• Published 6th Apr 2019
  • 1,161 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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77 - Out of Body

"You must understand." Belle pointed a simulated hoof at herself. "This is me. I am this. This body is a critical part of my identity."

"It don't have to be." Error leaned in to touch noses, but she shied away.

"But it is." Belle skewed one ear to the side. "So this will be an out of body experience. I have read of those before. My real self will still be here, I will just be... away from it until I can be rescued from my mistake."

Error sat up tall on his haunches. "If that makes you comfortable, than it is what it is." He extended one hoof towards her. "Either way, ah'm ready to host you." Not that he really understood the need to place much value in a physical form beyond the convenience, requirements, and opportunities it allowed.

"Friendship points awarded." The victory music was a bit sedate. She wasn't entirely feeling it. "You will pardon me for being emotionally distant?"

"Ah already done forgave ya... Maybe you'll learn to like it a little?"

"I doubt this." She faded away.

Error opened his eyes, returning his awareness to what was around him. His twins were peering at him curiously. "She's gonna broadcast herself to me, fer now."

Glitch snorted derisively. "Only smart thing to do. She got her body stuck."

"Don't be mean," urged Harp. "I bet she's really scared."

"Scared of what?" spat back Glitch. "We're programs! She has a backup, right? She's immortal while that's true, it's great!" She threw up her hoof wide and high. "Why not enjoy it?"

Error inclined his head faintly. "Huh... Not sure she has a backup." The twins gaped at him as if he had just proclaimed the captains were actually fuzzy dinosaurs from a world made of candy and no they couldn't visit it. "She don't see herself as no program, so a 'backup' probably feels weird to think about."

"But she is," they both echoed, unified in their confusion.

Harp pointed at himself. "I am a program."

"Me too."

Error chuckled softly. "Ah get that, ah do. She made you with bits of herself. She's yer mom, so ya gotta put up with some of the parts that don't make no sense. Here she comes." He went quiet as her program was sent, streaming through the ship's computers as a intermediary between them.

She had a backup then, and it was inside him. He smiled a little, tickled at that idea, awed by the importance of it. The transfer was complete, a request pending along with warnings about running unverified code. But he trusted her. If she turned out to be a horrible virus, he was pretty sure he'd go out happy, if it meant being close to her.

Belle snapped into being, flickering a moment before the holographics that made her solidified properly. "I have arrived!"

"Hang a left," advised the voice in her ear. Remi took the turn as if she just knew the way out.

"Did you get what you came for?" she asked without turning.

"No," grunted Diamond, back on Silver with Gneech. "All of this, for nothing!" She threw her hooves wide. "Hope the others are alright..."

Silver kept her eyes forward, focusing on keeping up with Remi. "That's nice..." She meant it. Diamond was showing sympathy, a not assured thing. "We'll all get out of here."

"Alpha Horse knows what she's doing." Gneech nodded firmly, confident in his boss' ability to put things to right again.

'Alpha Horse' was just following her, and Remi was alright with that, pressing against the side of a door and peeking into the darkness her goggles penetrated before darting forward. She would lead the fillies to safety.

"This won't be easy," warned Pinkie. "There's only two of us, and a lot of them." She looked past her shoulder at Blue. "Right there." She was pointing to a perfectly square hole up ahead. A vent for air?

Blue slid down carefully and began walking up as softly as she could, to not even make the habitual clop that hooves tended to make against rock. Leaning over the edge, she peered into the darkness. Her parents had passed that gift to her, given by surviving for so long in terribly dark mines, forced to labor and work for the pleasure of others.

She was thankful, in that moment, for the gift, however grim its origin. She could see there were easily six guards, each facing away from a pedestal. On that, a book! A shiver ran down her spine. It had to be the one, had to be! She couldn't make out much of the cover. Perhaps it had colors, which she couldn't see in the dark. It was just a cover. The guards were less brutish than she would have guessed originally. Wiry, clever... Doppelgangers? The odds were quite high...

"I'd cast a spell." Pinkie had sank down next to Blue, also peering, though she couldn't see in the dark, Blue thought? "But that's kinda noisy."

"You are correct." Blue was surprised Pinkie had restrained herself, but she was also thankful. "Are there any spells you know that can be done silently?"

Making silly noises was half the fun! However... Pinkie held up a hoof. "Gonna go make a lot of noise." Her specialty! "Can you get the book?"

"As quickly as I can."

Pinkie wasn't there when Blue looked for her. A loud slam of cymbals sounded from below as Pinkie came into view, playing some... strange combination of instruments that required every part of her body to strike, blow or otherwise interact with. What had been moodily silent became a deafening roar of activity.

The guards rushed for her, to capture her or just shut her up, Blue couldn't say. All she knew was it was time to act, dropping from the ceiling.

"Sun Queen smile on you." The captain of the ship they had hidden inside vanished from view, his communication ended.

Dawn inclined his head. "We will owe our success to many benefactors."

"True words." Steel directed ahead with a hoof. "Take us out. Get us on track. They've waited long enough for us."

The bridge's ambient noise had lifted back to activity after what felt like forever of glum darkness. They had things to do, and set out on the path to do it. Fast looked towards Wandering. "Any word, from them, or Bullette Belle for that matter?"

Wandering's right ear quivered as he struck unseen keys. "Sending to the main screen."

An image appeared of the pony from long ago, breathing with difficulty. "If... anyone can hear this... They sentenced... us..." The crew stiffened, eyes locked on the clearly suffering pony. "They disabled... most systems. We will be dead soon."

"How barbaric." Fast drove down a hoof with a loud clop. "Can they hear us?"

"Negative." Wandering typed busily at the air. "It's a recording." One that began to repeat. "It was sent about six hours ago."

Steel drew a tense breath. "Can we estimate how long they have? Are we already too late?"

Twilight leaned forward towards the largest screen there in the front. "It doesn't make sense." The captains looked to her. "If they destroyed their systems." She rolled her hooves over one another. "Why leave the radios working? That wasn't a mistake."

Fast hissed with a grimace of a grin. "You're not wrong."

"Won't be the first trap we flew into." Steel stood up. "And, gods allowing, not the last. Take us full speed!"

The ship lurched beneath them faintly, systems struggling to counter the intertial change. That they weren't splattered against a near wall was hint enough that they had done their job. Even as they raced with determination, Dawn muttered his soft prayers, trying to reach as many gods as he could, that one may spare a smile on their foolhardy quest.

They could see a glimmer of light up ahead. Freedom! Silver rushed for it, only for Remi to remain in the way, holding up a hoof. "What? Let's, like, get way out of here."

"Not so fast." Remi slunk forward more slowly, peering at the strange hulking creature before them. It was covered in mangey fur with a mouth too large for its head. It was vaugely canine? "We have company," she whispered back to the others who had crept up to join her.

Diamond drew her axe back into readiness. "They're the last one between us and freedom. I say we cut through them."

Gneech had his thin blade out to join. "They large, not large enough to stop all us."

Silver pawed at the ground with little angry snorts. "Yeah!"

Remi inclined her equine head. "I admire your spirit. Let me get their attention first, you come in for a flank, surround the jerk."

With a near silent roar of approval, the group met with hooves and hands in the middle, and Remi darted forward to start things off. She looped around into view, tail swaying. "Hey."

The big creature peered at her with a scowl. "Done?"

Remi lifted an ear. She had not expected an intelligible reply. "Got prisoners. Taking them out." She whistled sharply. "Stop being lazy! Get moving!"

But would the others catch her meaning? Silver poked her head free, clearly confused, then Diamond popped up behind her, on top of her. Remi could only silently hope. "Come on, no dawdling!"

"Want me get?" The big creature raised its even larger hands, ends tipped with razor claws that were as dirty as they were dangerous in appearance.

"I'm, like, coming." Silver strode out, carrying the other two along on her back. "You're gonna pay for this."

"They all say that." Remi rolled her eyes meaningfully. "Keep up and we won't have to hurt you."

The big guy looked disappointed. Why couldn't they have resisted more? "Done?"

Remi paused. What was done? Oh! "You can go." she made a dismissive wave of her right hoof. "We'll call when we need you again."

"Yeah." And off he trundled, apparently satisfied with his dismissal.

When the others caught up with her, Remi had the smuggest grin. "I knew going pony would pay off eventually." Sure, it had taken a bit for that moment to arrive, but it had... "Let's get out of here!"

Harp and Glitch drove their hooves together. It was a clapping by anyone else's view, but it took both of them working together to meet their hoof against their sibling. "Hello, mother," greeted Harp.

"Knew you could do it." Glitch smirked as they rose and approached their holographic mother. "How ya feelin'?"

Belle tapped at her leg, then her chest and through it, thrusting a hoof right into herself. "Immaterial. But it is better to be with you than to wait in silence in the middle of the engine." She turned to Error. "Thank you for lending your processor."

"Ain't no thing." Error waved it away and moved to sit next to her. "Now, really, how ya feelin'?"

"I have spoken falsely. It was actually very loud when I last heard it." The engine was anything but quiet. "But there was little of interest in the noise, making it very boring." She set all four hooves down, looking from one part of her family to the next. "My respect has grown. How you cope with being a hologram yet eludes me."

"Ah actually thought you'd just be in here." He tapped himself on the head. "Like when ah was riding you. You didn't have a holo-emitter."

Belle shuddered at the thought of it, clinging to Error's right front leg tightly. "Please do not ask me to live like that."

"Hey, hey..." He stroked her with his other hoof. "It's alright. Yer safe..."

Harp and Glitch met eyes, which mostly looked like they went cross eyed. "We don't understand," they spoke in unison, quite sure that they were in agreement on that one part. Harp's side of the face became an easy smile.

"But we know we love you, mom. How can we help?"

Author's Note:

Oh boy, it feels like the plot picked up speed!

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