• Published 28th Jul 2015
  • 11,808 Views, 1,864 Comments

Stargate: Shangri-La - Grey Ghost

Adventures, exploration and discovery continue as the alliance of two great races face the danger and the unknowns that lie within this new network. What secrets will be revealed as a hidden chapter of the Ancient's Legacy unravels before them?

  • ...


"... and we can see from the comparisons of the architecture in the Castle of the Two Sisters, the Ruins of the first establishment of the unicorns before the union of the three tribes and the newly rediscovered Crystal Empire, there is a shared underlying commonality that cannot be explained considering what we know of their individual societies."

Three images, illusion based magnifications of the photographs positioned on the table, were projected on the wall as the excited presenter continued her spiel. "My research on the matter continues to point to the idea that some outside influence worked its way into these cultures."

She cleared her throat before continuing. "Some of our oldest existing legends speak of a race of beings that descended from the stars, arriving in a massive flying city of stone and crystal, just as ponies were beginning to build society. Our ancestors called them the Teachers, as they taught the early ponies how to read, write, and so much more!"

"Miss Heartstrings," a weary voice spoke up from the dimly lit seats.

"Yes?" She gulped, turning to look toward the speaker.

"As interesting as your tale may be, it remains just that, a tale," he said. His horn glowed, and the lamps in the room flared to their brightest, chasing the shadows to the corners. Prince Blueblood tapped a hoof on the folder before him. "All your 'evidence,' and I use the term rather lightly, is anecdotal and depends on flimsy logic, old mare's tales and, dare I say, whimsy."

"Everypony said the same thing about Princess Luna and Nightmare Moon!" she countered. "The same goes for Discord. For Faust's sake, we had forgotten about the Empire until it reappeared."

"You forget, Miss Heartstrings, that while the more common versions of those legends were mare's tales, Nightmare Moon's return was foretold in prophecy, and there was the little fact of Auntie's face being emblazoned on the moon for a few centuries," Prince Blueblood shook his head. "Discord was imprisoned and under Auntie Celestia's watch, and the last remnant of the Empire was in her care as well. Solid evidence. In contrast, you have a few artistic stylings that are far more likely to be coincidence?"

"I know I can find evidence!" she protested. "I just need funding. With that, I know I can find something, maybe even the Teachers' city itself!"

"Regardless, Miss Heartstrings, I cannot in any good interest pledge the support of the Royal Expeditionary Society to your project." With that, he motioned to his aid, who started to gather the paperwork. "Personnel or funding."

Blueblood's statements seemed to be a trigger, the other ponies in the room, at least the ones who stayed for the entire presentation, also started packing up, making similar sounds of withholding support.

"I... understand, Your Grace," Lyra said with a sigh, bowing her head. "Thank you for your time." She turned away, quickly packing up her materials, a dejected look on her face. She pulled her saddle bags on, quickly trotting out of the auditorium, hoping nopony would call her crazy.

"Hold up, Lyra!" Bon Bon caught up before she could get too far, a supportive smile on her face. "Well, it wasn't that bad this time around. Nopony started laughing, for one."

"Thanks Bonny," Lyra said, giving a weak smile. "You know... maybe they are right... maybe it is all just coincidence..."

"Or maybe it isn't," Bon Bon said, giving Lyra a supportive shoulder bump. "Nopony's ever going to know unless somepony finds out. Maybe a cute mare with spunk?"


"Fine, I'll be good," Bon Bon giggled. She was still cheerful though. "We still have our trip to the Crystal Empire to look forward to. Didn't you say Princess Cadance was an old Canterlot High classmate of yours?"

"She probably won't remember me," Lyra said, waving her hoof dismissively, "I was always that weird filly who sat in the back of class. But you're right, maybe this trip is exactly what I need." She gave a bigger smile, nuzzling cheeks with the other mare.

"And you can put this let down behind you," Bon Bon nodded. She fished a paper sack from her own saddlebags and offered them to her companion. "Chocolate is the first step to recovery."

"Trying to fatten me up, huh?" Lyra asked, taking the bag in her magic. "I'm watching you, missy."

"Sassing? See, you're better already," Bon Bon teased.

Lyra giggled, shaking her head. "Are we all ready for the trip?" she asked, excitement bleeding into her voice. "I can't wait, Bonny! All that history!" She squealed, clapping her forehooves together like a school filly.

"Bags packed and everything," Bon Bon confirmed. She had made sure of it the night before while Lyra was distracted with preparing her presentation. "We just happen to have a few more hours to waste before our train leaves."

"Hmm... any ideas?" she asked, looking around. "Donut Joe's?"

"I heard Pinkie Pie recommends him, so he has to be worth it. I've never had a chance to try his donuts," Bon Bon admitted. "And maybe we can go to the museum after. You can tell me all the things they got wrong again."

"We always do that," she said, tapping her chin. "We could see if that new candy factory is giving tours. I bet you could steal their secrets," she teased with a playful smirk.

"You always know how to show a mare a good time," Bon Bon laughed. "Come on, let's go steal some candy secrets."

"Hay yeah!" she cheered, intertwining her tail with Bon Bon's. The two of them trotted off toward the candy factory, laughing all the way.

The air was buzzing with barely contained energy. Men and women checked and rechecked the equipment stacked and palletized in the rooms and hallways. Conversations in a dozen different languages filled the air. Technicians wove between them, all with purpose and intent. It made navigating an onerous task for the male pair.

It was subtle, but people seemed to defer to the woman with the short cut blond hair as she reviewed manifests and reports. When they approached, she looked up at them and smiled. "Daniel, General!"

"Hey, Sam," Daniel said, looking a bit put out by the greeting. Beside him, General Jack O'Neill raised an eyebrow.

"General?" Jack greeted back. "We talked about this."

"Sorry, Jack," Samantha grinned. "I'm just a bit excited about this!"

"I can tell," Jack nodded. "So... are we there yet?"

Samantha hid a half sigh, looking away from Jack. Daniel merely nodded. "Hmm. Good call back."

"Why thank you," Jack said proudly. "I do my best. So, what's the hold up?"

"Well, this is a splinter group of Ancients we're talking about," Daniel said, looking at the currently inactive gate. "Who knows if they booby trapped their gate."

"Gotta love those Ancients," was Jack's response as he rocked on his heels.

"Not to mention that the Concordia galaxy is a bit further from us than Pegasus is," Samantha added. She quickly started warming up to the topic. "We want to make sure our first connection is as efficient as possible. If we don't, we risk drawing more power from the ZPM than we need to. Look at it this way, the wormhole might not be in real space, but it can still be af-"

"Carter!" Jack held up his hands in a warding fashion, a slight look of panic in his eyes.

"Give us a few more minutes," Sam said, sharing a smile with Daniel.

"Don't worry Jack, we'll be fine," Daniel said. "And you have to know how long I've been wanting a chance to spend an extended time in Atlantis. Now I get a city of my own, Shangri-La." He said it almost longingly. "Possibly even the Shambhala. A group that left the Pegasus ancients after a clash of philosophical beliefs. Who knows what those ancients could have discovered since then. Without the threat of the Wraith, their society, culture, knowledge could be vastly different from what we have found in the Ancient Databases here in the Milky Way and Atlantis."

"Easy, Daniel," Jack wagged his finger at him. "You're drooling."

The intercom crackled to life. "Generals Carter, O'Neill. Doctor Jackson! We are almost ready to begin the dialing procedure!"

"Well, seems it's almost time," Jack said into the silence that formed in their little group.

"Jack, it's just going to be a year," Daniel said, laying a hand on his best friend's shoulder. "And we are taking a ZPM with us. We will be able to keep in touch."

"Just... be careful, okay? I don't need you ending up stuck halfway across the universe," Jack responded, the thought of his friends ending up like the Destiny expedition weighing heavily on his mind.

"We'll be fine," Sam promised, echoing Daniel's earlier statement. "You have all of Homeworld Command to worry about. We'll take care of these people."

"We won't do anything you wouldn't," Daniel added with a wry smirk. One that died when Sam and Jack both raised eyebrows at him. "I'll... I go check the thing..." he pointed in a vague direction. "The thing over there. Holler if you need me," he said before wandering off.

"That does not inspire confidence," Jack stated frankly.

"Alright, people!" General Jack O'Neill declared. The last minute details had been set in place and dealt with. Expedition members were crowded in the gate room and most of the halls branching from it. Hands were either on or near pallets and handles, ready to get them moving. On the level above, the two jumpers on loan from Atlantis were ready to take off at a moment's notice, in case Shangri-La's hangars were empty.

"How the hell did I get roped into this?" a rather squirrelly looking young man asked as he fiddled with a camera. "I could be making movies, but no..."

"Same way I did?" a dark skinned man behind him spoke up. "Right and/or wrong place at the wrong and/or right time?"

"Yeah well at least we're making history, right?" the young man said, hefting the camera onto his shoulder. "Name's Floyd, Floyd Hendrix, nice to meet you," he said, holding his hand out. "You uh... ever been through that thing before?" he asked, gesturing to the gate.

"Devon Manley," he said, returning the shake. "And... twice. Once to go to one of the research stations on a moon. Once more to come back. It was wild."

"You went to the moon?" Floyd asked, looking at him incredulously. "That's insane. I'm glad all I gotta do is record stuff..." he mumbled, getting the camera rolling. "What they got you doing?"

"A moon. A moon. Don't ask me the name. Some code with more numbers and letters than I care to remember," Devon said, shaking his head. General O'Neill, in his customary fashion, didn't talk long, and was all too happy to turn the attention to General Carter and Doctor Jackson. "I'm a technician with the RCAF. Well, from them. With the SGC now. Geomatics."

"They got me right out of film school," Floyd started. "Some government program. Thought it would look good on a resume, didn't think I'd end up in some crazy space odyssey."

"Did they test you for the gene?" Devon asked. "I overheard this guy from the Atlantis expedition mention that they wanted as many people with the ATA gene in the first few groups going through to help wake up the city and keep it from thinking we were bad news."

"They gave me some kind of test, I think it came back positive but they didn't say much after that," Floyd said with a shrug, sweeping the camera around. "I take it it's something important?"

"Like a security key for a lot of tech they expect to find on the other side of the puddle," Devon grinned like a happy fool, thinking about some of the stuff he had gotten to read about the Atlantis Expedition in preparation from this one. He only half listened as Doctor Jackson spoke about humans continuing to live up to the expectations of being the Fifth Race. "There aren't many of us, so expect to be called around to serve as a door opener or power switch a lot. There’s a gene therapy treatment to try and give it to other people, but it only works half the time."

"Joy," Floyd said with a snort. "Always happy to help. I just hope they don't seize my footage when this is all over. I want something to show for this."

"Walter!" General O'Neill's voice yelled. "Dial it up!"

Floyd turned to the gate as the inner ring started to spin. "Show time?" he asked, zooming in on the gate with his camera.

"Chevron one encoded!" CMSgt. Walter Harriman called over the alarms that were ringing as the inner ring made its first stop, marked by one of the orange points glowing, a faint tremor originating from the gate as it engaged. Walter continued to announce each chevron as the gate worked, the slower process borne from the home-brewed system only causing breaths to be held as anticipation built.

"Chevron seven encoded!" Walter called, excitement clear in his own voice as the inner ring started its final rotation. Not since Eli Wallace was brought to Icarus had a gate room been that primed and tense.

"Wait for it..." Devon whispered, similar phases being voiced by the less stoic members in the room.

"Chevron eight... locked!" The report of a dozen pounds of C4 going off would have paled in comparison to the explosion of sound that erupted from the room when the wormhole formed with its brilliant blue-white kawoosh before settling into the rippling shimmer of the event horizon. It took a while for the noise to die down, but when it did, General O'Neill was ready.

"Shangri-La Expedition, you have a stable connection," he announced. "You're clear to move out. Send the MALP."

"Anything I should know about before going through?" Floyd asked, casting a glance at Devon.

"Security teams 3 and 5, on the ramp, go through if the MALP reports viable conditions," General Carter ordered.

"Um..." Devon, to be honest, hadn't been on any real live missions through the gate himself, but he tried to remember everything he could from the videos Doctor Jackson made and all the reports he read. "Don't touch anything, slow down if lights start turning on, and you might want to brace yourself for the first step. A couple million light years is a doozy."

"I'll keep that in mind," Floyd nodded, watching as the security teams were given the go ahead and moved into the wormhole.

"We're all clear!" General Carter called, "Please proceed through the gate In an orderly fashion!"

"This is it, Floyd," Devon said, grabbing his allotted bag and the supply cart he'd been given and moving with the flow of people. "Hope you packed everything, because we won't be back for a while."

"Trust me, I brought everything but the kitchen sink." Floyd set his camera on a cart holding the rest of his equipment. "I guess I'll see ya on the other side?" he asked as they approached the gate.

"Sooner than you think," Devon replied. Figures vanished into the gate at a steady rate, and in short notice their turn came. One step through the shimmering portal spanned millions of light years, starting on earth and ending with an abrupt stop on the other side. The excited babble of voices was silenced for an instant, replaced with somewhat hushed sounds of awe and amazement interspersed with authoritative voicing barking commands and directions.

"Okay, that was the worst thing ever..." Floyd groaned, putting his hand over his mouth. He moved off to an empty corner, sitting against the wall to let himself recover.

"I heard the first time they did a cross network dial it hurled General O’Neill out," Devon grinned, seemingly oblivious to the little plumes his breath was causing in the cold air. "This one was absolutely pleasant in comparison."

Lights were still in the process of slowly coming on around the room and individuals spread out from the gate, partially in curiosity and partially as a requirement as more and more came through. Glass, crystal and silver-grey stone seemed to be the materials of choice, from the floors, patterned with glass and stone in some places, to the stylized pillars and the tall, though dark, windows reaching to ceiling height above.

"Keep it moving, people!" the loudest voice yelled. The voice in question belonged to Colonel Bowers, the officer put in charge of the expedition's military forces. Technically, he was second in command, with General Carter being above him, but he still oversaw the flow of people for the moment from his vantage point on the second level. "Don't worry about where you are right now! Find an empty spot and park there and keep the area around the gate clear!"

"Jesus, it's cold," Floyd mumbled, pulling on the jacket he had brought. He fiddled with his bags, pulling out a small camcorder. He flipped it on, scanning around the room.

"It's not that bad," Devon insisted. Already the room was getting slightly warmer, if only from the still increasing volume of people milling about in it.

"Hey... the gate's different," Floyd commented. "Should we let someone know?"

Devon, having been more interested in looking around the room on a whole, finally turned his attention to the gate itself, a pensive expression forming. "Huh, kind of reminds me of the Pegasus gates. They must have upgraded. Aesthetics, maybe? Ancients changed styles a lot over the millennia. You should take a peek in the jumpers we got. Two completely different control panels."

"Sounds annoying," Floyd said, getting to his feet. He absentmindedly placed a hand on the wall, only for it to light up with a holographic display. Floyd let out a yelp, jumping away from it, his eyes wide.

"Yeesh, Floyd, you're a natural, probably stronger than I have," Devon commended him, putting a hand on his new friend's shoulder as he tried to make sense of the characters scrolling across the screen. He wasn't fluent in ancient, but he could pick out a few words here and there. It was one of the reasons why he actually got approved for the expedition. "Let's see... matrix... array maybe? Yeah... I got nothing really."

"What did you do?" Fortunately, there were others who were fluent. Carter and Jackson materialized out of the crowd, likely having been checking likely places for controls and interfaces. The latter of the pair stepped around them. "Excuse me. Hmm... Seems like the city is starting to reestablish connections and bringing a few of its subsystems online." He glanced at Floyd. "Good work."

"Uh, thanks?" Floyd said, giving a sheepish smile. "I'll, uh, keep up the good work..." He stepped away from the wall, making a point not to touch anything else.

"Wait," Carter said, reading a bit more of the text on the screen, "It says something about a...'Crystal Heart,' any idea what that is?" she asked, turning to Daniel.

"... What? We've been here all of five minutes. It's going to take me a bit of time before I can start making proposals about what folklore and legend might have some grounding in the Shangrians' activities." Daniel sounded more amused than annoyed. He rubbed his chin for a moment, before he started talking again. "I can't really think of anything off the top of my head. Perhaps it was their name for the ZPM?

"Ah, crystals were linked with enlightenment in Buddhist culture, and from what we can tell the Shangrians had some influence on the development of human society in that regard. It's possible that Oma either knew the Shangrians' tradition or was one herself before her ascension. The 'heart' is often used to refer to the center of something, the core. Crystals are also known for purity. Ah, let's see, some traditions mention that Crystals promote good cheer and banish sorrow and misfortune. That they are... symbols of Peace, Wealth and Posterity." He was really starting to get into it, making hand motions and sweeping gestures, stuttering and stumbling over his words at times due to his rapid pace of speech.

"I thought he said he had 'no ideas,'" Devon whispered aside to Floyd.

"Hmm... Shangri-La and Shambhala are believed to be the same location. It was stated that a future king, er, ruler would vanquish dark forces and usher in a new age in their traditions as well. A Golden Age often refers to enlightenment. Right! Ancients in general needed to be 'enlightened' to achieve ascension, again, as Oma taught. Crystals were often used both for protection as well as for supporting the proper mindset for meditation. Perhaps another site like the 'Cloister' in the Pegasus galaxy..."

"We can figure this out later," Carter said, glancing around, "We should head down to the ZPM room, see how much power we're working with." She paused for a moment, "And somebody find a window, I want to know where exactly we are."

"Sorry, General," Bowers said, having come over to see what had attracted the attention of his superiors. "My team has yet to find a window that's not completely obscured from the outside, even with someone with the gene with them to get the lights on and doors open."

"The exterior doors are sealed as well," another security officer added. The last of the expedition team had come through the gate, then the two ‘puddle jumpers,’ small, short-range Ancient spacecraft designed to fit through a Stargate, drifted through slowly, settling on the ground, while people moved hastily to give way.

"General!" one of the science team members called out, coming over in a jog. "We are getting the systems online. We haven't interfaced our computers with them yet, but it seems as if the city is under a minor isolation lockdown."

"Oh, that's lovely," Carter sighed. She nodded at Floyd before turning her attention to the team member. "What did you find?"

"Voluntary quarantine it looks like," he said. "We'll know more when we get the computers up. We seem to have full access, so we know it wasn't the automated safeguards."

"And, as for where we are?" Jackson chipped in.

"Um... in an ancient city ship?" was the hesitant response. Daniel frowned at him and narrowed his eyes. "Um... I'll get right on that!"

Carter shook her head slowly, but tapped her radio. "Stargate command, this is the Shangri-La Expedition."

"Reading you loud and clear Shangri-La," came the response, "Everything good on your end?"

"All expedition personnel and equipment have arrived safely and in one piece. We've arrived in what, as far as we can tell, is a fully intact City Ship. Systems seem operational, even if it is a little bit nippy at the moment," Carter added with a small chuckle. She was back to business in a moment. "From what we can tell, there is at least one active ZPM in the city, though we cannot tell more until everything is brought fully online. A team will be heading down to the ZPM room soon, but between the ZPM we brought, our naquadah generators and an intact city, power won't be our major issue."

"General," a technician interrupted softly, handing her a tablet.

"Thank you," Carter said as she skimmed it. "Everything looks good on our end, Stargate Command. Assuming you have no last minute instructions for us, you may cut power to the gate."

"Roger Shangri-La, General O'Neill sends his regards. Good luck." With that, the gate powered down, the wormhole cutting off with a sudden 'whoosh.'

"Well," Daniel said, moving up next to her, "Looks like we're on our own now." He adjusted his glasses, "I'm going to try and see if I can't find the archives, you heading to the ZPM room?"

"Sounds like a plan," Carter nodded. "Bowers, have your men secured enough space that we can start moving people out of the gate room and into halls and so on?"

"Yes ma'am," Bowers nodded. "We've cleared three floors down, and up to the jumper hangar on the level above us. We have enough space to start shifting equipment and people around. We haven't found living spaces yet but..."

"But we just got here," Carter agreed. "I'll check on the power, Daniel will check on their history. Lets see if we can't get a better idea of where we are, and set things up for ourselves."

"You want to take the camera guy or should I?" Daniel asked, gesturing over to Floyd, who was checking his equipment.

"You'll likely need someone with the gene to get the archives running, if Atlantis' set up holds true," Carter said.

"Alright then, I'll call you when we have something," he said with a nod, walking over to nab Floyd.

"Oh, it's so amazing Bonny!" Lyra squeed, walking down the street with a spring in her step. "Everything is so shiny!" The locals didn't even seem all that bothered by her, just smiling at the unicorn's enthusiasm.

"I knew the Crystal Empire was made of crystal and read the reports and all," Bon Bon started. She was looking around just as bright eyed as Lyra, though without the squeeing and bouncing. "But I didn't expect everything to be actually made of crystal."

"It's so pretty!" She smiled, taking a moment to look around. "This is real living history Bonny, an archaeologist's dream come true." She let out a small sigh. "Come on, let's go see the Crystal Heart!"

"Not wasting any time, are you?" Bon Bon giggled. She took her tour book from her saddlebag and flipped through it. "I think it's kept at the base of the tower, in the center of the city."

"That shouldn't be too hard to find," she said, rubbing her chin. "You know, the crystal ponies are very welcoming, it's a lot like Ponyville," she commented, moving toward the tower.

"They're definitely not like Canterlot ponies," Bon Bon agreed. She made a slight face at the memories. "Too many of them are just snobs and look down on everypony else for no good reason."

"Oooh!" Lyra squealed. "There it is!" She pointed in the distance, a glowing chunk of crystal floating above the ground ahead of them. She rushed over to it, letting out a delighted coo as she looked up at it with wide eyes.

The Crystal Heart, the central object to the empire's culture and society, floated serenely at the base of the palace between two crystal spires, turning slowly. It seemed to glow slightly, lit from within. A hoofful of crystal ponies were making their way through the area, giving deference to the Heart, though apparently jaded to the wonder it was inspiring in its visitors.

"Wow, it's even prettier than I thought it would be," Bon Bon admitted.

Lyra trotted over to the Heart, staring up at it in awe. "And to think... This was all but forgotten..." She paused as the Heart gave off a green glow, and after a moment, strange screens appeared around it, unknown characters crawling along their surfaces.

"Connection to Shangri-La reestablished."

Lyra just blinked. It was some variant of the old language. The other ponies around them looked at the Heart with uncertainty, seemingly ready to panic.

The glow in the Crystal Heart increased, building into a steady pulse of blue-white light that rippled outward along the crystal roadways and out to the outskirts of the city. A slow stream of symbols crawled within the Heart itself, seeming to fall from the top of the crystal and vanish into its depths. Lyra's eyes widened as she recognized it, at least somewhat.

"Bonny," Lyra said with budding excitement. She placed a hoof on Bon Bon's shoulder and started nudging her rapidly. "Bonny... Bonnybonnybonny! I know that symbol!"

"W-what?" Bon Bon said, her voice quivering slightly.

"I've seen the symbol, or at least some like it before!" Lyra actually didn't seem to hear Bon Bon's response. "It was on the west wall mural in the Everfree Castle! The room they found the Elements of Harmony in! There's a tablet fragment in the Royal Museum with it too!"

"And what does that mean?" Bon Bon asked, feeling Lyra's excitement rub off on her. "Do you know what's going on? It doesn't look like they do," she said, gesturing to the gathering crowd. "And that's a-" She was cut off by Lyra grabbing her and kissing her. The kiss was done and over with and Lyra started skipping around the area.

"I was right! This is too much to be a coincidence!" Lyra sang out as she danced.

"Make way for the princess!" A loud voice called out over the din of the crowd. The mob of ponies parted, allowing Princess Cadance passage, flanked by a pair of guards.

The princess paused, surveying the scene, her eyes locking on Lyra. "Lyra? Lyra Heartstrings? I haven't seen you since high school!" She rushed over, giving the surprised unicorn a hug. "How have you been!?"

"I'm uh... g-good, Your Highness..." Lyra replied sheepishly, giving the princess an awkward smile. "And um... this is my marefriend Bon Bon."

"H-hello, Your Highness..." Bon Bon stuttered, bowing her head quickly.

"That really isn't necessary," Princess Cadance insisted, looking a bit embarrassed. She gave Bon Bon a lovely smile. "I would love to talk and catch up more, but I felt something odd with the Crystal Heart a moment ago."

"The Heart, it umm... it put up these weird screens," Lyra said, pointing at it. "Not only that but it has some form of ancient Equish all over it."

"The Heart... did what?"

Lyra nodded. "The dialect was odd but... I think it was talking about some place called 'Shangri-La.'" She rubbed her chin. "Does that mean anything to you?"

Princess Cadance was still a bit taken aback by the fact that the Heart had several screens floating around it. "I guess that would count as odd..." She cast a look at Lyra. "You read ancient Equish? You always did like history."

"It's not quite the same as ancient Equish..." she said, moving over to the Heart. She pondered it for a moment before reaching out to touch it.

"Lyra... do you think that's a good idea?" Bon Bon asked, a worried frown on her face.

"Relax Bonny, nothing is going to happen," Lyra said, putting a hoof on the Heart.

The Heart glowed again, building from the point she set her hoof on. She just watched in wonder, watching rather breathlessly. Magic swelled and a stream of light washed over not only Lyra, but Bon Bon and Princess Cadance as well. There was a humming sound, followed by a flash and the three of them were gone.

"W-what just happened?" Bon Bon asked, looking around in a daze. They certainly weren't in the Empire anymore.

The light deposited them in a large room in front of a tall pillar. A small gem resembling the Crystal Heart, save for being only one tenth the size, was set in it, the glow it had having quickly dimmed. Another telling feature was the room being occupied by strange bipeds, garbed in what could be a uniform.

A pair of startled technicians, crouched before an exposed crystal tray and fiber wiring, could only stare at the three in confusion and shock. It was the same device Floyd had inadvertently activated shortly after arriving in the city, set in a small nook in the gate room. As Atlantis lacked the feature, someone decided it was worth looking into while the General got the city off emergency power.

"Hopman... what did you do?" one of them asked, eyes fixed on the three life forms that appeared.

"I swear to God I didn't touch anything that could have caused this," the technician stammered when he found his voice. He had only been searching the programming, not activating it further.

"Um... Hi," Lyra said with a strained smile, waving a hoof at them.

"Somebody call security!"