• 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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80 - From the Jaws of Defeat


Twilight was shaking in place, and not being super responsive.

Fast inclined her head. "We haven't even said what we had in mind." She turned to Steel. "What do we have in mind?"

Steel let out a soft sigh. "As has been proposed before, Twilight is an ageless container for more magic than we'd ever know what to do with. If she can reach for it about now, we have a much greater chance of succeeding."

Fast took measure of the quaking Twilight. "Unfortunately, that seems unlikely... On the other hoof, we have another Equestrian on the ship who also has a repository of magic. Last I remember, she was feeling better."

"Octavia." Steel pricked up, mood lifted at the memory. "You are entirely correct. Computer, get Octavia on the line."

"Captain?" came her voice over the intercom. "I had been guarding the children during the power outtage."

Steel nodded softly. "Thank you for doing that." Even if he was actually fairly sure they would have cared for themselves. Still, he wasn't going to lecture someone for showing care for youth, even strangely aware reincarnations, and they had a few not-reincarnations in that creche, come to think of it... "We require your presence on the bridge, in the capacity of spellcraft."

They could not see it, but one could almost hear her rising to full height. "Your queen comes." And the line went dead.

Fast flipped one ear back. "Queen?"

"I should join her." Belle looked off towards where Octavia has strode on a mission. "I have not been available to the crew of the ship."

Error shook his head. "Nuh-uh. Yer stuck with me right now, remember?"

"So you come too," she ordered with a pout. "You are also a crew member."

"A crew member what ain't been called to the bridge." He reached out and booped his adorably pouty wife. "They ain't called for you neither. We ain't officers."

"While technically true..." She danced in place, struggling to find another path around. "I never waited to be called to make entrances there before!"

"Ya weren't chained to me, sorry 'bout that." He rose to his large hooves and started walking along in no special hurry. "When we get you out of that engine, then yer free to go visit the bridge whenever."

Belle trailed out after Error. "Where have our children gone? Does it require this much time to get clothing?" Not that she wore any, likely ignorant of how much time it would actually take.

Error flipped an ear back to her. "They said somethin' about matchin' both of 'em at the same time. That'll take a moment. It'll be great. Even if it ain't."

Belle looked pensive about that as they went down the hallway. "You are correct. We must encourage their creativity!"

Her nightvision goggles picked up a small form hiding. An equine form, small as a child, clearly trying very hard not to be seen. They were watching her, maybe hoping she'd wander past?

But Remi had a feeling that was one of the ponies she needed to find. But rather than immediately go for the pony, she instead looked about, ears quivering as she strained to pick up any other searchers. "There you are." Oh, there was the shapeshifting fox.

They were striding towards Remi with a cocky smile. "Tell me you've laid eyes on our target."

Well, yes, but also no... "I feel like I'm hot on their tail." She casually did not mention she was pretty sure one of them was literally in sight, if trying to hide. "How are things on your end?"

"Miserable," grunted the fox. "One of them is causing no end of trouble."

"But that means you found one." Remi fired a finger gun at the upset fox.

The other fox perked up. "You're not wrong, at least one. How can they just... vanish?! Find them, for their sake. These are not friendly ruins."

"Not at all." With people like that fox in it. "The moment I see them."

"Thank you." The fox moved on to continue their own search, not noticing the little pony that was doing her best not to be seen.

"You're safe now," noted Remington with a little smirk. "No other searchers around."

"You're one of them," noted the pony that was not hiding all that well, considering she just talked.

Remi shrugged at the accusation. "That works in your favor." What had the others said... "Luminace sent a friendly fox to bail you out." Luminace did no such thing. With hope, she would not be smited for lying like that.

"Luminace be praised," sighed out the little pony, looking so relieved. "I have a very large thing I need to get out of here." She emerged from hiding, pointing down a hall. "First door on the right, an unconscious pony. Can you help me get them out of here?"

"Are they Equestrian?" Remi was fairly sure that was her job, get the Equestrians out.

"No?" Blue inclined her head. "Neither am I. Is that bad?"

Right, right... Blue did not look like an Equestrian. "Do you know where the Equestrian is?"

"I will tell you if you help me."

"You must be feeling better." Remi's smile was wide and toothy. "Ready to negotiate. Alright, show me this pony you have."

Remi followed her the short distance to what was effectively a closet. In the closet was the limp form of the knocked out pony propped up into a corner. "Are they?" No, she could see breathing happening. They were still in there. "Your friends said they went back to town, by the way."

"Which ones?!" Blue blurted before covering her mouth embarrassedly. "Which ones?" she repeated much more quietly.

"They're about your size." Remi lowered a hand to be level with Blue's head. "Grey, pink, and a little lizard?"

Blue gusted with a relieved exhale. "Oh thank Luminace. They're all alright?" She pointed to the unconscious one. "Can you get this to them?"

"No?" Remi lifted her hands in a great shrug. "I don't even know where that town is, just that they're going to it. And I still need to rescue the last one, Blue."

Blue inclined her head. "I'm Blue. Do you mean Pinkie?"

As it turned out, nightvision goggles were terrible at colors! "Oh! Right. Yes, Pinkie. I'll get this out of here, the rest is on you." She pointed between the body and Blue. "Then you gotta help me find Pinkie."

"Listen for noise." Blue nodded sagaciously. "Pinkie is many things, quiet not being one of them.

Pinkie was thrown roughly into a corner, tied up from top to bottom. She had done her very best to distract them, but more and more and more and even more kept showing up and when you had that many ponies, well... There she was, all tied up. "Lemme go!" She wriggled as best she could, which wasn't much. "C'mon!"

Even her awesome blend of Equestrian earth pony magic and Everglow bardic magic had its limits. On the other hoof... She tested the ropes, feeling their give and take with great flexes of her arms. Perhaps... When the time was right... "You're going to be sorry!"

"Why don't we gag her?" asked one of her guards. "She won't shut up."

"Because the boss wants her friends to come. If they can hear her, that'll happen."

"Oh, yeah." The first seemed mollified at the basic idea of it. "But we have to listen to it."

"You could let me go?" proposed Pinkie with a big hopeful smile.

"That ain't happening."

The door leading to the elevator opened and out strode Octavia, bedecked in her fineries, once belonging to a powerful princess.

Steel nodded at their curiously-dressed spellcaster. "Octavia, I do not have a full measure of your abilities." He inclined his head faintly. "Let's start smaller, relatively. Can you view things from afar?"

Octavia lifted an ear. "I know a scrying spell, yes." Her eyes flicked to Twilight and Under. "Don't they?"

Under inclined his head. "Scrying spells have... been lost," he admitted. "I can only distantly remember them from far distant lives, and know no technomantic ritual that can reproduce the effect."

Twilight took a slow breath, her eyes on Octavia. "Must you parade in her..."

"They will provide me with the power that is being requested of me." Octavia turned her eyes back on Steel Prism. "Captain. What is it you want me to scry?" Even as she waited for the reply, a great big set of goggles came into view. Vinyl Scratch's old goggles. She strapped them to her head, resting just over her horn.

This meaning entirely escaped Steel. "Play the distress signal." The video began to play at the front of the room. "Examine this. Is this enough to get a view of what's going on there right now?"

Octavia walked right past Steel to get a better look at the image of the miserable pony on the screen. "Hm." Her eyes darted from one feature to the next of the other ship's bridge, taking in the details one by one. "I can try. This is enough to at least try. I know what I'm aiming for, at the least." She raised a gold-shoe-clad hoof to her chin. "Let us hope that is sufficient."

A fine silvered mirror floated into view as she moved out of the way of the video. "This will take some time."

Fast leaned forward for a better view. "How long, approximately?"

"One hour, exactly." Sometimes magic was very specific like that. "I will begin?"

"Please." Steel lightly nodded. "Knowledge will allow us to stop guessing. It is time we made use of all the tools at our disposal."

"This is almost cheating." Fast brought her hooves together. "Not that I am complaining. Please, proceed."

"It is beyond my knowing why some spells ceased to be." Under resumed tapping at his unseen buttons. "Were they just incompatible with technomantic practices?"

Twilight set a hoof on his shoulder, stiff as a board as it was. "If it was possible, I feel you would have figured it out."

"You are kind." Things went quiet a moment. "Still, it created doubts. Am I doing magic incorrectly?"

Twilight raised a hoof to her chin. "I... learned two varieties of magic." She raised two hooves, raising and lowering them in emphasis. "Both adhere to strict written words, which is why they both made sense to me. But they have so many more nuanced differences." She raised her left hoof. "One had methodical mental constructs to trap the power of a spell, waiting to be unleashed with a moment's notice in most cases. Some seemingly faster than that."

"And the other?" He wasn't watching her directly, working on whatever it was he was working on.

"The other didn't have that advantage, or disadvantage." Twilight shrugged gently. "It was up to the spellcaster to learn and weave the arcane forms in that very instant. Very flexible, but weaker, comparatively. Neither is 'better', but they are different. Technomancy is just another different magic. Not... better, just different."

"You are being kind." Despite his words, a little smile had appeared, his mood lifted by her words. "Tell me then, alien spellcaster." He raised a brow high. "What are the advantages of technomancy?"

"Flexibility and interoperability," declared Twilight without delay. "What old Everglow magic would call 'Metamagic', you have installed as apps. Apps right there." She pointed at the dangling data pad at Under's side. "And you can use them whenever you cast a spell, without slowing the spell, or requiring greater power. That is amazing." She threw a hoof wide to emphasize that. "You can't do that with Equestrian or Everglow magic."

"Magic hacks?" He inclined his head. "Truly, that is our strength?" He stopped typing, instead just thinking. "I see..."

"And they're remarkably flexible." She bobbed her head. "Some of them don't even require a spell being cast. You told me of them, if you recall?"

Little arcane nuggets, generally usable whenever applicable. Under nodded firmly. "You have convinced me, I think. This is... likely a situation where the grass is greener across the fence."

Author's Note:

A bit more action on the ship side this chappy, hm?

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