Twilight Sparkle's long journey had been aimless. Formless. A search for something she could not, or would not name. Her living, singing ship had plied the void for so long with no destination in sight.

But everything is different now. This is a mission of mercy.

Thank you to TheMaskedFerret for her help, and for being a friend when I needed one. And for ScarletWeather, who also read this and is also very good.
Cover Art from the animated "Echoes of the Past". Watch.

Chapters (1)
Comments ( 61 )

wow; there's nothing more I can say to describe my reaction to this great story than wow.

Man, I love how Twilight's grief for her mom gets recapitulated in the problem with the human ship. That's just really tidily done, whether you knew you were doing it or not.

8010365 I kinda like it too honestly

Well written, well done, and an interesting premise. Succinct and very space opera-y, it was a fun read.

I got to read some of this before it was published. I wasn't helpful, but I was SO SUPPORTIVE!

... yes, I am gloating. WELL DONE CYNEWULF! WOO!


Strange, haunting, and wonderful. I am...left feeling echoes of sadness, and pride, and love, and mourning from love.

It is a good yet sad feeling.

“Take me home.”

Equestria or Earth?

Which one?

8010593 It means you can interpret it as you will. For me, it is Equestria she returns to.

8010554 It probably doesn't matter. Either one would be an infinitely better alternative to staying alone in space. Poor Twilight.

I saw that last line coming so far away, and yet was still utterly unprepared. I don't favorite things often. Well played.

Pretty nice fanfic!
Also, the art comes from this grand animation, "Echoes of the Past". If you haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend you do it!

Par for the course for you- a glimpse of life's doldrums, parceled out sparingly, but ultimately with a glimmer of hope.

(I have now coined the term "Twangst" for this sort of thing.:rainbowwild:)

Space is wonderfully weird.

What was there of the humans that was verifiable, really? Sounds, words, a faded memory

Imagine infinite space, fail, try again, settle on something more manageable, then expand it until your mind quails and your senses fail to grasp the nature of space and distance.

Somehow it feels like you've been reading some Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy recently.

Marvelous work, absolutely marvelous work. :raritystarry:
Twilight's character and the slow buildup of the plot were both really well done and all capped by an very well done bittersweet ending.
Loved it. :twilightsmile:

This is truly a wonderful story.

8010593 Why not both?


To elaborate: it doesn't matter. 'Home' means social contact. She's had a ship capable of taking her back to Equestria the whole time, but she's trapped herself in a cycle of grief, instead. Reaching out and wanting to re-enter any society is her finally emerging from that cycle, and it doesn't really matter which one she means.

At once, I know this story from elsewhere, and yet it is fresh and soft and heartwrenching.

Thank you.

Edit: And now I'm desperately scrabbling at half remembered images to remember the story... But the most I can remember is the ship that sang, and eventually sacrificed herself for her crew.

I'm tearing up here. Well done.

Well. Your style sure shines through once again in this story. Fantastic one chapter story. I love these.

So I'm ravenous for more details. This is like The Culture meets some eclipse phase meets event horizon.

Where's the zoidberg more gif

8011253 there are books about a ship that sang. I only know titles and cover art. But I dream about it from time to time

This story was quite wonderful.

Twilight's overall attitude threw me off and irritated me somewhat, but as I read my irritation turned to sympathy and sorrow for her situation, and the encounter with the humans made it even more so. Despite this, and the loss of the ship, I can't deny that you managed to work in a meaningful happy ending of sorts, if one that is a bit bittersweet.

Marvelous job.

You've done it again, Cynewulf. Another wonderful story.

simply, beautifully glorious.


That's all I can summarise.

Would this be inspired by The Ship Who Sang by any chance? There are quite the parallels here, literal and thematic.

8011686 only in that I know the name. Like the Dark Tower, the Ship that Sang was just a vague idea to me as a kid because I saw a book title and remembered it. Unlike the Dark Tower, I haven't yet read it. However! I did read Pern.


I haven't read this yet. But I know you must be recalling Helva from the titled The Ship that Sang by Anne McCaffery.

Now I know I have to read this.

Edit: Or maybe not. Ah well, such is the nature of the science fictional.

So Twilight was traveling the human's light-cone in reverse?

8010554 there's only one answer

Earth was reduced to a burned out polluted husk a few decades prior to the story. Or more what with the event horizon loop.

The social one is the best answer.

8011787 I did have that book in the back of mind. I just had the title and the cover art I saw and the description on the back. I remember all that from being a kid but otherwise that's all I have.

Interestingly, the first half of the story gave me some very strong Sunless Sea vibes.

"Well? what do you think?"

Blue Wolf read the words on the screen again as his chief engineer pondered. Back and forth his eyes roamed along the lines of black on white characters, seeking clues, loopholes, any chink in the armour of the fate the words spelled out. Somewhere, deep amongst the multiverses was a ship on the edge of destruction. And Blue Wolf would move mountains to try to save it.

"Tricky...." was the reply from his friend. "The first problem is narrowing down exactly the right point in the timeline. Not impossible, but it will need some research. Finding the Multiverse with the right quantum resonance frequency is just the first step, we have to identify exactly where in that multiverse's existence the resonance pulses came from, and to do that would involve mapping...."

"I get the general idea. Then what?"

The Chief scratched the fur on his chin thoughtfully. "From the description, it sounds like they're using some kind of gate style hyperdrive, but without any kind of containment for the singularity. Sort of like how the Gateway Wormhole was formed back home but without the quantum pressure to create a navigable transition zone... or an exit point either come to that... The've probably used it where their multiverse boundary layer is thin but all of the coinciding multiverses have thicker boundaries. A dead end. That's the reason both our Quantum Turbines and you-know-who's device can only be used at certain points to jump to another multiverse. You have to have a weak point in the space-time of both your universe and the one you're trying to get to. If you don't create a stable transition zone with an exit point the singularity would collapse around you."

Blue Wolf paced thoughtfully around the bridge of his own ship as he considered the scenario. "If the ship's broken into the quantum realm, couldn't we....open up the dead end?" he stopped and stared out at the expanse of stars beyond the forward windows, merged with dim reflections of himself, the circular bridge and the brighter, raised command deck beyond. "If we open up a rift and guide the ship to that..."

"First we'd have to stop the singularity collapse. The question is how to do that without affecting the observed events in this." The chief tapped screen displaying the story."

"Couldn't we do something from this end to reinforce it?"

"When we use the Turbine, we create a bubble or pocket universe around us using the Einstein Relativity Isolation Compensator, then create a small rift using the Turbine and push the ERIC pocket through the rift into the next multiverse. It's kind of like threading a needle through a sheet, if you think of the needle being an extension of one multiverse into the other. The quantum pressure of the bubble prevents the rift from collapsing until we pass through and sync the bubble's quantum resonance to the destination universe. But we couldn't do that without appearing there out of the blue and upsetting the timeline. Wait..."

The engineer froze, lost in thought. "Maybe...we could use the Higgs Deflector. THAT might work...We could project an open ended Higgs deflector field through a quantum rift at this end. That would lower it's relative gravitational mass, which might protect the ship from the gravity well long enough to establish an ERIC field around the ship and pull it through...alright - here's what I'm going to need....."


The little task force of Blue Wolf ships clustered together in anticipation. Plans had been laid, preparations made and scouts dispatched across the multiverses in search of one which had called out with it's eternal, cosmic vibration to one individual and subconsiously whispered a story in his mind's ear. Frigates and destroyers flocked in a loose formation around a much larger, broadsword shaped vessel with an imposing T shaped tower, rising from the upper works near the stern between the pylons and wings holding the two massive engine nacelles to either side of the ship.

But even this ship simply could not compare to the vast, miles long ship painted in the blue and white colours of Blue Wolf's fleet that drifted a short distance away. A ship that carried entire fleets through the twisting nether of the Quantum Realm.

Now orders were given and vast energies brought to bear as beam of physics-defying power from the larger vessel probed a shining white sphere glowing like a minature star in the depths of the inky void of space. Deep within the chaotic storm that occupied the space between universes a titanic battle raged as the beam fought against the collapsing rift, to keep open a corridor through the crushing gravity well as on the far side the Twilight Velvet made it's plunge into the storm and vanished from sight.

................"Blue Wolf to Triple-B. We have a good tractor lock and are bringing her in. Stand by to take up the tow and initiate quantum jump once all ships are docked. Looks like we've got a package to deliver."


Twilight Sparkle lay in a cold, empty world. There was no warmth that could reach her, no ground to support her. Only the dark nothingness of space, into which had been swallowed the one thing which had still held meaning for her, the one place she might find solace in a uncaring expanse. She wasn't sure how long it had been since the Ponyville had been lost - hours, days had passed her by in a meaningless blur as she had gazed, as if in a stupor, out of the window towards where she'd last seen her mothe - her ship.

The humans who crewed the ship that the Velvet had saved had been patient, giving her space and doing their best to ensure that she ate from time to time. With their FTL drive worse than useless, it would be a long, slow ride back to Equestria. Twilight hadn't even been certain she remembered where it was anymore, and the uncertainty of what she might find there after so long added to the already heavy weight on her mind.

She shifted a little in mid-air, floating above the deck as she resumed her vigil - hardly paying any mind to the approach of the vessel's captain.

"She was a good ship."

Twilight didn't look round, just merely nodded. "She...was all I had for a long time. She meant more than just a home, it was like she was still there, looking after me...."

"I think she was."

"I don't know what to do. I don't even know if my friends are still ....And Celestia...what will i say to her?" Twilight gulped down a sniffle.

The captain opened his mouth to reply, then broke off as another crew member hurried in and wispered something in his ear. The Captain's eyes grew wide.

"Do you know of anyone else flying about out here?" Twilight shook her head.

"Well - SOMETHING's just appeared out of nowhere ahead of us. Something huge...


Twiglight gazed, slack jawed, out at the blue hull of an utterly impossible ship. It was vast, a least a mile or two in length with a hexagonal hull split lengthwise down the middle. It had a hanger bay which seem to take up most of lower part of the ship and a large superstructure on top. Looking closer, Twilight could just make out a round tower topped by a large dome at the very apex of the ship. A pair of massive engines mounted on moveable wings squatted on either side.

But what was the most unbelivable thing about it, was that directly below it, securely snuggled in a stream of blue sparks coming from the other ship, was the Twilight Velvet - slightly worse for wear but intact, it's soft singing reaching out to Twilight's mind.

Twilight switched her gaze in disbelief back and forth between where the hologram of a Wolf with fur as blue as his uniform, snowy white chest fur and gold bands around his wrists had appeared on the bridge, and the large white lettering on the side of the enormous ship that spelt out it's name:

UNS Bramble Bush Bay
Quantum Turbine Ferry

"Hi there", said the Wolf. "I think we found something you lost..."

8011337 The series wasn't literally The Ship Who Sang.
But I can't remember it. Tss. This annoys me.

Brain & Brawn Ship series by Anne McCaffrey. Some of my favs. Ship Who Sang, Ship Who Searched, City Who Fought, and so on.

This is the first story of yours I've read, and what a story it was! I'm such a sucker for lucid prose--think words that sound like an impressionist painting looks. The way you were able to keep your descriptions sparse and ambiguous while filling in the spaces with rich sensory details made the story float like I imagine Twilight would inside her ship.

8013125 I really love the impressionists.

It was pretty good, though it felt a bit like Tom Hanks losing a high-tech version of Wilson. It was sad, but I can't imagine that her relationship with the ship was a healthy one in the long term.

It was also a bit too ambiguous for my taste, as I had more questions than answers at the end. Maybe we're getting a sequel or epilogue?

8013273 you'd be correct. It is unhealthy in the long run.

8013098 Yes, I know which series it is, but that wasn't the one I was thinking of. I know that for truth, too. Tss.

Do you know if the guy who made Echoes of the Past was a deviantart/fimfiction account?

8013273 Do you hate how your question didn't get answered?

...Did this just fall out of the Feature Box for a moment, then rise back in? Without an update?

Don't see that every day.

I'm not entirely sure what I just read but it was captivating.

To me this story felt cold, clinical, and detached from reality. A bit apathetic if I might say so, yet at the same time the painting these words formed was captivating.

A bit confusing, very sad, but.. also an absolutely lovely story, it was a pleasure to read.


I think that was intentional on the author's part - unnerving and borderline detached from reality describes Twilight's mental state in this pretty well, and I imagine the writing was made to reflect that, as the story is sort of written from her perspective.

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