• Member Since 28th Jan, 2015
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Ryvaken


Chaos, constructively

T

Princess Twilight has seen some strange things in the past few years. She made the best friends a mare could have, she had some amazing adventures, became an alicorn princess, saved the world a few times, and got a palace to call her very own. Yet for all that, the strangest has yet to come.

There are new strangers in Ponyville. That's not too odd, but they're not ponies. They're human! But they're not like any human Twilight saw on the other side of the Mirror. Their magic isn't like anything she's ever seen, either. She'd love to learn more, but there's a problem. These humans could give Fluttershy lessons in keeping out of sight.

Dealing with snooping aliens was not exactly what Twilight had planned to put on top of her royal agenda.


I started writing this back before Season Five. It's not a new idea, not hardly, but no matter how many first contact stories I sifted through, always it was from the alien perspective. The pony perspective would come to the fore only rarely, and usually only with sizable external influences.

This story takes the idea of an alien observation team but is entirely from the locals' standpoint. What do you do when there's an alien science outpost next door?

Chapters (7)
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Comments ( 119 )

Ah, a Star Trek crossover.

This deserve more views.

Pretty good for now.

SRY

This is very amusing. Well done:pinkiehappy:

Enjoyable as always!

Wow, this is pretty good.

pretty good if i say so myself

"New plan," Twilight said brightly. "We get on the next train to Canterlot, find the pony responsible for this, and have Fluttershy Stare him back to sanity."
"I second the motion," Fluttershy said quickly. "All in favor?"
"Aye!" six voices said at once.
"The motion passes," Twilight said. "Court is adjourned to Canterlot."

This...

Well then, I suppose we can wave goodbye to the Prime Directive.

She was about to put the "cell" down when the strange Federation language changed on its screen, becoming Equestrian script. Twilight stared, stunned, at a detailed report of observations of Rainbow Dash in flight, provided by...somepony named LARS?

I think you meant "LCARS" there.

8209128 Good catch...but that was intentional.

Well gotta admit I like your different take on the startrek crossover. Funny how Twilight is using the EG universe humans as "normal". Of course I half expected a much more clearly staged explanation of Equestrian right where the Haman's could hear. How weird would it be if aliens just randomly explained their government in a stiff rehearsed manner right where the observation team could hear? I think the reaction of the team once they figured out they where being spoon fed info would be hilarious.

She took the "cell" with her.

(An hour later) Rainbow: Sooo, you think they noticed that you took their thingamajig yet?

Twilight: Rainbow for the last time, it's called a-

Twilight: GAAH! What the...

Rainbow: ...Nevermind, I think I just got my answer.

Well, I'm getting mixed signals here (hue hue hue).
Even though ponies and humans have access to an universal translator (which is already a silly idea in its own right), they seem to be aware of an awful lot of facts they couldn't have logically known. Like Twilight classifying voices into stallions, mares and a golem. She can't be sure the aliens even have genders.
Also, what's the point of having a hideout under an orchard?
All this strains my suspension of disbelief. Hopefully the story improves later on.

8210472 You're right on the mixed signals thing. There are a few minor contradictions where I was debating between different limitations to enforce.

As to the stallion/mare/neutral thing, I wanted Twilight to be making assumptions and guesses. That means sometimes she'll "know" things she shouldn't.

8210538
Ah, I see. And after I saw references to EqG, I realized that she could, in fact, make a good guess about a lot of things.
I'm not a Trekkie myself, but this is interesting enough so far.

Oh my God this is amazing. I don't ever want to stop reading.

Wait...this is a Star Trek crossover?

8213359
Yes it is. I made a choice to write everything from the perspective of the ponies. I might change that later, I have some ideas of scenes that would be fun to write, but the vast majority of narration, of storytelling, will follow the perspectives of the ponies.

8213464
I never saw Star Trek, but now I think I just might.

8213480
There’s a Next Generation episode in season 3 called “Who Watches the Watchers.” The plot of this fic is basically “what would have happened if that episode took place on Equestria?” with a few sizable differences.

Reading about how rainbow performs the sonic rainboom in detail was rather interesting.

8213521
I thought of that episode the instant I saw the story title. :rainbowlaugh:

Great read so far, can't wait for more!

I hope to see more of this soon sometime!^_^

Asymptotic update schedule. Not sure if I prefer that but it is better than nothing.

After reading through though it is interesting. Not all flash bang look at what is happening but an interesting take without alot of assumptions on how things would work.

The star trek universe and the mop universe do have that in common. So advanced it might as well be magic.

Ok. I was expecting something more serious and less hilarious.

One more like added.

Assuming a punchtape of 8 bits per row and 0.1 inch length per row, a terabyte would come out to just under 1.9 million miles. I figured that was a viable estimate for an isolinear chip in a PADD.

That's... a bit on the small side when it comes to an isolinear chip given their size and the time frame. Mostly because you can get 1 TB flash drives today plus the isolinear chip has to hold a large amount of code since it also doubles as a swappable programming block.

And before someone points out that programming in that manner is considered outdated by today's standards, it's been at least partially readopted by groups that need more robust computers and those that need to be able to quickly reprogram something.

Why doesn't Twilight just use the journal and ask Sunset about the computers in her world?

8383931
It could simply be that the memory wasn't full. Twilight is basing her estimate on how much data it held. It could have been a new pad, the equivalent of a terabyte zip drive with just a few text files on it.

8384006
True, I had not considered that possibility either.

8384125
My proofreader tried to make the same argument. It doesn't hold water. Almost every actual instance of a PADD on screen has had it as a glorified terminal to a larger system, totally dependent on external databases and processing power in order to accomplish more than the most basic tasks. A terrabyte per chip, and I deliberately left the number of chips vague, is as far as I'm willing to concede. It should be much lower.


8383967
I wrote about half that scene before deciding that it was one of the most boring things I've ever written. There's steep competition for that honor.
If I do decide to bring Sunset in directly, it will be a footnote along the lines of "Twilight, I figured out how to use my phone and the newest window OS. Maybe when I figure out what 'OS' means and what it has to do with a small, soft window I'll be able to explain how much I don't know, but I'm betting it's a lot."

8384720

A terrabyte per chip, and I deliberately left the number of chips vague, is as far as I'm willing to concede. It should be much lower.

We see the inside of PADDs in TNG. There's a single isolinear chip in them with additional components that resemble current day circuits (likely a result of budgetary limitations) and it's debatable how much of its power comes from linking to the main computer and how much the PADD is capable of on its own given what we've seen them do in canon.

8384808
We've seen them unable to hold the script of a single play on their own in Fistful of Datas. Consistency was never Trek's strong suit.

8384829

Consistency was never Trek's strong suit.

I am so tired of that damn claim. Given Star Trek's size, it is is incredibly consistent with almost all gaffs having reasonable explanations. You start going any series with a fine tooth comb and you'll see this type of thing.

Also, what BS is this about them being unable to hold a single play? I'm starting to question how much you've actually watched.

Look, my objection is that your claim of only a single terabyte does not make sense for a device of that size in the 24th Century given the size of the isolinear chip. I mean hell, many consider this to be the closest to a modern day equivalent of an isolinear chip.

Instead of doubling down on the claim that for some reason the Federation would use technology that's less efficient than transistors even though transistors are to them what the abacus is to us, you should probably go with Cyan Recluses's suggestion. Especially since it's a bit more believable that someone unfamiliar with computers would be unable to quickly and accurately determine how much information can be stored in an alien device when they have minimal knowledge in the field of computer sciences.

Neeeeeeeeerd!... in a good way Xp

8385122
TNG S06E08, Fistful of Datas. An experiment between Data and the Enterprise computer caused subroutine C-47 to be replaced with a bit of Data's own program. C-47 controlled library access. Prior to that experiment, Beverley Crusher had prepared a number of PADDs with the script of a play. After the experiment, during rehearsal, each PADD was filled with Data's poetry. This indicates that, rather than storing the play on the PADDs' internal storage, each PADD merely accessed the central database of the Enterprise. That suggests a technology where parallel processing and data throughput is of greater priority than absolute capacity. This is reinforced by Data's stats as given in S02E09, wherein his stated processing power was more exceptional, by modern standards, than his storage capacity.

I write slowly because I'm careful. I research, I consider, I debate. It's not that I'm ignoring your arguments, it's just that you're not telling me anything I didn't already know.

8385611

Prior to that experiment, Beverley Crusher had prepared a number of PADDs with the script of a play

I remember that scene, there were multiple PADDs because shock of all shocks multiple people needed the script.
As for not being able to hold an entire play, you don't give the actors the entire script for a reading.

I still can't get over the implication that an optical data storage device of that size that far in the future can only hold 1 terabyte of information. This is precisely why they avoided using real units for computing power in the show. You could have had your cake and eat it too simply by leaving out information like the information density of the tape. Most of the audience would be completely unfamiliar with that storage medium and those that do know about punched tape wouldn't have enough information to complain about it.

Mind you, this does nothing to explain how Twilight was able to determine the storage capacity of an unknown piece of technology before bringing in an expert. Which raises the question of why she needs the expert.
I know you gave a reason in story, but the more I think about it the more I realize that particular line of thinking doesn't make sense given that she already managed to figure out the components of the PADD enough to identify which part is storing information and figure out a way to determine its storage capacity. It's honestly a surprise that she can identify a transceiver assembly, although in that case it was probably more a matter of detecting the 'magic' coming out of that portion and working backwards from there.

8385912
You missed the point. The PADDs were not corrupted in that scene. The Enterprise's LCARS was. If the actor's lines were held locally on each PADD, the corruption of C-47 would have been irrelevant. The corruption of the displayed lines suggest that the PADDs were designed to request information in real time, not store it for prolonged use. You don't equip such devices with massive storage, you instead prioritize quick and efficient access and read/write capability.

As for skipping the details...I'm a mathematician and my best friend and editor is a software engineer. This was a thing that wasn't not going to happen.

Oh, and for the identification of parts, there are hints to how that went down. Consider that Twilight has a name for an isolinear chip.

8385972
I think we're both missing each others points. I was thinking something of a hybrid system and that the PADD under normal conditions requests an updated version of the file every interval. Since PADDs have been shown to continue displaying information and appear to be in functioning order even when the main computer goes down and are affected by Data corrupted files. Sort of like certain websites are programmed to automatically request updated data after X seconds have passed.

As for skipping the details...I'm a mathematician and my best friend and editor is a software engineer. This was a thing that wasn't not going to happen.

I'm working towards my own degree in mechanical engineering, I know it's hard to not put in the details.

Oh, and for the identification of parts, there are hints to how that went down. Consider that Twilight has a name for an isolinear chip.

I noticed, but I was trying to think of a situation where one person would need to describe the inner workings of a PADD to another crew member. The only reasonable situation that comes to mind would be someone repairing a PADD while either talking to themselves or requisitioning new parts.
But unless the entire process is being narrated, then all Twilight would have would be a set of names that are literally translated with minimal context.

8386187
Possible, and an angle I considered. The level of redundancy that implies is not typical with Trek data structures, however. Consider TNG S05E14, Conundrum, or VOY S04E22, Unforgettable. Or DS9 S04E10, Our Man Bashir. Always we see signs of a monolithic central computer and database, not a distributed system. Even for processing power; TNG S04E08, Future Imperfect, a diagnostic on the main computer was a rational excuse for every device on the ship to experience periodic delays.
We even have larger devices brought out when storage limits become a concern. TNG S06E12, Ship in a Bottle, for example.

Hey, I just had a thought... How are you going to handle the whole "the princesses control the heavenly bodies" thing? Are you going to have it so that they actually do and the Trekkies are completely gobsmacked when they find out, or are you going to go for some alternate angle where it isn't actually the real sun/moon/stars that they control, and Twilight intercepts them talking about some sort of planet-wide projection resulting in a "false sky" that needs to be manually controlled.

This is post season 4 after all. Twilight herself has moved the heavens by this point, so once she hears the idea she should be able to figure out if they're right or not based on her own experience.

8386851

Always we see signs of a monolithic central computer and database, not a distributed system.

Point taken, but I have to point out that in VOY Concerning Flight that Voyager, much like whomever wrote Threshold, was able to operate with the main computer core having been physically removed by pirates and in various episodes gel packs and isolinear processors are used to operate equipment within the ship even when said equipment is physically connected to the ship.
The infested gel packs in Macrocosm and Learning Curve come to mind only disabling certain systems come to mind.
Although admittedly, that could be as a result of events like Fistful of Datas and Contagion and the reason that's the way it is is to prevent something like those events from occurring again.

We even have larger devices brought out when storage limits become a concern. TNG S06E12, Ship in a Bottle, for example.

I had interpreted that as them taking a precautionary measure to physically isolate Moriarty so he couldn't escape containment again.

Even for processing power; TNG S04E08, Future Imperfect, a diagnostic on the main computer was a rational excuse for every device on the ship to experience periodic delays.

To be fair, Riker suspected something was up with that and it was all a simulation.

8387385

How are you going to handle the whole "the princesses control the heavenly bodies" thing?

I honestly don't remember how much is spoilers and how many hints are in what I've already written, but I can tell you that I know exactly what is going on with that whole celestial paradigm.
I am also unsure how many answers you'll ever really see. I plan on a pure pony perspective, but that's not well suited to showing Trek types going into technobabble overload when Celestia raises the sun. Debating style aspects like that is one of the major reasons I get into writing slumps :p

Good so far, can't wait until more

I'm confused about the letters back and forth with Celestia. Were they moved? They mention things that happen later in the chapter.

8405554
Sections of this chapter did get shuffled around a lot as I worked out how I wanted the preliminary investigation to go. The letters were the last part I wrote. I'll need to proof the chapter again to see if I screwed up, but I did intend for the letters to cover boring things not shown in the story.

EDIT: Nope, it's where it should be. Twilight's discovery of the UFP duck blind by backtracing high powered scans directed at her castle, her assumption that the effort was a group of individuals rather than a single one, and the complete lack of any other apparent activity in the area. This leads her to call for more equipment and the hooves to use them, which gets her the more detailed report that is the later part of the chapter.

8475757
Working on it. Chapter 7 has had a lot of rewrites. I have trouble writing Rarity well.

This sounds so far like my kind of story! :pinkiehappy:

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