• Published 3rd Dec 2016
  • 4,316 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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IV - Relic

A calm yellow star stood suspended in the space-time continuum that was the universe. It shone its light brightly against the expanse, defying the onward march of reality itself. A single planet drifted slowly around this sun. It was a mostly brown rocky world with a fair amount of clouds swirling in intricate patterns, indicating a speedy rotation. It sat alone, moonless, with nothing more than the star’s light on its surface.

With a flash of light blue energy the tremendous shape of the Ark appeared, its metallic sheer reflecting the star’s light. The craft’s shape was roughly cylindrical and slightly squat, with seven large propulsion engines in the back and a predatory looking hullplate that brought the front to a curved point. The Ark maneuvered into planetary orbit, lazily drifting around the spherical body below.

“Well, amazing news and bad news,” Starlight announced upon examining the scans.

“Bad news first,” Luna responded as she wiped her eyes, yawning.

“The surface is radioactive enough that long term settlement is a bad idea.”

Celestia sighed. “The good news?”

“Oxygen rich atmosphere. We can breathe down there. Which is a pretty good indicator that we may find microbial life down there at the very least.”

Discord grinned. “We shall shrink to their size and teach them the secrets of civilization! Then we shall watch as they tear themselves apart in micro wars!” He let out a very evil sounding laugh. Everyone stared in fear at the literal fire in Discord’s eyes.

“Oh come on that was funny.”

Luna facehooved.

“There’s more,” Starlight continued. “There’s a structure on the surface. Definitely artificial.”

“How can you be sure?” Twilight asked.

“It’s made of a pure platinum-silver alloy?” Starlight offered.

“Good enough for me,” Celestia said. “We shall descend immediately. Place us in geosynchronous orbit and drop the tether.”

Luna clapped in excitement. “Oooh! We haven’t launched that in forever!” She lit her horn. “Initiating firing sequence!”

A hatch opened in the bottom of the Ark, revealing a giant coil of black wire. Red and blue lights began to flash as the coil rotated into position, revealing a giant six-pronged claw ready to anchor itself into solid rock - or even things much harder than solid rock. The dark blue magical aura of Luna enveloped the entire hook. It dislodged itself from the Ark proper and moved towards the planet slightly - slowly and surely for a few meters. Afterwhich it was launched with tremendous force towards the planet’s surface. As it entered the atmosphere, intense flames licked the claw, heating it until it glowed a dull red. The claw cascaded downwards, past the clouds, towards the brown earth beneath. It impacted the ground with an intense force that would easily have registered on the Richter scale.

The claw held fast, spikes firmly dug into the earth; the planet was now firmly connected to the Ark.

“Tethering successful,” Luna announced, smiling. “Who’s coming?”

“Everyone but me,” Starlight said. “I need to watch the Ark.” And Cadence, she thought.

Celestia nodded. “Then the four of us. Come - we have a structure to investigate.”

Discord rubbed his hands together eagerly. “It’s been so long since we’ve been on a planet! I’ll be able to cut loose!”

“Yes, of course, just don’t mess with the structure,” Twilight said, lighting her horn and teleporting to the tether bay. The elevator stood there, waiting. It was a rather simplistic cylindrical capsule roughly the size of a large living room. It was already affixed to the tether, ready to descend.

The three alicorns and the draconequus entered the elevator. The interior had six seats, several screens on the walls displaying the outside, and plenty of space to load cargo. Celestia pressed a few buttons on the inner wall and the doors slid shut behind them - and the elevator began to drop.

It shook as it descended downwards at an impressive speed - but nowhere near as fast as the claw had been moving. It would take a few minutes to get to the bottom.

“What do you think it’s going to be?” Twilight asked giddily. “Alien repository? Ancient facility? Underground city entrance? The possibilities!

“Vacation home slash jacuzzi,” Discord suggested. Twilight shot him a look.

Celestia rolled her eyes, but smiled. She felt something returning to her - she had been doing nothing for so long, it felt good to have an active purpose again. But it was more than that - she could see the life returning to everyone’s eyes. Where there had once been hopelessness and despair there was now curiosity and excitement.

The elevator came to a stop with a sharp lurch, and the doors slid open. The land was barren - nothing but rocks and dust for as far as the eye could see. But the otherwise desolate scenery was made up for by the brilliant blue sky, the glare of the sun, the swirling clouds, the wind in their manes.

Celestia let out a breath, closing her eyes and letting the wind blow past her ears.

Twilight lifted some of the dust with her telekinesis and squealed. “There’s definitely microbes in this dust - not much, but some. Alien life! Do any of you know what this means? There’s probably a home for us out there somewhere! Just… YES!”

She teleported to the crest of a hill. “The structure is a few miles this way! Come on!”

“In a minute,” Discord said, having already created a river of soap in midair, accompanied by a flock of tuna birds. “I need to have my fun.”

Celestia rolled her eyes - but let him indulge. They all needed to let loose a little.

~~~

Cold

So cold.

Starlight trudged through the deep snow, the moon bright overhead. The stars looked down upon the bundled-up mare as she continued through the multiple feet of snowfall.

“Because of you Snowfall Frost… The future is a cold nightmare…” Starlight muttered under her breath. She continued on through the sunless land, praying she would last long enough. She had to - there was so much depending on it.

Through the moonlight she saw her destination - a small snowed-in town, chilled to the bone by the freezing. She could see some caved in roofs that had been unable to withstand the snow’s might. Most houses had no lights on - but a few flickered with candlelight and magic lamps.

She managed to walk into the town, her face frozen with icicles. She had no idea if she was on a road or not - she just needed to get to the center of town. She breathed heavily, forcing herself to move, just a bit more…

The inhabitants of the town began to notice her, looking out the windows of their homes - muzzles pressed to the glass, watching her intently.

Starlight’s horn burst into a spotlight, shining brightly enough for some to turn away. She levitated a spherical piece of glass inscribed in numerous magical runes, placing it in midair above her head.

Starlight roared, pumping all the energy she had into the glass device. It expanded in size a hundredfold and lit up a brilliant blue-white color, illuminating the entire town.

But most importantly, it produced warmth.

Starlight collapsed the moment she was done - she had lost count of how many of these she had activated in the last few days. She was done…

She was surrounded by the town's worried inhabitants - mostly zebras - as she lost consciousness….

Starlight frowned. Why that memory?

Why did meditation bring forth that? Why not the first time she connected with the Tree of Harmony? Why not being saved by Twilight in the alternate timeline? Why not the moment she made herself immortal?

Those events were unique. She had produced hundreds of those spheres during the Freezing…

She had left that turmoil behind so long ago, it had never helped to hold onto it.

In her meditation, she felt an emotion was over her. One of mild admonishment, but mostly of understanding. She was not the only one with unresolved feelings here.

She opened her eyes, looking around the bridge. Alone again… She sighed, she should probably go check up on Cadence.

It was at this moment she noticed a message onscreen.

STASIS POD OPENED.

Oh no. Not again…

~~~

The three mares arrived at the structure laughing their mouths off. They were in a hovercar crafted from mattresses, pizzas, and squirrel clocks. Discord considered it one of his masterpieces.

They were having a good time.

“Ahoy! Avast! Augh!” Discord exclaimed.

“LAND HO!” Luna announced, pointing at the structure they had come to investigate.

The structure in question was a brilliant silver spire with two points at the top. The points formed a gap in the middle that could be seen through - behind which the planet’s scenery was captured perfectly. At the base of the spire stood several smaller spikes, creating a slight sprawl of pointy structures.

“And now we know the aliens were sea urchins,” Discord announced.

“Don’t be ridiculous Discord, we haven’t investigated it at all yet,” Twilight retorted.

"Humph. It’s either that or they were way too fascinated with sea urchins.”

“It may not even be a sea urchin, Discord,” Luna said.

“I don’t know…” Celestia said. ”It does kinda look like one with a really big spike on top.”

Luna grunted; Discord laughed.

The four teleported directly next to the central dual-pointed spire, taking a quick look around. They quickly decided that the architecture was almost completely featureless.

“Smooth… Brilliant… Beautiful…” Luna said. “But seemingly pointless. There’s nothing here.

“Careful Luna, you just might discover something with that attitude!” Discord chuckled, floating into the central spire’s gap. As soon as he did so he was engulfed by a blue light and vanished.

The alicorns gasped. “Discord!” Celestia called out, following his movement between the dual spire. Before Luna could finish saying “WAIT!” Celestia was gone as well.

Luna sighed, looking over at Twilight. Twilight looked nervous - they weren't dead, she knew that, but she didn’t know what had happened to them. Luna shrugged, and followed Celestia, fixing Twilight with a wry grin as she vanished.

“For the love of apples…” Twilight facehooved. She reluctantly flew between the points. The blue light engulfed her and she felt every molecule of her body get torn apart bit by bit in the span of a single second. The next second consisted of the exact same thing happening in reverse.

She appeared in a smooth and well lit cavern, hyperventilating. Her legs fell out form under her, dropping her to the ground. It seemed like the entire room spun around her.

Celestia and Luna stifled a laugh. Discord made no such attempt. “Hahaha! Does Twily need a barf bag?” Discord crafted one and Twilight gladly used it.

“Ugh…” She said. “That was unpleasant…”

“The teleportation system is disassembly-reassembly,” Celestia said. “Like all early teleportation spells. What you just felt is why we generally use the somewhat more convoluted point-to-point teleportation.”

Luna helped Twilight up. “We’ve all experienced it before - it takes a while for your soul to realize the body has moved. The pain you feel is that delay - your soul thinks your body is dead for the briefest of moments.”

Twilight shuddered. “I’m teleporting out of here my way. Just have to think of the Ark…”

Luna made a ‘tsk’ noise. “Twilight, you know teleporting into orbit is dangerous. Just go back to the elevator.”

Twilight rolled her eyes. “That takes longer.”

“Oho!” Discord said. “Getting lazy are we?”

“Nope,” Twilight responded. “Just practical. Anyway, what is this place?”

“It appears to be a completely empty space - save that pedestal.” Luna observed.

Twilight walked up to the pedestal, investigating it closely. It was completely featureless. The block on top of it, however, was anything but. The rectangular prism was orange and had pyramidal points at either end. On each face was engraved an alien word, constructed with a single continuous line.

“Well that isn’t the same language as the thing we have,” Discord observed. “A whole new race! Maybe they’re at war! Galactic space guns destroying entire planets over an argument about a waffle face off!”

Luna lifted the object, scanning it. “This is covered in minuscule variations in texture - almost as if it were a physical representation of code…”

“A message?” Twilight wandered aloud.

“I don’t think so… And if it were, it’s not one for us to understand,” She furrowed her brow. “The variations seem almost random…”

“Let’s take it back on board for study,” Celestia said. “And nobody is teleporting directly back to the Ark.”

Each of them teleported away on their own power.

Celestia was the only one back on the elevator. She muttered an expletive and told the elevator to take her up.

~~~

Luna, Twilight, and Discord all appeared in the Ark’s main bay, Luna holding the alien brick. They would have gotten to work on it instantly, had they not been interrupted.

The interruption in question was a baby alicorn flying through the Ark giggling madly and shooting lasers everywhere - lasers that Starlight was barely containing.

Not again… Everyone thought.

“Stop standing there like idiots and help me catch her!” Starlight yelled in the voice of a mare who had been doing this for far too long.

Flurry Heart just laughed at the chaos she was causing.

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