• 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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8: Lift Off!

There wasn’t as large of a crowd for that night’s launch, at least not on the ground. Part of the problem was that they were launching much later at night – loading all the supplies to Twilight’s specification had taken hours, even skipping the triple-check – and the other was that most of the spectators were pegasi, and were waiting up on the cloud deck.

That didn’t mean that Pinkie Pie and Twilight were alone. There was the rest of the crew, of course: Rainbow Dash and Thunder Lane were harnessed up and perched on top of the jar, waiting for the signal to go, while Ditzy and Derpy were supposed to be resting in the hammocks hanging over Twilight’s head, low enough that she couldn’t stand up without having to worry about getting at least a dangling tail in the face. In reality, they were moving around, waving and posing to the ponies outside.

“Bye, Rarity! Bye, Fluttershy! Bye, Filthy!” called Pinkie Pie, waving through the glass.

“Call me Rich!” came the latter’s muffled reply. “And bring back lots of moon rocks!”

“Save me some muffins, little muffin!” Ditzy called out to her foal, who really shouldn’t have been out that late.

Pinkie scanned the crowd, “Bye Cheerilee! Bye AJ!”

Twilight had said goodbye to everypony at once, efficiently, before teleporting herself and Pinkie Pie into the jar, and so was free to concentrate on her light spell. A pink light at the tip of her horn brightened until it was more white than anything, too bright to look at comfortably, and then detached from her horn and started floating around the inside of the jar while she charged up another.

“Oh wow, Twilight!” Pinkie Pie said, staring at the sight, with her eyes squinted half shut. “You didn’t tell me this was going to be a firefly lantern! That would have been a much better name.”

Twilight concentrated until she had half a dozen ‘fireflies’ drifting around the jar. “It’s not too late to change it,” she said, letting her horn rest for a bit.

Before Pinkie Pie could answer, there were three loud bangs on the jar’s metal lid. This was the signal that Rainbow Dash was getting impatient. Derpy peered down at Twilight over the edge of her hammock, nearly falling out of it onto the unicorn’s head, but managed to tangle herself up safely instead. “Are we ready?”

“Yes we are,” Twilight said proudly. “Signal the pilot to begin liftoff!” Derpy stared at her blankly. Twilight sighed, “Just bang once on the lid, I think she’ll get the idea.”

Derpy was having a little trouble getting a hoof free, so Ditzy gave the signal. To the cheers from the small crowd below, the Jelly Jar (or possibly Firefly Lantern) rose into the sky.

Twilight hooked her hooves around the cushion she was sitting on, and tried to think of it like riding in a chariot, or her balloon. It didn’t work. “This is… really fast,” she said, as they reached the winter clouds, and the glass walls surrounding them suddenly went blank. She started to feel a little seasick, as the gentle rocking of the off-balance jar (why had they let the two off-duty pegasi pick hammocks on the same side?) was no longer matched up to any visual reference point.

“Not nearly as fast as last time,” Pinkie Pie said, face still pressed up against the glass, waiting.

“Isn’t that cold?” Twilight started to ask, but then they were out of the clouds and Pinkie Pie was trying to rattle out a rushed goodbye to the two-dozen pegasi cheering for them from the cloud deck.

Twilight quickly slammed a hoof into her stopwatch and read off the time. “Time elapsed, 118 seconds. With the cloud deck set at 12500 feet, that gives a time-to-moon of…” she flipped the beads on her abacus back and forth. “That can’t be right.”

“What’s wrong?” Pinkie Pie asked, staring at the abacus with no sign of comprehension. Ditzy was looking down at her as well. Derpy was still untangling herself, but presumably listening.

“According to this, it’ll take us fifteen hours to reach the moon at this speed,” Twilight said. “And these are our faster flyers! We’re going to be caught out during the day!”

“Didn’t we bring a week’s worth of food and stuff?” Pinkie asked.

“Well, yes,” Twilight said. “We brought plenty of supplies…”

“And the plants’ll grow just fine during the day,” Pinkie Pie said. “Unless they get bored,” she said, scratching her chin with her hoof. “But it’s okay! I can stay up another fifteen hours noooo problem. Just leave everything up to me!”

“That’s not what I’m worried about,” Twilight Sparkle said, putting her hoof against the side of the jar, which was already getting cold. “We prepared for cold and dark, not direct sunlight. What if it gets too hot? What if we run into the sun?”

“I bet that’s why Celestia told you to bring sunscreen,” Pinkie Pie said. “She’s good!”

Twilight’s pupils narrowed to points and wandered in different directions. “Right. Sunscreen.”

“You did bring sunscreen, right?” Pinkie Pie asked. “I mean, it wasn’t on your checklist, and you like putting everything on your checklist, but I figured it must have been because it was such an obvious thing to bring that it went without saying. Or checking off the list. Or double checking…”

“I’ll be right back,” Twilight said, and vanished in a purple flash.

Pinkie Pie looked at where Twilight used to be, then up at Ditzy. “We’d… better tell Dashie and Thunder to head back down.”

Ditzy nodded.

“How do we do that?”

===

The second launch that night took place with a lot less fanfare, although it was delayed ten minutes to wait for Rainbow Dash to stop laughing.