• Published 10th Jan 2024
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From the Stars - samble



Twilight finds a record that surpasses equine understanding.

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Friends in the Stars

The jittery excitement persisted the whole time Twilight tried to set up her record player, her hooves shaking so badly she almost dropped the disc. Trying to be quiet was harder, the urge to jump around like a filly and scream to the heavens that she had found something from beyond their world only halted by the prospect of waking up half of the town and causing a panic.

The record's golden coated surface glinted in the low light like an unearthed gem, subjected to scan after scan before she even tried playing it. She confirmed some things she already thought — it had absolutely no magic in it's composition, so it wasn't ponymade. It was old, incomprehensibly so, perhaps a couple hundred thousand years or more. It held information more than just sound, though in ways that made Twilight's head spin. It felt almost magical, but held no real mana, reminding Twilight most similarly of a projection circle for broadcasting images or memories.

She clapped her hooves together, shuffling through her pages of notes to gather her thoughts. Playing the record seemed to be the most common sense course of action, whatever other secrets it held could wait for her to gather more information, especially since she didn't yet understand the not-magical matrix it seemed to contain on the other side.

Taking a deep, if shaky, breath, Twilight set the record onto the player, casting a quick troubleshooting spell to try and gather the speed at which it should be played. She didn't understand enough of the symbols to know the intended rotation speed, so a magical guess would need to be enough.

There was a few seconds of silence after the needle touched down, and, then, there! Noise, like speech, though nothing Twilight could even remotely understand.

The creatures of Equis spoke in dozens of different languages, so translation spells did exist. They didn't work the way manual translation did, where words may be exchanged from language to language using a dictionary and come out precise. Instead, most relied off of intention and approximations, translating meaning but not always literal word-for-word rehashes, better than nothing when an interpretator wasn't avaliable. It wasn't as exact or precise of having a creature translate, but it was all she had, and she could tell just from the sound that these noises weren't made by any being off of Equis. She wasn't even sure she could imitate some of them, the tone and inflection unlike any she had ever heard.

Twilight removed the needle and reset it, readying her quill for note taking the same time as she cast the spell.

The contents went on for over an hour, but Twilight had stopped taking notes only a few minutes in, utterly awestruck.

They called themselves humans (a fact she only found out once she recast the spell, after it continued to simply call their species "sapiants"). They were from a planet called Earth, and lived in a solar system with several other planets. These planets orbited a star, their sun, a stark contrast to Equis' system, where the sun and moon moved around their world. They had included greetings in countless languages — offers of friendship, wishes for peace, invitations to come visit their world and to send a message back. Sounds of the animals and phenomenon of their planet, only half of which Twilight could identify for-sure origins of. Music, music from another world in other languages, all different styles and tempos and feelings.

She ended up with a dozens of pages of notes, information, speculation, and jubilation. There were other species beyond Equis, and they wanted to be friends! So many, billions of them, on another world!

And that was before she flipped the record, following the not-magic's mapping to create something akin to a projection spell.

Images. The circle from the cover, which she only made connections to after observing it. Diagrams. Pictures of alien landscapes and mathematical concepts that Twilight digilantly transcribed. Pictures of these humans and their world. A map of the movement of their continents. Creatures with Equestrian analogs, and creatures she had never seen before. Machines beyond understanding. Homes. Families. Lives of a species across the galaxy, creatures who lived a million years ago.

Twilight wasn't sure just one pony could document this. This changed everything. Everything was going to change. This wasn't just some vague message, there was a craft and the record. The record! It wasn't just a record, but a priceless artifact. Even with all the information could be gleamed from this, there was still so much she didn't know.

The cover...

Twilight held it back up.

There was some she could identify without research. The calibration circle in the first "image" was there, as well as the First Element. There was something that reminded her of a map of some major stars, but didn't align with any stars around—

Twilight's eyes widened, and she leaned closer. It didn't align with Equissian stars, but humans weren't from Equis! If somepony was to try and find the stars here, they might be able to find the planet Earth.

Some stars pulsed with energy, though this was near impossible to track by normal ponies. Luna, however, would almost certainly keep some sort of log of them, or know how to find these!

Twilight stayed up to the early hours, Celestia's sun creeping well over the horizon before she finally stepped back to relax. Over an hour of content had been summarized and put into different sections of interest as well as she was able, with sections of special interest given extra attention (such as the two greetings from what she thought were leaders of some sort, one written, one spoken).

Spike stumbled down the stairs at half past six in the morning, blearily looking into the library's main floor to find a scene that was odd even for them. Twilight, playing what sounded like gibberish off of a record that shone like the stars, the room scattered with notes as she hovered perhaps a dozen books in the air around her, all while jumping around excitedly. She hadn't even noticed his awakening yet, and Spike sighed. It was going to be a long day.

Author's Note:

Part two...maybe one more part after this? I feel like this chapter may be even weaker than the first, however.

I wasn't sure how to describe the image section. The IRL record has images kind of "embedded" in it, but not in the way that, say, a modern SD card could hold images. I leaned into the "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" belief angle in that ponies can tell there's info there, and read the "tech" as similar to a spell. The encoded info is read similar to a sort of spell matrix/component.