• Published 5th Jul 2017
  • 1,752 Views, 151 Comments

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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Wild Ideas

Wandering Path, Captain of the Equus Light Sail Ship Cosmic Lotus, was in his office aboard ship, about eight months after leaving Equus, ships time. He was reviewing ship’s operations using his changeling network, just checking over how everything was going. Normal routine all over the ship, until he looked in on Ixia, the ship’s stylist, massage therapist, and spa operator. She was sitting at her desk, feeling frustrated and worried about something. Curious, he called her, using the intercom. “What’s on your mind, Ixia?” he asked when she came up on screen.

“Captain, it’s about Purple Point. He just cancelled his massage appointment for today, and according to records, he has not come out of his cabin for two days!” she said, her concern apparent in her voice. Purple Point has been a priority project with her for months now, since Point’s breakdown during the first All-Hooves party.

“Two days? That’s not like him at all. What has he been doing in there?”

“I was about to call you, to see if you can find out. He’s put a block on his researches that I can’t get through.”

Wandering sighed a little. “Meet me at his cabin door in about fifteen minutes. I’m going to do some checking first. How has he been recently?”

“Improving steadily. He has never cancelled an appointment before. He does like the conversation and the massages, but I can’t get him into the hot tub. Understandable, given his phobias, but I was not aware of how bad it truly is,” Ixia reported.

“He has been known to go on research binges, where he gets an idea and runs with it to see if he’s right or wrong. What I don’t understand is why he would have one now. Fifteen minutes, at his door, okay?”

“I’ll be there.”

Wandering accessed the ship’s computer, asking what Point has been looking up. Holography was highlighted, as were mind-affecting spells and force field control. “What in Tartarus can all this add up to?” he muttered as he kept on looking. Later, Point had made inquiries about the ship’s water tanks, spare piping and filtration units, and ship’s plans for the Linear Park. All told, Point had been in his cabin for over sixty hours. “Now, I’m really confused.”

Meeting Ixia at Point’s cabin, Wandering asked, “Can you feel anything from him here?”

Ixia thought, extending her emotion senses, ignoring Wandering and focusing on what she could feel from Point. “Determination, resolution, intensely directed will. He should have passed out some time ago, yet he’s not letting himself break down.”

“Yes, he does redefine focus. Given a job, he won’t stop until it’s done, unless it has been planned to take a long time to do. So, shall we enter?”

“Yes. Go ahead and open the door.”

Wandering used his command override to defeat the lock, and the door slid open. “SHUT THAT DAMN DOOR, YOU BUCKING IDIOT!” Point bellowed from the middle of his cabin, as he was projecting a spell diagram from his horn into the air. The gray unicorn was looking haggard, mane and fur unkempt, and the purple spark of his cutie mark glowing a bright purple. Caught completely off guard, Wandering and Ixia backed out of the cabin, the door sliding shut.

Ixia shook her head as the door closed. “I don’t believe it… I’ve never felt that from him before…” she said quietly.

“Felt what?”

“Anger. But, it’s not hatred, it’s more like he was interrupted. He has something in mind, but he’s not done yet. The best example I can give is that someone is preparing a surprise.”

“He’s never barked like that at anyone before, that I know of.”

“But notice WHAT he said, and who he said it TO.”

“Either he’s improving, or he didn’t know who was there.”

“Try calling him over the intercom. You, I know he respects.”

“Right.” Wandering raised the commlink on his left foreleg to his mouth. “Captain to Purple Point. Your presence is demanded in the corridor within one minute, or I’m coming in again.”

Twenty seconds went by before a reply came. “Something wrong, Captain? I’m trying to get something done in here.”

“There will be something wrong if you don’t come out of there in thirty seconds. You’ve been in there for over sixty hours.”

“What? That long? Be right out.” It was only ten seconds later when the door slid open, revealing Purple Point. “What you need, Captain? Hi, Ixie, I’m busy.”

“Just what are you working on in there?” Wandering asked.

Point deliberated with himself for a few seconds before he said, “C’mon in. I have a few ideas I’ve been working on.” He backed up to let them in.

Once the Captain and Ixia were inside, Point closed and locked the door. “This first idea I got when talking with Techbird last week, after her massage.” It was well known aboard that Point truly respected Techbird, which was more than he respected anypony else aboard, save a bare hoofful. “She mentioned something about taking a vacation. Obviously, on this trip, nopony’s going anywhere. So, I thought, if we can’t do it physically, why not virtually?”

“Virtually? Like a GemVee game?” Ixia asked.

“Like a GemVee game stepped up to the next level. GemVee games fool the eyes and the brain. My idea will fool all the senses, so, if you want to hike Canterlot Mountain, you will feel like you are hiking Canterlot Mountain. The climb, the drop, the vistas, the breezes, it would be like you are actually there doing it, not in a room someplace unkty-bunk light-years away!” Point said, excitement apparent in his voice, despite the fact he was shaking from fatigue.

“How do you plan on doing that?” Wandering asked. He soon came to regret asking, because Point launched into an explanation, projecting out a spell diagram and explaining matters to an utterly bewildered Captain, becoming more and more animated, lapsing into magical technobabble before stopping abruptly and collapsing into a heap on the floor.

Ixia held up a spray hypo. “I figured the partial dose left in this would be enough to knock him out,” she said.

Wandering’s horn lit up as he put the sleeping Point on his bed. “He does have a propensity for mania, BUT, only for what he feels is important. Good thing being his feelings tend to be accurate.”

“Once he started talking, I could feel his excitement build. I could also tell he was dangerously exhausted. He could sleep for ten hours or more before waking up.”

“I’m going to go over his head on this, Ixia. I’m calling in three others to help him out.”

“Techbird for sure, but who are the others?”

“Gizmo Gears and Playbitz. Gizmo because he’s a good magitek technician, and Playbitz for his GemVee expertise. Put the four of them together, add imagination and stir.”

“Will Playbitz go along with the idea?” Ixia asked.

“Once Point wakes up, and I can understand his proposals better, I’ll speak with him. Point never goes off on these tangents without good reason.”

It was almost twelve hours later before Point woke up, hungry, needing coffee, grungy, needing coffee, angry, needing coffee, and bent at the sneak sleeping. After a long shower and brushing, he dressed and went to eat, finding midrats up. Not being picky, he raided what was there, along with a pot of coffee. Not a mug, he took the whole damn pot. Black. He sat there for about an hour, thinking, eating and drinking until the pot was empty before heading for the labs, to get to work on his spell crafting.

When breakfast time came around, Point was feeling blunted. Yes, he held a ThD, but that was for engineering spell craft. Illusions and perception control had not been a favorite subject of his, seeing as he had his own form of mind control going on for a long time now. Frustrated at his non-comprehension, knowing WHAT he wanted, knowing it COULD be done, just not HOW to do it, he hurled his mug the length of the science lab and stormed out the door, heading for some peace and quiet. Namely, Linear Park.

Finding his favorite meditation spot, he flopped down on the grass to think and relax. He started thinking, but not relaxing, because his mind was hard at work on his OTHER idea, that being an idea to put a pond and small waterfall in the park. Not a big or deep pond, but one that could allow some wading and relaxing, but not enough for swimming. Looking up, he instead gazed at the ceiling. He watched Epic Prose doing slow laps, getting some wing exercise in, when yet ANOTHER idea landed on Point’s head with the force of an anvil dropped from a height. Just a small height, but still…

After Breakfast, Ixia went looking for Point. She found him in the park, on the grass, looking up at the ceiling, eyes with the thousand-kilometer stare. “Point? Are you all right?” she asked.

Point came back to reality with a yelp and a jump. “Easy, Ixia, I was thinking!”

“What about, Point?”

“Ixie, I’m a unicorn, not a pegasus. But, has anypony aboard thought about giving the pegasi a workout on their weather talents?” Point asked.

“The park is too small to have any sort of weather control, Point.”

“True, but what is one of the most basic pegasus abilities known? Hint: It’s something they can’t do aboard. YET.” Point declared with a glint in his eye.

Ixia thought for a few seconds. “Cloud walking?” she ventured.

“YES!” Point shouted. “I can think of a way to enable cloud formations in here, enough so the pegasi can work their magic. Not big, but enough to give them a workout.”

“Not a bad idea, Point. Why don’t we go to the spa so I can give you a massage?”

“I think I can get under that idea, Ixie.”

“You’re going to have to get up first, Point.”

“Why? Am I lying down?” Point asked innocently. In reply, Ixia picked Point up and threw him across her back.

“You lost weight, Point. I can feel your ribs.” Ixia muttered as she carried him aft.

“You feel my ribs every time you give me a massage, Ixie.”

“Shut up or I’ll throw you into the hot tub!” Ixia snapped. Point shut up.

It took several days of work, combining the efforts of Point, Gizmo, Playbitz, Techbird, Starry, and several other unicorns to come up with the appropriate spells to override a pony’s senses, inscribe the spells into crystals, and mount them into a headset. What was harder was the programming of the ‘memories’ to be read into the wearer. Point, being an eidetic and a bit of an outdoorspony on Equestria, had plenty of hikes to record, was a perfect subject, but extracting his memories and recording them proved to be difficult. It took some conversations with Princess Galena to figure out that problem. They wound up using a similar method used by the changelings to allow a non-changeling into the hive network to record memories from Point into a crystal. The playback proved to be a bit problematical, however.

While Point had indeed done some hiking and exploring, as well as a couple of sports, it turned out that everything would be from Point’s point of view, following exactly what he did, with no chance to stop, divert, or enjoy the sights, except to do what he did. He was universally praised for his ideas, but it just would not work properly, much to his regret.

After a few days moodiness, he got to work on his next idea, that being the cloud-forming system in the Linear Park. That proved to be far simpler to make, merely needing plumbing and a heating system to produce water vapor at one end of the park. That project was successful, producing enough vapor for pegasi to form into clouds and rain, even to form little storms, but at a cost of making the Park rather hot and humid whenever the system was turned on. Good for the pegasi to keep sharp, yes, but it could not be operated for long. In this case, the pegasi thanked him, as did the Captain, but, the two main caretakers of the Park, Skye Path and Emerald Green, challenged him to a game of hoof ball. Point willingly took part, even though he was not a good hoof ball player. Point came out of that game heavily bruised from ‘errant shots’, but the ladies were satisfied by the outcome.

His last project idea, the pond and waterfall, met with resistance by many. Slowly, patiently, he marshalled his attack on the skeptics, providing detailed plans, resource needs, and offering to do much of the work by himself, except when redoing the floor of the park and setting up the fountain and waterfall. It took a month of persuading all involved to get approval to try, with the caveat that if it went bust, he and he alone would be the one to restore the Park to an as-was condition. With that agreed to, he set to work.

The first thing he did was to mark off a spot at the extreme aft end of the Park, extending out six meters at the widest, and ten meters in extreme width. After getting all the plant life moved out of the work area, he plunged in to the effort. The waterfall climbed four meters up the back wall, trickling down into the pool in a third-meter wide zig zag path to the main pool, with the appearance of rocks along the length, making the stream ‘babble’ as it flowed from the small fountain at the top to the bottom.

The pool itself was four meters in diameter and two meters deep in the middle. The outer meter and a half was a shallow slope, to be lined with grasses all the way down to the bottom of the pool. Isolating that area proved to be a challenge, which he met in his own inimitable fashion. Meaning, he swore constantly, fortunately behind a tarp. Fortunately for him, because the others in the crew liked to listen to him sound off. After the heavy welding and metal work was done, he worked alone.

Once the pool basin was complete, he lined the pool with green growth media mats he had requested from Hydroponics. Next was filling the pool. He ran a line from the ship’s water supply to the fountain and let it fill that way. Once it was filled, he set the level monitors so it would fill by itself when needed, as well as turning on the filtration and return system to keep the water circulating. Content that all was working well, he notified the Captain that he wanted an All Hooves meeting in the park the next day before turning in for the night. Between working on his projects, and his normal duties, he was quite pleased when all was done.

The next day, at the All Hooves meeting he had called, Purple Point stood in front of the shielding tarp. “I know damn well all of you have been wondering why I have been working so blippin’ hard on projects that will bring me no benefit at all,” he said before looking at Ixia. “Okay, almost all of you.”

Once the laughter died down, he went on. “The answer is simple, really. It’s not for ME, it’s for WE. Each and every one of us put ourselves on this long flight, of which we are at one year down, and nine or so more to go. My initial pseudo-vacation sense-surround idea fell flat on its back. Next came the idea for the pegasi to keep in practice. That worked out a little differently. I wound up flat on my back,” he said, looking at Emerald Green and Skye Path.

“Now, I have come up with something every one of us, be they pony, griffin, zebra or changeling, can find of benefit. I shall now reveal to you Purple Point’s Pool of Peace and Prosperity!” as he pulled back the tarp to reveal…

…the park as it was before he started, with no trace of a pool or water cascade. As he stared in open-mouthed shock at the sight, Ixia started to laugh, a laugh that spread throughout the crew.

Purple Point went to his knees in shock as the laughter and cheering went on, before the illusion fizzled out, revealing the pool and cascade in all its glory. The crew surrounded Point, the unicorns lifting him above their heads in their combined glow. “Three cheers for Purple Point!” Wandering shouted, as the crew did just that.

Point looked out at the crew, a tear coming to his eyes. “You are the best, really. Do enjoy. I think I’ll work on getting my heart restarted. Whoever did that illusion, good going. I’ll get my vengeance later,” he managed to say before passing out.

After awakening in Medical, he looked at Doctor Zubon. “How well did it go over?”

Zubon smiled down at Point on the bed. “Spectacular. Emerald Green and Skye Path are now considering ways of planting dwarf trees at each of the cascade turns, and hanging plants along the fountain wall. Over your faint now?”

“I should say so. Am I all right?”

“You? All right? I hope that never happens. What would Ixia and I do with our time if you were all right?” Zubon said with a straight face.

Point stared back at Zubon before laughing. “Well, I can’t have you and Ixie getting bored now, can I?”

Author's Note:

With the talk in "Wear & Tear" about Techbird needing a vacation, this came to mind. On a ten-year trip to the unknown, all aboard need something to keep them occupied, yes? Purple Point is no exception.