• Published 23rd Oct 2016
  • 607 Views, 29 Comments

Onward to Tomorrow - SpartanD014

When a saboteur strikes during Equestria's first long-range space mission, Twilight Sparkle and the crew find themselves fighting for their survival, all the while searching for the saboteur in their midst...

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Chapter 5


Is it impossible for anything to go right?

Celestia hurried down an obnoxiously long corridor in the ESA space center, following behind a rushed mare carrying a clipboard. With all of the activity around the space center of late, Luna had seen fit to acquire a personal assistant, somepony with whom she could trust the organization and oversight of tasks unrelated to the retrofit of the zebra ship. Little did this personal assistant know, her tasks would also include ushering ponies through the maze that was the space center, leading them to meetings labelled “top priority.” A stressful job, no doubt.

“It’s just down here, Princess,” the mare said, breathing heavily. Celestia looked at her with pity, hoping Luna wasn’t overworking the poor pony. After another few minutes of walking, the mare stopped outside of a featureless door. There was no window, no label, and nopony outside to greet them. For all Celestia knew, the door could lead to a broom closet rather than a meeting room.

The mare lit her horn and opened the door, stepping aside to let Celestia enter. Beyond was a smaller meeting room, one Celestia had not seen before. She stepped inside, spotting Luna standing by a window in the corner. The morning sun streamed through, illuminating her face, but leaving the rest of the room dark. Her eyes adjusting to the darkness, Celestia crossed to her sister, examining the room as the assistant closed the door. The room was a mess; papers were scattered on the meeting table, empty coffee cups filled a trash can near the door, and a heavy set of bags under Luna’s eyes told Celestia just how long she had been working. Lightning her horn, Celestia flipped the light switch, bathing the room in a fluorescent white glow.

“Hardly a comfortable working environment, wouldn’t you say?” she asked. Luna flinched, squinting her eyes against the sudden influx of light. She sighed and turned away from the window, crossing to the cluttered table.

“I know, I know,” she replied. “But there’s a lot of work to do, and not much time to do it. We have weeks to get this done. With Harmony, we had years. Everypony is overworked…”

“I could tell,” Celestia said, thinking back to the personal assistant. “So, what is the problem, then? Why did you ask for me here today?”

“Two things,” Luna began. “First, we found two more ponies with terrorist ties in the space center. I implemented a new set of background checks, they were flagged, I’ve had them arrested. They were trying to do something, though I’m not sure what just yet. When they’re done being interrogated, I suppose we’ll know.”

“Troubling,” Celestia said, frowning. “And the second thing?” Luna paused, rubbing her eyes with a hoof.

“... It’s not big enough. The zebra ship. To protect the mission, the zebra kept some details from the public. Well, we have those details now, and they’re fairly conclusive: it’s not big enough. I thought we would be able to clear some space, since it wouldn’t be carrying its original payload, but… there’s no way to transport the zebra crew, the Harmony crew, and enough supplies for all of them to survive.”

Celestia paused, her frown growing. In her mind she tried to find a way to fix the plan, to make the zebra ship work. But Luna was the undisputed expert on this issue; if she said the ship was not big enough, it was not big enough. So, with a sigh, Celestia looked back to her sister. “Is there nothing we can do?”

“I’m still weighing out our options,” Luna replied, “but this is difficult work. It will take a fair bit of time to come up with an entirely new plan. Until such a time comes, we are effectively disorganized. A few ponies have jobs they can do, but for the most part, it would be… easy, relatively speaking, for a saboteur to strike here. I cannot manage security and the rescue mission simultaneously, and I cannot trust anypony off the street to protect this center. So, sister, I’m asking for your help. I need you to make sure nothing happens to the zebra ship.”

“Consider it done,” Celestia said without pause. “There is nothing I will not do to see our ponies home safe.” Luna smiled weakly, stifling a yawn.

“Thank you, sister,” she said. “I should get back to work. I will let you know when I have a new plan formulated.”

“Get some rest as well, Luna.” Celestia crossed back to the door, her eyes once again passing over the trash can filled with coffee cups. “As wonderful as coffee is, it is not a substitute for sleep. Farewell, sister.” The Princess exited the cluttered meeting room, emerging back out into the long corridor. A few ponies moved through it, busily completing the tasks delegated to them. They made way for Celestia as she moved down the corridor, quietly thinking to herself.

Space center security. That should not be difficult. I have planned security details before. In her mind, Celestia summoned forth everything she knew about the space center. Weak points, times when an attack could be likely, which guards to recruit for the job, and more were considered by the Princess. She was not going to let anything harm their rocket. The rocket was the only chance Celestia had of ever seeing her ponies again. I put them in this mess, and I am going to get them out of it.

Twilight stood at the back of the mess hall, her horn alight as she manipulated the tables and chairs to more closely resemble a courtroom. One table was brought just in front of her, while two others were placed against the walls, out of the way. The chairs were arranged along the walls as well, all of them facing the table in front of Twilight. The Princess set a few more chairs next to her, while a single chair was placed on the opposite side of the table. The aura surrounding her horn fizzled away, and Twilight looked at her work, satisfied.

“A far cry from the Canterlot Courthouse,” Ace said, appearing in the open doorway, “but it will have to do. Are you ready?” Twilight’s horn flashed once more, and a number of documents appeared on the table. She scanned over them, ensuring they were the correct papers, then looked to Ace and nodded.

“All set. Sharp Sight said he would bring the recording equipment, so once he gets down here, we’ll be ready to begin.” Ace nodded as circled the room, coming to a stop near Twilight.

“I do hope this is worth it,” he said. “It seems to me that we’re wasting time with this. Our interview with Astral a few days ago did not turn up any concrete evidence one way or the other, what makes you think this will?”

“You’re missing the point,” Twilight countered, shaking her head. “This is more for the crew than for us. They need to know that we’re considering all possibilities, that we aren’t going to space them at the first sign of trouble. If this can improve morale, I’d say it’s worth the time.” Ace grunted, but did not offer any more arguments.

After a few minutes of silence, Sharp Sight stepped into the mess hall with a pair of saddlebags on his back. He placed the bag onto the table, and withdrew a microphone and camera while stretching out his silver wings. Once they were set up, the security chief took a seat behind the table, looking out over the setup.

“... I really hope this accomplishes something,” he said. “It’s hard enough for two security personnel to keep the peace when there’s a saboteur. But now that there’s just me… Well, it’d be nice to clear Astral’s name.”

“That’s not guaranteed,” Ace stated. “But yes, it would be nice.” The ponies fell into silence once more, waiting for the crew to arrive. The clock on the wall read 8:11AM, and Twilight had told the crew to show up at 8:15. They would be arriving any minute now…

Right on time, ponies began to filter in. They silently took their seats, all of them avoiding eye contact with one another. Despite the tension, Twilight could sense a certain excitement around them. Clearly more ponies than just Cobalt, Skychaser, and Vibrant Flame had wanted this. They were hopeful; Twilight only hoped they would not be disappointed.

After a few minutes, all but two ponies had entered and taken their seats. Everypony watched the door expectantly, until finally the last of the crew arrived. Astral Breeze was lead into the room by Skychaser; she stared at the floor, her mane down and covering her face. Skychaser gently lead her to the single chair across from Twilight, Ace, and Sharp Sight, then took his own seat in the audience. Astral remained looking down as she took her seat, though she did move her pale blue mane to the side. Twilight frowned as she caught sight of Astral’s face; it was clear that the mare had been crying, and the past two days had not been good to her.

“Astral Breeze,” Ace began, “you are here because you are being accused of sabotage. This trial is not formal, but it will dictate what happens to you for the rest of our time on this ship. You are under no obligation to answer the questions we ask. Do you understand?” Astral’s only response was a weak nod.

“We need you to vocalize your response, please,” Sharp Sight said.

Astral sighed, and looked up to the three ponies who were serving as her judges. “... Yes, I understand.” Her voice was weak, and quiet. Twilight felt her pity for the mare growing, but she did her best not to show it.

“First question,” Ace said. “This has been asked before, but we will ask again for the record: where were you six days ago, between one-fifteen AM, and one-fifty AM?”

“Sleeping in my room,” Astral replied, lacking any emotion in her voice.

“Can anypony verify that?”


“Astral, what do you know about the sabotage?” Twilight asked. Astral looked to her, glaring.

“Only what we’ve been told,” she answered. “Somepony planted an explosive in the jump drive, it went off during a jump, and now we’re stranded out here. That’s all.”

“And your jokes?” Sharp Sight asked next. “The ones about the crew dying?” This finally succeeded in drawing some emotion out of the mare.

“They’re just jokes!” Astral looked away, tears surfacing in her already-reddened eyes. “I didn’t mean them, I didn’t know anything was going to happen! I just thought… I don’t know.”

“We’re in a difficult spot, Astral,” Ace said. “The saboteur didn’t leave any shred of evidence, so we’re going off of what we have. And right now, what we have points to you.”

“After the explosion, you were the last of the crew to check in on the bridge,” Sharp Sight added. “Why is that?”

“I… I was sleeping when the explosion happened,” Astral replied. “When I woke up, I was disoriented, I didn’t know what was going on. Please, you have to believe that.”

“Normally we would,” Ace said. “But there’s nopony who can verify that, and nopony else has said anything that could possibly implicate them. Not to mention your prior training. Last night I read over your service record again; it states that you started out in the Manehattan police, where you performed EOD for six years. In that time, how many bombs did you defuse?”

“... Nine.”

“What was the highest stakes defusal you ever performed?”

Astral raised an eyebrow, confused. “Sir?”

“Answer the question,” Sharp Sight stated.

“It… It was the attempted train station bombing, in uptown Manehattan,” Astral said. “We got an anonymous tip that somepony was going to detonate a bomb near rush hour. Projected deaths were in the hundreds. So we got to the station, we got our gear and set up a checkpoint, but we couldn’t find any suspects. No bombs were being detected. But… I saw this stallion standing by a bench. His suitcase was out, and it was open. He took out a jacket and started refolding it, but I noticed something underneath. They were bomb parts. As individual parts, they got through the checkpoint without raising any alarms. He was assembling it inside the station, and he almost got away with it…”

“So, you have seen other ponies smuggling inconspicuous components past security checkpoints,” Ace said. “You have possibly the most intimate knowledge about bombs of anypony here. And with everything else - your ‘jokes’, your sudden paranoia, and the sabotage itself - how do you suggest I interpret that?” Astral did not respond. Rather, her eyes widened, and she looked away from the Captain.

“I’m not being convinced otherwise,” Sharp Sight whispered, leaning over to Twilight and Ace. “I think we made the right call the first time.”

“No!” Astral exclaimed, her head darting up. Her voice was becoming more desperate by the second, and by now she was no longer trying to hide her tears. They streamed down her face, dampening her purple coat even more. “I didn’t do it! I was asleep during the outage, and I was asleep when the explosion went off! That… that’s not evidence! Please, you have to believe me, I didn’t do it!”

Everypony in the room stared at Astral, but nopony spoke. Astral looked around, a fierce desperation in her eyes. She was panicking, that much was clear. “Please! I would never do anything to hurt anypony here! After training for two years, all of you - you’re like my family! I would never hurt any of you! Why don’t you believe that? Why can’t you believe that!?”

The room fell into silence, and ponies shifted their eyes away from Astral. An uncomfortable air filled the room as Astral’s words worked their way through everypony’s heads. The truth in them stung, piercing through the paranoia everypony held, and forcing them to see the situation differently. Sitting before them was not a cold-hearted killer, but a mare broken by betrayal.

“... She’s right,” Twilight whispered, leaning over to Ace. “Our evidence isn’t concrete. We have no right to convict based on it.” Ace paused, his eyes moving back and forth as he thought to himself.

“... Sharp,” he said, looking past Twilight to the security chief, “your thoughts?”

“It’s not easy, Captain,” Sharp Sight replied. “But the Princess is right; we have nothing concrete. I still think she did it, but...” Ace nodded, and he looked back to Astral.

“Alright,” he decided. “Astral Breeze, after… additional considerations, we cannot keep you confined to quarters any longer. You’re free to go.” To Twilight’s surprise, Astral did not seem happy or relieved. Instead she blinked her tears away and nodded, turning to leave without another word. The rest of the crew watched as she exited, then slowly filtered out after her until only Skychaser, Sharp Sight, Ace, and Twilight remained.

“... I hope it isn’t too late,” Skychaser said. “Her mind isn’t doing well. The damage may already be done.” The XO stepped out, disappearing up the ladder as he returned to the bridge. Ace stood up and circled the room, sighing.

“I certainly hope this trial had the intended effect,” he said. “If we’re wrong, and if it didn’t improve morale… well, we just released a dangerous pony on the ship.”

“I guess we’ll see,” Twilight concluded. She took her own leave of the mess hall, not bothering to reconfigure the furniture. That could be done later, and for now, all she wanted to do was unwind. Astral’s words still stung in her ears, and Twilight feared that Skychaser was correct, and the damage had already been done. The Princess entered her quarters, closing the door as soon as she was inside. Her eyes set on her laptop, she took a seat and activated the comm system, sending a request to Canterlot. A moment later, the video screen flickered to life, revealing Princess Celestia in her office, trillions of kilometers away. A smile crossed the Princess’s face as she saw her pupil, but it faded when she noticed Twilight’s expression.

“Twilight, it’s good to see you,” she greeted. “Is everything alright?”

“Hi, Celestia…” Twilight began. “I… I need some advice. I think we made a bad call, that resulted in mentally scarring a member of this crew. How… how do you do it? How do you deal with something like that?” Celestia froze, and leaned back in her chair, her eyes widening. Twilight raised an eyebrow, confused. The elder Princess looked almost guilty.

“Well, that’s difficult to answer,” she finally replied. “Twilight, as leaders, we are responsible for making many decisions. Some of these decisions are made at the request of the ponies, and some of them are made on behalf of the ponies, to keep them safe. These decisions are not always easy to make. There are many factors to consider, and often times there is no definite ‘good’ option. Sometimes… sometimes we have to do what seems best at the time, even if it turns out to be a mistake later on. We may be leaders, but we are not infallible. We can make mistakes, and only by admitting that can we fix any damages that are caused.”

Twilight nodded slowly, running Celestia’s words through her head. The Princess of the Day always had an elegant way with words, and she never failed to have a soothing effect. Twilight allowed herself a small, grateful smile, and she felt her anxiety fading away.

“Thank you,” she said. “That’s… just what I needed to hear. You’re right; I made the wrong call, and now it’s my responsibility to fix it.”

“You’re under a lot of stress up there,” Celestia added. “I will do everything in my power to help. If you need anything else, do not hesitate to call me.” Smiling, Twilight nodded her farewell and ended the video call. The laptop screen went dark , leaving her bedside lamp as the only light source. Twilight yawned, realizing just how tired she was, despite the early hour. Celestia’s words had helped, but the Princess still could not help but feel some amount of guilt. It was her responsibility to help Astral Breeze. Astral was no longer a threat to the crew; now, she was a pony in need.

The ship was alive again. The change had not come immediately following the trial; rather, Twilight noticed during lunch the following day that some of the crew’s cheer had returned. It was hardly comparable to the excitement that had filled the ship after the first few jumps, but the fact that the tension had receded was enough to give Twilight hope. Astral Breeze was still not joining the crew for meals, and did not socialize outside of her assigned tasks, but the healing was beginning. It was positive progress, and right now, Twilight was perfectly happy with any progress at all.

But there was still work to be done. The results of the previous day’s trial aside, a saboteur was still loose on the ship. The traitor could not be allowed on the zebra ship once it arrived; an investigation still had to occur, and Twilight would play her part to see it through. But she could not work alone. So, with no hesitation, Twilight knocked on the door to Ace’s bedroom, having seen him enter a few minutes before. The Captain answered the door fairly quickly, looking down onto Twilight with his tired eyes.

“Twilight,” he greeted, stepping to the side and motioning with his hoof. “Please, come in.” With a grateful nod, Twilight entered the room, looking around curiously. This was her first time in the Captain’s quarters, and she was not surprised by the decorations she saw. That is, she was not surprised to see no decoration at all. Aside from a framed set of medals on his bedside table, the only items in the room were purely of practical use. A laptop rested on a desk, along with several documents scattered about. On the bedside table was a tablet, and the bedsheets were immaculately made. This was clearly the room of a seasoned military veteran.

“Sorry to bother you,” Twilight finally said, her eyes finding Ace’s. “I just wanted to talk about how we should proceed. With Astral back in action, we need to be extra careful.”

“Agreed,” Ace said, nodding. “I think we can safely assume that the saboteur will try to strike before the zebra ship arrives. The zebra ship is more of a mystery; we don’t know its internal layout, we don’t know sensitive sections components, and we don’t know if any additional security is being sent. The saboteur will want to strike while he or she can still properly plan.”

“But what can we do?” Twilight wondered, beginning to pace back and forth. “There’s only been one sabotage attempt so far, and that left no evidence. We have nothing to work with right now. How can we--”

Twilight was interrupted as a knock sounded on the door. Ace paused, a look of confusion crossing his face, then worked his way to the door and opened it for their guest. In the open doorway stood Vibrant Flame, a pair of saddlebags on his back. He looked between the Captain and the Princess, his expression even more nervous than usual. Twilight raised an eyebrow as she trotted to the door, wondering what reason the engineer had for coming to visit.

“Captain, Princess, I…” he stammered, looking to the floor. “Could… could I come in? Please?”

“What’s in the bags?” Ace asked, taking a small step closer to Vibrant.

“It’s important,” Vibrant replied. “Please. May I come inside?” Ace paused, exchanging a glance with Twilight, before he grudgingly nodded. Appearing to grow even more nervous, Vibrant Flame scuttled inside, still not looking up from the metal deck of the ship. When Ace closed the door, Vibrant removed his saddlebags, sighing.

“What is it, Vibrant?” Twilight asked, crossing to the stallion. “Is everything okay?”

“I… I need to tell you something,” Vibrant whispered, barely managing to make eye contact with Twilight. “I… wasn’t entirely truthful when you questioned me…”

“What do you mean?” Ace crossed to Vibrant, his tone far more serious than it had been. “Do you know something that could help us? Do you have some piece of evidence?”

“Yes, but please, you have to promise me something.” Both Twilight and Ace nodded, urging Vibrant to continue. “If I tell you what I know… you have to promise to help me, too. Okay?”

“Of course we will help,” Twilight said. “Now, what is it?” Vibrant took a deep breath, then reached into his saddlebags. He withdrew a single piece of paper, and passed it to Twilight, who began to look over the text.

Trottingham Schoolhouse

Miss Wordsmith

8:30-9:30AM - morning reading time

9:30-10:30AM - math

10:30-11:00AM - arts and crafts

11:00-11:30AM - lunch

11:30AM-12:30PM - noon reading time

12:30PM-1:15PM - recess

1:15-1:50PM - naptime

1:50-2:30PM - afternoon reading

Twilight looked up from the paper, confused. Vibrant Flame took it back and replaced it into his saddlebag, once again averting his gaze.

“It’s… my nephew’s school schedule,” he explained. “This showed up on my bed a few days before the explosion. At first I didn’t think much of it; I mean, it’s an elementary schooler’s schedule. That’s not hard to find. But then… then I got this.” Vibrant reached back into the saddlebags and produced another item, this one a picture. It depicted a young colt standing outside of a large schoolhouse, with a mare around Vibrant’s age approaching.

“Your nephew, I assume?” Ace asked. Vibrant nodded, and turned the picture around. Written on the back was a simple message: Do I have your attention yet?

“Two days later, this one showed up.” Vibrant once again reached into the saddlebags, this time retrieving a larger picture. It was a house plan, with two pieces of writing underneath. 1501 Meadow Rd, and Gentle Wing. “Look at the markings. Whoever did this marked my nephew’s bedroom, and my sister’s.”

“I think I’m starting to see where this is going…” Twilight muttered. Vibrant nodded, and produced a final item from his saddlebags. This one was a simple note, in very clear hoofwriting.

Leave maintenance access H-4 open, disable sensors in jump drive containment bay.

“What else could I do?” Vibrant asked, beginning to sound desperate. “I… I didn’t want to hurt anypony, but you have to understand! My sister and her son, they’re the only family I have left! I was so scared, and I… I just didn’t know what other options I had… if somepony could orchestrate something like this, how would I be able to stop them? If they can find this kind of information, then how could I warn my sister before they…” The engineer froze, tears forming in his eyes. He looked between Ace and Twilight, showing nothing but pure fear.

“Vibrant, it’s okay,” Twilight urged, placing a comforting hoof on his shoulder. “I understand. Blackmail is never easy, especially when it involves ponies to whom we are close.”

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention, Vibrant,” Ace said. “And I promise, we will do everything in our power to help. I’ll go to the bridge right now, and contact Equestria. Royal guards will be at your sister’s home within the hour. Nothing is going to happen to her.”

“Thank you!” Vibrant exclaimed, a look of relief washing over his face. “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

“Twilight, stay with him?” Ace asked, crossing to the door. Twilight nodded, and Ace exited the room, beginning to head for the bridge.

“Vibrant, I have to ask…” Twilight began. “Why now? Why wait all this time, only to tell us now?”

“I… I couldn’t live with it anymore,” Vibrant replied. “After seeing what was being done to Astral… I don’t know if she’s innocent, but I know I’m not. I couldn’t bear to see what was happening to her, knowing that all this is my fault…”

“Hey,” Twilight said, making sure Vibrant was looking her in the eye, “I know you feel guilty, but this is not your fault. Like you said: if somepony can orchestrate all of this, what can one pony do? Even if you hadn’t done as you were told, the saboteur would have found another way. Don’t beat yourself up over this; because of this, we have new evidence to use. Because of you, we’re closer to finding the pony responsible.” Vibrant allowed a weak smile to form, and he wiped a hoof across his eyes, clearing away the tears. He stood up straight and placed the saddlebags back on his back, making sure to leave the evidence out.

“Well, I… I guess I won’t bother you anymore,” he said. “I’ll just… get back to work. Thank you.” Twilight nodded, and Vibrant began to cross to the door.

But before he could leave, he was forced to the floor as an explosion shook the ship.

Cobalt shook his head, sighing as he listened to the audio feed on his laptop. In this secluded section of the ship, the laptop screen was the only source of light, illuminating Cobalt’s blue face in its harsh white glow. He closed down the feed from the bug in Ace’s room, and as the ship’s emergency klaxons began to go off, the unicorn tucked the laptop between a set of pipes where nopony else would find it. Nopony ever came here, to the depths of deck 8. Between all of the tight spaces and hazardous conditions, the crew was advised against entering lower engineering at all.

“All crew, report to the bridge,” Ace’s voice said, coming in over the intercom. “Repeat, all crew, report to the bridge.” Not wanting to waste any time, Cobalt stepped into the ladder well and began awkwardly climbing up, hoping to avoid encountering anypony else on his way to the topmost deck. Luck was on his side, and he arrived at the bridge just as a few other confused crew members were. They stepped into the bridge, all of their eyes on Ace, who was leaned forward in his chair, a worried look on his face.

Twilight Sparkle and Vibrant Flame were the final two ponies to enter, and Twilight wasted no time in crossing to the Captain, her eyes wide in fear. “What happened!?”

“Explosion next to the comm array,” Ace answered. “The magical capacitors were discharged into space, and we’ve lost long-range communications capabilities. Any messages we send will take years to reach Equus.” Cobalt spared a glance in Vibrant’s direction, and forced back a smile when he saw the engineer’s expression. His eyes and mouth were wide, and he was lightly shaking his head.

“Is there any additional damage?” Skychaser asked, looking over Star Step’s shoulder at the communications console.

“Cobalt,” Ace said, “mind checking for us?” Cobalt nodded and trotted to his station, activating the diagnostics function.

“Unknown at this time,” he replied. “Damage sensors are scrambled, but if there was any additional significant damage, I think we’d know by now.” Ace nodded and stood, turning around to address the crew.

“Alright, everypony,” he began. “Let’s get back to work. We’ll have more information on the discharge soon, and we’ll see if repairs are possible. Until then, stay calm and stay focused. Dismissed.” The crew cleared out, returning to their original tasks. Cobalt remained at his station, watching the diagnostics as he attempted to unscramble the damage sensors. Of course he already knew that repairs were possible; the capacitors had only been discharged, not destroyed. And while he had now cut himself off from communicating with his confederates on Equus, it was well worth it. Morale would be lowered, paranoia would grow, and the crew would be back at each other’s throats. Cobalt would tear this ship apart piece by piece if he had to. Nothing would stop him from seeing this mission through…

“... How long?” Luna asked, standing at the back of the ESA control center. Every single display on the massive screen in front of her was reading a loss of signal, and the ponies in the control center were scurrying about, trying to find the root of the problem.

“Six hours,” her personal assistant, a unicorn mare by the name of Calm Wind, replied. “A full six hours without any updates from Harmony. Tech crews have checked and double checked, our equipment is working fine. Whatever the problem is, it’s on Harmony’s end.”

Luna nodded, thinking to herself. First the issues with the zebra ship had sprouted, and now this… Her job was becoming more difficult by the second.

“... Keep everypony working,” Luna ordered. “Let me know the instant something changes. In the meantime, I’m going to keep working on the zebra ship.”

“Yes, your highness.” Wind trotted away, leaving Luna to think to herself.

What is going on up there? The situation was worsening, and there was nothing they could do from Equus. The zebra ship would not be ready to launch for another few weeks, and even if it was ready, they still had no plan for a rescue. Luna had never felt so helpless; she was at the most advanced space center on the planet, surrounded by the brightest minds in Equestria, yet there was nothing she could do to help. Right now, Harmony was on her own...

Author's Note:

Thank you for reading! If you noticed any spelling or grammar errors, please let me know! Additionally, any and all feedback is greatly appreciated, so if you've got something to say, please let me know down in the comments.