• Published 6th Apr 2019
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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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58 - We Meet

"I struggle to imagine any god would call you." Despite its words, it also sank down on all four legs, laying flat on its belly.

The female voice finished, "You all have the single head of the warrior caste, but you tell me you come not only in peace, but as experts of peace?"

Belle flopped down in front of Twilight, matching the alien's stance. "If we intended violence, what purpose would this dialogue have? Belle to bridge!"

"Belle?" came Steel's voice. "Everything alright? I see you've... joined the situation."

"Affirmative. I must request that no additional crew be sent to this location."

"Roger that." The line went dead.

The alien's eyes shone a soft green, where before it had been an off-red. "I do not understand. Do you believe you are enough, here?"

Twilight nodded firmly. "Of course. It only takes two creatures speaking to make friends, sometimes even without words." She offered a hoof forward. "Can we try?"

"You have not answered my question," complained the female voice.

"Why should we answer yours?" finished the male.

"They are also dual!" called Harp, still quite stuck in the goo.

"Is that your sibling too?" asked Glitch.

"In... a matter of speaking," spoke the male, clearly baffled. "You say that as if you are the only one."

"'Cause we are," huffed out Glitch, extending their tongue.

Under sat up into view. "I am going to take a few assumptions. Please correct me if I'm wrong." None of them immediately stopped him. "Your species is naturally of two heads, with two personalities. Those who enter this 'warrior caste', somehow reduce themselves to one head, but the two personalities remain."

The alien tapped their claws together. Their version of a nod. "Yes. That you would explain that implies your people do not do this. How... terrifying. To go through life so alone, without another."

Twilight clopped her hooves together. "Wonderful!" The alien looked confused at her outcry. "We're gaining understanding of one another. That's a vital first step to friendship. Now, we should apologize."

"What are you apologizing for?" asked the female.

"We have not yet made demands," continued the male, both speaking through the same mouth much like Glitch and Harp.

"We are at fault." Belle inclined her head. "We surprised you and scared you. Sorry."

"You did that," allowed the female.

"But we were prepared," finished the male, a facial expression forming, but what did it mean? "Your coming was long foretold."

"Not to get in the middle of this." Remi wriggled from within the goo. "Got something to get rid of this stuff? It's stickier than I thought it'd be."

Under pointedly ignored Error going to give a hoof. "What, exactly, were you warned of? A prophecy, I assume?"

"Indeed," both alien voices spoke at once.

The male took up the case after that, "That one day the greatest predator would arrive and set its glowing eyes upon us. That we would be sorely tested, and if we are found wanting, we would be lost."

Twilight inclined her head faintly. "That doesn't disagree with what we've said. If you can't make friends, then we have no choice but to leave. You would be lost, alone in the stars."

Spike raised a claw. "But we're not carnivores. Heck, I'm not even an herbivore. Technically, I prefer a lithovore diet, and you do not appear to be made of rocks."

"You're a dragon!" yelped the male.

"How are you not a carnivore?" continued the female.

Twilight inclined her head at Spike. "To be more precise, Spike can eat a great deal of things, but prefers gems." Her glowing horn drew out a small gem for example. "A specific kind of rock?"

The male spoke as their head leaned in to see. "I know what a gem is. The tongues spell is operating nicely."

Under's ears pricked. "Ah ha!" Eyes turned towards him. "What? A classic spell, still in use today. Had they emerged spouting gibberish at us, I would have used it myself. It's better they used it, since that lets them speak to us all, rather than I becoming the translating point."

Twilight gestured at Under. "We are spellcasters, as I feel certain you are aware."

"Spells," started the female.

"You cast for friendship," concluded the male, some confusion in the shared sentence.

Belle pointed at the strange alien. "Do you not cast spells for constructive purposes?"

"Of course we do," both spoke at once.

The male took over from there, "But its advancement is on the field of survival."

Under chuckled softly, one ear twisting back. "We are alike then. That is where much of our magic grew and developed, but we have moved on from such roots."

Twilight raised a hoof behind her head. "Even with that, we have quite a number of spells with perfectly peaceful results. That tongues spell you cast is a great example!"

Spike flopped down close to his friends. "No more summons, please." He grumbled softly, still tore up from that fight, and none present were healers.

"How do you share processing time?" asked Glitch, stepping forward. They had been freed of the goop thanks to their father.

"That is an excellent question," agreed Harp. "The processor we are using has many sub-processors and we have divided the cores between us, permitting real time multi-tasking."

The alien just peered at them. Even with body language somewhat fuzzy, the confusion was clear. The female spoke, "I don't understand what you're asking."

Remi's hand came down on their shared head, gently pulling them back. "They're a great spellcaster, but still from a category 0 spacefaring race. They have no idea what you're talking about."

"There are others?" asked the male.

"Of course there are," argued the female. "There can't be a greatest predator if there are not lesser."

"The greatest of our world does not need others off of it," contended the male, the alien launching into a spirited debate with itself.

Error set one hoof on Belle's back, the other on Glitch Harp. "They do sound familiar."

Harp sang out joyfully, "They are like us! We have already gained friendship points."

"We barely know them," cut in Glitch. "Maybe they like the taste of robots."

The male broke away from the argument to reply to Glitch, "That was exactly our fear."

"That seems unlikely at this point," admitted the female. "But that you aren't here to devour us doesn't mean we give you complete trust."

"That would be foolish," agreed the male.

Twilight gestured with a hoof at the ship crew. "At this point, I think we can safely say that neither side wants to hurt the other. We just want to avoid being hurt, like most creatures I'm aware of."

The female spoke, "That we have spoken this long speaks well of your truth."

"We were prepared for treachery," warned the male, the two rising to their clawed feet. "The question remains of your single head. A natural feature, you say. How do you function?"

"That is what I asked," complained Harp in an electric whine.

"And that ain't what they answered," replied Glitch, rolling her eye. "And they don't gotta."

"The young... Are they young?" The alien regarded the robot. "You are all of different races."

Remi spread her hands to encompass all the folks she traveled with. "We're all different, but friends."

"How?" asked the female.

"Don't your differences spark conflict?" asked the male.

"Affirmative." Bell bounced in place. "But we learn about each other and amend our operations to prevent further friendship loss."

Under pointed to Remi. "She is mated to one of her." He pointed to Twilight. "That one," he pointed again to Twilight. "Is courting me. I have not returned the feeling."

The alien rocked back with amazement. "Do not repeat that," warned the male.

"Others," explained the female, "would find that scandalous."

"Then we really did learn something." Remi parked her hands on her hips. "Alright, fighting's off then."

"Fighting is... cancelled," the two voices agreed in solidarity.

"What are your intentions?" asked the female. "Be truthful."

Under sat up taller. "Are you using truth telling spells? Fascinating."

They did not reply to him, instead focusing their eyes on Twilight.

Twilight set her hoof over her chest. "We were actually waiting on an expert on how to approach alien species that are not already space faring, like you." She pointed at the two-minded, one-headed alien. "We mean no harm though, this I can say without hesitation, or lying."

Their eyes moved to Under. "You actually were waiting for friendship experts?"

"I wasn't trying to lie!"

The male voice scoffed out, "Your implication that it was our gods involved was quite the lie."

"But a gentle one," noted the female. "Trying to calm heated blood."

Belle began to play victorious music from within herself. "I, Bulette Belle, do gladly greet you (INSERT NAME HERE)" She cut off dramatically after her prompt, looking to the alien with a huge grin.

The alien was quiet for a moment. "She wants our name," informed the female voice.

"I heard her," gruffed the male. "If you're so sure, why haven't you given yours?"

"That is hardly traditional," complained the female. "You first."

"Very well." The creature scratched at its own teeth as if something was stuck in them. "I am Gabol--"

"--Hilly," cut in the female.

"That is us. We are they," they completed together.

"You have two names, but only one voice, why?" asked the male, eyes still set on Belle.

Belle gestured grandly to Error. "That is my other half, Error NoName. We have created a family unit. We have successfully bred!" She pointed at Glitch Harp. "Behold our progeny!"

"Hey." "Greetings," greeted the two younger voices from Glitch Harp.

The creature's eyes went pink, its skin erring towards a vibrant purple. "They speak of such things," noted the female, aghast.

"They are not us," reminded the male. "What we consider normal, is strange to them.

"Our kin are not ready," declared the female. "We will tell them you were monsters."

Twilight blinked at that. "Monsters? But that's exactly--"

Under put a hoof in front of her mouth. "I understand. We will leave."

The alien nodded. "Do not leave with ill will. Perhaps in another generation or two, we will be more ready."

Remi shrugged softly. "Not to second guess you, but maybe your people would warm up after they got to meet us, preferably face to face and not as sinister bad people in space?"

Error huffed at that. "Nah. People are people. If they ain't ready, they ain't."

"Precisely," agreed the male. "We are one of the best."

"And the brightest," added the female.

"And still we struggle to understand. Our kin will be lost and confused."

"And from confusion comes anger. Do not be upset with them."

"They know not what they do." The two nodded with the one head they had. "We will leave."

Twilight raised a hoof suddenly. "One thing! The children actually had a really good question. How did you go from two heads to one and still house both intelligences? That must be... quite the challenge, from my perspective?"

"It is a sacred rite," spoke the female.

"And very painful," continued the male. "But our souls were rent clean of our impure body and set together in a slightly more ideal body." One of its hands rose, turning palmside up before continuing right along, doing a full 360 as if that was normal. "If we are the only you have seen, this can end."

"About that," cut in Steel in their headpieces. "A child of theirs did contact us."

Under's ears danced. "Our captain reminds that we have had contact with one of your younger. Did we reply already?"

"A basic message," replied Steel. "There was no video."

Under repeated that. "Does this interfere with your plans?"

The alien became quiet a moment. "I see," spoke the female.

"Unfortunate," agreed the male. "We will have to revise our plans, but only slightly. Do your part." And they vanished without word of a spell being given.

Author's Note:

Hey, cheating! No vanishing without spells! God, people...

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