• 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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VI - Technical Difficulties

The Ark’s showers and baths were one of its few pleasures. At the moment, Luna was taking a bit of a hybrid - the bath was full and she was immersed in it, but the showerhead was still on, sprinkling her face. She called these ”soakers,” Twilight called them “bowers,” Starlight “shaths,” and Celestia “silly.” Discord’s name for them changed depending on who he wanted to annoy most.

Luna liked the soakers anyway. It felt nice to have the warm water drizzle over her head and-

Suddenly the water drove into her skull the feeling of being under a mountain waterfall in winter. She yelped at the new cold temperature. “C-c-computer! Adjust water temperature to warm!” She shouted.

The computer complied. She was blasted with scalding water instantly. “Turn the water off!” Luna yelled, stepping out of the bath, annoyed. The computer obliged. Then the lights shut off, causing Luna to trip and land flat on her face. She grunted, feeling for the automatic door. She found it - but it wasn’t opening.

“Stupid…” She teleported herself out of the bathroom, dripping water in the outside hallway. Then she teleported a towel to her. She took a deep breath.

“DISCORD!” She yelled at the top of her lungs.

“You rang?” He said, appearing in a flash of light.

“I told you to stop messing with the bathrooms when I’m taking a soaker!” She snorted.

Discord raised his hands in surrender. “I did nothing to your shathybower, Glimmy and I have been leading Celestia around with cake all morning.”

“IT BURNS!” Luna heard Starlight yell from a deck below them.

"Sounds like it didn’t go well…” Discord muttered. “Anyway, the only thing I’ve done to you is make sure you keep your socks on.”

“Discord, I was in the tub, surely you can understand why I don’t have the embarrassing garments on right now.”

“Who said you didn’t have them on?”

Luna looked down. Her socks were on. “When did you-?”

“While we’ve been talking,” He said, grinning. “I’m just too clever.”

“I’m going to look at the power systems, we may have a fluctuation.”

“Are you just going to ignore me?”

“Perhaps the elevator messed up the settings…”

“Okay then, somepony’s not in the mood. Toodeloo, Socky.”

“I AM NOT SOCK- and he’s gone,” Luna groaned. She teleported herself to one of the main power conduits, looking at the large glass tube filled with blue vis energy. These pipes carried power to the entire Ark, so if one was acting up… She accessed the power station and performed a diagnostic - all the power allocation systems checked out, and there was no recorded error.

Strange.

Very strange.

She furrowed her brow - what was she supposed to do next? She hadn’t done any technical work outside the observatory in years… She had forgotten…

Perhaps she should stop messing with it and ask Twilight. Luna teleported away, in search of the Princess of Friendship. She found her staring out the window at the stars. Luna joined her, and she found herself absorbed in the sky…

She had often considered the stars her sky.

It was the last Nightmare Night. The opponents of the Ark had been defeated and now it was just a wait until the ship was launched on Hearthswarming Eve. Most of the passengers were already on board, but more trickled into their reserved pods every day.

Luna was glad Cadence had put away Flurry Heart and Shining Armor already - they didn’t need to witness this.

The ponies of Canterlot were partying like there was no tomorrow - literally. Ponies and other races from all across the land had congregated here to see the Ark. They knew the world was ending. Only a few had bothered to design bunkers for the long cold years ahead. Most had just given up and used the day - her day - as a way to cut loose.

Alcoholic bottles were strewn everywhere, and spooky ‘pranks’ were being played. Dangerous pranks. Ponies had lost all inhibitions. Relationships were being formed and destroyed by the minute.

They were using her night to destroy themselves. It aggravated her. She had always encouraged her subjects to enjoy Nightmare Night since the first one she attended - but never like this. What made it worse was that a pony she knew well, a pony that would be one of the last to be frozen, was in the middle of it. Encouraging it.

“Come on everypony! Smile!” Pinkie Pie cackled, jumping around at physically impossible speeds, scaring may ponies, offering others food, and keeping the city-wide party going strong. Her costume was simple - flat hair, psycho look, and what Luna presumed was a fake knife.

Luna’d had enough.Ponies were ending up in the hospital because of this She teleported next to Pinkie and growled. “Stop this.”

“No,” Pinkie said, trying to bounce off.

“No!?” Luna was taken aback. “But-”

“They need this. These ponies are going to die, or at the very least live their lives out in cramped, boring bunkers that could fail at any moment. This will the last day most of them live.” Tears were in her eyes.

It was at that moment Luna realized something.

“...The flat hair isn’t part of your costume.”

“...No.”

Luna sighed. “Why are you throwing a party like this?”

“I said. They need to live. They need to smile - really smile - one last time. They need to have one last night on the town before it all ends. Before their lives melt into a timeskip. Nothing more than a flashback in our memories.” Tears were falling down her cheeks at a rapid pace. “This is the night that will be remembered! I’m making sure it is!”

Luna backed off, hanging her head. “I… See…”

“I’ll stop it tomorrow,” Pinkie promised. “It won’t be Nightmare Night much longer. Just a few more hours.”

“Okay,” Luna said, giving in. “Okay.” She backed down and let the night continue. She was never sure if that was the right thing to do. She found out later a dozen ponies had died that night. And Starlight…

Starlight had come to her broken, battered, and half-mad at the end of the night. Screaming things about the past, the future, the undoing, the deaths, and her failure. She was cursing the Stars…

That was the one night it was most certainly not Luna’s sky.

“...Luna?”

“Yes, what?” Luna responded, shaking out of it. “Sorry Twilight, I was elsewhere.”

“Oh, it’s okay. I was just saying I think we should have jumped by now.”

“Oh,” Luna said, frowning. “Yes we should have. That’s odd. This may have something to do with why I came to talk with you in the first place. The showers were experiencing some temperature fluctuations, but when I checked the power systems there were no visible errors.”

Twilight frowned thoughtfully, walking to a nearby screen and setting it to power readout.

Luna facehooved. “I forgot you could do that from anywhere.”

Twilight smirked. “We all forget things Luna, don’t feel bad. We just need to access the power history in the bathrooms and - viola! A change in power! ...That’s odd…”

“What?”

“There was no fluctuation. The Computer Core ordered that to happen.”

“Why on Equis would it do that?”

“I don’t know… Running a Computer Core diagnostic.” She furrowed her brow as the results appeared onscreen. “Bizarre - it’s been sending out seemingly random commands all day! Including stalling the drive!”

“Must be damaged somehow.”

Twilight nodded. She sent a magical message to Starlight, telling her to meet them at the Computer Core entrance. Then she teleported Luna and herself to the giant rounded doors of the Core’s room. The doors were dark grey hunks of metal with warning signs pasted all over them.

Starlight appeared next to them, mane singed. She smelled vaguely of bacon. “Do. Not. Ask.” She stated. “Let’s just fix this thing.”

“Okay…” Twilight said, turning to the door. “Shields up girls, we’re going in.” The mares encased themselves in bubble shields quickly. Twilight slowly opened the door, and the three of them stepped into the cavern, the round core suspended in the air before them. Red lights blared, indicating it wasn’t safe for them in here, but they knew this.

Starlight floated herself right to the Core and began scanning. She frowned. “No major defects…” An arc of power surged from the sphere at hit her shield, having no effect on her overall.

Luna frowned. “That looked like it attacked her.”

“Don’t be silly,” Twilight said. “I designed the Computer to be physically incapable of harming a pony without one of our commands.”

The Core blasted another arc of energy at Starlight, with no affect whatsoever.

“Okay, that does seem aggressive,” Twilight admitted. “Be careful Starlight.”

“I’m fine,” She said. “Still can't find the proble- wait.”

“Wait what?”

“There’s a microscopic dust speck on the Core. It’s made of the same material as the Brick.”

“The Brick!?” Twilight exclaimed. “How’d a piece of that get in here?”

“How’d a piece even break off?” Luna questioned. “It was so strong I don’t think we could have chipped it without a specialized spell!”

Starlight shrugged. “I don’t know. But I’m removing it-”

An arc of lightning blasted Starlight, and it didn’t stop. It continually charged power into her shield, trying to break it. “Reinforce me!” She said, straining to remove the microscopic thing and keep the shield up.

Luna and Twilight complied, the shield once again easily absorbing the Core’s energy discharge. The moment Starlight encased the speck in a small magic bubble, the bolt stopped.

Starlight looked closely into the bubble. “We need to get this thing in a sealed jar and study it. Whatever it was did not want to let us remove it - or let us go anywhere.”

Luna nodded - and then they all felt the lurch of the ship jumping. Luna smirked. It had been fixed. Only one more day… And then a new world to explore.

She didn’t dwell on the fact that something had invaded the Core.

~~~

The nanomachine had been confused before.

It had also been concerned.

Now it was panicking. It couldn’t get out! The force was keeping it in by preventing it from seeing anything but the jar!

It was trapped. It had failed.

It had no idea what to do.

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