• Published 6th Apr 2019
  • 1,160 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.

  • ...

PreviousChapters Next
8 - Expanding Crew

Remington suddenly stirred, sitting up with a gasp, her hand moving for her dagger, but never reaching it. The gesture aborted as she realized she was on a comfortable bed, with a pony and a dragon watching her with concern. The dragon appeared genuinely worried, the pony, less so. "Hey."

Spike raised a hand. "Hey... Feeling better?"

She threw a leg over the side. "Yeah. Was that your fault?" She looked to the younger Dawn. "And wait, I recognize you and wow that's creepy."

Dawn frowned at her. "I presume you have met the... older me on the bridge. When we exist outside such confined places, we do not encounter our older or younger selves. We used to live in complete ignorance of this curious twist of destiny the Author has written for us." He raised a hoof to direct at himself. "I remain Dawn Event, though I will not be the acting one for some time."

Spike reached out a claw to catch Remi should she fall, which she did, though he wasn't entirely sure if it was due to her weakness, vertigo, or she did it on purpose. She collapsed into his waiting hand and smiled at him. "You're strong but gentle, I like that."

He gently lifted her right back up onto the bed. "Stay there until you aren't falling over." His armored tail lashed gently. "I don't want you hurting yourself."

"Aw, you are just too pure..." She reached for him, grabbing his plastic-steel covered cheeks. "You can take off that armor now, hero."

"Huh? Oh yeah. Armor, uh, off?"

"Deactivating," spoke gently in his ears as the armor began to withdraw, pulling into the belt that remained snugly around his midsection, leaving him otherwise exposed in short order. "Deactivated."

Dawn Event nodded softly. "You're both in fine shape, so walk in the light." He gestured to the door as he turned away. "I'm sure they're waiting for you."

"But she just fell over?" He hiked a thumb at the vulpine patient, brow raised suspiciously.

"I'm fine." She bounded clear from the bed, over Spike, to land on the other side of him. "Don't hold it against me that they were using all area of effect blasts, mostly. Harder to dodge when the air itself is shaking your insides loose."

Dawn was ignoring them both, settling down on a mat with closed eyes. Spike glanced at him before moving for the door. "Well, uh, we should go, I guess. You're alright?"

"I'm fine." She threw an arm over him as she walked. "And you're sweet for asking. You are into girls that need a little help?"

Spike left the medical bay with a fox attached. "Uh... Hm, actually." He paused and raised a hand to his chin. "Actually... now that you bring it up, I guess I do. Every girl I've been involved with has needed me. Wow, I never really put that together." He resumed walking, looking actually pleased. "Thanks for bringing it up, I just never put those pieces together before."

Remi straightened herself, walking alongside Spike's large form. "Did I just counsel you through issues?"

"Sure did." Spike thumped against her as he walked. "So, thanks. Anyway, why are you so... What's the word...?"

"Hot to trot?" she ventured with a sly smile. "Fastest way to get to know people, I find. Besides, it's fun." She extended a finger. "And messy." A second finger went out. "And all barriers come down." A third finger went out. "And did I mention it's fun? What more reasons do you need?"

"Interesting view, but where I'm from, only super tight people, you know, do that." He raised a brow. "But don't take that as, you know, judging. Whatever, we're in the middle of space. I figure if I can't accept that's just a you thing, I suck at meeting new species. For all I know we'll run into one where that's just how you say hi."

Remi rolled a hand, her smirk only growing. "When do we run into those? I am prepared to be your diplomat."

"Target acquired!" Belle bounced free of the elevator they had been heading towards. "Friends located: Spike and Remington. Remi! Your assistance is required!" She began to bounce around the vixen, metal body ringing out with the impact of each landing. "Have I obtained sufficient friendship points for this request?"

Remi cocked a brow at Spike. He shrugged softly. "Roll with it."

"Hm, let me check then." Remi made a motion as if flipping through a filing cabinet that wasn't there. "Ah, here we are, your friendship file."

Belle gasped melodically, ceasing her bouncing to peer at Remi with wide and fascinated eyes. "What does it say?!"

"Hmm... Hm! Hmm..." She looked momentarily surprised before turning serious. "I see..."

"What do you see?!" she demanded in discordant tones, bouncing in place. "Please reveal what you have discovered!"

"That we have insufficient data." She made a motion as if slapping the filing cabinet shut. "What is the request?"

"Oh." Belle went still a moment. "This is logical. Please follow." She began bouncing back towards the elevator. "I will show you, then you can make a proper decision."

Spike reached up, brushing at his ear-fin. "This thing working?"

"We hear you," answered Steel Prism. "We received word that Remington has recovered from her injuries. Are you on the way to the bridge?"

"Belle's leading us to something. I'll be back after that, alright?"

"Roger that. Thank you for checking in before that." There was a brief pause. "Things seem to be under control, so no specific hurry. Just keep us updated."

"You got it." He lowered his hand to the floor, scrambling to catch up with the others just before the elevator could close behind him. "So what's up?"

Belle tilted her head at Spike. "Your presence was not specifically required but is not undesirable. Do you have experience with electronics?"

"Eh... I can make a busted toaster cooperate." He shrugged softly. "I can usually get a computer to reboot when you need it to." He raised a large hand to wobble it. "A knowledgeable newbie, we'll go with that."

Remi suddenly smiled brightly. "Now we're getting information. You need a technological hand?"

"Affirmative!" She cried, bouncing out of the elevator as it reached the desired location. "I welcome you to my room. None are permitted here without permission. Permission granted!" She bounced as she gave the permission, a wide smile on her face. "Permission expiration: 5 hours, 59 minutes, 56 seconds."

She waved a metal hoof at a door that was already opening, aware of her presence. "I have returned!"

The air shimmered as a form appeared, as large as Spike, but more scarred, with snakes dangling from its mouth. "He--Oh." The hologram quickly took notice of the new people, looking between Remington and Spike. "Well there's the fox. You ain't said much about a dragon."

"Hey." Spike dipped his head as he entered, peering at the curious hologram. "So... you're a real hologram right, not, like, a pony pretending to be a hologram?"

No Name huffed from one snake as another spoke, "I'm as real as a hologram gets."

Spike reached out, poking No Name in the side. "Huh..."

Belle was facing Remi. "Intended goal: Allow the full mobility of Error from this room." She pointed at the holographic mutant with a firm bobbing of her head. "Disallow disengagement of his routines by the ship computer without his permission. Enable re-engagement of his routines at his own discretion. Do you accept this task?" She leaned forward, batting her lashes and pouting with her bottom lip trembling, executing plea routine beta.

Remi held up a hand. "Woah, hold your horses, or let me hold them." She reached out to gently pet the little metal pony. "I'll give that first one a try at least, but I don't want to ruin my welcome, and making things that turn off, not turn off, sounds like a good way to get Steel and Fast thinking about throwing me out the nearest airlock."

"Proceed," she sang, her ears dancing against the petting fingers that danced over her head. "What do you require?"

No Name was looking to Spike. "Not often I get to talk to someone that doesn't make me feel all huge."

"Right back atcha." Spike smiled lightly as he sat on his haunches. "So, uh, friends with Belle?"

"For a long ass time." He shrugged gently as he matched Spike's stance. "Longer than any livin' pony on this ship's been enjoying the recycled air any."

"Timestamp of friendship file:" She never got to finish her statement, No Name putting a hoof to her small nose.

"They ain't need to be knowin' things like that. Why don't you focus on... Wait, I wasn't payin' much attention, what are you doin'?"

Remi hiked a thumb at the large pony. "Little filly here wants you to walk outside that door. How hard can that be? I'll need to check things out before I can say what I'll need or not." She approached one of the walls and casually pried a panel free that hadn't even been visible a moment before. "This'd be easier with security permissions, but I doubt I'm getting that."

Spike tilted his head before reaching up. "Hey, Steel?"

"Steel here. Something to report?"

"Remington is trying to help Belle, anyway you could give her security permissions for a little while in Belle's room?"

"Can you be more specific than that? I safely assume she has no need to alter the air content."

Spike hiked a brow. "No idea. Can this thing go on speaker phone?"

"It can," he replied, his voice loud enough to be heard by everyone. "Remington, what are you doing?"

Remi was already half into the panel, looking around, her tail swaying eagerly behind her. "I need to access the holographic controls," she called out. "It'd be nice if they didn't try to fry me when I did that. I'll be taking a few parts, but it's for Belle."

"Confirmation provided!" sang Belle. "Please authorize."

No Name waved a hoof in a wide circle. "You really don't need to be doin' any of this. Ah'm fine just the way I am."

"You are speaking falsely," accused Belle, bouncing once and frowning at No Name. "If you wish to remain here, the ability to not do so will not impede you. This is logically false! Please provide permission."

"Who is that?" asked Steel's voice with some confusion.

"What is going on?" joined Fast on the conversation. "Belle, status report."

"Confidential," she sang. "A full status report will be rendered in approximately twelve hours. Please provide permission."

"Belle," sighed out Fast. One could her a hoof being applied to her face. "Swear that this will cause no harm to this ship."

"No harm to this vessel is predicted." Belle bobbed her head once more. "Permission given?"

"Permission given," she allowed with a gust. A soft chime noted the computer had heard her.

"Fantastic." Remi almost vanished into the panel as she heard what she needed, digging vigorously. Something popped loose. "Oops!" No Name promptly vanished.

"What the?" Spike turned to the panel Remi was half in. "Is he alright?"

"One, hologram, no real gender. Not really alive, yadda yadda yadda."

"Friendship points lost!" cried Belle, stomping a hoof. "Restore No Name!"

"Nope." She vanished entirely, slipping down to work on something too far to lean down and get to. "I'm busy taking out those parts. He won't be back until I finish. He's not hurt, just, you know, sleeping. Just like people sleep when you're cutting them open, usually."

Spike lifted his shoulders. "Oh, well, she has a point there. No point having him awake while we're working on his insides, it might hurt or even just feel really weird." He pulled Belle over gently, sliding her across the floor. "You don't want him to be uncomfortable, right?"

"Negative," she allowed with a sad downturning of her melody. "Estimated time?"

"Working on it!" called out Remi, flickers of light revealing her activity as she worked out of sight.

Twilight waved the floating virtual commands away. "That was exhilarating! I had forgotten how... stimulating it can be to engage in life or death conflicts. I would like to continue at this post, if you'll have me."

Under smirked softly. "Spoken like a true wizard. Get a taste of a fireball and you can't set that down." He reached to touch her shoulder. "It would be a pleasure to continue your training and have you at my side. My pasts have rarely had the pleasure."

Twilight clip-clopped her hooves with building excitement. "Show me the other weapons you were using. I would like to know their specifications."

As they began to go over the various weapons one by one, Steel leaned towards Fast. "She seems to be recovering well."

"It's good to see," softly agreed Fast with a nod as she gestured away a window she could see. "I had feared she could go into isolationist shock and withdraw from us."

She stepped from her chair and approached Twilight, ears perked at their conversation. Without announcing herself, she reached and put a hoof on Twilight's right shoulder.

Twilight squealed, jumping up in place and coming down in a pile that faced Fast, panting for breath, her eyes darting minutely without leaving Fast. "D-don't... do that..."

"I had a feeling that would happen." Fast offered a hoof towards Twilight. "You have been through a great trauma, though you don't see it that way. We do, and we are here to help. Please don't feel you have any need to hold it in."

Twilight pulled herself to her hooves, wings giving a lone flap. "I don't think anypony likes being snuck up on."

"No, but they don't usually react quite that strongly, or with that aftermath." Fast raised a brow. "And it's entirely normal. You are, in fact, recovering quite well, Twilight. We want you to continue getting better. I just want it clear, to everyone, and you, especially you, that you are hurt, and hurt people should never feel bad admitting they're hurt."

Under softly coughed into a hoof. "And with a dragon for a companion." When Twilight glared at him, he held up a hoof. "I mean that not as a slight, but dragons can operate on a very different way of seeing the universe. They must, for as many years as they can endure, should violence not end it sooner."

Twilight's frown eased, curiosity building in its place. "What do you mean? Most of the dragons i met were just... abrasive, but basically they were people, just like ponies."

Under rolled a hoof as the other waved to dismiss the displays only he could see. "A dragon can slip into an idle state, where their mind is not focused on the present. They may slumber, or perform rote actions, but they are not experiencing a day as a day. It passes them by easily, and they endure the touch of years and the sting of isolation. I imagine, for Spike, he is adjusting much like you. This is far more activity and he is stirring, but he will not bear the same hurts you might."

Twilight was quiet save for a soft humm of a noise as she tapped a hoof slowly on the ground. "I... see. I don't think I'm hurt though." She waved it off. "I did pretty well in that conflict, and had no issue socializing." She smiled suddenly. "I even re-established contact with an old friend, two even." She looked to Fast then. "Not to mention being fascinated, not terrified, of what we've experienced so far. I'm fine! Really, stop worrying so much about me."

Fast set a hoof over her face. "Twilight, you are limited to two hours of work per day, to be increased at a rate no greater than ten minutes per week until you reach the standard."

"But!" She took a step forward, wings spreading.

"No buts." Fast held up a hoof. "This is for your own good. You will spend the remainder of your time with a counselor, learning yourself and recovering." She lowered the hoof. "In case I need to specify, studying with Under counts as work. Don't even think of trying that."

Under and Twilight both looked down, saddened by that news.

Steel raised a hoof. "On the other hoof, accompanying others as they work is entirely encouraged. You may watch Under work, but while Miss Sparkle is off duty, she is not to be given access to the virtual consoles."

Under softly snorted. "Well, better than nothing. Miss Sparkle, let's hasten to secure your clean bill of health, so we can both proceed at the pace we desire."

"At least somepony here understands me." She threw up her hooves. "You'll wait for me, right?"

"Gladly." He reached out a hoof, to be met eagerly by Twilight's, the two equally as eager to continue her training.

Wandering pushed away from his console and came trotting up to the knot of people. "Missus Sparkle? They don't need me just this moment, would you care to start? I'm training in therapy techniques and would be honored to help you."

"I don't need help," groaned Twilight with mounting frustration.

"My apologies." He dipped his head, ears low. "It is we who are being silly. Please humor us? The sooner we begin, the sooner you can return to full work cycles."

"Yes..." She glanced at Fast, who wasn't budging, then at Under, who was facing his terminal. "Right. Let's get this over with." She started for the door. "How do you even handle it? I don't understand how you can be happy with the idea that you'll just... die... and something else 'kind of like you' takes over."

Wandering smiled as he followed her. Questions about death seemed a reasonable start. "Well, you see, we've taught ourselves from a very young age..."

Author's Note:

Twilight needs help, Fast said so, so it is law.

Remi is trying to help Belle. No Name maybe doesn't want help?


Join the special community of folks who like my stories here at atreon!

Join my discord to chat!

PreviousChapters Next