• Published 3rd Dec 2016
  • 4,320 Views, 544 Comments

Wanderlost - GMBlackjack



The Immortals of Equis have been adrift in space for an eternity... And they are starting to lose hope as they continue onward...

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I - Abyss

The vast reaches of space extend far beyond the imaginings of any mortal. The cold emptiness that makes up almost everything is something their minds simply do not allow them to comprehend.

However, given enough time, immortals will discover they can comprehend the vast emptiness. Some see beauty in it, the solitude of creation. Others wish to burn brightly enough to be seen amongst the endless backdrop of black. Others try not to ponder it and focus more of physical things.

However, a certain immortal who was staring at the stars found none of this awaken in herself. Instead, it filled her with fear. The expanse represented the lack of hope to her, that there was no place to go. That all which awaited them was doom…

Twilight Sparkle tore her ancient eyes away from the main window, trying to keep her mind occupied on something else. Anything else. But she had never been good at making her mind think of other things…

Not to mention the fact that there weren’t any distractions for her. Just the cold hard metal of the floor and walls accompanied by the soft hum of the jump drive warming up. She walked down the empty hallway, passing by many screens providing readouts on the various systems: life support, water supply, power production, gravity, etc. All of it had become meaningless to her over the years. Just a bunch of numbers the A.I. took care of…

During the first few years she had learned every nook and cranny of the ship inside and out. She had known what every number meant and why it was important, and what could be found behind every last panel she saw.

Now?

It had been so long since then she had forgotten most of it. She had no idea what the button to her left did anymore. She had no clue if that green screen was good or not. She didn’t need to.

She kept walking aimlessly until she found herself in the engine room, the great ball of fire that served as the ship’s core bathing her in light. There was another alicorn standing there, staring at the glowing orb as it grew.

“Celestia…” Twilight called out.

“I miss it,” Celestia said without shifting her gaze.

“Miss what?”

“Moving the sun,” She responded, still not moving. “I miss feeling its weight in my horn, feeling it skirt across the sky… I miss the warmth that filled me each time I reached out to it. This…” She raised a hoof and pointed at the core. “Is a poor substitute.”

As she said it, the core reached critical mass and imploded in a flash, sending all the built up energy into the drive and triggering a jump. The room fell dark for a moment while the core reignited - starting once more as a tiny pinprick of light against the drab darkness.

Celestia sighed, yet she didn’t move from her spot. Twilight decided to leave, knowing better than to try talking when Celestia was in one of these moods.

Twilight found Luna in the observation deck, the dark alicorn rapidly rushing to and from consoles in a frantic mess. “Luna…” Twilight said.

“Can’t talk now Twilight, have to analyze the new location!” She said, rampaging around, knocking over a stack of empty coffee mugs.

Twilight sighed. “What day is it?”

“The one-hundred and sixty-seventh! I feel great!” Luna twitched. “Sleep deprivation makes things so much more amazing! I feel so alert and I can see anything!

“That’s the caffeine talking and you know it.”

“Well yes… But it still makes things more interesting - ooh! Type G-7 star around a black hole! Maybe I’ll get to see another star get shredded!”

“That’s the same one from the last location,” Twilight said.

“Oh.” Luna blushed. “Still interesting though, right?” The moon princess rushed to the monitors and soon became so engrossed in her observations that she forgot Twilight was there. Twilight trotted out, continuing on her journey without any destination in mind. She stumbled onto the bridge to see Discord having his fun.

“Fire all phasers!” He yelled, standing up from the captain’s chair. He was wearing some kind of red uniform jumpsuit with a curved chevron symbol on it. Frankly, it looked absurd on his chimera-like body, but he liked it.

“Yes captain Discord!” Fluttershy said from another chair, pressing a button. The ship onscreen exploded in a flash of sheep.

“Good one Discord!” Pinkie said, giggling.

“Bullseye!” Discord whooped. “Now that was-” He stopped, noticing Twilight.

“Hey Discord,” Twilight said. Discord quickly snapped his fingers, returning the bridge to its true state - empty. There was no Fluttershy or Pinkie - there was only him. Nothing onscreen either, no action, no excitement. The screen hadn’t even been turned on for… Twilight didn’t know how long.

“What’s up Sparkles?” Discord asked.

“Nothing,” She said, wandering around. “Just... Lost in thought I guess.”

Discord waved a hand. “Psh, don’t do that, it does weird things to you. Trust me.”

“Yeah, your last mental break was only two years ago. I remember.”

“Oh. Was it really only two years? Where does the time go? Sorry… it felt like more.”

“It's fine Discord, really. We’ve all lost it at one time or another on this ship.”

Discord facepalmed. “Oh come on, use its name! Discord’s Beard!”

“It does not look like your beard, or any of your other body parts that you’ve compared it to over the years.”

Discord looked like he was about to respond, but then he sighed. “We’ve already had this exact conversation.”

“Twice,” She confirmed.

He groaned. “How much longer do we have to wait?

“As long as it takes.” Forever.

“Fine,” He said. “I’m going to torment Luna. What day is she on?”

“One hundred sixty-seven.” With her words, the draconequus was gone.

Minutes later, Twilight found herself in the place she didn’t like visiting - the cryo-bay. She didn’t know why she had let herself come here, but here she was, staring at the thousands of sleep pods before her. The green pods ranged in size from the minuscule ones for the breezies to the tremendous mountain sized one that held Torch.

As usual, Cadence was here, reading a book to the pod that had her alicorn daughter in it. A young foal that all had decided was too young to face the same burden as the other immortals…

Twilight didn’t interrupt Cadence’s story, she just kept walking past.

“...and then your father threw me Flurry Heart! It was… Interesting to say the least. Isn’t that right Shiny?”

The capsule with Shining Armor didn’t respond, as always. Cadence acted as though it did.

Twilight walked up to seven particular pods - two pegasi, two earth ponies, two unicorns, and a small purple dragon. Her friends. She thawed one of them out a year to talk to them - but only for a day. They had never changed much during their sleep… But they always said she had changed.

The Princess of Friendship let out another sigh. She couldn't open one up today - that day was two months in the future. Though times such as months had become short to Twilight over her stay here…

She wandered off, leaving all that remained of the people of Equis behind her - all those rows of individuals sleeping, unmoving, stuck.

She trotted into the main room, the 'Lobby' as they had taken to calling it. It was a large open room with a silvery table in the middle, behind which stood a large crystalline tree, unmoving in the large room. It sparkled in the starlight streaming in through the above window, the various colors of gem on it refracting the light in many beautiful patterns.

There was a purple-pink unicorn sitting on the Tree’s branches, eyes closed in meditation.

“Hey Starlight,” Twilight said with a depressed undertone. “Find inner peace yet?”

“I won't with you interrupting me,” Starlight quipped, not opening her eyes. Then she sighed. “Part of me wonders if ‘inner peace’ even exists…”

“If Celestia is to be believed, it isn’t a state of mind you can keep anyway.” Twilight sat down at the table, staring into the intertwining branches of the Tree of Harmony. “I wonder what it’s thinking…”

“It’s concerned,” Starlight said, opening her eyes and looking at the great Tree’s trunk sadly. “It is wondering if we made the right choice.”

Twilight looked up at the once guardian of Equis. “Well, you lasted the longest out of all of us…” She said. “That means something I suppose…” She frowned. “What’s the point anymore? We’ve been to thousands upon thousands of worlds, none of which can sustain us. We’ve found no allies to help us. We are all that there is…”

Starlight sighed. “Well what else can we do? We’re stuck looking for a new home. We can’t exactly stop, for what if there is a home we could find? And we can’t sleep ourselves - there are exactly enough pods for the crew, each one fine-tuned to the individual they house. We volunteered for this.” She took in a sharp breath of air. “And if we did sleep, we might miss something.”

“And you remind me of this every few years,” Twilight said.

“So? You need to be reminded that there is no alternative. So chin up and find yourself a purpose in life, something tangible to hold onto so you don’t go over the brink like Cadence.”

Twilight nodded slowly. “But what? You meditate, Luna works in the observatory, Discord has his games - what should I do?”

Starlight shrugged. “I dunno, it should be something you choose yourself. You could join me, but I don’t think you’re in the ‘find inner peace’ mood. You could ask the others at dinner, if you wanted.”

~~~

“HA-HA! I have gone one hundred and - ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzz…” Luna fell flat into her salad, snoring loudly. Despite themselves, the five others at the table chuckled. Discord snapped his fingers and donned Luna in a nightcap and PJs. He guffawed, rolling on the floor in laughter at Luna’s obliviousness.

“It wasn’t that funny, Discord,” Starlight commented.

“Just trying to brighten up the mood.” He said, snapping his fingers to turn Luna’s salad into pancakes. A syrup bottle appeared and drizzled the sticky substance all over Luna’s face. She did not stir.

Starlight smirked. “I guess that’s somewhat amusing.”

“Pancakes…” Cadence said, her eyes far away. “That sounds wonderful..”

Discord passed her a pancake and she began to eat it mindlessly, her mind somewhere far away.

Twilight spoke up. “So, okay, I need something to do with my time. I’m going stir crazy again. Starlight suggested I ask all of you what I could do.”

“I can set up another grand adventure!” Discord said. “Maybe even use the Squizzard again…”

“Those adventures of yours are best kept in small doses, Discord,” Celestia said. “I found crab meat in my mane for a week after the last one.”

Discord laughed. “Oh pshaw, you like them.”

“Yes, they provide a welcome respite from the monotony. No, they should not be every day.”

“You could try writing stories Twilight,” Cadence said. “I could read them to Flurry… Heart…” She fell silent.

Luna’s snore filled the silence.

Celestia frowned. “I need to find something to keep busy with… Perhaps we could search for something together Twilight?”

“I’d love that,” She said, smiling genuinely.

The moment was interrupted when the alarm rose, sending deep droning tones into the passengers’ ears, red flashes completing the feeling. All of the immortals stood, alert.

“Proximity alert.” The calm female voice of the computer announced. “Unknown.”

Luna shot up, awake as ever. Even Cadence snapped out of her own mind for a moment.

Something was coming towards the Ark.

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