• 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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II - Intensive Study

Discord snapped his fingers, teleporting everyone to the bridge instantly. Celestia took the captain’s chair. “What is it Starlight?” She demanded, her voice ringing with authority.

“Unknown object, octahedral, one meter radius, composition unknown.” She grinned. “It’s not natural, that’s for sure. Oooooh I wonder what it is!”

Twilight’s jaw dropped. “A-Artificial? T-This means…”

“Huzzah!” Luna yelled. “There is light at the end of the tunnel!” Some syrup dripped off her snout and onto the floor. “...Why do I have syrup on my face?”

“No reason.” Discord responded with a smirk.

“Try sending a message,” Celestia ordered. “The standard one we have set aside.”

“Uh…” Luna said, blushing. “I may have overwritten that three decades ago.”

Celestia sighed. “Just open a channel and initiate the translation spell matrix.” She cleared her throat, hoping the spell would work. “Hello, I am Celestia, commander of the Equis Ark. We come in peace as simple explorers, as well as refugees looking for a planet to call our own.”

There was no response. The foreign object just continued approaching, starlight glinting off its brilliant silver shell. It closed in on the much larger Ark, tumbling end over end as it did so.

“We should bring it aboard,” Twilight said out of the blue. Everyone stared at her like she was crazy.

“In a forcefield!” She added quickly. “There’s no need to throw caution to the wind, but we do need to study it!”

“She has a point,” Luna said, momentarily taking a break from licking syrup off her face. “We must understand it, this is the only evidence of anything other than us we’ve seen.”

Celestia nodded. “Of course. But be careful with it. We don’t know what it is.” She turned to Twilight, a soft smile creeping up her face. “It looks like we’ve been given something to do, Twilight.”

Twilight could feel the childish excitement she hadn’t felt in forever building up inside of her, ready to burst.

~~~

Twilight and Celestia were in full body hazmat suits, standing in a spotless lab that was magically sealed and shielded from the outside. Starlight waved to them from the other side of the window, ready to adjust the magic fields as needed.

“Okay…” Twilight said, looking at the bright silvery octahedron on the experimentation table in front of them. Flanked by their scientific instruments, the device laid flat on one of its eight sides, each one seemingly identical and covered in unusual angular markings - possibly an alien language.

“Here we go…” She reached out with her magic, lifting the object into the air. ”1062.73 kilograms,” She said. “No violent reaction to magic. Volume of 0.75 cubic meters, density of 1416.97 kilograms per cubic meter. In other words, heavy.”

Celestia levitated a scratching tool over to the device, scraping a minuscule amount of the shell off for analysis, a little more than a few dust particles. “Platinum, tungsten, iron, zinc, and trace amounts of other elements in the hull.” She lifted her horn. “Magic readings… Zero.”

“That’s odd,” Twilight said. Everything anyone ever made was always touched by their personal magics, only truly natural things had no imprint, and the device clearly wasn’t natural. “Perhaps the creator had the signature removed somehow? To protect their identity?”

“Perhaps…” Celestia said, frowning.

“Well, time for a scan,” Twilight smirked, spreading her wings and focusing her magic on the device, scanning it from top to bottom and sending all the information to the crystal screen on the wall. A model of the device began to appear, revealing its inner structure to be mostly a thick solid wall surrounding a tiny core of circuitry.

Twilight zoomed in on the core, looking on with fascination at the advanced computer. She realized something after three seconds.

“I have no idea what any of this does. We are going to be here for a while.”

~~~

“How long have they been at it?” Cadence asked Starlight.

“Approaching nineteen hours.” Starlight said, gesturing to the two alicorns madly studying and analyzing on the other side of the window. Starlight yawned. “From what I can tell they still have no idea what it even is, and they aren’t going to crack it open just in case they break it.”

“Huh,” Cadence said. “Good for them. Would you like to read the story to Flurry Heart Starlight?”

“Not today, sorry.” Starlight responded.

“Oh okay…” Cadence walked off. “Perhaps tomorrow then…”

Starlight sighed - Cadence has asked her that exact question three days ago. Word for word. Starlight really hoped the found something soon - for Cadence’s sake. She needed to spend time with her family…

Starlight pushed the thought out of her head and began to meditate, focusing on the magical aura that filled the Ark. She touched it with her mind, and it bounced back ever so slightly, giving a vague feel of… curiosity.

That was a new one.

~~~

“They will be done soon!” Luna said, pacing around the observatory. “They must!”

Discord nodded, making a slight ‘mhm’ noise as he ate his popcorn with a bemused look on his face.

“It mustn’t take long…” She ran to the telescope. “Elanir is producing a flare! Good luck indeed!”

Discord just nodded slowly, drinking his glass.

“I mean the day has been moving towards this direction! The fates spin towards success!” She blabbed.

Discord took out a watch and looked at it with a grin.

“Don’t you dare say it Discord.”

“Twenty-five minutes until you lose the bet,” He announced.

“I said don’t you dare!”

“I dared.”

Luna’s eye twitched. “You will lose. And you will have to wear. The. Hat.”

“Eh, I doubt it moonbutt,” He chuckled. “Though I expect my month will be pretty hilarious. You will be walking around with-”

“One word and I give you nightmares for a decade.”

“Word.”

“I WILL BRING THE WRATH OF THE MOON UPON YOU!”

Discord tilted his head left and right. “Eh, lack of moon here. Not scared.”

“I will make you scared!”

“Oh no I’m so terrified!” He laughed heartily. “Luna, you lost any possibility of scaring me a looooooooooo-” To emphasize his point he stretched his body out exponentially as he held the tone. “-oooooooooo-”

“Okay, quit it, I get the joke.” She huffed. A silence fell over the room. The observatory remained noiseless for quite some time while Luna looked through the telescope and discord looked bored.

“...Twenty minutes.”

“Discord if you continue with this course of action I will not be held accountable for any dismemberment.”

“There won’t be any dismem-”

Luna shot him with a magic beam that knocked him over. She huffed and went back to her observations.

~~~

“Okay so these seams… They take in an input that will trigger this mechanism here… That… I believe that opens the object.”

Celestia nodded in agreement. “But it also could activate this section here - obviously a self-destruct mechanism. Input the wrong code and everything in five meters gets vaporized.”

Twilight frowned. “And this bit here… Stores information. And is connected right to the projector.”

“Someone went through a lot of trouble to protect this information.”

“Yeah… But we can get in. I just need to cast a spell to unlatch it from the inside, bypassing the input and self-destruct entirely. All that complex wiring and thick walls are nothing against a well placed magic spell.” She smiled. “Well, we know what it is - a message in a bottle.”

‘We should open it with everyone present,” Celestia observed.

“And five meters away from anything important, just in case,” Twilight said. “Let’s take it to the table.”

They nodded to Starlight - who to their ire was fast asleep at the controls. Twilight tapped her hoof at the window, causing Starlight to wake up and blush sheepishly. She lowered the shields and the two mares walked out.

“Tired?” Twilight asked.

Starlight looked at the clock. “You’ve been at it for just over twenty-four hours. Of course I am.”

Twilight’s jaw dropped - had it really been that long? Holy Stars…

“Call everyone to the Lobby,” Celestia said. “We have discovered what it is.”

Starlight nodded, touching her hoof to a nearby screen. “All personnel - this means you Discord - report to the Lobby. They've finished analyzing the device.”

The three mares walked to the Lobby, discovering Cadence already there, brushing her hair with a faraway look in her eyes, humming some long lost song.

Discord arrived next, holding a stopwatch in a rather despondent Luna’s face. “Twenty-four hours and six minutes! Six! You were so close!”

“Bite me.”

“Oh wow! Someone doesn’t like the soooocks!”

Celestia stifled a giggle as she realized her sister was wearing long striped blue and black socks on all her legs. She had to admit, they looked good on her, even if Luna did hate them.

Starlight did not stifle her laugh and instead let it ring out like a bell. “Finally get you did he?”

“And with that, I have made all of you wear socks,” Discord grinned. “Remember Luna, all month!”

The princess of the night let out a bestial noise, teeth barred.

“Aaaanyway,” Twilight said, taking control of the conversation. “What we have here is a message in a bottle, and we’re opening it for the first time! Everyone stand back.”

The six individuals took several steps away from the device. Twilight took a breath, and cast the spell on the object.

Click.

The octahedron's eight sides popped out, tossing the heavy and thick shell a few feet away, revealing the bluish circuitry in the center. It made a humming noise as it powered up, the projector lens glinting with the Tree of Harmony’s reflection.

The circuits turned orange, and a holographic image appeared...

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