticist willing to try, but there’s even odds she’d die from the attempt.”

===

Chance ran down the mossy stone corridor with the golden idol clutched to his chest, dodging past previously sprung traps as he struggled to stay ahead of the massive boulder barreling down the tunnel after him. “Rainbow!” he called, “wait!”

Luna and Warp watched in the form of shadows, cast against the wall in the dim light filtering down from above. “If you die in a dream, you just wake up, right?” Warp asked, nervously, as Chance leapt over a gigantic spike-filled pit, windmilling his free arm on the other side as he almost fell back onto the spikes.

“Not always,” Luna replied. “Sometimes you continue to dream that you’re dead. But nothing here can harm you – much of the wonder of dreaming lies in the lack of consequences.” Chance tripped and fell as the ground shook from the boulder ending its roll in the pit. Rocks fell around him, narrowly missing his head, one only missing because he rolled to the side in the nick of time. “Besides, this is Rainbow Dash’s dream. Every pony else, aside from us, is merely a figment.”

Chance scrambled to the edge of another pit, this one far too wide to jump, as the cave continued to crumble around him. Rainbow Dash waited on the far side, watching impassively as he looked around for some way to save himself. The end of a rope dangled from one of her saddlebags.

“Rainbow! Thank Celestia! Throw me the rope!” Chance said.

“Throw me the idol,” Rainbow said, taking one end of the rope in her mouth, but not tossing it across to him. Chance didn’t hesitate, tossing the lump of gold across the pit. It fell a bit short, but Rainbow Dash was able to dive into the air and catch it, then fly back to the edge safely. She shoved the idol under a pith helmet she was suddenly wearing, and grinned at him. “Thanks!” she said, still not throwing the rope.

“Come on, throw me the rope,” Chance said. “You can’t leave me here.” A large rock fell from the ceiling and shattered next to him, making him flinch as the rock shards bounced off his fur.

“I don’t know…” Rainbow said. “If I leave you here, I get to keep everything for myself. Plus I can just fly back instead of waiting weeks for you to walk through the jungle.”

“This is your Element of Loyalty?” Warp asked.

“Celestia’s, not mine,” Luna replied.

Warp rolled the spooky glowing eyes of her shadow-form. “Let me rephrase that. This is the pony whose loyalty defeated you at the height of your power?”

“The elements are not especially picky,” Luna admitted.

“Sorry, pal,” Rainbow Dash said, grinning as she turned away from Chance, and giving him a last flick of her rainbow tail. “I’d love to save you from certain doom, but I’ve got places to be.”

“No consequences, right?” Warp asked.

“Indeed,” Luna replied.

With that, Warp peeled herself off the wall, morphing into her night guard shape, swooping down and snatching up Chance from the crumbling ledge, then heading towards the mouth of the cave. By the time they arrived, Rainbow Dash was long gone.

She set Chance down, and changed herself into the form she’d known him as, a smallish humanoid ferret. “I didn’t think you were still alive,” she said, leaning her head against his chest as she hugged him. It was just a fantasy, but to see him again, feel him again – it was nice. Especially since it meant that he was actually still alive up there somewhere for Rainbow Dash to meet.

Chance grinned, and started to pet her head. “Yeah, same here. It’s good to see you again.”

She looked up at him, and he smiled as he looked back down at her. “Very good to see you again,” he said, and then leaned down and kissed her.

Warp’s eyes went wide, but she didn’t pull away, at first. After all, it’s not like she hadn’t dreamed about this before. But then she pushed back, and asked, “Why didn’t you ever look for me? Or call? If there was enough left of the ship for you to survive, you could have at least fixed the radio.”

“The what?” Chance asked. “Wait, is that one of those transmitter things that Chance always dances around the name for because it comes out as ‘light in the blah blah blah I’ll spout nonsense for ten seconds’?” He paused. “Wait, I’m Chance. Right?”

Warp shivered, and shifted back into a night guard as she danced back a few feet.

‘Chance’ suddenly perked up. “Oh, I get it! This is a dr—“

The dream world winked out as Rainbow Dash woke up.

===

After an amusing but meaningless interlude rescuing a wall-eyed gray pegasus from a horde of muffin ponies that she’d enraged by inadvertently eating their children, and a failed attempt to access Chance’s dream that ran afoul of his implants’ info-war routines and only managed to wake him up, Princess Luna gingerly approached the pink, pulsating dream that beckoned to her with the faint sound of music and laughing ponies. As she and her companion dove into the pink light, they were separated, and she found herself tossed through a vortex of mocking laughter, disembodied mouths and eyes swirling around her, the pink fading to red, and then to black, before the princess suddenly smashed into a hard, flat surface.

When she recovered from the impact and dragged herself to her hooves, the princess found herself in a featureless black void, the only sound being faint, menacing laughter. Her eyes flashed, replaced with the turquoise dragon-eyes of her nightmare form, and with new vision she scanned the darkness. To her dismay, it was still dark, but she could see things in it now, circling around her stealthily. Some of them were giggling – quietly, but loud enough for her to hear if she focused on them.

Princess Luna reared up, and brought her metal-shod forehooves down against the black surface beneath her, shattering it. Two flaps of her wings lifted her into the air, and lightning flashed from her horn to the broken ground below, transforming the rocks into stone spiders, with glowing red eyes.

Her new minions spread out through the darkness, hissing as they leaped on the creatures that thought they were hidden, clinging to them with razor-sharp legs. Soon, the quiet laughter was replaced with a cacophony of agonized shrieks, and Luna smiled. Some of the creatures tried to flee, but Luna reanimated the fallen with another Come To Life spell, and set them to hunt down their former friends.

A small structure loomed before her, and she approached it confidently. She shouted, in the Royal Canterlot Voice, “YOUR MINIONS HAVE BEEN VANQUISHED, LAUGHING ONE! SHOW THYSELF!”

The darkness flickered, and the lights came on. Luna was in the palace ballroom, standing before the stage. The room was decorated with balloons, shaped like moons and stars and bats, and a table of snacks with a punchbowl sat overturned to one side, crawling with her stone spiders. The bodies of the other partygoers lay scattered on the floor, or shambled about mindlessly, animated by her spell. On the stage, underneath a banner reading ‘Welcome Princess Luna!’, Pinkie Pie grinned as she shouted, “Surprise!”

Pinkie’s face fell as she realized she was the only one to call out, and she looked around at the devastation in horror, her rear dropping to the ground with a thump.

Luna laughed. Her wings took her to the stage, where she grinned at the pink pony and pulled her into a crushing hug. “An excellent nightmare, for a beginner! But while this play-acting is quite amusing, we did not come here to play.”

Pinkie Pie gave up her act, and smiled back as Luna released her. “Why are you here, then? Are you here to spy on my seeeecret desires while I sleep? Or did you want to suck out my soul and carry it back to your dark palace in a glowing pink crystal?”

“Harmony yet keeps that power sealed,” Luna replied. “And any intelligence I gathered would be useless, since you can apparently control your dreams. Still, I suppose it doesn’t hurt to ask. Did any pony in your entourage examine the writings in the hexagonal structure at the very top of the moon?”

“Nope!” Pinkie Pie said. “Should we have?”

“You should not!” Luna replied, stomping a hoof on the stage. “There are secrets there, dark secrets, banished to the moon along with the Nightmare. Indeed, perhaps Equestria would be safer were those secrets destroyed.”

“So you want us to blow up the moon temple? Aye aye, princess!” Pinkie Pie said, saluting. “Anything else? Oh! Want to play pin the tail on the pony?” she asked, grinning widely as she gestured to the shambling zombie horde. “We’ve got a bunch of ponies, and at least two or three tails lying around loose.”

Luna considered it, but shook her head. “Another night perhaps. Show me to my guard, and we shall depart.”

“No can do,” Pinkie Pie said. “She’s in the slug pit.” Luna stared at her. Pinkie Pie made a face. “It’s full of slugs!”

“Why –“ Luna started, but before she could finish, she was interrupted.

“I mean, all of this was made special for you because I know you like being scary, but I had no idea what your *guard* likes in her nightmares,” Pinkie babbled. “I figured since she was pretty scary and kind of gross with the bat-wings and cat eyes that something scary and gross would work, so I threw her in the slug pit.”

“So why –“ Luna tried again, but Pinkie wasn’t done.

“But of course once she was in there she tried to fly out and what good is that! So I had a bunch of cockatrices waiting at the edge of the pit, and she turned to stone and sank back into the slugs. Only I left her eyes unpetrified so that she could see the slugs, only she can’t really see them because they’re crawling all over her eyes. Still, slugs on your eyes is pretty scary, right?”

Luna waited. “Are you done yet?” she asked.

“Done with what?” Pinkie Pie asked.

“Why can’t you retrieve my guard from the slug pit?”

Pinkie Pie laughed. “Because the cockatrices will get me. Obviously. I mean, this may be a dream, but I still have to follow the rules.”

“In that case, you leave me no choice,” Luna replied. She lowered her horn, and lunged forwards, impaling the pink pony upon it.

Pinkie Pie squealed, and squirmed, and wiggled her legs and planted a hoof in Luna’s eye as she tried to pry herself off, to no avail. “That hurts!” she whined. “What did you do that for?”

Luna sighed heavily, blinded in one eye by a pink hoof, and the other by the warm fluid running down her face. “You were supposed to wake up,” she said.

===

Pinkie Pie woke up screaming, and rolled over onto her back – falling off the couch – and started touching her own chest repeatedly, feeling around for a wound which wasn’t there. There was a hurried rustling from one of the other couches, and she looked over to see Chance and Rainbow Dash sitting next to each other, looking innocent.

“Bad dream?” Rainbow Dash asked, casually.

“I threw Luna a surprise party, and she killed all the guests and stabbed me with her horn!” Pinkie Pie said, indignantly. “I bet it was because of the slugs. Stupid slugs.” The two of them stared at her, so she asked, “Why are you two up? Did you have bad dreams too?”

“Not bad,” Rainbow Dash said, weighing her response.

“Neither of us could sleep,” Chance said. “So we were –“

“Talking,” Rainbow Dash interjected hurriedly. “Just talking about normal, boring stuff, so that we could bore each other enough to go back to sleep. Separately.”

“You know,” Chance said, giving Rainbow Dash a smug grin, and trailing a clawed finger down the line of her cheek, “now that Pinkie’s awake too, maybe she could join our ‘conversation’?”

Which seemed like a really strange reason to buck him in the crotch, but Pinkie figured that was just Rainbow being Rainbow.