• Published 6th Apr 2019
  • 1,164 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.

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
22 - Landing a Planet

Ships the size of the great vessel they commanded did not typically 'land' very often. They held hundreds to thousands of people, with room for even more than that. Such a thing would be torn apart if it casually tried to touch down on the surface of most planets worthy of having that title.

Friendly, and massive, star docks were another thing entirely. As they approached the bright and colorful flutter station its size was all the more obvious. It dominated the view of the one simple camera they had up on display and one of its hatches was sliding open, as if it were some enormous fish about to eat a smaller one, that being their ship.

As they sailed through it, the interior began to light up. Unlike the wild decorations of the outside, the interior of the dock appeared to be quite utilitarian, with lights directing the way to where the ship should be. The door behind them slid shut just as silently as it has opened, but when it touched close, they could all hear a soft thud of metal on metal. "Air pressure is still minimal," advised Under Score. "But rising at a fair rate."

Steel crossed his arms, hoof waggling in the air. "I hope they don't waste air every time they get a ship. It's not safe to attempt pressurization before sealing the area."

Fast reached over and nudged one of his hooves with one of hers. "I imagine it's precisely because it does not happen often that they are eager to proceed at the very limit of safety. The sooner the air pressure is equalized, the sooner they know we'll let our crew out to join them."

"Fascinating..." Twilight was there, watching the point where they would 'land', hovering beside their dock close enough they would reach over with walking ladders to allow people to disembark. "This is very advanced compared to how we left Equestria..." She took a slow breath. "I wonder how they're doing..."

Steel inclined an ear towards her. "Have you tried communicating with them?"

"I have... considered." She didn't provide more than that. "When will we be landed? I think Spike was right. I really do wish to see more of this station and its people. Flutters you call them? I don't think I ever really ran into one of those when I visited Everglow, but they sound familiar."

Fast looked a little up, her eyes going distant. "I do not recall you meeting one in my presence... but that was... such a long time ago. Memories of so many lives distant are murky at best." She waved a hoof softly. "I imagine you can relate in your own way, even if yours is one long life, there are memories a bit... faded, aren't there?"

Twilight shrank back a little. "What? No! I... a little?" She rubbed behind her head with a hoof awkwardly, trying to look somewhere safe, which seemed to be nowhere. "Look, this is why I... miss my things. They were reminders. When I... saw them, they brought the memories back, fresh and vivid... How am I going to preserve the memories of my friends now?" Tears were visible starting to run, her mood crashed in an instant.

She jumped in place when a hoof touched her shoulder. Wandering was there, not smiling for a change. "You are with friends. Your old ones wished for you to be happy, did they not?"

"Y-yes..." A dim memory came rushing to the fore.

The light pink mare with a grey-touched snout was laying on a bed, but she was far from alone. Arranged around that large soft bed were several generations of ponies on various hues, ranging from those barely old enough to stand and waddle to those in their middle ages.

Then there was Twilight, standing tall and imperious, wearing her royal raiments and watching things with a carefully composed look, though tears stung at her eyes.

"I have to go," spoke the old mare. "I can feel that. But it was... it was good. It was so... so good... I'm going... just the way I'd want to, surrounded by family, with my dearest... longest friend right here... I know you'll cry, and that's the only part I don't like, so go on... cry if you must... but finish that... then smile again. Smile for me. It's all I ever wanted."

The youngest were confused, not understanding. Those old enough to know what was going on were the first to start shedding tears, unable to hold them back, their little sobs filling the room. The older swallowed them back, trying with all their might to smile for Pinkie, as she wanted, to be happy for the life she had lived, instead of the life that was ending.

Twilight should have been with the adults, smiling and accepting it, giving Pinkie the farewell she had just asked for, but she could not. Another friend. Another dear... lost friend. Pinkie was slipping through her trembling hooves, like sand, and there was nothing she could do to halt that march of time. Her vision was lost, a blurry mess, her head pounding. She knew nothing in that moment.

The next thing she was aware of was when one of the older ponies gently nudged her. "Your Highness, she's gone."

Twilight had missed it. In her grief, she wasn't even there for Pinkie, to see her go. She was too busy in her own misery... she had failed.

Twilight's head hung, trembling with the memories. "I... I... I need a hug."

Wandering gently set an arm over her. She tensed, but soon leaned into it.

"I'm such a failure," she sighed out, eyes screwed shut. "Celestia must be laughing at me. Where is Spike?"

A soft clunk of metal on metal could be heard in the distance. Under nodded softly. "We are docked and stable. Shall I power down?"

Steel shook his head. "As friendly as this dock is, it still doesn't rest well with me. We don't have any repairs that need the power turned off, so keep the systems on low, but on. We've all lived enough to know surprises come when you don't expect them."

Fast sat up. "How's the air pressure? Are we within allowable ranges?"

"Give it two minutes," advised Under, pressing keys only he could see. "By the time you walk to the gangplank, it'll be safe. You may wish to, Captains, give the command to the crew."

They went about the business of preparing the ship and its crew for the time off ahead, but Wandering remained with Twilight. "I may not be Spike, but--"

"--no!" she cut in. "Actually... you're fine... If... we became friends, you'd always be there, in some form. I could always find you again, and... You're not temporary." She smiled thinly. "I'm being awful, I know. I'm sorry. I... just... That was a memory I would have rather faded, which makes me even worse of a person... I don't know what to feel right now."

"Just feel it," he gently urged. "Share what you are feeling, if you wish, or just feel it, and I will wait."

"You're too nice." Amid all the chaos of the bridge, the two sat there side by side, one older in one long stretch, the other older still in a long chain of small existences.

Octavia walked the halls for the first time in a while. "You do not believe in half measures, I see."

Remi did a twirl between steps, keeping up with Octavia with some effort. "And you, my pony friend, are fast. Would you be too upset if I rode you?"

Octavia raised a brow. "If you'd like."

"Your mouth says yes, but your face says no." Remi danced ahead a little, though Octavia quickly caught up without trying. "We're going to a new place, with new people, and they will ask for many things, and learning how to say 'no' is very important. This is why I'm glued to your side."

Octavia's magic wrapped around Remi, lifting her from the ground despite her thrashing to set the fox on her back. "I did mean that yes. It's just as rude to deny a gift offered. Now, I do expect you to be a quality chaperone."

"The best." She set her hands on Octavia's shoulders from behind, folding back her legs so they didn't drag on the floor. Octavia wasn't quite large enough to ride properly. "We're going to have lots of fun, safely."

"Yes, fun..." She lifted an ear gently. "You know..."


Octavia shook her head, only to suddenly freeze in place and shudder. There were two fingers poking into her large equine ears. "Kindly take those out this very instant!"

"Spill it," ordered Remi. "No more bottling up emotions."

"It isn't an emotion," she barked, clopping a hoof. "And you just finished telling me to say no more often!"

"Proper places and times." She tickled the sensitive hairs with her claws. "What do I know?"

"I feel certain you know how annoying you can be." She bucked out her legs, and began to wriggle and shake as if to free herself.

"Guilty as charged." She let herself fall only to slide along Octavia, smooching the pony on the cheek as she fell to her feet and rose up to a proper stand. "Now, really, what's up?"

"I was... just thinking that going to a place just to... 'have fun' as you put it is... not something I do often." Octavia rubbed a hoof against her chest softly. "I'll thank you to never do that again."

"Are you kidding? That was one of the more powerful reactions I've gotten out of you." Remi was smirking with cruel playfulness.

Belle skipped and pronked as if she wasn't sure which was more fun to do, so she alternated between the two walking modes as she navigated the halls. In her eyes alone, she could see No Name sitting there. He was watching what she saw, but the image she saw was of him facing her, a contradiction that didn't seem to bother her. "We have arrived and permission to depart will be given shortly."

"Yeah." No Name looked left and right, despite seeming to face her as he did it. "I think I'm gettin' the hang of this, you know, not being 'there' there, but there. You know?"

"I am glad you are there," she cried out in melodic tunes. "Your presence increases my happiness quota. It's like a longterm buff worth at least 30% happiness." She suddenly frowned. "Where did that come from, correcting program. There we are. Apologies."

"What are you sayin' sorry fer?"

"My vocal subroutines occasionally get tangled. I have collected many of them over the years and the code is not as cleanly segmented as they should be. I must devote time to refactoring it all." She shook her head slowly. "I would prefer a trained professional did the task, but my rating as an AI is high enough that it is likely impossible for any but another AI of greater rank to attempt without causing harm to other functions in the process."

"Sounds heavy," eloquently replied her software companion. "I ain't makin' it worse, being another, uh, function bouncing around in here?"

"You are operating in your own shell environment," she assured. "You have no access to my software except through specific connections, nor mine with yours. You can see though my eyes and hear through my ears because specific programs are routing that information to you, but you cannot control either, because they are not yours, and you are not operating natively."

"That was a lot of words for 'nah, you're cool.'"

"But you are not cool." She looked towards a door and it opened, numbers flashing in her vision. "You are likely warmer than usual because you are operating within me and I keep my internal temperature at--"

"Figure ah speech," he laughed out. "Let's go visit a space station."

Author's Note:

That memory... Is it a good sign that you can make yourself cry on demand?

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

Join my discord to chat!

PreviousChapters Next