• Published 9th Dec 2017
  • 1,878 Views, 14 Comments

Visiting The UEE - Coenogo

Half a year after the Declaration Of Peace had been signed by both the UEE and Equestria, 2 ministers from Equestria are invited to experience life inside the United Earth Empire.

  • ...

Chapter 2 - Transfer

With an ear-shattering force, the H250's two Hammer Propulsion Voltaire-55 SCRAMjets fired up their afterburners, and a long sharp cone of plasma, accompanied by a sound that could only be described as the earth itself being ripped apart. From within the cabin, Twilight experienced the take-off in full force. She could see the flames. She could hear the rumbling. She could feel the heat.

'This is the power of human-technology?' she thought, taken back by the intense acceleration as the craft quickly sped up. Within seconds, the nose went up, and before she knew it, they were up in the sky. They reached 100 meters, 200 meters, 300, 400, and still climbing faster than she would have ever thought possible. Even Rainbow Dash would have had difficulties trying to chase them. Higher and higher they went, picking up speed along the way. It felt like they were going completely vertical, and sitting in their seats, Fluttershy and Twilight began to be very disoriented.

After another 10 or so seconds, Fluttershy felt like she was about to pass out. She felt heavy, carrying an abundant weight upon her. But just as everything began to fade to black, she felt something on her head. Trying to look up, she saw that Lex had reached out towards her, and had begun petting her.

Lex tried to yell over the sound of the engines, to no avail. "Try to stay awake, we're almost in orbit!" She was right. A few seconds later, the engines were cut, leaving the cabin in a shroud of silence. The yellow pegasus felt light. Very light. Lex helped her undo her seatbelt, and as soon it was gone, Fluttershy flew upwards.

"Oh my! I’m floating!" So she was. Right before her eyes, Twilight saw Fluttershy hovering around through the cabin, softly bouncing around against the walls. The best part was that she didn't even need to flap her wings. Even if she wanted to, she couldn't have done so, given the tight suit that they were packed in.

Twilight wanted to remove her seatbelt too, but Lex stopped her just in time. “Wait! Don’t use your magic!” she said.

“Why not? What’s wrong?” asked Twilight. She was somewhat shocked by the sudden outburst but quickly regained her composure. She was on a diplomatic mission after all.

Lex tried to explain: “We’re going extremely fast right now. About eight kilometres across the planet every second. We don’t know how magic behaves at such high speeds, so for now, you are unfortunately not allowed to use it, okay? We believe unicorns are trained to use magic, especially teleportation, in relative motion with the rotation of Equis. If you’d try teleporting up here, you’d end up several hundreds of meters behind us.”

Twilight was only half listening. As soon as Lex said just how fast they were going, she had to find a window to see it for herself. She almost fainted and would have fallen over, were it not for the fact that she was floating. Instead, she just looked down at the blue and green mass below, mouth agape, stunned by the sight that lay before her. If one were to listen closely, the faintest signs of a 'squee' could be heard.

“There’s Equestria,” said Lex, pointing to a green patch that was rapidly turning away from them. “And over there is… Actually, I don’t know what’s over there. We haven’t been there yet. Is that part of Equestria?”

Twilight didn’t think so, and neither did Fluttershy. Neither had ever seen their own land from so far above. Of course, they knew that there were other nations outside their continent. They didn’t answer though. To say that they were overwhelmed would have been an understatement.

“From the looks on your faces, I presume you’re not really focussed. Not to worry, there are already plans to send out some drones and expeditions down there.” Lex said to the still amazed ponies. She had flown with aliens before. Looking back on her flight with a delegation of the On’San, this was going to be a much more enjoyable experience. These ponies weren't even the first pre-spaceflight civilization they discovered, and it was to be expected that they hadn't even seen their entire planet yet.

Through the intercom, Rick announced that they would soon be arriving at the ESE and that everyone should buckle up for the approach manoeuvres.

The ESE, of course, was short for Equestrian Space Elevator, the UEE’s largest construction project on, and above, Equis. After the horrible events of the UEE’s invasion of Equestria, the Interstellar Union had concluded that the UEE would have to offer their help to Equestria in several ways, to pay back for the attack. Several freighters full of food and medicine had already been shipped in, and a facility in Van Hoover had connected Equestria to the QE-Network.

The QE-Network was a marvellous invention. It was an abbreviation of Quantum Entanglement Network, a system that used the practice of binding the state of two individual particles to communicate without delay across any distance. It was the closest anyone had ever gotten to teleportation until the Equestrians had shown up.

Now that everyone was seated, the H250 began its approach. From their windows, Twilight and Fluttershy looked out over the vast plains below, their view dominated by the awe-inspiring Midway Station. It was, as the name suggests, the middle-point of the soon-to-be space elevator, and currently orbiting in a geostationary orbit. Several hundreds of kilometres above it was Shepherd Base, an asteroid that acted as a counterweight for the cable and a source of rare resources for Equis.

The giant structure hovering before them had two large rings around it, which spun around the station, connected to the core structure by pylons. Fluttershy asked what it was for, and Lex explained that it was meant to simulate gravity for the inhabitants of the station. “Floating around in zero-G for too long is bad for your body. Your bones become brittle and your muscles start to decay." she said bluntly when asked why one would need something like that.

The docking-procedure went without issue, smoothly connecting the H250 to one of the Gates of Midway’s transfer terminal. From there they, with some help from Lex and a steward, made their way to the upper Hab-Ring. A series of stairs later, and with some small bruises and scrapes, the colourful group stood in the main hallway of the habitats.

It took the mares a few minutes to adjust to walking again. The metal floors resonated with the clanking of hooves against Durasteel as the diplomats and their guide made their way to the living quarters.

“So...” Lex began. “What do you think of the station so far? I hope it’s to your liking! Don’t worry about the walls, they’ll be getting a nice layer of Redwood planks across them as soon as the shipment arrives. Or, if you’d like, we could use some of your own trees! I’d need to have a chat with the Foreman about it, but I’m sure we could arrange-”

“Lex, please.” Twilight interrupted, putting a hoof up. “We’re both very exhausted from… Well, from everything! I hope you don’t mind, but Fluttershy and I would like to relax for a moment before we have to go on another one of those... things again. It’s just all so much, and I need to write everything down, you know?”

Lex looked at both of them. Fluttershy, who she had thought to be the more active of the two, was hardly able to stand on her hooves, and her companion wasn’t doing much better either. Perhaps the engineers had messed up the atmospheric controls? Or, maybe, they were just really tired. She decided that the latter was more likely, and so she brought them to their room to rest. They had a few hours to spend before their transport would arrive, and she felt like getting a quick drink at the bar.

Making her way through the hallway across heaps of construction equipment and the occasional Construct-o-Bot, she found her way to the partially completed bar. It took her a few moments, but she eventually managed to turn on the power to the eTender. As the machine whirred to life, she considered getting a beer, or maybe a whiskey. It was then that she noticed an option on the screen she had not seen before.

“‘Sweet Apple Acres Apple Cider’? That’s a new one. From the looks of it, it’s just two bottles, three at most. Did one of the engineers bring it?” She thought about it and then decided that nobody would be missing a single glass. When she pressed the picture of 3 apples, a message popped up in bright red:


High Alcohol-Concentration!

Serving limited at 15ml in accordance with the 2119 Alcohol Act

A quick tap on the screen later, a faintly gold-coloured liquid seeped through the sterile plastic tube, snaking its way to the shot glass below. As the drink left the tube and poured into the glass, Lex heard footsteps behind her.

As she turned around, she corrected herself. ‘Hoofsteps, Lex. Hoofsteps.’ She quickly regained her composure, and asked: “Miss Sparkle? Anything I can help you with?”

“Oh please, you don’t need to call me that. Twilight is fine.”

“Oh. Okay then, Twilight, I don’t suppose there’s anything I can help you with?”

“Actually, there is. You see, I last drank something a few hours ago, and that would normally be fine, but with all this stress, and the excitement, and-”

Lex interrupted the rambling alicorn. “You wanna drink something? Maybe talk a little off-record?”

“Oh, Celestia yes! Please!” Twilight was beaming with joy.

“Okay then. Here, make your choice.” Lex motioned towards the eTender’s screen.

As her large eyes scanned the display before her, they found themselves hovering over one name in particular. “Wait, you have Cider? Real Sweet Apple Acres Cider?”

“Yeah, apparently. I chose that one as well. I have no idea what it is, but I’m guessing you do?”

“Of course I know! That’s AJ’s own brew!” Twilight answered energetically.

Lex looked at the purple pony before her, and confused she asked: “AJ?”

“Yeah, AJ! You know, Applejack? She’s the orange earth pony who was with us at the airbase.”

“Oh yeah, I remember. Wait, I thought she was a minister of Agriculture?” wondered Lex.

Twilight gave Lex a knowing look. “She is, but she used to work on Sweet Apple Acres, her family’s farm. They make the best cider in all of Equestria!”

“Huh.” Now it was Lex’s time to be amazed. “Well, I guess she’s also the first of your species to have their own beverage be sent into space.”

“Ooh, she’ll be so excited to hear about this!” Whilst they were talking, Lex had ordered a glass of cider for Twilight, which was now filled. Lex took both their drinks and guided Twilight to one of the plastic-covered booths.

“I’m sorry about the crinkliness, biopolymers aren’t very easy to work with!” said Lex, sitting down at one end of the bench. “Here’s your drink.”

“Thank you. I hope you’ll enjoy it!”

“I hope so as well! Prost!” And with that, Lex threw back the drink. As soon as it hit her tongue, she was in complete bliss. It was the sweetest drink she had ever tasted, and the taste was somewhat overwhelming to her. Alongside the sweet taste was the familiar burning feeling.

Roughly an hour later, Lex was carried to the station's Medical Ward by paramedics.


"Are you okay?"

She wasn't. The single drink from last night had rendered her completely wasted, and wishing she had gotten a biomechanical liver implanted before the terrible mistake of trying an Equestrian alcoholic drink. As a result of her dubious choice of beverage, Lex was forced to stay in the Medical Ward until the ventricular-inserted chemicals broke down enough of the alcohol so that her liver wouldn't die on the spot. A few hours would be enough, but it did mean that she would be holding up the transport.

"Don't worry." The purple pony beside her bed calmly said. "Fluttershy and I have no problem waiting for you. I just hope you get better soon!"

"But I don't understand. You drank that stuff too, didn't you?" Lex inquired weakly.

Twilight cocked her head, looked at Lex with a confused expression. "You mean the cider? Yeah, I did, but I don't see what that has to do with you being sick?"

"Didn't the doctor tell you why I'm sick?"

"No, not really. She just said that you 'had too much to drink last night', although I know you only drank that tiny glass of cider. Was she being sarcastic? Is it because you're dehydrated? Would you like me to get you some water?" The purple book-horse was propping herself up on the side of the bed, looking ready to jump up on it at a moments notice.

"No, it's... It's fine. Just... give me a few more minutes to recover, okay?

"I still don't understand how you got so sick?"

As Twilight Sparkle, holder of the deepest secrets of the arcane realm tried to gather enough data to make her own diagnosis, her little yellow friend interrupted her thinking with a subtle cough.

"Oh, Fluttershy, you're here! Don't worry, Lex is doing just fine, but she just needs to rest. I was trying to figure out why she is so sick, but I just can't figure it out. It doesn't add up!"

Fluttershy looked between the two of them with something faintly resembling a smirk. With a face as loving as always, but with a more serious tone to her voice than usual, she said: "I think I can explain what happened... Lex, humans like to drink alcoholic drinks for both the taste and a 'buzz', correct?"

"Uhm... Well, yeah." Lex answered.

"The thing is, us ponies don't get 'drunk', as the doctor called it. I don't know how it works exactly, but it's got something to do with the way our liver works."

"So... So that means, that you little ponies, can outdrink any full-grown human with ease?"

"Essentially, yeah. That's why AJ's cider is roughly 85% alcohol."

"85%?!" Lex yelled. "How is that even legal?! Wait, is it legal? And how did it end up here anyway?"

"The doctor said that they'd look into it as soon as possible."

"Thank you Fluttershy, I'm glad we got that cleared up! And I'm so sorry Lex, I really didn't know alcohol did that to humans!" Twilight looked rather embarrassed.

"It's okay. It was a misunderstanding, nothing more." The comforting words from Lex got Twilight to relax a little. "Besides, I think I'll be okay. How about you two go and wait at the gate, and I'll be there in a second. You know how to find Gate A2?"

"Lex, over here!"

Twilight had already spotted Lex from across the hall. She had been dismissed 15 minutes ago, and she'd gotten a new pair of clothes, which looked a lot more professional and official than her previous ones. "Ah, I'm glad you found it. Did you two have any problems on your way here?"

"No, not at all! We had to ask someone for directions though, but they didn't even answer us!" Twilight said.

Lex had to laugh at that. When she noticed that both Twilight and Fluttershy didn't look very understanding, she asked: "Was the person you were asking completely yellow and shiny?"

"Uhm, yes." Twilight looked over at Fluttershy, who was just as confused. "How did you know?"

"Because those are Construct-o-bots. They're everywhere around the station, both inside and outside. They're just robots used for construction, they don't respond!" Lex was barely holding back a burst of laughter, and as soon as her delegates realised what they'd done, all three of them lost themselves in laughter. It had been a long day, and they hadn't even left their planet's orbit yet. All three of them knew they were in for an interesting week.

"Excuse me?" A woman in white, black and blue formal attire had approached them. Her nametag simply said 'Amanda'. "Are you the delegates from Equestria?"

"Yes, they are. I'm their guide, Alexa Wittenberg."

"My name is Amanda, and I will be assisting you aboard the Hermes."

Fluttershy felt that something was off about this 'Amanda', and when she looked over at Twilight, she seemed to be feeling it as well. There was something about Amanda that was deeply unnerving to both of them, and neither had any idea what caused it. Twilight did notice that the thaumalogical spectrum that was indicative of humans was not present for Amanda. Every living thing emits thaumalogical energy, and while humans appeared to have only faint levels of energy, they were still noticeable. Amanda seemed to not be emitting a magical aura at all.

"Excuse me, but who exactly are you?" Twilight asked.

"My name is Amanda, and I will be assisting you aboard the Hermes."

"I mean, can you tell me more about yourself?"

"My name is Amanda. I am an AS-9000 model Automated Steward from the Olympus Organization. I am currently in service with the UEE Council. I was designed on Earth and built on Europa. My serial number is 229-"

"Thank you, we got it." Lex interrupted. "I'm sorry, but once you get them started, they don't stop. Standard marketing-protocol and all."

Twilight began to understand. "Let me guess: She isn't a human, is she?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah, you're right. She's an android, a human-like robot." Lex explained. "We've got quite a few of them on Earth, and some of the newer models have some pretty advanced Artificial Intelligence. I've had a conversation with one for a solid 5 minutes before I realised that I was talking with an android."

“Seriously? Don't they seem... I don't know, unnerving?” asked Twilight.

"No, not really. I see them practically every day. There are lots of them at the embassies."

Before Twilight could ask which embassy she was referring to, the PA system crackled to life, announcing the imminent departure of the UEV Hermes. Amanda led the group on board, and, after showing them to their seats, left almost as quickly as she had appeared. Twilight remarked to herself how unnatural the 'android' seemed, with its perfect movement and blank eyes. Something she would have to ask Lex.

It didn't matter now. She was too focused on being among the first of ponykind to leave not only their planet but their solar system entirely. The only ones who had seen the human worlds before were Celestia and Luna, along with their personal guard. Twilight had spent hours listening to the tales of wonderous technologies and architecture beyond the wildest dreams. Now, she would see it all for herself. All she had to do now, was to get there.

And so, the Hermes departed, with its destination set. Next stop, Sol.

Author's Note:

Kept you waiting, huh? :raritywink:

Comments ( 5 )


Better late than never, I suppose?

Kept us waiting long? It's only been about 3 years, but with everything that's happened between then and now it feels like it's been a decade! Xp

Glad to see this back. Xd

Hope this continues.

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