• Member Since 16th Nov, 2018
  • offline last seen Oct 26th, 2023

Split Flow

Celestia help me


Radiant Dawn had nothing to lose when she signed up with the Startrotter Association. So when Equus finds an ancient probe bearing a message of friendship, she was more than ready to volunteer herself for a one way trip in the spirit of Harmony.

She had trusted her life to an unproven spell to keep her asleep for the journey to a world thousands of light years away, knowing that she might never wake up again.

Years later, having somehow survived the perils of deep space travel, Radiant Dawn has awoken to find the counter spell failing...

Cover art by the highly talented Lunette
Originally written
as an entry for the Transformations group's Pony-to-Human Contest by Two Bit

Proofreading kindly done by Timeluga

Chapters (4)
Comments ( 128 )

There been other stories with Humans, but this with ponies doing the space travel is new, fav and follow :twilightsmile:

Strong opening! Can't wait for more :D


Thank you both so much!

Interesting! Let’s see where this goes!

Intriguing start. Looking forward toward more.

Nice to see someone going with the "petrification as hypersleep" idea. :pinkiehappy:


Okay, that was new. Tracking.

Wish there were more stories like this

This is a strong start, and a nice touch that it's possible to parse what the humans are saying despite Radiant's own lack of understanding.

I do hope that Seefi is also okay, if for no other reason than to have something familiar for Radiant Dawn. Especially after the ordeal of being put in what I suspect is a nanite saturated fluid.

There aren't nearly enough good stories with ponies in space, so looking forward to more.

This is an incredibly interesting and well thought out and done story. You brought the true realities out and didn't fall victim to the fallacy of universal reasoning. You have made an interesting perspective and looked at the equestrian side and realized just how much you would have to remove from observations and conclusions due to the radically different technologies and cultures. I salute you.

Thumbs-up from me. I especially like the effort put into making the dialog seem more alien from the main character's perspective. It's fairly easy to puzzle out what they're saying just based on context, but those little extra steps are like extra whipped cream on a pie, making something already awesome even better.

I'm glad to see the story getting more fleshed out.

And I feel huge respect for you having gone to the trouble of translating English into phonetics. Nice touch.

So from what I understand it has been so long that humans have a essentially evolved into the grays.

This reads more like they are wearing some kind of protective suit. The "reflective face" is kind of a big hint.

Honestly, I'd be happier not knowing what the humans are saying, since you shoot yourself in the foot on tension. Good grasp of phonetics symbols, but if we're using Radiant Dawn's perspective then it stands to reason we shouldn't know what the humans are up to. This IS a third person limited, after all. The only information we should have access to is that which Radiant Dawn has access to. Again, neat use of phonetics, but...

It means that we know what the humans are doing, and their intent (to a degree), but since Radiant Dawn doesn't she's left playing catch-up to the reader. Makes for a clumsy narrative, because without some kind of contrived translation device we're going to be stuck in communication limbo but without any of the fun associated with trying to figure out what the unintelligible party is saying.

Try removing the human dialogue and substituting gibberish, then compare the two resulting scenarios. Instead of two factions who are mostly in line with each other (the goal being to get Radiant Dawn healed) but in conflict anyway (humans trying to help, Radiant Dawn doesn't know that but it's explicitly spelled out to readers), we'll have the protagonist in conflict with humans that lack a clear motivation because of their unknown intent. In the second scenario, for all the readers know they're intending to rip her open and stick probes in her.

Scenario A:
Why are they trying to capture her? Because she's out of the pod and injured, and they wish to help.
What are their plans? Stick her in a restorative nanomachine bath, looks like, but clearly holding friendly intent.
Where's Seefi? Don't know, but probably safe/not killed by humans since we know they have relatively benevolent intentions.
Where's the story going? Jolly cooperation and space friendship! Maybe some mean xenophobic humans or peeps after military applications for pony tech, but prolly going to be on the light-hearted side. No worries, happy endings for everyone!

In this instance, we as readers know more than we should know, because we should only know what Radiant Dawn knows. We know that she's with friendlies, but she doesn't. Why should we be concerned about her well-being? It's blatantly not in significant danger here. Where's the narrative tension?

Scenario B:
Why are they trying to capture her? We don't know. Potentially malevolent intent.
What are their plans? We don't know. Potentially to interrogate her for her home planet's location in order to launch an invasion. We don't know.
Where's Seefi? We don't know. The changeling could be dead, dissected, or worse at the hands of her captors, and its a realistic fear given we don't know what their intentions are.
Where is the story going? We. Don't. Know.

In this instance, we are restricted to Radiant Dawn's perspective and knowledge. Her decision-making and our judgement will be operating under the same information: The discernable info contained in the narrative, which is the only information Radiant Dawn has access to, 3rd person unlimited at the end of the chapter notwithstanding.

These questions only bring about significant narrative tension in scenario B, because the scenario A alleviates potential conflict/risk.

Second point of business is the use of a terminally ill astronaut. This one was actually what bugged me the most. In space, everything is trying to kill you, and a "minor inconvenience" is a lethal inconvenience. She might have the "most useless job" as a scribe, but if she's in space or a hostile environment she should be able to do just as much as the rest of the crew, within reason, ideally with a similar operational lifespan (that is, as long as posible). Suppose Seefi was incapacitated? Radiant needs to be at par to pick up the slack. If she has a time limit of ten years, that means that assuming she drops dead at year 10, Seefi is going to have to pick up all the slack afterwards. And that's assuming she doesn't require medical care/looking after prior to year 10.

Third, a space-faring pony cannot into hazard suits. This... hurt. If you're going to give a character the idiot ball, don't do so immediately after demonstrating that she's capable of rational thought. Presumably she knows that space is dangerous and thus has knowledge of space suits and protective gear, and presumably she knows what clothing is, and further presumably the Arion probe contained sufficient information on humans to know that clothes is a big part of our culture. Further, one would think that she knows what quarantine is? So, why on Earth does she then look at a group of obvious humans wearing clothing and think, "Oh herpy derp, they're bad must escape"? On that note, why are the humans wearing reflective masks instead of transparent ones?

Also, what's up with the pony scientists theorizing humans have a gelatinous membrane or chitin? What? The probe has pictures, for godsakes. You're telling me no one sent along a selfie? And why would you send an astronaut who panics so thoroughly at the sight of the unknown? And why did the humans not already have a set game-plan for dealing with their patient in the event of panic? Why do they have open coms that let the pony know that things are not all well? If you as a doctor are panicking in front of a patient, then that patient is going to panic. Same applies here.

You've got my upvote, but I hope you spend some time making revisions. There's some grammatical errors here and there, but I mostly concern myself with the storytelling. Either way, good job and welcome to Fimfiction!

Wow! That's a pretty thorough analysis of areas that I need to work on. O.o

I'll take them under consideration!
Thanks for the feedback!

Try Arrow 18 for one of the most iconic first contact stories in the fandom.

Another iconic take on first contact is Arad's Stardust, which is an XCOM crossover that doesn't require knowledge of the source material.

Celestia Sleeps In and its ongoing sequel are probably my favorite non-science fiction first contact fics on this site. They're both incredible and must reads.

If you like transformations and nanomachines, then Project: Sunflower should probably hold your interest for quite a while.

There's also Outside the Reaching Sky, which is a very different kind of first contact, but I won't spoil it for you.

If you're into moon landings, check out Luna's Return Trajectory.

Following on the moon landings, why not Mars? The Maretian is a fantastic adaptation of the book/film of the less punnished title. Highly recommended if you're into hard scifi and snark.

Not a comprehensive list by any means, but hopefully one of the above will catch your fancy!

You're welcome, I hope that it helps.

Great story. I went to the link and read your earlier story, that was good, and I can’t wait for more of this.

Has anyone else tried translating the humans yet? This is what I got:

stɑp ˈstændɪŋ əˈraʊnd! wi doʊnt hæv mʌʧ taɪm! ˈhɜri!

Stop standing around! We don’t have enough time! Hurry!

stɑp ˈrʌnɪŋ gɑd ˈdæmɪt, wir ˈtraɪɪŋ tu hɛlp!

Stop running, God dammit, we’re trying to help!

aɪv gɑt ɪt!

I’ve got it!

ju ʃʊr ju wɑnt tu du ðɪs waɪl ʃiz əˈweɪk? jʊr ˈgoʊɪŋ tu draʊn hɜr əˈlaɪv ju noʊ?

Do you want to do this while she’s awake? Your going to drown her alive now?

“wir ˈteɪkɪŋ ə bɪg ɪˈnʌf rɪsk æz ɪt ɪz. wi doʊnt noʊ ɪf ðɛr ˈbɑdiz kæn ˈhændəl ˈaʊər ˈmɛdəsən

We’re taking a big enough risk as it is. We don’t know if her body can handle the medicine.

Dang it I’ve already read all of those, except Celestia sleeps in. Two questions. Do you have more? Does Celestial sleeps in pick up at all? I read the first two or three chapters, got bored and left it. Should I go back?

Hrrmm. What is this interesting new story of intersteller exploration and nihilistic pony redemption that has crossed my feature box? *reads*

...moooaar? :pinkiesmile:

Celestia Sleeps In is very long, takes a very methodical (or tedious, depending on your perspective) approach to its storytelling, and the core plot threads have not even begun to be addressed - and the story's been quiet for more than a year.

I'm watching this story, though. I'm eager to see where this goes.

This was by far my favorite entry to that contest when I saw the results a few days ago. Really excited to see you do more with the story. Do hope the burn is slower. Seems like there'd be lot of directions for it to go.

Oh hey! I was gonna post my own translations until I saw this! :twilightsmile:

There are a couple of things I disagree on, though:

ju ʃʊr ju wɑnt tu du ðɪs waɪl ʃiz əˈweɪk? jʊr ˈgoʊɪŋ tu draʊn hɜr əˈlaɪv ju noʊ?

Yours: Do you want to do this while she’s awake? Your going to drown her alive now?

Mine: You sure you want to do this while she's awake? You're going to drown her alive, you know?

“wir ˈteɪkɪŋ ə bɪg ɪˈnʌf rɪsk æz ɪt ɪz. wi doʊnt noʊ ɪf ðɛr ˈbɑdiz kæn ˈhændəl ˈaʊər ˈmɛdəsən

Yours: We’re taking a big enough risk as it is. We don’t know if her body can handle the medicine.

Mine: We're taking a big enough risk as it is. We don't know if her body can handle our medicine.

I'm just wondering how these human have "bloated skin" with a "sickly shade of green". First thought that popped up is some kind of mutation as result of radiation from a nuclear attack, while the second is some weird infectious disease.

Absolute brain derp. :twilightoops:

They're wearing biohazard suits. Should have known from "smooth, featureless faces".

AH! SO MANY OF MY FAVORITES!!! :pinkiehappy:

Gotta check out the ones I haven't read. Never knew there was a sequel to the Dread Chitin!

Clearly you have good taste!

There was actually supposed to be a sequel to Outside the Reaching Sky, but Karazor went AFK/dead before it went into full production according to his last blog on the subject. I've tried poking him a couple of times, but at this point I think he might be gone for good. :(

If you want any recs, feel free to short me a PM!

Well color me interested.

Looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Excellent. You basically fixed all the bits I was unsure of, but couldn’t think of a better translation for.

From a literary standpoint, this fellow is right. No Understanding of the aliens = more tension and the author sharing in the MCs fear & confusion.

But me personally, I like it. If the intro was another typical humans are space monsters fic (or appeared to be) I would have passed it by after one chapter. As it stands, I’ve faved it and am waiting for more.

Subverted tropes comes at cost. Remember all the dramatic tension when Rey gives Luke back his lightsaber in The Last Jedi?

Remember how hyped you were for the adventure to continue?

Now recall how all that excitement got tossed out the window when Luke threw his lightsaber away a moment later. The culmination of the previous movie, and it's thrown away like it's nothing for the sake of a cheap gag.

Subverting tropes comes at cost.

The narrative is weaker for it, and the result ends up being the same anyway if the author follows his original intent with the plot. Same outcome, but it's much more riveting and tense. There's more at stake.

You might drop it after a single chapter (Don't read a book by its cover!), but I expect the literarily correct version would hold more attention than the other. Old truths and all that.

More AWESOME chapters please! :pinkiehappy:


Either a nanite bath or some form of hyper-oxygenated fluid. I'm thinking the latter since it's easier to make given "near future" tech rather than something quite a ways off still. Seems silly to just drown her like that closing scene reads from her perspective.

I've actually never seen The Last Jedi. So I can't relate that example.
Though that would prolly just piss me off. Channel sweetie for an "OH COME ON".

I get that the other way is the right way. I get that more people would benefit from it being that way.

I wanted the author to know someone liked it this way.

Medical micro machines (not quite nanite scale, but getting there) are current expiremental tech. We're closer to nanomachines than you might realize, so it's not out of the scope of possibility if the right improvements are found to have nanites in the near future.

Either way, you're right that it would also be hyper-oxygenated.

Wonder what the hell they were doing. Advanced medical procedure? Cryo?

Clearly one asks "are you trying to drown it?", so they aren't meaning to kill.

Be glad for that ignorance, comrade. Surely, it is bliss. Damn movie ruined Star Wars for me.

And I understand what you mean, letting the writer know what you like. I'm just wary about bad writing habits and someone is wrong on the internet memes.

Oh god, The Last Jedi. I actually watched that before TFA. It's amazing how they could pull a total 180 and make the sequel that bad.

Worry not, my Star Wars innocence was destroyed long ago.
I’ve seen the infamous Holiday Special. It’s not worth it.
I also remember made-for-children Ewok movies from the 80s/early 90s.

I didn’t carry on after TFA because it struck me as a remake of Episode IV with a better (more sense plot-wise) main character but overall a worse movie.
Figured TLJ and ROS would be Empire and Return of the Jedi.

Wow, that's unfortunate. I'm of the lucky generation that never saw the weird 80s/90s crap, but grew up on the OT and the EU books, and the creative boom in the 2000s. So, healthy dose of neat storytelling and creative output, but without all the immediate cash-ins you had to deal with.

For the love of God, DO NOT watch anything after TFA, if you want to preserve any fond memories of Star Wars. TFA is tolerable for nostalgia's sake as an Episode IV clone, but anything after that in the sequel trilogy is pretty much untouchable. Beautiful visuals and fights, but it'll shit all over your fondness for the characters from the earlier movies. I WISH TLJ and ROS were just rehashed Eps V and VI.

Rogue One was okay, though. Solo was meh at best, and I haven't seen The Mandalorian aside from Yoda memes.

Have to say I'm finding this concept really interesting and I'm very excited excited to see what will happen with such a interesting first contact.

Interesting premise! So, if Earth is thousands of lightyears away, then it has been tens of millennia since we launched the Voyager. Is humanity dead, or have we ascended?

If this is a sequel to the Voyager story I'm thinking of then humanity suffered a major collapse that was implied to be a potentially extinction level event. But by the sounds of it this is a group of humans wearing hazard suits literally dunking an alien in nanomachines so it sounds like we survived, just got severely delayed by said disaster.

This is why earth astronauts go through a psychological screening.

love the responses to finding out hope it dose not get glossed over looking forward to next chapter

this is why you done change peoples/ponys species without asking she handled it better then i would have

To be fair, I don't think "how to react if you encounter an alien species that, for benign reasons, changes you to their own species" is covered in either the psychological screening or the following astronaut training.

I wonder if Radiant still has her magic. That'd be another big loss.

While I preferred she stayed a pony, I'm very interested to see where this goes. Xd

I said whoever disliked this story, your mom's a hoe

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