• 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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44 - Enter Me

Spike descended down the ramp, Sonja perched atop him. "This sure looks... like something." He had volunteered for and gotten the task of being one of the first off the ship to nose around the unknown. The ramp hit a smooth metal platform that ran through the pinkish lights on either side towards doors in the distance. "Whoever built this loved doors like Sombra dug stairs."

Sonja poked Spike from above. "Avoid sayings that rely on cultural things I don't have a sight on."

Spike glanced over his shoulder at his rider. "Are there sayings that don't have that?" With a little chuckle, he advanced. "I'm not seeing anything dangerous so far, captains."

"Roger that," came Steel's voice. "Your connection is solid, be vigilant."

Spike walked slowly and evenly, approaching the door that slid open for him without prompting besides his presence. "Well, that was an easy problem."

Sonja pointed ahead. "Let's keep our triggers ready. We don't know what's going to hop on us."

"I do," jested Spike with a smirk. "But I let that happen."

Sonja prodded one of his head fins. "Not funny. Focus."

Bright sparks danced in fitful moments of contact as the two parents labored to connect pieces together. Floating before them was a holographic representation of the end goal, agreed upon by the two of them. All they had to do was get the pieces to match that image, though that was easier said than done.

Error reached out, pressing a hoof against the image. It stuck to his hoof as he pulled back, revealing some of the inside of the virtual mechanical pony. "Now... ah ain't no expert in this," he admitted.

"Nor am I," agreed Belle. "But I have had experience in conducting self repairs." She inclined her head. "Their first shell will not be perfect, but it will be made at our hooves. That is important." She smiled brightly. "They will probably have other shells over time, that is the Steelheart way."

"But we ain't those," noted Error. "Shoot, me even less than you." Despite his words, he got to work gently trying to get things in place, his snakes grabbing a little board as he did the larger movements with his head. "I'm not saying no, just grumbling."

"Your grumbles are cute, but must be ignored in this case." Belle tapped at her own board, bright sparks dancing. "If you feel slow, this is natural. Both of our processes are occupied."

Error quirked an ear at Belle. "The way, uh, living people describe it, I expected... more."

Belle sat up at that. "We are not alive in the same way. Our pregnancy is different, but also similar." She raised a hoof to tap on her metal chin. "I can detect that even this consideration is delayed, and the work being done right now is being affected. My joints will not experience malfunctions as I am not gaining mass." She turned a hoof to point at their work. "Accept the code I am sending."

He could see the floating prompt, asking if he wanted to accept the code being offered to him. He did not deny her, pressing accept. In his field of view, a new window appeared with a few numbers, three numbers. "Mmm? What's this?"

"How many iterations have completed." She clicked a board into place. "How many have passed inspection and have been added back to the schedule. How many iterations remain to be tested, including the ones put back on the pile." She inclined her head at Error. "I find being able to see and react to the passing and failing of iterations to... make it more intimate, for me. I hope it helps you too."

"Huh, so we both see the same numbers?"

"Incorrect." She reached for little parts that she began adding to a board. "We update only occasionally. Iterations running on me do not interact with iterations you are computing." She paused, ears dancing. "Oh. Sorry," She whispered out to the unseen digital life that had reached an end before it could even begin, one iteration failed, the next starting its tests.

"Huh..." he echoed, setting down his tools and circling the table. He gently hugged Belle from behind, that much he understood.

Remi gently nuzzled the belly of her girlfriend. "You suddenly grew."

Octavia's cheeks darkened swiftly as she slimmed before Remi's surprised eyes, becoming as skinny as always she had been. "Sorry, let myself go."

"That's something you control?" Remi sat up and softly patted Octavia's side. "Well, go ahead, let yourself go. You're preggers, show it." She leaned in and touched noses. "Wait, if you're showing... how far along are you?"

Octavia glanced away and back. "You're about to make fun of me."

"Am not!" hotly defended the fox, tickling under Octavia's chin. "I'm here for you, silly girl. I put that in there, so it's my responsibility to put on my mature hat."

"You have one of those?" Octavia smirked softly. "Not eaten through by moths from being abandoned in your closet for so long?"

Remi tapped Octavia on the nose. "If you want me to not rub your sore parts, you're doing a great job."

Octavia's ears flipped back. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry," she quickly yielded, flopping over onto her side. "I'll be good."

"That's better." Remi reached to gently rub a spot she knew made Octavia sigh with relief. Octavia had shown her how to play a flute, but Remi had taught herself how to play an Octavia, and that instrument was pretty fun to work.

Twilight's horn glowed as she pressed buttons without moving, rapidly typing while appearing to be perfectly still and unacting.

Under could see the result when she hit enter, sending a message to him.

Why didn't we go? They could use some intelligent eyes on this mystery!

He answered out loud, "The captains did not select us. We will have to offer our insight from a distance."

Twilight huffed softly, crossing her arms, her glowing horn still typing away.

I know you would have wanted to have the first glance.

She glanced over at him for but a moment, eyes snapping back to where they should rest to study the floating screen only she could see.

"We will have to watch from here," he gently placated. He reached over and set a hoof on her shoulder, making her jump a moment before she peeked at him. "You do not act your age, Miss Sparkle." She began to color swiftly. "You have the eagerness of a mare not even one tenth your age."

Twilight blinked slowly, running the numbers in her head.

One tenth of my age is still older than you physically are.

"Welcome," stated a voice among many others. The others were speaking in other languages, repeating the same word in countless tongues.

Spike looked slowly left and right in the hallway. "Well, at least we can be sure we're not intruding."

"Hm... not sure I'm going to be putting holes in anything here. Did I pick the wrong away mission?" She leaned in over Spike, looking at him upside down. "'Least we're together."

"Could be worse," agreed Spike, advancing at a steady plod. "Hey, uh, big sphere thing, can you hear us? Got a computer that wants to talk?"

"Spike!" A bright pink form stepped free from nothing, fading in as she advanced. "It's been so long." There was Cadance, smiling at him. "And you've found a special somepony?! This is fantastic!"

Spike inclined his head, peering at the impossibility that was Cadance. "Uh... Alright, so... hologram?"

Cadance waved it away. "Don't be silly. I'm like Twilight. Unless someone is... unkind, I won't be going anywhere." She leaned in. "And this seems to go for you too, though you've grown larger with time."

Sonja peered at the large pink alicorn. "Pardon, uh, whoever you are. Spike seems to know you, that's nice, but I don't. Mind introducing yourself before my trigger gets too itchy?"

"I am Princess Cadance," she introduced herself, raising a hoof not to her chest but to Spike, rubbing his cheek gently. "And you've grown up! I was so worried... how you went before. I thought your flame would have just... petered away." Her eyes went to Sonja. "Are you going to have foals together?"

Sonja colored faintly, her gun making a rather loud click as she directed it at Cadance. "That is a discussion for us to have, without you."

Fast inclined her head at the main screen where they could see and hear Cadance speaking. "Should we... intervene?"

Steel raised a hoof. "She doesn't seem hostile and Spike recognized her."

Fast coughed into a hoof. "She appears to be doing a terrific job of pressing Sonja's buttons. Sonja, please don't attack the alien intelligence before we know what it is and what it wants, kindly."

Sonja's right ear danced in response to the voice whispering in it, but still she scowled at Cadance.

Cadance didn't seem at all upset, sitting and reaching with both hooves for the zebra's cheeks. "You will make a magnificent mother, and your children could seed the stars. How romantic!"

Spike's cheeks began to warm at the idea. "Uh... we're just... dating."

Cadance met Sonja's eyes. "You are not a mare that takes things in half steps. You're just waiting for the right time to move forward, I imagine."

A deafening bang filled the hallway. Cadance took a slow step back, a clean circle blown through her center. "That was unkind." She flickered away.

"Sonja!" came Fast's voice. "What did I just say?"

"Apologies, captain, but when a hostile target is lined up, I take the shot." Sonja crossed her arms. "The nerve..."

Spike peered over his shoulder. "That was... quite a reaction. You know I won't do anything you don't want, why'd you get so mad?"

Steel's voice rang out in both their ears, "Go ahead and proceed. That looked like a projection, so no real harm was done. Still, I must insist you put the safety on that canon of yours."

"Every gesture made thus far has been one of benign nature," agreed Fast over the same radio. "No reason to ruin that."

Sonja grumbled softly, but did lean over, clicking on the safety to prevent another 'accidental' shot being taken. "We'll have kids when and if we feel like it."

A door slid open to their left and Spike diverted to head towards it. "Hello?" he called out, but no other images appeared to respond. He poked his head in the room and a new voice began to speak.

"As races grow old and advanced, they too can experience a slowing down of fire as any of their individuals face with a progressing life, even if medical and arcane advances allow such to be staved for individuals."

Spike advanced into the room as lights began to flicker to life, showing different galaxies with strange little icons over each one.

"Our people," continued the voice, "faced this once. Our people were healthy and vigorous. We had defeated death itself, but in doing so, we had threatened to kill ourselves. The urge to pass the torch forward had faded to the dullest embers. Time itself could not claim us, but nothing is forever."

Sonja reached into a pocket, popping a wad of gum in her mouth to chew on. "I think I see where this is headed."

"Shhh," came both captain's voices.

The image drew in close to one of the galaxies, showing a collection of stars, then a single solar system, then a single world, then further closer until a specific city was in view, filled with strange creatures with three arms and two legs. "We had conquered most we had set out to do, but time would have its victory over us." Slowly, different members of their people, walking along the streets, riding would-be bikes or cars, just faded away. "Violence, accidents, there was no way to reduce their likelihood to nothing, and still, we had stopped making more. Our fire had gone out, and we would go with it."

Author's Note:

The ultimate fate of a species that advances too far?

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