• Published 6th Apr 2019
  • 1,182 Views, 588 Comments

Distant Reflections - David Silver

Equestria and Everglow have brushed against one another through the course of their histories, each time fleeting, but memorable to those involved. Many many years later, the unaging Twilight captains a space vessel to explore the universe.

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10 - Episode 2: I Was Alone With You

The door slid open silently, a soft chime alerting the pony inside that someone had opened it. "Hey, Octavia?" called Spike, looking left and right as he entered cautiously.

"Spike," she replied, though still out of sight. "How good it is to see you." Not that she could see him just yet. "Have you come for a song?"

"About that." He glanced at Remi who hadn't said anything yet. "I brought a friend I'd like to be your friend."

"Hm?" As they pressed into the room, she came into view, already standing with her cello ready against her. "Does she have a preference in music?" Her eyes were on Remington, studying her. "Oh..." She glanced away and back, but whatever question she had remained dead on her lips.

Remi wrinkled her nose lightly. "Go on, ask it. You obviously have questions."

"Perish the thought." Octavia carefully leaned the cello against herself, freeing a hoof to wave the objection away. "It is not my place."

"Octavia." Spike sat a little ahead of her. "It's exactly your place to ask questions, as many as you have."

"It is my place to play," argued Octavia. "I tried... doing otherwise when we first came here, but that felt... awful. What song would you like?" She drew her bow gently across the strings, creating a lonely note. "I am ready."

Remi suddenly stepped in, cupping Octavia's cheeks in her fingers. "We just rescued a hologram from being stuck in one place doing one thing, and here's a nice pretty horse lady pretending she's programmed, and badly."

Octavia scowled at the fox. "Whatever do you mean by 'badly'? I am quite trained in my art, which I'd show you if you'd just name a song."

Fox wriggled a few fingers before gesturing at Spike grandly.

"Oh, yeah." Spike sat up. "You pick a song."

"Ah, yes... Mmm." She drew the bow across the strings in another soft tone that suddenly changed halfway in, starting a song, an energetic little ditty. "Something upbeat for what I discern to be a social butterfly. She would have liked you."

"She?" Spike raised a brow, but it fell a moment later. "Oh, her... Yeah, I think she really would have."

Remi crossed her arms under her chest, peeking between the two. "Well you're both sad about something now, care to fill me in?"

Octavia let out a slow breath as the music came to a stop. She set the cello aside and fell to all fours. "Any who live long enough see their dear friends pass before them. This is true of ponies far younger than I, really. I have no room to complain, so I do not. It is still saddening at times."

Spike raised his shoulders. "Still sucks." Octavia hiked a brow at him. "What? It's true. I miss them, the very first. That I've mostly forgotten them is maybe the worst part. I just distantly remember being happy with them." He rubbed behind his head. "I used to be so in love with one... If she showed up now, I don't even know what I'd do."

Remi threw up her hands. "People die, that happens. How about enjoying the living part? Both of you are so frigid I wonder what's the point."

"The point?" Octavia snorted softly at Remington. "Whatever do you mean?"

"Why are you alive? You're pretty obviously not having a good time. You could be."

Octavia pointed to her propped-up instrument. "I play that, which I happen to enjoy, thank you. If you don't require music, very well." She turned to Spike fully. "What can I play for you?"

Spike's ear fins raised as he looked over Octavia. "I would like my dear friend, Octavia, who I thought I had, you know, lost ages ago, but was actually secretly watching me in a kind of creepy but also kind of really caring way." He reared up onto his haunches, hands free of the ground. "Who deserves a hug."

Octavia looked at Spike, glancing at Remington in little darts. "Spike, you are a married dragon."

"1: When did marriage get in the way of hugs?" He snorted at the idea, smoke escaping his nostrils. "2: Glad to see you thinking about that, so I'm not even mad about you asking. You're more than your music."

"I was nothing but my music," she suddenly hissed, shrinking back. "It's more complicated than you're assuming."

"You have several advantages over other crew members," advised Belle as her liberated friend wandered the ship. "Like me, you do not require an external communication device."

"Yeah?" He turned an ear back at her. "How do I go about talkin' to people then?"

Belle tilted her head left and right. "Turn on your communication device."

"Uh..." Easier said than done, No Name looked thoughtful, trying to will it to happen, but he wasn't even sure what that would feel like, or what strange not-muscle he'd be flexing. "How do I do that?"

Belle tapped at her chin softly. "For now... perhaps it would be better if you did wear one. No! I will not give up so easily." She bounced up to her hooves on his back. "You know where your control center is, yes?"

He reached a massive hoof up to his chest. "Right in here. I can, uh, feel it, sorta."

"Excellent," she sang out in auto-tuned delight. "That is where your communication device would be. It links you to the ship. Operate that to begin communications."

"Operate... that." He frowned down at himself. "Operate." He grunted and squirmed, trying to make something happen. "Mmm, not--"

"Who is that?" came Steel's voice from inside No Name.

No Name blinked, ears going up and jumping in surprise. "Wha? Oh, thin' it worked! Hey, uh..."

"Captain Steel Prism," advised the voice. "Good to see you're learning but please stay off this channel unless required."

"Yeah, sure, sorry." He turned an ear towards Belle, one snake looking up over his shoulder. "How do ah turn off this thing?"

"You already have." Belle bobbed her head with a huge grin. "You have gained proficiency!" Her celebration music issued from within her. "Attempt to call me."

"Yer on my back," he flatly noted with a half-lidded gaze.

"Attempt to call me," she sang all the more forcefully, rearing up and waving her forehooves with growing urgency.

"Fine fine, one... sec..." He tried to find whatever strange internal flex got things going. "Uh... call Bullette Belle?" A soft chime echoed from inside him. "Oh yeah, voice commands, duh."

Belle swatted him across the head. "Without voice commands! Again!" She hung up the call without a word spoken. "We can both make calls without voice commands. I believe in you." Her voice modulated in encouraging crescendos. "Try harder!"

Spike stepped in, sitting down just beside Octavia. "Look, I can't claim to understand what you... went through. That was rough, really rough... If I had known you were there... Octavia, I'm so sorry... You're more than just the music you make."

Octavia glanced away. "That's all very well and good... but what do you know? You... had a wife. You still have her."

Remington suddenly snorted. "Have we met the same pony? She's about as married to him as you are a crew of this ship." She pointed downwards with a smirk on her face.

Octavia scowled at the fox. "I am prepared to play music at a moment's request! I will earn my keep and not complain in so doing."

Spike gently nudged into the musician. "Hey, I heard you and Twilight visited Under Score before, to talk about magic. What happened with that? Why is Twilight still going and you're not. Don't like him?"

"He's... perfectly fine." She coughed softly into a hoof. "Quite knowledgeable, and eager to expand that information. I can appreciate that, but he has no taste for music, and I was... feeling uncomfortable, so I came here. It's... comfortable here... alone." She stepped up onto her bed and sank down onto it. "Look, Spike, dear... You are simply wonderful, but you're making me... uncomfortable. Let me have some space."

Remi stalked a step forward. "You forgot how fun it is to be alive, instead of just surviving. Why don't you just lay back, relax, and we'll remind you? If you get the urge to join in, I won't stop you."

Spike hiked a brow at that. "Wow, yeah, that sounds kind of rapey."

"It does not!" she huffed, hands at her hips. "I'm literally asking for consent right now!"

"I'm afraid he does have a point," agreed Octavia with a gentle little laugh. "It does sound terribly suspect." She arched a fine brow. "You... remind me of her a little, which is why you must leave."

"Yea--wait, what?" Remi huffed. "The bloody hell. I remind you of someone you like so get out? What kind of messed up logic is that?"

"Please, obey my wishes." Octavia pointed to the door. "I need to be alone, and this is my room. Neither of you should still be here after being asked to leave if you wish to consider yourself my friend."

Spike put up both of his hands. "Hey, let's take it easy here. Octavia, I know you've gotten very used to, you know, kinda being by yourself."

"Kind of?!" she suddenly roared. "It was worse than being alone. People, you, would wander in and speak through me, because was I really there? Of course I was not. I was just a source of music to be enjoyed and forgotten afterwards." She bared her teeth as her horn began to glow, several pillows floating into the air. "Being entirely alone might have been an improvement!"

Remi put an arm across Spike's front as if to protect him. "Don't get angry at--"

Spike nudged her hand out of the way easily. "No, I deserve it. Go on, be ma--" He was suddenly pelted in a barrage of six pillows buffeting his face and chest. "Mad... Be angry, just... don't hide, please. I want my friend." He reached out a hand towards her. "Octavia, you're not alone, not anymore."

"Good, fine... now leave me be. You have disrupted my day sufficiently." She pointed sternly to the door with a frown. "Now show you can respect my words."

Remi hiked a thumb towards the same door and they shared a shrug before moving out together. It was awkwardly silent until the door shut behind them, separating Octavia from the two. "She has it bad," grunted Remi. "Real pity too, bet she's a real potty mouth."

Spike blinked rapidly at that. "What? She never curses."

"Usually, I know the kind." Remi's smirk grew. "It all becomes foul things once she's feeling good or bad enough. I'd love to show you, but she's not ready for that, yet. Look, I think we did good." She shrugged softly and started for the elevator. "It isn't gonna happen in one day. Let her unpack what we unloaded on her today."

Spike hurried after Remington, snorting softly on the way. "Yeah, maybe... Twilight seems to be doing alright at least."

"I'm more wondering why you are all together. You seem like nothing happened." She turned in place. "Part of why I love being close to people is being lonely sucks. You sure we can't..."

He held up a hand. "I'm a loyal dragon, it's one of the things we do pretty well when we decide on it."

"Pah." Remi was smiling though despite that, a planning glint in her eyes. "Would you get too upset if Twilight said it was alright?"

"Dude, do you not think of other things?" He sat on his haunches in the elevator. "Bridge." A soft chime alerted them to the movement starting.

"I think of so many things, but that one rates fairly high." She shrugs. "Doesn't help that I haven't had any since before I got here, and this ship's been a desert of physical contact. The crew seems to have forgotten what it is. Are they clones? I bet they're clones."

Spike suddenly put a hand on her shoulder, squeezing lightly. "Hey, I'm not, you know, up for that, but that doesn't mean I'm trying to keep you at arm's length. Being alone sucks, I'll agree with that."

She closed her eyes, standing there, his hand on her shoulder. "Thanks..." She accepted his touch, seeming to relax for a moment, even her tail ceasing its twitching. "You're a sweet dragon."

"I try," he half laughed, moving to exit the elevator as a chime announced their arrival on the bridge. "Captains, I'm back."

Steel swiveled an ear towards them, but his eyes were forward. "Good to have you back. Status report?"

"She's a mess," he sighed as he sat down on his haunches a little behind and to the left of the command chairs. "We tried to reach out to her, but she's not... taking it right now."

"I think we made progress," argued Remi with a thumbs up. "But she won't get all the way better in one day. This kind of thing doesn't work that way. Now, if you were to ask me..."

Fast raised a brow, but not turning towards Remi. "Which we will?"

"I was hoping you would." She clapped her paws with a grin. "You have to give her more things to do. She won't take initiative on her own, fine, but I bet if her captain tells her to get something done, she will, without even really thinking about it."

Spike nodded in agreement. "And if they happen to involve other people..."

"A fine idea." Steel reached to press a button only he could see. "She'll be on the next team we need. Perhaps just more movement will help shake the rust free. Tell me, did she seem violent?"

Spike hiked a brow. "I don't count a set of thrown pillows to be, you know, violent. She's a nice pony, still, and I doubt that's changing now."

Fast nodded as she moved a hoof from one control to the next. "Good. I'll try to mix it up, assign her with people she knows, and doesn't, not let it become repetitive."

"Excactly!" Remi suddenly set a hand on Spike's head. "They get it. Your friend'll be alright. Speaking of that, how's that little robot girl and her illusory friend doing?"

"Are we not all illusions," mused Dawn softly. "Soft disturbances in the water, destined to be lost and forgotten, yet who are we to not revel in our brief moment of cohesion, to paint the water's surface with our will to live for as long as we might?"

Spike shrank back a step. "That... is deeper than I was looking for right this second. I mean, besides, no? I've been around longer than a 'ripple on the water'."

"You are a rock placed in a heady stream, strong and solid and still destined to be worn away in time. Even the stream you reside in will fade, as all things must. Do not look towards this future, for it serves you not. You are a rock, and should be one, and not lament the tomorrow when there is so much to be done today." He brought down a hoof on an unseen button. "Captains, detecting a distress signal."

It was normally Wandering Note to pick up communication attempts, but he was with Twilight. Steel scowled sharply. "Out here, in the middle of nowhere? How can you be sure?"

"They are transmitting on a known frequency and the message is clear."

Wandering gestured out to the stars. "You came here for a reason. You were searching for something. May I know what that was?"

"Other races, other worlds... To learn and see..." Twilight looked out the window, at the countless stars before them. "There was so much out there."

"But not enough where you began," gently suggested Wandering. "Did you... want to find something that just wasn't there?"

Twilight tensed at that. "Equestria did not have many uncharted stars to see, no..."

"But it did have people and unseen places, I imagine." Wandering smiled gently. "Even the most advanced of worlds have places that have to be seen and experienced, but you chose to put them aside in favor of the stars. Why is that?"

"Someone had to," she snapped, glancing away from the stars towards her goat counselor. "Someone has to go out there and see what there is to be seen, and why not me? I won't die just from time. I have enough magic to avoid most of the other ways of dying, usually..." She worried two hooves together. "Who better to go than me?"

"Were you forced? Did others bring up this logic to you?"

"No! No, of course not. They'd never... do... that." She softly coughed into a hoof. "I made that decision on my own. You did too."

"Well, in a manner of speaking. If you accept that all past mes are me, then yes, I did make that choice. If this body is me, then no, I was born on this ship, and will likely die here. I don't begrudge my past self. Why, if he hadn't done that, I wouldn't have gotten to meet a very special pony."

"Who?" Twilight lifted an ear. "Someone you like? Another crewmember?"

"You, Missus Sparkle." He reached and set a hoof on her shoulder. "Not in a romantic sort, of course, but I had heard stories, distant and barely remembered. You touched their lives, and I, many of me, were so jealous that we never got to meet you, and here you are. I consider myself beyond lucky to have this chance, and if I can help you, I would like nothing more than to do just that."

Twilight quirked a little smile. "Oh... wow... you heard of the other times, in Everglow?"

"All of them, in varying detail. Twilight, would you care to tell me of your adventures?"

She would not be healed that day, but she smiled so warmly as she reminisced about those old challenges, the friends she had made, and the trials she overcame in the dangerous world of Everglow.

Author's Note:

There are minds needing gentle tending. But someone is calling for help! Why can't they leave us alone, we're busy! Huff...

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