• Published 20th Feb 2019
  • 225 Views, 12 Comments

Pandemic: Departures - Cosmic Eclipse

Following the ETS Pandemic three months prior, A group of ponies embark on a journey to find their place in a rapidly changing world, with dreams to change the very future itself!

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Ch 5 - "No Time Like the Past"

As Silver took to the skies he couldn’t help but marvel at the sight of the city in the distance. It was certainly a lot different than how he remembered it, and not just in the way you’d normally see a city change over the years. Almost nothing of the original town could be seen, the aged buildings just weren’t there or were covered in all manner of plant life. Despite the distance he still had left to fly, he could already tell that this little adventure was not going to go the way he had initially thought it would… but not necessarily in a bad way.

The city was nearing closer, the large green fields standing out in stark contrast to the arid desert landscape that surrounded them. Already he could tell that this would be an interesting day. Below him could be seen all number of ponies working away in the vast fields, harvesting and planting various plants, Silver couldn’t wait to see what lied in store. He didn’t exactly know where to go, so he flew down to a large open field, gracefully landing in the center of it.

“Excuse me?! What on earth do you think you’re doing! Do you realize you’re trampling my crops?!” Came the angry shout of a nearby earth pony, catching Silver off guard.

Silver looked around, noticing the plants he had carelessly crushed underneath him. “I..I’m sorry! I didn’t mean it! I didn’t even notice them at first!”

“Well no shit! They’re just little seedlings you dolt! Look, Just get out of here ok?!”

Silver bolted off, yelling out a final embarrassed “Sorry!”

The farmer just scoffed and muttered back “Dumb tourists!”

He slowed down to a normal walk as he reached the road… or path as it seemed now. As hard as he looked it was nearly impossible to find anything that hadn’t been torn up or reclaimed by nature, a far cry from the desert ghost town he had seen so many years ago. Try as he might it was hard to really get a feel for where anything was, a large portion of the town it seems was laid out with no rhyme or reason, almost as if the entire focus was merely on the farming rather than the day to day life of the residents.

Silver frantically glanced around, hoping to find someone who could help better direct him, his eyes landing on a few pegasi sitting around at the top of a large tree. “Hey excuse me, could one of you please help me?”

The trio looked down at him, confusion moving across their faces.

Annoyed at their silence Silver replied a little louder, “Excuse me?”

One of them finally spoke up, “You’re not asleep?”

“I’m sorry?”

“You’re a night pony… but you’re awake right now?”

With a little more annoyance, Silver replied, “... Yes? We don’t just all sleep during the day you know? Yeah we’re nocturnal but that doesn’t mean we can’t be awake during the day either. So can one of you help me or should I just move on?”

The pegasus gave an embarrassed look to Silver, replying back, “Sorry, I guess that was a little rude of me to assume. We don’t get a lot of night ponies here so we just have rumor to work with, I hope you can understand. What did you need?”

“That’s fine, I guess I should have been a little more patient. I’m just a bit lost, I need you to direct me to somepony that can help me figure out the lay of this town.”

“Oh… You should go see Botanicus, he’s the leader, he loves helping new ponies around town.”

With an even more annoyed tone, Silver replied. “And how would I find Botanicus?”

“Well you just have to head to town hall, he’s usually up there overlooking the operations.”

Silver facehoofed and sighed. “How do I get to town hall? I don’t know where it is!”

“Oh well you don’t need to yell, here, follow me.”

The pegasus jumped down from the tree and glided down to Silver. “Come on, it’s this way!”

The two started trotted through the city, chatting idly along the way.

“So what’s the story here?”

“Story? About what?”

“The city, this used to be a ghost town and now it’s booming.”

“Oh, well that’s easy, you know all the little pony villages scattered around?”


“Well they need food right? And what better way to get it than go to the farmers.”

“So you guys provide food for all those villages?”

“A lot of them, mostly the smaller ones that haven’t been able to get their own farms up and running yet. There’s also some that simply prefer to do their own farming… which is fine mind you, but many of them just prefer to have us deal with it.”

“How do you all manage that? I mean that’s a lot of mouths to feed.”

“Oh believe me, it is, but we all help each other, they trade us materials they can produce and we trade them the food we harvest here. It’s a perfectly symbiotic relationship!”

“What about…”

“...Oh perfect, we’re almost here! Botanicus can answer all your questions, I need to get back to work soon. Nice meeting you… Sorry I didn’t catch your name.”

“Oh… It’s Silver. Silver Eclipse.”

“Nice meeting you Silver Eclipse! I’m Bountiful Harvest!” He extended his hoof out, Silver initially confused by the gesture, but realizing he was missing a pretty big social cue.

“Oh I’m sorry I haven’t been out much, I hope you’ll understand.” Silver raised his hoof, touching it to Bountiful Harvest’s

“No problem at all Silver. I’ll leave you to go talk with Botanicus now.”

Silver approached the large building, and entered the empty lobby. An earth pony secretary was sitting at the desk, reading some book, seemingly unaware of Silver’s presence.

“Um… Hello?”

“Here to see Botanicus? He’ll have an opening in about 30 minutes, please take a number and wait over there.” She gestured with a hoof, not looking up from her book.


Silver took a number and walked over to the empty waiting area. It reminded him of the DMV… He hated the DMV and desperately hoped that this wouldn’t be a comparable experience. As he glanced around he noticed that there was more or less nothing to occupy his time, so he just closed his eyes and tried to take a quick nap.

“Please no sleeping in the lobby!” The secretary sternly replied.

“Alright, fine.” Silver said a little grumpily.

Boredom was killing him, stretching the minutes into hours. As he glanced up at the wall clock he was stunned to see that only a few minutes had lapsed. He needed to do something about this wait. An idea hit him, he dug around his bag, looking for something that could divert his attention for a little while. He only kept a few essentials in it so he didn’t have access to his books. After a minute or so of digging, he found the objects he needed. He pulled out a sketchbook and pencil and began sketching out a basic layout. Seeing this place and Greenview had inspired him and his thoughts kept drifting back to Stanley and the Oasis that he imagined would never truly be a viable project to work on. Still though, it kept him distracted at least.

He sketched lines all around the page, noting farms, buildings, workshops… anything he could think of that might serve useful for a town. His little map wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was a start. Silver had never been an artist but he figured that having a rough layout of what they had in mind would be better than nothing.

“What is that you’re drawing?” a voice suddenly asked, startling Silver from his distraction.

“Huh?! Oh… I’m just sketching out a little design for something I had in mind…”

“Sorry to startle you, my assistant called your number out a few times but you were drawing so intently that you must have tuned her out. I’m Botanicus, I can see you in my office now if you’d like.”

Silver thought back to what Scarlet had said to him the previous night and chuckled to himself. “You know, you’re not the first pony to say that I get distracted easily… I’m Silver Eclipse, I don’t want to take time out of your busy day, I just had a couple questions.”

“Oh don’t worry about that at all Mr. Eclipse, I always have time to spare for new visitors. Come with me, you can make yourself comfortable and ask me anything you need answered once we’re in my office.”

Silver hopped off his chair and followed the earth pony into the hallway.

“So you’re the mayor?”

“Well I’m the leader, mayor is a bit too formal for my tastes… so no, we don’t have any real hierarchy here you see.”

“How does the town run like that then? I mean surely you need some kind of authority?”

“We do… and we have one. It’s a little volunteer program, those that volunteer their time get a few extra bundles of food on harvest day, It’s a small token of appreciation but one they appreciate nonetheless. As for leading, well, I’m more like the director. I give some direction to the farmers but I don’t force them to do anything. If they don’t want to produce anything then that’s fine, there’s plenty of other farmers who would be willing to help the town. Ah, here we are, my office. Please make yourself comfortable. I’m going to go grab some water, would you like anything to drink?”

Silver walked into the office and sat down on a large (well for a pony that is) couch, “I’ll take a water too please.”

“Splendid, I’ll be right back, this won’t take long!”

Silver took his time and glanced around the modest office, noting that behind the desk sat numerous pictures that had obviously been printed out from a computer, most of them featuring Botanicus with what Silver could only assume was his family. One however caught his eye, it was of Botanicus with some of the ponies from Greenview, Axel, the town’s leader standing happily next to him. At that moment the dark green earth pony walked back in.

“Alright Mr. Eclipse, so what is it you wanted to talk with me about?”

“Well, this is all a bit formal, I really just wanted to get a little tour of the town, figure out where everything is. I haven’t been here in quite a few years so nothing really stands out to me very well. Now that you mention it though… I actually do have some other questions if you don’t mind me asking that is.”

“Please Mr. Eclipse, ask away!”

“How did you organize this place? Those plans I was sketching out, you asked me what they were so let me tell you. A friend of mine had a dream, a dream of an oasis where humans and ponies could work and live together, I thought the idea was great, but not something that’s really viable for us right now. Truth be told we’ll probably never have the resources to get it set up, and I had some other plans of my own in mind for it that differ a bit from my friend’s. What if we could make a place where humans and ponies could live and work together, but instead of stopping there, what if we worked towards making a better future for everypony… everyone as well? That’s what I was drawing, a rough idea of what we might want to work towards someday.”

Botanicus nodded, replying, “Well you know, this was a massive undertaking. As soon as we could organize enough earth ponies, we basically set out to repurpose or reuse anything we possibly could. There was plenty of farmland around here already which helped tremendously, we didn’t have to waste time setting up fields so we could focus more on how we wanted to organize the town. Right now we’re in what I like to call, “Old Town”. This is the town proper, or at least it was before ETS hit. We were already a farming town before, but after ETS hit, we were left with more earth ponies than any other tribe. There was only a small handful of humans that managed to avoid the full transformations, so the majority of the town decided to reorganize to suit our needs more. Right now we’re still deciding what to do with this part of town, but I’m sure you’ve noticed that we’ve already started to break down some of the older structures and use their space for parks.”

“I noticed that, and I also noticed all the additional plantlife that’s seemingly grown over everything else…”

“Yes, that… That’s a little work in progress. We’re seeing if we can mix plant life with existing structures so we can maximize space in the old section of town. Speaking of towns, your plan is certainly interesting, but do you think it’s attainable? Don’t get me wrong, I admire your optimism but I have to be realistic.”

“Well it certainly can’t be done in a day, or even a few years… but that’s not the point of it. The point of it is to work towards something we can attain. If we can work towards our goal while working with what resources do we have available we can hopefully start making something that’s truly grand.”

Botanicus smiled at this response. “You know Mr. Eclipse, you remind me of myself. Let me give you some sage advice. We were extremely lucky in this case, most of the town was transformed so we didn’t have to go through all the bureaucracy of purchasing all the land. We were already equipped for farming, so we could focus on the real meat of the city while also jump starting our agricultural operations. The only real major issue that we ran into early on was the occasional band of river pirates that tried to steal food from us, but we settled that matter in an amicable way that ultimately worked out well for all parties. You should find something that works well for your goals, but is also attainable. Find like minded ponies and humans that would want to work towards this dream of yours, and make it a reality. It’s not going to be done in a day, but if you find the right associates you’ll get through it a lot easier. Now was there anything else you needed before we take a tour of the town?”

Silver shook his head, smiling at what the earth pony had said. “I think I’m all set to go… thanks for the advice Botanicus, I really appreciate it… if I ever get this plan rolling someday I’ll be sure to stop by and properly thank you.”

The earth pony simply smiled and replied, “The pleasure is all mine Mr. Eclipse, now please follow me and I’ll show you around town.”

The two stood up and began to walk outside, Silver excited to see everything that these ponies had done.

The two had walked around town for an hour, Botanicus showing him the different experimental farms, some of the old town, and even took him down to see the riverbanks. Currently they were walking through the large field that Silver had accidentally trampled on earlier, the grumpy farmer having cooled off a little in the sight of Botanicus.

Silver had enjoyed his little day trip, however one thing stuck with him more than anything else. “All these farms are cool, but how did you manage to make such an inhospitable place so… hospitable?” he asked, pausing his stride

Botanicus stopped for a moment and turned towards Silver. “You’re familiar with how this place was before ETS right?

“Yeah?” Silver asked, confused.

“Well this is just a linear step up from that. Humans have farmed in deserts for thousands of years, and this city was already such a large agricultural site that all it took was some careful teamwork and planning in order to make what you see today. We have a lot of earth ponies here to help with the agriculture, but we also have a lot of other ponies as well, the pegasi in particular were such an important part of making this all work because the river wasn’t as regulated as well as it was before ETS… not enough people to regulate the water level up at the dam you see. It took a while for enough of them to really manipulate the weather in any decent enough capacity to help irrigate when the water in the river was low, but the small amount of help that they’ve been able to offer has been a huge help nonetheless.”

“I see, so really you’re just expanding upon what the town was already equipped for?”

Botanicus smiled, “Exactly!” he gestured with his hoof, adding a touch of cheerful finality to the statement.

“So all of this is really just a complex combination of nature and magic?”

“Well the magic part is kind of an afterthought. Yes, the Earth ponies and pegasi have natural abilities that help with this kind of stuff, but a lot of them were farmers to begin with and know the land better than anypony else here. They could be any tribe and probably make this place work as well as you see it now.”

“Well thanks for everything, I don’t really know what I expected to find here, if anything I just needed something to kill some time with, but I feel like this has actually answered quite a few questions I didn’t think I even needed answered, and I appreciate it.”

“I know you have plans, but if you ever find yourself in town again please feel free to stop by!”

And with that Silver bid the earth pony goodbye, and began to head back towards his camp.

It was nearly 10 pm, Silver had arrived back at the camp a couple hours before. His little adventure through the city was fascinating to say the least, Botanicus had shown him the experimental earth pony farms and a better way to navigate the labyrinthian town. The town it seems was divided into sections that each focused on something different. Each section had a main path that would lead back to the hub, or “Old Town” as Botanicus had called it. Silver wouldn’t have minded staying a little longer, though this place didn’t quite stir the same peaceful feeling that Greenview had.

Silver glanced over towards Tinker, who was running through his nightly sleep routine. “Sorry to keep you up so late, I just wanted to make sure you had a chance to meet our collaborator.”

The eccentric pegasus simply chuckled and cheerfully replied, “Don’t worry about it, I’m used to pulling long nights, I’ll just trust that I’ll understand what’s happening when I see you in my dreams.”


Silver was left alone to his own thoughts and simply sat guarding the camp, enjoying the nice reflection that he could have.

Before long, it was 2am and Gyro had awoken.

“I’m awake, shall I take over?”

“If you’d like. I’ll be awake for a couple more hours if you need me.”

Silver walked to the edge of the camp, gazing back up at the stars, wondering if Scarlet was doing the same. It was amazing how something so simple could be so relaxing, and Silver already longed to stargaze with his new friend again. Maybe once they had set up a more permanent camp he could make his own little personal trip out to Greenview.

Before long Silver felt his eyes begin to get heavy, as he fell into a peaceful sleep.

Illumination had found him, and now he was set down a path of inspiration. These last few days had been very good for Silver. He was coming out of his shell more than he thought he would ever be able to. There was still much to be done however, so he wasted no time in setting up the usual dream.

Silver knew that Stanley would likely be a while, so he simply paced around the Salon, reflecting on the previous few days.

“So many possibilities, but so few resources. We’re missing some vital pieces to the puzzle, but it’s still possible...” He said out loud to himself, just trying to clear his head.

His solitary thought was interrupted by the usual intruder. “Who are you talking to?”

Silver simply smirked and replied, “You’re not as punctual as you usually are, I was beginning to think you got lost or something.”

“You know that that’s practically impossible right? Dreamwalking working as it does and whatnot.”

“It was a simple joke is all, you shouldn’t take things so seriously”

“Who could have guessed? Silver Eclipse making jokes! Maybe coming out of your shell was a bad thing after all…” The intruder reacted with an overjoyed expression of mock surprise. “So what’s on the agenda for tonight?”

“Are you genuinely interested in my plans or do you simply have nothing better to do?”

“Oh I’m sure you know full well the answer to that question. However let’s just say, a little of both.”

Silver rolled his eyes in response. “Well if you must know, we need to make some serious decisions in regards to our own plans. There’s a lot of different variables to think about, and even more left to discuss. Stanley’s dreams are really the heart of all this, but there’s something about it that calls out to me, and now hopefully our other new allies.”

The intruder raised an eyebrow, “So you’re dead set on doing this all then? It isn’t exactly going to be easy you know.”

Silver chuckled, “I know, I know… I met a few ponies that gave me some sound advice, we’re going to try and recruit others that share our dream, work with the resources that we have. It’s not going to be easy, like you said, but hopefully with that we can at least work towards something positive.”

“New Recruits? How big of a plan do you really have?”

“It’s hard to really say right now, but it’s big. You were right all along you know? Ponies aren’t meant to be isolated for so long, and I can’t just pretend like I can go back to my old life. I’m marked, it simply isn’t possible...”

Silver paused for a moment, feeling a strong surge of emotion pass through him, something he hadn’t embraced in a while, something that he just needed to let out. The intruder made it very clear that he would never judge him, so what was the point in torturing himself further by hiding his true emotion away any more?

He resumed, confidence rising in his voice, “...but maybe I can work towards something bigger, something positive. I grew up reading all these stories about the future, with my head in the stars, and I figured that maybe… maybe they don’t need to just be dreams.”

The intruder sat in silence for a moment, the genuine moment of emotion had caught them off guard. “This is why I enjoy visiting your dreams every night, you’re a bit rude at times, but I know you mean well.”

“Is this why you spend so much time annoying me instead of all the other countless dreamers that probably have far more interesting dreams?”

“Well what can I say, those other dreams get so drab, nopony else just talks with me the way you do Silver…” The intruder glanced up at the large organ on the loft behind Silver’s desk,
... or should I just call you the Phantom of the Dreamscape?” he added, with a smirk.

Ignoring his added nickname, Silver just flatly replied, “Sarcastically and disinterested?”

“You got it Mr Phantom.”

Seeing no reason to avoid it, Silver decided to ask what was on his mind.

“So listen, let me be serious for a moment. You come into my dreams night after night concerned about me… who are you?... or rather, what are you? You seem inclined to offer help and advice to those who you visit, why?”

“I don’t know if I’m comfortable going into full detail, this is your dream after all, you’re in the spotlight here. But to put it simply, let’s just say that I like helping ponies, and I can’t quite do that as efficiently in the waking world as I can here.”

“But why all this, why me?”

“Because you needed it. I could see the signs, the unhealthy obsession with your past, all of the moping around on your own. You needed somepony to come in and make a difference, and well… that’s where I came into the picture. Think of it as a favor.”

“What did you do before all of this? The transformation that is.”

“I think you’ve asked enough questions for tonight, I believe you’re expecting a visitor soon, and I’d hate to interrupt you two.”

“Oh trust me you wont…”

As Silver turned to face the intruder, he had found that they were simply gone again. Oh well, Stanley would be arriving soon enough, and then the real discussion could truly begin.

Silver truly didn’t know what to make of the strange intruder. They could be the voice of reason that he needed, while also being a nuisance at the same time. Perhaps in time even they would make a great addition to the team? Silver knew far to little about them to pursue that option however. That was an interview for another day it seemed.

Silver sat at his desk, thinking about the friends he had made over the last few days. Scarlet came to mind again, and Silver felt a twinge of guilt about not trying to dreamwalk with her like he had promised. He would have to send her a message later, he didn’t want to stand up a new friend after all. Time was sometimes hard to gauge when he was meditating like this, but after what felt like eons, the familiar voice of Stanley rang out through the Observatory.

“I’m sorry I’m late Silver!... I was trying to dreamwalk to an old friend… but I ran into some trouble with it.

“Hello Stanley, that’s perfectly alright. Please take a seat and make yourself comfortable. What we are about to discuss will set the course for our research going forward.”

“Have the others fallen asleep yet?”

“Hopefully, I asked Tinker to try and sleep as soon as he could, we can try seeking him out in a few moments. First though, a question. Tell me Stanley, do you consider yourself a man… pony of science?”

“Not in the same way you are, I’m more into the statistics. That kind of stuff, why?”

Silver seemed to hesitate for a moment. “Just... curious, there’s some stuff I need to discuss with the others when we’re able to, but for now let’s not worry about that.”

Stanley picked up the momentary hesitation, noting it. “Silver… what’s this about?”

Silver sighed. “This whole plan you have, for the Oasis, it’s not going to be easy to do alone. We need to seriously think about our plans moving forward if you’re really dead set on pursuing it, how we determine who we’re going to recruit and whatnot. We’ll be stopping in Phoenix for a more open ended amount of time, at least until Tinker’s able to make contact with his old marketing contact out east. It’ll be a good chance to potentially find more recruits.”

“Recruits? Are you thinking of expanding already?”

“Yes. To put it lightly, changing the world is a big task, and we’ll need all the help we can get if we even want to begin to start doing it. There’s powers greater than our own looming somewhere out there and we need to make sure that we can build a better tomorrow before they become an active threat. You, Tinker, Gyro… dreamers that is, are all keys to a plan that I’m trying to put into motion, a plan to help lift this world from the depths of hell and into heaven, before *they* can destroy it.”

Stanley stepped back, an almost fearful look on his face. “Who’s... “they”?”

“The powers that threaten our very existence, you heard the reports right? Of ancient creations that consume magic itself? The larger science community are still arguing over whether they’re real or not, but I don’t want to take any chances, not when the very future is on the line.”

Stanley let out a sigh of relief. “But they said that’s not going to be an issue for millenia, so why worry now?”

“Because if we don’t, then what are we going to leave for the world in a millenium? If we can work to make a brighter tomorrow for everypony now, we’ll potentially solve two problems: Solving an issue that’s cropping up right now in the present, and equipping our descendents in the far future with the knowledge, resources, and dreams that we can start building for them now. If the Devourers never even show up then we’ll at least be able to give our descendents a better world. What’s the harm in at least working towards that?”

Stanley considered this for a moment. “Have you talked with the others about this?”

“Not yet. Shall we see if Tinker is finally asleep?”

“It wouldn’t hurt”

“Alright, this will be a little different than last time, so I’ll go first. Give me a few minutes and then try and find me like how you found Moonlight.”

Tinker wandered around the castle dungeon, his preferred setting of maniacal laboratories. All number of strange and weird creations littered the lab, but the strangest and weirdest one was the one he was currently attending to. In the center of a large room sat a metal pony, electrodes connecting it to the various instruments around the room.

“At last, my greatest creation shall become a reality! The moment we have been waiting for this entire time is finally at hand! Gyro, throw the switch!”, he dramatically yelled, striking an equally dramatic pose, a flash of lightning illuminating the rainy countryside outside.

“Yes Sir.”

With that, the humble assistant threw the switch, a flurry of sparks flying in all directions as the various scientific instruments around the room began to light up as if they were coming to life. A bolt of lightning struck the lightning rod on the side of the castle, the raw energy flying through the cables and directly into the automaton in the center of the room.

“We need more power!”

“It’s at maximum power sir!”

As if on cue, another bolt of lightning struck, shaking the walls of the castle itself. More energy poured into the machine, sparks flying, the machinery and instruments sparking and shattering, threatening to shake apart into a grand explosion such as the mad scientist had never seen.

“This is it! THIS IS IT!!!” he excitedly yelled.

The lights in the dungeon shattered in a shower of sparks as the room was plunged into darkness. The glowing eyes of the automaton lit the surroundings up in an eerie red light.

“Yes… YES! Gyro… We’ve done it... It’s alive! IT’S ALIVE!!! Gyro, we’ve just created life itself!” The mad scientist laughed to himself, as his creation began to rise from it’s mechanical slumber. “Eat your heart out Doctor Frankenstein!”

“So this is what your dreams are like?” Silver chuckled to himself. “I’m not going to lie, this is more or less what I figured it would be.”

“Silver?.. How… Oh... the dream…” Tinker took a moment to compose himself, the dream paused as if someone had simply pressed the pause button, “I’ll take it that this is the intrepid young protege that you were talking about earlier?”

“Tinker, I’d like to introduce you to Stanley. Stanley, Tinker. There’s not much to discuss tonight, but I’d like to just establish the focus of my research. Stanley, why don’t you begin, with your oasis?”

“Yes… well uh… I found inspiration, a new idea, something that called out to me. A dream of a place where humans and ponies could work together.”

“A most intriguing dream indeed… do you think it would be possible?” Tinker asked

“Absolutely! We just need to find the right ponies for the job!” Stanley excitedly exclaimed, suddenly feeling at home in the strange lab.

“Where are we at in terms of members?”

Silver spoke up, “Just us four for now, which is why we need to discuss recruitment at some point. Stanley’s Oasis isn’t really a viable option for us right now, it likely won’t be for a very long time…”

“That’s likely not an easy thing to do while we’re still out on the road…”

“...Which is where Stanley’s Oasis comes in...”

Stanley stepped forward, confidently replying, “...If we can set it up, we don’t need to worry about whether you’re out on the road or not.”

“Do you have any ideas for how to go about doing this?”

“I sure do, I have a friend who might be the perfect kind of pony for this job he was always an optimist, trying to find ways to make the world a better place, I’m trying to make contact with him so I can get his help.”

“Do keep us posted on that, if you’re so set on this idea we need to really sit down and go over all the logistics. It won’t be easy Stanley, I want this idea to succeed, but we don’t have any of the resources we need right now…”, Silver interjected

Now it was Tinker’s turn to speak up, “Do you have an ideal location?”

“I’m still working on that… I kind of have to find my friend first, but do you have any ideas Silver?”

“I might… I can look up some places that might suit our needs better. This isn’t going to be easy though Stanley, I’m just trying to be realistic. If it makes you happy though we can look into what options we do have.”

“Well if you don’t mind, I’m going to try and get a head start on contacting my friend.”

“Don’t let us hold you up, Tinker and I can discuss this more in the waking world.”

As Stanley was about to leave Silver called out to him once more. “Stanley, I forgot! We’re heading into Phoenix soon, we should be there in a couple days. I know you still need to figure out where exactly your friend is, but if you find yourself in Phoenix please stop by, we need to properly meet in the waking world so we can really plan everything out. I have some sketches I’d like to show you and we can go forward from there. Let me get your number so I can send you the location we’ll be staying at.

“That’s a good idea… I’d love to sit down and plan everything out when we actually have a chance… there’s only so much we can do in a dream before it gets too complex to continue on.” Once Stanley had gotten Silver’s information he went his separate way, determined to finally find his friend.

Stanley focused hard, trying to imagine every detail of his old friend, but despite his progress he was still having trouble.

“Don’t get frustrated Stanley… Just focus!” he said to himself.

He sat there, recalling every single detail that he could about his friend, the times they had played together as children, their adventures out in the Californian desert, the memories they had shared together.

He opened his eyes, seeing nothing.

“I just wish this could be a little easier!”

With a deep sigh he closed his eyes again.

“I just need to relax, take a break, that sort of thing.”

Stanley sat and meditated for a while, calmly picturing his friend in his mind. When he opened his eyes he noticed a large star sitting in front of him.

“FINALLY!” he excitedly shouted before diving right into the dream. The first thing he was greeted with was a large circular chamber bathed in a pleasant blue light.

“Look, there need to be more tests! No... we’re not set up to transmit that far and you know it. Listen, you might be concerned with the final result more than anything else, but if the subject suffers complete molecular dissociation the blood will be on your hands not mine!”

Stanley suddenly perked up, noticing a lone unicorn sat at some sort of control terminal, angrily yelling into the comm.

“Yes of course it’s a potential risk! Didn’t you bother reading the documentation you dolt?! Teleportation isn’t something you can just mess around with willy nilly, there’s far too many variables involved to just jump in without the proper safety failsafes! Oh really? You’re just begging to get hit with a slew of lawsuits when your travelers show up at their destination as a pile of ash!”

As if he needed to emphasize his anger, the figure angrily hit the desk.

“Look, I’m not approving your request, and that’s final!”

He angrily hung up the comm, and resumed pressing buttons on the console. The lighting in the room around him suddenly shifted from pleasing blues to harsh reds, a large shield lowering over the tube in the center of the room.

“Patrick? Is that you?!”

The figure shifted suddenly, suddenly noticing the night pony sitting among the shadows.

“Who are you? How did you get in here?!”

“Patrick! It’s me!”

“S...Stanley? Oh my God it’s really you… How is this possible?”

Stanley walked out from the shadows, revealing his form to his old friend.

Patrick stood there for a few moments, finally chuckling to himself, “You know? I shouldn’t really be surprised that you turned out to be a night pony… Stanley “The Wolf Man” Himself… Sorry if it seems like I’m laughing at you, I’m not. Though maybe Drac is a more fitting nickname now eh?”

“Don’t worry Pat, I’ve learned to face my fears… do you really have to bring up that childhood nickname again though?”

“Oh you know I do Wolfie, you remember how scared you were when you first saw that movie?”

“Come on Pat, I was afraid of everything…”

“Of course, but you also insisted on leaving every light on at night for a month so the Wolf Man wouldn’t get you.”

Stanley couldn’t help but laugh with his friend, as annoyed as he was it was a bit funny to him in hindsight.

“Ok Pat, I’ll give you that, but let’s get serious for a moment. I’ve had some amazing luck over the last few days and it’s given me some enlightenment. I’m going to work with some amazing ponies that are dead set on changing the world for the better, and I knew that that was something you might be interested in. I’m headed towards Arizona to go meet up with them, do you still live out there?”

“I’m not going to lie Wolfie, the idea is… interesting to say the least. Oh and yes, I still do, but let’s just say that I’ve had to move down the road a little bit… about two hours down the road… You ever been to the Grand Canyon?”

“No… but it’s never too late for a first time visit right?”

“Perfect! I can’t wait to see you again, we’ll have to catch up over lunch like the good old days when you get here… By the way? Where did you wind up? Hopefully you’re not still in Crystal Cove… right?”

“I was… but now I’m not. I’m near Orange, visiting some old haunts from my past, I should be able to get to you in a few days if everything goes well.”

“Well I can’t wait to see you again. Do you still have your phone?”

“I do… It’s not exactly easy to use right now though… you know, no horn to manipulate it with and all that…”

“Yeah… I guess I kind of forgot about that… Well do you think you’ll be able to at least navigate to your messages? It’s a little hard for me to give precise directions to my camp right now, but I’ll send you the location as soon as I can if that helps.”

“It might be a little hard, but I think I can manage it. I guess if I need any clarification I could always contact you again like this.”

“Whatever works best for you Wolfie, I really can’t wait to catch up again, it’s been far too long since we’ve had the chance to really do that.”

“Me too Pat, me too…”

Author's Note:

Okay so if you can't tell I may have accidentally slipped a few Universal Classic Monsters tributes into this chapter. It's pure coincidence that I wrote so many in... I kind of got on a classic movie kick while writing this chapter out and those happened to be the ones playing over the week that I rewrote this chapter.

Chapter content was very loosely based on real life, at least in terms of the setting and some of the characters. I used to know a farmer that lived out in the desert and had some interesting insights on how to cultivate crops in such an inhospitable place as a desert in the middle of nowhere.

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