Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Lone Ranger

by AdmiralTigerclaw

First published

A mission to investigate a far off world takes an interesting twist.

The star system Omega Centauri was just another oddity on a map to scientists in the not too distant future. However when they found the star was orbiting an earth-sized, earth-like planet instead of a black hole as its motion had suggested, a mission was scrambled to investigate this most unusual of celestial behaviors.

Hamstrung by politics, and nearly crippled before it began, the 'Lone Ranger' mission was reduced to just one crew member and left to his own devices.

These are the logs of Arrow 18 and its lone commander. This information is classified TOP SECRET by the Global Space Agency.

Do NOT tell the princess.

Archive One: Arrival

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- Courtesy Kovabom/Indubitably Ponified: Nimbus Productions




Mission Log:
July 15th, 2257

After 22 weeks of travel, I have finally arrived in orbit around planet Omega Centauri II. It’s strange, being the only person on a vessel originally designed for a crew of thirty. But the mission required an arrow class transport.

OCIV, or ‘Opposite World’ as I call it (OW for short), is an unusual curiosity to say the least. It was first noticed by astronomers working at the Hawking Observatory. Omega Centauri was one of many candidate stars that were listed as potentially orbiting a black hole due to its unusual and rapid orbital oscillations. Not particularly unusual, but a curiosity to be studied nonetheless.

However, when the GSA turned the Trans Neptunian Long Range Telescope on the system for observation, they were shocked at what they found. According to the images produced the star was orbiting, not a black hole, but a planet. And we’re not talking a super-Jupiter either. According to spectral analysis, the planet was terrestrial, contained an atmosphere similar to Earth, and seemed to have a temperature in the same range.

It was at first dismissed as equipment error until three other sources confirmed the original speculation. OW was seemingly an Earth-like planet.

An Earth-like planet... With a star orbiting it.

I need not go into the amount of fuss that the scientific community put up in this matter. Or the resulting clamor for a long range mission. The recent introduction of the subspace displacement device has rekindled a dying interest in space travel thanks to the ability to reduce multi-thousand year voyages to a few months. Unfortunately, politics nearly killed the mission, and what was supposed to be a full crew compliment had dwindled in a manner of months down to just one person…

I won’t go into all the boring details about what happened there. Not with OW gleaming silently below me.

It’s strange, in an amusing sort of way. From this orbit it’s the size of my fist, and so much like Earth it’s uncanny. Sure, the continents are different, but I’d swear I was home again.

Mission Log:
July 17th, 2257

After two measured Earth days, I can conclude the observations of Tanlert (TNLRT). The local star is indeed orbiting the planet. It is a velocity consistent with a stellar body orbiting one of much higher mass. Yet, as I confirmed during my descent all the way into the system’s gravity well, celestial masses are normal and consistent for the objects they ‘appear’ to be. I do not understand how this system can function, as it goes against physics itself.

Planetary rotation is near non-existent. One sidereal day I calculate is thirteen months long. The sun orbits the planet in exactly 24 hours. The planet’s local lunar body also orbits at a similar rate.

There are unusual quirks in the lunar pattern not discernible from a distance as well. The lunar orbital period seems to vary almost from one hour to the next. At two points in the orbit, it appears to linger as if slowed down, then lurch on at an accelerated rate for a short time. The effects are so dramatic that I imagine that an observer in the right spot on the surface would be witness to the most unusual, if not spectacular moon rises. Yet from an astronomical standpoint it makes absolutely no sense.

However despite these quirks, orbital mechanics for other objects such as Arrow 18 seem to be unaffected. I will be progressing to a lower orbit to perform radar scans at 1900 hours.

Mission Log:
July 23rd, 2257

After continued observation of this system, I have determined it safe to perform a surface excursion. Radar mapping has gone without incident and provided valuable data on several potential landing sites. One particular valley in question would prove to be an excellent surface vantage with which to observe the unusual orbital eccentricities of the system. The location is the exact midpoint in which one can observe the unusual moonrise I described in a previous log.

It’s strange... Something’s been bothering me for the last few days but I can’t put my finger on it. Perhaps the time alone has been getting to me.


Mission Log:
July 24th, 2257

I am ill at ease. Despite knowing I’m alone on this craft, I feel like I’m being watched. I find myself looking over my shoulder constantly. This feeling intensified when I opened the docking bay for the Ravenstar. The sensation was so tangible that I had to postpone my departure due to being unable to focus on the checklist. Maybe after 22 weeks at superluminal velocities, cramped alone in this ship, the idea of actually leaving its relative safety is messing with my head.



Mission Log:
July 25th, 2257

It’s back again…

I woke up and the feeling had faded well enough for me to finish final checks on the Ravenstar and undock. However, shortly after clearing the Arrow, I found that same nagging sensation resurfacing. I KNOW I’m alone up here, and REALLY alone in the Raven, but I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m being watched. It may sound unscientific to form a theory based on such a thing, but it may be possible that there are living things on the surface of this planet. It’s Earth-like, which means there’s the potential for life, however slim. And if they have been observing my craft, that would explain the feeling of being watched.

I have concluded that before I attempt planetfall I will observe the surface from low orbit. If there is life capable of observing me, I do not want to trigger a conflict.

Mission Log:
July 26th, 2257

After careful surface observation, I conclude that not only is there life, but there appears to be intelligent life of some kind. It is scattered and light, but it exists. I have been able to identify surface structures consistent with roads and settlements. However, I have not located the telltale signs of highways such as those found back home, major sea ports, or airports. The civilization on the surface appears to have electricity if overnight views of the surface are accurate. It is an unusual twist.

After careful consideration, I have decided to continue with my plan to touch down at point alpha. The settlements in that area seem to be small, and thus I should draw only limited attention on my approach, if at all. I’m already plotting atmospheric entry so as to approach with as minimal a disturbance as possible. If done right, I should be of little more interest than a meteor to the settlements along my trajectory.

I will begin deorbit procedures after a night’s rest.

Mission Log:
July 27th, 2257

I did not expect this…

Deorbit was as successful as I had desired. Reentry lasted ten minutes and I managed to approach at such a shallow angle that the Raven’s hull temp did not exceed twenty five-hundred degrees centigrade for more than two minutes. I had plotted an approach that allowed me to bleed off most of my speed while still at very high altitude. Thanks to that, I came in nearly invisible just after moonrise when I unexpectedly passed over a small, dense settlement nestled on the side of a mountain the radar mapping hadn’t noticed. It was so high up, I thought for a moment it might be clouds. However, I’m sure the life forms that lived there were startled from their sleep (if they sleep) after having a spacecraft travel overhead at Mach two.

Because of that, I decided to alter my landing location. The original idea was to approach, as best as I could on a glide, to an area of terrain that radar maps indicated was level enough for the Raven to land like an aircraft on. The new plan was for a powered touchdown in what appeared to be a woodland-like geographical feature.

Imagine my surprise when I clicked on the landing lights and the woodland-like geographical feature really WAS woodland. Trees everywhere! The landing almost had to be aborted for lack of a safe spot to settle the Raven. Luckily a clearing proved to be just large enough to land using VTOL.

If anything is out there, it knows I'm here.

Mission Log:
July 28th, 2257

If the locals know I'm here, they've shown no signs of such.

I spent the planetary ‘day’ observing the local wildlife around my spacecraft. And yes, there's lots of it. I still can't believe what I'm seeing. I've seen what appeared to be birds. Birds of varying shapes and sizes. So much like the birds back on Earth that I for a moment I thought I might have gotten turned around somewhere. And of course the plant life! It looks just like home! I've been tempted to open the hatch and get a better view, but one glance at the interlock has reminded me not to let looks deceive.

While I've been observing, the ship’s microbiology lab has been doing its job. The atmosphere has checked out as almost identical to Earth, though with a significantly lower CO2 level. So far, microbe analysis is looking promising. Given the strangely identical nature of this world, I am optimistic that I may be able to venture outside without a suit, and without having to decontaminate. I will not know until tomorrow afternoon however. Until then, I must wait.


Mission Log:
July 29th, 2257

There’s something out there. I saw it last night. That feeling that I was being watched woke me up. I’m not sure what I saw when I looked out the Raven’s viewport. Something dark, bluish. It glittered and vanished in a blur before I could get a good look at it. Likely one of the more exotic animal life forms. Or perhaps one of the ‘locals’ had found me?

Either way, I don’t feel threatened, not yet anyway. It would take more than a hungry predator or one curious local to get to me through the hull of this spacecraft.

I spent another day staring out viewports, observing the animals brave enough to approach the strange vehicle. There were bunnies! Rabbits! You know the kind, hop-along little balls of fluff known for multiplying as fast as cockroaches. There was no mistaking it. I’m insanely curious to investigate this world at this point. It’s so much like Earth.

The microbiology lab has come up clear. Which means I can finally get out of this steel coffin and stretch!

Mission Log:
July 30th, 2257

There are eyes in the woods. They watched me for two and a half hours as I cleared the hatch for the first time. I could see them, reflecting yellow like a cat’s. The creature that belonged to them was neither afraid, nor aggressive, but it was cautious. It never moved to where it could be seen but made no effort to disguise its presence. I could hear it circling the clearing from time to time. It would lurk in a shadow; I would stare at its eyes. Then it would back slowly away and return elsewhere. If it's a predator, I'm probably safe. Predators tend not to attack organisms that differ from their normal diets unless they're desperate. And things look pretty stable in the local ecosystem.

Tomorrow I’ll chance exploring.

Mission Log:
July 31st, 2257

The sensation returned again last night. It's different from the eyes I saw, that much I know. It’s strange to describe this feeling of being watched. It’s the same one that’s been bugging me since I entered orbit. The eyes in the woods did not have this effect on me. The eyes did not make me feel like I was putting on a stage production in front of a packed audience. I don’t feel scared. I just feel… scrutinized.

I tried to look out the viewport without moving but I just couldn’t turn my head enough. I definitely noticed something glittering from the corner of my eye this time. It was wavy and blue. It observed me for some time. I figure it would remain until morning, keeping me awake. So I spooked it by sitting up, hoping that I might be able to catch a clear look at it. But just like before it was fast and vanished without a trace.

Once the ‘Sun’ rose... And boy, did it rise. I’ve never seen such an odd, almost dramatic sunrise before. Once it rose I set out on my first excursion on foot.

I went out armed, seeing as only a fool would travel alone on a strange planet with help being many, many light-years away. The Raven’s beacon would guide me back if I got lost, and I used it as a marker to identify my location on a portable surface map the ship’s navigational computer had created. I met nothing dangerous, and made my way in the direction of the settlement I’d seen on approach. The one perched in the mountains.

I did not find any mountains where the settlement should have been. Only plains, plains that I had originally intended to set down on beyond the edge of the forest. Perhaps it was an illusion generated by the moonlight, the clouds I noticed overhead, and the fact that the Ravenstar was doing mach 2 at the time.

I felt the sensation again, different than before. It didn’t last long. But I felt someone, something was watching.


Mission Log:
August 1st, 2257

My second trek into the wilderness around the Raven led me in the direction of the settlement I had confirmed from orbit. I reached the edge of the forest once more without incident, where I could make my first substantial observation.

The location I found was most certainly artificially constructed, or at least, tampered with. It appeared to be a tree crossed with a cottage or other small human abode. I recognized the doors and windows almost instantly. The area around it seemed to have been landscaped to a small degree. Mostly it was left wild, but there was at least a few small flower patches. There were also animal shelters, many of them. Some of the creatures moving about seemed to take notice of me, but did not make to hide as long as I kept within the tree line.

What came next, I had to observe very carefully.

A creature emerged from the main abode. By the looks of things, likely to be an example of the dominant life form.

It was short… Perhaps a meter high, a meter and a half long. At the distance I was at, I couldn’t tell if it had fur, scales, or was bare-skinned. However, I could tell the color. It was a pastel off-yellow tone that was rather jarring to witness on a living thing other than a canary, but not unsettling. There was pink on its head and back, as well as what appeared to be a tail. I could only assume at this range that the material was hair or fur the way it moved. When the creature moved, it spent most of its time in locomotion on all fours in such a way that I was immediately reminded of a small, slightly deformed horse.

Its eyes were large enough to be clearly visible at a distance, a fact I realized when it froze and looked directly at me. It didn’t immediately see me because of the underbrush I was laying in, but I suspect it knew something was ‘out there’, as it were.

Rather than further spook the ‘resident’ in its own home, I started to back away on my stomach. Slowly, but not completely silent. It could definitely hear my movement, if the way the ears I could see on its head were moving was any indication.

Mission Log:
August 2nd, 2257

After my brief observation of what I’m sure was one of the locals yesterday, I decided to find another route out of the forest in an attempt to get closer to the settlement. This time I moved with more surveying gear than before and tried a route that didn’t immediately drop me in what I suspected was one of the local’s back yards.

This time, I emerged from the woods into an area of trees that were highly organized. Much like an orchard back home. Given the similarities, I was more than willing to start identifying things by their appearance and function. I started identifying more items quickly as I moved along. I spotted fences, fields of plants being grown systematically, a building that could only be described as a barn.

The overall location I quickly identified as a farm. And it was a rather nice farm at that. Which meant I might be able to observe the creatures of this planet in the role of a farmer, perhaps gain some insight as to what types exist, and their numbers.

It had not taken long to find some. I had been attracted to the sound of objects being struck repeatedly over the crest of a shallow hill. With my surveying equipment, I found it easier to keep distance while being able to make far better observations.

The creature producing the noise was like the previous one. Just under a meter tall, a little over a meter long, features strikingly similar to that of a small horse. But it seemed, somehow… more.

Aside from the obviously equine build and physical body structure, the similarities ended. The creature was a bright orange color, with a blond ‘mane’ and tail. Its legs were much thicker and heavier than that of an Earth horse or pony, and seemed to have a wider range of motion as it went about its business. This was most evident when it stopped to wipe its forehead. The motion to perform that would require the ball and socket joint of the human shoulder to pull off.

Although it appeared to have hooves, something about their dexterity indicated they weren’t entirely solid. It seemed equally at home walking on them, as it was stopping to tie a rope on a small cart. In fact, it seemed to make use of all its appendages quite readily. It would kick the trees (which appeared to be apple trees mind you) with its hind legs. When it was doing tasks requiring dexterity, it seemed to make even use of its mouth, its tail, and its two front legs.

I was content to watch the creature work for some time, observing the smooth agility in which it performed its tasks. I didn’t even notice at first that it was wearing a hat, and that its ‘mane’ was tied near the tip to prevent it from flying everywhere. However, those observations were pushed to the back of my mind when another of the creatures, a much LARGER specimen approached. It was very much tomato red in appearance and looked to be using a device much like a harness.

I was of course too far away to hear any of the dialogue. But it was obvious from the way the orange one began to express itself animatedly that they were communicating. It was fascinating to watch the way it would alternate between an all-fours position and rearing up on its hind legs in order to express certain things.

My observations ended abruptly when it dropped to all fours, turned, and pointed up the hill at me. Seems I’m not as stealthy or clever as I might think I am. Then again, I'm wearing an orange flight suit. (Not that I had much choice there.) The larger one followed the indication of its younger acquaintance up to me, and although I knew I was barely visible on my stomach, it could tell I was there.


Mission Log:
August 3rd, 2257

I sensed ‘it’ watching me again during the night. And this time it didn’t go away. It continued to watch me all morning as I made my way back to the settlement. Whatever and wherever it was, the animals seemed to sense it too. The forest sounds on my approach had been suppressed.

I was aware at this point that I was likely to be spotted as I emerged from the woods. Already, two separate ‘ponies’ as I had come to most easily recognize them have managed to spot me. One did so while I was hiding in the underbrush of the forest, while other had been busy working its orchard and has seen me on the hillside. I decided thanks to this to simply forego any more sneaking tactics and start moving about openly.

However, I chose to keep my distance, observing the settlement proper from a hillside under a tree. I wasn’t as close as my first two encounters, but the environment was rich and rewarding. The ‘ponies’ appeared to have a kind of small town country culture to them. I observed many things that I could easily match to towns back on Earth. The similarities were again, striking to the point that it was uncanny.

This time, I knew that I was the observed, as well as the observer. I had kept my distance, but made no effort to even lie on my stomach and conceal my presence to any degree. I could see ‘ponies’ stop and stare up the hill. Some of them would point and communicate animatedly with each other. None approached, but neither did they run.

I allowed myself to remain visible until late in the afternoon. About this time, a violet specimen with what appeared to be a short, plump lizard of some kind made to approach my spot. Rather than risk a confrontation with these ‘ponies’, I decided that one getting brave enough to approach was one too many. So I returned to the Raven.

Mission Log:
August 4th, 2257

I returned to my spot to continue observations a little more discretely, noting the interactions of the ‘ponies’ as they went about their business. I had started to notice three distinct types this time around. There were the plain-ol'-ponies as I called them. They were the most basic. Then there were ‘winged’ ponies, much like the Pegasus of mythology. And likewise, there were ‘horned’ ponies, similar to unicorns.

This last category was most fascinating to watch. Mostly due to what appeared to be their ability to lift and manipulate objects without touching them at all. Telekinesis! How did it work? I wish I knew. However, observation suggested that their TK abilities varied as much as physical strength varied in humans. Of the examples observed, most carried nothing of any particular mass, and none of them appeared to manipulate any mass that was a significant portion of their own.

These observations continued until a glint of sunlight off a tree near the center of the town caught my attention. Much like the tree where I had made my first encounter, this one seemed to be halfway to being a building. But that wasn’t the important part. The important part was the object the sunlight had reflected off of appeared to be a kind of telescope. And on the far end appeared to be that same violet ‘pony’ that had approached me the day before.

It was an interesting experience, knowing we both knew we were watching each other. I chose to remain in my spot until the evening, as did the pony. We would observe each other, but I knew that it was observing me far more closely.



Mission Log:
August 5th, 2257

An interesting find when I approached my observation spot early this morning. There was a basket containing two ‘apples’, two bottles of some sweet smelling liquid (all of which had to be tested for safety reasons), a roll of some kind of dried up paper, a bottle of dark liquid which I assumed was ink, and a ‘quill’. An actual, feather pen.

It was interesting enough that I halted my observations before they started and returned to the Ravenstar. The paper itself had a simple, scraggly drawn image on it that looked like the ‘pony’ that had been observing me. I decided to reciprocate in kind, but in the spirit of one-upmanship, printed out a copy of the famous Vitruvian Man.

I returned by noon and replaced the basket, lighter its food content, where I had found it. In place of the dried paper, I left the printout and another sheet of paper. It was a simple diagram that depicted the numbers one through ten and equated them to dots representing their values. Another sheet had a simple key that depicted how the numbers were used in equations. The third and final sheet was a sheet of paper with a set of basic arithmetic questions on them. I’m curious to know if this ‘pony’ can get anywhere with it, let alone solve basic math in this manner.


Mission Log:
August 6th, 2257

The yellow eyes were watching me again today. This time they followed me through the woods.

When I returned to my observation spot, I found the basket had once again been filled with food. The diagram was gone, so were the math sheets. However, in their place, I found another dried up paper. It only took a few seconds to figure out what it was. The dot diagram was an exact copy of what I had left the day before. However, the familiar numbers of human language were replaced with a strange, flowing script. The ‘pony’ had obviously solved the printouts I had given it, and reciprocated in an attempt to exchange information.

Observation of the paper back at the Ravenstar revealed that while the ‘test’ was the same, the numbers returned to me had been made more complex, as if to challenge me. The sheet I had given the ‘pony’ had been basic arithmetic with simple, even whole numbers. What it had given me was similar, but required the use of fractions to answer. I wrote my answers in human, and drew circles, filling them in to represent the meanings of the fractions ½, ¼, and so on.

Mission Log:
August 7th, 2257

I did not make it to the observation point today. An unidentified creature, apparently a predator attacked and struck me today. I must be more wary of my surroundings. Its build was similar to a large cat, but looked strangely like a scorpion. I want to call it a 'manticore', because that’s what it looked like. Luckily, the animal did not make use of the scorpion-tail-like appendage it had and only gave me a minor gash on the leg. A shot from my weapon sent it fleeing in terror.

Mission Log:
August 8th, 2257

‘It’ was watching me once more. This time the sensation was the strongest it’s ever been. From sunset to sunrise, I could feel it on the edge of my mind. And it continued to watch as I limped my way to the observation point.

I found a first aid kit there. It was a crude form of one, but its contents were distinct enough that its purpose was clear. I am unsure as to how the purple ‘pony’ had learned of my injury. It also seemed to be expecting other things, as I also found what appeared to be an umbrella in the mix.

I had not been paying much attention to the weather beyond checking with satellite maps from Arrow, but as I sat and observed the town, I noticed that its residents systematically started clearing the streets.

That was about the time I noticed how busy the ‘pegasus’ types were in the air. They appeared to be moving entire sections of cloud the same way a man would handle moving empty boxes. Despite the seeming physical improbability of this, I was quickly learning that this entire system was full of physical conundrums.

It was fascinating to watch. Groups, or rather, teams of the ‘pegasi’ would stack banks of clouds against each, systematically working to cover the sky. Despite its vastness, they were efficient, and impossibly quick. Especially this particular blue one I noticed zipping about with the speed of a jet aircraft. The umbrella proved useful, as the rain seemed to start all at once. It was like turning on a faucet.

Mission Log:
August 12th, 2257

I’ve continued my intellect exchange with the ‘pony’ I’ve come to nickname ‘Smarty Pants’. She- I’ve begun to recognize gender in their physiology- is a rather brilliant creature, which explains her seeming fascination with me. I guess it doesn’t matter what species you are. Smart people like to talk about smart things.

I’ve found her understanding of trigonometry to be top notch. Based on the equations we exchanged, she appears to be able to understand some of the principles governing the Ravenstar. Though it seems her calculus is a little lackluster. I would chalk that up to age though. Judging by the examples I’ve observed, she’s either an adolescent, or a young adult.

Archive Two: Contact

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- Courtesy Kovabom/Indubitably Ponified: Nimbus Productions

Mission Log:
August 13th, 2257

First Contact…

Up until this point, I have not been any closer to any of the ‘ponies’ than fifty meters. Today however, I approached my hill only to discover that ‘Smarty Pants’ had occupied my normal space. Her intent was clear. She wanted to actually ‘meet’ me.

We stood, watching each other across a short gap. ‘Smarty Pants’ seemed intrigued by my bipedal nature, but not intimidated by it in the least. It appears the reason for this was her familiarity with it thanks to the lizard-like creature that seemed to follow her anywhere she went. It too moved in a bipedal fashion. However, the thing that Smarty Pants seemed to be most fascinated about was my ability to achieve the same method of locomotion without the aid of a tail. At least, that seemed to be the case from the way her head would seem to try and peer behind me.

Given the amount of information we had exchanged at this point, I felt that approaching would be safe to do at this point. The ‘lizard’ seemed to be unsettled, but ‘Smarty Pants’ made a noise that seemed to quiet it down. It was possible this creature was also sapient as she was. Her body language, as best as I could tell, was relaxed. I had been observing the ‘ponies’ for over a week now, and while I’d been able to derive some moods from my observation, their expressions were not yet familiar to me.

It was an interesting moment when I finally closed the gap. When I plodded the rest of the way up the hill, I could tell her mood and posture were adjusting to account for my vertical size. No doubt my bipedal nature made me look larger than I really was even though I calculated our masses to be more or less even. Once I sat down, she seemed to relax.

We exchanged papers once more, the language of math the only thing we seemed to understand. As we did so, we examined each other up close. She was fascinated by the dexterity of my hand as much as I was intrigued by the elasticity of her hoof. The lizard attempted to garner attention of its own, displaying a grasping hand similar to mine, capped with elongated claws. It seemed it was sapient, which was interesting. That would mean that this planet had not just one form of intelligent life form, but two, perhaps even many. Though the odds climb astronomically with each new possibility.

This close, I was finally able to give one of these creatures of a proper examination. ‘ Smarty Pants’ was one of the ‘unicorn’ type. She had a small, six-inch horn at the crown of her head that glowed whenever she levitated objects… A feat that was astonishing to witness up close. I surmise this horn is the source of her ability to perform such tasks and will be checking others to establish patterns of aptitude.

Her body structure was definitely equine in nature. Though as I had previously observed, it was deformed from what humans knew as horses. She was more round, filled in, and far more ingeniously colored. Her ‘mane’ was a darker shade of purple than her coat, but had a pink stripe in it that may or may not be a dye job. I am unsure; it seemed pretty uniform.

The upper section of her hind legs was the most curious point. At first, I thought it might be a tattoo, but upon actual close examination,I discovered that the marking adorning ‘Smarty Pants’ flanks appeared to be part of the fur itself. It was impossibly precise for a mere dye job, and matched perfectly. I had seen these from a distance, but was unable to determine their origins or purpose. Hers in particular seemed to be a series of ‘twinkle’-like shapes.

‘Twinkle Butt’ will be included in the list of nicknames for ‘Smarty Pants’ in the future. In the considerably unlikely event that we manage to bridge the communication gap and I need something to blackmail her with…


Mission Log:
August 14th, 2257

‘Smarty Pants’ was there once again before I arrived. This time with a large number of items and food as if preparing for a picnic. Tests on the food I had been given before had come up safe. The apple had been, for all intents and purposes, just an apple. And the drinks had been something akin to an apple soda. We performed a similar exchange of paperwork as the previous days, though the fascinated examinations were more subdued this time around.


Mission Log:
August 15th, 2257

We are becoming used to each other’s presence at this point. While we have yet to formulate any comprehensible communication beyond wild gestures and mathematics, I repeatedly caught myself talking to her as if she’d understand what I was saying. Likewise, she appeared to be in a similar state, babbling off in ‘pony’ about something or other as she tried to make a point on a physics concept she’d thrown at me.

The lizard, whom I felt the need to call ‘Spike’ due to the spines on his back, would prattle with Smarty Pants for minutes on end. The ‘unicorn’ would engage the little guy (I’m pretty sure he’s male) in seemingly fast-witted streams of unintelligible debate. ‘Spike’ proved himself to be rather good at math, though not to the level of engineering mathematics we exchanged.

Instead, he seemed to have a knack for writing. As I have observed, he seemed to keep his clawed hands on that rolled up, dried paper most of the time, and would appear to write fervently whenever Smarty Pants dictated to him.

The very act of observing the ‘pony’ speak was also fascinating. She would ‘dictate’ and I would watch her mouth for the syllables being spoken with. It was remarkably similar to the method a human used to control sounds.

But what was most important was what ‘Spike’ did with everything he wrote. As soon as he finished something, he rolled it up, sucked in a breath of air, and set the paper on fire. The first time that happened I about jumped in surprise, nearly causing the three of us to panic. I soon discovered this ‘fire’ was somehow being used to do something rather strange, because not less than ten minutes later, the creature let out a loud burp, accompanied by a puff of flame that dropped a similar rolled up paper on the ground.

For lack of a better term, I quickly dubbed the fire spitting lizard ‘Dragon’.


Mission Log:
August 17th, 2257

I’m beginning to think that there’s more to this world than just a few quirks of physics. The similarities it has with Earth are beyond astonishingly coincidental. Not only is the atmosphere breathable, and the climate comfortable, but the familiarity of the ecosystem and biology continues to stagger the mind.

Smarty Pants brought a friend today. She was one of the ‘normal’ types. Well, relatively speaking. This pony had fur that was the most appalling shade of hot pink I have ever seen, and her mane and tail were equally jarring. The mane itself was curly and tangled but thankfully seemed to be clean. Her flank marks appeared to be a series of colored ovals that seemed to resemble balloons. I’ve seen this one before. Based on past observations, she's some kind of caterer of baked goods. She was quick, hyper, and appeared to be cheerful most of the time. The explosive way in which she seemed to move has made me nickname her ‘Party Popper’.

I found I was unable to keep up with her energy. And it seems Smarty Pants was in a similar state. Party Popper seemed to behave much like a child who was stuck in a sugar rush. This may be due in part to the amount of confectionary treats she consumes. Unlike most of the ponies, who seem to eat the treats in more moderate quantities, ‘Party Popper’ seems to consume a far greater quantity than normal. Upon trying one of the confections offered, I was quick to discover that it was similar to a sweet lemon tart. Even more enigmatic was a small bottle of red liquid she poured on it. Upon a careful taste investigation, I discovered it was similar to an old American cajun style hot sauce.

Given the nature of the food I’ve been eating for the last six months, I may increase my diet of the local food.


Mission Log:
August 18th, 2257

Party Popper was with Smarty Pants again today, and Spike appeared to be absent. Based on gestures from Smarty Pants, I presume he decided to sleep in.

I brought some GSA dehydrated food packets and MREs with me today. Both Smarty Pants and Party Popper were astonished at the material used to seal them. However, I quickly discovered that apparently ponies share more than just environments with humans. One look at their faces and I could tell that despite 200 years of advances, long term preserved space meals still taste like rehydrated cardboard.

The military MREs that were available, however, seemed to please them more. Party Popper loved the brownie that came with it, and Smarty Pants enjoyed the macaroni and cheese side. The beef tips that were the main course seemed to cause them some level of unease, though. Smarty Pants watched my face carefully while I ate. I have the feeling that with them being largely herbivores, the meal I ate proved to be a little unsettling.


Mission Log:
August 19th, 2257

‘It’ watched me again. And I’m beginning to feel this forest is not the safest location. I encountered a creature on my way to meet Smarty Pants. It was a strange looking thing. It had a body that looked like a strange cross between a chicken and a snake, and had very large, angry looking eyes. I know this much because when I startled it, it just stared at me for over a minute. Perhaps staring down predators with such large eyes is a psychological defense mechanism. But after a while, it seemed to become very jittery and vanished into the underbrush. I’d hate to find out if they get much bigger. It had fang-like protrusions in its beak from what I had seen. And if it’s even remotely snake-like, there’s the possibility of venom.

After encountering that creature, I suspect I was a little stressed by its appearance, as I have had a splitting headache since then. Smarty Pants seemed concerned by my condition, but probably understood she couldn’t do anything about it without knowing my biology a lot better. I took an anti-inflammatory when I returned to the Ravenstar an hour ago. It has had no effect.


Mission Log:
August 20th, 2257

I am awake early this morning due to the continued pounding of my head. Medicines seem not to have any effect. I’ve tried several different types to no avail. As far as I can tell, I’m fine, and medical scans have turned up nothing unusual. Given the sudden onset of the headache right after I had encountered that snake-chicken animal yesterday, I suspect that what I thought was simply an intimidation ploy may have been an exotic defense mechanism far more potent than I could have possibly known. I’m going to try some morphine to dull the pain and see if I can sleep it off.


Awgust 20- PM

this morpheen is not helping at all.. I have been unable to rest propppery and Im sure I’m making a large number of typing errorsdas ljkrhlukhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh-

[RECURSIVE TEXT LOOP ERROR: LOG AUTO TERMINATE]


Mission Log:
August 21st, 2257

I awoke this morning with my head still hammering, and discovered I’d fallen asleep at the terminal. It’s a good thing the medical dispenser limits the amount of medicine I can get my hands on. The morphine messed me up pretty badly. I don’t even remember getting up to type.

I decided to take my problem to Smarty Pants. Perhaps she might know what that creature had done to me. I had to sketch the animal by hand, but I think I got the point across. When I met her on the hill, she seemed concerned for my absence the day before. Upon showing her the picture, she took off in a hurry, only to return a short time later with a book ‘floating’ next to her head.

I was unable to read anything, or understand her words. However, Smarty Pants flipped through it extremely fast until she came upon a picture that matched the animal I had encountered. She pointed it out, gesturing with her elastic hoof rather animatedly until I confirmed it with a nod. Then she turned the page, showing me a rather elaborate illustration of the animal looking at a pony, and then the next image showing the pony, now gray and cracked, like stone.

That seems beyond scientifically possible, but due to evidence of observation, I can't dismiss that judgment. Had that creature been attempting to turn me to stone? If so, that would make for one powerful defense mechanism. Much like the gorgon Medusa, the ability to turn any attacking predator into a stone block would make such attacks suicidal.

Smarty Pants seemed shocked that I had walked away from that encounter with only a horrible splitting headache though, and then shocked me when she gently patted me on the back. Up until now, we hadn’t had actual physical contact. It had been a kind of unspoken (not that we could speak) rule not to touch each other directly.


Mission Log:
August 22nd, 2257

I am feeling better this evening.

After discovering the reason for my headache yesterday, Smarty Pants came to the hill with a small bottle of liquid and motioned that I drink it. The liquid in it had me wary, as it was glowing faintly like a nearly dead chem-stick, which is toxic to ingest. However, Smarty Pants appeared confident in what she had given me. Whatever it was, it tasted a bit like soy sauce and pop rocks in soda. Not the most pleasant mix, but before I had even finished downing the bottle, I could feel the headache I had receding. Smarty Pants appeared relieved that it worked.

My breath smelled like chicken noodle soup for the rest of the day. Curious.


Mission Log:
August 23rd, 2257

Despite being the height of summer back home, the outside temperature in this valley never seemed to peak much past eighty. I had neglected to compile a celestial chart to tell me what season this area might be in. The pegasus groups were at it again all morning, moving clouds in that fascinating way they do until they had pieced together a rainstorm from scratch.

Smarty Pants seemed reluctant to stay out in the rain, and had motioned for me to follow her back towards the town. However, I felt that was an unwise choice and had to decline. I spent the rest of the day in the Raven researching mythological earth beasts. If things here were so similar to Earth, perhaps I could glean some knowledge on that animal that ‘attacked’ me.


Mission Log:
August 24th, 2257

Cockatrice.

That’s what I found after six hours of skimming the database. Like many of the creatures I’ve encountered, the match is disturbingly accurate. Head of a chicken, body of a snake. This mythological beast could turn you to stone by staring you in the eye, just like what the animal had done to me, with the only exception being that I did not turn to stone but instead got a headache.

I’ve realized that with all these strange matches between mythological Earth animals and the real deal on this planet, I might have a lot more information than I first thought. I printed out the data I had on every mythological beast I could find and took the mess to Smarty Pants.

I have never seen a creature look so excited -- except maybe Party Popper, but that’s like watching a living sugar rush. Smarty Pants was astounded by the images I brought and even more ecstatic to hear the human words for them.

We tried our dexterous appendages at bridging the communication gap, having not gotten very far with ‘grass’, ‘tree’, ‘rock’ and other words over the last few weeks. Objects were easy, but objects alone did not communicate ideas as well as we’d like. And being so different in physiology, we had a hard time connecting emotional concepts. However, we managed to come to a conclusion after we singled out Manticore, Cockatrice, Hydra, and Dragon from the extensive listing I’d brought.

‘Danger’.

Smarty Pants was so excited for a moment that we’d communicated a concept rather than a thing, that for a moment, it didn’t immediately click in her head. But when it did, she stopped, once more making contact by grabbing me on the shoulders, and turning me towards the forest, and making a gesture.

‘Danger’.

She repeated her warning, a serious face on as she gestured again, this time tapping the images, then pointing at the forest. I think I understood clearly what she meant. The forest was dangerous. And if the creatures we’d selected from the group were any indication... Then so far, I’ve only encountered the small-fry. I mean, a HYDRA?

Once again, moving the Raven seems to be a good idea.


Mission Log:
August 25th, 2257

I’m more wary of the forest now. With Mythical creatures having real counterparts on this world, the concealing canopy of the trees has become unsettling to me and unusual sounds I previously ignored have become more alarming. I noticed the yellow eyes once more. They retreated quickly when I stopped and rested my hand on my weapon. Whatever it was, it was intelligent enough to know I was nervous, and knew the object I had was dangerous.

Moving the Raven, while technically a snap, won't be so simple considering I don’t want to frighten the locals. Before I can move it, I want to make sure that the roar of the rocket thrusters won’t cause the entire town to evacuate in a panic. As far as I can tell, while they appear to have a few forms of vehicle to work with, large, LOUD spacecraft are not one of them.

I brought Smarty Pants some documents and schematics on the Ravenstar, plus a few pictures of the trial flights of the design prototypes. She seemed confused at what it was as I did my best to communicate my intent.

Spike was there once more, and the little critter seemed intrigued by the design. Unfortunately, aside from solidifying a few more concepts and vocabulary, we did not achieve much.


Mission Log:
August 26th, 2257

Smarty Pants brought another friend with her today. This one was one of the pegasus type. In fact, it was the blue one I’d seen zipping about the clouds like a fighter jet. She -- I think it’s a she -- was colored in such a way that I had only ever seen on parrots. Most of her fur was blue, save for the flank marks. But her mane was a bright and neatly organized length of rainbow stripes. I’m still amazed these aren’t dye jobs. Her flank mark, of course, was very clearly a cloud with a rainbow colored lightning bolt. How do they DO it? That looks so natural! It’s got to be fake.

‘Thunderbow’ -- it’s the only way to really describe her in full with that mark -- was completely different from both Smarty Pants and Party Popper. The moment I approached, she was instantly leery. She started circling, investigating me in a suspecting manner as if expecting me to try to jump and gobble her up at any moment.

This aggressive behavior was short lived once Smarty Pants had brought out the flight documents I’d given her. The pegasus seemed intensely interested in the vehicle. I would suspect the reason was because she could fly.

‘Thunderbow’ treated us to an acrobatics display not long after that. If I were to hazard a guess, it was an attempt to impress from one flier to the next. If only I could tell her that I found the cloud moving more impressive than the acrobatics…


Mission Log:
August 27th, 2257

I was awoken this morning by a tapping noise and was shocked to discover ‘Thunderbow’ standing on the nose cone of the Ravenstar. Apparently the pegasus had followed me the previous evening to discover what I had been disappearing off to. And with her ability to fly, I guess she had no issues keeping up with me through the forest.

Smarty Pants had also come along it seems, as when I popped the hatch, she was standing on the ground inspecting the vehicle curiously. The small unicorn examined my vessel and then looked at the sheet of paper I had given her, seeming to inspect various spots, most likely identifying parts.

As curious as they were, I allowed a tour of the vehicle. ‘Thunderbow’ spent much of her time checking out the flying surfaces and comparing them to her wings. Smarty Pants was more interested in looking at the inside.

Her curiosity seemed endless. Smarty Pants examined almost every last inch of the cabin, from my bunk, to the sanitation station, to the cockpit. But it was the cockpit that seemed to captivate her most. I caught her trying to play with controls several times, having to actually slap her elastic hooves away from several controls citing the now familiar word ‘danger’. Of course, with the APU offline, she would be hard pressed to do anything dangerous unless she found the throttle. And I was between her and the throttles.

It took a lot of work to divert her from the cockpit, but I managed to drag her to something even more captivating: the computer. This may have been a mistake, because once she discovered how to operate it, she couldn’t stop playing with it. I would have expected her to be deterred by the inability to read English, but she still managed to learn how to navigate the core menus through trial and error.

I ended up showing her and Thunderbow a video demonstration of the craft, as well as map out what I intended to do. This time they both seemed to understand. I wanted to move the Raven from the clearing to the area outside of town without causing a panic. I could only do that with their help.


Mission Log:
August 28th, 2257

I awoke again to tapping and discovered that ‘Thunderbow’ was once more standing on the nose of the Ravenstar. Smarty Pants was also there, this time with Spike and Party Popper in tow. Popper seemed excited to the point of bursting upon seeing me, and Thunderbow seemed agitated and ready to take off at any moment.

It took some creative charades to work it out, but it seemed they had excitedly prepared for the move some time yesterday evening. Smarty Pants practically crawled over me to get into the cockpit. I can only assume that she wanted to see the Raven in action. Spike and Party Popper, likewise, appeared to want a ride in the vehicle. And somehow, I think Thunder wanted a race.

I was apprehensive about allowing these locals to actually ride in an operational spacecraft. The seats were designed for human anatomy, and so were the harnesses. There was no proper way to secure Smarty Pants in the cockpit seat she’d taken up, and the other passengers were likewise out of luck. Then again, I was the sole human, and the only being qualified to operate the craft, and thus, the authority on any safety decision rested on me.

I weighed this option heavily. Serious injury could occur to those who were not properly strapped down during the operation of an aerospace craft. However, as a general rule, if the craft crashed, it exploded in a fireball, killing everyone on board regardless of a shoulder harness. The straps were more to prevent bumps the turbulence from throwing pilot and passengers all over the craft. Since we were only traveling a short distance at low speed, likely on VTOL the entire time, chances were the only real threat of injury would be the fireball situation. That being said, I opted to allow it.

The ponies were ecstatic, especially Smarty Pants. She watched relentlessly as I ran the ignition checks and started up the APU. It was like seeing a child who got to come to the front of an airplane for the first time (Which technically is exactly what was happening here). When the multifunction displays came on, her eyes got bigger. The voice assist made her head dance around looking for the source.

Igniting the VTOLs startled her. The Raven never was, and never would be the quietest thing. Taking off in our own cloud of dust and slowly rising over the canopy of the forest on pillars of smoke and fire, I could only imagine the look on Thunderbow’s face. The flight itself was rather easy. I saw the pegasus zoom on ahead towards the town. The main engines were unnecessary. Instead, I pitched the spacecraft like a helicopter and let us gently coast forward.

Upon arrival near the town, I met the pegasus circling the back side of the hill, indicating my landing spot. Locals in the area had frozen in place to watch the lumbering spacecraft as it roared overheard. The entire time, Smarty Pants seemed glued to every motion I made, and every control I touched until the moment I retarded the VTOL throttles and set the Raven down in the field with only a minor bump, completely hidden by another cloud of dust.

The ride had been less than four minutes, but I’m sure the impact it made would last a lifetime. Just in case the warning hadn’t been adequate, I spent the rest of the day inside the Raven.


Mission Log:
August 29th, 2257

I write this log as Smarty Pants and her friends watch in fascination. So far, it seems that my docile, slow way of approaching them has garnered me at least a certain level of familiarity and acceptance with the town.

Overnight, I could feel ‘it’ watching me again, and decided to set up some security cameras to monitor whatever approached the Raven. When I awoke, it was to the now familiar tapping of Thunderbow on the cockpit viewport. Smarty Pants, of course, was with her and was as curious as ever. No sooner did I let her in, did the Raven’s computer terminal come under siege.

Party Popper showed up in the afternoon and fed the lot of us an interesting twist on pastries.


Mission Log:
September 5th, 2257

Smarty Pants is a beast. Every morning she comes over to the Raven just after first light, and sits on the computer terminal until well after dark. She studies the computer displays almost without interruption the entire time. I notice she mainly goes after the basic language libraries I showed her on the second day, and appears to be slowly deciphering words by going back and forth between what few we understand between each other and the program. I wish I could say I had this level of attention in school. Things she does not have time to study, she records on one of those dried up papers. I imagine her abode looks a bit like a library at this point.

Due to Smarty’s occupation with GSC’s knowledge database, I have found myself returning to observations of the town. The inhabitants are much more aware of my presence now after the showy display I made of moving the Ravenstar. I have noticed a number of ponies stop and observe me during the course of each day. Several of the younger ponies also appear to have taken an interest in me.


Mission Log:
September 8th, 2257

Smarty Pants is still at it. I can hear the voice synthesizer going at it non-stop as she tries to mimic as many English words as possible. I have never seen such dedication to learning anything in my life.

Spike wandered up around lunch time. The little critter seemed worried for Smarty and had a sheet of paper rolled up in his grasp. Smarty Pants quickly dictated at him and he burned it on the spot. I have yet to determine what purpose that actually serves.


Mission Log:
September 9th, 2257

Smarty Pants fell asleep at the terminal. I have to be extra careful as I write this not to wake her. She’s just too adorable.

Party Popper brought an umbrella today, an indication that the pegasi were at it again. Sure enough, the rain came by early afternoon. It was like clockwork. I spotted Thunderbow doing what I guess was her job in the process. She waved as she went by.


Mission Log:
September 10th, 2257

The rain hasn’t let up. Smarty Pants decided not to go home yet and stayed in the passenger cabin. I would offer to let her sleep in the crew habitat module, but I don’t really know how to explain it.

I spotted that thing that likes to watch me as well. The rain had forced me to pull the cameras in, but I managed to catch a glimpse of it through the viewport.


Mission Log:
September 11th, 2257

The rain has ended.

I almost choked when Smarty Pants practiced talking to me by saying ‘Good Morning’. In less than a month, we've gone from just identifying numbers to her being able to greet me in my own language. It makes me feel a little insensitive that I have not even attempted to make the same effort to understand her language.

Spike returned today. He brought Smarty something to eat, and also brought along a pony I had not seen before. She was a white unicorn-type with a dark purple mane. The mane itself seemed more meticulously styled than most I’ve seen, suggesting something along the lines of a more feminine type. The marks on her flank appeared to be a series of gemstones.

This new unicorn circled me much the same way Thunderbow had, but her mannerism seemed less like assessing a threat, and more like she was looking for something. Having begun to grow accustom to their facial expressions, I had to blink when she suddenly stepped back as if disgusted. I’m not sure if she thought I was ugly, if I smelled, or what. These flight suits were designed to be worn a long, long time without the luxuries of being washed. Each one has carbon inserts good for ninety days.

Archive Three: Communication

View Online

[DRAMATIC READING LINK]

Mission Log:
September 12th, 2257

Today was a fiasco.

The day started about the same as it has the last two weeks. Smarty Pants showed up at the crack of dawn, sat down in front of the terminal, and continued to attack the English language with a passion only matched by religious fanatics. (It is in a brief insight upon making that joke that I do hope in all honesty that I am not the subject of religious speculation. While I would be flattered by the implications, I don’t think I’m ready to handle my responsibilities as God.)

As per our little unspoken routine, I left her to learn and went back to observing the town. I’ve been recording patterns trying to discern what kind of routines these ponies have. So far, I’ve been able to identify the pony equivalent to a nine-to-five workday, and I’ve witnessed the younger ones being ushered off to school. I’m looking for other kinds of patterns that may help me to figure out if they share a ‘workweek’ schedule, or if they have some other arrangement.

During this time I was interrupted by the return of the white pony, who I’ve come to nickname ‘Gemstone’. She’d brought another pony with her, which I recognized as the orange one I’d seen on that farm a while back. She seemed to recognize me, but didn’t appear very concerned. Perhaps because she’d seen me, and likely has been hearing about my presence for some time.

They had scrutinized me briefly, Gemstone circling me much the same way as the day before and making an ‘ugly’ face at me once more. This continued to confuse me on what it was about me that offended her when she started tugging on my flight suit.

With her TK...

Since I had not actually interacted with any of the TK abilities of the unicorns until this point, I was taken by surprise by the action and momentarily panicked. Predictably, my startled response triggered an equally startled response from Gemstone. And in what now seems to be a humorous chain of events, resulted in what appears to be a TK equivalent to a shove.

Luckily, nothing was been broken, but I estimate I had left the ground and traveled about ten feet backwards. I’m not sure how much of that was my pushing to get away from her, and how much was the force of her TK. Either way, I cannot travel that far on my own power. But it presents a useful insight into their non-physical strength.

After this experience, I was left slightly wary of the pony TK, which only served to complicate matters when Gemstone, having gotten over her own shock, tried to nudge me physically. It had seemed she wanted me to follow her from the way she was behaving. However, the direction she wanted me to go led directly into the middle of the town. I am certain she did not understand my hesitation in this matter, as she seemed to insist ever more forcefully that I go with her.

I am uncertain as to how exactly the situation was allowed to escalate. I tried my best to keep things low key. But in the end, I found myself hogtied and being carried along by the orange pony, who I’ve decided to nickname ‘Cowgirl’. To think it would come down to that…

On the plus side, I got a closer view of the town from my upside-down vantage. Being tied up and immobile while being hauled around by one of the locals did quite a bit to make me look less like a threat. Unfortunately, it was hard to jot anything down with my arms tied together behind my back…

The destination Gemstone had in mind appeared to be her place of employment. From observation of the inside once I had been dumped on the floor and untied, I would speculate that she is an entrepreneur of sorts. From the looks of things, a tailor. I’d seen a few of the ponies wandering around in accessorized clothing. But it was so rare to see that I couldn’t really make any observations on the fact beyond this. I have no clue as to their styles or fashions.

From Gemstone’s behavior, I believe now that the reason she’s been giving me ‘the eye,’ is the design of the GSA flight suit. As I have mentioned in a previous log, I’m not very camouflage as the bright, orange color of the GSA suit is intended for ease of identifying in the event of rescue.

I can safely say however that while they have clothing, their cultural development has been far more lax than human society. Seeing as they have fur, they do not have a need for the minimal light clothing humans wear. Instead, pony clothing seems more like the accessorizing one would normally see in hats and sunglasses. As a result, their treatment of clothing, or lack thereof, is much more casual. So casual in fact, that Gemstone seemed completely at home attempting to remove my flight suit the same way someone would grab an ugly hat off your head.

I understand that ponies do not know about human modesty, and I realize that it is very likely that Gemstone is not methodical like Smarty Pants. So she likely has no idea how inappropriate this behavior was, and I have yet to develop the communication skills needed to inform her. The only option was to resist her efforts.

I was rewarded by discovering just how stubborn she was, and just how much more power she was packing in her TK abilities. Because not five minutes later I was once again tied up, in the buff, while she casually measured me from head to toe without so much as batting an eye.

Thankfully, Smarty Pants arrived not long after that. And after throwing a piece of cloth over me (she must have figured it out studying), she apologized. And I quote her words for the record.

‘I sorry.’

She continues to improve at an incredible rate.


Mission Log:
September 15th, 2257

hello people. i am learning great words. i will talk more.


Mission Log:
September 15th, 2257

I have noted the existence of an entry I did not type. I can only assume that Smarty Pants has been doing more at the terminal than I thought. She copied the grammar and punctuation of the log heading quite well, but of course, her incomplete grasp of written English still shows in her message. Still, I will leave the entry she made alone for the records. However, I am activating password protection to prevent accidental deletion of critical files. It would be a total catastrophe if I lost the data pertaining to the events transpiring here.

In the last three days, Smarty Pants has started to move away from the computer terminal and engage me more and more in conversation. It sounds like I’m trying to converse with a 3-year-old. But Smarty’s brilliance shows in the speed at which she’s learning the rules. However, I note that it frustrates her quite a bit when she tries to convey ideas more complex than her vocabulary can sustain. Whenever this has occurred, she would become increasingly upset and then go work through the terminal for ten minutes just to find one word.

I’m starting to think that she may be obsessive compulsive. The more I observe her and learn from our ‘practice,’ the more I notice her apparent desire to organize and notate everything. This is not a bad thing considering this situation. However it does say something about her personality and potential psychological issues she may have. (Assuming pony psychological health is near or similar to a human's. I'm afraid I did not take Alien Psychology 101, since that would require a daily commute half way across the Milky Way.)

Spike showed up with Thunderbow early in the afternoon. I wonder if he's a baby dragon. The way Smarty was indicating the dragon images back in August, I was under the impression that they got quite large.


Mission Log:
September 16th, 2257

I realized today that having spent six months in space with little more than a treadmill, and a month and a half all but idling around here that I’ve not been maintaining GSA standards of physical fitness. So this morning when Smarty Pants arrived I was busy with a pyramid set. To our mutual humor, she began counting off in English as I went, then alternating to something I’ve not heard before. I was a bit distracted at first by how funny it was to have a pony spotting me that it didn’t click that she was trying to teach me how to count in her language.

I honestly enjoyed her company as she tried her best to hold an idle conversation. Her sentences are becoming more fluent as she gets comfortable with English sentence structure, but her vocabulary is still lacking. The largest words out of her mouth are two syllables.


Mission Log:
September 17th, 2257

I alternated my routine to a run. Those pyramids had made me sore but nothing I can’t handle. Smarty Pants ran with me, somehow managing to read her notes and not crash into obstacles at the same time. Keeping up with me was a non-issue with her four-legged canter as well. And even though I finished my run all but gasping for air, she looked like she hadn’t even noticed the distance. I suspect that given both her ‘equine’ nature and the small town country environment, that traveling long distances on foot was natural to her.

We did not speak as much, me having been too busy breathing. But she seemed to be looking for something anyway. Once the run was over and I was resting, she spent the rest of the day going through the Raven’s database once more.

With her busy, I occupied myself doing some routine safety checks on the Raven. Turbopump valve seven appears to be jammed. I'm not sure when this occurred. But this mechanical problem could result in a risk of SCRAM engine failure mid-flight. While not catastrophic, it would result in having to dump all SCRAM fuel overboard and powering into orbit on the mains. Which would leave me with significantly less fuel to perform orbital maneuvers with. The idea of having to remote the Arrow into low orbit is not a fun one.

I was forced to fix the problem myself. It took six hours, seeing as I'm not a mechanic. However, where the mission had lacked in crew, I was at least stocked with plenty of spare parts and manuals. And when I get my hands on whoever designed these manuals...


Mission Log:
September 18th, 2257

Pyramids again this morning. And Smarty continued to search the database upon arrival. She seemed more determined every hour to find something. The few times I checked on her she seemed to be going through screens and menus at an ever increasingly feverish pace. I checked the history after she was done for the night, and from the looks of things, she’d narrowed something down to meteorlogical conditions. Perhaps she was trying to figure out how to tell me the weather forecast.

Gemstone also showed up at the Raven early in the afternoon as well. There was a bit of hesitation on my part, naturally, as the last time we’d met, I ended up getting paraded across town and stripped to my birthday suit. But this was quickly brushed aside when she ‘levitated’ an object from a saddlebag she’d been wearing (much the same way a human would wear a hip-pack or backpack).

The item turned out to be some kind of matching outfit. The workmanship (workponyship?) was exquisite, and well fitted. The color, a gentle blue, was easy on the eyes after the screaming orange of my GSA flight suit. Unfortunately, I appear to be allergic to the dye in the fabric (I had come into contact with the fabrics previously with no ill effect.), as I had a rash within thirty seconds of trying it on. That ended up taking cortisone cream to control.

After this reaction, the white ‘unicorn’ seemed to think about it for a moment before suddenly becoming excited and taking off at a gallop. I suspect she has something else in mind.


Mission Log:
September 19th, 2257

Twilight. Sparkle.

According to the Ravenstar’s extensive library of the English language, these two words were roughly the closest match to the meaning of Smarty Pants’ real name. This appears to be what she has been searching for the last few days. Upon discovering this, she had excitedly jumped up, pointing to herself. It’s an oddly insightful name. Both her coloring, as well as the marking on her flank seem to fit the words perfectly. It makes me wonder how close the names of the others I’ve met match with their colors and markings. Personally, I like the name.

This morning’s exercise alternated to running once more. Twilight, I might as well get used to her proper name now, again followed beside me (effortlessly, mind you) as I performed a Fart-leg style routine, alternating between jogs and sprints. Thunderbow met up with us somewhere around the one mile mark, making silly faces at me and generally being a pest. Then she would half-hover, half prance alongside me while snapping repeatedly. According to Twilight, she was telling me not to give up.

When we had finished, Thunderbow mentioned something and took off. Twilight then told me that it was the weather. Rain, starting this evening, ending tomorrow evening. When I asked what Thunderbow’s real name was, Twilight just stamped, muttering something that sounded to me like some kind of swear. Then she disappeared into the Ravenstar in the now familiar routine of looking stuff up.


Mission Log:
September 20th, 2257

:BEGIN TRANSCRIPT:
Conversation between subjects: Capt. Randolph ‘Randy’ Edwards (RE) and Sapient ‘Equine’ Lifeform ‘Twilight Sparkle’ (TS) . Recorded September 20th, 2257 @ 09:35, GMT.

- [VIEW VIDEOGRAPHY]

(RE) Are you ready?

(TS) I am ready.

(RE) What is your name?

(TS) [INCOMPREHENSIBLE]

(RE) What does that mean?

(TS) Twilight… Sparkle.

(RE) Very nice… Okay, next-

(TS) What is your name?

(RE) … Captain Randolph Edwards of the Earth Global Space Agency.

(TS) You have long name.

(RE) You can call me Randy.

(TS) Okay Randy.

(RE) Can you describe what you are?

(TS) I am [INCOMPREHENSIBLE].

(RE) What does that mean?

(TS) Most close word is ‘pony’. But that word is not right.

(RE) Okay. So where do you live?

**Significant pause, Subject Twilight Sparkle is thinking.

(TS) I live in [INCOMPREHENSIBLE]. But best words for human are ‘Pony-town’.

(RE) May I call it ‘Pony-ville’?

(TS) Why?

(RE) It sounds better.

(TS) Okay Randy.

(RE) Thank you Twilight Sparkle.

(TS) You can call me Twilight.

(RE) Thank you, Twilight. May I ask what you do?

(TS) I am a student.

(RE) Are you? What do you study?

(TS) I study science.

(RE) What kind of science?

(TS) Human word is… too big. I cannot say it yet. Close word is ‘magic’.

** Subject Randolph Edwards appears surprised.

(RE) So you study magic?

(TS) Yes.

(RE) Is this what you use to pick things up without touching them?

(TS) Yes. I use magic from my horn.

**Brief Pause. Subject Randolph Edwards writes a note.

(RE) Can you tell me how that works?

**Subject Twilight Sparkle takes a moment to think, then shakes her head.

(TS) Human science is not have ex… ex-p…

(RE) Experience?

(TS) Yes. Ex-per-ee-ince… Humans have no ex-peri-ence with magic.

(RE) Can you show the camera some magic then?

**Subject Twilight is silent. Subject turns and lifts a roll of paper up without direct contact.

(RE) Thank you Twilight.

(TS) You are welcome. I know humans will like to see magic. I want to see more tech-no-edge-E…

(RE) Like the computer?

(TS) Yes! I like the computer!

** NOTE: Subject Twilight Sparkle had no trouble with the word ‘computer’.

(RE) So I see… You have spent a lot of time on the computer.

(TS) Yes. I have found it teaches very well. It is like books. It is like lots of books, but without the books.

(RE) Do you like books too?

(TS) I like books a lot! I want to show you my home. It is a place to keep books… The word is hard…

(RE) A Library?

(TS) YES! Li-brary. My home is a library. I would like you to see it.

(RE) Perhaps we can do that soon. But I don’t want to scare the ponies in town.

(TS) It will be okay. If I am with you. No-pony is afraid of me. So they will not be afraid of you.

**NOTE: An interesting quirk of language. Subject Twilight Sparkle has associated the word ‘pony’ with her race, and developed a hybrid word based off the word ‘nobody’ that identifies her group.

(RE) That sounds good then.

(TS) Can I ask what you do?

(RE) You want to know my job?

(TS) Yes. I want to know your job.

(RE) I am an Astronaut.

(TS) Astro-not? What does an ‘astronot’ do?

(RE) I fly between the stars and look for answers to the secrets hidden there.

(TS) I like the stars. Maybe after I show you my home. You can show me the stars?

**Subject Randolph Edwards laughs at the statement.

(RE) You would like that wouldn’t you?

(TS) I would.

(RE) Perhaps I will show you. But it is not easy, and you must work very hard.

(TS) I will work hard. I will work hard as long as it takes. You want to see magic. I want to see more tek-nowl-ge, and the stars. But maybe not today. There is too much rain.

(RE) Yeah, it is a bit wet outside.

(TS) Are we done?

(RE) I think we’r- we are done.

**Subject Twilight Sparkle is not yet familiar with contractions.

(TS) Can I watch r-… re-cor-ding?

(RE) You can watch the recording.

::END OF TRANSCRIPT::

Mission Log:
September 20th, 2257

Twilight spent the day with me in the Raven. She was enthusiastic as ever when I asked her to record a brief conversation with me. It was short, but after re-watching it, I realized and noted several things I hadn’t while talking. The girl has the heart of an explorer in her and I look forward to seeing more of her ‘magic’. Especially the way she mentioned that she studied it like science. If what I suspect is correct, these ponies could lead to a breakthrough in a field previously unknown to mankind.

Since the rain was coming down so hard all day, I decided to let her stay at the Raven again. This time I let her sleep in the crew habitat module. She likes the bed more than the passenger compartment seats. It doesn't bother me at all either. There's like, six bunk units and multiple Zero-G sleeping bags in here...

GSA Email Transcripts Excerpt 1: July 4th and 5th, 2258

View Online

[DRAMATIC READING LINK]

FROM: Larry
TO: ALL
RE: Lone Ranger
DATE: July 4th, 2258

Gentlemen. I need a COMPLETE REPORT concerning all departments involved in the Lone Ranger mission on my desk in 24 hours. I don’t care if it takes you all night. I’ll grant you time off later.

Larry McKinney
Sr. Director
GSA Operations


FROM: Steve
TO: LARRY
RE: Lone Ranger
DATE: July 5th, 2258

Here is the medical and psychological evaluation. After reading the logs, and looking at the evidence, I don’t know WHAT to think. I’m torn both ways really.

Dr. Steven Zepher PHD
GSA Health Services


FROM: Zang Xiaou
TO: Larry
RE: Lone Ranger
DATE: July 5th, 2258

Here’s the maintenance and cleaning logs. I can’t believe the stuff that manages to get on board an Arrow Freighter. Where does one guy get a blue McCaw’s feather in deep space?

Zang
GSA Maintenance


FROM: Dan
TO: Larry
RE: Lone Ranger
Date: July 5th, 2258

Hey Larry, what’s going on?

Dan (The Man) Hawking
Chief Executive Manager
Global Space Agency


FROM: Larry
TO: Dan
RE: Lone Ranger
DATE: July 5th, 2258

Take a look at secure file 221 from the Lone Ranger Mission.

Larry McKinney
Sr. Director
GSA Operations


FROM: Dan
TO: Larry
RE: Lone Ranger
DATE: July 5th, 2258

Is this some kind of joke? There’s no way this is real.

Dan (The Man) Hawking
Chief Executive Manager
Global Space Agency


FROM: Larry
TO: Dan
RE: Lone Ranger
DATE: July 5th, 2258

That’s what I’m trying to verify. We DID put this guy into space on an interstellar mission for eighteen months all by himself.

Larry McKinney
Sr. Director
GSA Operations


FROM: Frank
TO: Larry
RE: Lone Ranger
DATE: July 5th, 2258

We have yet to complete evaluation of all the data brought back from the mission. And honestly, I can’t tell you when we’ll be able to do so. However, here’s a preliminary report on all the video and audio recordings. The security camera footage alone is incredible. And the audio... I’ll let I.T. tell you about that.

Frank Atkins
Senior Data Analyst
GSA Analysis Dept.


FROM: Bobby Brookshire
TO: Larry
RE: Lone Ranger
DATE: July 5th, 2258

We’ve been double checking system integrity on all the computer equipment and the media files. So far, I can say that everything checks out. The audio is raw data with no synthesis in it. Who or whatever that was speaking was the real deal. We need more time to compile a complete view, but so much data has been accessed in the library that it’s staggering.

Brooks
GSA Information Technology Department
‘The Future, Yesterday.’


FROM: Dan
TO: ALL
RE: Lone Ranger
DATE: July 5th, 2258

Thanks Larry. Keep me informed. Also, to all departments. Everything you have on Lone Ranger at this point is now Need To Know TOP SECRET. Until we can figure out exactly what we have on our hands here, I don’t want a word about this to the press, to your friends, or to your mothers.

Dan (The Man) Hawking
Chief Executive Manager
Global Space Agency

Archive Four: Knowlege

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DRAMATIC READING LINK
Mission Log:
September 22nd, 2257

I was awoken early in the morning by that sensation of being watched again. If it wasn’t for the way my skin would itch when all the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it at this point. As with all previous instances, it fled the moment I sat up.

However, this time around, I had the cameras set. And I must say, when I reviewed the footage I was rather surprised…

It, or rather ‘she’, was a pony from I can tell. About the height of a human with a midnight blue coat… She had a horn that looked to be about 16 inches long, and appeared to be considerably sharper than the one Twilight Sparkle has. And she also had wings. Which meant she was a race or specimen I have not come across yet; a kind of unicorn-pegasus hybrid. However the most notable feature was her mane and tail. They seemed ethereal, and glittered like starlight. I can’t even begin to theorize how they do that.

When Twilight awoke in the morning I showed her the recording and asked if she knew anything about the pony depicted. She seemed only mildly surprised, and laughed. According to her, the closest translation to what she called that pony was ‘princess’.

That raised an intriguing thought. Having only been observing this town, I have not been privy to the government or politics of the pony society as a whole. Are they a democracy? Or perhaps a republic? Despot? Dictatorship? Oligarchy? Fiefdom? So many new questions…

I decided to take a rest day at this point. It was still muddy outside, so I’d just become a mess trying to do strength training. Instead, we continued to build on Sparkle’s English vocabulary. The subject was politics.

We went through the governmental system of their land for several hours. From what she was explaining, I gather they’re governed by a ruling monarchy, composed of two princesses. And then she explained something, I have a rather hard time understanding. And I’m sure it’s translation error. But according to Twilight, the princesses control the sun and the moon.

I’m going to need to get more details on this once Twilight has refined her vocabulary a little more. I think she means ‘represent’ the sun and the moon, which makes more sense. I’ve seen levitation and some of the pony magic at this point, but nothing that would suggest the scale needed to move a star. However, I will not dismiss it without further information, as it presents a possible solution to this system’s celestial motion.

About noon we had to stop when Spike showed up. From what Twilight relayed, the little dragon was worried since she’d been spending so much time with me that the library was starting to become a mess. Twilight then offered to show me her home. I attempted to refuse, but she insisted once more that it would be okay so long as she was with me.

I capitulated, and allowed it in the end. I’m glad I did too. Not only did I get to see the inside of the tree-building she lived in, I got to see her perform a significant amount of basic levitation magic on a large scale. Librarians back home would be jealous if they ever got to see how quickly Twilight reorganized entire walls. Twilight displayed the ability to manipulate hundreds of small objects simultaneously with fluid control and accuracy I hadn‘t expected at such a scale.

I acquired so much new information today that it may take weeks to fully research and catalogue everything. I look forward to gleaning more from Twilight Sparkle as her speaking improves. Perhaps I should start asking her to translate back for me so I can learn some of her language. I won’t have the same rate as her without the software suite on the Raven, but I’m sure I can get basic sentence structure down and a list of basic vocabulary.


Mission Log:
September 24th, 2257

Twilight’s vocabulary continues to expand. And the rate at which she learns new words is actually accelerating. The more she understands, the more quickly she assimilates increasingly complex words. It’s clear she’s learned how English is structured, as she’s developed a system to take advantage of the mechanics of word and sentence structure to determine the meanings of complex words without actually checking them. She shows a firm grasp of compound words, and her ability to recognize the purpose of punctuation marks in written language is superior to that of most high-school students.

However I’ve noticed a pattern in her behavior that worries me. As her understanding improves, her excitement increases. As a result, she’s been pushing herself harder and harder over the last two weeks. Her breaks are fewer and shorter, and her sessions start earlier, and end later. I do not know how much endurance ponies have in comparison to humans, but I worry that she may soon start to suffer from exhaustion if she isn’t already.

I wish I could communicate this concern to one of Twilight’s friends. Party Popper was here today and I tried to warn her, but I only got confetti in the face for my efforts.


Mission Log:
September 25th, 2257

My worries came true a lot faster than I thought. Twilight Sparkle was right in the middle of a conversation with me, babbling away like a child on a sugar high. She’d been increasingly incoherent all morning, which had served to put me on edge. Then without any warning, she went silent and dropped like a stone.

When Spike had come looking for her, he ended up having to fetch Cowgirl to carry the exhausted pony back to her home.

I had only met Cowgirl once directly. However the fiasco that happened that day had prevented me from making clear observations about this pony. Assisting in carrying Twilight back, I got a good clear look at her. This time from an upright, un-‘wrangled’ position.

Aside from confirming previous observations, I had gotten a clear look at her flank marking. It appeared to be an image of three red apples. Absolutely uncanny. Given what I've seen so far, it seems almost as if the markings relate to their name or profession. I cannot conclude this for certain, but I surmise these marks may be more significant than mere decoration. Perhaps they are like name tags, but embedded in the fur itself.

Once Twilight Sparkle has gotten some rest, I should ask her about these marks, as well as the names of her friends.


Mission Log:
September 26th, 2257

I had been awoken by music this morning and was surprised to find that Twilight Sparkle had already recovered from her exhaustion and was at it again. However, with her ever increasing fascination with space travel, she seems to be looking up the topics on astronomy and old rocket engineering.

The source of the music itself was two-hundred year old tribute video to the first moon landing.

[VIDEO CATALOGUED]

She was wide eyed and in awe of the historic Saturn Five that man had used to first get to the moon. And she even went on to talk about how the ponies had sent a princess to their own moon.

I found this story difficult to understand, and suspect that she may still be suffering from exhaustion which may be hindering her ability to communicate properly. So, concerned for her well being, I had to kick her out of the Raven and tell her to go rest up. I’ll figure out what she meant by sending a princess to the moon later.


Mission Log:
September 27th. 2257

Twilight Sparkle didn't show up this morning when I went out to do my exercise. I am unsure if I had upset her the day before by telling her to get more rest. I doubt it however, as she is highly methodical.

For my morning routine, I decided to take my run along the outskirts of town alone. The roadways in the area are a combination of dirt and sand mixed with a kind of fine gravel that would be used in city parks back home. Other, more advanced paths are few and far between. This is most likely due to the fact that ponies don’t really have any significant ground transportation networks requiring solid, smooth surfaces. I’ve seen a few stone paths, such as the bridge over the stream that runs through the town, but that's about it.

My run took me past the apple orchard where Cowgirl lives. I wasn’t really surprised to spot the orange pony already up and working at the crack of dawn. However she did seem surprised to see me. Especially considering that outside the ‘incident’ with her and Gemstone, this was one of the few times any of them would catch me wearing little more than jogging shorts and running shoes.

While we were unable to communicate, she seemed to approve of my fitness routine. I heard tones that I've come to understand were encouraging, even as she threw me an apple.

I must comment in the log here that this is probably one of the best apple’s I’ve tasted in years.
I’m eating it as I type.


Mission Log:
October 1st, 2257

I was beginning to worry. I have not seen Twilight Sparkle in three days. With her arrival in the morning being so routine, to the point I could set my watch off her, her abrupt disappearance after nearly working to exhaustion had pushed me to the point of personally going to check on her.

I note the townsfolk have grown quite accustom to my presence. I was able to walk directly to Twilight Sparkle’s tree-house library home without escort and it didn’t even turn heads. It was the little dragon, ‘Spike’ who answered the door when I knocked. And I am still, twelve hours later, unable to understand exactly what had happened.

I heard the dragon announce me... Or at least, I think he announced me. And there was this strange, excited chirp from the pony. The next thing I know, there’s a loud crack, a flash of light, and she was standing at the door, looking an awful mess. I swear she’d not been anywhere in sight of the door a moment before. I keep having to remind myself about the conditions of this world, and the fact that ponies have a field of science that translates as ‘magic’.

Because according to what I just typed, it sounds as if she TELEPORTED. That’s...

I cannot accurately type what I’m thinking right now. I’m going to bed.


Mission Log:
October 2nd, 2257

I was unable to sleep very well during the night. I just can’t come to grips with the fact that aside from Psychokinesis, pony ‘magic’ appears to enable ponies with a form of near instantaneous, non-Newtonian method of matter repositioning.

Or in layman’s terms, ‘Teleportation’.

I had to ask Twilight Sparkle for a demonstration of this ability with full observation of some of the Raven’s scientific instruments. She mentioned that she would be more than happy to. But it would have to wait, because she was busy doing some kind of task for the princess.


Mission Log:
October 3rd, 2257

I’m jumpy, that much is certain. I am aware that these logs will be reviewed, and that much of what I have to say will be scrutinized to a considerable degree. As such, I realize that I will be under psychological review when I return. Much of what I’ve described up to this point can be considered ‘unbelievable’ and mere logs will not cover it sufficiently. Not only did I confirm this system as having a habitable planet, I confirmed the existence of life outside our own, as well as the sapience of said life.

But it goes beyond that. I realize that I’ve also confirmed the existence of an ecosystem almost identical to our own down to matching species of animals. I have also confirmed the existence of ‘mythical creatures’ that match our own, and witnessed the existence of a physical phenomena who’s only accurate description at this time is pure, bonafide ‘magic’.

I realize at this point that I have been so caught up with making contact and enjoying the inhabitants of this world that I have recorded very little in the way of hard video and audio evidence, or photographs. So I will be carrying more recording equipment. I sent a signal up to the Arrow to begin taking high resolution orbital photos of the surface. I may have made contact and I’m acting as the representative to mankind, but my mission remains to record and catalogue.


Mission Log:
October 4th, 2257

I spent the greater part of the day setting up various recording devices across ‘Ponyville’. Cameras, microphones, seismographs, the works. Hopefully, the amount of data I collect from this should placate my superiors back home enough not to get me thrown in a psyche ward right off the landing pad.

I had to take a break in the early after noon after Thunderbow (I still need to get their proper names from Twilight Sparkle) whizzed by with a cloud section, startling me and causing me to nearly drop a three million dollar portable EM analysis device.

I was near Gemstone’s building at this time, and the pony came out to, I would assume from the gestures, invite me inside to take shelter from the inevitable shower. I would note this time around, with a clear, upright view of the place, that she has an advertisement designed into the building matching that of a merry-go-round horse.

I wasn’t forced into any uncomfortable situations this time. It seems that she’d learned enough about me at this point to know better. However, I did notice the pony continue to ‘eye’ me and examine the shirt she’d attempted to give me previously. The one that gave me a rash. I get this feeling she’s trying to make up for the previous fiasco, but is afraid to make things worse.


Mission Log:
October 5th, 2257

I was startled awake by Party Popper. The silly pink pony had somehow managed to not only get into the Raven after I’d sealed the hatch, but had managed to do so in complete silence to blow a party horn in my ear. If it weren’t for the fact that I felt no need to sleep with a weapon, I would have shot the poor thing. However, she seemed unconcerned and shared a breakfast of sweet cinnamon rolls fresh from that bakery she works in.

After that, she seemed to follow me around on and off during the day as I went about a routine to check and make sure none of the recording instruments had been tampered with the day before.

Unfortunately, the video recorder I had set to monitor the ‘school’ was missing even though the tripod was still there. I suspect the pony children may have taken it out of curiosity and I’ll have to find a way to recover it.


Mission Log:
October 6th, 2257

Twilight Sparkle returned to the Raven this morning. She seemed much more energized and collected than the last time that I’d seen her. She informed me that she would be ready to give that ‘teleportation’ demonstration tomorrow. I can hardly wait.

During today’s instrument inspection, I found the seismograph near the orchard has gone missing.


Mission Log:
October 7th, 2257

Attached to this log, and in secure file ‘Nightcrawler’, is a complete instrument analysis of Twilight Sparkle’s ‘Teleportation’ demonstration.

For record purposes, I will mention that the demonstration was observed with video, audio, infrared, spectrograph, EM Radio, electrical Oscilloscope, magnetic anomaly detectors, and seismograph readings.

I have recorded a comprehensive list of the types and methods of teleportation Twilight had shown.

- Point to point short-range self-teleport.

- Point to point long -range self-teleport.

- Point to point short-range extra-teleport. (Teleportation of other objects without traveling herself.)

- Serial, rapid, point to point short-range self-teleport chains.

- Serial, rapid, point to point short-range extra-teleport chains.

- One, extreme-range self-teleport in which her end-position was beyond visual range.

- One, extreme-range, group teleport, in which she appeared with Gemstone and Cowgirl about a minute and a half after the previous, extreme-range teleport.

I will examine the recorded data at a later date and try to form a hypothesis for the rules, mechanics, and function of this ability. Right now I am still too ‘awed’ by the act.


Mission Log:
October 8th, 2257

The audio recorder I planted in the marketplace has gone missing. I am becoming concerned with the disappearance of my equipment, as I cannot replace it. Tomorrow I will install radio tags on all the equipment and start tracking its location. I find it unlikely that who or whatever is taking the equipment would know such things can exist.

I also got another recording of ‘It’, also known as ‘Princess’, last night. She seems to appear at irregular intervals and by the actions I’ve reviewed in the recordings, seems to be checking on my presence. If what Twilight Sparkle told me is accurate, then I surmise that she is looking out for the well being of her ‘subjects’ by periodically checking in to ensure I’m not a threat.

Sparkle is back to her routine. However she splits her time between language programming and various astrophysics courses evenly.


Mission Log:
October 10th, 2257

According to Twilight Sparkle, the following names are roughly accurate.

- Gemstone’s true name translates roughly as Rarity, and is one of the clearest translations.

- Thunderbow‘s name translates as Rainbow Sprint/Run/Dash. And she’s having a hard time figuring out exactly which term is the most accurate. Personally, I think Dash SOUNDS best.

- Cowgirl’s name translation is more difficult. She says part of the word accurately translates to ‘Apple’, but cannot determine the second half. She comes up with ‘health’, ‘vitality’, and ‘strong’. I will assist her in determining a more accurate translation at a later time.

- Party Popper’s name translation is also confusing. It comes out as ‘Pink’ ‘Pie’. However, Twilight is unsure of the translation, as something about the name does not quite translate as she had expected. English does pose a bit of trouble with words that sound similar but have drastically different meanings.

Archive Five: Mysteries

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[DRAMATIC READING LINK]
Mission Log
October 13th, 2257

It's been three days since Twilight managed to get a rough translation of her friend's names down for me. However, we still cannot nail down a clear translation for Cowgirl's name. So far, Twilight Sparkle has tried reversing the words, changing the pony-language version of the words with synonyms, looking for intuitive similarities in the English words, and even doing a few full scale etymology searches on the word Health. She just couldn’t figure out why she wasn’t getting the translation to fit.

I have observed a relapse of her working habits, and discovered to a minor level of concern, as well as annoyance, that in the last three days she's logged 64 hours up-time on the terminal. The Raven's passenger compartment has started to look like a hamster cage with the amount of those old parchment papers she's filled it with. And she appears to be at a borderline delirium level of behavior. Her mane is unkempt, and even for a creature of alien physiology, I can see the bags under her eyes and her increasingly unsteady, borderline 'unhinged' nature as she sorts.

However, attempts to remove her from the computer this time around have resulted in her manic, if almost panicked response of begging for just a little more time, and using her magic to push me away. I am unsure as to how I should go about such a situation. The prospect of upsetting her to the point where she either uses what I suspect is some powerful TK ability, or performs an Extra-teleport on me leaves me cautious.

It is only by convincing her to take a break to get a snack that I have found time to write this log.

There is little to report from my missing instruments right now. Since adding RF transceivers to all of them, I have not noticed any go missing. However, I am still missing a camera, an audio recorder, and a seismograph from the initial 'wave' of thefts. I still suspect the younger ponies. Simple curiosity makes the most sense. Older ones seem to be wary of messing with them. But children wouldn’t have that manner of hesitation. However, I have no way of knowing unless they go after something. Perhaps I'll bait the thieves with a spectrum analyzer. It's got a pretty fancy display... You can’t beat a fancy display and lots of blinky lights.


Mission Log:
October 15th, 2257

New useful fact: Unicorns have no resistance to tasers.

Well, technically it was a 156-volt solar power cell... One I fed into an inverter, a ten to one step up transformer, and a 160 kilo-ohm resistor, ending in the cable I used to give Twilight an 1100 Volt zap. But for all intents and purposes, it was a taser. I pretty much had no choice. She’s been at it non-stop for five days now and has refused to listen to me. I figured the best way to remove her with minimal resistance would be to stun her. And thankfully, I was right.

Thank goodness electrical equipment was one of my qualifying points for this mission. At 6.9 milliamps, there was no danger of hurting her. I’d hate to think what would happen if someone who didn’t qualify tried the same stunt.

Interesting thing to note, for about half an hour after applying the shock she was unable to reliably use her TK abilities. I hypothesize that this may extend to her higher ‘magic’ abilities as well. Though for obvious reasons, I did not choose to pursue study of this phenomenon.

Zapping the unicorn seemed to sober her up. After watching her for an hour to make sure she would be okay, I sent her home. I honestly hope her ‘college student’ style study habits don’t become any kind of routine. This place is a mess…


Mission Log:
October 16th, 2257

I spent all morning cleaning up Twilight Sparkle’s ‘notes’ that had been left in the Raven. Its strange that despite how methodical and organized she is, she can so easily make a total mess of her study materials. She’d somehow managed to sneak half-a-dozen books into the Raven amidst the hundreds of parchment pages she writes on.

What gets me more however is how much she displays such a human-like obsession tendency. Of course, behavioral characteristics wouldn’t be the express product of a human mind. To say that would be conceited. But to be able to observe nearly the same symptoms and characteristics as what would appear in a human case is quite interesting. I’ll do my best to document this in detail. Doctor Zepher will no doubt consume it like a firestorm in a Eucalyptus forest.

Twilight Sparkle’s concerning psychology aside, I began my plan to lure out the equipment thieves today. I placed a portable spectrum analyzer in the park and rigged it on top of a wireless motion detector. The moment that thing moves, I’ll get an alarm in the Raven and be able to track the transceiver.

On another note, I took inventory of my stores just before making this entry. Looks like I’m going to have to head back up to the Arrow some time in November or sooner at the rate I’m consuming meals. I’ve been getting free handout meals from the ponies here and there, but that’s only served to stretch my surface rations. If I make it clear to them that I’d like to get a little more of their food, I might be able to push that back to the end of November. I could go longer if I could communicate well enough to do work for the local currency. But I’m not seeing that happen.


Mission Log:
October 17th, 2257

Well, that was quick. Early this morning I was awoken by the remote alarm on my motion detector. Some one, or as Twilight puts it 'Somepony’ yanked the spectrum analyzer. It will take me some time to narrow down its location. Performing a one-point search with a tracer beacon is time consuming work. It’s not that I can’t find the beacon. I know exactly what direction it’s in. And it’s pointing right at the apple orchard and farmland. The problem is I don’t know how FAR I may have to walk.

Rather than try and stumble blindly into the signal, I’ll head to different parts of town and take a signal scan so I can triangulate the exact position tomorrow. I’d have done it today, but it started pouring rain about an hour after sunrise.

Rainbow Dash (I really do like that name better than ‘Thunderbow’) dropped by too. I’m guessing she’d been coordinating the storm and now she wanted out of the mess.

It was a rather intriguing day to say the least. Having grown accustom to Twilight’s rapidly improving English skills, I’ve allowed myself to be complacent with having a ‘pony’ translator on hand. Dash pretty much wiped the slate clean and almost forced me back to square one.

I say ‘almost’ because now that I was aware of how little I could understand her talking, I was also aware of how much I could read her body language. In the time I’ve spent in Sparkle’s company, I’ve inadvertently picked up many of the more subtle gesture habits the ponies had. I could almost grasp at some of the more basic ideas she tried to communicate, such as being hungry after working so hard in the morning. Thus I shared an MRE with her. Interestingly, she didn’t seem the least bit bothered by the meat I was eating. I cannot make any conclusions.

We passed a considerable amount of the day just goofing off. I was surprised that here and there I actually picked up on a few ‘pony’ words. I guess being around a pony who was constantly translating back and forth was going to do that eventually, but it wouldn’t be enough to really cross the gap. I made a game out of it, which Rainbow Dash seemed to enjoy to some extent. But unlike her friend Twilight Sparkle, she seemed to have a much shorter attention span, and very little patience. Anything too difficult and she’d turn away and look for something to mess with. I learned quickly not to leave anything I didn’t want her to mess with where she could find it.

Eventually, the pegasus just curled up for a nap in one of the passenger seats, ignoring any further attempts to ‘play’. She was probably tired from working anyway.

Some time in the mid-afternoon hours, she awoke while I was reviewing possible ascent profiles to reach orbit. I didn’t notice her at first. I was busy trying to figure out the best time of day and the direction of launch so that I could reach the Arrow with a minimum delta. It was only when she tapped me on the shoulder and pointed at the simulation (scared the crap out of me) that I took heed of her.

THIS seemed to get and hold her attention. Then again, I shouldn’t be surprised. A fast flying pegasus like her should naturally find flying stuff interesting.

I wish I had Sparkle here to translate, because what came next was like a torrent of pony questions. I caught the five Ws in the mix (surprised me that I recognized them...) But I couldn’t answer them adequately. All I could do was bring up the computer and show the Pegasus various videos on all things aerospace.

I wouldn’t say she gobbled it up like Twilight did taking to language, but she practically drooled at the two hundred year old SR-71 Blackbird. Perhaps I can build on my interactions with her with this material. It would certainly help me expand my associations with pony-folk other than Twilight Sparkle.


Mission Log:
October 18th, 2257

I still haven’t seen Twilight Sparkle since I’d shocked her and sent her home. It is possible that my actions concerning her were over the top, but I am not yet worried. The last time she disappeared for a few days had been longer. And even if there was a problem, I’m sure one of her friends would find a way to communicate to me that there was trouble.

I set out early this morning to triangulate the location of the beacon I’d planted on the spectrum analyzer. Since I was going to be walking all over ‘Ponyville’, I decided to make it my morning run.

This would probably mark the first time I ran through the town proper without some kind of escort. Many of the locals appeared to be apprehensive of my presence so early in the morning. More so because I was clad only in my running shorts and shoes, and carrying what would be to them, a strange, beeping stick. As far as I could tell, it wasn’t my lack of attire that bothered them (the times they’ve seen me I've been wearing a GSA ground uniform). I’m willing to bet it was my, to them, relatively furless body.

However, my lack of clothing did seem to be of particular issue with at least one pony. When I stopped to take my first reading with my tracking device, it was near the boutique that belonged to Twilight’s friend Rarity. Apparently the beeping coming off my tracker was louder than I thought, because while I was busy scribbling location, signal strength, and bearing on a wrist mounted note pad, she came out of the door next to me.

She promptly chewed me out.

How did I know she was chewing me out? Simple... I recognized the aggressive postures from the other ponies when they had been angry. And this was the most aggressive I’d seen her behave towards me. I am not sure, but I am suspect that after the situation we’d gone through a few weeks back involving her friend, Apple... something-or-other, and the explanation she’d gotten from Twilight, my appearance now in almost ‘nothing’ may have been misinterpreted as ‘indecent’.

I got a toga out of it though. Well, it was a white sheet of cloth, but it’s my log, I can call it a toga if I want. Toga-toga... Toooooga.

The second place I took a reading from, now looking like I belonged in a fraternity, was the bridge on the far side of the market. Nothing really interesting to report, but I did meet this pony that looked a lot like the one I’d seen my first few days on the ground. Poor thing looked more terrified of me than my grandmother’s cat, Rex. Maybe she was from out of town. I recall butterflies on her flank mark.

I left her alone to get my third reading and decided to make sure I got it a good distance from the others. So I jogged to the farthest corner of town I could get.

Surprise-surprise, I was in the middle of writing down my last set of readings when I was nearly scared right out of my ‘Toga’ by a sonic boom.

Okay, I’m an aerospace pilot. All you boys know I know DAMN WELL what a sonic boom sounds like, and that was no clap of thunder. I can tell you that much. I spent at least five minutes looking at the sky for a possible source. Contrails, meteor fireballs, even previously unseen pony military aircraft. But nothing...

Imagine just how much more startled I was when I turned to head back to the Raven and found Rainbow Dash grinning at me. I think I about knocked her right out of the spot she was hovering. Last time anything got in my face like that, I had unknowingly ran the risk of being turned to stone. (I think.)

But that didn’t faze her, because not a second later did she start babbling in pony with such a level of excitement I had only ever seen from Pink-Pie. I honestly couldn’t catch a thing she said, but in retrospect, she looked pretty disheveled and exhausted. Perhaps she had been nearby and the sonic boom had startled her too.

I did my best to calm her down, but for some reason, she only seemed to become agitated, if not downright hostile. But there was nothing I could do since I couldn’t decipher her endless stream of incoherence.

We parted ways with her in a foul mood, and I returned to the Raven to wash up and plug my readings into the map. And while I’m thinking about it, I’m going to pull the Arrow’s high-resolution camera surveillance footage from the ten to noon hours. See if I can’t spot anything passing overhead.


Mission Log:
October 19th, 2257

I sit here this evening pondering two unusual things.

The first being that my triangulation seems to place the location of my spectrum analyzer, and by logical extension, my recording instruments in a secluded corner of the Apple orchard. I don’t see it (theft) as something Apple- Cowgirl would do. However I checked to make sure my directions weren’t mixed up or my bearings misread. That signal was definitely on her property.

The second was that the Arrow actually DID have something to show me concerning that sonic boom yesterday. At 10:33 and 40 seconds local time, the high-resolution camera tracked a refraction anomaly in the shape of a cone about a half-mile east of town. The anomaly clocked at approximately 300 meters per second traveling on a westward course until it vanished in a flash. The thermal imaging camera captured the same event. A warm object could be seen traveling along a westward course, building up velocity until it seemed to break the sound barrier. Unfortunately thermal imaging lost it over Ponyville. I have no idea what it was that could have broken the sound barrier. But I know at least myself and Rainbow Dash had noticed it.

I’m sure if I can get Twilight to translate for me, I can explain to Dash what that sound was. Perhaps I’ll go visit her in the morning. I hope she’s not mad about the other day.


Mission Log:
October 21st, 2257

It rained again today but I didn’t let that stop me from doing what I had to do in visiting Twilight’s library.

Apparently kicking her out of the Raven had done little to stop her from pursuing her continued research into the translations of her friend’s names. The place was a disaster. Books and papers everywhere, three portable chalk boards with a combination of English lettering and pony script on them, and in the center of the hurricane, Twilight, passed out drooling next to a spilled ink well. She had a feather pen hovering next to her head somehow in one of her ‘magic’ TK fields, spinning in place as if it was stuck in the last motion she had directed before she’d finally succumbed.

Spike was in the process of trying to quietly organize part of the mess when I showed up. He seemed no less exhausted, if I could make anything of his lizard-like features.

I decided to help clean, which he seemed grateful for. I think. Poor little squirt looked tired but seemed to gain renewed vigor with my assistance. By the time Sparkle finally woke up, it was past noon and we’d managed to put a few FEMA crews to shame. The only thing left of the mess was the part she had been sleeping on.

She seemed surprised I was there and began desperately trying to apologize for the mess. At least, until she noticed there was no mess. Twilight really did look terrible though. She had ink on her face, her mane was frazzled, and I could smell that she likely hadn’t taken a bath in a few days. Though while Spike and myself had been cleaning we tried to ignore it. At least there were no flies in here. But I was reminded of a drunken bum that’d fallen asleep with her last bottle of Jack Danie-

Wait a second...

[LOG TERMINATED]


Mission Log:
October 21st, 2257
[SUPPLEMENTAL]

I just finished looking through the computer on the history of alcoholic beverages. And I can’t believe it. The reason Twilight Sparkle can’t find a proper translation for her Apple friend’s name is because the translation doesn’t work directly. She was looking for the direct translation that kept leading her to the words ‘health’ and ‘vigor.’ But given the nature of pony names, there’s almost always a certain ironic meaning to their names that match their personalities. For ‘Cowgirl’, her name translates to Apple ‘health’, but that doesn’t seem to make the right kind of sense. Not with names like ‘Rainbow Dash’, and ‘Twilight Sparkle.’ Those names seem to strangely fit like socks and shoes... ‘Apple Health’ does not.

But there is one thing that fits, it also happens to be an alcoholic beverage that fits the theme of her name and personality perfectly.

‘Apple Jack.’

And the word ‘Jack’ itself according to the computer records once meant ‘health’ and ‘vigor’.

When I tell Twilight tomorrow morning, her mind will probably be blown.


Mission Log:
October 22nd, 2257

Called it.

When I visited Twilight Sparkle this morning and explained what I had discovered, she practically started bouncing around in excitement. It only took her a few minutes to examine the meaning, review the printouts I’d brought, and confirm what I found. But when she did, it was like a bomb had exploded and she started bounding around repeating the same sound over and over again like it was the greatest thing in the world.

It took some time to allow her to get control of herself, but once she did, we got down to business.

I forgot to mention in yesterday’s logs that I’d been talking to her about the disappearance of my instruments. After explaining where I had traced them too, she agreed to help me recover them, and that she would have a talk with Apple-Cowgirl (Now Applejack) about why I was detecting them on her property.

Apparently, she’d had a talk with her friend once she’d cleaned herself up yesterday afternoon. And the farm-pony would be expecting us to drop by today to find out if things would be under control.

That seemed to be the plan when we walked over to the farm. However, when we arrived, Applejack seemed a bit nervous. Twilight explained to me that Applejack said things might be a bit more complicated than we first thought.

The farm pony led us to a back corner of the farm. There was what appeared to be a small, elevated shack back there. Something that reminded me of a cross between a tree house and a chicken coop...

Seeing that pretty much confirmed my suspicions that the pony children were the thieves. And I couldn’t fault them for it. After all, the stolen instruments would probably be ‘really cool’ to them.

But when we opened the door... Well, let me just describe what I saw in detail.

I recall immediately noticing six ponies. Four ‘children’. Orange, white, and yellow for one group of three, and a fourth whose best description I could come up with would be ‘rocky road’ ice cream. The remaining two ponies were much, much bigger.

One a dark blue color which I recall locking eyes with almost the moment I recognized it, and the other, larger than the first still, a silk-white creature who’s entire posture and bearing just screamed ‘In Charge!’ at me.

If that wasn’t enough to tell me that things were indeed ‘more complicated’ than we first thought, both Applejack and Twilight Sparkle immediately kneeling on their forelegs made it click in my mind what I had been told a few weeks ago.

These were the pony ‘Princesses’.

So four kids and two pony princesses were the thieves...

I’ll just end this log here and say in the most sarcastic text I can manage:

‘Lovely...’

Archive Six: Surprises

View Online

[DRAMATIC READING LINK]
ACCESSING…_

PASSWORD ACCEPTED

OPENING - ARROW MISSION 18: LOG DATABASE

-WARNING-

The Following log collection contains sensitive information about the intelligent inhabitants of Omega Centauri II, codename ‘EQUESTRIA’. For the continued safety of this species and those still in contact with them, any political, economic, or military information found in this archive must remain confidential.

Any form of unauthorized access, reproduction, distribution, or presentation of this information is prohibited and will be punished by immediate employment termination followed by swift legal action.

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Please type your name, your password, and ‘I Agree’ to continue… Your name and time of access will be logged and is subject to review at any time.

If you do not agree, hit ESCAPE, now. Your attempt to access has already been logged. Multiple unsuccessful access attempts will be investigated.

[B.Brooks ********* I agree]

[ACCESS GRANTED]


MISSION LOG:
October 26th, 2257

A lot has happened in the last few days. A lot more than I would have expected from just trying to recover my stolen tools. It’s taken me some time to collect my thoughts, but I’ve had a doozy to think about for the last few days. And It’s…

Let me just get it off my shoulders.

The sun and the moon... The system… It…

They CONTROL it.

I’m not joking. I’m not insane. I didn’t dream or imagine it. I took one of the doctor’s special mental health assessments, and aside from the onset of paranoia, I scored fine. See the data file marked ‘NOTINSANE10232257’ for assessment details.

I know it still seems insane, but I watched it unfold. I have no scientific basis for it either, that’s the worst part.

Still…

The two princess ponies are more than just monarchs, they literally control the day and night cycle. The taller, white one controls the movement of Omega Centauri Prime, while the smaller, dark one that’s been following me for some time has control of the orbital trajectory of the local moon.

How? I have no Earthly idea. No scientific principle I know of can account for a creature that weighs less than 400 kilograms being able to yank a one-solar-mass stellar body across the sky short of being drunk under the table by Zang and doped up on half the stuff in Doctor Zepher’s medicine cabinet at the same time.

Considering that both Doctor Zepher and Mr. Xiaou are about 3,750 lightyears away at the moment, that rules being drunk and high out.

Unless I got into some kind of toxic plant or fungus, but most of the stuff here just gives me a rash… Especially these blue flowers I came across in the forest a while back. I don’t think I mentioned them in any of my previous logs. Nasty little buggers are sky blue and show up really well even in dim light. I picked one for analysis a while back, and the little vicious thing stung like bull nettle and itched worse than poison ivy. All I know beyond that is Twilight said they call it something like ‘Poison Joke’.

I didn’t find it funny. Maybe Rarity had been using that for a color dye when she made me that one shirt. Twilight seemed to think it odd I only got a rash.

But I digress…

As far as I know, no scientific principle known to man can explain how the princess can control an entire star. All I’m left with is the field of science Twilight calls ‘magic’. Honestly, calling it magic seems the right decision at this point. I mean, it’s just not scientifically possible!

It’s…

Okay, new approach. I know what I’m typing is practically a ramble at this point, and Twilight Sparkle is looking over my shoulder and laughing. She’s been with me the last four days keeping me company while I’ve been fighting off a total mental breakdown. If she’s laughing, I must be letting this get to me again.

Let me start with what happened on the 22nd.

After the being lead to the little ‘clubhouse’ and discovering the presence of the two rulers, the situation went a bit surreal. I remember the blue one. I’d barely caught glimpses of her over my stay on this planet, but I’d recognize that midnight blue, sparkling mane anywhere.

Introductions were a simple affair. Twilight Sparkle seemed unfazed by the presence of her nation’s leaders. In fact, she almost seemed affectionate to the larger one, and the princess in return.

As far as Sparkle could translate for me on the fly, their names are Princess Heaven, and Princess Moon, respectively.

Like just about every other pony name I’ve come across, they fit like a glove.

That point wasn’t lost on me then either. Considering the rather disturbing correlation between pony names and their abilities, I had to ask.

Twilight explained it. And at the time, I thought she was just slipping in translation again. It had become clear that I wasn’t going to take what she said literally, so after a few minutes she just gave up and moved on.

The reason for the disappearance of my equipment was simple. The princesses were curious, but didn’t want to disturb or frighten me. Apparently princess Moon had been in contact with the small, rocky-road colored pony child. And from there, that child had gotten the help of the other three to make this - I guess club house - into a little ‘forward base’.

Apparently there was more they weren’t telling me, but judging by some of the objects in the room (a few gold trinkets especially), they had been ‘paid’ for their cooperation.

Now while that strikes me as a bit of a dumb move to have children go and steal weird objects from the alien, Twilight continued to explain that the one responsible for the thefts was actually princess Moon. She apparently swiped the objects in the dead of night and brought them here. And she had the children in on it to make sure they wouldn’t blow her secret.

Princess Heaven actually had no active part, and only happened to be here because she wanted to see what had her sister (sisters?) so excited. There was talk that princess Moon wasn’t as good in social situations, and that the larger sister was actually here to try and talk her into returning the tools before problems occurred… It’s like princess Heaven was expecting me to hop back in the raven, head into space, and call for my endlessly huge alien invasion fleet.

Okay, Sparkle’s laughing at that one.

Anyway, the explanation was hurried, and Twilight apologized on her ruler’s request multiple times. I wanted to be angry, really. After the trouble I went through, I was kind of looking forward to giving a couple of kids a big old ‘angry alien’ scare… Who wouldn’t?

But princess Moon’s enthusiasm for my measurement equipment soon spilled over to the rest of the group.

When all was said and done, I ended up showing them what each tool did, and why. Let me just say that I had the entire group wrapped around my finger before I’d even finished having Twilight explain the seismograph.

Twlight just hit me!

Okay, so they love the advanced technology. I would say that’s obvious the way Twilight Sparkle’s been obsessed with the Raven’s computer terminal.

She hit me again!

yOu brought It oN yoUrseLf.

Okay, now she’s typing with her TK. And horribly at that… I’m going to leave that right there just so everyone can see just what I have to deal with.

yEs, I hIt him AgaIn.

That’s it…

[LOG TERMINATED]


MISSION LOG:
October 26th, 2257
EXTRA

Hello every human! It’s me, Twilight Sparkle! I think my ability to type words in your language has gotten better since the last time I got to try this. I can’t tell unless Randy checks it for me. But he’s not going to do that right now. He tried to lock me out when all I was doing was, what’s the word? Bopping? I think that’s it, bopping him on the head for saying such mean things about me. Seriously, I’m not that bad… am I? Please don’t hate us because I was hitting Randy. We’re not evil or mean or anything. What did I do? Well, he can’t lock me out since I can teleport, and it seems that humans, as I am sure you know, don’t respond very well to electric shock. That little wire thing he did to me a little while back works just as well on him as it does on me. So here I am typing for Randy since he can’t do it at the moment. Something doesn’t look right about this though. I can’t put my hoof on it. I’ll just get to the point. Randy’s been a little scared the last few days after we finally showed him how princess- I’m not sure how you would pronounce it in human. I think it turns into princess ‘Heaven’, but don’t quote me on that. My human english isn’t perfect and I had to learn this language from scratch. I think I’m doing a pretty good job just getting these weird contractions I think you call it down right. I don’t get it but I get it. You shorten sets of words by putting that apostrophy mark between them. It just seems lazy but I think I like it. Where was I? Oh yeah! We showed Randy how the princess raises the sun each day, and he just sort of freaked out. I’ve been around him for several of your human ‘months’ now and I’ve never seen him so… how do you phrase it? Shaken up? I’ll just say I was worried. I think he finds the idea of the princesses controlling the sun and the moon scary for some reason. I wonder who controls it on your world. Oh! I know! I’ll look it up! I’m sitting right in front of this computer after all! So Randy’s a bit upset. I didn’t want anything bad to happen so I stayed here to make sure he’d be alright. I know princess Heaven is still feeling bad for scaring him so badly, and she’s keeping princess Moon from coming to talk to him about all the machines. She just lovedsbhmnty

[LOG TERMINATED]


MISSION LOG
October 26th, 2257
SUPPLEMENTAL

Well, I can definitely tell unicorns aren’t psychic. Twilight’s glaring at me for using the 'taser' on her again, but she won’t be able to use her ‘magic’ for a little while, so maybe I can get this log finished in peace.

I really need to change my password though. She must have a photographic memory or something. Looks like she managed to break my password and logged in to type her own log entry.

Sheesh…

I need to inform her about the importance of line breaks.

But what she said is pretty much right on. I did lose it a bit for a while there. After the events on the 22nd, Twilight told me that I needed to wake up early the next day to see what she meant with Princess Heaven.

As you might note from the log above, I’m still not quite to grips with it. I stood there and watched while Princess Heaven RAISED THE SUN.

I don’t mean metaphorically either. We’re talking ancient mythology, Greek god, supernatural-styled ‘make a dramatic gesture and up pops the sun, right on cue’ type of raise the sun.

And she didn’t stop there. I wouldn’t have believed it as anything other than a well-timed bit of trickery to fool her subjects, but she then demonstrated the ability to halt the sunrise and reverse it, back and forth at the horizon and a few other motion tricks, just to prove she was indeed in control.

I think after that I had a nervous breakdown.

Wouldn’t you? I know sitting there, reading what I’m saying just doesn’t have the same impact as watching it happen right in front of you. So maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll question my sanity. I know I did. Heck, maybe I’m sick from when that Cockathrace stared at me, and I’ve been hallucinating this entire time…

I need to calm down again. Twilight Sparkle can’t use magic, but she can still bop me on the head.

Anyway... The implications. There’s more to controlling the sun than just ensuring a nice day and night cycle. There’s the fact that this star system functions in a geocentric model. (Antiquity would have a fit if they found out about this.) The star is kept circling the PLANET, rather than the other way around. The forces keeping this system in equilibrium must be colossal. And then there’s the acceleration factor involved in making an entire star the size of the sun jump several degrees of elevation in the matter of a few seconds.

I might be able to start unraveling it at some point, but right now, the best I can come up with is the unicorn TK ability. Princess Heaven and Princess Moon are both larger, and appear to be a different species from the rest. So it’s possible they possess much more powerful forms of unicorn TK. Though if that’s true, that’s… Well, the term ‘godlike’ comes to mind.

I know someone at the department of defense might be looking at this and trying to figure out what kind of threat level this could be. I think it’s a no-brainer. We have a creature that can throw a STAR at you. As far as I’m concerned, I would say antagonizing it would rank somewhere between stupid and monumentally suicidal on a global level.

I mean seriously, it’s just… I don’t know. I’ve got too many questions, and I’m completely stressed out. I’ve been like this for days. I don’t think I’ve even slept properly since then, and I can’t even remember what happened to those children ponies. I guess given how Earth-like this world was, I got complacent and forgot just how strange the star system was on a fundamental level. It’s the whole reason I’m here in the first place.

I think I’m going to take this one back to square one. Before I can rationalize what’s going on, maybe I should look at things piece by piece. There’s an order to this system, so if I just relax and take it one step at a time, I can figure things out. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll start by trading Sparkle information on how a normal celestial model works. Maybe if I can determine WHY the ponies control the system rather than Kepler’s laws of planetary motion, I can start to figure out HOW they do it.

But for now, I must sleep. Twilight made this strange honey smelling drink for me. She says it’ll help me sleep better and calm my nerves. God knows I need it.


MISSION LOG:
October 27th, 2257

I don’t know what was in that stuff Twilight gave me yesterday, but I think it worked. After four days of insomnia with my mind going a million miles an hour, that was the best night’s sleep I’ve managed to get.

I also think waking up to find Twilight taking a nap at my feet rather cute. It’s a strange kind of feeling, like having a pet, slash little sister, slash daughter being worried about you and falling asleep making sure you’re going to be okay. I’m glad she’s not in here to read this at the moment, it’s a little sappy. And when you guys read this, I don’t want to hear a word about it.

So today I thought about how I’m going to tackle this problem. Like I said in yesterday’s entry, before I go about figuring out how the princess controls the motion of O.C. Prime, I should first figure out WHY the ponies are controlling it.

This is important. Under natural planetary motion, this world should be rotating on its axis and revolving around the star, much like Earth. In its current configuration however, the system makes a total joke of physics. If whatever’s holding the system together falters, the star would fly off in a random direction based on its last observed motion. At the same time, the planet would be hurled into deep space when normal orbital mechanics take over and the Oberth Effect kicks in.

That means there has to be a reason the ponies have the system set up like a game of celestial tether ball. Otherwise, they should or would be using a far less risky celestial configuration.

I think I’m going to start by seeing if there are any ‘stellar’ reasons. If I map out the motion of the nearest stars, I can see if there were any celestial close calls, or other cataclysmic events that would warrant effectively grabbing a star and slinging it around. I’ll also see if Twilight can get me any ancient pony history. Maybe there’s a clue there as well.

Rainbow Dash came by this afternoon after Twilight left. I’ve been seeing more of her recently. Though the last few days I haven’t been in the state to entertain her, or be entertained. She seemed happy to see me out and about the Raven doing what I guess would be my ‘normal’ routine of checks at this point. I’ve got weeds growing around the tires on the landing gear. That can be fixed with a few seconds of hover-thrust.

The pegasus proved easy to entertain though. After what I learned about her the last time I let her into the ship, throwing some aerospace videos up kept her occupied for a while. I think I might have picked up on the pony word for ‘awesome’.


MISSION LOG:
October 28th, 2257

I was glad to resume my exercise routine this morning. After this last week, the physical exertion did wonders for relaxing me and helped me think about where to start stellar traces.

I also met that yellow pony from the bridge again. The one with the pink mane that looked about ready to jump at her own shadow… She appeared to be caring for a squirrel (oh, I HATE squirrels… blasted tree rats) when I stopped my jog to take a water break.

I’m not sure as to how long we just stared at each other, but something about the timid pony’s eyes made it impossible to ignore her once we’d acknowledged each other’s presence. I tried to greet her the same way I’d heard Twilight greet her friends after a while, but all it seemed to do was frighten her.

Considering my track record with the inhabitants of this would, I really would like to add ‘befriend the timid pony’ to my list of things to achieve.

Until I find out what her name is, I’m going to call her ‘Dormouse’.

I left Dormouse alone after it was obvious she wasn’t up to interacting with the ‘alien’. I think it helped. She didn’t quite take her eyes off me while she continued caring for that rodent pest, but she didn’t cower like she’d done on the bridge.

Maybe it was my lack of toga.

I noticed not long after that I was being followed. One of the young ponies from that clubhouse, orange color, didn’t seem to have a flank mark like the adults. I must have missed that when I met the princesses.

She, yes it’s a she as well, followed me around on what seemed to be the equivalent to a skate board or small scooter. Strange considering she’s a pegasus. But maybe she’s cripple or lame. Her wings seemed a bit small if I recall. Perhaps it’s a birth defect, which would be sad if true.

I think I’ll call her Scooter, or Scoots for now. And given the intuitive nature of pony names, it wouldn’t surprise me if that was close to what it really is.

Now, the only real problem with Scoots is was that she was a bit annoying. It’s not that she got in my way or caused problems. It’s just that she seemed unable to make up her mind.

She followed me around for most of the day but never worked up the nerve to actually greet me. And every time I would attempt to take care of that for her, she’d zip away on that scooter faster than a cockroach when the lights come on. Then five minutes later, she’d be back, her wings buzzing like an undersized two-cycle weed-eater engine.

That buzzing sound about drove me to distraction when I went to check on my (returned) recording gear.

In the afternoon, two of the other pony children from the clubhouse showed up and seemed to join her. One was a ‘regular’ pony with yellow fur, and wore a bright red ribbon in her hair. The other was a white unicorn. The latter seemed to be familiar beyond just having seen her before.

In retrospect, perhaps she’s related to Rarity. But I don’t remember seeing the little one around when I got dragged into that shop of hers. Would that make Rarity a mother? I don’t think I‘ve looked into pony social and family relationships too much. There’s just so much here to go over I need a full crew to really get a grasp on.

Regardless, I have to call them something, so that makes it Scoots, Ribbon, and Pearl (since the unicorn has this pearly white gloss to her coat) respectively.

Sparkle’s going to have a field day when she finds out I keep giving ponies new names.

Given my experience with kids back home… Well, trouble with a capital T was afoot… ahoof… whatever. Sure as you put three kids in a room and put ideas in their heads, something bad happens.

Let me just say, three quadrupeds trying to mimic upright human locomotion, homemade stilts, giant rubber bands, springs from who knows what, a beehive, and the smartest swarm of bees I’ve ever had the displeasure of saving children from in my life. Human or pony…

But luckily for me, it seems Ribbon belongs to Applejack. Daughter or sister, I’m not sure. But the orange pony seemed sympathetic to the plight the younger pony and her friends caused me.

I need more ointment for these welts…


MISSION LOG:
October 29th, 2257

IT was watching me again… and by ‘IT’ I mean Princess Moon. I appreciate how she seems to be ‘checking to make sure I’m okay’ as Twilight put it, but the whole midnight stalker routine’s long since gotten a bit old.

I mean, I get it. I’m the alien, I’m really interesting, and she doesn’t want to frighten me. But I’ve met her now, so she could just, well, knock on the hatch instead of lurk in the darkness. The rest of the pony inhabitants around here seem to have gotten the right idea.

Maybe I should ask Twilight to contact the princess and tell her. She came in today, but she didn’t stick around long enough for me to ask her. Instead, she dropped by, printed a whole bunch of stuff off the computer, organized it into a folder, and made off with it.

I swear, you give a pony free run of a computer for two months and they act like they own the place. (I’m joking of course…) But after all that printing, my paper supplies are starting to run out. I’m a lone man on a mission in the middle of galactic nowhere. Technically I shouldn’t even need a printer.

After she left, I checked what she accessed. It looks like she printed documents on orbital mechanics, aerospace design, advanced mathematics, and it looks like sections of the Raven’s operations manual. I’m pretty sure she didn’t print the whole thing (I don’t have enough paper on board for that), but she got into SOMETHING.

The pegasi set it up to rain today, so aside from Sparkle’s visit, there wasn’t much to do but go over some celestial charts.


MISSION LOG:
October 30th, 2257

Today was… Interesting.

I was just starting to think ‘what could possibly surprise me anymore on a magical planet filled with sapient spectral hued ponies’?

No, I didn’t actually think that, but I should have. Then it would have made Pink Pie’s little stunt poetically perfect.

After learning that Twilight Sparkle can perform active teleportation, I’m no longer surprised about Pink getting into the Raven despite a locked hatch.

What gets me is how she seems to end up in places in which she has no business fitting. Do ponies have a cat’s spine or something? Seriously, a 60 kilogram, cotton candy-pink pony half my size should not be fitting into the space between hatches for the main cabin and the crew habitat module. But there she was, face pressed against the safety glass, and her body wedged firmly between them while they were both sealed and secured. It’s a wonder she didn’t suffocate.

But that’s just the start. Pink was rather enthusiastic, more so than normal anyway, and managed to drag me out into the rain shortly after I’d finished my breakfast. We got soaked, but she didn’t seem to care at all. I probably would have complained, but it was a warm morning, so the rain was more pleasant than chilly.

We ended up on Applejack’s farm, in front of large, old barn of sorts. I was just about to label this as Pie going off the deep end when they jumped me.

Do you know what it sounds like to have ten, alien pony creatures from another world shout ‘surprise’ in English with pretty good accuracy? Well, I do.

As it turned out, I had been led right into a surprise party. The party was my official ‘Welcome to Equestria’ celebration.

No, I did not come up with that name. Twilight Sparkle did. Apparently it was something she’d done during the time she was trying to figure out Applejack’s name translation. So now at least I have something to call this land or world other than ‘Omega Centauri II’. ‘Equestria’ sounds nice. Hopefully it sticks.

They also had a banner, in English. Twilight said it was easy enough to put together with Rarity’s help. But I’m still impressed that she went through all the trouble to get that made.

Now, the party I have to admit by human standards was somewhat silly. If anyone has kids, this would have been perfect for them. I’m not going to type out details.

I also got to get a better handle on which ponies were Twilight Sparkle’s friends, or herd, or whatever grouping qualifies. I spotted all the ones I’d already accounted for, and some of the kids I’d met. And then there was Doormouse. I hadn’t expected her at all. It was nice to meet her in a situation where she didn’t look like she was going to die of fright.

There was also that larger stallion I remember Applejack talking to my first week here. Big, red… ‘Big Red’ sounds good.

At least, until Twilight sorts name translations out.

All in all, it was an interesting experience. I wish I had known about it ahead of time. Even a leak hinting at it would have been nice. Then I could have brought some recording gear. Social activities involving the pony folk would have been perfect to add to the data I’ve been collecting.

By the way, I managed to save a cupcake from ‘Pink: The Living Sugar Rush’. Really good... I also got to keep the banner. I think it’s made of something similar to satin.


MISSION LOG:
October 31st, 2257

Happy Halloween!

Well, maybe for you guys. Honestly, the days have been getting longer and warmer the last few weeks. Don’t ask me how. The planet doesn’t have an axial tilt or any significant rotation. The best I can do is collect as much data as I can and focus on the stuff I’ve already dedicated resources to.

Not today though… I woke up with a splitting headache. I’d swear I had a hangover, but as far as I know, there’s no part of the party I can’t remember, and the young ones drank as much punch as I did. So I doubt it was spiked with anything.

Maybe there was something in that cupcake I ate. I haven’t really been analyzing anything given to me for a while now. Everything’s turned up safe.

But enough hindsight. Not much to report today except Twilight coming by and writing notes down. She seemed a little burned out too.


MISSION LOG:
November 1st, 2257

I took a nap during the day because of that ‘hangover’ yesterday. So I woke up some time in the middle of the night and just couldn’t sleep any more.

I popped the hatch to get some night air, and found Princess Moon lurking right next to the viewport. About scared the sparkles off her mane too. And of course, the sound she made when I scared her startled me nicely as well. Man that was loud… She’s got a set of lungs on her. I hit my head on the hatch as a result. You tend to forget just how solid a vacuum hatch is until you crack your skull on it.

But I guess that was a good thing. The larger pony’s concern for my pain outweighed her natural habit of disappearing every time I noticed her. There’s not much to say beyond that. Without Twilight Sparkle to translate for me, we just kind of sat there staring at the night sky.

Actually, I stared at the sky, trying to pinpoint the Arrow in high orbit. She just seemed to be busy trying not to look like she was pretending to hide the fact that she was inspecting me up close. I didn’t need to inspect her back though. I had her right in front of a camera.

That lasted until just before sunrise or so. Then she took off. My guess is that she’s the nocturnal one, being the princess for the moon, and her larger sister would be up during the day.

I did inventory checks, and I’m pretty much down to the nasty rations. Bumming the local cuisine has helped stretch things like I predicted. But it’s insufficient as a full substitute. At my given rate of consumption, I’ll need to resupply by, coincidentally, the 26th. Otherwise I really WILL have to bum food off the ponies. I doubt it would be too much trouble, but that’s not a game I should be playing.

Since I’m going to need to plan for a liftoff within the next three weeks, I ran diagnostics on the Raven and started doing physical inspections. The number two SCRAM engine failed a response test at the turbopump. That’s the number seven turbopump incidentally, which is the same one that had the sticking valve. I thought I fixed it the first time, but I guess there’s more wrong with it than just the mechanical fault. I’ve got to trace and fix that problem. If I don’t have SCRAMs, I don’t make orbit, end of story.


MISSION LOG:
November 3rd, 2257

Rainbow Dash showed up with Twilight Sparkle yesterday while I was hunting for that SCRAM problem. With their help, I was able to pull the pump and the valve without breaking my back.

However, after inspecting it, I haven’t been able to determine what the cause of the fault is. The new valve on the turbopump isn’t sticking like the old one was, so I know it’s not that. It could be electrical, but so far, I haven’t found any wiring problems and the electrical checks came back clear. I don’t want to rule it as a fault-sensor malfunction, seeing as if I’m wrong, I’m stuck here. It’s going to take some work, but I’m going to have to tear the turbopump down to inspect it.

As for today, Sparkle came by again. She said that if I was willing, she was planning a short trip to the capital and wanted me to come along. Despite the work I’ve got to do, I think I can postpone my resupply run. Assuming the ponies are going to keep me fed…

A trip to their capital would be the perfect chance to record information about their government and society. I’m sure that’s something the anthropology department that’s going to appear shortly after these logs get proccessed will greatly appreciate.

Maybe while I’m at the capital, I can get some hints about how Princess Heaven gets the ability to invert the physics of an entire star system.


MISSION LOG:
November 4th, 2257

I spent the day getting ready for this trip of Twilight’s. She dropped by about noon to inform me she’d wake me up early in order to catch the train.

Can you believe they have a railroad?

Twilight stuck around after that and spent the day wasting more of my dwindling printer paper supply. However, I was compensated for this with a really nice, fresh apple pie, courtesy of Applejack for putting up with her little sister a week ago. At least I know it’s her sister and not her daughter now.

And it looks like Twilight went through the Raven’s operations manual again. She accessed the procedures for orbital insertion, deorbit, reentry course management, and landing. You’d almost think she was expecting to fly this bird. I’m sorry, but passenger, maybe. Pilot… Not happening.

Ah well, I better hit the sack. I’ve got an early morning ahead of me.

Archive Seven: Bigger Surprises

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MISSION LOG:
November 12th, 2257

Man I’m exhausted… I never expected to be gone for an entire week. I’ll just start this log by mentioning secure file X112257. There are photos, and videos, and all kinds of goodies for the scientists to tear into.

Now, where to begin? If I had any of the stuff I had at home, there would have been real-time updates to the log almost non-stop. But of course, I was only allowed to bring the rugged equipment for a space mission like this. ‘All the fancy stuff’s too delicate’ the guy said. ‘The subspace displacement will fry it’ he said…

But ranting about it won’t make our technology any more resistant to displacement flux, so I’ll just skip it.

I suppose I should begin with my impressions of the capital city. (Well, the highlights anyway. If I try and type up everything, I'll never be finished.) If anyone recalls the log entry from when I first made planetfall, I had passed over a 'settlement' on the side of a mountain.

Turns out I buzzed their capital at mach two.

I guess that explains how Princess Moon picked up on me so fast.

But anyway, the capital itself is built into the side of the mountain and partially suspended right off a cliff. Back home, the first engineer who sees the pictures will probably throw a fit. At least a good thirty percent of the outer city structure is suspended above a bone-chilling nineteen-hundred foot drop. It's a nice view if you don't mind heights. However I made it a point to stay away from the rails. I'm an aerospace pilot, not an adrenaline junkie.

The actual building architecture is a little more standard. Generally it's mostly stone and wood and gives off a 'middle ages' kind of atmosphere. Colorful though... They had a lot of flags and banners on the various tower structures. Photos, in the file. I'm not describing everything in detail.

The people- well, ponies were interesting too. I'll note that unlike here in 'Ponyville', the demographics are considerably different. Here, unicorns are few and far between. But up at the capital, I couldn't go a hundred paces without seeing two, or three. I did a lot of staring just trying to mentally catalog it all.

Speaking of staring, I got a LOT of it.

A LOT OF IT.

I don't know what it is, but for some reason the ponies around 'Ponyville' adapted to my presence rather fast. Most ponies generally moved on from the 'look and stare' action after maybe ten to fifteen seconds early on in my visit. But here in the capital, I held the attention of many of the residents to the point that once it actually stopped traffic.

Carriages. Pony-drawn. Just want to note that real quick.

And it didn't stop with the staring. Upon arrival, Twilight must have been stopped every few dozen paces by one of the locals. Apparently the way I was following her, a good half of them thought I was some exotic jungle pet. The rest seemed to think I was some tame monster from some place called the Forever Sovereign Forest... (I'm starting to think Twilight is indulging on larger English words. Her vocabulary is progressively becoming more and more multi-syllable to the point she's starting to sound like my old college professor. And that name doesn't sound 'right' compared to all the other pony names she's translated.) I never did ask her what that was, I better remember to do that.

It got to that point that once the traffic had effectively come to a stop, I realized just how much of a sideshow act I was becoming in a hurry. Twilight even mentioned she got about a dozen offers to PURCHASE me from several of those who thought I was a pet.

In the end, it took a small group of guards to break up the gaggle that had formed.

The guards themselves stared as well, but as far as I could tell, were at least professional in their mannerisms and did their jobs. They wore plate mail armor and had helmets that looked similar to those 'brush-head' helmets depicted on ancient Roman soldiers.

According to Twilight, the one leading the group was her brother.

You wouldn't believe how nervous I got when she mentioned she was talking about how we'd tased each other. But I think I got lucky. Her brother didn't look like he knew what tased meant, or what a taser even was. I think Twilight was so caught up in things, she forgot the technology she'd been around wasn't exactly pervasive.

But I digress...

Once we had a small contingent of guards though, the city locals backed off. This allowed me to do some staring back of my own. I can note for the record, that the unicorns in the capital made a whole lot more use of clothing and accessories in general than those of Ponyville. Interestingly enough, as a luxury item. I didn't ask Twilight about the details, as she was busy catching up with her brother. But if the pattern I noticed is correct, much of the city is an upper-class society. That should be expected from a capital, but I don't like to make a habit of counting my chickens before they hatch.

The castle, or palace, or whatever the correct term for the structure is ended up being our final destination in the city. I have to admit that I wasn't as surprised I think I should have been. I've already been in contact with the rulers of this nation, and I was starting to see all the subtle signs that Twilight is either in direct contact, or very close to them.

I'll note for the record here, that the size of rooms and doors in the palace are almost ideally fit for a human. Back in Ponyville, I neglected to mention that under most circumstances, I only just barely manage to fit through a doorway when standing fully upright. A few smaller doorways required me to duck a little. However the palace is scaled more to the height of the tallest princess.

Also, the place was crawling with guards. Interestingly enough, it seemed they were mostly unicorn or pegasus staffing. Rarely at any time did I spot a 'normal' type in armor at all. I guess you need much stronger credentials to be a guard when your competition can fly, or fling sharp, pointy sticks with their minds.

Our final stop on the first day was a suite at the top of one of the palace towers. I honestly don't know how the ponies do it. I'm in the best shape of my life, and it nearly wiped me out to get up there. Twilight didn't even look like she'd exerted any effort. Maybe I should check the surface gravity values. 'Equestria' is so Earth-like that I probably never bothered to actually revise the values estimated by those made by the scientists operating TNLRT.

A final note about the first day is the bed. There was a slight issue with the sizing. Ponies don't fully stretch out like a human does. Their natural postures just don't allow it. So I ended up with my feet dangling over the end and using an extra blanket. And I needed them.

It's COLD at that altitude.

The next day involved more of the same, lots of staring. Local palace nobility especially. However they seemed to know better than to bother me. Especially when I started breaking out some of the recording tools that made various beeping noises.

I spent most of the second day being escorted around the palace by Twilight. She explained a good many things I can't realistically hope to remember and type down. Again, check the files. Other than that, there just wasn't much to describe that isn't better shown through the photos.

Day three, things got interesting. I set off an ultrasonic mapper (forty-kilohertz) in one of the halls to check its total volume. Twilight Sparkle and six unicorn guards nearest to me dropped to the floor screaming. However the pegasus guards appeared completely unaffected. Unfortunately, after a second 'test' to confirm what I had just seen happen, Twilight CRUSHED that particular tool with a TK field until it looked like I'd fed it through a trash compactor. What I did notice though is that the unicorns hadn't grabbed their ears when they went down, they had tried to cover their horns. Twilight said it felt like 'somepony' had set her horn on FIRE.

Needless to say, I won't be attempting that again, but it provides evidence to suggest that the unicorn horn is an extremely sensitive component of their bodies. First, the electric shock from tasing Twilight had rendered her unable to use magic for a short time, and now an ultrasonic device proves to be cripplingly painful to them without actually causing physical injury.

I may invest some of my time in producing a device with a little weaker output as a much more controlled way of subduing Twilight in any future incidents like the one where she was up for days. It would be a substantial improvement over the taser. Even at a safe, low power output, I don't like the idea of shocking her. (I also don’t like her learning to shock me back.)

I think Day four was where things got really busy though. Twilight told me that was the day she'd scheduled to meet with Princess Heaven and Princess Moon. I don't know what took them three days, maybe they just wanted me to get used to the place before the next shock to my system.

We met the two princesses in what I guess is the throne room at the crack of dawn. And that's when both Princess Heaven, and Princess Moon both greeted me with a hello in English.

That's not the shock though.

The shock was when Princess Moon asked to be referred to as Princess Luna, because she like how it sounded.

Okay, her English was like listening to a toaster-oven undergo nuclear meltdown, but it was understandable so long as Twilight was in the room to coach her. Princess Heaven tried as well, but fell apart after a sentence or two. Still, I was greatly surprised that my personal pony stalker had been taking the time to learn how to talk with me.

According to Twilight, they were both extremely interested in speaking with me directly and she'd been passing her notes on English to them almost from the start. Something about dragon fire being used to send messages... Given the difference in proficiency, I'm only more convinced now that Twilight Sparkle is some kind of pony learning-machine.

I think Twilight mentioned that 'Luna' (that really does work better) was likely a close second (relatively) because she had more free time at night than her diurnal sister.

We got to eat breakfast with them after the reintroductions. I've got a good photo set from that too. Check out the one of Princess Heaven trying to sneak a slice of cake past the camera without me spotting her. It's hilarious how she tried to hide that.

That was good cake by the way.

After that, Luna had wandered off to bed, and Twilight had vanished with the larger ruler to discuss something. I was left for a few hours to just wander around. I wasn't alone of course, guards everywhere, and eventually Twilight's brother had found me snapping some photos of the waterfall that cascaded down into the city and out the bottom.

I'll tell you what, the varied differences between who can speak English and who can't around here leaves me thinking I can communicate sometimes, and then not at all at others. I caught myself talking to the male unicorn and expecting a reply.

I got to spend lunch with the princess as well. Unfortunately, Sparkle was out, so even though I had the perfect opportunity to grill the princess on how she could control the motion of a star, I couldn’t communicate with her well enough to make the question stick. Oh, there was one other guest as well. Some unicorn ‘stallion’ that kept staring at me (I was used to it by then) and giving me this ‘look’ like he was expecting to get an infectious disease. I think the presence of the princess kept him quiet though.

After lunch was the big kicker. The princesses picking up a little English was a good surprise, but this takes the cake.

Apparently Twilight had taken my idle ‘promise’ to take her to ‘see the stars’ rather seriously. We’re not talking your average expectations here either. When I mentioned to her in that interview I recorded a while back that ‘if she worked hard’ that I’d take her to the stars, she took it literally.

How literally?

Well, I recall joking in a previous entry that she looked like she was studying to FLY the Raven. Turns out I wasn’t far off. She wasn’t expecting to fly it herself, explaining that she knew full well that it took years of training. But she fully wanted to understand enough to sit in the cockpit and act as a copilot if I’d allow it.

She’d gone even further though. I recall from a previous entry that ponies do not fit very well in seats designed for humans. Sparkle had remembered this from when I had given her that short ride from the forest, and apparently been actively working with the princess to solve that problem.

All those notes she’d been taking the week before we left, all the entries she pulled on the raven. Between the flight operations, she’d grabbed engineering diagrams…

It was for what the princesses were having made.

Pony seats.

Two of them.

I’m not sure where they found the tooling, or how they managed to do it. But the workmanship (workponyship?) was top notch and looked fully compatible with the Ravenstar. I’ve got photos in the archive like everything else on this trip.

The seats and their corresponding harnesses are an odd shape. Humans have it easy in terms of seat design. Since we sit and stand upright, our seats need be little more than an L shape to accommodate us. Ponies on the other hand, sit much the same way a dog or cat does. So their backs actually don’t rest against anything, resulting in a lack of seat backing in most of their seats. (In fact, I don’t think I’ve seen very many pony seats beyond what look like stools. The sole exception being Princess Heaven’s throne.)

However, in order to be correctly supported against accelerations such as those involved in space flight, they still need some kind of backing support to keep them from sliding right into the back of the spacecraft. Thus, the most peculiar flight seat design I’ve ever laid eyes on. It looks as if somebody had taken a bucket seat out of a race car, and folded it forward into a V-shape.

A demonstration of how the seat works: Twilight sat in it, and she looked a little like a pony sandwich held up on her stomach at an elevated angle, all four of her legs dangling off the sides, and the back of the seat wrapping up around her flank and half way up her back in such a way as to firmly secure her in place. Her natural sitting posture was preserved at the expense of freedom of movement, but her front legs were freed up to allow her to manipulate things without the use of TK, just in case.

It’s a convoluted looking design, but I think it’ll work. But that’s assuming I’ll allow it. I know I what I said with that recorded interview, but I didn’t expect the unicorn to take me up on it. But I have time to think about it.

The real question is: Why are there TWO seats?

Day five was a little less hectic, to an extent. Princess Luna woke me up before dawn and asked me a couple dozen questions in horribly mangled English. We didn’t get much out of each other. I think she asked about some of the gadgets I had on me, and I did my best to explain them. Honestly I don’t think she got it very well.

When it was my turn, I took the opportunity to ask her how her abilities to control the moon worked. I can’t tell if she understood what I meant with the question or not. The answer I got back left me with just as many questions as when we started.

Far as I can gather, the princesses have the natural ability to control the sun and the moon. They call it their special talent, and that their flank marks signify that talent.

I’ll just note, flank marks indicate special talent. That’s important to note when I review all the ponies I’ve met so far. Princess Heaven’s mark is very much a representation of the sun, while Luna’s is a crescent moon.

When I tried a second time to ask her ‘how’ her ability worked, I think I lost her, and she just stared blankly. I tried asking if it was amplified telekinesis, but my vocabulary stumped the night princess. I tried asking if she was manipulating gravity, but that failed too.

In the end, she completely mistook what I said and dragged me out to show off her ability by ‘lowering’ the moon over the horizon just in time for dawn. I never get tired of seeing that trick, but I honestly would like to pin down how they’re pulling it off.

Shortly after that, the night princess went to bed for the day. That left me to attempt to grill Twilight Sparkle and the day princess for some answers. The short version is, I got nowhere. The princess was either too busy, couldn’t understand the question, or I got ‘special talent’ for an answer.

I suspect they don’t even know how their power works.

Day six was more of the same. Not even Twilight could adequately find an explanation for just how powerful the princess really was. After explaining the dilemma of this star system to her in rather explicit detail, even she became confused. She tried to explain it in terms of ‘magic’, but when presented with the sheer difference between normal magic, and the kind of magic needed to move a star, she just couldn’t come up with a good theory. In the end, she too fell back on ‘special talent’, but obviously found that explanation lacking in rationality.

I think we sat most of the day in some huge royal library just going through books. Well, she went through books, I scribbled a few math equations at her request. We got nowhere.

Day seven was the last day there. Both Twilight and myself had pulled an all-nighter in an attempt to find that elusive answer, or some hint to it. Unfortunately, success managed to evade our efforts by a wide margin and by noon we’d given up and got packed to return to Ponyville.

During this process, I had one last interesting encounter. A pink-colored pony of the same ‘species’ as the two princesses. We met for maybe all of thirty seconds while I was getting some last minute photos. Nothing came of it, but her presence was enough to add a new question to the multitude already boiling in my mind.

What was HER special ability?

I managed to get a snapshot of her at the last moment. Her flank mark appears to be a crystal heart of some kind. I have no idea what that could mean at the moment without knowing pony symbolism.

I suppose that’s enough for Today’s log though. After that, we returned via train. I’m pretty much beat to exhaustion after that all-nighter. So I’m going to hit the sack now and then sort out my plans in the morning.


MISSION LOG:
November 13th, 2257

Someone remind me not to expect to sleep in the day after a trip anywhere within the same star system as Pink Pie. She woke me up at the crack of dawn with some kind of short musical number before shoving a card into my hand and taking off. I can’t read it.

I spent this morning reviewing everything I have to take care of in the next few days. Between the issues with the turbopump, the questions about how the princesses actually control the system, and knowing that Twilight wants to take a ride into space, I’ve got a full plate.

I think for now I’m just going to focus on making sure I can reach orbit and get that Turbopump fixed. Once I’m back on the Arrow, I’ll have it point every sensor it has at the capital and see if I can’t pick up any odd anomalies. Even the tiniest amount of data would allow me to develop a theory.

Other than that, I’m going to look at the cockpit seat on the Raven. Before I say yes or no to Twilight, I’m going to make sure that thing will pass GSA safety standards.


MISSION LOG:
November 14th, 2257

Pink Pie woke me up again this morning. For some reason she looked absolutely LIVID. I had to endure a breakfast of dehydrated eggs and bacon (do you guys even taste the stuff you pack me before you pack it?) while the pony gave me a completely unintelligible third degree.

After an hour, she finally seemed to figure out that: no, I didn’t understand a single thing she’d said. It was rather interesting watching it click in her head and then seeing the pink pony smack herself in the face.

She returned around noon with Twilight when I was starting to take the Turbopump apart.

Apparently I had been invited to, and summarily missed some kind of ‘welcome back from the capital and your meeting with the princesses’ party. (Was that really the whole name of the party? Or is Twilight indulging in gratuitous English again?) Given the nature of her last party, I think I’m kind of glad I missed it. I just didn’t have the energy yesterday to handle something like that. Plus I don’t think I need another one of those hangover inducing cupcakes (until I prove one way or another, I’m sticking to that as my story). I was forgiven, but then invited to - Sheesh, did she really call it a ‘Sorry you missed the first welcome back from the capital and your meeting with the princess party’ party? She did, didn’t she? Twilight wouldn’t come up with a name that silly.

Twilight helped me finish taking the Turbopump apart after Pink left. At least two impellers and half the bearings were practically burned up and ground down to a substantial degree. In the state they were in, they’d probably fail mid-flight and strand me planet-side. In this condition, I have no choice but to rebuild the turbopump. I have spare parts in the cargo hold behind the crew habitat module. At least someone had the foresight to stock me with spare parts to all the critical mechanical components on board. I’ve got to take it slow though. I’ve only got one set of the critical parts and the nearest shop is 3,750 lightyears away. The shipping fees alone would be... astronomical.

Don't even get me started on towing costs...


MISSION LOG:
November 16th, 2257

Rainbow Dash came by to see me today.

And I type this with a certain level of forced stoicism on my part considering the manner in which she showed up.

Somehow, it no longer surprises me some of the physics defying activities these ponies can perform. The regular ponies are anything but; unicorns can teleport and perform telekinesis; and pegasi can handle the weather as if moving crates with a skycrane.

Oh, and apparently they can hit mach one.

Yeah, I just said that. Mach. ONE. Not point one, not point zero one. No, we’re talking genuine, faster than sound travel.

And I only managed to see it happen since I was looking up at the time. Rainbow Dash came in over the trees, trailing some kind of bizarre rainbow-wake/contrail complete with shock collar, not a sound from her. She went on by and less than a quarter second later the sonic boom nearly knocked me over and caused me to drop one of the turbopump stator disks on my foot.

By the time I’d looked up, she was gone. If I hadn’t been looking up at just that moment, I would have missed her and caught only the weird trail she left. It makes me wonder if that was the same thing I heard a couple weeks back. That would certainly account for the frisky way she was acting that day. I’d be excited too if I’d just broken the sound barrier under my own power. I guess I’ll have to check with the Arrow and see if the signatures matched up.

But honestly, the mechanics involved in breaking the sound barrier are complicated. You guys know that.

When Rainbow Dash returned, she seemed just as excited as always, and after a bit of our usual charades (I made my hand like a fast moving plane and made a ‘pwooom!’ sound), she got even MORE excited.

I just realized, I need to check the Seismograph. It should have caught that boom quite nicely. Then I can graph Dash's sonic signature! Sweet!


MISSION LOG:
November 17th, 2257

Still rebuilding the turbopump. I think I’m about half-way done. Sometimes I regret being the only guy on this mission because it would be REALLY nice if I had an actual engineer to tell me if I happened to put a part on backwards. You know, before I spend another two hours fighting to get a few more parts on.

Twilight Sparkle came by to get into the computer today. I was just starting to miss her near daily arrival. So this return to routine activity was welcome. (Not to mention her TK was useful for lifting heavy items and holding them in place.) She printed something extensive this time around, used up the last of my paper, and had to take a break to fetch parchment. Honestly, I don't know how she got that stuff to work in the printer without jamming, but she pulled it off.


MISSION LOG:
November 18th, 2257

I’ve almost finished rebuilding the turbopump. I’ve got a week left until my scheduled liftoff and I still have to plot the best intercept trajectory to meet up with the Arrow.

When Twilight came by, I was in for a shock. She came trotting up in a bright orange outfit, complete with a small patch that matched her flank mark. It looked not too unlike a pressure suit. That was of course because it WAS in fact a pressure suit. Ponies don’t have a space program, so where…

Wait-...

No…

[LOG TERMINATED]


MISSION LOG:
November 18th, 2257
SUPPLEMENTAL

SONNUVA-[REDACTED]

Two of the spare pressure suits are gone! I can’t believe it! How, and WHEN? I’ve been here the entire week, and I haven’t seen her go anywhere with anything larger than a sheet of paper. I’m going to have talk with that mare in the morning.


MISSION LOG:
November 19th, 2257

I don’t think Twilight expected me to show up at the Library as early as I did. But I caught her groggy and used the advantage to grill her on what happened to those GSA pressure suits.

Apparently, over the course of the week we were in the capital, she had Rarity drop in and grab the suits for the materials, and had them converted to fit a pony. I’ll admit, you don’t normally just take something like an air-tight pressure suit and just ‘adjust’ it like you were tweaking a tuxedo. Otherwise you’d compromise it. But whatever technique Rarity had used seems to have worked. The suit was air tight and worked just as well as the unaltered version.

Now, I was mad, and I’m still mad. But that’s impressive. It’s also funny to what extreme Twilight’s taking this whole mess. She even had an embroidered name tag on it that said ‘Sparkle Space Program’ in English. Or at least, she thought it did until I pointed out that Rarity had goofed up the spelling. Twilight’s name was spelled ‘Sparkal’. Apparently Rarity had been left with no coaching and just an instruction sheet on how to read and replicate English.

That accounted for one pressure suit, but I had to ask why two were missing.

According to Twilight, one was of course for her, and the other was still being made for Rainbow Dash.

I don’t remember offering to take that pegasus into orbit, but that explains the second seat Twilight had made in the capital.

Ugh…

I wonder if Twilight understands the philosophy of it being easier to ask forgiveness than to ask permission. Because while I should ban her from the Raven altogether for that stunt, it just seems cruel to deny her the opportunity to go into orbit simply because I’m a little sore about her not asking me first. Especially considering just how much effort she’s already expended setting this up as completely as she’s done.

The worst part is that I can’t tell if she thought it was okay, or if that was a calculated move. She seems so naïve at times, but as learning English in three months flat shows, she’s a bloody genius.

Still… Rainbow Dash? I guess that makes sense. A flying aerobatic pony capable of mach one WOULD be the one most interested in spaceflight after the ‘geek’.

I guess I could take her, take them both really. But it has to be safe.

First thing tomorrow, I finish that turbopump, then I check the seats.


MISSION LOG
November 20th, 2257

I got the turbopump reassembled today like I wanted, though it ended up taking all day because I got another part flipped. I can’t believe I did that. The manual explicitly says to be aware of doing that. I guess these ponies are distracting me more than I thought…

But with the turbopump out of the way, I can look into those two pony seats. Twilight left them under a small tarp near the Raven. Far as I can tell with preliminary inspections, they’ll fit the modular slots just fine. However, I don’t know how secure they’re going to be until I have them installed. The bolt holes look to be the right size, but I don’t have a measuring tape handy to double check. I can only assume that Twilight somehow managed to get measurements at some point in the process.

Rainbow Dash came strutting by today.

I say strutting and not flying because she walked up in her brand new pony pressure suit. (I’ll find a way to make Sparkle pay for that stunt, mark my words.) I bet Rarity’s having kittens right now… or would that be foals? See, the last time she dealt with one of my pressure suits, I ended up naked, hog-tied, and being ‘fitted’ for whatever outfit she was planning. She HATES the color or something. How Twilight got her to agree to whatever it is she did…

Anywho, the suit seemed to fit Rainbow Dash rather nicely for something originally meant for a human. I noted that there weren’t any openings or pockets made for her wings. In fact, I hadn’t noticed with Sparkle, but there wasn’t a place for a tail either. I guess their tails were just tucked in. Honestly it made Dash look rather strange. Maybe I’m just used to seeing ponies with tails so much at this point that it’s like seeing a person missing their arm.

There was also a patch with her flank mark on it, and a embroidered name tag written in English.


MISSION LOG:
November 21st, 2257

I got swarmed today. I was in the middle of trying to reinstall the turbopump when Twilight sparkle and her other four friends came by. Having her and Dash help me lock it in place was a godsend.

But after that, Twilight began explaining something to her friends in ‘pony’, using both myself and the Ravenstar as presentation tools. Apparently this was planned, because a much larger crowd of ponies started to form not long after this. By the end of the first hour of talking, the field around the Ravenstar looked like a concert rally.

Whatever she was saying, it must have been good, because the crowd occasionally erupted into loud cheers, and once even looked like it was putting on a show of its own. At one point, a slightly older looking pony made a speech, followed by another wall of cheers.

I have no idea what’s going on. I suspect Twilight was 'officially announcing' she was going to space, but she's not talking.


MISSION LOG:
November 22nd, 2257

Whatever happened yesterday, it seems to have lifted the unspoken Taboo the town had with the Raven. Visitors stopped by to gawk at the spacecraft every five to ten minutes without fail. Some of them even tried to climb on the thing to get a better look. Of course, they would HAVE to try and climb on it in every single place specifically marked ‘NO STEP’. I about went nuts trying to chase them off before they could damage it.

I think the only thing that kept me from losing it today was when Applejack came by and said SOMETHING that sounded rather menacing even to my untrained ear. Then she roped the area off, much to my relief.

She also assisted me in working to remove the copilot seat, and one of the passenger cabin seats in preparation for installing the two pony seats. I recall seeing the dexterity she possessed a few months back when I was first here. It was quite a treat to get to see how she manipulated a socket wrench up close. Most of the time Twilight did anything, it was with almost express use of her TK.

For the most part, working with Applejack wasn’t too hard. Sure, we couldn’t communicate verbally, but we made due with gestures and body language well enough to get the removal done.

Rainbow Dash came by late in the afternoon while I was treating Applejack to a thank you drink (water, unfortunately). She said something that appeared to annoy Applejack before taking off in a hurry. I think I heard the pony equivalent to rain in there. I'm glad I've picked up SOMETHING.

The rest of the afternoon I spent working with AJ in something akin to a mad dash (no pun intended) to get the pony-seats installed before dark. When it was all said and done, we were too tired to do anything.

She’s currently passed out in one of the pony seats, hat and all.


MISSION LOG:
November 23rd, 2257

It’s been pouring down rain all day. Applejack didn't leave the Raven even once because of it. Instead she just took to staring out the view port in the passenger cabin. She'd watch me every once in a while as I went about making sure things were getting tied down properly, but I guess she decided it was just better to let me do my work and stayed out of it.

I tested how resistant to stress the pony seats were. Bounced on the seat in the cabin, yanked on the one in the cockpit...

Rock Solid. That's pretty good work-pony-ship.

From there, I got down to plotting the launch trajectory and finishing it up in about an hour. After that, a few glances over the VTOL liftoff checklist to refresh my memory.

One more day... I want dock with the Arrow by the 26th.


MISSION LOG:
November 24th, 2257

Dawn found me going back over the systems checks. Thankfully this time all the responses for the engines passed.

The rain had stopped some time during the night, and Applejack took off with a tilt of her hat with the sunrise.

Twilight showed up around noon, Spike in tow with single rolled scroll that easily hit the two-meter mark when it was unfurled. The unicorn made a systematic, if not downright rigorous series of checks on the entire craft, taking no less than three hours to walk several dozen laps around the outside before she even bothered to look in the hatch. If it wasn't for the fact that she was a four-legged alien equine, she'd fit right in with a GSA engineering crew.

Once she was inside, the rather stoic nature she'd been going over the list with evaporated as she tried out the newly installed pony seats. Ever heard a pony giggle like a schoolgirl? It's the strangest little chirping noise.

After getting acquainted with her new seat, she breezed over another, smaller checklist while reaching out and coming disturbingly close to flicking several switches as she memorized their locations.

Twilight did not like it when I kicked her out of the cockpit at that point. I had to make it ABSOLUTELY clear that she was to touch NOTHING. I don't think she quite understands the reality of 'Flick the wrong switch and you get front row seats to your own cremation'. There IS a full canister of LOX on this craft. All we need is a leak and a spark, and 'Equestria' gets a second sun for a few short moments.

After another few hours of checks, the pony took off for the evening to get a good night's rest.

Given everything that's happened, I feel kind of apprehensive. I know back home the guys at ops will read this and foam at the mouth. I'm taking unqualified, and ALIEN creatures on a craft not meant for them. I've let them get into a computer system containing any number of possibly crippling pieces of intelligence. And I'm going to let one of them pretend she's my copilot for an hour.

Perhaps I AM crazy... Maybe six months alone in space, and then finding out the entire star system is like a giant clock being controlled by a pony goddess has finally done my sanity in, breaking it down nice and slow. When I get home, my career will probably be over.

You know, thinking of it that way... Might as well make the best of what I've got.

I better make one more check on the systems. If I'm taking ponies to space, I WILL make sure they get home again.

A.F.R.T. 11252257:054557

View Online

Dedicated to all the people who gave one small step of their lives in pursuit of a dream, and to the man who took that one final step to make that dream a reality. Your faith in your colleagues and your determination to prove the impossible possible is an inspiration to us all.

One small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind.

Neil Armstrong: August 5th, 1930 – August 25th, 2012

Hero to many, example for us all.


[ACCESS FILE NAME: AFRT11252257054557]

INITIALIZING…

ALTEA AEROSPACE:
The Future Is Now

BEACHY FLIGHT DATA RECORDER VER. 3.7.2

POWER ON SELF TEST
- POWER STATUS: PASS
- CLOCK STATUS: PASS
- AUDIO PULSE RESPONSE: PASS
- INSTRUMENT RESPONSE: PASS
- SYSTEM DATALINK: PASS
- DATE: [FAIL]
-- DATE FAIL CODE AA014 ‘TIMESTAMP MISSMATCH’

SYSTEM TIME UPDATE…
DATE: 11252257 :: 05455725

UPDATE COMPLETE
DATE: November 25, 2257

POWER ON SELF TEST COMPLETE

RUNNING AUTOCONFIG.INIT
- LOG = Y
- AUDIO = Y
- TRANSCRIPT = Y
- EVENT = Y
- SYSTEM STATUS = Y
- DATA STREAM BROADCAST = Y
- MISSION ELAPSED TIMESTAMP = Y

READY>

[::TAMPER WARNING::]

//NOTATION ENTRY: The audio transcript of this recording has been modified. It contains unrecognized audio that has been translated into English by sapient equine life form Twilight Sparkle. Transcript dialogue reflects translation. Tamper Warning has likely been tripped.

//NOTATION ENTRY: -By Twilight Sparkle:: I have translated what was said as close as I can manage in this transcript. I will point out that in order to keep track of who said what, and in what language, I have made the addition of adding markers indicating who is speaking. I am of course, T, for Twilight Sparkle. Rainbow Dash is D, and Randy is of course, R. For the dialogue I translated into English, I have replaced the quotation marks with double asterisks to provide better clarity between the conversations occurring. The fourth voice, which I placed in equal-signs, belongs strictly to the Raven's voice assist program and is not an actual passenger like we are.

[BAT. BUS CONNECT]
[AUDIO RECORDER ACTIVE]

T: “Oh…!”

R: “What’s wrong?”

T: “My helmet… It won’t close over my horn!”

[FCS POWER BUS CONNECT]
[FCS STARTUP P.O.S.T.]
[MASTER CAUTION: FCS ALL STATES FAILURE]

R: “Missed that part didn’t you?”

[FCS RESET]
[TCAS INIT.]

T: “I was busy!”

D: **Hey Twilight, what are you two talking about?**

T: **My horn doesn’t fit in my helmet.**

D: **Hah! Is that all? Mine fits… I don’t like it though.**

[MFD 01: ONLINE]
[MFD 02: ONLINE]
[MFD 03: ONLINE]
[LAMP TEST]

R: “What did she say?”

T: “She doesn’t like her helmet.”

R: “Tell her I feel her pain… Where’d I put that startup checklist?”

T: “I have it…”

R: “Thank you.”

D: **Do I really have to sit in this weird thing the whole time?**

T: **Yes, but only until we reach orbit.**

D: **It looks like it’s going to eat me. Are you sure it’s safe?**

T: **I designed it myself.**

D: **Exactly…**

T: **Do you want to see space or not?**

R: “What’d she say?”

T: “Oh nothing much. She’s just complimenting you on what a FINE ship you have here.”

R: “Really? She sounded upset to me.”

T: “She’s just being difficult. Wouldn’t be Rainbow Dash if she didn’t make things harder than they had to be.”

D: **Seriously Twilight, the suit’s cool and all, but my wings are going to get a cramp if I sit in this seat.**

T: “Be sure to strap yourself in real quick. Stand by.”

[AUDIO VOICE ASSISTANT: ONLINE]

=WELCOME ABOARD COMMANDER=

D: **WHOA!**

=ALL SYSTEMS NOMINAL=

D: **Who said that?!**

T: **Relax Rainbow, it’s just the computer.**

R: “That didn’t scare her did it?”

T: “Who Rainbow? She’d never admit it even if you did.”

R: “Well okay. But if either of you want to back out of this, now’s the time to do it, not when we’re half way to orbit.”

T: “Are you kidding? I wouldn’t miss this for all the books in the library!”

R: “Okay then, make sure she’s strapped in then.”

T: **Dash, BUCKLE, UP. I mean it!**

D: **Okay! Okay. Your highness. As you command… sheesh.**

R: “Still got that checklist?”

T: “Right here!”

R: “Okay… So can you tell me the first-”

T: “Auxiliary Power Unit startup for control surfaces and hydraulic lines;”

[APU BUS PRIMED]

R: “Very good.”

T: “So we just-“

R: “NAH!”

T: “What?! What?”

R: “Keep your hooves off the controls. You do not touch anything unless I tell you do. Got it?”

T: “But I’m just-“

R: “Twilight. This is not the computer. It is not a toy. You can blow us up. I told you once. I will not tell you again. Do not touch anything without my express consent. Are we clear?”

T: “But I studied ever-“

R: “I said, are we clear?”

T: “Yes, yes sir.”

R: “Good.”

D: **Wow, I don’t know what he just said, but he chewed you out big time.**

T: **Are you strapped in Rainbow Dash?**

D: **Snug as a pegasus sandwich back here. Are we going to get this show on the road any time soon? Or are you just slowing him down?**

T: **Ha. Ha. Very funny.**

R: “Twilight, please identify for me the Auxiliary Power Unit ignition toggle.”

T: “I- what?”

R: “I said, please identify the Auxiliary Power Unit ignition toggle.”

T: “Uh... oh! But I just pointed-“

R: “Please identify the Auxiliary Power Unit ignition toggle.”

T: “I… er, uh… OOH! UGH! Here! Here’s the toggle. Right here!”

D: **You sure you’re ready for this Twi?**

T: **Be quiet Rainbow.**

R: “Twilight, please PUSH the Auxiliary Power Unit ignition toggle.”

T: “Uh… But you just…”

R: “Twilight, please-“

T: “Okay! Right... Pushing the Auxiliary Power Unit ignition toggle.”

[APU IGNITION]
[HYDRAZINE VALVE OPEN]

D: **Weird sounds back here…**

T: **That's normal.**

[APU POWERING UP]
[APU ONLINE]
[AUTOMATIC CENTER OF GRAVITY SHIFT ONLINE]

T: “Auxiliary Power Unit online.”

R: “Very good. What’s next?”

T: “It’s… External lighting… Strobe.”

R: “Good… Why?”

T: “It alerts others to active engines or power systems on air and space vehicles.”

R: “Very good. Know the switch?”

T: “It’s… the middle one up here.”

R: “Excellent… please flip the switch.”

T: “Okay.”

[LTS CAUTION STROBE: ACTIVE]

R: “I still can’t get over you doing that.”

T: “I could flip more switches if you w-“

R: “One thing at a time Twilight. What’s next?”

T: “Instrument calibration checks.”

R: “Very good, and how do they look?”

T: “I don’t see any abnor- Abnor- What was the word?”

R: “Abnormalities.”

T: “Yes! Abnormalities!”

R: “Very good. Next?”

T: “Review our desired flight profile and set all equipment to the desired conditions as per the pre-flight checklist.”

R: “Very good… Ready?”

T: “I was BORN ready.”

D: **Hey! Lots of talking, no flying. Are we going or not?**

T: **We’re getting there.**

D: **Well hurry up!**

R: “What was that about?”

T: “She’s impatient.”

R: “I noticed that. Is she always impatient?”

T: “Pretty much…”

R: “Well, let’s not keep her waiting too long. Read that list to me if you would.”

T: “Okay… Vertical Takeoff and Orbital Ascent Pre-Flight Checklist… Hatches.”

R: “Sealed.”

T: “Nose Cone”

R: “Check, closed.”

T: “APU power.”

R: “Check, ON.”

T: “MFD one mode, Surface”

[MFD 01 SELECTION: SURFACE]

R: “Check”

T: “MFD two mode, Orbit.”

[MFD 02 SELECTION: ORBIT]

R: “Check.”

T: “MFD 3 as desired.”

[MFD 03 SELECTION: ATTITUDE CONTROL AUTO-P]

R: “Check, set.”

T: “Control Surfaces mode state: ON”

R: “Check, ON.”

T: “RCS mode set: Rotation.”

=ROTATION=

R: “Rotation.”

T: “Cabin mode to internal.”

[EXTERNAL FEED INTERRUPT]

=USING ONBOARD O2=

R: “Check…”

T: “Cargo bay doors, closed.”

R: “Cargo bay doors are closed.”

T: “Retro doors closed…”

R: “Check, closed.”

T: “Radiator retracted.”

[RADIATOR RETRACTING]

R: “Closing radiator.”

T: “Hover doors: open.”

[ALERT! HOVER DOORS OPENING]

R: “Check open.”

T: “Throttles at cutoff.”

R: “Check throttles, all cutoff.”

[RADIATOR CLOSED]

T: “Igniter master arm, enabled”

[IGNITER MASTER ARM: ENABLE]
[ARMING ALL IGNITERS]
[IGNITER M1: ARMED]
[IGNITER M2: ARMED]
[IGNITER S1: DOOR CLOSE INTERLOCK]
[IGNITER S2: DOOR CLOSE INTERLOCK]
[IGNITER V1: DOOR MOTION INTERLOCK]
[IGNITER V2: DOOR MOTION INTERLOCK]
[IGNITER V3: DOOR MOTION INTERLOCK]
[IGNITER R1: DOOR CLOSE INTERLOCK]
[IGNITER R2: DOOR CLOSE INTERLOCK]

R: “Check, Armed.”

[HOVER DOORS OPEN]
[IGNITER V1: ARMED]
[IGNITER V2: ARMED]
[IGNITER V3: ARMED]

T: “Turbo pumps, all enabled.”

[TURBOPUMP MASTER: ENABLE]
[TP1: STANDBY]
[TP2: STANDBY]
[TP3: STANDBY]
[TP4: STANDBY]
[TP5: STANDBY]
[TP6: STANDBY]
[TP7: STANDBY]

R: “Nice…”

T: “What?”

R: “Oh… Nothing. Looks like Turbo pump seven is working.”

T: “Is that that the one we helped you with?”

R: “That’s the one.”

T: “Good… so a check then?”

R: “Check it is.”

T: “Perfect! Gear… down. Obviously.”

R: “Check… obviously.”

T: “Lights, set as needed.”

[LTS BEACON: ACTIVE]
[LTS NAV: ACTIVE]

R: “Check, and check on.”

T: “Center of Gravity shift, auto.”

R: “Check, CoG auto.”

T: “Check main engines gimballing, centered or as needed.”

R: “Check, centered.”

T: “Check SCRAM engines, gimballing centered or as needed.”

R: “Check and centered.”

T: “Pre-flight checklist complete! Now to double check the checklist to make sure we didn’t miss anything.”

R: “Did you put check marks in all the boxes?”

T: “Uh… Yep!”

R: “Then we didn’t miss anything. Standby… are we clear?”

T: “Clear this side. Nopony is inside Applejack’s rope.”

R: “And clear my side… here we go.”

[IGNITER V1 TRIP]
[IGNITER V2 TRIP]
[IGNITER V3 TRIP]

D: **Oh yeah! Now we’re talking! Here we go!**

R: “Good flow on the VTOL, throttling up…”

[NOSE WHEEL STEERING DISABLE]

=POSITIVE RATE=

T: “I can’t see anything in this smoke.”

R: “We’ll clear it in a moment, increasing throttle, nose down slightly…”

T: “Ten meters and climbing.”

R: “Standby for mains…”

[IGNITER M1 TRIP]
[IGNITER M2 TRIP]

R: “Okay, forward motion. Twilight, if you’d like to raise the landing gear, do so.”

T: “Okay…”

[LANDING GEAR RAISING]

=GEAR UP=

T: “I bet all of Ponyville is watching us…”

[LANDING GEAR SECURE]

=GEAR UP AND LOCKED=

R: “Stand by for throttle-up… Accelerating.”

D: **Ooo… Here it comes! I can FEEL it!**

T: “Fifty meters per second...”

R: “Twilight, once we hit a hundred and five we'll cut the verticals and transition to normal flight.”

T: “Okay... Sixty five. Thirty meters altitude and climbing...”

R: “How's Dash doing?”

T: “She's liking things so far... Seventy-five meters a second.”

R: “Looks like three months idle hasn't been hard on the Raven. Fuel pressure looks good...”

T: “Ninety...”

R: “Starting to bring the nose up, reducing vertical thrust...”

T: “Ninety-five.”

R: “Here we go... Expect a bump-”

T: “One hundred meters per second... One hundred and five...”

[CLOSING HOVER DOORS]
[FUEL CUTOFF V1: DOOR MOTION INTERLOCK]
[FUEL CUTOFF V2: DOOR MOTION INTERLOCK]
[FUEL CUTOFF V3: DOOR MOTION INTERLOCK]

T: “Whoa... Is it supposed to do that?”

R: “I could never get the transition as smooth as my instructor. Increasing mains to twenty-five percent, stand by.”

[HOVER DOORS CLOSED]

T: “I can see why Rainbow Dash likes to fly so much, this is actually kind of fun.”

R: “I know, right? We're now in full free-flight. Keep an eye on our speed.”

T: “A hundred and twenty five meters a second right now. Speaking of Rainbow Dash, have you seen Cloudsdale?”

R: “Cloud what?”

T: “Cloudsdale, the pegasus city.”

R: “I haven't been out of Pon-”

T: “One seventy-five.”

R: “I haven't been out of Ponyville except to see your capital. Where am I going to find a city?”

T: “Turn right until we're on heading three-four-five and get above the clouds.”

R: “We can't tour all over Equestria Twilight. The Raven only has so much fuel.”

T: “It's not far. Just turn to heading three-four-five and get above the clouds and you should see it.”

R: “Are the compass readings even accurate on your world?”

T: “I re-calibrated it yesterday.”

R: “Twilight...”

T: “That's all I touched! I swear!”

R: “I had all the course settings plotted based on the old settings… Now we’re flying blind.”

T: “That’s okay! I wrote a list of all the course plots you did and made a new one with all the corrected courses so-“

R: “Twilight, that’s not the point. You can’t just go around fiddling with the equipment in here.”

T: “But I know what everything does! I know what the compass is, I know what the ADF does, I know how to calibrate the transponder I-“

R: “Twilight. Again, that’s not the point. The point is that this stuff is NOT yours. The Raven is owned by the Global Space Agency back home and is kind of like my house right now. You wouldn’t walk into another pony’s house and just start going through their stuff would you?”

T: “No, but…”

R: “And I won’t walk into your home and just start picking up your books without your permission because they’re neat. I know I’m the strange alien here and I’ve even given you a LOT of slack because of that. But I think we know each other well enough by now that you should know better than to just act like you own the place. From now on, you need ask me before you mess with anything. It doesn’t matter how well you’ve studied this stuff, it’s STILL not yours. Are we clear?”

T: “I… y- Yes. We’re clear.”

R: “Thank you… Now, about this Cloud Dale-“

T: “Cloudsdale… The translation is Cloudsdale.”

R: “Right, Cloudsdale. Heading three-four-five?”

T: “Yes, heading three-four-five. Ascend to twenty-five hundred meters.”

R: “Speed?”

T: “One Ninety.”

R: “Turning to heading three forty five, ascending to altitude.”

T: “One question…”

R: “What?”

T: “What’s slack?”

R: “You don’t know that word? Seriously? As much as you’ve studied?”

T: “I’ve picked up a lot, but I’m still running into words I don’t know.”

R: “We’ll talk about it later then. You’ve already blown away everyone I’ve ever known as far as learning a new language.”

T: “It’s fun to talk to you… Anyway, you can see Cloudsdale now.”

R: “Where? I don’t see anything-“

T: “Not down there! Out THERE!”

R: “What? You mean those comuloni- wait. They've got lights? You mean that pegasus city is made of CLOUDS?”

T: “Why do you think they named it Cloudsdale?”

R: “Oh, I wish I hadn’t packed my camera away. I’ve GOT to get pictures of that. That’s just amazing. I mean, I guess it makes sense considering what Dash can do with a cloud, but that’s still…”

[ PROXIMITY WARNING TRIGGERED]

D: **Hey, what’s that noise?**

T: “What’s that chirping sound mean?”

R: “That’s the proximity detection radar. Now that I think about it, the airspace around a pegasus city isn’t the best place to fly a spacecraft. Especially as dark as it is this early... I can't see anything.”

T: “I'll try a night-sight spell.”

R: “You... do that. Take a look around, see if you can find them.”

T: “I've got some. They’re above and to the right. Don’t worry, they’re staying back.”

R: “Let’s hope so… I’d like not to be the first human in recorded history to have a bird strike on a pegasus.”

T: Bird strike? Is that like bird lightning or something?

R: Not exactly... just keep your eyes on the sky.

T: “I think there’s two more off to the left, mind them as well.”

R: “Right... It’s getting crowded up here way too fast. I’m breaking off. You'll have to show me Cloudsdale some other time. What’s our heading for our ascent trajectory?”

T: “Turn right to heading zero-eight-four, ascend at ten degrees nose up.”

D: **Twilight, what’s going on?**

T: **Nothing Rainbow, we’re just near Cloudsdale and there are a lot of pegasi coming up to look at this machine.**

D: **Really? Cool! You should tell Randal or whatever his name is to do some stunts while everypony’s watching.**

T: **Rainbow, you know we can’t do stunts in this thing.**

D: **Why not? I thought we were supposed to be going fast or something? Where’s the going fast part?**

R: “What did she say?”

T: “She wants to go fast…”

R: “Hahahahah… She wants to go fast…”

T: “She also wants you to do stunts.”

R: “Hah! Not happening. And stand by. I’m bringing the throttle to fifty percent so we can get away from these stragglers.”

T: “Two hundred meters per second… Two-ten, two-fifteen, two-twenty…”

R: “Heading zero-eight-four… Looks like a straight shot past the capital. I’m sure they’ll love this.”

T: “Two-hundred fifty meters per second. Looks like they’re starting to drop back.”

R: “Good. I guess they just aren’t as fast as Dash back there.”

T: “Two-hundred seventy five… Are you sure it’s okay to break the sound barrier over Canterlot?”

R: “Yeah, it’s not like it’ll be an everyd- What did you call it?”

T: “Canterlot.”

R: “Canterlot?”

T: “Yeah! You like it? It’s a mix of your fictional city ‘Camelot’ and the word ‘canter’, meaning to travel at an easy gallop. It’s a pun, or play unto wor-“

R: “I get that… why?”

T: “Well I noticed the words fit together particularly well when I was trying to translate the city name into English. It’s just the type of rhythm it has compared to the garbled mess I was going to use before. So I just stuck with that instead.”

R: “Well what was the actual translation going to be?”

T: “Cantered Slopes Cliff side City of the Rising Sun.”

R: “…Canterlot it is then.”

T: “Yeah. In your language many of our names turn into mouthfuls. Oh, three-hundred meters per second.”

D: **Hey… Twilight. I don’t know if you noticed, but I’m still back here, and I’m getting bored listening to the both of you chatter away in a language I can’t understand.**

T: **You’d be bored even if you could understand what we were saying.**

D: **Yeah, but at least then I could understand why I was bored! And- What’s with the shaking?**

T: **That’s normal, it just means we’re about to hit ‘Mach’ one.**

D: **What’s a ‘mach’?**

T: **It’s a human term meaning multiples of the speed of sound.**

=MACH ONE=

R: “Supersonic…”

D: **Whoa… cool. So wait, we’re going as fast as sound? Like, when I go so fast the air snaps and creates the rainbow wave? It barely feels like we’ve done anything!**

T: **It’s not supposed to. The humans make their machines so that they don’t have to feel it.**

D: **That’s stupid! Why would they NOT want to feel it? Going fast feels AWESOME!**

T: **Not as fast as we’re fixing to go…**

D: **What do you mean? Are we going to be like that neat black flying machine I saw? That one looked pretty fast.**

R: “Twilight, we’re passing over ‘Canterlot’.”

T: “I hope Princess Heaven is watching.”

R: “If she isn't, she will be. And so will every other pony in the city.”

D: **Don't ignore me Twilight! What do you mean? How fast are we going to go?**

T: **How about this Rainbow? Every time we pass a 'Mach' interval, I'll tell you how fast we're going. Then you can see for yourself. Deal?**

D: **How fast-**

T: **Deal?**

D: **Fine! Deal!**

R: “Now what are you two talking about?”

T: “Just telling her how fast we’re going.”

R: “She seems pretty obsessed with speed.”

T: “She is a pegasus. Going fast is what she lives her life for.”

R: “Well, she’ll get plenty of speed here. Mach one point five and climbing. I’m bringing the nose back to increase our rate of climb.”

T: “We are at ten kilometers… I think?”

R: “Yes, kilo is correct. Ten kilometers.”

T: “Sunrise looks pretty from here. The colors look amazing.”

[ATTITUDE HOLD AUTOPILOT ACTIVATED]
[HOLD ATTITUDE = 15 DEG]
[AUTOTRIM ADJUST]
[AUTOTRIM COMPLETE]

R: “Yes it does. There’s nothing quite like sunrise from a spacecraft…”

=MACH TWO=

T: **Now going two times faster than you Rainbow Dash.**

D: **Two times? That’s not too bad. How high are we?**

T: **We’re climbing out of the high clouds now.**

D: **Heh, not quite as above the sky as I thought we’d be.**

R: “Fifteen kilometers… Mach two point two. At mach three point five and twenty-five kilometers we begin SCRAM ascent.”

T: “Do you need me to check the checklist for SCRAM Power Ascent?”

R: “No, it’s pretty straight forward. We adjust attitude to seven point five degrees, open the slats, and watch the heat and power.”

T: “Are you sure? I’ve got it subdivided into each part of a textbook ascent. Ignition, power development, thermal management, throttle up, and upper-threshold cutoff.”

R: “Takes too long to go through it verbally. Just let me handle it.”

T: “Oh…”

R: “Mach two point five… feels like we’re clearing your stratosphere. The mains are picking up power.”

[SCRAM DOORS OPENING]
[SCRAM DOORS OPEN]
[IGNITER S1: ARMED]
[IGNITER S2: ARMED]

[AUTOTRIM ADJUST]
[AUTOTRIM COMPLETED]

T: “We’re at twenty kilometers…”

D: **Gah!**

T: **What’s the matter?**

D: **This suit’s making my wings itch and this chair's making it hard to breathe. How much longer?**

T: **Not long… Did I tell you what I learned about the first years the humans went into space?**

D: **No, but I think you’re about to.**

T: **Well, from what I read. When humans first went into space, it was at a time when their nations were always competing. They had these weapons that could destroy entire cities in one shot.**

D: **WHOA!!! For REAL?**

T: **Yes. And they had a lot of them. Because of that, both sides were always scared the other was going to attack and completely destroy them. They called it a Cold War because nobody actually fought. Instead, they would compete with each other through their economies and technological advances.**

D: **Let me guess, they couldn’t fight because if one attacked, the other would attack, and they’d destroy each other.**

T: **Yes, actually. Humans call the principle Mutually Assured Destruction. But that’s not the point.**

=MACH THREE=

T: **Three times faster than you…**

D: **Not too shabby… so what about this cold war?**

R: “Bringing the nose down…”

[HOLD ATTITUDE = 7.5 deg]
[AUTOTRIM ADJUST]
[AUTOTRIM COMPLETE]

T: **Well, like I said, humans had just gotten into space. The two biggest nations of the world were in a fierce competition with one another to keep their technologies matched. Getting into space was one such competition.**

D: **And?**

T: **AND… One of these nations decided that in order to out-compete the other, they had to go all out. They set the biggest goal they thought they could manage for their time and technology.**

D: **What did they go for? If they’re in space, what did they go after?**

T: **Their leader had a speech. I think I remember how it went. It might not come out in translation correctly but he said… : ‘ I think this nation should commit itself, to achieving the goal, before these ten years are done, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the world.**


T: **No single space project in this period.**


T: **Would be more impressive to human kind...**


T: **Or more important for the long range exploration of space.’**


R: “Stand by for SCRAMS…”

D: **They went for their MOON?!**

R: “Ignition.”

[IGNITER S1: TRIP]
[IGNITER S2: TRIP]

T: “OOF!”

D: **Gu- What the-?**

R: “Just half a G extra, don’t let it scare you.”

=MACH FOUR=

R: “Nice… nice. That’s my baby. Twenty-five kilometers altitude. Good solid fuel flow rate on the SCRAMS. Give it a few seconds to develop power and I’ll cut the mains.”

T: **We’re at four times your top speed now Dash.**

D: **What was that?**

T: **The supersonic combustion ramjet engines… **

D: **The super-wha?**

T: **I don't think I can explain it here... They're called SCRAMJETS.**

R: “Main Engine Cutoff…”

[FUEL FLOW M1: CUTOFF]
[FUEL FLOW M2: CUTOFF]

T: “Gah!”

D: **Hwah… Wow… Glad I listened to you Twi. I think I would have just hit the door…**

R: “You two okay? The lurches take some getting used to.”

T: “We’re fine. Just surprised.”

R: “It gets better-“

=MACH FIVE=

D: **Did that thing just count again?**

T: **Yes, five times faster than you.**

D: **You’re kidding right?**

T: **I’m not kidding. Do you know what it takes to get into space?**

D: **DUH! Of course I don’t! I’ve never been to space!**

T: **Well right now, we have to get into orbit. And to orbit something, we have to be going so fast that we’re not actually flying… We’re FALLING.**

D: **F-Falling? What?! What do you mean?**

T: **We have to go so fast that we FALL around the entire world!**

=MACH SIX=

R: “Forty kilometers… Throttling back…”

D: **Th-that doesn’t make sense Twilight! You fall down, not sideways! You can’t fly around the world by falling down!**

T: **Why not? The world is round, remember? If you go fast enough, you travel far enough forward each moment that you fall just as much as the world curves away from you.**

D: **But… How fast IS that? The ground is so flat and the world is so big that you’d have to be going like… Like… Like a bajillion times faster than anything ever could!**

=MACH SEVEN=

T: **Now going seven times faster…**

D: **Seven?! I could fly from Cloudsdale to Ponytown and back again in the blink of an eye!**

=MACH EIGHT=

T: **Eight times… We're now going fast enough that if we were lower the air itself would set metal on fire.**

D: **WHAT?!**

R: “Forty-five kilometers. Try not to get too excited. Best part’s coming up.”

D: **Wha’d he say?!**

T: **He said hold on-**

=MACH NINE=

T: **-Because when we hit fifty kilometers, we’ll REALLY put on some speed.**

[HOLD ATTITUDE = 5 deg]
[AUTOTRIM ADJUST]
[AUTOTRIM COMPLETE]

D: **You mean we’re not even close?!**

T: **Nope!**

=MACH TEN=

R: “Fifty Kilometers… Here’s where we feel the Gs.”

T: “Randy… You are GO for throttle up.”

R: “My favorite part… Hold on.”

D: **TWILIGHT?**

[TURBOPUMP S1: OVERDRIVE 105%]
[TURBOPUMP S2: OVERDRIVE 105%]

D: **HRK!**

T: “GWA!”

=MACH ELEVEN=

T: **Eleven times… Wow wh-**

T: “-What kind- of G force is this?”

R: “Three Gs sustained.”

T: “Wow… I never knew it would feel- like this…”

=MACH TWELVE=

D: **This- This is...**

T: **Fifty two- kilometers. Twelve times th- the speed of sound and climbing... **

=MACH THIRTEEN=

D: **I- I don't feel so good... I feel dizzy...**

T: **That's- normal. Our bodies are aligned with the axis of acceleration... The blood in your body is- being pushed towards your flank.**

=MACH FOURTEEN=

T: **Fourteen times faster... Right now we're doing- three gravities acceleration. Your body feels like it weighs- three times what it normally does. You usually- do more in turns, but those are short- and on a- different axis.**

R: “Just keep talking Twilight, you two are doing real good.”

=MACH FIFTEEN=

D: **H-How come he doesn't- sound bothered?**

T: **He's- upright. He- might as well be laying on his back. Just hang on... We're half way- there.**

D: **H-HALF?!**

=MACH SIXTEEN=

T: **Sixteen times...**

D: **No- I...**

T: **Tighten your hind legs... Humans do that- when- doing this kind of thing.**

=MACH SEVENTEEN=

D: **HRRRK!!!**

R: “G's giving you that much trouble Twilight?”

T: “I can- handle it.”

=MACH EIGHTEEN=

T: **Eighteen times...**

D: **EIGHTEEN?!**

R: “Sixty-three kilometers. Looking good Sparkle. Dash still with us?”

T: “She's- she's with us.”

=MACH NINETEEN=

D: **Did it say- Nineteen?**

T: **Yes... Nineteen times- and still climbing.**

R: “We're approaching maximum SCRAM diffuser temp. You should feel the G forces ease off here as thrust starts to even out.”

D: **Too... Too fast...**

T: **Are you okay Dash?**

=MACH TWENTY=

D: **It said- Twenty? Too fast.... TOO FAST!**

T: **Stay calm, we're almost there...**

D: **This is WAY too fast!**

R: “What's she shouting about? Is she okay?”

T: “I think this might have been too much for her. She didn't know at all what to expect.”

R: “She'll be okay, just a little further...”

=MACH TWENTY-ONE=

D: **Twenty- one?!**

T: **You understand it?**

D: **I can count too! This- this is-**

R: “Approaching SCRAM cutoff, throttling back.”


[:FAULT DETECTION FLAG:]
[--FUEL FLOW WARNING: L7S2]
[----FUEL FLOW RATE EXCEEDS EXPECTED]
[----FUEL PRESSURE EXCEEDS DESIRED]

[::MASTER CAUTION::]
[::MASTER CAUTION LAMP::]
[WARNING: THRUST BALANCE OUT OF RANGE]
[RCS AUTOCORRECT: ACTIVE]


[--SCRAM ENGINE ANOMALY]
[----THRUST CONTROL FAILURE!]
[::!MASTER ALARM!::]
[::ENGINE FAULT DANGER LAMP::]
[AUTOCUTOFF]
[-AUTOCUTOFF FAILURE!]
[TURBOPUMP 07 RPM EXCEEDING PARAMETERS!]
[::!EMERGENCY!::]

R: “What th-”

D: **WHAT'S THAT NOISE?!**

T: “I DIDN'T TOUCH ANYTHING!”

=WARNING: SCRAM ENGINE DAMAGE=

R: “S-(CENSORED)”

D: **What's going on Twi?! What's that alarm?!**

T: “What happened?! Are we okay? Did something hit us?!”

=WARNING: SCRAM ENGINE DAMAGE=

R: “Thrust problem... thrust problem...”

D: **Please tell me we're okay!**

T: “Randy-”

R: “QUIET!”

D: **Twilight?!**

=WARNING: SCRAM ENGINE DAMAGE=

[FAULT RESET]
[ALL ALARMS SILENCED]

=SYSTEM RESET=

R: “Throttle's not responding on SCRAM two... D(CENSORED)! Can't close the fuel valve either...”

T: “R-Randy?”

R: “We're still okay. I just can't shut the SCRAMs off.”

[SCRAM DOOR INTERLOCK]

=WARNING: SCRAM DOORS ARE OPEN=

R: “Can't force an interlock cutoff either... WHY?”

D: **TWILIGHT!**

T: **It's okay! We're okay!**

R: “I need you two to be quiet for me.”

T: **We're okay Dash... Just be quiet for Randy.**

R: “Can't throttle; can't shut it off... Okay then, plan B-”

[ATTITUDE HOLD: 15 deg]
[AUTOTRIM ADJUST]
[AUTOTRIM COMPLETE]

R: “-Starve it...”

[SCRAM TANK OVERBOARD VALVE OPEN]
[WARNING: SCRAM FUEL DUMP]

=WARNING: FUEL DUMP=

R: “We don't need any more of that anyway...”

[WARNING: SCRAM DIFFUSER TEMPERATURE BORDERLINE]
[:MASTER CAUTION LAMP:]
[:SCRAM DIFFUSER TEMP LAMP:]

R: “Yes, yes... I know.”

=WARNING: FUEL DUMP=

R: “Eighty kilometers... Little higher. Come on, choke. Choke already.”

D: **T- Twi? What's he saying?**

T: **I'm not sure... Something about choking.**

=WARNING: FUEL DUMP=

D: **What's the talking thing saying now?**

T: **We're dumping fuel.**

D: **Why?**

T: **I think he's trying to force the engine to quit.**

=WARNING: SCRAM FUEL LOW=

[SCRAMJET MAIN FUEL TANK EXHAUSTED]
[SCRAMJET RESERVE FUEL CONNECTION NOT DETECTED]
[SCRAMJET FUEL SUPPLY EXHAUSTED]

=WARNING: SCRAM FUEL DEPLETED=

[L6 CUTOFF VALVE CLOSED]
[L7 CUTOFF VALVE CLOSED]
[SCRAM DOOR CLOSING]
[TURBOPUMP 6 DISABLE]
[TURBOPUMP 7 DISABLE]

R: “Whoa... phew.”

T: “Are we...”

R: “We're okay. Stand by for a jolt... Ignition.”

[IGNITER M1: TRIP]
[IGNITER M2: TRIP]

D: **Twilight!**

T: **We're okay! Randy's got it under control.**

D: **Are you sure?**

T: **Yes, I'm sure.**

=MACH TWENTY-TWO=

R: “I think that's enough SCRAMs for one day... You two okay?”

T: “What happened?”

R: “Looks like we didn't catch the problem with the scramjet. The throttle locked open and I couldn't shut it off.”

T: “I'm sorry... I thought we-”

R: “It's okay. That's a complicated piece of equipment. I don't even know how the whole thing works.”

=MACH TWENTY-THREE=

D: **Twilight... I want to go home.**

T: **What? But we're not even there yet!**

D: **I want to go home Twilight... Now.**

T: **We can't. It's too late to do that now. We're almost to orbit.**

=MACH TWENTY-FOUR=

R: “Is she okay?”

D: **I want to go home! This seat's too tight! I can't breathe!**

T: **Calm down Rainbow. You're breathing just fine.**

D: **IT'S CRUSHING ME TWILIGHT! I CAN'T BREATHE!**

R: “Twilight, what's wrong with her?”

T: “I'm not sure, I think she's scared.”

=MACH TWENTY-FIVE=

T: **Now going twenty-five times as fast as you.**

D: **I DON'T CARE! I want out of this STUPID harness! I want out of this stupid chair! I want out of this STUPID flying DEATH BOX!**

R: “What's she wailing about?”

T: “She says the seat is crushing her and wants out.”

R: “She's claustrophobic?!”

=MACH TWENTY-SIX=

T: “Closter what?”

R: “Claustrophobic. It means she's afraid of small inescapable places.”

T: “What?! She's never been scared of anything like that!”

R: “She's never been on a space ship before... Oh, this is bad.”

D: **TWILIGHT! LET ME OUT!**

=MACH TWENTY-SEVEN: PLUS=

R: “That malfunction didn't help either. You've got to calm her down, NOW. I'm fixing to cut the engines and microgravity is going to make her even worse.”

T: **Rainbow Dash, you have got to calm down!**

D: **I WANT OUT! TWILIGHT!**

T: **WE. CAN'T. STOP.**

R: MECO... In three... two... one... CUTOFF.

[FUEL FLOW M1: CUTOFF]
[FUEL FLOW M2: CUTOFF]

T: **See? We're there! Calm down!**

D: **We... We're falling? WE'RE FALLING!**

T: **We're in orbit! Remember? We're supposed to be falling!**

D: **No! NONONONO! We're out of control! We're gonna' crash!**

T: “Randy! She's getting worse!”

R: “I know! I know!”

[RADIATOR OPENING]

D: **LET ME OUT! OOF... LET ME OUUUUUUT!**

T: “She's out of her seat!”

R: “Restrain her!”

D: **WHOA! TWILIGHT HELP! I CAN'T FLY! I'M FALLING... I'M FALLING!**

T: “Oh wow... This is weird.”

R: “Pegasus panicking now, weightlessness later!”

T: “Right!”

T: **Rainbow Dash! If you don't calm down righ- YIKE!**

D: **I'M FALLING! EVERYTHING'S FALLING! LET ME OUT! STOP THE WALLS FROM MOVING! PLEASE! I JUST WANT TO GO HOME!**

T: **Strop struggling! You can't move like normal in microgravity!**

R: “She's bouncing off the walls... You need to find a way to control her before she gets hurt.”

T: “I'm trying, but she's not making it easy.”

R: “You've got thirty seconds to figure it out or I'm going to have to shock her.”

[RADIATOR OPEN]

T: “I'm working on it... But every time I try to pin her with magic, I keep getting pushed the other way!”

D: **I WANNA' GO HOME! LET ME GO HOME!**

R: “This isn't going to work. I have to shock her. We have to get her under control before apo-burn.”

T: **Rainbow Dash! This is your last warning! Calm down or we're going to have to calm you down by force!**

D: **How can you be so calm when we're plunging to our death?!**

T: **We're NOT plunging to our death! For the LAST TIME! We're in ORBIT! We're NOT out of control! We're on a pre-calculated path!**

D: **TO OUR DEATHS! I KNOW FLYING! I KNOW FALLING! I KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE IN CONTROL! THIS IS NOT CONTROL! THIS IS NOT FLYING! LET! ME! OUT!**

T: **You can't breathe in space, Dash! You'll suffocate in SECONDS.**

D: **I'LL RISK IT! ANYTHING BEATS FALLING TO OUR-**

R: “Boo-”

[POWER SURGE DETECTED]
[SYSTEM CHECK: ALL GREEN]

D: **OW!!! WHAT THE HAY!?**

--LOUD MEATY CRACK--

R: “OOOF!”

T: **RAINBOW DASH!**

D: **What they hay was that?! Lightning from a string?! What are you trying to do to me?!**

T: **You hurt Randy!**

D: **HE HURT ME FIRST!**

R: “Ow! What in the-? That was several thousand volts!”

D: **Come on and try again, Randal! I'll knock your head clean off!**

T: **You leave me no choice Rainbow Dash. The only thing that's out of control here is you.**

D: **Twilight? What are you...! Hey- Whoa... WHOA!!! TWILIGHT STO-**

--LOUD METALLIC THUNK--

R: “Oh... That's- Is she okay?”

T: “She'll be fine. I'm afraid that was the only thing that could calm her down at this point.”

R: “Okay... Get her back in her seat, and make sure she STAYS there until she can behave herself. We're about fifteen minutes from our insertion burn. Be strapped in by then.”

T: “Okay...”

[END OF TRANSCRIPT]


Suggested tracks are:
'Fighter's Honor' from Ace Combat Cross Rumble
'Apollo' from Alan Parsons Project
'Master Alarm' from Apollo 13 OST

SPECIAL: XR-2 Ravenstar Surface to Orbit Flight Profile set to 'Apollo'
Flown by: 'Admiral Tigerclaw'
Program: ORBITER 2010 P1
Craft Add On: XR-2 Ravenstar
Playback Time Compression: 3X
Play it here.


All can be found on youtube.

Special thanks to Archonix for the sketches he speed-created at my request.

C.O.N.T.A.C.T. Instant Messenger

View Online

C.O.N.T.A.C.T. Instant Messenger
Conversation Log: July 10th, 2258

* Ernest Hart (EGSA Engineering) has made contact
* Dan Hawking (EGSA Operations) has made contact
Conversation is being recorded.

Ernest: Hey, Dan. You there?

Dan: Greetings!
- What can do do for you?

Ernest: It's about secure file 'Nightcrawler'.

Dan: What about it?

Ernest: Is it authentic?

Dan: The file? Yeah, as far as I know it's authentic.

Ernest: Open it up for me real quick then. I have to show you something.

Dan: I have a meeting with Bobby in ten minutes. Can this wait?

Ernest: This might just make the cornerstone of your meeting, so... No.

Dan: Okay, I have Nightcrawler open. What do you want to show me?

Ernest: Take a look at O-scope data point one, at the 24 second mark.

Dan: Okay... got it.
- What am I looking for?

Ernest: Look at that waveform. Are you seeing what I'm seeing.

Dan: I don't know ernest. What am I supposed to be seeing?

Ernest: Okay... I forget you're not engineering sometimes. My bad.
- At 24s, and 480ms, you see that wave? The one that looks like a sideways S-bump?

Dan: I see it.

Ernest: That's not normal. That's a positive AND negative voltage curve occurring at the exact same time.
- There's only one other natural electromagnetic signature known that does that. Displacement flux.

Dan: Wait... Displacement flux? Are you sure?

Ernest: Yeah, I'm pretty sure. When you use a displacement drive, there's some simultaneous stretching and squeezing of spacetime involved. Usually that produces small electromagnetic waves in the UHF band. One wave from the stretching produces a negative voltage flux. Another from the squeezing produces a positive voltage flux.

Dan: Shouldn't that cancel them out?

Ernest: The waves are out of phase by a few pico-seconds. One occurs at the departure point, the other occurs at the destination point. When they hit the o-scope, they arrive slightly apart. Think of it as digging a hole. In order to dig a hole, you invariably have to create a small mound of dirt next to it.
- We call them 'digger-waves' and they're unique to displacement drive flux.
- I thought I was seeing things at first, but I checked every recorded instance of this 'teleport'.
- Every single time it occurs the o-scope picks up the digger-wave.

Dan: So what you're saying is that the teleport isn't a teleport, but a subspace displacement hop?

Ernest: Well, yes and no. As far as we're concerned, the mechanics of a subspace displacement drive is effectively teleportation occurring 64,000 times a second. But very simply put, the creature being catalogued in this file is a living subspace displacement drive.

Dan: Is that even possible?

Ernest: Nobody said it wasn't. If you have a means to curve space, the amount of curvature depends on what energy you have available. A ship like the Arrow covers 22,000 miles in a single pulse of the SDD. Theoretically, a creature can do the same at much smaller distances.

Dan: Here's a question then. Could a subspace displacement affect things other than point to point travel?

Ernest: Like what?

Dan: Like moving external objects, levitation and that kind of thing.

Ernest: Well... if you can sustain the curvature in a small enough area, it could create a pseudo-gravity well strong enough to overcome natural gravity. Then all you do is move that point, and the object merely 'falls' into it.
- Unlike teleportation though, the precision needed for such a thing is like the difference between a human's ability to walk while remaining balanced, and teaching that to an early robot.
- So far, we've only managed to succeed at hurling bobble-head dolls across the room at half the speed of sound. That wasn't pretty.

Dan: But it's possible?

Ernest: Theoretically, yes. But it's not easy.

Dan: How large can you scale something like that?

Ernest: How much energy do you have?

Dan: I see...

* Bobby Brookshire (EGSA Operations) has made contact.

Bobby: Okay Dan, I'm here. What's so important that we're pushing this meeting back?

Dan: Ernest, tell Bobby what you just told me.

Ernest: Which part?

Dan: The whole thing, but shorter.

Ernest: Oh boy...
- Well, I was going over the data from secure file Nightcrawler when I ran into digger-waves on the o-scope readings.

Bobby: Digger wave?

Ernest: The telltale signature of a subspace displacement. It's all over the o-scope recording. All instances of this creature, Twilight Sparkle, 'teleporting', give off a digger-wave.

Bobby: Are you saying she's displacing rather than teleporting?

Ernest: More like displacing and teleporting are the same thing, but yeah.

Dan: Ernest also said that levitation might use the same mechanic, but with more precision.

Bobby: Really? Scalable?

Ernest: If you've got energy, you can move it.

Bobby: Ernest, I want you at our meeting. Dan, can he be in this meeting?

Dan: Ernest, drop what you're doing and meet us in room 403 in five minutes.

Ernest: You realize I'm four miles away in the assembly building, right?

Dan: Oh... yeah. Well, get to room 403 in the main complex ASAP. I think you're on to something.

Ernest: Nice. Consider me there.

* Dan Hawking (EGSA Operations) has suspended contact
* Bobby Brookshire (EGSA Operations) has suspended contact
* Ernest Hart (EGSA Engineering) has suspended contact





*Sub note:
3750 ly = 22 quadrillion miles. (To be precise: 22,044,845,779,681,532)
6 months = ~15,552,000 seconds

Thus Arrow travels 1,417,492,655.5 miles a second.
OR: 7,609.4 times C
Divided by 64 kHz SDD cycles = 22,148 miles per pulse.

Archive Eight: Tranquility

View Online


MISSION LOG
November 25th, 2257

A note of reference for any future missions.

Pegasi do NOT react well to microgravity.

They are also extremely resilient to electric shock.

That being said, orbital insertion went okay for the most part. I did find myself having to scold Twilight for her continuing disregard of GSA property. I allowed her to get away with so much up until this point, but after finding out she'd re calibrated the automatic direction finder and compass I had to put my foot down. I'd already done the calculations for our launch trajectory and had accounted for the incorrect readings of this planet. If it hadn't been for the fact that she'd recalculated the trajectory for me, we would have had to abort the launch right then and there.

Of course, that wasn't the only problem. I know I said insertion went okay for the most part, but there were a series of problems late in the scram ascent stage.

Most importantly, the number seven turbopump locked up at full throttle and refused to shut down. That gave us all quite a good scare for a minute. I managed to resolve the problem before it became critical by starving the engine and increasing our insertion angle to leave the atmosphere sooner.

Still, that little scare revealed a problem I hadn't expected from my second passenger, Rainbow Dash.

I saw no signs of it before hand, and according to Twilight, Dash had never shown any symptoms. But I believe the pegasus is claustrophobic. Right after the turbopump malfunction, she began to panic, and it only got worse at MECO. Twilight tells me she was complaining about the seat crushing her and being unable to breathe at first, and then began to panic about falling.

Things reached a head when Rainbow Dash got out of her harness and began flailing about the cabin. I'll be honest, once I realized she was having a panic attack, I expected microgravity to make things worse. Given her natural flying instincts, the sensation of falling that comes with weightlessness could only be counter-intuitive to her. And boy, was I right.

It got so bad that I was worried she was going to get seriously hurt. So I ended up breaking out the shock probe I made to deal with Twilight and gave Dash a good zap.

To restate what I've already said, while Unicorns seem to be as vulnerable to shock as anyone else, pegasi, or at least Rainbow Dash, are practically immune. The voltage was at least as powerful as a taser but didn't seem to so much as faze her.

I'm extremely glad she had no physical purchase at the time, because she immediately kicked me in the face in retaliation. If she'd had any leverage, she probably would have broken my jaw.

In the end, Twilight ended up taking care of her friend. She grabbed Dash with her TK and rammed her head-first into the access panel for the CHM. That might have been a bit over the top, but without any better ideas, I guess that was the best we could hope to get with such a short amount of time to work with.

Dash remained out for a good thirty minutes after that, long enough to get her strapped back in and perform the final orbital insertion burn.

The next two hours we spent just trying to keep her calm, plus I spent some time grilling Twilight as to why exactly she'd let her friend get into this without knowing what was going to happen. Honestly, in retrospect I feel like an idiot. I have years of training and I let two ponies play astronaut with practically no knowledge or experience in the matter. I hope the doc can tell me what's been wrong with me the last few months when I get home. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't DARE let inexperienced people (or ponies) anywhere NEAR the Raven, let alone in it.

Anyway, Dash is calm now, but looking a little sick. I finished our third burn fifteen minutes ago and we're well on our way to meet up with the arrow. Twilight's been dividing her time between staring out at the planet, experimenting with weightlessness, and scribbling frantically on one of her old wrinkly papers. (She's using one of my pens.) It almost made this whole fiasco worth it to see the look on her face when we crossed the dawn terminator during our second orbit. For a while, I thought she'd forgotten to breathe.

I'm going to grab a quick nap in the CHM. It'll be a few hours before rendezvous with the Raven, and I'd rather be fresh for docking.

Seriously, whoever designed the docking configuration for the Arrow and the Raven needs to try handling it some time. I mean it guys. Vertical approach to a horizontal docking ring in a tight rectangular bay. Someone's watched too many of those OLD Star Wars movies. I can't even see the vertical fins to ensure they clear the back rim of the docking bay!


MISSION LOG:
November 25th, 2257
SUPPLEMENTAL

I wish I could say I was used to taking naps in microgravity. But in all honesty I've been sleeping in a glorified centrifuge or on an actual planet the last eight months. I almost forgot how uncomfortable it is to try and sleep with the sensation of falling and this nauseating headache keeping me company. Man, Space Adaptation Sickness SUCKS!

But we all know that, don't we?

Anyway, I had such a fitful time sleeping that when I finally got comfortable enough to pass out, I ended up dreaming about the weirdest thing. Skydiving with Rainbow Dash, without a parachute, while she screamed endlessly.

Actually, the screaming was Twilight. And it wasn't really screaming, it was more like squealing.

As it would turn out, I almost overslept the appointed rendezvous time with the Arrow.

I hate to be a bit of a bragger, but... Yeah, I'm good. I synched our orbit up with it enough that we had drifted to within five kilometers of the Arrow without course correction burns. Close enough the proximity radar had gone off, which is what set Twilight squealing.

Twilight's squealing set off Dash again, forcing me to, half-asleep mind you, try and get the distraught pegasus to calm down. For the record... Waste of time.

I ended up having to tune the pegasus out for the remainder of our approach until she calmed down on her own. I thought she'd never stop crying.

As for approach itself, the Arrow managed to get a 30 km lead on us by the time I was strapped in and firing another burn. It took another half-hour to make a revised approach after matching velocities.

Docking procedure itself was quite a treat, and almost worth the headache today has turned into. When Twilight finally got her first up-close look at the Arrow itself, she began speaking in a kind of half-English, half-pony ramble that reminded me of that first day of contact going over math problems. About the only thing I think I understood out of that whole thing was the phrase 'Giant Metal Ant'.

The final kicker to getting the Raven docked with the Arrow was the moment of contact. If it weren't for the reverberating thump of the contacts and the cyclic clicks of the locking clamps in the contact ring, the only indication that we were connected to the ship would have been the external port lights changing colors. Twilight was impressed I could make such a huge machine behave with such gentle motion.

Now, aside from docking, and Twilight's continued fascination with the ship, I've still got a minor problem in the form of a very distraught pegasus. Even as I type this, she's still strapped into the seat on the Raven and now refuses to budge. Poor Dash was shaking so badly I could hear it rattling the buckles.

I don't know what we're going to do about it, but I've got a week's schedule to take care of, and Twilight agrees that Rainbow Dash can't just sit there for six days. Maybe if we can get her into one of the chambers in the gravity wheel without another panic attack, she'll be okay.

In the mean time, Twilight's getting herself acclimated to microgravity up on the command deck of the Arrow where there's more space to move around.



(Pocket Comment: What is that tiny purple dot on the command deck?

MISSION LOG:
November 26th, 2257

Day and night can lose its meaning up here in space. The nap during approach helped, but I haven't otherwise slept a wink since docking with the Arrow. It's been busy. Twilight's still running as if she had a caffeine pill and even though I recognize some of the effects of sleep deprivation from her previous 'episodes', I think I'll just let her go until she burns out this time.

Oh, we also managed to get Rainbow Dash moved to the gravity wheel. You'd be amazed how much motivation someone can have when they've been sitting on an eighteen hour bladder. Still, this didn't remove the problem. Just like during ascent, Rainbow Dash's flight instincts tried to take over and she ended up pretty much out of control. It was only with Twilight's assistance with her levitation magic that we were able to safely move the pegasus into the marginally more comfortable simulated gravity environment. She's been there ever since.

Speaking of Twilight and microgravity... The girl's a natural. In fact, she's proving to be better at moving around in microgravity than I am. It seems she managed to get a handle on the change of behavior with her levitation magic and now uses it to move around the ship. She explained to me that once she realized she had to establish an anchor with a fixed object, she quickly found that normally difficult self-levitation was practically a 'no-brainer'. She can 'grab' any handhold in the ship and use it even if it's physically out of reach.

I say grab with quotations because from what I gather, it's not a grab in the traditional sense of the word. According to her, Unicorn telekinesis requires an anchor point of a sort to pass momentum to, otherwise it becomes unpredictable. From what I gather, the anchor acts as a kind of... I guess you can call it a short range spatial distortion. The potential energy, or should I say 'weight' of an object is passed into the anchor point rather than through the body of the unicorn itself. Without it, the first time Twilight attempted to lift anything larger than herself, she'd be smashed like a watermelon. Usually, the anchor is just where their hooves are in contact with the ground, because it's easier to set up with physical contact. But it can be done externally much like how she can teleport others. In the case of moving around in microgravity, she reverses things so that the 'anchor point' is what she would normally be levitating, and then levitates herself in relation to that anchor.

She said this could be done on the ground, but the pull of gravity makes it extremely difficult to maintain even for her. Here in space though, the amount of 'power' required is so small in comparison that it makes it seem almost effortless.

Given the way Twilight's taken to weightlessness like a fish to water, I want to say that contrary to any future intuition, it'll be unicorns that are more suited for space travel. One would imagine a pegasus as a perfect candidate, but given what we've learned so far in just one day, it'll be a serious case of having to 'unlearn' their natural instincts.

Observations aside, I have to get some sleep. Tomorrow I'm going to be performing EVA work on the Raven. The number seven turbopump didn't just break by itself. I have to find out what's actually going on before that thing gets me killed.


MISSION LOG:
November 27th, 2257

Rainbow Dash hasn't spoken a word since we got her into the gravity wheel. I'm starting to think that maybe this was much harder on her than I thought. She stays curled up in the entertainment area, staring at the viewing monitor we'd set with images of flying machines and avoids looking out the view ports at all costs. I think I was more comfortable when she was wailing away in terror to this strange behavior.

Twilight STILL hasn't slept, but as far as I can tell, she shows no signs of slowing down and continues to 'experiment' (play around) with microgravity like a kid would play in a sand box. If previous incidents like this were any indicator, I'd give her maybe another day before the lack of sleep starts to catch up on her. Still, I don't like when she gets like this. Cute, sure. Hilarious too. But that responsible part of me nags that if she gets tired, she might try something silly, like teleportation experiments in zero-G. The last thing I'd like to see is a miss-aimed teleport through a bulkhead depositing her in hard vacuum.

That would be the end of her right quick.

Speaking of vacuum. Pulled the EVA today off without a hitch. Got it done in record time too thanks to some help from Twilight. Okay, I spent half the time in my space suit biting my lip, but she really did pull through for me despite not having slept. And it was interesting.

Imagine a decently capable unicorn like Twilight Sparkle as a living, remote-remote manipulator arm using her TK. She sat in the Raven while I was removing the number seven turbopump, and watched me the best she could from a view port. The entire time, she not only acted as a backup tether, but she helped me move around and manipulate the parts as I pulled them, decreasing the fuel consumed by my turbo-pack. After about an hour, she got so proficient at it that I was almost able to move at 'normal' speed instead of 'spacewalk speed'. The space suit's still bulky and hard to move in. That's one thing that hasn't changed in 200 years. (Kind of like dehydrated space food. Actually, now that I think about it. That stuff lasts forever. Did you guys pack me the vintage, 200 year old NASA rations?)

Now that we've got all the turbopump parts and the error log in the tech lab, I can start trying to figure out what exactly is wrong with the Raven. I REALLY hope it's fixable. Because if I can't fix it, I have to bring it back to Earth for repairs BEFORE I can send Twilight and Rainbow Dash home. I'm sure Princess Heaven and Princess Luna would be overjoyed to find out I had no choice but to abduct two of their citizens for a year minimum. That's sarcasm by the way. Just in case I didn't make that painfully obvious.

Anyway... Twilight's on the console nearby looking at spectrograph readings. Probably the only nice thing about being stuck on a ship built to house thirty for asteroid mining missions. I have more ship than I know what to do with. And that reminds me. I've got to calibrate the on board observation instruments and take some readings of the sun, the moon, and 'Canterlot'...

The capital.

Canterlot is the capital.

I should have mentioned that sooner...

Long story short, Twilight came up with it. I think it's in the flight data recording. She's editing the transcript from what I can tell. Actually, I can't wait until she finishes because I want to know what Dash was saying all this time.

I better go. Twilight wants to try a zero G experiment out and I'm acting safety. And I've still got instruments to calibrate and an engine to troubleshoot.


[HIDDEN ENTRY]
MISSION LOG:
November 27th, 2257

Seriously? Randy's password is 'gummiebear' ? I spent eight hours with a trace-mapstate spell for this? Isn't a gummiebear one of those weird rubbery gelatin snacks made of sugar and food coloring shaped like a bear cub? You humans are weird.

And this hidden entry feature is strange too. Meant only for engineer access...? I probably shouldn't be in the system like this, but I just can't help it! I haven't slept in... 54 hours? I bet you humans are wondering how I managed to get into the system despite only learning of computers two months ago.

Well actually it's simple. Well, simple if you know how to use magic. Randy thinks I'm watching him type the password. But really, all I have to do is find the digital bit determining if the password authentication is true or false, and just flip it with magic to the 'true' condition and it doesn't matter WHAT the password is. Think of it like I can magically reach in and flip a switch. We have spells to prevent things like that with levers at the palace, but I guess without access to magic, you humans never would have thought it was possible.

I'll admit, it takes some effort on my part, and other unicorns probably can't do it. But after reading all about logic gates and how your computers worked, I just HAD to give it a shot. I mean, I can turn birds into... well, orange-birds. Without hurting them! Not orange coloured birds... Oranges, that are birds. You know, like fruit with wings. Well, that was an accident, I was really aiming at an apple when Pink Pie startled me... But technically this is simple compared to that. I think... Is tripping a computer bit simple compared to turning a bird into an orange? Wait, why am I asking a computer screen? You humans won't be able to answer me for a year!

Ha ha... Listen to me, I probably sound like I'm losing it. I mean, I didn't think I'd get administrative access to the main system. But I guess with a glaring weakness like that, it couldn't be helped. Don't worry though. I'm not going to mess with anything. There is WAY too many things here I can't fix if I mess it up. And Princess Heaven can't bail me out like she did when I used that Want It Need It spell on my old doll. But I'm rambling aren't I? I should close this log before I spill all my secrets. But typing is just so addictive! It's so much faster than I could ever write with a quill. So fast it can almost keep up with my thinking!

Oops, stopping now. I hope whoever reads this doesn't think I'm weird.

Twilight S.


MISSION LOG:
November 28th, 2257

Twilight Sparkle still hasn't slept, and she's now in full swing of what I've come to recognize as her obsessive compulsive desire to 'know stuff'. I admit, I saw this coming, but it's no less concerning to watch her totally disregard sleep, food, and even hygiene (her mane's a mess) simply to cram as much experimentation and learning in as she can.

Even more concerning, is that she's somehow managed to gain administrator access to the Arrow's main computer system.

ADMINISTRATOR ACCESS!

I'm the only guy on this ship and you guys didn't even give ME that!

So far it looks like all she's done is simply gain the access, but hasn't actually used it for anything. I'd like to give her another scolding about respecting GSA property, but at the same time I don't think she'd really listen in her current state. Not to mention I'm actually more tempted to have her give me admin access instead of chew her out anyway. You guys don't like it? Tough, you're seven thousand light years away from telling me how to treat the equipment 'I'M' currently responsible for.

Anyway, the other interesting thing for today turned out to be Rainbow Dash.

I woke up early 'this morning' because I found myself unusually warm. At first I thought the environmental control system was malfunctioning and an air handler cooling line had failed. In reality, Rainbow Dash had, at some point, crawled into my bunk and latched onto me like an over sized stuffed animal.

When I tried to get up, all she did was grip tighter, bury her muzzle in my suit, and shake in her sleep. Honestly I'm reminded of that day where she took a nap in the Raven. For such a brazen and noisy pony, she's actually very cute when she's asleep. According to Twilight, who found out about this incident this afternoon, Dash mentioned that I 'smell familiar'.

Smell familiar? Isn't that an animal thing? Then again, alien ponies. I know that back home young kids and pets are more comfortable around the smells of their parents/masters, but as far as Dash is concerned, I'm neither.

On the plus side, once Dash woke up, she seemed a little more... I don't know. Coherent? Alert? Not utterly terrified to move? I couldn't convince her to leave the gravity wheel, but I think it's starting to settle in for her that we're perfectly safe. (As safe as one can get in an interstellar craft.) Maybe tomorrow, with Twilight's help we'll be able to get her out into the rest of the ship. A little zero-G fun to lighten the mood if she can overcome her anxiety.

I did a check of the instruments just before lunch. For the most part, all the readings I got of both Canterlot and and of Omega Centauri Prime are normal. Disgustingly normal.

And that's NOT normal.

The kicker is the solar magnetic field and solar magnetic activity.

There isn't any. Nada, nothing. Zip, zilch, void, empty of any and all interesting activity. No loops, no flares, no prominences, not a sun spot or coronal mass ejection in sight. X-Ray dynamics comes up with the star being almost perfectly uniform across the disk. Solar wind monitoring shows a near perfect steady stream with a constant proton density and velocity.

It's so plain that it's weird.

The only thing I can think of that would cause that is if the star had no dynamo activity whatsoever. I can't think of anything that would make a star completely halt any and all rotational activity either inside or out.

The only other unusual readings I have is an this oddball microwave reading. It contains a very powerful standing wave and several layers of harmonics that cycle over the course of the day. The frequency also appears to rise abruptly at the times that coincide with dawn and dusk in Canterlot. I can only assume that this has something to do with how Princess Heaven controls Omega Centauri Prime.

Other than that, everything else is normal for a star of this type. Emission and absorption lines are as expected and match what TNLRT observed. I will have the Arrow continue to collect data. Maybe the think tanks back home can find something I can't. Can't see the forest through the trees after all...

Oh, speaking of lunch. Twilight's gotten so flaky from her lack of sleep that she misread one of the meal packets. I believe it was... Pasta noodles with meat sauce. She had almost completely finished the package, going on about how interesting a taste it was when she finally realized what she'd been consuming.

Oh boy...

I thought for a minute that she was going to vomit. Instead, she just closed her eyes and forcefully finished the rest of it. Then she went and locked herself in the astrogation lab and screamed. Diagnostics reported a 0.4 volt surge across the entire ship and tripped all the electrical cautions. I had to reset several of the battery isolation buses and do generator tie resets thanks to that. The gravity wheel had to be power cycled as well. Lost 0.05 g and I don't doubt Rainbow Dash noticed.

Reviewing my notes on pony dietary habits, they are chiefly herbivores like their Earthen counterparts. However I have noted supplementary protein consumption in the form of eggs and fish. Eggs mostly go into their baking, with some instances of direct consumption. Fish is much rarer, and seems to be an extremely acquired taste limited mainly to males. I make no assumptions at this time, but I will have to ask in more detail about the local food chain.

But enough about food. A quick report on the Raven's turbopump. I inspected it the best I could today and found that the turbine had been eaten up slightly during this last ascent. Flight data shows that it had been over-driven to nearly 125% of its rated output. Ten percent above the red line for maximum safe performance. In light of this, I'm going to revise my ascent profile to allow for a lower throttle climb. Scrams at 75 or 80% of maximum throttle should be plenty to get me into orbit on a strict 5-5-5 profile (Rather than the 10-7-5 profile).

I need to fish the parts out of storage and schedule an EVA with Twilight to replace the components. Everything from the flow valve right up to the injectors has to be swapped on SCRAM 2, and I'm also going to overhaul SCRAM 1 just to be safe. It'll take me at least a day for each engine WITH help.

I haven't heard from Twilight since lunch though. I hope she didn't freak out TOO bad.

This evening I had some downtime. So I spent it in the entertainment section of the gravity wheel with Dash. Her mood's improved a lot since this morning. But now she follows me around the gravity wheel and lays down next to me. She's been staring at the screen the entire time I've been typing today's log.

I have the feeling that I'm going to be stuck with her sleeping next to me the remainder of the trip.


MISSION LOG:
November 29th, 2257
[AM]

GWAH! It's BACK! And by it, I mean 'IT!' That weird sensation of being watched. The same sensation I was getting when I first arrived, and all the times I was being watched by Princess Luna. I thought it was just nerves... But... This is tangible. So tangible that it woke me up! I've got goosebumps, my pulse has quickened, and I keep looking over my shoulder as if expecting to find the Princess standing behind me. And the strange thing is that I KNOW I'm not afraid of her, but my entire body is going into panic mode as if I'm utterly terrified.

Even crazier, is the sensation comes in pulses. It took me a while to realize it, but the interval was the same as the rotation rate of the gravity wheel. Every time Equestria goes by in the view port, I feel the sudden urge to hide. I've since blocked off the view port with some tape and paper, and that seemed to reduce the strange terror significantly.

I don't think I'm imagining this. There's something very real, very physical happening and my body can sense it. I don't know what it is. But when I get up later, I'm going to ask Twilight about it.


MISSION LOG:
November 29th, 2257

After the incident this morning, I set about searching the Arrow to see what shenanigans Twilight was up to after her food freakout yesterday.

Regrettably I found her in what I guess you could describe as the most awkward situation to date. She was in the mess, floating passed out in a cloud of MREs and space meals. She'd torn into fifty-seven different packets, all of them some form of meat. She hadn't eaten all of it. But from the looks of things, she'd sampled every single one of them. There's a clipboard she wrote notes on, describing content, flavor, and texture, followed by some pony script which I suspect is either a translation, or her own notes.

I suspect her lack of sleep as a prime culprit here. I've noticed that the longer she goes without sleep, the less rational she becomes. Much like the other times this happened, everything around her gets trashed. I never thought it would get this chaotic though. This is the kind of mess you'd expect a drunk to get into. Or maybe a five year old.

Actually, I'd have to give a five year old more credit. They don't know what they're doing, but they know what they want. Twilight seems more like the opposite...

I had to move her, and it wasn't easy. She was out cold and didn't so much as twitch until I got her into one of the zero-G sleeping sacks. Did you know Twilight sucks her hoof? It's adorable...

And she'll probably kill me if she reads this entry...

I spent the rest of the day pulling the scramjet parts from storage and stocking up the Raven with unopened rations. I'll leave cleaning up Twilight's MRE mess for later. Maybe during the trip back. Six months with nothing to do will be plenty of time to deal with that.


MISSION LOG:
November 30th, 2257

It finally happened! Rainbow Dash finally worked up enough resolve to try and leave the gravity wheel this morning! I almost didn't expect her to do it, but on my way up to check if Twilight was awake, she somehow managed to fight her way up the ladder and out of the wheel.

Almost immediately, her flight instincts took over, and she almost bounced all over the corridor before I managed to bring her to a halt. It look a little work, but after about an hour of carefully showing the pegasus how gentle motions work better than her full throttle actions, she finally started to catch on. Imagine the look on Twilight Sparkle's face when she woke up to find her friend staring back at her. Actually, don't imagine it, check the photo archives. That shot was a classic!

When I explained to Twilight the mess I'd found her in yesterday, she apologized profusely claiming that she hadn't been thinking straight. I told her it was okay since it was obvious she was losing it. But I made her promise that she wouldn't stay up for days on end any more and would take care of herself properly.

That started immediately with showing her (both of them really) how the space shower in the gravity wheel worked. I won't get into details on that. It was just awkward. It's like you have to give your pet dog a bath, but your pet dog is really a cute girl and... Yeah. I'm not a psychologist, so I can't tell you exactly what's going on up inside my noggin. When I get back, I really need to talk with the Doc. about the psychology of dealing with sapient non-humans. All I know is the entire time I spent explaining the space shower (and a few days back, the vacuum toilet) it felt weird. I could talk a human girl through this any day of the week and I wouldn't bat an eye. But every time something like this comes up with these Equinoids (Hey, that's perfect!), it's like I'm at war with myself.

I guess I'll just get off the subject and let the Doc. explain to me the amount of crazy I've got.

Once Twilight was washed up, we went out to prepare for my next EVA while Rainbow Dash got a shower. By the way... These ponies sweat like humans. So they stink after a few days without a shower. You don't really notice in the stale air of the Arrow, but the difference when they're actually clean hits like a punch in the face.

Anyway, the EVA went off without a hitch. It took most of the day, but we got the first turbopump and valve set reinstalled and pulled the other one thanks to Twilight's ability to move me around like a manipulator arm. I'll admit it, we ABUSED that TK ability to get the job done.

Rainbow Dash had watched the entire thing from the docking bay cameras.

During dinner I told Twilight about the sensation of being watched the other day. She seemed genuinely puzzled when I explained to her the physical reaction I had, and how it seemed connected to being in direct sight of her planet. She's got a theory on that based on some previous reactions to different kinds of magic I've had, but can't conclude anything until we get back.

I can't believe I'm actually talking about magic as if it were an everyday thing...


MISSION LOG:
December 1st, 2257

With the turnover of the month, I'm sure the holidays are in full swing back on Earth. I know this isn't really a message home, but if it were I'd be saying to string some bulbs on the tree for me.

I appear to be Rainbow Dash's new giant living teddy bear. I woke up with her actually laying on top of me like an oversized cat. Don't ask me how she managed not to wake me, but sheesh. I hope this isn't a sign of some kind of misplaced affection. The last thing I need is a psychologically unstable alien equinoid half a galaxy away from-

You know what? Forget I typed that.

Today's EVA activity went even faster than yesterday's. Once again Twilight's abilities were a real boon to getting the job done. No, I didn't cut any corners. Sparkle made sure of that by walking us right down the entire installation checklist for the other scram turbopump. It's like I said just before we launched... That girl would make an excellent engineer.

We actually managed to finish just after lunch time, leaving the rest of the day to make sure I had adequate supplies stocked in the Raven itself for the return. (I made sure to load extra printer paper, extra ink, a portable console, and an auxiliary solar panel for Twilight. That should keep her off the Raven's computer and give me some extra privacy.)

I checked on the data from the solar observation instruments once more. Same activity as before. Same microwave 'tone' and standing waves. I'm downloading all the readings I've got to the Raven to go over later, plus I'm tuning the sensors to monitor the microwave readings in sweeps. I want to see if there's any form of shift over time that might tell me something.

When I finished working in the science lab, I went up to the command deck to find Rainbow Dash staring out the view port. Without the thumping of my heavy footsteps (thank you microgravity), she didn't even hear my approach. I watched her for several minutes as she just stared out at the planet. She'd place her hoof on the window, then move it back, then put it on the window, then pull away again.

We were so caught up with our respective observations that Twilight startled both of us when she floated in and started talking to Dash. According to Twilight, Dash mentioned that seeing their home like that made her feel small. I can empathize with that feeling. The first time I saw Earth from high orbit, something just clicked. Everything you've ever known. Everyone you've ever met. It's all down there...

Everything, on a ball of dirt the size of your fist. Or in Dash's case, the size of her hoof.

I'd like to say though, that Twilight brought that mood up by mentioning that my appearance shows that even as small as we are, there are friends to be had out there.

I feel kind of proud this evening. Mankind's first meeting with an alien race, and I've been officially described as a friend. To have mankind thought of as a friend... If this is to set the stage for the future, then I think that for all my screw ups, all my mistakes, I did the best anyone could ever hope for.

I think with most of the work out of the way for now, I'll spend tomorrow with my 'friends', and just have fun goofing off.


MISSION LOG:
December 2nd, 2257

Today is the last day on the Arrow. And from the moment I woke up until now, I resolved to make it as entertaining as possible for the two ponies.

With some practice, Twilight and I helped Rainbow Dash learn to effectively 'fly' in zero gravity. She's not quite as proficient at the process as Twilight has become with her TK manipulation, but by lunchtime she was zipping around the command deck with only a few minor collisions with bulkheads. It seems her biggest impairment is the lack of equilibrium in finding up or down, so she loses orientation very easily. In order to solve this issue, we developed a routine wherein by default, down is always direction of travel. And if she gets confused, just to bring herself to a complete stop relative to the movement of the air.

By the time any of this becomes relevant to future generations of ponies, she should have perfected the technique.

We spent lunch in the entertainment area of the gravity wheel. I introduced the two of them to the bane of all mankind... The video game. I kept the selection pretty tame for their sakes. Some of the stuff I played on the way here would give these ponies nightmares for months. Still, they seemed to like some of the war games I had. Twilight was absolutely fascinated to watch me work my way through one mission. She said it was extremely interesting to actually see the strategies and tactics she'd only read about up to this point go into play.

From the looks of things, Dash wanted to play too, though one look at the controller and my hands and she just sat grumbling in her language.

I didn't stay on the gaming too long. I know how it gets to be stuck watching something for too long and I also didn't want those two getting too curious about the collection. However, after some thought I went to the Arrow's archive and put a few strategy and puzzle games on a flash to place on the portable console. Nothing big, just a few time-wasters.

After that we goofed off some more on the command deck. I showed dash the main console and the holographic master situation display. For a little fun, I used the high resolution cameras to take photos of their homes. Mementos we printed out so they could show off the 'pictures of home from space'. On top of that, I took dozens of snapshots of the planet and their continent so they'd have something to give out.

While they were going over that, I realized that I could probably do better than just bringing some photos for them. In particular, I figure a good token of gratitude would be to bring some kind of gift for the princesses since they've been such good sports about my time here. I hope nobody back home minds too much if a pair of old touch pads and a solar charger go 'missing'. Princess Luna in particular really seemed to like the instrumentation. So she should REALLY like this old toy.

I should get some sleep now. When I get up, we've got to suit up and prepare for the return trip. I'm hoping that after warming up a bit to microgravity, Dash will be able to handle reentry without freaking out.

That reminds me, I better go connect the fuel line and refuel the scram tanks on the Raven. I almost forgot about that...








****Got some ideas to fix the marked issue from someone on the software side of the spectrum of electronics engineering. Once we bounce some thoughts around a little, I'll rewrite Twilight's entry.

Archive Nine: Heroes

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MISSION LOG:
December 3rd, 2257

So far, Dash seems to be handling the Raven a lot better than before. I think she’s still nervous if I’m reading pony ear expressions correctly, but Twilight is doing her best to keep the pegasus distracted from the fact that this bird is rather cramped.

It’ll be at least another eighteen hours to reentry interface, so I’ve still got some time to kill before we have to strap in. I’ve spoken with Twilight, and she conceded that Rainbow Dash should get the copilot position during reentry. I need to make absolutely certain that Twilight lets Dash know that fire and flames are normal. We can’t have a repeat of the ascent incident while I’m trying to bring the Raven in on course.

Dash is looking out the viewports as I type this. The planet continues to grow in size as we drop from high orbit.


MISSION LOG
December 4th, 2257

I wish I’d gotten a picture of the look on Dash’s face when she woke up from a nap to find us skirting along in low orbit. I had the Raven rolled pro-grade with the planet to the left, and the clouds in the atmosphere were zipping past at incredible speed. I doubt in her previous state during the ascent that she really appreciated the Mach count Twilight had been translating to her.

As mentioned in the previous log entry, Twilight and I decided it was Dash’s ‘turn’ to take the front seat for reentry, maybe giving her a view out the main viewports during descent.

I think our decision ended up being the right one. Dash remained calm all the way in, though around Mach 18 or so as we hit the fifty kilometer mark, the glowing plasma coming off the hull caused her to look at me repeatedly. Thankfully, every time she turned her head, I think seeing me being so calm helped her realize things were normal. I’m very pleased to say that for doing something none of her kind ever even thought about before, she handled it like a champ. I say this even considering her panic-stricken nature during half the time we spent in orbit.

Now, aside from Rainbow’s expression during the remaining approach, I was quite surprised about what we discovered coming in.

It seems in that in the course of a single week, the princesses had arranged for the creation of a landing strip just outside of Ponyville. It has, or I should say had, to be about five kilometers long, solid white and was lit up with marker lights its entire length.

I said ‘had’ in the previous statement because at the time of writing this log, it’s long since ‘dissolved’. I’m not quite sure what it was. From altitude it looked like concrete, but it got laid down in less than a week so there’s no possible way. It was spongy, but firm, similar to cork… If one could imagine cork being as hard as stainless steel.

Twilight told me it was something called-roughly translated-‘Cloudcrete.’, a type of industrial cloud used for the pegasus cloud city structures. I recall seeing the city in brief but things were so busy this last week it almost slipped my mind. I don’t know what to say about this ‘Cloudcrete’. If what Sparkle is telling me is accurate, it pours and shapes easier than cement, and hardens as strong as steel while still retaining incredibly ‘soft’ properties and the ability to be dispersed as easy as a mist under certain conditions. Kind of fantastical if you ask me, but I just flew a unicorn and a pegasus into space for a week…

Cloudcrete’s also expensive from what I understand. Something about the magic cost of producing it being so high that it’s rarely ever used for anything other than supporting mounts for machines, and as counter tops in pegasus homes. Twilight didn’t want to go into details today, but she mentioned that it must have been the princesses themselves that provided the magic to ‘cure’ the amount used to create the strip.

As far as I can say in terms of opinion, the Raven behaved no differently than if I’d set her down on a regular Earth landing strip. Perhaps a little better, seeing as touchdown was so smooth I almost didn’t feel the bump. As a note for the future, if we can establish regular contact and travel between worlds, I know some materials engineers who would kill for this stuff.

I had better go now. There’s a massive party outside and I appear to be the guest of honor. That’s probably to be expected when you’re the first publicized beings to go into space. Check the next log entry for any additional details.


MISSION LOG:
December 7th, 2257

Ugh… Finally.

Festivities, for lack of a better term, have been going almost non-stop for three days now. I feel like a museum piece from all the gawking and photos I’ve been in. Not to mention I've been all but force fed enough chocolate and sweets thanks to Pink that my dietitian back home would probably ban me from any and all substances containing sugar. I'm going to have to make sure I work off this excess weight to ensure I don't upset the Raven's center of mass.

On the other hand, Rainbow Dash seems to have made a full rebound and has been all but devouring the attention sent her way. Twilight less so, but she seemed to enjoy the attention of Princess Heaven when she and her sister arrived. Both of the winged unicorns were extremely interested in their gifts. Luna in particular seemed to get completely lost in hers. Don’t worry guys, the world record score in Stardust* is still safe. She can’t get past level five for being too impatient to set up the advanced cascades.

I should also mention the odd pony I met during all this. It wouldn’t be anything worth mentioning, except there seemed to be something very… I don’t know ‘not pony’ about this particular one. I think it was the way it acted. The ponies seem to subconsciously follow their herd nature and tended to cluster during the parties. And while they were timid towards me at first, they had warmed up to the tall alien creature I am.

This one though, I’ve never seen it before, and it seemed almost unafraid of me at all. Actually, it, or should I say ‘she’ seemed to slip away whenever Twilight would talk to me. (Or whenever Dash dragged me off to have my eyesight ruined by ponies wielding old-style flash cameras.) I paid enough attention to notice that it didn’t really stick to any particular group and tended to regularly ‘scan’ the area as if looking for something… Or looking out for something. But the clincher in all this was the very real creepy crawly sensation I got whenever she got close enough. It’s like those skin-prickling chills I’ve been getting when Luna’s been watching, or when I was woken up in orbit. But far, far weaker. I keep forgetting to ask Twilight about her theory on that. Some thing's happening, but I’m not sure what. Whenever I’ve noticed it, that odd pony seemed to react as if she’d been slapped across the snout with a newspaper.

For the time being, I'll call her Shifty.


MISSION LOG:
December 10th, 2257

Things have slowed down since our return, but I'm no less the center of attention I was before. Yesterday, the pink teacher from the school came by with the entire class as well as Twilight and Rainbow Dash in tow. With my permission (Twilight was very careful to ask me something like six times over, much to my satisfaction), I allowed the unicorn to take the young ones around the inside the Raven in groups of two while the teacher and Dash kept the others busy. Between the four of us, we managed to keep things amongst the children under control. I've been asked if I would like to come by in a week and explain with Twilight to the class how orbits work.


MISSION LOG:
December 12th, 2257

It's late and I've been going over the solar data I collected for over a week. I still don't get this. The microwave pattern and its 24 hour cycle still elude explanation. I think tomorrow I'll go check some recording equipment and see if there are any similar cycles being experienced on the ground. If I can just find SOMETHING I might be able to crack this nut.


MISSION LOG:
December 13th, 2257

I'm being stalked.

I collected data from several of the surface instruments located around town today. While I was doing so, I started noticing that prickling tingle that comes whenever I feel Shifty about. I didn't see the odd pony anywhere, but it's been getting to the point where I can almost identify the 'type' of tingle she causes. - Tops of the arms, back of the neck, and a shudder like it's getting cold. Kind of like those stories about people who say they've encountered ghosts. I've got this strangest feeling I should be wearing my sidearm. But I see no actual reason why I should.


MISSION LOG:
December 15th, 2257

A quick observational report on Shifty thanks to some camera footage.

Standing Height (all fours): ~110 cm Length: ~164 cm (Including tail)

Weight: (Based on a hoof depression measurement) ~34 kg (!?)++

Behavioral Pattern: Shifty shows signs of wariness in the open but is oblivious to the camera as she approaches it. Like one would expect of a typical animal, she seems to sniff at the equipment and keep a few meters distance. She is also quite flighty. A shout (I assume from another pony to get away from the equipment) causes her to flee the scene. Of special note, unlike the ponies, who seem to rear in alarm, Shifty ducked more into a springing position typical of a cat or other large predator.

++ - I've not met a single pony that doesn't mass proportionally close to or above a typical human despite a smaller physical size.

I'll have to bring this information to Twilight tomorrow. Perhaps she knows what this odd behavior represents in a pony.


MISSION LOG:
December 16th, 2257

I visited Twilight at the Library today and presented her with the information I've collected on Shifty. She acted confused at first, but then broke out into a broad grin before saying not to worry too much and just keep watching 'Shifty' and reporting how she behaves. When I asked if she knew something, Twilight just said that if she told me, it might skew the results. I let it drop at that point. I've come to to recognize that look. It tends to be one of her 'ask forgiveness rather than permission' looks. I won't get anything out of her until she's ready.

The rest of today was spent preparing our presentation and lesson for the children tomorrow. Twilight mentioned that Rarity was going to show up, but hadn't been informed as to why.


MISSION LOG:
December 17th, 2257

Of all the things I've been given... I think this I'll treasure most.

This badge was given to, Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, and myself by the class just before our presentation. It represents the experiences we shared during our week in space. I bet all the guys back home will be jealous after this. Well, all you have to do is be the last man standing in a political elimination match you didn't even know you were playing.

But I digress. These badges were hoof-made by Rarity. (It seems awkward to say 'hand made' when they don't actually have hands.) I thought the ones made for the suits were good, but this is so much more. If you look at it in the light just right, you can even see how she managed to get some crushed gemstone mixed in. It's obvious she's been preparing these for weeks. I know I had some headaches dealing with the liberties Twilight's been taking with GSA property, but I guess in the end, provided I can keep myself between her and anything truly sensitive, like a hydrazine valve, things will be okay.

The children (foals?) seemed to enjoy our presentation as well. With Twilight acting as translator, we essentially spent about half the day teaching basic orbital mechanics and Kepler's laws of planetary motion. They enjoyed it quite a bit right up until one child wearing a cute silver tiara fielded a question asking why, if physics made planets and moons move the way they did, did their rulers Princess Heaven and Princess Luna have to control them.

I don't need to know how to speak 'pony' to know a loaded question when I hear it. Even before Twilight had translated for me, I knew she'd stopped dialogue with the sudden, absolute silence that followed.

Having grown up and gone through childhood myself, I recognized a child that was being contrary for the sake of being contrary. And 'Little Princess' was certainly doing her best attempt to undermine me. However, it was still a valid question. And with Twilight there to translate for me, I told her the truth.

Truth is: That is the entire reason I'm here.

The follow up was like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae. There was silence for several seconds before the children began to stomp their hooves on the floor. I was confused for a moment until I realized it was an applause. Imagine if you would, half a dozen small ponies drumming their front hooves on the ground. I could feel the floor shaking from just a small group of children.

Later this evening, Twilight told me she was genuinely surprised how elegantly I'd handled it. 'Little Princess' was well known in town as what we would recognize as a 'spoiled rich kid'. And I had managed to, not so much as take her down a peg as rather to awe her into silence.

But I'm still bothered by that question. I've solved what's making the sun of this world revolve around the planet... But in doing so, I've unearthed deeper questions. How? And more importantly... Why?


MISSION LOG:
December 18th, 2257

An overnight weather change caught me off guard today. When I woke up, it was pouring down rain and the sky was ablaze with lightning. Don't ask me why creatures that have complete control of the weather saw fit to include full on thunderstorms with their work, but I'm sure they have a reason for it.

I was just settling in to spend another day reviewing the same data I've gone over half a dozen times with no luck when I noticed movement on a camera I'd placed in one of the wheel wells.

At first I thought it was wind, but then a particularly loud crack of thunder caused a pony I had not noticed previously to practically jump out of its skin... or fur.

Shifty, trying to take shelter from the storm by the aft gear.

We have an old saying. 'It ain't a fit night out for man or beast.' And I'm sure this applied even here... Even if it was day time. It certainly wasn't weather I would call 'fit' for a man, or a beast. So I decided to play good Samaritan and risked the electric madness of a pegasus thunderstorm to open the hatch on the Raven.

Shifty seemed almost as scared of me suddenly appearing and whistling at her as she was of the cracks of thunder around us. It was like trying to coax a dog that wouldn't listen inside. Only after a lightning bolt took out a tree fifty meters away (and about caused me to tumble right off the Raven), did she finally decide to heed my rather absurd 'come on!' gestures.

I don't know how long she was out in that storm, but by the time we'd gotten back into the ship and secured the hatch, we were both soaked to the bone and freezing our collective rears off.

The strange thing however, was that while I had to towel off and wipe up the deck, Shifty was practically dry in spite of being covered in fur.

That would have added something else for me to ponder about her for days if she hadn't sneezed right about that moment.

And spontaneously combusted.

I panicked and dove for the cabin fire suppression system. I was sure she'd touched off an electrical fire some how when she went. The tell-tale green of burning copper was the only thing on my mind for a few seconds.

I'm rather glad I missed the extinguishing button on my first lunge. Even though my mind was already imagining a hydro-lox fireball reducing the Raven to a smoldering crater a hundred meters wide, the flames were already subsiding by the time I was making my second.

More importantly however, Shifty wasn't incinerated. At least, at the time I didn't think she was. Charred, maybe, but not incinerated. It took me a few moments to identify the creature I had formerly recognized.

My first thought to type for a description is 'giant insect'. However, insects are defined strictly as having six legs. 'Shifty' was still a quadruped, and still seemed to sport the equine features of the pony races. I would say she or it more resembled some mad wizard's attempt to create Man-Fly... but with a pony mare. (Mare-fly?) Compound eyes but not compound eyes, wings, an exoskeleton-like skin, and fangs (3 cm or better, can't tell, don't want to find out the hard way).

Although I find the concept a bit shocking to encounter the way I did, I can't help but almost feel sorry for the poor thing. Her body shows numerous signs of grievous past injuries. The exoskeleton is covered in lacerations and holes as big around as golf balls, and her wings are all but half-gone with what little remains tattered and damaged significantly.

When I'd recovered from my surprise she was cowering in the corner like a beaten puppy. Any attempt I made to approach was met with a nasty hiss that would make a cobra proud. I wasn't about to test the effectiveness of those fangs either. Without knowledge of the creature, she could have anything up to and including natural neurotoxins. After my encounter with the formerly mythical cockatrice a few months back, I'm not about to push my luck with strange natural defenses.

However, something did/does appear to be rather odd. Much like her behavior a few days back, this creature, which I'm assuming is still Shifty, seems to flinch horribly any time we lock eyes. It's that same flinch too. Like I'd physically reached out and struck her on the nose.

At the moment, I'm not quite sure what to do. I'd like to get Twilight to find out what she really is, but I'm afraid the moment I leave, Shifty will run for it. All I know at the moment is that until a few hours ago, she looked like a normal pony. Now she's some kind of 'Mare-fly' that looks like she's been dashed on the jagged rocks of life and traumatized into fearing anything that so much as looks at her sternly.

I could say I know one pony with similar behavior, but even she seems to open up once she starts to relax around you. At the moment Shifty's still tucked in a corner. She may or may not be asleep, but I'm not going to push it. I'll let her get used to being around me and see if she can realize that I'm not going to hurt her.

I am going to lock the CHM when I go to sleep though.


MISSION LOG:
December 19th, 2257 [AM]

Append at least two new pony breeds to the list.

One: Bat-winged pegasi.

Two: Polymorphic insectoidal pegasus/unicorn hybrids.

When I awoke this morning, I found the Raven surrounded in the former. Judging by their gear, they were some kind of special guard unit. I feel they may be reacting to Shifty's presence, though I'm not sure how they knew she was here.

Shifty herself seems to have calmed down and seems to recognize that I have no plans to cause her harm. I am hissed at if I approach looking as if I wish to touch her, but otherwise she no longer cringes in the corner.

Shifty appears to be some kind of magic-based, chameleon-like equinoid. Like the princesses, she appears to possess hybrid traits of both wings and a horn, though in this case I'm willing to hypothesize that these features aren't related, and shows competency in utilizing both to a certain level.

However, the dominant feature appears to be a sufficiently effective polymorphic disguise ability. Under normal physical laws, I would have called the feat impossible, but the existence of magic can easily cover this.

Unfortunately, I have yet to document anything on this ability as her 'spontaneous combustion' yesterday was my only clue. However, I can make a few assumptions.

Based on the condition of her current body, I surmise this is her true form. Logic would dictate that any new form she took would be made to blend in, and look like it was in good condition. Second, even if she were attempting to use a 'hurt' appearance for sympathy or as a means of predation, it would likely utilize more recent and/or pressing injuries that would garner immediate attention. With the number, severity, and apparent age of her wounds, I would assume them to be the real deal. Third, I doubt she would attempt the disguise after-the-fact, or even allow me to witness the disguising process.

Because of this, I can only assume she suffered a failure of her abilities when she sneezed.

A second assumption that I can make is that conservation of mass is followed. Records indicated Shifty was exceptionally light for a pony of the species she was disguised as. Her current form explains much of that. Unlike ponies, her limbs are smaller and more wiry, and her body much more lean. I would say even bordering on anorexic if I'm to assume that her body mass is supposed to even remotely approach the others. Without a wider pool of subjects to examine, I can make no conclusions.

As for dietary habits, I cannot give any conclusions there either. I offered food of both stuff I know the ponies will eat, as well as meat given the presence of her fangs. All options were ignored. I might note that it was not with a vicious hiss either. Shifty seemed to at least recognize my intent.

I'll finish this log later. Someone's knocking on the cockpit windows.


MISSION LOG:
December 19th, 2257 [PM]

At approximately noon, local time, Shifty was taken into custody by what is apparently the night division of the royal guard. Interesting that bat-winged pegasi exist. I guess it makes sense that they're nocturnal, but it just comes across as some kind of children's logic.

Anyway, according to Twilight Sparkle, Shifty is a member of an extremely hostile species of sapient, shape-shifting parasitic lifeforms. She called them 'changers' for a lack of a better translation.

Apparently, Changers recently launched an attack on the capital, which did significant damage, but failed spectacularly after their queen made a critical military blunder. Twilight failed to elaborate on that. I can only assume the queen underestimated the power of a creature like Princess Heaven, who can move stars around.

Twilight did however elaborate on some of the nature of a changer.

Parasite seems to be a pretty accurate term for what it does. According to Twilight, a changer does not consume organic matter to sustain itself in the conventional sense. Instead, it is apparently a creature that uses emotional attachment to siphon magic from a host. Most commonly, it seems to go after love. This, along with its clever disguising ability allows it to blend in and feed off a host, or multiple hosts, not only sustaining it, but increasing its strength.

Twilight referred to the entire concept as feeding on love, but after a brief discussion we both agreed that love itself is little more than a mental construct and not a tangible energy. More likely, and I feel so silly taking this seriously, the changer utilizes the emotional, and possibly psychic vulnerability introduced by love and similar emotions to more easily approach and siphon magical energy from the host.

When I asked Twilight if she knew about the changer, she mentioned that she started suspecting it when I gave her the data on Shifty's peculiar behavior and physical characteristics. Plus, apparently Pink Pie had mentioned something about not recognizing Shifty. Ah, good ol' small-town dynamics. Everyone knows everyone. And if they don't, good luck hiding.

So anyway, from what I gather, Shifty has been taken into custody, but should not be harmed. Twilight mentioned being a bit curious about the whole event and wanted the changer around once it was proven safe. By her understanding, I'm completely immune to a large number of magical effects ranging from the cockatrice attack on through to Princess Luna's 'dream viewing'.

The moment she said that, I should note she stuck both hooves over her mouth and made a squeak more at home coming from Dormouse.

When I pressed the issue, Twilight quickly excused herself, saying she'd already skewed the results enough just saying that.

Now I know that girl's up to something.

Archive Ten: And Explorers

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MISSION LOG:
December 20th, 2257

I actually sat and reviewed my logs since arrival today, and it's shocking how little progress I've made over the last few months compared to Twilight. And now it seems I have my own personal retinue, if anyone could believe that. Then again, I suppose that would be easy to believe compared to what I've logged up to this point.

But I digress...

After the Guards-ponies came and escorted Shifty away yesterday, they left a bit of a presence behind standing around the Raven. I won't go so far as to say I know why they're posted. It could be to screen for more changers. But I haven't seen Twilight around to confirm it.

Speaking of Twilight... I've had time to sleep on it, and her comment yesterday irritates me. If I read her little slip right, there's a bit of an experiment going on involving me. I doubt it's anything hazardous, but that girl has the most awkward way of handling how she goes about getting permission to do things. Between the Raven, the suits, and the way she all but invited herself and Rainbow Dash on a trip to space (I'll admit that last one was my fault), it's like she's used to having a certain amount of unquestioned authority without realizing she's even got it. That makes it really hard to stay mad at her, even the times when she really did make me mad. It's just... It's just hard to stay upset at that girl. She's trying so hard.

Still, something is bothering me. I can get the immunity to their magic. Why that is, is still unknown like a few other dozen anomalies around here. It brings up the question of a few examples she cited. In particular, this 'dream viewing' she said Princess Luna could do. If it's what I think it is -and I have pretty good track record for being half-right around here- then the princesses have likely been trying to... I want to say 'spy on me', but that just sounds sinister. Ponies seem to be anything but. 'Discern if I'm a threat'? Maybe? It was probably a while back given how they were a bit jittery around me at first.

Either way, Twilight seems to consider me immune to that ability. So the weirdness that is my subconscious is safe as far as I know. What I really need to do is get my priorities straight and get at least a few questions out of the way. If we want to get our mutual mysteries solved I'll need that girl to open up and be frank about everything she's doing and let her know that's it's okay to ask me. I'm not even remotely afraid she's going to probe me or anything like that. (If anything, I'm the space alien with the flying saucer, I should be the one doing the probing. Insert mad-science laugh here at your own discretion.)

I'll get my questions compiled tonight and go bother her in the morning... Assuming these guards don't have me in lock down or something. I should really go see if they let me leave the Raven.


MISSION LOG:
December 21st, 2257

Well, it figures. I went to the library to ask questions, and the girl's out of town. She's probably up at the capital dealing with whatever fallout came with the changer. So that pretty much ruined any plans I had to get my answers.

So, for probably the first time since I'd been here, I found myself at a loss for something to do. I know that technically I have a million-and-one tasks I need to get done for the sake of this mission and for science itself, but considering how much mental effort I went through preparing to give Twilight my stern-face, her not being there kind of took the wind right out of my sails.

I think I ended up wandering around the town in a grouchy funk for at least an hour with my retinue in tow before Dash noticed me.

Oh, I should mention my retinue. Seems I really am being guarded. I'm free to move about as I please, obviously, but I was followed by at least one (visible) guard at all times. Some people would be annoyed by having such protection shadow them, but in all honesty I hardly noticed; Funk and all that...

Either way, that ended abruptly when Dash showed up. If you didn't know she was a pegasus, you'd think she was a parrot the way she was squawking at the guards when she landed. Without Twilight to translate once more, it kind of hit home just how little I've picked up on the language when an argument broke out between Rainbow and the guard. Seems I'm a little spoiled when it comes to my favorite awkward translator.

The awkwardness redoubled when Dash finally seemed to convince the guards to leave (really they just backed off to a less oppressive distance) and turned to squawk a very creaky-sounding 'sorry' at me. That held until we both cracked. I've never noticed before, but Rainbow Dash has a bit of a goofy smile when she's going for apologetic. It certainly helped lighten the mood after a rough start to the morning.

I did instrument rounds after that, trying to recover at least some structure to the day with her in tow, chasing the guards back every once in a while as she went about her usual aerobatics. Sometimes she'd watch me examining the instruments, but she'd quickly grow bored if nothing started blinking at her the way they had on board the Arrow. At that point, she'd take off and do a few high speed strafes just off the top of my head... Babbling nonsense the whole time. It was funny how at first the guards rushed to protect me from her 'bombing runs', but like anyone who's been dive bombed by mocking birds, she never really struck me more than to tap me on the head.

However, she soon grew bored of that too and decided to land, still babbling.

I don't know how long she kept it up, having tuned the incomprehensible noise out at some point, but she must have gotten tired of it, seeing as she suddenly stormed up and shoved me, knocking me flat on my rear.

I'm not sure how much effort she'd put into it, but the last thing Dash said before taking off like a small blue rocket, was broken English to make Twilight's first words look fluent (Emphasis on phonetics): 'I-tok! Una-tok! Tok-I'*

Makes me feel like a slouch when I can't even say even that in their language after as many months. Can I even SPEAK in their tongue?

I'll try a little experiment of my own tomorrow. Rainbow's a completely different kind of speed from Twilight, maybe we can get something going until Twilight gets back.


MISSION LOG:
December 22nd, 2257

It wasn't easy catching up with Rainbow today. Whatever had her upset yesterday left her in a foul mood to the point that every time I approached, she'd take a cloud and zip off to the other side of town. This was quickly turning problematic, so I decided to stop a few hours before lunch and ducked into one of the town business establishments. Smelled like a bakery from outside, and looked like a Christmas gingerbread house.

Now, to this point I haven't actually been inside any of the local establishments aside from the Library, so I didn't know what to expect. I should have known, however. The moment I walked in, it was like one of those scenes in an old western where the big bad outlaw steps into the saloon. A few patrons enjoying breakfast, along with the apparent owners went dead silent when they saw me.

Of course, that's where the similarity to a movie ended. Almost out of nowhere, Pink Pie seemed to appear and began chirping (while bouncing around like a rubber ball) in unintelligible pony speak. A few seconds after this, I found myself swarmed by the patrons, each wanting to get a closer look at me. It was like the parties all over again, but this time with less competition for my attention.

Before long, I found myself pushed to one of the booths with Pink continuing to resemble a child hopped up on too much sugar and caffeine. I was offered – I assume it was an offer – a variety of baked confections. As far as I could tell, it was on the house too. The apparent owners seemed very pleased when I finally caved and tried something.

In retrospect, my 'patronage' probably helped increase their business. The 'alien from another world who took two local heroes to space approves of our food' advertising campaign that had to have resulted from that would be hard to ignore.

Speaking of ignore, I still had the problem of trying to catch Rainbow. And while I was pleased by a free (early) lunch, I was still no closer to trying my little language experiment than I was when I walked in. Pink seemed to catch on to my slightly quiet mood and did her utmost best to ask me what was wrong. If you call improvised Pictionary using cake icing to draw stick figures and smiley faces, 'asking'... Surprisingly, for not knowing a word we were saying to each other, that was extremely effective communication.

Before long, I had somehow recruited the Living Sugar Rush into some kind of zany scheme right out of a cartoon serial. She spent an hour doing seemingly random things, like placing objects in bushes or trotting seeming random paths around the town while glancing around, greeting the other ponies while I followed. I was about to lose my own patience for what appeared to be totally random things when she suddenly turned and smiled, then led me right to Dash.

Rainbow still had no desire to see me and promptly took off again, and that's when Pink's actions started to fall into place.

Before I knew it, the little baker had taken off in another direction through town and, still in my line of sight, managed to actually out maneuver the flying pony. I don't know HOW she predicted the route and knew which way to go to BEAT someone who could fly a straight line path over the town, but she managed it. Even as I watched, she worked frantically, spring-boarding off planks of wood, ducking between houses, and generally moving as if she had every single move planned well in advance. My vantage was perfect, looking right down two of the main thoroughfares as she zipped in and out. Above her, Rainbow was doing a frustrated evasion of her own from one spot to the next, only to be routed again and again by the pink menace. By the time five minutes had gone by, I could hear the multi-colored pony above squawking in annoyance that was becoming more and more panicked at every turn.

It finally ended when Pink somehow chased Dash right to where I was standing from the beginning. The pegasus was obviously out of sorts and huffing from the effort, so much so that she barely even realized that she was right back where she started until after I had greeted her with the best attempt at a pony 'hello' as human vocal cords could manage.

That got her attention, enough to halt any further attempts to give me a cold shoulder at least.

Now my little language experiment, as far as I had planned it, was meant to be just between myself and Dash, but with Pink around, I had a little bit of a bonus.

I should mention now that unlike my attempts with Twilight, Dash is and was more of a personal curiosity, so I didn't bring any recording gear for the task. In retrospect, I really should have, as the three-way interaction produced quite a few interesting results.

I'll start with Dash. She was enthusiastic about trying to talk to me at first, but I could see boredom set in with her quickly once it proved that picking up an alien language wasn't going to be something she could do in a few hours. I suspect that formal schooling also might not be her best environment either. The pegasus kept trying to find anything and everything that could interrupt any progress we made. She squirmed in place, paid more attention to the clouds in the sky, and generally was the exact opposite of Twilight in terms of being a good study.

I feel shock even now to say that Pink was an amazing help.

To elaborate, she was just as wound up, if obviously more so, than Dash was. But despite my fears that she would drag us into completely unrelated activities, she showed surprising focus and had a knack for drawing Rainbow back into the 'conversation' we were plowing our way through every time the pegasus started to lose interest.

By mid-afternoon, we'd made some amazing progress. That's not to say Dash had improved any. In fact, I'd say she managed to say one entire coherent statement without losing any patience and devolving into a series of irritated squawks and whinnies the whole time. Rather, Pink made frightening progress both in understanding and pronunciation. As soon as she was able to pick up the meaning of a word, she'd bounce in place, repeating it singsong over and over again. Her articulation after a few tries was only surpassed by Twilight's experience and dedication. The girl has a knack for it.

I also learned a few of their words as well. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be bringing a workable beginner's translation home for the scientists to go over. As would be expected from horse-like sapients, the difference in their vocal cords from that of a human actually makes some parts of their speech impossible to reproduce. At least, impossible for me… The word for 'cloud' is apparently somewhere between a half-whinny, half-squawk like a parrot. There's also a syllable that seems to rely on them peeling their lips back and hissing through their teeth like we would an 'S', but so far to the side that it comes out like a slurp. And THAT is distinct from an actual 'S' sound in the normal fashion.

English is apparently less sophisticated in terms of the sounds being made to them, but I'll have to verify that with Twilight to be sure. One thing I am sure of, however, is the two are very… Excited? To see me attempting to speak their language.


MISSION LOG:
December 23rd, 2257

‘Team Sugar-Crash’, as I have now dubbed Pink and Rainbow when they get together, woke me before the crack of dawn this morning. I got nothing technical done at all as they promptly picked up where we left off yesterday. However, by noon, I'd noticed that Pink had reached a somewhat competent level of communication. She actually asked and understood my answer as to what I wanted for lunch. Her grasp is nothing short of terrifying.

Her coherency however, is somewhat lacking. I would have said her ability to grasp a new language was superior to Twilight in every way, but her sentence structure remains little more than broken fragments and phrases consisting of no more than two words maximum. That is to say, she gets the words, she just doesn't seem to acknowledge that they can be used in complex manners.

Still, she's only been at it for a day. Twilight took weeks to make it to phrases, and months to reach her amazingly fluent level of speaking. And either case is far faster than anything I've ever heard of happening back home. Of course, I’m not a language expert, so I’m not really one to talk.

I should make a note of that. Language expert for follow up missions…

Actually, I should start making a LOT of notes for follow up missions.

Because I know you guys. The moment this goes public, there’ll practically be a space traffic jam to get here.

But anyway, while Pink has made frightening progress, Rainbow continues with a more lackluster… I should say ‘NORMAL’ level of progression (At least, I think it’s normal). She’s learned a few basic words, identifying herself, others, and me, as well as basic ‘yes’ and ‘no’ responses. Beyond that, she suffers from that attention span I mentioned in one of the previous entries.

For the time being, however, I’m going to have to cut this experiment short. I’m still no closer to solving the system conundrum than I have been, and distracting myself on the speaking skills of ponies is not doing me any good in giving me evidence. As far as I can tell, orbital mechanics work just fine, but I just can’t get what’s going on. It seems like I’m missing one key detail that could tie everything together. To recap what I know.

1: The sun and moon orbit the planet, which should be physically impossible, and do so with no identifiable consequences.
2: Princess Heaven and Princess Luna have both shown to be in direct control of the physical bodies. They cannot articulate an explanation beyond ‘they just can’ and ‘special talent’.
3: The sun itself has no measurable solar magneto-dynamic activity. This indicates a high likelihood of zero rotation within’ the body.
4: Solar orbital velocity and motions coincide with the behavior of a steady ‘hum’ in the microwave band.

Where’s the connection? I know something about the microwave pattern has to do with Princess Heaven. I also know the microwave pattern is related to the lack of magnetic activity… Is she TKing it? That can’t be the answer because of what Twilight said about anchoring. If Princess heaven anchored the SUN through her body into the ground, she’d smash the planet like a piece of chalk in a super-collider. And the Arrow’s records have yet to turn up any potential super-massive bodies to counter-point. She also appeared to exert almost no effort in the process. I can’t say for certain that she is not simply that strong, or if there is in fact a method for cheating the system.

However, I’m inclined to think the latter. The acts of ‘magic’ that I’ve seen so far, to include TK and Teleportation, seem to require some physical exertion on the part of the user. Princess Heaven has shown negligible exertion the few times I’ve seen it.

I’m missing a key data point, but I don’t know WHAT.


MISSION LOG:
December 24th, 2257

Twilight’s back, and I have a changer the size of Princess Heaven looking over my shoulder as I type this. It’s been a very busy day, so I’ll try and consolidate my thoughts the best I can despite the prickling sensation on the back of my neck.

To begin with, I was awoken this morning by a rather ‘official’ sounding rap against the external airlock door. Rainbow has a habit of tapping on the viewports, while Pink... Well, I'm still confused about the one time she got into the airlock between the doors... Either way, this one had that whole 'Police! Open up!' sound to it.

Imagine looking out the cockpit window to see an entire guard contingent, the two princesses, Twilight, and both a large and small changer standing in front of the Raven. For a second I thought I might be in trouble.

Thankfully, that didn't seem to be the case. From what I gather, the appearance and subsequent capture of 'Shifty' seemed to have a wider influence than I could have known. The Changers, according to Twilight, have been described as aggressive and desperate, and Princess Heaven has been desperate for any excuse to drag them out of the shadows and up to the bargaining table.

My wall of questions is brought right back to the forefront at this point. Twilight informed me that it was my natural reaction to Shifty's... 'emotion probing' that caused a bit of a stir on both sides of the political line. (I use political line here to denote the changers and the ponies as two separate national entities. Its accuracy may or may not be subject to change... Pun not intended.) The 'reaction', I'm told, seemed to be related to the way shifty would act whenever we'd made eye contact before she (yes, a she) lost her cover. Twilight tried to describe it as best as she could that Shifty said it felt like 'an electric shock to the horn'.

I'll spare the ins and outs of Twilight translating between the princesses and the 'queen' changer (I swear, every time she said queen, she practically spat the word. Something's up there). But between the four of them, I gather that the 'zap' reaction as I now call it had never been witnessed, and Twilight suspected the Changers might be emboldened to take steps to remove a threat to their ability to hide. Thus, for my safety, she had arranged to capture 'Shifty' and use her as a bargaining chip.

Being the alien here, I can't say I'm entirely surprised to realize I've been the center of an intelligence/counter-intelligence operation... Primitive as it was. My presence alone is political ammunition of the highest degree. That's actually kind of scary. From a political standpoint, I'm both that which is to be coveted, or feared.

Twilight indicated as much to me when she explained that the linchpin in Princess Heaven's move once she lured the Changer Queen out was to indicate that I am but one, and that many more would likely follow. Princess Heaven visibly giggled... and blushed?- as Twilight described a nice little fear-inducing scenario of magic resistant creatures spilling out of the skies in flaming metal birds and laying siege to the world.

Well, alien invasions are no laughing matter. After all, when the hoards of space monkeys with thunder sticks invade, you either unite against a common threat, or find yourselves conquered and turned into pets for little girls.

I am SO glad this Changer Queen can't read a single sentence of this log. She doesn't look like the sort that would find it a complement to be referred to as 'cute and cuddly'. And-

-Sheesh! I can't believe she just went and started flipping switches! You'd think the queen of a nation would have a little more sense than to go messing with things she didn't understand! Thank God she was only messing with some of the instrumentation and not the cockpit. Twilight's giving her an earful now and... Ugh. Now they're arguing again. What is it with these two? This isn't the first time they've argued either.

Earlier today, after explaining Princess Heaven's political chess game, it came back to me to ask Twilight about the whole 'magical resistance' I had. Apparently, ever since the cockatrice incident, Twilight's been noting how I seem to have both a natural resistance to magic, as well as what appears to be a sense for when it's being used on me. Apparently, both her and Luna have been trying things under the table. Luna more-so than Twilight... It seems Twilight had lessons in magical ethics where Luna has not. But I digress. Among some of the 'tests' I was subject to without my knowledge or consent, Luna has attempted to 'dream view' (with abysmal results, apparently every attempt resulted in me waking up immediately), as well as use some kind of extreme far sight while we were in orbit. That may explain the goosebumps episode.

Twilight's shenanigans were more subtle. TK shoves disguised as enthusiasm over something, a few attempts to use a 'sleep spell', and 'rejuvenation spells'. Things she called 'harmless stuff' I wouldn't have noticed anyway. Most of which didn't work. The only thing she mentions that even worked was the potion I ingested.

Apparently she was about to announce a theory to me and ask for cooperation when 'Shifty' showed up. And then the whole 'zap' thing when the Changer tried to probe my emotions for an easy meal.

Twilight suspects that between observations and tests, humans might have a stronger connection to magic than we first thought. But rather than being able to use it, we have built-in natural defenses against it. I'll let the theoretical physics and biology guys take a crack at that piece of information.

Somewhere in the explanation, the Changer Queen had gained a strangely smug look, and made a comment that seemed to irritate everyone. The result was that Twilight rounded on her and snapped back. It didn't take long for this to devolve into a shouting match with the two bickering so fiercely even Princess Heaven took a step back.

Thankfully, the argument was cut short when Princess Luna shouted something and stomped the ground.

Now, let me put this in perspective. When I say shouted, I mean to say it sounded like she was hooked up to a concert audio system with a wall of speakers the size of an office building behind her. And when she stomped, the ground cracked around her, and the Raven rattled on its landing gear. For a second, I was actually scared of her. But it did stop the argument.

Long and short of it, Twilight wants to observe my 'magic resistance' a little more, and wants to try having a changer around me to so if she can spot any other reactions. The Changer Queen also expressed a desire to know more about my kind, though I suspect for less altruistic reasons. Thus... why I have a giant insectoid-equine hybrid currently arguing with Twilight behind me...

...Which isn't going to work at all. The options are to have the Changer Queen, or 'Shifty' around. I agreed to that much. But if Twilight and the Queen can't get along, then one of them has to go. And I'm not getting rid of my only translator over this... Shifty, while more timid, isn't going to shout my ears off with that weird double-tone voice- Alright I'm sick of this.

...Amazing how intimidating I can be when I drop my voice. And apparently just now when I rounded on them, the Changer Queen physically flinched as if she'd been hit by a hammer. I think this is the first time Twilight ever saw me truly angry. Not simply irritated at her. I had their attention though, all of it. And in no uncertain terms I made it clear that I would not tolerate bickering inside a spacecraft filled to the brim with canned kaboom.

After witnessing my outburst, the Changer Queen quickly excused herself, and Twilight mentioned that the royal creature agreed that 'Shifty' would be a better choice. I think I scared the hybrid queen. Which is totally fine with me.

So I guess I'll be having shifty as a guest for a few days. Twilight will be supervising of course.



MISSION LOG:
December 25th, 2257

Merry Christmas to anyone reading this report. I know it’ll probably be mid-summer before anyone can even hope to see it, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

A very interesting observation, but it appears that when Changers shape-shift, they emit X-rays. It’s brief, but contains a strong characteristic signature for carbon (0.277 keV). X-ray analysis was never one of my strong points in college, but if I recall the one-and-a-half rule means that the excitation energy of the event must be equal to or greater than 0.4155 keV. I don’t know what to make of it, but I kept the data samples for the think-tank.

It’s real interesting, however, to witness the changer show off its ability without having to panic about the fire suppression system on the Raven. Despite the burst of flames, the heat release appears to be superficial. I could physically make contact with the flames, and it didn’t even come close to threatening a burn.

And its mimic abilities are absolutely amazing. Attached in file ‘Copycat’ is a series of photos and videos showing Shifty duplicating the appearance of other pony subjects. Even with intense scrutiny, the distinction between Shifty, and either Rainbow or Twilight is nearly flawless. The only subtle limiting factor appears to be mass. No matter which form Shifty took, weight measurements remained the same.

This is a very useful piece of information according to Twilight. It allowed her to come up with a reliable method of identifying changers that may have infiltrated the guard with a fairly simple measurement. Of course, she also mentioned the logistics are a bit cumbersome, but worth it for the general peace of mind. I’ve dealt with worse at GSA security checkpoints. A weigh-in would be nothing.

When asked to mimic me, Shifty didn’t seem so keen on the idea, but she complied.

The results were terrible. Shifty got the form down, but something completely threw her off. For the most part, clothing looked like it had been merged with the skin, which in itself seemed to be far too glossy for my tone, and on closer observation, seemed to be lacking hair. Shifty was also completely unable to balance and couldn’t stand for more than a second. When I asked Twilight, she conversed with Shifty about what was wrong. Shifty indicated that for some reason, copying me was really hard.

The changer tried several more times, but only succeeded in some hilarious, but anatomically impossible caricatures. According to Shifty, something about ‘look-feeling’ me just wasn’t working right. I asked Twilight what ‘look-feeling’ was, but she couldn’t get Shifty to elaborate. Twilight is pretty certain my ability to resist magic is somehow interfering with how changers ‘scan’ a potential copy subject as they transform. If you ask me, I’d imagine it’s related to that X-ray burst. The only inconsistency is that my body doesn’t block X-rays. More for the think-tanks!

Pink took care of lunch for us again today. Shifty didn’t so much as touch a morsel, lending merit to what Twilight and I discussed recently about them consuming magical energy instead of food. I wanted to try and pry for Shifty’s full diet, but Pink suddenly got so excited upon looking the changer over. After that, not even Twilight could keep up with trying to translate the babbling she was doing. As if to complicate matters, Shifty started to turn into her repeatedly, resulting in Pink carefully examining her each time. Changer expressions are slightly harder to read than a pony, but during Shifty's first transformation into Pink, she seemed almost insulted by a comment. I will speak no further on the resulting incident I will simply call the ‘Copy War’.

Seriously, guys, don’t ever ask me about this. EVER. I was tempted to bring back data on this, but I deleted it a few minutes ago after some thought. ONE Pink Pie is enough.

Twilight noticed the beginnings of this log a little while ago. And true to form, she asked me about Christmas. Between a rather poor explanation from me, and a far superior one from the computer, I’d say she got the idea pretty well. She mentioned it was similar to a national holiday of theirs that involved the pony tribes not freezing to death or dying of hunger and unifying…

It’s complicated, and I didn’t get much out of her before she rushed off. I (still) don’t speak pony, but Shifty had babbled something causing Pink to laugh… Then gasp and rush off herself.

That leaves me alone with Shifty. Mostly... There’s still the guards outside, but I’m not counting them. Besides, Shifty’s never caused me trouble before so I’m not going to call Twilight out on her lapse of supervision on the ‘dangerous’ Changer.



MISSION LOG:
December 26th, 2257

I should have known this would end in a party…

I was reviewing my modified launch parameters for mid-January when it happened. Twilight ‘bamf!’ed in with her teleport, grabbed both myself and Shifty, and then ‘bamf!’ed us to a new location before I could even voice my surprise. Please note, teleportation feels like two parts zero-G, one part pressure shift, one part temperature shift, and one part instant nausea. If I hadn’t been sitting at the time, I would have ended up falling over.

Shifty fared little better, nearly staggering into a table with a cake on it. A second later, we were both hit with the typical Pink-style surprise party, including the broken English shout. That didn’t turn out so well with an already skittish changer in tow. Pink is still upset about the loss of a perfectly good cake.

The purpose for the party became clear after we managed to coax Shifty out of hiding. There was a tree, and wrapped gifts, and in general the place was decked out better than Santa’s Workshop (the holiday shop down town back home). Apparently when Twilight figured out the Earth-date yesterday, she realized I was missing out on the holiday, and that I probably wouldn’t be around for their equivalent. So she decided to get me a gift, only for Pink to catch on and turn it into a full scale event.

Honestly it feels kind of awkward. Half the town turned up trying to give me all sorts of trinkets and knick-knacks. I didn’t want to turn them down, but I also didn’t want to really explain that pretty much everything I was given would only end up designated as artifacts and placed in display cases or analyzed for research purposes… Property of the GSA. It’s a real shame too. Twilight gave me this really nice writing quill and ink well. On Earth, this would be an antique.

The party did serve an interesting, and quite unexpected use though. Shifty seemed extremely curious as to the behavior of the ponies, and indulged in a number of activities at Pink’s behest. The Changer’s social behavior contrasted nicely from the pony norm, giving me quite a few observations of note.

First off: Shifty seemed slightly awkward. Nearly all of her interactions were slow and nervous. Most of the time she seemed to glance for nearby exits. The interactions where she seemed less awkward were the ones where she was asked to copy a form and quickly complied. Almost eagerly, mind you. When ‘disguised’, she seemed far more amiable and open. I suspect that this shift in behavior is instinctive to a species that spends a significant portion of its time disguised and blending in. Without the mental comfort of knowing they’re in disguise, they likely feel exposed and vulnerable. Especially when ‘caught’ in a large group undisguised. But Shifty held it together well enough, though I think the disguise requests helped a lot.

When the party had run its course, Twilight was polite enough to return us to the Raven with another teleport. Again, feels like what I’m guessing explosive decompression feels like without the whole death part. I suppose you get used to it. Or maybe my ‘magic resistance’ she talks about makes it an unpleasant experience.

Speaking of which, I did ask her how she managed that in spite of said resistance. Her reply?

Raw power.

Scary.


MISSION LOG:
December 28th, 2257

Rain scheduled again yesterday, so really nothing much happened noteworthy of a log report. Shifty spent most of it curled up in Rainbow’s favorite spot just watching it come down and Twilight spent it researching Earth myths.

Today, however, saw a little more activity when some of the children from the school showed up to investigate Shifty. She made a show of being frightening, but that ended when I gave her an irritated look (That physically jolted her. I can't get over it. It's like popping a dog on the nose with a newspaper). Twilight expressed some humor at the reaction but relayed to the changer for me that ‘picking on children is just mean’. Shifty relayed through Twilight that she didn't mean it (Apparently, changers actually really like children) and that my “Emotion Pulse” is really annoying. The resulting conversation that sparked and relayed through Twilight was probably the most I've gotten out of the changer. Twilight actually finds her quite a pleasant discussion, and the information she gave me about changers in general is pretty good.

It seems that I'm mostly a blank to her, except for moments when I either release a bottled up emotion like irritation or anger, or when we make eye contact. The best Shifty can articulate it, it's like being splashed with ice water, or blinded by a flash.

The children... foals, had their own fun, asking Shifty to transform for them into various characters from stories they had. Even Twilight's little dragon, Spike, had some fun with Shifty. Some of the ones she turned into were pretty silly looking too. A few reminded me somewhat of old American 'superheroes' in their overblown style. It was enough that I asked if changers couldn't make a solid, friendly living around the ponies through being able to act out fantasies. Especially pretending to be superheroes for children's shows. If these changers eat 'love', well, imagine how much 'love' they get from just doing a little acting for the little ones. Given how changers seem to like children, that would be an easy solution.

Twilight agrees. The very idea seems like something that could at least allow them to cooperate without all the tension. Shifty was quiet after that one, even with an orange filly climbing on her back and buzzing her wings like she was mimicking the changer (Kind of funny having someone trying to mimic a mimic).


MISSION LOG:
December 29th, 2257

Rain again? I don't know what's with the weather schedule, but that was a bit much with a hard morning downpour. One of the Raven's wheels sank into the mud. Because of that, I had to have the guards move the perimeter back while I used the VTOLs to lift the Raven. Once the heat from those thrusters dried the ground out, a little kick from the mains set us down a few feet forward on dry ground.

I say 'us' because Shifty was on board. And you can tell that Changers are not fans of rocket engines. She pretty much tried to bury her head in the special seat Twilight had installed a while back. An experiment later with sudden, loud noises confirmed for me that they do seem to be more sensitive to them.

I noticed lately that a few of the children running around have started to sport crude space helmets similar to the GSA pressure suits. I wonder who's making them...


MISSION LOG:
December 30th, 2257

Group study session today. Not much to say except this has been the most packed the Raven has ever been. Twilight, Pink, Rainbow, and Shifty plus a guard all sitting around the console while words got repeated, explained, and tested. I should mention Rainbow stayed closest to the hatch, and Shifty spent most of her time in what we've come to call her default disguise (the pony form she first used to spy on the party). Not a bad experience I'd say. Twilight expressed to me that she's surprised Rainbow Dash stayed still as long as she did.

Also, I'm told Princess Luna will be showing up tomorrow evening. She wants to 'paint the sky' with a friend for her night. I've seen some spectacular sunsets and vivid nightscapes in my time here, but it never occurred to me they were enhanced. I'll tune some sensors on it to see what I can pick up. Should be worth it.


MISSION LOG:
December 31st, 2257

More space helmets around town today. It's definitely not Rarity making them. I made a pit-stop by her shop and she's only creating some patches and scarves similar (but less fancy) than the one I received during our show-and-tell at the school.

I'm hoping for some good data on Luna's display of the night sky. It was absolutely amazing to watch. Funny thing is: When she made a show of 'raising' the moon, an alarm in the Raven went off. Well, to be exact, it was the SDD Wake Proximity Alert. Which is odd, because the sweep alert only goes off if the sensor is in the area of an imminent subspace displace

[LOG TERMINATED]


MISSION LOG:
SUPPLEMENTAL

FIVE POINT ONE SEVEN GIGAHERTZ!

That’s 5.17 x10^9 Hertz!

That's... That's it. That's SO. IT.

It makes sense. ALL OF IT! It's SDD Dynamics 101! You guys all know how the mechanics behind the SDD work. Each displacement requires an amount of power that is proportional to both mass and distance displaced per cycle. We found when we first invented the drive that the energy consumption of the system goes up linearly as mass increases, but exponentially as the displacement distance rises. To get around it, it was decided that a distance of a few thousand km repeated rapidly enough could keep control on the power requirements. Theoretically, if you could keep the distance down to just a few kilometers, or even meters or centimeters, you could create a full reaction-less engine that could run off chemical batteries so long as the cycle could be repeated fast enough.

That's what she's doing! THAT is how Princess Heaven can move a STAR! I just didn't think about it because current SDD technology can't be cycled faster than a hundred thousand Hertz. But she CAN! It's the microwave background the sun emits! Or rather, the number of times the sun is shifted in a second. It explains the non-existent dynamo activity, and the up-swing in the frequency when she speeds it up for the dramatic sunrises and sunsets.

If I do some back-of-the-napkin math on the numbers, the amount of energy needed to displace the sun a reasonable distance needed to keep it in an apparent 'orbit' around the planet comes out to the output of a small fusion reactor. Given pony magic and the nearly arbitrary connections it has with many things, Princess heaven could either be producing that directly, or she has an energy feedback loop with the star providing her with the energy needed to move it around.

This...

THIS IS INCREDIBLE!

I'm going to go run the data through the computer and see if I can make some of the SDD simulator software model this! I don't care if I'm up all night!




*[Later translated by Twilight as: “I'm talking, but you never talk! Talk to me!”]

Archive Eleven: But Mostly... Friends

View Online

MISSION LOG:
January 1rst, 2258


22 hours, 147 models, and enough math to melt a calculator and it just… It’s beautiful.

The values needed to move a G-type main sequence are nothing short of, pardon the pun, astronomical in any conventional method man has ever been able to derive. But by forcing the simulation models to accept arbitrary values for a subspace displacement drive, I’ve plugged in the local star as its own power source and ran it with the numbers for the microwave background… And it works perfectly before any semblance of any kind of power consumption even becomes non-negligible data. Relatively speaking, of course.

In fact, with the potential energy output of the star as the power source, I saw values for potential motion that would make even Dan’s great grandfather roll over in his grave. The simulations are all saved to the file ‘Galactic Pinball’, but if anyone reading this wants an idea of the values I'm talking about… Well, make sure you swallow whatever you’re drinking NOW.

All done?

Imagine if you switched the Earth and the Sun, and then had the sun travel from the dawn horizon to an elevation of 90 degrees, or high noon, in eight seconds. That's a distance of one and a half AUs in eight seconds... On a curve.

Now aren't you glad you swallowed that drink?

Yes, that's a massive amount of motion, but the system’s equilibrium is stable. Well, stable enough… And even if something upsets that equilibrium, it can be summarily recovered with a vengeance. There are no words to express how precarious, yet robust this system is. It just leaves me wondering two things:

1: What caused this system to come into play in the first place.

2: How did these equines develop what I’m going to call Remote Subspace Displacement?

I have to talk to Twilight, what time is it? I don’t care, this information is too important…


MISSION LOG:
January 2nd, 2258

It's hard to move at the moment, but I have put this on the record. Never in my entire life did I ever think I could leave the leader of a nation completely thunderstruck. Let alone four of them... Or aliens.

But as I type this, Twilight, Princess Luna, Princess Heaven, that pink princess I mentioned in an earlier log, and even the Changer Queen are all crowded into the Raven, huddled around me. The simulations I ran have been going for the better part of six hours, and even though they're simplified models for display purposes, I can tell by the amount of excited equine chatter that their meaning is beyond profound.

I’m serious. While I can understand Twilight going a million miles an hour and looking almost like Pink Pie, I could never have told you Princess Heaven would act like she’s doing now. I mean, she’s already reared back once (and hit her horn on a bulkhead) to clap her hooves together.

It is a bit hard to get a translation out of Twilight in all the excitement, but from the snatches she HAS given me, everyone here is excited to finally understand exactly how Princess Heaven and Princess Luna’s special skills work.

What seems especially prudent to mention is a new understanding they have for the consequences of a system. It seems they understand that their job and talent have always been important for their nation, but they never quite realized just how much the lives of everyone on this planet depended on what they have been doing for more than a millennium. While it might not be necessary for me to explain what could happen should their activities suddenly be halted, I will summarize that the result would be apocalyptic.

Twilight won’t elaborate, but there was a brief moment where I thought an argument was going to break out between her, the princesses, and the changer queen. However, several pointed words from Twilight ended it with the queen hanging her head in apparent shame. I’m not sure what just happened, nopony wants to explain right now.


MISSION LOG:
January 4th, 2258

Any excuse for a Party.

Yes, Pink is at it again. Apparently, the news of our discovery in the last few days has been leaked, and a party to rival our return from orbit has been thrown in honor of said discovery. There’s not much I can really say at this point that isn’t covered in earlier logs, except changers.

Lots of changers…

The critters were everywhere, timid and keeping to small groups while one or two tried to mingle with the townsfolk. For the most part, it wasn’t bad. The children who’ve played with Shifty were actually rather good at bringing the two ‘races’ together, asking a good number of them to transform into their favorite things. It was cute, and broke the ice really well. By noon, I’d say it was a little like a circus or theme park, with green flashes of fire and new shapes and faces everywhere I turned.

It was later in the afternoon that I stumbled across the changer queen. From the few times I met her, I’ve come to identify her as somewhat of an abrasive or hostile personality, but she seemed…

Her face had this haunted look to it. It was an uncanny look to match to any of the equinoids. I wish I could ask her what had her so spooked, but Twilight hasn’t been anywhere in sight today. Stuck with little more than observing, I kept an eye on her well into the evening. She watched others enjoying the party, and almost seemed to want to join in several times with some of the games, but every single time, she’d twitch, visibly droop her ears, and wander off to be alone. Even a few times when the children would show up to ‘ooo’ and ‘ah’ at her, she’d simply put on a rather fake expression of cheer until they got bored and ran off, then the haunted look would return almost looking like fear, or panic or something.

I don’t know what’s up, but the changer queen is really upset about something. Maybe once I find Twilight I can catch her and find out.

Oh great, Pink found me.

Looks like I haven’t had my mandatory fill of sucrose today. And… That’s a BIG cake.


MISSION LOG:
January 5th, 2258

An interesting morning jog today (I tried, but I don’t think even a full six months on the Arrow’s treadmill will work off last night’s calories). I came across the changer queen moping by the river. I’m pretty certain it was moping anyway, but the moment she spotted me she tried to hide it behind a façade similar to the ones she was using for the children yesterday.

Having not been around the changer queen without the others before, I decided right then was as good a time as any, huffing and puffing from my last sprint even, to sit down and spend some time trying to get to know her. The insectoid-equinoid seemed surprised by this, but made no attempts to escape my presence.

Back and forth examination seems to be the typical go-to these days every time I meet a new species up close, and while I’ve met the queen several times already, she took the opportunity to look me over in detail since I only had my jogging clothes on. Likewise I was able to inspect her form in detail without distractions as well. From the scars and holes pitting her body, as well as tattered membranous wings, I’d say she’d been the type to lead from the front.

That, or a really poor judge of safe activities.

After a while, she started talking to me. At least, I think she was talking to me. Without my faithful purple translator, I just caught the occasional word amidst an oddly hypnotic buzzing speech pattern. I’m pretty sure she knew I couldn’t understand her, but she just rambled on for quite some time.

This must have gone on for the better part of an hour before we were interrupted by the pink princess with the heart mark… Crud, I don’t have a name for her. I’ll ask Twilight at my earliest convenience, but for now she can be Princess ‘Heartthrob’. That seems ‘pony’ enough and relates to her flank mark. It wouldn’t surprise me if I was dead-on either.

So Princess ‘Heartthrob’ showed up while the changer queen- I should name her too.

Okay, I can’t think of anything that sounds nice at the moment, so she can be Mothra. She sort of looks like a moth after all. Or at least, moth-eaten…

So ‘Heartthrob’ interrupted ‘Mothra’s unintelligible life story, and for just a moment the two looked like they were about to rip each other apart. However, after the universe’s heaviest sigh, Mothra just lowered her head and stared at the water.

The next thing she said though, must have been really odd coming from her, because she said the pony equivalent of ‘I’m Sorry’. Princess Heartthrob appeared almost startled by the apology. After some hesitation though, she sat down next to us, and before long, the one sided conversation the changer queen was having with me had become something of a little heart-to-heart between the two of them with me as spectator.

Again, ad-infinitum, I couldn’t understand anything but the occasional word, but there were soft words and there were strong words. Chuckling was common, and so were a few pointed looks and growls between them. But by the time I’d decided I needed to head back to the Raven, they seemed to be getting along nicely.

After cleaning up, I went over to Twilight's library in an attempt to find her. No luck there, just a locked door and a wooden sign I couldn't read. I really need my translator pony.

Oh, there are fireworks over Canterlot, you can see them from here.


MISSION LOG:
January 6th, 2258

Here I am looking for Twilight, and she finds me instead, waking me before the crack of dawn by literally dragging me out of bed. Apparently there's a lot going on up in the capital right now. According to Sparkle, recent events involving me have forced the changer queen to completely shelve her aggression, especially in the face of almost accidenta-

I did hear that right, right?

The changer queen almost accidentally destroyed the world when she... beat Princess Heaven during the invasion? How... What?

Okay, recap from Twilight. A few months before my arrival, the Changers launched an extremely aggressive invasion of the capital. In said event, the queen managed to kidnap and imprison 'Heartthrob' and then barely best Princess Heaven in single combat. It was by seemingly sheer dumb luck that she was repelled even as her army managed to secure nearly total control in under twenty minutes.

I vaguely recall this from when I first met Shifty, but Twilight says that thanks to unraveling the secret of Princess Heaven's abilities, they all now realize just how close to catastrophe that situation had been. Without Princess Heaven to keep the celestial motion going...

Their entire world would have plunged into the sun.

I think... Oh… Oh my… I KNOW what's wrong with 'Mothra' now. That’s a lot of baggage to claim. That's, that's brutal.

According to Twilight, 'Mothra' has unconditionally surrendered the sovereignty of her people... ponies... changers to Princess Heaven as penance for her actions. Apparently, she is still the queen, but in exchange for aide, will now answer directly to the Canterlot government without question. It also has apparently gone out that with the appearance of my/our/human kind from the stars, the races of this planet can no longer afford to squabble with each other. Twilight cites that it is not humans in particular they worry about, but what else might be out there if we are...

That's a sobering thought.

If we're out there, and ponies are out here, what else exists in the cosmos? Are they friendly as we have been (and, I hope, continue to be)? Thoughts for the future…

Right now, Twilight has informed me that my presence is desired up in Canterlot. Apparently the princesses would like to have me to be there to (through Twilight) discuss the new alliances and tentative treaties my arrival has put in motion. I've told Twilight I don't have the authority to speak for the EGSA, but she insists that I at least be there to act as a witness for humanity, especially with my plans to leave by the end of the month.

I better grab the good camera...


MISSION LOG:
January 10th, 2258

I feel like I’ve been living in a fairy tale right out of Greek mythology. Sure, seeing the various ponies and hearing about the other creatures of this world has been amazing, but the last few days have gone above and beyond my experiences for the entire last six months.

So yesterday, we were flown up to Canterlot...

Flying.

Frikkin'.

Chariot.

No joke.

Being a pilot, I can only express a fresh sense of wonder at being able to fly in the open air with such casual ease. I think the only guys who can claim this same feeling are the ultralight pilots. And even then, they don't get this casual 'car trip' passenger experience that this trip had.

And I got to do it twice...

But anyway, Twilight informed me upon our arrival that it was an emergency summit, and representatives from a dozen of the planet's nations were there. Again, it was like a fairy tale. Full-sized dragons, griffins, some kind of dog-creature, actual centaurs, changers, and even minotaurs. All this time here, and for the first time, I felt like a kid again. The abundance of familiar mythological creatures just reinforces the strange duality this world shares with Earth.

The summit itself seemed pretty much what one would expect from a political meeting, but with a twist. Twilight did her best to translate for me, and I was asked of the intent of the human race. I'd like to think I held my own even without Princess Heaven obviously telling a particularly rude-sounding dragon off. Twilight wouldn't translate what it said, but Princess Heaven's comment made it look at me with... I don't know, fear?

The highlight of the event, however, was a rather amazing holographic display by the princess herself (See the video file 'Planetarium' for footage). The display included a rundown of the simulations I'd shown the pony princesses a few days prior, and their consequences. There was a bit of an uproar towards 'Mothra' which I would assume was anger towards her near-miss at dooming them all. It took Princess Luna asserting herself to calm the room down again.

I think the floor is marble. The crack where she stomped is over a dozen meters long and goes up the wall.

Most of the rest of the meeting was taken up by Princess Heaven talking about a few things I went over in a previous entry. Mainly, how they were simply a small spec in the cosmos, and how if mankind was out there, many others could also be hidden across the void, and equally likely to notice the uniqueness of this star system.

But one thing that confuses me... I'm not sure if it's translation, or a cultural term, but Princess Heaven called humans and Earth their long lost cousins. I'm unsure what that means unless Twilight's been explaining the similarities between our worlds in detail.

I'm starting to think this is no mere coincidence...

The summit ended on those notes, and I was allowed to meet and greet, up close, every representative there, from a couple of obviously foreign ponies all the way up to the dragon. Nice guy, actually. The scales are actually kind of flexible and pliable, like snake skin rather than steel plates.

After a night spent at the palace under the hospitality of the Princesses, I've been flown back to 'Ponyville' and the Raven.

And this morning, I've decided to move preparations forward for returning to Earth. The abundance of information I've gathered can no longer afford to wait on my leisure. From this point forward, all log updates are going directly to the Arrow's mission archives. I'm also preparing the auto-return program and the backup capsule. One way or another, this information is getting back to Earth. And when it does, we need a full expedition. I have learned how this system works. But I don't think I alone can determine why it is. It may take the full expertise of both our worlds to learn the answer to that.


MISSION LOG:
January 12th, 2258

Leave it to Pink to throw a going away party to end all going away parties. I want the Doc. to check me for diabetes the moment I'm planet-side on Earth. I think I've consumed more sugar in the last six months than in the entirety of the rest of my life combined.

This party of course practically materialized within' hours of announcing to Twilight my intent to move my schedule up and return to Earth. And with the party came the attention of all my adoring, and rather adorable fans, from the adults, to the school house full of equinoid children.

Even the obnoxious one that tried to make a fool out of me surprised me with a nuzzle/hug hybrid these creatures can get away with. The jury's still out as to if the little princess wannabe was just trying to brown nose with the space alien, but I'd like to think it was sincere simply because the alternative kind of ruins my mood.

This evening I was invited up to Applejack's home, the large barn-like structure on the farm where I had one of my first encounters with them. Big Red was in attendance, as well as a pony that I could only assume by the features, was ancient enough to be someone's grandmother. Twilight verified for me that this was the case.

Dinner was delicious, if a little fruity (herbivores...). I tried to get at least the apple pie reciepe, but 'Granny' would have none of that apparently.

“Ya want more, you gots ter come back to this here house to git it,” Twilight had apparently somehow managed to translate with a twang of an accent. I didn't have recording equipment on me for it. But it was funny... You'll have to trust that one.



MISSION LOG:
January 16th, 2258

I've been hard at work carefully packing away and locking down the Raven for a return to orbit. Systems checks have come up all green, though I'm not trusting the computer alone on this one. Physical checks on the repairs to the scram turbo pumps have looked good, and I even caught one of the landing gear tires deflated a little. The gear is of no concern since I'm taking off on VTOL anyway.

Twilight's expression looked a cross between happy, yet sad as she assisted. Schematics, checklists, and even a few tools levitated to me as I give the craft the once-over. I don't blame her. These past six months have probably been the most exciting she's ever known, and now I have to leave. But she assists with that same spark she had when she first felt my arm, or learned how to speak the first words of English... I still can't believe she's become so fully fluent so quickly.

We were joined by her other assorted friends, mainly Dash and Pink early on, both showing an amazing amount of competency with Twilight directing their actions. They were going to remove the pony seats, but I decided to leave it in as proof of their existence among everything else I've collected, material or data-wise.

Why am I...


MISSION LOG:
January 17th, 2258

I have asked Twilight's assistance in putting something of an event together for me, hopefully it won't take too many days to prepare, but I'd like one last bit for the road.


MISSION LOG:
January 20th, 2258

:BEGIN TRANSCRIPT:

Conversation between subjects Capt. Randolph 'Randy' Edwards (RE), Sapient Equine Lifeform Twilight Sparkle (TS), Sapient Equine Lifeform 'Princess' Celestial (PCe), Sapient Equine Lifeform 'Princess' Luna (PL), Sapient Equine Lifeform 'Princess' My Love Cadence (PCa), Sapient Equine-insectoid Lifeform 'Queen' Chrysalis (QC). Recorded January 20th, 2258 @ 12:53 GMT.

Transcript has been modified on January 20th, 2258 @ 17:46 GMT.
:: From Twilight Sparkle: This transcript includes modifications to show a translation spell I have been working on for some time. While conversation may prove understandable, it may also seem strange. Markers have been placed to indicate where my spell has acted. This translation spell provides two-way crossover translation between Equine and English based on concept recovery feedback. Translation occurs on the Equine side of the link and conveys concepts directly to and from the language center of the brain. Audio produced by this spell is live and in Human English. The voices heard are real, if distorted.

-[VIEW VIDEOGRAPHY]

(TS) Are we live?

(RE) Rolling, Twilight.

(TS) This is going to be fun! [TRANS] Right Princess? [/TRANS]

(PCe) [TRANS] I'm afraid I did not catch that. [/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS] Tune your magic to one four zero point eight zero megahertz.[/TRANS]

(PCe) [TRANS] Okay... Is this correct?[/TRANS]

(TS) Can you understand me?

(PCe) [TRANS] Ah, it's working now. We're going to have to tune out the chamber-echo however. I sound like I'm talking from two places in two different languages at the same time.[/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS] I'll work on noise cancellation subroutine later. I'm just happy something with this sophistication worked at all. I had to build it from math on up.[/TRANS]

(RE) Twilight, is that weird noise normal?

(TS) Just a side-effect of two audio sources going at the same time.

(PL) [TRANS] It is interesting to be able to understand Captain Edwards so clearly. Surely young Twilight, this translation spell is a marvel to match your previous exploits.[/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS] I can't take all the credit. The language processing algorithm was based on how Randy's vehicle taught me and placed into a feedback loop. Even now, the language processing is evolving to more clearly communicate what we're saying and thinking into something Randy can understand. So don't be surprised if there a few tweaks while we're talking. [/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] Tweaks? Explain.[/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS] English has a variety of different words that all mean the same thing, as well as a number of words that are nearly identical, but mean different things. There are also words with multiple meanings that change with context. [/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] I may have laid down my arms against you Twilight, but please, DON'T bore me with the details...[/TRANS]

(TS) *sigh* [TRANS] Word selection will improve as the spell is subject to conversation.[/TRANS]

(RE) It seems pretty good so far Twilight.

(TS) While we were working on the Raven, I set up a loop of the language program on your Computer and ran the spell on it for twelve hours.

(RE) Twilight...

(TS) What?! That was well within' what you said I could do. I didn't modify anything, I didn't mess with the system control software, I didn't get into anything I technically shouldn't have! I learn from my mistakes! There was nothing I did that would have gone under that term you have... What was it ...easier to ask forgiveness than permission?

(PCa) [TRANS] Twilight, how long has this been going on?[/TRANS]

(RE) From day one...

(PCe) [TRANS] Oh my... Twilight, my student... I must apologize, Captain Edwards. If I had known she was taking advantage of your hospitality this much, I would have put a stop to it. [/TRANS]

(RE) It's okay. It's more that she's been taking advantage of how I can't stay mad at her for more than two minutes...

(TS) HEY!

(QC) [TRANS] Giggle-giggle- Hey wait, what's that spell saying I just said?[/TRANS]

(RE) Twilight did your spell literally just translate a giggle as words?

(TS) Like I said, it still has a few bugs in it.

(RE) So I see... But to answer your question Princess Heaven, she's overstepped her authority a few times, but nothing serious. I think she understands.

(PCe) [TRANS] If you say it is fine, then I shall believe it. But again, I must apologize for any inconvenience. [/TRANS]

(RE) Don't worry about it. Anyway, shall we get on with the formal part of this? I've been recording several minutes of this conversation and it's very telling. But I think the people of Earth would like a proper show.

(PCe) [TRANS] Then we shall give them one. Sister?[/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] I am ready when you are.[/TRANS]

(PCa) [TRANS] So am I. [/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] I suppose so. [/TRANS]

(RE) Okay then... Good afternoon everyone, I am Captain Randolph Edwards of the Earth Global Space agency, recording to you live from the planet catalogued as Omega Centauri Two, or as I have come to term it, Equis. As you can see from this video log, I have not only verified the existence of life, but have discovered this life to be sapient, intelligent, and if not friendly, amazingly familiar. No, this isn't clever CGI or mechanical puppets, these are living, breathing people... Or as the culturally correct term would be, ponies. Twilight?

(TS) [TRANS] Hello! My name is Twilight Sparkle, student of Princess Heaven, and the first of my kind to make contact with Randolph Edwards. For the last six months I have been working tirelessly to learn your language and really everything about you I could find. I consider it an honor to be able to make this recording. With us today are my mentor and long time friend, Princess Heaven herself, her younger sister, Princess Luna, my long time foal-sitter and friend, Princess Cadence, and the queen of the Changers, Chrysalis. [/TRANS]

(RE) So it's Chrysalis? Okay, I can work with that.

(QC) [TRANS] Wait, you didn't tell him my name? What was he calling me before?[/TRANS]

(RE) Mothra...

(QC) [TRANS] Moth God?* I'm the god of moths? I'm flattered.[/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS] I don't think that's right. The translation spell has a hard time when non-standard references are made. I'm not familiar with what Randy mentioned. There's a lot of culture to review.[/TRANS]

(PCe) [TRANS]Perhaps at a later time...[/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS]Of course! Moving on, Princess, if you would?[/TRANS]

(PCe) [TRANS] Greetings Humans, I am Princess Celestial, leader of-[TRANS]

(RE) Celestial?

(TS) The spell swapped words. It must have elected that as a more correct name translation!

(PCa) [TRANS]Twilight? You're interrupting.[/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS] OH! Oops... [/TRANS]

(PCe) [TRANS] No harm done. As I was saying, I am the leader of the nation of Equestria. It is an honor to be able to be here today. This is my sister Lu-[/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] I can speak for myself, sister. This isn't like the ground breaking of Everfree Castle.[/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] Oh, this is going places... [/TRANS]

(PL) Erhem... Ieee aim, preenciss Lunar-

(QC) [TRANS] Talk normal! I don't even know what you're trying to say and I can tell you sound like a fool! [/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] I was TRYING to appeal to them by using their language.[/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] You have Sparkle-flank's translation thing for that. Even the pink one is more fluent than you. If you keep on like this, you'll make us ALL look like fools![/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] Says the insect that almost killed us all! How foolish would we have looked then?[/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] Big talk coming from the princess who was asleep the whole time! That and you almost did the same thing too! Or am I mistaken on that Nightmare Moon incident?[/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] At least I had the ability to rectify my mistake had it been allowed to continue. If you had been victorious, all you would have been able to do would be to sit there and watch the end approach! [/TRANS]

(RE) They do realize I'm still recording, right?

(QC) [TRANS] Doesn't make your foolishness any less foolish, attention seeking over-sleeper![/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] It does so you parasitic insect! [/TRANS]

(TS) Princess Luna's still a bit sore about sleeping through the whole invasion.

(RE) They're being fully translated too, and what they're saying isn't very flattering on their behavior...

(PCa) [TRANS] I might as well go if Aunt Luna is going spend some time venting... Hello every human! I'm Princess Cadance. It's a pleasure to be here, even if my Aunt and my former enemy are acting a bit childish... [/TRANS]

(PCe) [TRANS] Now Cadance, it's rude to snipe. [/TRANS]

** It should be noted that Subjects (PL) and (QC) have progressed from insults into a bizarre equine wrestling match of sorts.

(RE) I've seen worse at GSA budget meetings.

(PCe) [TRANS] I'm sorry about this. Recent events, as you well know, have only just now allowed us to force her into negotiations. That she would capitulate unconditionally was unexpected, but I'm afraid it hasn't made her company any more pleasant.[/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] You did NOT just pull on my mane![/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] So you'll miss a few stars! Bite me! [/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] With pleasure! [/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] AHHH! How do you even do that without fangs!? [/TRANS]

(RE) It's okay. This actually makes you all that much more relate-able. The guys back home are going to eat this up.

(PCa) [TRANS] Twilight? Can you check the translation spell? It just told me the humans were going to eat something.[/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS] Nothing's wrong. It's just a turn of phrase in English that means the humans will find this enjoyable and exciting.[/TRANS]

(PCa) [TRANS] Oh... Okay. That makes sense, I guess. [/TRANS]

(RE) I guess I should mention that humans would find the lot of you extremely cute.

(PCe) [TRANS] Cute? I'm not sure I want to come across as cute to a world of aliens. That seems like it might demean our stature, politically speaking.[/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS] Actually it works in our favor. Humans are rather amiable and protective of creatures they find visually appealing, or 'cute' as they put it. It's actually one of the ways I've been able to keep Randy from being angry wi- oops![/TRANS]

(RE) Oh so you HAVE been taking advantage of that!

(TS) Sorry?

(RE) Gah! See?! She's doing it again. I can't stay mad at you ponies for five minutes. It makes me feel like I'm kicking a puppy. An adorable purple puppy with an IQ of three-hundred.

(TS) Uh... Woof?

(RE) Joke all you want, just remember this will last for centuries.

(PCe) [TRANS] I'm sure Twilight will come to regret her actions today soon enough. But for now, I believe we've deviated enough... Sister? [/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] HUZZAH! I WIN AGAIN! [/TRANS]

(PCe) [TRANS] Sister. Please focus. [/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] Huh? Oh, of course. GREETINGS! Citizens of the planet Earth! I am Princess Luna! Joyful is the day I can make a record of when our paths first crossed! It shall be remembered for all eternity as the day I – WHOA! [/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] Get off me! Cheating little... Are we still making the visual record thing?[/TRANS]

(PCa) [TRANS] I'm told the humans are going to love your little brawl with Aunt Luna... [/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] Oh? Love? Hmm... I can work with that. Now, allow me to show you how to properly greet a race from another world. [/TRANS]

(TS) [TRANS] Oh, this should be good... [/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] Greetings, humans of the distant world known as Earth. I am Chrysalis, queen of the changeling race. I stand before your recording device this day to- [/TRANS]

(TS) Ooo, another modification. Changers has been modified to changelings. That should-

(QC) [TRANS] -NOT GET INTERRUPTED when I'm TRYING to make a speech! Seriously, Celestia... [/TRANS]

(PCe) [TRANS] Celestial. [/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] Whatever... How do you keep your subjects organized if even your own student just interrupts one of the most politically important statements in our world's history? [/TRANS]

(PL) [TRANS] Stay thy tongue, thou who wouldst spew hypocracy! We shalt not tolerate thine own transgressions this day![/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] You're one to talk! Don't you DARE try to pretend in front of the master of pretending! [/TRANS]

** It should be noted that subject (PL) and (QC) have begun wrestling once more.

(PL) [TRANS] HEATHEN! Thou shalt submit as thou agreed! [/TRANS]

(QC) [TRANS] Nevermore, apostle of darkness! [/TRANS]

(TS) Oh dear... Randy. Princess Luna has a bit of a habit of falling into archaic speech patterns when she's angry.

(RE) Is that a problem? Sounds like Pony Shakespeare to me...

(TS) Well, I think it's confusing the vocabulary matrix for my translation spell. And this is an auto-evolving spell. If it gets overloaded by nonsense, it could collapse and I'll have to restart it from scratch. We have to shut it down until we can get Luna to calm down...

(RE) That's okay, I think we got the point across.

(PCa) [TRANS] Finished we are? [/TRANS]

(RE) Yeah, off, off now please!

(TS) Working on it... THERE!

(PL) Humay hyanoidesnee shay! Hoyweah hoodnay woi!

(QC) H'cuff woi! H'dnay heeth naylats woi hnyar!

(RE) So, translating the old fashioned way...

(TS) Eh... Best not repeated in polite company.

(PCe) Ya suapse seith sei ha eu h'nae hroff wan?

(TS) Hai, hya s'agi eu h'ra h'nai.

(RE) And that?

(TS) We're done for the moment. I guess... turn the camera off?

(RE) I guess... Wow, look at those two go.

::END OF TRANSCRIPT::


*The translation spell apparently parsed 'Mothra' as 'Moth' 'Ra', referencing Ra the sun god of ancient human culture.



MISSION LOG:
January 22nd, 2258

Tomorrow I leave. I'm going to miss them, all of them. In the last six months I've gone from simply performing a direct observation of a scientific anomaly, to performing first contact, to helping bring about peace between two races. It's strange, looking back on everything I've done, and realizing just what it is that really happened here. I can only imagine the ways my name is going to go down in the history books. But that doesn't matter.

In contrast, my achievements are overshadowed by a silly, adorable, insanely smart creature I feel proud to call my friend. Sure, she went a little too far sometimes, but I have to admit, she made up for it every time.

Her friends too, I'd like to call my friends. Despite how strange I must have been to them, they tried their hardest to make me feel welcome... Each with their own quirks.

Their rulers, friendly as their subjects. Patient to a fault, if equally silly sometimes. I truly hope, sans using a star as a cudgel, that their influence can reach some of the blockheads running things back home.

There are still many questions on this world that need answers. Why are they here? Why is this world so much like it stepped out of our own fantasy stories? What turned this star system into a precariously balanced piece of celestial clockwork?

These and more, I hope to address on my next trip here. Because I already know I'm coming back. We'll be back, with an entire team of the finest experts the world has to offer.

And from there? Who knows.

In the morning I'm going to get up, hug all my equine friends (and give Twilight one of the backup computers, she's earned it), do my final checks, and return to the Arrow. Information upload is on nonstop now, and the Arrow's automatic return program has already been set for the thirtieth. It'll be a long, lonely trip home, but that's okay. I have memories of adorable smiles to keep me company.

Captain Randolph Edwards

Orbital flight control avionics specialist

Earth Global Space Agency






AUTOMATED ENTRY:
January 23rd, 2258
ARROW CLASS LONG RANGE INDUSTRIAL FREIGHTER ANOMALY REPORT

:: DATALINKED VESSEL DISTRESS DETECTED

VEHICLE INFORMATION: XR-2 Surface-to-Orbit Personnel Transport, ID 8XG589 'Ravenstar'

STATUS: In Flight/Distressed

- TELEMETRY LOGGED

- ANOMALY REPORTED: Master Alarm

- ANOMALY REPORTED: Engine performance outside envelope

- ANOMALY REPORTED: Avionics safety threshold exceeded

- ANOMALY REPORTED: Electrical anomaly, BUS A under volt

:: SIGNAL INTERRUPTED: Attempting Reconnect...

:: RECONNECT FAILURE: Retry 1... TIMEOUT 30 SEC

:: RECONNECT FAILURE: Retry 2... TIMEOUT 30 SEC

:: RECONNECT FAILURE: Retry 3... TIMEOUT 30 SEC

::RECONNECTION FAILURE: SIGNAL LOST

LAST VEHICLE STATUS: In Flight/Distressed

END OF REPORT
END OF ENTRY

CLASSIFIED CONVERSATION: INCIDENT 'RANGER'

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“Larry, what happened?”

“Dan, before you-”

“Nothing here moves until I have an answer. What. Happened?”

“We saw it coming in all his log entries Dan. Catastrophic failure in SCRAM number two through turbo pump seven. It was a faulty fuel valve. He couldn't have known.”

“Elaborate.”

“Dan...”

“The details first, Larry... In. Detail.”

“Okay... Dan. He was right to replace the turbo pump rotor components when he discovered they had been eaten up. But all he did was fix the symptoms, not the cause. The cause of the first incident was the fuel valve leading into turbo pump seven. On his first ascent, the valve was stuck in full open position and wouldn't close.”

“Full open is a hundred and thirty percent power. The avionics computer on an XR-2 doesn't even register that rate.”

“Right. The max safe performance rate is a hundred and five percent, and the max the sensors pick up before they read out of range is a hundred and ten percent. The turbo pump was overdriven, but that was merely the symptom to the problem. He fixed it, but never bothered to check upstream. He's Avionics, Dan, not mechanical. He couldn't have known.”

“Well-”

“Two things went wrong, Dan. The valve had been stuck open, but was able to close long before he docked with his... guests at the Arrow. But I suspect the valve was still sticking, and probably stayed closed.”

“Closed until his second ascent.”

“Yeah... Telemetry shows the valve stuck at thirty-six percent open right about the time he was pushing through the second throttle-up. Right around mach ten... That alone wasn't catastrophic. Procedure is to run the throttles for the scrams down and up through their ranges to see if the fuel flow would free up.”

“And it did?”

“Unfortunately, the valve popped open from fuel pressure... A side effect of the vacuum pressure generated by the turbo pump itself. It dumped a hundred and thirty percent fuel flow into SCRAM two while the flow rate was running at only seventy percent for the set. SCRAM two flared, offsetting the vehicle yaw enough to flame-out SCRAM one.”

“Auto-correction from the RCS thrusters should have stopped that.”

“They would have if the emergency cutoff could close that fuel valve. But apparently once it slammed open, it stayed open. SCRAM 2 pushed the vehicle further out of its envelope and choked. The lean mixture underwent uncontrolled detonation and blew the whole SCRAM assembly off.”

“It compromised the avionics, didn't it?”

“Dan, the Raven tumbled out of control for over a minute and disintegrated at an altitude of thirty-seven kilometers traveling at a speed of mach 18... But-”

“Larry, I want you to ground every XR-2 in the fleet. I want every single one of those fuel valves pulled and examined. And I want custom valves ordered to replace them. We're not going to use any more equipment meant for the XR-5s.”

“Dan-”

“And I want anything else we might have been sharing between the small and large STOs double checked to see if such faults can occur. I don't care if it takes a year. I don't want a repeat of this incident. Ever.”

“Dan...”

“He didn't deserve it. After what he got to experience, that's just not-”

“DAN!”

“What?!”

“Before you fly off the handle... Check your inbox.”

“...”
“Well?”

“Larry... Is this. Is this real?”

“Authentic to the last pixel.”

“Larry?”

“Yeah?”

“Bring our man home.”

FINAL ENTRY: Hope

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MISSION LOG:
January 29th, 2258


Dear Humanity,

We have him. He's alive... Though I must express regret that we couldn't save his legs. At first, I thought the scrying spell we watched the Raven depart with was having trouble following its speed. But then as it began to tumble, I could only feel horror at what I was witnessing.

But it was Luna who saved him. I never felt so much power gathered for a single teleport in my life. Matching position, speed, and direction with something to the accuracy that she did was something I thought was impossible. But she did it. I could see the flash in the viewports of the Raven as it tumbled. But I didn't see her leave until the vehicle was destroyed by its own speed.

It wasn't until after that I learned what happened from Luna.

When she arrived in the cockpit, she'd been pressed against a panel almost immediately. She tried to grab Randy with her magic so they could leave, but the same resistance that protects humans from magic prevented her from doing so. Not that she didn't try, but it was too hard to concentrate in the tumbling vessel. So Princess Luna did the only thing she could. She latched onto him, encased him in as many shields as she could muster, and held on with everything she had until the Raven had been consumed by its death throes.

I am told, even as I write this, that Luna had said that as the Ruler of the Night, she could not, and would not allow the darkness to take Randy that day.

Princess Celestial found them in the water off the east coast of Equestria, both burned, but very much alive. However, the conflagration had taken its toll. I'm told by the Canterlot Hospital doctors that no amount of our magic can repair the deep burns that covered Randy's legs, and even if we could have saved his legs, he likely wouldn't ever walk again.

Luna, resistant to many things far beyond what a mortal pony could withstand, has only received minor injuries for her deed. Though she'll be regrowing the feathers on her right wing for a few months. She says it's a small price to pay for the survival of her friend.

Either way. They're alive. They're both alive. Randy is sleeping now. But before the doctors sedated him, he said something odd.

“Tell Dan: 'You owe me a new pair of legs when you get here.'”

I guess this means this letter is really addressed to Dan. I don't know who you are, Dan, and I don't know why you owe him legs, but I guess it's a given by the way humanity has acted throughout its history that you will come. Humans are a very noble species, never willing to leave another behind, pushing themselves beyond their own limits and dedicating unbelievable amounts of resources even for one friend.

I hope you don't feel the need to go that far this time. We will protect him until you arrive. That I promise you. In the last six months, I've learned so much from your species. A new language, new technologies, and even the chance to visit the stars themselves. Randy gave that all to me. He allowed me to do it, even when I should have known better. And he allowed it for Rainbow Dash as well.

She won't leave his side, you know. Hasn't left his side since Luna returned with him. They joked even as his face contorted with pain. She told him that even the best crash every once in a while and he'd have his wings again soon enough. He didn't understand, but at the same time, I think he did.

Captain Randolph Edwards has taught us all so much, even if he wasn't trying. There are cards from across Equestria I have to read to him, even a few from some dragons who watched the Raven go down. There's a world out here, a world that knows a hero when they see it. And all he had to do was be our friend.

And I'm happy to call Randy... no humanity itself, my friend. I don't want to test the waters. I don't want to get a feel for each person I meet from your world. I want to cast a blanket on all of you, to call you all my friends with the hope that you will do the same for us without hesitation. If Randy's time here has taught me anything, it's that no matter who or what you are, there are friends out there waiting for you among the stars waiting to share the wonders of their worlds. And no matter how different you may be, how alien you may look, friendship is universal.

I await your response, Dan, Humanity. Your ship is an envelope for my letter, and I hope to have pen pals soon. We are here.

Your friend,
now, and forever.

Twilight Sparkle.

CLOSING CREDITS AUDIO
"Across the Frontier"
By Ernest 'Admiral Tigerclaw' Hart
From Stellar Frontier REBUILT