• Published 5th Jul 2017
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Purple Point: His Life in Space - Alden MacManx



How Purple Point manages his life in space aboard the Cosmic Lotus, and how others handle him. Let the battle begin!

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In Equus Orbit

With his grandson, Radiant Steel, firmly emplaced at House Path’s training and evaluation center in Ponyville, Radiance Point and his sister, Sunrise Flight, reported back to the Cosmic Lotus after two weeks and a day off planetside. They reported back there because, honestly, they were never very good at doing nothing. They had to work to feel useful, and maintaining the ship was how they would feel that way. Not that there was a whole lot to DO aboard, but they felt better up there.

Radiance found himself being SOPA, or Senior Officer Present Aboard, which meant he would be essentially in command, but seeing as there was not a lot to be in command OF, the additional chores did not mean much to him. What he did find himself working on were his ship plans for a magitek-equipped warp drive starship, built for that purpose from the keel up. He focused on three core designs, an exploration ship like the Lotus, a cargo craft for trade purposes, and a combatant craft, designed to handle the Swarm. The combatant craft had many projectors like the deceleration system but made to cover many arcs of fire as well as multiple targets. The exploration craft had fewer turrets, while the cargo craft only had one, mounted at the prow of the craft, designed mainly to open the portal.

Radiance found several additional chores added to his workload, of a kind he was less than familiar with. First was hosting a GemVee film crew, filming the interior and exterior of the Lotus, making a documentary of their travels on the far side of the portal. That chore he hoofed off to Sunrise, who had a much better personality with the film crew than he did. The second chore, one that he found a bit more irksome, was playing tour guide to VIP’s from Equus who wanted to slake their curiosity about the planet’s first starship. Depending on the VIP, it was either a fun experience or a reason for Radiance to start swearing in as many esoteric tongues as possible, to vent his frustration at the damfool nobles who wanted to see the ship. Fortunately, very few caught on to what he was saying. The ones that did marveled at his command of invective. The others had no clue what he was saying, which was the intention.

The third chore was one that he did enjoy immensely- that of making a series of educational videos, teaching about the Cosmic Lotus both in general and in specific, going into detail about primary and secondary systems. Ponies found that as a teacher, Radiance was much more relaxed and confident now than he was before the trip while lecturing, having fun doing so and showing it. The videos became infamous for the ‘pop quizzes’ held at the end of every lecture, ten questions that covered the subject matter, concluding with his line, ‘If you all paid attention, that was easy. If you didn’t, watch the lesson again until it DOES become easy!’, followed by several bouncy balls being tossed around the room, landing back in his coat pocket.

Time passed aboard ship, Radiance handling his chores with skill and grace. Occasionally, he exchanged phone calls with his family in Vanhoover, keeping up with matters there. Less frequently were calls to and from Herald Lines, both asking for and giving information about cargo handling procedures, and how best to design the cargo craft for ease of handling, which he incorporated into his designs. One night, he had a brainstorm, inputting so many variants of hold design that CONN told him to buzz off, delivering a literate putdown in Yakyakistani before shutting off the terminal. Radiance was caught completely off guard by the actions and sat there staring stupidly at a blank screen for a good minute or so before the doorway opened to reveal Sunrise, rolling on the floor laughing.

“Sister, just what in Tartarus are you doing?” Radiance asked, totally perplexed.

“Oh, the look on your face, Brother…” Sunrise managed to gasp before calming down enough to speak coherently. “I got a message from CONN that you were going off at warp speed again, so I helped her cut you off at the fetlocks!”

Radiance grimaced some at the words. “Sister, are you sure Flix didn’t do some tampering with you when he brought you forth?” he managed to say.

Sunrise shook her head, her white mane flying about. “Nope, it’s all me! Don’t say you didn’t deserve it!”

Radiance sighed. “I guess you’re right, Sister. How big an overload did I put on the system?”

“One hundred fifty percent of normal upload rate. Better recheck your plans before going to bed.”

“Good idea. Can you bring me something from the automat, please?”

“Of course, Brother. I’ll be a few minutes.” Sunrise said before getting up and heading to the galley. Once clear of the engineering office, she told CONN to take the picture of him looking at his blank terminal and post it in the ship’s next Plan of the Day. Naturally, not only did she not tell Brother, she also ‘forgot to mention’ that some House Path VIP’s were going to make a surprise visit the next morning.

The surprise was that of Lord Long Path, Lord Free Agent, and Princess Twilight coming aboard to honor Radiance Point with a promotion to full Commander and Department Head for Engineering. When the Princess saw the picture in the Plan, she broke out in laughter that took over two minutes to stop. “How did you catch him like that?” the Princess asked Sunrise.

“Shut off his computer access when he threatened to crash the system. He hasn’t seen it yet.”

“I can imagine his reaction when he does.” Free Agent said just before an angry bellow echoed through the halls of the ship. “Yep. I could.”

The pounding of angry hoofbeats came closer and closer. SUNRISE!” was heard as Radiance came around a corner at full steam. Seeing the group at the airlock door, he slammed on the brakes, but he was going too fast. Quickly, Twilight teleported all four of them just a little farther down the corridor, causing Radiance to go right through where they had been standing, headfirst into the airlock door.

“Temper, temper, big brother. We have company.” Sunrise said as she extended a wing to help him up.

“You could have warned me…” Radiance muttered, his eyes rolling in different directions, blood dripping from his nose.

“What, and spoil the surprise?” Sunrise laughed.

“Commander, let me check you over.” Twilight said, lighting up her horn as Path and Free looked on. “Definite concussion and nosebleed. This won’t take long.”

“He always was a bit headstrong.” Path said to Free.

“His head is not as strong as an airlock door, though.” Free replied.

“That’s Lieutenant Commander, your highness,” Radiance mumbled as Twilight set the unicorn to rights.

“Not any more, Radiance. The purpose of this visit was to pass on some news to you.”

“Oh? What is that, if I may ask?” Radiance asked as his eyes started tracking again.

“As of today, you are now Commander Radiance Point, head of Engineering of the Cosmic Lotus. Be sure to make your new uniforms with two rings, not one and a half,” Twilight said, stepping back a pace to look Radiance over. “And, wipe the blood off your nose before it drips.”

Radiance mock-glared at Sunrise. “You could have warned me!”

“Spoilers…” she replied smugly.

“Another reason we are here is to grant to you, Sunrise Flight, the rank of full crewpony aboard the ship. The requirements for tech school have been waived in your case.” Long Path told the startled pegasus. “You’ve done a lot for this ship, and its high time you were recognized for your work.”

Sunrise looked like she had just taken a stout club to the forehead. “It is?”

“It is, Sunrise. Both you and your brother have done a lot for the ship and the entire Cosmic Lotus program. We felt you should have the rank commensurate with your demonstrated abilities,” Free Agent told the surprised pegasus.

“I think two drinks are called for. Shall we go to the common room?” Radiance asked the group.

“Would not be a bad idea, Commander.” Twilight told him.

After drinks were served, and consumed, Radiance took the party on a tour of the Lotus. “Here we have an access panel to warp drive nacelle number one. You can look inside if you want, but there is nothing going on now.” Radiance advised.

Twilight stuck her head up the access tube. “Power converters are forward, yes?” she said as she looked.

“Correct, Princess. Converting the mana to electricity there made it easier to bring the power aft and up the nacelles, instead of stringing mana conduits. Have you been watching my instructional series?” Radiance asked.

“Oh, yes!” Twilight exclaimed, pulling her head out of the conduit. “So, this is the drive that will get us to the portal in mere days, instead of years. I so want to look over those runes first-hoof!”

“While I know OF runic magic, I cannot say that I know it well. Can you go over some of the rules of runic magic with me? Radiance asked.

“With pleasure!” exclaimed Twilight, going into a description of runic magic, which soon had the two completely oblivious to anything else as they chatted away.

“And he’s off and running…” Sunrise said dryly.

“Is he always like this?” Long Path asked their tour guide.

“When he finds a willing student, or a good teacher, yes he is. There are not many students who can keep up with him at full speed, nor teachers who can go as fast as he can.”

“Maybe we should co-opt him into being an instructor for House Path,” Free Agent said, watching as the pair went on, Twilight’s horn lighting up to project a runic diagram.

“Not soon, I hope,” Sunrise said. “He likes his job too much to be relegated to just teaching alone. He’d get bored within six months, and then he’ll get real tricky.”

“Well, seeing as Sparkles is completely lost in geekdom with the tour guide, would you be so kind as to continue the tour with us?” Free asked Sunrise.

“It will be my pleasure, Free. Now, down this way, we will find a Park entrance…” Sunrise said, leading the two visitors into the Park. It wasn’t for another hour before Twilight and Radiance realized that the others had moved on, Radiance having to ask CONN where the others were.

At the end of the tour, Twilight turned to Radiance with a smile. “It is clear that you are a good teacher, because you are an excellent student. You love learning as much as you love teaching. We’re going to have to get together more often for some more instructional classes!”

Radiance blushed visibly, the insides of his ears pinking some. “Thank you, Your Highness. Just call ahead so I can be ready to not only be taught, but to teach you something as well,” he managed to say.

“Please, call me Twilight. You have been one of the most passionate students I have ever met! Coming back up to learn from you will be fun!” Twilight said with excitement before looking at Path and Free. “Ready to head back?”

“Knowing you, you would want to stay here for another week, but we do have the Friday Night dinner to get ready for, and I know you don’t want to miss that, Sparkles.” Free said with a smile.

“If I may suggest, how about we invite Commander Radiance and Sunrise Flight to the dinner next Friday, so they can be ready for the experience?” Path suggested. “I know they know of the affair, but they have yet to experience it.”

“That’s a wonderful idea!” Twilight exclaimed. “I’ll call ahead next Friday before coming to pick you up, okay?”

Radiance was caught completely off guard by the offer. It fell to Sunrise to reply. “It will be an honor and a privilege to attend your Friday night dinner, Princess Twilight. Yes, please call ahead so we will be ready for pickup,” Sunrise said graciously, bowing slightly to their distinguished visitors.

“Okay, then, until next Friday!” Twilight said before teleporting herself, Free and Path down to the House Path compound.

Sunrise looked at her brother. “There go some wonderful ponies. I’m honored to have met them.”

Radiance nodded. “It’s wonderful to find somepony as interested in teaching and learning as I am, Sister. I am motivated to do my best, not just for her, but for the House as well.”

“Beginning to regret not taking the offer to go through their school now?”

“Not at all. I still despise fighting unless I must. You know damn well how good I am at it.”

“Then why did you not go three rounds with Eon during the voyage?” Sunrise asked.

“I said I was good at fighting, sister. I did NOT say I was overconfident about it. Going up against Eon in anything other than a card game is just plain stupid, and I am not stupid.” Radiance said quietly as they made their way to the common room.

“No, you’re not stupid, brother. Just crazy insane.” Sunrise said, putting a wing over him.

“Crazy insane, maybe. Saner than I have been in many years, I would think so.”

“What makes you say that, Brother?”

“Princess Twilight likes the way I teach and learn. She wants me to teach her about the ship and be her student on runics. ME… not anyone else. I’m still a bit flummoxed.” Radiance said with tones of wonder.

“What, and getting promoted doesn’t mean anything to you?” Sunrise snorted as they entered the common room.

“So, what? I’m still doing the same thing as before. You know I don’t want high command, just boss of my own little domain. Stripes on my sleeves does not mean a damn thing. What I do does.” Radiance said as he poured Sunrise a mug of tea before setting up a mug of his coffee.

“Some things never change, do they?” Sunrise quipped as she went to the automat to pull up a couple of meals for them.

“Some things do change, Sister. After all, I’m being sought out by a Princess, right?”

“Let’s see how well you handle the dinner next week. No rules, no rank, no formalities. Think you can manage it?”

“We shall see, Sister. Maybe I can get a card game going.”

“What, and get chased out of Griffonia by an angry mob?” Sunrise snorted as she dealt out the plates.

The following Friday, both Sunrise and Radiance were groomed to their best, Radiance submitting to a mane cut and hooficure by his sister, as well as doing the same for her, under her critical supervision. Twilight came up to the Lotus one hour before dinnertime, as promised, to bring them down to House Path’s dining hall, so they could get acquainted with how the dinner operated, neither of them having been to one before there, just hearing about it from others.

At the dinner, the two were immediately mobbed by students, faculty and others there, wanting to hear their stories. Radiance was taken by surprise at the questioning, while Sunrise handled the attention much more calmly. Radiance soon relaxed when he understood the lines of the questioning, and launched into teacher mode, which relaxed him.

Sunrise was cornered (metaphysically speaking) by two students, a Chrome Changeling and a griffon, wanting to know about her, and how she was pulled out of her brother’s head and made real. Sunrise relaxed, took the two to a quiet spot, gathered some drinks, and answered their questions until dinner was served. She answered the questions honestly, while admitting that while she had memories, obviously she had no real life until Flix made her real.

When dinner was served, Lord Long Path addressed the crowd. “Tonight, we want to honor two members of the Cosmic Lotus expedition, two singularly unique members. Mares and gentlecolts, may I introduce Commander Radiance Point and Sunrise Flight!” he announced.

The two stood and waved to the crowd, Sunrise with ease, Radiance with a shocked expression. That lasted until the applause settled, then he paid attention to the dinner set before him, finding his appetite had been whetted. Sunrise sat back down and went back to her conversation with the changeling and griffon, both of whom were studying soul magics.

When Radiance offered to start a poker game, he was surprised at the number of guests who wanted to play. With the sheer number of players, the only game that made sense to play was Appaloosan Hold ‘Em. Dealers were found, and the battle started.

Many a bit was lost to Radiance that night, and many of the guests learned something about the business of playing cards as well. While Radiance lost hands, his stack of bits steadily grew throughout the night, taking on all comers and letting them leave with fewer bits than they started with. True to the egalitarian nature of the dinner, Radiance played no favorites. Students, faculty, guests, nobles, commoners alike all fell to his poker prowess. At the end of the night, he was so successful, Princess Luna herself went up to him as he was bagging his bits. “Radiance Point, I have been tasked to deliver a message unto thee,” she said when she was at the table.

“Don’t let looks fool you, Luna, I’m listening,” Point replied as he scooped the last of the loose bits into the third bag.

“When next thou art invited to a House Path Friday dinner, if anyone asks thee, or if thou suggests starting, a poker game, thine answer is NAY!” she shouted before teleporting Radiance back to the Lotus, his money bags following a few seconds later.

Reappearing in his cabin aboard the Lotus, Radiance blinked in surprise. “What got under her tail? I didn’t fleece her any more than anypony else…” he muttered after the surprise teleport, putting the bits away before Sunrise found out where they were.

“How much did you win, Brother?” Sunrise asked as she walked in to the cabin.

“Six thousand, five hundred fifty-eight.”

“How much did you start with?”

“Sixty. Want some tea?”

“Sure. No wonder Princess Luna used the Royal Canterlot Voice on you,” Sunrise said as they left the cabin for the mess deck.

“Is that what it was? I thought that she was just mad at me for losing fifty bits. So, I had a higher full house.” Radiance said as he led the way.

“She went all in. You didn’t. Fifty bits from her, two hundred from King Silverquill Glimfeather, forty from Free Agent, a hundred from Prince Destined… besides, after you left, she was laughing her tail off at your expression.”

“So, I’m an equal opportunity ass kicker at the table. You know that.”

“So, do they. Good luck on getting another game going there.”

Author's Note:

Just something I came up with this weekend, is all.