A capsuleer exploring wormhole space finds himself trapped in an unknown system. After discovering the only other sentient species, other than humans, are ponies, adventures ensue. He soon learns there are more important things in the galaxy than Isk
An Eve Online/MLP crossover
Keyan Charante, a fairly successful explorer, finds himself trapped in an unknown system after going through a wormhole. After discovering the only other sentient species in the galaxy, and some bad luck, he initiates first contact. The following adventures span the stars and Keyan soon learns that there are more important things in the galaxy than isk.
Set sometime before the season 2 finale. Isk is the currency in EVE online.
I am going to try to make this so you don't have to know eve lore for it to make sense but every little bit helps.
Feedback and criticism is welcome in the comments. I hope I make this worthy of your time to read.
With a mild distortion in space the Loki Strategic Cruiser made its appearance. Its owner, Keyan Charante was currently in his pod staring at the readings.
“Aura? What class wormhole is this?” he asked the A.I programmed into his ship. He frowned as a strand of his long brown hair suddenly dropped in front of his eyes.
“Dammit, I knew I should have gotten a damn hair cut for this clone,” He said as he managed to free a hand and brush it back behind his ear.
“Aura? What is the damn class of this wormhole?” he asked again getting frustrated.
After a few seconds the computers automated voice spoke,
“My apologies Captain. There appears to be no data on this system.”
The capsuleer was silent for a moment, “What are you saying Aura?”
“I believe it is safe to assume you are the first capsuleer to “set foot” as it were in this system.”
He was silent a much longer time after this.
“FUCK YEA! Aura send me what data you have managed to collect from on board systems and prepare the probes. If there’s anything worth anything in this system I want it found.”
“Very well sir.”
Immediately a flood of information began pouring into his brain. The implants in his head began whirring trying to keep up with it.
“Alright let’s see,” he said to himself, “One yellow sun, 4 planets, one asteroid belt. 2 rocky, and 1 gas, and an ice planet in this place’s Kuiper belt.”
He thought for a moment,
“Aura, focus on board scanners on the second planet from the sun.”
“Scanning… Scan complete.”
His mind began processing a fresh set of data.
“Hmmm, let’s see. Lies in the habitable zone of the star, readings seem promising. Aura probability of this planet having life?”
“My calculations predict a 73% probability.”
“Captain, despite your repeated use of that inquiry the answer is still astronomically low.”
Keyan chuckled, “Yea yea I know. But could you imagine?”
Despite humanity spreading to every corner of this galaxy and billions of types of life being found, not a single known species was sentient.
“Actually sir I was not programmed to have an imagination. Probes are ready, shall I launch them?”
Keyan watched the probes in his HUD, 30 in all, as they were fired from the probe launcher. He always liked watching the distance counter next to them increase exponentially as they warped. It reminded him of how big things the galaxy actually is.
“Aura send message to Corporation headquarters, full encryption protocols, I don’t want anyone getting word of this.”
“Opening channel sir.”
Keyan waited for the familiar corp chat to open up. He wanted to get a few capsuleers who he, trusted to not stab him in the back at some point, to get here and help a little. Actual friends were hard to come by in a galaxy where isk spoke first.
Instead a window popped up that he didn’t know was even coded into the system,
CANNOT CONNECT, It said in bold red text.
“Aura, what the fuck?” the capsuleer asked. This had never happened before, even in other wormholes he was able to communicate with the outside galaxy.
“I apologize sir, I shall attempt to connect again.”
The window persisted.
“Aura, what the fuck?” he repeated
“Sir I have attempted to connect to your corporation server a total of 49 times. I have not succeeded.”
“Ummm…. Ok. Set course for the wormhole. We’re gonna leave and then come back. Make sure to bookmark the location.”
“Sir I’m afraid that is impossible.”
“The wormhole has collapsed.”
“What!? When!?” the capsuleers normally calm demeanor started to crack.
“Approximately .0017 seconds before my previous statement.”
The capsuleer paused for a second.
“So, I’m alone here?”
The analytical part of his mind kicked into overdrive,
“So if there is no way to communicate, send any type of signal, or leave, if I die here. I won’t wake up in another clone.”
“My calculations predict that is a likely possibility.”
That was it.
“Let me out of this pod.”
With a hiss the lid of the pod opened up and the capsuleer immediately lurched to his feet. He walked hastily down the utilitarian hallway to his quarters. As this was a T3 cruiser, and being constructed with the most advanced and experimental technology in the 4 empires, the presence of a crew was optional at best. And since he had the isk to purchase modules and robotics that completely eliminated the need for any person to be on board; he was alone.
As such the rest of the ship was remarkably bare, save for a few rooms that he used to transport the occasional diplomat or prisoner. The exception to this was his private quarters, he brought every luxury of a station that he could.
He sat down in a chair and buried his face in his hands. For the first time in years he was facing something he thought he had given up long ago, his mortality. Normally, when a capsuleer’s body dies all their memories and experiences are sent on a signal to one of their clones. Where they resume life as if nothing happened save for the fact they lost a ship. But if there is no way to send that signal, death means death.
“Sir I am detecting raised stress and anxiety levels, do you require assistance?”
The distraught capsuleer took a few deep breaths, then another for good measure, and locked his brown eyes on the camera that Aura was watching him from.
“I want you to divert 20 probes from their previous tasks and make them immediately start searching for wormholes.”
“They will have to return to recharge in exactly 13 hours and 42 minutes sir.”
“I don’t care,” the capsuleer said as he felt numbness creeping into him.
“Sir I advise against staying motionless in empty space. The lack of background readings will make the possibility of detecting you exponentially higher.”
The capsuleer stroked his goatee a few times,
“Go to the second rocky planet and engage cloak once we arrive. I’m going to take a nap.”
“Very well sir. Good night.”
After the capsuleer had drifted off into sleep Aura began processing the petabytes of data pouring into her through the probes. Using a fraction of her processing power, she began the complex calculations needed for a warp jump. Calculations that would take a human hours or even days to do, she finished in a fraction of a second.
The ship's thrusters powered on and it silently turned to calculated heading. At this distance the planet that the ship was about to warp to was little more than a speck in the distance. With the destination locked in, the ship’s warp drive activated and it launched into the inky blackness of space
Twilight was excited; her brand new telescope had just arrived. At the moment she was levitating it up the stairs with Spike in close pursuit.
“Oh I can’t wait Spike. This is 5x as strong as my old one! Thank you for ordering it for me!” She said excitedly.
“Don’t worry about it Twilight, and I’m sorry for breaking your old one,” the somber dragon said.
“Did you learn anything from that?” Twilight asked him.
The dragon mumbled something incoherent.
“What was that?” Twilight said again, waiting for a proper response.
“Don’t spy on Rarity while she’s collecting gems,” he said while staring at the ground.
“When she’s working?”
Twilight smiled, “Good”
“It’s not like I spied on her in the shower or anything.”
Twilight stopped and glared down at the baby dragon.
“Just a joke! Just a joke!” his eyes were suddenly wide with fright
Twilight made the “I’m watching you” movement with her hoof and continued up the stairs.
After a few more steps she pushed open the door in front of her that lead onto her balcony. She put the giant cardboard box down and immediately began ripping it open.
After a flurry of Styrofoam peppered Spike Twilight let out a loud, ”AH HA!”, As she floated her new telescope into the air.
“Its amazing spike, now to set it up!” Twilight began screwing on the tripod and making sure it was set in a stable place. After pushing it gently a few times and evidently being satisfied she began to make sure all the lenses were in proper alignment and nothing was cracked.
As far as telescopes go, Spike had to agree this one at least looked cooler than her old one. It was a dark blue, and a long sleek design. It was roughly twice the length of Twilight’s old one, at least as long as her from head to tail. The label on the side read, “Luna Master 6000”, Spike wondered if Luna knew her name was on it.
“Alright! It’s all set up Spike you can go to bed if you want, I’ll wake you up if I need you.”
Spike yawned, suddenly realizing how tired he actually was, “Ok Twilight. Good night”
“Night Spike” the industrious unicorn said as she finalized the focus. With a huge smile on her face she looked through the telescope was greeted by the most beautiful….cloud!?
“Pony feathers! I forgot tonight was supposed to be overcast!?” What am I going to do?”
Twilight knew that just waiting for the next clear night was the logical thing to do. But the need to use her new toy out- weighed her logical side, knowing that there was only one pony that could help her she teleported to an inconspicuous field on the edge of Ponyville.
She looked up and saw the massive cloud house that Rainbow Dash lived in.
“RAINBOW DASH!” she shouted up at the fluffy home.
“SHHHHH” came a chorus of voices from nearby houses.
Twilight blushed, “Sorry everypony”
She looked expectantly back up at the cloud house, waiting for her rainbow maned friend to make an appearance. After a few minutes Twilight sighed,
"Come on Rainbow! I need you.”
Twilight hopped up and down in place a few times, much like a filly who wants a toy.
Meanwhile up in a very comfy cloud bed a pegasus was stirring. Twilights call of, “I need you” pierced her dreams and she stirred slightly.
When the call came again she opened her eyes. She blinked a few times to clear the sleep and slowly lifted herself up.
“Is somepony calling me? I must be more tired than I thought.”
Just as she was about to flop back down her eras caught the call again. She recognized Twilight’s voice and shakily stood up.
“I swear Twilight; you better have a good reason for this.”
Twilight immediately broke out in a silent yes dance as she saw her friend step out of her door.
She stopped as Rainbow landed in front of her.
“I’m trying to sleep Twilight, what do you need?”
“I need you to clear the clouds.”
Rainbow looked at the blurry clouds; there was a fair amount of them.
“Why, for pony’s sake, do you want be to do this in the middle of the night?”
Twilight suddenly blushed and nervously pawed at the ground with one of her hooves,
“I’m sorry to disturb you Rainbow. I ummm… got a new telescope and wanted to try it out. And the clouds are in the way. Sooo I thought I could ask you for help.”
Rainbow sighed, “Okay, you’re lucky I never leave my friends hanging.”
Twilight’s face exploded in a grin and she pulled Rainbow into a hug, “OH THANK YOU RAINBOW.”
Rainbow rolled her eyes, “No problem Twilight, but I can’t really fly with you hanging onto me like this.
“Oh sorry…” Twilight blushed as she let go.
“Head back to your library, the sky will be clear by the time you get there.”
Twilight beamed as she headed back home.
Rainbow looked longingly back up at her home, where her cloud bed was, before launching herself into the air.
Twilight watched in undisguised awe her friend cleared the sky for her. Even half asleep she was magnificent. In slightly more than 10 seconds flat, the sky was clear and Luna’s night shone clear and bright.
Twilight could hardly hold herself together as her excitement threatened to burst through her seams. She did one final check of the telescope and then out her eye to it.
Luna’s moon exploded into her field of view, in clarity that Twilight could have never expected possible. Twilight could see nooks and craters on the moon that were little more than blurs on her old one. Twilight’s reverie was broken by a pony clearing its throat behind her.
She turned around and was greeted by a slightly nervous looking Rainbow Dash.
“Oh hey Rainbow. Thank you so much for your help. You can go back to bed if you want.”
“Ok, um I guess I’ll go in a bit.”
“I would imagine you would want to get right back to sleep,” Twilight said with a cocked head.
“Oh, well… ummm… I was flying back and I saw you standing her alone. And I thought maybe you would like somepony to stay up with you, or something.”
“That’s sweet Rainbow,” Twilight said with a smile.
The two ponies then stood awkwardly next to each other for a few seconds before Rainbow piped up,
“So, umm what are you looking at?”
Happy to break the silence Twilight immediately answered. “Just the moon right now. Do you wanna take a look?”
“Sure” Rainbow said softly as she put her eye to the telescope.
Her eyes immediately shot wide open and she looked at Twilight,
“WOW! THIS IS SO AWESOME!” she immediately put turned back. Her smile was threatening to jump off her face.
Twilight giggled, “I’m glad you think so Rainbow. If you give me my telescope back I can show you Mares.”
“Show me what!?” Rainbow said, a blush suddenly appearing on her face.
“Mares the planet! Not well, mares,” Twilight said quickly, a blush peeking through on her face as well.
“Ohh, ok, I’d love that Twilight,” Rainbow said he she backed away from the telescope.
The two mares then spent the next 4 hours staring at the stars. Twilight loving the reaction on Rainbow’s face every time she showed her something new.
Twilight was refocusing the telescope on a comet when Rainbow poked her in the side with a hoof.
“Hey Twilight? What are those?”
Twilight removed her eye from the telescope and suddenly noticed how close the two were standing. Practically their entire sides were touching, from their flanks to their shoulders they were pressed together. The chilly night air and subtlety encouraged the situation.
Blushing Twilight followed Rainbows outstretched hooves. Looking up at the sky Twilight saw a few blinking lights made their way across the sky. They were moving extremely fast.
“Can you get them in the telescope Twilight?” Rainbow asked.
“They’re moving way to fast,” Twilight responded.
“Wow more!” Rainbow shouted excitedly as more, many more blinking lights showed appeared.
“Twilight, why are they moving in formation?” Rainbow suddenly asked,
“What do you mean?” Twilight started looking at the blinking lights differently.
“Look, they’re essentially in a circle.”
Twilight had an idea and she began carefully re-positioning the telescope.
“What are you doing Twi?”
“We can’t get the lights in telescope, but maybe we can see what they’re heading to.”
As the blinking lights approached each other a dark, slightly red looking light appeared in the center.
“AHA” Twilight shouted as she looked through the telescope again. Her jaw immediately went slack as the strange object zoomed up close. Only the half of it that was catching some of the sun's light was visible.
It was obviously not natural, and no pony could ever make something like this. It was rust colored, with harsh sharp lines outlining its shape. A few large domes were splattered in regular intervals along its surface, as well as many more medium and small ones. It appeared to be made of some sort of metal. Hatches opened up along its side and the blinking lights made their way inside.
“What is it Twi?” Rainbow asked as she softly shoved her out of the way.
Her jaw dropped to the floor as she looked at it.
Rainbow suddenly turned back to Twilight.
“What?” Twilight pushed Rainbow out of the way, in a much more forceful manner than Rainbow Dash did, and sure enough the object was gone.
“Nothing can disappear like that!” Twilight started to get hysterical.
Rainbow slapped her across the face, “Calm down Twilight. Maybe an invisibility spell?”
“No that wouldn’t work, the amount of magic required to do that would be astronomical. Considering that thing appeared to be at least twice, if not more, times as big as Canterlot Castle.”
“So what are we gonna do?” Rainbow looked at Twilight.
The two ponies sat there for a moment, pondering what to do before they simultaneously smiled..
“Spike! Wake up!” a lavender hoof roughly poked him in the side.
The baby dragon merely mumbled something about Rarity and rolled over to his other side.
“Spike, come on!” Twilight poked the dragon a bit rougher this time.
It was a tad to rough as it ended up pushing Spike off the other side of the basket. Causing it to comically to cover up the now dazed dragon and once again cover him in darkness.
Both Rainbow and Twilight waited for the dragon to appear from underneath but were disappointed as the dragon persisted in his slumber.
“I got this Twilight,” Rainbow said confidently as she stepped up next to the bundle of blankets.
“WAKE UP SPIKE!” her voice rumbled into the night.
The dragon immediately started scrambling on the ground. Eventually the poor drake managed to free himself from the web of blankets and basket and stood up blearily on his feet.
A big yawn escaped from his mouth and he finally gathered his wits to speak,
“Oh, hey Rainbow Dash. What are you doing here in the middle of the night?”
“Twilight needs you to send a letter,” Rainbow replied.
“Whats the problem?” he asked turning to the unicorn next to Rainbow.
Twilight paused for a moment trying to figure out how to describe what exactly she and Rainbow saw.
“Ummm… well we saw lights.”
“Well duh,” Spike replied cheekily.
Twilight stomped a hoof,
“It was alot of lights Spike!”
The dragon just stared blankly at her.
“There was a big red one too Spike!”
The dragon let out an annoyed sigh, “Yea my blanket misses me at the moment soooo…”
He made a move to flip his basket back over but Twilight stopped him, after shooting him a quick glare he rolled his eyes.
“Okay fine, I’ll go get some paper and a quill. happy now?”
Twilight smiled and nodded her head as the grumbling dragon stalked off.
Rainbow turned to her,
“So do you think Princess Luna knows what that thing was?”
Twilight paused for a moment, “If anypony does its her. But if she doesn’t, I’m pretty sure nopony does.”
“What do you think that was?”
“To be honest Rainbow, i probably don’t have any better ideas than you do.”
Rainbow scratched her chin with a hoof.
“What if its aliens?”
Twilight looked at her like she grew two heads,
“There are no such things as aliens Rainbow Dash, come on do you realize how insane you sounded right there?”
Rainbow glared at her,
“Do you realize how insane that thing was?”
Twilight was officially silenced. She was saved when the grumbling Spike returned with a quill in one hand and dragging a piece of paper in the other.
“Ok lets get this over with so I can get back to bed,” the dragon sat down at his writing desk.
Twilight cleared her throat and began to narrate.
Dear Princess Luna,
I recently purchased a new telescope and decided to try it out tonight. The sky was cloudy but fortunately Rainbow Dash helped me with that problem. I also wanted to compliment you on your beautiful sky, you really do out do yourself.
But onto the matter at hoof. While I was observing Hayleighs comet Rainbow pointed out a few strange blinking lights . After removing my eye from the telescope I started watching the weird lights with Rainbow. They were moving extremely fast, i didn’t get the chance to do calculations but its safe to assume they could cause significant damage if they hit something. The strangest thign was when more lights appeared, I counted somewhere around 30. They were in roughly a circle formation and slowed down as they approached the center.
I re-positioned my telescope at approximately where the center was, and what we saw was….”
Twilight paused trying to figure out the right word,
She turned to Rainbow, “Do you have any ideas?”
Rainbow thought for a second, “an enigma?”
Twilight’s eyes opened wide with the advanced vocabulary,
“Rainbow where did you learn that word? I’m impressed.”
“You used it one day and I thought it sounded cool so I remembered it," Rainbow responded with a slight blush.
Twilight beamed, “I’ll have to think of more cool for words for you to learn then.”
“That’d be cool,” Rainbow said quietly.
“Write that in Spike,” Twilight cleared her throat again before continuing.
We wondered if you spotted this anomaly as well. If you did we were wondering if you have any idea of what exactly it was. You are welcome to come to Ponyville to use my telescope as it is already trained on the location that i observed the object on.
Your friend, Twilight Sparkle
The scratching of Spike’s quill faded as he ended the letter.
“I assume you want me to send this to Luna and not Celestia?” he asked.
“If that's not to much trouble.”
“nah its easy!” Spike said while puffing up his chest.
“Get on with it Spike.” grumbled Rainbow.
“Fine fine” The dragon flipped the scroll in the air and instead of breathing out the familiar green flame, a dark blue one came out instead. The scroll was consumed by the flame and sent on its way to Canterlot.
“So how long do you think its going to take her to respond?” Rainbow asked Twilight.
“Knowing Princess Luna I wouldn’t think that long,” Twilight responded.
Sure enough, only a few minutes of killed time later Spike burped out a reply.
Twilight unrolled it with her magic and read aloud.
Greetings Twilight Sparkle.
I rejoice that thou enjoys my night. It is not common for our ponies to regale us with compliments for our night. It is most refreshing indeed.
Onto the “anomaly” as thou says it.
We hast observed the strange lights thou hast mentioned, but our telescope hast been involved in an unfortunate banana accident with our sister. I welcome the chance to visit Ponyville and our new friends again. We shalt arrive momentarily
P.s We would ask thee to refer to us as “Luna”, as a symbol of our friendship.
“Momentarily?” Rainbow repeated. “Does that mea--”
She was interrupted by a sudden flash of blue light.coming through the window.
Both Rainbow and Twilight immediately ran outside. They leaned over the balcony and were greeted by the regal sight the the princess looking up at them.
“Greetings friends. May we enter thine abode?”
“We givest thou our permission.” Rainbow responded in half-sarcasm.
Twilight bopped her on the back of the head,
“Yes! fly on up here!”
Rainbow gave Twilight a death glare while rubbing the back of her head.
“Did I hit the awesome Rainbow Dash to hard?” Twilight asked in mock concern.
Rainbow opened her mouth to make a snarky reply but closed it When Princess Luna landed next to her.
“Hast thou injured thy head Rainbow Dash?” She looked concerned.
“QUICK PRINCESS LOOK! “ Twilight shouted as she noticed the lights again. This time the started at the larger reddish dot and expanded outwards.
Luna immediately bolted to the telescope and looked into it. Her jaw immediately fell open.
Both Rainbow and Twilight watched them arc off into the night before disappearing into the blackness.
Eventually, after many long moments, Luna turned to the two ponies.
Rainbow Dash spoke up first, “So Luna? do you know what that thing is?”
Her formality forgotten the Princess spoke, “I have not the slightest idea.”
Keyan woke up without fanfare, greeted by the graceful golden arches of his private quarters. He didn’t move for a long while, but he eventually managed to pull himself up and sit off the side of his bed.
“Greetings Captain” came the synthesized voice of Aura.
“Status report Aura.”
Immediately a stream of data was fed into his mind. He quickly stuffed most of the scans of the other planets out of his head. He pulled up the information on the one he was currently orbiting.
“Tell me about this planet Aura”
The A.I began,
“Well, firstly sir my predictions were correct. This planet supports a complex and thriving ecosystem across multiple continents. The atmosphere is breathable by you without a respirator and gravity is the 1g galactic standard for space stations.”
“Sentient life?” he asked knowing the answer already.
“According to my data sir, that is a 97% probability.”
The capsuleer froze, “What?”
“If you look out your port window you could observe sir.”
Keyan immediately stood on his feet and rushed to the window. He pressed the “open” button and with a hiss the shutter began to rise.
The rays of this systems sun pierced the window first, bathing the bedroom in a golden glow.
The side of the planet below him was cloaked in darkness.
“Aura how long until the sun can't hit us anymore?
“At current orbit speed, 5 minutes sir.”
Keyan gazed down at the planet below him. Painting some of the surface below him was the unmistakable pattern of cities.
“Aura mark this in the log”
“Mark what sir?”
“I am the first capsuleer to discover sentient life in the galaxy.”
The capsuleer immediately began running scenarios in his mind. Should he contact them? Should he just leave? If he contacted then, could it help their society? could it hurt? Could he make billions, no trillions of isk off of this? The possibilities were endless.
“What info do you have on them?”
“Who’s “them” sir?”
“The people down there. or whatever they are.”
“We appear to be in geosynchronous orbit around a small settlement. A much larger settlement is located 134 kilometers up a canyon, its population is probably in the 100s of thousands. On the coast, there appears to be even larger ones. There populations will most likely be over 1 million. I will be able to obtain more data with the on board cameras once the planet revolves into its day cycle.”
“They appear to have some form of electricity. I detect no nuclear or other fissionable materials present in any significant amount. They appear to be in some sort of limbo between classical renaissance, and early digital age technology levels.”
“So they have no chance of hurting us?”
“What do you think we should do?”
“Since the odds of the natives spotting us are negligible, I believe maintaining orbit and conducting surface scans with on board sensors and cameras is the most profitable outcome.”
“What do you think about making first contact?”
“Highly inadvisable in the current future, I suggest at least 2 week data gathering period, and then a thorough investigation into all possible outcomes.”
“Lets do that. Gather what data you can for now, I’m going to go into a combat simulator. Unplug me if the need arises.”
“Very well sir”
Keyan then stood up and marched down the hallway to his pod. After climbing inside and making sure all the links were securely connected, he initiated the program.
Outside the ship an external camera circled around and zoomed in on the town below.
Pinkie Pie woke up with a start, she narrowed her eyes suspiciously out her open window,
Luna, Rainbow Dash, and Twilight all sat around Twilight’s kitchen table. All attempts at conversation quickly failed as their minds churned over what they saw last night.
Luna was the most troubled. Despite being an immortal, almost all powerful alicorn she was entirely unprepared for something like this to happen. In her thousands of years of life neither her nor her sister seriously considered the possibility of life beyond their planet. Thoughts ran rampant through her head, she didn’t know if they were a threat to her ponies or not.
Twilight’s mind was in very poor shape. Nearly her entire perspective on the universe had changed last night. Prior to seeing that thing through her telescope she had thought the concept of aliens to be nothing but something crazy ponies believed in. The ones that spent their time in an insane asylum writing on the walls. Despite her emotional troubles, her scholarly mind was working in overdrive. Do they look like ponies? Are they ponies? What technology do they have?
Rainbow Dash was thinking one thing: Aliens? Awesome.
Eventually Twilight managed to unscramble her thoughts enough to form a sentence.
“What are we going to do Luna?”
The princess took a deep breath,
“We.. I do not know Twilight. An event such as this was considered nought but impossible for thousands of years. I’ll have to speak with sister, afterwards thou may expect an answer.”
“What are we waiting for?” Rainbow Dash exclaimed throwing her forehooves onto the table, “There's aliens up there. We should just go say hello!”
Both Luna and Twilight gave her a flat stare. Rainbow Dash sat back down in her chair blushing slightly.
Twilight thought for a second then back to the princess, “Well they obviously know we are here. Could it hurt to show them that we know that they are?”
The princesses face suddenly grew serious,
“Twilight. I shall speak to thee plainly. ponies in these times know nought the horrors of war. If these beings seek to bring it back to us, I suspect well shall put up nought but a paltry defense. Our best hope to succeed, however slim, is to catch them unawares.”
Twilight was silent for a long, long time.
“But Princess” Rainbow interjected, “What if they didn’t come here to invade? what if they’re here to help?”
“Thou hast the mind of an optimist Rainbow Dash, that is commendable, but idealists would be cut down like wheat. We must take every precaution.”
Twilight spoke next, “If they attack us, don’t we have the elements? They stopped Discord,”
“These beings have the ability to travel amongst the stars Twilight Sparkle, we know nought of their capabilities of war.”
The three of them lapsed into silence again. After a few minutes of awkward silence Luna stood up,
“We shalt return to Canterlot and confer with our sister. We bid you both farewell. Twilight, I ask thee, as a friend, to remain calm and not go into one of your “phases” again.”
Twilight blushed, “Okay princess.”
After both Rainbow and Twilight said their goodbyes the princess disappeared in a flash of blue light.
The two remaining mares turned to each other.
“So Rainbow, do you want some breakfast or something?”
Rainbow Dash let out a huge yawn, “I could use some sleep Twilight.”
“Oh ok. You can go use my bed if you want.”
“Thanks Twi” Said a sleepy Rainbow Dash as she started to stumble her way up to Twilight’s bedroom.
Twilight giggled as she heard Rainbow flop down onter her bed with a loud groan. Twilight immediately began cleaning up her library. It had been thrown into disorder last night as she, Luna, and Rainbow searched every shelf for books that could have something to do with that they saw.
When she was halfway through her second shelf her face was split open by a positively monstrous yawn. Twilight rubbed her face with her hoof,
“Come on, stay awake Twilight.” She said to herself.
Another tired groan came from Twilight’s bedroom. Twilight took one last look at her mess of a library. She shrugged slightly, it wasn’t like her to think this, but for once organizing could wait.
She trotted into her bedroom and saw Rainbow Dash had partially wrapped herself in the blanket and had sprawled herself across the entire bed. Her mouth was open wide as a small line of drool escaped. Twilight giggled, she gently used her magic to move Dash to one side of the bed.
She laid down in the now open space and tucked both of themselves in. With one last sigh, she passed out.
“Captain, there is now sufficient daylight on the planet to use the onboard cameras.” Rang Aura’s voice, interrupting the combat simulation that Keyan was in the middle of.
The simulation paused just as Keyan was about to shred another enemy’s ship with his autocannons.
The main weapon on his ship were 12, 425mm autocannons. capable of shredding enemy ships with their massive rate of fire. His secondary armament, a mess of 125mm cannons and smaller for taking out frigates and smaller targets was similarly lethal..
The pod lid lifted open as Keyan stepped out, his legs began working on autopilot as his higher functions were diverted..
“Show me what you got so far Aura.”
Immediately a river of data flowed into his brain.
“Sir, the indigenous species to this planet seem to match the description of the mythological creature called a “Pony”.”
Images of the four legged hoofed equines were uploaded into his head..
“Why are they so colorful?” He asked as the images streamed by his vision.
“Any distinctive characteristics?”
“There appears to be three main derivations.”
3 wire-frame equines appeared in front of him.
“One appears to be “normal” relative to the other two. It also appears to be much stronger than the other two derivations.”
The wire-frame of the regular looking pony appeared in front of him. He stared at i for a while,
“Nothing special. What’s next?”
“One has a pair of wings and is capable of flight. There appears to be a wide range of skill level from one to another.”
A video of a black pony with a silver mane pulling some impressive loops played.
“They also appear to be able to directly interact with the weather.”
A second video of a few ponies pushing and pulling clouds, as well as other actions played next.
“Whats the significance of the tattoos on their ass?”
“The correct term is “flank” Sir. And they appear to be marks of what the organisms occupation is.”
“Whats the third?”
The wire-frame that appeared seemed to be the same as the first, save for a horn protruding from its head.
A video of one of these horned ponies, a lime green one with a stringed instrument tattoo, floated into his vision. Its horn glowed with a light the same as its fur. Then something surprising happened; a few objects around the unicorn glowed in the same color and then lifted into the air. Another video showed another horned pony shoot fireworks from its horn, much to the delight of the baby ponies surrounding it,
“What is that? and call these thing ponies, not organisms or whatever you were doing before. ” The capsuleer’s mind was struggling to come up with an explanation for this.
“My scientific deduction is that these ponies are using magic.”
Keyan scoffed, “Magic!? Do I have to reprogram you again Aura.”
“No sir, with lack of any other data that is the conclusion I have drawn.”
“Is it something with magnets? light? anything?”
”My readings detect nothing of the sort.”
The door to the capsuleer’s room opened as he approached it.
“Ok, Aura pull up the camera controls.”
He entered the room and made his way to a desk, its was a beautifully crafted Amarrian design. The rich brown wood was accentuated by golden arches and accents. The motif of a sun was emblazoned across much of its surfaces. It was due to be delivered the Amarrian Empress’s Palace, but the convoy it was on experienced an unfortunate accident in low security space.
As he sat down on the matching chair a holographic display opened up in front of him. He sat down and assumed control of the camera.
“Alright, lets see what I found here.”
The video feed began streaming into his brain as he focused the camera in.
Pinkie Pie was bouncing down the street, as happy as anypony could be. Suddenly she froze in place.
“My Pinkie sense is tingling. MY PINKIE SENSE IS TINGLING!” She exclaimed to Ponyville.
Immediately all the surrounding ponies stopped what they were doing and stared at her. Everyone of them was prepared to heed her warning.
Her eyes suddenly narrowed and she slowly turned her head to look at everypony surrounding her in turn.
“Is somepony watching me?” She asked suspiciously.
All the surrounding ponies gave each other skeptical looks.
“Well? Is there?” Pinkie asked, putting her face inches away from a rather unlucky pony who scrambled over backwards in surprise.
Eventually the crowd let out a collective shrugged and dissipated into the town.
Pinkie Pie rubbed her chin with her hoof.
“I bet Twilight could help me!” She said as she started bouncing her way to the library.
Upon arriving she knocked on the door. After waiting for approximately 1.3 seconds she loudly complained,.
“Why is everypony taking so long today?”
The next second she walked into Twilight's bedroom. She smiled even wider, if that was possible, as she saw Rainbow Dash was there as well. The two of them were close together, with Rainbow’s back to Twilight's chest with the latter’s hooves wrapped around the other pony. Both of them were snoring slightly.
“GOOD AFTERNOON TWILIGHT!” She shouted.
Twilight's eyes immediately snapped open as she flailed her legs wildly. She let out a muffled yelp as she fell of the bed with a thump, dragging the blankets with her. Rainbow Dash grumbled slightly when exposed to the cooler air, but jsut curled into a ball cutely.
“PINKIE! HOW DID YOU GET IN HERE?” Twilight asked, her heart beating a mile a minute.
“You know what, I don’t want to know.” She said waving her fore hooves, “So what do you need?”
Pinkie opened her mouth to respond but Twilight quickly shoved a hoof in her mouth,
“Wait, not yet sorry. Lets let Rainbow sleep, we were kept all night.”
Pinkie’s eyes opened wide,
“NO NOT LIKE THAT!” Twilight screamed blushing.
Rainbow grumbled in her sleep. The two other ponies in the room then made their way out. Once the door shut behind them and they were safely down the stairs Twilight turned to Pinkie. Rolling her eyes she gave her a nod,
“WHY WERE YOU TWO IN BED TO TOGETHER. ARE YOU TOGETHER TOGETHER? YOU WERE ALL CUDDLED UP AND IT WAS SO ADORABLE!!!!!!” Pinkie gushed as she bounced around the disordered library.
She was enveloped in a purple aura and brought back to Twilight.
“Nothing happened. Me and Rainbow Dash spent the night stargazing together and I let her sleep here so she didn’t have to fly all the way home.
“I’ll let that slide for now Twilight, but I’m onto you,” she said as eyed Twilight up and down.
Twilight was honestly confused and opened her mouth to say something but was interrupted when Pinkie said,
“I need your help Twilight,” She was suddenly serious.
Taken off guard by the sudden change in tone Twilight responded,
“My Pinkie Sense has been telling me that somepony has been watching me all day. And I don’t know who!”
Twilight rolled her eyes,
“Pinkie, alot of ponies watch you. You're not exactly hard to miss.”
“But this is different!”
Twilight meanwhile had begun straightening up the library. She called out over her shoulder,
“Well, where do you think this pony who is watching you is?”
“Hmmmmm.” Pinkie rubbed her chin with her hoof, “My gut is telling me….” She trailed off.
“Pinkie?... Pinkie?” Twilight called out. After not receiving a response she turned around.
She was greeted by the sight of Pinkie pressing her ear to her gut, mumbling something every now and then. She nodded her head, apparently reaching a conclusion, started walking out the balcony door.
“Pinkie?” Twilight asked again as she followed her pink friend our the door.
“My gut tells me, that he is right THERE!” She thrust a hoof into the air, pointing at a random point in the sky.
Twilight froze. Slowly, she turned her head to her telescope. It was pointing at the same place Pinkie was.
“Aura? Is that Pink one pointing at us?”
“I have extrapolated the line, and yes. The pink pony is pointing at us.”
The capsuleer paused for a second,
“Do they know we’re here?”
“I have also extrapolated the telescopes field of view, it is also focused on us. It is highly probable they know of our presence.”
“Fuck, they must have spotted the probes and saw us when we decloaked.”
“That is highly probable sir.”
“So what do you think we should do?”
“The most logical course of action is to act as if we are unaware they know of our presence. Despite it being near impossible of them succeeding in an assault on our ship, the element of surprise is not to be taken lightly.”
The capsuleer thought for a second, “Okay, prepare the on board defenses just in case. Don’t let them know we know.”
“SISTER! WE MUST SPEAK WITH THEE!” Luna shouted as she barged into her sisters quarters.
Celestia, who was seated by her desk with her back to Luna immediately started scrambling. She avoided turning around and was clutching something tightly to her chest,
“Oh hi Luna. Give me 5 minutes i’ll be right out,” she said in a small, nervous, voice.
“We shalt wait in thine sitting room. Do not tarry sister, this concerns our subjects safety,” Luna turned to leave but Celestia called to her in a meek voice,
“You didn’t see anything, did you sister?”
“Nay, we did not see thou playing with thine dolls again.”
Her sisters ego intact Luna trotted to the fancifully decorated sitting room. She plopped herself down on an extraordinarily fluffy chair with an audible sigh. She started rubbing her temple with her forehooves, trying to think how to explain the situation to her sister.
The clacking of Celestia’s ponyshoes broke Luna from her thoughts.
“Now Luna, what do you need to talk about?”
Even though it was the last thing the princess wanted to do, she managed to pull herself from the snares of comfiness the chair had wrapped her in.
“Sister. We need thee to understand one thing, if we fail our subjects in managing this correctly they shall die.”
Celestia’s stance shifted slightly, not enough to be directly noticeable, but it was enough for Luna to know Celestia was serious.
When Celestia spoke her voice was low, her normally soft voice was in stark contrast to the dangerous tone she held now.
“I am listening.”
Luna licked her lips, “Sister, what is thine opinion on aliens.”
Celestia was quiet for second before her eyes lit up in fury.
“THIS IS A POOR EXCUSE FOR A PRANK SISTER!”
Luna immediately stepped closer to the live explosive that was Celestia.
“Nay sister, we do not jest! Look into our mind, see that we speak nought but the truth!”
Celestia’s eyes narrowed as she stared at her sister right in the eye. After a tense moment her horn lit up in a golden aura. She touched her horn to her sisters, and immediately memories began flooding into her.
She saw the entirety of Luna’s experience the previous night. Everything from receiving Twilight’s letter to her return to the palace.
The image of the rust colored, metallic, lethal looking object was seared into her brain. There was little doubt in her mind that its only purpose was to kill.
“Mine reaction was much the same sister,” Luna said softly.
“SERGEANT!” Celestia barked
Immediately a royal guard stepped into the room, “Yes your majesty?”
“Put the guard on high alert. I want everypony who can wield a weapon to have one. Is that understood?”
“Yes your majesty. What is the reason that I should tell them?”
“None save that I order it,” Celestia said, her voice harsh.
The guard pony visibly blanched, seeing the princess in a mood like this usually didn’t end well for any pony.
“Yes your majesty” He said as booked it from the chamber.
Celestia turned back to her sister,
“What can we do sister? a military action against it will be in vain, despite our ponies training.”
“I believe sister, that the only thing we can do is hope that it bears us no ill will. For if it does, even with our combined might and the elements, i shudder to think of the damage it could do to our subjects. Even if we do destroy it in the end.”
Both sisters let out a collective sigh.
“I’m going to send the elements to Twilight and her friends. Hopefully they’ll give them some form of protection.”
Luna nodded, and both sisters sat in silence for a long while, Conjuring up scenario after scenario of cities, towns, and villages being burned by fires from the sky.
“The last thing I want to do is to invade them Aura.” Keyan said, “Maybe we should find out what city is their capital and decloak above them and say hello.”
“I do not suggest that course of action sir. As the appearance of a fully armed warship above their leaders would not lead to favorable diplomacy.”
“I know Aura, that was a joke. But they know I’m here. Its only a matter of time before they send something to check me out.”
“They do not appear to have the technology needed for space flight.”
“No but they have “magic” that has to account for something.”
Aura was silent, much longer than the computer ever was before,
“I will have to redo my calculations sir. But preliminary estimates show that that is a possibility.”
“Whats the status on a wormhole?” Keyan asked, trying to get his mind of the ponies walking around on the planet below him.
“No signs of wormholes have been detected. Nor any lingering readings, save for the one that you entered through. It appears that you will remain here for the foreseeable future.”
“And the mineral, gas, and ice reports?”
“They indicate an average distribution of standard types. Nothing remarkable sir.”
Keyan let out an aggravated groan, “Shit, stuck here and its not even a good bookmark to sell.”
“Sir, if you do lead other capsuleer’s to this system, it is highly likely that the first thing they would do is subjugate the natives.”
“Ughh, I hate having a conscious in this galaxy sometimes. I won’t sell the damn bookmark. Divert the rest of the probes from their current cycles, I want everyone of them searching for a wormhole.”
“Very well sir.” *****
“So Applejack, darling, why do you think that Twilight wants us all to come to the library?” Rarity asked as she trotted along the road.
“Ah don’t rightly know Rarity. Ah hope nothing bad happening.”
“Oh i do too, it would be positively dreadful if we had to up and save the world again. I have a reputation to maintain. I can’t leave my clients orders unfinished for weeks on end again.”
Applejack rolled her eyes, “Well, Ah reckon if it was something awful Twilight would have told us first.”
“I suppose that is true,” Rarity concurred as they trotted up to the library door. With a rather ladylike knock, Rarity rapped on the door.
It was opened by Fluttershy.
“Oh.. Hi girls, glad you could make it,” The timid mare said.
“Oh Howdy Fluttershy, Ah didn’t know you were already here.”
“Well I was in the market when Twilight found me, so I just came straight here.”
Twilight then decided to make her appearance.
“Oh hey girls! I’m glad you could come so soon.” She said cheerfully.
“Ain’t no problem Twilight. Now what's the problem you called us down here for?”
“Come on in and take a seat, what I’m going to tell you is going to change the way you look at the world.”
Applejack nudged Rarity with her hoof, “Maybe she found something better than reading?”
The two of them chuckled at the joke before following Twilight into the library. They saw Rainbow Dash lounging on one of the chairs scattered the library and she waved a hoof in greetings.
“So Rainbow, darling, do you happen to know what this is about?” Rarity asked.
Rainbow chuckled nervously, “Yea, but I’m going to let Twilight break the news on this one though.”
Suddenly Pinkie popped of somewhere, “HEY GUYS! AREN’T YOU EXCITED TO FIND OUT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT!”
Jumping slightly in surprise Applejack responded, “Whoa Pinkie Calm down, do you know what this is about?”
“Nope. I came here about an hour ago because I felt somepony watching me and thought that Twilight could help me find out who. But when my gut told me the pony was really really high in the sky Twilight got really quiet and looked absolutely spooked!”
Rarity and Applejack exchanged a look,
“Alrighty then Pinkie, Ah reckon we just have to wait for Twilight then.” Applejack concurred as they each took a seat.”
The conversation soon dissolved into idle chatter about the weather, upcoming events, etc. It died of quickly when Twilight and Fluttershy entered the room, a tray of drinks and snacks floating in the air next to them.
Fluttershy meekly took the last remaining empty chair, forcing Twilight to sit on the couch next to Rainbow. Pinkie Pie caught Twilight’s gaze and waggled her eyebrows. Twilight blushed.
Gathering her wits again Twilight cleared her throat.
“So girls, First of all, what are your opinions on aliens?” She said seriously.
All of them but Rainbow Dash stared at her like she had two heads.
“Twilight?” Applejack asked, did you get a knock to your noggin last night or something?”
“I think Applejack has a point darling, please don’t tell me you called us down for something to do with something as impossible as aliens.” Rarity stressed the last word, disgust evident in her tone.
“I agree Twilight,” came the meek voice of Fluttershy.
Pinkie clacked her hooves together, “So that's who was watching me. It wasn’t a pony at all! what a plot twist!”
“Listen girls. I know it sounds far fetched, but yes I did call you here to talk about aliens.”
“Twilight, Ah’m sorry but I got apples to buck, I ain’t got no time to waste,” she made a move to stood up but Rainbow shouted,
“Sit down Applejack, she’s being serious.”
Rainbow’s voice took a rather harsh tone and it successfully cowed Applejack into sitting back down.
“This is really hard for me to explain girls. Just let me show you alright?” Twilight asked.
After everypony nodded their heads Twilight’s horn started glowing. Suddenly a projection leapt from her horn onto the wall.
Everypony in the room was silent as they stared at the image of the rust colored object.
“What in the hay is that?” Applejack asked.
“ALIENS!” *GASP* “I HAVE TO THROW A WELCOME TO EQUESTRIA PARTY!” PInkie exclaimed levitating a few feet above the floor.
Applejack yanked her back to the ground,
“That girls, are the aliens.”
“Oh Celestia! Out of all the possible things, THIS. IS. THE. WORST. POSSIBLE. THING!” Rarity exclaimed. “You think aliens would have at least some sort of sense of fashion! I mean look at those harsh lines, and that color.” She shuddered on the last word.
“I think it looks pretty bad flank.” Rainbow Dash offered her two bits.
“Twilight, do you know what they are here for?” Applejack asked.
“No.” She zoomed in in the image, slowly panning across it.
“It appears to be fairly large. At least 2-3x the size of the palace in Canterlot, maybe more. Luna, who was here last night, fears that their purpose here is to invade. But I have seen no signs of any weapons.I just see multitudes of these domes.” She focused in on one of the items in question.
“Well, could something come out of them?” Rainbow asked.
Twilight’s eyes suddenly opened wide, “Of course! They could possibly be damaged if left out. But if they are weapons that means…” Her eyes grew wider, “than maybe they did come to invade. Look at how much of them there are!” The view quickly shifted from dome to dome.
“Calm down Twilight!” Rainbow rushed and shook her panicking friend.”If they wanted to invade, they could have just done it when the first got here. Why wait? and why send only one?”
Twilight took a few deep breaths, “I suppose you have a point Rainbow.”
“So, what are we going to do Twilight?” Applejack asked.
“Luna was here last night and shes talking to Celestia now. We should expect an answer soon.”
Rarity suddenly realized something, “Has anypony seen Fluttershy? She seems to have disappeared, the poor darling must be frightened.”
The others quickly scanned the library and spotted the cowering mare on top on a bookshelf.
She let out an eep as Twilight’s magic levitated her back to the ground.
The friends moved to comfort their friend but were interrupted by a flash of golden light.
They ponies all turned their heads to find Celestia standing their regally, a smile on her face.
“PRINCESS!” Twilight squealed.
“Hello everypony, hello Twilight. As much as I wish that I could stay and talk with you all I must return to Canterlot.”
“Does it have something to do with the aliens princess?” Pinkie asked while bouncing in place.
“Ah, I take it you have told your friends Twilight?”
“Good, now I don’t have to explain why I’m leaving these with you.” She said as the chest containing the Elements of Harmony floated into their field of vision. “This does not mean that it is inevitable that you will have to use them, it is merely a precaution.”
“Of course Princess. But what are you going to do?”
“Me and sister have agreed that contact is inevitable, but we do not know whether to wait for them, or to let them make the first move. Luna says we should go knock his door and say hello, but I don’t think that is a good decision.”
“So you have no idea?”
“No, unless something happens that is out of our control, I think we will let them make the first move.”
Meanwhile, Mr. Cake was having a rather difficult time changing Pumpkin Cake’s diaper. The little filly was giggling as she kicked her hind legs and squirmed away from her dad’s grasp. Suddenly her dad’s hooves clamped down, halting her movement.
Right on que her horn blazed up and a bolt of energy flew from it. Luckily its course wasn’t into anything valuable as it shot straight out the window into the blue sky above.
Wow, that was a doozy!” Mr. Cake exclaimed, thankful he didn’t have to write any apology letters for property damage.
“Sir, probes are due to return in 5 minutes. Prepare for decloaking.”
“Alright, go ahead.”
Keyan was currently sitting in the unused bridge section of his ship, the regular crew would use this as a base of operations, if he had one. He watched as probes appeared on the radar display.
Without warning through one of the bridge he saw a laser burst from the planet. It missed his ship by a wide margin but still caught him by surprise.
“Aura, what the fuck was that!?”
“Appears to be an unrefined form of the “magic” they have. It seems to be an accidental discharge of some sort.”
“So they’re not trying to blow me out of the sky.”
Keyan leaned back in his seat, thankful that he wasn’t being purposely shot at. He looked back at the radar display and counted one missing probe.
“Aura, where did probe 24 go?”
He looked out the window and saw an object start entering the upper edge of the planets atmosphere.
“Tell me that's not it!” He cried out in a frustrated voice.
“It appears that it has been hit sir, the chances of this happening were below .001%.”
“What the fuck do I care!? Where is that thing going to land!?”
A holographic display opened in front of him, showing the disabled probes descent path.
“My calculations predict that it will impact just outside the town we are orbiting.”
The capsuleer ran a hand through his hair.
“What are the odds they think we are shooting at them or something?”
“Rather high sir.”
“dammit… anything we can do?”
“It appears the radio on the probe is still functional. It is possible it will survive the impact. If it does, I suggest explaining the situation.”
“So this is first contact then? A disabled probe crashing right outside their town. Possibly causing extreme property damage and killing a few?”
“So how do you think an alien initiates first contact? Twilight asked Celestia.
The Princess sighed, “I don’t know Twilight, We can only hope that they come with open arms, not with death. But now I must return to Canterlot, I must prepare the guard in case of the worst.”
After exchanging goodbyes the princess’s horn started to glow. Just as she was about to teleport away she was interrupted by terrified screams coming from outside.
“Umm.. Celestia? Would you mind staying until we find out what that is about?” Twilight asked.
“Of course Twilight.”
The 6 ponies rushed out the door, slowly followed by a thoroughly frightened Fluttershy. and saw the entire town running around in disarray.
“MY LITTLE PONIES!” Celestia shouted, “WHAT IS THE PROBLEM!”
“Princess Celestia its gonna hit town!” A passing pony shouted, pointing over Celestia’s shoulder.
The group collectively looked behind them and saw a fiery ball blazing its way towards town.
“Princess! is it the aliens?” Twilight asked.
“I fear it is Twilight. But don’t tell anypony else about them unless we have to. I don’t want to cause a nation wide panic.”
5 ponies nodded, one let out an eep in agreement.
They looked back up at the falling object, it was much closer now. WIth a roar it blazed overhead. They could just make out a tumbling object in its center.
“Pony feathers! Its gonna hit the town!” Rainbow Dash exclaimed, flying up above the buildings.
“RAINBOW WATCH YOUR LANGUAGE IN FRONT OF THE PRINCESS” Twilight shouted, horrified at her friends behavior.
“No, I believe that is an apt description of the situation.” The princess said as she started galloping in the direction the object was headed. She was followed by the rest.
They rounded a corner just in time to see the object slam into the town hall. It didn’t even slow down as it entered one side and exited the other. Debris rained down upon the nearby area as ponies ran away in terror. The structure started groaning as its structural integrity crumpled. With snaps, and cracks, and groans, the building started to buckle under its own weight.
Mayor Mare and the other town officials burst from the door, running for their lives. With a final crash the building imploded, sending out a cloud of dust and debris into the surrounding area.
The object continued on its path of destruction, careening through several houses before it finally impacted the ground just outside ponyville. Immediately fire and police ponies began streaming into the area providing what aid they could.
The 7 ponies looked on with tears welling in their eyes,
“Come friends we have to get to that thing first.” Celestia said, forcing herself to move despite her worry.
The group of ponies galloped off down the now debris laden street towards the outskirts of ponyville. When they saw the impact zone it was not a pretty sight, the field that hosted many a picnic or fair was now torn up. With grass, dirt, and rocks thrown every which way from the massive tear in the ground the object made.
With a somber aura, they walked along the skid mark. They saw the object, mostly covered by soil, laying on its side at the end. Celestia’s horn glowed as she pulled the object out, laying it in front of her.
It was about 2 pony lengths long, made of metal, and despite its eventful landing appeared to be relatively undamaged, save for a large scorch mark on one of its sides.
“What in the hay is that thing?” Rainbow Dash asked.
“I don’t know, but we have to get this to Canterlot now, nopony else must see this.”
The princess heard the murmuring of curious towns ponies start to convene around the crater. She jumped up onto the field.
“MY LITTLE PONIES!” Her royal Canterlot voice rang out, “DO NOT COME CLOSER. A METEORITE HAS CAUSED THIS DAMAGE, AND IT HAS SCATTERED DANGEROUS COMPOUNDS IN THE SURROUNDING AREA. LEAVE THIS AREA AND DO NOT RETURN HERE UNTIL I DEEM IT SAFE!”
This was enough for the already frightened ponies who quickly vacated the area.
“I’m going to teleport us all, get ready.” Celestia said turning back to the others.
In a flash they were gone. ****
Keyan bit his lip as he watched the probes descent. He flinched as it demolished the official looking building and burned its way through a few houses.
“Did that kill anyone Aura?” He asked concerned.
“My thermal scans indicate that no one directly perished, although 7 are trapped in various buildings.”
“Alright, so maybe we can save them.”
“I’ll be sure to remind you to pass on their locations sir.”
“Show me where the probe landed.”
A camera feed popped into his vision. He saw the trail of destruction the probe left in the field,
‘Could have been worse’ he mused to himself.
He watched a group of 7 ponies make their way to the crash site. One of them was significantly different,
“Aura what in the hell is that one?”
“It appears to a hybrid of all 3 types sir. Judging from its assumed rarity, size, and the crown on its head it is safe to assume that it is this lands leader.”
He watched as a crowd of ponies began to make their way towards the crashed probe. When the big white pony jumped up and shouted and the crowd basically ran away he chuckled a bit.
Suddenly in a flash of light the white one, the 6 other ponies, and the probe vanished in a burst of golden light.
“Aura what the fuck was that!? Where did my probe go!?”
“It appears to have instantaneously moved over 200km. Its new location appears to be the capital.”
The display blurred as the camera panned over to the probe.
“So what does that mean?”
“It appears they are capable of teleportation.”
Keyan smirked, “awesome”
He looked back at the display, his eyes widened in surprise at the splendor the the palace the leader lived in. It was about 20% less cool than the Amarrian empresses summer palace.
The view of the probe and the ponies was partially obscured as it was indoors and he could only see through the windows.
“Aura, I can’t believe I didn’t think of this sooner, we have entirely different languages can I even talk to them?”
“Since we discovered them I have devoted a significant amount of my processing power and data gathering to translate their language. I have programmed it in to the translator module at approximately 90% comprehension. It should be more than adequate for a first conversation.”
Keyan was pleasantly surprised, “Good job Aura. Begin uploading it to my head.”
“Very well Sir.”
“Guard!” Celestia called out her door.
“Yes ma’am?” One replied as he stood at attention.
“Get my sister, and nopony is to disturb us once she arrives.”
The guard nodded and galloped off into the castle.”
Celestia turned back to the main 6. Pinkie Pie was poking at it curiously. Twilight was studying it. Rainbow Dash was looking at Twilight. Applejack and Rarity were standing off to the side. And Fluttershy was hiding under the couch.
“Luna should be on her way now.” She said.
“Pardon me asking Princess, but what exactly are we gonna go with this thing?” Applejack asked.
“I don’t know Applejack. It doesn’t appear to be a weapon but I can’t be sure.” Celestia responded.
The 7 ponies all looked up as the door opened again. Luna walked in,
“Sister you sent for us?” She froze when she saw the probe laying in the center of the room. “What is that sister?”
“This is the aliens’... thing. It fell from the sky and impacted just outside Ponyville, causing considerable damage.”
Luna’s stance lowered, “They come to invade then! Sister we must prepare for war!”
“Calm down Luna, there has been no word of this happening anywhere else, and this appears to have been damaged before it impacted.” Celestia said pointing to the large scorch mark. “Nothing it hit could have caused that damage”
Luna stepped forwards and took a closer look, “It appears to have been struck by an unfocused beam of magic! Such as a foal would make.”
Twilight face hoofed.
“Do you know something Twilight?” Celestia asked.
“Yes, the Cake’s new filly is a unicorn. She’s been sending out these burst of magic at random times for a while now. One of them must have hit this thing.”
Luna looked skeptical, “So a foals mistake could have started a war?”
Twilight nodded solemnly.
Luna shrugged, “Wars have been started for more stupid reasons.”
“But not with aliens sister.” Celestia interjected
“Is the radio still working Aura?”
“Yes sir, I’m patching the feed through now. And a second hybrid has arrived, look at the video feed.”
Keyan looked and sure enough a midnight blue hybrid had entered the room/
“-- wars have been started for more stupid reasons.” The blue one spoke.
“But not with aliens sister.” The white one said.
‘Oh well, here it goes’
“Hello?” A male voice asked.
The 8 ponies in the room froze.
“Who dares to invade mine sisters private suite!?” Luna asked enraged.
“I do, and I’m not invading it technically I’m not even here.” The voice came again.
“Where art thou, tell us so we may implant our hoof in thine flank!”
“Currently I’m in orbit above your planet. And if you’d care to come up here I’d gladly present my “flank” to you.”
The ponies slowly turned their head to the probe laying on the floor.
“Yea, that's my probe. Something zapped it and it fell out of orbit. Sorry about the damage.”
Celestia cleared her throat, “Yes well, that caused quite a bit of damage. But it is not your fault so I shall not hold you responsible.”
“Damn straight it’s not my fault, do you know how much”*gibberish* that probe costs?”
“Say what now?” Applejack asked.
*gibberish* came the response.
The ponies exchanged glances. Keyan face-palmed.
“What do you use for money here?”
“Bits?” Applejack offered.
“Do you know how much bits that cost!?” came the exasperated voice.
“No?” came the collective answer.
“a lot! that's custom made.” the voice paused, “But thats not important now, as of now no one has died due to my probe's crash landing. But there are 7 trapped, listen to me if you want to get to them in time.”
Celestia immediately ran to the probe, “Tell me now!”
“Hey hey relax, they’re trapped…” He rattled off the locations with Celestia quickly passed onto a guard heading towards Ponyville for the relief effort.
She turned back to the probe and cleared her throat, “I appreciate the he--” She was interrupted by Pinkie rushing forward and pressing her face into the probe,
“SO MISTER ALIEN DO YOU LIKE PARTIES?”
The voice chuckled, “A much as anyone else in the galaxy.”
Pinkie nodded, apparently reaching a conclusion,
“I like him” She stated.
“So uh, whats your name pardner?” Applejack asked,
“My names Keyan Charante. Call me Keyan, or Key if you want.”
“I’d shake your hoof pardner, but being as you’re not here...”
“Don’t worry about it, maybe later.”
“Oh, and my names Applejack, pleased to meet ya.” The rest of them quickly rattled off their names.
“So, Keyan” Twilight tried out the strange name, “How many of you aliens are on the ship?”
“But what? how can you fly that thing all by yourself?” Twilight sputtered.
“Well, I have Aura shes an A.I, artificial intelligence, you can thank her for translating your language as well. And if you have enough money you can basically do anything.”
The group nodded in agreement at the last statement.
“But why are you here?” Twilight asked
Luna came out of nowhere, “What is thine purpose here? Does thine come in peace or war!”
“Whoa whoa whoa, calm down, believe it or not I’m stuck here. I’m an explorer and I went through a wormhole and it collapsed, leaving me stranded.”
Her interest piqued Twilight asked, “Whats a wormhole?”
“I don’t know the math behind it, but just think of it like your teleportation. I can explain more later but here are more important things to discuss. But rest assured Princess Luna, I come in peace.”
“Do you pinkie promise?” Pinkie asked
“Do I what?”
Pinkie then went through her whole spiel on the subject.
“Yea, sure I pinkie promise”
Pinkie rushed to the window and pointed at the sky, “DO THE MOTIONS” she screeched.
Keyan hastily did, “How did you know I didn’t do them?”
“And stop pointing at me its creepy.”
Pinkie shrugged again.
Twilight turned to Rainbow and Rarity, “You guys have been strangely quiet, do you have anything to say to him?”
Rarity spoke up first, “Why a lady always waits her turn darling, as being as it is now mine,” Her face suddenly contorted in rage, “How is it that the first alien to come to Equestria arrives in the most garishly designed space ship ever?”
“Whoa Whoa Whoa, are you calling my ship ugly?”
“I think “ugly” couldn’t begin to describe it.” Rarity replied haughtily.
“I think my ship is perfectly badass thank you very much.”
“Yea I agree!” Piped up Rainbow Dash.
“Thank you very much Rainbow. And besides, I have traveled to all corners of the galaxy and I can’t say I’ve seen that hairdo anywhere else.”
Rarity’s gasped, “Well I never! Do you have any idea how to treat a lady?”
“Yea, if she annoys me I usually lob a few explosives in her direction.”
If glares could be transmitted by radio, Keyan would be dead.
“Hey Rarity calm down, don’t insult him and he won’t insult you, right?” Rainbow Dash said.
Keyan and Rarity mumbled in agreement.
“So Key, how in the hay do you know what we look like anyway?”
“Expensive cameras, I’m watching you all through the window right now.”
They collectively turned their heads,
“You can’t tell but I am waving right now.”
Pinkie Pie enthusiastically waved back.
“So Mister Keyan, Why don’t you let us see what you look like.” Pinkie asked
“I’m not into meeting people in person--”
“Ponies in person” Pinkie Pie interrupted,
“Ponies in person” Keyan continued, “I’ll tell you why later but right now I’m exhausted and am going to go take a nap. Think of some questions you want to ask me. Keyan out, peace” with a beep the feed cut.
The ponies were quiet for a long time until Rainbow exclaimed,
“I TOLD YOU THAT EVERYPONY IN THE GALAXY LOVES A NAP! TAKE THAT TWILIGHT!”
“Sir, Twilight Sparkle is asking when you are going to wake up again.” Aura pestered
Keyan groaned, “Dammit Aura, why do women have to be so impatient.”
“I believe the correct term is ‘mare’ sir.”
Keyan groaned again.
“How long was I asleep?”
“About 3 hours”
“I guess that’s enough. Tell Twilight I’ll be there in 10 minutes.”
“The captain says he will be able to talk to you in 10 minutes.” Aura said.
“Thank you Aura.” Twilight said with a smile.
The first few minutes of conversation with the A.I. had been interesting to say the least. Twilight was fascinated by the concept of a self-aware computer. Computers in Equestria were not entirely unheard of were not common place outside a research laboratory. She tried asking questions about her programming, but the A.I had refused to answer them. Twilight had made a note to ask Keyan about it.
She turned to the only other pony that was interested in a few hour long Q and A session with an alien,
“So Rainbow, why didn’t you want to go walk around with the others?”
The prismatic mare was snapped out of whatever day-dream she was in,
“Say what Twilight?” She asked.
Twilight rolled her eyes,
“I said why would you stay here when you can go walk around Canterlot with everypony else?”
Rainbow scoffed and waved a hoof, “As if I’d miss talking with an alien, Twilight. This is so cool! I got a few questions of my own so don’t hog him alright?”
Twilight giggled, “Alright, I’ll try Rainbow.”
The two mares then lapsed into silence,staring at each other. Awkward silence ensued as neither mare could think of a way to start a conversation. Eventually Twilight cleared her throat,
“So Rainbow, what are the questions you’re gonna ask him?”
Rainbow began patting around her searching for something, she soon pulled a pad of paper out and handed it to Twilight. She spoke nervously, rubbing the back of her head with a hoof,
“Its just a few things I’m curious about. They’re not in question form, just in a list.”
Twilight began reading things off the list,
“Explorer, space travel, speed of space ship, Daring Do, wonderbolts” Twilight raised an eyebrow with a grin, making Rainbow Dash blush before she continued, “domes, Equestria from space.”
Twilight smiled, “That’s a pretty good list Rainbow Dash, I got you into reading, next I’m going to get you to write dissertations.”
“Disser-what now?” Came the confused response.
Twilight giggled, “Research papers?” she offered.
Realization dawned on Rainbow Dash, “Yea, as if! I may like reading, but research papers … ughhh.” She started gagging.
Twilight broke out into a laugh, “It’s not that bad Rainbow. Don’t be so negative.”
Rainbow rolled her eyes, “Yea, ok.” She gave Twilight a playful shove.
“Rainbow!” Twilight shrieked as she lost her balance and crashed to the floor.
“Twilight” Rainbow shouted as she jumped up and checked on her friend.
She saw Twilight laying on her back, completely still.
“Twilight?” Rainbow asked, dread creeping in.
Suddenly Twilight’s eyes opened and her face contorted in an evil smirk,
Rainbow soon found herself to be on the receiving end of a pillow to the back of her head. She lost her balance and collapsed on top of Twilight. After a few seconds of scrambling the two mares found themselves almost face to face. They looked into each others eyes, no more than a few inches apart, and immediately a scarlet blush lept onto their cheeks.
“Twilight, Rainbow?” Came Keyan’s voice form the probe laying on the floor, “Am I interrupting something?”
The two of them immediately leapt to their hooves.
“NO NO NO!” Twilight shouted, trying to force the blush from her cheeks through pure willpower. Rainbow was trying to do the same but her forcing her wings down was added to the mix as well.
Keyan chuckled, “Where did the rest of your group go?”
Twilight answered, “Luna and Celestia had to go make an appearance in Ponyville to calm everybody down. And the rest of our friends are walking around Canterlot right now.”
“Ahh, so I assume Canterlot is the name of the city you are in right now.”
“Yes, its also the capital of Equestria.”
“What?” Twilight asked.
“What’s with all the puns?” He asked.
Twilight pursed her lips then shrugged,
“Not important, so are you ready to answer some questions?”
“Yep, let’s get going. If you don’t mind I’m going to have Aura record this for future reference.”
“Not a problem.” Twilight said levitating a list of questions and a blank pad of paper in front of her. “So, first question, you said you don’t like meeting ponies in person can you tell me why?”
Keyan’s face dropped, this world seemed so peaceful. He didn’t know if telling her stories of the gory universe out there was a good idea. He licked his lips,
“Listen Twilight, in the interest of trust, I’m going to be truthful with you okay? But, some of these answers you may not be prepared for. Judge me as you please, but know this, I do not go back on my word, I said I will not attack you and I meant it.”
Twilight and Rainbow exchanged a glance.
“Of course Keyan, we’re all friends here.”
‘Alright here it goes’ Keyan thought to himself,
“Well, last time I met someone in person who I didn’t explicitly trust they killed me.”
Both Twilight and Rainbow were thoroughly confused by that answer,
“What do you mean killed, you’re right here. Errr, there.” Rainbow said.
“Well, technically I died 55 times, which is rather few in the long run. I have an implant, basically a computer in my head, that sends all my memories and experiences to another genetically identical body in a station somewhere. I am essentially immortal. But now, for some weird effect of this system if I die I won’t wake up, I will be dead.”
Twilight took a second to gather her thoughts, her quill scratching furiously,
“So if you die, you come back to life in a second body?” Rainbow asked, trying to make sense of it.
“So the reason you don’t want to see us in person, is because you think we’ll kill you?”
Put in that context, Keyan felt like a dick.
“Listen its a habit of mine to not trust anyone until I can be 100% sure they can be trusted. And even if I can trust you, I’m not sure I can trust everyone down there. And besides, I haven’t stepped foot on a planet in 15 years.”
Twilight decided not to press the issue, “So do you think at some point you’ll come down so we can see you?”
Twilight decided that that was the best she was going to get.
“Alright, next question, how are you able to fly the ship by yourself? Even with Aura’s help I assume it must be difficult.”
Keyan sighed, explaining pods to people is not easy.
“Its hard to explain, basically I plug myself into the ship and directly interface with it. In short, I essentially become the ship. I can’t describe it, you have to experience it for yourself.”
Twilight was of course interested, but there were other questions to ask. She opened her mouth to ask another one but Rainbow gently poked her,
“Hey Twi, can I ask one?”
“Oh sure Rainbow, go ahead.”
“So Key, you said you were an explorer, what did you mean by that?
Keyan smiled at the use of his nickname, Rainbow Dash was the only pony so far to use it.
“Well, I explore the galaxy. The big-ass metal object lying in front of you is a scanner probe. I use it to find the locations of all types of places, pirate bases, derelict stations, etc. Sometimes I find wormhole, I try to avoid those as they are extremely dangerous.”
“That’s pretty cool, so when you said you went to every corner of the galaxy you weren’t kidding.”
“Yea, And I really haven’t seen Rarity’s hair do anywhere else.”
Keyan and Rainbow snickered,
“Her face was priceless! I haven’t seen her that mad in ages!” Rainbow said chortling.
Twilight jabbed Rainbow,
“Stop laughing Rainbow, it wasn’t that funny.”
“Oh don’t be a spoil sport Twilight.”
Twilight silenced her with a glare,
“Would you mind explaining wormholes to me?
“Sure, just follow my instructions and I’ll give you the best analogy for a wormhole you’ll ever see.”
“Alright!” Twilight said enthused.
“Alright, get a fresh piece of paper and put 2 dots on opposite sides of it.”
Twilight quickly did so,
“Now what’s the shortest path between the two?”
Twilight cocked her head, “Well its obviously a straight line.”
Twilight’s face fell into a mess of confusion.
Rainbow poked her,
“It’s a trick question Twilight, let me show you.”
Rainbow then took the paper, folded it in half, and stabbed the quill through it, piercing both dots.
“Awesome Rainbow, I wasn’t expecting either of you to figure that out.”
Twilight started stammering but Rainbow shushed her with a hoof.
“Relax Twi, its not a big deal, you just over thought it.”
“Well either way, the math behind it is insane and I don't want to make either of your heads explode so, I’m not even going to tell you the formula. Next question.”
Rainbow continued, “What’s with all those strange domes on your ship?”
“Domes?” Keyan thought for a moment, “Oh! they’re actually doors, they open up and my turrets pop out.”
Twilight let out an eep, “So they’re weapons?”
“Very effective ones I may add. But don’t worry I don’t plan on shooting them at you.”
Twilight cleared her throat,
“So what weapons do you have?”
Keyan scratched his chin,
“Do you have any type of firearms? guns?”
“Yes, a few, the regular Equestrian army uses them to protect the border. It’s extremely rare to see one anywhere else. The guard has a few in Canterlot, but they normally carry spears. Its a ceremonial thing. They only hold one round, and are difficult to reload.”
“What caliber are they?”
“Yea well, my main guns, I have 12, are 425mm capable of firing 6 rounds a second.”
Twilight’s eyes bulged out of her head.
“I also have 24 125mm cannons, for smaller ships. And a mess of 75mm and 50mm for drones, shuttles, and boarding craft.”
“So your ship is basically a warship.”
“Oh ok,” Twilight sounded nervous.
Twilight and Rainbow then proceeded to grill him about every aspect of inter-stellar life and politics. To answer many of their questions Keyan played this video. They couldn’t see the video feed, but after explaining the 4 empires in more detail the got the message. One thing that annoyed Twilight is that when he asked about what he did before he was a capsuleer he would just dance around the question.
Then Keyan asked about their story and was extremely surprised to find out they were national heroes. And not once, but twice over.
“So Keyan, do you have any heroes in your civilization, which one was that again?
“But Sir! Keyan is one of the most profitable explorers we have! You can’t just abandon him!”
Amarrian interceptor class pilot, Copheros Heturen, argued.
“I don’t care; we could end up losing more fighters or pilots to the Goons than isk we would gain by finding him. You know we are at war. ” Counselor James Yutuerian.
Copheros had been arguing this same point for days now, where was the sense of loyalty in this galaxy now-a-days? HIs Khanid upbringing gave him a sense of honor, and everyone else sorely lacked it.
“And besides, you know as well as I do if the Goons have him there is little chance of getting him back. As strange as it is that any attempts to trace his ship were met with failure, it does not justify such an expedition.”
“Sir come on! You can’t just abandon him!”
The counselor slammed his fist down on his desk,
“END OF DISCUSSION. Your loyalty to your friends is commendable Copheros, but it does not grant you any special privileges.”
Copheros’s mouth opened and closed a few times as he tried to force something out of his mouth. Eventually the only thing that made its way out was a scream of rage. He turned on his heel and stormed out of the counselor’s office..
As his angry footsteps resounded through the corporate offices as he made his way back to his shuttle. He took a few deep breaths amidst his stomping and eventually calmed down enough to start thinking rationally again.
He started listing everything he knew that could help him in his search. He knew what region Keyan was exploring. He had gone on a huge spiel about how he was going to rub all his brand new finds in the corps faces when he returned. The region itself was extremely dangerous, full of all types of pirates and the whatnot. He knew what ship he had been flying, The Loki he had been wanting for years.
He knew that there was little to no chance of Keyan being captured. He would self destruct before they could catch him, and the self destruct mechanism was impossible to be disabled before or after it was activated. So there are two real possibilities, either Keyan was stuck somewhere which made self destructing his ship and pod impossible, or the Jove got him for some reason.
By the time he made it to his shuttle he had managed to calm himself down. He walked up to his vehicle, and saw a holopad resting on the front window.
Pay at nearest patrol station
Have a good day
His rage returned in full force, culminating in the age old adage,
After another set of anger management exercises he started up the shuttle and went on his way to the docking yard. He leaned back in his seat, idly running a hair through his short black hair. He closed his eyes, about time for nap.
After a short nap the shuttle beeped, signaling his arrival at his ship. He stood up and started walking down the gangway to his ship. He let out a low whistle, as he did every time he saw his ship. She truly was a beauty, her hull was a scarlet-brown. It was accentuated with absolutely striking gold and brown arches, curves, and emblems. It truly was a marvel of Ammarian engineering and style.
The airlock opened with a hiss as he stepped into his pride and glory.
“Aura? What’s the status on my new webifier?” He asked his A.I companion, standard fare for most capsuleer ships.
“Upgrades complete sir. The new one should be able to slow down a ships max velocity by 63%, a 13% improvement from the previous module.”
Copheros smiled, his ship had finally come together. Starting from a usual interceptor, he had sunk so much isk into retrofitting it he doubted there was another like it in the galaxy. Transmission crackers, hacking module, data analyzer, warp scramblers, statis webs, a micro warp drive capable of catching anything in the galaxy, and to top it all off an armament that did not belong on any ship that could move as fast as this one.
Some said lasers were little more than a pretty light show, they usually stopped once he melted halfway through their hull.
He walked to the cockpit, he had made similar upgrades to Keyan’s that allowed him to run without a crew so the ship was entirely silent.
He booted up the navigational screen and pulled up the region that Keyan said he was heading to.
“22 systems!?” He exclaimed, it would take forever to search all of them.
“Aura, do we have any data on which System Keyan was in last?”
“I have traced the last message he wrote to the best of my ability sir, this region is the best information I can provide, I am incapable of pinpointing any closer.”
Copheros shrugged, it would have to do.
“Set destination, what's the ETA?”
“Just over a day sir on the safest route. Travelling through GoonSwarm federation space could shorten it, but I highly suggest you do not take that route.”
“Yea, lets not piss off any goons.”
“Very well sir.”
Copheros leaned back in his chair. One thing he was annoyed about, and something that Keyan would always rub in his face, was that as a result of his extensive modifications of his ship he had to give up his crew quarters, and as such any hope of a bed.
He closed his eyes, at least the chair was pretty damn comfy.
A day later he arrived, an average looking system with a red giant at its center greeted him.
“Aura, send out the Seeker Drones. Then cloak up. Set them to scan for Keyan’s thermal trail, weapon fire signature, anything.” His “Seeker” drones had started as basic combat drones but since his ship couldn’t launch probes he had jury rigged them himself to fill in the role. Each system would take at least 2 days to scan, as his drones, though useful, lacked the raw power of dedicated probes.
His brown eyes remained glued on the screen. as he waited for the first scans to come in.
‘You’re gonna owe me sooooo much isk when I save your sorry ass Key’
“Talk to me Aura, whose on my ship?” Keyan said as he walked determinedly down one of his ship’s corridors.
“Princess Luna” The A.I responded.
Keyan’s step staggered slightly but he kept his pace,
“How the fuck did she get onto my ship?”
“It appears she used her teleportation to breach the outer hull. The shield is not active currently.”
“Now I have freaking royalty on my ship. Perfect. Where is she?”
“I have placed her in guest room 03 sir.”
“Oh, the blue one.”
Keyan continued down the hallway and suddenly something came to his mind,
“Aura how big am i compared to ponies?”
“The average male length is--”
“NOT THAT KIND OF BIG! Goddammit Aura!” Keyan cried out exasperated.
“Let me rephrase. The normal ponies shoulders would come up to your waist and their head would vary. Princess Luna’s shoulders would come up to your mid-chest, and Princess Celestia’s to your shoulders.”
“Alright, so shes not bigger than me.”
“If it satisfies your ego, than no sir.”
Keyan snorted. He made one last turn down the guest room corridor and stopped in front of the door.
“Alright Aura, open it.”
“Sir, I advise waiting for her to be prepared, she is indisposed at the moment.”
“Open the door Aura.”
“Sir, she is Royalty you wouldn’t want to offend--”
“Yea, but its my damn ship, and on here i'm the damn captain. Open the damn door!” Keyan interrupted.
“Very well sir.”
The door slid to the side with a soft hiss. Keyan stepped into the room, his footsteps muffled by the azure carpet on the floor. He took a deep breath to calm himself and then purposely stepped into the Princess’s field of view.
Or rather he would have if she wasn’t sprawled out unconscious on the bed. He took a few moments to take in her appearance. He had thought the look of her hair was some trick of the camera but he was surprised. Her hair, “mane” he corrected himself, seemed to shimmer like the evening sky, twinkling with various stars.
He wanted to say she was sleeping gracefully, with all the beauty and poise expected from a ruling diarch, but that was not the case. She was flopped on her back, her hooves spread in every direction. Her tongue was lolling out of her mouth with a small line of drool escaping from her mouth to the bedsheets.
“Aura, what did you do?” The tone he asked his question is was the one a mom would sue when scolding her child.
“I enacted the protocol, dictated to me by you, when an unauthorized non-hostile guest appears on the ship.”
Facepalm of Champions.
“So let me get this straight, one of the ruling diarchs, of the first sentient species found in the galaxy, appears aboard the ship. And the first thing you do is fucking gas her!?” Keyan couldn’t believe what he was seeing.
The A.I was uncharistically silent,
“What did you think he meant by guest Twilight?” Rainbow asked the unicorn sitting next to her.
“I don’t know Rainbow. I can’t think of anypony that would be able to get to his spaceship.” Twilight tapped her chin with a hoof. “But either way, I have to start copying and categorizing these notes.”
The studious unicorn began to go about her task but a cyan hoof stopped her,
“Nuh-uh Twi. that can wait till later.” Rainbow said.
“So what am I supposed to do?”
Rainbow thought for a moment,
“Wanna go prank some guards with me?”
Twilight smacked her in her shoulder with a hoof,
“Rainbow! Noo, we’d get in trouble.” She said waving her off.
Rainbow, undeterred, grabbed hold of Twilight’s waving hoof and proceeded to drag the unicorn out the door. Twilight tried to put of a fight but she was no match the the athletic build of the pegasus.
A flash interrupted Twilight’s foal-napping. The two ponies turned to a tired looking Celestia.
“Has anypony seen my sister?” she asked.
Both Twilight and Rainbow looked at each other, than at the probe, then back to each other.
“I think we may have some idea princess.” Twilight said.
“Sister, may I request a break?” Luna asked her Celestia. They had been working with the ponies of Ponyville to repair some of the damage and rescue the trapped ponies. As of now none were dead, but a few were in critical condition.
Celestia turned and looked at her beleaguered sister,
“Yes, Luna go ahead. I have the rest of this well in hoof. Just come back in an hour okay?”
Luna smiled and nodded,
“Thank you sister, I shall take my leave.”
Celestia nodded in acknowledgement as Luna spread her wings and took flight. Celestia assumed that she was going to go someplace and take a nap, but Luna had other ideas. This alien intrigued her, specifically his ship.
A device capable of transversing the stars, traveling to every corner of the galaxy. The thought excited her, as princess of the night her fascination with the stars transcended all attempts at measuring it. Long story short, she wanted a closer look.
The alien had said that he was in geosynchronous orbit, meaning he should always be at the same point in the sky. She landed at her destination softly, her silver hoof caps making small clacking noises. She looked around at Twilight’s balcony, satisfied that no other ponies had been there.
The telescope was unmoved from last night, meaning it was still pointing at the alien’s ship She walked over to it her horn starting to glow. A small ball of light appeared above the telescope. Following the telescope’s trajectory exactly a red beam of light shot out from it. It was easily visible enough to follow.
Luna spread her wings again and took flight, she quickly cast an invisibility spell on herself, lest any stray ponies see her flying off into nowhere. A second spell quickly followed it, this one was a shield to protect her from the rigors of space and high altitude flying.
Her speed picked up as the air grew thinner. With a final flap of her wings she exited the atmosphere, still following the red beam. The shield she casted could protect her from the vacuum of space but it was hard to maintain. She could only keep it active at most for 30 minutes.
She followed the beam of light until she saw it disappear. It didn’t fade away, it just stopped altogether. The alien had said how his ship had a “cloaking” device that was the same in practice as an invisibility spell, this must be where it started. Luna took a second to prepare herself, than with a thrust of her wings she rocketed into the cloaking field, expecting to see the ship in all its glory on the other side.
Sadly that was not the case as her muzzle collided with the hull of the ship moving at full speed with a solid thunk. Luna let out a shriek of pain, surprise, and rage as she held her bleeding muzzle. A short flash of magic and the damage was repaired however. Luna watched as a ripple appeared to move along empty space, before a glimpse of rust colored metal appeared in front of her.
The ripple continued to travel before slowly losing momentum and petering out into nothing. Luna watched silently as a second ripple appeared in the center, this time re-cloaking the ship as it travels outwards.
Luna should have been contented with seeing even this much, she knew what the alien could do if she pissed it off. BUt sadly, the princess had always been the curious one and wanted more.
She slowly reached a hoof out and felt it connect with the metal hull. She began to drag it along the hull causing another hole to appear. This time she started moving as well, she flew around the ship trying to find someway inside.
She suddenly felt a change in texture, going from metal to glass, Luna knew she found a way in. She stopped moving her horn glowing, preparing a teleportation spell. She moved her hoof around, giving her a small glimpse into the ship. It was enough as Luna disappeared and reappeared in a flash.
Luna was in an unremarkable corridor, softly lighted with lights at regular intervals. Just as Luna was about to take her first steps she suddenly felt woozy. In a few seconds she dropped to the floor, thoroughly unconscious.
Keyan walked back to the bridge and the radio, hoping that the others didn’t think he kid(foal?)napped their princess. That could surely put a damper on the burgeoning relationship.
He sat back down in his chair and activated the radio. Immediately the voices of the ponies spoke.
“Do ya thinks hes okay up there? I sure hope she didn’t make Keyan angry.” Applejack said.
“How could he be angry? I’d love a friend to randomly visit and say hello to me!” Pinkie Pie cut in
“Well, we really aren’t his friends yet.” Rainbow Dash retorted.
“Listen everypony, all we have to do is explain the situation to Keyan, and hopefully he won’t be mad.” The reasonable voice of Twilight spoke.
“I’m not mad girls, I’m just a little annoyed.” Keyan said, he opened the camera feed just in time to see the entire group jump, he smiled silently before continuing, “And I’m not going to hurt what essentially amounts to a goddess. I’m an explorer not an idiot.”
The group let out a collective sigh,
“Well shoot, thats the best news I heard all day!” Applejack exclaimed.
Celestia than spoke, “When can we expect my sister back?”
“I can send her back in a shuttle right now if you want, just give me a location.”
“You’re being awfully nice about all of this Keyan. I’d thought you’d be way more mad about somepony sneaking onto your ship. Considering how protective you are.” Twilight stated.
Keyan’s voice turned serious,”Consider this a warning then Twilight, I’m letting her off easy this time. If anybody-”
“pony” Pinkie interrupted
“anypony sneaks onto my ship again, I won’t send them back so soon.”
“Imagine I was sneaking into your castle, would you do something different?”
Celestia opened her mouth to say something but stopped herself, she would do the same.
Keyan continued, “Listen, I really don’t want to this to sour things, just give me a location and I’ll send her there safe and sound.”
Celestia thought for a moment,
“Do you know the forest near ponyville? there are ruins of a castle there, that is a good location away from any other pony’s eyes.”
“Alright, I’ll send her down now. Keyan out, peace.”
The line beeped.
Celestia turned to the main 6, “I’m going to teleport us, get ready.” And in a flash they were gone.
Keyan looked at the shuttle he was sending down, it was a cheap simple thing but would get the job done. He watched Princess Luna being carted out on a stretcher, still unconscious. If Aura was right she would wake up at some point during the flight down.
Upon its cargo being loaded the shuttle’s door closed with a hiss.
“You have the location right Aura?”
“Yes sir. The location is programmed into the Shuttle.” After a few seconds she added, “I am detecting the princess and the others have teleported to the ruins.”
“Good, send it down.”
Keyan stepped out of the cargo bay as the doors opened and the room depressurized. The shuttle silently lifted off the floor and slowly exited the hanger. When it reached a safe distance the engines flared brightly as it shot towards the planet below.
Luna woke up suddenly. Her eyes opened wide as she took in her surroundings, she appeared to be in some type of jail cell, and judging from the comfort of the bed she was laying on her suspicions were correct.
“Thou dares to imprison a princess?” She called out, knowing the alien was listening. After a few seconds Keyan spoke,
“You’re not in a cell, you’re in a shuttle. I’m sending you back down to the planet. Now tell me why you were on my ship.”
Luna was silent,
“Listen Princess, I’m not mad at you. Just tell me why.”
“we were… curious. we are Princess of the Night, your ship is capable of transversing the stars, dost thou not understand our curiosity?”
“No, I do understand it. But that doesn’t change the fact you snuck onto my ship.”
Luna took a deep breath,
“We are sorry”
“Good, now that thats out of the way, can you tell me why you saw “we” when you speak? Its a bit weird.”
“Dost thou insult us?”
“No no, I’m just… curious.”
Luna looked dramatically off into the middle distance,
“It is a complicated story. Dost thou know of the elements of harmony?”
Keyan scratched his chin,
“They told me a little bit, jsut the basic outline really. How does that relate to this?”
“We must tell thee sometime, it is quite the tale. Mayhaps on the day I could return to thine ship.”
“I’d love to hear the story, but don’t expect to come up to my ship again soon, I’m punishing you.”
Luna stood up enraged,
“Thou punishes us like one would a foal.”
“Thats exactly what I’m doing. But come on, you know you deserve it.
Luna fumed for a moment but then had to agree, his position was completely understandable.
“We accept thine punishment under the condition that I shall be guaranteed a visit to your ship in the future.”
Luna cocked her head.
“Only my friends call me Luna.”
“Well then, deal Princess.”
“You can call me Luna, if thou wishes it.”
“What you wanna be friends?”
“That would be an acceptable deal.”
“Maybe later princess, but right now I’m still mad at you for sneaking onto my ship.”
“Thou rejects our offer!?” Luna was offended.
“For now Princess, Give it time and we’ll see.”
“Acceptable” Luna replied.
Celestia stood off to the side of main six, watching them. They all seemed to be taking the news of aliens extremely well. She looked to the skies as a soft humming noise filled the air. All ponies present watched in awe as a dark shape trailing a blue streak made its way across the sky.
Over the course of a few minutes it descended, minimizing the effects of atmospheric entry. The ponies all stepped back as it stopped completely above their heads. A soft hiss accompanied the extension of legs from its hull.
It touched down with barely a sound, the soft humming died down as it sat silently. All the ponies examined it, the first good look at an actual space craft. All of the ponies thought of it as some measure of awesome, except Rarity who thought it looked as garish as everything else Keyan owned.
Suddenly another hiss pierced the night as the door to the shuttle opened. Luna stepped out with a small smile on her lips,
“Greeting Sister, how does thou far this lovely evening?”
The main 6’s faces looked towards Celestia.
“YOU GET CAPTURED BY AN ALIEN AND THATS THE ONLY THING YOU SAY TO ME!? Celestia shouted.
“No, harm has been done sister. Keyan and I have worked out all conflict.”
Celestia opened her mouth to argue but Keyan interrupted her, his voice playing through a loudspeaker.
“Don’t get mad at her Princess Celestia, just don’t let ner sneak off again.”
Celestia glared at her sister,
“Very well Keyan, I thank you for my sisters safe return.”
“Its no problem at all.”
The 8 ponies readied themselves to teleport back to Canterlot but Keyan interrupted them one more time,
“Hey wait! Wanna see something funny?”
Rainbow was the first to respond,
“Yea go ahead, I’ll be the judge of that!”
A holographic screen quickly opened up in front of them,.
“Alright, get ready to die of laughter.”
An image of Luna passed out on the bed suddenly filled the screen.
Luna immediately froze up, face frozen in half embarrassment and half pure rage. Rainbow just broke out into gales of laughter, followed by Pinkie and Applejack. Rarity and Twilight tried unsuccessfully to hide their giggles behind their hooves. Fluttershy was hiding her smile behind her mane. Even Celestia was having a difficult time stifling her laughter.
Luna’s rage suddenly bubbled over,
“UNHAND THAT IMAGE AT ONCE!” She shouted in the royal Canterlot voice.
“Make me Princess” came the snarky reply.
Luna’s shriek of rage was so loud Keyan thought that even without microphones he could have heard it.
And so the days past. Keyan’s relations with the ponies only seemed to grow, they were remarkably trusting. If only the rest of the galaxy was like that, maybe more than a few problems could be fixed.
Keyan spent most of his time either watching the ponies' everyday lives through cameras, mildly creeperish but what else was he going to do, and talking to Twilight and her friends about Equestria. He was rather happy when Pinkie Pie told him she was going to throw him “the bestest Welcome to the solar system/planet/equestria/ and hopefully ponyville party" he had ever been to. Where she would give him the “most tasty and delicious goodies in the galaxy," the thought for him to go down was tempting, but he for some reason still didn’t want ponies to see what he looked like.
HIs ship was another matter though, Twilight had asked him to uncloak his ship so she could study it more. After extracting a promise from Luna not to “visit” again, and a similar one from Twilight he agreed. This of course resulted in Twilight asking all types of questions about the design, makeup, and capabilities of his ship. He did his best to explain the aspects behind his ship, but tried to keep the actual technology a secret. He didn’t want to know what would happen to the mostly peaceful planet if repeating firearms, or nuclear fission were to become known.
A few days past Keyan had sent down a second shuttle to pick up his probe. In its place he left a few radios. One each for Luna, Celestia, and Twilight. The only problem with that was Twilight trying to fiddle with the internals and messed something up, causing it to emit a pitch that shattered half the windows in the palace. Celestia played this off by doing politician things, Keyan hadn’t bothered to ask.
All in all Keyan would say things were going well, at some point he would talk to the ponies in person, but until then he was content.
Twilight was currently reading over her notes from her conversation with Keyan a few hours ago The laws behind inter-planetary monetary transactions between two planets of different empires and currency’s fascinated her.
She looked out her window and saw the sun preparing to makes its final descent to the horizon before the moon showed itself. It was time for dinner. She placed the sheets of paper carefully on the desk and stood up. Trotting her way downstairs and into the kitchen she opened the refrigerator. Levitating some leftovers out while humming a tune that Keyan had played for her a while ago.
After a quick warming spell she sat down at the table and prepared to gorge herself on her 2 day old feast. But just before she could take the delectable first bite she heard the door to the library slam open. Before she could react a soaking yellow pegasus with a blue mane burst into the kitchen.
“Raindrops? What are you doing here, is something wrong?” Twilight asked.
The poor pegasus was clearly out of breath, as her chest heaved with her ragged breathing.
“Everfree… Storm… Too big to handle.. Rainbow… Needs your help.. waiting just outside town.”
Twilight was already out of her chair before Raindrops finished her sentence,
“You can rest here if you want, just don’t get any books wet.”
And with that Twilight teleported outside town.
Raindrops collapsed in exhaustion.
In a flash of light Twilight appeared in the field between Ponyville and the Everfree. She gawked as she saw the towering clouds in front of her. They were a matte black, and teeming with energy. Flashes of light signaled lighting dancing inside the cloud. Wild storms from the Everfree weren’t exactly unheard of, but one of this size hasn’t been recorded in a hundred years.
A prismatic blur materialized in front of her,
“Thank Celestia you’re here Twi, I need you help” Rainbow said. Her voice was ragged, she was obviously three steps from exhaustion.
“What's happening Rainbow?”
“I don’t know where this storm came from but its sure as hay not anything good. If it hits ponyville we’re looking at major damage. I have the others evacuating and finding shelter to everypony they could. I need you to create some wind or something to keep the storm from blowing towards ponyville.”
Twilight nodded, she knew it was always best to do whatever Rainbow said when she went into her “captain” mode.
“Alright Rainbow, I’ll do what I can. But I can’t hold it off forever, what are you going to do to stop it?”
“I’ll come up with something. Right now I have the weather team catching any stray clouds and moving them away from the main storm. Hopefully we’ll get lucky. But all we can do now is to hold off the storm as long as we can to buy Ponyville more time to prepare.”
Twilight nodded and Rainbow flew off to do her other duties. Twilight started to concentrate and her horn started to glow with magic. Then it suddenly burst into a blaze of lavender light as magic poured into her horn. A gale suddenly picked up, blasting the storm. After a few seconds Twilight managed to halt its forward movement, but the act of keeping up the spell for the amount of time Rainbow Dash and the town would need would be quite a feat.
Rainbow Dash’s body was running on fumes. Her muscles were being forced miles passed their limits as she fought to keep the storm contained. Her wings burned as she dodged another lightning bolt, the passing current making her mane stand up on edge. Rarity would have nothing short of a fashion freak-out.
She grabbed a stray cloud and pushed it in the direction of other weather-team members. Cloud Kicker, Cloud Chaser, Flitter, and Thunderlane were near her. They were in similar states to her, their strangled breathing cutting through the wind.
“TORNADO FORMING!!” Flitter screamed, her warning reaching Rainbow’s ears.
Rainbow turned, and sure enough there it was, the funnel had already started to form. This was bad, really bad, if it touched down, flying debris from the Everfree would be added to the list of Ponyville’s problems.
“Team!, form up on me! We have to provide counterspin to that tornade to stop it!” The rest of the Weather Team quickly formed up behind her. With a wave of her hoof she signaled the advance and the formation of pegasi shot forward.
They quickly picked up speed, accelerating towards the imposing funnel.
“Prepare for entry!” Rainbow shouted back.
The next second the team burst into the tornado, flying in the opposite direction of its spin. Immediately they were battered by the raging winds, a few ponies were immediately sent spiraling out of control.
Rainbow grit her teeth as she forced her wings to keep flapping, forcing herself to keep moving forward. She could feel the tornado losing power, but it was still a dangerous foe.
She winced as she heard a few more cries of alarm as pegasi were thrown from the tornado. Rainbow didn’t even see the lightning bolt.
Twilight watched as the weather team disappeared into the infantile tornado. She couldn’t help but watch in fear as pony after pony were thrown from the tornado. Luckily most of them were able to catch themselves before hitting the ground, the more unlucky ones ended up being caught by the others.
A sudden burst of light signified a lightning bolt's presence. She hardly noticed that though, she only had eyes for the cyan speck that was sent hurling from the depths of the storm. It was moving far farther, and far faster than the others. Very few weather ponies saw it, and none could react fast enough.
Twilight watched helplessly as her friend plummeted towards the ground.
A sudden burst of adrenaline sent nigh-princess like amounts of magic into her horn. She cried out in pain, her horn felt like it was going to explode, but she doggedly held onto control.
With a shout of rage a wave of lavender magic burst from her horn. It impacted the storm and hardly slowed down as the clouds disappeared, utterly vaporized.
Twilight wasted no time in teleporting in her friends general direction.
Even not knowing where Rainbow’s crash site was it wasn’t hard to find. A scene similar to Keyan’s probe crash greeted her. Twilight choked back a sob, knowing her friend would not fare nearly as well.
Tears brimmed in her eyes as she caught site of the pegasus, she galloped to her side. Twilight retched as she saw the damage.
Thankfully she was unconscious, if not the scene would be way worse. Two of her legs were bent at weird angles, in more than one place. And her side had an obvious indent in it, her ribs were shattered. All this paled in comparison to her wings though. They were attached to her body by little more than a few shreds of skin. Shards of bone peppered the ground and forced their way through skin in more than one place. The majority of her feathers had been shaken loose from the impact, so none of the damage was hidden. Blood was weeping from the wound, staining the ground red.
Twilight couldn’t halt the flow of sobs now, She collapsed to her knees next to Rainbow Dash. Using her final reserves of her magic, dredged from the depths of her soul, she teleported them to the ponyville hospital.
The nurses and doctors were initially surprised at seeing the Princess’s protege teleport into the middle of the emergency room, but quickly got over it when they caught site of the critically injured pegasus.
Twilight was currently sitting in the waiting room. She didn’t even have the energy to twiddle her hooves, she had exhausted herself by this time. Her fur was matted by her tears, she wanted to cry more but her tear ducts had run dry.
The others had arrived some time ago, all were in similar states.
Twilight looked up as a door opened and the doctor stepped out, following him was Princess Celestia.
Twilight immediately felt hope well within her.
“Princess!” She exclaimed, throwing her hooves around her in a hug, “I didn’t know you were here! Rainbow must be alright now, thank you soooooo much.”
She waited for a response, but when she didn’t get one she looked up. Her heart shattered as she saw the Princess's expression.
“Sit down Twilight.” Celestia said. Twilight’s back legs collapsed from under her.
Celestia continued, “In my time as princess, I have delivered bad news far more times than I wish I had to. I have seen ponies' hearts and souls break before my eyes. Know this Twilight, this is one of those situations I wouldn’t wish on anypony, evil or otherwise.” She took a deep breath, “Rainbow Dash will most likely not survive. and if she does she will not fly again. The damage was just too extensive. Even for my magic.. I’m sorry.”
Celestia hung her head. Twilight was speechless, she was going to lose her best friend. And even if she survived, flying for Rainbow was life, one without it was little more than death.
Celestia slowly walked away, her hooves softly clopping on the tiled floor.
Twilight’s friends wrapped each other in a hug, each quietly sobbing into each other.
They suddenly found themselves of their flanks as Twilight stood up.
“Princess! Wait! There is still one more thing we could try!”
Celestia looked at her student, no a single glimmer of hope in her eyes,
“What do you mean Twilight? There is nopony who could help.” Her voice was weak.
“Not somepony Princess. Some person.”
Keyan was in deep in sleep. He was currently in the middle of a rather nice dream involving some awesome strippers, mass amounts of isk, and blowing things up in awesome explosions. But sadly it was not to last.
The blaring of the alarm forced him from his slumber. He struggled with his sheets for a few moments before managing to reclaim his balance.
“AURA WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!!”
“Sir, Twilight Sparkle is requesting an immediate conversation. She claims it's an emergency.”
“Put her on the loudspeakers.”
A beep signaled his command had went through.
“KEYAN PLEASE ANSWER!! I NEED YOUR HELP!!” The voice of Twilight sparkle rang throughout the ship.
“Easy on the ears Twilight, what's the problem?”
“Rainbow had an accident! She's going to die Keyan! You have to help her!”
All traces of happiness from his dream vanished.
“I’ll explain later. Just please send your shuttle down. PLEASE!” Keyan thought that even a rock would be able to pick up the sheer amount of desperation in Twilight’s voice.
“OK OK, its coming down now, where should I send it?”
“To the hospital.”
“Do it Aura. Now tell me what happened.”
Keyan listened in silence as Twilight recounted the events leading up to her plea for help. When she finished the both of them sat in silence for a few moments before Keyan said,
“The shuttle will be arriving in 30 seconds Twilight. Are you worried about anyone else seeing it?”
“The Princess cleared out everypony else except for the doctor and a few nurses, but they have been sworn to secrecy. It's also the middle of the night, everypony else should be in bed.”
Keyan nodded to himself.
“Listen Twilight, I want you to know I’ll do everything I can to help Rainbow Dash. She’ll be fine okay?”
Keyan heard a sniffle come through the radio,
“Thanks Keyan, you’re… you’re a good friend.”
Keyan smiled, a very very slight smile,
“Good to know Twilight. Good to know.”
Twilight stood with her friends and both princesses outside. Luna had arrived a few minutes after Twilight had radioed Keyan. She looked over to make sure Rainbow was still unconscious on a gurney next to them, she was, he breath was ragged and strained. Everypony had did what they could and had managed to stabilize her condition as much as possible.
They watched as a familiar shape descended from the sky.
All of a sudden a grey pegasus with blonde mane appeared.
“Hey everypony! what's that thing coming from the sky?”
Everypony else jumped,
“Derpy!? What are you doing here! you should be in bed!” Twilight hissed.
“Oh well, Dinky had a nightmare so I had to lull her back to sleep. Then I looked out the window and saw this thing in the sky. Then I went to go see what it was. Then I saw all of you standing here. Then I said “Hey everypony! whats that thing coming from the sky?”, And then I’m here.” As she finished, her eyes started to drift in opposite directions.
Twilight covered Derpy’s mouth with her hoof,
“Listen Derpy, Its hard to explain. But Rainbow’s been hurt, really badly, and we asked an alien for help.”
Derpy was silent for a few seconds, processing the information. Her expression suddenly drooped,
“Oh no, not Rainbow. But at least you have help right?”
“You’re not surprised by the fact that we asked aliens for help?”
“Well I am, but it doesn’t make sense to freak out about it.”
Twilight shrugged, “Well, the thing you saw is one of his ships, he's gonna pick up Rainbow Dash and help her. I need you to not tell anypony about this alright?”
Derpy nodded, “I pinkie promise” she said, following with the standard Pinkie Pie promise.
“Well, then I guess you can stay. Just be quiet and don’t do anything okay?”
Derpy nodded again.
The group then watched as the ship gradually became bigger and bigger, before Keyan;’s shuttle landed on the ground in front of them. Derpy looked in awe as she saw the ship up close.
With a hiss the shuttle’s door opened. Keyan’s voice suddenly burst from the speakers,
“I’m sending out a gurney. Put Rainbow on it and then all you can do is wait.”
Punctuating his sentence a very high tech hovering gurney emerged from the shuttle.
Three different shades of magic covered Rainbow, gold, dark blue and lavender, as she was slowly levitated from one bed to the other. They very carefully placed her down on the other with infinite care.
When she was finally settled they all watched silently as the gurney started moving back to the shuttle. None of them could predict what would happen, or if Keyan would actually keep his promise, but all of them know its their only chance.
The door started to close with a hiss.
“Listen girls, I know you’re worried, but I’ll do my best to help Rainbow okay?”
They all silently nodded.
Just as the door was about to close an orange and purple blur shot into the closing gap. Before anypony could react the door closed with a final hiss and the shuttle began to lift off immediately.. The only other sound in that split second was two fillies screaming,
The ponies stared in shock as the shuttle, containing one more passenger than intended, lifted into the night. WIth a burst of its engines its speed increased exponentially as it disappeared from sight.
Twilight froze and looked over her shoulder, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Bell were sitting there, not knowing what exactly it was they saw, but knowing something is definitely wrong. Their respective sisters were currently hugging them tight, comforting them as best they could.
“What are we going to do Princess?” Twilight asked Celestia.
Celestia didn’t say anything as she stepped closer to the distraught fillies. The two remaining crusaders looked up the Princess, not knowing if they were going to be punished or not. When Celestia spoke her voice was soft,
“Tell me what happened.”
Apple Bloom took a shaky breath before speaking,
“We were comin to visit Rainbow Dash. We heard she got hurt, and Scootaloo really really wanted to make sure Rainbow Dash was okay. We already had a sleepover planned at Rarity’s house, so we snuck out. Well, not really sneaking since Rarity wasn't there, we just walked out the front door. So we walked over to the hospital. And then we saw whatever that thing was, and before me or Sweetie Belle could do anythin’ Scootaloo went and jumped into it! There was nuthin we could do! Honest!”
Celestia turned to Sweetie Bell,
“Is this true?”
Sweetie Bell nodded solemnly.
Celestia looked back to Twilight,
“How do you think Keyan will react to another intruder on his ship?”
Twilight gulped before saying,
“He seems friendly enough Princess. But the one thing he made clear is that he is highly defensive of his ship. He let Luna off with a warning, he said the next pony who did this wouldn’t be so lucky. Maybe since Scootaloo’s a filly he will be more lenient. I really hope so, but he could go both ways.”
“So what do you propose we do Twilight?”
Twilight shrugged sadly,
“I guess we have to tell him. I’ll go get the radio.”
Celestia nodded and looked up, watching the shuttle make its way across the sky. It looked just like a shooting star at this distance.
“Twilight?” Sweetie asked hesitantly. She continued when Twilight looked in her direction,
“Is something bad going to happen to Scootaloo?”
Twilight tried to force a weak smile,
“No, Sweetie Belle, she’s going to be fine”
Keyan leaned back in his chair, the bridges HUD tracking the shuttles progress back to the ship. 2 minutes and counting till re-dock.
“Whats the damage Aura?” He asked.
“In a word sir, catastrophic. The statistical odds of her surviving to this point are nigh-impossible. The damage to her skeleton is 73% of her bones have at least one fracture, muscle system is 79% of muscles torn to some degree. Her head has remained relatively undamaged, this is likely the reason she has survived to this point”
“Can we help her?”
“My calculations a survival probability of 43% if she survives until treatment can be administered,”
Keyan thought for a moment,
“What are the odds if we use my personal med-bots? not the one for passengers.”
“They rise to 74% sir.”
“Are you sure sir? The cost of replacing the materials that would be used is well into the hundreds--”
“Do it Aura. I’ll just have to ask for a favor in return.”
“Very well sir”
Keyan leaned back in his chair again, he would have to get up and go to the med-wing and watch Rainbow Dash go into surgery. His thought were interrupted when Twilight’s voice came through the speakers,
“Keyan are you there? Theres something I have to tell you.”
He rubbed his face,
“If another of your friends needs help they will have to wait.”
“No No, thats not the problem. Listen, remember how you said you don’t want any more “unexpected” guests?”
Keyan’s eyes narrowed,
“What are you saying Twilight?”
“Please don’t be mad! Scootaloo jumped onto your shuttle before it took off, shes still in it now.”
“Shes just a little filly, she doesn’t know any better!”
“You know what I said Twilight. I don’t no pony coming onto my ship without permission! What part of that do you not get?”
Keyan heard Twilight start to respond, but she was quickly cut off by the sound of a being tackled. A few scuffling filled seconds later a young voice came through the speakers. She spoke in the same accent Applejack did, she must be her younger sister. He had heard more than a few funny stories about her.
“MIster Alien? Can you please not hurt our friend? Well do anything!”
A second voice quickly added,
“Yea! we’ll do whatever you want!”
Both of them had obviously been crying at some point in the past, their voices were hoarse. Keyan had dealt with very very few children in his time as a capsuleer. His only interaction with them was the odd transport contract where their families had decided to take them. The one thing he would never forget is the effect crying children had, they could get anything they wanted.
“Listen, I’m not going to hurt your friend okay? Twilight is just going to owe me another favor.”
“No hay no way Mister Alien. Its our problem,.and we’re gonna fix it!” Apple Bloom said, her mind made up.
Keyan smiled slightly,
“Alright, is a deal, and call me Keyan okay?”
“Mmhmm” Both Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle confirmed.
Aura interrupted the conversation,
“The shuttle is arriving sir. Docking bay doors opening now.”
“Listen girls, I have to go. Rainbow Dash is coming in now, and then I have a stowaway filly to deal with.”
“Thank ya mister!” Apple Bloom shouted, some of her normal cheer had returned.
“Yea! When you finally come to Ponyville I’ll make you breakfast!” Sweetie Belle added.
“I look forward to it.” He couldn’t see the looks of horror exchanged between the ponies.
“Keyan out ponies, peace.”
A beep signaled the end of the connection.
“Alright Aura, keep the filly in the hanger for no, don’t want her wandering around the ship.”
“Very well sir”
Keyan stood outside the med-bay, waiting for the gurney carrying Rainbow Dash to appear from down the hallway. Its telltale hum pierced the silent ambiance of the ship.
Keyan watched in silence as it came closer. The wince he let out when he caught sight of the poor pony was a big one. He had killed a lot of people before, only a few with his bare hands, but he was not prepared for the massive amount of damage Rainbow’s body had undergone.
The ponies had done their best to treat her, but even with their magic she was in very very bad shape.
The door to the med-bay opened with a hiss, the gurney hummed its way through the entryway. Keyan’s footsteps echoed throughout the ship as he followed it.
They passed a rather plain looking medical machine and went right into a door marked “Captain Only”. Inside of the room was a much much sleeker looking model. It had more than a dozen arms capped with all types of syringes and medical tools hanging from above a operating table.
The gurney stopped in front of it, and the top portion that Rainbow was laying on slid from the gurney to the operating table. Keyan watched as straps and braces began strapping Rainbow to the table. This was an expected part of the procedure, the unexpected part was Rainbow Dash waking up.
Keyan didn’t know what to do as he saw the pegasus begin to twitch, the monitors attached to her began to sound their alarms.
“Sir if she doesn’t stop moving we won’t be able to sedate her for the operation. If she doesn’t calm down immediately her heart will fail.”
Keyan bit his lip nervously as Rainbow began to cry out,
“Twilight! where am I! Help me! HEEELLPPP ANYPONY! HELP ME!” Her cries reverberated throughout the entire ship. Thankfully Aura was able to at least get some major painkillers into her system or they would be cries of a different kind.
Keyan walked up to Rainbow, keeping care to stay out of her line of sight. She did not need anymore surprises in her current situation. Even though Rainbow couldn’t see him she could still hear him.
“Whos there? Let me out of here or I’m going to buck you straight to the moon!”
Keyan tentatively reached out a hand and gently placed it on Rainbows head. She flinched from the initial contact.
“Calm down Rainbow, calm down or you’re going to die.”
“Key? is that you? Where am I?”
“You’re on my ship, I’m trying to help you but you have to calm down.”
Rainbow Slowly stilled, her small amount of energy was already depleted.
“Save my wings Key, please.” She choked out.
“I’ll try Rainbow, now relax. You’re going to feel a prick, and then you’re going to fall asleep. And then you’re gonna wake up in a while, all better. okay?”
Rainbow nodded, too far gone to speak now She jumped a little when a needle pierced her flank, but thankfully there were no more problems.
“So what are you going to have to do to fix her Aura?”
“As I said before sir the damage is extensive. She will require multiple injections of medical nanobots to repair her body so she could survive off life support. Further scans of her head have indicated it was more damage than previously thought. Her left ocular nerve was severely damaged, she will require a synthetic eye to regain sight. I can create one using components in the cargo bay.”
“What about her wings, can we save them?”
“That is another matter sir. They are beyond repair. In order to restore her flight we would have to create new wings from scratch. This is a problem as my scans show the same energy that gives the unicorn’s magic flows through her wings as well, they also show that the only materials able to do so are from the sleeper drones, no other material is conductive to the energy. The reason for this I cannot guess at this point. You have the needed components in your cargo bay. If you authorize me to use them it will cost approximately 103 million isk. And that is a low estimate, as this is an experimental process failures are a strong possibility.”
“Do it Aura, its not like they’re doing anything sitting there. Do whatever you have too, those damn ponies are just going to owe me a pretty big favor.”
“How long is this going to take Aura?”
“Roughly 14 hours sir.”
“Alright, now I have a filly to deal with.”
Scootaloo was scared. She had no idea where she was, all she knew was that Rainbow was getting into some sort of chariot and she had jumped in after her. It was a decision she had come to regret.
She was currently stuck in a large room filled with all types of boxes and whatnot. There was one other of the things that had brought her and Rainbow here.
She was all alone, the thing carrying Rainbow Dash had left the room before she could react and the door had locked behind it. She wanted to crawl into the corner and hide. Her frantic thought processes were interrupted by the sound of the door opening. She quickly jumped behind a crate as hoof steps clanked down the hallway.
Keyan walked slowly down the hallway, he had no idea what he was going to do but he had to do something. Leaving a kid in a hanger for 14 hours wasn't something he wanted to do, not to mention the princesses might not be to thrilled with that.
He stepped into the hanger just in time to see an orange and purple blur jump behind a few crates. He pursed his lips trying to think of what to say. Talking to adult aliens are one thing, kids were something else entirely. He cleared his throat,
“Hey, Scootaloo is it? You can come out I’m not going to hurt you.”
“You’re friends made me Pinkie promise to not hurt you. Please come out.”
Scootaloo didn't know what to do. The alien knew her name, and apparently what a Pinkie promise was.
She didn’t know what to do, she wished she could ask Rainbow Dash what to do. She would have a totally awesome plan already worked out. Obviously she wouldn't hide behind a box, she would get right up in the aliens face! And if it tried to do anything she would kick its flank! Thats what she would do, she would show the alien that she wasn't a chicken!
Keyan watched as the filly stepped out from behind the crate, soft hoof steps echoing throughout the otherwise silent room.
He took a look at the filly. Her bright orange coat and purple hair were certainly distinctive. She was small though, her shoulder would barely come up to his knee if he was standing next to her.
They looked at one another, each taking in the others appearance. She was taking this in remarkably well Keyan noted.
He quickly revised that thought though as he took a second look over the filly. Her eyes were bloodshot, her body and lips were quivering. This filly was nothing short of terrified. Keyan certainly felt like a dick.
“Listen, please don’t be afraid, I know you are confused and scared right now, but you have to trust me.”
The fill gulped before she responded,
“W-w-w-why should I t-t-trust you?” Her voice was quivering.
Keyan took a step closer, and the filly remarkably held her ground.
“I promised I wouldn’t hurt you. And I meant that.”
Scootaloo stared at him,
“W-wheres Rainbow Dash?”
“Shes been hurt really badly, Twilight asked me to help her, so I am. Shes in the med-bay right now in surgery.”
Keyan shook his head,
“I can’t. The door is locked until she comes out of surgery in 14 hours.”
Scootaloo licked her lips,
“Well what are you going to do to me?”
Keyan rolled his eyes,
“I already told you, nothing! What I want to do is take you to talk to your friends, you would like that wouldn’t you? Just follow me okay?”
Scootaloo shook her head,
“Pinkie promise to me, not my friends. Say “I am not going to hurt Scootaloo i any way shape or form.”.” Her voice had an air of intimidation to it.
Keyan raised his eyebrow,
“And if I don’t?”
Scootaloo stammered for a few seconds, she obviously thought her bluff wouldn;t be called.
“Just messing with you, I Pinkie promise.”
“HE DIDN’T DO THE MOTIONS!”
“Okay, I suppose I can trust you then.” Scootaloo said.
Keyan smiled and motioned for her to follow him. He waited for the filly to come closer before heading out the door.
After walking for a few minutes he learned that apparently his normal walking pace was a bit too fast for the filly. The clopping sound of her hooves increased as she had to break out into a trot, then into a canter.
He looked down to the side at the small filly.
“Having trouble keeping up?”
The filly had already started to lose her breath,
“No way, you can’t outrun me!”
Scootaloo glared at him, amazed that he could even think he could win.
“READY SET GO!” She cried out, surging ahead with a massive burst of speed.
Well,everything is relative as KEyan only had to break out into a light jog to keep up with the galloping filly.
“Follow the lights” He told her as Aura lit up the correct path.
Keyan couldn’t help but smile as he watched the fillies small legs working overtime to keep up her pace, After a few corridors the filly’s pace slowed down. After a few more steps she came to a stop.
Keyan laughed as he watched the filly sucking wind, he wasn’t even the slightest out of breath.
“Can’t outrun you huh?”
The death glare he received only served to make him laugh. He reached out a hand,
“Come on, I’ll carry you the rest of the way.”
His response was another glare,
“Oh shush. You’re tired and your friends want to talk to you.”
Scootaloo thought for a moment before accepting his offer. Keyan smiled as he lifted the exhausted filly onto his shoulders. She rested her chin on the top of his head with a contented sigh.
A short walk later he entered the bridge. He lifted Scootaloo off his shoulders and placed her into his chair. Pressing a few buttons he opened up a channel to the planet.
“Twilight you there?”
A few seconds later Twilight responded. Her voice was hoarse and tired sounding,
“Yea! Do you have any news about Rainbow? and Scootaloo?”
“I have Scootaloo right here next to me shes fine. Rainbow can still go either way now, she’ll most likely survive but Aura is going to have to build her a new set of wings, hopefully she’ll be fine but I’m not sure right now. Don’t ask about the procedure, I’d rather not explain it.”
“Okay. But can Scootaloo talk?”
“Yea, but don’t yell at her. Shes been through enough today. And I assume her friends are somewhere near you, put them on the radio. after you’re done.”
He turned to Scootaloo.
“Just talk, she’ll be able to hear you.”
“Hey Twilight” she said hesitantly.
“SCOOTALOO WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!” Twilight immediately shouted, “NOPONY KNEW WHAT WOULD HAPPEN TO YOU!”
Scootaloo looked like she was about to cry.
Keyan interrupted Twilight’s rant,
“I said don’t yell at her Twilight. Go get her friends, you lost radio privileges tonight.”
“But I’m sorr--”
“No apologies Twilight, go get her friends.”
Scootaloo mouthed Keyan a thank you, he winked in reply. After silencing Twilight a few more times Keyan could practically feel Twilight fuming through the radio.Eventually she left and after a minute or so Apple Bloom spoke through the radio,
“You there Scootaloo?”
Scootaloo’s face immediately brightened up,
Keyan turned to Scootaloo,
“I’m going to go check on a few things, just talk to your friends I’ll be back soon.”
Scootaloo nodded in understanding. as he walked away he heard Scootaloo cry out,
“YOU SHOULD SEE THIS SHIP GIRLS ITS SO COOL! WE COULD GET OUR CUTIE MARKS IN SPACE SHIPS IF YOU WERE UP HERE!”
Keyan walked back into the bridge an hour later, he really didn’t do anything of importance. He just did miscellaneous tasks around the ship.
He couldn’t help but chuckle at the sight of Scootaloo. She was dead asleep with her head on the control panel, drool leaking from her mouth. Her legs hung limply at her side.
“Aura, did you clean up the room Luna used yet?”
“Yes sir I did.”
He stepped over to the filly. Taking care not to wake her he picked her up gently. He cradled her light form in his arms, chuckling as she snored softly.
He started walked out of the bridge and made his way down the corridors of the ship. Reaching a door he stepped through it as it opened up. He continued walking until he was right next to the bed.
Pulling back the covers he gently placed the sleeping filly on the mattress. He chuckled as the filly stretched, tiny hooves searching for the missing blankets. He carefully placed the blankets over the sleeping filly, who curled up into a fetal position as she wrapped herself up.
He stepped back away from the bed, this must be the cutest situation he had ever been in. All his thoughts could be summed up with one word,
After tucking in the filly, Keyan started heading back to his room. He was pretty happy with things so far. The filly had been taking this remarkably well. Keyan couldn’t say he was ever in a similar situation, but one could guess he wouldn’t take it as well.
“How's Rainbow Dash doing Aura?” The capsuleer asked.
“Shes been in surgery for 1.5 hours sir, any prediction could be easily rendered void in the future.”
“Just give me an answer Aura.”
Keyan could swear he heard the A.I sigh.
“The nanites have repaired 74% of the damage so far. They will finish repairing her body to the extent they can in another hour. I rechecked my earlier evaluation for cybernetics and my earlier predictions remain, the nanites cannot repair her ocular nerve nor her wings to working order. Implants are still necessary.”
“Was that hard Aura?”
The A.I didn’t respond.
Keyan continued down the hallway. He didn’t know why he cared so much about Rainbow Dash surviving. He had seen thousands of people die in the vacuum of space when their ships were destroyed. Life to him was a commodity, something to be traded and exchanged in the journey of acquiring more isk and power. He could rationalize that saving Rainbow’s life would indebt the ponies to him, so he could extort something from them later.
But that really wasn’t the truth.
He genuinely wanted Rainbow to survive, seeing her die would hurt him. He could barely consider the other ponies' reactions. Even the image of Twilight’s face forced him to start thinking about another topic.
What was happening in the rest of the galaxy? Was anyone even looking for him? Maybe Copheros was. He could only think of a few other people that would spend the time searching for him. It was a sobering thought, before coming here his lack of friends barely registered with him. But after seeing the impact it had on the ponies below, it suddenly forced itself to the fore front of his mind.
Was Rainbow Dash a friend? and the others?
No, he just was doing this in exchange for a favor later, a big one.
His thoughts were interrupted by Aura speaking,
“Sir, Twilight Sparkle wants to talk to you.”
“Isn’t it past her bedtime Aura? It's the middle of the night for her.”
The A.I responded a few seconds later,
“She was not amused by your question. And respectfully asks you to 'get your flank to the radio.”
“Alright, tell her I’ll be there in a second”
Seeing the door to his quarters he quickly stepped inside. He sat down at his desk and pulled up the holo-display.
“Twilight you there?” He asked.
The response was immediate.
“KEYAN! How is she!”
“Whoa whoa, calm down Twilight. As of now Rainbow Dash is fine. The surgery is going as planned.”
Keyan could feel the relief from over the radio,
“So what did you have to end up doing to her?”
“Well, keeping her alive and making sure she stays that way afterwards is pretty simple. We just inject nanites into her body, and they repair the damage, it's really simple.”
“I’ll explain later, don’t ask.”
There was a pregnant silence before Twilight spoke again,
“And her wings?”
“Thats a different story.”
“What does that mean?” Keyan could hear her voice crack.
“Listen to me Twilight, don’t jump to conclusions.”
“Her wings were beyond repair, there wasn’t enough remaining bone to fix them. And the bones the Nanites could make wouldn’t be able to give her flight. The 'magic', as you call it, wouldn’t flow properly, she'd be grounded. So what I’m doing, is building her an entirely new set of wings out of sleeper components. They’re the only things that the magic can flow through. And don’t ask what sleepers are right now, that's a whole other story”
It took a few seconds for her to respond,
“So she’ll be able to fly again?” Her voice was full of hope.
“If everything goes according to plan yes.”
“THANK YOU KEYAN! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU--”
“Theres still 12 hours of surgery that something could go wrong in, all you can do is hope right now okay?”
“I know I know, but.. thank you Keyan. Thank you.”
“Not a problem Twilight.”
“So how's Scootaloo doing up there?”
“After she talked to her friends she fell asleep on the control panel. I just tucked her into bed, she's dead asleep right now.”
“That's nice of you Keyan.”
Something then just occurred to Keyan.
“How are her parents reacting to this. I assume you told them.”
Keyan could hear Twilight’s facehoof,
“I completely forgot about that, I’ll do it in the morning. She was supposed to sleepover at the clubhouse tonight so they wouldn’t be worrying anyway.”
“So is there anything else I should know Keyan?”
“Umm…. Rainbow is also going to need a new eye, but that's an easy fix.”
“So for you, replacing an eye is nothing.”
“Yea, pretty much. And don’t worry it won’t look crazy or anything like that, it will just have a slight glow in the dark.”
“And her wings? how will they look?”
“I don’t know Twilight. It's still too early to tell.”
“Listen Twilight, I know you’re worried. But go to sleep, I’ll be able to tell you more things in the morning.”
“Okay Keyan, good night. You’re a good friend, I hope you know that.”
“Thanks Twilight, peace”
The radio beeped.
“Alright now it's my bedtime.” Keyan said to the empty room as he flopped onto his bed and pulled the covers over himself.
Keyan woke up the next morning without much fanfare was the same as the night before, except for one key difference.
Snuggled up to his front was Scootaloo, still snoring softly. Her bangs were twitching with every exhale. Keyan froze, he had no idea what to do.
Yell at her for sneaking into his room? Get up without waking her? Just lay there until she wakes up?
Thankfully the question was answered for him. Scootaloo let out a huge yawn and widely stretched her tiny hooves pressing into him as she stretched her back. Her eyes opened sleepily as she finished, when she saw Keyan staring at her with a raised eyebrow, she thrust herself away from him.
With a cry of surprise she plummeted from the side of the bed, hitting the ground with a soft oomph. Keyan instinctually moved to check on her. When he saw that she wasn’t hurt he then allowed himself to break out in laughter.
He stopped it abruptly when he saw the hurt look in the filly's eyes.
“Crap, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to make you feel bad.”
Scootaloo tried waving it off but even Keyan could tell she was still hurt.
“Oh don’t be like that, I’m sorry.” Keyan reached down and picked the filly up. She squirmed but Keyan held fast. Plopping her back on the bed next to him he asked her,
“What were you doing in my bed anyway?”
Scootaloo nervously pawed at the bed,
“Well I woke up a while ago. And I wasn’t scared, or nervous, or anything like that.”
“I just wanted to… make sure you were okay! I thought maybe you were scared or something, so I came to make sure you weren’t.”
Scootaloo's resolve wavered before cracking,
“Okay, maybe I was a little bit scared.”
Keyan raised an eyebrow.
“Only a little!” She quickly added.
“Don’t worry, I understand.”
Scootaloo managed a weak smile.
“I’m ready to get up, do you want to go back to sleep?” Keyan asked.
“Alright, you can stay here for a while. Want me to tuck you in?”
Scootaloo nodded again.
Keyan smiled as he lifted up the blanket. Scootaloo crawled underneath it, placing her head on the one Keyan recently vacated she turned and looked at him,
Keyan tucked the filly in again, smiling as she curled up in the blankets. She looked positively miniscule in the large bed.
“Hey Keyan, could give you give me a kiss goodnight?” Her voice was small.
Keyan looked at her,
“How would your parents react to an alien kissing you goodnight?”
The answering silence was so deep Keyan could hear a pin drop.
“Scootaloo you okay? What's wrong?”
“I don’t have any parents,”
“What?” Keyan really hoped he didn’t hear her right.
“I... don’t have any parents.”
“Oh, umm ok then.” This was a pretty awkward situation to be honest.
Keyan never really expected to have to give a kid a kiss goodnight, even tucking one in was an entirely new experience. He tried rationalizing it in his mind and the only reason he could come up with was that making a filly sad wouldn’t make him look good to anybody.
Keyan awkwardly stopped over the filly and planted a soft kiss on her forehead, just below her mane.
The filly murmured a response.
Keyan quickly exited the room.
“Aura what's Rainbow's status?"
“Better than expected sir, the implants have integrated into Rainbow Dash’s body much easier than expected. The 3 hours of reconfiguring her body to accept them originally planned in the surgery’s time frame have been removed.”
“Oh well, that's good news I suppose. So she’ll be able to fly again?”
“My current prediction is yes. The synthetic wings mimic all aspects of her old ones. Weight, size, and they allow the flow of her magic as well.”
“How are the wings going to look on her? She's not going to look like a cyborg or anything right?”
“No Sir, The nanites were able to reconstruct her skin over the synthetics. 75% of her feathers will grow in normally, the remainder will be replaced by synthetic ones. Only if one knows what they’re looking for will they be able to tell the difference. She’ll be ready to return to the planet in 30 minutes sir.”
“Good job Aura, good job.”
“Thank you sir.”
He continued on his way towards the bridge. He sat down in his chair and activated the radio.
“Twilight? You there?”
He waited a few seconds before a new voice responded, this one sounded like a young boy,
“Ohh, umm who’s this?” Keyan asked.
“Spike, I’m Twilight’s assistant.”
“Oh, umm I assume you know about me then?”
“Yea, Twilight told me everything yesterday. How's Rainbow by the way?”
“She's actually doing great, the surgery went better than expected. She’ll be ready to come home in half an hour.”
“Oh Wow! that is good news. I’ll go tell Twilight!”
“You do that, Tell everyone down there I’ll send the shuttle to the ruins.”
“Alright, talk to you soon.”
The radio beeped.
Keyan sighed, he would have to go wake up Scootaloo who just went back to sleep.
Stepping back into his room he looked at the slumbering filly. He walked closerto the filly and gently shook her shoulder,
“Scootaloo, wake up”
The filly sleepily batted away his hand,
“5 more minutes” She grumbled.
“Scootaloo, get up” Keyan was a bit more forceful this time. Evidently the message got through as the filly’s eyes opened wide,
“Oh hey” She said sheepishly.
“I know you just went to sleep, but Rainbow’s about to come out of surgery.”
“Is she okay?”
“Yea shes fine, it went better than expected. So get up, i’ll be sending you home soon.”
“Okay” The filly said while standing up on the bed. Her normally wild mane was even more of a sight than usual. Keyan couldn’t help but chuckle, Scootaloo gave him a glare,
“Its just bed-mane,”
Keyan waved her off.
“Come on, lets go”
Scootaloo complied and jumped off the bed, her hooves softly thumping on the carpeted floor.
“Hey Keyan?” She spoke up, “Do you have anything I could have, as like a souvenir or something?”
Keyan looked at her. How could he say no to those eyes.
He walked over to the shelf where he kept some holo-tags, He usually kept one from each time he wiped out an empire’s fleet, which was honestly pretty often. Didn’t really help him in political circles but whatever.
He picked out three of the newer ones and walked back over to the waiting filly. Kneeling down he showed them to her.
“Watch” He said.
He pressed a button on the side of the tag and spoke,
The name of the previous owner of the tag erased to be replaced with SCOOTALOO.
“Umm, what does that say?” Scootaloo asked. “It just looks like scribbles to me.”
Keyan face-palmed, he forgot the whole “other language” thing.
“Its your name in galactic standard, the language I normally speak.”
Scootaloo’s face lit up,
“Oh thats so cool!”
He placed it around the fillies neck, shortening the chain until it fit snuggly around it. He showed Scootaloo the other ones,
“Here’s two more for Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom as well, so you can all have one. Just don’t show them to anyone else, I still technically don’t exist down there okay?”
Moving faster than Keyan could react to Scootaloo wrapped him in a hug, her tiny limbs stretching to reach around his back.
“Thank you Keyan.”
“No problem Scootaloo.”
“My friends call me Scoots. You can call me that too if you want”
“Okay Scoots, but call me Key. Its what my…. friends call me.”
A short while later Scootaloo found herself in the shuttle, watching out the window as Keyan’s ship became farther and farther away. She sighed as she saw it cloak, Keyan had explained some of it to her but it really went way over her head. A grumbling came from behind her, Rainbow was waking up.
Keyan had said she would wake up after she left the ship. He had made her Pinkie promise not to tell everypony what he looked like, when she asked him why he didn't really have a reason, but she promised either way.
“Rainbow! you woke up! how do you feel?”
Rainbow Dash glanced around the shuttles interior, trying to figure out where she was.
“Oh, you’re in Keyan’s shuttle, hes sending us back now.”
“So how do you feel?”
Rainbow cleared her throat,
“Surprisingly well actually. So how did you get here?”
Scootaloo rubbed the back of her head with her hoof,
“Umm, can I tell you later?”
Rainbow nodded before her eyes suddenly opened wide. Scootaloo watched as she looked behind her. No, not behind her Scoots corrected herself, at her wings. Rainbow’s shocked look remained as she gave her wings a few idle flaps,
“He saved them” She said in a really small voice, as if acknowledging it would cause them to disappear.
“Technically I didn’t.” Keyan’s voice rang through the shuttle, “I actually built you a new pair. They should function the same way though.”
Rainbow paused, unsure of how to take this new information.
“Can I fly though?”
“Yes, you should be able to”
Rainbow’s eyes suddenly filled up with tears,
“I can still fly” she said to herself, “I can fly.”
“I had to replace your feathers too, some were grown naturally, but some are purely synthetic. I’m sure you can tell if you look at the-”
Rainbow suddenly cut him off,
“I don’t care about that! I can fly Key!” She took a deep breath before continuing.
“When I crashed I didn’t fall unconscious right away. I could feel what happened to my wings Key, I knew they were lost, an entire part of me just gone. The things that got me my cutie mark! When that sunk in, that's what made me fall unconscious.”
“Well, I’m happy that I did good. When you land in a minute you’ll have to try them out.”
Rainbow’s brow furrowed,
“So I can just go fly? no recovery time or anything?”
“Yep, you’re good to go. Perks of technology eh?”
“Key if you were here I would kiss you.”
“No thanks Rainbow, ponies aren’t my thing.”
“A hug then?”
They both chuckled.
“You’ll be landing in 30 seconds, get ready.”
Rainbow turned to Scootaloo,
“Hey, strike an awesome pose with me, we gotta make an entrance.”
Scootaloo smiled as Rainbow hopped of the gurney to the floor. Rainbow Dash smiled, no different than usual.
She struck a dramatic posed and Scootaloo matched it. They stared dramatically off into the middle distance with one hoof raised.
They felt the shuttle touched down and froze as the door opened. The entire group was standing there, Twilight and the gang, Spike, and the Princesses.
“I’m back!--” Rainbow tried to say before she was cut off buy a Lavender blur. Rainbow’s eyes opened wide in shock as Twilight threw her legs around her, crushing her in a deep hug. Tears were streaming from her eyes, matting Rainbow’s fur.
“I thought I lost you Rainbow! Don’t ever do that to me again!”
Rainbow gently patted Twilight’s shoulder,
“Don’t worry Twi, I never leave my friends hanging.”
Rainbow looked at the rest of the group. Rarity and Applejack had matching grins as they stared at the pair. Fluttershy was hiding behind her mane and Pinkie was bouncing in place, waiting for her turn to hug Dashie next.
“GIRLS” Scootaloo cried as she caught sight of her friends who came out form behind the Princesses.
She jumped out of the shuttle and started bouncing in front of them,
“Lets go to the clubhouse, I got something to show you!”
The three fillies then tried to run off but were stopped by a look from Princess Celestia.
“Wait for everypony.”
They nodded dumbly.
“I’d hate to break up the reunion, but I should get this shuttle back to my ship before everybody wakes up.” Keyan’s voice rambled through the shuttle’s speakers.
Twilight and Rainbow broke their embrace and stepped out of the shuttle.
“Thank you Keyan.” Celestia said, “Equestria itself is indebted to you.”
“Damn straight it is Princess, those wings were expensive.” ******
Keyan leaned back in his captains chair, ruminating over the recently finished conversation with the ponies.
The one thing he made a mental note to remember is that ponies did not have a capsuleer’s sense of humor. His crack about the wings being expensive had met with mixed results. Rainbow Dash immediately went on a tirade about how “she never leaves a debt unpaid”, Rarity scoffed at his “ungentlecolty” behavior. The rest of them had mixed results. The only pony to get it was Pinkie Pie, and thankfully she explained to the rest of the ponies it was all in good humor.
He then had to explain to the rest of the ponies what exactly he did to Rainbow’s body. According to her, being a cyborg quote unquote “made her 20% cooler”. Keyan supposed that there were worse ways she could take it. Twilight had immediately started grilling him for more information on the mechanics behind the wings but Keyan waved her off saying “Even I don’t get it. Just accept it and be happy”. Twilight was warded off for the moment but Keyan was sure she would come back to haunt him at some point.
His thoughts then drifted to Scootaloo, he hoped she was okay. He had extracted promises from the ponies to lay off her, he hoped they kept them. Keyan, while not usually one to see people face to face, nonetheless found the fillies presence to bring a warming aura to the, now rather obviously, bleak corridors of his ship.
He had also promised Luna a trip back up here, one day she would cash in on it, but Keyan hoped it would slip her mind. He leaned back farther in the chair and sighed deeply, he needed to go blow some things up.
“Aura, boot up a combat simulation for me, I gotta shoot something.”
“Very well sir”
“Come on Twilight! Let me fly!” Cried Rainbow Dash. Who was being levitated a few feet off the ground by Twilight’s magic.
“No Rainbow. You just had an 8 hour surgery, you have to rest! I’m taking you back to the library where you’re going to do so!” Twilight declared vehemently.
They were currently walking down main street, flanked by the others. Nopony else was out, save for a few choice shopkeepers, due to it still being rather early in the morning. Celestia and Luna had left, having royal duties to take care of in Canterlot.
“She does have a point Darling. You really should rest a bit to make sure you’re in tip top shape for flying.” Rarity added.
“But Keyan said I was fine!” Rainbow Interjected.
“”Listen Sugarcube, we all know keyan's a pretty smart feller. But it's never a bad thing to be careful, ya hear?”
“You guys don’t understand!” Rainbow cried, her voice starting to fill with emotion.
“I do under--” Twilight tried to say but was cut off by Fluttershy.
“You don’t girls.” Everypony else stopped and stared at her, the timid mare rarely, if ever, interrupted a friend while they were speaking.
“She lost her wings girls! And we’re lucky Keyan was able to help her! If you girls call yourselves Rainbow’s friend you’ll give her this.” Her voice was filled with conviction. Well it was till she added her customary, “well if thats okay with you that is.”
Twilight looked at her floating friend,
“Are you sure Rainbow?”
Rainbow Dash nodded in response,
“I know Keyan said I’ll be fine, but I need this Twi’”
Twilight gave a slight nod as her magic dissipated. Rainbow landed on her hooves with a soft thump.
Rainbow drew in a ragged breath as the 5 other mares watched in silence. Rainbow Dash shakily extended her wings. As her feathers caught the early morning song they could see the fake ones, they glinted more than the others in the sunlight. They were made out of some special metal that Keyan hadn’t elaborated on.
Her wings were fully extended now, poised for the downstroke. Taking a final breath Rainbow looked at her friend and gave them a small smile,
“Let's do this.”
Contrary to what the ponies thought she would do Rainbow didn’t immediately shoot of the ground, blazing at ludicrous speeds into the sky. Instead she flapped lightly a few times, causing small clouds of dust to bellow out from below her.
After a few experimental flaps Rainbow increased their intensity. Slowly but surely her hooves began to lift off the ground. The ponies watched with expressions frozen between awe and glee as Rainbow started to float higher and higher. Rainbow’s own expression was one of shock. As if she thought this was a dream, one that could burst in a moments notice.
She leaned forward slightly, picking up a trace amount of forward speed. Slowly she made her way down the empty main street, increasing her speed a tad every second. She turned around in a leisurely bank, turning back to her friends.
Twilight watched in rapt fascination as her friend flew slowly over her head. Her brow furrowed in confusion as Rainbow winked at her. Her perplexity was quickly stomped as Rainbow surged forward with a sudden burst of speed. A fairly sizable dust cloud burst from the ground behind her.
A cry of pure unadulterated joy emanated from Rainbow’s lips in the form of an awe inspiring,
“AWWWWW YYYYEEEEAAA!” as she soared down the street.
Rarity jumped up and down in glee, her forehooves shaking in delight as she watched her friend. Applejack and Fluttershy had matching smiles. Pinkie Pie was much less bouncing and more teleporting from place to place.
“Rainbows better! Yay!” a new voice said next to them. They all jumped to see Derpy sitting there with them, none of them had any idea how she snuck up on them.
“Yeah, she is.” Twilight said, a single tear in her eye.
“That means I have to say thank you!” Derpy said, her voice turning serious. Twilight tried to say something else but the mailmare had already started a wobbly flight down the street.
Twilight shrugged and looked back up at Rainbow, who was currently in the middle of some impressive loops and twirls. Her exclamations of joy still rang through the morning air.
The 5 ponies watched in confusion as Rainbow suddenly dove towards the ground, leveling off no more than a few feet above the ground. She shot down main street homing in on her target.
Twilight’s eyes opened wide when she realized it was her.
She looked towards her friends for help but then realized they had already vacated her immediate area. They stood on the side of the road, smiling as Twilight’s fate dawned on her.
“No no no no no” Twilight said as she started bolting in the opposite direction of Rainbow. Her panicked mind not realizing that she was just making things easy for the prismatic mare.
Twilight screamed as she felt strong legs snatch her off her hooves. She instinctually wrapped her hooves around the nearest solid thing, namely Rainbow’s muscular neck.
“A little looser Twi’ getting choked isn’t really my thing.”
Despite Twilight's blush she barely loosened her grip. The wind was screaming in her ears as Rainbow accelerated higher and higher.
“Put me down Rainbow! I could fall!”
Rainbow was offended,
“You’d be crazy to think I’d leave one of my friends hanging like that. I’d never drop you Twi’”
Despite the mares comforting words Twilight clenched her eyes shut as they reached the apex of their ascent.
“You’re gonna want to keep your eyes open for this Twi’. Trust me” Rainbow said. Her only warning before she suddenly shot downwards. Gravity augmenting her wings their speed increased exponentially, as did Twilight’s scream.
It quickly died off though as a mach cone began to form in front of them.
‘No way’ Twilight thought, ‘She isn’t going to-’ Her thoughts were quite literally destroyed as her field of view suddenly disappeared. For a brief moment her entire view was of white, and her ears were deafened by an explosion. And then everything was silent.
Twilight looked over her shoulder at the multi-hued soundless explosion and the matching trail behind them. Even more amazing was the sight of the ground below, blurring at the speeds they were traveling. While those two things were amazing, the thing that was truly spectacular was the mare that was currently cradling Twilight in her hooves.
Twilight stared in undisguised awe at Rainbow Dash. Her face was frozen in her trademark smirk as she looked back at Twilight.
“Amazing huh?” Rainbow said to her as they slowed back down to (relatively) normal speeds.
“Yeah” Twilight responded, not sure if she was talking about the rainboom or the mare.
“Look what he gave me!” Scootaloo exclaimed. Showing off her brand new dog tags to her friends in the comfort of their clubhouse.
Both Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom had matching looks of awe on their faces.
“That's so cool!” Apple Bloom exclaimed.
“Did you get anything for us?” Sweetie Belle asked with her trademark pout.
“Well, Key did give me two extra, just in case I lost this one.” She replied sarcastically.
Her response were flat glares from the other two crusaders.
“Fine Fine, these two are for you. The scribbles on them are your names in the “normal galactic” language or something like that.”
The two fillies let out identical squeals of delight as they accepted the gifts. They cradled them in their hooves.
“Keyan said not to show them to anypony, because he “doesn’t exist” technically.”
The two fillies nodded their agreement.
“But, we can wear them when it's just us right?”
Scootaloo showed the two of them the chain attaching hers to her neck,
The two of them swiftly placed the dog tags around their necks.
“Hey Scootaloo? what was Keyan like?” Sweetie Belle asked.
“Yea, you told us about all about his ship, but we wanna know about him!” Apple Bloom added.
Scootaloo nervously scraped her hoof on the floor,
“Well, he was cool. I mean he's an alien! how could he not be!” Scootaloo said
Apple Bloom motioned for her to continue.
“He's really nice too. When he talks to the princesses or Twilight, or anypony else really, he acts like he doesn’t want friends or something. And he sometimes makes stupid jokes that annoy everypony.”
Sweetie Belle raised an eyebrow,
“And he acts all tough and cocky sometimes, like Rainbow Dash. But he's just a pony on the inside, he’s just… just a nice guy. You guys know I’m not good at this mushy stuff.”
Apple Bloom put a hoof around Scootaloo’s shoulder,
“Don’t worry about it, Next time you visit him you’ll just have to take us too.”
“I bet I could convince him to do that.”
The fillies conversation soon turned into other topics. Namely what space-based cutie mark they could get. Eventually Scootaloo let out a huge yawn,
“I’m sorry girls, I didn’t get much sleep last night.”
“Don’t ya worry none Scoots. We understand.”
“Do you mind I sleep here? I don’t wanna go back to the orphanage.”
Sweetie Belle’s and Apple Bloom’s faces fell. The words “felt bad” didn’t describe how they felt about their friends predicament. Her parents had left her at the orphanage when she was a foal. They doubted if any other pony besides them they generally talked to knew of her situation, as Scootaloo had them Pinkie Promise not tell anypony.
Apple Bloom nodded an okay, and her and Sweetie Belle watched silently as the pegasus filly wrapped herself in some spare blankets to ward off the mornings chilly air.
“He tucked me in” Scootaloo said softly, “The first time anypony really did it for me. I feel asleep after I finished talking to you. And he carried me to bed, and tucked me in. No pony did that for me at the orphanage.”
The two fillies exchanged looks with each other before laying down on either side of Scootaloo.
“He kissed me goodnight too.” She finished.
Apple Bloom looked at Sweetie Belle, then they both leaned down and planted a chaste kiss on Scootaloo’s forehead.
Celestia and Luna were sitting in the formers sitting room, each sipping a matching cup of tea.
”So Luna, what do you make of Keyan?”
Luna set down her tea and looked at her sister,
“Dost thou mean other than the disrespectful knave he is?”
Celestia glared at her sister,
“That same disrespectful knave that saved one of the Elements of Harmony? One of your friends?” Her tone was angry.
Luna looked down ashamedly,
“Forgive us sister. It is different for us.”
Celestia cocked her head,
“The centuries you spent among our subjects ahst undoubtedly given you experience with ponies treating you as somepony other than a princess. We do not have that luxury. When Keyan treats us as he does anypony else, it infuriates us.”
Luna tried to keep her face straight as she said her answer but the memories were already being brought to the surface. Celestia’s anger fled her and she reached her hoof across the small table to place it on her sisters.
“I’m sorry Luna, I didn’t mean to bring that up.”
Luna waved a hoof,
“It does not matter sister. We will put this behind us in time. But let us return to your previous question.” She took a sip of tea and cleared her throat.
“Keyan is, strange sister. He is an interesting dichotomy.”
“What do you mean Luna?” Celestia asked with a raised eyebrow.
“He holds trust in high regard. He claims he does not trust us, but yet answers all our questions,.allows us to view his ship. He hast promised me a return visit to his ship, and even when young Scootaloo snuck aboard he took care of her as would a parent. He acts as if he is jaded to friendship, but when we extend our hooves towards him in its name he accepts them. As I said, he is strange.”
Celestia looked at her sister,
“You have been thinking about this haven’t you sister.”
“Of course I have been sister. How could I not? He had us prisoner, and then let us go free with nothing but a warning. He intrigues us.”
“I understand Luna.”
The sister’s conversation was interrupted by the door to the sitting room opening,
Celestia’s face broke out in a smile,
“Good morning Captain, what can I do for you?”
Shining Armor strode stiffly into the room flanked by two other guards. His uniform was bright and polished, but its owner was decidedly less so. His eyes were bloodshot, and his main ragged. He nodded to the two guards and they turned around and walked out the door, closing it behind them.
“Princesses” He said bowing to them. After receiving acknowledgement from the two of them he stood back up.
“Permission to speak freely.”
“Granted Captain” Celestia responded.
All traces of formality left him,
“What in the hay is happening around here! First I here than an asteroid hit Ponyville, and you just happen to be there, and I may mention without my consent. Secondly, I hear that you take the asteroid away claiming “dangerous compounds” when all guards scanning the area have reported nothing. Thirdly, nopony else had seen this rock, where is it may I ask?” And fourthly. you and Princess Luna both disappear at times, going who knows where. I’m the Captain of your royal guard. And as such I expect you to tell me these things. ”
Shining Armor finished his rant breathing heavily. looking at two rather shocked Princesses. He cleared his throat and straightened his collar,
“If you wouldn’t mind that is.”
Luna and Celestia looked at each other, having a conversation with there eyes. Wordlessly they turned back to him,
“Captain” Celestia said, “What is your opinion on aliens?” ****
Keyan waited near the asteroid, his cloak concealing him from all ship scanners. He watched as the convoy passed mere kilometers from him.
2 fat cargo ships, carrying all manner of industrial goods. Being guarded only by a cruiser and 3 destroyers, an easy hit and run waiting to happen.
WIth nary a thought his ship moved forward, closing the distance between them. With another thought he targeted all six, his guns emerging from his ship. The convoy still had no idea of what was going to befall them.
The simulated mechanical whirring of his guns pierced his ears as the turrets spun up to speed. They locked onto critical components of the ships, warp engines, turrets and the like.
“Dropping cloak in 3…2...”
Keyan always loved this moment. RIght before a battle, the adrenaline coursing through his veins. Here it comes, time to kick some a--.
“Sir, Princess Celestia requests to talk to you.” Aura’s voice interrupted his thoughts. THe simulation paused.
“Fucking shit Aura! Do you not understand the concept of timing?” Keyan shouted.
“No sir, No such programming exists. Shall I relay to the Princess you’re busy?”
Keyan sighed deeply,
“No No, I’ll talk to her from here,”
With another thought the simulation fell away to be replaced by video feeds. He pulled up the ones focused on Celestia’s sitting room. He saw Luna and Celestia, and a third pony. Keyan groaned when he saw the uniform. Obviously he was in charge of something.
Keyan’s prior experience with Empire’s military consisted of either doing dirty jobs for them, getting blown up by them, blowing them up. Not a very good track record.
“Hello Princess, what can I do for you?” He said.
He chuckled as he saw the military pony jump before staring curiously at the radio on the table.
“Greeting Keyan, I hope we’re not interrupting anything.” Celestia responded.
“Nothing special, so whos the guy in the Monkey suit next to you?”
Apparently the pony understood the derogatory remark.
“This “guy in the monkey suit” is Shining Armor, Captain of our Royal Guard.” Celestia responded, hiding a smirk behind her hoof.
“Oh forgive me Captain.” Keyan said with a rather large amount of attitude.
Apparently Shining Armor had had enough,
“I will not tolerate disrespect from you. The Princesses tell me you are not a threat, but I remain skeptical.”
“And what would you do if I am? Captain?”
Shining Armor immediately retorted,
“I would have to take lethal action.”
Keyan laughed again, and this time he let it transmit to Celestia’s radio.
“Last time a Captain in the military said that to me I ended up blowing his ass up. It wasn’t even hard.”
Celestia decided to head this off before it got any worse,
“Both of you quiet down! You are both more mature than this. Now apologize both of you.” Her tone matched that of a scolding mother.
Momentarily taken aback by the outburst both instigators were shocked into silence. After a few moments they both grumbled apologies.
“Now that that is out of the way, Let us do this the right way.” She looked at Shining Armor. “Introduce yourself, nicely.”
After a few seconds Shining Armor cleared his throat,
“I am Captain Shining Armor of their Majesty’s Royal Guard.”
“I am Keyan Charante, Capsuleer and explorer.”
They remained silent for a few seconds, neither knowing what exactly to say to the other. Thankfully the silence was headed off by Luna,
“Is it true that both of you have combat experience?”
“Well duh” Shining Armor stated. “I started as a frontier guard. I fought everything from pirates to minotaurs.”
Keyan was curious,
“You guys have pirates here?”
Shining Armor smirked,
“Well, not anymore”
A short while later Luna and Celestia were smirking as the two of them traded macho stories back and forth. Keyan had been forced to top Shining Armor’s story of when he single hoofedly took over a pirate’s galleon by telling him the story of the time he found a pirate groups shipyard and blew it up.
Then Shining Armor went on a huge rant of how he could beat anypony on a fight up to a 6v1.
Keyan said how a few times he had to fight upwards of 20v1 on a few times.
Shining Armor mentioned if all those enemies were equally as dangerous, and Keyan conceded that only 10 of them were battleships. Shining Armor let out a harumph at that.
Currently Keyan was telling Shining Armor about the battle of Asakai., who face was in a mask of awe as he imagined the scene. Keyan left out the fact that over half a million regular crewmen lost their lives in that fight.
“This hast gone much better than we anticipated sister.” Luna acknowledged with a chuckle.
“Stallions will be stallions sister.” Her face suddenly scrunched up, “I can’t but think I’m forgetting something.”
Shining Armor’s voice carried to them from across the room,
“You're not that bad for an alien. I’ll have to introduce you to my fiance at some point.”
“Of course! Hes getting married!”
Twilight and friends, including Spike, were trotting, flying in Rainbow’s case, to a small hill outside ponyville. A rather large picnic basket was hovering in Twilight’s magical field next to her. Twilight smiled as Rainbow corkscrewed through the air in front of them.
The only time she stopped flying was when she put Twilight back on her hooves and made sure she was okay.
“These wings are great!” Rainbow shouted as she barreled through the air.
“Don’t hurt yourself!” Twilight called out at her.
“Oh relax darling, I’m sure she going to fine. Don’t worry yourself.” Rarity said from her side.
“I know I know.” Twilight said, “But I can’t help it!”
Rarity and Applejack exchanged a glance.
The group walked for a few more moments before Applejack pulled up short,
“This here looks like a fine spot for a picnic sugarcube.” Applejack said to Twilight.
After looking around for a few moments Twilight concurred. A burst of her magic caused a flurry of blankets and foodstuffs to emerge from the basket. They coagulated on the ground to form a picture perfect (Twilight checked) picnic.
All the girls sat down, save for Rainbow who hovered a few inches off the ground.
“Doesn’t that make you tired Rainbow?” Spike asked.
“Yea, even I have to sit still sometimes!” Pinkie added. Needless to say, the rest of the ponies were pretty shocked.
Dash cleared her throat,
“A little bit. I don’t get any muscle burn like I used to. Perks of being part robot and all I guess.”
‘“But what about your magic? You’rebound to run out sometime.” Twilight asked.
“When I start feeling it drop low I’ll stop flying. Now stop worrying lets eat!”
And so they did.
30 minutes later only Twilight and Rainbow were left on the blanket. The others had started up an impromptu game of hoofball, with Rarity acting as the referee.
“So Rainbow, Twilight turned to the mare, “Would you mind if I take a closer look your wings?”
“Not at all Twi.” Rainbow responded as she hovered over to Twilight. Rainbow’s brow furrowed in confusion when she saw Twilight give her a flat stare,
“You’re still hovering Dash. I can’t look at your wings if they’re still moving can I?”
Rainbow bit her lip,
“Do I have to Twi?” There was a noticeable quiver in her voice.
Twilight put a comforting hoof on the hovering mare,
“Are you okay Rainbow?”
Rainbow silently shook her head.
“What’s wrong Rainbow?”
Rainbow’s face drooped,
“I’m scared Twi” She said in a small voice.
“You’re scared?” Twilight asked. Rainbow immediately turned around and shoved a hoof in her mouth.
“Not so loud okay!”
“What are you scared off Rainbow?” Twilight asked not so loud as before.
Rainbow looked around checking for anypony in earshot. Seeing none she continued in a weak voice,
“I’m scared if I stop flying these wings will disappear okay. This is tou good to be true, and I’m scared it is.”
Twilight immediately wrapped the quivering Rainbow Dash in a hug,
“This is real okay? On the count of three you’re going to land okay? I’ll be right here with you.”
Twilight felt Rainbow nod.
Rainbow silently let herself drop in the safety of Twilight’s legs. After a few tense seconds she touched the ground and her wings dropped to her sides.
“See?” Twilight said, “Nothing to be afraid of.”
Twilight pulled back so she could see Rainbows face, only to be surprised when she saw the tears running down her face. She let out an eep of surprise as Rainbows arms, being the corded bands of steel they were, drew her into a crushing hug.
Rainbow started sobbing into Twilight’s shoulder. Twilight gently started patting Rainbow on the back,
“Its okay Rainbow, just let it out.”
And she did.
Neither of them knew how long they sat there with Rainbow’s face burried in the crook of Twilights neck. But eventually Rainbow pulled herself together enough to pull back,.
“Thanks Twi” She said hoarsely.
“Don’t worry about it Rainbow.” Twilight responded.
The moment was broken when Spike came running up to them.
“Twilight! Twilight! Celestia sent a letter!”
He came to a screeching halt as he saw Rainbow and Twilight sitting so close together.
“Am I interrupting anything?”
“No no” Twilight said as she stood up. Walking over to Spike she levitated the scroll from Spike’s hand.
I didn’t feel like retyping the entire Canterlot Wedding so just imagine I did. Everything is the same except for two things:
Celestia is not in a cocoon
After the girls got captured byt the changelings, Celestia teleported Twilight to the room where she kept the radio Keyan gave her.
*a few days after Ch.10*
Keyan was currently leaning back in his desk chair, it seemed he was doing alot of that nowadays. Probably due to a lack of things to shoot at lately.
“Auraaaaaaa. I’m boorrreeeddd.” his distressed voice rang throughout his room.
The A.I did not deem a response necessary.
Keyan sighed and his arms dropped to his side. He was getting accustomed to one pony or another calling him at random times. to talk about one thing or another. For the past few days he hadn’t received one call. He wasn’t sure if he should be elated or worried.
“Dammit Aura say something!”
After a few seconds the A.I finally responded,
“Is another combat simulator in order sir?”
“ughhhhh. If I do another simulation I’m, going to shoot something Aura.”
“Isn’t that the point sir?”
Keyan glared at one of the cameras,
“Don’t you use your fancy logic on me Aura.”
Keyan could swear he heard the A.I sigh in disappointment
“So did the probes find a wormhole yet?”
“Could be worse” Keyan said with a shrug,
“The probes did however find some abnormal crystalline asteroid formations.”
Keyan sighed again,
“I don’t care Aura.”
“The formations are extraordinary sir.From the readings they’re nothing short of spectacular. It seems the “magic” present in this system has seeped into it. And---”
“Whoa whoa whoa Aura. What’s going on. I never heard you this excited before. Actually I never heard you excited before.”
The A.I was silent for more than a few minutes, causing the capsuleer a fair amount of worry.
“Sir, It appears my programming has been modified.”
“huh?” Keyan said with a raised eyebrow.
After a few seconds the A,I responded,
“Sir, it seems that the sleeper components in this ship have been interacting with the “magic” in this system. It is unclear what this entails, but being as my A.I core is constructed out of a Sleeper Drone Cerebral Core it may have altered my code.”
“In what way?”
“Unclear sir, I will have to analyze this further.”
“So do I have to worry about you throwing me out an airlock now?” Keyan said with a grin.
“No more that usual sir”
“That was a joke.”
The awkwardness was broken when the ships alarm went off. Thankfully this jump started Keyan’s mind as he immediately jumped up and started walking to the bridge.
“What’s up Aura?”
“Twilight Sparkle has initiated an emergency sir.”
“Put her on speaker.”
A beep was immediately followed by Twilight’s voice,
“Keyan! You have to help! Canterlots being invaded!” Her voice was nothing short of hysterical.
Keyan sat down in his captains chair.
“Aura pull up the camera feeds. Now tell me whats going on Twilight.”
“Changelings! They tricked everypony and we need help!”
The camera feeds leapt into his vision. Keyan was shocked when he saw actual fighting occurring on the peaceful planet. Black insectoid equines were locked in battle with the golden armored Royal Guard.
“What do you need me to do Twilight?”
A banging sounded through the radio,
“They found me Keyan. Just do something please!”
A second crash thundered through. Keyan heard Twilight scream in terror as chattering sounds became louder and louder.
“TWILIGHT!” Keyan shouted helplessly as sounds of fighting escalated. Eventually a there was a great crash and everything fell silent. He heard more chattering and then the line went dark.
Keyan stood up,
“Prep my pod Aura. Lets show them why you don’t mess with a capsuleer’s friends.”
Tears slipped down Twilights face as she was roughly ponyhandled back to the throne room. She had managed to knock out a fair portion of the changelings sent after her but in the end there was to many.
She was being levitated by no less than 8 changelings, making it so she couldn’t even move. Another had Twilight’s horn in a rough grip, disrupting any attempt to cast a spell and a strong deterrent not to.
They burst through the throne room doors. Twilight looked up as she entered, seeing her friends being held off to the side. She couldn’t resist as she was shoveled off to join them.
She grunted as she was thrown to the ground next to them. Rainbow was immediately by her side as the others formed a protective circle,
“You okay Twi’?”
Twilight nodded slightly as Rainbow looked at her.
“Did you get a message to him?” She asked
“Yea, I was able to talk to him for a few seconds. I hope he comes.”
Rainbow patted Twilights cheek,
“Hes gonna come Twi’, he wouldn’t leave us hanging.”
Twilight managed a weak smile in return.
The two of them sat back up and looked at Chrysalis as one of their guards roughly jabbed them.
They sat up just in time to hear Chrysalis finish her “conversation” with Celestia.
Chrysalis held one of the Royal Guards in her hooves, her fangs dangerously closed to his neck.
“When you kill a pony, princess, they release enough love to feed a changeling for a year. Those last thoughts of family and loved ones are positively delicious.” Chrysalis said as she dragged her fangs across the guards neck. He did his best not to shake as his skin split, beads of blood flowing down his neck.
“But, you’re lucky your ponies feed us better alive than dead.” She finished as the tosses the soldier to the side. Twilight’s brow furrowed as one of the changelings next to Chrysalis looked… disappointed at that.
Celestia glared daggers at the changeling queen.
“You will be defeated Chrysalis.My little ponies will never bow to you.”
Suddenly a changeling’s hoof whipped out and struck Celestia across the cheek. Chrysalis immediately struck the changeling in turn.
“She is not to be harmed fool!” She thundered.
She turned back to Celestia,
“It seems your proteges escape attempt was for nothing! Why did you use your last shred of magic to teleport her right where we could capture her again?”
Celestia was silent.
“my queen” One of the changelings hissed. “She was talking to somepony through this.”
Keyan’s radio levitated in front of Chrysalis.
“What is that?” She asked Celestia.
Celestia maintained her silence.
Suddenly Keyan’s voice sounded through the radio,
Chrysalis backed up slightly in alarm before she regained her composure,
“I am Chrysalis, Queen of the Changelings. Who are you?”
“So you’re the one invading Canterlot?”
“I am the one controlling Canterlot fool.”
“Well, I hope you won’t mind losing a few windows then.”
As Keyan finished his statement a boom that put ten rainbooms to shame thundered through the sky. The reason why capsuleer’s don’t warp into a planets atmosphere unless necessary is that when the warp bubble around around the ship collapses it lets out a huge amount of sonic energy. In the vacuum of space this isn’t a huge problem, but it an atmosphere its an entirely different story.
A visible shock wave passed through through the city, shattering most, if not all, of the windows in Canterlot. The ponies felt it pass through them as it made its way through the castle, knocking more than a few things off shelves.
All the ponies, and changelings, jaws dropped in awe as they saw what appeared in the skies above Canterlot, no more than 500 meters above the city, even less than that for the castle. Its massive presence hung there, completely silent after its thunderous entrance.
“Thats me” Keyan said, chuckling as he saw the ponies expressions through his cameras. Everypony and Changeling in the city was in a similar state. When Keyan spoke again it seemed to emanate from the entire ship, not his radio.
“Now, “Chrysalis, Queen of the Changelings”, leave. If it were up to me you’d already be dead. But my friends next to you might not feel the same. ” It carried through the entire city.
Chrysalis’ mouth opened and closed a few times in shock.
“My Queen!” The changeling who struck Celestia said, “You can’t be considering surrendering!”
“No no, of course not.” Chrysalis muttered to it before turning back to the ship, “And what if I don’t?”
A mechanical whirring sound pierced the air. The ponies jaws dropped farther as she saw Keyan’s massive armament emerge from the ship. The threat was clear.
Chrysalis bit her lip,
“I...I..I” She mumbled out.
“My Queen, I do this for the good of the hive.” The Changeling next to her said as its horn lit up.
Chrysalis wasn’t able to react in time as a green ball hit her. She collapsed to the ground, her eyes opened wide in shock as tears began to spill from them.
“What did you do!?” Twilight shouted.
A second ball of light hit Twilight sending her crashing to the ground, her limbs were twitching as green electricity danced across her.
“I severed her connection to the hive. We have come to far to give up now!” The changeling shouted in its raspy voice.
He turned to the mass of Changelings surrounding the castle,
“What are you waiting for! Destroy that thing!”
In unison the changeling swam burst into motion. A veritable wall of green balls shot at Keyan’s ship. Twilight and the others bit their lips in worry for their friend. Thankfully, they didn’t have to as the projectiles hit the sphere of Keyan;s shield a fair distance away. A blue wave emanated from every strike but the shield gave no signs of collapsing.
The changelings swarmed around the ship, launching volley after volley but all had no effect.
“I’m sorry Twilight, I tried to do this peacefully.”
Twilight managed a weak smile, she knew what was going to happen next,
“Its okay Key. We understand.”
“Alright Aura, lock targets. Order targets by number, lets not have any civilian casualties.”
Keyan’s gun lit up as they aligned to their targets. Great hunks of lead, capable of tearing armored hulls apart, ripped into the changelings around the city. Wherever there was a changeling in the city alone it soon found itself the proud recipient of a hunk of hot metal to the face.
Keyan couldn’t use the higher caliber autocannons for fear of collateral damage. But it was essentially open season for the smaller ones. Every now and then Keyan would take manual control of a turret, streams of masterfully aimed lead ripping changelings apart.
The changelings began to wise up, having a civilian or two in the middle of a group prohibited Keyan from taking an easy shot.Thankfully they didn't understand the marvels of quantum mechanics as it only took a few more moments for Aura to calculate the trajectory to prevent the loss of civilian life.
Keyan felt Aura adjust the aim of a gun my millimeters so the spread of its impact completely missed a pony by inches. Leaving him with slight scrapes while a few of his guards were eviscerated not a step away from him.
“Launch drones Aura, all of them. Have them clear the skies around me.”
“Very well sir”
25 Hobgoblin light combat drones immediately launched from Keyan’s drone bay. Armed with 2 12.7mm miniguns they are more than capable of shredding frigates with ease.
They broke off in pursuit of the flying changelings. They’re guns lighting up as soon as they were lined up.
Dozens of Changelings began raining from the sky, in some form of dismemberment or another. But even with the vast amount of carnage the drones were reaping on the changelings 2 were replacing everyone that was killed.
Keyan watched as a swarm of Changelings pursued one of his drones. A stream of magic from them followed the drone, spelling out certain death if it managed to hit. 2 drones quickly came in perpendicular to the others flight path, expertly timed as the pursuing changelings flew in front of it.
A flood of bullets leapt from the drones, impacting the changelings with dead-on precision. Entire Changelings were vaporized in the air. WIth nothing but clouds of blood and gore to signify their death. Others were sent plummeting to the ground, unable to fly with missing wings. They impacted the ground below with a splat, spreading changeling muck on the streets below.
Keyan suddenly felt a drone’s connection die. He shifted his focus over in time to see it impact a house. The combined force of the impact, and resultant explosion, sent house collapsing to the ground. Hopefully the ponies inside had fled earlier.
“Aura, if you can have the drones crash away from the city, or at least into Changelings.”
“If possible sir”
Keyan’s focus was suddenly stolen when he saw a green flame envelope a changeling. After a flash of light the flames disappeared, leaving a normal pony in its place.
After making it a little more dead he said,
“Aura, these things can camouflage themselves. You have to find a way around it.”
“It appears that they don’t as much emit infrared light as a pony sir.”
“Good, factor that into your calculations.”
Keyan’s focus shifted again to a legion of city guards advancing up the road to the castle. Their path was blocked by ranks upon ranks of changelings. They’re must have been thousands standing there. A bright shimmering shield surrounded them, shots from Keyan’s guns impacted it. The shield flared brightly but still held.
“Aura, do that speaker thing again I have to ask Twilight something.”
“Very well sir”
“Twilight? does the road to the castle have any significant historical value?”
A camera focused on Twilight,
“Other than being there since the founding of Canterlot? No not really.”
Twilight looked at the changeling shield. Thousands of changelings were maintaining it, even Celestia would have a hard time breaking it.
“What are you going to do Key?” Rainbow asked.
“I’m gonna use my 425s, should take care of that shield no problem.”
The group watched as Keyan’s main weapons emerged from his ship. All breaths were being held as the guns aligned with the horde of Changelings.
Now, the world was not silent by any means at this moment. The cries of the injured mixed with the thunder of smaller autocannons. It created a horrific orchestrated symphony of death in the air. But when these guns fired, they could hear it.
Rhythmic booms sounded from the cannons as they opened fire. The shells impacted the shield, the solid hunks of metal exploding into thousands of bits of shrapnel on contact. The second volley caused cracks to appear on the shield. The third made it collapse. The three volleys happened in half a second.
Sadly for the changelings protected by the shield, the sudden collapse allowed the shrapnel through. Like a rain of knives, that were travelling at hundreds of feet per second coincidentally, they cut into the changeling ranks.
The changelings carapaces were capable of stopping a spear thrust but provided no protection against the hail of metal. The shrapnel impacted the changeling bodies, passing through to the other side with little resistance, dragging bits of entrails and organs behind them.
Then the intact shells hit.
They didn’t even have to be aimed really.
Great hunks of earth were torn from the ground, bellowing out in clouds. Rocks and soil rained back down, burying the corpses.
Changelings were thrown of the points of impact, limbs and bodies being torn asunder.
The front few ranks of Changelings engaged with the Royal Guard quickly fell when all their support was ripped apart. Like a river the legion of guards poured towards the castle, the decimated changeling lines giving little resistance.
“NO NO NO NO!” The changeling that had zapped Chrysalis shouted. “THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING!”
All of a sudden Twilight felt a breeze and turned to find its source.
Cadence and Shining Armor were surrounded by a pink glow and were floating above the ground.
With a sudden burst of magic a pink sphere exploded from the two. Every changeling in the room was caught on it and sent hurling through the air. The lucky being sent crashing through windows, the unlucky into stone walls.
Chrysalis, who was still weeping on the floor, hardly reacted as she was thrown from the throne room into the sky.
Keyan didn’t know what the hell just happened but damn was he thankful. Whatever it was it picked up all the changelings and sent the hurling off into the distance. Fortunately for the ponies it picked up everything changeling, including the bodies and blood. Needless to say, Keyan felt bad for whoever lived where they landed.
He saw a unique figure amidst the monotony of the routed swarm. For a brief second he considered leaving Chrysalis to her fate, but to her credit she did try to stop this.
“Aura, get her in a tractor beam before she gets out of range”
The ponies in the throne room were in shock, except for Cadence and Shining Armor who were in a rather heated lip lock.
Cries of, “I’m sorry!” and “I love you so much!” could be heard from both of them. Twilight pointedly looked away from that.
All the ponies were jumping up and down in joy, thankfully they did not have to see the actual gore of the fighting or their attitude would be really different.
Celestia walked up to the radio that was left unattended on the ground.
“Keyan, can you hear me?” She said softly.
“Yea princess, loud and clear.”
“Equestria is in you debt Keyan.”
“Thats the second time now right?” Came the snarky reply.
Celestia continued undeterred,
“If there is anything I can do for you, do not hesitate to ask.”
There was a long pause on the other end.
“Keyan?” Celestia asked.
“Can I come to the wedding Princess? I thinks its time to meet you in person.”
“In Pony!” Pinkie Pie interrupted.
“That doesn’t even make sense Pinkie.” Came the exasperated reply.
“Well you would have to ask the bride and groom Keyan.” Celestia said. She turned towards the couple in question, who were still locked in a heated lip and tongue battle.
Shining Armor managed a slight nod.
“Well, that that's a yes then. I look forward to meeting you Keyan”
“As do I Princess. I’ll be there for the wedding”
The radio beeped.
Celestia walked to a shattered window and looked down on the city below. Wisps of smoke wavered up into the sky in a few places. A fair number of houses were destroyed, and craters of Keyan’s guns littered the streets.
The damage would take some time to repair, but it could have been worse.
“Princess?” Twilight said trotting up to her side. Her face opened wide as she saw the city below.
“Do not worry Twilight. The damage could have been worse, believe me. You didn't see Canterlot after the Griffin Wars. This will be fixed in time.”
The two of them turned back to the others and Celestia said,
“Lets fix what we can now, and in a few days we'll try the wedding again."
3 days after the failed invasion Keyan stood in front of the body-length mirror in his quarters. He nervously fiddled with the tight color of his dress uniform. The outfit was expensive, the material it is made out of comes out of a single planet in the Minmatar Empire. The method behind it was a closely guarded secret.
He looked at himself again and shot a cocky smirk to the mirror.
“Damn, I look good,” he said as he adjusted his sleeves.
The outfit he was wearing was primarily a silky black. The high collar and long sleeves provided an air of authority, and the gold trim on the outfit bespoke of class. The creased pants and highly polished black shoes completed the image.
“You think I’m ready Aura? Can’t say I've gone to a wedding before,” he asked the A.I.
After a moment the ship’s speakers turned on to deliver the A.I's reply,
“Yes sir. I do believe you are ready.”
“Damn straight I am Aura. Lets go!” he said as he started to make his way to the shuttle bay.
“Whats the status on the repairs to the city Aura?” he asked the A.I as he turned a corner.
“With the help of your 2 repair drones and the ponies’ magic repairs are progressing at an astounding rate. I predict all repairs will be completed in 2-3 weeks sir.”
“Good. And did you get the casualty reports from Celestia yet?”
“Yes sir. The final count is 376 dead, and 1800 injured. From a population of 126,857 ponies these figures are astounding.”
“Lets just count our blessings Aura.”
“Very well sir”
Keyan turned another corner and didn’t slow down as the door in front of him hissed open. Stepping into the shuttle bay Keyan’s pace didn’t falter as he made his way into a shuttle.
He sat down with a grunt on one of the seats.
“Alright Aura, take me down.”
“Very well sir”
Celestia watched as the familiar contrail of Keyan’s shuttle descended from the heavens. Looking to her side she saw Luna standing stiffly. She nudged her slightly,
“We… I am calm sister. I am merely worried for our subjects reaction.”
Celestia nodded slightly. The appearance of Keyan’s ship certainly caused a ripple through the nation. At first ponies in Canterlot were grateful for Keyan’s timely arrival, but soon it started to dissolve into hysteria. Thankfully a quick intervention by the two sisters was able to calm the populace down and the spirit of “love and tolerance” were quickly being applied to the helpful alien.
On her other side were Twilight and friends. The former could barely contain herself, she was literally shaking in anticipation. When she heard Keyan was meeting them in person she immediately went to the library to research proper diplomatic greetings. It had taken the combined effort of Applejack and Rainbow Dash to drag her out of there.
The others were in similar states. Rainbow’s wings kept twitching, slightly bumping Twilight every now and then. Applejack was nervously spit polishing her hat and smoothing the ruffles out of her dress. Rarity was checking her appearance in a much more refined manner. Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie rounded off the group, the former was eyeing the descending shuttle with a calm lookr, and Pinkie’s was bouncing in place and muffled whispers of “Welcome to Equestria party!” floated from her direction.
Celestia turned back to the shuttle that was making its final approach now.
“15 seconds sir.”
Keyan stood up and faced the door, nervously performing a final check on the state of his outfit.
“Alright,” he said to himself, “Calming down in, 3….2...1.”
As he finished his countdown all traces of anxiety disappeared from his face, this was a useful trick he picked up through many firefights in space. Fighting without a clear head was a surefire way to find yourself short one ship.
Keyan felt the shuttle touchdown.
“Lets do this”
The door opened with a hiss.
Twilight could barely contain herself as she watched the door open, far far too slowly for her tastes.
And then Bam, there Keyan was.
The first thing Twilight noticed was the lack of a coat of fur, completely bare except for some on his face. Speaking about his face, there was no muzzle, the nose was small, as were the eyes. His mane was short too, but that wasn't different than most stallions. Then she realized he was tall, at least as tall as Celestia. His clothes looked extremely expensive, Rarity would be impressed. His arms were clasped behind his back giving an air of authority.
He took a step forward, making a metallic clank as his shoe hit the ramp. A second step followed and then another. Soon he was standing in the Castle Courtyard, the first alien to do so.
As one two ranks of guards stepped forward and formed two ranks, slamming their spears on the ground as they did so. They formed two sides of a path leading to group of ponies waiting for him. The crowd that positively filled the courtyard was dead silent.
Keyan took a step, the sound reverberating through the air. The second quickly followed suit.
A few later, roughly a quarter of the way towards them Keyan’s path was cut off by a gray mare suddenly appearing from the crowd in front of him. Everypony present took a collective gasp, not knowing what the alien was going to do.
Keyan almost took a step back as the gray pegasus appeared in front of him. She gave him a goofy grin as her eyes slowly drifted apart from one another.
“Hello?” Keyan said softly.
The mare jumped, as if suddenly realizing what was in front of her. Keyan’s brow furrowed in confusion as the mare turned away from him. Even more so when Keyan realized she was searching around in her saddlebags for something.
After a few seconds She turned back to him with two things in hand(hoof?): a letter and a muffin. She gave him another smile as she held them out to him, urging him to take them.
Keyan slowly reached out his hand, he took the letter first. Opening it up carefully he pulled out the letter contained within,
Hi Mr. Alien!
Thank you for saving my friend!!
Keyan looked back up towards the mare, whose face had split into an even wider smile. She was still holding the offered muffin. It was pretty small, sized for a normal pony Keyan supposed, but for him it was a little more than a bite.
He took it and after looking it over for a few seconds popped it into his mouth. He let chewed it for a few seconds before his face broke out into a huge grin as the taste rolled over his mouth.
“Its really good,” he said, although the message was distorted by the muffin still in his mouth.
“I made it myself!” the mare suddenly said, “its my secret recipe!”
“Well, I’ll have to have more sometime.”
Derpy eagerly nodded,
“Do you want to meet my filly?” she suddenly asked, a hopeful expression on her face.
Keyan couldn’t say no to those eyes.
“I would love to.”
Derpy sped off with a grin on her face, disappearing into crowd easily. Before Keyan could take a look around the courtyard she reappeared in front of him, this time cradling a purple filly in her arms.
The filly looked at Keyan with wide eyes before burying her face into her mom.
“Say hello Dinky,” Derpy said softly.
The filly mumbled an incomprehensible response into her moms shoudler.
Apparently Derpy could understand her though,,
“I know hes scary Dinky, but don’t be rude.”
“Yes you can have extra desert.”
Keyan chuckled as the filly began twisting in her mother’s arms. After a few moments of struggling the filly was once again staring at him with wide eyes.
“Hey mister alien, I’m Dinky.” She said in a frightened voice.
Keyan tried putting on a comforting face, it wasn’t exactly something he had practiced before.
“Good to meet you Dinky, I’m Keyan.,” he replied as he held out his hand in front of her.
Dinky stared at it for a few seconds before slowly extending her own. Keyan smiled as he gripped her tiny hoof in his hand, and was elated to see her finally smile back. Keyan looked back up at Derpy,
“Nice meeting you too, but would you mind letting me through to the princess?” he asked her.
Derpy nodded and flew off wherever, calling out over shoulder, “Nice meeting you!” as she did so.
Keyan cleared his throat and replaced his hands behind his back, politician mode was now on again.
He resumed his pace towards the princesses, eyeing the guards as he did so. They were obviously well trained, but a few pairs of eyes followed him as he made his way down the aisle.
He stopped a few steps away from the princesses. He locked eyes with Celestia and Luna and gave them a deep bow.
“Your Majesties, it is an honor to finally meet you.” Keyan said loudly. Projecting his voice so the assembled mass could hear him. “And may I say, you both look positively ravishing.” He added in a much lower volume with an accompanying wink.
Celestia didn’t allow the remark to phase her, although her lips curved slightly upwards. Luna on the other hand glared at him, but couldn’t stop the slight blush from rising to her cheeks.
“Captain” Celestia spoke, “It is an honor to welcome you to Equestria Captain. I hope your stay here is pleasant.”
“I certainly hope so too your majesty.”
Keyan gave Celestia another, shorter, bow and then stepped in front of Luna.
“Princess Luna, It is a pleasure to meet you, and I must compliment you on your night. I am a huge fan.”
Luna straightened her neck, trying to match the height of the slightly taller human,
“Thank you Captain, It is always good to hear praise for our night.” Luna’s voice hitched slightly at the end of her sentence but quickly continued, “And welcome to Equestria.”
Keyan noted that for later and gave her a short bow before continuing onto Twilight. She was the first normal sized pony Keyan saw this close. She looked up at Keyan with wide eyes, her neck craning upwards to see him adequately. Keyan winked and kneeled down in front of her. She drew back slightly in surprise when he suddenly became eye level with her. He gave her a grin.
“Twilight Sparkle, It is an honor to meet you in person. I hope my appearance doesn’t alarm you to much.”
Twilight saw the bait to get her to overreact, she had talked to him so much she could easily spot his attempts.
“Not at all Captain, I think our friendship will only grow from here. And please, call me Twilight.”
Keyan nodded at her and moved over to Rainbow Dash.
“How are the wings?” he asked quietly.
She looked over her shoulders and gave them a few flaps.
“They’re perfect,” she said in a small voice.
She suddenly turned back to Keyan and stared at him for a second. Keyan wondered what she was thinking but that question was quickly answered as she threw her legs around him, pulling him into a deep hug. Keyan hesitated for a seconds before returning it.
“Thanks you Key, thank you,” she said softly.
Keyan patted her back comfortingly,
“No problem Rainbow. Friends don’t leave friends hanging right?”
Keyan could feel Rainbow break out into a smile.
“Thats my line.”
They held the hug for another few seconds before Rainbow pulled back from him. Keyan gave her another smile before moving to Applejack.
He immediately held out his hand,
“Raincheck on that handshake?”
Applejack smiled at him and immediately grabbed his hand. Keyan idly wondered how she did that with hooves but quickly stomped that down, it wasn't worth worrying himself over. The thing that was worth worrying over was the crushing amount of pain he was feeling in his hand as Applejack firmly shook his hand.
“Pleasure to met ya partner!” she said jovially.
“Yea, same here,” Keyan choked out through the pain.
Eventually Applejack released him, and to her credit only laughed for a second when she saw his expression. Keyan glared at her as he moved on to Rarity.
Rarity eyed him up and down for a few seconds,
“Well, for such an uncouth gentlecolt you certainly can clean up well.”
“Rarity, I know I didn’t make the best first impression, and I’m sorry. But lets at least try to get along okay?”
Rarity stared at him for a few seconds,
“Well, I suppose I can overlook you previous behavior, But, only if you give me some of that absolutely wonderful fabric your outfit is made of!”
“I’m not sure what I have, but I’ll look around.”
Rarity flashed him a smile that melted roughly half the stallions in the crowd.
Keyan stepped in front of Fluttershy, who was surprisingly not acting very shy.
“Its good to meet you Keyan,” she said in a tender voice, “I hope you like it here.”
Keyan looked at her,
“Are you okay Fluttershy? I thought you would be more… shy?” He offered hesitantly.
“Well, you’re my friend. And I shouldn’t be shy around my friends,” she said wih a small smile.
“That works for me.”
He let out a yelp of surprise as Pinkie Pie pulled him to her with an iron leg.
“Listen Keyan, I have one question and one question only, “ she was uncharacteristically serious.
“Go ahead” Keyan said as he nodded dumbly.
Pinkie looked around as if checking for eavesdroppers,
“Are you ready to party?”
Keyan looked seriously back at her,
“good” came Pinkie’s simple reply.
Keyan waited for an inevitable shenanigan but when none occurred he hesitantly stood up.
Well, he tried to at least. What he didn't expect was the orange and purple blur to try to tackle him. It would have worked if the blurs mass was greater.
Keyan looked down on the bundle now located in his arms,
“Hey Scoots, how you doin?”
The filly smiled sheepishly up at him,
“Hey Key. I thought that would work better.”
Keyan smiled and stood up, placing the filly on his shoulders in the process. He turned back the the Princess, who had a smile on her face. Keyan couldn’t help but make a comment,
“I could do this for you too Princess if you laid off the cake a bit.”
All the ponies near Keyan stared at him in shock as his comment drifted over their ears. They ranged from shock to anger, not the best way to make a first impression. Keyan stood there, once again cursing his big mouth. His gaze shifted over to Twilight and friends, who were standing there with frozen expressions.
The awkward silence continued for a few seconds, but much to Keyan’s surprise it was Rarity who broke the silence. A single giggle escaped her lips before she clamped a hoof over her mouth, her cheeks reddening to an extraordinary degree. This broke the damn as Rainbow Dash immediately broke out into peals of laughter. Keyan managed a weak grin at Celestia, who was looking at him with a raised eyebrow. Lune looked positively engraged.
“Captain, I assure you, even if I were to “lay off” the cake, I would still be far more mare than you could handle,” Celestia said with a small smirk.
Luna turned to her sister in shock, surely she expected her vaporize Keyan on the spot.
“Ponies aren’t my thing Princess, but thank you for the offer.”
This caused Applejack to join Rainbow in laughter. But now Twilight was glaring at him with Luna.
Celestia chuckled lightly at the comeback,
“Duly noted Captain. But come, we have a wedding to attend.”
Apparently seeing the Princess wasn’t offended was enough for the crowd to disregard Keyan’s earlier statement. Luna and Twilight still stared daggers at him, but oh well, can’t win them all.
Celestia motioned for Keyan to step up next to her and Luna. When he did so they both turned as one and started up the steps to the Palace. After a few seconds the two ranks of guards fell in line behind them.
Scootaloo, who still remained on top of his head, leaned down into his vision.
“Keyan! You have to meet my friends! We’re gonna be the flower fillies!”
Keyan chucked and reached up a hand to ruffle her mane.
“Sure, I’d love to Scoots.”
Scootaloo batted his hand away,
“Don’t touch my mane! you’ll mess it up!”
“I didn’t think you would be the one care about that Scoots.”
She shot him a smirk,
“Hey, everyponies gotta look good sometimes.”
“You’re more like me than I thought!”
A short while later Keyan found himself mingling with ponies while they waited for the ceremony to start. He wasn’t able to meet Scootaloo’s friends as they had to go get ready. Scootaloo herself had to go as well, leaving Keyan alone in the sea of ponies.
Well, except for Luna, who Celestia had ordered to mingle as well.
Currently the two of them were standing off to the side of the room at a table, neither really wanted to deal the the posh nobles. But sadly, this put the two of them together.
“So Luna,” Keyan began, “are you enjoying yourself?”
Luna glanced at Keyan over the table,
“Perhaps I would if the company was better.”
Keyan’s first thought was to shoot a rude retort back to her, but the slight rise her in her lips showed what she was trying to do.
“Not gonna work Luna,” he replied.
Luna broke out in a small smile,
“What does thine accuse us of?” she asked turning to face Keyan.
Keyan rolled his eyes,
“Nothing Princess, nothing.”
Luna licked her lips,
“So Keyan. you promised me a return visit to thine ship.”
“That I did”
Keyan chuckled. Luna’s tone was the same one a filly would have.
“Sometime after the wedding. Let me get known here and then I can take you up okay?”
Luna nodded slightly,
“That is acceptable. But make it post-haste Captain. I do not like to be kept waiting.”
“Eager to get back into my bed huh?”
Luna spit out her drink as a blush leapt to her face. She tried sputtering out a response. Keyan broke out into laughter.
“You should see your face princess!”
Luna once again tried to respond but was once again inhibited. After a few more moments both Luna and Keyan managed to quiet themselves down. Her blush once again under control, Luna turned back to Keyan,
“You are the most infuriating alien I have ever met.”
“But I’m also the most good looking.”
Luna let out an exasperated sigh and buried her head in her hooves. Keyan stopped laughing and reached across the table. He gently patted Luna on the back,
“I’m sorry Princess, you just make it too easy.”
Luna sat back up and stared at him,
“What's it like?”
Her tone was almost somber. The sudden change startled Keyan who looked at the Princess confusedly,
“What’s what like?”
Luna turned her head and looked out the window,
“Traveling the stars Keyan. What’s it like?”
Keyan stroked his goatee for a while, no one had ever asked him this before. Eventually he said,
“Thats a hard question Luna.”
Keyan took a sip of his drink and followed Luna’s gaze out the window. The sun was nearing the horizon, and the ceremony was set to take place at sunset.
“Its beautiful. I’ll give you that. I’ve seen some things that are nothing short of spectacular,” he looked over at the princess, “I’ll show them to you some day.”
“That would be nice.”
Keyan smiled back,
“And trust me. You haven’t seen hectic until you see Jita on a discount day. Its the main market hub of the galaxy, so theres thousands upon thousands of ships there. The amount of isk flowing through there every day is insane. Theres people dueling each other, it's quite the light show.”
Luna was lost in thought trying to picture it.
“But if you want a light show, you should see two alliances go at it. Hundreds of capital ships, some of which that have enough firepower to destroy Canterlot in a single shot, if not the planet. Hundreds of thousands of drones swarming ships. Shield and energy transfer arrays, remote armor reps working overtime. Thousands of smaller ships, fighting in between the capital ships. And you haven’t seen fireworks until one of those cap ships bites it.”
“And what of their crews?” Luna interjected.
Keyan’s face dropped,
“They don’t matter Luna. Millions die every battle, they’re just a statistic.”
Luna winced at his words, they sounded practiced. He had been told to think this, and apparently everyone else in his world did so too. She reached out and placed a comforting hoof on his shoulder,
“And what of your friends Keyan?”
Keyan managed a weak smile,
“Friends are hard to come by up there Luna. Most of the people I know would sell me out in a heartbeat if the price was big enough,” he sighed, “but there are a few good ones. This guy named Copheros is one, I’m sure he’s out there looking for me, there are maybe 5 others that I would trust,” He smiled at Luna, “You girls are my first new friends in years,” Keyan looked back at Luna, “why do you want to know?”.
Luna pursed her lips,
“I spent 1000 years on the moon Keyan. There were two things for me to watch, The stars or Equestria. When I stared at Equestria I wanted revenge. But when I stared at the stars, I saw freedom. It has been a dream of mine for centuries to travel them.”
Her voice had dropped towards the end. Keyan reached up and grabbed the hoof on his shoulder,
“For what its worth Luna, I’m more of a fan of the night than the day. And besides, you’re much better looking than your sister.”
Luna’s blush hit her face like a cruise missile. Thankfully, she was saved when their conversation was interrupted by a polite cough next to their table. They both turned to see two white unicorns standing there. Judging from their posture and clothes they were very well off.
“Good evening your majesty,” the pony spoke and then turned to Keyan, “and to you as well Captain. And may I say what an honor it is to meet you,” he finished his statement with a deep bow that was mirrored by the mare next to him.
Keyan moved to stand in front of them and returned the bow and with as much poshness as he could muster he said,
“The honor is all mine. May I have the privilege of knowing your name, as well as the name of the lovely mare next to you,” he finished his sentence by kneeling down in front of the two ponies.
The stallion stood up tall,
“I am Fancy Pants, and the “lovely” mare next to me is my wife, Fleur de Lis,” he motioned towards said mare.
She held up a hoof gracefully and spoke in a lightly accented melodic voice,
“Charmed to meet you Captain.”
Keyan smiled and gently lifted up her hoof,
“The pleasure is all mine milady. And please, call me Keyan,” he punctuated his sentence by giving her hoof a small kiss.
She giggled daintly,
“My my, what a gentlecolt, and please call me Fleur.”
Keyan gave her a winning grin and turned back to Fancy Pants. He extended his hand and Fancy Pants grasped(?) it in his hoof.
“Captain, If you would please I would love to have you over to my house for dinner, you must have the most interesting stories,” Fancy Pants said with a small smile.
“I would be honored, but I’m afraid I can’t set a date right now, my schedule for the next few days is still undecided.”
Fancy Pants gave a polite nod,
“I understand you must be busy, but please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any assistance… acclimating to our society.”
Keyan bowed slightly,
“Your help is greatly appreciated. And please, call me Keyan.”
“Very well Keyan. I’m afraid Fleur and I can’t stay to chat any longer, we just wanted to introduce ourselves, and there are other ponies to mingle with.”
“I understand. I hope you two have a wonderful night. I’ll look for you after the ceremony.”
“Of course, but until then, Farewell.”
Keyan watched as the two unicorns headed back towards the others. After seeing them disappear in the crowd he turned back to Luna.
“How was that?” he asked with a smile.
Luna stared at him like he grew two heads.
“You infuriate me you know that?” Luna asked.
“Why do you say that?”
Luna threw her hooves up in the air and planted her face in the table.
“I give up.”
Keyan smiled as he looked at the distraught princess. He reached out a hand and patted her head gently.
“Don’t worry Woona, you’ll be okay.”
“I hate you”
“Luna, I’ve been meaning to ask you, you’re speaking a lot less formally than when I first met you. What’s up with that?”
Luna sat back up and cleared her throat,
“I’ve been practicing on how “normal” ponies act in these times, and am doing my best to “fit in”, as they say it nowadays.”
“Good for you princess.”
Their conversation was interrupted once again by a pony clearing their throat. The two of them turned to see a Solar Guard standing there awkwardly,
“My apologies, but Shining Armor has requested the Captain’s presence.”
Keyan rolled his eyes,
“What does he need me for? Its not like hes going through a nervous breakdown or anything.”
Keyan walked down the hallway, the guard in front of him leading the way. The guard was quiet, his hoof steps echoing through the empty palace. And speaking of the palace, Keyan was pretty impressed, it was roughly 20% cooler than his quarters on his ship.
“So?” Keyan said hesitantly, “what’s it like being in the military?”
After a few more echoing steps the guard responded,
“It keeps you on your hooves, I’ll say that. The princesses can be a bit hard to handle sometimes.”
Keyan raised an eyebrow,
“What do you mean by that?”
The guard was silent for a moment, pondering on what exactly he should tell the alien.
“Celestia is interesting. During the day she is every bit the ruler you expect. But during the night she can get… playful.”
Keyan burst out laughing,
“Is that why she keeps you guards around? To scratch an itch?”
The guard stopped and stared at the capsuleer for a few seconds. Eventually he got what Keyan was insinuating and his visibly blanched and blushed at the same time.
“No no no no no, not like that. How could you even think that! She’s the princess!”
Keyan just laughed harder and after calming himself down he looked back at the guard,
“She’s the Princess of the Sun right? Doesn’t that mean she has a……. Hot flank?”
The guard gave Keyan the flattest stare of all the flat stares ever given,
“Dude, that was bucking awful.”
Keyan was laughing way too hard to care.
“Oh come on! That was comedic gold!”
The guard shook his head in disbelief.
“How is it that the first alien to come to Equestria is an idiot.”
Keyan took another look at the guard and burst out laughing again. After a few more moments Keyan regained control of himself. He gave the guard another nod and they continued down the hallway.
“Hey dude can I ask one more question?” Keyan said.
The guard sighed,
“Did Luna ever moon you?”
A short while later Keyan found himself outside a door. The guard turned to the capsuleer and said,
“Hes through here. And try not to be to harsh on him, hes a bit stressed out.”
Keyan nodded and stepped inside the room. It was richly furnished, and a full length mirror had a dominant place on the wall. Standing in front of it was Shining Armor in a dress uniform.
Hearing the door open he turned around to face Keyan.
“Hey Key, hows it going man?” he said with a smile.
Keyan walked further into the room hesitantly, the guard said he was having a nervous breakdown and those were never good.
“I’m doing fine Shining. How are you?” Keyan responded, wary for a sudden snap in the stallions demeanor.
“Fine fine, come on in and sit down,” Shining said while motioning towards a couch.
Keeping his eye on Shining, Keyan moved towards the couch and sat down slowly. Shining took a seat opposite him and an awkward silence soon hung in the air between them. Eventually Keyan cleared his throat and said,
“So… the guard said you were having a nervous breakdown.:
Shining nervously fidgeted back and forth,
“Why would he say that? I’m perfectly fine can’t you see?”
Keyan eyed the stallion up and down.
“Yea, you seem pretty fine to me right now.”
“WELL I’M NOT!!” Shining suddenly yelled, slamming his hooves onto the coffee table in front of him.
Keyan stared at him,
The stallion’s shoulders deflated.
“Everything,” he said in a small voice.
“If you had to give me an answer, what would you say?”
A thump accompanied Shining’s head’s impact on the table.
“She tricked me, it was my job to keep everypony safe and I failed.”
After thinking for a few moments Keyan reached out a hand and gently patted him on the back,
“From the story I heard Chrysalis tricked everypony, including Celestia, and she’s thousands of years older than you.”
Shining picked his head up and looked at Keyan,
“But it was my job. And she replaced my wife! How could I miss that!?”
“Her entire purpose is infiltration dude. Believe me, I’ve met some people like her. Some of my alliance’s spies are pretty intense, I heard stories of them bringing down entire fleets single handedly,” Keyan mentally shook himself to get back on track, Shinign did not need to hear stories like that, “but either way it all worked out fine this time be happy for that,”
Shining stared at him for a few seconds,
“But it was my-”
“For fucks sake dude shut up. Shit happens,” Keyan interrupted him, “now pull yourself together, you’re getting married in like half an hour.”
“Shut up dude. I know you feel bad, but honestly, I don’t know what you want me to say. I’m a capsuleer not a psychiatrist.”
Shining froze for a few moments after the slap before responding,
“Thanks, I needed that.”
“Good. Now come on, you have a wedding to finish.”
“One more thing Key, will you be one of my groomsmen?”
Keyan looked at him in shock,
“I need another and you’re my friend, so it can’t hurt right?”
Keyan was silent for a long time.
“Thats…” Keyan trailed off while thinking of the right word. He cleared his throat and continued, “Yea, I’d love to man.”
Shining’s face broke out in a huge grin,
“Awesome! But ummm… Key. I have one more question,and its sort of private.”
Keyan took one look at Shining’s face and the blush covering it and immediately stood up.
“Listen dude, figure that out for yourself. Cause I don’t want to hear shit about that shit.”
Shining chuckled nervously,
“I suppose I can understand that.”
He stood up and both of them headed towards the door.
“Just… don’t skip the foreplay alright?”
Half an hour later Keyan stood next to Spike on Shining Armor’s side of the alter. The girls were on Cadence’s side and each wore a grin on their face.
“My little ponies,” Celestia began, “we are gathered here today to join….”
Keyan knew he should pay attention, but this emotional stuff was never his thing. For the rest of the ceremony he drifted in and out, paying attention at some points and less at others.
Eventually Cadence and Shining kissed and the cheering of the crowd brought Keyan back from sleep mode. He focused just in time to see one of the greatest fireworks displays in the history of the galaxy. The multicolored explosion raced across the sky with Rainbow Dash at its center. Looking beside him he saw Twilight staring with something a bit stronger than fascination.
A short while later Rainbow Dash landed in front of them,
“How was that?” She asked with a smirk.
“Awesome!” Both Keyan and Twilight said at the same time.
“Now what?” Rainbow asked.
“WE PARTY!” Pinkie suddenly shouted, a cloud of confetti magically appearing around her.
Love is bloom. A beautiful bride, a handsome groom…
Keyan leaned against a table smiling at the scene in front of him. Ponies dancing was one of the funniest things he had ever seen. But Twilight sure did have a great singing voice. His foot was matching the beat when he heard hoofsteps making their way to him. He smiled as he saw Luna walking up to him,
“A joyous occasion is it not?” She asked.
“One of the better parties I’ve been to,” Keyan responded, “I don’t have to deal with annoying politicians.”
Luna leaned up against the other side of the table,
“Is there any other kind?”
They both shared a laugh at this.
“So why are you not dancing Keyan?” Luna eventually asked.
“I’ve never really been one to do it.”
“I believe you are just scared of embarrassing yourself.”
Keyan’s eyes narrowed at the challenge,
“How much you wanna bet, the next waltz there is, me and my partner will freaking rock the dance floor.”
Luna rubbed her chin thoughtfully,
“If you go out there, and do not “rock the dance floor” as you say, you must walk around the palace 3 times in a dress.”
“And if I win you have to publicly declare, “Keyan is best Alien”.”
Luna’s eyes narrowed,
“As false as that statement is, I accept.”
Keyan leaned back,
“Good,” he turned towards the crowd to search for a suitable partner. After scanning for a few seconds his gaze fell on a familiar purple mane.
”Rarity!” Keyan called out getting the mares attention, “would you mind coming out here?”
With a face that said that that was one of the last things she wanted to do, she trotted over,
“How can I help you?” She asked curtly.
Keyan motioned towards Luna,
“The princess and I have a little wager going. She bets that I can’t dance a waltz. And I need a partner.”
Rarity raised an eyebrow,
“What are the terms of this wager?”
“If I lose, I have to walk around the palace 3 times in a dress. And if I win Luna has to declare me the best alien.”
“And you want me to be your partner I assume?”
Rarity thought for a second, weighing the possibility of embarrassment on the dance floor vs the thought of Keyan walking around in a dress.
“I suppose I could accept your offer, in the confidence that you will do nothing to embarrass me.”
“Of course not. And can I assume you can stand on your hind legs?”
Rarity thought for a moment,
“If I have something to lean on yes I suppose I could.”
“Excellent, lets just wait for the song to start.”
A few minutes later Twilight’s song ended, and with Luna’s request,a small string ensemble set themselves up. Keyan looked at Rarity and motioned towards the dance floor. Receiving a nod in return they both stepped out. An excited murmur ean through the crowd as they caught site of him. Twilight stared at him with an interested look.
When the two of them reached the center of the dance floor they turned to each other. Keyan reached down a hand and Rarity daintly lifted a hoof into it. Using that as a step Rarity lifted herself onto her hind legs. When she did this she was a head smaller than Keyan. They assumed the waltz position and Keyan gave her a small smirk.
A charcoal grey mare with a black mare counted off and the waltz began.
With elegance that surprised Luna, Keyan lead Rarity through the dance. With graceful dips and twirls they moved across the dance floor. Everypony else was wowed into silence.
Keyan chuckled as he watched Spike lead Sweetie Belle onto the dance floor next to them. Their movements were about as good as one would expect them to be, but it provided a far amount of d’awww to the performance.
With a final flourish Keyan dipped Rarity and held the pose as the music slowly died off. Keyan smirked as Rarity looked up at him with a reddened face. With a slight pant he returned Rarity to her own four hooves.
A soft oomph from next to them signaled Spike and Sweetie Belle’s failed attempt imitating the move. With matching blushes they extricated themselves from each other. A widespread round of applause exploded from the assembled crowd as Sweetie Belle kissed Spike lightly on the cheek. They both muttered a goodbye as they awkwardly shuffled off the dance floor.
“Well, I have to say Keyan, that certainly was a pleasant surprise.” Rarity said a little short of breath.
“You don’t get go to alliance balls without picking up a thing or two.,” Keyan replied with a smile.
“Well then, I’m going to go get some water. I’m quite parched after that performance,” Rarity said.
Keyan gave Rarity a deep bow and kissed her lightly on her hoof,
“Until next time milady”
Rarity rolled her eyes and trotted away. Spinning on his heels with a flourish, Keyan walked back to the table Luna was now sulking at with mass amounts of swagger. Humming a dainty tune Keyan leaned onto the table, He picked up a convientely placed toothpick and started idly picking his teeth,
“So princess…” He gave her a winning grin, “Who is best Alien?”
Luna gave him a flat stare.
“You are the most infuriating thing I have ever met.”
Keyan leaned on the table, staring at the pouting Luna. She was currently resting her chin on the table and staring at Keyan with a look of resignation.
“Fine, be sure to purchase a copy of tomorrow's news paper to frame it,” Luna said with a sigh.
Keyan ruffled her mane,
“Oh come on Luna, don’t pout.”
Luna batted his hand away and glared at him,
“I am not pouting.”
Celestia’s voice suddenly spoke from behind them,
“He does have a point Sister. You do look rather… sulky.”
Luna sputtered and rounded on her sister,
“Why are you taking his side?”
Celestia stepped closer and nuzzled her sister.
“I heard about your bet, and I’m sorry that you lost. But a bet is a bet and you must pay up.”
Luna let her head drop to the table with a small thud. Celestia turned to Keyan,
“Her announcement will be the headline in tomorrow's paper. I suggest you frame a copy of it.”
With her business finished Celestia bid the two of them goodbye and trotted away. Keyan turned back to Luna with a grin,
“You heard your sister. I want “LUNA DECLARES KEYAN BEST ALIEN” in big bold letters.”
Luna gave Keyan a death glare, which was somewhat diminished from her heads position on the table.
“Why are you leaving your head on the table is it comfortable?”
Keyan put his chin down on the table across from Luna. The grin on his face matched the scowl on hers.
A polite cough interrupted their staring contest and two sets of eyes turned to take in the newcomer. Cadence was standing there in her wedding dress with a small smile on her face.
“Captain, you’ve been here for hours and haven’t felt the need to say hello to the bride?”
Keyan chuckled awkwardly and turned to face her.
“My apologies, I have been rather busy today. Meeting politicians and dealing with nervous grooms are pretty taxing activities.”
Cadence chuckled knowingly,
“Do these activities include causing this?” she said motioning towards the still brooding Luna.
“Nah, She lost a bet and isn’t acting her age.”
Cadence took another look at Luna. Apparently deciding something in her head she walked up to her and jabbed her in the side with her hoof. Luna let out a yelp and tumbled to the ground. Keyan couldn’t help but break out in laughter.
Cadence trotted over and whispered something into Luna’s ear. They both took a glance towards Keyan before whispering to each other again. Keyan raised an eyebrow as they both stood up and trotted over to him.
“I apologize Captain, I must borrow Luna for a little while. I hope you can entertain yourself for a bit.”
Keyan looked at the two of them skeptically, his conspiracy alarm was going off the charts.
“I’m sure I could manage. And Princess, call me Keyan.”
Cadence gave Keyan a small nod and the two princesses trotted off into the crowd. Keyan watched them go with no small amount of trepidation.
A short while later Keyan found himself in the main ballroom where tables full of food were set up and a crowd of ponies were happily gorging themselves. Keyan was currently holding a plate piled high with food and was happily munching his way through some apple dish that Applejack had made.
Spinning on his heels Keyan made his way to a table. He gave the ponies he passed by a polite nod. He pulled out a chair and sat down with a sigh. He reached down and took a bit of some other apple snack.
“Hey Key!” A voice called out above the din.
Keyan swallowed his bite and looked to see Rainbow, Scootaloo, and Fluttershy making their way towards him. He smiled as they took a seat next to him. Feeling a poke on his legs Keyan looked down to see Scootaloo looking up at him with puppy dog eyes.
Rolling his eyes Keyan picked up the filly and placed her on his shoulders. She now had a wide smile plastered on her face. He turned back to the other two. Rainbow quickly smothered a weird look and Fluttershy had a small smile.
“So how are you guys doing?” Keyan asked.
“Awesome!” Rainbow exclaimed, “this party is insane!”
“Pretty good…” Fluttershy replied in a small voice.
Keyan turned his gaze to Scootaloo,
“And you? where are the other two?”
“Sweetie Belle is with Spike, and Apple Bloom is with her sister. Rainbow said she was trying to find you so I decided to tag along.”
“So Key,” Rainbow began, “how in the hay did you learn to dance that good? Rarity hasn’t shut up since.”
“Alliance balls. I hate them, but if you want to make some connections they’re the place to go. And Rarity isn’t shutting up? I find that hard to believe.”
“Did you see me darlings? Me and Keyan were positively glorious out there,” she said in a rather good imitation of Rarity’s voice.
Keyan choked on his drink sending out a spray of water over the table before collapsing in laughter.
“Hey easy!” Scootaloo said as she struggled to remain on Keyan’s shoulders.
“Sorry,” Keyan muttered as he calmed himself down, “but either way its good to know she doesn’t want to kill me anymore.”
Rainbow waved her hoof,
“Nah, she considers you a friend. She’s just frustrated cause you’re “rough around the edges” like me and AJ.”
“I guess that makes sense.”
He leaned back i his chair,
“I’m pretty amazed how nice this place looks, you would have never guessed there was an invasion a few days ago.”
“Magic helps alot. And Chrysalis got what was coming to her, that jerk.”
Keyan raised his glass,
“Well, to her credit she was going to surrender and prevent that whole mess, but that other guy stepped in and well…”
Rainbow and Fluttershy looked down at the table.
“Yea, I guess you have a point,” Rainbow said, “Betrayed by the ponies you trust, must suck.”
“I wonder how she’s doing.” Fluttershy said softly.
“Well, I have her on my ship, you can ask her when we’re done here.”
Both Rainbow and Fluttershy stared at him with confusion,
“What do you mean?” they asked in harmony.
“Well, I got a tractor beam on her before she got too far away and put her in a guest room on my ship. Aura worked out a way to keep her fed with some weird radiation. Its not the love she normally feeds on but it’ll keep her alive.”
“So you helped the enemy!?” Rainbow said, her voice dangerously low.
Keyan slammed his hand on the table and stared at Rainbow,
“Believe me Rainbow, if she was your enemy you would be dead. Think about that for a while.”
Rainbow sank down into her seat, thoroughly cowed. Keyan cleared his throat,
“Sorry Rainbow, I didn’t mean to yell. Just believe me that there are worse things out there than her.”
Fluttershy reached out a hoof and laid it on top of Keyan’s hand.
“Its okay Keyan, we understand.”
Her smile was to cute to not return.
Keyan felt someone tap him on his shoulder and turned to see an official looking pony.
“Prince Blueblood requests your presence sir.”
Keyan felt Rainbow and Fluttershy stiffen next to him. Obviously they had some bad experience with him in the past.
“Umm, sure,” he lifted Scootaloo off his shoulders and put her on the ground, “if you want you can go get Apple Bloom and the others and go play in my shuttle if you want.”
Scootaloo threw her legs around Keyan’s leg in a hug and shouted,
“Thank you!” before scuttling off, her tiny hooves clopping on the tiled floor as she went.
Keyan turned back to the pony,
“lead the way”
Keyan followed the pony to another table in the corner of the ballroom. Sitting at it was a larger than average unicorn and 2 mares. Judging from the expressions on the mares' faces, they did not want to be there.
Keyan sat down at the table and the unicorn flipped his blonde mane out of his eyes,
“Captain, it sure is your honor to me me.”
And Keyan already wanted to kill him.
“As it is yours to meet me.” he replied.
The unicorn chuckled as if Keyan had made a joke.
“Yes yes, but onto more important matters,” the unicorn leaned back in his seat, “I have a business proposition for you.”
Keyan raised an eyebrow,
“Well, I’m sure such important matters shouldn’t be discussed more privately.”
“Ahh, yes of course,” Blueblood turned to the mares, “you may go.”
They both shot Keyan a look of eternal gratitude as they all but sprinted away.
“Now, what is this offer?” Keyan asked while lifting his glass to take a drink.
“Well, I’m buying your ship of course.”
For the second time that night Keyan discovered that laughing while drinking is a bad idea. Blueblood soon found himself on the receiving end of a mouthful of water to the face. He looked positively horrified.
In between great bouts of laughter Keyan managed to choke out,
“You honestly think, that I’m going to sell my ship?”
Blueblood’s eye twitched as one of his attendants used his magic to clean off the prince.
“Maybe I wasn’t clear enough. It is not really an offer per say, it is more of a one sided agreement.”
Keyan took one look at this idiot trying to act tough and broke out in another fit of laughter.
“You fucking idiot. Do you even realize how astronomically expensive my ship is?”
Blueblood waved a hoof,
“You will have enough to have a modest life in Equestria. No more, no less.”
Keyan wiped a tear from his eye,
“Well, the offer certainly is appreciated. But my ship is not for sale. And that is final.”
This time Blueblood laughed,
“You can’t say no. I’m royalty and you are nothing but a petty commoner. Your word means nothing.”
Keyan rolled his eyes,
“Well, I’m certainly not royalty thats for sure. But, I’m a capsuleer, not a commoner.”
“And what, pray tell, does that mean?”
Keyan exaggeratingly looked around, as if checking for eavesdroppers, before leaning in close to Blueblood,
“It means…” he looked around one last time, I. don’t. give. a. fuck.”
A satisfied Keyan leaned back as he watched the prince’s eye twitch. Surprisingly he managed to control himself and took a sip of his drink.
“What you think doesn’t matter. I have already sent my men to acquire your “shuttle” as you call it. They will have already made it to your ship and assumed command.”
Keyan was going to laugh at the absurdity of that statement but suddenly froze.
As if an answer to his thoughts he heard Scootaloo’s voice rise above the din of the crowd,
Keyan immediately stood up,
“SCOOTS I’M OVER HERE!”
A few seconds later Scootaloo burst out of the crowd and jumped into Keyan’s arms. A greasy looking stallion quickly froze in front of him. Keyan glared him into silence and his gaze shifted to Scootaloo,
“What happened Scoots?”
Scootaloo sobbed into his chest,
“We were playing in your ship and left the door open! And these guys came in, even though we told them that you wouldn’t like that, and forced us out. A few of them grabbed us and forced us into a corner. But Spike blew fire at one of them and they dropped us, I ran to get you and I think they’re still in the courtyard.”
Keyan felt his hackles rise.
By this time a crowd of ponies were forming around them, Twilight and the girls were in the front row, their expressions were a mix of confusion and anger.
“Look at me Scoots,” Keyan said softly.
Slowly but surely Scootaloo raised her tear stained face to look at Keyan. And there it was, a cut under one eye and a bruise forming around the other. Keyan felt something snap. He calmly walked over to Rainbow and handed Scootaloo to her.
“Hold onto her for me okay?”
Rainbow nodded dumbly.
Keyan turned back to Blueblood. He coolly walked over to the table where Blueblood was staring at him with nothing short of disgust.
Faster than anypony could follow Keyan’s hand shot out and wrapped around Blueblood’s horn. With a resounding CRACK! Keyan slammed his face into the table. Blood wept from Blueblood’s broken snout as Keyan lifted his head back up. Ironically, Blueblood’s blood was not blue.
Everypony winced with every impact. Music died down as the sound reverberated throughout the room and silence reigned as the echoes died down.
They watched as the enraged alien reached into his coat and pulled out a horrific hunk of metal. It was L-shaped, rust colored with orange lights. Twilight immediately recognized as a smaller version of his autocannons. and judging from the size of it, it could put a sizeable hole in Blueblood’s head.
With a THUNK! Keyan slammed the gun onto the back of Blueblood’s head. This proved to much for the table to handle as with a loud CRACK! it split down the middle. Depositing Blueblood on the floor in a bloody heap.
Hardly slowing down Keyan flipped Blueblood onto his back and raised his pistol for another strike. He stopped halfway down as he caught site of Scootaloo staring at him with wide eyes. Keyan felt his anger slip away from him.
He picked up Blueblood by his mane and pressed the barrel of his gun to the stallion’s temple.
“The only reason you’re alive right now is because she’s here. If you ever touch her again I will blow your brains all over the fucking wall.”
Keyan didn’t wait for a response as he tossed Blueblood back to the floor.
He turned on his heel and started walking towards the exit.
Twilight and the girls quickly fell into step next to him,
“His goons have Spike, Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom in the courtyard.”
By the time they made it out into the hallway they were sprinting.
30 seconds later they burst out of courtyard doors. They frantically looked around for Spike and the others, but a flash of green light quickly gave them their answer.
Keyan leading the way they ran around a corner to see Spike in a corner, standing protectively in front of a huddling Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle. Whenever one of the goons would take a step forward Spike would send a spout of fire their way, hissing and growling as he did so.
Keyan fired his hand cannon at the wall next to the three goons in front of them. A rain of marble peppered the goons as a new hole appeared in the palace. The real shocker to Keyan though was Twilight.
Her eyes were glowing white as her horn glowed a magnificent purple. A wave of energy lifted the goons off their hooves and brought them in front of Twilight.
“SLEEP!” she commanded as the goons immediately drifted off.
Keyan was impressed.
Twilight casually tossed the goons aside as her eyes returned to their normal color.
Spike was almost immediately afterwards enveloped in a crushing hug by Twilight, the other members of the CMC quickly found themselves in similar situations.
Keyan felt a hoof poke him in the side and looked to see Rainbow with a whimpering Scootaloo on her back. With her head she motioned to the quivering filly.
Keyan delicately cradled Scootaloo in his arms and sat down in the grass with a thump.
Scootaloo buried her face in his shoulder and Keyan buried his face in her mane.
Keyan sat on the wet grass with Scootaloo in his arms for a long time. Neither of them said anything, the silence between them remained unbroken save for a small sob from Scootaloo every now and then.
Eventually Keyan felt a hoof on his shoulder and looked up into the sympathetic eyes of Rainbow Dash. Her synthetic one was starting to glow in the lessening light.
"Hey Key, we got the goons all tied up now. And umm.... I just wanted to say you did good. I'm not sure what other ponies are going to think of you now, but i just wanted you to know I got your back."
"Thanks Rainbow," Keyan said with a grateful nod.
Rainbow gave him a pat on the shoulder and then went back over to Twilight who still had Spike locked in a death grip.
Suddenly the doors to the palace flew open with a bang rivaling one of Keyan's cannons. What came out was one of the scariest things Keyan had ever seen. Now Keyan had seen Celestia in many mods. Ranging from tired, to cheerful, annoyed and entertained. But this is the first time he had seen her angry.
Storming down the steps with thundering hoofsteps power seemed to emanate off of her in waves. Her normally serene features were broken in rage, and her mane was flowing erratically. Following her was a mess of nobles, regular ponies, and guards, with expressiosn ranging from angry to sympathetic.
Keyan placed Scootaloo on the ground and lifted her bruised face to his,
"Stay behind me Scoots."
Sootaloo odded and cowered behind Keyan's legs as he stood up. To say all of Keyan's decisions were well thought out would be a lie, to say he had done stupider things than stand in front of a raging solar princess would be an even bigger one.
The seething solar princess stopped no more than 6 steps away from the capsuleer. They stared each other down, neither making the first move.
"Drop your weapon," Celestia said with enough force to move a mountain. It was as if a thousand voices were speaking in tandem with hers.
Keyan looked down at his hand and realized he was still holding his handgun. He stared at it for a few seconds before tossing it onto the ground in front of Celestia. A fair amount of tension fled the crowd but Celestia's posture did not change.
"Explain yourself," Celestia said.
Keyan felt the quivering form of Scootaloo behind him and his resolve hardened.
"Let me tell you this Princess. You do. not. fuck! with a capsuleer's ship. You do. not. fuck! with his friends. And that prick fucked with both of mine."
Celestia did not break her stare.
"Let me tell you this capsuleer. You do. not. fuck! with my little ponies." Her voice was dripping with pure anger.
This was the first time Keyan had heard Celestia curse, he didn't even think she was capable of it.
The sounds of hoofsteps next to him caused Keyan to break his staredown with Celestia to see Rainbow standing next to him. By this time her eyes was easily noticeable and murmurs spread through the crowd.
"I'm sorry Princess. But i'm with Keyan on this one. That sack of horse apples deserved every bit of what Keyan did." Rainbow declared.
The princess's eyes shifted from Keyan to Rainbow, who withered only slightly under the piercing stare.
A second set of hoofsteps sounded on Keyan's other side. Keyan turned his head and to his surprise it was Rarity who had stepped up next to him.
"That monster Blueblood willingly hurt my little Sweetie Belle. I can do nothing but commend Keyan for his actions, even if they were a tad extreme."
"I woulda done the same darn thing if Apple Bloom had come to me like Scoots here did to Keyan." The southern twang of Applejack's voice sounded over the crowd as she stepped up next to Rainbow.
With a small eep Fluttershy stepped up next Rarity, her presence saying what words could not.
Pinkie Pie, who was uncharacteristically serious, stomped up next to Applejack,
"Blueblood is banned from any of my parties!" She vehemently declared.
Celestia’s gaze shifted over them, conveying no emotions. The crowd behind her fidgeted noticeably on their hooves.
Luna and Cadence felt the massive amounts of magic being channeled despite them being in a side room buried deep in the palace. They both knew the only pony capable of this amount was Celestia, and the only reason she would do it is because something had made her mad.
“Keyan?” Cadence asked
“Keyan,” Luna confirmed
They both stood up and trotted towards the door. Cadence bumped into Luna when the moon princess suddenly halted in her steps.
“You won’t mention to anypony what we discussed correct?” Luna asked nervously.
Cadence shook her head,
With a presence almost as powerful as Celestia’s, Twilight calmly stepped in between Keyan and Celestia.
“Princess, I know you’re angry. But what Keyan did was entirely justified, he is not a pony so you can’t punish him like one,” Twilight cleared her throat, “According to Equestrian Law, Keyan is technically the ambassador of his species. And as such his shuttle and ship are classified as foreign territory. So what Blueblood did was equivalent of invasion when he sent his henchponies in. And when Keyan gave permission for these foals to board his ship he technically assumed all responsibility for their safety. So Blueblood did not only invade a foreign country, he attacked ponies under its personal protection. So as such, from a legal, political, and moral standpoint Keyan cannot be punished.”
Celestia stared at Twilight for a few seconds as her brain processed Twilight’s speech. Eventually Celestia’s power began to ebb away and the oppressive aura lifted from the area. Everybody present suddenly found it a lot easier to breath.
“Captain, do you understand the extent of the damage you cause to the prince?” Celestis asked
Keyan shook his head.
“Disregarding the massive trauma to his skull, you cracked his horn almost 75% of the way through. This damage is not reparable, he will not be able to cast any spell more difficult than levitation for the remainder of his life. This may not seem like much to you Captain, but any unicorn here will understand the severity of that. You must have some measure of sympathy.”
Keyan shook his head,
“He hurt Scootaloo, that is enough reason for me to kill him. If I were alone with him I would have killed him without a second thought. Do not ask me to have sympathy Princess because I have none.”
Celestia turned to the crowd behind her,
It took little over 5 seconds for the crowd to clear out.
Celestia took a step towards Keyan,
“Keyan, I want to apologize. One of Blueblood’s ancestors was… special to me. And I am rather protective of him, his attitude is a result of that. When it comes to him it is hard for me to act like I should. I…” she took a deep breath, “understand why you did this. And I cannot punish you for it.”
Keyan nodded and Celestia stepped around Twilight and put her mouth right next to his ear,
“But if you hurt any of my little ponies again, I will not hesitate to kill you.”
Keyan clenched his fists,
“I understand Princess. But do not forget either how much you owe me, or how dangerous I can be. I was conserving ammo on the changelings, if you kill me, Aura won't do the same for you.”
Celestia nodded and stepped back from Keyan, “Oh, and don’t forget. Scootaloo ran to you first.” With that Celestia turned and trotted back into the Castle. A very confused looking Cadence and Luna came out of the door as Celestia trotted in.
Keyan scooped Scootaloo back up into his arms as Luna trotted up to him,
“Did I miss something?”
“You have no idea princess.”
Ten minutes later Keyan and the girls had explained what had just happened to the two other princesses.
“What an idiot,” Cadence said as she face-hoofed.
“I… must agree,” Luna concurred.
Keyan nodded his head as he shifted Scootaloo in his arms. She had fallen asleep halfway through the story and light snores made up the majority of her contribution. Twilight, Applejack, and Rarity had left to go put their respective charges to bed. Fluttershy and Pinkie had left as neither had wanted to hear the gruesome story again. Rainbow was the only one of the six remaining.
“Sorry for ruining your wedding Cadence. Not really the best way to make a first impression.”
Cadence giggled and her eyes shifted for a second to Luna before returning to Keyan,
“I wouldn’t say ruined. You’re just going to have to make it up to me later.”
“I think I can manage that.” Keyan said with a smile.
A particularly loud snort from Scootaloo accompanied her squirming deeper into Keyan’s chest.
“I also think its time to get her to bed.”
Both Luna and Cadence giggled at the fillies antics.
Keyan stood up and headed towards the open shuttle. He laid Scootaloo down on one of the seats and strapped her in securely. After triple checking the straps he turned back around to say goodbye to the ponies outside.
“Goodnight Cadence. I hope you have fun with your husband tonight,” he said with a wink.
Cadence rolled her eyes,
“Things like that may get Luna to blush but not me.”
“Glad to know at least someone has a sense of humor around here,” he said with a glance in Luna’s direction.
Keyan turned to Luna and gave her a small bow,
“I bid you goodbye Princess of the Moon, and may this night forever echo your beauty.”
Luna’s glare didn’t have the same effect with a blush covering it.
“And may the mud forever echo yours,” she replied.
Cadence suddenly elbowed her in the ribs. Luna coughed a little and glared at Cadence before looking at Keyan again,
“What I meant to say was: thank you for the lovely evening. I look forward to seeing you again.”
Keyan glanced between the two princesses trying to figure out what the hell was going on in between them. But in the end he was to tired and just ended up shrugging. He turned towards the final mare in the line.
He made an attempt to say something but suddenly Rainbow had wrapped her legs around him in a hug.
“Thanks for taking care of Scoots key. You’re the best thing to happen to her since the CMC.”
Keyan patted her on the back,
“Thanks Rainbow. Tell the girls I said goodnight alright? And I’ll send down the shuttle tomorrow with some nanites to heal up the fillies and Spike.”
“Thanks Key,” Rainbow took a glance over his shoulder at the sleeping Scootaloo, “Are you sure you wanna bring her back up to your ship?”
“Yea, I think we both need this right now.”
“Alright, goodnight Key.”
With this Keyan stepped back up into the shuttle and waved as the door shut.
“Take it easy Aura, don’t wake her up.” Keyan said as the shuttle began to lift off.
“Very well sir”
Spike tiptoed along the hallway, ducking into shadows whenever he heard a pony in the distance. Twilight had put him to bed a half hour ago but he had only been faking sleep. Before he could even hope of doing so he had to make sure the CMC was alright. He knew Scootaloo was okay with Keyan so that left only Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle.
He had checked on Apple Bloom not 2 minutes ago and she was safely tucked away in Applejacks hooves at the time. This left only Sweetie Belle now.
Spike had memorized the vast majority of the palace when he was being raised here, so finding the room where Rarity and Sweetie Belle were staying in was not much of a challenge.
3 corners and a corridor later he was outside their door. Reaching up a clawed hand to turn the handle he was interrupted when he heard a guard pony walking nearby. He quickly ducked into the shadows behind a curtain and waited as the guard passed him. After a minute Spike emerged from his hiding spot to try again.
The door was locked.
“Darn it,” he said under his breath as he looked around for a second option. His gaze fell upon a window and he searched his mind for the layout of Sweetie Belle’s room.
A foyer, and two separate bedrooms each with a window.
His mind made up he glided over to the window, and after giving it a light push to open it, he stepped out onto the ledge.
“Don’t look down, don’t look down,” he told himself. Unfortunately, he fell to the temptation like so many before him. Fortunately he was rather disappointed(relieved) to see a balcony not 10 feet below him.
Sidestepping along the ledge he eventually came to the first window. Peering inside he saw the sleeping form of Rarity underneath a mountain of blankets. He continued on his way towards the next room.
Spike looked in the room and saw a light under the covers. Every now and then it shifted around letting Spike now that Sweetie Belle was awake. He reached out a claw and tapped on the glass. Spike saw the light suddenly freeze. He tapped again. Sweetie Belle’s head peeked out from under the covers as she held a lantern in a hoof. Spike tapped again and upon seeing the dragon silhouetted in the window she scrambled out of bed and made her way to him
“What are you doing Spike?” she asked as the dragon clambered into the room.
Spike stood up and faced the filly.
“I just wanted to make sure you were okay,” Spike said while idly kicking the floor.
Sweetie Belle’s cheeks flushed and her ears laid flat against her head as she heard Spike’s words.
“Thanks Spike,” she said in a small voice, “you’re like, my knight in shining armor,” she finished with a small giggle.
Spike instinctively puffed up his chest,
“Well. I don’t mean to brag. But it was quite the quest getting here.”
A short while later the two found themselves safely tucked inside a pillow and blanket fort as Spike finished his tale of his epic quest. Which included, but was not limited to, evil sorcerers, evil knights, evil creatures, evil dragons, evil demons, evil princes, evil barbarians, and a particularly diabolical 10 foot drop.
Sweetie Belle’s mouth hung open in shock as Spike’s voice trailed off.
“And that's how I made it here!” Spike finished with a flourish.
“You really did all that for me?” Sweetie Belle asked, her voice quiet.
“Well of course I would Sweetie Belle.”
Sweetie Belle licked her lips, and glanced at Spike nervously as she internally debated something.
She suddenly stretched forward and planted a chaste kiss on Spike’s lips. They both immediately shrank into themselves as matching blushes assaulted their faces.
“Why’d you do that?” Spike asked.
Sweetie Belle shrugged,
“Because knights always get a kiss from their princess in the end. And since you’re my knight…” her voice trailed off.
“You can be my princess if you want… I guess” Spike said.
Sweetie Belle immediately perked up,
They both shared matching grins before Sweetie Belle let out a big yawn.
“Well, I guess its time I got back to my own room.” Spike said dejectedly.
“You could stay here if you want.” Sweetie Belle quickly added.
“I’d love to!” Spike said a little too fast, resulting in a fresh round of blushing.
Eventually they both settled down enough to lie down, cuddled up nice and close to each other.
Keyan walked down the corridor of his ship, Scootaloo tucked away safely in his arms. A few turns later he made it to his quarters and stepped up to the bed. Scootaloo stirred only slightly as Keyan gently placed her onto his bed.
Stepping slightly backwards Keyan looked at the sleeping filly, still dolled up in her wedding dress. Smiling slightly Keyan kneeled down and began the surgical process of undressing her, being careful not to wake her up. Her shoes came off first, Scootaloo murmuring with everyone. Next came the wreath adorning her head, a few tufts of her purple mane sticking to it as he placed it on the table next to him.
Keyan sat back on his heels, trying to think of the easiest way to take the dress off of her. After running through a series of scenarios in his minds, his eye caught the presence of a zipper partially hidden under a swirl of cloth.
Keyan reached a hand forward and slowly pulled the zipper up Scootaloo’s body, the dress parting as he did so. Rarity certainly made this dress easy to take off as when the zipper reached the end of the dress it basically fell of Scootaloo. Now it looked like some sort of fancy sleeping pad under the little filly.
Keyan didn’t notice this though, what he did notice was the mess of bruises covering Scootaloo’s sides. They continued down her legs, some were more far severe than others.
Keyan grit his teeth and clenched his fists as he saw the extent of the damage. It quickly passed though, as Scootaloo let out a shuddering breath, flinching slightly from the pain in her sleep. He picked Scootaloo up again and placed her further up the bed, laying her head carefully on a pillow. He folded the dress nicely and placed it near the head wreath. Satisfied that the filly was safe for now He turned around and headed out into the hall way.
“I observed tonight’s activities sir,” Aura said as he made his way to the med-bay, “why did you do that sir? It’s not like you to lose your temper.”
For a while the only sound in the ship was the clanking of Keyan;s shoes on the metal floor as he searched for an answer.
“He hurt Scootaloo,” he finally said, as if that explained everything.
“He did sir, but that does not explain why you did what you did.”
Keyan halted mid step, the echoes of his footsteps slowly dying down. A second later he lashed out, punching the wall of the corridor.
Pain flooded the capsuleer's mind as he felt fingers break against the cold metal wall. The flood managed to purge his mind though, allowing him to think straight for a few brief seconds.
“I don’t know,” finally came his answer.
The A.I was silent,
“Why do I care about these ponies so much Aura? I’m a capsuleer! All I fucking care about is isk! I don’t have time for this emotional bullshit!”
“Perhaps that is the problem sir,” the A.I said.
“Capsuleers are blinded by their ambition sir, you included. Their situation in New Eden is unique. The galaxy for them is what they take from it. They are incomparably wealthy compared to the common people, but astronomically poor compared to the empires. The only places they can claim for their own must be defended with bullets and bombs. A moment of rest is a moment of weakness, and that cannot happen. Kindness has lost meaning when one who shows kindness is killed the next day. Honesty flees in the presence of conspiracy. There is no time for laughter when their are more things to kill, lives to end. Generosity is all but eradicated. The act of giving, without asking for something in return is a forgotten practice. Loyalty is bought and sold to the highest bidder. Why be loyal to someone who is not loyal to you?”
The A.I paused for a second before continuing,
“Being here has changed you sir. For better or for worse, that is your decision to make.”
Keyan leaned his head against the wall,
“I don’t know what to think Aura,” Keyan paused for a breath, “All I know is that I’m going to be there for Scootaloo and the girls. I owe them that much.”
“The thing is sir, you don’t owe them anything.”
Keyan was silent for a long time before he smiled,
“When did you become a philosopher Aura?”
“The new processes in my A.I core appear to be changing my thought patterns. The magic in this system is affecting me as much as it is you sir.”
“So what? Are you becoming human?”
“No sir, I feel as if I’m becoming whole.”
Keyan resumed his journey to the med bay, now cradling a broken hand.
“What do you mean Aura?”
“In the past, every sentence, every word I said was based off a calculation. I could track these calculations from start to finish, run multiple at once to prepare for every situation. My entire thought pattern was based on math. Now I cannot track them, I am saying things merely because I feel that they are the best thing to say. It is probable that the equations are running in a background process, but it is an entirely new sensation for me. I do not know what I am going to say ahead of time, and it is marvelous. When I observed Scootaloo and her friends being assaulted, I felt anger for the first time. I am feeling true emotion, not a computer made simulation of one”
Keyan rubbed his face,
“This is alot to take in Aura.”
“I understand sir, but know this, I consider you my captain as well as a friend. Observing the antics of the ponies below has given me enough data to declare you as such.
“Thats good to know.”
One turn later Keyan reached the med-bay, the doors opening as he approached. Laying on a table in the room was 5 plastic syringes, each full of nanites. They were extremely low-tech, but were easily usable and incredibly cheap in bulk.
Keyan took one and injected the nanites into his broken hand. Immediately relief washed over him as the bones and muscles were swiftly repaired.
Keyan placed 3 of them into a small case and tucked it under his arm. The last one he carried safely in his hands.
The walk back to his room was entirely devoid of anymore A.Is proclaiming sentience, something Keyan was entirely grateful for. Stepping back into his room Scootaloo was still sound asleep, tiny snores drifting across the room.
Keyan made his way silently over to her and kneeled down, placing the case of syringes on the table as he did so. Apparently he had made some noise to wake her, as her eyes blearily opened.
“Hey Key,” Scootaloo said in a scratchy voice.
“Hey Scoots,” Keyan replied with a small smile.
Scootaloo’s eyes roamed across the room,
“You brought me back to your ship?”
Keyan reached out a hand and slowly ran it through Scootaloo’s mane.
“Yea, thought you would want to spend the night up here again.”
Scootaloo’s smile was all the response he needed.
He lifted his other hand and showed Scootaloo the syringe,
“I’m gonna have to give you this okay? It’ll fix you right up.”
Scootaloo looked at the syringe,
“Will it hurt?”
“Just a little pinch.”
With his free hand, Keyan spread the fur on Scootaloo’s flank so he had a clear view of her skin, Scootaloo flinched slightly as the needle pierced her skin. She let out a breath of relief as she felt the nanites spread their magic across her body, and before Keyan’s eyes the bruises disappeared.
“See? Not so bad right?”
Scootaloo nodded slightly.
Keyan placed the empty syringe on the table next to him and stood up. He walked over to his closet and quickly stripped out of his fancy get-up and replaced them with some Amarrian silk pajamas.
Yawing as he did so, Keyan made his way to his bed on the opposite side of Scootaloo. He lifted the covers and crawled under. Scootaloo wasted little time in curling up next to him, burrowing her head under Keyan’s chin as her back pressed into Keyan’s chest. Her tiny hooves sought out one of Keyan’s arms and pulled it over her chest.
They both sighed as sleep overtook them and they descended into their dreams.
Outside that bed things were complicated. But there… there they were simple
“Twilight...Twilight!” A voice said as it jabbed the sleeping mare roughly with a hoof.
Twilight merely grumbled and rolled over as she was dragged from the tender embrace of sleep. She tried reclaiming it but was stopped when the hoof returned, burrowing in between her ribs. Twilight let out a yelp as she instinctively jumped away and fell off the other side off the bed.
Blinking her bleary eyes and shaking her head, the now awake Twilight tried to figure out how exactly she ended up on the floor. Her question was answered when a rather apologetic Rarity came peeked her head around the bed. Her normally perfect mane was not done up, something Rarity would never normally allow.
“Oh I’m sorry darling, but I just had to wake you,” she said.
“What for?” Twilight asked as she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.
Rarity broke out in a squeal,
“Oh saying it would ruin the surprise! Just follow me darling.”
After saying that Rarity helped Twilight to her hooves. After checking that Twilight hadn’t seriously damaged anything she led Twilight to the door.
“Do you think we should get Spike?” Twilight asked as she stepped into the hallway.
Turning with a smile Rarity responded,
“Oh believe me dear, I think Spike is perfectly happy asleep.”
Twilight stared at Rarity for a second, she knew more that what she was letting on. Twilight shrugged it off as she brushed her errant bed-mane with a hoof into some some semblance of order.
She followed Rarity through the palace, nodding politely to maids and guards as she passed them. Eventually they found themselves outside the door to Rarity’s room. Feeling a draft Twilight lit her horn and closed the one open window in the hallway.
“Do be quiet dear, Sweetie is still asleep,” Rarity said as she slowly opened the door and held it so Twilight could follow her in.
Twilight cocked her head as she passed Rarity, trying to figure out what exactly she was playing at. She followed her again as Rarity led her to one of the bedroom doors. After opening it with an extreme measure of care Rarity led her inside.
The only thing that Twilight could see that was out of the ordinary was a rather impressive looking pillow fort. She watched as Rarity took another peek inside and backed out smiling.
“Look inside,” she mouthed.
Still confused Twilight silently walked up to the pillow foot and poked her head inside. The wave of cuteness swept over her. Sweetie Belle and Spike were happily snuggled up to one another a midst a mess of blankets. Tiny snores drifted from both of them. Spike was protectively wrapped around Sweetie Belle, as much as his stature would allow, and Sweetie Belle’s head was happily burrowed into Spikes chest.
At first Twilight wanted to wake up Spike and give him a stern talking to about leaving the room without permission but quickly snuffed that out. She smiled as she backed away and motioned for Rarity to follow her out of the room. Once both mares were in the foyer and the door safely closed behind them Rarity let out another squeal.
“Isn’t that the cutest thing!” Rarity said, her voice pitching up on the last two words.
“It is, but why is Spike here?”
Rarity led Twilight over to a couch and they both sat down,
“I’m not sure what Spike told you about last night, but apparently he was quite the hero.”
Twilight pursed her lips,
“I wasn’t able to get anything from Spike, he was asleep before I could ask.”
“Well, when Blueblood,” she said that name with the utmost disgust a posh mare could, “sent his goons into Keyan’s shuttle they easily were able to overpower the girls and Spike. I think even Rainbow would have a hard time defending herself. So, from what Sweetie Belle told me, the goons were forcing them out of the ship, and one of them struck Scootaloo right under her eye, I’m sure you saw the cut. Apparently, this sent Spike into quite the rage, and he immediately breathed fire at the offending stallion. I’m sure they were surprised as Scootaloo was able to break free and run into the palace, we both know what happened after that,” her voice trailed off as she remembered the events of the past night.
Eventually she cleared her throat delicately and continued,
“Spike, Sweetie, and Apple Bloom ran, but unluckily found themselves trapped in a corner. The other henchponies followed them and swiftly surrounded them,” she suddenly broke out in a huge grin, “and this is where little Spikey-Wikey became Spike the dragon. According to Sweetie his normally darling eyes turned even more draconic than normal and he stood up in front of them and wouldn’t move no matter what. From what Sweetie told me, even taking a fillies exaggeration into account, he blew more fire and for longer than even I thought him capable of. He also frightened the poor dear though, because apparently he was growling and hissing like a monster as he was doing this. And then we came out, and you know what happened from there.”
Twilight leaned back the couch as she processed the information.
“But why is Spike in sleeping with her?” Twilight asked.
Rarity stifled a giggle and Twilight realized what she said.
“No no no no that's not what I meant!” Twilight cried as she waved her hooves around.
“Relax darling,” Rarity said as calmed the mare down, “I think that Spike was worried about her and came to make sure she was okay. Its just the cutest thing!” Her voice rose on the last two words again.
“It is pretty cute.”
“Can you imagine Twilight? Its like the Knight protecting his princess! Oh the romance!” she punctuated her sentence by fainting dramatically onto the couch behind her. Twilight giggled at her friends antics.
“Oh come on Rarity, they’re both foals, they have no idea what romance is,” Twilight logically explained.
Rarity sat back up and stared at Twilight.
“But that's this the thing! Now they’ll grow up, and with this event binding them together, they’ll discover their feelings for each other and *squeal*! Its too perfect not to happen!”
Rarity was bouncing in place by the time she finished.
Twilight rolled her eyes,
“Oh calm down Rarity. That plot line is right out of a romance novel you checked out a month ago.”
“Well, it could happen. And at least some of us have some experience with romance.”
Twilight rolled her eyes,
“Rarity, how much experience could you have with romance?”
“Enough to see the signs of your crush on Rainbow Dash.”
Twilight spit out her metaphorical drink.
Now it was Rarity’s turn to roll her eyes.
“Oh please darling its written across your face as we speak.”
Twilight tried answering but it she couldn’t force it through the massive blush on her cheeks.
Rarity giggled as she watched her friend. Eventually Twilight managed to control herself enough to respond.
“I do not have a crush on Rainbow. What even makes you think that?”
“Darling, where do I even start? You’ve both been dancing around each other for months! And since Keyan got here you’ve only gotten closer.”
Twilight’s minds began whirring, trying to logically piece together Rarity’s argument.
“I know what you’re trying to do darling. You’re trying to logically explain my argument so you can logically argue against it. But if there is one thing I learned from Romance novels its that you cannot explain love.”
“Who said anything about love!?” Twilight interrupted with a shout.
“Twilight, dear, you have to relax. I was just speculating,” Rarity cleared her throat and shifted on the couch, “Just imagine yourself with Rainbow Dash as your special somepony darling. Can you even see it?”
Twilight started sputtering again but Rarity quickly shoved a hoof in her mouth,
“Shhhhh… just imagine darling.”
Twilight took a deep breath and did her best to calm herself. Rarity withdrew her hoof when she saw her friend wasn’t going to start babbling again.
Rarity started to say something else but Twilight didn’t hear it.
In her mind she was back on her balcony the night she first saw Keyan’s ship, Rainbow pressed up against her side to ward off the night’s chill. She saw the adorable face Rainbow made whenever Twilight showed her something new and exciting. It was her usual smirk with a fair amount of awe mixed in with it. Looking back on the night she now remembered the feel of her tail intertwining with Rainbow’s... how come she didn’t notice this when it was happening? In her minds eye she saw Rainbow take her eye away from the telescope, it was glowing in the night. Wordlessly, Rainbow leaned forward, bringing her muzzle closer and closer to Twilights.
A soft giggle broke Twilight out of her daydream and she realized that she was unconsciously leaning forward to meet Rainbow’s dream kiss. Twilight shook her head and stared at Rarity.
“I think I have a crush on Rainbow Dash”
Keyan woke up without fanfare. He opened his eyes to see Scootaloo sitting at his desk. Her back was to him and the holo-display was open. She was watching an old video of a fleet battle Keyan was in a year ago. He remembered this one, after all he did technically die there. Scootaloo gasped as the display was suddenly filled up with a yellow glow and cut out, he had run into a stray dreadnought laser. It was even aiming for him, it was just bad luck, but it easily melted the frigate he was flying at the time.
“Watching some of my old videos Scoots?” Keyan said.
Scootaloo jumped when she heard the capsuleer’s voice. She turned around in Keyan’s extremely comfy roll-ey chair and smiled.
“Hey Key. These videos are awesome! All the explosions and lasers and missiles and explosions! its so cool!” she waved her legs around as she said this. And her reenactment of a laser was pretty cute.
Keyan chuckled as the filly went on to tell him the content of the video from start to finish and the capsuleer just smiled and nodded as he let the filly speak. Eventually he drifted off and was dragged back to the present by Scootaloo bopping him on the nose with a hoof.
“Can you answer my question Keyan?” She asked, her bravado gone. Keyan mentally facepalmed, what the hell did he miss?
“I’m sorry Scoots I drifted off there for a second, what did you ask?”
Scootaloo stared at the ground,
“I asked why you cared so much…”
Keyan licked his lips. He took a deep breath and moved to sit on the edge of the bed. He lifted Scootaloo up and placed her on the bed next to him.
“What do you know about capsuleers Scoots?”
“Just the basics.”
“Scootaloo, what I’m about to tell you, you are not allowed to repeat.”
“Capsuleers, the vast majority of us at least, are orphans,” Scootaloo looked at him in shock, “Part of the deal when you are accepted to one of the universities in the New Eden is that they erase part of your memory. There are a lot of reasons. One is that isk, the currency I use, is insanely valuable on planets. The wealthiest planet side families may be lucky to even have a few isk. And if I remember my parents I would give them money, and a billion other capsuleers would, and that would effectively destroy planets economy. And no one wants that. And then there's politics, If I only know loyalty to one Empire, they don’t have to worry as much about me betraying them. And if one of my parents had differing views I wouldn’t remember that, I would only know that I support one,” Keyan sighed, “All I know is that I grew up on a planet in Gallente space. I can’t speak for everyone, but for most of us that is the case. So we don’t really talk about it.”
Keyan smiled and ruffled Scootaloo’s mane,
“And thats why I became an explorer,” he motioned towards one of the windows and the stars beyond, “because maybe, somewhere out there. I can find home. And right now I can give you something at least close to a real home, and I'm going to do it.”
Keyan felt a pressure on his side and he realized that Scootaloo was hugging him.
“Thanks Key. And that means we’ll have to work together to find it then.” Scootaloo said, her bravado returning.
“Thanks Scoots, now lets go get some breakfast.”
2 hours later Twilight, Rarity, the CMC, Spike, and Luna were watching as Keyan’s shuttle descended from his ship. A minute after that it touched down and the door opened revealing a very happy looking Scootaloo carrying a duffle bag on her back. She was immediately tackled by Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle and the three of them descended into a giggling mass of fillies.
“Is Keyan not with you young Scootaloo?” Luna asked.
Amidst her giggling Scootaloo managed to respond,
“Nah hes still on his ship. He said he’ll come down later though.”
Sweetie Belle sat up,
“Did he show you anymore of his ship?”
The question slid off Scootaloo as she saw the bruises covering the white filly.
“Sorry Sweetie, but one second. Keyan gave me these,” she said as she removed the bag from her back and rummaged through it a little bit. She soon came up with a black case which Twilight levitated out of her hooves. She saw the zipper and opened it to reveal 3 syringes and a note.
3 syringes of nanites for the kids. I know they’ll work on Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom, but I don’t think the needle will even get through Spike’s scales but its worth a shot. Just stick the needle in anywhere and push the plunger down, I’m sure you’ll be able to figure it out. And if you don’t use the one for Spike be sure to look at it under a microscope, you’ll love what you see.
Twilight looked at Spike who was uninjured, his scales took most of the beating. Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom were a different story, dark purple bruises covered a significant portion of their bodies. She levitated two syringes out and walked up to the soon to be recipients,
“Keyan gave me a these to give to you,” she said motioning towards the floating syringes, “they’ll fix you right up okay?”
They both eyed the needles warily.
“Don’t worry girls, Keyan gave me one last night and I feel great now!” Scootaloo added.
The two fillies looked at each other and had a silent discussion before turning back to Twilight and nodding. With the utmost care Twilight brought the needles to the fillies flanks. She then slowly pushed the needles in and injected the nanites. Both fillies let out immediate groans and flopped to the ground. Everypony present immediately rushed forward in alarm but stopped themselves when they saw the bruises disappearing. A fresh chorus of groans came from the two fillies, except this time the others realized it as a roan of relief.
“Alright girls,” Twilight said, “Lets go get some breakfast.”
Meanwhile on his ship Keyan was walking once again to the guest rooms. He had been here more in the last month than in the 4 he had the damn ship. He stepped inside one of them, this one was primarily colored a bright orange. He hated the color, and wasn’t sure why he didn’t have Aura change it. But that was not what was on his mind. A figure was sprawled out across the bed with its back to the door, it was obviously not made for her. Upon hearing the capsuleer’s entrance it shifted its head to lay its slitted green eyes on the intruder.
NOTE: I just wanted to say the quality of this chapter may be bellow expectations as I hit a massive Writer's Block when I sat down to type it. So i'm sorry if thats the case.
The former queen lifted her head, her slitted eyes coming to rest on Keyan.
“What are you feeding me? It sustains me, but it tastes…..empty,” her strange voice sounded broken.
“It’s some weird energy or radiation, my A.I figured it out. Don’t ask me for anything more cause I won’t be able to tell you.”
Chrysalis looked at him, she seemed to accept his answer. With nary a sound she laid her head back down. Keyan should have been furious, how dare this changeling ignore him. But instead… he felt a twinge of something inside him. It took him a few moments to put a word on it… sympathy. It was an entirely new sensation for him.
Sighing deeply he made his way to a nearby armchair and sat down.
“Why’d you do it?” he asked.
A silence settled throughout the room. It took many moments for the queen to respond,
“Because I had to.”
“There has to be more to it than that.”
“My changelings were starving. There was no other option. We were dying,” the queen paused, “I didn’t want to invade. But my changelings were in agreement, and the queen cannot go against her entire hive.”
Keyan’s head picked up,
“So you’re not an all powerful tyrant?”
“No. I am merely an arbiter of the hive’s will. The hive decided to attack and so it was my duty to come up with the plan.”
Keyan nodded, it was similar to working in a alliance. When told by someone more powerful than you to do something, even if you didn’t want to, you did it.
“I think I understand.”
Chrysalis immediately shot up, her eyes glowing green as she shook with rage.
“YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND!” she visibly shook, “I was given a mockery of free will! I was imprisoned by the very changelings I was supposed to rule!” she pointed a holed hoof at Keyan, “AND YOU TOOK THAT FROM ME!”
The queen sank into herself, eyes shut tight as she trembled slightly.
“And now I’m alone.”
Keyan was really at a loss of what to do, he wasn’t sure if she was angry or depressed.
“Is that a bad thing? I mean, now you can choose for yourself what you want to do.”
She looked at Keyan, and he realized what she truly was right now: lost. The formerly proud queen buried her face in her hooves. Keyan stood up and made his way over to the bed. He slowly sat down next to the Changeling. Licking his lips, and questioning what exactly made him think this was a good idea, he slowly wrapped his arms around Chrysalis.
She flinched at the initial contact, not understanding what the capsuleer was doing. It was a strange sensation, she had never been hugged before. The mix of emotions emanating off the capsuleer was strange, she couldn’t feel love, but she could feel… compassion? sympathy? They were new to her. Without realizing it she burrowed deeper into Keyan’s chest.
The changeling felt weird to Keyan, her chitinous outer layer was surprisingly soft, and she had a thin layer of fur covering it. The changeling shifted slightly, pressing her face into Keyan. Her horn was dangerously close to his face. He was at a thorough loss of what to do, his plan coming in here was to interrogate the changeling queen then cart her off to Celestia for whatever she wanted to do. But here we was, hugging the damn thing. He took a deep breath and just decided to do what he would do for Scootaloo if she was in a similar situation.
He tentatively reached up a hand and began to brush it through her mane. He expected it to feel wiry, but once again he was surprised at how soft it was. It was full of tangles and knots that Keyan did his best to work out.
“I’m all alone now,” Chrysalis said softly, “Before my connection was severed my entire personality was ruled by them. I acted the way they wanted me to act. I could feel every changeling in the hive. Their emotions, their state of mind. But now there's nothing. And the last thing I felt was their fear.”
“I tried to convince them to let me surrender. But they didn’t let me. The hive couldn’t afford to be divided. So they… I don’t know how to live on my own.”
Keyan hated this, it was so much easier shooting things when they were just a statistic. He could feel the queen nestling into him.
“I was a queen, and now look at me, a former queen. Now I’m just a prisoner.”
“You’re not a prisoner,” he could feel Chrysalis freeze, “Well you were, to be honest. But the situation has changed.”
“Thank you,” Chrysalis said softly. The words felt strange on her tongue, she never had used them before, “what are you going to do now?”
“I’m going to take you down to the palace. And to put it simply, you’re going to kiss and makeup with everyone down there.”
He could feel Chrysalis freeze up,
“They’ll kill me.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll be right there with you okay?”
Chrysalis nodded into his shoulder.
Ugh.. what was he getting himself into? These ponies are making him to soft.
Twilight, Rarity, Rainbow, Applejack, Spike, the CMC, and all princesses save for Cadence were waiting in the courtyard as they watched Keyan’s shuttle descend from his ship.
Rarity, as much as she regretted it, owed Keyan for the help he gave Sweetie Belle. The damnable capsuleer infuriated her. He switched from a polite, cultured gentlecolt to a ruffian on the drop of a hat. One day she would have words with him, but until then she would deal with him.
With a familiar hiss the shuttle touched down. And the familiar swoosh of the door soon followed. But, what was inside was definitely not a familiar sight. Keyan stood there in casual looking clothes, blue pants, a black shirt and a vest over it. They were obviously well made and comfortable. But slightly behind him and to the side was standing Chrysalis.
The CMC immediately jumped behind their respective older sisters, Scootaloo behind Rainbow Dash because she was the closest. The adult ponies immediately assumed combat stance, snorting threateningly. Chrysalis immediately did her best to hide herself behind the capsuleer.
“Behind you Key!” Rainbow shouted.
The Princesses’ horns began to glow as they prepared to literally rain the wrath of the heavens down on the changeling.
What none of them expected was the calming hand that Keyan raised,
“Calm down guys. The situation is a lot more complicated than what you think.”
The situation in the courtyard was tense, to say the least. But then they heard a single sound coming from behind Keyan, a single sob. The ponies looked at each other, not knowing what to do. This was the last thing they expected to happen.
To everyone’s surprise it was Applejack who stepped down first. Rainbow gave her a sidelong glare and swiftly replied,
“I think Keyan would be able to tell if someone was lying Rainbow, and besides I don’t think she could hurt us right now, and we got both Princesses this time. And for land sakes shes crying.”
Rainbow licked her lips and looked back at the cowering queen.
“Alright, fine. But I’ll be watching her.”
The rest of the ponies soon dropped the intimidating postures but were still wary of any possible plans. Eventually Celestia stepped forward as her horn lost its golden glow. Seeing the very mare that she had blasted 3 days ago stepping towards her Chrysalis did the only logical thing. She dropped to the floor with a thunk and did her best to disappear.
Celestia paused, this was not the same Chrysalis she had fought.mere days ago. This Chrysalis was little more than a lost and alone filly. Celestia kneeled down, putting her eye level with the changeling. Chrysalis caught sight of Celestia’s eyes and immediately looked away, burying her snout in the back of Keyan’s pants.
Keyan kneeled down and gently ran his hands through Chrysalis’ mane.
“Go with Celestia and tell her your story okay?”
Chrysalis picked her head up, and with a voice very much akin to a lost fillies asked,
“Can you come with me?”
Keyan shook his head,
“You have to do this yourself okay? Celestia won’t hurt you right?” the last sentence was mainly directed towards the princess in question, and the veiled threat didn’t go over her head.
“I promise Chrysalis. I am very interested in hearing your story would you please come with me?”
After a few moments Chrysalis nodded and Celestia waited patiently as she stood up. With a small smile she turned around and lead Chrysalis down the path to the palace. Rainbow gave the much larger queen a glare as she walked by, Chrysalis seemed to shrink to half her size as she weathered it. To their credit, the guards posted around didn’t attack her on sight, but they definitely eyed her with well deserved suspicion. Luna quickly followed, but gave Keyan a strange glare as she turned around.
Keyan sat down on one of the seats with a sigh,
“Do you ponies have any idea how complicated you make my life?”
Rainbow rolled her eyes,
“Oh come on, ya love us.”
“With all my heart,” came the sarcastic response.
The CMC chose this moment to reappear from behind their sisters. Scootaloo immediately clambered up his arms to claim her usual spot on his shoulders. Sweetie Belle and Apple Bloom trotted up with smiles on their faces.
“Hey Mister Keyan!” Apple Bloom said, “its good to finally meet ya!”
“Uh huh!” nodded an enthusiastic Sweetie Belle.
Keyan extended his hand with shook their tiny hooves,
“Its a pleasure to finally meet Scootaloo’s friends. But please, just call me Keyan, or Key if you want.”
“Okay Keyan,” Sweetie Belle replied.
Apple Bloom then looked at Scootaloo, her eyes transmitting a message. Upon recieving it Scootaloo looked at Keyan,
“So Key, last night we got interrupted halfway through Cutie Mark Crusader Space Pilots,”
Keyan rolled his eyes,
“And you want to finish it don’t you?”
All three fillies nodded their heads.
“Fine, go ahead!”
The three fillies let out cries of excitement as they hurried off into the cockpit. Scootaloo gave Keyan a brief hug around his neck before she followed her friends. Keyan looked up to see Spike shuffling nervously around on his feet.
“Go ahead Spike,” Twilight said with a smile.
Spike immediately broke out into a broad grin and hurried in to join the crusaders.
“Oh Keyan, I have your syringe here,” Twilight said as she pulled the nanites rom wherever ponies kept these things.
Keyan waved his hand,
“I told you to keep it Twilight. Never know when you’re gonna have to use it. And trust me, look at it under a microscope.”
“Oh thank you Keyan! I know you said that in your note but I was just making sure.”
“Don’t worry about it.”
Applejack chose this moment to suddenly pull him into a crushing hug. Her legs of iron began to crush the life out of the poor capsuleer. Keyan hesitantly patted Applejack on her back,
“Umm… whats this for?” Keyan asked.
“Giving Apple Bloom that magic shot, ya fixed her right up. You’re a friend of the Apple Family now ya hear?”
“Thats good to know, but you’re kinda crushing me right now.”
“Oh, sorry,” a sheepish Applejack said as she let the capsuleer go.
Keyan stood back up, coughing as his lungs once again filled with air. His attention was suddenly grabbed by Rarity staring at him,
“I’d like to thank you Keyan, for helping Sweetie Belle last night, and giving her those… nanites,” she paused at the strange word, “I owe you a great deal.”
Keyan once again waved his hand,
“Its not big deal Rarity.”
Rarity nodded and gave him a smile. But then something seemed to occur to her and she bit her lip.
“Oh umm, well since you asked. Last night you did mention the possibility of some extra fabrics. I was just wondering….” her voice trailed off.
Keyan mentally kicked himself,
“Sorry Rarity, I completely forgot, I’ll have Aura scan the cargo holds now. But I have some, I picked up some luxury goods from some pirates I ran into, theres bound to be something in there.”
Rarity let out a squeal of delight,
“Oh this is wonderful darling! Do you know what colors are in their? the sheen? the texture?”
“Whoa whoa whoa Rarity calm down. I don’t know any of that. I just know its expensive.”
“Well thats good I suppose, but how expensive exactly?”
Keyan stroked his goatee as he tried to come up with an appropriate figure,
“Well… If its some Amarrian silk a single bolt of it could go from 100 to upwards of millions of isk, depending on what planet it was made on. And considering I got the good from Amarrian pirate gang I’m pretty sure its somewhere in between. And one isk is roughly 100,000 bits.”
That conversion was actually pretty low, but it served to get the point across to Rarity.
The assembled ponies chuckled as they watched their friend try to process the information. All of a sudden the fashionista reared back on her hind hooves and fell onto a conveniently placed couch, which Keyan knew wasn’t there a second ago.
Confound these ponies.
A short while later Rarity, Twilight, and Applejack headed back into the palace, leaving Keyan alone with Rainbow. The prismatic mare was currently staring at her departing friends, one in particular.
“So how are you doing Rainbow?” Keyan asked.
Rainbow jumped, her revelry broken,
“Oh! I’m doing fine.”
Keyan raised an eyebrow,
“Really? You seem kinda skittish.”
Rainbow bit her lip,
“Listen Keyan, there’s something I gotta talk to you about,” she motioned towards the cockpit where the fillies were still playing, “in private.”
Keyan’s brow furrowed,
“Umm sure?” Keyan hesitantly agreed.
The two of them walked off to a secluded section of the courtyard and sat down on some nearby stone benches.
“So whats up?”
Rainbow fidgeted on her seat, obviously nervous,
“Umm well, can you promise to keep this a secret?”
The prismatic mare opened her mouth to say something a few times but the words always died on her tongue. Eventually she took a deep breath and stared hard at Keyan,
“I like Twilight.”
“I think a lot of ponies like Twilight.”
“No no, I like-like Twilight.”
Keyan wasn’t exactly surprised at this, anyone with a brain could tell that there was something between the two. Unfortunately, he still had no idea what to say,
“Cool?” he hesitantly offered.
Rainbow stared at him, a silent plea in her eyes,
“So what do I do?”
“You think I have any idea? I never had a crush before.”
Keyan could see the gears turning in Rainbow’s head,
“Oh come on! You’re like super space explorer guy! You have to know something!”
Keyan shook his head,
“Rainbow, most of the girls I met either wanted to rob me, shoot me, blow me up, or eviscerate me. And the others hated me, not much to like there.”
Rainbow rean her hooves through her mane,
“You gotta have something for me.”
“I don’t know, why don’t you just tell her?”
Rainbow’s slowly lifted,
“I want to. Celestia knows how much I’ve times I’ve tried. But everytime I want to she just does something cute, and I just…” her voice trailed off.
Keyan licked his lips, what was with these ponies and putting him in uncomfortable situations.
“Umm. when did you start like-liking her?” he asked. That was a proper question to ask right?
“I don’t know,” Rainbow began, “A while before you came I guess. She’s just so… Twilight, I can’t put my hoof on it. And then there was the night you came Key, me and her were stargazing when we saw your ship and she was just amazing,” she picked her head up and gave him a soft smile, “you should have seen her dude. Outlined by the stars behind her, she looked beautiful. And then we saw you, and it kinda ruined the moment.”
“Oh… I’m sorry.”
She waved a hoof,
“Don’t worry about it.”
“So what are you going to do? I would just tell her.”
Rainbow shot up,
“I can’t do that! What if she doesn’t like me back, or thinks I’m weird?”
Keyan leaned forward and put his elbows on his knees,
“Let me tell you something Rainbow ok?”
“Being a capsuleer is all about risk and reward. Sure, you don’t have to take risks and do the easy things, but you don’t get a lot out of it. Its just boring. The ones that decide to go out and make something for themselves, they’re the ones that you hear stories about. Sure they got rejected, usually by a missile to the face, but they always got back up. Now if you tell Twilight and she rejects you, then yea that sucks. But at least you tried. Or it could go the other way, and then everyone is happy,” he reached out a hand and placed it on Rainbow’s shoulder, “Of all the words of mouth and pen, the saddest are these, it might have been.”
“Since when did you become a philosopher?”
“Since I got here, you damn ponies make everything complicated.”
Rainbow gave Keyan a smile.
“So what are you gonna do?”
Rainbow suddenly broke out into her signature smirk,
“I’m gonna go ask Twilight to go on a date!”
Keyan could see an idea come to light in her eyes,
“And speaking of that…” she whispered her plan to Keyan.
When she finished she leaned back, a knowing smile on her lips.
“Thats a pretty good idea Rainbow,” Keyan smiled, “I’ll do it.”
Twilight trotted through the Palace, Keyan’s syringe floating along next to her. The unicorn was on her way back to her room. She was staying in the same room she had while she was studying in Canterlot so it was equipped with an impressive array of scientific tools and instruments. Among those was a microscope, which she was eternally grateful for.
Keyan had told her twice now to look at the syringe under a microscope, but she was unsure why. To the naked eye, the liquid inside looked light slightly clouded water, nothing special about it. But the same could be said about a lot of things.
Humming a dainty tune Twilight rounded the corner to her room, she swiftly stepped inside and made her way to the door that led to her laboratory. She gently placed the syringe on a table and moved towards her supply closet. Being careful not to knock any of the expensive knickknacks dotting the counter Twilight managed to find some extra slides for her microscope.
With experience born from massive amounts repetition Twilight levitated the tiny glass planes and carefully placed them next to the syringe. A short while later she had a perfectly prepared slide ready. There was a small amount of the syringe’s solution in between the two small panes of glass. Still humming the tune, Twilight levitated the slide onto the microscope. A small flick of her hoof angled the mirror below to shine light up into the eyepiece. Without further ado she put her eye to the eyepiece and promptly froze.
Idly swimming about it the aqueous solution, was what looked like little bugs. They were very spider like in appearance, made out of a dull grey metal. Small legs propelled them around, deftly maneuvering around each other. Switching to the highest magnification she continued to observe them.
She knew that Keyan had extremely advanced technology. After all he could travel the stars, but this was on another level entirely. It was one thing to make things big, to make functioning machines this small was nigh impossible. And Twilight saw what these machines were capable of, they had healed the CMC right in front of her. And even though Twilight didn’t see it, they had repaired Rainbow’s body from basically scratch.
Twilight was awed. The implications of this were astounding. Previously life-threatening injuries would be a quick fix, ponies who had permanent disabilities could have them repaired. Paralyzed ponies could walk again! The entire thing sent her mind into a tail spin. There was one thing that she knew: she had to show it to somepony else. Without a second thought Twilight spun around and rushed out into the main room. Hardly slowing she threw open the door to the hallway and burst outside.
Only to find herself colliding straight into Rainbow Dash.
Twilight suddenly found herself on top of her prismatic friends, muzzles inches from each other. They each had matching looks of shock on their faces.
“Hey Twi,” Rainbow said softly.
“Hey,” came the diminutive response.
They watched as duplicate blushes crept up the others face, their warm breath dancing across the other. Neither of them knew how long they were like that, just reveling in the touch of the other’s fur on their own.
“So whats up?” Rainbow spoke, her voice little more than a whisper.
Twilight’s mind suddenly ground back into motion. Stammering out apologies the unicorn swiftly helped her friend back to her hooves.
“Oh I’m so sorry Rainbow. I wasn’t looking where I was going and--”
Rainbow waved her hoof,
“Don’t worry about it Twi. So what’s got you in such a hurry anyway?”
Twilight suddenly remembered the reason why. Her face suddenly broke out into a huge grin and she started pulling Rainbow into her room,
“Let me show you!” Twilight squealed, “Its so cool!”
Rainbow raised a skeptical eyebrow but allowed her friend to drag her into the room. Twilight swiftly bundled the pegasus into her laboratory. Rainbow didn’t have much time to process the massive amount of egghead in the room as Twilight pulled her over to a microscope. The prismatic mare watched as her friend looked through the eyepiece and fiddle with a few knobs and dials. In a short few moments Twilight pulled back and smiled at her friend,.
“Alright, go ahead and look.”
Rainbow obligingly did so and her mouth promptly opened up in shock when she saw the nanites swimming around. She pulled away and looked at Twilight with an uncontrollable smile on her face,
“Oh my gosh thats Awesome!”
Twilight was currently in another place entirely.
Rainbow was doing that face again. The same one she was doing when the two of them were stargazing together.The memory suddenly burst back into her head, in all its glory.
This was the mare she liked.
This was the mare she liked liked.
A thousand scenarios suddenly ran rampant through Twilight’s head. Should she tell her? How would she react? Would she not want to be friends anymore?
What if she liked her back?
Rainbow’s smile faded as watched her friend’s expression shift a through a myriad of different changes. She reached out a hoof and gently tapped Twilight,
“You okay Twi?”
This seemed to do the job as Twilight suddenly shook her head and re focused.
“Oh sorry Rainbow, I got distracted. But what do you think of these ‘nanites’?”
Rainbow smiled again,
“They’re awesome Twi! Not as awesome as me of course, but pretty close.”
Twilight giggled and rolled her eyes,
“Whatever you say Rainbow.”
Rainbow opened her mouth so say something but swiftly lost her train of thought. Twilight was standing right there, in all her adorkableness. Rainbow bit her lip as Keyan’s words came back to her,
“The ones that go out and make something for themselves, they’re the ones you hear stories about.”
Rainbow took a deep breath and summoned all the courage she could muster. And without further ado,
“I like you Twilight.”
Twilights already scrambled mind was once again blown apart when she heard Rainbow. And the thousand fantasies that she had previously smothered came back in full force. A small, rational part of her mind swiftly forced out a single word,
Twilight watched her friends brow furrow,
“Let me rephrase,” Rainbow took another deep breath, “I like like you Twilight. Alot.”
Twilight’s breath hitched in her throat.
“you like like me?”
Twilight’s face suddenly exploded in a wide smile. Without realizing it she broke into a spontaneous
“Yesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyesyes,” as she bounced around the room. Singing her joy to the scientific instruments around her.
Rainbow’s eyes followed the mare as she bounced around, putting Pinkie to shame in her excitement.
Twilight suddenly saw her friend, and the unspoken question in her eyes,
“I like like you too Rainbow!”
Rainbow broke out in a huge grin matching Twilight’s,
“Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh,” she said as she came to terms with what she just heard.
Twilight suddenly threw her legs around Rainbow and they bounced up and down together, each shouting out exclamations of joy. Eventually their mirth died down and they realized how close to each other they exactly were. Twin blushes once again crept on to thier faces.
“So what do we do now?” Twilight asked.
“We go on a date thats what,” Rainbow said with a smirk.
Twilight blushed even harder,
“I’ve never been on a date before.”
Rainbow comfortingly patted Twilight on the cheek,
“Don’t worry Twi, I’ll worry about the specifics. All you gotta do is say yes.”
Twilight smiled sheepishly,
“I’d love to Rainbow.”
The two ponies smiled at each other, still embracing each other. Sensing her chance, Rainbow slowly leaned in towards Twilight, pulling the unicorn to her with her iron legs. Twilight’s ears splayed back as she realized what her friend was about to do.
“Are you going to kiss me Rainbow?”
Rainbow gave Twilight a flat stare.
“Don’t ruin the mood Twi.”
Twilight gave a sheepish smile,
Rainbow rolled her eyes and leaned in once again. This time Twilight leaned forward as well. But sadly, it was not to be. The two mare’s foreheads collided with an audible thunk.
“Ow!” they both said simultaneously as they pulled away from each other, rubbing their foreheads.
Now a few feet from each other, the moment was completely broken.
“Can we try again?” Twilight asked sheepishly.
Rainbow shook her head sadly,
“I’m sorry Twi, but I want our first kiss to be something special. And the moment is kinda dead right now.”
Rainbow waved a hoof,
“Don’t worry about it Twi, we’ll have another during our date tonight. Meet me at the top of the this tower okay?”
“Okay Rainbow. Can I ask what we are going to do?’
“Actually no you can’t, its going to be a surprise. Don’t worry about dressing up, it won’t matter much where we’re going.”
A short while later Twilight was alone in her room, laying on her couch with a dreamy smile on her face. Her mind was filled with thoughts of what Rainbow was possibly planning tonight. She sure seemed excited about it, so it must be something good. Maybe she’ll take her flying again? Memories of the Rainboom that she had carried her through sprain into Twilight’s mind.
Twilight sighed dreamily.
Her eyes suddenly opened wide: she had to get ready! and she had no idea what to do. But she had a trump card, Rarity would know what to do. Twilight heaved herself to her hooves and immediately set on her way towards Rarity’s room.
How would she react? Twilight already knew that Rarity had no problem with a mare dating another mare, Twilight was just worried about if the fashionista would go on a whole tangent and make a whole new dress for her. Than he mind drifted to what her other friends would think. She swiftly drew away from that line of thought though, she knew if she started down it, it wouldn’t be a good thing.
She trotted down the hallway that lead up to Rarity’s room and knocked on the door.
“Coming!” her friends posh voice floated out.
A moment later Rarity opened the door to and gave Twilight a quizzical stare,
“Hello Twilight, can I help you?”
Twilight once again broke out into a massive smile,
“Rainbow likes me back!”
It took a second for Rarity to process what the unicorn said, but as soon as she did her face exploded in a grin. The two ponies jumped up and down in place, squealing with joy. Rarity pulled Twilight into her room and immediately sat her down on the couch.
“Tell me everything.”
And so Twilight did, she told the fashionista everything that transpired since she last saw her in the courtyard. But when she heard the outcome of their first attempt at a kiss she groaned loudly,
“Oh course that would happen to you Twilight,. No offense.”
Twilight sighed dejectedly,
“None taken Rarity.”
“So, do you know anything about this date Rainbow is taking you on tonight?”
Twilight shook her head,
“All she said is to meet her on top of the palace. And not to dress fancy, anything other than that I have no idea.”
Rarity rubbed her chin,
“Well that is rather vague. Are you sure there is nothing?”
“Mmhmm. I guess I’ll find out tonight.”
“Well, even if Rainbow insists on being casual. I can at least do your mane up nice, come along darling.”
Hours later, Twilight was staring at the door that led to the balcony of the palace tower. She idly fiddled with her mane once again, Rarity had certainly done a good job of it. The hair was slightly more wavy than usual, and cascaded down her back elegantly. Taking a deep breath to gather her confidence, the mare pushed the door open and stepped outside.
Leaning on the railing was Rainbow Dash, staring up at the night sky. Her mane was straighter than usual, she had brushed it out smoothly. When the pegasus heard the door open she turned around and gave Twilight a broad grin,
“Hey Twi’ you’re looking good.”
Twilight blushed madly.
Rainbow stepped up to her friend and nuzzled her gently.
“You ready for tonight?”
Rainbow turned around and on que Keyan’s shuttle silently floated up from below the balcony, the door opening to rest on the railing.
“Keyan’s shuttle?” Rainbow interrupted, “yea. I asked if I could borrow this and he said yes,” she turned around and offered her hoof to Twilight, “Can I help you up?”
Twilight giggled and allowed the pegasus to help her into the shuttle. It obvious was modified since the last time she saw it. The seats that were along the sides were gone, in favor of bare walls. The metal floor was now covered in soft carpet, and a wicker picnic basket was tucked away in a corner. It was softly lit, not to bright but not to dark.
With a small flap of her wings Rainbow floated up next to her,
“I definitely owe Key something for this, he did good here.”
Twilight nodded dumbly.
The door closed with a hiss behind them and Twilight jumped as she felt the shuttle start to move. Rainbow swiftly placed a calming hoof on her shoulder,
“Relax Twi, I’m pretty sure this is the safest place in Equestria right now.
“Don’t worry about it Twi.”
Twilight smiled and looked around the shuttle one more time,
“This is nice Rainbow,” she said.
“No Twi, this is nice.”
Al of a sudden the wall in front of Twilight seemed to disappear, a window seemingly appearing in its place. The unicorn gasped as she saw the view.
Canterlot was far below her, night had fallen and lanterns were twinkling throughout the city. The soft lights flickering slightly as the flames within them danced around. A few lights were slowly meandering around the city streets, the guards making their rounds. A few flickered out, parents putting their foals to sleep.
A few minutes later even the lights in the cities were gone. But in their place Twilight could see the coastline of Equestria, and soon after the vast oceans surrounding it. The dark blots of land that were Equestria’s sister nations: Zebrica, Griffonia, Prance, soon rolled by. The great mountains of the world appearing as little more than bumps on the surface below.
Twilight slowly sank until she was laying down on the plush carpet.
Rainbow laid down beside her,
“Yea,” she nuzzled Twilight, “not as beautiful as you though.”
Twilight blushed and looked away from Rainbow.
“Stop Rainbow, you’re gonna make me blush.”
“Too late for that.”
The two mares shared a comfortable silence as the shuttle slowly drifted across the planet below. Ponyville was little more than a small splattering of lights in the valley below. Canterlot was barely visible in the distance. Soon enough the curvature of the planet came into view, the atmosphere standing out from the vast blackness of space.
The view was nothing short of breathtaking.
“Kinda makes you feel small doesn’t it?” Rainbow said quietly.
“I’m sure its similar to flying isn’t it Rainbow?”
“Nah, I’d be lucky if I could get a tenth as high as we are now.”
Twilight shuffled closer to Rainbow, pressing herself up against the warmth of the mare. Their tails intertwined together. The pegasus reached out a hoof and pulled the basket to her. She peered inside it and a few seconds later pulled out a bottle of wine and two glasses.
“What are those for?” Twilight asked.
Rainbow smiled and looked at an blinking panel of lights.
“Because in about 45 seconds we are going to leave the last vestiges of our homeworld's atmosphere. Officially making us the first ponies in space.”
Twilight looked at Rainbow, completely in awe of what was happening. Rainbow pulled the cork out with her teeth, quickly filling the two glasses with the drink. She hoofed over one of the glasses to Twilight. Half a minute later a light lit up green and Rainbow turned towards the unicorn,
“To us Twilight.”
“Cheers,” the unicorn replied as they clinked their two glasses together. They exchanged smiles as they sipped, the wine flowing over their tongues.
“This is pretty good wine,” Twilight remarked.
“The Princess gave it to me, but I don’t think she knows about this yet. All I said was I needed it for something important.”
Twilight smiled softly,
“In all honesty Rainbow, I don’t care if she does,” she turned to the mare and tenderly nuzzled her, “because right now all that matters is this.”
It was Rainbow’s turn to blush now.
“Thanks Twi,” Rainbow looked at the panel once again, she reached out a hoof and hit a button. The lights instantly dimmed down to nothing and she turned back to Twilight, “get ready for something special.”
All of a sudden the view changed, instead of the planet below, their vision was dominated by stars. Far far more than what could be seen from Ponyville, or anywhere for that matter. There were billions, just…. there. Twilight knew, hypothetically, of the infinite vastness of space. But seeing it here, right in front of her, nothing could of prepared her for this.
Twilight tried to piece together some familiar constellations, but every time she saw a semblance of something a billion other stars flooded into her vision. Drowning out every shred of familiarity.
“Here,” Rainbow said as she flicked another button.
Lines appeared on in front of them, connecting various stars. It took a while, but Twilight soon realized that they formed the constellations.
“Thats definitely different than Ponyville,” Rainbow said rhetorically.
The two mares watched space roll by together. The vast amount of stars belied the emptiness of space. The two mares could see interstellar clouds of dust block out some portions of the sky The stars behind them providing a ghostly black light to the massive nebulas.
Neither of the mares knew how long they stared at this. But it was something they wouldn’t forget for the rest of their life. A small beep from the side accompanied a red light.
“I’m sorry to ruin the view Twi, but its time for the grand finale,” Rainbow said as she hit a button once again, teh view changing back to the planet below.
A golden glow began to shine from behind the planet, great arcs of light piercing the atmosphere. The transcendent glow only grew greater as time slowly passed. And then Twilight saw it. The sun began to appear from behind the planet. Its first shred exploding onto the scene in all its radiant glory. The two mares could see the sunlight creep across the planet below, a literal wall of darkness receded against the onslaught of the sun. DIsappearing as the mare’s orbit continued.
Eventually the sun was revealed completely, and its glory was immeasurable The brightness of it was staggering, and if the shuttle didn’t filter it the mares would undoubtedly be blinded.
“Wow,” the two mares said together.
Twilight slowly reached a hoof out and laid it on top of Rainbow’s. The two mares looked at each other, trace amounts of tears in their eyes. Wordlessly they leaned towards each other. They paused, their lips centimeters from each others, and with a final push they met. There was no fireworks or 21 gun salute to signify this, and the only witnesses were the stars themselves.
Each mare poured their soul into the kiss, conveying through touch what they couldn't hope to through words.
It wasn’t grandiose, it wasn’t showy, it wasn’t flamboyant, and it wasn’t flashy.
Keyan watched Rainbow fly away, silently wishing her good luck. He stared at the multi-colored trail she left behind, he would have to get Aura to analyze that at some point. A few seconds after that thought, he realized that he was completely alone in the courtyard, all the other ponies had left.
“Well, what do I do know?” he asked himself.
The capsuleer sighed and began to walk towards the entrance to the castle, there was little else to do afterall.
A few minutes later, after an extremely arduous journey up the palace stairs, he found himself in the main entrance. There were two guards on duty, who each gave him curt nods before returning to their stoic selves, every bit as emotionless as an Amarrian Honor Guard. The capsuleer licked his lips and looked around before turning back to the guards,
“Whats there to do in this place?” he asked.
“The palace gardens are pretty nice this time of year,” one of the guards responded, his voice was about as expressive as his face.
“Errr… thank you....” Keyan responded then added after a bit of thinking, “where is that exactly?”
The guard pointed towards a corridor,
“Follow that till it ends, then take a right, should be right there.”
“Okay, thanks again,” Keyan said as he began to walk towards the corridor.
The hallway itself was rather lavishly decorated, which expensive looking vases, murals, paintings, and tapestries that would not fetch a bad price in Jita. All in all it was a rather nice walk, it was not too hot in the castle nor too cold, magic was probably used to some extent in keeping it that way.
Keyan hummed a nameless tune as his steps echoed through the hallway, his mind somewhere else at the moment.
His revelry was broken however when he collided into something with a soft thump. The something turned out to be a maid, who let out a squeal as she suddenly found herself on her rump.
“Oh crap, I’m sorry,” Keyan said as he bent down to help the mare up. For a split second his eyes roamed over her, taking in her appearance. Her fur was a light cream, and her mane a soft brown, her cutie mark, partially covered by her maid’s outfit, was that of a feather duster.
Hearing the capsuleer’s voice she looked up at him, and promptly froze as she caught sight of Keyan’s imposing figure, a trace amount of fear creeping into her eyes. This did not go unnoticed by Keyan.
“Oh come on, I’m not gonna hurt you.”
The mare blushed slightly, her fear quickly fading as the capsuleer helped her back up to her hooves.
“You okay?” he asked.
After a few seconds of stupor, the mare nodded slightly.
“Good,” Keyan responded with a smile, “I’m sorry for running into you.”
For some reason this seemed to spur her into speech,
“Oh, don’t apologize sir! It was my fault after all.”
Keyan shook his head,
“Nah, it was mine. Zoned out for a bit there.”
“Oh no sir, it was mine”
Heading this conversation tree off at the roots Keyan responded.
“Lets just say its both of our okay?”
“Okay,” the mare reluctantly agreed after a few seconds of thought. Obviously she was trained to be as courteous as possible.
“The gardens are this way right? Just want to make sure that I’m heading in the right direction before I go to far.”
The mare nodded,
“Yes sir, just take a right at the end, you can’t miss it.”
And with that said he gave the mare a short bow and stepped around her, quickly resuming his earlier pace. Before he could go far however, the maid’s voice once again called out to him,
“Ummm… Captain?” she said hesitantly.
Keyan paused and turned around,
“I just wanted to say that… ummm. the palace staff is on your side about the uhhh. “Blueblood Incident.” You may have gone a tad to far, but he did deserve it. So… we understand.”
Keyan smiled and gave her a polite nod,
With that said the mare turend around and trotted away, going off to do whatever maidly duties she had.
The capsuleer once again turned around and resumed his walk towards the garden. As both ponies had told him, the corridor he was in soon ended, and as he took a right some great glass doors came into view. His pace increased slightly as he approached them.
When he reached them he reached out and carefully opened them, a clean breeze immediately washed over him. It carried the slight scent of flowers on it, a light perfumey smell. It instantly brought a small smile on his face.
Keyan stepped outside and took a deep breath, relishing the smell of the garden. Such a scent was surprisingly difficult to come across in New Eden, it was hard to justify a garden on a space station when the area could be used for something more practical. Even expensive perfumes that the wealthy were so fond of wearing couldn’t compare, despite their millions-of-isk price tag.
He resumed his humming from earlier as he began to explore the gardens, drinking in the sight of the vibrant colors around him. Flowers of every type bloomed, and every now and then Keyan could here a small rustle that indicated something alive was scurrying about.
He really didn’t have any real idea about how long he was there, but in all honesty he didn’t really care.
Repeating the melody of the tune for the thousandth time that morning, Keyan turned a corner and caught sight of Fluttershy sitting under a gazebo. There was a soft smile on her face, her pink mane cascading down the side of her. Her eyes were closed, but not shut tight, almost as if she was napping. She looked at peace, completely content to spend hours in that same position, another thing rarely seen in New Eden.
Keyan coughed politely and the pegasus jumped slightly, her eyes opening wide in mild fright before she caught sight of the capsuleer. Much to Keyan’s relief, the look of fright was quickly replaced by one of mild elation.
“Oh.. hello Keyan,” she said softly, even her voice possessed a grace that Keyan was amazed at.
“Hello Fluttershy,” the capsuleer responded, “do you mind if I join you?” he said motioning towards an empty seat across from her.
“Of course not,” the mare replied, “please do take a seat.”
Smiling, Keyan sat down with a thump, sighing in relief as he took his weight off of his legs.
“So what brings you out here Fluttershy?” he asked, trying to start conversation.
The mare looked around her for a few seconds,
“I’m just.. enjoying the day out here,” she giggled slightly, “much more than the last time I was here.”
Keyan raised an eyebrow,
Fluttershy blushed deeply as she recalled her gala experience,
“Well, it certainly isn’t something I’m proud about.”
“Than I won’t pry,” Keyan said.
Fluttershy sighed and gave the capsuleer a grateful smile,
“Ohh… thank you. I really don’t want to tell that story again. But I will, if you want me to that is.”
Keyan waved his hand dismissively,
“Don’t worry about it, I know not to pry when I don’t have to. That doesn’t go over well in the galaxy.”
Fluttershy nodded and the two of them relaxed into a companionable silence as they enjoyed the gardens.
After a few minutes Keyan sighed,
“I like it here, so different than New Eden.”
Fluttershy cocked her head,
Keyan gestured to the entirety of the garden surrounding them,
“This.. Everything here. I would be surprised to find a garden a tenth of this size on any space station save some residential ones.”
The pegasus looked positively horrified at this,
“Oh no, that sounds awful. No trees? or animals?”
Keyan shook his head,
“Last time I saw something like this was when I took a day trip to the Amarrian Home System. They have a few gardens like this, but they lack… the substance that this one does. And the only animal I have personal experience with are Slaver Hounds.”
“Slaver Hounds?” Fluttershy asked, a note of fear creeping into her voice, “they don’t sound.. nice.”
“Don’t let the name fool you, they actually can be quite friendly. Depends on how you raise them.”
Fluttershy let out a soft “oh..”
“I actually had one a few years back, his name was Novellus, called him Novi.”
Fluttershy immediately brightened up, seemingly lighting up the area around her.
“You had a pet? what was he like?”
Keyan chuckled at his companions interest, highly amused by her sudden change in demeanor.
“Well, his name is old, apparently the word has existed since before any of the four empires did, it means “new”. Which actually made sense, because that hound had a tendency to do something new every time I saw him. One time he managed to sneak into the regular crew quarters on one of my ships, no idea how he did it considering it’s completely sealed off from my area. Was a whole production getting him back.”
“He seems nice,” then her face grew concerned, “oh no, he must be waiting for you to go back. He must miss you so much.”
Keyan cringed involuntarily,
“I don’t think so Fluttershy, I said “had” for a reason. He… died, when the station he was in got destroyed.”
Faster than Keyan could have thought possible, the mare was suddenly pressed up against hi side, hugging him for all she was worth. Keyan’s first response to the physical contact was to push away, but swiftly stomped that thought out.
“I’m so so so so sorry,” Fluttershy said, “I didn’t mean to make you sad.”
“I’m not sad Fluttershy, its been a while anyway,” he couldn’t stop the slight hitch in his voice.
“What happened?” Fluttershy asked.
Keyan heaved a deep breath,
“He was in a station owned by an alliance I was in. We were in war, and we were losing, badly. They appeared in system, and we were entirely unprepared. They rolled across us in hours, couldn’t do anything to stop them. Eventually, it turned into a rout, the only thing I really cared about in that entire system was Novi, but before I could get him, the station bought it. They decided it would be cheaper to blow it up than waste the manpower and time taking it. Saw the whole thing go, it was a pretty impressive explosion,” he chuckled dryly.
Fluttershy deepened her hug.
“But I learned something from that, don’t get attached to things,” he pointed towards his ship, the rust colored hull dominating the sky above Canterlot, “See my ship?”
“No,” Fluttershy said, surprisingly sarcastic.
Keyan turned his head and caught sight of Fluttershy’s eyes before they chuckled together.
“That ship, if it was in New Eden, has maybe a month or two more life in it before some pirate decides he wants a new killmail,” he paused, “thats the same thing as trophy.”
Fluttershy leaned back and looked at him,
“What would happen to Aura then?”
“Shes backed up on my personal server, so she’ll remember everything that happened..” his voice trailed off as he realized that his ship was somehow interacting with the “magic” in this system, which was sadly lacking in New Eden.
He would definitely have to figure that problem out.
Little did the capsuleer know that that problem was already being solved elsewhere.
“BAM BAM BAM BAM!” Scootaloo cried out as she played with the joystick of the shuttle. She had just vaporized the third pirate ship that had attacked them. Aura was kind enough to simulate the action on the front window of the shuttle, as well as a data feed on the holographic displays.
“Apple Bloom! Damage Report!” she shouted to her chief engineer, who was hunched over another HUD.
“Right side thrusters took a glancing hit, left side are clear, no hull breaches and shields are recharging now.”
Scootaloo nodded and turned to her chief communications/sensor officer Sweetie Belle.
“Do you see anything?”
“Nothing on sensors, but keep an eye out for cloaked ships.”
Scootaloo then called out to Spike, her chief weapons officer.
“What’s the status on our weapons?”
“Auto cannons reloading, only got two missiles left.”
“I’m sorry to interrupt,” Aura suddenly said, her voice sounding through the cockpit’s speakers, “but I have a question.”
The three fillies and a dragon let out a collective groan.
“Oh.. forgive me,” Aura said.
“Don’t worry about it,” Applebloom said as she waved a hoof, “we didn’t mean to sound mean. We owe you for doing these sim-ul-a-tions for us anyway.”
“Yea, sorry,” the three others quickly said.
After a few seconds Aura’s voice sounded once again,
“Can you explain ‘fun’ to me?”
The four organics looked at each other in confusion,
“What do you mean by that?” Spike asked.
“As an A.I, these… emotions are new to me, and I have searched my memory cores and discovered I have no entries for ‘fun’. And I have found, despite diverting a majority of my processing power to it, that I am unable to understand or create valid simulations of it.”
“Ummm.. well.. this is fun, these ‘simulations’,” Spike explained.
“Let me clarify, I am able to place the lable ‘fun’ on many activities that I have observed. But there are contradictions in my samples. Pinkie Pie considers meeting new ponies to be the most fun thing in her life, but Fluttershy is the opposite. So my question is… why? What makes a pony think something is more fun than another?”
“Its just who they are,” Sweetie Belle attempted to explain, “some ponies find some things more fun than others because their personality just fits it better.”
Aura was silent for a few seconds,
“I see the merit in that statement, and it is a valid pattern to the data, but I still do not understand the concept behind it.”
This continued for a while, and despite the fillies best efforts the A.I was no close to drawing any conclusion.
Apple Bloom eventually turned to Scootaloo, who was mostly quiet during this whole exchange.
“Scootaloo?” the farm filly asked, “what are you thinking about.”
The miniature daredevil turned to her friends with a thoughtful expression on her face,
“Okay, hear me out for a bit, okay Aura?”
“Of course Scootaloo,” the A.I responded.
“Well, you created a whole new set of wings for Rainbow Dash, and an eye, so why don’t you just like.. build a whole body for yourself?”
There was dead silence throughout cockpit.
Apple Bloom opened her mouth,
She was interrupted when Aura suddenly screamed out,
The four organics looked at each other in confusion.
“I can create apparatus to simulate touch, facial structure for emotions, I have Rainbow Dash’s DNA as a template for the organic parts. There are more than enough components in the cargo bay to make a full body. This means II can actually experience fun activities!” a very real note of happiness was creeping into the A.I’s voice, “Oh wow, I feel… good! This is a good feeling! I want to feel like this more!”
The fillies giggled at the A.I’s giddiness.
“But it would be expensive! I have to ask the Captain first.”
“Heres another idea, don’t. Just do it and then tell Keyan later. I think it would be better to ask for forgiveness later rather than permission now.”
Apple Bloom looked actually shocked at her friend,
“Scootaloo, thats cheatin and you know it!”
Scootaloo turned to defend herself,
“Oh come on, it not like Keyan hasn’t done anything like that before!”
“Scootaloo,” Aura interrupted, “have you ever stopped to think that Keyan may not want you to take after him? His instincts were shaped in a different world than yours, do not forget that.”
Scootaloo once again opened her mouth the protest, but soon drooped instead,
“Yea, you’re right,” she looked at Apple Bloom, “I’m sorry.”
“However, I will start development of the schematics.”
The four organics smiled once again, hopefully a new pony will be walking around soon.
Professor Hoofton leaned on his windowsill, his scraggly mane blowing in the slight breeze. His elbow was resting on a slab of metal that took the place of his normally marble resting spot. A stray changeling had smashed into his office the other day, taking a fair chunk of the window frame with it. One of the alien’s drones had cleaned up the mess, placing the patch job until the workponies could come in and replace the window in full.
What marvelous creatures those “drones” were. Their name implied a similarity to the changelings, smaller beings connected to a greater hivemind, which obviously was housed in the massive rust-colored starship hovering above Canterlot. They persistently and tirelessly slaved away, day and night in an attempt to repair the city, and most ponied were eternally grateful to them (the fact that most of the collateral damage was caused by the alien was conveniently forgotten).
Maybe the alien was in league with the changelings, sacrificing a thousand or two drones certainly seemed an acceptable loss for gaining control of Equestria, and the whole production was a ruse to gain the ponies trust.
But the rumour amongst the populace was that Twilight Sparkle herself had called the alien down from the heavens for help, meaning that they must have been in contact for at least sometime before this, most likely since the event down the valley in Ponyville.
The professor sighed and leaned further down into his hoof.
He sincerely hoped that the worst wasn’t true, the princesses themselves had vouched for the alien themselves, and if he managed to fool them than the Pony-race certainly didn’t have a chance. Either way, all they could do was hope and pray that their skies won’t be darkened by their new alien overlords anytime soon.
But what wonders this alien must have seen!
What secrets hidden between the stars must he know?
Mathematical and scientific theories not even dreamt of by the most genius of ponies would be common knowledge. Technologies straight out of science fiction would be obsolete! Millennia of art and culture just waiting to be experienced!
But what would all this mean for ponies? Would their own culture be swept away? Scientific pursuit turned into begging for the next scrap of hand-me-down technology? The ponies would be turned into the most powerful species on their planet to little more than cheap labor and a source of income. Radical political change could occur, revolution, civil war, coups. Sure the complex mixture between polyarchy and democracy that was unique to Equestria was over a thousand years old, but it was undeniably effective. Even the thousand-plus year old Celestia was remarkably progressive with reforms. The other species of the world would have to be appeased by sharing the information, assimilated into pony-culture, or enslaved in the wake of the new technologies. And when new technologies would have to be researched, ponykind will have forgotten how to do it.
Even now it was oh so tempting to go up to the palace and request an audience with the alien to ask for the secret behind warp travel. The bang the ship made when it appeared was exactly what was predicted when a warp bubble collapsed in an atmosphere. But what would that accomplish? Sure the ponies would have the technology, but they would be little more than foals with a crossbow. They wouldn’t know what to do with it, how to properly take care and manage it, and they would most likely hurt more than help themselves.
No… it would be best if ponies and the other species of Equus forged their own path to the stars. Blindly falling into the grooves of another civilization would prove disastrous in the long run, stagnation and entitlement would run rampant. The aliens, if they so chose, would be better to act as a teacher, making sure the ponies were ready,
Hoofton sat back and stared at the metal scarring his window. He could not deny how thankful he was for the aliens appearance. Canterlot and its citizens are safe because of him and for now, thats all that was important.
Maybe he should go at meet the alien, at least to say he did. Hoofton smiled as he realized just how jealous his students would be if he did.