• 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.

  • ...

92 - Set Aside

Belle thrust a hoof at a spinning planet. "That one is nice. A good urban and rural blend. We can expose our children to different ways of life. The technology level is acceptable." She inclined her head. "Settling somewhere without repair facilities would be awkward."

"It ain't bad." Error nodded lightly at it. "But is it where you want to be?"

Belle's left ear clicked upwards. "I desire to be with you and them. Selecting a place that is optimal for their upbringing is all that matters, provided it suits our needs."

"Gonna be wierd." GlitchHarp was walking past, Glitch speaking, "Dual life is something I shoulda practiced more."

"We will practice now," assured Harp. "We'll be together, even digitally."

Belle frowned at her children. "What are you talking about? We are retiring, to here." She pointed at the floating hologram of a planet.

Harp looked away. Glitch met Belle's gaze, a confusing blend that made them quite walleyed in combination. "Mom, no disrespect, but we're not leaving here."

"You're... already leaving me? This is sooner than expected..." Surely all children moved out eventually...

Error patted Belle on the back with metal tinks. "It ain't like that. Three of us are programs and comfortable being programs. You got yerself a body and you're really attached. We're comin' with you."

Harp's side of their face smiled. "And we're staying here."

Belle was silent and still a moment, a skill robots had. "This is not logical. You have had a body from an early age." She pointed at GlitchHarp. "You will abandon it?"

"Nope," both children replied together.

Glitch huffed softly. "Mom, we just said we're with you. This--" She tapped herself on the chest hard enough to get a metal ring. "This is coming with you, with us. It'll be nice and safe from exploding. We're staying here--" She clopped on the floor. "As program copies, to help. If the ship goes boom, that'll suck, but we'll still be around."

"Sorry mom," assured Harp. "We weren't trying to lie to you. Don't be mad!"

"There is no way for..." She pointed up at Error's head. "The other you, that you leave behind. It will experience things and become its own person by the time you have a chance to synchronize with it. Does that not bother you?"

"You programmed me good." Error nodded with confidence. "Fer me, it'll be like, when it's done, like 'rememberin'' all the other me did. Either way, not leavin' the rest of the crew high and dry. Worth a little confusion."

Belle danced in place a moment. "I cannot prevent this." She sank to her haunches. "The other you will go on adventures without me."

Error could hear the hurt in her voice. "You could... copy yourself too?"

A big display of tears in her eyes bubbled, but could not escape, just being an image. "You know I cannot do that!"

Error hooked a leg around Belle, hugging her gently. "I know ya don't want to, an' ah don't plan to force you. But you can."

GlitchHarp closed with their parents, joining in the snuggle pile. Whatever Belle decided, they were a family.

Octavia strode through the wide avenues of the station. "Our ship arrives in two days. The planet is accepting of diverse species." She turned to Remi and Kit. "And the results." Her eyes suddenly rolled. "I hear that god that visited is even accepted there."

"Lashtada!" cried out Kit, clapping his hands. "She likes it when the baby seeds and the gardens aren't the same thing." He pointed to Remi. "Like a fox and--" He pointed to Octavia. "--a pony. Which made me!" He twirled in place, giggling and joyful about his own place in things.

Remi set a hand down on his head, his ears going between her fingers. "Sure did. You... definitely want to go?" Her eyes were on Octavia.

Octavia nodded. "I appreciate all they have done for me, for us, but we owe them nothing, in the end." She pointed at her child. "And the safety of our child supersedes this. I will not bring Kit to war. If they wish to find us after that is over, I will consider it, but not a minute before then."

Remi jumped slightly, wincing. "And our... adopted?"

"And them. Stop biting your father," scolded Octavia, waving a hoof at the alien twins until they released Remi's tail from their sharp-fanged maws. "No biting unless both people are playing the game."

"Wanna play?" Kit pounced towards them, tail lashing. Quite shortly, the two, er, three, were wrestling and fighting with no malice between them despite the biting and scratching. It was just predator youth practicing being predators.

Octavia nodded with satisfaction. "We have a curious family, but not a bad one. Come on now. We have places to be." She led her family forward, abandoning the ship to its struggles.

"Amazing." A human technician was watching dense code flow past, floating before his eyes alone. "Truly alien code, operating on..." His fingers worked on unseen buttons furiously. "Interacting with... This is just... astounding."

"Are we in good condition?" asked Mayor Mare, her face appearing on a closeby screen.

"As far as I can see... Say..." The human hiked a thumb at the computer vaguely. "Can I have a copy?"


"A copy, of PonyvilleAI. Studying it would be a huge thing." He wagged his datapad. "It's small enough to fit on here, if you're alright with it."

Mayor Mare seemed to consider that, hoof raising into view against her chin. "I am certain that such an act would typically require a payment. Make it to the ship." She gestured broadly at the ship as a whole.

"Fair." A few soft chimes and credits were sent flying.

Mayor Mare nodded. "There they are. Alright, go ahead." She watched as he made the copy. It would increase the odds that her precious ponies survived the coming conflict. "A pleasure doing business with you."

"I don't normally do much business with AI, especially concerning their core functions. Most of the ones I met are very protective about it." He slipped his pad away. "You're all set."

A giggle drifted into the room as soon as the human was gone. "Wow, gonna be cloned, a lot, again." Pinkie poked her head into the room.

"Does that bother you?" Mayor Mare fixed her eyes on Pinkie. "And are you staying, or going? You aren't even a member of the crew. Nopony would stop you if you walked away."

"Tempting." She inclined her head. "But I'm already on borrowed time, and you guys are going on a super huge adventure! Besides, somepony has to keep an eye on Spike and Twilight." She coiled a hoof on herself. "Who better than Pinkie?!"

"Good to have you around." Mayor Mare nodded at the eager earth pony. "I'll submit a request to get you a proper rank."

"Oh, wow, really?" Pinkie began to bounce in place. "That'd be kind of neat!"

"And required," reminded Mayor Mare. "You're either a civilian that just happens to be here, or a crewmember. Crewmembers have ranks. You intend to join us, so you need a rank."

"Okie dokie!" Pinkie bounced off to resume her exploration of the ship, unbothered by the upcoming conflict.

"You don't have to come with me." Under inclined his head lightly at Twilight. "I am functionally immortal. You are unaging. There is a difference. And that comes into stark clarity when a war approaches us."

"But I will." She inclined her altered ear. She was still getting used to her Everglow body. "Under, I've survived for countless years. Now, I live. I... I might die... But I'm doing it on my own terms, living, next to the pony I have sworn to be with." She touched noses with him gently. "I will do my best to keep us both safe."

Under chuckled softly. "I will return that favor..." A miserable sigh escaped him. "Gods above, if... this fails, I will hope to forget."

Twilight's ears pinned on her head. "Why would you want that?!"

"It's my fault." He rose, starting to pace around the room. "If not for me, we might have convinced you not to risk yourself this way. That will be quite the guilt I will bear, should something happen to you."

He lurched, thumped into and hugged by Twilight. "Stop that! There isn't a couple in this entire universe that doesn't, eventually... have to deal with this." She cleared her throat softly. "It's not fun... but let's make some great memories, together, that we hold close, not regret."

Under began to chuckle softly. "I'm getting life advice from the pony that imprisoned herself in a floating coffin with her long dead friends?" He winced back at her expression. "Sorry, that was over the line."

"But not inaccurate..." Twilight shuffled in place. "I made mistakes, and I learned from them. Now I pass them on. That is how this works, Under Score."

"Who better?" Under closed and they touched side to side. "Let's survive this. I will be disappointed if we don't get to enjoy some quiet time together."

So it was that their ship, the ESS Horizon, launched from the station, lightened of all civilian members. They were no longer an exploration vessel, not for that moment. They were repaired, outfitted, reinforced and ready to engage in battle that could determine the fate of all too many of the stars that twinkled in the sky.

Steel pressed an invisible button, activating the ship intercom. "As we march forward into battle, I know many of you have heavy hearts. Leaving our friends and family behind, perhaps never to see them again. But we are fighting for them. For their peace, for their safety, and for their prosperity do we approach danger."

Fast pressed a similar button only she could see. "We are not the aggressors. We will defend what is ours, deny those that would lay claim to it. We will be the first wall, shining shields in the void of space."

"Fast blades," continued Steel. "We will not go down lightly. Ideally, we won't go down at all, but we are prepared to face this. For the safety of the nation we know as home, we must. The mineralites that think they can take what is unprotected will learn that we are not unprotected. We are ready to fight. Until further notice, we are on red alert. This is a battle situation. ESS Horizon, we are at war." He lifted his hoof from the button with a soft sigh.

"Morale officer present." With a flicker, a robotic mare appeared, clearly holographic. "You are in need of support." Belle smiled brightly. "Permission to hug?"

Steel chuckled softly as he extended a hoof. "Come here, you." And soon they were hugging. "I thought you were resigning your post at first."

"I did." Belle inclined her head. "But the thought of missing out on Error and GlitchHarp's adventures was not acceptable. So, I sent this." She pointed at herself. "The other me is terrified of what it will feel like, when our experiences are combined later."

"Are you scared?" Steel asked the hologram.

"Not in the same way?" Holo-Belle shrugged. "I am already a splinter. I remember being a robot, but I am not a robot. I am a program. I will do my best to keep you all safe."

"Here here," called Fast as she pointed ahead. "Take us into position. We have a war to face, and we're not doing it alone."

The ESS Horizon raced out to the forming blockade of other Everglow ships and allied forces that were mounting the defensive line.

It would be quite a conflict, that war, but that is another story. The exploring journey of the ESS Horizon had ended, for the time. Perhaps they would get another chance to roam the stars, looking for what had not been seen before.

Perhaps not.

Author's Note:

Fin. I hope you all enjoyed this walk with me, even with the typos that dotted the way like twinkling stars in the sky.

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Comments ( 8 )

An interesting ending. It did feel it lost it’s way occasionally along the way but it is nice that in the end they found a home planet side.

This chapter closes, and life goes on.

Trouble is, Im thinking of two scenes, one from a movie, one from a book. From the movie?

This time Indy, I go first.

The book?

Tau Zero.

When the computer core only has a given length of time remaining, and cannot withstand warp forces, due to overall damage sustained and some reneegade group decides the heros WILL return home.:rainbowdetermined2:

And that's the way it goes folks! Very nice story, I enjoyed how we eventually got the Ponyville AI onboard, dot was good.

Tau Zero? Wasn't about circular time and crossing the singularity? That theme was reused in War Eternal as only viable "time travel war". Gave me giggles to see reference in Futurama.


Nod nod. the book was about the loop of time, but the title was about the rate of time flow when close to the speed of light is slower than the universe outside. Inertial dampers are the main things that stop people getting turned to neutronium films when accelerating to and through light speed when using warp?

Sooo...will there be a sequel? It seems very open-ended.

Quite an evolving tale. I find myself most curious about the fate of the Ponyville AI left behind.

They're still operating on the ship, faithfully ready to serve!

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