• Published 13th May 2016
  • 4,428 Views, 219 Comments

Friendship is Sufficiently Advanced - Cordial Nova

A first-in scout from the Associated Worlds investigates a very odd star system.

  • ...

II. Rapid Unplanned Disassembly

Once upon a time, in a magical land of Equestria...

...a purple unicorn galloped into a clearing and, frankly, gawped.

The column of white mist gushing into the sky - a glance upward suggested thousands of spans, at least - was as it had been described to her. (Well, part of her mind footnoted, bearing in mind that it had been described to her rather incoherently by Ponyville's flower-selling sisters in full flutter, it probably wasn't an evil fog.) The weather team, Rainbow Dash in the lead, were already closing in around it to guide it away from the town.

(At least it had chosen to happen well away from Fluttershy's cottage. She had passed the yellow pegasus on the way out of town, trying to calm what looked like half the animals in the Everfree Forest.)

Beneath the column, though, was something she didn't recognize at all. A wide silvery-gray cylinder (which shimmered in the sun's light like the Crystal Empire's buildings, her footnoter supplied), big enough for a half-dozen ponies to walk abreast, sloped downward to a golden dome at the front of the thing in the dirt, propped on two spoked wheels just as wide behind. And behind that...

Its back was broken, she realized. The other end of the - vehicle, she guessed - was canted in the opposite direction, wings drooping and splayed out across the ground, and with the mist gushing freely from the fractured end of its lumpy body.

Twilight Sparkle tried and failed to restrain a grin. This was something new. She took one tentative step towards the front, and a panel blew out of the dome, through which shot a creature wrapped in blue light, dropping quickly to the ground. She'd not seen it's like before in any of the references: a biped, but much taller - nearly twice her height! (1) - and thinner than a minotaur, with oddly glossy skin. Or was that clothing? It must be clothing, she thought, since the gold bubble on its shoulders couldn't be its head.

1. 7' 1", if we're being picky.

It was also running towards her, shouting something she couldn't understand.

"Xaharisár! Xaharisár! Idar el tra-devassil leir andrár!" (2)

Words, she had time to think. Those were words. It must be sapient --

2. "Run! Run! The deuterium cloud will catch fire!"

And then the sky caught fire. Sheets of blue flame swept upwards, with a crash of thunder and a concussion that shook the ground. Twilight braced herself, projecting a shield bubble almost without thought as the shock wave passed, raising choking dust from the ground. She peered upwards, trying to check on the weather team. It looked as if they were all still flying, although scattered and stunned - all except Rainbow, who was already herding the nearest cloud over the flames that now roared from the midsection of the strange vehicle.

She turned to check on the creature, and her breath caught. The force of the blast had propelled it head-first into a tree, and it was lying crumpled at its base, clothing even smoldering slightly. The head - no, the helmet - had shattered on impact, revealing an odd, flattened face, reddish mane, and some deep blue liquid. Blood, perhaps? It smelled like blood.

There will be time to study it later, Twilight thought, and picking it up as carefully and gently as she could with her field, she headed at a fast canter towards the Ponyville Hospital.

Meanwhile, in Ponyville's Golden Oaks Library, a baby dragon was awoken abruptly by a loud belch, followed by a puff of flame and a scroll sealed with a crescent moon.