• Published 6th Apr 2019
  • 1,164 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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81 - Triumphant Defeat

Octavia ran a metal-clad hoof along the outer edge of the mirror as the surface seemed to ripple, an image coming into being on it. She could see the bridge she had wanted to see. The pony was there, but looked more of a bored miserable rather than a dying miserable. "Any signs?" he asked.

A human operator was working keys much like the ponies around Octavia did, unseen but real enough for them. "Maybe they aren't coming."

The pony inclined his head. "We can hope."

"If there is one thing." A human... like creature stepped into view, a bright ruby in their head. "One thing I can rely on when it comes to ponies, especially that kind. They won't give up easily. It's just a little matter of waiting." They, she? Raised a brow. "Are you bored?"

"No, ma'am," assured the pony, shaking his head quickly. "We're just waiting."

"That is the name of the game."

Steel's ears danced. He could hear the conversation, though the angle was poor to see what was happening. "I don't suppose you could put that on the main screen?"

Fast let out a soft puff of breath. "On the positive, they are not in any immediate danger. On the negative, they are far from safe where they are."

Under raised a hoof. "Her scrying device is not technological. I would be quite surprised if she could put it on the screen."

"Another advantage," called Twilight with a grin. "Technology has its perks. Not better, different."

Octavia's horn glowed, lifting the mirror into a better view for others to see through it. "I could whisper a message to him." She pointed at the image of the pony. "If there's a message you think would help?"

Steel inclined his head at the image, considering it. "Yes, but not him." He pointed instead at a human towards the back. "That one. 'Your friends are watching from afar.' Can they reply?" Octavia nodded. "Good. 'Your friends are watching from afar, is this a rogue agent?' And send that."

Fast clopped her hooves together in one smart meeting. "If that mineralite is acting on their own, that changes things. Good idea."

Twilight bobbed her head in agreement. "If we can avoid a war, definitely a good thing."

"Not an argument from me," joined Wandering. "Is the message sent?"

Octavia straightened back up from her hunched whispering stance. "He has received it. If he replies, I will inform you." She swiveled an ear towards Steel. "This sensor will last about ten more minutes."

Fast shuffled in place a bit, her lance rustling in its snug connection to her. "Thank you, Octavia. Your help is quite useful." She glanced towards Twilight, the other who, in theory, had magic equal in potency. "Forgive me for asking what may seem a foalish question, but if you have so much power, couldn't you do whatever you want?"

Octavia sat tall, ears erect despite the heavy rings on them. "While that is a fanciful thought, my magic has very real limits. Were we to enter ship battle, you are better off relying on your guns and your shields." Her voice dropped a little, "Don't expect your queen to handle everything."

"What was that?"

But Octavia was quiet.

Blue huffed with each step. Small ponies were not designed to carry full sized ponies! And yet, she was the one that could do it, and so she did, making her way slowly and miserably back to town. At least until she saw a cart. There were cages on it. "Is this what you planned to put us in?" She reared up and rubbed her hooves together. "Useful!" With a great smile, she closed with the abandoned cart.

Its owner, likely in that dark place she had fled. No guards had been left behind to watch over it. Their mistake, her gain. It was not a breach of law to steal from kidnappers and rogues. With considerable effort, she worked up her prisoner up along the side of the cart and flopped them inside, soon to rest in one of the cages. The others were kicked free to land with dull metal thuds on the ground. Pulling one cage with a prisoner was already more than enough.

Still, it meant she was pulling it, on wheels. Blessed, blessed wheels... Blue had to admire the power of wheels as she dragged the cart slowly, but still comparatively faster, down the road towards town. "Good luck," she called as she went, hoping for the best for their friendly fox friend. Luminace willing, Pinkie would be rescued.

Said friendly fox moved through the darkened hallways. Finding Pinkie was not as hard as she had imagined. Blue had been entirely right. Pinkie was not a quiet pony, and being captured had not reduced her volume. "Twenty nine bottles of cider on the wall, twenty nine bottles of cider!" echoed her voice, singing a song that seemed without end, even though it clearly had one. But Remi had heard it being sung from about fourty something.

"Where are you going?" Oh, the other shapeshifter. "I thought you were hunting?"

"That's not working," calmly replied Remi with a shrug. "I figured the effort would be better spent keeping an eye on the one we have, to stop the others from getting hurt trying to get to her."

The other fox rubbed a chin with a finger. "You're not... wrong. Our searching is getting nowhere. Kara take it all, but they've managed to vanish entirely! We had this place entirely surrounded..." They clicked a tongue angrily on their teeth. "Damned children. Children! This should not be so difficult."

Kara... That sounded like more than an idle thing spat in frustration. "Kara will take it," she fished with.

"She will," the other shapeshifter agreed with a sudden smirk. "Are you? Of course... What are the odds...? Ugh, I'm being tested." They began to walk with purpose towards the singing. "Come. Let's gather everyone. We'll stop scouring the entire place and instead focus."

As they went, the other fox turned an ear on Remi. "You blew your cover when you went pony. You like foxes too?"

"Foxes are great," assured Remi. That was an easy statement to be enthusiastic on. She was a kitsune. Foxes were great! "You like them?"

"I took it for your benefit." They fell forward, hitting the ground with hooves. They were like an insect, chitin glistening in the dim light. "This is as Kara made me, now hurry up."

Whatever tiny little seed of maybe attraction finished dying on the vine. Remi was not much into insects. Especially not evil insects that bothered little kids... Still, Kara, clearly the name of a god. Their god. Remi wished she knew what that entailed exactly. A bug god?

She kept up with him with a hastening of her steps. Ponies, even bug ponies, had a fast trot compared to a humanoid walking pace. Darn them and their hooves. He was letting her get in nice and close to Pinkie, but he would also summon the others to join in. Was that... good? Sorta, but no...

How to get Pinkie out of there...

"Let there be light," spat out the shapeshifter as he worked in words of power and glowed with magic that formed into a bright light in the candelabra that was over the center of the room. The light made Pinkie quite visible, along with the guards that were scattered around. "Everyone, get in here!" hollered... their leader?

Pinkie wriggled where she was, no longer against the wall, having managed to roll to the center of the room. "Hey there! Thanks for turning on the lights. Singing is way more fun with the lights on." She flopped over onto her back, still quite tied up. "Now where was I? Oh right, twelve nine bottles of cider on the wall, twelve nine bottles of cider!"

The bug horse walked past Pinkie as if she wasn't there. "I wasn't joking, get in here!" More and more guards were showing up from all sides. "That's more like it. Nothing comes in. Nothing goes out. If something tries, grab it, and no letting them go!" He put a chitinous hoof to his head. "I swear..."

Remi could see her target, right there... "Hey," she whispered to herself. "You're there, right?"

"Of course I am," came the voice from the future. "Target is in sight. Grab her."

"Grab her and then what? We are surrounded." Remi turned away from Pinkie, making a show of wandering the room. "Time for you to land a hand. I've done all the heavy lifting to here."

"Let me check the charts." She could hear typing? What charts?! What possible chart could fix the problem?! Remi turned back to Pinkie, approaching her directly.

"That your favorite song?"

Pinkie quirked an ear at the question. "Nah, but it's a good one." She bobbed her head furiously. "What's your favorite?"

Remi smiled a little. That pink pony was awfully cheerful for being in a terrible spot. She could admire that. "My favorite? You probably haven't heard of it."

"I'd like to hear of it." Pinkie was grinning despite the situation. "Go on, hum a few bars."

Remi reached into her top and produced a flute. "Actually, a very good friend of mine taught me how to play this, so..."

"Oh gosh yes!" Pinkie was vibrating with newfound excitement. "Do it!"

The boss glared at Remington. "Tell me you actually know how to play that. It will be a blissful change from her caterwauling."

"Octavia knows how to teach someone." Pinkie reacted. Did she know Octavia? How old was Octavia?! "Even if she prefers a cello herself." Another reaction. Yes, Pinkie knew Octavia, for sure. Which meant she knew Remi was a friend. Remi cracked a bright smile. That had worked out perfectly. "I call this, winds in the void."

And so she did play an oriental piece that would have been better on a bamboo flute, but she had what she had, and she did her best. It was less grating on the ears than Pinkie's cries of drink availability, at least. "Got it."

Remi could not reply to that voice in her ear, playing as she was. "I don't know why, but it seems the one you're in front of there can be safely moved forward." Remi quirked an ear. "I was just as surprised," assured the time lord that was her boss. "Not to the 'present', mind. But much closer."

Well, still... "Yes." He kept right on going despite her not saying anything. "You have to make contact with her and I'll draw you both out. No worries of physical fleeing, hmm, now isn't that better?"

Well... yes, actually. Remi tipped her flute as she drew to an end of her song. "How'd I do?"

"That was amazing!" Pinkie was clopping with joy.

Remi turned in place sharply to see Pinkie sitting on her haunches, applauding wildly. The others were starting to notice, stirring and moving to grab her. Remi snatched Pinkie by the shoulder. "Stop right there! I got her."

"You sure--" was all Pinkie got out before they vanished.

Octavia scowled with a new thought. "She said she would be right back... She has stern chastisement coming to her." Her eyes darted to the floating mirror that showed the other bridge so far away. "Ah, a reply." She raised a hoof beside an ear as if to help listen. "He says... 'We've only seen one so far. She has power enough to keep us pinned down, alone. It's terrifying.' and end message."

Steel nodded at the screen, where that female mineralite could still be seen. "So it could be a rogue agent. A lone madwoman."

"Then why did the others react that way?" cut in Fast with a scowl, but it lifted just as quickly. "That was a basic response. They just didn't want military vessels around."

Steel shrugged softly. "I can think of many on our side that would react the same if a military vessel came soaring in with words of a 'rescue' deep in our territory."

Things were becoming more clear, perhaps.

Author's Note:

Things are shaping up, hm?

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