• Published 28th Dec 2011
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ARTICLE 2 - Muppetz



An alien crash lands in Equestria. It calls itself human.

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ARTICLE 2 Part I

ARTICLE 2

By: Muppetz (!Gsih3Wfnlk)

Celestia paced back and forth in her chamber, reviewing a chart levitating a few inches from her nose. Her brow furrowed, as if she were unsatisfied with its contents. She finally threw the clipboard down on her desk, a little more forcefully than she had intended, knocking off a folder, labeled “TOP SECRET- TIER 1”. It fell to the floor and spilled several photographs.

Celestia let out a tired sigh and her shoulders sagged. She was grateful for the privacy she enjoyed while in her own quarters, it allowed her to loosen up a bit, or in this case, vent her obvious frustration. She began to telekinetically scoop up the pictures one by one, taking another hard look at each one before placing them back in their folder. Scenes of twisted, burning metal and scorched earth displayed themselves on the tiny square photos.

One particular image confused Celestia. It was a large charred piece of steel with the markings, “R-V38-X-540” and the flag of a nation that didn’t exist. She contemplated it a bit before it floated past her and settled itself in its place back in the folder. More photos floated past her eyes, ones even she had difficulty looking at. Images littered with torn flesh, eyes staring lifelessly into the distance, limbs stuck in awkward angles. She desired to simply put these photos away but she forced herself to examine them, scouring them for any sign of what could have caused this. Another photo raised itself to her. Almost a dozen corpses all stretched out in a row, covered by white, bloodstained sheets.

She placed the rest of the photos in the folder, save for one, and set the folder back on her desk. She let out an exhausted sigh. She technically didn’t need sleep, but she often found it helped her function more efficiently, and she had gone without it for almost a week. She re-examined the chart for the tenth time hoping that there was something, anything, she may have missed. “No notable progress.” She stared at the words, wishing they would change, but they remained quite the same. She raised the one remaining photograph, arguably the most important photograph, and inspected it. It was a hospital room. The patient in the bed was covered in tubes and wires, hardly identifiable underneath all the bandages that encased it. Celestia did not know what to make of it; she only knew one thing for sure…It wasn’t from here.

~~~~~

Twilight hustled about her library late at night, darting from shelf to shelf, with a near panicked fervor. She plucked random books from shelves before dropping them into a large luggage case. A young purple dragon tried desperately to calm the young mare, but she paid him little to no mind, continuing to dash about the building.

“Twilight you have to chill out! You’re going to give yourself an aneurysm. I mean it’s probably nothing, maybe she just wants to talk or catch up or something.” He said, trying to block the pony from her bookshelves. He was wrapped in an aura of purple magic and whisked out of the way, as if he were nothing more than a cobweb.

“Spike! You read the letter. You know the Princes wouldn’t ask something like this unless it was an absolute emergency!” She replied, still dashing around gathering up books, carefully selecting which could be most useful given the Princess’ rather vague letter.

“It might just be a casual visit.” Said Spike, still trying futilely to get Twilight to calm herself. She shot him a narrow gaze before whipping out a letter marked with the royal seal.

“My dearest and most faithful student Twilight,” She began as Spike rolled his eyes. “It is with a heavy heart that I write at this time, for I fear that, once again, Equestria is in dire need of your assistance. I’m afraid that I must ask you and the other Elements to please join me in the capital. I understand that this is quite a lot to ask of you and your friends, but I am afraid that I am left with little choice. I apologize, but I am unable to tell you why you must make this trip. However I assure you, it is a delicate matter which requires the up-most secrecy. It was my wish not to entangle you or your friends in such affairs but I have run out of options. I am sending my own elite personal guard to come collect you and your friends in the morning. Please be ready, as your expediency in this matter is paramount. Signed, Princess Celestia of Equestria.” She finished, and turned to Spike. “Does that sound like a casual visit to you?!”

“…no.” Spike knew he had been beat. “but you still need to slow down. You only have a few hours before sunrise, and exhausting yourself doesn’t do you OR the princess any good.” This line of reasoning seemed to have more effect.

“Uhg! I know!” Twilight cried, as she plopped herself down in the middle of the room. “But what am I supposed to do? She didn’t tell me what she needs us for. We could be doing anything, so I need to be ready for anything.”

“Twilight, You and I both know you have read and re-read every book in this library at least three times. You’re the most powerful and talented unicorn I have ever met in my entire life,” Twilight brightened a bit. “And you have the most dedicated friends in all of Equestria backing you up. If anypony can handle Celestia’s problem, it’s you.” Twilight smiled and picked herself up, walking over to Spike.

“Thanks Spike,” She said, wrapping a foreleg around him in a tight hug. “You really are my #1 assistant.”

“That’s what I’m here for sister.” He said confidently. “Now go get some sleep. I’ll clean up this mess.”

“Thanks Spike, I don’t know what I’d do without you.” She made her way to the stairs which led to her bedroom, and Spike began picking up books off the floor and tossing them up to the ceiling, where they were snatched out of mid air by a large brown barn owl, who then deposited them in their proper places.

Twilight settled down into her bed, but as hard as she tried, she couldn’t seem to keep her eyes closed. Too many unanswered questions floated around her head. She hoped that she wasn’t the only one having trouble sleeping. Most of her friends had been present when the letter arrived, and from their reactions, were just as confused and frightened by the possibilities as she was.

Applejack had been the first to excuse herself, saying she needed to alert her family and make preparations for her absence from the farm, which, not surprisingly, seemed to be her biggest concern about the whole situation, along with the need to inform Fluttershy who would, undoubtedly, be terrified at the prospect.

Rarity quickly followed suit, musing aloud about what in the world she was going to wear, whether or not to pack this or that, if she would get the opportunity to mingle with the royals and if so which formal dress she should pack.

Rainbow Dash seemed all too excited about the “mission” as she kept calling it. She kept raving, “This is so AWESOME! I’ll bet the princess is going to send us on some super dangerous deadly covert operation, where we’ll hold the fate of the world in our hooves! “Special Agent Dash,” She repeated to herself a few times. “Man that sounds SO COOL! I wonder if we’ll get to go undercover. Maybe were going to Stalliongrad! You know? To like, be spies?” Dash kept on that path for a good 5 minutes, imagining every possible, albeit improbable, scenario that her polychromatic head could envision. She eventually sped off for her cloud home, saying she needed to get ready, along with Pinkie Pie who seemed all too concerned about which particular brand of sweets would be the most well received in Canterlot.

Twilight lay in her bed, wishing desperately for sleep to come to her. She let her eyes wander out her window. Luna’s namesake was high in the night sky. The moon never failed to calm Twilight. It cast its soft glow on the trees and roof tops, giving everything a silver-blue highlight. The stars twinkled around the moon, accenting the orb perfectly. A beam of moonlight from the window cast itself on Twilight’s bed, and her lids soon began getting rather heavy. Eventually the yawns got the best of her and she drifted into a deep sleep.

~~~~~

Twilight paced back and forth in front of her library, occasionally stopping to open up a large piece of luggage to check its contents, as if to make sure they had not disappeared. Rainbow dash was napping on the grass, her colorful head resting on the rather small bag she had packed for the trip. Applejack had a similar idea, although it wasn’t really clear whether or not she was actually asleep; the rim of her down-turned Stetson covering most of her face. Pinkie pie was rummaging about in her own pink luggage case, and from the sound of it, she was already busy devouring whatever snacks she had packed for the trip. Rarity sat absentmindedly reading a magazine, whilst running a small file over her perfect white hooves. Fluttershy was busy entertaining herself by playing with, and occasionally talking to, a small ladybug, which crawled around on one of her butter yellow hooves. The sun had yet to actually breach the horizon, but it was still bright enough from its reflected light to see clearly. As if on cue, the sun peeked above the horizon and issued the first rays of true sunlight upon the trees.

Any moment now. Twilight thought, eyes glued to the skies in the direction of Canterlot. After a few more minutes, six black dots could be seen headed from the direction of the capital city and headed for Ponyville. Twilight waited a moment to identify the objects as six golden chariots, each pulled by four stallions in resplendent golden armor. Twilight alerted her friends, earning a whiny moan from Rainbow Dash about “five more minutes” before the unicorn levitated the pegasus to her feet. The six mares readied themselves. A few moments later, the chariots landed in the street in front of the library. They aligned themselves in a long row in an impressive (but as Twilight felt slightly unnecessary) show of force. Luckily most ponies weren’t up this early, so the display went relatively unnoticed by the town. The stallions located in the front right of each chariot formation detached themselves from their group and approached the girls. One stepped forward and bowed slightly to the group.

“Ms. Sparkle?” He asked in a gruff voice.

“Yes?” She replied.

“My name is Lieutenant Silver. I am under orders to escort you and the other Elements of Harmony to Canterlot. Do you require time to prepare yourselves or are you ready to depart?” Twilight looked back at her friends who all gave their nod of approval.

“We’re ready.” She said with a sense of finality.

“Excellent.” The Lieutenant motioned with a hoof and the other guards began to load the girls’ luggage on to every other chariot. Twilight watched for a while, slightly confused by the unnecessarily large number of chariots the princess had sent.

“Excuse me sir?” Twilight asked the unicorn timidly. The lieutenant ceased directing his guards to look at her.

“Yes ma’am, Is there anything you need?”

“Oh, no, I was just wondering…why the princess went through all this,” She gestured toward the convoy of chariots and war horses. “…all just to pick us up for a ride to Canterlot.” The stallion seemed to grow wary at the question, as if something about it had frightened him.

“I’m afraid that information is slightly above my pay grade ma’am. This pick up was orchestrated by Princess Celestia herself.” Twilight was expecting a bit more of an answer than that.

“But why? What’s going on that has the Princess in such a twist?” The tall pony seemed to relent a bit, his demeanor becoming even more uncomfortable.

“If I knew the answer to that, I’m sure I wouldn’t be allowed to tell you. The palace has been a bit hectic lately. I haven’t seen her majesty this unsettled in a very long time. Whatever she’s up to, she’s playing it VERY close to the chest.” This did nothing to alleviate Twilight’s fears. She occupied herself by chewing on the end of a lock of her purple mane.

“I’m tellin’ ya ah can get it mahself!” Applejack said from over by her luggage case, where she was giving two guards quite a rough time.

“Please just let us do our jobs Ms. Applejack.” One tried to reason.

“Ahm perfectly capable of pickin’ up mah own things, Thank you very much.” Rarity stepped forward and placed a hoof on Applejack’s shoulder.

“Darling, they’re just trying to help. We all know you’re more than able to handle yourself, but these ponies have a job to do. Just let them take the suitcase dear.” Applejack didn’t respond but she sidestepped and allowed the guards access to her luggage. She looked unhappy with the proceedings but didn’t protest further. Pinkie insisted on grabbing an armful of cookies from her case before surrendering it to the guards. She then insisted they each have one for their “super duper good jobs loading all that super heavy stuff”. The guards each politely refused, but Pinkie was rather…persistent, and before long each of them were nibbling on a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. Were the circumstances any different, the scene would have been quite humorous.

As soon as the last of the girls’ belongings were loaded the Lieutenant ordered the soldier ponies back to their places pulling the chariots. He directed Twilight and Rainbow Dash to the chariot second in line and they entered and seated themselves. Applejack and Fluttershy were directed to the fourth, Pinkie Pie and Rarity to the sixth. Twilight was, once again, confused by the odd behavior of the guards.

“Umm…Lieutenant?” She called from her spot in the chariot. And he trotted over to her.

“Yes Ms. Sparkle?”

“I’m sorry to keep pestering you, but why exactly are half of these chariots empty? I mean the one up front could easily hold all six of us. Why not just send us all in that one?”

“In the event of an ambush the lead vehicle is always the first to be attacked, and have you ever heard the expression ‘don’t put all your eggs in one basket’?” She had gone a bit pale, but nodded, wondering if the situation was really that bad. The guard pony seemed to pick up on some of Twilight’s emotions. “I wouldn’t worry about it Ms. Twilight, there hasn’t been any sign of direct aggression toward the crown in over 600 years. I’m sure the princess is merely being overly protective of her most prized student and her friends.” He finished with what must have been an attempt at a reassuring smile. It didn’t help much. He took his place on the lead team, and motioned for them to take off. The first chariot left empty, followed shortly by the second, and so on. Soon the entire convoy had put long since left Ponyville behind. The trip from Canterlot to Ponyville usually only took about 15 to 20 minutes. The capital city was even visible from Ponyville, from it’s location on the side of a mountain. It was truly a sight to behold; a magnificent feat of structural design, most likely just as much a result of unicorn magic as the architects that constructed it. With their destination rapidly approaching, Twilight felt her gut twist in anticipation. Rainbow Dash, on the other hand appeared all too eager to get to the city.

“I could have flown there twice by now.” She said as she impatiently tapped a hoof. Twilight wished she could have shared in Rainbow’s confidence, but there was a lead weight in her stomach that gave her a rotten feeling about this whole situation.

They landed in a large courtyard directly behind the palace of the royal sisters. Rarity stepped down from the golden chariot, and drank in the view of the castle. It was a marvelous sight; it shined like a diamond, in the sun’s morning rays. Now this was the kind of place a lady truly belonged. She moved to join the others, walking as gracefully and dignified as possible. The girls were then escorted inside the castle and led to a spacious lounge where they were told to wait. They sat for about 15 minutes before Celestia finally walked in, with Luna in tow. The girls all scrambled to bow before the monarchs, and Celestia motioned for them to rise. She looked tired. Her normally flowing flawless mane was a bit less shiny, and not nearly as wavy. As if the invisible breeze that seemed to constantly follow her had died to a whisper. Still she managed to smile brightly and she went to nuzzle Twilight, which Twilight returned with enthusiasm.

“Hello my faithful student.”

“Hello Princess.” She spoke with poorly suppressed relief. Now that Celestia was here, she felt the tightness in her gut loosen. The presence of the sun goddess seemed to assuage the dread that had been accumulating in her heart. Luna then interjected.

“I hate to break this up, Tia, but I’m sure they are all quite curious as to why we have plucked them from their homes and brought them here.”

“Of course, my apologies,” She took a moment to compose herself. “…Girls, what I am about to tell you is currently the most closely guarded secret in the Equestrian government. Barely a handful of ponies outside my sister and I have been briefed on it, and even fewer have been given a full report. It was against my wishes to do this, and it breaks my heart to ask it of you, but before we can proceed any further,” She let out a deep sigh, clearly uncomfortable with the track the conversation was on. “…I’m afraid I must ask you all to submit yourselves to a spell which would render you incapable of repeating any of this information, whether by accident or by force, to any who may misuse it.” The girls were slightly taken aback. What the princesses were asking for was in no way, a small favor. Rarity spoke,

“Is that really necessary your majesty? Do you not trust us?” Celestia’s face seemed to drain itself of happiness. Her head lowered slightly. This was exactly what she had hoped to avoid implying.

“It’s not a matter of trust girls. It’s a matter of safety. I trust you all with my very life, but this is far more delicate a matter than you can imagine. This revelation could very well upset the entire balance of our nation.” A sliver of steel entered her voice. “I’m sorry girls, I truly am, but this is how it has to be. If you elect against the spell, I would not blame you for even a moment, I understand it is a lot to ask of you, but should you decide against it, I will thank you for your time and you may simply return to the courtyard and the guards will take you anywhere you would like to go.”

The girls remained silent for a moment, each grappling with the implications of situation. They were at a crossroads. The decision they made now would forever change their lives, and it was not to be taken lightly.

Twilight stood up to her full height and approached the Princesses. Her face bore hard determination. “I’ll do it; I trust you, your majesties. I understand you would not ask this unless it was absolutely necessary.”

“I’ll do it too.” came a diminutive voice from the back of the group. The group was collectively surprised to see that it came from Fluttershy, who of all of them seemed to be the most terrified of this ordeal. Although the more they thought about it, the more sense it made. Fluttershy was naturally inclined to help anypony in need, and the Princesses obviously needed her help. With that, each of the other girls quickly followed suit, giving their nods of approval to the goddesses. Celestia’s horn glowed white hot, and so did each of the six mares. A strange tingling sensation enveloped their throats. The sensation reverberated through their vocal chords and worked its way up to their tongues. When the spell was finished, each of the girls sat somewhat dazed, working the strange feeling out of their jaws.

“Excellent,” Celestia said with an obvious air of relief. “Now, Luna if you would so kindly…” The dark blue alicorn nodded and her horn glowed softly as the doors and windows all shimmered in a protective sound proofing spell.

“Now, if you girls would like to make yourselves comfortable this may take a while to explain.” Princess Luna suggested, and the mares all did as instructed, finding either cushions or armchairs to rest on. They formed a semi circle around the two princesses and waited for Luna to continue, which she did. “Six days ago, at approximately two o'clock in the morning, I spotted an unidentified object descending through the upper atmosphere at an alarming rate. My first reaction was that it was merely a larger meteorite or some other space debris, but upon closer inspection it became evident that this was not the case.” Luna’s horn lit up and an image projected itself in the center of the circle: A large bright ball falling through the night sky, surrounded by a cone of fire. “As it came closer, it became clear that the object was a mechanical body. And it was NOT one of ours.” The girls were captivated and amazed, minds already boggled at the implications. “The craft was apparently somehow damaged and could no longer maintain altitude. It crashed roughly sixty-five miles south of Manehatten.” Luna then projected a picture of the crash site, flaming piles of wreckage scattered around a smoking crater. “I was one of the first to arrive on the scene. We were able to shield it from the eyes of the general public. The craft was irreparably damaged. There were no survivors. The entire crew of the vessel, maybe a dozen or so, were dead on arrival.”

“That’s terrible.” Fluttershy squeaked, tears forming in the corners of her eyes. Even Rarity had a hoof placed over her mouth in shock.

“Yes…” Luna continued “But I am afraid that is not where the story ends. The bodies and wreckage were moved here to Canterlot and placed in a secure facility. Some of our top scientists and mechanics examined the wreckage. The vessel was obviously no longer functional, but they were able to glean a few of its secrets. We still aren’t clear to its exact purpose, but we do know that it is a highly advanced piece of machinery, most likely designed for voyages into deep space. It was powered by engines more advanced than any we have ever been able to produce, and capable of generating staggering amounts of power. It commonly utilizes technologies that are still in the theoretic phase of our most advanced science teams. Our best medical professionals and healers studied the bodies, which were most likely the most important facet of this whole catastrophe.”

“Ah don’t mean ta sound insenitive,” Applejack spoke up. “…but why exactly are the bodies of dead ponies so important, when ya have some sorta super advanced flyin’ machine ta worry about? Ah mean, shouldn’t ya be focusin’ on which country this thing came from, and maybe askin’ them about it rather then bein’ all secretive and sneaky?” The princesses exchanged an uneasy look. Celestia finally answered her.

“Because Applejack…they…weren’t ponies.” Applejack’s mouth worked for a moment as if trying to form words, but she instead settled on a very confused look, and kept her mouth shut.

“As my sister said, these creatures are not equine in nature. Nor are they any other species we have a classification for.” Luna stopped to take a deep breath. “At this time it is believed that these beings are extra terrestrial lifeforms.”

“Wait wait wait wait wait…Let me get this straight.” Rainbow Dash stood up and interrupted. “Are you trying to tell me, that aliens crashed here in Equestria?” She finished with a sarcastic laugh.

“…Yes.”

Dash’s face lost all traces of humor and she plopped back down on her haunches, a bit paler than before.

“….oh.”

“Excuse me, your majesty?” Twilight spoke up. “This is all very fascinating and terrifying, but I still don’t understand why you need us here.”

“Well…” Luna replied. “…do you remember when I told you there were no survivors?”

“…yes.” Twilight’s eyes narrowed in slight confusion.

“That’s…not…entirely true.”

~~~~~

The girls all sat in a semi circle around the Goddesses of the sun and the moon, jaws agape. Rarity was the first to regain her composure.

“So you actually…have one of them, alive?!”

“Long story short, yes.” Celestia answered. Dash shook herself free of the shocked daze she was in.

“Really?! That…is so…AWESOME!!! Can we see it!? Please!?!?”

“That was actually our next stop. If you girls are ready we can go now.” The girls all scrambled to their feet, eager to get a look at the creature.

They followed the Princesses deep into the castle. They walked for almost 20 minutes following corridor after corridor. They finally reached a set of double doors guarded by 6 soldier ponies all in full armor. The guards allowed them to pass only after Celestia had given them specific orders to allow the girls through as well. Soon, they came to the castles medical wing. The door bore a menacing looking “QUARANTINE” sign, along with “DO NOT ENTER” and several other scary warning labels. Another group of guards stood at this door allowing nopony, that wasn’t allowed, to pass. The doors opened only for Celestia, Luna, and a few other chosen individuals. Once beyond the portal, Twilight noticed a distinct lack of ponies. It seemed the princess had commandeered the entire medical wing for this. A handful of ponies darted here or there scurrying about with charts, x-rays, and alike. The princess led the girls to a large steel door. She stopped before entering and turned to face the girls.

“Now, it isn’t exactly a pretty sight. It was injured very badly in the crash, so I will urge anypony with a weak stomach to remain here.” When none of the girls spoke up Celestia opened the door. It led to a room, completely empty, but with a large window in the far wall. The window showed a hospital bed. On the bed lay a mass of wires and tubes so thick it was difficult to decipher the figure that lay beneath them. It was somewhat similar anatomically to a pony. It had four legs, the two closest to its head were considerably smaller, but still appeared well muscled and more importantly ended with hands similar to a dragon’s, rather than hooves.

It’s head was shaped rather unusually. It had no snout to speak of, other than a slight protrusion below it’s eyes with two small holes, which were currently plugged with clear tubing. Twilight assumed that was the creature’s nose. It had a mouth which was occupied by a larger plastic tube, which was pumping some form of gas into the creature’s chest which rose and fell rhythmically. Its mane was cropped to a very short buzz and ended somewhere at the base of its neck.

The alien was not exactly hairless. The creature had hair only on its head. It had some light fur on its chest and arms but other than that, it was mostly skin. Celestia however was right. The alien was covered in burns and bruises. Most of its chest was covered in gauze which Twilight assumed covered more severe burns. Its face had been cut and bruised. The left arm was covered in bandages from shoulder to finger. Its lower half was covered in a white sheet. Any skin that wasn’t severely injured was connected to some wire or monitor, keeping track of its vital signs. Celestia began to speak.

“It is actually quite fascinating. He has essentially the same vital organs as any pony; heart, lungs, stomach, liver. If it were any different I’m sure we wouldn’t have been able to keep him alive this long.”

“…Him?” Twilight asked.

“Oh my yes. It’s a male. It seems our anatomy was quite similar indeed.” Twilight blushed slightly. “We aren’t quite certain of his age. We think he is still fairly young. He is fully matured but we can’t be certain how old they live to be exactly. Based solely on his cell growth, we estimated him to be anywhere from twenty to forty. Of course without knowing how old they can get, this is all just speculation and guess. For all we really know, in his own species eyes, he may still be a newborn, .” They stood and gawked for another few minutes. “Would you like to get a closer look?” Celestia actually sounded a bit excited, as if she were happy to finally have somepony to share the discovery with. The mares nodded enthusiastically and Luna directed them to a door in the side of the room which had gone previously unnoticed. The door led to another empty room. It was stark white and covered in strange nozzles. The door sealed behind the group and a white disinfectant gas began pouring out of the nozzles. Once the ponies were all effectively sterile, a light on the ceiling flickered green and a second door opened, leading to the room which housed the alien. The girls all warily trotted over to get a better look, while Celestia and Luna busied themselves with the machines that were keeping it alive. Luna eventually trotted over to the group of mares ogling the alien. She then smiled and said,

“Look at this.” She placed a hoof on the creatures face and pulled back on its upper lip, revealing a set of white teeth. “Notice anything?” She said, and Applejack spoke,

“Its teeth are…sharp. ‘Specialy them four.” She indicated the four canine teeth jutting from its gums. “That means it’s a carnivore don’t it? It eats meat.” Luna smiled,

“Very good, that’s what we assumed at first too, but look.” She pulled back further revealing the teeth in the back of its mouth. They were much more flat, designed to chew both plants and animals. “Omnivore!” She said, a little too excitedly.

“What’s wrong with it? Why won’t it wake up?” Fluttershy spoke at a barely audible level. Celestia answered.

“Well, by all means he should be long dead, and if anyone other than Luna or I had arrived when we did, he likely would have been. He was trying his hardest to cling to life but he had sustained injuries that no living thing should have been able to survive.” Then as if to emphasize Celestia’s point Luna began reading from a chart.

“Skull fractures, severe concussions, left foreleg shattered. Six broken ribs, left lung punctured, spinal fracture, right hip broken, several organs bleeding internally, right rear leg broken in two places, and burns covering almost 20% of his body. He’s had a bad week.” She said with a bit of black humor.

“So why can’t you just, you know, heal him with magic?” Dash asked.

“We tried,” Celestia answered. “We received…mixed results. We were able to reset most of his bones, and stop the internal bleeding, but it’s strange. He seems…resistant to magic. When we try to heal a cut, sometimes it works, other times his own cells turn on the magically healed area, they seem to reject the healed tissue and it kills off its own cells. He seems to mostly reject minor healing spells. We have been slightly more successful with the more complex spells, but we, more than once, have inadvertently almost killed him. You must understand that no creature should have survived such wounds, magic or no. We debated for a long time simply allowing the poor thing to die, but we decided there was a chance we could save it and possibly learn more about it. That’s, also where you girls come in.” The mares all stopped and gave her their full attention. “We have exhausted every avenue we could, yet he still hasn’t shown any sign of waking out of this comatose state. It seems that the joint power of both Luna and I just isn’t enough. The combined elements of harmony are one of the most powerful and ancient magics in existence. Luna and I were hoping to tap that power and combine it with our own. Then perhaps we’ll have a shot at saving him.”

“When exactly are you planning on trying this?” Twilight asked, eager to get started.

“Tomorrow,” Luna answered. “You girls are surely quite tired from today’s excitement, and the spell is by no means an easy one. We want you all to be well rested before we attempt it.”

Satisfied with finally having a solid plan, the girls returned to inspecting the alien.

“Do ya think we oughta try and learn a bit more about it before we go wakin’ it up?” AJ asked. “Ah mean, how do we know he’s gonna be friendly?”

“We don’t really,” Celestia answered. “but we have actually learned a surprising amount about it. It’s a carbon based bipedal, highly dexterous creature. It breathes oxygen; it’s comprised mostly of water, all very similar to a pony. The only real difference is its shape.”

“What’s all this?” Pinkie said, her lower half sticking out the top of a large metal crate.

“That’s everything the alien had in its possession, when we first brought it here.” Pinkie began digging through the box. She picked out a large pair of tan boots, and some rather strange looking clothes. The other girls soon joined her in examining the creature’s strange possessions. A pair of pants, with matching blouse that would have made Rarity gag. They were both made of a durable material, on which was printed several thousand tiny squares, each a slightly different color of tan or brown, in a strange, seemingly erratic, grouping patterns. The effect gave a camouflaged look. Two gold leaves were pinned onto the collar of the garment. The pants had several pockets both in the front, back, and down the legs. The blouse had two pockets on the breast of the garment. Dash slipped her forelegs in the arm holes and stood on her hind legs. She admired herself in the alien clothing.

“I kinda like it.” She announced. “It’s very intimidating.” She chuckled and Twilight noticed some text sewn on top of either pocket. She questioned Celestia about it.

“We think that’s his name, maybe the name of his family or clan. We can’t really be sure.”

Twilight read the letters. “DORAN” was stitched above the right pocket. “U.S. MARINES” was stitched above the other. She found more clothes, a green shirt, a pair of shorts, even socks. She placed his clothes aside and continued digging. Something shiny caught her eye. She pulled out a long silver chain on which were two metal tags. Both engraved with the same message.

DORAN

SHANE, T. O-NEG

540 33 6010

USMC MED

NO PREFERENCE

“What about these?” Twilight asked holding them up.

“Again, we can’t say for sure but we think it’s a form of identification tag.”

Twilight then came upon a rather heavy piece of metal. L shaped, with a molded handle, which would have fit his hand perfectly. The long end of the L ended with a steel tube which ran the length of the piece. A small lever protected by a band of steel which joined at either arm of the L. Twilight held it up to Celestia.

“Any idea what this is?”

“We assumed it to be some type of weapon.” She said, “I’d be careful with it if I were you. We studied it a bit and it seems that it harnesses a combustible powder, to send metal slugs out of that barrel at incredible speeds. Its either a weapon or it fulfills some other use we couldn’t think of.” Another item caught Twilight’s eye. A mess of buckles and straps all connected to a sort of rectangular tube, made of a very tough canvas material. Twilight slid the metal device into the tube experimentally and it fit perfectly. Another strap wrapped around the base of the L and snapped onto the other side of the tube, securing it in place. Twilight gently set the device back down in its box. Most of the girls had gone back to staring at the sleeping alien. Pinkie scrutinized it with one bright blue eye.

“You say it’s a he huh?” She examined his face. It certainly looked masculine. He had a strong jaw, heavily muscled, but it was tough to tell with a creature she had never encountered before. Pinkie began to lift the sheet of its waist before her hoof was slapped away by Rarity who was giving her a clearly disapproving look. The girls all chuckled.

“Alright, have you girls seen enough?” Luna asked. As curious as they were they couldn’t help but realize how tired and hungry they were. They all nodded an affirmative, and the group left the creature to sleep in peace.

The Princesses treated the girls to a royal dinner before they were shown their rooms. Celestia announced they would have free reign of the castle but they were urged to get some rest. Tomorrow was going to be a busy day. Most of the girls went to explore the castle. Twilight, however went to explore the library. She sat herself in front of a stack of medical tomes, healing spells, and anatomy. She strived to learn as much as she could about tomorrow’s procedure before she attempted it. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash went back to the medical wing to get another look at the alien, maybe something had changed. They entered the facility and passed the quarantine doors. They stepped through the sanitizing spray and once again were back in the hospital room. Pinkie Pie took full advantage of their lack of supervision and climbed right up onto the bed with the alien. Legs on either side of it, she scrutinized it up close, face to face. She lifted and eyelid with her hoof. The pupil contracted inside a blue/green iris, but otherwise he remained staring off into space.

“Helllloooooooo? Wake up Mr. sleepy bones!” She gently tapped him on the forehead. “Anypony home?” She waited a moment for a response but the only answer she received was the mechanical whir of the breathing machines. She hopped down and placed a cupcake on the bedside table.

“What’s that for?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“Duh, silly. He’s been asleep for almost a week. He’s gonna be hungry!”

“How do you even know it likes cupcakes? For all we know it’s going to try and eat one of us.” Dash seemed to realize what she had just said. She and Pinkie Pie shared a nervous look, both realizing that actually was a very likely possibility. Suddenly neither of them harbored any desire to be alone in the room with a potentially pony eating alien, and they began a, not so casual, sprint for the exit. They practically ran back through the castle. The met up with Rarity and Applejack who were exploring the mysteries of the castle grounds. After the girls had their fill of shenanigans, they retired to their respective rooms. Twilight remained nose deep in her books until she realized how late it was getting. She reluctantly retired as well.

~~~~~

The girls woke extra early, eager for the day to begin. They were served a large breakfast in the lounge they had first met in. They chatted non-stop about the alien, and whether or not they thought they could successfully wake it. The door creaked open and a few palace servants came to clean up after the girl’s breakfast. The six mare’s mouths were immediately forced shut. That strange tingle once again echoed through their vocal chords, rendering them speechless. The princesses’ spell definitely worked. Although its sudden application startled them a bit, as if to remind them that this was no trivial matter. After the servants left, the mood in the room became a bit more somber. The girls’ thoughts began to drift toward some of the negatives of the situation.

“Ahm still not sure wakin’ this thing up is such a great idea. Ah mean, we got no clue as ta what it’s gonna do once it wakes up.” AJ pointed out.

“…Well…um…we don’t know that he’s necessarily bad either. He may be very friendly, I’m sure he will be thankful for us saving him.”

“Maybe…” She feigned a relent, “but how friendly do ya think it’ll be when it finds all its friends are dead. No matter how friendly it is, it will still look mighty suspicious ta see almost a dozen of your kind all dead and in Equestrian custody.” Fluttershy hid behind her own pink mane. She had to admit it was going to be an awkward conversation. Twilight spoke up.

“I think all we can do is try our best and hope that he is a reasonable being.” She spoke with assurance but deep down she felt just as wary as the others. Ironically Fluttershy seemed to be the most confident about the creature. It seemed to be her nature to do all she could to help nurse animals back to health, and this was simply a…big, alien, animal.

“Don’t worry AJ, Let’s say he does turn out to be some sorta pony-eating monster. He won’t be able to do anything with BOTH the princesses there. I’m telling ya, we got nothing to worry about.” Dash said, hovering around the ceiling of the lounge.

“I’m quite certain Rainbow is right.” Rarity spoke up. “But I simply can not help but agree with Applejack to a degree. I mean, let’s say you are right Fluttershy and he turns out to be the most friendly gentlecolt one can imagine, but what do you think would happen if more of them show up here looking for their missing, and find them dead in an Equestrian facility….I doubt they would stop to ask our side of the story before they begin exacting their revenge.” This line of reasoning seemed to hit the group rather hard. None of them really anticipated the possibility of more of these things showing up. The more they thought about it, the more nervous they got about the fast approaching procedure. As if on cue, Luna walked through the door followed closely by Celestia, who was looking much more like herself today. It seemed she had finally gotten a good night’s sleep. She spoke to the group in a rather chipper voice.

“Are you ready?” Her smile betrayed her obvious excitement. Luckily it seemed to be rather contagious. Now that the two goddesses were here, it felt as though nothing could ever go wrong. The girls all nodded enthusiastically and the group began the trek to the medical wing. The trip felt like it took ages. Each step carried weight. Every hoof fall brought them closer to the room where all their questions would be answered. They eventually reached the door that lead to the observation room, but before entering, Celestia turned to the group.

“This is it girls, last chance. If any of you want out, I suggest you get out now.”

“What? You expect us to quit now?! HA! As if. Let’s do this!” Dash said doing a little flip in the air.

“We’re staying. We’re in it till the end, princess.” said Twilight with steel in her voice. The princess nodded and moved through the door. The rest followed her though and into the sanitizing chamber. The stark white room once again filled with the sterilizing smoke, and as soon as the girls no longer harbored any risk of infection, the light flicked green and the second door unsealed and inched open. The princesses positioned themselves on either side of the bed. The girls took places in a semi circle ending with the two goddesses.

“Take a few deep breaths girls.” Celestia said as she closed her eyes. Her brow lowered in deep concentration. The princesses’ horns glowed, softly at first, but it quickly became brighter. Soon it reached a point where the girls could barely see. The bright aura of magic was blinding. The air seemed to grow hot and thick. Everything seemed to vibrate with energy. A thick copper taste covered their tongues. An arc of wild electricity joined itself between the sun and moon goddesses.

The lights in the room flickered and dimmed. Erratic flashes of lightning sprung to and from the princesses. Occasionally a bolt would arc away and dissipate against the walls, or floor. Soon one string of fire linked itself from Celestia to Twilight, it then spread from Twilight to Rarity. The bolt followed the circuit joining each of the girls consecutively, until it reached back to Luna. It didn’t hurt, as one would assume being struck by an arc of electricity would, but it made her insides flash from hot to cold, her heart beat furiously. She could feel the spell probing her entire being, searching for magical energies to absorb. She felt the spell tap in to her magic, but it also went deeper, commandeering some of the very depths of her soul.

Twilight couldn’t hear any more. Only an ear splitting ringing could be distinguished from the show of light and fire. Twilight managed to look up to Celestia, her eyes were wide, they glowed white hot, and sweat beaded her forehead. Her jaw was clenched and she was under obvious strain. She shifted her gaze to Luna, who seemed to be under similar tension. Her own eyes did not glow white, but rather deep blue, almost black. Twilight looked to her friends who were also squinting and dealing with similar afflictions, with the exception of Pinkie Pie who wore a pair of sunglasses and a wide, excited smile.

The bolt shot forward from each pony, and struck the alien in the chest. A violent spray of sparks and electricity shot in all directions. The machines all monitoring the creature went berserk. The heart monitor sounded alarms as his heart rate skyrocketed to almost 300 beats per minute. His blood pressure increased to a dangerous level, and his entire body began to seize. His muscles clenched and his entire mass spasmed violently. His face however gave no indication of even being aware of this. He still appeared fast asleep. He glistened as sweat poured through his skin. His temperature had reached 101 degrees, and was continuing to inch higher.

Sparks flew off the respirators as they stuttered to keep up with the oxygen his body was consuming. The entire creature began to glow. Soon you could no longer see it from under the cocoon of magic that wrapped around it. The noise was reaching an unbearable level. Twilight’s ears pressed down as hard as possible, attempting to block it, but she soon realized the noise was coming from inside her head. The cocoon grew brighter until nothing else could be seen. The magic that enveloped the creature shattered with a thunderous crack and shot a wave of energy in all directions.

The girls were thrown against the walls. The room grew dim until it turned pitch black. Red light barely filled the room as emergency running board lights lit the floor. The girls staggered to their feet. Even Princess Celestia was knocked back on her haunches. Luna lowered her wings, which she had raised to protect herself. She hurried over to Rarity and Pinkie Pie who were in a tangled mess in the corner. The overhead lights slowly flickered into existence. Celestia helped Twilight to her hooves, before addressing the group.

“Everypony all right?” They groggily sounded off their affirmations. Dash sat on her rump, head held between her hooves.

Barely.” She complained.

“I’m sorry girls.” Celestia said in a voice laced with regret. “I didn’t know the reaction would be so…unstable.” Her head lowered. “I should have done more research, but I cut corners and you girls paid the price for it. I’m sorry.” Luna trotted over to her and lifted Celestia’s head with a nuzzle.

“You did the best you could sister. You know we could have never predicted this. Nothing like this has ever been attempted before, especially with something from another planet.” Celestia raised her head, and gave Luna a small smile, which quickly disappeared.

“Thank you, but it doesn’t change the fact that this was still my fault. There were too many variables with this spell. I shouldn’t have attempted it. And now any hope of solving this mystery died with him.” She gestured back to the alien. The girls forgot about it in the explosion. The wires that connected it to the machines had been severed. The clear tube that normally was busy pushing air into its lungs was gone. Following the tube from the machine, Applejack held up the other end which looked as if it had been, melted off. The alien itself lay there, as if nothing had ever happened. The cuts and bruises that had covered it had all healed, along with the burns. But it showed no signs of life. It remained perfectly still. If anypony got a quick glance they may have assumed it was sleeping. Pinkie Pie trotted up to the bed and rested her head on its sternum. She sat there for a moment.

“He’s not dead.” She said matter of factly.

“What?!” Celestia and Luna said in perfect unison. They both dashed over and pressed an ear to its chest. They could hear the distinct, Thump Thump, Thump Thump, of a beating heart. Suddenly it drew in a long breath, which caused all of them to take a step back. It began to take steady deep breaths.

“Dear me, …It is alive.” Luna said in a clearly shocked voice. She then let out an amazed laugh. “It’s alive! It worked!!!” Celestia didn’t celebrate, however. She actually looked a bit concerned. She raised a hoof to his head and lifted an eyelid. The pupil contracted, but remained staring off into space. Celestia’s horn lit up again. A beam of green light encased the creature scanning it, inside and out.

“I don’t understand,” She said “biologically it’s perfectly healthy…but why hasn’t it woken up?” She then telekinetically picked a machine off the floor and flicked a switch experimentally. The tiny screen flickered to life. Satisfied with the device she grabbed two wires that protruded from the back and attached them to its temples. The machine began to display an erratic looking string of green.

“What is that, exactly, Princess?” Rarity inquired.

“This,” Celestia answered. “…is a machine that allows me to see somepony’s brainwaves.”

“What’s it sayin’ about his?” AJ piped up from across the room. Celestia turned the machine so that they all could see. She pointed with a hoof to the screen

“These, are his brain waves. More specifically Delta Waves, 2.11 Hz of them.”

“Umm…one more time, in Equestrian this time maybe?” Dash said slightly aggravated. Luna spoke up.

“It means he is still very much asleep.” She shifted her speech to her sister. “Maybe we underestimated the extent of brain damage. He has sustained injuries that no amount of magic should have been able to fix. There is no precedent to draw from here. I think we threw out the rule book a long time ago with this one, Tia.” Celestia had to admit the truth in her sister’s words.

“So what happens now?” Dash asked from her hovering spot overtop of the alien.

“I… don’t know.” Celestia answered. “I suppose we’ll just have to wait for a change. It’s out of my hooves now. He’s on his own.”

The group left the room, defeated. Celestia stopped at the nurse’s station and alerted them of the failed spell. They were told to keep and extra sharp watch on the creature and immediately inform her of any change, no matter how minor. The princesses led them back to the study. They weren’t able to stay long as they each had royal duties to attend to. They told the mares they were welcome to stay as long as they liked, but if they chose to return home, a chariot would be available to escort them tomorrow morning. Twilight announced she would stay as long as the princess had need of her, the others heartily agreed.

Now that they had they had no real task they wandered for a bit. Not really sure what to do with themselves. Rarity immediately seized the opportunity to acquaint herself with the nobility of the capital city. She spent about 2 hours in her room preparing herself before stepping out in a glimmering blue formal dress. Fluttershy went to relish in the royal gardens, Rainbow Dash went to go stretch her wings, and Applejack went to find some way to contact her family, to alert them of her extended stay. Pinkie Pie was already gone. She had disappeared, seemingly into thin air. Twilight, not surprisingly, made her way to the library. She didn’t really have a specific target, so she grabbed a few books on medicine and anatomy, and made her way back to the medical wing. She set up shop in the observation room and began taking notes. She documented everything from the creature itself, to the care that the princesses had administered so far. She entered the room with an anatomy book. Her horn glowed as she attempted to duplicate the scanning spell she had seen Celestia use earlier. She was met with limited success. The message was fuzzy but she could identify the alien’s presence. She fine tuned her spell a bit and the connection became much clearer. She scanned for any lingering injuries. None presented themselves. The creature was as healthy as it had ever been, maybe more so.

So why won’t you wake up?

Twilight had a new idea. She probed the alien’s mind with her magic. Searching for any signs of cognizance, she scoured the depths of its consciousness, but found no indication that it was aware of its surroundings.The recesses of his alien mind were chaotic. She felt the overwhelming presence of memories, most of which were completely incomprehensible to her. She likened the experience to being in an abandoned library, where all the books were bound shut. His mind was full of memories and thoughts. He clearly possessed unquestionable intelligence, not that it was in question.

Twilight retreated back into herself to make careful notes of her findings. She wrote down everything she discovered about the creature. The alien had a few scars that were fully healed, implying they had been received well before the crash. It also gave her an idea of how their society functioned. They seemed to be far too advanced to still compete for mates, but she didn’t rule that out entirely. They were obviously not a magic using species. It would explain why the wounds were not healed immediately, but rather healed over time. It also may have explained their far superior technology.

Invention is born of necessity. Twilight mused to herself. Perhaps if we didn’t have magic we too would have been forced to adapt much more quickly.

She trotted over to the box which housed his belongings. She pulled out his metal tags. She copied their information down in her notes. She looked at the alien. She looked back at the tags, and re read them. “Doran, Shane T.” A thought crept into her head. She approached the creature. She placed her mouth close to its ear.

“Shane?”

A small beep rang from a machine behind her. It startled her slightly. But excited she smiled and tried again a little louder. “Shane?” The brainwave monitor beeped, and the green line jumped slightly. It was a small spike, but it excited her like a foal on their birthday. She almost shouted now. “Shane! Can you hear me?” The line jumped again. He was responsive! “Wake up Shane!” The line made a barely visible spike. “Wake up Shane T. Doran!” She looked desperately at the screen. It didn’t even move this time. Her heart sank, She was losing him. “NO! Don’t go back to sleep! WAKE UP! …SHANE!” She shouted at the comatose alien, slightly irritated at its fading cooperation. The line continued the pattern she now recognized as Delta waves. “Shane?” Nothing happened. “Helloooo!” Still nothing. She went sat back down at her temporary desk, highly disappointed, but she didn’t let it mar the fact that for one brief moment he responded to an outside stimuli. She avidly recorded the event, making a note of telling the princess the very next chance she got. Hours passed as Twilight took notes diligently, occasionally stopping to go check a heart rate or blood pressure. Once or twice she even got to see a female pony with a red cross for a cutie mark change out its IV. Each time the pony gave her a happy smile, but never exchanged more than a few pleasantries.

The sound of a few hoof beats roused Twilight out of her book, a textbook on modern medical practices. She turned around to see AJ and Rainbow Dash enter the room.

“Anythin’ yet there Twi?”

“Not really, A few blips on the monitors but other than that…not a thing.”

“C’mon sugarcube. We’re gonna get ourselves some dinner and hit the hay.” Twilight stood and stretched her legs. She followed them out, but first took one last look through the observation window. She sighed and followed her friends. While they were walking Dash hovered circles around them. She began to speak,

“Ya know. I’ve been thinkin’… What if this guy never wakes up?” Neither AJ or Twilight had an answer. “I think we aught to start selling tickets to get your picture taken with it.” The girls all shared a laugh, happy for the levity Dash brought to the group.

“I mean…what else are we gonna do, besides sit on our hooves and grow old waiting for this thing to finish napping?” Dash did bring up a good point. They didn’t really have a game plan anymore. Twilight wasn’t comfortable with just “playing it by ear”. Still, they didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. Resigned to wait, Twilight returned with her friends. None of the girls really noticed how much the day had taken out of them. They all yawned their way through dinner, and fell asleep almost the second their heads hit the pillow.

~~~~~

The girls were invited to have breakfast with the princesses, an offer which they heartily accepted. They discussed a few trivial matters but were unable to broach the topic which they all so desired. For they were, unfortunately, joined by a few members of the court. Twilight recognized a few of them. There was the current commander of the guard, who gave Twilight a wave and a happy smile. There was also numerous diplomats and government officials, most of whom Twilight could not identify. Luna was there as well. She sat next to Celestia doing a very poor job of concealing her boredom with the proceedings. Rarity was all in a fluster. She had not been told that this meal would take place in the presence of some of Canterlot’s most notable ponies. She insisted she had a gown that would have been simply perfect for the setting, yet she had left it in her room. Despite her fussing she still managed to hit it off with the nobles. She schmoozed like a well oiled machine. When she wasn’t busy making a name for herself, she kept busy pestering Applejack and Rainbow Dash about their horrid table manners. Fluttershy was, as usual, hiding behind a lock of her luxurious pink mane. She occasionally poked her head out to nibble at her meal. Pinkie Pie somehow managed to shovel staggering amounts of food into her tiny body. It didn’t seem physically possible for all that food to fit inside the petite pink filly, but most ponies had long since learned not to seek logical answers when Pinkie Pie was involved. After the meal had finished, the group broke from the table and did their best to mingle with the princesses’ guests. The commander of the guard approached Twilight.

“Hello Miss Sparkle!”

“Hello Commander, It’s been too long.” She gave the tall pony a friendly hug. She had met the colt numerous times during her tutelage under Celestia. She had grown accustomed to his presence, and he had become slightly fond of her. He had no children of his own, and given his almost constant contact with Celestia, he had watched her grow up. Once or twice Celestia had even left Twilight in his care, during times where her duties forced her away.

“So! What is it that has Celestia in such strange mood lately?” Twilight panicked a bit. They had yet to think of a cover story in the event somepony started asking questions. “I mean, if she were to confide in anyone, I just as well assume it would be you.”

“Oh…um..yes, the princess, well, I …uh…” She stammered desperately flailing for any excuse that came to mind. But he cut her off.

“…and not to mention, it being important enough to recall her most faithful student AND the other elements of harmony. It doesn’t seem like Celestia to go through all this trouble for a mere visit.”

“Oh well, you know how the princess can get…” She chuckled nervously. He leaned closer than Twilight felt was necessary, and continued.

“Why, if I didn’t know any better, I’d say Celestia was trying to hide something.” Beads of sweat began forming on Twilight’s forehead, and her fake smile grew to an arguably creepy level. “Perhaps it has something to do with the reports of a strange object crashing outside Manehatten?” He leaned in even closer, noses almost touching. She couldn’t escape his piercing gaze. Just then Luna strode past and deadpanned,

“Relax Twilight, he knows everything.” And then carried on passed them. Twilight looked back at the commander who was now wearing a huge smile, and barely containing his jollity. The look on Twilight’s face was enough to send him over the top and he almost fell over from the strength of his boisterous laughing. Twilight let out her breath, which she realized she had been holding, and brought a hoof up to her chest in a futile attempt to get her heart to stop racing. She barely managed to speak.

“…why?” Her voice colored with indignation and some residual terror. He fought back any additional bursts of merriment and answered her.

“Just testing your mettle kid….Needless to say, you failed. But it’s always fun watching you squirm.” Twilight stared at him secretly hoping her looks could kill. He reached up a hoof and mussed up her mane. “Aw, don’t be mad Sparky it was all in good fun.” She stormed off to rejoin her friends leaving the still chuckling stallion behind. It wasn’t the first time he had played a joke of this manner on the filly.

The girls left the gathering to return to the lounge where they spent a great deal of time. If it weren’t for the whole “potential extra terrestrial invasion” thing, the trip would have been a lovely getaway for the girls. They didn’t always have a chance to be together for such an extended period of time. It always felt right being together. Life often tried to get in the way but they knew in their hearts that nothing would ever separate them.

~~~~~

Several stories below, a nurse pony sat at her station. She was quietly humming to herself, filling out paperwork. Her ordinary duties consisted of assisting the princesses’ royal physician, but Celestia herself had assigned her a special job. She and only a handful of others were given custody of some sort of new species. They hadn’t been told where the princess had found the poor thing but it was so near death when they brought it in, she feared it wouldn’t survive the night. The princesses however had seen fit to lend their direct intervention to keep the creature alive. They were given a rush course in its anatomy, and told to keep it breathing at all costs. And by no stretch of the imagination had the creature made it easy on them. The first few nights it seemed to crash every other hour or so. Its heart would give out or it would have a nasty reaction to some healing spell. Lately however the beast had finally seemed to find some rest, (she didn’t really know if a coma counted as rest) but it was still a good thing. It was at least staying alive by itself now…for the most part. The Princesses’ had even recruited the elements of harmony for one big shebang of a healing spell, but from she had been told, they had not succeeded in waking the thing from its sleep. Most of the “on call” medical staff elected to return to their usual schedules after learning the animal no longer harbored much chance of waking. She volunteered to stay behind. She was curious to see where this adventure was going to take her…and she had to admit, the increased pay helped a lot.

A sudden sound broke the silence of the near deserted medical wing, a noise she recognized all too clearly. Her lead weight sank into her stomach.

“Oh no…”

~~~~~

The mare leapt to her hooves and began sprinting for the only room in the medical wing with a patient. The obnoxious beeping noise she ran toward was sounding the alert of a patient going into cardiac arrest. She had to stop a moment to grab the crash cart. The rapid beeps of the alarm died for a moment and she slowed to try and hear it. The beeping had stopped, but the noise that replaced it made her insides go cold. The high pitched tone of a flat-lining heart monitor. All the sudden every alarm in the room started going off. It was like a horrible chorus of death, singing to whoever was unfortunate enough to hear its music. She raced to the door which she barged her way through and stuffed herself in the sanitizing chamber. If she had only stopped a moment she would have noticed a set of terrified blue green eyes watching her through the observation window. She didn’t even wait for the sprays to finish but rather she attempted to pry open the second door and force her way inside the room.

She stood for a moment, very confused. She was definitely in the right room. All the life support machines were blaring obnoxiously…but the bed was empty. Her first thought was simply, “…this is just like the beginning of every horror movie I have ever seen.” Right then she heard the door close behind her as whatever had been hiding behind pushed it shut. “Yep, JUST like every horror movie.” Her vision went black as something collided with the back of her head, and she fell to the ground unconscious.

~~~~

Twilight decided to check up on their inter-planetary friend one more time before hitting the town with the girls, who were waiting for her in the castle courtyard. She trotted through the hallways and passages that made up the familiar route to the medical wing. She passed the sets of double doors that led to the medical facility itself, and after passing the nurses station, she immediately noticed something was out of place. The friendly nurse who usually sat there was missing. And even more surprising, some almighty racket seemed to be emanating from the room which housed the alien.

Dread filled Twilight as she cautiously moved toward the room. She barely took a step before she was stopped dead in her tracks. She was frozen in terror. A tall, two legged figure stepped out of the room…very much awake. Time seemed to slow down to emphasize the enormity of the moment. The alien paused as it noticed Twilight shaking in fear. It met her gaze. Its eyes bored into hers with uncertainty, as if deciding whether or not the small purple mare was a threat. Twilight noticed that it had found its clothes, also its weapon which was strapped to its right thigh. It was much taller than it seemed laying in the bed unconscious.

Twilight’s head only came up to about its stomach. It was probably 9 hands or so taller than she was. How long they stayed there eyeballing each other Twilight had no idea. But the sound of angry shouts and the thunderous pounding of armored hooves snapped them out of their stare.

Twilight saw the guards round a corner much farther down the hallway. They slowed as they beheld the strange creature, but did not halt their charge. The alien looked back and forth between the guards barreling toward him and Twilight a few times before it lowered itself and took off in a dead sprint, directly at Twilight. Every fiber of her being screamed for her to move, but her terror stricken limbs would not budge, despite the monster that was currently hurdling toward her. It was only about fifteen feet away now, still in full on sprint.

Twilight’s hooves finally began to move as she also began to sprint in the opposite direction. The alien followed her. It was fast but not nearly as fast as a full grown pony. A fact that, Twilight hoped, would allow the guards to catch it before it caught her. Twilight ran aimlessly for a few horror filled moments, she had put a bit of distance between herself and the alien, but it was still following her. Maybe it thought she would lead it to an exit. She turned a corner and died a little inside. It was wrong. She had run into a dead end. The hallway ended with a large window in the far wall and no side hallways to escape down. She pressed herself firmly against the far wall of the hallway and prayed the guards had already subdued the beast.

Her prayers stopped when she saw it skid to a halt at the other end of the corridor. She was trapped now. She tried to be brave, but there’s something about thinking you’re about to die that seems to suck the bravado right out of you. The alien looked at her and then behind at the rapidly approaching shitstorm of guards.

It barreled toward Twilight and made it about halfway down the hallway before the guards turned the corner and pursued. It put on an extra burst of speed. It was right on top of her now. Even worse, he hooked a foreleg under the still petrified Twilight and squeezed her to his chest. His left arm wrapped itself around her ribcage, pinning her own forelegs to her chest. Her rear legs still touched the ground, but barely. Twilight was in too much shock to really register what was going on. But the point became evidently clear when she felt icy metal pressed against her throat. She was a hostage now.

The purple mare had never been this scared in her entire life. An alien being now held what felt to be a surgical scalpel to her throat. The guards stopped in their tracks. A few of the unicorns’ horns glowed but from somewhere in the mass of soldier ponies, one said,

“Easy boys, she wants it alive.” This did not seem to sit well with the alien who hugged Twilight closer and pressed the blade of the scalpel up to the hollow of her neck. Some of the unicorns did however cease the menacing glow of their horns. This Mexican standoff went on for several minutes. Twilight could feel the alien’s heart hammering in its chest. She decided to make a last ditch effort to save herself.

“Please…” She squeaked out. Its eyes bore into the back of Twilight’s head. “Please don’t do this. Celestia please don’t.” It didn’t release her. “Shane?” The alien froze at the mention of the name. “Shane please.” He felt a hot tear fall onto his arm. He knew that voice. It was the woman’s voice that echoed in his dreams. His eyes darted around rapidly as if searching for anyway out of the situation. The guards all reeled back when it spoke.

“I don’t want to hurt anyone.” The guards still seemed shocked that the thing could speak. “But I need to leave, now.” One of the guards, an older unicorn, stepped forward.

“We can’t let you do that. Now just put the filly down, and we can work this out.”

“I don’t think you understand,” He said with a touch of desperate laughter. “I CAN’T be here! And the longer I stay, the worse it’s going to get!”

“Son you just knocked out a royal staff member, and are threatening the life of the princess’ personal protege. You aren’t going anywhere.” The alien did a double take of the purple pony he held in his arms.

“...ok, admittedly that probably looks pretty bad from your end.”

“Just put her down and come with us, your only making things worse for yourself.”

“I can’t.” He said desperately.

“What choice do you have son?” He murmured to himself something Twilight had trouble catching.

“There’s always a choice.”

They had backed a strange wolf into a corner. It did what it thought it had to, to survive. He back-peddled a few small steps before he bumped into the window. He snuck a quick peek out the glass pane, before he returned his gaze to the guards. . He pressed his head to the back of Twilight’s and whispered at a barely audible level.

“I’m really sorry about this.”

Suddenly the knife was thrown to the ground and Twilight was unceremoniously launched into the group of guards, like some live pony game of bowling. She screamed as she sailed through the air and collided with the guards, knocking more than a few off their feet. The alien turned and whipped out the metal L from its holster. It pointed it directly at the glass window. Three ear folding cracks echoed through the hallway, along with the sound of splitting glass.

The creature launched itself through the window shattering the glass and disappearing out the portal. It only took a moment for the guards to regain their composure. Once they did the pegasi in the group hurled themselves out the broken window and after the thing.

Twilight was helped to her hooves by some guards whom she assured she was fine. She went to the window and looked down. It turns out it was slightly less than a two story drop. She saw the alien sprinting across the courtyard, trying desperately to make its escape. Four pegasus guards were quickly closing the gap. It had almost run a hundred yards, before one of the pegasi slammed into its back, sending them both rolling in a tangle of limbs.

The pegasus guard had him pinned against the ground, hooves wrapped tightly around its middle. The alien threw an elbow back and it collided with the side of the guard’s head, sending his golden helm flying. The pegasus soldiers were a bit closer to the alien’s height, but he still had maybe five hands on them. The stunned pegasus rolled off his back, but by then the other guards had landed and threw themselves into the fray. Two grabbed his arms and pinned them to the ground. A third tried to jump on top of him and prevent him from getting up, but as he was in the air, the alien reared his legs and delivered a buck that would have made Applejack proud, launching the guard into a tangled heap of feathers.

The alien wormed his right arm free, and slammed a fist into the cheek of the guard pinning his left arm. The guard staggered back. Now with both his arms free he grabbed the remaining guard by the head and crushed his forehead against the pegasus’ face, in a devastating head butt. The guard reeled back holding its face which was leaking blood all over the grass.

The alien scrabbled to its feet and continued to run. By this time several more guards were pouring out of the castle to assist after seeing the, none too clandestine engagement. The alien continued to run, rather futilely, but she at least had to admire its resolve. It dashed around a corner and Twilight quickly teleported down to the courtyard. She ran as fast as she could after the guards. She rounded the corner to see the alien running parallel to the base of the castle wall. Suddenly several dozen unicorn guards appeared, blocking his path. He skidded as he tried to change course away from the wall. He was again obstructed when the pegasus guards landed, cutting off his only route of escape.

He was trapped. His back to the wall, and guards on all sides. Twilight ran up and forced her way past the guards to get a better look. He paced, like a caged dog. He breathed heavily and he was covered in small cuts, which oozed blood down his face, neck and arms. He continued to pace. His weapon in hand. He was outnumbered, he knew it. He would be dead before he got a shot off.

A large flash of light and a pop resolved itself to be Princess Celestia. She stood in the semi circle of guards and stared at the alien, who stopped his pacing to inspect the newest threat. He swiveled his head left and right, examining the painful obviousness of his now hopeless escape. He slowed his breathing. He seemed to compose himself. He merely stood there. His eyes turned skyward. He paused a moment to look at the sun, and admire the beautiful summer day. His gaze came back down. He stared at Celestia a moment, then at Twilight. His gaze went to the horizon, and seemed to focus on some distant point. His eyes closed. He took a deep breathe, and flicked the barrel of the weapon up under his chin,

“NO!” Twilight screamed. Celestia raised a wing and cut off Twilight’s view, while sweeping her into a protective embrace. Her ears folded from the sound of the shot, which echoed of the walls of the palace, followed by the unmistakable sound of a body crumbling to the ground.