• Published 6th Apr 2019
  • 1,161 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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21 - Episode 4: Celebrity Status

"Captains." Wandering ran a hoof along a control only he could see. "Message receive. We are clear for docking. They have an internal space available and we've been assigned a drydock."

One of Steel's ears perked. "Are we paying extra for that? We don't have urgent repairs that require a pressurized environment."

Wandering waved the objection away. "The moment I mentioned who was coming, they were beside themselves with offering every amenity. I don't think there will be a cost for docking at all."

Fast allowed her head to incline slightly. "At least they sound friendly. Flutters usually are, but it remains surprising when you encounter it personally." Rather than as a memory of a past life, she left unsaid, but all the others seemed to pick up on it.

Dawn nodded towards his console. "Their station is within sensor range. Should I put it up on the main screen?"

"Please do." Steel gestured meaningfully at that screen as if there was any doubt which one was intended.

A new square popped into existence, showing a great sphere of a space station, its surface festooned with all manner of lights that glittered and shined.

Spike raised a brow. "Wow... Those things that ate our ship would love to get a nibble of that, I imagine. Do they use any two lights that are the same color?" There were plenty that were similar, but no two seemed to be exactly the same shade and hue.

Under nodded at the screen. "They would, but they avoid Flutterponies. Perhaps it is due to them emerging from the same cloth, but they will not cross paths willingly. One flutter, or two, perhaps, but an entire station of them is ironically safe from the thing that would, logically, be most attracted to them."

Spike raised a hand to his earfin. "Twilight? We're getting close to that station they were talking about. You ready?"

"Spike? Spike!" She sounded surprised at first, but it rapidly changed to naked joy. "Good to hear from you. Are you done visiting the bridge?"

"We'll both be busy visiting not your room," he sighed into the air, rolling his eyes as he turned from the others, not that they couldn't hear his voice. "It's a whole station with a new culture. C'mon, aren't you curious?"

"What are they like?" came her uncertain tone.

Spike wheeled around. "Why don't you come up and ask Wandering, I bet he knows all about them."

Wandering smiled faintly, replying to the question implied, "I would be delighted to assist."

"If you're sure..." The line went dead with a faint chime.

Spike strode towards the elevator. "I'm going to check on Octavia and tell them the good news."

When he was gone, Fast snorted softly. "He did that on purpose. Twilight is going to arrive to see he's not here."

Steel raised a hoof to his chest. "It falls on us to make her comfortable outside her comfort zone, and away from him. Wandering, I trust you're up to the task?"

"With pleasure, Captain." He stood up from his console. "All communications are complete, but I'm still listening for any revisions they send our way."

Spike knocked softly on the closed door. "Octavia? Remi, are you in there?"

A soft noise issued from within, a thump? Then angry whispering. Spike blinked softly, his imagination filling in holes and bringing a bit of a blush to his cheeks. "Is this a bad time?"

The door pulled open, revealing Remington there, her hands on either side of the door frame, her eyes set on Spike with a smoldering come-hither gaze. "So you want to join us? How daring, married boy... Or did you ask permission first?"

Spike huffed out flames as he reared up onto his hind legs, towering over Remi. "Hey, no? Sheesh. I'm checking how you're both doing. If you're... busy, I can go, but I'm her friend too, you know."

"Stop teasing him," came Octavia's voice from inside. "That was a terrible tease to throw at a married creature."

"You didn't stop me," called Remi in taunting tones. "Yeah yeah, come on in." She hiked a thumb. "She's better."

"A little." Octavia held up two hooves close together, sitting on the bed on her haunches. "I... do not promise to undo centuries of... things overnight."

Spike advanced into the room, Remi barely moving aside, causing them to brush, not that she seemed to care. "That's a thing with you, isn't it?" He rolled his eyes as he tromped into the room. "Now, uh, gonna just go out and ask. Have you two been doing... you know, 'adult' things?"

Octavia hiked a brow. "That is uncharacteristically forward of you. I have educated her in some fine points in playing a flute." She inclined her head towards where that flute rested on the floor. "Though she is terrible at putting it away. Whenever she tires of the lessons, she simply sets it down and that's that, as if it ceased existing in her eyes."

"Because it has." Remi crashed down on the bed close to Octavia. "We talked about emotions a lot, alright? We haven't done anything you'd consider 'adult'."

"I hear a 'but' in there." He reared up to cross his arms. "Is it a secret?"

Remi glanced towards Octavia, who simply shrugged. "Well..."

Belle picked up the sizable projector in her hooves and her chest popped open wide, allowing her to press it inside in time for the doors to gently close on top of it. "The station should have the parts I require to complete the process. You will ride in me until I complete the process, then you can hop into your new body."

"Then we'll be more alike. We'll have a body and a brain, together." He wobbled a holographic hoof between Belle and himself. "That'll be nice."

"But incorrect." She tilted her head faintly. "While you will have a physical form, it is not an unchangeable part of your identity. You could leave it entirely and resume riding me, or inhabit any computer in the area that you can communicate with." She sprang in place, her pitch become melodic, "You are super powered! My jealousy raises, but my joy has risen even faster. I am happy for my friend."

"Look, it's easy fer ya to say that." He sat down in front of her, some of his snakes looking off in different directions. "For most of the time I knew there was a 'me', I was right in this room, only existin' in one body. Sure, it weren't no real body, but it was mine. Ya gone and already busted that up fer me..."

Belle looked up sharply. "Have I injured my friend?! This is a severe infraction of friendship protocols." She raised a metal hoof to her head. "I accept whatever is required. You are hereby authorized to express the loss of friendship points in the fashion of your choosing."

No Name chuckled softly, reaching for her. "Any fashion ah want, is it?"

"Any at all," she restated firmly, though her virtual eyes were screwed so shut they were little more than horizontal lines across their displays. "I am ready!"

"Ya better be..." He placed a hoof on either side of her, flat ends towards the middle as he squeezed carefully and picked her up, cupping the bottom of her barrel as he drew her close and slowly wrapped his arms around her, falling back with her. "Because yer getting an hour of snuggle time, an' no ain't an answer."

"Oh noooo," she wailed discordantly before it seemed to click what he had actually said. "Are you certain this is the fashion you desire for your punishment? Surely I deserve far worse than that."

"Oh, yeah, fer sure. Yer gonna get some ear nibbles too."

She wailed with horror as he grabbed at her metal ears in his snake mouths, nipping and nibbling at her as she wriggled around, her wails becoming giggles and laughter, a smile on her face despite the 'cruel punishment' being delivered to her.

"Look, I jus' want you ta see things how ah see things." He squeezed her gently. "This is scary... It's excitin' too, won't deny, but damn scary... ya went and toss me on my head and ah'm still gettin' used to it. Bear with me, alright?"

"I accept my loss of friendship points," she admitted with a sad trombone from within her. "And will endeavor to earn them anew. What... would you like to do first when we reach the station? I will suggest nothing." She raised a hoof and ran it over her lips, glowing holographic zipper appearing with the motion to seal her lips, not that it actually stopped her from speaking.

He swatted at the virtual lip sealers. "Ya know what there is to see more than I do. Ah want to be with you. So, uh, I'll make ya warm, which ya say you like and ah still think is kinda weird, and we'll fix that thingie in yer chest. Then I'll be back to normal and we can explore a little?"

"That sounds..." Little clicks and calculating noises issued from within her. "Good!" Victory music played as she brought up her forehooves to clop excitedly. "The flutters are very friendly people. We can amass so many friendship points if we use our time wisely."

"Yer the regular expert of the ship. Only Wandering can hope to compete, and ah'm pretty sure you have him beat out." He curled with her, fully intending to keep her for that promised hour of snuggles. "Look forward ta watchin' ya work yer magic."

"Have no fear, I will ensure that you are the recipient of many friendship points too." She perked an ear back at him. "If that is something you want? I am about to assume your desires again, apologies."

"Not opposed to meetin' a person or two, but I'm not out to collect all of 'em, ya know? Maybe keep it to one a day?"

"Only one?!" she gasped with shock, but her voice quickly leveled out. "That is a perfectly reasonable number of friends to make. I will respect your wishes." She wriggled in his grasp to face him. "The difference between friends is part of what makes them special. If our likes were perfectly aligned--"

"--It'd be perfectly boring," he finished, stroking over her head and metal mane. "Still, if they're as friendly as you say they are, you'll have tons of fun for a while, then when you want some downtime, you come on back to me and we'll be quiet for a little bit, tell stupid inside jokes."

"Those are good jokes." She nodded softly as if inside jokes were a specific joke. "I am looking forward to this! They enjoy colorful things, which neither of us are that much... We could change that!" Color ran over her form in a wave, all her shades replaced with clashing neon horror in different pastel hues that fought for dominance. "Ta da!"

No Name hiked a brow at Belle. "Uh... Not sure ah can do that."

"Why not?" She wobbled a metal hoof at No Name. "You do not even have to perform micro-adjustments to your surface layer to alter light-wave interaction. You are light." She threw her forehooves wide, still held. "That body is controlled by you. If you wish to be a different color, you simply need inform the projector of this."

"Uh, yeah, just inform..." He went quiet, trying to have an internal dialogue, but he was a person who happened to be a program, not a program that happened to be a person. He wasn't sure how to do that. "Ah think ah'm gonna need a helpin' hoof on how to do that... Wait!" His eyes lit up in a flash of numbers dancing over them. "It's..." He released Belle to look around the room slowly until he found it. "There you are." He approached the wall that was labeled as being the projector just beyond it. "Ha, that program works real good. Now to just ask it a question..."

Author's Note:

No Name continues his struggle to be a program even as Octavia struggles to be a person. What a curious mirror they are as they both so wish to be all they can be.

Written early for patreons who got this ahead of everyone else. Want to get early chapters, or even your own story written? atreon!

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