• 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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III - Approaching Light

The hologram was a brilliant orange color, reminding Twilight of amber. It took a few moments to fully congeal - flickering a bit and displaying glitched shapes in the initial moments, but it eventually stabilized into a slowly rotating depiction of the galaxy.

Luna instantly recognized where they were in relation to the other hundred billion stars, making note so she wouldn’t get lost.

A deep, alien voice began to play in a language none of them could understand, accompanied by strange alien characters that matched those found on the device’s shell. Evidentially the translation matrix was unable to translate a truly alien language.

Discord gave himself green antennae and, with a smirk on his face, began speaking as if he were translating the voice. “I, Gorkok, declare that all races shall deliver us cake! And other assorted pastries - mostly ones made of gold!”

“That’s enough Discord,” Celestia said. “We need to pay attention.”

The alien voice continued to drone on as the galaxy map zoomed in to a single star, revealing about a dozen planets. A few of the planets were highlighted with alien text to the side of them, making them seem important. Then the map zoomed out once more, highlighting thirteen different stars around the galaxy. One by one, these other stars were all visited - each and every last one of them had planets. Some had scrolling pages of text accompanying them, others only had a single line of information.

Twilight found the various systems hypnotic. She wanted to badly to know what the voice was saying, to know what this map meant…

The hologram zoomed out once more and highlighted the thirteen points one at a time, the voice droning on as it did so. Then the message restarted.

“Sooo…” Starlight said. “This is a well protected message that shows the locations of 14 systems?”

“And lots of detailed information on more than a few of them,” Twilight added.

“That we can’t read,” Discord snorted. “It’s useless!”

Luna raised a hoof. “I know exactly where we are in relation to this map. One of those systems is just a few days coreward.”

“Set a course immediately,” Celestia said. Luna nodded in affirmation, trotting off to the helm.

Starlight frowned. “I would still like to know why this was protected so much…”

“It wasn’t that hard to open,” Twilight said.

“Still, whoever made this went through a lot of trouble to keep it from prying eyes…” She scratched her chin. “These locations are probably supposed to be secret…”

“We’ll find that out when we get there I suppose. But I will try to figure out whatever I can on our way there.”

Discord rolled his eyes. “Yay! More random sciencing while the rest of us do nothing.”

“Look, Discord, I’m sorry th-”

“Sorry what?” Discord lashed out. “That I can’t do anything? That the rest of us are just here to hope there really is something out here? That just maybe this is an eons old message and is completely useless?!”

Celestia was a bit taken aback at this. “Discord, I don’t-”

Discord waved his hand. “Forget about it. I blew up there. Sorry. Had no reason to do that.”

Starlight smiled at Discord. “You know, I remember a time when you couldn’t even say sorry.”

Discord glared at her.

“It was a compliment!”

“Uh-huh. You need to work on your compliments there, Student of Friendship. Now toodeloo, I must watch the Princess of Socks!” He vanished in a puff of white light.

Twilight moved to take the alien device, but Celestia shook her head. “We need rest Twilight. We can work on it again after we’ve slept.”

Twilight opened her mouth to object, then shut it. She was pretty tired.

“It will be here in the morning, and we can look at it with a fresh eye,” Celestia smirked. “You too Starlight, that is if you didn’t get enough sleep while we were working.”

Starlight flushed. “Uh, not really. See ya!”

The three mares left the room, leaving it empty save for the Tree of Harmony and Cadence.

“...I wonder what that was all about.” She said.

~~~

Twilight tossed and turned in her bed, moaning in discomfort.

She was looking at the sky. Starlight and Twilight’s other friends were all ‘chillaxing’ on the roof of Friendship Castle, taking in the beautiful warmth of Equis’ sun, letting it warm their bodies. They all had their eyes closed, relaxing - though Pinkie and Starlight were probably only pretending to relax.

Regardless, everything was serene.

And then it was dark.

“What the hay?” Rainbow Dash said, looking up at the stars. “Who turned off the sun?”

Twilight sighed, turning to Spike, her dragon assistant. “Spike, send a letter to Celestia asking for the sun back. We were using it.”

Spike nodded, taking out a piece of parchment and getting started immediately.

“Pinkie, dear…” Rarity spoke up, glancing at her pink friend. “What’s got you so antsy?”

“I felt this coming,” Pinkie said. “I didn’t want to believe it but it’s true! The sun is gone!”

“Pinkie…” Applejack said. “Celestia can always raise it again. This is all probably some joke.”

Twilight frowned, looking at Pinkie. If she was scared, something was most definitely wrong. “Spike, ask if something's wrong in the message.”

Spike nodded and did so. Twilight stared into the moonless starry sky…

It looked oddly beautiful, but also menacing.

Twilight woke up with a start, chilled by the starry image in her mind. She shuddered - she always tried her best not to think about the day the sun disappeared, but it always snuck up on her.

She let out a deep sigh and attempted to get back to sleep.

~~~

Luna looked closely at the star they were jumping closer and closer to. It was a yellow star, one of many such peeping lights in the vastness of space.

Through the telescope she was able to discern that the star had at least one planet around it, though she knew nothing about it, much like the recording itself. It had shown nothing but a featureless sphere and a word Luna presumed meant “no data” or something similar. Luna groaned, zooming in as far as possible on the star and still getting no further data. She stamped her hoof on the ground in frustration, though the sock muffled the usually satisfying clank. Luna’s eye twitched.

“Are you okay my sister?” Celestia asked, strolling in.

“Yes. No. Maybe? I’m antsy,” Luna sighed. “I just don’t like not being able to do anything. Which is strange considering we’ve all done nothing for ages…”

“It will only be two more days Luna.”

“Two more agonizing days…” Luna moaned, covering her face with her sock covered hooves. “Aaaaaauuuuugggghhhhh….”

“You could take the opportunity to get some sleep Luna. You’ll need it for when we get there…” Celestia paused, noticing that Luna’s wailing had drifted into snoring. She chuckled, lifting Luna up with her magic and teleporting the alicorn into her bed.

Her work here was done, but she didn’t leave the observatory. Instead, she looked through the telescope towards their destination. The yellow light filled her ancient eye, and she was reminded of her beautiful sun…

Of course, she knew the star she was looking at was nothing like the warm globe she had controlled back home, but still. Perhaps something like home was there.

~~~

Cadence was standing in front of one of the pods, tears and longing in her eyes. She was staring into the serene face of a white unicorn stallion - her husband, Shining Armor. She put her hoof against the glass.

“S-Shiny? Did you hear? We might have found something! Just a few more days and you can come out and you won’t have to go back in! A-And you could read to Flurry! You were always better at that…”

She sniffed. “Remember when she was flying all around the room, messing up all the pancakes I was making? She only calmed down when you read from that book - she flew right to you. She wanted to hear from you.”

“I’ve tried… But she doesn’t respond to me. She never really does… But you do right? Right?”

Shining Armor’s sleeping form made no noise.

“N-No? No!? Why not!? What’s wrong…?”

She broke down in tears on the floor.

Starlight bit her hoof - having seen the whole thing she found herself once again considering casting a magic spell on Cadence to get her more grounded in reality. Starlight sighed, turning away and shaking her head. It was not something for her to do. She needed to stop considering that.

“Starlight?” Cadence said suddenly.

“Er… Yes?”

“Is everything going to turn out okay?”

Starlight hesitated for a moment. “Of course it will, we have a lead now, things are bound to start working out for us.”

“Do you know that? Have you gone to the future?”

“...No.”

“Then go away.”

Starlight obliged, walking out of the chamber. She let out another sigh. That poor broken mare…

~~~

The next day Twilight noticed a few interesting things about the message. There were patterns.

Discord appeared, startling Twilight’s analysis.

“Hello there Twinkles! How goes the overanalysis?”

Twilight decided to humor him. “Very good actually. I think I’ve been able to determine the names of each system based on the speech patterns. Every time the map zooms into a location, there is a phrase spoken by the voice - a phrase that changes by one word each time. This change is presumably the name - for instance, Ray’Nei, the one we’re going too.”

“Remind me to name my next character Ray Nei.”

Twilight ignored the remark. “I’ve noticed something about the locations of the systems as well. They’re spread out pretty randomly, yes, but what’s interesting is that the stars closest to the first system we’re shown have a lot more information on them, suggesting that the first system is a kind of base for whoever made this. Perhaps the center of their kingdom.”

“Or maybe it’s just yet another place they’ve happened to get a good look at. Maybe a resort planet that paid for extensive advertising!”

“Discord, that’s ridiculous,” She rolled her eyes. “What’s interesting me right now is the final section - where the other thirteen systems are being highlighted. Another similar phrase is repeated each time one is highlighted. The names are mentioned in it, but there’s also another part that changes…”

“This place is also known as Tiki Wave Resort!” Discord suggested. “Now with alien coconut-flambe and massages!”

Twilgiht groaned. “Can’t you take anything seriously?”

Discord grabbed Twilight’s head. “Twilight, Tiki Resorts are the most important things possible.”

“Riiiiiight…” Twilight removed herself from Discord’s grasp. “Uh, let me just get back to work, okay?”

“Fine. I’ve got to fill the hallway Luna’s going through with banana peels anyway.” And then he was gone.

Twilight got back to her studies, but found nothing new. She eventually went wandering around the Ark once more, eventually finding herself at the pods of her six friends again.

“Soon,” She said. “Tomorrow.”

The Ark jumped again, getting ever closer to the yellow light. The goal was in sight.

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