• Published 6th Apr 2019
  • 1,160 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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43 - Fire of Life

The ship sailed through the silent doors, the great gates of some unknown metal that could have proven a serious barrier if one considered how thick they were as they were passed, which they did. Steel tapped at his chin, considering it. "Whatever this is, it was heavily defended and secured, but not to keep something in, or to be hostile, from what we've seen. Is whatever it contains still dangerous by nature of what it is, perhaps some rogue black hole like structure that powers it and could tear it apart if not for the reinforcements?"

Many faces turned to look at Steel. "What? I'm allowed to have a scientific thought once in a while." He inclined his head towards Under, who had Twilight seated beside him. "Is my hypothesis off base?"

"No. I had similar thoughts," he admitted as he touched unseen keys. "The odds of an unstable black hole feel low, but something they wanted to shield from escape, or interference perhaps."

Dawn Event moved his hooves through several prayer motions across his chest. "We are past the first layer of that protection. If it is an emission that is to be stopped, we have already entered it, gods be kind to us."

"I feel fine," noted Twilight as she reached out and touched a button she and Under could see together. "No unusual emissions detected. Wandering, any reports in the crew of issues?"

Wandering glanced to the captains, but they nodded, so he replied, "There is a pattern that feels hard to dismiss entirely as coincedence, even if it is exactly the sort of thing that would get one laughed out of a room."

Fast sat up. "Permission to speak freely, Wandering. No laughing permitted for the next fifteen minutes." She held up a hoof as if that made the order more official.

He tapped his fore hooves together. "The number of social relationships started and their progression has increased sharply." He moved a hoof behind his head. "Crewmembers with permitted children rights--"

"--Permitted children rights?" cut in Spike, seated behind the captains. "What's that?"

Dawn was happy to field that question. "Most of us, being echoes of the same person, avoid forming bonds with each other, even across generational divides." He inclined his head faintly. "Friendship and peer bonds are entirely acceptable. Some even become roommates or forge asexual connections, but children are forbidden. When we are given shore leave, it is inevitable that off-ship crew joins, and with it, couples may have children rights."

Spike blinked slowly, then began to color. "So... Sonja has children rights?"

"Apologies." Wandering dipped his head. "If I may proceed?" When Steel nodded, he continued, "They're getting together, and the results are happening faster than usual. Although no... Nothing directly bad is happening." He rubbed his cloven hooves together. "It does present a pattern."

Steel inclined his head. "Is this a result of our proximity to the mega Dyson sphere? I thought no energy but visible light was going through this space."

Dawn gestured at things only he could see. "Nothing detected, captain. I am still on high alert." He turned an ear. "But if this is the gravest threat it poses, Lashtada would only smile on it."

Steel coughed into a hoof. "Depending on how pervasive it is, it could cause issue, should it prompt unsactioned unions."

Spike raised a claw, but it silently lowered back to the ground as he quietly put together what that could mean. His eyes went instead to Fast and Steel, who seemed like fast friends.

Fast sat up. "Let us be vigilant. We are explorers. We can control ourselves. Now, what is it we've stepped into?" Her eyes went to the main screen where the landing strip grew larger and larger with their approach. "How long until we've docked, and will we need--"

"No," cut in Dawn. "The doors have sealed behind us and gas levels are normalizing. Scans report the air is free of harmful material, organic or not, and within tolerable ranges."

Spike sat down in his room, later, allowed to escape the talks of the bridge. "Uh, so... maybe it's nothing..."

Sonja hiked a brow at him. "You're looking sour. Something you need me to punch a hole in?" She directed her gun towards him, tongue clucking against her teeth. "Just paint the target."

"Nothing a bullet will fix," he admitted with a little smile. "Look... I'm enjoying our time, together."

"There's a big 'but' hiding in that sentence," she noted. "What's wrong? Come out with it. I can't fight what I can't see."

Spike waved vaguely. "Apparently the entire crew, us included, is... getting, you know, amorous? And a part of me is just bothered. Is our thing because we're a match, or because we're being told to by some outside... thing?"

Sonja curled in on him, touching noses gently. "I'm happy with you. Are you happy with me?"

A smile curled across his lips. "Yeah... It was a little odd at first, but you really grow on a dragon. Even your younger half, in a different way."

"You think that's odd for you? Every time you play with her, I get new childhood memories, foggy in my head, of when I used to play with you, except you're right there. Part of me wants to demand a ride and to have you tell me a story before bed, like you 'used' to, but you never did, and I know that, but feelings don't work that way, do they Spike?"

Spike set a large hand on her barrel and began to rub gently in a circle. "I'm sorry about that. I mean, if you want me to tell you a story..."

She burst into laughter at that, tail whipping. "You would, wouldn't you? I just may take you up on that offer, but let's adjust our sights." She inclined her head a little. "To be blunt, I don't care. If someone gave me a shove to start this whole thing, good, thanks whatever you are. I like you, Spike, a lot. Love is the classic word, but it doesn't matter. I like where we are right now. If you like it, then who cares why we got here? If it stops nudging me, I don't think I'll suddenly stop liking it."

Spike half-climbed on her to touch his cheek to hers, his claws stroking and scratching gently through her soft pelt, enjoying her presence. "You do have a point there... Maybe I'm overthinking it."

"Just another part of you I like, though I think you mighta got that from your sister." She smirked a little. "She find someone to hook up with? I want to meet the couple. If what you said is true, she's getting a helping hoof."

"Oh, yeah." Spike sat up a little, considering Twilight being nudged towards some potential mate. "Wow, wonder how that'll work."

"Ya know what?"

Belle perked an ear with a little metal click. "My storage capacity is--"

"That ain't what I meant," cut in Error. "And ya know that!"

Belle giggled softly, admitting she did, in fact, know she was answering incorrectly. "What were you asking about?" she asked, nuzzling into his side, her eyes becoming hearts a moment.

"About 'the big question' an' all." He inclined his head, snakes looking towards her as one hoof rested over her. "Ah think that'd be really nice. Jus' checkin' though, ya sure ah'm cut out fer fatherin'?"

Belle bounced to her hooves. "Of course. I have conducted thorough analysis of all available data points." A glowing sheet appeared with many dots across it. "Cross indexing our personality and knowledge points." Some of the points began coloring blue and red. "Neither of us are entirely suitable for parenting."

Error blinked slowly. "Uh, that's bad. So why're we doin' it?"

Belle buzzed from inside. "Incorrect conclusion! When combined, we have everything we neeed." The dots came together and a line cut through them, forming a big heart. "We are incomplete until combined."

"Huh..." Error sat up and reached to pat the top of Belle. "So, I was thinkin'."

Belle leaned in, eyes growing larger with hope.

"About that choice, uh, the next one." He rolled a hoof in the air. "Ah think we both got somethin' right. Our kid aughta--"

Belle suddenly crashed into him, hugging fiercely. "You approve?!"

"Hey, lemme finish mah thought," he huffed with a little smile, unable to be truly angry with Belle's excitement. "They should have a body that is theirs, but they should also be able to hop out of it and not feel like they're leavin' themselves. They should have both of our powers, together."

"Together!" cried Belle, clopping her forehooves together with metal clangs. "You are correct! Our child should have both of our strengths. I feel foolish for considering otherwise." She tilted her head left at a ninety degree angle. "It is obviously correct now that you have proposed it." She turned a hoof at herself. "I only regret that--"

"So change it," cut in Error. "It's yer mind, Ain't no one else gonna tell you what to think."

"But... It's scary," she admitted, her voice getting quieter as she proceeded. "I don't want to be lost," she barely whispered. "It's so large..."

Error set a hoof on her other side and drew her close, cradling his suddenly vulnerable seeming partner. "Hey... hey, ah'm here... it's alright. Yer not alone."

She leaned against him, silence growing a moment before she craned her head to look up at his face. "We will create something better than either of us."

"Not sure that's possible." He moved his hoof to her nose. "You set a damn high bar."

She giggled and seemed to relax. Whatever her fears, they would face them, together.

"We should cease this," concluded Under Score, sitting in his room, looking to Twilight. "At least until we are assured to be outside of influences to our thoughts. We don't want to do something we'll regret."

Twilight groaned, her tail swaying. "Under... We are both intelligent ponies. I've run the numbers, and there is nothing stopping us! What we may not like, we can change."

Under frowned softly. "I am uncertain how much I like the idea of having a partner that only likes me because the unfavorable parts can be altered."

"Then change me," she shot back. "Would you prefer someone that looks their age?" She looked away, towards a floating view of the stars. "I'll be wrinkly and old... with you." She turned an ear. "In fact, if we get along as well as I hope we can, I could match your age when you loop around."

Under laughed at that. "You'd best not. I am quite the troublemaker as a foal. I will tug your mane and flee to avoid any cooties you may be in possession of. Not to mention any physical intimacy would be clearly off the table during such a period."

Twilight's lips upturned in a faint smile. "Sounds adorable... I would learn you, all of you, and we'd have forever to learn each other, to adjust, or just learn to accept what makes the other special."

"That is either romantic, or a classic horror scenario." He shook his head slowly. "I feel certain I've read both angles. Miss Sparkle, Sonja is already engaged in a similar relationship."

"You should talk to her," she proposed without a hint of delay. "If she's happy, or not, it could help you come to an informed decision." She raised a hoof to her chest. "That's fair, right?"

"She may also be under the influence of what may be influencing us..." He shook his head. "I'm uncertain that would put my mind at ease."

"Or it might. She is a friend, so give her a try," gently urged Twilight. "For now, Under, we're friends. Please don't end that."

"Friends with... benefits, as they say. I trust you will insist on those benefits?"

Twilight began to color vividly. "Only if you want... I won't stop being a friend if you want to pause that part..."

He touched his nose to hers. "I respect that answer. Very well, if you mean it, we can continue this, but that remains 'paused', as you put it."

Author's Note:

Under Score puts a hoof down. Sonja invites Spike to put his hands down on her. Love is thick in the air, and we have a sphere to explore!

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