• Published 8th Sep 2016
  • 14,377 Views, 1,194 Comments

Where No Pony Has Gone Before - RK_Striker_JK_5

Equestria makes contact with the Enterprise. Star Trek/MLP crossover.

  • ...

Chapter Four

Kirk finished off his muffin. As soon as he swallowed, another one bounced up at him. He caught it, but lowered it back down to Pinkie Pie. “Thank you, Miss Pie, but I think I'm... full.”

Pinkie Pie nodded. “I figured, Captain. Thank you very much for enjoying them!” Her tongue snaked out, wrapped around the muffin and pulled it into her mouth. She gulped it down, grinning.

Rarity rolled her eyes. “Pinkie Pie, please! Don't be so uncouth around our guests!” She looked up at Kirk. “Please accept my apologies for her behavior, Captain. Pinkie means well, but can be a bit foalish.”

Kirk held up a hand. “Thank you, Miss Belle, but it's all right. She's a wonderful cook, and should enjoy the... fruits of her labor.” He paused. “So, you're a... seamstress?”

Rarity tossed her head back and forth. “Well, I prefer to think of myself as an artiste, and fabric is my canvas!” She stood up on her hind legs. “I use fabric, gemstones, and thread to create wearable works of art!” She looked Kirk up and down, eyes narrowing. “Hmm, your uniform is a bit... well, I suppose 'functional' would be preferable in space, correct?” She held up a hoof. “Oh, and please, call me 'Rarity'.”

A smile crossed Kirk's mouth. “Very well, Rarity.” He looked to Pinkie Pie. “And your profession, Miss Pie? Let me guess... baking?”

Pinkie Pie let out a loud gasp. “How'd you know?!”

“Lucky guess.”

Pinkie Pie nodded rapidly. “Yeah, I live with Mister and Missus Cake at Sugarcube Corner in Ponyville. Before that, I lived with my family on our rock farm.” Her eyes glazed over slightly, then regained focus. “All day long, it was rotating the fields. Move the crystals from the south field to the north field, the feldspar from the–”

Kirk held up a hand. “Wait, did you say... rock farm?” His jaw worked for a moment. “Is that some sort of... mine? Does your family work in mineralogy?”

Pinkie Pie laughed and waved him off. “Oh, no! The Pie family's been farmers for generations. Well, okay. My sister Maud's getting a rocktorate, but that's pretty much the extent of our higher education.”

Kirk hesitated. “I... see? So what does your family do with these rocks?”

Rarity waved Kirk down to her. As he dropped down to her level, she leaned in close. “Captain, if I may explain a bit better, Pinkie's family uses earth pony magic to imbue certain kinds of rocks and crystals with naturally-occurring energy. Admittedly, some of it does involve digging up rocks, but it's more about placement for them.”

Kirk nodded, his expression clearing. “I see. Thank you, Rarity.” He looked to Pinkie Pie. “And I... apologize for my confusion, Pinkie. As my first officer would say, it sounds quite fascinating.”

Pinkie Pie waved him off. “Oh, don't worry, Captain. Sometimes I don't know what I'm talking about.” With that, she turned and hopped back to one of the buffet tables.

Kirk watched her bounce away. “I should have Scotty look into this... rock farming. Perhaps with Ensign Naraht.”

Rarity looked back to Kirk. “So, Captain? Would I be able to interest you in some civilian-style clothes? Truth be told, barring Spike, I don't believe I've ever worked on a biped before!”

Off to the side, Kang stood near a wall, Applejack and Fluttershy flanking him. He held up a mug of cider and eyed it. “So, this is what you call cider?”

Applejack nodded, grinning. “Yes, sir! Made with pride by my family! You can't get better cider anywhere in Equestria! I should know, I make it myself.”

Kang barked a laugh. He tilted the mug back and took a sip. He swished it around in his mouth before swallowing. “Not bad, not bad at all!” He took a big gulp. “You bring honor to your House, Applejack.”

Applejack slid her hat off her head and held it close to her chest. “Thank you kindly, Captain!” She paused and arched an eyebrow. “Beggin' your pardon, though but what's 'House' mean in the way you used it?”

Kang looked down at her. “My family, extended family, all our property and holdings. I am the head of my House, the House of Kang.”

Applejack slowly nodded. “Ah, I get it. I'd be part of the House of Apple, then. I got kin all over Equestria.” She looked to Fluttershy. “Sound about right?”

Fluttershy nodded. “I think it's a wonderful name, Applejack.” She looked back to Kang. “Captain, can I get you any more salmon? I've got some other meat-based foods, too. Do you eat plants, or baked goods?”

Kang shrugged. “It depends.” He smiled slightly. “My mother makes the best rokeg blood pie in the whole Beta Quadrant. Whenever I came home from the Academy, I'd walk in and the smell would hit me like a disruptor blast.” He looked to the tables. “Did you catch the fish yourself?”

Fluttershy nodded. “Oh, yes! I take care of a lot of animals, and they all have very different dietary needs. Some need plants, some need meat, some need a combination of both. All part of the circle of life.”

Applejack nodded. “I hear you on that, Fluttershy.” At Kang's look, she shrugged. “Sweet Apple Acres, my farm. All sorts of critters, plus my dog Winonna. Gotta make sure they're all properly fed.”

Kang leaned forward a bit. “A farm, you say? How well is it run? How efficient is it?'

Applejack's brow furrowed. “Well, we do a good job. It's only four of us, you see, and Granny Smith is... getting on in years. We can get three, maybe four crops in a year before–”

“Three or four crops?” Kang said, eyes widening.

Applejack shrank back a bit. “Ah... yeah. Although some of the larger farms in my family can manage more.” She paused. “Is that a problem?”

Kang shook his head. “I would call that a miracle, especially if we were to learn how you do it.” At her stare, he growled and stared off at the far wall. “Q'onos has little arable land, and many of the planets in the Empire are poor in resources.”

Applejack scratched the side of her head. “Well... I'm not so sure how much of it you Klingons can 'learn', but I'll do my best to help. No one should go to bed on an empty stomach.”

Kang looked up as Kirk walked over, Rarity in tow. “Ah, Kirk. Your legendary charm appears to be in action once more.”

Kirk waved him off. “Not this time, Kang. Although you seem to have a... good rapport forming with the Equestrians yourself.”

Kang grunted. “Applejack has strong ties to her family, and wishes to bring them honor. Both she and Fluttershy recognize the realities of nature. Red tooth and claw. Quite the Klingon mindset, Captain.”

Kirk held up a hand. “Perhaps, Kang... but those qualities aren't... exclusive to the Klingons. The Federation values family, and we too recognize the realities of nature. You're not so different from the Equestrians, but neither are we.” The ghost of a smile crossed his lips. “Perhaps, perhaps we're not so different, either.”

Kang leaned his head back. “I have respect for you, Kirk, but I doubt we have that much in common.”

Kirk shrugged. “Oh, I don't know. Two starship captains, representing the best of our two governments. We came together once, Kang. Who says we can't... do it again?”

There was a pause. Kang shifted his stance, but kept his eyes on Kirk, his expression neutral. “Extraordinary circumstances, Kirk. One that might not come again.”

Applejack stood up on her hind legs and held her forelegs out. “Okay, you two. I'm not exactly up to date on... galactic politics or anything like that, but I do know a thing or two about two people who think they've got nothing in common, but can still get along despite, or even because of that.” She dropped back down to all fours, her gaze lingering on Rarity. “And trust me, it's very worth it.”

Rarity giggled. “Take it from her, gentlemen. She is the Element of Honesty, after all.”

Kang opened his mouth, but stopped. His brow wrinkled. “Element... of Honesty?”

Rarity, Fluttershy, and Applejack all looked at each other. “Ah, horse apples!” Applejack said, rolling her eyes. “Sorry, Captain. We got kinda caught up there a bit in the small stuff.” She waved a hoof at the other two. “Rarity's the Element of Generosity, and Fluttershy's the Element of Kindness.” At their blank expressions, she sighed. “You got no idea what we're talking about, do you.”

Kirk's jaw worked for a moment. “Are these... ceremonial positions in your government? Do these titles carry actual weight?”

Rarity spoke up. “Actually, Applejack, with the Elements in the Tree of Harmony, are we really the Elements of Harmony anymore?” At Applejack's glare, she chuckled nervously. “W-well, all right!”

Kang walked up to Kirk's side. “I have a feeling neither of our briefings fully prepared us for this, Kirk.”

Kirk nodded. “I have a feeling you're right, Kang.” He looked around the room. “Has anyone... seen Twilight?”

Applejack shrank down slightly. “W-well, she had to go take check on Spike, then write a... a letter to a friend.” Her eyes shifted from Kirk to Kang. “It's the honest-to-Celestia truth, I swear!”

Kirk glanced to a door near the back. “And this Spike is, Applejack?”

Rarity spoke up. “He's Twilight's assistant, and quite the dashing dragon, if I do say so.”

Kirk's eyes widened. “A... an actual dragon?”

Fluttershy nodded. “That's right, Captain. Twilight hatched his egg when she applied for Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, and they've been together ever since.”

Kang looked to Kirk. “Is there a problem? You look as if Kahless himself has appeared before you.”

Kirk looked to him, then back to Rarity and Fluttershy. “Just... remembering something I said during a log entry.”

Twilight and Spike made their way to a room in the castle. Spike had a basket of gems slung around one arm, and he occasionally tossed a ruby or emerald into his mouth. “I don't think Sunset's got any information on these guys,” he said between chewing and swallowing. “Don't they have like, only a few space stations in orbit or something? Oh, and thanks for the gems!”

Twilight glanced back as they entered the room and stood before a large mirror and a techno-magical contraption surrounding it. “First off, thank you for doing all that hard work. And second, good point. I just wanna make sure all the bases are covered. You never know.” She turned back to the mirror and a book floated up and over to her. A quill and inkwell floated over and she began to write in it:

Dear Sunset Shimmer
Hello. I hope things are going well for you over at Canterlot High. I apologize for not writing lately, but it's been a busy couple of weeks. A probe from outer space crashed down outside of Ponyville, and we've had contact with people from the stars!

The beings who landed here bear quite a striking resemblance to the humans where you live. It piqued my curiosity. Do the names 'James T. Kirk', 'Spock', or 'United Federation of Planets' sound familiar to you at all? Any information would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

Twilight Sparkle

Spike spoke up as Twilight set the book back. “So, do we wait?”

Twilight chuckled and shook her head. “Probably not a good idea to keep our guests waiting too long. Faust knows what Sunset's doing right now.” She waved Spike closer to her as her horn lit up. “Speaking of which, ready to meet the captains?”

Spike nodded, grinning. He raised a claw. “Hey, think I could get a tour of their ships?”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “Let's not get too ahead of ourselves.” Her horn flared as she teleported them both out of the room.

As soon as Twilight and Spike left, words started to appear on the book's pages...

Ha ha, Twilight. How did you find out 'Star Trek' was one of my favorite shows?

Twilight and Spike reappeared right outside the front hall. They entered, finding Kirk and Kang surrounded by every other guest. Several other Ponyville residents had wandered in and listened as the two captains spoke, their voices rising and lowering.

Kirk held up his right hand and waved it about. “We... work together, Kang, for the good of all! All members of the Federation,” he clasped his hands together, “for the good of all!”

Kang snarled. “I will not apologize for my people being invaded and our planet plundered by the Hur'q! They left us stripped of almost everything but our honor. We had to strike out for our very survival! Do you deny our right to exist?”

Kirk rounded on him. “I am not denying your right to survive, Kang. What I do deny is your right to survive at the expense of others. Humans have found a way to coexist and cooperate within the Federation.”

Kang shook his head. “Would you be able to, if the Vulcans had come to conquer, instead of to help?”

Kirk opened his mouth, but any rejoinder died on his lips.

Twilight walked up and cleared her throat, gaining their attention. “Are you two all right?”

Kang's head shot down. “An old argument, Princess Sparkle. It's one our nations have had for a long time.”

Kirk nodded. “I... apologize if the arguing got out of hand, Twilight. Both Kang and I can be rather... passionate about our views.”

“I would not respect you if you held back, Kirk,” Kang said, half-smiling.

Twilight motioned to Spike. “Well, I would like to introduce you two to my assistant and best friend, Spike the dragon.”

Spike stepped forward, straightened to attention and saluted. “Reporting for duty, Captains!” He leaned forward, grinning. “And maybe a ride on one of your ships?”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “Spike!”

Kang barked a laugh. “Quite bold for one so young and small. Yes, Spike. Barring any problems, I'll give you and Princess Sparkle a tour of the Pride.”

Twilight's ears perked up and her wings fluttered. “Wait, really?”

Kirk held up a hand. “Well, I'd be... remiss if I didn't offer a tour of the Enterprise as well, for you and perhaps small groups as well.”

Rainbow Dash's head shot up. “Wait, wait... a tour of your ships? Up there, in outer space?”

Kirk and Kang exchanged a look. “Well, yes,” Kirk said. “If you'd like to go, that–”

Rainbow Dash flew up to his head, then over to Kang's. “Count me in!”

Kang eyed her. “Enthusiastic. I like you!”

Kirk knelt down to Twilight and Spike. “If I may ask, Twilight, Applejack mentioned you were writing a letter to a friend. Anything... wrong?”

Twilight's brow furrowed. “I don't... think so? I just needed to touch base with a friend of mine in an alternate dimension.”

Kirk shot back to his feet. “An... alternate dimension?!”

Twilight scooted back slightly. “Y-yeah. Is that a... a problem, Captain?”

Kang leaned in close. “Kirk, you've gone quite pale.”

The other ponies gathered closer to Kirk, their expressions of concern for him. Pinkie Pie shot off, returning with a mug of cider balanced on her head. She bounced, sending it up and over to Kirk.

Kirk caught the mug and took a long swig from it. “Thank you, Pinkie. I... apologize for that. Two years ago, I was... sent to an alternate dimension, thanks to a transporter accident, along with Uhura, Bones, and Chief Engineer Scott. We were transported to a warped, distorted version of the Federation called the Terran Empire.” He looked to Kang. “It reminded me a bit of what Mara told me about your... information concerning the Federation.”

Kang chuckled. “A good point, Captain.”

He looked back to Twilight. “We managed to escape by the skin of our teeth, our counterparts returning at the same time. It was... sobering, to see the worst that could happen.”

Applejack looked to Twilight. “That doesn't sound like what you described Canterlot High as, Twilight. Still...”

Kirk held his hands up, palms out. “I... apologize if I've caused undue worry, Twilight. I merely hope your friend is all right.”

Twilight and Spike looked to each other, then back up at Kirk. “Last time we checked...” Spike said. “Twilight, you think maybe we should go check on the journal again?”

Twilight held up a foreleg. “Let's... not jump to any conclusions, Spike.” A small bit of her mane sprang up. “No, no jumping to any conclusions that–”

Spike placed a hand over her muzzle and squeezed it shut. “That's right, Twilight. No jumping to conclusions in front of the nice captains!”

Twilight nodded. She waited for Spike to let go, then looked up to the Kirk and Kang. “So, gentlemen, again, apologies for the delay. Would you still like a brief tour of the castle before tonight's dinner?”

Kang nodded. “A brief tour, Princess.”

Kirk half-smiled. “I'd be... honored.”

“... And here is the cutie mark map room. It's where my friends and I meet, discuss important matters, and even get missions from the map itself.”

Twilight led the two into the room. She flew up and around the table and waved at the seven chairs. “One chair each for my fellow Elements of Harmony, and one for Spike.”

Kang leaned in close to Kirk. “Is it my imagination, or does this castle seem a bit... bigger on the inside than the outside?”

Kirk glanced at him out of the corner of his eyes. “Now that you mention it...”

The two walked over to the crystalline table. As Twilight dropped onto her chair, a holographic map of Equestria appeared. “If there's a friendship problem in Equestria, the map lights up, and the cutie marks of the ponies best suited to go and solve the problem float over wherever it is that need our help.”

Kang hovered over the map, eyes darting back and forth. “Kirk, how much of that did you understand?”

Kirk's jaw canted slightly. “Most of it, Kang. I... think.” He looked to Twilight. “What is a... cutie mark?”

Twilight blinked. She groaned and slapped her forehead with a hoof. “Ho, boy! This is gonna take some... time.” She floated up and turned around slightly to present her flank to the two. “All right, see this symbol, here? It's my cutie mark. It represents a pony's special talent, what they like doing best. Most of the time it's pretty straightforward, but not all the time.”

Kang leaned forward. “Is it some sort of dye? Is there a certain age you receive it? Are there trials to find your special talent?”

Twilight's brow furrowed slightly. “Well, no. It just... shows up when you realize what you want to do with your life. It's not a dye, and while it usually shows up when you're a foal, it doesn't always happen that way.” She rubbed her chin. “Darn it, there's so many gaps in our knowledge of each other! I tried to fill the first-contact teams in as much as I could, but there were just so many things that came to mind!” Her horn flashed. A scroll, quill and inkwell appeared in front of her. “Hmm, where to start on this list?”

Kirk held up a hand. “Twilight, I think, at the moment, any explanation would... not be adequate, and leave gaps. Perhaps at a later time, when you're more fully prepared? It would be better for you to... think it over a bit.”

Twilight slowly nodded. “Okay, that makes sense.” She hung her head. “I apologize for acting like that. Sometimes stress can lead me to a bit of rambling, taking action before I've fully thought things out. It's a weakness of mine, and I still haven't fully gotten over it.”

Kang smiled. “One's heart can be quite powerful and overriding, Princess. The challenge is taming your passions and directing them towards your goal.” The smile fell away. “Not all Klingons have mastered it.”

Kirk looked to him. “Not all humans have, either.”

Twilight's ears perked up. “Oh, really? Both your people have that in common?” Her eyes sparkled slightly. “What about you two? You seem rather... in control of yourselves. Almost... friendly.”

Kang growled. “I have respect for Kirk, Princess. He is honorable, and I owe him. Friendship, however, is not something I would claim with him.”

Kirk thumped his chest. “Kang, I'm hurt!”

Twilight flew up, around and over to the two. “Well, it is fairly obvious in hindsight that you're not exactly on friendly terms. I think, though, that you two have a lot in common, that you can build on it to a genuine friendship.” She drew her wings out around them. “What do you say? Care to give friendship a chance?”

Kang stared at her for a moment before raising his hand, blocking her wing from coming any closer. “You overreach yourself, Princess. Friendship is... not something I can see myself having with Kirk. I respect him, I find him to be an honorable opponent, even. But friendship?” He slowly shook his head. “Impossible.”

Kirk regarded him. “Kang, I've learned the 'impossible' is not nearly as absolute a term as I once thought it was.”

Twilight nodded. “It's true, Kang. I've made friends with a lot of people I never in a million moons I thought I would. It's not easy, but it's worth it.” She slowly extended a foreleg. “Would you... consider it?”

Kang's eyes narrowed. He activated his communicator. “Pride, one to beam up.” He looked over and locked eyes with Twilight. “Thank you for the tour, Princess. It was most... informative.” He glanced down. “Energize.” A swirl of red energy surrounded him as he disappeared.

Twilight hung in midair, staring at the spot Kang occupied. She slowly dropped down into her throne and rested her forelegs on the table. “Captain Kirk, I've heard a bit about how bad it's been between the Federation and Klingon Empire.” She looked up at him. “Even near-war a few times?”

Kirk knelt down. “You are... correct, Twilight. It has been bad, on the brink of war more than once. The Broken Bow incident was... not the best way first-contact could have gone. There have been a few bright spots, but not many.”

Twilight massaged her forehead. “Friendship problems between two people, or even groups of people, are one thing. But interstellar nations is a whole other league.”

Kirk shrugged. “Well, Kang and I are individuals. Perhaps you should start small, for now? Another old saying is that the longest journey begins with... one step.”

Twilight slowly nodded, her expression brightening. “Captain, I think you're right.” She flew up and turned to face him. “I'm gonna take that small step, and maybe a few more!” Her horn lit up. “If you'll excuse me, Spike and I have a lot to do before that dinner tonight.” And with that, she vanished.

Kirk chuckled. He slid his communicator from his belt. “Enterprise.”

Enterprise, Lieutenant M'ress here, Captain.”

Kirk paused for a moment. “Where's... right, getting ready for the dinner. One to beam up, Lieutenant.”

Canterlot Castle's main hall had hosted many functions over the years, but none of them seemed to hold as much weight as the one being held that night. Dignitaries, bureaucrats, royalty, Klingons and humans were scattered all about, servants darting back and forth with trays of food and drink. Several groups clustered around buffet tables while Octavia Philharmonic and her band played on the main stage.

Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rest of his command staff walked in, all in dress uniform. A page at the door looked up at him. “Announcing Captain James T. Kirk, Commander Spock, Lieutenant Commander Leonard McCoy, Lieutenant Commander Montgomery Scott, Lieutenant Commander Hikaru Sulu, Lieutenant Commander Nyota Uhura, and Lieutenant Pavel Chekov of the USS Enterprise!”

The guests all turned, a hush settling over the crowd. Kirk flashed a smile as several ponies approached. He knelt down slightly as they chatted with him, smiling and trying to commit their faces and names to memory, at least for the course of the evening.

The now-familiar voice of Twilight caught his attention. He looked up and spotted the Princess flying over, now dressed in regalia more fitting the occasion. “Your majesty,” he said, bowing slightly.

Twilight chuckled. She sketched a midair bow to him and the others. “Good to see you.” She waved a wing at the tables. “We've had the finest chefs in Equestria working all day to make this.”

Kirk nodded to her. “And we... appreciate the effort, Princess.” He turned to the others. “You've met Spock, Bones, and Uhura. Allow me to introduce–”

“Hikaru Sulu, chief helmsman, Pavel Chekov, navigator, and Montgomery Scott, chief engineer?” At their stares, she shrank down slightly. “Sorry. I did a bit more research this afternoon and found out your positions.” She leaned in close to Kirk. “You weren't kidding about it being bad between your two governments.”

Kirk turned to the others. “Hikaru, Pavel, Scotty, this is Princess Twilight Sparkle, the Princess of Friendship for Equestria.”

Chekov tilted his head back slightly and smiled. “Ah, Princess of Friendship! Must've inherited the title from Anastasia, of the Romanov's!”

Twilight blinked. She leaned in close to Chekov. “Sorry, what? Who?”

Scotty patted Chekov on the shoulder. “Now, now, lad. Let's not confuse her too much.” He stepped around him and bowed slightly to Twilight. “Honored to meet you, your highness. Montgomery Scott, but you can call me 'Scotty'.”

Twilight bit her lip. “It's an honor to meet you as well, Scotty.” She giggled slightly. “I just realized. You're the... the chief engineer of the Enterprise. You run the warp engines that enable your ship to go faster-than-light. I have... so many questions I want to ask you right now. But if I start, I may not stop! I mean, how the engines can overcome the light-speed barrier without infinite energy, for one.”

Scotty grinned. “Ah, I think you and I will get along just fine, your highness!”

Movement from Kirk's left caught his eye. He turned as Kang, Mara, and Kina walked over, all three clad in a dress uniform that was more armor than cloth. Kirk nodded to the three. “Enjoying yourselves?”

Kina grunted. “The food is... surprisingly good. And the Equestrians themselves are... not as annoying as I thought they'd be.” He leaned in close. “Their soldiers, though?” He barked a laugh. “My grandmother in Sto-Vo-Kor would be able to best all of them!”

Kang glanced at him out of the corner of his eyes. “Do not underestimate them, Kina. You and I both know how deceiving appearances can be.”

Kirk looked to Mara. “I haven't had a chance to get more than the barest briefing from Spock about his research. What progress have you made?”

Mara looked to Spock, even as the Vulcan broke from the others and stepped towards them. “Our scans have detected gravimetric distortions from the planet to the sun, along with some other unknown form of radiation. We believe that's how Celestia controls the sun. ”

Spock nodded. “Mara is correct, Captain. We have also theorized she, Luna and Cadance are part of a race of energy beings similar to that of the Organians, and others we have encountered over the past three years.”

Kirk rubbed his chin. He looked over, spotting Twilight and now Rainbow Dash chatting with Scotty and Sulu, then turned back and leaned in. His voice dropped as he spoke. “What about Twilight? Is she... evolving into this next stage of their development? And if she can, what about other ponies?”

Mara growled. “All things are possible until they are not, Kirk. I am tempted to ask Princess Sparkle, but Spock and I agree to... tread lightly for the moment.”

Kang nodded to her. “A wise decision, my wife. Only a fool fights the storm.”

Kina's eyes darted back and forth as everyone looked to him. “I'm a warrior, but no fool,” he said. “I'm just not sure about the rest of the crew, or the Empire itself.”

Kang crossed his arms. “They are not here. I am, Commander. And I will take the responsibility for the decisions made.”

Rainbow Dash crossed her forelegs as she hovered in front of Sulu. “So, you fly the ship?”

Sulu grinned. “That's right, Miss Dash. Well, Pavel and I work together. It's a complicated procedure, flying a starship at warp eight.”

Twilight rubbed her chin. “Actually, I've been meaning to ask you how the warp scale measures your speed.”

Scotty spoke up. “You cube the warp factor, and that's how many times the speed of light the Enterprise goes, lassie. Warp one is the speed of light itself. Warp two is eight times the speed of light, warp three twenty-seven times the speed of light, and so on. Under normal power, we can get up to warp eight, or five hundred-twelve times the speed of light.” His smile widened. “Or ninety-five million, three hundred-twenty thousand miles per second.”

Rainbow Dash's jaw dropped and her wings extended. “I... I... I can't wait to go up there for that tour Captain Kirk mentioned.”

Sulu leaned forward. “Well, if you'd like, I'm certain I can also arrange for a trip on one of our shuttles. It's not as fast as the Enterprise, but she'll be in standard orbit for most of this mission.”

Twilight leaned forward. “Tell me, Mister Sulu. How many ponies–I mean passengers–can this shuttle carry at one time?”

Sulu grinned. “You're more than welcome to join us, your highness.”

Rainbow Dash held up a foreleg and waved it about. “I call shotgun!” At everyone's stares, she shrugged. “Well, I was offered first.”

Any further discussion died as the main doors opened. Celestia, Luna, and Cadance walked in, a page announcing their arrival. As they strode in, every pony dropped to one knee and bowed their heads. Even Rainbow Dash and Twilight dropped to the ground and bowed.

Celestia walked up to Kirk and Kang. “Welcome back, captains!” She looked to the window, just as the sun dropped below the horizon. “How has your stay here been so far?”

Kirk and Kang exchanged a glance. “It's been... educational,” Kirk said, holding up a hand. “I must admit, we've learned that there is... so much more to learn about your planet. About your culture and people. As my first officer would say, it's been... interesting so far.”

Kang nodded. “I will agree with Kirk about seeing how much we have to learn. Personally, I was not sure what to expect here, but it has been rather enlightening for me.”

Luna walked up to Celestia's side and locked eyes with Kang. “Enlightenment is a rare and precious gift, Captain Kang. I am glad to hear you've attained it.”

Kang returned the stare and smiled. “I do seem to find myself more thoughtful than normal around Kirk.”

Celestia smiled. “I hope your crews find Equestria to be just as enlightening as you have.” She swept a wing towards the buffet tables. “Please enjoy yourselves. Our finest chefs have worked their hardest on these meals.”

Kang turned to face Kirk. “And now our real battle begins, Kirk. I shall do my utmost to win their alliance.”

Kirk half-smiled. “I'd be insulted if you did less than your best, Kang.” He paused for a moment, then thumped his chest. “Good luck.”

Author's Note:

1. Thanks to Talon and Thorn and sun tzu for help in editing.

2. If they have tanks and bullets in Equestria, they can have shotguns. ;)

3. I am unsure if we'll see Sunset proper in Equestria.