• 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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27 - Cyber Crime

He was in a large place. He struggled to find another word for it, but that really was the best word that came to his mind. Everything felt vast and a little overwhelming. On the positive, he also felt like he had plenty of room. His motions were smooth and fast. He was in the ship computer, apparently hijacking a relatively robust thread that prioritized him well enough to give him all the CPU cycles he knew how to use.

All around him swirled text, rushing to float over heads before the eyes of those who had the augmented reality equipment to see it. Of course, he could see such text too, but he had no such gear. He was a program, that ran another program. How would that worked if he was flesh and blood? Like grabbing a passing mouse and shoving them in your eyes and somehow you could see as the mouse saw?

He shook his head free of the curious idea. Why had Belle given so much perspective of a living thing, despite him not being that? Well, of course she had. She was making a new version of a living person with him. It wouldn't be a very good one if the new one never even considered things from the living angle. But he wasn't that person. And she wasn't Belle, not the original Bullette. They were both copies, just like the champions, he mused.

Each champion was kind of like the ones before and after them, but also their own person. To just lump them all as the same person wasn't very nice. Still, they were closer. They could see their past lives. He couldn't do that. He only had the stories told to him, of the lumbering pony he looked like, who wandered the ashen fields, accepting no long term company beside the little quasi-robotic friend he had allowed into his pained heart.

Wait, he was there to do something, not muse on his past. His eyes darted, looking towards a clock that floated in his vision. Only a few seconds had passed, though that had felt longer. He really was running faster in the ship's computer. "Neat." He started the program that allowed him to see the labels of things and began swimming against the current. Teleporting from point to point would have been more accurate, jumping from one label to the next, searching.

Surely the words were coming from somewhere, where they were stored. He just had to...

Suddenly he was frozen, and not in the stream anymore. As large and fast as it had been a moment before, he had become slow to the point of barely moving at all. His eyes moved so slowly he could feel them moving, even if he knew he had no real 'eyes' to move, and no sockets to move them in. The label...


He had been identified as a virus and snatched out of execution. "Shit," he grunted out, considering his next action.

Octavia craned her head back to behold all of the directory before her. "This is massive."

Remi tapped Octavia on the temple. "That's because you don't have AR."

"AR?" She looked over her shoulder at the vulpine that had slid back on top of her.

"Augmented Reality." Remi wriggled her fingers dramatically. "Means you can see pictures in front of real things. In this case." He eyes darted to the board. "There's a nice virtual one floating in front of the real one and I can move it around." She raised a hand and batted at nothing. "And scroll through it without getting neck pain."

"How... interesting. Well, since you have this A.R.--" she slowed down, pronouncing each letter forcefully. "--you can look it up. We need a collector, did we not?"

"Or a historian." She clucked her tongue smartly before thrusting a finger out. "There." But she was pointing at the air.

"And where is that?" She looked forward, glancing about at those flying and walking past. "I can't see whatever it is you're looking at."

"Then just follow me." She nudged her thighs into Octavia, urging her onwards as a rider would a proper horse. "My faithful and captivating steed, we have an adventure that needs doing."

"I have no idea what you want me to do besides walk." And thus she began forward. "Despite appearances, I am not a horse, and I was not trained in whatever commands you wish to convey besides guessing 'start moving' and 'please stop'. Use your words, Remington."

"Don't be like that." She gently rubbed one of Octavia's large equine ears. "I know you're not a horse. You're a pony, my little pony, at least today. Thanks for putting up with me. So we need to go that way, to the elevator. They're on another level entirely." She clicked her tongue as if trying to get the attention of an animal. "We'll be there and back soon, and then you can make your first purchase of the trip."

Octavia shook her head as she bore Remington along. "Your impertinence knows no bounds." But she didn't buck the fox off. "You remind me of her a little..." She swallowed heavily. "Not that I intend for you to replace her, nor could she be replaced, but--"

"--I get it, chill. Some people are similar. I wish I coulda met her then. I bet we'd get along famously, or get into a huge nasty fight worth writing down." She smirked softly. "It's funny how that works, but I'd enjoy it either way. Either way, good. I like you, and I know she did too. You attract us, my little refined pony. Want to tell me more about her?"

"You wish to hear of your competitor?" She swerved an ear back towards Remington. "Truly?"

"She's not my competitor." Remington rolled her eyes. "She's more of my ancestor, what came before me. So, yeah, tell me about Grandma Vinyl. That was her name, right? Tell me more."

"She was... full of life, even until the end." Octavia began to recount the tales of her troubling roommate slash life partner. "It was her fault I ended up with this." She raised her arm with the device wrapped securely around it.

Remington suddenly pointed at it. "Hey! I bet that thing could show AR for you."

"Huh? I thought you wanted to hear about Vinyl?" She peeked over her shoulder just long enough to thump into the side of a flutter trying to fly past. Both bounced back, blinking at one another. "Pardon."

"Sorry," agreed the flutter, a smile on his face. "Gotta go!" He darted past as he had tried a moment ago.

Remi waggled a few fingers at the fleeing flutter. "I am, and I do, but you reminded me. Let me see that." She reached over Octavia's shoulder, grabbing for the LAP on Octavia's front left leg.

Octavia wrenched it away, staggering a step in the vigorous motion. "Pardon you! You can have a peek at it when we've arrived somewhere I'm not using that leg. Now then, as I was saying..."

Remington smirked from above and behind Octavia, looking not at all displeased at being so firmly rebuked.

"Are you sure this is a good idea?" The young Under Score stroked his entirely beardless chin. "We're gonna get in trouble."

An even younger Dawn Event bounced in place. "Have faith, we'll be fine! C'mon, do it!"

A stout Zebra mare shook her head. "This is ridiculous, but I know the best here..." She reached her hooves for a panel, working it free and poking her head beyond. "Wow... They really color coded everything." Suddenly she was being jostled and bumped as all her young friends squeezed in to see what she was seeing. "I can't work like this!"

"Sonja." The smaller Fast Shadow popped out and flopped to her haunches. "We're sorry. Everyone, give her room to work."

"You're not the boss of me." The smaller Steel Prism popped free and sat, crossing his arms petulantly.

"Maybe some day I will be." She stuck out her tongue at him.

"Nuh uh!"

Under Score hadn't withdrawn, instead pointing into the hole. "They have RFID tags, use those, not the colors."

"Good idea." Sonja nodded softly before giving Under a sudden shove, sending him sprawling to the side. "Now give me some room." She grabbed a fancy tool from her pouch in her mouth and half-climbed in, little mechanical sounds soon emanating from where she worked.

Under rolled up onto his belly before sitting up properly. "Hmmph. You could have asked."

"She did ask." Fast waggled a hoof at Under, looking amused. "Now tell Steel I'll be the next captain."

"Hm?" He looked between Fast and Steel, both looking petulantly determined. "It's too early to know for certain. It's entirely possible neither of you will be a captain."

Both gasped with alarm, hopping to their hooves and looking at him with equal intensity.

"I speak only the truth." He held up a hoof. "Dawn, back me up."

"He has a point." Dawn nodded softly. "We are too early. The current crew will likely not retire in time before another generation has arrived and is more likely to assume control. It sucks, but eh." He shrugged his shoulders mightily. "The gods have their own plans."

Fast scuffed the ground softly. "That stinks! I'm ready to be captain."

Steel poked her on the shoulder. "No you ain't. We aren't even out of class yet."

Sonja peeked over her shoulder. "If you don't give me some quiet, none of us will ever be out of class, now shut up!"

Despite the call for silence, their argument continued, but turned to body language instead, with extended tongues and rude gestures replacing angry words as they thumped together, ready to prove their dominance over one another.

Dawn shook his head softly at Under. "May the gods spare us the need to insist on things in such a way."

"May they be kind," half-laughed Under with a wry smile. "Say, is there a god of stupid arguments?"

"Oh, several..." He frowned in thought. "I don't have them all memorized, but... uh..."

"There!" Sonja pulled herself free, tucked her tool away and reached for the access panel to put it back. "We're in. The system was busy with something, which helped us. Now we're registered as Responsible Adults."

Steel nodded softly. "Well, we are responsible."

"And we'll be adults soon enough," agreed Fast.

Dawn started forward. "The gods are kind. Let's enjoy it."

"By that he means it's time to party." Under nodded firmly. "I hear flutter drinks can make you see colors."

Sonja frowned at him, though she followed after. "You're joking."

"Shall we find out?"

The ragtag collection of mini champions emerged from the secluded hallway into the main thoroughfare, all marching determinately towards the bright neon lights that advertised more adult fun, rated far above their ages. Dawn shook his head. "We are countless centuries old, the way I see it. We are correcting an error."

Sonja's right ear twitched softly. "Yeah, just fixin' a mistake, that's all. Now let's go do what people our age are allowed to do."

A rough cheer erupted through the crowd and their pace hastened. They were soon in front of a booming nightclub, the ground beneath them vibrating from the volume of the music playing inside. Steel strode up to the bouncer flutter, his chest puffed and head held high. "Good day. We're going inside."

"Are you now?" The bouncer squinted at the great lot of obvious foals. Over their heads were a variety of ages that didn't look appropriate at all. Steel was apparently 34 years old. Responsible Adult. Likes: Getting into trouble. Dislikes: Girls (especially cooties). "Well, before you go in, we have to give you special VIP bracelets."

Smiles spread through the group. VIP? Surely they had done something right. He slapped a thin band of material onto each arm offered his way, marking each as underaged and not to be served alcohol. "There you are. Go in and have a good time."

With a great unified cheer of victory, they charged inside.

Author's Note:

The Young Champions are adorable in my head. Meanwhile, someone's in trouble. How will No Name get out of this?

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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