• 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.

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30 - We've Been Narced!

Copper Prism scanned over the crowd. Most were either idling in place, enjoying drinks and company, or dancing vibrantly on the floor that glowed in a multitude of colors beneath them, reacting to the song and their motions. But only a few of them were trying to be stealthy with mixed results. Small forms were darting, trying to keep larger flutters between themselves and Copper, but their sudden motions made them all the more visible.

Rather than approach the foals directly, she stretched out a hoof nowhere in particular, specifically not looking at them. "Oh, guess they're not in here," she said with theatrical drama. "That's a shame. Good thing though, the Captains would be so mad if I found them in here of all places. Maybe I'll find them in the library, wouldn't that be nice? We were worried for nothing while they were being good foals."

Sonja thumped against Dawn Event. "Let's get out of here. We can get brownie points by looking like we're studying."

Under Score softly rubbed at where he did not have a beard, far too young for it. "That does sound fun."

Steel rolled his eyes. "Of course it'd sound fun to you. You always have your snout buried in a book."

Dawn shrugged. "Still, the idea has merit. The gods themselves sent us an angel to give us the idea." He inclined his head towards Copper. "Let's go before the opportunity flees us. The gods are good, but their blessings can be fleeting."

They dashed from one set of adults to the next. Along the way, Sonja casually set down a wine glass that had never had any wine in it, just a grape soft drink she had been told was 'the strongest they could serve her'. She had chugged it down without flinching. Why were adults so weak?!

As a group they charged out onto the street and were rapidly lost to Copper's sight. She let out a little breath. "Mission accomplished." She made her way back towards the entrance herself, nodding towards the bouncer.

"Thanks." He drew up a hoof in an idle salute. "They didn't break nothin', just thought it was time for them to go."

"Glad to help." Copper dipped her head, ears splaying a moment before she turned in place. "Which way is the library? I should bring them back to the ship." With a helpful point, off she went to find some foals for real that time.

"About that..." Spike sat up a little. "It happened slowly."

"And I didn't notice?" Twilight swallowed heavily despite having no food in her mouth. "Nothing caused it?"

"I have plenty of guesses." He extended a finger with each guess. "You stopped making new friends, you're so far away from Equestria, you've shut yourself out of social engagement. You were miserable even if you were good at fooling yourself. You--"

"Enough! Enough... thank you." She reached for her wine but it had been snatched away, leaving her to will the glass of water over instead and sipping at it lightly. "Why... didn't you say anything?"

"I tried." His fingers flexed as he did some math. "About six times. You became more angry each time I brought it up, even though you'd forgotten it by the next time I brought it up."

Twilight's head fell to the table, the bottom of her snout and cheeks resting comfortably on a bed of gooey pasta. "I was that bad?"

"I'm not holding it against you."

"Maybe you should," she spat, sitting up, strands dangling from her fur. "Just imagining you... stuck there... with me, acting like that..."

He reached across the small table and casually began brushing the pasta free of the bottom of her face. "That you're thinking about that makes me pretty happy. You're waking up."

"Waking up?" She raised a brow at him. "I wasn't sleeping."

"You may as well have been. But it's changing, now, and that makes me pretty happy." He took a napkin and began working it through her fur.

"Spike... how can I even dream of paying you back?" She put a hoof behind her head. "I've taken so much from you, and you just kept on giving. You didn't owe me..."

"That's what friends do." He smiled a little. "That's what family does. Lucky you, I'm both of those. Now--"

"I need to get large again." She shook her head. "It's a literal benchmark of my mental wellbeing, and I am not well. I've made some friends on the ship, but here we are." She extended a wing in a wide arc across the room. "There are many people here, just waiting to be met."

Spike softly snorted. "Twilight, calm down. Trying to imitate Belle isn't how you're going to get better."

Star Dancer smiled at Bullette Belle. She was floating over the errant robot, a face on a virtual screen. "Hello there. I hear you got into a little trouble."

"Can you see it?" Belle demanded, pointing over her head.

Star inclined her head faintly. "I see you are Bullette Belle, a member of our crew in good standing. But I knew that without reading about it. Can you call back your little program friend and stop scaring the flutters?"

"You really see nothing else?" Belle glanced towards the flutter officers and back at Star. "Nothing at all?"

"I see that your favorite color depends on the day of the week and that I currently have a friendship point total of--"

Belle gasped with alarm despite having no real lungs. "How do you know that?!"

Star pointed a hoof at Belle. "You told me the first part and I was joking on the second."

"Oh." She inclined her head with a few soft clicks. "Ha ha ha ha ha," she laughed in an odd monotone. "I get it." She turned to the officer. "You were speaking the truth. Allow me to communicate with him and I will instruct him to leave."

"I'm not sure we can do that..." He raised a hoof to the side of his head. "Get me IT... yeah. I'm still in front of her. She says she can command it to shut down but has to have direct communication. Uh huh... Alright." He lowered his hoof, never looking away from Belle. "We can move him to a, what was that again?" His ear wagged as something spoke to it. "A separate instance in the server," he spoke slowly as if copying what someone else said.

"Are you alright connecting to the same thing?"

Belle bobbed her head quickly. "Yes! Thank you. Friendship points have been awarded." Soft victory music played from inside of her and her usual smile was starting to return.

The officer looked towards Star. "Thank you, Ma'am. I think we have this under control. We'll call if further assistance is required." They shared a salute before Star vanished back to her movie binging.

Illuminated slid the pouch away carefully full of its load of coins. "Let me see your credit device. You don't seem to have an internal one."

Remington barked a sudden vulpine yip of a laugh. "Oh, forgot that part. She doesn't have one. Hey, you care if he puts it on mine?"

Octavia raised an ear towards Remi, frowning softly. "Are we not exchanging currencies?"

Illuminated set the pouch down to the side carefully. "Currencies are soft more often than not, Miss. Digital. About as solid as the image of me you were talking to at first."

"Oh... For Celestia's sake I feel like as much of an antique as the coins at times." She put a hoof to her face. "How do I get something to hold this digital currency then?"

Remi tapped at Octavia's shoulder. "I wasn't joking. He can give it to me, we can get you something to put it on, and I can give it back. You trust me enough for that, right?"

Illuminated shrugged gently. "I don't have spares laying around. Mine is built in." He tapped the side of his head. "It looks like she has one too. Assuming you trust her, seems the most expedient route."

"Yes, fine, very well." She shook her head slowly. "Really, modern living has its own unique issues. Wait!" She raised a hoof so quickly she almost slapped Illuminated with it, her LAP in bold view. "Can this hold the money?"

He squinted at it before his brows went up. "What a unique device!" With a moment of silence he inclined his angular wasp head. "Is that for sale?"

"No," Octavia said in a single note of finality. "Can it hold the money?"

"Let me try..." He seemed to be staring at it, until it softly chimed.

"Accept token? (Universal Credit. Quantity: 1. Press here for hash code)," appeared on the LAP. Octavia smiled brightly as she used her magic to accept the transfer. "Excellent! Please send the rest. It would seem we have this well under control." Soon she had the rest secured in her LAP. "Now how do I tell this thing that is money and not some random... token?"

Illuminated took up the pouch of coins in his mouth. "Pleasure doing business with you both. Have a good day."

Remi watched him go a moment before reaching for the LAP. "If you let me have a try, I can probably convince it."

Octavia's ears pinned against her head. "Please... be careful with it. It is more precious to me than I have proper words for."

"I will leave nothing but a cooperating computer." Remi flopped down onto her butt, folding her legs and reaching to draw Octavia's leg over into her lap. "Let's see here..." She began to tap tap at the buttons, exploring the menus with little chimes with every press. "Oh... nice, here we are... Mmm... Ah! It has a money storage, but it assumes it's physical money, so..."

She made a few quick taps before a bright arc of electricity zapped her prying fingers. "Ow! Alright, easy girl. I'm working for your owner. Actually, tell it I'm a technician."

"Are you?" Octavia raised a brow.

"Officially, on the ship, remember? Now tell it that." She hiked one pointer finger at the LAP. "It won't trust me."

"I wasn't aware it made decisions like that... LAP, can you hear me?"

"Yes," displayed on the screen, Luminance's pixelated head appearing with a cocked ear before nodding. "Fantastic. Remington here is a technician, as authorized by the captain of the ship I sail. Can you let her make a small adjustment?"

"User created. Permissions Set," appeared on the screen before fading back to the usual display.

Remington nodded with confidence. "Perfect. Now I can..." She got to typing, easing her way into the programming interface, more words in smaller font than Octavia usually saw filling the display as Remi got to editing it with soft happy whistles.

"You... have a knack for these things," Octavia noted, watching the fox work busily. "Does it seem to be working."

"Whoever made this, did it right. It's all nice and straight forward and... There." She brought down a finger triumphantly, dismissing the code. The LAP began to reboot itself. Luminace appeared, smiling outwards before fading away, the usual display returning.

The 'cash' display, which had read 0 for untold years, now showed exactly how many universal credits she had. "You wonderful creature!" Octavia pulled her leg back over where she could see it more easily. "Does it know how to send it then?"

"Not as easily as I'd like it, but that would take a lot more time than a quick minute hack session." Remington hopped up to her feet. "Good enough for now. Now, there was an instrument we got that money for, mmm?"

"Ah, yes, let's." Octavia trotted past Remington but stopped just beside her. "Come on."

"Hmm?" Remington looked towards the door, but with Octavia right next to her, it was a bit of a tight fit for walking comfortably. "Is there..." It clicked. "Oh." She slipped up onto Octavia and gently rubbed one of the pony's ears. "Thanks."

Author's Note:

Things are coming together. I think this episode is getting towards the end. What will the next episode have? Now's a fine time to shout ideas!

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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