• Published 28th Apr 2016
  • 1,388 Views, 43 Comments

Rocky Mountain Dragon - Iron_Cauldron

Changing species and genders was the easy part. Surviving in a world without people and infrastructure, that's going to be a challenge. Luckily, I've had some help to prepare for the long haul. A VERY, long haul.

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Chapter 2 - Getting Informed

Author's Note:

I'm going to try to post a chapter, at most, once every two weeks, and at the least, once a week. If I happen to forget, please be patient. I am, like I said, new to writing, so please be kind.

Bright Star and the group of ponies chosen by the Princesses had no honest idea what kinds of objects the humans had brought over. Their brief view of the humans indicated that they wore clothing like most Equestrians, but in much greater amounts, and covering more of their bodies than the ponies had ever thought necessary, outside of certain circumstances. Some of the chatter while waiting for the Princesses revolved around aspects of the humans they could remember.

"One of them seemed to be losing the mane on his head. And was it just me, or did anypony else not see any fur on them? A little ugly if you ask me." A haughty sounding unicorn pony asked, with a deep Canterlot accent.

"Their features were a little like some seen in minotaurs: they walked on two legs, appeared to have hooves of some kind, with some type of tied-on covering, if the straps were really there, and not some form of decoration." Added an Earth pony.

More banter in regards to the strangeness of the humans continued to be passed around, while they waited. When Star finally noticed the clock, it read nearly eleven-thirty in the morning. When the clock finally reached the half-way mark, the doors began to creak open on the left-hoof side of the room. Princess Luna walked through first, followed by her sister, both manes waving the ethereal wind, regardless of their walking.

They made a move to bow to the Princesses, but Princess Luna stopped them with a raised hoof, "There will be no bowing in this meeting, so please be seated." She made her way to the end of the table opposite the door the way the small group had entered, and returned to address the assembled ponies, "You are all aware that we called you here to try to figure out what the human devices do, and how they operate, but I believe that an explanation about the humans is first necessary."

Princess Luna first took some time to gather her thoughts, and organize some note cards she had brought with her. Clearing her throat, Princess Luna continued, As my sister said before, there will be an announcement to the world shortly, but all of you will be doing something extra. Until we can figure out the mechanics of the object that have been left here, they will be kept a secret. You do have the option of withdrawing from the group, if you have a more important obligation to attend to."

Only one hoof went up in the group, a lime green Earth Pony mare, "I will not be able to stay and help Your Highness. I have a husband and two young foals, and we are not from this city. I do apologize. As interesting, and as great an opportunity this is, they are my main priority."

Princess Celestia spoke up, "You are more than welcome to step out and head back to your family." She turned to one of the guards at the door who'd come with her and her sister, addressing them, "Would one of you please escort the young mare to the entrance of the castle so she may leave? Thank you." One moved sharply, bowed to the Princesses, and gestured to the mare to follow him.

Before she left however, she stopped, turned, and said to the Princesses, "I would have spoken up earlier, Your Highnesses, but I was raised to be respectful, and..."

She did not get a chance to respond fully, before Luna looked her in the eye, smiled, and said, "We completely understand, and it is quite alright. Your family is more important. Have a safe trip home!" Princess Luna nodded, continuing to smile to the mare, who bowed again, though not as low as she had before. When the doors closed, Princess Celestia again addressed the group.

"Is everypony else fine staying?" When the rest nodded, she continued, "To let you all know, this project will last for only two weeks. Your room and board will be in a castle boarding house, adjacent the troops barracks. You will recieve badges giving you permission to be on castle ground, as well as escorts to and from the castle proper, but that is done for castle guests. Any projects of jobs you may currently be on, if you wish we can contact them for you, and let them know you are working on assignment for the crown. Is this arrangment acceptable?"

Bright Star was among the ponies who's hooves went up, each pony giving the information of their occupations to the attendant of Princess Celestia. "Thank you all for your support. Your employers will be contacted, and if necessary, we will send support to them, in exchange for your absence. Some of you are no doubt from out of town, so your fare home will be compensated, as well as any lost revenue from your jobs. You may have noticed that Princesses Cadence and Twilight are no longer with us. They have been allocated to other jobs in studying the human world, and ways to help then with the arrival of magic. For right now, your main concern is trying to figure out the items they left behind, but first, you must see more of the humans, as some of the items were apparently used by them on a daily basis."

Princess Celestia moved to get up, addressing her sister, "I will leave this to you Princess Luna, I must go attend to my duties."

"Thank you sister." She replied, nodding her gratitude.

Once Celestia had left, Princess Luna continued on, "We have some recordings of the portal on film, and the images of humans through it." At this, a projector was brought in, with Princess Luna moving around the table to make room, while a screen was set up near the door.

The lights dimmed, and the film started with a view through the portal, to what appeared to be a mostly blue planet, presumably covered in a vast ocean, with large land masses, themselves covered in various shades of brown and green. The princess said, "The humans call their planet, 'Earth.'" The next scene switched to a part of the land that showed a large island with an absolutely immense city covering it, replete with buildings made of an enormous amount of glass, steel, and some made of brick.

One of the other Earth ponies spoke up, "Look at the size of those buildings!! I wonder how they made them so huge, and so many!" he spoke in awe.

The film continued, going to street level, which showed many colorful shapes moving around, all without being pulled by anything. Most appeared to shine when the light hit them, as if made of shiny metals, and some even belched plumes of dark smoke. To this, Princess Luna spoke up, "We told the humans we also had buildings like theirs, though not quite so many, nor so tall. They said that many of their own reached more than 100 floors high, and that the largest were nearly two-thousand feet in height. We told them of our own skyscrapers, to which they replied that theirs had been as small once, but only became as big, over the last century. They were simply astonished at the similarities between their 'Manhatten,' and our own Manehatten. We each gathered maps and images of our respective cities, showing them to each other. Needless to say, awe was a common feeling that day.

"When we asked what moved their metal chariots around, the humans we were speaking with chuckled, and corrected us. They told us they were called 'automobiles,' and were powered by naturally occuring, though limited, 'gasoline.' They descibed gasoline as being a derivative of a product they extracted from the ground called oil, saying that it was but one of the byproducts of the refinment of oil, and that it was a very dangerous process to make." Luna continued the film, which moved from the large cities, out to something familiar to the ponies. Suburbs. "The smaller buildings you see here are dwellings for human families, some who have foals, or another common term between us, children. Many things between humans and us are the same; we raise our young, send them to school, have jobs, and so on.

"Theirs is a very complicated world however, as the humans explained, that they do not have what we call cuties marks. A human's occupation can change, though some do find their destinies, and follow their dreams." The movie continued on, showing the ponies the vast number of businesses, the myriad of buildings, and one thing the ponies did not expect, given the kinds of structures they had all seen thus far.

"Is that a castle?" Star asked, pointing to a building that had spires, and adornments that looked like the dragons on the sides of most of Canterlot, and the recently studied Castle of the Two Sisters.

"No, that, the humans explained, is a 'cathedral.' The humans are, for the most part, a very spiritual people, believing in various deities and gods, many of which baffled us. The ones with the 'T' shape on their spires, and signs were almost everywhere in the country we are showing you. There are other places like it, some having statues of a human sitting in a strange pose, while others have a star, and some that have a down-ward cresent moon on them. The humans we talked to said that this was a delicate issue for many, so we did not inquire further."

The movie continued on, showing scenes of large trains, much longer than the ponies had ever seen, or thought possible. Another that intrigued them, were absolutely giant constructions that seemed to travel a length of road, and took off into the air. They had lines of black spots along their sides, with long, tapered wings and large, bulbous, and very noisy things attached to them. Their 'tails,' were strange too. Two smaller wings jutting out on the sides like fins, and one going up.

"What in the world are those?!" A red pegasus asked incredulously.

"We were told they were called 'airplanes.'" Princess Luna supplied. "They are used to ferry many humans, and sometimes cargo, across vast distances, very fast. These also run on a kind of gasoline. The kind they run on though, was explained to be very dangerous, and more volatile than the other kind of gas. The humans told us that they had once used balloons for transport as we do, but found them very dangerous."

The film then moved back to suburban areas, with humans walking around, to which Princess Luna spoke up, "The humans are apparently a primarily bipedal species. The coverings on the ends their hind legs are called 'shoes,' which protect their soft feet. They do not have hooves like us, so they have to protect their feet. Their feet end in five digits, or 'toes,' each of which has a nail. Moving up, they appear to walk on their heels and toes, as when some of our biologists studied their joints and compared them to ours; they have the same number of joints, just in a different arrangement."

The clothing the humans wore was as colorful and different as each pony was from each other. "The humans, for the most part, lack fur, so they cover much of their bodies with clothing to protect themselves, and as you will no doubt see, to advertise what they like. Not unlike our souvineer shirts" Princess Luna explained with a smile. "Their upper limbs are called 'arms,' and are used to carry things with. The ends of their arms, are called 'hands,' which are very dextrous, and able to perform very fine manipulations, though much more limited than a unicorn's magical abilities. As you can see, many have devices in their hands, while some have one hand near their head. They are talking into, and working on devices which are called 'telephones,' or just 'phones.' They appear to be communication devices that allow them to talk to others at any distance. They also appear to be capable of gaming, and sometimes being a distraction."

Bright Star spoke up, "You weren't kidding Princess. Their world is VERY complicated. So many things to keep track of, it's a wonder they aren't crazy."

Princess Luna giggled, adding "I asked that as well, and got the responce, 'You get used to it.'"

The film ended, and the lights brightened back up, with some staff taking the projector and screen away. After the carts of projection equipment were wheeled away, the princess turned to the assembled ponies with a serious expression and said, "You will be the film's only viewers. It will now head to storage until we have more information to better explain to the rest of Equestria what those objects and buildings on, and from Earth, are."

Other carts, covered in blankets were wheeled in, in their place. "These are some of the devices the humans had brought over. Quite a few have analogues to our own." Princess Luna explained. Removing the cloth, revealed a number of items, some with tiny writing visible near what had to be buttons. Picking one up, Princess Luna continued, "This is a camera of some kind, quite small, and obviously quite advanced."

Picking up another, "As you can see, this is like the devices we saw them carrying. They called them 'smart phones.' These are apprently also capable of sending 'text messages,' which we gathered to be electronically written documents, sent through a means explained to us as 'radio,' which we are currently investigaing. There are other items which we already have here in Equestria, that do not need any study, so these items will be the only ones you will examine.' Setting it down, Princess Luna concluded, "These are but a few of the things you will all be studying. Please try to be careful with them in your studies, as they are the only ones in existence in Equestria. If you are not able to extract anything from them however, we may be forced to open them up, to see how they work. Remember, you have two weeks."

Another pony in the group spoke in a low tone, "No pressure."

Princess Luna countered, "Even if you do not figure out how they truly work, there is no need to rush. You will have access to all the resources you will need. We have had some ponies examine them briefly to see what tools you will require, which have been gathered." Hearing a stomach growl from one of the ponies, she said, "You may have some time for lunch, but please stay together. When you are finished, you will be escorted to a larger room, where these items will be brought to you. Have a good lunch, everypony" wished Princess Luna, smiling at them all.

After she left the room, a guard from the door spoke up, "Please follow me." Bright Star and the others got up, stretched, and followed the guard through the door, and down the hallway.

'Well, this has been a very interesting day, to say the least.' Star thought to herself.