• 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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65 - Elsewhere 3 (The Encounter)

"I know all about you."

Octavia peered at the strange fox creature. "I can't say I know you, I'm afraid."

"How is this not going to paradox?!" wailed the voice in her ear.

"I will have to go, soon... and I apologize ahead of time." Remi set a hand on her chest. "But I'll be back, and then things will be reversed. You'll know me, and I won't know you."

Octavia lifted an ear at Remi, clearly puzzled. "However could that be?"

"When I look into your deep... wonderful eyes... and I don't know your pretty name, you'll know it's true." Remi smiled thinly. "And you can't talk about it, that we met before. You can't whisper it, admit it... Not until I send you a letter, telling you 'I'll be back if I can.' That'll be the key phrase."

Octavia inclined her head at that, tuning her instrument as she listened. "The key phrase to what, dear?"

"You'll be allowed to remember me, to say it, to act like it. Until then, you never saw me. You are a hologram, do you accept these instructions?"

"I..." She licked over her lips and pressed her bow against her cello. "I am going to play a song." She drew that bow in a gentle motion and started a soft piece that spoke of a calm spring day, but it changed as she went, little trembling hints echoing, warning of incoming storms and the heart of the one making the song that was once a set piece.

She opened her eyes as she drew out the last note, only for them to widen. "Why are you crying?" She set the bow aside and fell to all fours, the instrument set gently aside. "Did I misplay?"

"No... It was... perfect." Remi sniffed softly. "I know you don't know me right now, but I love you so much my heart is breaking. I know you're hiding your wings. I know you're hiding your pretty horn."

Octavia tensed with each hidden bodypart named.

"Heck, I know you're bigger than you look. I ran right into it!" Remi chuckled awkwardly. "Octavia... survive..." She flicked an ear back and alighted it. "By the way, the ship is going--"

"--You will not change the future!"

"--shut up! She's supposed to survive," countered Remi, not that poor Octavia could hear the other side of the argument. "The ship will be attacked, and destroyed. Get yourself over there, where Twilight is. Get over there, and survive! Alright?"

"Twilight is on another ship?" Octavia shook her head. "That seems unlikely."

"Not now, later." Remi waved the miscommunication away. "She will flee, her and Spike. Chase them. If you stay here, you'll die, before I ever met you, and that is too sad for me to consider, alright?"

"You..." Octavia took a soft breath. "The entire ship, lost? It has survived countless years."

"And it will be gone in less than a day, an hour if I recall... Be off of it." Remi set a hand on Octavia's shoulders. "Alright?"

"But I'm just... I play music..."

"You are worth so much more than that... Octavia, I want you, all of you, the magic part and the music part and the classy part and the cynical part. All of those parts need to be there, so get on the other ship."

Octavia's ears danced as she looked towards a bag that floated towards her. "I will... pack my things. Can you tell me when this happened... happens? Will happen?"

"I really don't know." Remi smiled a crooked smile. "Just be ready, and act normal until you get that message."

"We never had this conversation," gently agreed Octavia. "You sound like you are going?"

"I was sent to make sure of something. Do I have permission to leave?" She pointed to the door leading out.

"Yes." Octavia raised a hoof to her chest. "This is a bit much... You don't seem like the kind of creature I would fall for, but you speak as if we were quite close."

Remi set her hand on the door, a smooth panel with no handles. "We... I can't go into it. When you see me, you'll be surprised, I bet, and suspicious. Go ahead, feel me out, make up your mind." She smirked a little. "You have good taste."

Octavia's lips turned upwards faintly. "You must not, if you fell for me."

"Ouch." Remi snorted softly, stepping closer to the door, causing it to open. "We are going to have to work on getting you to love all of you." And she was gone, bushy tail swishing on the way out. "You there, Tinker? Gonna go back to pony."

Octavia watched until the door closed. "All gone," she whispered to herself, extending her reach to more of her things. "If... this is true..." She plucked up the armband that meant so much to her. "Maybe... some day." She tucked it away, not donning it yet. It didn't feel right, yet... But she would not forget it. "A little sin of the past." Out came glittering gold jewels hidden away for so long. "I thought I'd never move you again..." All destroyed? She couldn't leave them there to be...

She was an occultist. Guarding the past was part of her duty. A whisper had come to her, not from the past, but from the future? Not the direction she was used to such warnings coming from, not that she had been listening in either direction... "I will protect you." If not for her, it would have slept peacefully, back on Equestria, where they still thought it rested beside their fallen princess. She tucked it away in her bag, peeking inside where it was much larger in there than out of there. "You taught me this trick."

She gazed at a little figurine with a little smile, one of her first relics, gained so long ago, on a world of ash and ruin. Amid the sweeping dust... "You will be safe too." She gently tucked the little figure back in the bag, drawing the whole thing tight, hugging it close a moment. She would be ready, should such a day came. Of course, it might not ever. That fox could be, well, crazy like a fox, leading her astray... But, just in case, she would be ready for it.

"I have no idea how you did that," came Tinker's suspicious voice.

"Did it work out?"

"It did... All the knots I had been detected were gone, even a few wrinkles I wasn't going to mess with."

Remi shrank to the form of a filly. "Toldja I was on the case!"

"That was extremely dangerous!"

"So was sending me here." Remi stuck out her little filly's tongue. "But you did it, and I did it, and it worked out."

Soft grumbling could be heard. "By the way, nice try. Your electronics are clean."

Remi tensed, glancing around. "oh..." She had hoped... Well, there wasn't anything to be done about it... Some things were meant to be lost... "If all the, uh, wrinkles? Knots? If it's all clean, we're done?"

"With this case," came Tinker's warning voice. "But don't think you are done. You still owe me, so expect to do more before we're done."

Remi groaned even as she was pulled in an odd direction, ceasing to exist there, starting to exist in a growingly-familiar workplace. "Oh, I'm back."

"You are." Tinker slapped down his hands on his knees. "And you are a very troubling agent, if you don't mind my saying."

"You could let me go home and get rid of me?" Remi flashed a hopeful smile at him, little filly tail swaying.

"You keep right on being hopeful." Tinker swiveled back around to resume typing. "I already have our eyes on the next issue. This next one won't take place in your casuality proximity. You'll get to see new places and do new things. Look forward to it!"

Remi expanded out to her usual self, rising up to two legs and dusting herself off. "Look, I'll help, but how do I know there's any end to this? You could say 'you owe me' forever, in the end."

"I could." He didn't turn back to her, working his keys busily.

"That's usually the part you assure me that isn't the case," noted Remi in a dry tone.

"We have a relationship built on honesty." He gestured where a globe was turning that hadn't been there before. "Next stop, Everglow. You've heard of it, if I have my facts figured?"

"Where the captains and, uh, most of the crew come from?" She hiked a brow curiously. "How am I going to help with that?"

"There's one heck of a knot formed up, in the past, the deep deep past." He glanced over his shoulder. "So big, I might consider us even if you could just... sort it out."

Remi threw up her hands. "And why am I the better option for this one? The last one, you thought I was someone they knew, which I was, indirectly. What's even the excuse this time? Not a single creature on Everglow is going to know who the heck I am, at any point of time, I know that."

He pointed to her without turning. "But you know them. You know them quite well. The, uh... Champions? Your familiarity with them and their behavior is key!" He twirled suddenly, chair spinning until he faced her. "You have knowledge I don't, loathe as I am to admit it. You're going to put it to work."

"One thing though." He crossed his arms, looking her over. "You're dressed like you might."

"Dressed like what?"

"You familiar with low tech worlds?" Tinker was smiling almost vindictively. "Because you're going to one. Before you worry, we're not talking stone ages here. A comfortable early renaissance, overall." He wobbled his hand in the air. "You have good odds of being shot with a firearm, or, I suppose, being mauled by a native creature could happen."

"I'm feeling better by the moment." She hissed softly, a little click. "Alright, alright, I'll work off my debt." She held up two hands. "But I am not bouncing from one job to the next. Besides, this is time travel. My taking a moment won't break anything more than it is. Let me go back.."

"Yes, I'll be sending you back, far back."

"Not that far back!" Remi glared at her taskmaster. "To Octavia and the others... You can call me whenever, you know that, I know that. I already said I'm signed up. Let me be with her... She's expecting any day now, and--"

"--You're time traveling," he sing-songed mockingly. "She won't break for you spending a moment away."

"I might," snapped Remi. "Let me see her, and the rest of my friends, before you send me off to some distant corner of time and space." She threw up her hands. "You want me to have my head in the game, which means working with me a little, alright?"

Things were quiet a moment. "I see."

"Do you?"

"Of course." Tinker smiled as he turned back to his keys. "Alright then. I'll send you back, ten minutes after you left even. How's that for precision?"

Remi's expression lifted from guarded to a hopeful smile. "That sounds wonderful... Just let me... exist a little while, then you can yank on my tail."

"You'd like that, wouldn't you?" He was quickly typing, his smirk hidden by the rest of his body. "I'll be calling, don't you worry. You have a debt to pay, and there are wrinkles that are waiting to be mended. We will clean out this mess, and the universe will advance all the more smoothly for our passing. Be proud of being on the right side."

"By the way, yes. I do have experience with 'primitive' worlds. That's an offensive word, by the way."

"Give me a better one." He smacked a big button and Remi vanished, unable to finish her argument. "When you come back."

Author's Note:

End of this Elsewhere arc. There will be more, beware! How did you like it?

Speaking of which, we ended the other arc too. What arc do you want to chase next?!

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