• 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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42 - Under Scoring the Important Things

He looked up from around the floating screen he had been studying towards his door. "Let her in."

The door slid open, permitting Twilight Sparkle to enter Under Score's chamber, her eyes wandering, taking in the many signs of an active mind. She took quick note of the lack of books. "Not a fan of reading?"

Under gestured at the floating screen that only he could see. "I have access to more books than I have living time to read." He rolled up to all four hooves. "What brings you here? Were it not for your arrival, I would be doing just that; reading."

"My apologies." She put a hoof behind her head before her horn glowed, producing her PDA. "I was hoping you could show me a few things... outside of the classroom."

He reached casually to press a hoof against her face. "I'm off duty, Miss Sparkle."

"You can call me Twilight," she gently insisted, darting around the hoof. "Look, Under..." She faltered, licking her lips and moving from one hoof to the other, trying to gather her bravery. "What do you look for, in a potential romantic partner?"

"I don't look," he replied perhaps a bit too quickly. But then he did, examining Twilight. "In some lives, before I become a 'proper' Under Score, I find a partner during my younger years. But Under Score is not properly Under Score until he has advanced in years." He smiled gently, wrinkled lips upturning. "Those urges dim with time."

Twilight took a slow breath. "I'm older, physically, than anyone on this ship." She put a hoof to her chest. "I know I don't look it, but if I did, I'd beat you for wrinkles per square inch, easily."

A low chuckle emerged from him. "I can imagine, with some effort." He waved the panel away, banishing it. "What, exactly, are you after? I don't have anything that should--"

"You're smart," she cut off. "You enjoy reading. You enjoy studying magic. You know the importance of friends." She tapped her forehooves together with each positive factor she listed. "You're responsible and kind and when you see something new, you want to know more, not recoil in fear."

"And I have nothing that would appeal to the needs of an eternally youthful mare." He huffed softly with a half-smile. "I cannot satisfy you."

"You're not giving me enough credit." She circled him, closing in on a spiral approach. "As somepony reminded me, our mindsets being compatible is far more important. We are both talented magic users. Our bodies are just gentle suggestions made by the universe, which we can ignore whenever we want it hard enough."

He opened his mouth to object further when the kiss happened. She pressed her lips to his in an awkward meeting. He could have shoved her away, and he almost did in that first instant, just out of fury of her daring to invade his personal space in such a fashion.

But it wasn't all bad. He wasn't a young stallion anymore. No physical reactions to be seen, but it didn't mean it didn't feel nice, to have that vision of eternal youth pressing against him, gazing into his eyes with a burning passion he reserved for reading something especially interesting.

Maybe he wouldn't shove her away...

"Medical Scan: Complete," alerted a soft artificial voice as Octavia stepped down from a platform. "Recommendations sent."

Octavia glanced to her LAP, which showed a file being downloaded, awaiting her review. "Thank you, computer. Anything I should be outright concerned with?"

"Nutritional deficiency detected. Severity: Mild. Dietary adjustment already filed."

She nodded as she approached her instrument and rose up to pull it into playing position. "Thank you. What a time to be alive, when that sort of thing is just handled. Anything else?"

"You are host to a benign parasitic organism." Octavia's playing bow fell from her numb telekinetic grip. "You are pregnant," explained the computer a bit more plainly.

Octavia fell back to all four hooves, clopping as they struck the ground. "But... Are we even compatible!?"

"I did not understand the question." The computer, as intelligent as it was in some ways, was horribly dumb in other ways.

"She's bipedal," explained Octavia more bluntly. "I'm quadruped."

"For further advice, a medical professional is advised." An image of the ship appeared on a nearby wall, showing glowing spots where on duty medical staff waited to dispense information.

Octavia stormed across the room and thumped a blanketed form, knocking her right off her cushion with a muffled yelp. "This is your fault!"

"What'd I do?!" Remi scrambled to her feet. "You are looking especially irate. It's an interesting look for you, but, seriously, what's going on?"

Octavia thrust a hoof around back at her own belly. "Your child is apparently taking up residency inside me without my leave!"

"1: Our child." She thrust up a finger, only to join another shortly. "2: You called it here when you played with me." A third finger joined. "You weren't taking anything to stop this?" A fourth finger thrust up. "If you're not doing something about it, are we going to be a real thing now? I mean, you know, married?"

"Do some..." Her face paled. "No! Celestia forfend." She looked away, scowling. "I didn't ask for it, but it's done, and we're not in a position I can't... care for it... It would be the height of irresponsibility for me to not accept the consequences of my actions." She thrust the same hoof at Remi. "But that goes for you too! No more talk of whimsical romances."

Remi kneeled in front of the livid mare and gently cupped her cheeks in warm fuzzy hands. "That is not the proposal I imagined, but, since you insist, sure."

"Sure?" Octavia pulled away. "Sure?! That is the word you use for this?"

"Sure, yes, I accept," counted off Remi. "Let's get married and take care of a kid. You did it, silly mare."

"What did I do?" she questioned, one brow raising high.

"You caught a space fox." She sat down, tail swaying behind her. "I'm not leaving until we're done playing family."

"We're not playing," she sighed out, her anger starting to ebb. "This is serious. You are the father of this child, whatever gender preferences you have, this is impossible to argue. And I am its mother..." She glanced at the computer, or where it had spoken last. "Do you know of they are a filly or a colt?"

"Equestrian Genomic analysis unavailable." The map flashed. "Please consult resident physicians."

Remi gently brushed one of Octavia's ears. "I'll walk with you. Let's make sure our child and you are doing just fine."

Later, on the bridge, Steel gestured at the huge metal gates that took up most of the screen. "Any reactions?"

"Incoming transmission," reported Wandering, and a voice began to play over the main screen.

It flowed from one language to another, strange and alien, at least until it slid into the language of fae creatures, sylvan, and just about every ear in the room raised. "Welcome to creation, weary race. Come and drink deep and regain the fire of life." The voice continued, sliding to the next language, repeating the message over and over again in different tongues.

As the voice went on and on, the gate began to open soundlessly, moving left and right to reveal a dark interior, little lights sparkling into being. "A landing strip?" suggested Fast as she leaned forward, squinting at them. "So they intended for visitors."

Steel inclined his head. "That hardly sounded like a hostile message. Dawn, any religious significance?"

"Always, Captain." Dawn nodded with confidence. "It is a matter of knowing which divinity to take the perspective of. They mentioned a fire of life? There are many angles to approach that from and we do not have sufficient information to take a guess."

"What are the odds we're being invited in to be cooked to a crisp?" asked Steel more directly.

"Low." He dipped his head towards the main screen. "They sound benign."

"Take us in?" Steel looked to Fast.

Fast nodded in quick agreement. "Let's see what's inside this thing. At least it doesn't seem to be an unspeakable horror awaiting release."

With the captains in consensus, they both pointed forward, and the ship shuddered into motion. Across the ship, yellow lights dimly flashed, warning the crew to be on light alert as they approached for a landing.

Copper Lens ran a hoof over a large leaf, a little smile on her face. "More plants are growing tall and strong. Fertilizer needs have spiked appropriately, but food will not be remotely an issue. Fruiting bodies have shown a near 100% increase in size." She inclined her head left. "Tasty, and curious..."

Her horn glowed as she plucked a ripe fruit off of its plant. It came free easily as if it was meant for the task. "Your life cycle only begins when you pass through the digestive system of a cooperative animal." She sniffed the fruit gently, admiring the citrusy hints teasing at her nose. "You smell lovely. It's almost as if you're begging to be eaten, to make more plants." But that was silly. "I'm assigning pony-like qualities to plants. I need to relax." She walked out of the lab, confident in her work for the day. Her magic peeled the fruit as she trotted, taking a big juicy bite of it as soon as it was revealed.


A younger Dawn Event set a hoof against Octavia's barrel, gently rubbing. "How blessed are we, distant children of Lashtada."

Remi perked an ear at that. "Pardon, not up to speed on horse gods. Which one's that?"

Dawn's nose wrinkled. "A goddess most kind, but primal. She bids that life fulfill its most inherent function, making more life. To sustain itself at least as long as it takes to be successful at creating the next generation, to repeat the process, into infinity." Dawn turned to Octavia. "You have joined the dance, as her faithful would call it, and are creating a hybrid, a sacred thing in her eyes."

Octavia's nostrils flared in a snort. "Sacred? Any foal is worthy of... admiration, but what makes that especially 'sacred'?" She glanced over her shoulder at herself. "Is it healthy, and do you know if it's a colt or a filly?"

"It is neither of those things," gently cautioned Dawn. "Kit or foal, both terms would miss the mark as it straddles the line between." He set a hoof back on her side. "It is very early. I will pray to the goddess for insight, and she may yet reveal the answer. Otherwise, we will know with certainty in a few weeks."

Remi set her paws on her hips. "Well, I feel good. I'm compatible with adorable ponies, who knew?"

"Lashtada knew," spoke Dawn as if that had been perfectly clear ahead of time. "By her words, ponies can find love with any creature that will accept us. Love knows no limits save those we place ourselves." He bowed his head, then his entire front, lowering himself before the divine. "Your child is sacred because Lashtada bids all life come together, until there are no borders left. An ambitious goal, but what is a god, if not a being that can play the long game?"

Remi placed her hands on Octavia's hips from behind. "You hear that? Our playing was also sacred. No wonder it was so fun."

"You have precisely three seconds to let go of me." When Remi released her immediately, Octavia nodded, looking to Dawn. "Well, alright. We are, at least, healthy?"

"You are both healthy," proclaimed the priest with confidence. "Keep yourself in good spirits and mind yourself and soon you will be a mother. Please, return as often as you feel the urge. It is my duty to aid you through this time."

Octavia turned for the door but paused, gesturing with a hoof for Remi to come closer. When the fox stepped in close, Octavia reared up and smooched her on the cheek in a little peck. "I'm sorry if I snap. This is a trying time. I consented to every action that led to this, this isn't your fault."

She took a slow breath. "I just have to keep reminding myself that."

Author's Note:

Let's land in an alien mega-dyson sphere! What lurks within?!

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