• 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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13 - Protecting Your Collection

Spike was a determined bullet of speed, rushing through the ship. It was quite the surprise to hear plastic-coated clip-clops coming from behind him, closing quickly. Octavia was approaching rapidly, each of her steps carrying her further than it really ever should have, and each step coming faster than he would have guessed her normally capable of, as if she were being played in fast forward and catching up with him easily as a result. "Leaving your ward behind is not very logical, Spike."

He nodded, but his eyes were focused on the path ahead of him, weaving around the corner to skip to a stop. Shadowy tendrils reached out of a room, spreading across the floor, pulsing with whatever strange life they had. They seemed to perceive Spike just as he saw them, gathering up into rough facsimilies of bipedal and quadrupedal figures. None of them had eyes, but their faces, as unfeatured as they were, were locked on him.

Octavia came up beside him, scowling at them. They saw her too, half of them turning towards her, directing their eyeless gazes at her. "Shadow beings," she hissed as small things floated out from inside her suit, preparing herself to weave magic. "I doubt they're friendly."

"Probably not, but I don't have time, or want to fight." He stepped forward. "I have a friend to help. Get out of the way, please," he sternly spoke, hoping they would respond.

They did, reaching for him but not seeming to be limited by the scope of the forms they had taken, their shadowy limbs stretching out towards him in harmonized grasps. Spike caught the first hand to get too close in his jaws, proving he could bite them, and that they could get through his suit, but his teeth found the flesh and when he tossed his head the thing recoiled, wrenching back its injured hand.

Octavia directed an ornate wand at the lot of them, glistening with jewels and engraved with ancient Equestrian symbols and pictures. "Begone," she simply ordered as the hallway exploded in fire, engulfing the figures entirely. The flames licked at the front of Spike's helmetted face, but her calculations proved reliably, not pressing past that dangerously close, but not harmful distance and already fading away.

"You're going to have to show me that, later." He suddenly jumped forward, leaping over a reaching shadow that was running along the floor, his wings flapping to keep in the air a precious moment before he crashed down on several writhing shadows, tearing and shredding with his claws. "Stubborn things!"

"Stubborn indeed," agreed Octavia with a scowl, directing bolts of brillint force from the same wand, battering at the shadowed mass whenever it tried to reach towards her. "We haven't the time for this."

"Suit, open the helmet," Spike ordered. "Yeah I know that, do it!" He took a deep breath and held it as he fought, parrying swipes and ducking aside as best he could, keeping the shadows occupied. The visor on his face pulled back, exposing him to the air, as poor as it was.

New flames washed over the hallway, exhaled in a great burst from the insides of the dragon in a cone of singing fury, the plastic and metal of the ship growing dangerously hot under Spike's assault. The shadow menace withdrew with a keen wail, suddenly dispersing in all directions as if someone had briefly lit a lamp of darkness and turned it off just as quickly, leaving them standing alone in the hallway.

Octavia shrugged her shoulders. "Figures, the fire must have been effective, just not sufficient to deter them the first time. Get your helmet back on."

Spike made a motion of pulling up his visor and the suit obeyed, reforming and resealing, new air rushing in to allow him a needed gasp for breathe. "Ugh, holding your breath after doing that is harder than it looks. Alright, Twilight, here we come!" He charged forward, resuming his gallop right through the heat stressed hallway, as if a little heat would slow him down.

Octavia spread her wings and lifted into the air, flapping through the hot metal hallway rather than trusting the heat resistance she didn't have. "Captains, we encountered shadow plane creatures. They've been driven off. I cannot confirm their death or absence from the ship. Assuming there are still hostiles present."

"Roger that," came Fast's hasty reply. "Be vigilant."

"Any word from Twilight?" asked Spike as he charged. "She alright?"


Remi waved a hand wildly in the darkness they found themselves in. "We are being, I don't know, eaten by darkness and you're fascinated, really?!"

"How could I not be?" Twilight reached out, but there was little to reach out to. It was dark in all directions around themselves. They could feel whatever they were in pressing on their suits from all directions. The suit was complaining bitterly about being under attack.

"2:06 until failure," displayed on Twilight's visor, updating in real time with each passing second.

Remi brought both hands to her face a moment. "Right, right, stay calm... Radios are down, lasers don't work, and there are no locks that need jimmying to get us out of this. So that leaves us with..."

"Your talents will not help," calmly noted Twilight. "Allow me." Her horn began to glow, a dim thing, as if the darkness were actively supressing it, but it grew brighter and brighter.

Remi wasn't sure if it was really helping, but it was something, right?

"No!" A haggard crew member fell out of their room into the hallway, scrambling backwards with creeping shadow inches away behind them. "No!" They were slow, showing many of the same signs of partial asphyxiation the other they had found was displaying, but desperate to get away from the shadow that pursued.

Spike ran past, his claws raking the thing along the way. It wasn't enough to send it running, instead drawing its attention. It was enough to spare the weak crew member its attention, instead chasing after Spike determinedly.

Octavia paused, reaching for the crew member and healing them without the little prayer she had invoked last time, technically unrequired for her magic. "Stay safe and out of sight. We're working on it," she quickly instructed before rushing after Spike.

That left the assailed person to slump against where the wall met the floor, looking in the direction the two strangers had gone. Perhaps their fortunes were turning?

A soft chime made Octavia's ears twitch. Her LAP was trying to get her attention. She brought it up, running awkwardly on her three remaining legs.

Threat Analyzed:...

Type: Undead (incorporeal, shadow)

Effective elements: Positive, Force

Ineffective elements: Non-magical physical trauma (100% ineffective)

Danger Level: 3 (individually)

"Good to know," she muttered, her mind going back to the force bolts she had been throwing. "I softened them for you, Spike."

Warning: Do not allow contact.

Octavia scowled at the bright red warning. "Spike, don't let them touch you."

"Wasn't planning on it." Spike barreled through a shadowy mass, his form pushing right through it, but his claws and teeth leaving furrows where they collided with the insubstantial enemy they were facing. As painful as it clearly was to the thing, it could reach him just as easily, hands closing in on him, others emerging from walls and floors, grasping for the warmth of his life.

His shield flared into life, his suit having sufficient charge to turn aside the attempt to get through it. "Aw dang it, I didn't charge this." The battery remaining was on his visor, and didn't give him much confidence that he could force his way forward as he had been doing for long without running into trouble.

Octavia didn't touch the ground, remaining directly in the middle of the hallway as she flew down it. "On it," she assured, her wand working independantly of her eyes, bolts of unerring force striking at the shadowy attackers, forcing them away from Spike to let him get moving. "Did these things turn off the lights?"

"Nah." Spike swiped at a reaching hand, creating new tatters in it as he ambled forward, frowning as he fought forward. "I bet the crew did."

"Why on Equestria would they do that?" She filled the shadow he had just swiped with bolts, dispersing it into a puff of shadowy vapor.

"They didn't come out until the lights came back on," debated Spike. "In the dark, they were happy to just let them die without their help. We have to get to Twilight." He jumped over the next reaching hand, not even engaging it in battle in favor of hurrying ahead.


"Yes?" It was Steel. "Any new report?"

"Do you have any users of positive energy that you can spare? We're facing incorporeal--"

"--On the way," suddenly cut in Dawn Event.

"Belay that," barked Fast. "You know better than to... and he's gone."

"You knew he would," chuckled Steel. "Dawn's on the way. How bad is it?"

"Full ship infestation," guessed Octavia from what she could see. "The light's gotten them out in force."

"They're everywhere," corroborated Spike as he slid around a corner. "Coming up on their last known location--Wha?."

Instead of any single shadowy figure, the hallway became nothing more than one great mass of darkness that even his darkvision refused to pierce. "Twilight?!"

"There." Octavia pointed to the faint little spot of light coming from inside the darkness. "It's her color."

"I'm coming!" He lumbered forward, only for magic to grab at the nape of his neck, Octavia's magic on him.

He felt certain he could wrench away from her, but some reason was there and he snorted instead. "We have to help her."

"We do," more calmly retorted Octavia. "Let's do so intelligently, not by throwing ourselves into the same danger." She lowered to land beside him. "You want to go in there, fine, but let's make you less delicious." Her cloud of tools rotated as she reached out to Spike, touching a hoof to him with a distant look in her eyes.

He began to glow brightly, shedding bright light in all directions, even fighting back the darkness, though not as far as it seemed it should. "Go, find her," Octavia urged.

"Right." He burst into a run to the shadow. It shied away, but the great hallway-consuming blackness didn't have that far to go and didn't move nearly quickly enough. With nary a sound, Spike vanished into it.

0:50 until failure, faithfully reported Twilight's visor as something new joined them. Bursting in from nowhere came Spike, shedding powerful light against the darkness.

"Twilight, Remi," he cried, wings beating against the darkness as he hurried towards them, the darkness held back just enough that his own suit was spared the worst of it. His own visor calmly reported that he had closer to six minutes before things went poorly for him.

Remi reached for him, but couldn't really move, held in place by the shadow all around her. "I'm glad to see you, big guy. Give a lady a hand?" Her eyes darted, glancing at her own countdown timer. "Quickly is better..."

Twilight extended a hoof towards Remi, pulling the fox over with her magic even as Spike closed the distance. "I knew you'd come, Spike." They shared a look as he grabbed them both in his arms.

He cradled them, one under each arm. "We're getting out of here." A powerful beat of his wings arresting his motion and starting them back the other way. "The shadows were sleeping in the dark and we woke them up with the light."

"Fascinating." Twilight nodded softly, looking far more interesting than terrified as her timer ticked downwards at a steady pace.

"I'll call it more fascinating when we're out of here," squeaked Remi, displaying perhaps a more healthy amount of fear at how close they were to the limits of their suit. "If you get me out of here at one second, I swear to all the gods..."

Author's Note:

Spike to the rescue! The LAP proves useful, and perhaps progress is being made?! Written at day #2 of Anthrocon, so excuse typos (but report them mercilessly).

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