• 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
28 - The Depths of Colorful Madness

"Excuse me." Copper Prism came to a halt at the voice calling towards her. She turned to see a larger flutter looking at her and she pointed at her chest. "Yes, you. You're obviously with the ship, right?"

She nodded as she ventured a little closer. "I was actually heading that way. You have a lovely station."

"Thanks." The flutter nodded softly. "I think we have some of yours." He tossed his head towards the sound of the loud music. "They're inside, having fun, but little foals shouldn't really be here, ya know?"

Her eyes widened before swiveling upwards to see what she was in front of. That was certainly a dance club for adults. She could see adult figures bouncing and enjoying themselves. "Oh dear. You let them inside?"

"I tagged them as minors so they wouldn't be served nothing bad for them, and the clients know what the bands mean, so they shouldn't be getting into too much trouble." He shrugged softly. "But they also aren't coming out on their own, so an adult of their ship should scare them out fast enough."

"I see... Well..." She glanced away along the line of flutters moving through the ship. "I'm not trained in youth education."

"You don't need specific training to exist." He smirked softly as he turned towards the inside, pointing. "Just walk in there and make sure they see you. Should solve it."

"Yes... alright." She took a slow breath to call forth her will. "I'll be right back." She strode forth into the dance club, just to learn it was much louder on the inside. Her ears folded instantly as she crossed the threshold where advanced technology had been damping the sound from escaping into the surrounding area.

In her vision, a pixie appeared and pointed a star-studded wand at a new control that was clearly labeled 'Volume'. It vanished without a word, its duty complete. "Oh, thank the gods." She grabbed the knob with her magic and twisted it to the left and the volume began to fade in her ears. "Wait..." Did that mean the music wasn't actually being played? It was an AR performance!

She shook her head softly as she turned it down to where she could barely hear it, eyes searching for small ponies getting into mischief.

"Excuse me." Several uniformed fluttered with bright golden badges landed in a circle around Belle and her ball. "We need to talk."

Belle's ears swiveled left and right, sweeping over the lot of them that had just descended out of the mass of flutters darting over her so suddenly, as if they were conjured from the aether from nothing. Still, they were flutters. Police flutters. "How can I assist?"

One of them stepped forward. "Are you aware that uploading programs without permission is against station protocols? Especially self-replicating programs. Especially self-initializing programs. Especially especially programs that do not accept standard commands."

Belle waved a hoof as if nothing of import had been said. "That program is a citizen of Everglow and crew of--"

"Lying is also against protocol," warned the same flutter, wagging a hoof reprimandingly. "Programs are not alive. They're not even 'kinda alive' like angels and things. They can't be given citizenship."

Belle huffed at that, bouncing in place with a new frown. "You take that back. I am also a program!"

"You're a robot, that's different," argued the flutter, tilting his head.

"How is that different?" Belle thrust a hoof at him. "You're a robot! So what if your computer is all wet and squishy. He gets to choose his computer. I am very jealous, but happy for him. He is also my friend." That word warbled dangerously.

"Be that.... as it may..." The police officer apparently in charge glanced to his peers and back to Belle. "We would have terminated the program, but it refuses to be shut down. Tell us how to remove it and promise to never do it again and this can be over without trouble."

Belle leaned against the great ball that was her dormant friend. "Just let him go. He was trying to fix a mistake for me, then he'd leave. Are you hurting him?" Her voice swung from high to low in uneven waves. Despite being a robot, she did a remarkable job of emoting, tail lashing with little mechanical clicks.

"How do you..." He aborted the question midway, sitting down on his haunches instead. "Look, little miss. Why don't you go ahead and tell us what mistake he was trying to fix. We can start there."

Belle thrust a quivering hoof up at the words that described her. "I am not an exhibitionist!" she cried with dismay. "I am too young to engage in such activities. It was a misunderstanding."

"How old is she?" whispered a different cop to another beside her. The other just shrugged.

The one in charge nodded softly. "Their vote changed your viewable traits because you have so few votes on your file at this time. As you meet and deal with people, more opinions are added and minority thoughts fade away, eventually leaving a better view of things. At this point, only you and those close to you can even see what you haven't reported yourself."

Belle blinked once, twice, thrice more. "You cannot see it?"

"Sure can't." He shook his head softly. "Now you say he was trying to fix that?"

"He was," she quickly agreed, bouncing once in place. "He will not harm anything."

"Except your file." He took a slow breath. "We can't allow a program to wander into that database and make arbitrary changes. How do we get rid of him?"

Belle wrapped a leg part way around the large metal sphere beside her. "He..." She licked over her lips, not that her tongue was wet, or her lips needed wetting.

Star Dancer sat up. Her video had suddenly stopped, replaced with a big red square that announced a call was incoming. She brushed away her popcorn and made herself presentable as quickly as possible. "Right at the good part..." She reached out and pressed the button that didn't really exist, allowing a flutter to appear on the screen.

"Good day," They greeted. "Sorry to bother you, but one of your crew has broken station protocol."

Star's ears perked up. "Who would be so dumb?"

The view shifted off the speaking flutter, panning rapidly over the inside of the station as it turned in place to look at Belle before swinging back to the face of the flutter making the call. "You recognize her, I assume?"

"Belle," sighed out Star, sinking in her seat. "What'd she do? She's... usually pretty harmless."

"Uploaded a virus into the station computer. We've halted its progress, but can't terminate it. She has refused to tell us how to do so." The fluttercop tilted his head at her. "We really don't want this to ruin your visit. Can you convince her to help us?"

This was a far cry from chilling out and catching up on media... "Let me talk to her and I'll do my best. She doesn't mean to hurt anyone, that much I'm sure of."

"Fascinating." Twilight gently raised the helmet on her head and set it down on the panel she had been staring at moments ago. "There's so much to learn. I don't even know if I have enough time to absorb it all, and time's the one thing I have a lot of."

Spike shook his head and raised his hands to pop his helmet off, a soft alarm ringing about him not terminating it properly. "All done?"

"For now. Perhaps we should--" She was interrupted by the growl of a wild and dangerous beast. "--get something to eat." She had the sense to blush faintly at her belly's cry. "What would you like?"

"Twilight, we've been here for hours." He turned for the exit, waving at the librarian along the way. "I'd eat almost anything, but since you asked, let's go for pasta."

"Pasta? Certainly." She hopped up onto his available back and hugged him from above. "Today has been wonderful. Thank you for being so patient."

"Any time, Twi." He started out. "See you later, thanks for the books."

"We don't have any books," noted the librarian with a confused look on her face. "But you're welcome!"

Twilight leaned in to whisper, "A digital book is still a book. Pedant."

"I've never met one of those before," jested Spike with a smirk, carrying his studious partner into the busy streets. "Now let's find some food."

"A fine idea... Spike, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?"

He trotted along, matching the pace of the flutters moving around them. "Mmm? Sure, what's up?"

"Are you... angry at me?"

He peeked over his shoulder at that. "That's sudden. Did I say I was angry?"

"No, no... you wouldn't... You... You're a good dragon, Spike, too good maybe... I mean... You had a wife, Spike."

"I did." He wasn't slowing.

"And children."

"Technically, I still have those, probably?"

"See, that!" She thrust a hoof at his face, though he wasn't looking at her to see it anymore. "You had a full family, and I... dragged you away from it... You have plenty of reason to be very angry at me."

"I made my decision, Twi." He angled towards what looked like an ideal place to get a bite. "They were grown and doing their own things. I'm sure they went on to do great things. Maybe they even remember me, that'd be nice."

"How can you be so...." She rolled a hoof in the air, struggling to find the word. "Like you don't care."

"Of course I care." He tilted his frame to the side, prompting Twilight to slide off. They were in front of where dinner awaited them. "I wonder about it a lot, when I'm not busy. I wonder if they'd recognize me. I wonder if I'd ever have had other children. I wonder how Equestria's doing." He inclined his head inside. "I wonder if they have good meatballs."

Twilight snorted at the last pondering. "There's only one way to discover that last one." She trotted past him towards the inside. "I am sorry..." Suddenly it clicked and she turned in place right back at him. "Wait, you want children?"

Spike pulled up short, barely avoiding walking into Twilight. "Huh? Sure. Being a dad's nice. It's hard work too, don't get me wrong, but it's still nice..."

"Then... why haven't you asked me... about that?" Her speech slowed as she began to color brightly. "I am your wife. I am literally the pony you should bring this up with, but you never mentioned a thing."

"You're also my sister." He reached out and booped her right on the nose. "And while I love you very very much, it's not that kind of love."

"We are not related!" When he raised a brow, she backed up half a step. "Not like that! I mean... by blood... We have no genetic similarities that could even theoretically imply incestual complications. We're not even the same species!"

"And you're still my sister," he concluded as if it was obvious. "One who I care for deeply, and one who I am about to pick up and carry because she insists on having this conversation where we're blocking everycreature else and I'm getting hungrier by the moment."

She squeaked, looking to the forming line of flutters trying to get into the same place they were. With a bright red face, she hurried inside and almost galloped to a free table, parking herself and hiding her face behind a wing as if that could hide the shame she was feeling in that instant.

With a soft thump, Spike sat down across from her and picked up the menu. "If it helps, I bet they were all super curious about the whole thing. You made their day."

"Not helping!"

Author's Note:

Oh how we jumped around in this chapter. I do hope I didn't disorient anyone. Spike and Twi have a weird relationship.

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