To Boldly Go

by Avenging-Hobbits

First published

Rainbow Dash is brilliant but impulsive, Twilight is calm and reserved. They are two of the best ponies the United Federation has. They also hate it each other. This is how they became the fastest of friends, and saved the universe in the process.

Prologue co-written by JZ1, with subsequent chapters co-written by theseventhdoctor.

Proofread by Skeeter the Lurker, Panama and JaZzR

Note: The characters here are depicted as Anthro. In order to better understand exactly what I mean by anthro, here is an example. Also, the 'Dark' tag is just to make sure everybody knows that this might get a little...well dark...hopefully not too dark though, this is Star Trek, not Lord of the Rings

Rainbow Dash is a pony with big dreams. Dreams to join the illustrious Federation Star Fleet and become the best star ship pilot in the galaxy. She is also a recklessly impulsive and wild pony, frequently disobeying her superiors. She also detests a certain purple half-Saddle Arabian/half-unicorn pony cadet named Twilight Sparkle.

Twilight Sparkle shares similar feelings. Where's Rainbow is brash and arrogant, Twilight is calm and logical. Her species, the Saddle Arabians, are known for their holding logic in the highest regards. However, Twilight has a problem. She's not a full blooded Saddle Arabian, instead being half-pony, and therefore prone to succumbing to such foolish things as "emotion", causing to be an outcast among her own species.

Rainbow finds Twilight to be stuck up, always following the rules to the letter. Twilight find Rainbow to be foolish, impulsive and illogical.

However, these two will need to quickly learn to get along once they are forced into a situation which neither logic or impulse can solve.

Well, this is my attempt to adapt the 2009 Star Trek film with ponies. Wish me luck.

Prologue - 00 - Breathe in the Air

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"Breathe in the Air"

The Saddle Arabian sat quietly in meditation just outside the labor room. The muffled sounds of someone in labor came from behind the door he was seated next to. In spite of the loud cries of his wife inside the room, the Saddle Arabian's face appeared perfectly neutral, showing neither fear nor worry. It was his duty as a Saddle Arabian to remain calm and logical in spite of any outside forces, even it were the birth of his first child.

However, even with his face and exterior remaining placid, his mind was still occupied with the health of his wife. She herself was not a Saddle Arabian, but rather a unicorn, and therefore a member of the Equestrian race. He knew for a fact that Saddle Arabian's were larger and considerably stronger than Equestrians, and as such, he felt concern for her. Would the birth be successful? Would the child be a healthy one, without handicaps or deformities? The mating of Saddle Arabian's and Equestrians was a rare occurrence, so the results of such a union were always unknown, even to the best doctors and medical professionals Saddle Arabia had to offer.

However, even in the face of uncertainty, he knew that a Saddle Arabian must never let their emotions get the better of them. One must always remain calm and, above all, logical. In fact, the more he thought about the situation he was, the more he felt at ease. He had calculated a eighty-seven percent chance of a successful birth, and therefore, he needn't worry. Those odds were more than enough for him.

"Pardon me, Elder Savak," a voice spoke. The Saddle Arabian turned to see another Saddle Arabian standing in the doorway of the labor room, dressed in the traditional uniform of a nurse.

"Yes?" Savak asked, being sure to maintain his stoic air, even if there was a touch of worry in his heart.

"The birth has been successful, you may see your wife now." The nurse said, quietly stepping aside to allow Savak room to enter. Savak nodded and stood up and, without a word, stepped inside.

The labor room was a simple affair, just a bed, one or two chairs and the medical equipment and a single medical droid. The medical droid hovered over the gray unicorn mare lying in the bed. Her white and purple mane was frazzled and unkempt from her hours of labor. Her coat glistened slightly from the sweat and lather that covered it. Cradled in her arms was a tiny filly, bundled up in swaddling cloth. The mare looked towards Savak, her eyes shimmering from the tears of joy in them.

"Oh Savak," she said, her voice still somewhat weak from exhaustion. "She's so beautiful."

Savak walked up to the bed quietly and looked down at the tiny filly in his wife's arms. He reached a blue coated hand towards the filly, gently moving the cloth so he could see his sleeping daughter's face. The filly's coat was a shade of lavender, and her mane was a rich dark purple with magenta highlights. The thing that set her apart from most fillies in Saddle Arabia though, was the small horn jutting from her forehead.

"She is a unicorn, Velvet," he said, looking at his wife. His wife nodded, her face beaming with pride.

"I know. She's so beautiful and wonderful. Our own little filly." As Twilight Velvet said this, the tiny filly awakened, yawning briefly before her eyes opened, revealing them to be the same shade of purple as her mane. As soon as she opened them however, the filly started bawl and cry uncontrollably, her arms and legs starting to flail about.

"Oh no, no, no," Twilight Velvet cooed, cuddling the crying filly and rocking her slightly. Savak said nothing, remaining his typically impassive self.

"Look, there's nothing wrong deary," Twilight Velvet shushed, motioning towards Savak. "That's just your father, Savak, see?"

The filly seemed to calm slightly and looked towards Savak, still sniffling.

"Greetings young one," he spoke quietly, leaning down so that his seven foot frame was a little closer to the filly. The filly looked at him for a moment, her eyes wide with curiosity, having already stopped crying.

"Well Savak? Aren't you going to hold your daughter?" Twilight Velvet asked, eyebrow raised. Savak looked towards Twilight Velvet for a moment.

"Very well," he answered, gently reaching out and taking the filly from his wife's arms. He held her firmly, her tiny form dwarfed by his own, considerably larger form. Now that he held her in his arms, he could see that she looked almost exactly like any other Equestrian infant, except she was just a little bit longer and slimmer. The filly looked up at him, reaching a tiny hand to gently play with the tassels on his traditional Saddle Arabia elder's cloak.

"Have you devised a name?" He asked, looking towards Twilight Velvet. Velvet shook her head.

"I wanted to wait until you saw her, Savak. I wasn't about to name our first born without consulting you, love."

Savak nodded slightly in acknowledgement. "A perfectly logical conclusion Velvet. Do you have any especially favored ones?"

Velvet thought for a moment. "Twilight Sparkle," she said, smiling warmly and looking towards her daughter with love. Savak nodded.

"Than that is what her name shall be, my wife. Twilight Sparkle." He looked down at the young filly, who was still playing with his tassels. Twilight simply burbled in response, too enraptured in the tassels to notice. Savak smiled, allowing himself to show the slightest bit of emotion.

"You are destined for true greatness Twilight, of this I am assured." He let out a quiet sigh, his face now beaming with pride in spite of himself.

"True greatness indeed."


"Sir we're about to arrive at the source of the temporal anomaly Captain," Said the ship's pilot, a wire thin pegasus pony with a short brown mane and coat, turning his chair to face the captain as he spoke. The captain, a tall crystal pony with a pale green coat, nodded.

"Very good, Helmscolt. Prepare to drop out of warp."

"Aye Captain." The pilot replied, turning his chair back to face the controls. He reached forward and flicked a couple dozen switches in rapid succession, before holding a hand at the ready over a large lever. "Dropping out of warp, in three, two, one."

At the word 'one' he pushed the lever forward, and the ship lurched forward briefly as the ship dropped out of warp.

"Whoa!" The helmscolt said, his eyes widening in surprise as the bright blue sheen outside the view-screen that was normally associated with warp space faded to reveal a strange sight. Hanging in the black curtain of space before them was what could only be described as a tremendous thunder cloud, with a wild array of flashes of what looked like lightning.

The Captain instantly looked towards his science officer, a lanky white unicorn, who sat at a control panel to the Captain's right, looking equally shocked.

"Well Science Officer Sparkle, any idea what that could be?" The Captain asked concerned.

"I-um-I have no idea at all what this could mean Captain, its like nothing I've ever seen." the Science Officer replied, turning to look at the Captain with confusion. "But its reading like the space time anomaly that was reported in this quadrant, that's all I know."

The Captain nodded, turning to look back at the view-screen. "Well, whatever it is, it appears to be rather large don't you think?" He asked.

"What do you think it is Captain?" A tall and rather handsome lavender pegasus pony with a rainbow colored mane asked. The Captain glanced up at him for a moment before refocusing on the mysterious cloud.

"Well, if Science Officer Shining doesn't know what it is, we're all in the same boat First Officer Dash."

The Pegasus nodded, a worrisome look on his face. The Captain seemed to take notice of his worried expression as he gave him a sympathetic glance. "Don't worry Lightning, I'm pretty sure you're wife will be fine."

Lightning Dash swallowed, "Thank you sir, I appreciate your concern." The Captain shrugged.

"What can I say. Its not everyday that somepony's wife is in labor on a starship-"

"Captain!" Science Officer Shining shouted, causing both the Captain and Lightning Dash to refocus their attention back on the viewscreen.

"What in Celestia's name?" The Captain gasped as they all took in the sight of the object appearing out of the cloud.

A ship that dwarfed their own ship came slowly from inside the cloud. Its sleek and bio-mechanical design indicated it to be one that most likely belonged to the Changeling Empire. The thing that set it apart however, was its truly vast size. From what the crew on deck could see, it seemed to be at least five hundred times larger than their own ship. It loomed over them, filling the entire view-screen with its black and green form.

There was a long silence as everyone watched the ship come to a stop in front of them, looking like a massive predator inspecting a prey item.

"Captain, what do you suggest we do?" the Helmscolt asked, looking towards the Captain with concern. The Captain held a hand up.

"Relax, Skycloud. Lets see what our Changeling friend does first before coming up with a response of our own. Don't want to start a interplanetary incident because of an itchy trigger finger. But just in case, raise the shields and be ready to fire phasers. Just in case."

Helmsman Skycloud nodded worriedly as he set about flicking the necessary switches and dialing the correct knobs in order to raise the ship's shields. In the background, the captains orders were being relayed around the ship. A beeping sound caught the Captain's ear and he turned to look towards the Communications Officer, a giraffe, who was holding a headphone to their ear.

"Captain we're being hailed." she said, motioning towards the screens in front of her. The Captain nodded.

"On screen then." he ordered, turning to face the screen. The image flickered for a moment to reveal a burly looking changeling on screen. His face was covered in several dark green stripes and he carried himself with a noticeably menacing air.

"Greetings, I'm Captain Star Chaser of the C.S.S. Excelsior, how may we be of service?" he asked, keeping his voice level and calm. The Changeling seemed to be scanning the room, looking for someone, before refocusing his attention on Captain Star Chaser.

"Captain we wish to speak with an Ambassador Twilight Sparkle." the Changeling said, his voice carrying with it a noticeable buzzing tone. Captain Star Chaser and Lightning Dash exchanged quick glances before Captain Star Chaser returned to the screen.

"I'm sorry, I believe you are mistaken, but we have no Ambassador Twilight Sparkle aboard this ship sir." Captain Star Chaser replied, raising an eyebrow. The Changeling narrowed his eyes for a moment before turning to speak over his shoulder to someone off screen in his native language, a complex series of buzzing and clicks. There was a response, also worded in Changeling, and the Changeling nodded, turning back to face the screen.

"My Queen wishes to see you personally aboard our ship, Captain Star Chaser. If you would please come aboard, my Queen wishes to question you further." the Changeling stated plainly. Lightning Dash looked at Captain Star Chaser, who seemed to milling the proposal over in his head.

"Give me a moment to make a decision." Captain Star Chaser replied, and the Changeling nodded.

"You have one minute." he said, and the screen flicked off, once more revealing the looming form of the Changeling vessel.

"What do you intend to do Captain?" Lightning Dash asked, looking at Captain Star Chaser with concern. Captain Star Chaser rubbed his chin.

"I don't know Lightning...I don't know. What do you think would be the best course of action?"

Lightning Dash shrugged slightly. "I'd say we call for reinforcements. Something about this feels weird, Captain, but I don't know what."

Captain Star Chaser nodded. "In any other situation, I'd agree, and I too find this whole thing to be rather odd. For one thing, we're awfully close to the border between us and the Griffin's for a Changeling ship to just be wandering about, let alone one this size. To be honest, its the biggest starship I've seen, period. That being said, I don't think these guys are willing to wait the three hours for any of our reinforcements to arrive out of the blue and uninvited." he said, motioning towards the ship.

"Then what do you suggest Captain?" The pegasus asked.

"I say we play politics. I'll go aboard, talk with this Queen, and see whats her game. If they're friendly, then we ask to escort them back to the nearest Federation Base so we can debrief them."

"And if they're not friendly?" Lightning Dash asked, his voice laced with trepidation.

"Then I want you to get the buck outta here and get to Odysseus Base as fast as you can. Do not try to put up a fight. We’re nothing more than a simple exploratory vessel. Its obvious that these guys can out fire us eighty to one. Got it?"

Lightning Dash nodded. "Does this mean I have the con sir?" he asked.

Captain Star Chaser nodded. "Yes, but if all goes well, I should be back in less than ten minutes." he then turned to face the view-screen again. "Helmscolt, on screen."

Helmscolt Skycloud nodded and the Changeling reappeared on the view-screen.

"Have you reached a decision Captain Star Chaser?" he asked, his voice carrying with it a sense of foreboding. Captain Star Chaser nodded, apparently unfazed.

"Yes I have. I shall come aboard via shuttlecraft and speak with your Queen and we can possibly reach some sort of agreement and discover the identity of this 'Twilight' you asked about."

The Changeling nodded. "Very well. We expect you soon." the view-screen flickered again and the ship returned into view as the communication went dead. Captain Star Chaser stood up and started towards the elevator.

"First Officer Lightning Dash has the conn," he ordered, stepping inside the elevator that lead to the shuttlecraft platform. "Good luck Captain Lightning Dash, treat her right.” he said as he saluted and the door to the elevator closed. Lightning Dash swallowed, taking a deep breath and sitting in the captain's chair.


Queen Chrysalis sat upon her bedraggled throne on the bridge of her beloved ship, the Bellerophon, patiently awaiting the appearance of the starship captain she had communicated with. Something was off. The ship she saw on the view-screen seemed strangely...primitive and out of date for a Celestian vessel. Her fingers flexed around the large spear in her hands, as her brain working to figure out what course of action to take next.

“My Queen, Captain Star Chaser is aboard and wishes to speak with you.” One of her many drones said, standing in the doorway of the bridge. She turned, gently pushing her long green mane out of her field of vision and nodded.

“Thank you Ajax. You may bring him before me.” she said. Ajax nodded and briefly stepped back through the doorway. After a moment, he emerged, along with three other Changelings escorting the tall Crystal pony that Chrysalis recognized as Captain Star Chaser.

“Welcome, Equestrian.” Ajax spoke in Equestrian. The Crystal pony nodded as he bowed slightly.

“Your Majesty, I am Captain Star Chaser of the C.S.S. Excelsior, and...”

“My Queen shall remain silent. She wishes that I communicate in her stead.” Ajax stated, cutting the Captain off. The Captain nodded.

“Very well.”

Ajax looked towards Chrysalis expectantly for a moment, and Chrysalis nodded slightly. Taking the cue, Ajax reached into his pocket and pulled out a small holographic projector.

“The Queen wishes to know if you have seen this starship,” he ordered, pointing towards the sleek Saddle Arabian spacecraft displayed in the hologram. Chrysalis watched the Captain intently, subtly reading his emotions. She could sense confusion in the Captain’s mind as he looked at the hologram, his face matching his emotions.

“I’m sorry but I’ve never seen that ship before, nor any other like it in my entire life.” The Captain finally said, shaking his head slightly. Chrysalis’ eyes narrowed and she waved a hand towards Ajax, who nodded and clicked to the next holograph image. This time the holograph showed a sage looking unicorn pony mare.

“This is Ambassador Twilight Sparkle. Have you seen her?” Ajax asked. Chrysalis didn’t even need to hear the Captain’s answer. She could sense his confused emotions.

“No I haven’t. Never in my life...” the Captain paused, looking up directly at Chrysalis. “What, might I ask, is the reason for knowing?” he asked, eyebrow raised.

Chrysalis narrowed her eyes. Something was certainly amiss. She stood to her feet, making sure to remain silent, motioning once more to Ajax.

“My Queen wishes to remind you that you do not ask the questions here. My queen wishes to know the current star date.” Ajax ordered, standing straighter in order to take advantage of his large stature as a Changeling to loom over the crystal pony below. The Captain gave Ajax a confused look, obviously at a lost.

“Tell me the star date.” He ordered again, his horn beginning to flicker dark green.

“8.8.1966,” The Captain replied, confused.

Chrysalis’ eyes widened slightly as she ran through the calculations in her head.

Oh no. she thought as the full scope of what had happened dawned on her. A quick swipe of her spear ended the life of the Captain and his body slumped to the floor.

“Prepare all weapons.” she ordered, “And raise our shields.”

The ship’s pilot nodded and started to ready the ship.

“Your Majesty,” Ajax asked, slightly confused. “Why did you kill the Captain?”

Chrysalis sat back down in her chair, her mind focused on one goal.

“Ajax, the gods have seen fit to grant us with a unique opportunity. I intend to take full advantage of it. Destroy the Federation vessel, for no one must know we are here.”

Ajax nodded, and barked her orders towards the crew and every changeling started to scamper about.

It seems I have the advantage Sparkle... She thought, a dark smile crossing her muzzle. And soon I shall have my revenge.


Meanwhile, aboard the Excelsior, Strike instantly bolted upright at the sight of Captain Star Chaser’s life signs flatlining. “What just happened?!” he barked, looking towards the ensign sitting next to Helmsmen Skycloud. The ensign, a young unicorn pony shook his head in a panic.

“I have no idea Captain! One minute everything was fine and now everything’s reading that he’s dead!”

“Then prepare to fire on the ship.” Lightning Dash ordered, and Helmsman Skycloud nodded rapidly, readying the ship’s weapons. The Changeling vessel however, apparently saw this coming, as the entire front end of the ship lit up with hundreds, if not thousands of rounds of phaser fire. The Excelsior lurched violently as the phasers impacted the shields.

“Captain we’ve suffered heavy damage!” The Unicorn Ensign shouted.

“How bad Starshine?!” Lightning Dash asked, already strapping himself into the captain’s chair.

Ensign Starshine glanced at the control panel’s in front of him. “Shields at 60 percent and dropping sir! If that ship hits us with another attack like that, we’ll probably lose shields altogether!” As if to drive the point home, another round of phaser fire impacted the ship, causing chunks of the ceiling to fall down on them and causing the ship to buck wildly.

“How can that be possible?!” Science Officer Shining shouted, voicing exactly what was on Lightning Dash's mind. Lightning Dash didn’t answer at first, instead slamming the communicator button to talk with the Medical Bay. “Medical Bay what’s the damage?!”

The garbled sounds of chaos already told him that there probably wasn’t much of Medical Bay left.

“Lightning Dash what do we do?” Shining pressed, looking down at him worriedly. Lightning Dash shook his head.

“No idea Shining, but I want you to get everypony you can into shuttlecrafts now, got it?” he ordered. Eli nodded.

“And what about you, Lightning?” he asked, looking down at the pegasus.

There was a deafening silence between all those left on the bridge, broken only by the wailing siren screaming over the speakers. Lightning Dash sighed heavily.

“I’ll stay here. I’m captain of this ship, and therefore it’s my duty to make sure you guys all get out safely.” he answered, his eyes scanning the crew members who remained on deck with him. “It’s been an honor serving you, and I suggest you all make your way to any escape vessels right now.”

Everyone looked at each other for a moment, the severity of the situation looming over them.

“Go!” Sky ordered again. “I’ll be right behind you.”

The crew reluctantly made their way out of their seats, each bidding him a farewell. Shining was the last, and put a hand on Lightning Dash shoulder.

“Good luck Lightning.” he said solemnly. Lightning Dash looked up at Shining.

“Oh don’t worry man. I’ll be right behind you. Don’t worry. That’s what the autopilots for anyways.” he said, being sure not to expression how much he thought his plan was doomed to fail.

“What are you going to do?” Shining asked, eyebrow raised.

“Steer the Excelsior into that ship and hopefully that’ll take her out. I’ll use the autopilot so I can follow you guys out..I hope.”

Shining nodded gravely. “But what about your wife?”

Biting his lip, Lightning let out a heavy sigh. “As long as she’s safe, it doesn’t matter what happens to me. Now get out of here. You’re a science officer, not a starship pilot.” As the rest of the crew fled the bridge, Lightning Dash turned and pushed the intercom button.

“All decks, this is the Captain speaking, evacuate immediately. Now!”

With that, First Officer Lightning Dash, acting Captain of the Celestial Starship Excelsior threw his ship into chaos.


Down in sickbay, Lightning Dash’s wife Firefly was hurriedly wheeled into a turbolift as she began to go into labor. She opened her communicator, doing her best to ignore the explosions of pain that went through her body with each contraction, “Sky, what’s going on?”

“We’re evacuating. I have Medical Shuttle 3 standing by, can you get there quickly?” Lightning Dash replied, his voice somewhat garbled over the communicator.

“Yes, but Lightning, the foal, it’s coming!” Firefly cried, as another contraction hit her with full force.

“I’m on my way. Tell the nurses to do exactly what I say, got it? Med Shuttle 3!”

Any reply the mare had was replaced by a moan as her body wracked by more contractions. Up in the bridge, Lightning Dash began flipping levers and pushing buttons as he programmed the autopilot for a course that would send it into the heart of the Changeling ship.

Fate, however, had other ideas. “Autopilot malfunctioning, manual control systems only.” the ship’s computer responded. Lightning Dash merely stared at the panel as the warning screen told him that the autopilot controls had been destroyed.

Below decks, in one of the many corridors that led to the shuttlebay, Firefly cried out in pain from her wheelchair as her nurses tried to get her to the Medical Shuttle as fast as they could. “Don’t worry, everything is going to be okay. You’re going to be fine.” One of the nurses repeated, trying to calm the mare down.

“I’d be a lot more sure of that if we could just teleport!" Firefly snapped, groaning in pain as yet another contraction hit her.

“We can’t,” The nurse replied, “The shuttlebay is lined with duophlebotinum and we can’t ‘port through that. Now just calm down, you will be fine.”

“And the baby too.” Firefly added.

“And the baby too.” The nurse nodded as they entered the shuttle and sealed the door behind them. A voice came over the com system.

“Med Shuttle 3, is my wife on board?” Lightning Dash asked, his voice still garbled and distorted.

“Yes sir, she is.” The Nurse replied.

“Good, go now.” Lightning Dash ordered over the intercom.

“We’re waiting on you sir.”

“No! Go now! That’s an order!”

With some hesitance, the nurse motioned towards the shuttle pilot to take off. The pilot nodded and revved the engine, lifted his craft off of the shuttlebay floor, and exited into the blackness of space.

“Wait, we can’t go yet. Where’s Lightning Dash!?” Firefly had noticed the shuttle’s departure and was beginning to panic.

“I’m here honey,” Lightning Dash’s voice crackled over the comlink.

“Sky, where are you? The shuttle left without you!”

“I’m still on the bridge, sweetie...but the autopilot, it’s broken. I’ve gotta stay here... There’s no way the shuttle will make it if I don’t destroy that ship.”

“But, but,” Firefly was rapidly breaking down into tears “I...I...I Can’t do it without you.” She gasped as she was hit with what felt like the hundredth hard contraction.

“Yes you can, don’t say that. You are the strongest mare I know, and you are going to be there for our child,” Lightning Dash replied, a few tears escaping his eyes and splattering on the weapons console. “Because I won’t be.” He finished in a near whisper.

For the next few minutes, a strange silence seemed to set in on the bridge of the Excelsior, as Lightning Dash worked on setting the starship on a collision course with the Changeling vessel. Outside, the ship’s weapons worked on keeping the Changeling’s weapons distracted and away from the fleeing shuttles and escape pods. Finally, he input the last command. In one minute and tweleve seconds, the Excelsior would impact the Changeling ship. One second after that, the ship’s warp core would detonate. As he watched his lifespan tick away, Lightning Dash heard another sound, one he had thought he would never hear: The cries of an infant foal.

“What is that, is it our foal?” He cried out, not believing that he’d actually live long enough to know that his child had entered the world.

“Yes, it is” Called out a delirious Firefly, her voice choked with emotion. “A beautiful filly.” A sniffle. “Oh, Lightning, she looks so much like you, with your hair and your coat, just a little bit lighter blue, and she has the most wonderful eyes!”

“She sounds beautiful honey.” Lightning Dash had previously tried wiping away his tears, but was now sobbing openly. “I wish you could be here right now.” he was practically now weeping. “What are going to name her?” He managed between sobs.

“Let’s name her after your mother.” Firefly said, her own voice sounding overwhelmed by emotion.

"What, Miriam? Not on your life.” Lightning Dash said, managing a half-hearted chuckle. “No, let’s name her after your mom. Let’s Call her Rainbow.”

Firefly could be heard crying now. "That sounds wonderful, our little Rainbow Dash.”

The Excelsior had now entered the gaping maw of the the Changeling ship, and it would only be seconds until it impacted.

“Honey, can you hear me?”

“Yes! Yes, I can hear you!”

“I love you, be strong for us. Remember that!”

“I will!”

“Honey, I love you so much!”


If sound were able to carry through the soulless vacuum of space, the area that future Celestial Fleet maps would mark as Excelsior-17 would have echoed with one of the most haunting sounds ever to exist: The piercing, unforgettable wail of a wife who has just lost her husband.

Act I - 01 - When We Were Young

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Act I:
"The Shape of Things to Come"

Chapter One:
"When We Were Young"

A rainbow colored streak shot across the bright blue sky of Ponyville. The rambunctious filly flew at top speed towards the cloud bank above, trying to go as high as she could.

In her ear was tucked a small receiver, through which she could hear the endless protests of her stick-in-the-mud uncle.

“You little brat I know you hear me! Get home this instant! Your mother’s going to have a fit when she knows you’ve been playing around the construction center while she was at Moonbase. Do you hear me?!”

The filly simply rolled her eyes and reached a hand into her ear, yanking out the receiver and tossing it away. “Sorry Uncle, can’t hear ya.” she chuckled, pumping her wings even harder as she climbed higher. She cleared the cloud bank and exploded into the glorious sunlight above the clouds. She hovered there for a moment, taking deep breaths, letting the pure air fill her lungs. It was so quiet and still above the clouds, almost as if she had gone through a portal into an entirely new world, where it was just her and the sky, alone together. It was beautiful.

She let out a long, deeply pleased sigh and reached into the pocket of her flight pants, pulling out a slender metallic device and hooking it to a strap on her left arm. She then pulled out a pair of earbuds and put them in her ears and connected them to the device. Pressing a button on the device, she smiled contently as the sound of a guitar tuning up greeted her ears.

Hey, hey, momma said the way you move, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you groove!” The high voice of the lead singer chimed, as the filly prepared herself for the crowning moment. The barely audible sound of drum sticks tapping together to set the time greeted her ears and she dived just as the roar of crashing guitar chords exploded from her head phones. Her body fell like a stone back through the clouds as she dived, a cone of air forming around her face as she fell faster and faster, down and down towards the ground. The cloud bank cleared again and the filly smiled in determination as the ground came closer and closer. At the last possible second she pulled up, the cone of air breaking in front of her and a rainbow colored ring of light exploded behind her, as she rocketed skywards, her wings pumping.

“Whoo-hoo!” she cried at the top of her lungs, making sure that the entire town could hear her. A quick glance behind her told her the truth. She had pulled it off, a legendary sonic rainboom. And she was only twelve.

Now for the real fun! she thought mischievously as she turned towards the large looming structures of the Ghastly Gorge Construction Center, where she knew she was going to have the best obstacle course in Equestria.

She flew low over the ground, being sure to dodge and weave around the trees. The clump of trees cleared and she took in the sight of the gigantic mechanical structures of the Construction Center. She cast a dismissive glance at the large holographic sign that stated: “NO FLYING IN THIS AREA

“Pfft, as if,” she muttered, taking a breath and pumping her wings again, the music still ringing in her ears. She flew past the sign and made her way towards the cranes. She flew up and landed on the crane, taking a moment to take in the view and catching her breath. The half-finished bodies of several starships lay before her, with hundreds of workers running about like ants on the hulls. The flicker of thousands of welding torches flickered in and out and the filly let out a content sigh.

Ready... she stood to her feet, stretching as she readied herself for take off. Steady... she took a couple of steps forward, leaning over the abyss. Go.

She started a new song and once more let herself fall off the crane and into the mile deep canyon, spreading her wings and pumping as she powered her way towards the looming structure of a particularly large starship. She ducked, dodged and weaved through the half-finished spacecraft, ignoring the sounds of protest from the various construction workers who she blew past, leaving a brightly colored rainbow contrail in her wake. Her music continued to play, locking her in her own little world, where she was queen of the skies, the fastest pony in all of Equestria, if not the galaxy. However, her fantasy world faded once the last song on her playlist ended, and her ears could catch the obnoxious noise of sirens behind her.

Ugh...perfect. she mentally grumbled, casting a begrudging look over her shoulder to see several security officers chasing after her.

“Citizen, we advise you leave this area now or face arrest.” One called out, megaphone amplifying his voice. Smirking, the filly flipped onto her back as she flew and called out to the the security officers.

“Come and get me you bozos!” she laughed, flipping them off and speeding up to fly away. She tucked her arms against her body to reduce drag and increase her speed. The security officers sped up as well, aided by the hoverbikes three of them were using. The filly simply rolled her eyes and did a loop-de-loop, diving back down deeper into the canyon below. However, her path was soon interrupted by a halo of teal green magic that unexpectedly enveloped her, dragging her to a halt.

"Hey! What gives?!" She shouted in protest as she felt her wings close and be pinned against her body. She turned her head to see the security officer who had called out to her, a gruff looking unicorn. His arms were crossed and he looked down at her disapprovingly.

"We're taking you home filly. State your name." He asked, his voiced somewhat distorted by the helmet he was wearing. The filly shot him a dirty look, crossing her arms in bitter frustration.

"The name's Rainbow. Rainbow Dash."


Across the stars lay the planet of Saddle Arabia, center of logic in an illogical universe. In the center of the capital city of El Halbad, stood the palatial Temple of Learning. Inside the truly tremendous hallways walked a fifteen year old Twilight Sparkle. In her arms were cradled several dozen large books that she was ready to study for her classes.

The sound of footfalls behind her, however, distracted her and she stopped walking. She could sense the presence of several Saddle Arabians standing behind her.

“I presume that you have prepared new insults for me today.” she said, her voice level and calm as she turned around, readying herself for the daily dose of belittling and mockery from her purebred peers. The three other Saddle Arabians, all looking to be around seventeen years old, loomed over her, standing a good head and shoulders taller than her, all of them looking down with characteristic dispassionate gazes.

“Affirmative.” The eldest, a colt, spoke, tipping his head slightly. Twilight simply looked him in the eyes, already prepared for the oncoming insult.

“I believe this is your thirty-fifth attempt to elicit an emotional response. So far, they have all been ineffective.” she stated plainly.

The second Saddle Arabian, also a colt, nodded, cutting to the chase. “You are neither Saddle Arabian nor Equestrian. Therefore you have no place in this universe.”

Twilight swallowed, a pulse of sadness shooting through her. They were correct of course. She belonged to neither world. Her very existence was irrational. Her Equestrian side told her that she was what Equestrian’s would call ‘a freak’. How else could a Saddle Arabian be cursed with the emotions or the diminutive frame of an Equestrian?

“Look, is that an abnormal bone growth sprouting from her cranium?” The third Saddle Arabian, a mare, asked, pointing a light blue finger towards Twilight's horn. Twilight instinctively reached a hand up to brush against the horn. Yet another example of her differences from the rest of the Saddle Arabians. No other Saddle Arabian had anything resembling a horn. It felt strange to have a spear of bone jutting out of her forehead.

“Correct. And what of the mark upon her thigh?” The eldest said, pointing an accusing finger towards Twilight’s thigh, taking advantage of the opening in the side of her skirt. Normally, Saddle Arabian’s thighs were bare, and therefore, in the traditional garb worn by mares thirteen and up, there would be nothing to look at except their coat. In Twilight’s case it was the opposite. Imprinted on her lavender coat was a six-pointed star surrounded by a starburst pattern of five smaller stars. She moved her leg in an attempt to cover her cutie mark with her skirt.

“Do you assume that it might be some form of racial differentiation?” The second one said, raising an eyebrow and turning to his peers.

“And look. She has Equestrian eyes. They look sad don’t they?” the third one said, her voice containing the slightest touch of gleeful malice. Twilight could immediately tell that her eyes had begun to water slightly, and she blinked for a moment, hoping to clear away the tears.

“Perhaps we require physical stimuli in order to elicit an emotional response from her.” The eldest said, before shoving Twilight down to the ground with a sharp push. She yelped in pain as she hit the floor, spilling her books everywhere. A flash of white burst across her vision as her head hit the floor. Shaking her head to clear it, she looked up at her tormentors, who now loomed over her even more. She felt an intense urge to cry, but held back, instead letting her eyes water.

“He’s a traitor you know. Your father. For marrying that Equestrian whore.” The eldest Saddle Arabian said, a barely perceptible smile spreading across his muzzle as he put special emphasis on the last word. Twilight looked up to him.

“What?” she asked, her whole body tensing up in anger. How dare he offend her mother in such a way?

“I feel no need to repeat myself, for we know your hearing is perfectly functional.” the Saddle Arabian replied. That acted as the final nail in the coffin and Twilight felt the anger that had been welling up inside of her boil over.

“TAKE THAT BACK!” she shrieked as her hands balled up into a pair of fists and her horn glowed magenta and she leapt towards the bully, who attempted to step out of the way. However, by the time he tried to move, she had already slammed into him, sending the both of them toppling to the floor. The Saddle Arabian kicked and swung his arms out, managing to score one two hits. Twilight ignored them and continued to punch the Saddle Arabian over and over again, all of her anger and rage coming out in a massive wave, with her using her magic to pin him to the floor. Her anger was mixed with a strong dose of sadness, as a stream of tears poured from her eyes.

Twilight continued to pummel the colt underneath her, when she was all of a sudden hefted into the air, kicking and screaming. She turned around to see her father holding her tightly, dragging her away from the now battered and bruised colt, who was now rolling over in pain, his peers gathered around him.

“Twilight cease this at once!” her father ordered, his voice stern. Her father’s commanding tone seemed to snap Twilight out of her rageful state and her cries changed from cries of anger to sobs as she surrendered to her emotions completely. Her father cradled her gently, silently carrying her out of the room, her crying into his shoulder.


Rainbow sulked at the dinner table, arms crossed in frustration. Sitting across from her was her mother. The older mare was still dressed in her Celestial Starfleet uniform, having only just arrived back home from her job.

“Rainbow, you do realize that I’ve told you many, many times to listen to your uncle while I was away right?” She said, her voice low. Rainbow simply shifted in her chair, refusing to answer.

Firefly let out another, more frustrated sigh. “Rainbow are you listening to me? You got yourself into a ton of trouble today. What do you have to say for yourself?”

“Daddy would have let me play...” Rainbow bitterly muttered under her breath. Her mother must have heard her muttering, as she let out another heavy sigh.

“Rainbow. You’re father would never have let you put yourself in danger like that. The construction site is an incredibly dangerous place for a pony your age. You could have gotten yourself seriously injured, if not worse.” Firefly pressed, motioning outside the window of their house, where the distance looming shapes of half-finished starships could be seen in the twilight.

Instead of answering, Rainbow got up out of her chair and stalked up to her room, ignoring her mother’s protests. She flew into her room and slammed the door behind her, which being made of cloud, didn’t exactly slam. Ignoring that little detail, Rainbow flopped onto the bed. She let out a heavy sigh and leaned to grab a rather old looking photo off her nightstand. It was a rather old and tarnished photo of the pony she had always been told was her father. He was sitting next to her mother, the two of them smiling broadly at the camera.

Rainbow felt a distinct empty feeling in her chest at the sight of the stallion. It only managed to make her feel as if some vitally important part of her life was missing. She let a quiet sniff and wiped a tear from her eye.

I miss you daddy... she thought, imagining what he must have sounded like. He always sounded kind and loving, his voice warm and father like, like one of the fathers from those shows on TV. She imagined what her life would have been like had she known him. All the cool things they would do together, like racing from Cloudsdale to Ponyville and back, or going camping on the moon with mom. She sighed sadly, putting the picture back on her nightstand and rolling to face the ceiling.

What would her father have wanted her to be? Her eyes drifted over the posters of the Celestial Starfleet that hung all over the room. Hanging from little strings of nilon were tiny little model starships that Rainbow had made herself. An idea started to form itself in her mind. She looked back at the picture on her nightstand and a small smile crossed her face.

I’m going to be just like you daddy... she thought. Just wait and see...


Twilight now sat quietly outside the principal's office, doing her best to maintain her treasured air of stoicism. I allowed my emotions to control me, she thought. It was most...illogical of me to act in such a primitive manner.

She looked down at her hands. The knuckles were covered with bruises, and a dull pain thudded from them. She could taste in her mouth the slightly metallic taste of some blood that came from the loose tooth from one of the punches the older Saddle Arabian had managed to land on her face.

“Twilight.” the low voice of her father attracted her attention and she looked up to see the older Saddle Arabian sit down next to her.

“Yes father?” she asked, her voice shaky in spite of herself.

“Twilight I am deeply disappointed in you. You are a Saddle Arabian, and therefore should maintain control of your emotions, no matter what others might do to cause you to lose control.” he said, his voice completely level and unemotional.

“But father...the anger I felt towards them...I could not control it.” Twilight replied, once more looking down at her hands. Her father shook his head.

“Regardless. The anger you felt is simply another emotion. And no emotion is uncontrollable.”

Twilight shook her head. “But father, they said such...” she paused, biting her lip at the memory of the offences. “Cruel things in reference of Mother.”


“They called her an ‘Equestrian whore’.” she said, holding herself in check as the very sounds of the words only managed to feel like a knife piercing her.

Her father let out a sigh, putting a hand on her lap. “Even so, you acted foolishly by letting your anger control you. Our species holds logic and control in the highest regards, and therefore the only way you can prove yourself to be better than those who attempt to harm you is to not allow their petty insults to override your self control.”

"But father, what do you suggest I do?” Twilight asked, trying to remain stoic as she looked up into her father’s hazel eyes. “Do you suggest that I should accept my identity as fully Saddle Arabian, and shun all aspects of my Equestrian identity, when you yourself married an Equestrian?"

Her father sighed, looking down at her.

"Twilight, the first thing you must understand is that, in my duties as Saddle Arabia's Ambassador to Equestria, I must be well versed in the traditions of Equestrian culture and to observe and understand their behavior. Marrying your mother was..." he paused, and Twilight could sense hesitation in his voice.

"Marrying my mother was what?" she pressed, once more looking up towards her father, her cool facade once more dropping for a moment to betray a hint of the pain she felt underneath.

"It was the logical thing to do Twilight," her father finally replied. Twilight looked down at the floor. Was that it? Was she nothing more then the result of a logic experiment? She felt lost, alone in a world that didn’t want her.

“But...father...what shall I do? I feel lost, like a ship without an anchor, forced to be tossed about on the stormy seas.”

Her father shook his head and placed his huge hand on his shoulder. “Nonsense Twilight. You are once more allowing your emotions to control you. You are not a ship without an anchor. You are perfectly capable of choosing and controlling of your own destiny. We all face questions in our life. A moment when we must decide which path to choose. Your question is this: Which do path shall you choose? One cannot decide for you. You must decide for yourself.”

Twilight said nothing in response, simply leaning against her father, his Saddle Arabian form dwarfing her own. He simply put an arm around her shoulder and held her close, his expression completely passive.

Act I - 02 - A Rough Start

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Act I:
“The Shape of Things to Come”

Chapter Two:
“A Rough Start”

"Don't worry Twilight, there's no need to be anxious. You'll do fine," Velvet said, making another minor adjustment to Twilight Sparkle's formal dress. The two unicorns stood outside the doors of Saddle Arabian Council Room. Twilight shook her head slightly as Velvet continued to tinker with the dress.

"Mother, I assure you that I am hardly anxious in the slightest. And if you would permit me to point out that the word ‘fine’ has variable definitions. Therefore, I believe that ‘fine’ is most unacceptable."

Velvet simply smiled gently and chuckled. "Alright then dear, would the term "perfect" be more acceptable?" She asked, her voice gentle. Twilight thought for a moment before nodding slightly.

"I suppose 'perfect' would be a more desirable term, yes." She said, smiling slightly. There was a quiet pause between the two, as Twilight pondered for a moment.

"Um...Mother," Twilight asked, her voice bearing the slightest touch of trepidation. "Might I be able to make a personal query?"

Velvet raised an eyebrow slightly, and nodded, smiling gently. "Of course, honey. I'm your mother. What is it?"

Twilight hesitated for a moment, formulating the right way to word her question. "If I were to complete today's test and successfully purge myself of all emotion, would that influence your perception of our relationship? Because I assure you that it in no way reflects my judgment on you."

Velvet's smile faded ever so slightly, but remained the same gentle loving one from before. "Oh Twilight, you needn't worry. You're my daughter, and you always will be." she then opened her arms and pulled Twilight into a hug. Twilight stiffened at the sudden display of affection and raised an eyebrow slightly in concern.

"Then I am assured that this changes nothing between us and still accept me as your own?" She asked, unsure of how to react.

"Nothing you ever do will make me change how I think of you, Twilight. I'll always be proud of you." Velvet said quietly. At those words, Twilight felt herself relax somewhat and decided that it would be best to attempt to return the hug.

"Pardon me," an unfamiliar voice said. Twilight and Velvet stopped hugging and turned to see a sea green Saddle Arabian standing in the doorway of the Council Room, his face vaguely displeased, having obviously noticed them hugging.

"The council will see you now, Twilight Sparkle," The Saddle Arabian's tone betrayed a hint of displeasure, as his eyes drifted down to see Twilight still holding hands with Velvet. Twilight instantly let go of Velvet's hands and stood a little straighter, ironing out any ruffles in her dress and tipping her head in respect.

"Thank you sir," she replied, her voice quickly returning to its normally stoic tone as she walked towards the door, giving Velvet one last glance. Velvet smiled warmly and waved good bye, offering Twilight a word of encouragement as the door closed behind Twilight, blocking her off.

Twilight swallowed quietly as she turned and followed the other Saddle Arabian down the hall and towards the Council chamber.


Twilight now stood in front of the Saddle Arabian High Council, where a group of seven Saddle Arabians, including her father, sat. In the center chair sat the eldest member, who closely studied the papers in front of him.

“Twilight Sparkle,” he finally spoke, his deep voice echoing slightly off the walls of the chamber. “It seems that you have surpassed the expectations of all of your instructors. You record is in fact, flawless.”

“You’re most welcome honorable High Elder.” Twilight replied simply, her expression remaining calm and placid.

The High Elder nodded. “However, we have found a minor exception to your otherwise spotless record.”

Twilight tensed up. Minor exception? What sort of minor exception? Would it ruin her chances of entering the Academy, causing her to be the subject of even more ridicule and scorn? Taking a breath, she looked up at the Elder, hoping that her face was as calm as before and not revealing any of the fear she felt.

“What might that exception be honorable High Elder?” she asked.

“You seem to have applied for the Celestian Starfleet.” The High Elder stated simply, looking down at Twilight, his face completely neutral.

Twilight felt herself relax. “I see. At the time it seemed logical to cultivate multiple options in case of failure.”

The High Elder nodded slightly. “A logical conclusion, but ultimately unnecessary. You are hereby accepted into the High Science Academy. A truly remarkable feat, Twilight, considering your disadvantage. All rise.”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. Disadvantage? What disadvantage? She started to wrack her brain for what could be considered a disadvantage and barely noticed the Elders standing up to honor her.

“If you would so kind as to clarify, honorable High Elder: To what disadvantage are you referring to?” she asked, her eyes narrowing slightly, having begun to have an inkling as what exactly the High Elder meant by “Disadvantage”.

“That would be your Equestrian mother,” The High Elder replied matter-of-factly.

Twilight tensed up, her emotions starting to make themselves evident. She was offended. How could they be so blind? Wasn’t the Council supposed to represent wisdom and knowledge? How could they be so petty as to call Velvet a disadvantage?

“I must apologize honorable Elders, but I must decline your offer.” She finally replied, her voice somewhat terse. The High Elder raised an eyebrow.

“Decline?” he asked, his voice containing a barely noticeable touch of surprise. “No Saddle Arabian has ever declined admission to this academy.” He stated plainly.

Twilight straightened slightly, looking up at the Elders. “Than, as I am half-Equestrian, your record shall remain untarnished.”

She noticed her father looking at her with concern. “Twilight, you have made a commitment to honor the Saddle Arabian way.” he said, his tone worrisome.

Twilight was about to respond when the High Elder spoke again. “Why did you come before us today? Was it to satisfy your petty emotional need to rebel?” his voice contained a sense as if he were talking to a child.

“The only emotion I wish to convey is one of gratitude honorable High Elder,” Twilight replied, her voice now tight. “Thank you, Elders, for your consideration.” She then looked directly at the High Elder, her eyes narrowing again.

“Live long and prosper.” She said, her voice making it sound more like an insult than a blessing. With that, she turned and walked out of the Council Chamber.


Twilight silently closed the door to her room behind her. Without saying a word, she down on her bed, staring at her reflection in the full view mirror across from her.

What have I done? she thought, as she ran the events from earlier that morning through her head. She’d spoken against the Council of Elders, where her own father sat, and most likely brought disgrace to her entire family with her emotional display.

The words of her father echoed through her mind: You have made a commitment to honor the Saddle Arabian way.

Saddle Arabian…

But I’m not Saddle I? she thought, wringing her hands. She couldn’t be one. It was illogical. How could someone simultaneously be both Saddle Arabian and Equestrian? How could she honor a society that she wasn’t fully a part of? Was the High Elder right? Was she truly at a disadvantage?

I have failed the test, she thought. I have allowed my emotions to once more achieve victory. She took a shaky breath, noticing that her eyes had begun to water. She instantly wiped away the tears. No, I will not allow myself to once more be defeated. she thought, taking another deep breath. She closed her eyes, attempting to at least try and use her time tested method of meditation as a way to reign in her wild and illogical emotional response.

However, a knock at her door caught her attention, and she found her concentration broken.

“Wh-who is it?” she asked, once more mentally rebuking her emotions at the sound of her shaky voice.

“Twilight, it’s me,” The gentle voice of Velvet said, sounding like a cool pool of water in the middle of a desert. “Please, are you alright?” Velvet asked, sounding especially concerned.
Twilight swallowed. “I assure you Mother, I am fine,” she said, her voice however sounding anything but fine and she shook her head tersely. There was a pregnant pause and Twilight wondered if Velvet had turned and left.

“Twilight, you’ve always been a terrible liar,” Velvet instead replied, her voice carrying a calming tone that Twilight remembered from her childhood. “Please, let me in so I can see what’s wrong.”

Twilight bit her quivering lip and her horn glowed a soft magenta, and the door unlocked, opening to reveal Velvet standing there, a deeply worrisome look on her face. Without saying a word, Velvet calmly entered the room, quietly closing the door behind her and sitting on the bed next to Twilight. Twilight didn’t turn to look, instead focusing on their reflection in the mirror.

“Now,” Velvet started, putting a reassuring hand on Twilight’s lap. “Will you tell me what’s wrong?”

Twilight took another deep breath. “I have singlehandedly brought shame to the family name,” she stated, her voice thin and eyes watering again despite her best efforts to the contrary. She felt Velvet gently put an arm around her and pull her in for a half-hug.

“Nonsense Twilight. You haven’t brought any shame on us.” She said, putting a hand on Twilight’s cheek so that she could look her in the eye. Twilight looked away and down at the floor, not wanting to let Velvet see the tears in her eyes.

“Twilight….it’s okay, you can be emotional with me.” Velvet said lovingly, brushing a bang of Twilight’s mane out of her face. Twilight sniffed, leaning slightly against Velvet.

“Oh can you say that. I blatantly went against everything father has wished for me to be.” she said, letting a tear trickle down her cheek. She felt Velvet gently wipe the tear away.

“Nonsense Twilight. You’ve done no such thing.” Velvet consoled. “I actually think you’ve done a good thing today.”

Twilight furrowed her brow. “Good thing? How is it possible that my abject defiance of tradition is a positive outcome?” she asked, shaking her head slightly.

“Well,” Velvet said, now gently stroking Twilight’s mane to calm her. “I always believed that, if you were to accept the High Science Academy, you would be robbing the universe of a brilliant mind.”

“How so?” Twilight asked, now feeling confused. “I was told that a place in the High Science Academy was the greatest thing a Saddle Arabian could strive for?”

Velvet shook her head slightly. “Well, to a normal Saddle Arabian, that might be true. But you’re not a normal Saddle Arabian Twilight. You’re blessed with a unique ability.”

Twilight furrowed her brow again, this time finally looking Velvet in the eye. “Ability? What sort of ability do you speak of?”

Velvet smiled. “You can feel. Although it might seem strange, emotions are nothing to fear Twilight. The Elders don’t see that. They see them as a weakness, something to be shunned and despised. But that’s not true. Emotions are a gift.”

“Gift? How can they be a gift? They cloud my judgement and prevent me from thinking logically.” Twilight said, unable to wrap her mind around the concept of her emotions not being a default. “How can pain and sadness be a good thing?”

Velvet smiled. “Pain and sadness aren’t the only emotions one feels Twilight. You are capable of feeling things like joy and happiness, and kindness. In the Academy, they’ve decided that, it is better to be cold and unemotional and therefore, never allow yourself to appreciate the simple beauty of life. Things like a warm summer day or the sound of water on the window pane when it’s raining. All they would see is that the sun is shining and that the temperature is warm.” she paused, looking towards the mirror.

“I guess what I’m trying to say is, maybe you aren’t meant to be another drone. Maybe you’re meant for something more. Perhaps help and build a bridge between us and others in the universe.” Velvet then sighed. “Because...we’ve lost that connection Twilight. Our culture has become so fixated on logic and reason that we’re incapable of understanding something unless it makes perfect sense. Understand?”

Twilight said nothing, instead simply studying their reflections in the mirror. “But mother...where shall I go? Where do I fit in?”

Velvet shrugged ever so slightly. “You’re a child of two worlds Twilight. You’re blessed with that. I am endlessly grateful for that. The Academy, for all it’s knowledge, will never see that.”

“So you suggest that I follow my secondary option and enlist in Starfleet?” Twilight asked, looking at her mother expectantly. Velvet simply smiled.

“If that is what you’re soul tells you, then yes.” she said, pulling Twilight into a warm hug. Twilight at first tensed up reflexively, still unsure of the exact degree of which to return the favor. However, something in what her mother said made Twilight feel at ease. Her mother was right. She would never truly fit in amongst the Academy members. She knew that they would only use her Equestrian blood as a weapon against her.

However, if she were to follow the other path, and enlist in the Celestian Starfleet, she would be able to pursue both an advanced academic education and not fear any unjust prejudice from any of her fellow alumni. She felt a smile tug at the edge of her mouth.

“Mother...I have made a decision.” she said, her voice finally level.

“And that is?”

“I have decided to enlist in the Starfleet.” she stated simply, the immense feeling of relief at having reached a logical decision washing over her. Velvet simply smiled, tightening her hug around Twilight. Twilight took notice of this.

“Does this decision please you?” she asked, her eyebrow raising slightly.

“Anytime I see you happy is a time I am pleased.” Velvet said.

At those words, Twilight felt a warmth fill her and she relaxed her body, allowing her mother to gently rock her back and forth. She subconsciously wrapped her own arms around her mother, and the two sat there, wrapped in a loving embrace.


Rainbow let out a satisfied sigh as she downed another drink. She looked around, smiling at the fact that she could be here, in a backdoor bar in the middle of Ponyville without being surrounded by an army of fanboys all wanting to get the autograph of the great and mighty Lightning Dash’s daughter.

She waved towards the bartender, holding up her drink for a top off. The bartender walked up, levitating the bottle with his magic and pouring some more of the bright blue and red drink, which fizzled and popped wildly. She nodded in satisfaction, grabbing the cup and downing it rather quickly.

“Ah yeah, that’s the stuff,” she said, her eyes starting to swivel around the bar, searching for something to entertain herself with. As much as she liked Ponyville, with it’s laid back, decidedly non-Canterlot feel, she couldn’t help but feel a little bored. She needed a thrill, something to make the hair on the back of her neck stand on its end. She was a pegasus, and that meant she needed speed, the wind in her mane.

At least, that what she had hoped she’d get when she enlisted in the Celestian Starfleet.

Instead, she was forced to spend hours sitting in a classroom, listening to some boring professor prattle on and on about how wormholes work or how everything was wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey and spacy-wacy. That was something for a unicorn, or better yet, those stuck up Saddle Arabians. It also didn’t help that, during the few times she actually got to fly, or at least run a simulation, and win, she was sure to find every egghead saying that she was just there because her dad was some kind of hero.

So, here she was, bags packed and ready to take a flight to somewhere off world. Just get away for a bit, see some new places and faces, anything to shake up her boring, empty routine.

She sighed, taking another gulp of her drink, feeling the bubbly liquid pour down her throat, still popping and fizzing wildly.

“There you are Rainbow,” Rainbow groaned involuntarily at the voice, wishing that some fanboy hadn’t managed to find her. She turned to instead see a rather familiar white unicorn stallion, who stood around six foot two, dressed in an impeccably pressed and neatly organized uniform of the Celestian Starfleet.

This is worse, she thought, turning back to the bar. “Yes Commander Armor?” she said, mentally preparing herself to the inevitable chastising she would probably receive. She watched out of the corner of her eye as Commander Armor sat down next to her, being sure to keep his uniform neat.

“Rainbow Dash, what are you doing here?” he said, already sounding disappointed. Rainbow Dash shrugged.

“What’s it look like I’m doing Shining? I’m relaxing and having a drink.” she said, shifting in her chair slightly. Shining Armor meanwhile, simply sighed.

“Rainbow, you know you’re better than this. You’re the top student in your class and all you do is go to bars like this to go drink yourself silly.”

Rainbow scoffed. “Oh don’t worry! I’m already a silly filly,” she paused, awaiting a response from the older pony. Shining simply looked down at her, eyebrow raised. Rainbow bit her lip slightly, looking back down at her now empty glass.

“Rainbow, you know you're better than that,” Shining said simply. “There’s a reason that you’re at the top of your class,” Shining Armor said, uncrossing his arms and putting a hand on her shoulder.

“Because Dad saved everypony?” Rainbow asked sarcastically. “Cause it’s not like that matters anymore,” she said, motioning towards her backpack, which rested at the foot of her chair. Shining Armor looked down at the bag, and shook his head.

“No. Because you have talent. Don’t go and waste it by acting like this.”

“Acting like what?” she asked, giving Shining Armor an unimpressed look.

“Acting like a fool. I know this may surprise you, but you’ve got more to you then just your wings. You’ve got a sharp mind, and instead you waste your time playing pranks and lazing around on clouds and in bars...understand?”

Rainbow said nothing, simply look at her empty glass. “I’m just sick of all this stuff I have to put up with Shining.” she finally said. “Everywhere I go, I always end up being called ‘Lightning’s kid’, and then getting some free pass. I mean, I know I liked it at first, but, I don’t want to be called ‘Lightning’s kid’, I want to be me, Rainbow Dash. When I win a race, I want ponies to think that I won it fair and square, not that the judges wanted to make me feel important.” she sighed.

“Look Rainbow,” Shining Armor said, taking Rainbow’s attention away from her own thoughts. “You don’t have to come back, I’m not coming here as your commander. I’m coming as your friend. I just want to know what happened to the young cadet who said she’d be the best pilot in the fleet? Who would do what no other pilot could do? Are you just going to give up like that? Just going to let all those ponies who stood in your way win and prove them right?”

Rainbow looked at Shining Armor for a moment, saying nothing. He was right. What would her dad think if she just gave up? Probably be really disappointed, she thought.

“You know,” Shining Armor started. “Your dad commanded that starship for less than twenty minutes. He saved a thousand lives. I dare you to do better than that.” he paused, letting his words hang in the air. “And the Rainbow I know won’t just leave a dare unchallenged right?”

Rainbow looked at Shining. He seemed sincere. She looked down at her glass again. He’s right, she thought, ...I can’t let those eggheads win. I’m Rainbow Dash. I’m better than that! she smiled, her confidence slowly returning to her. And I’m awesome.

“You know what Commander,” she said, finally sitting up straight. “You’re on.”


“Alright then here we are,” Shining said, as both him and Rainbow Dash came to a stop outside the spaceport. “Are you sure you don’t want to hitch a ride with me? I have my own personal shuttle.”

Rainbow shook her head, reaching into the trunk of the vehicle and pulled out her backpack. “Nope. Like you said, I don’t leave a dare unchallenged. I’m not about to go back and give those guys back in Canterlot another reason to dislike me. If I come back, I’m coming back on my own.” she gave Shining a slap on the back. “But thanks anyways.”

Shining smiled. “Sure thing. Just remember you owe me now.”

Rainbow laughed. “Yeah I owe ya.” She started towards the shuttlecraft, head held high and chest puffed out. Nopony was going to keep her down today. She was about to step inside the shuttle craft when a lanky pegasus held up a hand.

“Excuse me ma’am, but before you board, I need a name.” he said, whipping out a holopad. Rainbow sighed, letting her shoulders slump.

“Rainbow, Rainbow Dash.” she said, watching as the pony quickly jotted down the information.

“Do you have, or have you had any sort of disease or infection in the past two weeks?” he asked, his face dull. Rainbow grumbled and rolled her eyes.

“No I have not.” she answered, already tapping her hoof impaitentially. She watched as the cadet entered the information into his tablet. He then looked up at her, his eyes still dull as ever.

“You may enter,” he droned, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, his voice a drone. Rainbow nodded.

“Thanks dude.” she said, stepping aboard the shuttlecraft. The first thing that greeted her however, was the doorway of the shuttlecraft as she banged her forehead into it. She let out a loud shout and rubbed her forehead tenderly, ducking low as she made her way towards a seat, hoping to avoid any other unexpected head injuries.

She spotted what looked like a good spot, as it was an empty window seat, which gave her the opportunity of looking outside during the most likely long flight to Canterlot. She tucked her wings in close to her body as she sat down, wincing slightly as they were squeezed between her and the back of the seat. Buckling herself in, she let out a sigh and set about idly waiting for takeoff.

Another loud bang followed by a long string of thickly accented expletives caught Rainbow’s attention and she turned to see a tall orange earth pony coming walking down the aisle, bent over awkwardly as she squeezed her way through the hall. Rainbow said nothing as she happened to sit down next to her, still muttering and grumbling as she strapped herself in. She noticed that the orange mare was downing bottle she brought with her that was labeled ‘Sweet Apple Cider’. The mare seemingly took notice of her as well, as she cast her a quick glance.

“Hey I just wanna warn ya, I might lose ma lunch on ya.” She grumbled her voice thick with an Appleloosian accent. Rainbow simply rolled her eyes.

“I’m pretty sure these things are perfect safe.” she replied, shifting in her seat in order to have less pressure put on her wings. The orange mare scoffed.

“Heh, don’t pander me kid. All we need is one itty bitty crack in this here hull and POOF! Our blood ‘ill up and boil away before you even have a chance ta say ‘snakes alive’. Or worse, Celestia might find it funny ta cook up a solar flare and fry us in our seats like fried chicken just fer fun.” She paused taking another gulp of her cider.

“And iffin we survive the trip over, don’t get me started on them wild and crazy germs that live up there.” The mare said, pointing a finger at the ceiling. “Yer all havin’ a good time wit yer friends and all of a sudden somepony starts meltin’ because they got sneezed on by somepony else. Or worse, an alien baby up an’ pops outta their chest cavity like a Jack-in-the-Box, ready go and eat everypony up. An’ don’t get me started on Space Dementia…” she took another swig. “I tell ya, space ain’t nothin’ but disease an’ danger wrapped up in darkness and silence. It’ll suck yer soul outta ya.”

“Well, I’d really hate to burst your bubble cowmare, but Starfleet operates in space. All the time.” Rainbow said, looking at the earth pony with bemusement. The earth pony nodded glumly.

“Iffin’ we Apples were meant ta fly, Celestia’d give us wings.” She muttered. Rainbow Dash raised an eyebrow.

“Wait, you’re an Apple? Like Sweet Apple Acres Apples?” she asked, her curiosity piqued. The orange mare nodded.

“Guilty as charged,” she murmured. “Nice ta meet ya, I’m Applejack.” She said, extending a hand. Rainbow took it and gave it a shake.

“So why are you here? I thought most Apples worked for the company.” Rainbow said, looking at Applejack with curiosity, wondering why this mare who so obviously hated space travel had joined Starfleet.

“Trust me, iffin I had any other options, I wouldn’t even be here, I can tell ya that straight off. But, when Mama died somepony managed to screw around wit the will and make sure I was the one who got screwed over. Damn bastard took the whole damn planet durin’ litigations.” Applejack grumbled, “

“The whole planet? Wow that sucks…” Rainbow said. Applejack nodded.

“Yer tellin’ me. Now all I got is mah bones. Figured I’d try and start over here. Go figure…” she took another swig of the cider before pausing and looking at the flask. “Hey, there’s still some cider left. Ya want it?” she offered the bottle to Rainbow, who, shrugging took it in hand.

“Yeah sure, why not. I’ve only ever heard good things about Sweet Apple Cider anyways.” She said. Before she had a chance however, a shadow fell over the two of them and they looked up to see the flight attendant looming over them, eying the flask.

“Hand it over.” He droned, holding out a hand. Rainbow let out a frustrated sigh and handed the flask over. The flight attendant nodded and stuffed the flask in his pocket. “No alcohol on flights.” He chided, before turning and walking away.

Applejack rolled her eyes. “Figures they’d take mah cider. Bet when I get ta Canterlot I’m gonna hafta buy a whole new bottle,” she grumbled, crossing her arms in frustration. Rainbow simply rolled her eyes.

This is going to be a long flight. she thought.

Act I - 03 - In Darkness Dwells

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Act I:
“The Shape of Things to Come”

Chapter Three:
"In Darkness Dwells"

Chrysalis, once mighty queen of the Changelings, and one of the last of her kind, lay on the cot in the corner of the dark, stingy cell, with only a small, faint shaft of light piercing through the dusty air to keep her company. Her emerald eyes stared at the wall across from her, carefully tracking the large cricket like insect skittering along the wall. She had been here for what seemed like an eternity, with the days always seeming to blend into each other, only being told apart by the amount of labor she was tasked with. Some days, the labor was as savage and backbreaking as being tasked with mining for the minerals that were later refined into starship fuel. Other days, it was as mind numbingly pedantic as hand assembling the thousand odd individual parts that made up a hoverbike. Usually, the only thing to interrupt her schedule of labor was random ‘disciplinary’ sessions, which usually left her entire body a hellish cauldron of searing pain.

Earlier that day was one such session. She had attempted to break free from her captors, but they had been quick to end any chances of escape. As of this moment, she could only just begin to feel the tips of her fingers, the pain having lessened slightly since that morning’s session. The sound of approaching footsteps caught her ears and her eyes swivelled towards the cell door, which was sealed with an airtight seal.

Through the opaque window, she could make out the eagle like heads of two Griffin guards, who were apparently conversing in their horrid and vile excuse of a language. The sound of a keypad being pressed, followed by a complicated series of locks tumbling announced the cell door being unlocked. Chrysalis’ eyes narrowed involuntarily as the scraping sound of the old door sliding along it’s track tore at her ears.

As always, the screeching sound of the door was an blinding explosion of light followed by the heavy, thumping footsteps of a Griffin guard. Chrysalis eyed him hatefully, cursing the clamp that they had hooked to her horn for disabling her magic entirely. The griffin’s face was covered by a helmet that obscured his features, making his identity unknown to her.

“Good morning…” she hissed towards the guard spitefully, as he came to a stop next to her cot, his bulky figure looming over her. She was swiftly greeted by a talon to the face, which she took without so much as making a sound. Instead, she simply eyed him with even more hatred, her jaw set tightly.

“yIHu'!” the griffin commanded, grabbing her by the tattered remains of her clothes and dragging her to her feet. Once on her feet, her hands were cuffed with incredibly tight handcuffs, and her legs soon received the same treatment, a length of chain connecting the handcuffs to the ankle cuffs. All the while, she stood silent, simply staring hatefully at the other guard in the doorway.

“vIH!” The first griffin barked, violently jabbing his elbow into her side, causing her to stumble forward slightly. A stab of pain shot up her leg as her ankle twisted oddly due to the shove, and an incredible explosion of pain tore up her leg. Gritting her teeth, she straightened out and began to walk forward slowly, wincing as her now injured leg screamed in protest. As she limped, the first griffin grabbed her arm tersely and proceeded to practically drag her towards the doorway, paying no heed to her growls of protest. As the pair reached the doorway, the other griffin, who hadn’t said a word, grabbed Chrysalis’ other arm just as violently, and the guards proceeded to drag her down the grimy hallway.

As she was dragged, Chrysalis’ eyes darted between the pair of griffins, the gears in her mind turning. This isn’t normal, she thought, noticing how the floor beneath her feet seemed to become slightly less filthy and the walls somewhat more well kept. She glanced up at the roof, attempting to decode the signs that passed by above in order to better discern where she was being taken.

Wherever it was, it seemed to require much less security than the other parts of the prison she had seen, as the number of guards noticeably decreased as they continued down the dark hallways. Chrysalis could feel an almost microscopic smile tug at the edge of her lips. She had an idea. It was a crazy one, but it was worth a shot. Taking a deep breath, Chrysalis threw herself against one of the guards, using her slightly taller size to her advantage. The guard, having certainly not expected this, was sent tumbling to the side, his head slamming into the metallic walls and slumping down to the floor.

Chrysalis meanwhile, ducked just as the other guard made a broad swing with his arm, truncheon in hand. However, instead of impacting Chrysalis’ head, as was normally intended, the guard was greeted by her horn piercing through his thick leather jacket and clean into his abdomen. Chrysalis yanked her horn out, and the guard toppled to the floor, a pool of blood quickly forming.

Without sparing a moment, Chrysalis leaned down and fished around for the keys she knew all guards carried.

“Ha!” she found the ring of keys, and violently yanked it off the dead guard’s body. The small chain that kept them attached to his belt snapped, sending little links of chain scattering along the floor. In the background, she could already hear the alarm screaming, alerting probably every guard within a three mile radius of her escape. Her eyes darted about, quickly looking for a hallway she could duck into in order to hide and focus on unlocking the chains around her legs and hands.

Of course, sitting in the middle of a hallway wasn’t exactly the best hiding place, especially when she loomed over the dead guard and the other unconscious one. She stood up and started to run as best she could towards the nearest hallway, hoping that it at least wasn’t currently occupied.

It was.

As she rounded the corner, she was greeted by a truncheon to the face. There was a painful flash of white as the truncheon hit her square in the face, and the pain in her muzzle meant that it was probably broken. She felt herself tumbling backwards, her vision flashing white as the back of her head impacted the unforgiving metal floor. She let out a cry of pain and anger and tried to get back up only to have a heavy boot kick her square in the chest, knocking all the air out of her and pinning her to the floor.

She looked up at her attacker hatefully, unable to speak due to the pain in her mouth and jaw. She could taste the blood in her mouth, it’s metallic taste only managing to make her hatred burn even hotter.

The griffin meanwhile, leaned down to grab her by her neck, lifting her up with one arm. Chrysalis felt any remaining air in her throat being squeezed out of her, and she gasped, the blood dripping from her nose burbling. Gritting her teeth, she spat a bloody wad of spit directly in the guard’s face, where it landed with a wet plop on his helmet. She swore she heard him sigh tiredly before he balled his talons into a fist and punched her square in the face, knocking her senseless.


Chrysalis’ head felt like it were being crushed by a vice. As her vision slowly returned, she squinted, the sheer brightness of the white light directly in front of her blinding her.

“Oh there you are,” Came the somewhat accented voice of...someone. Chrysalis’ eyes darted about, searching for the source of the voice. She tried to move her arms and legs, but found that they were tied down securely.

“You’re late…” the voice admonished, and Chrysalis growled in anger at the sight of a rather thin griffin stepping into her line of sight. As with every griffin she had seen so far, this one wore a helmet. What was with these creatures and their obsession with helmets?

“I expected you five minutes ago. You can talk you know. I’d much rather prefer to have a good conversation companion than just another unwilling participant.” the thin griffin said. Chrysalis watched him hatefully as he came around to stand directly in front of her, looming in front of the light and casting a shadow over her.

“My they really did rough you up didn’t they?” It said, and Chrysalis could tell it was male, albeit a somewhat effet male. It spoke Basic perfectly, albeit with a slight Griffin accent. Chrysalis tensed up as the griffin reached into his white lab coat and pulled out a small cloth.

“Ach...look at what they’ve done to you...broken you’re beautiful poor baby…” it continued, and the tone in it’s voice only managed to set Chrysalis’ skin crawling.

“I’m not your baby…” she growled, her jaw still aching. The griffin chuckled and Chrysalis could practically hear the smile on his face.

“Oh that’s what every prisoner says,” he wiped some of the dried blood off her face. “Now, I know what you’re thinking: ‘What does he want? Why is he being so nice to me? Surely he must have some ulterior motive.’” he paused, elegantly folding up the bloody napkin and putting it back in his lab coat pocket. “And you’d be right!” he chirped. “Can you guess what it is?”

Chrysalis narrowed her eyes. “If you intend for me to tell you anything, I would rather die.”

The griffin’s shoulders sagged. “Oh you’re no fun you know that? I really did wish you would talk,” he said, his voice sounding like a disappointed child. He started to walk around her again and once more disappeared out her line of sight, all the while continuing to talk.

“I mean, I really did wish I wouldn’t have to resort to using this...but you and I both know that a Changeling starship, especially one the size of yours, and with such advanced technology couldn’t have just randomly popped out of has to have some higher purpose than just sightseeing yes?” There was the sound of a container being opened and the griffin let out a sigh.

“Now, before I begin, I just want to say this: What I’m about to do might seem to be incredibly sadistic and hateful, but I swear that I feel no hatred at all towards you or your kind. In fact, if I were to be honest, this is me at my most masochistic, because I simply hate having to do this to a creature as beautiful as you.” As he said this he gently ran a talon along the side of her face, brushing some of her mane out of her eyes. Chrysalis felt her stomach twist at this and once more tried to break free. This provoked quite the reaction out of the griffin, as his gentle stroking turned into a violent, tearing slap as he pulled his claws along the side of her face. She cried out in pain as her skin was broken.

“Tisk, tisk, tisk…” he said, “Now don’t be so violent. Only makes this terrible job that much more difficult for me to bear,” the griffin said, wiping his blood stained claws on her face. Chrysalis simply hissed. The griffin ignored her, and she heard him pick something up. There was some more sounds, all sounding like various tools before she saw something drift into her line of sight.

“You see this?” the griffin asked, and Chrysalis felt her stomach once more twist like a pretzel at the sight before her. It was big, almost six inches long and had at least twelve little legs, all twitching spastically. It’s slug like body contorted and twisted in the pliers that held it aloft and in front of her face.

“Now this, this is a Centuarian Slug. You’re probably wondering what it does. Well, let me tell you,” he began, his voice sounding as if he was taking pleasure out of the very idea of exacting pain on her. “I’m going to take this, and place it in your mouth. It’s then going to crawl and burrow it’s way to the back of your skull and latch on to the base of your brain stem. Once there, it’s going to start secreting chemicals that will slowly break down your defenses, and allow you to be more honest and forthright with me,” the griffin said, his voice taking on an almost demented glee. “Now I know it’s a horrid creature, with all of it’s little wiggly legs twitching like that, and it’s probably the single most disgusting way for me to get this information, but I really have to be honest with you. The only reason I’m using this vile creature is because, well, you seem dead set in not cooperating and just admitting defeat and telling us why you were in Sector 79-11-30 on that day ten years ago. Now, if you’ll please, tell me why you were there.”
As he said this, Chrysalis felt his talons grip her jaw and pry it open, and the pliers started to drift closer and closer towards her mouth.

“Come now,” the griffin insisted, and Chrysalis could already feel the creatures legs skittering along the tip of her mouth. “Tell me what you know…”

“N-Never…” Chrysalis hissed in defiance. The griffin sighed.

“Oh very well…you leave me no choice.” And with that, he violently shoved the pliers into her mouth and Chrysalis let out a muffled scream as the slug slithered into her mouth and down her throat.

Act I - 04 - All the Little Things

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Act I:
“The Shape of Things to Come”

Chapter Four:
“All The Little Things”

Twilight nibbled her lip slightly in spite of her best efforts to the contrary as the family spacecraft prepared to drop out of warp. She looked over towards her mother who was sleeping soundly, as she normally did on longer trips. Her father busied himself with reading something on his holopad, most likely a news article or the latest philosophical paper. Twilight took a breath, quickly reminding herself of why she was here.

Relax. It’s just a simple trip to the Academy, where I shall enroll and study. No worries. I’ll most likely be able to find a nice dormitory or some other lodging during my stay. No worries. It’s the start of a new Academy year there, so rest assured I won’t be the only new student. Just remember to keep a level head and all will be well.

She was brought back to reality by the characteristic shifting of weight any spacecraft felt when dropping out of warp, causing all inside to lean forward ever so slightly. Velvet stirred slightly, shifting to lean on Twilight’s shoulder. Twilight looked down at the sleeping form of her mother, and began to feel a strange sense of nostalgia. This would most likely be the longest period of time she’d spent away from either of her parents, and she couldn’t help but once more feel anxious. Would she be able to find any fellow alumni that shared her interests? Or would the Equestrians shun her and treat her like some filthy half breed as many of her fellow Saddle Arabians had? And was this decision truly for the best, or was it just another instance of her Equestrian emotions getting the better of her and clouding her judgement in an attempt to sooth a wounded ego?

That single thought seemed to awaken a thousand more thoughts of doubt that began to wildly swarm in Twilight’s mind like a swarm of hornets. She closed her eyes tightly, hoping that maybe attempting to meditate would sufficiently quell the fears. She felt a hand on her shoulder and flinched, whipped her head around to see her mother smiling at her, her smile warm and loving as always.

“Twilight dear, there’s no need to be worried,” Velvet said gently, and Twilight attempted to regain a sense of composure.

“Whatever do you mean by worried?” Twilight replied, inside cursing herself for the bold faced lie. Her mother simply sighed.

“Twilight, you always mutter when you meditate.” she said knowingly. “Now, tell me, what is worrying you?”

Twilight nibbled at her lip ever so slightly, and glanced towards her father, who simply nodded slightly, his face set in it’s characteristic stoic and in-control expression. She looked back towards her mother and let out the slightest of sighs.

“What if the true reason for my enlistment in Starfleet is merely an attempt to smooth my ego or some other emotional response? How can I be sure it’s logical?”

Velvet simply laughed quietly, taking Twilight’s hands and holding them tightly. “Twilight, we’ve already talked about this. You’ve made the right decision.”

“Then why do I feel ill at ease?” Twilight was quick to ask, ever so slightly attempting to pull her hands out of her mother’s loving grip. Velvet’s smile only seemed to become all the more loving.

“Just because you feel a little stress, by no means will this mean you’re heading for disaster. You’re simply feeling an emotion. Nothing more. Nothing to be afraid of. Okay dear?”

Twilight sighed a little louder this time. “I suppose so…”

“Good,” Velvet smiled. She then turned towards her husband, who had been watching the proceedings from his seat. “See Savak? That is how to deal with our daughter’s worries.” she said with playful sarcasm. Savak simply nodded.

“Of course dear Velvet. That is why I defer to you.” he said, his voice level.

Twilight allowed herself to feel some relief. At least she had her family, whom, in times of doubt, would be there for her. She diverted her attention out the window again, her eyes widening slightly at the sight of the sprawling metropolis below. Her mother leaned over to join her in looking out the window, a richly nostalgic look in her eyes.

“Oh Canterlot,” she sighed happily. “It’s changed so much since I was here last. Oh!” she pointed towards a castle perched on the side of the mountain that rose out of the center of the city. “There’s Canterlot Castle!” she said with a giddy tone. Twilight, on the other hand, wondered why someone would place a castle in such an illogical and strange place as the side of a mountain.

“Why is it built into the side of the mountain? Why not build it in the valley below?” She asked, eyebrow raised slightly.

“Well, apparently, back in the ancient times, building a castle like that was a sign of magical power and skill among the unicorn kingdoms before the formation of the Federation. It’s a wonderful historical monument either way.” Velvet replied. "And it functions as the main campus of the Academy, so hopefully you'll have a wonderful view of the rest of the city from your dormitory."

Twilight nodded slightly, attempting to process the information so that she could make an informed and logical decision. The spacecraft was already racing towards a cavern cut into the mountain side, which apparently functioned as some sort of indoor airport. The craft flew into the cavern and came to a gentle and controlled landing besides one of the many smaller structures that lined the walls of the spacious cavern.

A gangway extended out to meet their ship, connecting with a metallic clang to the side of the ship. Savak was first to stand, automatically moving to smooth out his garments, before gently taking Velvet's hand and escorting her towards the exit. As they walked away, Velvet motioned for Twilight to follow, and Twilight stood up from her seat and followed close behind.

The door to their craft opened to reveal a carpeted, closed in walkway which lead into the walls of the cavern. The carpets were a fine navy blue, which contrasted nicely with the elegant white walls and ceiling. Apparently, the walkway had been designed with Saddle Arabian's in mind, as Twilight noticed there was a good foot and a-half of room between her father's head and the ceiling. However, the walkway was only as wide as the doorway of their ship, which gave it a narrow and ever so slightly claustrophobic feeling.

They came to a stop at the exit of the walkway, facing the inside of the terminal. Twilight had not expected such a crowd, as literally hundreds of ponies and various other species moved about in droves, all either disembarking from their respective vessels, or greeting those disembarking. Twilight could see Velvet scanning the crowd, seemingly on the lookout for someone. Savak's eyes scanned the crowd as well, seeming searching for the same someone.

"Did you not say that you're brother was expected to meet us here?" He finally asked, looking down at Velvet. Velvet nodded.

"Yes I did Savak. I could have sworn I called him before we left. He said he would be here..." She trailed off, still scanning the crowd. Twilight started to scan the crowd as well, not sure of what to be searching for. However, a white stallion caught her eye, as he was walking directly towards them, followed closely by a very, very tall, midnight blue unicorn with a mane that flowed behind her elegantly, looking like a miniature night sky.

"Mother, look..." Twilight said, gently tapping her mother's shoulder and motioning towards the conspicuous pair of ponies. Velvet's previously concerned expression broke into a wide grin and she started towards the stallion, spreading her arms wide.

"SHINING!" She practically shouted for joy, quickly enveloping the tall stallion in a bear hug. The stallion was to respond with a tight hug of his own and Twilight looked up towards her father with a questioning gaze.

"Does Mother know him?" She asked, and her father nodded sagely.

"I would dare say so, that is her brother."

Twilight blinked, raising an eyebrow and looking back towards her mother and the stallion, who were now heading towards them, both with large smiles, followed closely by the massive unicorn. The trio came to a stop, the stallion looking up towards her father, saluting him. "Ambassador Savak," he said, adding a slight bow which her father returned.

"Admiral Sparkle. May the sun forever shine upon you and your household." He said, Twilight noticing his use of the traditional Saddle Arabian blessing. Usually, the blessing was only used for family, friends, or, as was apparently the case of this unicorn, ponies of important standing. Admiral Sparkle nodded.

"Many thanks Ambassador," he said respectfully, before turning to the mildly befuddled Twilight. She felt a hand on her shoulder and saw that it was her mother.

"Twilight, this is your uncle, my brother Shining Armor. You remember him right?"

"Oh that's alright Velvet," Admiral Sparkle said, briefly looking at her mother before refocusing on Twilight again. "Its been a while, its okay if she doesn't remember her good old Uncle Shining. You've grown quite a bit since I last saw you Twilie," the stallion said in a mature tone. Twilight simply blinked, unsure of how to greet the stallion. The nickname had succeeded in bringing back a series of faint, but noticeably fond memories of the tall stallion visiting several times in Twilight's foalhood, always paired with the memory of something wonderful like a brand new advanced chemistry set or the newest form of mobile deep space telescope.

"Greetings Uncle," she finally said, judging that to be the most appropriate response. She was sure to bow her head slightly as a show of respect, and saw the stallion smile warmly before she was pulled into a sudden, unexpectedly warm hug. She tensed up as a reflex to the sudden invasion of her personal space, unsure if this was how all Equestrians greeted each other. Receiving a hug from her mother was logical, she was her mother after all and Twilight knew her well. However, this was a stallion of whom she only had the vaguest memories of, felt incredibly invasive. It seemed however, that hug was over as soon as it began, as the stallion let her out of his embrace and she was quick to take a step back as subtly as possible, subconsciously smoothing out her now slightly wrinkled dress. She glanced towards her mother quizzically, only to see her smiling warmly as always.

"Don't worry Twilight dear, that's how family greet each other here." she said, seemingly knowing Twilight’s question before she asked it. Twilight nodded slightly.

“Do I return the favor?” she asked and her mother simply chuckled.

“No, it’s okay if you don’t this time.” she said, giving Twilight a quick hug of her own. The quick succession of signs of affection was slightly jarring to Twilight, but she knew that it would probably be incredibly offensive if she were to refuse any such signs of affection.

Meanwhile, standing nearby, she noticed her father and the tall unicorn speaking together, apparently having already known each other. Twilight was surprised to see that the unicorn also had a large pair of wings which were folded neatly behind her back. To Twilight’s knowledge, such Equestrians with that trait were called Alicorns. It was then that Twilight realized it might have been best to brush up on Equestrian culture before the trip over, but alas, the night before her setting out on this journey into the unknown, she had spent it packing her bags and the necessary research had totally slipped her mind.

“Excuse me Miss Sparkle,” a regal voice said, and Twilight turned to see that it had come from the alicorn, who now faced her, looking down at her with a sage expression that mirrored her fathers, albeit carrying a visible sense of pride in it. Twilight swallowed, standing more erect in an attempt to present herself in a manner that was befitting her status as ambassador’s daughter. The alicorn simply smiled and returned with a slight bow.

“My name is Princess Luna, High Admiral of the Celestial Starfleet and I am here to personally escort you to the campus.” she said in a regal tone and Twilight nodded.

“I offer you the greatest of thanks High Admiral,” Twilight said, being sure to bow her head for what seemed like the hundredth time. “But I do not wish to be shown any form of favoritism. I come here as a simple student, and therefore should not be treated differently as any other.”

High Admiral Luna smiled. “Of course, Miss Sparkle. In fact, your father was just affirming this with me. However, there is no doubt that, as the first Saddle Arabian to admit themselves to our fair academy, you deserve something more than a simple shuttle coming to pick you up. Now come,” she beckoned for Twilight to follow, turning to leave. “Our shuttle is waiting.”

Twilight blinked. This felt much too fast. She hadn’t even expected the High Admiral of the Celestial Starfleet herself to offer her transport to the Academy Campus, let alone greet her at the gate. She bit her lip reflexively.

“High Admiral I am flattered,” she began, quickly noticing how shaky her voice had become. “Might I be granted permission to bid my family farewell?”

Luna nodded. “Of course my child. Take as long as you wish.”

Twilight smiled slightly, before turning to her parents. Her mother’s eyes had already begun to water, and she had a sad smile on her face.

“Look at my little Twilight, all grown up and ready to go. Oh Twilight I’m so proud of you!” she unexpectedly leapt forward and pulled Twilight into a tight hug before Twilight had a chance to protest. She herself felt the emotional urge to cry, but held out against it, looking at her father with a questioning gaze.

“My child, I am proud of you. You have brought me more honor than I could have possibly imagined.” he stated simply, coming over and putting his massive hand on her shoulder. Twilight smiled slightly, and felt her eyes tear up slightly.

“Th-thank you father,” she said, her voice becoming slightly emotional despite her efforts to the contrary. Her father smiled.

“Twilight, if you worry for your emotions, you have no fear at this time.” he said kindly. Velvet meanwhile, tightened her hug, still crying into Twilight’s shoulder. Twilight, unsure if her mother’s reaction was negative or positive, attempted to console the crying unicorn with a gentle pat on the back.

“Mother, are you sad?” she asked worryingly, but Velvet shook her head, finally releasing Twilight from the hug.

“Sad? Oh Twilight I’m happier than I’ve ever been in my entire life!” she beamed, her face breaking into a huge smile. Her mascara was smeared slightly, evidence to her recent outpouring of emotion. “My baby girl is going to be learning new things and meeting new ponies! I just can’t help but be joyful!”

“But why the tears?” Twilight asked, unable to understand that, if her mother was happy, why had she been crying mere moments before. Velvet simply smiled even wider.

“These are tears of joy Twilight. Joy that you’ve grown so much and come so far darling! You’re father was right, you’re off to do incredible things. And I’ll be able to see you do those things and be proud of you!”

Twilight’s concerned expression morphed into a smile of her own, and she gently pulled her mother into an experimental hug.

“Thank you so very much Mother. I shall miss you while I’m gone.”

“Oh don’t worry honey, I’ll call everyday and send you little packages and things.” Velvet replied, returning the hug.

“Thank you, and I shall attempt to repay in kind.” Twilight said, this time allowing herself some leeway in showing her gratitude. Velvet nodded.

"Of course darling. Now, go on, no use having an old mare like me hold back your first day, your uncle and the Princess are waiting." She said, motioning towards Shining and Princess Luna, who had stood by patiently the entire time. Twilight nodded, turning towards her uncle and the alicorn.

"Well, I am ready High Admiral," she said, her voice confident. Luna smiled.

"Wonderful, let us escort you then." With that, the trio started towards the exit, with Twilight turning one last time to look back at her family. Her father was, surprisingly, the first to respond, raising his hands and giving her the Saddle Arabian symbol for blessing. Her mother waved goodbye as well, the same happy smile on her face. Twilight felt an intense warmth flow through her, and she returned the favor, saluting her family with a smile on her face.

"Twilie!" Shining called out, diverting her attention back to him and Luna. "We've gotta get you to your admissions okay?"

She nodded, and with that, turned to follow the pair out of the terminal.


Twilight busied herself preparing for the day’s academic activities. It had been a mere twenty-four hours since her arrival at the Starfleet Academy, and so far, it had been an unexpectedly hectic period of time. It was logical that, as an ambassador's daughter, she received a greeting that might not be typical of any other student, but other than that, it had been a rather low-key reception.

However, even with the surprisingly easy-going aura of the campus, Twilight knew that she had to make a good impression. To her immediate knowledge, Twilight was the very first Saddle Arabian to be accepted into the Starfleet Academy as a student. Yes there had been several Saddle Arabians at the Academy before, her own father among them, but they had all functioned as a purely political and consulting roles. Never had they been active students. As such, Twilight remained on edge.

How would the other students react to her or her personality? So far, they all seemed to be accepting, but she had only spoken with a grand total of three ponies, so she obviously did not have enough information to properly analyze her social skills and see if they were considered acceptable. Of course, she also knew that fretting over the details would only bring her unwanted stress and anxiety, so, she had resigned herself to a bout of recreational reading until her first class, which, judging by the clock on the wall, was in 2.89 hours.

She had only just began reading where she last left off before a sharp knock at the door caught her attention. Furrowing her brow, she at first, ignored the sound of the knocking. Most likely it was just another student who was attempting to locate their own dorm, and perhaps they mistook Twilight’s dorm for their own. However, the first knock was quickly followed by several more, all in quick secession, which finally managed to attract Twilight’s attention away from the book.

Closing it and setting it on her nightstand, she quietly walked over to her door and unlocked it, secretly hoping that it was in fact just another student, and not someone important.

The door opened to reveal an elegantly poised alabaster unicorn mare whose purple mane was manicured in a complicated bang. She wore a large, welcoming smile and extended a hand in greeting.

“Good morning!” she chimed, her voice carrying with it a noticeable Canterlot accent. Twilight simply nodded slightly, putting on a small smile of her own.

“What do you mean good morning?” she said, enjoying the unique opportunity to attempt at something Equestrian’s called ‘humor’. “Did you attempt to wish me good morning? Or perhaps you meant that this is a good morning, regardless of my own opinion on the matter, or that you felt good this morning, or is a morning to be good on?”

The unicorn across from her raised an eyebrow slightly as if confused by Twilight’s question. Twilight instantly regretted her most likely pitiful attempt at blending in, and was about to close the door in shame when the unicorn began to giggle.

“Well, of all the times I’ve wished somepony good morning, never has Gandalf ever been used as a reply,” she said, her voice laced with restrained giggles. “I have to admire such a literary minded pony such as you. My name is Rarity Belle,” she said, extending her hand once more. “And it is wonderful to meet you!”

Twilight took the mare’s reaction to be positive, and she tentatively returned the favor by extending her own hand in greeting, which the other mare took and shook.

“I didn’t catch your name,” Rarity said, her face questioning. Twilight was quick to realize her fumble.

“My name is Twilight Sparkle,” she said, noticing that Rarity was still shaking her hand. Rarity’s eyes widened slightly in apparent realization.

“Sparkle? You wouldn’t happen to be Ambassador Savak’s daughter would you?”

“As a matter of fact I am,” Twilight replied flatly, ”Is that a problem”

“Oh no not at all!” Rarity was quick to reply. “I’ve just never met somepony from such a place known for such culture and knowledge as Saddle Arabia, it truly is an honor.”

Twilight smiled slightly. “Thank you Ms. Belle, I appreciate the gesture.”

Rarity nodded, still smiling. “Wonderful, simply wonderful! Might I ask why you are here? Are you here for ambassadorial reasons or just to observe Equestrian culture?” she asked, tilting her head ever so slightly.

“Well, I have taken it upon myself to enroll into the Academy as a student and-”

“You’re here as a student?!” Rarity gasped, cutting Twilight off. Twilight tensed up slightly. Had she somehow offended the other mare? Was the idea of a Saddle Arabian student just that strange?

“Is there a problem?” she asked, only to be greeted by Rarity shaking her head.

“Oh no not at all Twilight! I just think this is a wonderful opportunity for me to brush up on my Saddle Arabian. You see, I’m currently studying Communications and Linguistics,” she said, smiling proudly. Twilight raised her eyebrows.

“Congratulations Ms. Belle. I know it to be difficult to learn a new language,” she answered, not really noticing the self-conscious tone in her voice. Rarity simply waved her hand dismissively.

“Oh darling, you mustn't keep calling me ‘Ms. Belle’. I hear that and I look for my mother. Just call me Rarity, plain and simple dearie. But as for my class, I’ve been told I have an ear for it. And not only that, it’s both a wonderful learning experience and a way to meet many a new friend. But what class are you taking darling? I simply must know, perhaps we can organize a study meeting or something?”

Twilight nodded in realization and was about to list all her courses, before quickly holding herself back. It probably would be rather unjust to say that she had enlisted in at least forty classes, which would only make her seem self-righteous. Right now she was just attempting to blend in and simply learn. Last thing she needed was the parade her intelligence in front of the others like a prize.

“I’m enrolled in The Higher Sciences,” she finally said, judging that to be the overall straight forward and honest description.

“My, my, my! The High Sciences? That must mean you’re in the upper most percentile am I right?” Rarity asked, and Twilight subconsciously rubbed her arm.

“I do not wish to boast but yes,” she answered.

“Well that’s wonderful darling!” Rarity said, before a beeping sound caught their ears and Rarity looked down to her wristwatch. “Oh damn it! I’m going to be late for class!” she said, and looked back at Twilight.

”Twilight dear we simply must arrange some sort of get-together. Tell me, are you free this afternoon?”

Twilight furrowed her brow slightly. “If by free do you mean that I have no scheduled classes, then I suppose so yes,” she answered. “But, I still must ask you. Why are you so accepting of me? Is it because of my father’s position or something else?” she asked, surprised that the other pony was so inviting. A part of her though, still worried that this all just might be a facade due to her status as the daughter of an ambassador.

“Whatever could you mean Twilight? I wish to be your friend because you seem intelligent and well read, and goodness knows those kinds of ponies are especially hard to find nowadays. Almost everypony here just wants to jump into a starship and go on some wild adventure to some far off place,” Rarity chuckled. “Now, I can meet you at the School Commissary for lunch if you’re willing.”

Twilight smiled more noticeably this time. For the first time, she wasn’t being judged by her heritage or because of the status of a member of her family. She was being judged on her own merits, as her own, unique and individual being, separate from all others. And that felt wonderful.

“Rarity, I would love to do that.”

Rarity smiled. “Wonderful, simply wonderful! See you at three then!” and with that, the mare turned and ran down the hall, leaving a content Twilight standing in the doorway.


“...and then I had ta go ta Medical School here in Canterlot just ‘cause mah momma was too damn paranoid ta let a normal doctor take a gander at her. Nope, it had ta be a family member, and not just any family member, but me. Said that I was the only one she trusted…” Applejack said, giving the porter a dirty look as he slowly pulled her suitcases and bags out from the side-compartment of the shuttle craft.

Rainbow simply rolled her eyes. “Really? That’s just fascinating…” she muttered, having long grown tired of the never ending family drama that the orange mare felt compelled to fill her in on. To be honest, she couldn’t wait to get back up in the sky under her own power, if only to make sure her wings hadn’t suffered any permanent damage due to being squished behind her back the whole flight. She had packed only her own backpack and nothing else, carrying it on her own back. She was going to prove herself worthy of Starfleet under her own merits, and not just some entitled daughter of a dead hero.

“Fascinatin’? Ya try callin’ cuttin’ open dead bodies fascinatin’...” Applejack replied, before giving the porter another dirty look and walking over to him. “And damn that porter he’s gonna break mah equipment!” she grumbled, turning towards the porter. “Hey! You! Careful with them bags! That medical equipment costs more than ya do!” and with that she stepped aside, already arguing with the porter over the proper way to carry the heavy bags.

Rainbow simply rolled her eyes and started to walk towards the exit, already thinking on where her new dorm would be. She’d heard that windowed dorms were the best, but they tended to be expensive, so it was probably out of her budget.

“Oh look! It’s Rainbow Crash!” came a loud, disgustingly familiar voice and Rainbow turned to glare at the source of the voice. She was a tall, slim and equally athletic blue pegasus with a snow white mane that was pulled back in a tight ponytail. Beside her stood two identical lavender pegasi, the only way of telling them apart being their vastly different mane cuts.

“Well who are they?” Applejack asked, walking up to Rainbow, apparently satisfied in having wrestled away her heavy bags from the porter. She carried all of them on her back, apparently none the worse for wear.

“Fleetfoot…” Rainbow grumbled under her breath, narrowing her eyes as the trio of pegasi sashayed over, insufferably smug grins glued to their faces.

“Well, well, well,” Fleetfoot sneered, crossing her arms over her puffed out chest. “If it isn’t the Daddy’s girl come to try and get an easy ride into a captain’s chair!”

“Hey Fleetfoot.” Rainbow spat venomously. “Surprised you’re sorry excuse for a mane grew back so damn well after that special shampoo you used.”

Fleetfoot simply narrowed her eyes, staring daggers at Rainbow. “You’re damn lucky I didn’t know it was you at first! Or I’d have my dad splatter your flank all over the side of Canterlot Mountain.” she spat back.

“Oh yeah? Where’s your big old daddy now huh?” Rainbow was quick to reply, shoving herself in Fleetfoot’s face.

“He’s busy. Kinda like your dad...oh wait,” Fleetfoot began, her face quickly returning to it’s previous sneer. “You’re daddy’s dead. My mistake.”

“Take that back.” Rainbow growled, balling her hand into a fist.

“Why?” Fleetfoot sneered. “Do you think it’ll bring Daddy back?” That served as the final straw and Fleetfoot was promptly greeted with a punch to the nose, sending both her and Rainbow, down onto the ground, screaming, yelling and tearing at each other’s hair.

“Damn it sugarcube!” Applejack groaned, quickly dropping her bags and diving into the fray, attempting to drag Rainbow off of Fleetfoot. It didn’t help that the twin lavender pegasi, Flitter and Cloudchaser, were quick to come to the defense of Fleetfoot, and that meant they only managed to get dragged into the fight as well.

Almost instantly, a crowd was formed around the vicious catfight, with several stallions all edging the pair on.

Meanwhile, Fleetfoot and Rainbow traded a vicious series of punches, kicks, jabs and hair pullings, all while trading vicious insults.


“Daddy’s mare!”




Rainbow was about to come back with a vicious come back for that final comment when she heard a loud, authoritative voice shouted over the sounds of the crowd.


The next thing Rainbow knew, she and Fleetfoot were enveloped in separate magical aura’s, each the same shade of midnight blue, pulling them apart despite their best efforts. Rainbow looked to see, of all ponies, High Admiral Luna herself was responsible, and her expression was one of intense, burning disappointment.

“What in the name of stars and stones is the reason for this madness?” she ordered, glaring at Fleetfoot and Rainbow with equal distain. The pair of them avoided her withering gaze, with Rainbow taking new interest in the patterns on the sidewalk.

“Well? Will nopony tell me why you two were attacking each other like rabid animals in broad daylight?” Luna asked again, this time looking around at the crowd of ponies, most of which were attempting to leave.

“I’ll tell ya what happend’ yer majesty.” Applejack said, dusting herself off as both Flitter and Cloudchaser rolled on the floor, obviously defeated.

“Pray tell, who are you?” Luna asked, eyeing Applejack with raised eyebrows.

“Name’s Applejack Apple, ma’am. Came here hopin’ ta be one of yer docs, and ah saw the whole damn thing.”

Luna raised an eyebrow, obviously intrigued by what Applejack had to say.

“Then might you know who started this?” she asked. Applejack nodded.

“Yessiry Bob. It was that mare right there,” she pointed an accusing finger towards Fleetfoot, who instantly shied away.

“She up an’ offended Rainbow here’s Daddy, an’ Rainbow kinda lost her cool.”

Luna’s eyes narrowed and she glared at Fleetfoot. “Is this true Fleetfoot? Did you offend Dash’s father in such a manner?”

Fleetfoot’s evasive gaze and harsh blush was apparently all Luna needed as confirmation, and she dropped the pair out of her magic.

“Fleetfoot I am sorely disappointed in you. I shall have to speak with your father about this. Needless to say he’ll be greatly displeased. I shall be expecting you in detention this afternoon. Understand?”


“No buts Ms. Fleetfoot. Now go to class before I decide to enact a harsh punishment.”

Fleetfoot bit her lip, saying nothing but still glaring at Rainbow as she walked away. Rainbow meanwhile, kept her satisfaction at seeing Fleetfoot in trouble at bay, knowing full well that she probably also had to answer to the tall alicorn.

“Cadet Dash, I knew your father personally. I believe he would not have condoned such an action as the one you just took,” she said, her voice authoritative as always. Rainbow nodded meekly.

“Yes High Admiral…”

“That being said, Ms. Fleetfoot had no business insulting his memory in such a way, and I myself cannot blame you for reacting so passionately. Family is important, especially those who are no longer with us. We must respect them. However, I still expect you to meet with me and Admiral Armor. Needless to say he will have words with you. Now go, class begins within the hour.”

Rainbow let her shoulders sag, but nodded anyways, gently rubbing a sore spot on her face as the tall alicorn walked off, dispersing the crowd with a glance. Rainbow felt a hand on her shoulder and looked to see Applejack, who had a supportive smile on her face.

“Hey Rainbow, I just wanna say I thought ya did tha right thin’. Iffin somepony went and called my ma or my pa a bad name, I’d probably done a lot more then give ‘em a black eye.”

Rainbow smiled slightly. “Thanks Applejack...that means a lot.”

Applejack smiled. “Now, wadda say we get ta class. An’ maybe after that we can get some cider?”

Rainbow smiled a little more. While Applejack might not have been the most effervescent and cheerful of ponies, she was refreshingly honest. Maybe it was because she obviously took everything at face value, or the fact that she was not a wild eyed fan of Rainbow’s father, there only to attempt to maybe get a tidbit of information about the long-gone stallion. Or maybe it was the simple fact that she risked detention herself by standing up for Rainbow, even after something as obvious and troublesome as a public catfight. Rainbow put a hand on Applejack’s shoulder.

“Applejack, I think that’d be awesome.”


Rainbow Dash let out a satisfied sigh at as the shivering fizzy feeling of a glass of Quantum Bomb blew through her veins, filling her with a buzz that could only be compared to flying to the highest part of the sky and then diving down, only to pull up inches from the ground. Quite simply, it gave her a rush.

Applejack had fulfilled her promise, and as soon as Rainbow had finished with her private reaming from Shining Armor about her conduct that morning, the pair had gone to the first bar Applejack could find, The Dark Side of the Moon, where the pair went about drinking and sharing stories. By now, Applejack was across the bar, chatting up a storm with a fellow earth pony, a stallion this time, and Rainbow could tell that the pair would most likely be sharing more than just stories within the hour.

“Hey,” came a deep voice and Rainbow turned to see an incredibly handsome blue pegasus stallion leaning on the bar next to her, a big, suave grin on her face. “Come here often?” he asked, raising an eyebrow.

Rainbow gave him a smug grin in return, already feeling the alcohol do a number on her inhibitions. She raised an eyebrow of her own, leaning forward slightly.

“Oh...sometimes,” she giggled, not sure if it was because he was actually very handsome or it was the alcohol doing the talking. “Why’d ya ask?”

“ reason…” he replied, briefly scanning the bar. “Name’s Soarin by the way.” he extended a hand and Rainbow took it, shaking it somewhat sloppily.

“My name’s Rainbow Dash.”

“Oh really?” the stallion replied, raising his eyebrows knowingly. “So you were the one who punched out Fleetfoot and replaced her shampoo with engine grease?”

Rainbow smiled broadly. “Hell yeah that was me! Why? Want an autograph?”

“Nah, I think I’ll wait. But I’ll buy you a drink?”

Rainbow nodded. “I like the way you think. Let’s say we have a drinking competition? First to pass out pays the tab?”

Soarin narrowed his eyes. “You’re on.”


Rainbow could barely contain her drunken giggles as she and Soarin entered the semi-darkened dorm room and made their way to his bed, shirts were practically torn off as they got onto the bed, swapping spit and running their hands all over each other like no one’s business.

The drinking competition earlier had quickly paved the way for flirting, which quickly transformed into heavy innuendo, followed by an intense make out session that went unbroken from the bar to his dorm, which was, thankfully, closeby. They had been so busy making out that Rainbow barely noticed the bright, extraordinarily female wallpaper and color scheme of Soarin’s dormitory complex. She was too busy focused on getting ready for the sledgehammer, ready to hear him call her name, lay down the tracks and - a sharp knock at the dorm room door caught her attention. Soarin, still pinned underneath her was quick to start beckoning her to get off the bed.

“Quick! Get under there!” he hissed, practically shoving Rainbow off the bed.

“But why?!” she asked in a harsh whisper, still trying to comprehend what had seemingly turned the sexy stallion into a paranoid wreck.

“Just go! My roommate hates guests!” he said, and Rainbow rolled her eyes.

“Seriously?” she asked incredulously, only to be answered by another, even harder and harsher knock, followed by a sharply accented and frustrated female voice.

“Glidin open the door right now!” it insisted, and Rainbow could hear the sound of the doorknob jiggling violently. “And who’s that I hear in there with you?! Don’t tell me you’re having one of your ‘friends’ over!”

At this, Rainbow raised an eyebrow and looked towards Soarin confusingly.

“‘Glidin’? Who’s Glidin?” she asked incredulously.

“That’s not important right now get under the bed!” Soarin insisted, his voice a harsh whisper, sidestepping the question and once more shoving Rainbow towards the edge of the bed. Rainbow let out an angry huff and scooted off the bed and rolled underneath. Just as she rolled underneath, she heard Soarin fumbling along his nightstand along with the sound of whomever it was on the other side of the door slamming their hands on the door.


“Gimme a second!” Soarin replied, and Rainbow perked her ears up. His voice sounded noticeably higher and more androgynous, a wild opposite from the deep, sensious baritone from before. There was the sound of an electronic bell ringing and the sound of the dorm room door’s locks tumbling followed by a new, incredibly smooth and silky feminine voice.

“Okay it’s open!” The voice called out, and Rainbow could hear the door swing open. What the buck? Rainbow thought, raising an eyebrow at the new mare’s voice. Who the heck is that?

“Glidin! Where’s your shirt?!” came the first female voice, and it sounded as if she certainly hadn’t expected to see whomever this Glidin was without their shirt.

“Wha? Oh sorry Rarity,” replied the other mare’s voice, this time very sheepish. There was the sound of the bed sheets being pulled up, followed by some intelligible muttered apologies.

“You had a friend over didn’t you?” The first voice asked, her voice accusatory.

“What?! Oh no I was just relaxing!” the second voice replied, sounding defensive.

“Then whose shirt is this and why do I see that tail sticking out from under the bed?”

Rainbow’s eyes widened to the size of dinner plates and she hastily tried to bend around to yank her tail back under the bed. Of course, during the course of her listening in on the strange conversation, she had forgotten that she was even under a bed in the first place, and her head hit the bottom frame of the bed, causing her to swear loudly. Next thing she knew she heard magic being employed and felt her tail being tugged rather harshly and felt herself dragged along the carpet. Panicking, she grabbed the bottom of the bed frame as hard as she could and tried to pull herself back under the bed.

That only seemed to make whoever was tugging at her tail even more determined, and the magic only increased, and Rainbow felt it reach the base of her tail and yank hard. Despite all her efforts to the contrary, Rainbow lost the battle and was yanked violently out from under the bed and sent tumbling along the floor.

“OW!” she yelled, looking up towards the pony who had yanked her from under the bed. The pony in question was an alabaster unicorn with a purple mane that was done up in a perfectly manicured bang. She wore a bright red Starfleet cadet uniform and wore an expression that could best be described angry suspicion.

“Hello there…” she said, her voice decidedly unamused. “I’m Rarity...and what the buck are you doing in my dorm?!”

Rainbow rolled over so that she was on her back, her stomach stinging due to the carpet burn she had suffered. “Ugh...hello to you too…” she muttered, sitting up, turning to give Soarin a dirty look. Instead, she stopped cold, her eyes bulging again and her jaw dropping to the floor in shock.

Sitting in the bed, cover pulled up to cover her sizable chest, was an incredibly curvy and most definitely FEMALE light blue pegasus with a long navy blue mane blushing furiously. Her green eyes darted worryingly between Rainbow and the unicorn. There was an incredibly long and unbearably awkward pause between the three, only interrupted by the click of the bedside alarm clock.

“Um...who the buck are you?” Rainbow finally asked the pegasus, breaking the silence.

“Um...well…I…” The pegasus stuttered, obviously incredibly embarrassed at this strange turn of events. Rainbow stood up, face still a portrait of complete and utter shock.

“Where’s Soarin?” she asked, only to be greeted by an exasperated groan from the unicorn behind her.

“That is Soarin…or rather Glidin in this case.” she said, already rubbing her temple as if a headache were setting in. Rainbow turned to give the unicorn a quizzical look.

She’s Soarin?” she asked in shock.

The curvy pegasus nodded meekly and Rarity let out a sigh. Rainbow’s eyes widened as the pieces of the puzzle finally fell into place. Without saying a word, her eyes darted back towards the curvy pegasus, who was still covering her shirtless chest with the covers and seemed to be trying to burrow underneath them in an effort to avoid any further embarrassment. Slowly Rainbow began to shook her head.

“No no no no no no no no no…” she said, taking a step back. “Ponies don’t just switch genders okay...that’s just…” she shivered, “...disgusting…”

Rarity rolled her eyes. “Well congratulations, you just met your first Khatru. They do tend to do that.” she then leaned down and picked up a sky blue shirt with Rainbow’s cutie mark emblazoned on the front. “I take it this is yours then?”

Rainbow looked at the shirt in Rarity’s magic and blushed. It was only now that she realized that she was without one. She was quick to yank it out of Rarity’s hand and pull it back over her body.

“Um yeah thanks I gotta go bye!” she said quickly, quickly making her way towards the door as fast as her legs could carry her.

Meanwhile, Rarity simply eyed Glidin menacingly, arms crossed and eyebrow raised. Glidin meanwhile, shifted in the bed, still blushing furiously. “...can you pass me my shirt please?” she murmured, causing Rarity to roll her eyes and pick up the shirt on the floor and tossing it to Glidin.

“Thanks…” she murmured, pulling on the shirt and sitting in a slightly more upright position. She nibbled her bottom lip, and ran a hand through her mane. “Yeah...sorry about that Rarity...I kinda couldn’t help myself.”

Rarity sighed. “’s just...I never understand why you don’t just stay male.” she said, walking over to the bathroom in order to get ready for bed. It had been a long day, and honestly, she didn’t have time for any of Glidin’s cross gender antics. Glidin simply shrugged, moving to sit on the edge of the bed.

“I told you, the male dorms are like twice as much per-month…” she called out, “And why can’t I bring any of my dates over? You’re always bringing home some new stallion for a ‘personal study session.’” she added, and Rarity simply rolled her eyes.

“Oh please!” She scoffed, turning on the shower and testing the temperature. “First of all, those ‘personal study sessions’ are incredibly informative and two, you have no business lecturing me on my sex life. Goodness knows you’re species is preoccupied with that enough as it is...and thirdly, what do you mean you don’t have the bits? Isn’t your father an ambassador or something? Just ask for the money...” she spread some toothpaste on her toothbrush and set about brushing her teeth thoroughly.

“ that’s my uncle...and he’s the king...and he kinda hates me.” Glidin replied. “He’d sooner cut off his arm then give me money.”

Rarity leaned out of the bathroom, toothbrush still in mouth and eyebrow raised. Glidin simply shrugged again.

“His words, not mine. And Khatrus aren’t obsessed with sex. We just have a...unique view on the subject is all…” Glidin said meekly, looking away in embarrassment.

Rarity simply blinked before leaning back in the bathroom. As she brushed her teeth, she heard the door open again and someone walk in.

"Hey, I’m kinda sorry about bailing on you like that, it’s just...well it was kinda weird and all,” Rarity recognized the voice as that of the rainbow maned pegasus from before. “But if it'll make you feel better, you can call me tomorrow at this number...but stay as a guy...kay? Cause, no offense, but I don’t go for mares if you know what I mean.” The voice said, and next thing Rarity heard was hoofsteps followed by the sound of the door closing shut. Furrowing her brow, Rarity rinsed her mouth and walked back out of the bathroom and looked at Glidin disappointingly.

“Was she serious?” she asked, crossing her arms and raising her eyebrow again.

Gildin simply looked at her, having apparently regained her lost confidence, crossing her arms and puffing her chest out slightly. “You’re just jealous that I got a date Darling” She said, imitating Rarity's inflections with a big haughty grin on her face. Rarity just huffed, rolling her eyes and walked back in the bathroom.

“Whatever Dear just don’t imitate me again or I’ll improve your wardrobe like I did last time.” She said with a smirk as she put her toothbrush away and shed her starfleet uniform, readying herself for her shower. “I still have those scissors you know….”

At that comment all color drained out of Glidin's face. “Yo-you’re j-joking right, Rarity?” She stammered, pulling the covers up over her chest again. "Because I’m still short at least five shirts from the last time you did that.”

“We’ll see Glidin,” Rarity said, stepping into the shower. “We’ll see.”

Act I - 05 - Simplicity

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Act I:
“The Shape of Things to Come”

Chapter Five:

Twilight quietly stepped into the classroom, taking the first seat she could find. It was the first time she really noticed how tall she really was, as almost every student took pause and looked up at her with slightly raised eyebrows as she took her seat. She nibbled her lip slightly, as she sunk into her chair slightly in an attempt to make herself a little less noticeable.

The teacher, a rather tall looking giraffe came in, holding his head up high and seemingly enjoying the fact that he was quite literally head and shoulders above all his students.

“Good morning students.” he said in an authoritative voice, and everyone droned a hello in return. The teacher raised his eyebrow slightly before turning to the holoboard behind him and switching it on. “Alright then, first off, I wish to give your minds a brief little exercise,” an incredibly complicated series of mathematical formulas appeared on the holoboard, and every student except Twilight let out a groan of frustration.

“Oh come now students. It’s just simple quantum mathematics.” he said, having already switched the holoboard on, displaying a complicated line of formula and taking his seat before turning to face his students. “Now, can anyone tell me what these equal too? It counts for thirty percent of your grade.” he said, seemingly noticing the groans of frustration from the students. Twilight meanwhile, arched her eyebrow and nodded her head slightly.

“Fascinating…” she murmured, already beginning to jot down the formulae on a piece of paper as fast as she could, already working out the problem in her head and quickly applying her answers to the paper. Within less than two minutes, she had completed the problem and put down her pencil.

Is this it? she thought, arching an eyebrow again. Is that all we have to do? Rather underwhelming if I do say so myself. She furrowed her brow slightly, quickly giving the rest of the room a scan. Every other student, regardless of their species, seemed to be in utter torment trying to decypher the formula. She looked towards the desk where the teacher sat, and he seemed absorbed in reading the book he had brought with him. She began to drum her pen on the desk impatiently, nibbling her lip again. After nearly three minutes and thirty-five seconds of waiting, she decided the best course of action might be to turn her work in so that she could at least get to the next class early.

“Um, excuse me Professor,” she asked, raising a hand. The professor raised an eyebrow slightly, not taking his eyes away from his book.

“Yes Ms. Sparkle?” he asked, seemingly already expecting some form of complaint.

“I seem to have finished the equation, might I be excused from the class?” she asked

The giraffe sighed. “Alright then. Let me see your work,” he said, motioning for her to come closer. Twilight stood up, quietly walking over and placing her finished test on the desktop.

“There you go Professor…” she stood up straight, glancing down at the name plate on the desk first. “Picard.”

Professor Picard simply nodded, taking the notebook in hand and looking it over. As he did so, Twilight noticed his eyes widening more with each line of equations. Twilight, shifted her weight slightly, unsure if his look of shock as a good thing or not.

“Umm...Professor Picard?” she asked tentatively. “Is there something wrong?”

Professor Picard looked up at her and then looked over at the holoboard. “Wrong? What do you mean?” he asked, his voice still heavy with confusion.

“You seem troubled.” Twilight stated matter of factly.

Professor Picard raised his eyebrows again, “Troubled? I’m shocked!”

Twilight tilted her head ever so slightly. “Shocked? Why are you shocked?”

Professor Picard blinked. “Because that equation,” he pointed a finger towards the holoboard. “Is supposedly unsolvable, and you solved it in only six minutes!”

Twilight blinked, following the professor’s outstretched finger to the holoboard and raising an eyebrow. “Is that what that was? I assumed it was all part of the test.” she said, looking at the professor quizzically.

Professor Picard shook his head. “No, no, no! Those aren’t even supposed to be here,” he stood up and flicked the holoboard to another set of equations that, while still obviously higher level mathematics, were noticeably simpler then the previous ones. “These are supposed to be today’s equations.” he said, motioning towards the new display.

“Oh…” Twilight said, subconsciously biting her lip again. “Then have I made a mistake? Do wish that I take the test again?”

“By no means Ms. Sparkle!” Picard said, standing up and picking up her notebook. “I believe you’ve proved yourself enough for this class,” He said, his voice surprisingly spirited compared to the previously half-asleep drone from before. He was already halfway out the door before he came to a stop. Twilight had remained in place, eyebrow raised in confusion. The teacher’s rather hectic and emotive response didn’t match his previously stoic and pursed lip mannerism.

“Professor where are you going?” she asked.

“To Admiral Luna” He said quite adimately before turning his head to the rest of the students inside the room, ”I will return in a bit so please, until then, do these equations on the board,” he flicked a switch and the board now displayed a much simpler series of quantum equations. Professor Picard then turned to Twilight.

“Now, Miss Sparkle, if you don’t mind,” he motioned towards the door and Twilight followed, albeit rather apprehensive, as now the entire class was staring at her with a mixture of surprise, suspicion and anger, most likely because they were all forced to stay behind while Twilight was granted permission to leave.

“Excuse me Professor Picard,” Twilight said, raising a hand slightly. “I think it might be prudent for me to remain here. I haven’t even fulfilled the full quota for the class and-”

“Nonsense Miss Sparkle! You have absolutely no need to remain in this class, come now, we mustn’t daddle!” he said, taking her by the hand and leading her out of the room.


“Now as you can see High Admiral Luna, Miss Sparkle has managed to solve the Roddenberry Theorem entirely on her own.” Professor Picard explained as High Admiral Luna silently studied Twilight’s notepaper.

“Most interesting,” she finally said, looking towards Twilight, who the entire time, hadn’t said a word, and was simply attempting to maintain her stoic aura. She was in the presence of the High Admiral of the entire Federation Fleet no less, and therefore, had to be on her absolute best behavior. Twilight didn’t dare to face the alicorn, for fear of looking out of her place. In Saddle Arabia, one always made sure to never look one outside of family who was higher in authority directly in the eye unless directly instructed to do so. But Twilight could still tell that Luna must have been sizing her up for something, as the alicorn’s dark blue eyes scanned her with a highly critical aura.

“Professor Picard you are excused.” Luna unexpectedly spoke, sitting up from her chair. Professor nodded, standing up and giving Luna a customary salute. Luna returned simply nodded slightly, obviously used to the protocol and waited until the giraffe had left the room before turning to walk towards another door that was on the opposite wall. “Excuse me for a moment while I call my sister.” she said, closing the door behind her and leaving Twilight alone.

Twilight meanwhile, subconsciously began to twiddle her thumbs and nibble her lip. She wondered what had caused Luna to see fit to call her sister. Surely it must have been a serious misstep on Twilight’s fault, since she knew full well that Luna was speaking of Celestia, President of the Federation. And if Twilight’s misstep was as bad as she feared, what consequences would she suffer? Would she be sent to a remedial class to be disciplined? Would she be expelled? If that was the case, she knew that any honor to her family’s name would instantly evaporate, and therefore, she would be held responsible for shaming her entire family. There would be no way for her to return home if such an event occurred, and she would most likely have to find a job on some backwater world under an assumed name and pass herself off as an Equestrian. Despite her best efforts, she felt her heart beat quicken as her mind began to whirl in a paranoid dervish, her thoughts becoming more and more worrisome.

But, to her credit, aside from an accelerated heart rate and a near fanatical nibbling of her lip, she didn’t show any outward signs of stress in the slightest. However, her tightly held stoicness was shattered the instant the door across from her opened and she nearly jumped out of her skin.

“Worried are we?” Luna chuckled gently, her tone surprisingly warm. She sat down at her desk again. Twilight shook her head tersely.

“By no means High Admiral. I am perfectly calm.” she answered, not noticing the waiver in her voice until after she had finished speaking. She reflexively clenched a fist slightly when Luna raised an eyebrow and smiled whirly.

“Well, it’s understandable to be somewhat worrisome Miss Sparkle. It is not everyday that one is invited to speak with my sister.” she said and Twilight’s eyes widened slightly.

“You mean that Celestia herself is coming?” Twilight asked, having nearly fallen out of her chair upon hearing Luna’s words. Luna nodded simply.

“Yes, in fact, she should be here any second.” she answered, looking up at the clock on the wall. Twilight’s eyes darted about, wondering if there was any place she could potentially hide under. She also gripped the arms of her chair just a little tighter.

All of a sudden, her senses were assaulted by an explosion blinding light and the sound of magic being employed. Next thing Twilight knew, she had lost consciousness and slumped to the floor.


Twilight let out a groan, finding herself on the floor. She tried to remember why she even was on the floor, only to see a pair of elegant white high heels paired up with a pair of jet black boots. She looked up to see High Admiral Luna looming over her, a slightly bemused expression on her face. Next to her, standing a good five inches taller, was an alicorn with a coat as white as the purest snow and a wondrous multicolored mane ebbing and flowing gently behind her as if carried by a breeze. It was Celestia, President of the Federation, and her face carried with it visible concern.

“I apologize very much for the shock Miss Sparkle,” Celestia said kindly, leaning down to help a shocked Twilight to her feet. Twilight was quick to notice her own shock, and forced herself to look as if she had expected the alicorn all along.

“Y-You’re welcome, Madame President.” Twilight said, tipping her head in reverence. Celestia simply chuckled calmly, her voice sounding like the gentle cooing of doves.

“Oh that’s quite alright, I shouldn’t have chosen such an explosive manner of entrance. I should have considered your stress.” she said, as she motioned for Twilight to sit down. Twilight walked rather stiffly towards the chair Celestia had indicated and sat down, smoothing out her now slightly wrinkled uniform.

“Now, Miss Sparkle, my sister has told me about your solving of the Roddenberry Theorem. And to put it frankly I’m impressed,”

Twilight raised an eyebrow. “Impressed? How so?”

Celestia smiled. “Well, I have been attempting to solve it myself for the past seventy years, but apparently it only took you five minutes.” she said, taking a seat of her own.

“Well, actually it only took me two minutes to solve it...the other three were me waiting on the rest of the class.” Twilight answered, unable to help herself from feeling a little pride at her accomplishment. Celestia raised her eyebrows slightly.

“Two minutes? Well that is certainly something.” she said, chuckling again.

Twilight merely maintained her calm and calculated aura, hoping at if she didn’t act overconfident or emotional, it would hopefully make her previous fainting spell seem slightly less embarrassing than it probably was.

“Madame President, might I ask what the formula was designed for?” she asked, having not yet discovered why exactly this ‘Roddenberry Theorem' was so important. Celestia nodded.

“Well, first, I ask that you call me Celestia. This is an informal meeting, so no need to worry about protocol Miss Sparkle,” she said, chuckling again. “And to answer your question, the Roddenberry Theorem was an attempt to explain the way a theoretical wormhole through space time were to work. Basically it’s the key to unlock how to make wormholes.”

Twilight nodded understanding. “And therefore provide a method of time travel?” she asked, following a hunch.

Luna nodded. “That is a potential use, yes. But a slightly more practical use is to provide a way to transport an entire fleet to a location without the need of warp drives. This would of course be incredibly useful for trade. Warp drive fuel is expensive after all.”

“Fascinating.” Twilight whispered, her mind still comprehending the thousands of doors that were now opening due to her own insite.

“Miss Sparkle, if you wish, I have a proposal for you,” Celestia said, and Twilight turned to look.

“If you believe you can stay on this level of academic excellence then I would be honored to promote you.”

Twilight arched an eyebrow in confusion. “Promote me? To what?”

“To be this academy’s newest instructor,” Luna said, “Provided that you can maintain your own studies, which, if this is any proof, shouldn't be a problem.” she motioned towards the notepaper sitting on the desk.

Twilight sat there for a moment in silence, her hands clutching the armrests just a little tighter then was warrented. A promotion? Already? It was a shock to say the least. She honestly hadn't expected to receive such an honor, but the most surprising aspect was that she had apparently earned this entirely on her own, with no nepotism due to her father’s name. It confirmed everything that her mother had said. She was unique. However, even as Twilight felt her pride swell, her conscious told her it would be best to tread lightly.

“Well Miss Sparkle? what do you say?” Celestia asked.

“Well, Madame President,” Twilight began, only for Celestia to wave her hand slightly.

“Please, call me Celestia.” The alicorn insisted, and Twilight nodded slightly.

“Well, Celestia,” Twilight began again, the frankness seeming strange to her. “Aren’t I rather young to function in such a position?”

Celestia shrugged slightly. “Well, to tell the truth, yes, yes you are. But don’t worry, you’re father was only thirty when he attempted to solve the theorem during his tenure here.”

“He did?” Twilight asked, surprised that her father had never made any mention of this before.

Luna nodded. “Yes he did. In fact, several members of your family have attempted to solve the Roddenberry Theorem. So it seems appropriate that you be the one to finally solve it. Consider it a way of continuing your family’s legacy.”

“I truly am honored.” Twilight said, sitting more erect, but still feeling out of her depth. “But I still feel that I might be too young and inexperienced for the responsibility for an entire class. What if they react adversely towards me?”

Luna stepped in again, “No worries Ms. Sparkle. Yes, some students might be jealous of you, but I assure you that if any of the students cause trouble, simply speak with me and I shall personally handle them...swiftly. Understand?”

Twilight nodded slightly, “I understand. What class shall I be given?”

“Advanced theoretical mathematics seems the most obvious,” Celestia said, “But really, it can be any class of your choosing. It’s all up to you.” the alicorn handed Twilight a tablet that displayed the classes that were currently in need of new professors. Twilight took the tablet and carefully scanned the classes. One class in particular however, leapt out to her.

Military Tactics and Logistics.

Twilight arched an eyebrow slightly. As a Saddle Arabian, she had been educated from birth with the various ways logic was used in everyday life, and it’s military applications were one such example. And, out of all of the classes she had taken as part of her entrance exam into the Saddle Arabian Science academy, she had enjoyed their tactics and logistics program the most. The hundreds of possible combinations and ways to undermine an opponent of equal intelligence were always incredibly entrancing for her, as they all orbited around logic.

“Well, Miss Sparkle, have you made a decision?” Luna asked, and Twilight nodded.

“Yes, I have decided,” Twilight answered, handing the tablet back to Luna. Luna nodded slightly and studied the tablet.

“Ah, Military Tactics and Logistics. Interesting,” she said, handing the tablet to Celestia, who read it and smiled.

“Well, my little pony, it seems you have earned your first promotion.” Celestia said, standing to her feet and extending her hand for a shake. Twilight looked at the hand and up at Celestia, before tentatively shaking the hand as respectfully as possible. She had noticed the use of the term ‘pony’ in Celestia’s greeting, and couldn’t help but tighten her jaw slightly in annoyance. She wasn’t a pony, but a Saddle Arabian, and she was proud of that fact.

“You’re welcome Madame President. But if I may be allowed to say that, as a respectful reminder, I am not a pony, but rather a Saddle Arabian.” she said, humbly tilting her head. Celestia nodded.

“Yes of course, Professor Sparkle.” Celestia said, “I’ll be sure to remember that. All members of the Federation are equal in my eyes, so no need to worry yourself.” and with that, she firmly shook Twilight’s hand. “Miss Twilight Sparkle, I, Celestia Sunborn dub you Professor of Military Tactics and Logistics.” As she spoke, Celestia’s horn glowed a shimmering golden hue and with a flicker, a elegant name tag appeared on Twilight’s lapell, bearing her full name and her station as professor.

Twilight looked down at the medal raised eyebrows. The fact that she had only been in the school for a mere two days and had already been promoted was a complete shock. She swallowed and looked up at Celestia, who simply bowed her head in respect.

“Congratulations Miss Sparkle, may you bring your students much knowledge,” Luna interjected, giving Twilight a salute. Twilight, still dazed by the shockingly rapid turn of events, nodded dumbly and gave a quick salute.

“Am I excused?” she asked, looking between the two alicorns, and Celestia nodded.

“I see no reason for you to remain here. Luna will send you the appropriate textbooks as soon as the paper work has been filed.” Celestia said, before looking down at her wrist watch. “Oh my, it seems that I’m late for a very important meeting, so I give you both farewell.” And with that, her horn glowed again, and she evaporated in a fine golden mist, leaving Luna and Twilight alone.

There was a silence between the two before Luna escorted Twilight to the door. “Dear Miss Sparkle, I must say I am impressed. It’s not every mathematical savant that earns such a rapid promotion from my sister. She must see something in you, something truly great.” she put a hand on Twilight’s shoulder. “And I must admit that I see that too. And if you keep on this path, I’m very much assured that you won’t fail. Now, go and prepare for tomorrow’s classes.”

Luna opened the door and Twilight, who hadn’t said a word since Celestia left, nodded, quietly walking out of the office, her mind in the clouds.

Act I - 06 - A Night On the Town

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Act I:
The Shape of Things to Come:

Chapter Six:
A Night On the Town

“AJ you gotta believe me, he turned into a she!” Rainbow said, as Applejack hunched over her desk, attempting to catch up on her medical homework. Applejack rolled her eyes, as ever since Rainbow had arrived back at her dorm room at three AM the night before, she had been trying to convince Applejack that her date was somehow some kind of gender bending alien.

“I mean seriously AJ--I mean when he was a guy he was really hot but when he turned into a girl he was really hot. It’s like if the three of us were running around naked and I started making out with you they’d still gawk at her level hot.”

At that last mental image, Applejack let out a groan and closed her textbook, finally turning to look at the rainbow maned pegasus. “Look Dashie, just be honest. Are ya comin’ on ta me? I mean I’m flattered and all but mah barn door just don’t swing that way if you catch mah drift. Not ta offend ya or nuthin’.”

Rainbow just blinked, her face twisted into an expression of complete bafflement. “What makes you think I’m coming onto you?! I’m totally not into that,” she excalimed, shaking both her hands and head. “What makes you think I’m into that?”

“Well Dashie, yer tha one who suggested runnin’ ‘round naked and swappin’ spit.”

Rainbow did a double facepalm at this. “It was a metaphor AJ,” she groaned. “You’re so damn literal.”

“Well, call it what ya wan’t, but I ain’t heard ‘bout no sex-shiftin’ alien,” Applejack said, shrugging slightly and turning back to her book.

"But I'm serious! He said he was a Khatoo or something like that!" Rainbow insisted, putting her hand over the page Applejack was reading.

Applejack huffed again, shoving Rainbow's hand asides. “Rainbow, we already looked up all the species whose names started with K an’ found nuthin.”

Rainbow groaned, throwing her hands in the air and tossing herself on the bed. “Fine then be like that! Did I mention that me and him have a date tonight?” she said, rolling over onto her stomach to mope. Applejack raised an eyebrow.

“Ya’ll wanna go date this feller?” Applejack asked, turning to look at Rainbow. Rainbow nodded.

"Um yeah. I told you he was really hot," Rainbow replied, rolling onto her back. "He said he'd be here at eight," she added, pointing towards the clock on the wall. Her eyes widened slightly as she saw the time on the clock.

"Oh shit! It's 7:50 I gotta get ready!" She said, rolling off the bed and to her feet, darting over to the bathroom.

Applejack meanwhile, rolled her eyes again. "Iffin' ya put that much excitement inta yer homework instead of some fantasy boyfriend, ya'd be Admiral in ya year," She grumbled, only to have Rainbow's t-shirt hit the back of her head.

"He's not fake!" Rainbow called out from the bathroom. "Watch, minutes, he'll be here and I'll be proven right. Just watch!"

Applejack tossed Rainbow's shirt asides into the dirty laundry hamper and returned to her work, saying nothing. She could hear the shower running in the background as Rainbow seemed dead set to get ready for a boyfriend Applejack was a hundred percent sure didn't exist.

That is, until the doorbell rang, distracting Applejack from her homework for what seemed like the eightieth time in the past half-hour. "I'm a-comin', I'm a-comin', hold yer wagons..." She grumbled, getting up out of her chair and walking over to the door, unlocking it and opening it to reveal a tall, very, very handsome light blue Pegasus stallion standing in the hall, dressed in a finely pressed Federation cadet's uniform and baseball cap.

"An’ who are ya?" Applejack asked bluntly, arching an eyebrow and crossing her arms. The Pegasus smiled meekly, taking off his cap and tipping his head in respect.

"Hello, I'm Soarin Thundercloud, and I'm here to pick up Rainbow Dash," He said, obviously not expecting to see Applejack. Applejack nodded slightly, still keeping her eyebrow raised.

"Is that Soarin?!" Came Rainbow's loud shout from the bathroom, and Applejack nodded.

"Yeah, it is," She answered, still keeping her eyes fixed on Soarin, who only seemed to grow more uncomfortable with each passing second.

"Then let him in! Tell him I'll be out in a second!" Rainbow called out, and Applejack raised her eyebrow a little more.

"Come in," she said bluntly, opening the door wide enough for Soarin to step inside, and the Pegasus sat down on the bed, still looking rather awkwardly at Applejack, who continued to watch him like a hawk.

"So yer tha one Rainbow's been goin' on about?" She asked pointedly, and Soarin only raised an eyebrow slightly.

"She's been talking about me?" He asked, and Applejack nodded.

"Yeah, some crazy-flanked story 'bout ya changin' yer sex or somethin'," She said, and Soarin's eyes widened slightly.

"She told you that?" He asked, and Applejack noticed that he seemed to be embarrassed by what she had said, as his hand opened and shut rapidly for a few seconds while he spoke. Applejack nodded again.

"Yup, but that ain't true right?" She asked, and Soarin's eyes only widened all the more.


"Hey dude!" Rainbow interrupted, strutting out of the bathroom in a rather revealing black dress. Both Soarin and Applejack's eyes widened at the sight of the normally tomboyish Pegasus in anything remotely that girly, much less a little black dress.

"What? Why are you staring? Don't think I like dresses or something? I am still a mare you know," She said, puffing her chest out with pride. "My eyes are up here Soarin," she added playfully, before taking a seat next to him on the bed. "Oh Soarin, I forgot to ask you for a favor."

Soarin raised an eyebrow.

"Um what favor?" He asked, and Rainbow leaned in close, whispering in his ear. Applejack sat by rather awkwardly as she watched a big blush grow across Soarin's face as Rainbow spoke. He quickly shook his head.

"No way Rainbow," he said, crossing his arms. "I mean I barely know you two. Just because I can do something doesn't mean I should do it for just anybody."

Rainbow let out a theatrical groan. "Oh come on Soarin, AJ's been calling me crazy for saying ever since I told her, and I promised that when you got here, you'd prove me right."

"Rainbow I'm not even dressed right. These are boy clothes, I can't just switch genders without changing shirts at least," he trailed off, rubbing his arm. "I've ruined enough shirts as it is..."

"C’mon, just once!" Rainbow insisted, giving Soarin the best puppy dog eyes she could muster. Applejack meanwhile, held up a hand.

"Now everypony hold yer wagons,” she said, standing up and crossing her arms. “Rainbow, iffin' Soarin don't want ta do what ya asked, ya can't bug him. Especially if it's downright impossible." She arched an eyebrow, looking at Soarin. "It is impossible right?"

Soarin shifted slightly. "'s the thing..."

Applejack's eyes widened. "Yer kiddin'?! Ya can really do that?" She asked, and Soarin nodded. "Oh, now I gotta see this." Applejack said sarcastically. Soarin let out a groan.

"Ugh fine!" He said, throwing his hands in the air. "Just both of you close your eyes...I like my privacy."

"Sure thing," Rainbow said, closing her eyes and looking away with a smug grin on her face. Applejack shrugged.

"Fine..." She grumbled, closing her eyes and turning away. “Not like it’s gonna happen.”

"Thanks..." Came Soarin's voice, and there was a moments silence before another voice, this time a soft female one, spoke.

" can look." It said, and Applejack opened her eyes to see a very buxom Pegasus mare sitting where Soarin had been sitting, looking down at the ground shyly and biting her lip. Rainbow directly at Applejack, her smug grin getting even more smug.

“See! Told ya!” she said, hopping out of bed to do an impromptu victory dance.

Applejack ignored Rainbow’s mockery, instead staring shocked at the mare that was once Soarin. She pointed a finger directly at Girl-Soarin’s chest.

“Are those real?” she asked.

“Yes they are and could you not do that please.” The mare repiled, self-consciously covering her chest. “I feel awkward enough right now as it is...” she looked down and let out a sigh. “And I liked this shirt…” she muttered quietly. Applejack tentatively put a hand on the mare.

“Look Soarin,” Applejack began, only to have the mare shake her head slightly.

“It’s Glidin. I prefer to be called Glidin when I’m like this,” she said, “Just makes it feel a little less awkward.”

Applejack nodded. “Sure thin’, Glidin’. Celestia knows I’d feel really awkward iffin’ I had ta do somethin’ like this on such short notice. Somepony wasn’t very considerate.” she said, emphasizing the last words and glaring at Rainbow Dash, who promptly sat back down on the bed and looked at Glidin.

“Sorry, Glidin. That was mean of me,” she said, running a hand through her mane. Glidin shrugged slightly.

“Well, better here in private then right out in the hallway...but can I go back to normal? I really feel awkward right now.” Glidin said, blushing furiously and desperately trying to cover her chest. Applejack nodded, herself feeling incredibly awkward with the whole situation.

“Sure thin’ pardner.” she said, and Rainbow Dash nodded.

“Yeah, we gotta go anyways,” she said, glancing at her watch. Glidin smiled gratefully.

“Thank you so much. Close your eyes?”

Both Rainbow and Applejack closed there eyes for a few moments, giving Glidin a chance to change back to her male form. The cadet uniform he was wearing was now hopelessly stretched out, and he looked down at it forlornly.

“This is exactly why I don’t like just randomly changing,” he sighed. “This was my best uniform. Now it’s stretched.”

Applejack nodded. “I can see why. Any explanation as ta why ya can do that? I mean, I’m studyin’ medicine, so I guess I should know ‘bout yer type right?”

Soarin nodded. “Didn’t you look it up?”

“Couldn’t find you’re species,” Rainbow said, “Looked at every species under the letter ‘K’, but no luck.”

“Oh...well that’s because Khatru are really big on being isolationist. Makes Saddle Arabia look like a tourist trap. And the reason we switch like this had something to do with chaos magic and our version of the Eugenics Wars. Let’s just say it didn’t end well.”

“That is weird but awesome,” Rainbow said, having seemingly been satisfied with being proven right. “And don’t worry about your shirt dude,” she put an arm around Soarin’s shoulder. “Besides, I think you won’t be needing it all that much after dinner...if you catch my drift.”

Soarin raised his eyebrows slightly and eyed Rainbow knowingly. “Well...that depends…are you still game?”

“I’m ready for the high score,” Rainbow said with a laugh, pulling Soarin into a sloppy kiss. Applejack rolled her eyes at the sight of the two making out in front of her.

“Well, I gotta get my homework done. Ya’ll two love birds can swap all tha spit ya like, as long as Rainbow gets back here before midnight. She’s got a bucket load of homework, an’ the last thing she needs is to be distracted by whatever yer dirty minds are thinkin’ ‘bout.” she got up out of her chair, grabbed her coat and keys and headed out of the apartment door.

Rainbow simply waved a hand, finally releasing Soarin from the kiss. “Well that was awesome,” she giggled, leaning back slightly as Soarin nodded.

“Yeah...intense.” he said, before looking down at his shirt. “My shirt’s still ruined though. Maybe we could eat in?”

Rainbow’s expression hardened and she shook her head. “Oh no you don’t. I didn’t get all dolled up like this just so that we can kiss each other in my room. We’re going out, even if it means I have to drag you around shirtless because I haven’t been on a date in at least two years. Got it?”

Soarin nodded. “Sure thing Dash…” he then smiled slightly. “You’re kinda cute when you’re angry you know.”

The unexpected compliment made any anger that Rainbow might have had dissipate and instead be replaced by a coy blush that spread across her face.

“Yeah, well...that still doesn’t mean you can screw me over on the food. How’s seafood sound?”

Soarin smiled. “Sounds awesome.”

Rainbow beamed. “Great! Let’s get you a new shirt and then we’re off!” she then grabbed him by the hand and pulled him out the door.


“...and that’s why my uncle hates me the burning intensity of a thousand suns,” Soarin said, finishing his long, sordid tale with a sigh. “That’s also why I hate the color chartreuse.”

“Really? That’s it?” Rainbow asked, her expression slightly confused. “All that crazy stuff happened because you wanted to stay a guy?”

Soarin nodded, biting his lower lip. “Yeah. Something about ‘ignoring my true blessings’ or some something else like that.”

Rainbow Dash nodded, poking her seafood with a fork idly. “And what about your dad? I mean, he agreed with you right?”

Soarin shrugged slightly, scooping some sushi into his mouth. “Yeah, him and mom understand. Send me money every few weeks. They’d do it more often if it wasn’t for my uncle constantly screws with the mail to make sure it doesn’t get here on time. Heck, I don’t even open my own mail anymore.”

“Really?” Rainbow asked, raising her eyebrow in curiosity. “Why not? What’d he do to it?”

A small blush broke out on Soarin’s face, and he looked down with embarrassment. “Well...he kinda sent me a gem that caused me to shift and be trapped as Glidin.”

“Oh…?” Rainbow asked, her curiosity getting the better of her. “What happened?”

Soarin exhaled through his nose and ran his hand through his mane. “He also had me stuck in…” he swallowed. “ heat.”

Rainbow Dash’s eyes widened to the size of dinner plates. She was simultaneously sickened and curious. “Why in Celestia’s name would he do something that disgusting?!” she asked, her feeling of interest overriding her sense of decency.

Soarin simply shook his head, his expression one of deep confusion. “All I know is that Rarity really helped me out then. She called in sick for her classes all month long and made sure I didn’t do anything stupid.”

“Well that’s a relief...I guess.” Rainbow said, rubbing her arm awkwardly. Soarin’s eyes glanced down towards her and he gave her a shy smile.

“She locked me in the closet until she was able to get me to a house in the country that her parents owned.”

Rainbow’s awkward arm rubbing ceased and she nodded in understanding. “Oh I see. Yeah, cause I was thinking something totally different…” she trailed off, a blush of her own spreading across her face. Instead of an angry response however, Rainbow was greeted by the sound of Soarin laughing loudly.

“You mean you thought me and Rarity were having….a fling?” he laughed, and Rainbow couldn’t help but feel even more embarrassed

Rainbow said nothing, instead simply nodding rapidly. “Hope you're not that offended.” she murmured. Surprisingly Soarin shook his head and waved his hand.

“No, I’m not offended. I get that one a lot but me and Rarity have been friends for quite some time now...she’s kinda like a sister to me now…” he trailed off, noticing Rainbow’s cocked eyebrow.

“Really? That close?” Rainbow asked, causing Soarin to nod.

“Yeah...she’s pretty much my only friend here." He leaned back slightly, crossing his arms. "But, yeah, enough about me...what about you? Do you have any friends? I mean, besides that Applejack mare."

Rainbow hesitated, the question being quite unexpected. “Oh...well…” she idly poked her food with a fork, wondering if she even had an answer to the question. Asides from Applejack, she really didn’t speak or talk with anyone on the campus. Sure, she knew other cadets by name and such, but she couldn’t call them friends exactly. Usually, almost everyone tended to just smile and wave at her as she passed, and if they showed interest beyond that, it was usually a disgustingly transparent attempt to get cushy with the daughter of a ‘legend’.

She found herself muttering under her breath the answer, and noticed Soarin leaning forward slightly.

“You know, if you don’t want to tell me, I won’t ask.” he said, giving her a sympathetic look. Rainbow was quick to shrug and shake her head.

“No, no, it’s okay that you asked. I mean, I already asked all those questions to you, it’s kinda only fair that you ask me one…” she trailed off, looking down at her food again. “But yeah...I don’t really have that many friends. I mean, there’s AJ, but that’s it really…”

“Nobody else? Like, no one at home or anything?” Soarin asked, tilting his head slightly. Rainbow gave a vaguely dismissive shrug in response.

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly consider my mother and I as friends. I mean, I wouldn’t say we’re all that close...” she answered, rubbing the back of her neck and returning to poking her food with her fork. “...not like I really need her anymore…” she added quietly.

“So I take it you prefer to be on your own? Do things yourself?” Soarin asked, also picking at his food idily. Rainbow didn’t respond at first, instead just idly kicking her legs back and forth underneath her chair, the generally jovial atmosphere from before having been substantially subdued by the turn in conversation.

“Yeah, yeah I guess you could say that,” Rainbow finally said, leaning her head on her hand. “I mean, when I was growing up I guess it wasn’t so bad, being the hero’s kid. Everypony was always doing something for me or trying to get on my good side…” she sighed, leaning back in her chair. “I guess I just got sick of it after awhile. I mean, you start to really wonder if anypony is actually being nice to be nice, or if they want something…”

“That had to be pretty tough on you,” Soarin said quietly. Rainbow shrugged.

“I guess so, yeah...not as bad as not having a dad. I remember one Hearth’s Warming Eve, I had this wish list...I was like, seven or something, and do you know what was at the top of the list?”

Soarin shook his head. “No.”

“I wanted Shining Armor to be my dad,” Rainbow answered, not even noticing the water welling up in her eyes. “He was always around anyways, visiting me and sending me presents on my birthday and stuff, telling stories about Dad...I guess I just wanted him to fill that gap.” she sniffed, wiping her nose and finally noticing the tears in her eyes.

“Oh damnit, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to get all weepy like this,” she apologized, quickly grabbing a napkin off the table to wipe away the tears. “I probably look like a real dork right now.”

Soarin shook his head. “No, I don’t think you look like a dork,” he chuckled, catching Rainbow’s attention. Rainbow paused, sniffing slightly to clear her nose and blushing slightly.

“You don’t?” she asked, her voice losing much of it’s previous brashness and instead sounding soft, which surprised her. Soarin nodded.

“No, no, I don’t.” he answered simply, smiling. Rainbow smiled coyly, suppressing a girlish giggle. She ran her fingers through her hair, feeling her cheeks flush noticeably.

Feeling increasingly awkward for probably the first time in her life, she glanced down at her watch.

“Well golly gee!” she exclaimed awkwardly, standing up from her chair rather hastily. “It’s like, hella late! I’d better be going.” she grabbed her purse, smiling awkwardly at Soarin, who simply looked a tad confused.

“But it’s only 9:30.” he said, looking down at his watch. “I mean, unless my watch is wrong…”

“Yeah, but I got studying to catch up on, what with that rumor going around about that fancy new flight test. Kinda wanna get an A in that.” she said, once more fixing her mane. Soarin’s expression lit up in realization.

“Oh wow you’re right! I can drive you back to your dorm if you want.” he offered, standing up. Rainbow was about to reply with a reaffirmation that she didn’t need the ride, but something about his tone gave her pause. It sounded honest, as if he really genuinely felt it was his duty to help her home. Not out of a sense that she was weak or that he could gain something from it, but simply because he could.

Rainbow found herself smiling again, and she nodded her head. “Okay...sure thing.”

Soarin smiled, grabbing his jacket off the back of his chair and starting towards the exit. “Let’s go then. After you ma’am.” He said, motioning like some old fashioned knight. Rainbow blinked, before taking the hint and walking ahead of him to the car.


“So thanks for the dinner, I really liked it.” Rainbow said as the car came to a stop. Soarin shrugged.

“Least I could do, Rainbow. I mean, if only because you didn’t freak out. Last mare that found out about Gildin kinda hit me over the head with an alligator lamp.”

Rainbow blinked, the bizarre mental image making her chuckle slightly. “That’s...just...weird.”

“Tell me about it. One minute everything’s going great...the next, alligator lamp.” Soarin sighed, looking out the window towards the dorms.

“Well...we’re here. I guess this is your stop.” he asked, motioning towards the building. Rainbow looked out the window and nodded.

“Yup, this is the place. Hopefully, we can get together sometime again...maybe take in a movie?” she suggested, raising an eyebrow. “Because I really did enjoy this.” she paused, noticing that she was going down the same awkward, butterfly inducing path as before. She bit her lower lip slightly, before reaching for the door handle and popping the door open. She leaned a leg out the door before coming to a stop, turning, and giving Soarin an unexpected kiss right on the lips.

“G’night!” she then chirped, sliding out of the car and slamming the door behind her, leaving a still-dazed Soarin in the car.

Act I - 07 - I Want to Break Free

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Act I:
"The Shape of Things to Come"

Chapter Seven:
"I Want to Break Free"

Stardate 2258.41
Warbeak Prison World,
Vrykolakas System,
Griffon Empire

The heat was the most unbearable thing about this world.

Nothing else, not the backbreaking labor that went from sunup to sundown on a world with 29 hour days, the starvation rations, or the fact that the guards did unspeakable things to her and her crew on a daily basis. No, it was the heat that got to Chrysalis the most. The ruthless, unending heat from the desert planet’s three suns. It only reminded Chrysalis of all that she had lost: The gentle autumn breeze, the seemingly endless fields of grass that stretched for miles on the surface of her beloved home Changelus, where her and her Heis’he, Chimera, would walk for hours.

But that was all gone now. Vanished in a plume of fire, smoke and dust. And who had taken it from her? That imirrhlhhse Saddle Arabian, Twilight Sparkle. It was her who had destroyed her homeworld, her lover, her children, and then flung Chrysalis halfway across the galaxy and time itself. Thrown her to a time when there was no Khitomare Accords, no peace. Instead, it was the Tr’ethla, the time when the Changeling Empire was more xenophobic and paranoid then even the Diamond Dogs.

But even all of that, all of the pain and anger that filled her soul, couldn’t have prepared Chrysalis to almost immediately captured by the Griffins. For the past twenty years, she and her crew had been shipped and solid like slaves from one ancestors-forsaken rock after the other. First, it had been the frozen outer-rim world of Rura Penthe, where the sun only barely lit the seemingly endless twilight. Then, they had been dragged to this dead and forsaken world, a burning, unstable rock in a decaying orbit that would most assuredly eventually end in one of the system’s suns near the Neutral Zone.

And if that weren’t enough, above she could aspy the beautiful, organic shape of her beloved vessel, seemingly trapped in some kind of orbit around the planet. It was so close. Her salvation. Her method of revenge, just floating, as if held aloft by an invisible thread.

I shall reclaim you, Chrysalis thought bitterly, stifling a groan as she dragged her tired, work-trodden body over to the poor excuse for a bed that lay against the far wall. I shall reclaim you, and then, we shall set forth and reap our revenge.

With that bitter thought, she rolled over, hoping to at least try to get some rest before the inevitable call to labor in an hour or so. She set her jaw and fixed her eyes to the hopeful path to escape, a simple, hand-carved series of plans on her wall.

The plan is near completion, she thought, refreshing her memory as she studied the carvings. And tonight, I shall implement it.


Four excruciatingly long hours later, the final sun sank beneath the horizon, throwing the penal colony into a five hour night where temperatures would drop into negative temperatures in seconds. As the frost began to form and the shadows slithered across the walls, smothering the room in darkness, Chrysalis reached under her pillow, pulling out what looked like a random piece of metal, apparently having been twisted and bent to vaguely resemble a key. Without a word, she reached it up to the small, tight clamp that was fastened around her horn. Ignoring the frigid cold that was now clawing at her exposed fingers, she began to methodically pick at the lock. For what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only a few moments, she worked the lock, until her ears were caressed by the wondrous sound of it coming loose. With a clink, the lock came loose and tumbled off her head. She shot her hand out, grabbing it mere inches before it hit the floor.

She let out a quiet sigh of relief, the seemingly constant pressure at the base of her horn finally being relieved as her magic began to flow properly into the horn. This was the cue for Chrysalis to act. She quickly slipped the now-useless clamp under her pillow, before closing her eyes tightly, focusing all her energy into the image her mind conjured up. A brief flicker of flame lit up the cell, clearing away to reveal a small black rat. The rat sniffed the air briefly, before scampering through the narrow bars.

It quickly ran along the filthy hallway, coming to a stop at the clear glass doorway. Behind it lounged a large griffin, who seemed more interested watching whatever it was playing on his personal video screen then on the security camera footage. The rat sniffed the air, before climbing up along the wall’s rock and dirty surface, squeezing its head through the small opening between the glass and the ceiling. It’s body followed soon after, and the rat allowed itself to drop to the floor without any more then a muffled squeak.

The griffin’s ears briefly perked up, causing the rat to freeze in place. There was a long stretch of silence before the griffin returned to watching the video. The rat, having been holding it’s breath the whole time, slowly crept into the corner, before, in another flash of green, transformed into a doppelganger of the prison guard. The doppelganger carefully stalked towards it’s mirror, reaching it’s talons around the guard’s neck before sharply grabbing him by the throat and violently dragging him out of his chair.

The griffin was completely taken by surprise, and he began to struggle madly, flapping his wings, desperately trying to get the doppelganger to let go. The doppelganger however, clung on tightly, dragging the guard to his feet with all it’s might. Occasionally, the doppelganger’s form would shift, revealing Chrysalis, her forehead practically soaked with sweat from the effort it took to keep the powerful griffin in her clutches.

“I’ve had enough of you.” she hissed, flickering back into her griffin form, and, with a grisly twist, ripping through the guard’s throat. The guard let out a gasp before going limp, a torrent of blood spilling from his throat. Chrysalis, content that she had effectively dispatched of him, lowered his body to the ground, her breath coming out in heavy pants.

She slid into the now unoccupied chair, her breathing slowing slightly as she steadily regained her energy.

Alright. You’re in the control room now. she thought, carefully studying the dozens of security monitors that lined the wall in front of her. In several dozen of the cells, she could see her fellow changelings, all imprisoned. It was time to implement the next stage of the plan. She closed her eyes, carefully concentrating her magic to reach out to her fellow changelings.

My most loyal crew. I, Chrysalis, have found a way to secure your freedom. Simply wait for my signal, and then follow my directions, and soon, we shall be free.

A chorus of mental agreements and cheers from her people filled her mind, and with a confident smile, she eased the chair forward. She looked down at the control panel, carefully studying the complex series of buttons, lights and levers. She was glad that, as a changeling, the learning of a completely foreign language usually only required a touch, and as such, she was able to easily find the right lever.

She flicked it forwards, and a loud klaxon could be heard exploding to life. As if on cue, dozens of cell doors, all over the compound, flew open, causing the various prisoners inside to look around with varying degrees of shock and surprise. It didn’t take long, however, for all the prisoners, changelings or not, to burst forth, running amok in a wild mess, attacking guards who were obviously not prepared for such an unexpected break out.

The changelings in the group wasted no time grabbing the keys that were hanging from the various guards, quickly using them to unlock their horn-clamps. Tossing them asides, they followed Chrysalis’ mental order and quickly transformed into mirror images of the guards they were combating, quickly dispatching them.

Chrysalis leaned back in her chair with confidence. Now for the third step of her plan. With her magic now freed, she closed her eyes, mentally reaching out, searching carefully for the aura of her ship. As a changeling queen, she possessed a metal connection with her vessel. It was something she’d been planning on since the first time she saw her ship again. With the horn clamp on of course, she’d been unable to access her magic, and therefore, unable to reach out to her ship. But now she was freed from any restrictions, and was ready to break free.

She could sense the foreign bodies of dozens upon dozens of griffins, all milling about aboard her ship. She let out a frustrated grunt. There were far, far too many for her to dispatch of herself, even with her mental connection to the ship. For one thing, she had no way to access the weaponry, since it was a long established safety protocol that a changeling, regardless of rank, was only able to access the weaponry once physically aboard the ship.

Okay then...change of plan. she thought, her horn glowing to allow herself to teleport to the area directly outside the transporter area. The reason she couldn’t transport directly into the transporter area was due to the walls being lined with duophlebotinum, which made transporting impossible.

The sparks of teleportation faded away, and she found herself outside. The two griffin guards seemed to be most surprised by her sudden appearance, and she wasted no time dispatching them with a blast of magic. Their perforated bodies slouched to the floor, leaving reddish streaks on the walls. She quickly rushed over, grabbing one of the guards for a second and taking on his form. She slapped the new body’s talon onto the scanner, allowing the doors to open.

By this point, the klaxon from her cellblock was quite noticeable, and she could hear the sounds of dozens of guards running and shouting. She slipped into the transporter bay, only to halt when a voice called toward her.

“What’s going on? What are you doing here?” Chrysalis turned to see a rather bookish looking female griffin, surprisingly not wearing a mask, giving her a quizzical look from her position behind the transporter controls. “You’re prison security, you don’t belong in the transporter bay.”

Chrysalis’ eyes widened slightly, and she swallowed. “I was sent to guard this area, in case any prisoners attempt an escape.” she quickly replied. The other griffin merely gave her an incredulous look, her feathers visibly bristling.

“Now look here yo--” Whatever the griffin was about to say was cut off by Chrysalis whipping out her new body’s blaster and blasting the other griffin directly in the chest, sending her slamming into the wall with a bloody splurt.

“Apologies, but I really must be moving.” Chrysalis muttered, stepping behind the control console and dialing in the location of her ship. She tentatively ran her tongue over her body’s beak, watching as the large machine whirred to life. She quickly bound over towards the quickly forming beam of light, feeling the distinctive tingle of the transporter causing her particles to briefly disperse.

With a bluish glow, she found herself standing in a dark and musty corner of the cavernous space craft. She let out an involuntary sigh of relief, reverting back to her changeling form. The sound of footsteps caused her halt, ducking into shadow as a pair of masked griffin guards walked by.

No way I can make it through here in my normal form. she thought bitterly, letting out a mild grumble as she transformed into a small rat for the second time in as many hours, furious to have been reduced to scurrying out her own ship in the form of a pest. Don’t won’t suffer this indignity for long, she thought, scampering through the air ducts, the interior of her ship having long since been committed to memory, like any self respecting ship commander. You shall soon reach the control room, and once there, free yourself and your people from bondage. Just a few hundred meters and you’ll have your freedom.

It seemed that the interior of the air ducts, normally a place rather inhospital and cold, had fallen into disuse, if the scads of cobwebs and dust bunnies was any indication. Every so often, another creature, usually a rat or some sort of space flea, would skitter by. Chrysalis ignored them though, scampering down the pipes and ducts. Every so often, she would peer through the slatted cover of one of the vents in order to deduce her location.

Below, usually milling about in a lackadaisical manner, were the burly forms of griffin troops, who usually just seemed bored with their current tasks. Chrysalis let out a growl, her determination hardening. Her ship was a noble one, a vessel of might and power, not a place were ignorant, backwards beak-faces milled about, leaving garbage and junk in their wake. She skittered down the airduct, finally reaching her destination. Directly below her position in the air vent, was the captains chair.

Chrysalis felt a wave of nostalgia run through her at the site of her dearly beloved chair. It was a place where she was respected, a place where she held power and was in control. She supposed it was probably for the best that it was covered with a tarp, as at least that meant none of the filthy griffins were contaminating it with their mere presence. However, there were still guards in the room, as their bodies would briefly past underneath the air vent, apparently just wandering around the room.

Chrysalis leaned back to sit on her rat body’s haunches, glancing towards the sharp tips of the primitive-yet-practical screws that held the panel in place. A paw moved to scratch her chin, as she planned her next course of action. A part of her wondered if the prison break she’d started below was still in full swing. She’d hoped that the prison break would cause the security forces to dispatch every available security force to the prison, hopefully leaving the ship unguarded. It was plainly evident however, that the griffins weren’t as stupid as they looked, as the ship was still obviously fully guarded.

No matter. I have the advantage here. Once I make interface with the ship, I can just transport them elsewhere. she reassured herself, moving to start gently unscrewing the screws holding the panel in place. It was now that she wished she could simply blast the panel off with magic, but her rat body, the only form small enough to fit in the duct while still being able to do anything. At least her paws could grip the screw, and with several forceful terms, she managed to get it loose. She quickly loosened the second screw, knowing that once the panel was loose, it was fly open, and she would most likely plummet a good twenty feet straight down.

The final screw fell loose, falling to the ground with a quiet metallic plink. However, the panel stayed in place. Chrysalis let out a grunt of frustration. Panel must be rusted shut. She thought, angrily slamming a paw into the panel. There was a creek of metal, and the panel visibly loosened. A grin broke out across Chrysalis’ face, and she returned to pounding on the panel.

Come on now, loosen up you foolish-- her thought was cut off by the panel giving away unexpectedly, sending her sprawling forwards as her footing was lost. She let out a sharp squeak, grabbing onto the end of the panel and hanging on for dear life. She looked down, her eyes wide. This was probably going to be the absolute most disgraceful way to die she’d ever seen. Trapped in the body of a rat, and falling down to the ground like a lead weight.

Her paws grip, despite her best efforts, slipped loose and she plummeted straight to to--the smooth, plastic-like tarp that lay over her captains chair. She let out a grunt of pain, rolling onto her back, staring at the ceiling in shock.

I lived.

Not wasting any time, Chrysalis rolled back onto her feet, her eyes darting about. Apparently, either the guards here were all deaf, stupid or bored. It seemed to be the final option, as she spotted one of the guards idly sitting in one of the crew chairs, twiddling his talons, occasionally muttering something to the guard next to him. Chrysalis didn’t have the time to mentally translate what he said, as she instead focused on burrowing under the heavy plastic tarp and to her chair.

With a flickering of green, she morphed back into her natural form, tearing off the tarp as the chair recognizing her biological signature and whirred to life. The griffin guards, which had obviously grown apathetic in their time watching over a life less hulk of a ship, turned in shock, but it was too late.

For them.

Chrysalis had already scanned the ship for any life forms that weren’t of Changeling origin, and with the flick of a switch, promptly beamed them into the vacuum outside her window. She could see their bodies struggling violently against the vacuum of space outside, and she only let out a dismissive snort.

“Serves you right.” she spat, unconsciously rubbing her wrists, which had noticeable scarring due to being consistently worn raw by the cuffs. Refocusing her attention back to the control panels on her chair, she scanned the barren world below for changeling lifeforms, quickly beaming them aboard.

In a series of bright white glows, her crew appeared, in various states of combat or confusion. Ajax, the tallest of them and her most loyal servant, looked towards her with wide eyes.

“Your majesty.” he said reverently, bowing down. Chrysalis merely beckoned him to stand.

“No time for formalities, Ajax. The Griffins will be quick to report this to their homeworld. Man the GR-21 and make sure that doesn’t happen. We must cover our tracks. Leave no trace.”

Ajax saluted smartly, spinning on his heels to repeat the order. “Battle Stations, everyling.”

The various changelings all nodded, darting off to their positions like clockwork, leaving a few behind, who took their places at the ship’s controls. Chrysalis felt the ship groan to life, the monstrous moan of metal gears slowly turning ebbing from directly beneath her chair.

A cold, confident grin spread across her face as the beam of energy shot out from below her ship, heading straight to the planet below. Almost as soon as the beam impacted the surface, massive fissures and cracks began to appear, spreading throughout the planet like a spider-web, glowing bright red with an otherworldly energy. Eruptions of magma started exploding from beneath the crust as the planet below began to actively tear itself inside out.

Chrysalis steepled her fingers, mentally signaling to the ship’s pilot to start the engines. The pilot nodded, and the ship lurched forwards as it pulled away from the rapidly-disintegrating planet.

She let out a content sigh at the sight of the rapidly disintegrating planet, and she glanced towards the helm.

Go. She commanded the helm, and the Bellerophon jumped to warp with a lurch.

As the stars streaked past the main viewscreen, Chrysalis let out a long, tired sigh. A slow, ebbing ache started to spread through her body as she readjusted to her normal height. Having to compress the mass a near eight foot frame into the body of a six inch rat had taken an extreme amount of effort, and her body was now paying the consequences. She was low on energy, and needed to rest, but that didn’t matter right now.

She, and her people, were free.