• Published 6th Apr 2019
  • 1,182 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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76 - Lights On

"We're still in yellow alert." Steel gestured forward as he came more clearly into view, lights flickering on across the bridge and across the ship in fits and starts. Things were coming back online. "How soon before we can exit our kind hosts?"

"Belle to captains!" came her excitable voice.

Fast quirked an ear towards the nearest speaker. "Belle? Report."

"I am in position. With permission, I will accelerate charge time." A metallic sound could be heard, but there was nothing to see.

Steel frowned with thought. "Where are you? Where is she?" A command, that last bit, and Dawn began tapping at unseen keys, their augmented reality back online.

Dawn looked to the side towards Steel, his eyes darting to information only he could see. "She is inside the reactor."

Fast clenched her teeth. "Belle! It is very dangerous in there." Dangerous more meaning incredibly lethal to just about any other crewmember. "Even for a robot!"

"Mistakes are not permitted at this time," she... assured? "It was easier to approach while the ship was in idle."

Steel sank against a hoof, his cheek spreading against it. "You're in much the same situation as the rest of us. Have you considered an exit strategy?"

There was silence. It was answer enough. Twilight shook her head. "That's a no."

"There is one way. I will return shortly." The channel went dead.

Blue was atop Pinkie, riding her much as a kobold was doing elsewhere in the dark place they were in. "That way." Unlike the other party, she was the one that could see in the gloom, directing the way from atop her savior. "They are closing in," Blue whispered urgently in Pinkie's ear. "Have you another trick?"

"A few." Pinkie lowered to the ground and sprang up as if her legs had been tight coils ratcheted into place and released. She and Blue were suddenly airborne for a moment of rushing wind, crashing into the ceiling not that far above, though she had managed to twist around, grabbing it with her hooves and pulling herself up around the corner into a chute in a speedy scuttle.

Blue fell off Pinkie, as much by surprise as much by gravity. "How did you even know this was here?" She looked around the new tunnel they were in, blinking owlishly. "Still, I thank you."

Pinkie grabbed Blue by the scruff in her teeth, continuing her march down the new tunnel. "We gotta go!" She didn't sound upset or worried, more eager to get to the next part of their adventure. With a toss of her head, she sent Blue flying onto her back to resume the ride. "But they aren't here.

"They aren't..." She strained to hear, but could hear no followers there. They weren't up in the ceiling, they were safe, for the time. "You are a blessing, a friend sent by Luminace herself."

"Aw." Pinkie smiled brightly despite the darkness. "I'm just doing my best." She waggled her bottom as she trotted. "Now let's get a book!"

"You still haven't told me where it is."

"And I still won't. Maybe next turn," sang Pinkie, pronking once in her steps in a joyful bounce.

Blue did not argue that time. The ways of the Author were mysterious and difficult to discern, but they had served Pinkie well enough from what Blue had seen.

Octavia let out a relieved little noise as the lights came in on the nursery. "There we are. Children, is everypony alright?"

Little Fast pointed at Little Wandering. "We're not all ponies."

Wandering giggled, called out for his goaty nature. "I like being a goat, but ponies are fun too." He pounced on Fast and hugged her about the neck, which she didn't resist.

Octavia smiled gently at the children. "You two are good friends." Her eyes darted, finding Kit still perched atop Error. "Kit, are you going to hold him down forever? Surely he has other things he wants to do."

"He can't, I ate him." Kit shook his head quickly and pointed to his belly, where Error surely was not, being under him and all.

"It's true," admitted Error with a silly smile. "Didn't even use any ketchup or nothin'."

"You did a good job." Octavia's horn glowed as she gently scooped up her child and brought him closer. "Proud hunters get big hugs." The delighted squeal of the child revealed her tactic had worked, allowing her to wrap her arms around him, Error forgotten for the moment.

He rolled upright and stood even as an ear twitched. He transferred the incoming message to a speaker. "Yellow?"

"Error!" It was clearly Belle. "I made a mistake."

"Happens to us all. Somethin' ah can help with?" He inclined his head faintly.

GlitchHarp perked both ears. "Is mom in trouble?" both asked in a fit of synchronicity.

"Hello children," sang Belle from Error's speaker. "I have made an error in judgment. Though my mission was a success and the ship is powered, my... body... is trapped here until the engine can be put in idle again."

Glitch stuck out her half of their tongue. "So leave it behind."

"You're a program too!" agreed Harp in sing song. "You can share our body."

"Nuh uh." Error shook his head. "You already got two in there." He pointed at his children. "If yer gonna timeshare with anyone, aughta be me."

Kit peered at the robotic family chat. "Can I share your body, mom?"

Octavia coughed once against a hoof. "We aren't computer programs, like them. There are some things we can't do."

"Aw. Then I wanna be a program!" Not that he likely understood what a program was, but he wanted it and displayed it with rapid claps of his paws.

Octavia leaned in, capturing Kit's right ear in her mouth in a little nip. "Then you'd better get to learning how they work. maybe some day you'll manage it. It won't be easy, but..." She wouldn't step on the dreams of her child, however unlikely they were. "But, for now, I think every single person here would like to have a snack."

"I'm good," sang out Harp, eye on Error.

"Yeah, we don't eat."

Kit gasped with alarm. "Programs don't eat? Never mind." And, just like that, the dream was set aside. "Lunch time!"

Octavia led a cloud of children off to get some tasty things inside them.

"They aren't here." The smooth façade of Remi's vulpine friend cracked with anger. "We had them trapped! There's nowhere for them to go!" They stomped in a circle, coming to face Remi, their smile suddenly returning. "I'm letting myself slip, sorry about that dear. Look, we need to spread out net."

"And how do you propose that?" She crossed her arms, considering her foxish captor and 'partner'.

"We split up." They pointed to the right, though it was too dark to see much beyond them. "Go that way. If you see something, shout. The sooner we find them, the less chance that those poor little darlings will get hurt. That is what you want, isn't it?"

Remi sucked air through her sharp teeth. "Yeah, alright. That makes sense enough." She pulled out some goggles from a pocket. "If we're not together, using these." Slipping them over her head, things came into view, though in gharish shades of green. Nightvision goggles were delightful like that. "On the case."

She darted down the hallway, a smile forming. She was free! Without the shapeshifter keeping an eye on her, she could do what she wanted. Her mission was back on!

"Things are looking better," noted the voice in her ear. "But not settled, so I'm not yanking you back yet. There may be more for you to do. Keep an eye out for the girls like you're supposed to, but make sure they get out."

"Right right." She waved at her ear as if she could swat away the voice. "I'm surrounded by bossy people..." At least that one wasn't a two faced shapeshifter. "Giving us shifters a bad name." She huffed softly, twitching her tail. One bad shifter undid the work of ten nice ones!

Oh, right. Remi resisted the urge to slap her forehead. For being a shifter, she sometimes forgot about it. She fell to all fours, hitting the ground with the sound of hooves on stone. She was a pony, swaying her revised tail with a grin. Her goggles were still on, dispelling the gloom. She was still wearing the same clothes, those clothes designed to accommodate such tricks.

Shapeshifters didn't always want to get nude to do the shifting thing. She trotted down the hallway, looking for signs of the little ponies. "Just a friendly fox..."

"We can't hide forever." Diamond crossed her arms. "They're closing in, we gotta break through."

"Alpha Horse not wrong." Gneech pointed a bit to the left. "Next turn. Not hear many."

They skidded around the corner to come up to a door quickly. Silver huffed for breath, curling on herself to draw a staff into view in her mouth. "We take a stand."

Diamond drew her menacing axe into view, glaring at the door. "The moment they open it, we make them regret it, and we go." With a flick of the axe, it burst into flames, ready to cause pain to whatever its owner wanted.

Gneech drew his smaller blade into view, crackling with bits of electricity as his Alpha Horse had paid for it to do. A fine and wonderful gift. He would fight well with it and prove he was worth the investment.

They could hear something. Talking?

"I got this, go the other way," came a muffled female voice. "People... Now what's a fox to do." Clip-clops approached the door.

Diamond sat up. "Wai--" The door opened, and bedlam was unleashed. Silver Spoon charged with a yelp, bringing her staff in at a sharp stab as Gneech jumped over her head to come down on the pony revealed in the opening door.

"Aw crap!" The pony twisted to the left, sweeping up a leg with the force to get her body out of the way of the incoming spear. But there was an angry reptile coming at her with a sparking blade. Electricity and sharp steel cut into her with a yelp. "Damn it, ow ow... seriously." She stomped the hoof, only bringing about more pain as the injured leg was pressed on. "I'm here for you!"

"That's, like, the problem." Silver advanced, swinging her staff around a bit wildly, but with better accuracy than one might have guessed, only to have her mane grabbed and yanked back. Diamond had seized her in her teeth. "What?"

"Stop," barked Diamond before pointing at the strange pony. "What does the fox say?"

Remi flashed her equine teeth. "Just a friendly fox."

Gneech peered over his shoulder, sword still raised. "Not attack?"

"Not attack." Diamond slid to the ground. "Why are you a pony now?"

"Just fitting in." Remi shrugged softly. "This way." She turned back where she'd come from.

A voice called from the same direction, "You alright? Find something?"

Remi hissed faintly. She had made a bit of noise in being assaulted. "I tripped! This place is dangerous."

Laughter was the first reply. "Watch where you're going, and let us know if you find anything." The noise withdrew, the answer apparently satisfying them.

"Like, sorry." Silver shook her head as her mane was released. Tucking her staff away, she still had a wary eye on the pony. "You're the fox, from before? Sorry." Instead of repeating that again, she closed, reaching out a hoof and speaking her prayers, "Oh good Luminace, tend to the hurts of this friend, that they can seek ever more the knowledge of the world."

With a brief flash, the wounds closed, Silver Spoon's divine magic making short work of them. Remi let out a little sigh of relief. "That's so much better. C'mon!" She led the way with a little huff. "Shoulda stayed a fox." It had seemed like such a good idea at the time!

Author's Note:

Where you missing Remi? She's back! The children are so adorable and they ask the questions others would not, but, oops, Belle's in trouble! What do?!

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