• Published 10th Jan 2024
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From the Stars - samble

Twilight finds a record that surpasses equine understanding.

  • ...

Studying the Stars

Notes by Twilight Sparkle on Contents and Speculation Regarding "Golden Disc" Found on Extra-Equistrial Object (EEO), 8th Moon 19, 1003 PLR.

The EEO was located at the edge of the Everfree Forest on 8th Moon, 1003, at approximately 2:24am CET. EEO initially was observed in the western sky, in a fireball, and crash landed at the location given. Upon arrival at the scene, front end of the EEO was destroyed due to its fast impact with the ground, rendering much of this area unsalvageable. At best guess, the EEO is about the size of four ponies in width and height at its central point, with thinner "legs" that stick out from this point.

A disc, about 3-4 hooves in diameter, was located on a relative undamaged end of the craft. The disc is made of gold-plated copper and was covered with a "sleeve" depicting multiple suspected diagrams. Only a few of these could be completely identified, and show the First Element, a suspected star map, and an image showing the first image projection from the flipped side of the record.

Upon playback, speed was adjusted to an approximate three and a half sections per rotation via a troubleshooting spell. The speech is not recognized as any past or current Equistrian civilization, or any dialects of such. Some of the sounds made in the "speech" would be virtually impossible for a pony to make, suggesting a potential difference in mouth and throat structures. This was later confirmed.

A rough approximation of the speech on the record was made using a translation spell, but the results of this are likely inaccurate in many places due to the lack of a recognizable language.

The first language is listed as "English" and has a greeting in this language from a "Leader" of an apparent organization called the "Uniting Nations", which contains 147 nation states among its members. The record was sent by a species called "humans" (first translated simply as "sapients", presenting likelihood that these "humans" may be their planet's only sapiant race). The speaker offers a message of peace, friendship, and a desire to learn. He (?) seems to recognize the universe as much larger than most ponies believe, claiming that their planet is simply a "small part" of the whole.

The next section includes greetings from various humans in over fifty languages, some that the translation spell apparently found similar, but not the same, as others. These included messages offering their friendship, and expressing hope and good will. Even with several cycles of translation, no apparent threats or concerning messages were detected. Several of the greetings contained a request for a return message, or to be visited. A couple referred to us (or other intelligent species not from their planet) as "Great Ones", perhaps indicating a sort of religious or spiritual significance.

Some of these contain other information. One describes the planet Earth as the "third planet from the Sun", implying the existence of at least two others in their planet's "system". This is different than the our system, where the sun and moon revolve only around Equis — although I do not recall of ever learning of any such thing. Another mentioned a "machine programmer", showing that advanced technology, like the crashed EEO appeared to be, may be relatively commonplace on "Earth", perhaps to combat their apparent lack of magic, as no magic, mana, or spell work was detected on the disc or its craft.

What then follows is many more greetings, combined with an unidentified noise, most likely an unknown animal. A loud tone plays, then several identifiable noises, akin to rain, rumbling, bubbles, a heartbeat, trains, and dogs. Also included is something best described as a code made of longer and shorter beeps, though the translation spell wasn't able to give any real interpretation.

The third "section" includes 27 pieces of music of varying styles, tempos, and genres. These range from only 43 seconds to eight minutes, 52 seconds. Many contain sounds that seem to be analogs of Equestrian instruments, like violins. While some have speech, others are either acapella or simply instrumental.

The flipside of the record reads similarly to a projection matrix, though no trace of magic was noticed on either the disc itself or the EEO that held it. It is possible that, with the absence of such powers, the beings who produced the record may have developed technologies that also can transmit and read data. The images are almost certainly more accurate than the audio translations, as none contained much language that would need translated. There were 117 in total, the last being a letter.

The first is an apparent calibration circle, as review of the cover after seeing the image confirms that the same symbol is present there. This is followed by a star map and an image of something akin to a galaxy, though not one that is identifiable. The following three present translations for their space and time definitions, which may be of help later with regards to understanding the rest of the cover. There is something akin to a sun, then an apparent color or visual spectrum, all of which were visible. The following photos are in black and white and color, showing planets, apparently differing ones.

One of these planets is blue, with green and yellow land masses, and is a near-Equistrian analog.

More scientific data follows, and then there are images of these suspected "humans".

Humans are a sort of great ape or primate, though they lack the heavy body fur and quadrupedal stance expected of of the species. They have manes but no tails, and with oddly shaped legs. They seem to have different sexes, and reproduce sexually as well, shown through imagery and the representation of a human infant.

A culture of medicine is present, as a doctor delivering one of these infants is depicted. Human females (?) have teats on their chest to feed their young, as opposed to the lower teats of a mare.

Humans of varying ages are depicted, including some adults and juvenile. Like pony foals, their children are smaller, though their proportions indicate they might not be able to ambulate on their own after birth, being stubbier than expected.

Several maps show continents on a planet, which match closely to the Equis-analog shown in previous imagery, leading to belief that this is their "Earth".

The final image, perhaps one of exceptional importance, is a letter from the leader one of the human nations. The name isn't fully translatable, suggesting a name not similar to those of any Equistrian tribe or species, but translates the office he holds as "Elected National Leader", with power suggesting something akin to one of Equestria's princesses. The letter is transcribed in full below, and was translated over several times, with edits, to ensure the closest possible message to the original:

"July 29, 1977

This Voyager space ship was constructed by the United States. We are a community of 240 million human beings among the more than 4 billion who inhabit the planet Earth. We human beings are still divided into nation-states, but these states are rapidly becoming a single global civilization.

We cast this message into the cosmos. It is likely to survive a billion years into our future, when our civilization is profoundly altered, and the surface of the planet may be vastly changed. Of the 200 billion stars in this galaxy, some —perhaps many— may have inhabited planets and space-faring civilizations. If one such civilization intercepts Voyager and can understand this record, here is our message:

This is a present from a small distant world, a token of our sounds, our science, our photographs, our music, our thoughts, and our feelings. We are attempting to survive our time so we may live into yours. We hope someday, having solved the problems we face, to join a community of galactic civilizations. This record represents our hope and our determination, and our good will in a vast and awesome universe."

While the date equivalent of their listed year cannot be determined, magical analysis of the record suggests it is perhaps over one million years old, much, much older than the oldest recorded Equistrian tribes. If the dating is correct, this letter may then be the oldest surviving written record known to Equis — and it's not even made by creatures from this planet.

Given the timeframe and our current understanding of evolution on Equis, the scale only leads to further questioning and concerns. The oldest known ancestor of modern ponies and Saddle Arabian horses is perhaps only fifty thousand years old, if that, and ponies only began writing and recording history in ways we can understand since about eight to ten thousand years. If the humans depicted in the record were from a million years ago, are they still alive? If they are, their species has almost certainly evolved greatly from the time when the EEO was sent out, perhaps to a point where they could well be unrecognizable, even if their species was already around a hundred times longer ponies were. Any current possible humans may not even remember that this message was sent if documentation on it didn't survive. Given the technological level of just this million old EEO, current humans may not even be located in the same star system anymore, or even the same galaxy. After all, there are ponies obsessed with doomsday scenarios of giant asteroids hitting Equis (ignoring the fact that Princess Celestia and Princess Luna would likely be able to stop such a thing). If humans are as advanced as I think, and if they have no magical defenses, such a thing threatening to hit Earth may have led to a planet-wide evacuation to one of their local planets shown in the images — and that's if their technology hasn't advanced to the point where leaving their planet on a "space ship" of sorts isn't as common as ponies pulling carts.

Sending a return message by copying parts of the surviving technology may be possible in a few years, maybe. While ponies have less advanced machinery than what I could see off of the images, EEO, and record itself, we do have magical that humans don't. Further investigation into the how will be required.

(Note to self: Talk to the Mayor in the morning about securing the EEO crash site before curious ponies try and investigate it themselves, and send a letter to the Princess.)

Author's Note:

Not sure if this is too OOC with the combining info w/ speculation. Please lmk, I can edit it later. And sorry for chapter delay, weather has been really bad here, our fridge stopped working, and I almost rammed my poor Camry into a guard rail the other morning due to the aforementioned bad weather. Hope this is okay.

Also, pony ancestors — this was a shot in the dark, since I barely fully grasp distant humans (from millions of yrs ago), let alone lineage of a fictional pony alien race. However, per Wikipedia, "The earliest documented representative of the genus Homo is Homo habilis, which evolved around 2.8
million years ago, and is arguably the earliest species for which there is positive evidence of the use of stone tools". If the oldest thing recognizable as human isn't even 3mil yrs old, I can't imagine tacking on 1mil onto modern humans, thus the concerns Twilight has.