Interstellar Celly (Part 1)

Apr 18th, 2017
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  1. >You are Anon, and you are in a good mood
  2. >Your latest delivery job went off without a hitch
  3. >No disasters to speak of, just the way you like it
  4. >The soft purr of your crafts engine soothes your mind as you pull into a slow glide over the approaching landscape
  5. >You like your job
  6. >Others don't
  7. >They would say your life is unfulfilled, that you should be out experiencing the universe in all it's glory
  8. >You remember the voices of those you used to call your friends
  9. >"Anon, you can't live like this!"
  10. >"This isn't healthy."
  11. >Healthy
  12. >That's the word that stuck with you the most
  13. >You aren't healthy, and you need to be fixed
  14. >Fuck em, their loss
  15. >You feel the hull of your vessel shudder as you near the surface
  17. >You live in a quiet area, away from the hustle of interplanetary trade routes and shipping lanes
  18. >You have neighbors you can trust and a home that always welcomes you with a smile
  19. >Not literally of course, unless you count the strange faces you've started seeing on your kitchen appliances as smiles
  20. >They usually frown at you anyway
  21. >With a smooth sweep of your control stick you bring your little courier down to land
  22. >Barely scrapping passed the telephone cables on the way down
  23. >Hopefully you'll get optics soon, those old cables were beginning to annoy you
  24. >A minor complaint in a life you generally considered perfect
  25. >With a final clunk your small spacecraft settles on it's legs, allowing you a safe exit out the front
  26. >From there it was a short walk up your garden path to the white front door
  27. >The door matched the rest of the house, a perfect white which never failed to please you
  28. >You are about to press your holokey to the lock when a disturbance three doors down causes you to stop
  29. >Casually, you lean away from you door for a better look
  30. >At first it's not clear what it is, all you can see is a large amount of stacked boxes piled in a rather decrepit patch of dirt
  31. >The pile keeps getting larger as the containers are unloaded from the cargo transport parked nearby, you're surprised you didn't notice that earlier, given it's size
  32. >Curiously, none of the boxes look particularly well kept
  33. >Most of them are formed from cardboard, which you were told was made from trees on earth
  34. >You'd seen pictures of those, but never in person
  35. >The edges of the boxes were tattered and split, stains of many colors faded into their surface
  36. >If it weren't for the fact that the were being unloaded rather carefully you would have assumed they were simply dumped by a waste disposal company
  37. >You watched in fascination as a pair of men struggled to unload a rather large container
  38. >It was different from the others, just as beaten and worn, but it seemed like it was designed to keep something alive
  39. >What?
  40. >You had no idea...
  42. >Slowly, you slip your key back into your pocket and make you way over to the men, who have since set down the odd container
  43. >You call out to them, getting the attention you desire
  44. "Hey uh, what's going on here? You know you can't just dump stuff wherever, right?"
  45. >The two share a glance before straightening up
  46. >"We ain't dumping this crap, we just got told to leave it here, I guess someone's gonna pick it up."
  47. >Your attention then turns to the large crate sitting just a meter away
  48. "What's in there?"
  49. >The workers share another uneasy look, their eyes occasionally flashing in the crates direction
  50. >"Fuck if I know dude, we just got told to handle it carefully. 'Parently this shit came from some ancients estate a few systems over, real ancient. Like 300 plus"
  51. >Huh, you knew modern medicine could keep people alive for centuries, but 300 plus!
  52. >That was old...
  53. >"Look, I wouldn't worry too much about someone coming for this shit, chances are the trash ships'll get it first. Probably doesn't mean shit to nobody."
  54. >You give them a nod of understanding and watch as they climb back into their ship
  55. >A rumble followed by a billow of air and the cargo transport is sailing through the sky and out of sight
  56. >Your eyes drift back down to the boxes, specifically your mystery crate
  57. >It certainly isn't locked, not by any measure, it's just tied shut with a couple of those industry grade cable restraints.
  58. >Not exactly the best in terms of keeping property secure, but at least you'll be able to get them off
  59. >The rest of the stuff around you looks fucked beyond repair, and you're secretly hoping this case is full of old weapons
  60. >That shit sells, not that you needed the money anyway
  62. >A short trip back to your courier and you have now acquired your plasma cutter
  63. >A simple device for a simple purpose, cutting shit
  64. >Carefully, you make an incision along the first tie, you make sure to avoid damaging the box further
  65. >The contents certainly are heavy, and you won't risk anything in case they're fragile
  66. >The first tie pops off, clattering across the dirt
  67. "Jesus, what is that smell!?"
  68. >You really hope this isn't a dead body
  69. >Might even be the old coffin dodger himself
  70. >With that in mind, you slice through the second tie like butter, pulling it off with minimal effort
  71. >Box - 0
  72. >Anon - 1
  73. >The smell is really intense now, like a 400 year old corpse has been allowed to fester
  74. >With a final heave you pull back the case, revealing it's contents
  75. >...
  76. >You were not ready for what you saw
  78. >You'd read about these things, back in collage that is
  79. >A race of seemingly intelligent horse... People
  80. >You didn't give two shits about history but at least you passed it
  81. >They had been discovered by humanity shortly after the invention of faster than light travel, and were, and still are, the only known extraterrestrial form of life to have made contact
  82. >That alone should have been enough reason to cooperate with them, but friendship is often outweighed by greed
  83. >The planet the little ponies inhabited was rare and exceedingly valuable, having it's own unique form of energy
  84. >Along with enough free slave labor to power the never ending corporate war machine that puppeted most of the united government
  85. >It was a shame really, the poor pests were eventually worked to extinction, their population failing under the extreme female to male imbalance
  86. >Or so you thought, until just now
  87. >The creature that was huddled in the shipping crate before you could hardly be considered 'little', being close the size of one of earths native equines
  88. >Again you'd only seen photos of those
  89. >It's coat was a filthy but obvious white, a thick film of grim and dirt covering her entire body
  90. >At least you thought it was a she, could've been a boy horse for all you knew
  91. >You decide to stick with she, seeing as she had a female-ish figure, almost masked by the fact that she was severely malnourished
  92. >She sported a both a horn and wings, or well, half a horn and a wing
  93. >Her ivory head spike had been snapped around the middle some how, and the break looked nasty
  94. >Her left wing was in a similar condition, having nothing but a tattered stump and a lot of scar tissue in it's place
  95. >Fuckingouch.png
  96. >Her big magenta eyes were locked firmly with your own
  97. >This creature had been through a lot, certainly enough to leave her body in such a worn state
  98. >You briefly considered shutting the box and walking away, but decided against it
  99. >You wouldn't let some old fucks cruelty bring you down on your good day, fuck that
  101. >The minutes drag by, and you and your new horse in a box still haven't spoken
  102. >She's still got her eyes firmly locked onto you, but the fear that was there previously has slowly ebbed away
  103. >There's now a much scarier emotion running across her muzzle
  104. >Desperation
  105. >You think it's probably time to break the ice, but your so concerned with her physical well being that you're having a hard time speaking
  106. "So... Uh. Have you got a... Name?"
  107. >The pony just sits in silence, refusing to get out of her box
  108. "Um... You look like you could do with something to eat..."
  109. >Still no response
  110. >Good job autist, you made things worse. All right, damage control
  111. "Look I'm sorry, I just... You look really hurt and stuff, and you look like you could use a good meal."
  112. >The smells still there, and unfortunately you now have a source
  113. >How fucking long did that prick leave her in there
  114. >She's covered in dust, her own waste and you swear to god if that's what you think that is in her hair
  115. >You really hope that old cunt gets cancer and dies, not that cancer's killed anyone in hundreds of years
  116. >Slowly, you bend down so your at eye level with the horse in the box
  117. >Her fear seems to have returned, but she's doing a good job of hiding it
  118. >You reach out slowly, going to stroke her soft (and desgustingly sticky) strawberry mane
  119. >She flinches, expecting an impact, but the soft touch of you hand seems to both surprise and calm her
  120. >Hnnnngg
  122. --------------------
  124. >You're still Anon, and you're still silently petting the box pony in the middle of a midden
  125. >She isn't leaning into your soft strokes
  126. >She's just sitting there, taking them
  127. >You really need to get her inside, at least away from all this filthy stuff
  128. >You could clean her in the small shower your bungalow came fitted with
  129. >It's not an amazing shower, by any means, but it gets the job of cleaning your body done
  130. >Now the real challenge is how do you move her
  131. >You don't need to worry about getting strange looks
  132. >You rarely see anyone outside of their space bungalows these days
  133. >You would however have to convince the horse to move
  134. >You couldn't just drag her, this was a thinking being just like yourself
  135. >Dragging might hurt her, at least more than she already is hurt
  136. >You could always bait her, that could work
  137. >You get up to go find a sugercube or carrot, but have a startling realization
  138. >She can fucking understand you autist, just ask her to move!
  139. >And with that, you do
  141. "Um, could you maybe come with me, I need to get you cleaned up, also fed."
  142. >She just stares blankly at you before getting to her hooves in a shaky manner
  143. >Her legs were so thin and weak looking, like a tarp stretched over a climbing frame
  144. >It hurt you to see another being like this
  145. "That's it, just take it slow..."
  146. >She attempts to walk forwards, but seems to be struggling under her own weight
  147. >She's also sporting a significant limp, one which your pretty sure was inflicted
  148. >She makes her way over to you and stands at your side, waiting for you to move
  149. "See that building over there?"
  150. >You point in the general direction of your home while retaining eye contact with her
  151. "That's my house, okay. Now we're going to go there and get you all fixed up."
  152. >Well, not all fixed up
  153. >You could probably work out how to repair her horn, but you doubt the changes are merely superficial
  154. >You are no scientist, just a courier for light cargo
  156. >Whether your new horse friend understands you is left unanswered, but she doesn't seem to mind as you carefully guide her back to your home
  157. >Making sure not to injure her further, you attempt to life her up the small flight of concrete stairs at your front door
  158. >And you massively misjudge her weight
  159. >Guess she really wasn't a little pony, you hardly lifted her a foot off the ground
  160. >She doesn't react to this, simply returning to her shaky stance when you set her down
  161. >Maybe she'd make it up the stairs on her own
  162. >With as much class as you can muster, you open the door and beckon her inside
  163. >There's no door to hold open, seeing as it fucked off into the rafters when you pressed the key to the panel, but you pose there anyway, hoping she'll get the right idea
  164. >She doesn't
  165. "You can come inside, it's okay."
  166. >She looks at you, then at the door, then back to you again
  167. "Well? On you go."
  168. >You offer a smile with that last line, trying to make it seem less like a command
  169. >She freezes at your voice, and opens her mouth to respond
  170. >No words come out, only coughs and wheezes
  171. >She collapses to her knees, and you rush to keep her stable
  172. >Ain't no way your letting an endangered and sentient creature die on your pathway, not on your good day!
  173. >She coughs again and again, and you lightly pat her back throughout the ordeal
  174. >Eventually the coughing stops, leaving you slowly rubbing her back as she shivers in pain
  175. >What were you going to do with her
  176. >You were about to move her again, when you hear a small whisper escape her dry lips
  177. >You didn't quite catch it, but it sounded a lot like-
  178. >"Thank you... Master."
  179. >Well shit
  181. >Your front door slides closed with a whoosh, sealing you inside your home
  182. >As you gaze around, your reminded of just how happy this place makes you feel
  183. >You remember someone saying that less is more... Or something
  184. >That was a stupid analogy
  185. >Less is still less, no matter what way you put it
  186. >You were just happier with less
  187. >A small bump to your side reminds you of your current visitor
  188. >Her one remaining wing has unfurled, dragging loosely across your nylon carpet
  189. >Maybe it's hurt too
  190. >Hopefully not broken, you'd hate too see her in more pain
  191. >Shit, you're staring
  192. >The horse seems to notice too, and pulls it up with what seems like an awful lot of effort
  193. >She then does something rather unnerving
  194. >She locks up, like she was expecting an impact
  195. >Did she think you were going to hit her?
  196. >Did that old fuck hit her for something as menial as touching the carpet!
  197. >You can see glassy orbs forming in the corners of her massive eyes, her teeth clamped shut
  198. >You just raise your hand
  199. >She tenses up even more, you can actually see what little muscle remains on her body ripple with anticipation
  200. >You place you hand on her head
  201. >She flinches at first, but soon comes to the realization that you're not being aggressive
  202. >Two pink globes crack themselves open, and gaze up to you in confusion
  203. "It's okay, you're safe now. I don't know what that piece of shit did to you, but you're safe. He can't hurt you here."
  204. >She just continues to stare at you in disbelief
  205. "Do you... Have a name?"
  206. She hesitates for a moment before answering
  207. >"I-I don't understand..."
  208. >Her voice, though weak and timid, held an almost motherly tone
  209. >"A-aren't you going to give me one?"
  210. >What?
  211. "No... I thought you would have one of your own, you do right?"
  212. >She shivers uncomfortably, weird...
  213. >"I did have one... L-long ago, I didn't think I was allowed to use it..."
  214. "I'm not going to give another sentient being a name, I can't name what I don't own..."
  215. >"B-but, I'm a pony..."
  216. "Okay..."
  217. >"And you're a human"
  218. "Kay."
  219. >"You must own me..."
  220. "I don't, you're a free being of mind and will, I don't own you."
  221. >She looks as though the word free has never been said in her presence
  222. >There's an awkward moment of silence
  223. >She's averted her eyes, which now face the floor once again
  224. "Come on, let's get you clean."
  225. >You make your way across the main space that formed most of your bungalow
  226. >The only other section of your home was a small corridor that linked your bedroom and your bathroom to the central building
  227. >You pass the heavy duty case that's mounted to your wall
  228. >You keep your weapons in there
  229. >Not like you ever have to use them
  230. >Your courier craft is too small to warrant boarding and the cargo you haul is rarely worth any pirates trouble
  231. >Still, better safe than sorry
  232. >You're inside the bathroom now, which consists mostly of a shower and a toilet
  233. >There's also a cabinet for things that belong in the bathroom
  234. >Like toothpaste
  235. >And your razor
  236. >And extra bog roll
  237. >Yeah, this isn't the most interesting room in the house
  238. >You look behind you to check that the still unnamed horse has followed you
  239. >Sure enough she's there, and she's watching your every move
  240. >Her eyes are fucking massive
  241. >You noticed it before, but now that their looking at you
  242. >Holy Jesus
  243. >You almost forget to turn the shower on because you're wondering how they fit in her comparatively small head
  244. >Maybe it's... Magic?
  245. >Fuck if you know
  246. >You swipe your hand across the holographic dial that controls the temperature
  247. >The water is beginning to warm up, but your power metre warns you that you'll need to fill up the fusion reactors tank out back
  248. >Fucking helium water
  249. >Shit's cheap as fuck but it requires you to move outside to fill up the tank
  250. >It's now at a relatively comfortable temperature, not too hot, not to cold
  251. >You signal your pegacorn roomie over to you
  252. "Stick one of your hooves in there, see if it's alright for you. I'm gonna go grab a sponge."
  254. >Back through to the kitchen
  255. >You reach under the counter, pulling out a nice new sponge you have been keeping there for a special occasion
  256. >Knowing it won't remain clean for long, you offer a silent prayer
  257. >He was so young...
  258. >So small...
  259. >So-
  260. >There's a fucking stain on your carpet
  261. >You clap your hands three times, summoning the small machine that does the cleaning around here
  262. >At least on the floor
  263. >And as long as there isn't any chairs in the way
  264. >Fucking roomba 9000
  265. >The small device goes to work on the stain while you make it back to the shower
  266. >Sponge in hand, you ready yourself for what will most likely be one of the most uncomfortable moments in your life
  267. >She's still there, and her hoof is still in the shower
  268. >And there's tears of shear agony running down her face
  269. >You spare a glance at the temperature gauge
  270. >Oh dear god
  271. >109 degrees Celsius
  272. >Your shower was capable of temperatures well over 200, and it seems you forgot to lock the dial
  273. >In a flash, you're across the room, wrenching her badly burnt appendage out of the boiling water
  274. "What the hell are you doing!"
  275. >She cowers at your tone, but sputters out a shaky answer
  276. >"Y-you said y-you wanted me to keep my hoof in the w-w-water."
  277. "Not if it was hurting you!"
  278. >Even through the fur you can tell the skin on her hoof is destroyed
  279. >Crimson red glowers angrily through her now pristine white coat
  280. >Why had she done that?
  281. >Surely that kind of pain was beyond bearable
  282. >With a flick of your wrist the shower stops, and the only sound left in the bathroom are the mares pained sobs
  283. >You pull her close, wrapping her fragile frame in your arms
  284. >What sort of hellish place did this mare come from...
  286. --------------------
  288. >You're sitting on the couch now
  289. >Just sitting
  290. >Doing nothing
  291. >You fucking can't believe what you just saw
  292. >This creature just disregarded its own physical health in favor of a command you didn't even give
  293. >That's not even the worst part
  294. >She then apologized
  295. >She apologized for misunderstanding your simple instruction as a command to burn herself in the shower
  296. >Whoever the fuck that old cunt was, you are going to find him
  297. >And if he doesn't have a heart attack when they break down his door, then he'll probably have one when the Feds tie him up and throw him in the back of an Assault ship
  298. >This shit has to be illegal on so many levels
  299. >In fact, you might as well find out what the charges are going to be
  300. >Just so you can list them personally in the high court
  301. >It's googling time!
  302. >'Pony slave rights'
  303. >You can't think of anything better to type in
  304. >Hopefully the slave part of 'pony slave' didn't have that much effect on your case
  305. "Okay... Wikipedia don't fail me now!"
  306. >Your smile tightens as you prepare your bloke bashing speech
  307. >And then it disappears
  308. >Instantly
  309. "A ponies rights are at the discretion of their owner, no legal measures were ever taken to ensure ponies remain in good health and no regulations regarding living conditions were ever passed- BULLSHIT!"
  310. >You almost throw your tablet across the room
  311. >Except you don't
  312. >Shit's expensive
  313. >But you would if you could
  314. >You take a glance at the mare next to you
  315. >She appears to have fallen asleep
  316. >The carefully wrapped cooling gauss appears to have set well
  317. >This does little to stem your anger
  318. >How can a species of intelligent and exceedingly endangered equines have literally no legal protection against ANYTHING!
  319. >You were going to angry some more, but are interrupted by the sound of your stomach grumbling
  320. >Fuck you hadn't eaten
  321. >And neither had your guest
  322. >For what looked like years
  323. >You quickly get up from the couch
  324. >It's munchies time
  325. >You then pause
  326. >What do ponies eat?
  327. >Hay?
  328. >Shit
  329. >You used all your hay in that pie last week
  330. >Still got good old fashioned eggs
  331. >Some people claim eggs are a morning only thing
  332. >Fuck those people
  333. >Eggs are for every meal
  334. >After another quick consult with the Galnet, you can confirm that ponies are completely capable of eating eggs, in fact it stated that they enjoy them as much as you do
  335. >Of course it warned you not to feed your pony eggs, for fear of her becoming lazy and picky
  336. >Omelet it is then!
  337. >Minutes flow by
  338. >You are Anonymous, master of the omelet
  339. >Your omelettes are fit for a princess, and were you ever to meet one-
  340. >Movement on the couch disrupts your inner omeletologue
  341. >Looks like your guest is waking up
  342. >She's still filthy, and you'll need to shower her again later on
  343. >You watch as her eyes flutter open, adjusting to the light
  344. >For a moment she almost looks happy, maybe she was having a nice dream
  345. >Then horror takes the place of that happiness
  346. >She's off the couch faster than is physically possible, but that's where the speed ends
  347. >Thank god you're not rich enough for one of those imported wooden floors
  348. >You may well have been prying her teeth out of a two by four for weeks
  349. >She struggles to stand, grunting under the pain of her injured hoof
  350. >You put the omelet mix on low and rush to help her
  351. >She's just about up when you get to her, and once again she braces for impact
  352. >"I'm sorry! Please don't... Please..."
  353. >She's so tired that she can barely hold it together
  354. >She just collapses into your arms as you move to stop her descent
  355. "Shhh... It's okay... Your safe. Your safe."
  356. >"B-but-"
  357. "Shhh..."
  358. You pat her gently as she empties buckets of tears down your back
  359. >This isn't fair
  360. >How could anyone possibly think to abuse something so fragile
  361. >So innocent
  362. >It fills you with a fury that you hadn't felt about anything before this
  363. >More than anything you wanted help her
  364. >But that little voice at the back of your mind was telling you there was no way to help
  365. >That she was just.. Broken
  367. >No
  368. >That was no way to think
  369. >There was a living creature that needed your help, and you couldn't just give up
  370. >Not like that
  371. >You pull away from the hug, startling the frightened mare
  372. >You look her in the eyes and give her a soft smile
  373. >There!
  374. >You swear you saw it, even just for second
  375. >That was a smile
  376. "I made dinner, I take it you're hungry?"
  377. >She didn't look like she was in any condition to refuse
  378. >"Yes master- I m-mean thank you, m-master."
  379. >You get up, refusing to acknowledge the fact that she still smelled like a sewage system
  380. >Food first, proper wash after
  381. >You set the table, pulling out two plates and two omnitools
  382. >These things were a gift from god
  383. >All the cutlery you'd ever need for anything hidden away by complex mechanisms in a space the size of a fork
  384. >Truly the greatest human advancement you'd the universe had ever seen
  385. >FTL drives don't got shit on your über spknorks
  386. >Your roomie approaches the table, and proceeds to lie down on the floor
  387. "Uh... What are you doing?"
  388. >"I'm waiting for you to finish..."
  389. "And why exactly are you lying at my feet?"
  390. >"W-well, my old master liked to use my back as a foot rest while he ate, I just thought y-you would too."
  391. >This fucking guy
  392. "No, get up."
  393. >She gets up, bracing yet again
  394. "No, no. It's okay, you've done nothing wrong."
  395. >She visibly relaxes, but avoids eye contact
  396. "Now, I want you to go round to the other side of the table, and take a seat in that chair."
  397. >She blinks in surprise, looking at the chair with an almost awe inspired expression
  398. >"M-master?"
  399. "You heard me... Go go go."
  400. >You get up and shoo the unisys round to her chair, which she sits in awkwardly
  401. >A quick check of your masterful omelettes shows that they're ready
  402. >Good shit
  403. >You take a whiff of that godly smell as you plate them up
  404. >Divine
  405. >Just as always
  406. >In one swift move, you place both plates on the table and return to your seat
  407. "Well, are you going to eat it or what?"
  408. >Horse.EXE has stopped working
  409. >"W-what?"
  410. >She's still staring at the plate
  411. >And the steamy omelet that resides there
  412. "Seriously, you need to eat. So go on, I ain't gonna stop you."
  413. >You try to ignore the incomprehensible horse babble that's coming out her mouth
  414. >Your omelet isn't going to eat itself
  415. >"This is... For me?"
  416. >Not for much longer if you don't hurry up
  417. >You simply nod however, seeing as your mouth is full of eggy goodness
  418. >"B-but, I don't understand... What did I do to deserve this?"
  419. "You don't have to earn a good meal, to be honest it's not any more trouble to make extra mixture. Plus I enjoy cooking so..."
  420. >"T-thank you, master..."
  421. >Your gonna need to plug this 'master' thing before it goes too far
  422. >Can't have you getting used to it
  423. "You know you don't have to me master, right?"
  424. >"S-sorry, did you wish to be called something else? Oh, maybe sir. Or-"
  425. "Or you could just call me by my name?"
  426. >"O-okay... Um, excuse me for asking... But what is your n-name?"
  427. >Oh, shit
  428. >You must have forgotten to introduce yourself when you met her
  429. >Or rather, unboxed her
  430. "Oh uh, it's Anonymous, but you can just call me Anon."
  431. >"O-okay mast- I mean Anon."
  432. >You spot an opportunity
  433. "I never did catch you name. What is it?"
  434. >She looks uneasy
  435. >You just continue to smile at her
  436. >"W-well, I've had lots since... I became a slave, would you like to pick one of those?"
  437. "No, I want to know your name, not the name some old fuck gave you."
  438. >"It's... C-Celestia."
  439. >Huh, what a nice name.
  440. >The two of you continue eating in silence, Celestia long since abandoning her omnitool in favor of her face
  441. >You didn't mined, you though it was cute
  442. >She certainly seemed to be in better mood than before
  443. >But she still stunk, and that would not stand!
  445. >After the omelettes where finished you took the time to explain what each area of the bungalow was for
  446. >Your small tour culminated in the bathroom once again, where you picked up the discarded sponge and turned on the shower
  447. >She flinched and brought her bandaged hoof up to her chest, attempting to protect it
  448. "Hey, it's okay. The shower isn't designed to burn people, it's for washing."
  449. >"B-but won't my bandage get wet?"
  450. "No, it's made of a special waterproof material, it won't come off."
  451. >You triple check the temperature to make sure there's no chance of it hurting her
  452. >The lock was in place, with no chance of the gauge being disrupted
  453. >Good
  454. >You step back and gesture for her to enter
  455. >Celestia looks hesitant, but slowly enters the rushing stream
  456. >Her eyes are forced shut as she expects boiling water
  457. >She's then pleasantly surprised when it's not
  458. >Even without your interference, the water seems to be doing it's job
  459. >Bits of white are beginning to show through the brown film the previously covered her
  460. >A rogue drip down her flank reveals something rather interesting
  461. >She has a mark of some sort
  462. >Kinda looks like a yellow splodge
  463. >You don't question it
  464. >Instead, you raise your sponge and get to work
  466. >Using a bar of soap to work up a lather, you begin to scrub her down
  467. >Flakes of god knows what tumble away in the water as you clean the base of her neck
  468. >It's like washing a big dog, only intelligent, and injured
  469. >You've never owned a dog, but you assume this is what it's like
  470. >So far you've managed to rid the upper part of her body of filth
  471. >She seems to be enjoying it, but attempts to hide her pleasure with a detached look
  472. >Applying more shampoo, you move on the the stump of her left wing
  473. >The grime there is browner than the rest, but comes off with less effort
  474. >As it pools in the drainage basin below, you suddenly realize what it is
  475. >It's fucking blood
  476. >Which means that her wounded wing wasn't bandaged
  477. >It was all over the inside of that box as well
  478. >Did that fucker put her in there with an open wound
  479. >You try to ignore the storm of wrath that's building up inside you
  480. >One problem at a time Anon, one problem at a time
  481. >Luckily the appendage seems to have healed
  482. >Maybe she just heals faster that normal
  483. >You don't know
  484. >Legs now
  485. >Celestia wordlessly lifts each of them up to allow for easy access
  486. >What a helpful horse
  487. >This shower will need an extra good clean once you're done
  488. >After her legs you begin to clean her flanks
  489. >Now that the dirt is gone, you can see her mark in all it's glory
  490. >It's a star
  491. >Like a child's drawing of a star
  492. >Celestia the star horse
  493. >No, star horse sounds weird
  494. >Sun horse
  495. >Now that's a nickname you can get behind
  496. >Speaking of getting behind
  497. >You weren't looking forward to this next bit
  499. "Um... You're probably gonna want to clean up up... Down there..."
  500. >With spaghetti spewing from every orifice, you gesture red faced to her rear
  501. "I don't wanna... You know... Invade you privacy or anything."
  502. >She looks shocked, you assume because she'd never been given the choice before
  503. >But then she smiles
  504. >Holy fuck she's got a nice smile
  505. >Aaaaand that was a wink
  506. >...
  507. >And now she looks terrified
  508. >"I'm sorry maste- I mean Anon! I meant no disrespect, I-"
  509. "Woah woah, it's fine. I actually thought it was kind of... Cute?"
  510. >Yeah
  511. >Cute
  512. >Almost as cute as the blush she's now sporting
  513. >"T-thank you Anon."
  514. "Don't mention it. Now about this..."
  515. >"I-I would do it myself, but I cannot. Not anymore..."
  516. >Oh yeah
  517. >Her horn
  518. >You've really gotta work out how to fix that
  519. >At least to get her magic stuff back
  520. >"Just try to be... Gentle. Please..."
  521. >Gentle, you could do that
  522. >Although there was always the option of the high pressure shower mo-
  523. >Nope
  524. >You needed to man up and clean this horses vagina
  525. >Like the man you are
  526. >Rawr
  527. "Okay, I promise."
  528. >She turned so that her rear was facing you
  529. >And then lifted her tail
  530. >...
  531. >...
  532. >Of course she has a horse vag Anon
  533. >She's a fucking horse
  534. >What were you expecting
  536. >Being as gentle as you can, you begin to wash her rear
  537. >There's a lot of questionable residue coming off on the sponge
  538. >Real questionable
  539. >Real disgusting
  540. >A quick once over with your magic sponge fixes that, now the only thing remaining was her sex itself
  541. >You rinse your sponge and get to work
  542. >Cleaning around in there does illicit some reaction from her
  543. >You assume it's rather sensitive
  544. >Or damaged
  545. >You say it's safe to assume that her 'golden oldie' must have used her for... Pleasure
  546. >You shiver at the thought
  547. >Fucking pensioners and their fossil dicks
  548. >Eventually you finish up
  549. >Now only her mane and tail are left
  550. >Reequipping your shampoo spray, you douse her strawberry tail in the soapy gel
  551. >The process reminds you of cleaning your own hair
  552. >But longer and more girly
  553. >More questionable fluids
  554. >Oh boy
  555. >Shit would give you aids
  556. >If aids hadn't been cured centuries ago
  557. >Her mane requires the same level of expertise
  558. >And before you know it your both sparkling clean
  559. >Well, she is
  560. >You're just wet
  561. >Leading her out the shower, you make sure her squeaky clean hooves don't slip on the bathroom floor
  562. >A button on the wall next to the shower opens up a retractable panel, revealing a hair dryer and a selection of pre warmed towels
  563. >Grabbing the dryer, you blow dry that motherfucker till she resembles a ball of cotton candy
  564. >You then once over her with a towel just to get the last of the damp off
  565. >And there you go, one shower completed
  566. "Right Celestia, I need to have a shower of my own, so why don't you go through and see what's on TV."
  567. >Surprisingly, she just nods and walks off
  568. >I guess she knows how to work a TV
  569. >Good for her
  570. >Now, about that shower
  572. >Fuck yeah, nice and clean
  573. >You step out of the shower and grab a towel
  574. >You run it across your body, getting yourself near enough to dry
  575. >Wrapping the towel around yourself, you bump the lock on the door to let you out
  576. >It's colder outside, and your body gives an involuntary shiver
  577. >Celestia is sitting on the couch, fiddling with the volume on the TV
  578. >Looks like she found the news channel
  579. >Nothing out of the ordinary
  580. >Politics stuff
  581. >Kinda boring in your opinion
  582. >Then the daily crime report appears on screen
  583. >A few systems near you have fallen into anarchy
  584. >Looks like your route will have to be adjusted
  585. >Again
  586. >There's a bit of footage of one of those federal light cruisers
  587. >What were they called again...
  588. >Cutters?
  589. >No, that was the other one
  590. >Ahh, Federal Corvettes
  591. >That's the ones
  592. >You see it blow up a pirate raiding party with cool lasers
  593. >Cool, but you like your ship better
  594. >What with how cozy it is
  595. >Celestia seems mesmerized by the display on screen, watching as some woman with a sweet voice talks about integrated weapons systems
  596. >"We never stood a chance..."
  597. >Odd
  598. >You choose to go into your room to collect your PJs
  599. >Once comfy'd up, you reemerge and make your way over to the couch
  600. "Budge up Sunhorse."
  601. >She instead gasps and drops too the floor, lying on her stomach
  602. >"Sorry Anon! I-"
  603. "No, not on the floor. Feel free to sit on the couch, I just wanted you too move along so I could sit too."
  604. >"O-oh, I wasn't really allowed on the couches in my old masters home..."
  605. "Well this ain't his home, and I say you can sit wherever you want. Now get your ass up on this couch."
  607. >She uneasily gets back up onto the couch, shuffling her hooves to find a comfortable spot
  608. >You turn you attention back to the TV, where the presenter is now talking about stocking up on heat sinks
  609. >You got enough heat sinks, it's all good
  610. >Oh shit!
  611. >The fusion reactor needs topped up
  612. >Better do that before it gets too chilly out
  613. >You stand from the couch to go retrieve your slippers
  614. >"Anon, where are you going?"
  615. "I'm gonna go get my slippers so I can fill up the reactor, helium water ain't gonna shift itself."
  616. >She looks absolutely mortified before leaving the couch and rushing past you
  617. >Wut teh fuk
  618. >She disappears behind your bedroom door, which you showed her how to work earlier
  619. >You wonder if that was a good idea...
  620. >She then reemerges from your resting place with with a pair of woolly slippers clamped between her teeth
  621. >She saved you a whole 17 and a half seconds and a 15 meter walk
  622. >Fucking score!
  623. "Hey thanks, but you didn't need to do that."
  624. >"I'm here to serve you in any way required Anon, if you want something you need only ask."
  625. >Huh
  626. >Well you ain't gonna complain about someone getting your slippers for you, even if they've been conditioned to believe they have no choice
  627. >Shit, that's messed up
  628. >But still kinda useful
  629. >*Moral conflict intensifies*
  630. >In the time you've been thinking, Celestia has moved to putting your slippers on for you
  631. >While you're standing on your feet
  632. >You pat her on the head in thanks and slip on your foot warmers
  633. "I'll just be a minute Celestia, why don't you see if there's anything less depressing on."
  634. >You approach the back door of your home
  635. >Outside you can see the small but functional patch of dirt you call your back yard
  636. >You have a shed for tools and your SRV
  637. >And there's a small bin like object that houses your fusion plant
  638. >Clicking the button by the door, it slides open, letting the heat of your living room escape
  639. >Better hurry
  641. >You trudge up the garden, your slippers smacking off the stone masonry
  642. >As you approach your reactor, you reach out to pull out the helium water canister
  643. >With a hiss it detaches, and you take it over to the shed where you keep your fuel
  644. >Pulling open the metal doors, you see your Surface Recon Vehicle is in the same state you left it
  645. >Just fine
  646. >There's more canisters of water up on the shelves to your right, and you drop the empty shell into the pile of similarly empty shells
  647. >Discarding your baggage, you are now able to pull one of the full cells down
  648. >With that you return to your reactor and plug it in, eliciting a ping as the lights returned and the reactor beamed with sunny energy
  649. >As you made your way back up the path, you notice Celestia is waiting for you
  650. >"A-Anon..."
  651. "Yeah."
  652. >"Is that sunlight?"
  653. "Kinda, the reactor fuses particles together to make energy, just like the sun. Think of it as a star in a jar."
  654. >She gazes at it in wonder, before turning back to you
  655. >"Does it ever go out?"
  656. "Sometimes, but it brightens back up if you keep it well fed. I bit like you Sunhorse."
  657. >She lingers in the door for a while as you return to the couch
  658. >The channel has been switched to a documentary about black holes
  659. >You'd gone on a visit to one a while back
  660. >Trippy as fuck
  661. >But pretty cool
  662. >The documentary is voiced by a smooth sounding man who obviously knows what he's talking about
  663. >An animation shows a star collapsing in on itself to become a black hole, then some actual footage of a few black holes
  664. >Hey, you'd been there before!
  665. >Good times
  666. >It was then that you realized that the door was still open
  667. "Come on Celestia, your letting all the heat out."
  668. >She presses the button on the wall to shut the door, and instantly it becomes warmer
  669. >Your horse roomie then takes a seat on the couch next to you, laying out like you suspect a horse would normally sit
  670. >"These 'black holes', they aren't real right?"
  671. "Uh, yup. I'll take you to the closest one if you like, quite a sight."
  672. >She looks confused
  673. >"But this television show says that in order for one to form, the sun has to die."
  674. "Yeah. Eventually stars just collapse under the weight of their own mass, and then a black hole is formed."
  675. >She looks saddened by this
  676. >You don't know why
  677. >Black holes are fucking sick yo
  678. >"Does that mean that one day all the suns will die?"
  679. "Yeah I guess, but none of us will be around to see that."
  680. >She looks even worse
  681. >Are you stepping on horse culture or something?
  682. >Cheer her up you faggot
  683. "But hey, that won't be for trillions of years, and there's some pretty big stars out there. Real impressive."
  684. >It does little to improve the mood
  685. >Jesus at this rate you would have been better sticking with the Galnet
  686. >At least that wasn't causing you to offend you house guest
  687. >Oh look an ad brake
  688. >Neat
  689. >You look over to see Celestia stifling a yawn
  690. >She looks cute when she's tired
  691. >A quick glance at the clock shoes 27:56
  692. >32 hour days are weird
  693. >Maybe you should get her off to bed
  694. >Another yawn
  695. >Yeah, sleep is best
  696. "You look awfully tired, you wanna go to bed?"
  697. >"N-no I'm fine Anon, I'm just stretching."
  698. >Shit lie
  699. "Come on you, let's get you to bed."
  700. >She follows you into your room, and you pat the bed with a smile
  701. "It's all yours, try not and make it smell too horsey."
  702. >She looks genuinely flabbergasted
  703. >"B-but this is your bed!"
  704. "Uh-huh, and it's yours tonight."
  705. >She flinches but nods in recognition
  706. >Then she begins to turn around and-
  707. "No! No, no. Not that."
  708. >"I'm sorry master! Did you want it some other way?"
  709. "No. I didn't want sex!"
  710. >"W-what? But you said that-"
  711. "I said you'd be sleeping in this bed tonight, I'll take the couch. Your injured and you need your rest."
  712. >"B-but-"
  713. "None of that, get under the covers. Now."
  714. >Once she was sufficiently blanketed up, you wished her good night and closed the door.
  715. >That fucking old creep
  716. >At least your couch was comfy
  717. >Pulling a blanket over your head, you turn off the TV
  718. >Fucking black holes
  720. --------------------
  722. >You're having a nice dream
  723. >You're out on the frontier, blazing your own trail
  724. >Just you, your ship and your tunes
  725. >But something's missing from this dream
  726. >You can't put your finger on it, but something just seems... Wrong
  727. >As your dream ship exits a jump, a loud clatter can be heard
  728. >Your dream world is sucked away as you're pulled back to consciousness
  729. >Fuck it's dark
  730. >You crack your eyes open, searching for a light switch to flick
  731. >Come on stupid flesh sticks, move!
  732. >Finally you manage to pull the cord on a lamp next to the couch
  733. >Your back hurts
  734. >Maybe the couch wasn't such a good idea
  735. >Wait...
  736. >Why were you on the couch?
  737. >A quick peak at the window confirms it's still night time
  738. >Maybe you just fell asleep playing vidya again
  739. >You do remember something about...
  740. >Black holes?
  741. >Fucking Eden 3.14, making physics more interesting that it should be
  742. >Another clatter close by rouses you further
  743. >The fuck was that
  744. >Space roaches, it had to be
  745. >You leap off the couch in a hurry
  746. >That sound came from the kitchen, and you were gonna squash those roaches before they ate your hay pie
  747. >With the grace of a swan, you rush into the kitchen
  748. >Brandishing the TV remote in one hand, and a Biro in the other, you home in on your prey
  749. >Except...
  750. >There's no roaches in sight
  751. >Just a jittery sun horse
  752. >With a platter of coffee balanced on her hoof
  753. >"M-master?"
  754. >Oh right
  755. >Celestia
  756. >You forgot about that
  757. "Uh yeah, hey... How are you?"
  758. >"I-I am fine, I made you some coffee."
  759. >Your eyes light up at the sight of your techy coffee pot
  760. "Uh, thanks. You didn't need too."
  761. >"B-but this is what I always do."
  762. "Always did. You don't have to get up at... What time is it again?"
  763. >"Three o'clock in the morning."
  764. >Oh
  765. >Shit
  766. >Still about seven hours, but you didn't need to go to work for another four
  767. "Oh, well thanks for the coffee."
  768. >She attempts to hobble over to the couch on three hooves
  769. >You put a stop to that
  771. >There's only one mug on the platter
  772. >A black one with a picture of earths moon on it
  773. >You swear that was near the back
  774. >Ehh, probably not
  775. >Although you wonder if Celestia might also like coffee
  776. "Hey Sunhorse, you want some too?"
  777. >"I-I'm allowed coffee?"
  778. "Course you are, I'll grab you a mug."
  779. >You pull a second mug out of the pantry and place it on the tray
  780. >This one's just yellow
  781. >Taking a seat on the couch, you pull your living room table over the carpet, allowing the tray to be placed down
  782. >As carefully as you can, you pour into both mugs, the lights on the side of your coffee pot signalling the amount of liquid left
  783. >Once filled, you place the yellow mug down in front of Celestia and take hold of your own
  784. >She thanks you and picks it up with her hooves
  785. >As she sips, you silently pray that the Hnnnngg overload doesn't give you an aneurysm
  786. >Fucking horses and their horse cuteness
  787. >You resist the urge to pat her on the head, and instead focus on your own coffee
  788. >With a shallow blow, you raise the chocolaty liquid up to your lips
  789. >Holy shit
  790. >This is the best damn coffee you've ever tasted
  791. >Period
  792. "This is fucking delicious, how'd you get so good?"
  793. >She blushes and hides behind her mug
  794. >"I-It's nothing really, I've just had a lot of practice."
  795. "Heh, you're definitely a keeper."
  796. >Yup, so far you weren't regretting digging her out of that box
  797. >Though you should find a way to repay her pretty soon
  798. >Maybe you could pick up some stuff today on your route
  799. >Oh that reminds you
  800. "Uh Celestia, I'm gonna have to go to work in a few hours. I'll be out for a while, gotta deliver some cargo. Will you be okay in here?"
  801. >"Yes mast- Anon! I'll be fine. Don't you worry about me."
  802. >You were still unsure
  803. >Maybe you could call in sick...
  804. >Nah, she'll be fine
  805. >Celestia raises her mug up to take another drink, and then several things happen at once
  807. >Celestia chokes on the coffee, her muscles twitching as she coughs
  808. >One of her largest muscles, her remaining right wing, shoots out involuntarily
  809. >Her wing smacks the mug of hot coffee out of your hands
  810. >It makes a short arc through the air, before stopping abruptly
  811. >An inch away from your face
  812. >The mug, along with all the liquid within, is hovering in a flickering and crackling field of golden energy
  813. >In your shock, you hadn't even brought your hands up to your face
  814. >It's then that you notice the TV remote is beginning to float upwards
  815. >And so is the Biro on the counter
  816. >Every small object in your home begins to rapidly ascend towards the ceiling
  817. >You look at Celestia
  818. >Oh fuck
  819. >Her mouth is open, like she's screaming, but no noise escapes
  820. >Her shattered horn is glowing and spewing plasma and magic around her body
  821. >New cracks begin to form on it's surface as heavier objects begin to rise as well
  822. >You even feel yourself floating off the ground
  823. >This needs to stop
  824. >Now
  825. "Celestia!"
  826. >Your own voice sounds muffled and distant, like you're in a vacuume
  827. "Celestia stop!"
  828. >You feel your lungs begin to contract, like your being suffocated
  829. >Just one more shout...
  831. >That did it
  832. >Everything, including yourself, tumbles to the floor
  833. >The mug, which was the original focus of her magic, rockets across the room at supersonic speeds, smashing into the opposite wall and braking into thousands of pieces
  834. >In panic, you reach out to Celestia, who has collapsed unmoving onto the sofa
  835. >Her horn has suffered significant damage
  836. >Another long chunk has been blown off the side, leaving what little remained at half it's original width
  837. >Fuck fuck fuck
  838. >A quick pulse check shows she's breathing, but you dare not wake her
  839. >The bungalow is trashed, miscellaneous items strewn everywhere
  840. >And to top it all off, you have a thumping headache
  841. >Well
  842. >Looks like you'll be needing that sick day after all
  844. >...
  845. >And that's the last one
  846. >You just finished cleaning up the bungalow
  847. >It wasn't an easy job, but you're the only one in this household capable at the minute
  848. >You barely manage to avoid tripping over your wandering roomba on the way back to the couch
  849. >It's not really helping
  850. >Just spreading the remaining mug debre around the carpet
  851. >So you can step on it later
  852. >Fucking roomba 9000
  853. >Once sitting, you pull your tablet out from underneath one of the cushions
  854. >The monitoring app you had set up shows all green
  855. >Good
  856. >You wouldn't want her so suffer any more
  857. >You obviously don't understand enough about this magic stuff to make a judgement
  858. >Maybe that kind of thing is normal
  859. >Didn't fucking look normal but k
  860. >A blip on the tab shows she's beginning to wake up
  861. >Taking the tablet with you, you exit the couch and walk towards your room
  862. >It had been a few hours since the incident, and Celestia had remained asleep since then
  863. >At least you got the day off work
  864. >Approaching the door, you take one last took at the tab to check if she's fully awake
  865. >She is indeed
  866. >With that you give it a light push, entering the darkness on the other side
  867. >At first you can't see shit, but slowly, things start to come into focus
  868. >The first thing you notice is that Celestia isn't in the bed
  869. >You can't see where she is in this lighting, but the monitor says she's in this room
  870. "Celestia, you in here?"
  871. >No answer
  872. "I'm gonna turn the lights on now, close your eyes so it doesn't give you a sore head"
  873. >Like that one you had earlier
  874. >Which still hasn't fully gone away
  875. >You fumble with the buttons on the wall, attempting to find the one that controls the lights
  876. >Got it
  877. >Pressing the button, you find your room is now bathed in calm light
  878. >Oh...
  879. >Oh dear...
  881. >One of your walls has been ripped to shreds
  882. >Bits of loose wallpaper and even pieces of the wall underneath hang from a scratched pattern on it's surface
  883. >Celestia sits in the corner, facing the wall
  884. >She doesn't look good
  885. >Even from here you can tell she's been crying
  886. >There are also prevalent bags under her eyes and a closer look shows her coat has dimmed in color
  887. >No longer is it pearly white, but now a sort of sad grey
  888. >She's shaking as you approach, probably because of the mess she's made
  889. >One thing at a time Anon, one thing at a time
  890. "Celestia? Are you okay?"
  891. >Still nothing
  892. "Come on, I can't help you if you don't talk to me."
  893. >She flinches
  894. >"Why did you pick me master?"
  895. >What?
  896. "What do you mean?"
  897. >"You could have had any other pony, yet you picked me... Why?"
  898. "Um..."
  899. >"I'm useless... I cannot fly, I cannot do magic without destroying your home. Any other human would have chosen another. Yet you picked me..."
  900. >Wait
  901. >She still believes the slave thing is going on?
  902. >Just how long was she in that box?
  903. "Celestia-"
  904. >"Why would anyone want me..."
  905. >You cautiously approach her, and as expected she braces
  906. >You simply bend down and wrap her in a hug
  907. >She's shocked at first, but doesn't protest
  908. "It's okay... Everything's gonna be okay..."
  909. >You were going to need to ask her about this
  910. >Where had she been?
  911. >You continue holding her, but neither of you says anything
  912. >You're just there for her...
  913. >After a long while she stops shivering
  914. >"T-thank you, Anon."
  915. >She's back to using your name
  916. >Progress
  917. "No need to thank me, I take care of my friends."
  918. >There was a small wince at the mention of friends, but you don't question it
  919. >You doubt she has particularly strong affection to humanity as a whole
  920. "Come on, let's get something to eat."
  921. >She nods and gets slowly to her hooves
  922. >As you lead her out of the room, you look back at the scratched shape on the wall
  923. >Your not too sure what it means
  924. >But it kinda looks like...
  925. >A crescent moon?
  926. >Odd...
  928. --------------------
  930. >You just finished breakfast
  931. >A simple dish of oatmeal and raisins
  932. >Celestia still said she didn't deserve it
  933. >The begs the question of what she ate previously
  934. >Scraps?
  935. >Random debree off her masters kitchen floor?
  936. >You place the last clean bowl in the drying rack and flick it into the wall
  937. >You can hear the heater activate as the dishes are blasted dry by hot fans
  938. >A quick glance out the window confirms Celestia hasn't moved
  939. >She's just sitting out in the back garden
  940. >Staring at the sky as one of the local stars passes overhead
  941. >Just what were you going to do with her?
  942. >She seemed to avoid talking about her previous home outside of what she was expected to do
  943. >You understand this, it must have been fucking awful
  944. >But you know that you're going to have to ask sooner rather than later
  945. >All of this leads back to the two main things you wish to know
  946. >How long was she in that box
  947. >And what the symbol still engraved in your bedroom wall had to do with it
  948. >You suppose you could always try searching for her online
  949. >You doubt you'll find anything, what with the fact that she's supposed to be dead
  950. >But it's worth a shot
  951. >Pulling your tablet across the counter, you search the Galnet for anything to do with her
  952. "Nope, nope, not that, definitely not that... Ahah!"
  953. >You seem to have stumbled apon an old slave trading website
  954. >You're surprised the servers have remained up, what with the lack of slaves to trade, but you ain't gonna complain
  955. >The website looks pretty professional, and it probably was
  956. >You remember from your collage education that pony slave trading was one of the biggest markets on the galaxy
  957. >Not even rare minerals could keep up with that shit
  958. >There's a search bar near the top, displaying the usual magnifying glass
  959. >'Find a slave'
  960. >You enter Celestia's name into the bar and press search
  961. >0 results
  962. >You try 'Sun horse'
  963. >0 results
  964. >Maybe it's just dead
  965. >You decide to just enter a general description
  967. >If you remember correctly her type were pretty rare
  968. >You can't remember the name given to them
  969. >Fuck it, 'winged unicorn' will have to do
  970. >5 results
  971. >Oh shit
  972. >You look at each of the options
  973. >[Redacted] Twilight Sparkle
  974. >[Redacted] Cadence
  975. >[Redacted] Flurry Heart
  976. >[Redacted] Celestia
  977. >There she is!
  978. >You touch the expansion icon, enlarging the image and description
  979. >'[Redacted] Celestia is the former [Redacted] of [Redacted]'
  980. >Okay...
  981. >Helpful...
  982. >You read on
  983. >'Height well above average, the largest ever recorded'
  984. >Yup, you got that
  985. >'Age [Redacted]'
  986. >Fuckin' okay then
  987. >'Mane displays non-physical properties'
  988. >You take a glance out the window
  989. >Your pink haired Celestia is sniffing a flower with an alien insect on it
  990. >No non-physical mane there
  991. >'Has mark of a star on flank'
  992. >Yup
  993. >The page then ends in an image and a price tag
  994. >You find it hard to believe that the regal and beautiful being in the image is in any way related to the pony that is hobbling quickly away from an angry alien insect outside
  995. >But that mark doesn't lie
  996. >It's the same horse
  997. >You then look at the price tag
  998. >And your jaw hits the floor
  999. >Half a billion credits
  1000. >That's well over 300 times the cost of your ship
  1001. >Jesus that old fart must have been loaded
  1002. >Fuck him and his money
  1003. >Dick
  1004. >You then notice a last line of writing in italics
  1005. >'Item comes in conjunction with it's counterpart'
  1006. >'Prolonged absence from each other's near vicinity will cause auditory and visual hallucinations for both parts.'
  1007. >Wut
  1008. >'If you are thinking of buying this product, please read the following articles surrounding [Redacted] Celestia's sister...'
  1009. >'[Redacted] Luna...'
  1011. >You hover you finger over the link before giving it an uneasy press
  1012. >The file is similar in layout to Celestia's
  1013. >A few loose statements and an image
  1014. >The spooks really went all out on this
  1015. >What was it they were so desperately trying to cover up?
  1016. >You read the first line
  1017. >'[Redacted] Luna is the former [Redacted] of [Redacted]'
  1018. >Most of what follows is a repeat of before, the only difference being the actual visible data
  1019. >Then something catches your eye
  1020. >'Has mark of crescent moon on flank'
  1021. >Hang the fuck up
  1022. >You scroll down to the image
  1023. >Just as her file reads, she has a dark blue coat and a mane full of stars
  1024. >On her flank is a black splodge with a crescent moon at it's center
  1025. >An exact mirror of the one scratched into your bedroom wall
  1026. >Spooky
  1027. >Luna's price tag is similarly outrageous, standing at 300 million credits
  1028. >The disclaimer is also repeated, warning the buyer not to separate her from her sister
  1029. >Did that old cunt own both of them?
  1030. >Did he own all of these...
  1031. >You check the actual name of her species before continuing
  1032. >Alicorns?
  1033. >It's then that you notice the other feature of the website
  1034. >'Where to buy'
  1035. >You quickly bang 'Luna' into the search bar
  1036. >Nothing
  1037. >Shit, try again
  1038. >'Alicorn'
  1039. >3 results
  1040. >Luna isn't one of them
  1041. >Neither is Celestia
  1042. >Out of curiosity, you check the occupation of 'Cadence'
  1043. >Up pops a bright pink pony with a three tone mane
  1044. >'Current location: Deceased -12/07/2784'
  1045. >Oh...
  1046. >You just sit in silence for a moment
  1047. >Well, let's try another one
  1048. >Twilight Sparkle
  1049. >A smaller purple pony with a rather straight fringe
  1050. >'Current location: Deceased - 30/06/2976'
  1051. >Oh...
  1052. >Losing hope, you decide to check the last one
  1053. >Flurry Heart
  1054. >A child most definitely, judging by the size
  1055. >'Current location: Unknown, but presumed deceased'
  1056. >You turn off the pad and flop back into the couch
  1057. >What if Celestia really is the last of her kind?
  1058. >What then?
  1059. >No, you mustn't give up hope
  1061. >Looking out at your garden, you see that Celestia has now obtained a large alien insect face mask
  1062. >You couldn't just ask her about this
  1063. >As much as it would make it easier, you had a sneaking suspicion that she had been separated from Luna for a very long time, and you don't want to reopen any old wounds
  1064. >Even if you've only known her for a day, this horse certainly has found her way into your heart and mind
  1065. >Mind...
  1066. >Mind! That's it!
  1067. >Perhaps the sisters use some sort of telepathic communication
  1068. >You remember reading that the arcane energy that was sucked out of their planet could be used for such things
  1069. >Maybe that's why they get sick
  1070. >If the connection is severed then they cannot communicate properly, so that could be causing the hallucinations
  1071. >And what would disrupt a signal more than destroying the emitter?
  1072. >If you repaired her horn, then maybe Celestia could lead you straight to her sister, or vice versa
  1073. >But if Luna really is dead, then at least she'll have her magic back...
  1074. >Who are you kidding, you doubt she'd even have the willpower to go on by that point
  1075. >But there's only one way to find out
  1076. >All you have to do is work out how to fix a mythical magic head wand
  1077. >...
  1078. >You were gonna need some shit
  1079. >While you've been thinking, more of those large, moth like creatures have appeared
  1080. >They seem to like her, and are covering her from head to tail
  1081. >You can't tell if she's scared or not
  1082. >You also don't know what kind of bugs those are, and should probably do something about them before you have to patch her up again
  1083. >Grabbing the edge of the sofa, you hoist yourself up and move to the door
  1084. >There's a pair of metal waste units by the fence to your left
  1085. >You can see a single sun horse eye follow you through a think layer of moths
  1086. >You pull the lids off both the bins and approach her trembling, moth ridden form
  1087. >With a mighty force, you bang the bin lids together, startling the swarm of insects, their sunny perch and yourself
  1089. >Angry bugs descend apon you, ripping and tearing at your bones
  1090. >You feel one pull out your heart and eat it while it still beats
  1091. >You scream in agony
  1092. >The beasts laugh with a... Light and girly tone?
  1093. >You crack open an eye
  1094. >Your lying in the middle of the grass, shielding yourself with a bin lid and shivering in fright
  1095. >And Celestia is laughing at you
  1096. >She has a really nice laugh
  1097. >It's the kind of laugh you want to hear more often
  1098. >To bad it stops
  1099. >"I-Im sorry master! I don't know what came over me. It won't happen again I swe-"
  1100. >You cut her off by hitting her in the head
  1101. >With a clump of dried grass you pulled out of the earth
  1102. >She sits there for a moment, attempting to process what just happened
  1103. "Fucking wildlife."
  1104. >You roll upwards, tossing the bin lids across the garden to be picked up later
  1105. "Come on Sunhorse, I think there's ice cream or something in the fridge."
  1106. >You stroll back into the house, leaving her sitting in the middle of the lawn with grass on her nose and a returning moth on her head
  1108. --------------------
  1110. >Sol tracer moths
  1111. >That's what they're called
  1112. >A fitting name, actually
  1113. >The way their wings look like solar flares as the dance in the breeze
  1114. >Completely harmless and surprisingly docile
  1115. >In fact they're often kept as pets
  1116. >They aren't even native to this planet, they just happen to thrive here
  1117. >You find it funny that you've never seen one before, as they are supposedly a common sight around this stretch of the galaxy
  1118. >You need to get out more
  1119. >On that topic, you've recently discovered that your horse house mate enjoys the simple game of hide and seek
  1120. >There isn't much too it, one person hides, the other finds
  1121. >You can't believe you had to have that explained to you
  1122. >It's not something you ever played as a kid
  1123. >You are enjoying it thoug- AHAH!
  1124. >A bit of pink is poking out from behind your fusion plant
  1125. >Also a jagged horn
  1126. >And a limp wing
  1127. >Yeah, she may like it...
  1128. >But she's shit at it
  1129. >By this point you're actively avoiding finding her, just to make the rounds last longer
  1130. >You stalk towards the reactor, keeping low and silent
  1131. >Jesus you can hear her giggling meters away
  1132. >You crouch in front of the reactor, and a large magenta eye finds it's way round the side
  1133. >She can't see you
  1134. >You'd think eyes that size would have a massive field of view, but she's completely blind to your advance
  1135. >The soft humming of the generator concedes your every movement as you prepare to pounce on your prey
  1136. >3...
  1137. >2...
  1138. >1...
  1139. >You leap up in front of her, giving a mighty roar
  1140. >Her reaction is priceless
  1141. >A scream of fright, followed by a flex of every muscle in her body
  1142. >Needless to say she travels quite far backwards, landing in a pile of legs and feathers
  1143. >You're laughing now
  1144. "Your fucking face!"
  1145. In your fit of hysteria, you manage to switch from laughing to coughing pretty quickly
  1146. >Fucking dry throat
  1147. >You'll need to pick up she meds tomorrow when you're out
  1148. >Along with a whole bunch of other stuff
  1149. >Like a lot more
  1151. >Celestia has managed to untangle herself by this point, and now stands before you expectantly
  1152. >You check your watch
  1153. >10 pm
  1154. >It might be time to retire for the night
  1155. "Right Sun horse, I think it might be time to clean up for the night."
  1156. >She visibly deflates, but her smile remains
  1157. >"Okay Anon, I'll go..."
  1158. >What?
  1159. >She quickly disappears into the house, leaving you standing around in the garden amongst the strewn remains of a day of fun
  1160. >You didn't even know horses could play swing ball, let alone a hundred times better that you
  1161. >A noise disrupts you train of thought as Celestia can be seen attacking the floor of your home with a broom
  1162. >Oh, she must have taken 'clean up' literally
  1163. >"Anon? Why is your communication device blinking?"
  1164. >You have a call apparently
  1165. "I'll get that, and you don't actually have to clean up, it was a figure of speech."
  1166. >She either doesn't hear you or chooses to ignore you, as she continues to push the broom around
  1167. >Why the fuck so you even have a broom?
  1168. >Eh, forget it
  1169. >Picking up your phone, you see that the call is from none other that your lovely boss
  1170. >You almost wish they had never invented faster than light phone calls
  1171. >At least then he wouldn't be able to bother you with his over exaggerated sighs of disappointment
  1172. >Fucking dick
  1173. >You slide your finger across the screen and lift it up to your ear...
  1174. >...And then you take it away from your ear to stop it from rupturing
  1176. >Uh oh
  1177. >His secretary probably forgot to relay information
  1178. "G-good evening sir, what's the issue?"
  1179. >You can actually hear the animalistic snarls he's emitting
  1180. >"DON'T YOU GIVE ME THAT HORSE CRAP! I needed your courier here this morning for a supply run! Where were you!?"
  1181. "I called in sick sir, your new secretary answered the phone and told me it was green."
  1183. >Oh, looks like you got pranked
  1185. "I swear sir, someone answered the phone and said they were your secretary."
  1186. >"Sure they did, and I own a unicorn!"
  1187. >You take a look at Celestia, who is now washing the windows with a dirty dish cloth
  1188. "Look I swear! I'll make up the time tomorrow!"
  1189. >"You fucking better, or your ass is fired! You hear! I don't have time to deal with truancy. Turn up or no pay up. Kapeesh?"
  1190. "Y-yes sir."
  1191. >"Good, now I expect to see you on your next shift. And be fucking punctual or I swear to god I'll fire you right there and then!"
  1192. >There was a blip as he hung up
  1193. >What a dick
  1194. >To be fair he probably had to redirect another ship to do your job, but that doesn't mean you enjoy getting yelled at down the phone
  1195. >Whichever intern pulled this one would most definitely be getting smacked when you find them
  1196. >Celestia has now finished 'cleaning' the windows
  1197. >It's actually not that bad, just a bit of dish grease here and there
  1198. >She's now attempting to reorganize your cutlery by type rather than by most used
  1199. "Hey Celestia?"
  1200. >"Yes Anon?"
  1201. >"I can't be fucked cooking, wanna order a pizza and watch a movie?"
  1202. >She puts down one of your least used eating implements, the dreaded knife, and gives you a confused look
  1203. >"Okay... What's a pizza? I-if you don't mind me asking."
  1204. >...
  1205. >...
  1206. >You were gonna teach this horse so many things...
  1208. --------------------
  1210. >This must be it
  1211. >Truly you are as comfortable as is humanly possible
  1212. >You have your pizza, what little remains steaming in its box in front of you
  1213. >You have your movie, which is an ancient classic and never fails to entertain you
  1214. >And most importantly you have someone to share it all with
  1215. >The big grey-white wing draped heavily over your back is confirmation of that
  1216. >Celestia seems to enjoy this kind of activity
  1217. >As far as her smile shows
  1218. >All around you are hundreds of wrappers for various sweets and baked goods that you pulled out of the 'hang out' cupboard
  1219. >Interestingly, you weren't the one to do most of the scoffing
  1220. >This mare really loves her cakes, and even when she attempted to dismiss the offer, you could tell it was a losing battle
  1221. >"So, the big metal robot just wants to learn how to make friends?"
  1222. >The iron giant on screen dives into a lake, covering the surrounding landscape with a tidal wave of water
  1223. "Yeah, but he's just too powerful and scary for others to understand."
  1224. >She looks sympathetically at the TV
  1225. >"And does he?"
  1226. "Well, why don't you just watch and see."
  1227. >The movie continues, and your reminded of the days as a child when this was the movie you would constantly watch
  1228. >Celestia also seems to be reminiscing about something
  1229. >You don't know what
  1230. >Finally, you get to the ending scene
  1231. >Oh shit, you forgot about this part
  1232. >You watch as the battle ensues, the once docile machine destroying the military like it was nothing
  1233. >With every explosion, a pair of horsey ears flatten
  1234. >Then comes the scene you dread most
  1235. >Hogarth confronts the machine, pleading with it to see reason
  1236. >It works, and you can see Celestia visibly calm
  1237. >But then the enviable comes
  1238. >The iron giant sacrifices himself to protect the innocent people of Rockwell from nuclear annihilation
  1239. >You watch in silence as the sound of animated explosions fills your home
  1240. >Jesus this always makes you sad
  1241. >Fucking emotions
  1242. >You sneak a glance at across the couch
  1244. >Celestia is teary eyed
  1245. >Those familiar streaks of wet fir glistening in the low light
  1246. >"T-that was s-so sad..."
  1247. >You lean into her wrapping her in a tight hug
  1248. "Hey, it's just a movie... It's all right."
  1249. >"B-but why did he have to die?"
  1250. "Sometimes, those you care about are worth the sacrifice... He loved the young boy, and was willing to give up what his own life to protect him."
  1251. >She looks back at the TV, which now showed a snowy landscape
  1252. >You smile as she watches the robots parts find their way back to him
  1253. "Plus, these films usually have a happy ending. This is no exception"
  1254. >Her smile returns as the movie ends with the Giants smile
  1255. >You swear she's an emotional roller coaster
  1256. >Maybe that's a side effect of being tormented for god knows how long
  1257. >As the screen blackens and the lights return, you check the time
  1258. >It's 29:37
  1259. >Time for sleep, you've got a big day of work tomorrow
  1260. "Come on Sun horse, let's get you to bed."
  1261. >You walk into your room and are instantly reminded of the mornings events
  1262. >There's still wall all over the bed spread
  1263. >Well that's out of the question
  1264. >I guess she'll just have to rake the couch, and you the floor
  1265. "Um, Celestia? The room is still trashed, so your gonna have to sleep on the couch tonight. I hope that's okay."
  1266. >"But where will you sleep?"
  1267. "I'll take the floor."
  1268. >She makes a face of concern, looking between you and the floor
  1269. >"No, I will not allow you to put yourself through that for my sake. I'm used to the floor, I'm sure I can manage."
  1270. "Sorry Celestia, no can do. You're injured."
  1271. >"W-we could always... Share."
  1272. >Woah
  1273. >Where did that come from
  1274. "I'm not sure I'm comfortable with-"
  1275. >"I'll be fine, I'll just move over to the back of the couch and you can lie in front. Then both of us will be warm."
  1276. >Well, you can't argue with that logic
  1277. "Fine."
  1278. >She budges back across the couch to make room, and you lie down next to her, facing away
  1279. >You pull a blanket over the two of you
  1280. >"Good night Anon."
  1281. "Night Celestia."
  1282. >As the lights dim away to nothing, you feel a soft feathery wing wrap around you
  1283. >"And thank you, for everything..."
  1285. --------------------
  1287. >Beep
  1288. >Beep
  1289. >Beep
  1290. >Bee- Fuck off!
  1291. >That's your home's way of telling you to wake the fuck up
  1292. >You attempt to silence the infernal noise, but are unable to move because of a large feathery blockade
  1293. >You suddenly become aware of the horse snoozing quietly a few inches away
  1294. >You don't want to wake her, but you also need to go to work
  1295. >Horse hugs or no job
  1296. >Comfort physically or comfort financially
  1297. >Tough choice, but if you lose your job then you won't be able to repair her horn and thus will never find her sister...
  1298. >...
  1299. >Sorry Sun horse, it's for your own good
  1300. >You slowly begin to shift her wing
  1301. >Imagine your surprise when she lets out a huff and clamps it back down again, pinning you to her
  1302. >"No is okay [Horse snore] Quill, I'll be up in a minute to raise the [Horse snore]."
  1303. >You try again, but yield the same results
  1304. >It's time for a new tactic
  1305. >Horse tickles
  1306. >You pick up a lose pillow feather off the ground
  1307. >Actually it could be one of hers, you aren't sure anymore
  1308. >Bringing your weapon to bare, you begin to tickle her on the snootle
  1309. >Scrunch.jpg
  1310. >"Buck off Luna..."
  1311. >Whats this?
  1312. >Guess that's their version of the 'F' bomb
  1313. >You move for a second attack, targeting the inside of her left nostril
  1314. >"Sister I'm tired..."
  1315. >Suddenly, you realize that her wing prison has released you
  1316. >Score!
  1317. >Leaping up, you make haste to the bathroom for a shower
  1318. >It doesn't take long to get squeaky clean and dry
  1319. >Moving into your trashed room, you open the sliding wardrobe with a press of a button
  1320. >Inside are the flight suits you've become accustomed to wearing
  1321. >Nothing too fancy
  1322. >A blue jumpsuit looking thing that comes complete with a helmet in case of depressurisation or a blow out of the canopy
  1323. >You've heard it's pretty stressful to fly without a canopy, and would rather avoid it if you could
  1324. >But a least the event was covered
  1325. >Slipping it on quickly, you return to the main space to make breakfast
  1327. >The clock says you still have an hour to get there
  1328. >If the trip takes 20 minutes and breakfast takes 10, then that means you have 30 minutes to prep for the day
  1329. >You whisk eggs and milk rapidly while thinking about what you'll need to do
  1330. >You'll need to view the roster of loads for the day, and figure out the best routes to take
  1331. >You need to wake up your guest and make sure she'll be good for the day
  1332. >Your primary multi-cannon needs an ammo top up, but that can wait until after you pick up your cargo
  1333. >You put the eggs on high and run through to the couch
  1334. "Celestia! Celestia wake up!"
  1335. >"Wha... Who are..."
  1336. >A look of realization crosses her as whatever nice dream she was inhabiting wore off
  1337. >"A-Anon! I'm sorry I should have gotten up earlier I-"
  1338. "It's fine don't worry, but I'm gonna need to go out to work in about..."
  1339. >Fuck you're not wearing your watch!
  1340. "...Soon. So I need you to get up so we can eat."
  1341. >She scrambles out from under the covers as you return to your eggs
  1342. >Scrambled nicely
  1343. >You serve them up as Celestia rushes to sit at your feet
  1344. "Other side, now!"
  1345. >"Oh! I forgot."
  1346. >You place her plate down on the table and begin to wolf your's standing up
  1347. >Noticing this, she begins to eat just as quickly
  1348. >You finish in record time, shaving a whole two minutes off your schedule
  1349. "Right, I'm gonna have to go out today, so I need to know you'll alright."
  1350. >"Anonymous I will be perfectly fine."
  1351. "Um, okay then... Do you know where the food is?"
  1352. >"Yes"
  1353. "Do you know how to work the phone?"
  1354. >"Yes"
  1355. "Are you capable of using the bathroom?"
  1356. >The look she shoots you says enough
  1357. "Well okay, I need to plan a route for today. Want to help?"
  1358. >You don't know what use she'll be but at least it's something to do
  1359. >Pulling out your tab, you open the galaxy map and the trade hub
  1360. >Looks like you have three jobs today
  1361. >A tonne of spare machinery for a battlecruiser out on patrol
  1362. >They must have broken something
  1363. >Three tonnes of medical aid kits, headed to Farpoint dock in LHS 3591
  1364. >And finally, a batch of non-lethal weapons going to Jamison city in...
  1365. >Oh fuck
  1366. >Iota
  1367. >That system is currently in an anarchy state
  1368. >No laws, no regulations...
  1369. >No back up...
  1370. >You'd better pick up that ammo before you go there
  1371. >You'd also best take some of your personal firearms, just in case
  1372. >You rise from the sofa and head to the case on the wall
  1373. >Celestia watches you with an uneasy fascination
  1374. >Bumping in your code, you proceed to pull open the case with a slow yet methodical grasp
  1375. >Inside sits a pair of sidearms, one firing plasma, the other regular .45 rounds
  1376. >A lot of power for one small gun
  1377. >Above your hand cannons is a larger weapon that you really will never have use for
  1378. >A specially gifted plasma rifle from the company
  1379. >You don't even know why they gave you it
  1380. >It's of very little use in boarding combat, seeing as you have very little room to move already
  1381. >Unless they expected you to be counter boarding then you really have no answer
  1382. >Celestia is standing close behind you, watching you work
  1383. >"Why would you need those?"
  1384. "Well, I'm gonna have to go deliver supplies to the severely understaffed police force out in Iota. These are just in case things get... Bad."
  1385. >"If it's so dangerous, then why are you going?"
  1386. "Because it pays the bills, and usually it isn't this bad. Just with the sudden influx of anarchist movements the Feds are a bit surprised, so they call on people like me to deliver supplies where they are needed most."
  1387. >"Well... Please be careful. I-I don't want you getting hurt."
  1388. >With your pistols firmly strapped in place at your sides, you proceed back to the couch to plot a route
  1389. >You decide to hit Iota first, just to get it out of the way
  1390. >You'll then get to the cruiser, and deliver those parts, before finally reaching Farpoint
  1391. >Looks like a 400 light year round trip
  1392. >Not too bad, but with the addition of Iota, you might be in for a difficult time
  1394. >Dragging your finger across the screen, you plot a good route between the stars
  1395. >Of course you'll need to pick up the cargo first, and that means going to the cargo depot in Kremainn.
  1396. >Wohler terminal this time, hopefully they sell multi-cannon ammo
  1397. >"Why are you avoiding the brown ones?"
  1398. >Celestia is peering over your shoulder as you play a what looks like an extremely advanced version of dot to dot
  1399. "Well, the brown ones are what we call 'brown dwarfs', basically failed stars. They don't give off enough energy to provide fuel my craft, so I'm trying to make the route more economical."
  1400. >"Failed stars?"
  1401. "Like they didn't quite make to star adulthood, and can't produce enough energy to keep the fusion in their cores active. At least that's how I think it works."
  1402. >"So I take it the blue and white ones are better for fuel?"
  1403. "Exactly, they produce more than enough energy to power my ship, all I've got to do is swoop by and collect it, then away I go!"
  1404. >The route looks good enough, and depending on how long you spend at each system, should take between 6 and 8 hours to complete
  1405. >Now all that's left is to upload it to the nav computer and go
  1406. "Right, I'm gonna go now. I'll be back in about ten hours. There's a place on the way where I'll be picking up groceries and shit, you want anything?"
  1407. >"No I'm alright."
  1408. "Good good, remember if you need help with anything or just get lonely, my numbers taped to the side of the home phone."
  1409. >You walk towards the door, picking up your helmet on the way past
  1410. "See you tonight."
  1411. >"Goodbye Anon."
  1412. >You walk out the front door, letting it slide shut behind you
  1413. >It's a short stroll to your courier, which is still parked where you left it
  1414. >Right, let's get this show on the road!
  1415. >Within minutes the craft is rising off the ground
  1416. >You spot Celestia waving at the window, and wave back
  1417. >You don't know if she saw you
  1418. >Eh, she'll be fine
  1419. >With that, you power up the engines and accelerate off into the clouds
  1421. --------------------
  1423. >The familiar whoosh and groan of your ship exiting a jump overcomes the surreal vacuum of witch space
  1424. >The dash display reads Kremainn
  1425. >Looks like you've arrived in record time
  1426. >Not that you have that much to spare
  1427. >You quickly locate Wohler terminal on the nav computer and send the coordinates to your HUD
  1428. >It's only 2000 light seconds
  1429. >No biggie
  1430. >The FSD in the back of your craft whirs to life as you speed past the local star and towards your destination
  1431. >This is the part of your job you really enjoy
  1432. >Just you and your ship coasting through space
  1433. >You find it relaxing
  1434. >Not that you are able to relax with your current battle against the clock
  1435. >A battle which you seem to be losing
  1436. >Fucking hurry up!
  1437. >In the distance you notice the presence of two large gas planets
  1438. >They have expansive rings filled with rock and ice
  1439. >Also pirates
  1440. >Lots of pirates
  1441. >"Attention! Incoming mission critical message!"
  1442. >Your ships computer announces the arrival of a message from your boss
  1443. >Did you run out of time?
  1444. >Nope, you've still got four... Three! Three minutes!
  1445. >You've still got a travel time of two, leaving you one to dock
  1446. >Without a docking computer...
  1447. >Fuck...
  1448. >You turn your attention back to the message
  1449. >It's a text file that simply reads 'U on ur way?'
  1450. >You bang out a similarly abbreviated message
  1451. >'Ye im just a sec away.'
  1452. >Feels good to be professional
  1453. >A ping tells you it's okay to drop out of supercruise
  1454. >Good shit
  1455. >A short moment later a blast of energy gives way to your sub light engines
  1456. >Ahead, you can see Wohler, the large polygonal station spinning silently in the void
  1458. >"Gutamaya Echo X-Ray Oscar, please observe station procedures before attempting to dock."
  1459. "Yeah yeah give me a minute."
  1460. >You flick a few switches before opening the contacts panel to request docking
  1461. "This is Imperial Courier Echo X-Ray Oscar, requesting to dock for pickup of cargo."
  1462. >There was a short silence, presumably as the woman in flight control yelled at her coworkers
  1463. >"Affirmative, request granted. Please land at the designated pad, keep your speed low and make way for larger vessels."
  1464. >You were to go to landing pad 42
  1465. >And you had 30 seconds to get there
  1466. >Gotta go fast (within regulations of course)
  1467. >You approach the mail slot shaped opening at the stations entrance, flinching a little as you pass the through the shields
  1468. >That shit makes your hair stand on end
  1469. >42 has been marked on you HUD in blue, making it easy to align for landing
  1470. >The bleeping of your docking systems is unbearable, but you land like a pro regardless
  1471. >Well, you kinda were a professional courier
  1472. >But fuck everyone else, you didn't even hit the control tower once
  1473. >That's a success
  1474. >"And that's touchdown, ground crew dispatched, we hope you enjoy your stay pilot."
  1475. "Thanks control, it's good to be here."
  1476. >You rise from your seat and move to exit the craft, taking care as you descend the stairs
  1477. >You feel a lot lighter, but that's probably due to the difference in gravity between Wohler and your home planet
  1478. >A crew of 6 workers in a tug appear, and begin the short process of loading the cargo into your small bay
  1479. >You watch them work in silence, before a hand on your shoulder makes you jump
  1480. >"I see you're actually on time, I guess my message really got through to you, eh?"
  1481. >Your boss, a short stocky man in a high end looking suit, has appeared.
  1482. "Uh... Yes sir."
  1483. >"Look, I'm sorry about last night. I found out about what those interns had been up too, needless to say they won't be doing it again. There's no way I was gonna fire a pilot as good as yourself."
  1485. "It's fine sir, honestly. I've just had... Something, come up recently."
  1486. >He raises a perfectly kept eyebrow at you
  1487. >"What sort of something?"
  1488. "It's nothing really, just... Someone who's staying with me."
  1489. >Oh shit he's grinning at you now
  1490. >"Do my ears deceive me, or has Anonymous actually found a fucking girlfriend?"
  1491. >Shit, damage control time!
  1492. "W-what?! N-no it's not like-"
  1493. >"Gah, stop your yammering. This'll be good for you! Take it from me..."
  1494. >You don't want to take anything from him
  1495. >"You gotta get out more Anon, and this sounds like a perfect opportunity. Take your gal out and show her the stars! And maybe get something in return if you know what I'm saying..."
  1496. >You feel like mentioning the fact that sex in zero gravity is unrealistic, but that doesn't matter because you haven't got a fucking girlfriend!
  1497. "Err, thanks sir, really."
  1498. >"No problem kiddo, and just remember, if there's anything I can do for you, you need only ask."
  1499. >You look at the cargo care as they finish loading, and suddenly remember the other thing you needed
  1500. "Um yeah, about that, does this station stock Multi cannon ammunition, I need a top up."
  1501. >He just looks at you with a bored expression
  1502. >"Are you fucking serious? I go through with that whole speech and the only thing you can think to ask me is whether we have any ammunition for the autocannon on the front of your ship?"
  1503. "Yes."
  1504. >"You are a sad sad little man, but yes we do, any particular preference?"
  1505. "25 millimetre will do fine."
  1506. >"We'll have that wheeled out for you in a moment, good luck pilot."
  1507. >You give him a salute as he leaves
  1508. >Sure, he could be a dick sometimes, but you were glad he at least had a level head
  1509. >Those interns however... They were gonna pay
  1510. >You make your way back on board to check your courses
  1511. >Iota was first, as planned
  1512. >Maybe the pirates would just ignore you
  1513. >You didn't have anything of value on board, and your ship was soon to be well armed
  1514. >The question is would they care?
  1516. >You are going to be carrying weapons, weapons that will be be used against boarding parties
  1517. >Pirates do lots of boarding, and it may be within their best interest to get rid of the weapons that will be used against them
  1518. >...
  1519. >Eh, maybe you'll just go unnoticed
  1520. >A rap on the side of your ship signals that the cannon is fully loaded
  1521. >Your systems confirm a whole 2100 rounds are present
  1522. >That should be enough to fend off any attackers, and you'll always have your lasers as a backup
  1523. >You wait until the ground crews are clear of the pad, before initiating the start up process
  1524. "This is landing pad four two, requesting permission to leave the station"
  1525. >There's a crackle as the tower crew pick up their microphones
  1526. >"Permission granted pilot, proceed with caution. May we thank you for visiting and wish you a safe flight."
  1527. >You doubt any of the next two hours will be anywhere near 'safe', but it's got to be done
  1528. "Thanks control, have a good day."
  1529. >You shut off the radio and focus on exiting the station
  1530. >While you were on the ground, multiple larger ships have appeared
  1531. >They must be in a hurry, as a traffic jam has formed at the station entrance
  1532. >Parking up behind a Fer-de-Lance attack craft, you wait patiently
  1533. >Holy Jesus that thing has a lot of guns
  1534. >You wouldn't want to get on the wrong end of one of those
  1535. >Eventually, the queue starts moving, and you find yourself outside of the station
  1536. >"Attention pilot, no fire zone cleared, station permitter exceeded, have a good flight."
  1537. >You wonder what Celestia is doing
  1538. >Probably cleaning, or watching TV
  1539. >Most likely the latter
  1540. >You'd better get this over with
  1541. >"Frame shift drive, charging."
  1542. >The bar in the middle of your heads up display begins to fill
  1543. >"Ready to engage."
  1544. >You pump the throttle, disappearing in a flash of light and a trail of smoke
  1546. --------------------
  1548. >You gaze out of your canopy at the swirling colors and endless void of witch space
  1549. >It's so beautiful, yet remains completely unknown to your kind
  1550. >Maybe one day humanity will come to understand the technology they've been using for hundreds of years
  1551. >You don't think you'll ever live to see it
  1552. >But the thought is nice
  1553. >Certainly nicer than most of the other thoughts your negating
  1554. >Celestia weighs heavily on your conscience
  1555. >You wouldn't normally be so worried, but if you didn't come back...
  1556. >What would happen to her?
  1557. >You promised yourself you would fix her, make her better, yet you know even less about her than you do about witch space
  1558. >But right now that isn't your main concern
  1559. >Iota is fast approaching and you've got to be ready
  1560. >Come on Anon, it's just in, and out
  1561. >No big deal
  1562. >You notice the approaching star is beginning to grow in size, like a heavenly light at the end of a dark tunnel
  1563. >Yup, that's pretty bright
  1564. >Really brigh-
  1565. "Oh shit!"
  1566. >You reach across the control panel for a single button that you always forget to press
  1567. >Not quick enough
  1568. >*BANG*
  1569. >You ship rockets out of frame shift
  1570. >Right into the radiance of a class O white star
  1571. "Fuck!"
  1572. >You futilely attempt to shield your burning retinas from the piercing glare as you fumble for the canopy dim
  1573. >It takes a moment, but you finally flick it
  1574. >The canopy polarizes, making it easier to see
  1575. >But that doesn't stop the damage that's already been done
  1576. >When rubbing your eyes doesn't clear away the photo-bleaching, you just give up and hope they go away over time
  1577. >The radar in the center of your display shows multiple different vessels, most of which are fighters and combat based craft
  1578. >Luckily they seem to be system defense force, therefore not a threat
  1579. >You still don't plan on sticking around to see what they do
  1580. >Jamison City isn't far, but every moment is vital
  1582. So far so good
  1583. >Most ships are keeping their distance, most likely because they think you're a pirate yourself
  1584. >It won't stay that way for long
  1585. >300 Light seconds to drop, you notice something on your radar
  1586. >A small blip, nearly undetectable
  1587. >And it's following you
  1588. >You check your sensors
  1589. >Whatever it is it hasn't targeted you
  1590. >Not yet at least
  1591. "Just what do you want..."
  1592. >Pirates tend to mock you just before attacking, but this one has made no attempt to communicate
  1593. >It's travelling faster than you, and is closing in
  1594. >Think Anon! Think!
  1595. >What sort of pirate doesn't scan cargo before intercepting?
  1596. >...
  1597. >...
  1598. >Oh...
  1599. >One that already knows what they're looking for...
  1600. >You punch the throttle, trying in vain to speed up your FSD
  1601. >It works a little, but is nowhere near enough to escape the pursuing vessel
  1602. >Hurry up god damn it!
  1603. >20 Light seconds
  1604. >Your slightly outside drop in range
  1605. >Just a few seconds longer...
  1606. >There's a read out on the comms panel, an incoming message
  1607. >5 light seconds
  1608. >2 light seconds
  1609. >1 light second
  1610. >'Gotcha'
  1611. >Your ship quakes as an interdiction takes hold over your trajectory
  1612. >You can feel and hear the hull groaning under the strain
  1613. >"Warning, interdiction alert."
  1614. "I know dammit!"
  1615. >You fight to keep you ship in a straight line as the subspace rupture pulls you further astray
  1616. >You're losing
  1617. >Whoever this pirate is they really know their shit
  1618. >You feel the the nose pulling to the left, and attempt to center it
  1619. >It's not working!
  1620. >You pull harder to the right, desperately forcing the ship from flipping
  1621. >It begins to pull back ever so slightly
  1622. >And then it doesn't...
  1623. >With a final groan the courier flips backwards, and you are violently ejected from the slipstream
  1625. >"Thrusters, offline."
  1626. >"Shields, offline."
  1627. >"Weapons systems, offline."
  1628. >"Power plant, malfunction."
  1629. >The display in front of you flickers off as you drift through space at alarming speed
  1630. "Run system diagnostics."
  1631. >"No permanent damage, rebooting systems now."
  1632. >A ping signals the startup process of the power plant
  1633. >"Sensors online. Pilot, I am detecting a vessel approaching high speed."
  1634. "What kind of vessel!"
  1635. >"Cobra class, mark three. Hardpoints retracted."
  1636. >Yup, that's your pirate alright
  1637. "How long until system reset?"
  1638. >"System startup will be completed in thirty seconds."
  1639. >The control panel flickers back to life, cycling through various displays before settling
  1640. >The comms panel also comes back, and features another message from your new friend
  1641. >'What are those guns for, commander?'
  1642. >Shit
  1643. >You've got to come up with an excuse, and fast
  1644. >After a moments thought, you respond
  1645. 'Private property, I'm delivering them to a buyer.'
  1646. >'That must be why they have Federation tags all over them, how silly of me.'
  1647. >You're sweating now, but you have to keep them talking
  1648. >Shields are at 50 percent, not much longer
  1649. 'They're stolen property, federation rifles.'
  1650. >'Really now? And why exactly are they on board a Federation tracked courier?'
  1651. >Sweating buckets.gif
  1652. 'The ship is also stolen.'
  1653. >...
  1654. >...
  1655. >'You're a shit liar pilot.'
  1656. >Just five more percent...
  1657. 'Yeah well, you can't win them all.'
  1658. >"Shields, online."
  1659. >You deliver full power to the engines and speed off, breaking 500 metres per second instantly
  1660. >The Cobra is hot on your tail, firing bullets and lasers all around you
  1661. >You dodge some, but you shields take the majority
  1662. >The Cobra may not be as fast in a straight line as you, but it holds an advantage in a dog fight
  1663. >As long as you stay this course, you should outru-
  1664. >"Attention pilot, you have an incoming audio request. Open channel three."
  1665. >What?
  1666. >Who?
  1667. "Display caller location!"
  1668. >"It's from your home pilot."
  1669. >Ooooooh...
  1670. >Your suddenly regretting giving her the phone
  1672. >There's a crackle as your long range comms patch you through
  1673. >"H-hello? Is this thing on?"
  1674. "Yeah Celestia, it is. What do you need?"
  1675. >There's a rumble as a nearby explosion rocks the ship
  1676. >"A-Anonymous? Is everything okay?"
  1677. "Yeah, I'm fine, just tell me what's bothering you!"
  1678. >"Well, I was wondering if I could maybe have a shower..."
  1679. >Jesus, really?!
  1680. "Yeah, go ahea- Gah!"
  1681. >Another volley of rockets tears at your shield, reducing it to 20 percent
  1682. >"Anon! What's going on?"
  1683. "I'm fine! Just some... unhappy customers. I guess."
  1684. >More rockets, looks like the fucker has a pack hound launcher
  1685. >"They sound pretty angry."
  1686. "You have no idea! But I really need to focus on staying alive, so if you please!"
  1687. >"O-oh, okay. So do I just twist the handle thing for water?"
  1688. "Celestia it's a fucking shower, of course you do!"
  1689. >"I'm sorry okay, your shower is just so confusing!"
  1690. "It's really not!"
  1691. >You swerve downwards, preparing the FSD for supercruise
  1692. >"Why is it glowing like that?"
  1693. "Because it's turned on! Now put down the phone and go and clean yourself!"
  1694. >The sound of a call hanging up fills the cockpit
  1695. >You hope you haven't offended her too much
  1696. >"Who's this Celestia?"
  1697. >Shit! This is an open channel, and now your pursuer is listening in
  1698. "Fuck off you, none of your concern."
  1699. >"Well I hope she enjoys being a widow-"
  1700. >You disconnect from the channel, silencing the cocky pirate
  1701. >"Ready to engage, please align with trajectory."
  1702. >Fucking finally
  1703. >You pull down, forcing the ship to face the direction of travel
  1704. >Your computer gives the regular countdown, and you blast away from the battle, leaving a very confused pirate behind
  1705. >"Celestia eh? Now where have I heard that name before..."
  1707. --------------------
  1709. >"Rough day huh?"
  1710. >You watch as the medical supplies are wheeled away on a hover barge
  1711. "Ma'am, you have no idea..."
  1712. >The overseer of Farpoint dock gives you a small smile
  1713. >"Maybe not, but I know the look of a man who's worked hard."
  1714. "I just got the job done ma'am, nothing more."
  1715. >"Well we are in you debt, this virus has become increasingly difficult to squash out, and it helps to have someone dedicated to delivering aid."
  1716. >You were dedicated, but not really in the way she was hoping
  1717. "Thank you ma'am."
  1718. >"No, thank you commander."
  1719. >She turns and begins to walk off, signalling one of her subordinates to fetch your pay check
  1720. >The scrawny looking kid approaches, wielding a card reader and a paper notepad
  1721. >"Alright that's... 10,000 credits."
  1722. >Your eyes shoot open in surprise
  1723. >That was a large tip
  1724. "You sure you haven't got that mixed up?"
  1725. >"That's what it says here, you're Anonymous right?"
  1726. "Yeah, that's me."
  1727. >"Well then it's for you, so if you could just put you card in here."
  1728. >You pull out your universal ID card and place it in the reader
  1729. >Did your work suddenly become much more valuable?
  1730. >"That's it, now is there anything else you need?"
  1731. >This station is pretty big, maybe you can pick up that shopping while you're here."
  1732. "Uh yeah, actually, does this station have a marketplace?"
  1733. >"Yeah, just take the monorail over there."
  1734. >Sweet
  1735. "Thanks kid."
  1736. >He just turns and waves at you
  1737. >You walk the short distance to the rail station, taking care when you cross the central highway
  1738. >Look right, fuck left, sprint
  1739. >Works every time
  1740. >The monorail pulls into the station just as you arrive
  1741. >It's not busy, so finding a seat for your minutes journey isn't hard
  1742. >"Next stop, commodities district. Please mind the gap when alighting from this train."
  1743. >The platform here is much more packed
  1744. >Hundreds of people moving around, preparing to board the rail system
  1745. >You stand from you seat as the train comes to a stop, stumbling the final bump
  1747. >The doors slide open, and the people on the platform part to let you through
  1748. >At least they know train etiquette, even if they are all shooting dirty looks at you
  1749. >The shopping district looms ahead, it's massive billboards and bright lights beckoning you to enter
  1750. >You fumble in your pilot suites pocket for the list you made earlier
  1751. >1. Wall stuff
  1752. >It's written in early morning Anon vernacular
  1753. >Fucking great
  1754. >2. Bed for Sunhorse
  1755. >3. Food
  1756. >4. Another game controller
  1757. >Oh yeah, you need to pick up one so Celestia can witness the wonderful world of online gaming
  1758. >5. More headache pills
  1759. >That's where the list ends, but you'll remember other stuff as you walk, you always do
  1760. >You choose to start at the bottom, because you're cool like that
  1761. >You scan the environment for a pharmacy
  1762. >There's one!
  1763. >A big green cross signals a medical shop
  1764. >You approach the sliding doors, which open for you
  1765. >There's a few people milling about, but not too many that'll take long
  1766. >You browse the painkiller aisle, picking up various forms of medicine and putting them in you collected basket
  1767. >You don't need this many, but it helps to be prepared, especially since your house now has a second occupant
  1768. >You drop a final box of syringes into your basket and head to the till
  1769. >There isn't a queue, which is pretty good
  1770. >However, something behind the till catches your eye
  1771. >They do prosthetics!
  1772. >Maybe you could get Celestia a new wing
  1773. >That would definitely make up for your attitude earlier
  1774. >The young woman at the till grins at you as she scans your stuff
  1775. >"Will that be all sir?"
  1776. "Uh, actually, you wouldn't happen to do prosthetics for ponies, would you."
  1777. >You can tell what the answer is going to be even before she opens her mouth
  1778. >"I d-don't think so. What's a pony anyway?"
  1779. >That sentence pretty much sums up Celestia's current state of affairs
  1780. "Like a horse?"
  1781. >"We don't do prosthetics for animals sir, you could always try the vets across the street."
  1783. You know she means well, but hearing someone refer to Celestia as an animal makes your blood boil
  1784. >You also doubt the vet will be able help
  1785. >"I'm sorry about that sir, anyway that'll be 900 credits"
  1786. >Fucking pricy space meds
  1787. >At least they're more effective that the ones you attempted to make yourself
  1788. >Bad memories
  1789. >You pay for your stuff and exit the pharmacy
  1790. >Taking a deep breath of the filtered air, you begin to walk to your next destination
  1791. >You pass the vets, and briefly consider entering
  1792. >They won't know what you're on about either
  1793. >You pass an alley way
  1794. >Wait a moment...
  1795. >Back-pedalling, you gaze down the alley with interest
  1796. >At the end sits a small and unassuming shop simply labelled EQ robotics
  1797. >The lights are on, but you can't hear any voices inside
  1798. >Somehow you feel that a solution may lie within
  1799. >Probably not, but at least you'll get to look at cool robots
  1800. >Walking slowly down the alley, you come to rest at front door
  1801. >You raise your hand and knock three times
  1802. "Hello? Anybody home?"
  1803. >There's a scrabbling sound as someone attempts rise from a chair, followed by the rustling of paper
  1804. >"Hang on! I'll just be a minute!"
  1805. >Well then
  1806. >After just over a minute, the sound of locks unpicking fills the quiet air
  1807. >The old wooden door creaks open, revealing an elderly gentleman with a thick pair of specs
  1808. >"Can I help you?"
  1809. "Um, maybe, do you know anything about building prosthetics?"
  1810. >"If it's prosthetics you want then the medical center is that way."
  1811. "I-I've been there already, it's not for a human."
  1812. >"Then try the vet, they'll have what your looking for."
  1813. "It's not for an animal either..."
  1814. >...
  1815. >The old man narrows his eyes at you
  1816. >"Then what, pray tell, is it for..."
  1817. "A pony..."
  1818. >That got is his attention
  1819. >"Impossible, they've been extinct for- wait... Describe it too me."
  1820. >Dude, just open the fucking door already
  1821. "Well she's big, whitish grey, and has a sun on her flank."
  1822. >Yeah that about sums her up
  1823. >"By the stars.. Come in, we must talk!"
  1825. >The man throws the door open, and walks back to a packed workbench that must serve as his desk
  1826. >He's muttering away to himself
  1827. >"I never thought I'd see the day..."
  1828. "Um, excuse me but, what's going on?"
  1829. >"He doesn't know what's going on, how hilarious!"
  1830. >This old fucker is obviously past his sell by date
  1831. "Riiiiiiight... So could you maybe inform me?"
  1832. >"In time, but first you must tell me a few things."
  1833. >He's leaning in his desk, twiddling a spanner in his worn old hands
  1834. "Sure... I guess."
  1835. >"Where did you find her?"
  1836. "She was dropped off by a couple of haulers near my home."
  1837. >"Did they say where she was from?"
  1838. "They just said that all the stuff came from an old guys estate..."
  1839. >He stops twiddling the spanner and raises it up to his grizzled chin in thought
  1840. >"Did they say why they dropped her there."
  1841. "They just said that someone was coming to get it..."
  1842. >"And did they?"
  1843. >You actually don't know, you never bothered to go back to the boxes
  1844. >You just shrug
  1845. "I didn't bother to check."
  1846. >He seems troubled by this, but doesn't press the issue
  1847. "Hang on, how do you know about her?"
  1848. >"Because I've seen her before..."
  1849. >Wait a god damn minute!
  1850. "Are you her previous owner!"
  1851. >His eyes widen as he waves his hands in protest
  1852. >"No no, do I look like I have the kind of money for something like that? I barely make ends meat here!"
  1853. "Then how do you know her?"
  1854. >He sighs heavily, dropping his spanner on the desk
  1855. >"I used to work for them, when I was younger. I was an on site engineer for their massive home. Occasionally I would see her inside, cleaning or doing other things."
  1856. >He places his hand on his head, almost in shame
  1857. >"I had no idea what she was or where she had come from, all I knew was that she was some sort of slave. So I decided to do some research."
  1858. >You nod in understanding
  1859. >He seems to be telling the truth thus far
  1860. "I take it all you got was a bunch on redaction?"
  1861. >"Pretty much, yeah. That and a physical description."
  1862. >His face then grew dark
  1864. >"It was going alright, for a time. I would come in to work and she would be there. I'd wave at her and she'd wave back."
  1865. >You can see him squirming at the uncomfortable memory
  1866. >"I was up late, fixing one of their fusion plants out back, when started to hear these noises, and shouting. I couldn't hear what was being said or by who, but after a while everything when quiet. And then I heard a gunshot."
  1867. >"The morning after, she wasn't there."
  1868. >Oh...
  1869. >"For years a kept on working, just trying to forget what I had heard. I knew they had no real rights, no true dignities, but I felt as though I should do something."
  1870. >"Then one day, she was replaced."
  1871. >Replaced? How could she have been replaced?
  1872. >"The new one was younger looking, and a dark blue color. She did the same jobs, only faster, and with a constant look of fear etched onto her face."
  1873. >Luna...
  1874. "I think I know her, did she have a moon on her flank?"
  1875. >"I think so yeah. But I never really waved to her, and she never waved back. It wasn't long before she disappeared as well."
  1876. >He slouches further down his bench
  1877. >"I quit a month after that, and devoted the rest of my career to this place..."
  1878. >You look around, taking in the sight.
  1879. >The workshop is large, with many half finished prototypes littered around
  1880. >"But hearing you say this now, that she's alive! I don't know what to say... I-"
  1881. "She's alive yes, but barely, when I found her she was in a right state."
  1882. >"How bad."
  1883. "Missing a wing and a large section of her horn. Both looked like they had been hacked off."
  1884. >You gaze at him with a hardened look
  1885. >"Oh... Is she doing okay..."
  1886. "She's doing fine right now, I had to yell at her earlier for calling me during a dogfight. I hope she's okay."
  1887. >"I'm sure she'll understand, but that's not the reason you came here, is it."
  1888. "No, I was wondering if you could replace her horn and wing."
  1889. >He thinks for a moment
  1890. >"The horn isn't too hard of a fix, you'll just need a sampler and an incubator."
  1892. >"Her wing however, that's a bit more difficult."
  1893. >He pulls out a pad and begins to go through design options
  1894. >"From what I remember prosthetics were a rare sight on ponies, as if they were to lose a limb, they would probably just be put down."
  1895. >"That coupled with the fact that, Celestia? I hope I'm remembering that right..."
  1896. "Yeah, it's Celestia."
  1897. >"Yeah, she's a lot bigger than most ponies were, so big in fact that there was never another larger."
  1898. >"So any wing prototype would have to be built from scratch."
  1899. "So... Expensive?"
  1900. >"Yeah... I'd love to do it for free, but believe it or not I actually do have other customers."
  1901. "So how much are we talking?"
  1902. >"An experimental build like this usually costs somewhere around 100,000 creds, including research fees."
  1903. >Ooft
  1904. >That's a lot...
  1905. >But as far as your concerned she's worth it
  1906. >"Come here and I'll give you the stuff for her horn."
  1907. >He reaches up onto a shelf, pulling down a box of incubation tubes
  1908. >"Take one of these, and..."
  1909. >He reaches into a second box
  1910. >"One of these."
  1911. >You now hold both a small incubator and a sampler
  1912. >"There's just one more thing you'll need..."
  1913. >Inside open drawer, about twenty tubes of a glowing prismatic substance swirl away
  1914. >"When her new horn is fully grown, take of the incubator and open one of these close to it."
  1915. >"With any luck she should absorb the contents of the vial."
  1916. >You star at the case with fascination
  1917. "What is it?"
  1918. >"That son, is magic."
  1919. >Woah, neat.
  1920. >The stuff really didn't get used for anything nowadays, for most of the advancements made from its discovery led to replacement technology that was cheaper to run
  1921. >"Since she's an Alicorn, you'll want a couple. Provide her with enough and she'll become self sufficient in generating it."
  1922. "I can't thank you enough, but I need to know one last thing."
  1923. >"Sure, what is it?"
  1924. "Where does this rich family live exactly."
  1925. >A grin slowly spreads across his face
  1926. >"Their estate is in 3447."
  1927. Really now, I think I might go and have a chat with them."
  1928. >Plus, they offer your first true lead on Luna, at least until you can fix Celestia's horn
  1929. >"Please do..."
  1930. "I never did catch your name."
  1931. >He lets out a slow chuckle
  1932. >"It's Edward Quasar, a pleasure to meet you..."
  1933. "Anonymous, but you can just call me Anon."
  1934. >You pay for the incubator while he attempts to process your admittedly bizarre name
  1935. >"That's an... Interesting name, but I guess Quasar isn't much better."
  1936. >You laugh as you walk towards the door
  1937. >"I'll draw up some plans free of charge for that wing, and we can go from there."
  1938. "How long do you need?"
  1939. >"A week tops, I'll just save your ship number so I can get in contact later on."
  1940. "Cool, and thanks again!"
  1941. >You close the door behind as Edward gets back to work
  1942. >"It really is a small galaxy..."
  1944. --------------------
  1946. >The soft hum of your engines as they break the atmosphere signals another successful work day
  1947. >You've got to admit, for all the shit you out up with on a daily basis, you really wouldn't have it any other way
  1948. >You pull the ship into a glide over the landscape, a blue field of excited particles building up around the ships nose
  1949. >It's late evening, and the sun is just dipping down below the horizon
  1950. >The view is fucking spectacular up here
  1951. >You never really appreciate how nice a good sunset can be
  1952. >The couriers insect like legs touch down on the concrete pad outside your home, just as the bizarre constellations begin to twinkle overhead
  1953. >The lights are on, which is a welcome change to the empty house to which you're used to returning
  1954. >Now all you had to do was get everything in here, out there
  1955. >Shouldn't be too hard, since you've come prepared
  1956. >Exiting the ship, you slam you hand onto the cargo bay doors
  1957. >They hiss ominously as a platform holding your loot from the day descends
  1958. >There's a flat pack bed (of questionable quality)
  1959. >A more reliable mattress that is big enough for a horse to sleep in
  1960. >The box containing the incubation kit
  1961. >Wall plaster and paint
  1962. >A small hover pallet
  1963. >And lots of groceries
  1964. >You load your stuff onto the hover pad and close up the cargo hatch
  1965. >Thank fuck for the shopping trolleys of the modern age
  1966. >You could only imagine how much worse this would be if it had wheels
  1967. >It glides effortlessly up the stairs, and you unlock the door with your key card
  1968. "Celestia! I'm home!"
  1969. >No reply
  1970. >Maybe she's just in the bathroom
  1971. >You paler down the cart and proceed further into the house
  1972. "Celestia? Where are you?"
  1973. >"I-I'm in here, m-master."
  1974. >She's back to calling you master?
  1975. >That's a bad sign
  1976. "What's with the title? You know I'm not your- HOLY SHIT!"
  1977. >Celestia is lying in the middle of the kitchen floor, multiple sharp objects surrounding her, and to make matters worse, she's bleeding
  1978. >A lot.
  1980. "Jesus Christ what happened here?!"
  1981. >You frantically sprint towards the cupboard, wrenching out random objects in an attempt to reach the med kit
  1982. >"M-master?"
  1983. "Shhh, save your breath. You'll get through this..."
  1984. >You hope
  1985. >God only knows hoe much blood she's lost be this point
  1986. >"M-master, what are you d-doing."
  1987. "What does it look like, trying to save your life!"
  1988. >She looks confused and scared, which can be expected from someone on the brink of death
  1989. >There's also something off about these wounds
  1990. >They're not the serrated cuts you would expect from a knife falling on someone
  1991. >They're clean and precise
  1992. >And every single one is horizontal
  1993. >That's when it hits you
  1994. >These...
  1995. >These were intentional...
  1996. >She did this to herself
  1997. "C-Celestia?"
  1998. >"Y-yes master?"
  1999. "How long have you been like this..."
  2000. >"I-I'm sorry, I don't reme..."
  2001. >You finish wrapping up her leg, which still has the bandage from the burn at it's end
  2002. "W-why? Why did you do this?"
  2003. >"B-because I'm suppose too, It's my p-punishment."
  2004. >No...
  2005. >Oh god no...
  2006. >This was your fault
  2007. >You did this to her
  2008. >"If I'm disobedient, I'm to lash myself across the leg five times..."
  2009. "N-no, I didn't- No."
  2010. >You give up on words, instead opting to wrap her in a tight hug
  2011. >"M-master?"
  2012. "I'm sorry Celestia, I'm so so sorry."
  2013. >You pull her close, burying your tears in her soft strawberry mane
  2014. >Remain strong Anon
  2015. >Do it for her
  2016. "I-I know I said this before, a-and I know you might not understand... But I swear on my life that no matter what, you will never come to harm while under my care."
  2017. >You point with a finger at the far wall, in the general direction of LHS 3447
  2018. "That monster, he made you like this. But I swear I'll remake you into the kind and selfless being that I know is in there."
  2019. >For emphasis, you plant a finger in her blood stained chest fluff
  2020. "But in order for me to do that, I need to know..."
  2021. >You look into her eyes with a steely resolve
  2022. "What did he do to you?"
  2024. >She visibly recoils
  2025. >You almost want to back down
  2026. >No! You must know!
  2027. "Please... It's the only way I can help you..."
  2028. >She stares at the ground, unmoving
  2029. >Then, after a moment, she speaks
  2030. >"500 years..."
  2031. "Wha-?"
  2032. >"That's how long I worked there... 500 years."
  2033. >Woah, that's a long time
  2034. >You were well aware that Alicorns had ridiculous lifespans, history had taught you that much, but to work in one singular place for half a millennia?
  2035. >That was nutty
  2036. >"I was bought by that family as part of a set, at l-least I think so..."
  2037. "With your sister, right?"
  2038. >"You know of... How?"
  2039. "I just looked it up, but please, continue."
  2040. >"Y-Yes, I was purchased with my sister, along with another pair of Alicorns."
  2041. >Another pair? Just how fucking rich were these cunts?
  2042. >"We didn't get to see them very often, they were assigned to another part of the estate..."
  2043. >"I was made to do things, like cleaning and cooking during the day, and at night I... I did... Other things..."
  2044. >"If I didn't do well, or didn't finish in time, I was made to hurt myself. He would watch me do it, sometimes do more than that... I-I tried not to notice."
  2045. >You were beyond angry, transcending above and beyond that emotion
  2046. >You made a mental note to shoot him right in his old saggy cock
  2047. >"Then one night he brought out Lu- My sister, and told me that he wanted us to... To.. "
  2048. "It's okay, you don't have to say it..."
  2049. >"I-I refused, and begged him for anything different. So he drew out his weapon, and he blew off my horn and-"
  2050. >She's crying heavily, and so are you
  2051. >Most of your tears come from pure unfiltered rage, but your crying none the less.
  2052. >"H-he b-beat me for hours, and told me that I was useless..."
  2053. >"I-I wanted to fight b-back, b-but I couldn't. He forced my sister to watch... Then he d-did this to me."
  2054. >She raised her wing stump, and you stare at it with trembling hands
  2055. >"T-then he forced me into a small space and put me somewhere dark, for a long time..."
  2056. >"I was s-so sc-cared, I don't know where anypon- I mean one! Where anyone had gone..."
  2057. >The bleeding on her leg seems to have stopped, but you aren't in the right state of mind to make a medical observation
  2058. >You don't understand why anyone could possibly want to hurt her
  2059. "It's okay..."
  2060. >You run you fingers through the shivering mares hair
  2061. "It's okay... You're safe from him now."
  2062. >When she shows no improvement, you attempt to pick her up in your arms
  2063. >You're so angry that you somehow achieve the ability to lift up a horse
  2064. >As carefully as possible, you place your bandage riddled friend down on the couch, making sure not to bump her shredded leg
  2065. >After a moment, quiet snores can be heard
  2066. >You worry about her blood loss, but come to the conclusion that she's stable enough to sleep
  2067. >You are going to fix this, all of this
  2068. >You are going to find her sister, repair her body and make her better again
  2069. >But that would have to come later
  2070. >Right now you have a bed to build and instruction manuals to ignore
  2071. >Happy days
  2073. --------------------
  2075. >You are Celestia
  2076. >And sleep does not come easy these days
  2077. >You used to sleep fine, back... then...
  2078. >But now every moment you spend in slumber is a battle of attrition
  2079. >Sometimes you dream of the war
  2080. >The great shadows of human warships hanging over a desecrated landscape you used to call your home
  2081. >Those are the hardest ones
  2082. >But they aren't the only ones
  2083. >Sometimes you dream of your sister, Luna, who you haven't seen in what feels like centuries
  2084. >For all you know it could have been
  2085. >When you reach the age you are, years to begin lose their meaning
  2086. >The dreams that feature your loving sister are better, but they hurt all the same
  2087. >Before you would have known your sisters presence, you would have felt her embrace you as you drifted away to her realm
  2088. >But now...
  2089. >Now you feel nothing...
  2090. >Only pain...
  2091. >And something wet on tip of your muzzle...
  2092. >With practiced stealth, you crack one of your massive eyes open, and are instantly reminded of your current situation
  2093. >Hanging over the back of the couch, your new master snores deeply
  2094. >A long strand of saliva extends from his open mouth, occasionally dripping onto the grey fur on the end of your nose
  2095. >You take a glance at the clock on the wall, squinting in the low light
  2096. >It reads 8:45
  2097. >Meaning you should have been up hours ago
  2098. >You attempt to move from the couch, but a sharp pain on one of your forelegs cuts deep
  2099. >That's right, you're injured...
  2101. >You deserved it, at least that's what you tell yourself
  2102. >'You're worthless! Just like the rest of your pathetic race!'
  2103. >The words of your previous master echo throughout your skull, prompting a headache
  2104. >You really did mean nothing, and you had to remind yourself of that, less you risk upsetting Anonymous
  2105. >Why did he insist you call him that?
  2106. >He was your master, he purchased you to fulfil a role
  2107. >He may not have specified what that role was, but it was almost as if he was treating you like a friend
  2108. >A human and a pony could not be friends, it would be like a cat being friends with a mouse...
  2109. >...
  2110. >Then why did you feel like reciprocating his gestures?
  2111. >Why did being around a member of the race that enslaved your ponies and burned your world make you feel so...
  2112. >Happy?
  2113. >You decide to put that issue on hold, for you had a cup of coffee to prepare
  2114. >Slipping out from under him, you hold back tears as a searing pain envelops your front appendage
  2115. "Come on Celestia..."
  2116. >Your words of encouragement barely make it out as animalistic snarls
  2117. "You ruled a nation for thousands of years, you will not be bested by a few scratches and a coffee pot..."
  2118. >Limping slowly across the bungalow, you spy what must have been your masters late night work...
  2119. >A large black bag is propped up near the door, and you can only assume it contains a remnants of his bedroom furnishings
  2120. >Another fault of yours...
  2121. >The other half of the room is much more interesting
  2122. >A new bed looks to have been constructed, and is now positioned against the far wall
  2123. >There's a note on the bedside table, which also looks new
  2124. >You're now faced with a choice
  2125. >Do you make the coffee and then read the note?
  2126. >Or do you look at the note before making the coffee?
  2127. >Decisions decisions...
  2129. >...
  2130. >Look at yourself Celestia, you were once a proud ruler of the most prosperous nation in the world, now you're struggling to decide where fifteen extra seconds of your time should be spent
  2131. >Maybe you're just out of touch...
  2132. >Or maybe you really are just as useless as you think...
  2133. >You decide it's best to read the note first, since it's closer
  2134. >Hobbling across the space, you begin to make out some of the small lettering
  2135. >It's definitely addressed to you, but what could it be abou-
  2136. "Ow!"
  2137. >Your leg clips something on the floor, causing you to cry out in pain
  2138. >It stings deep to your very core, but you bite your tongue to avoid making further noise
  2139. >Using your good hoof for balance, you pull your shaking body over to the night stand and begin to read
  2140. >'Hey Celestia, it's awake Anon here. I am now likely asleep, hopefully not in too embarrassing a position. This bed, along with the contents of the drawer in front of you are a few things a got to make life a bit easier for you. No doubt your leg must hurt, so please take one of the painkillers attached to the bottom of this note.'
  2141. >Sure enough there was a packet of pills attached to the base of the piece of crisp white paper
  2142. >'P.S Please don't touch the silver container or any of the smaller glowing vials just yet, they're for when I wake up. Everything else has instructions attached.'
  2143. >'P.S.S If you even attempt to make me breakfast in your state, I'll whip cream your eyelids shut while you sleep :)'
  2144. >The added smile at the end of the note really helped to convey your masters sinister message
  2145. >You hoped he was joking, but something told you he really wasn't, so you decided to stay clear of the kitchen for the rest of the morning
  2147. >That left you with a few options, first of which was the application of the medicine
  2148. >You detach the packet from the note, and attempt to remove one of the pills
  2149. >However the packaging clearly isn't designed for hooves, and even grasping the fiddly little case is a challenge
  2150. >After a few minutes of tomfoolery, you get one loose
  2151. >It's a small white pill encased in a membrane of an unknown liquid
  2152. >It reminded you of frogspawn
  2153. >...
  2154. >You hate frogspawn
  2155. >You hate it so much
  2156. >But if this pill was to take the pain away, then you would have to do it
  2157. >Remain strong Celestia, you can do this
  2158. >Forcing you eyes shut, you shove the pill into your mouth
  2159. >It's actually not even that bad
  2160. >The outside is made of a plastic substance that slowly begins to dissolve
  2161. >As it does, the liquid within gets released
  2162. >It tastes odd, but not unpleasant
  2163. >You can definitely tell it's medicine, hidden away behind those layers of blackcurrant
  2164. >The liquid medication also serves to help you swallow the rest of the tablet
  2165. >Instantly your leg begins to feel a bit better
  2166. >You had to give it to these humans, they certainly knew what they were doing
  2167. >Almost too well
  2168. >How they achieved this level of advancement is beyond you
  2169. >You think back to the moving picture you watched the other day
  2170. >The Iron Giant it was called
  2171. >Anon explained that the big metal robot had descended from space with orders to destroy
  2172. >It instead chose to offer it's friendship, and formed a bond with one individual who spent time hiding it from the world in fear of what they might think
  2173. >When the world found out, they were scared, and lashed out in fear
  2174. >And the robot responded, with hundreds of times the force
  2175. >...
  2177. >Perhaps Anonymous saw nothing in it, for he has no true recollection of what transpired, but that movie spoke to you
  2178. >It spoke of a different time when you were a much different pony
  2179. >A time when you hid something from the world, despite every fibre of your being telling you it was the wrong choice
  2180. >And then they found out just what you had been hiding, and what you had been hiding frightened them beyond anything they'd ever seen
  2181. >Two months later you were being sold as property in an auction house...
  2182. >And there was nothing you could do...
  2183. >...
  2184. >You'd been standing still for quite a while now, the only sound present was the soft snores of your owner as he hugged a pillow happily
  2185. >You shake your head to clear away those thoughts
  2186. >Dwelling on the past would not help you here
  2187. >Using your good leg, you pull open the small compartment underneath the top drawer
  2189. >Inside are many things, some you recognise, others are completely foreign to you
  2190. >As the note mentioned, there is a large silver tube propped up at the back of the cupboard, along with the aforementioned glowing vials
  2191. >You can sense their magical potency, calling you to touch them
  2192. >But Anonymous told you not to, and you best avoid upsetting him further
  2193. >Still...
  2194. >What would a human need with magic...
  2195. >You choose to push those concerns away, and focus on the other items within the dresser
  2196. >There's some very odd things indeed...
  2197. >A rod full of clear liquid, with a loop inside
  2198. >A small pot with a smiling face and a picture of the sun
  2199. >Several books, some seem to be factual while others are most definitely fiction
  2200. >...
  2201. >A ball?
  2202. >No, a strange ball
  2203. >It has many spikes, pointing in all directions, and seems to be forged in a multitude of colours
  2204. >Grasping it as firmly as you can in your hoof, you bring the ball out of the drawer
  2205. >It's light, but made of a seemingly durable material
  2206. >What could it be?
  2207. >Perhaps if you were to throw it into the air, like one might do with a ball, then a special trait will be revealed
  2209. >With little hesitation, you toss the rainbow painted contraption into the air
  2210. >Suddenly, it triples in size!
  2211. "Wha-"
  2212. >Then it hits the floor, and is small again
  2213. >You are confused
  2214. >The ball was one size, and then another
  2215. >How could that be?
  2216. >You give it another experimental toss
  2217. >It grows, and then shrinks
  2218. >Sorcery!
  2219. >You lean into the ball, scrutinising it from all angles
  2220. >Where did all that extra space come from?
  2221. >Was this what the magic was for?
  2222. >So many questions...
  2223. >You give it a small sniff
  2224. >Nothing really to smell
  2225. >You decide to give it one final throw
  2226. >Using your mouth to hold it in place, you swing your head back and release the sphere over your head
  2227. >It vanishes from view, presumably behind you
  2228. >But then...
  2229. >*Crunch*
  2230. >Oh buck
  2232. >The magic ball has landed on the end of your 'horn', sliding down the fractured base
  2233. >It extends outwards as it does so, until the sphere encompasses your entire head, like a netted helmet
  2234. >You shake your head to get it free, but the motion only causes it to tangle further into your messy hair
  2235. >It's stuck good, and you have no hope of releasing it without your magic
  2236. >...
  2237. >Anonymous will not be pleased
  2238. >You let your foal like curiosity get the better of you, and now one of his gifts is wedged over your thick skull
  2239. >With a defeated sigh, you move on the rest of your new possessions
  2240. >Oh how the mighty hath fallen
  2242. --------------------
  2244. >Be Anon
  2245. >Be lying stretched over the back of your couch
  2246. >It's not in any way comfy, but you're pretty sure you didn't care when you first found yourself there
  2247. >You have a thumping headache, one part due to the amount of cheap alcohol you presumably downed the previous night, another part due to the awkward angle at which your head is positioned
  2248. >What time is it?
  2249. >What day is it?
  2250. >You drop the pillow you had been drooling over and shakily get to your feet
  2251. >The living room is just as you left it
  2252. >Covered in crap
  2253. >You can't even remember why you built that bed...
  2254. >Did you have people over?
  2255. >No...
  2256. >You don't like people...
  2257. >Then why is there a bed?
  2258. >You stumble your way over to the kitchen
  2259. >You need coffee
  2260. >Perhaps you should hire someone to make you coffee?
  2261. >...
  2262. >Nah, that's stupid
  2263. >You have a coffee machine for a reason...
  2264. >The sounds of grinding gears and boiling water soon fills the small room
  2265. >For all your race's technological prowess, they really couldn't make these bloody things any louder
  2266. >After what feels like a millennia, a soft ping signals the completion of your beverage
  2267. >A cap on the top of the machine raises, ejecting the depleted coffee capsule onto the floor
  2268. >Why does your house hate you today?
  2269. >You bend down to retrieve the container, your tired back cracking out the entire Federation anthem drum line with little effort
  2270. >You swear they must have chipped you to make that happen
  2271. >Or maybe you just hear the catchy and tremendously patriotic jingle in everything nowadays
  2272. >Without further delay, you approach the garbage disposal unit to discard the empty capsule
  2274. >The lid folds up to reveal an alarming sight
  2275. "That's a lot of blood..."
  2276. >Your first instinct is to check over your own body, making sure you aren't missing any limbs or vital organs
  2277. >Not today, thankfully
  2278. >But that begs the question...
  2279. >Who's blood is it?
  2280. >You rub your temples, attempting to call back information that was stolen by, as your mother would call it, 'substance abuse'
  2281. >Nope, nothing
  2282. >Then, something pink catches your eye
  2283. >It's hair, balanced neatly on the edge of the bin lid
  2284. >Pink hair...
  2285. >Who the fuck has pink hair?
  2286. >Wait...
  2287. >OH SHIT.mp3
  2288. "Celestia?! Where are you?!'
  2289. >How the fuck could you forget about the talking horse you currently call roommate?
  2290. >That's not something you'd usually forget
  2291. >But then again you don't usually drink...
  2292. >"Anonymous? I'm out here."
  2293. >That sounded like it came from the back garden
  2294. >Lifting your mug of coffee, you hurry outside
  2295. >She's there, that much is apparent
  2296. >As for what she's doing...
  2297. >Well, maybe horse culture is slightly different from human culture
  2298. >"Um... H-hello mas- Anon! Anon..."
  2299. "Wah... You- What?"
  2300. >That's all you get out before hitting the deck in a fit of uncontrollable yet exceedingly manly giggles
  2302. >The old extendable sphere you'd gotten her from a ship hold sale has somehow found it's way over her head, fully encompassing all but her horn in a plastic matrix
  2303. >It looks like a diving helmet from the 1700s
  2304. >She's sitting on a patchwork blanket in the middle of your lawn, hooves tucked under her body and an innocent smile on her face
  2305. >"I-is something wrong?"
  2306. "You've got a plastic sphere on your head, Sun horse, I'm just not sure how to react to that."
  2307. >You wheeze out your reply between ragged breaths, throat raw from the hearty kek you just experienced
  2308. "Aww... That made my day..."
  2309. >Celestia just blushes, attempting to hide her face behind her mane
  2310. >It doesn't work, only reinforcing the cute
  2311. >"I-I wasn't aware of such a thing..."
  2312. "That you have a plastic sphere on your head?"
  2313. >"Y-yes"
  2314. >"..."
  2315. "Jesus, you're a shit liar..."
  2316. >She doesn't say anything, but continues to stare at the ground
  2317. "Hey, you know I'm not mad at you... Right?"
  2318. >Her steely gaze remains focused on the blanket beneath her
  2319. >You approach slowly and take a seat next to her, being careful to sit on her trailing tail
  2320. >You place your hand gently under her chin, raising her eyes up to meet yours
  2321. >They really are big, and oddly beautiful...
  2322. >For a horse, she certainly doesn't look half bad...
  2323. >"A-Anonymous?"
  2324. "W-wha- Oh yeah. I'm not mad, so don't beat yourself up about it. Okay?"
  2325. >"O-okay..."
  2326. >You look down at a few of the books that are scattered around the blanket
  2327. >It appears she has been reading one about the stars
  2329. "You enjoying the books?"
  2330. >"Yes, they're very interesting... Is it true that humans used to worship the sun as their God?"
  2331. "Yup, that we did..."
  2332. >"Why?"
  2333. "I honestly couldn't tell you Celestia, I'm not a particularly religious man..."
  2334. >You scrunch up your face in thought, ancient human history was never really your strong point...
  2335. "I guess it may have just been what the sun represented, rather than what it actually was. Back on earth, which is where we're originally from, the sun and moon were very interconnected."
  2336. >You see her flinch at the mention of moon
  2337. "When the sun crossed the horizon, it signalled the start of a new day, and the moon would conveniently pass over the horizon signalling end of another night."
  2338. "People just associated the sun with light and life, and a faith just kinda... Appeared."
  2339. >You look up at the sky at the single yellow star and two small moons
  2340. "Once we left earth, the sun really just lost it's meaning. I mean, it's not exactly special, just another star in a sea of stars."
  2341. >A low roar in the distance signals the departure of another craft, and the silhouette of a large freighter soars away into the clouds
  2342. >"But it's your home... How can you just dismiss it like that?"
  2343. >You sigh, watching the as the type-9 disappears from view behind a wall of fluffy condensation
  2344. "Earth was never my home Celestia, and it never will be... I don't have a home, I don't really belong anywhere. I just am..."
  2345. "The moment you make that leap to interstellar travel, the concept of home becomes meaningless... Why bother claiming a home, when there are thousands of other places exactly like it within an hours flight?"
  2346. >"It sounds lonely... Not belonging anywhere, I'm just glad I have a home now. With you..."
  2347. >You look down at the bizarre horse before you, plastic sphere over her head, and a false look of happiness forced onto her face
  2348. >This isn't her home
  2350. >Her home was somewhere out there, being sucked dry of its resources by orbital drills
  2351. >Chances are the upper layer of the crust will have been completely razed, harvested of everything valuable
  2352. >You normally wouldn't care, you didn't even bat an eye when they taught you this stuff in college
  2353. >It was just another part of human history for which to feign regret
  2354. >But it wasn't just your history, and only now do you truly get that
  2355. >This pony, whoever she really was, had seen a lot more that you doubt you ever will
  2356. >The trembling smile she wore spoke of war that would make the skirmishes you'd partaken in look like pillow fights
  2357. >The scars that adorned her body whispered of hundreds of years of slavery and torture
  2358. >This isn't her home...
  2359. >You know that...
  2360. >She knows that...
  2361. >Nothing you can ever say or do will ever change that...
  2362. "Come on Celestia, I got you something I think you'll like..."
  2363. >"What is it?"
  2364. "Come and I'll show you."
  2365. >You lead her inside, walking over to the drawer where you left the incubator
  2366. >You remember reading the instructions when you were sober, so you should hopefully get this right
  2367. >Reaching into the drawer, you remove the silver case, clicking it open with a satisfying hiss
  2368. >Inside is both the incubator tube and the sampler for her horn
  2369. >She eyes them with suspicion, but doesn't make any moves
  2370. >You set them down on the bed and begin to remove the sphere from around her head
  2372. >Jesus, she even got it tangled in her hair
  2373. >It doesn't take long to remove, and soon the ball finds its place next to the tools on the duvet
  2374. "Now Celestia, I'm gong to scan your horn with this thing. I promise it won't hurt, but it may feel a tad weird, so don't be worried about it."
  2375. >"Okay..."
  2376. >With that you begin
  2377. >Tracing the sampler up and down where the rest of her horn should be, the small device begins to form a computer generated image of the required replacement
  2378. >You can see her left eye twitch occasionally, but she doesn't look too uncomfortable
  2379. >After about five minutes, the device finishes, instructing you to pour around a kilogram of biomass into the incubator
  2380. >Celestia watches you work, but remains silent
  2381. >Once the biological material is inserted, you lift up the incubator and place the base over her horn
  2382. >Four small plates extend out, restraining the base to keep the tube from falling off
  2383. >You pull the short end, increasing the length of the chamber to around 16 inches, well over enough
  2384. >The incubator then seals, and slowly fills with the nano-fluid that will actually be responsible for constructing her new horn
  2385. >You then plug the chip from the scanner into the tube, and a flickering blue hologram of her soon-to-be horn appears
  2387. "Right Celestia, close your eyes and I'll take you to a mirror."
  2388. >She complies, closing her eyes and allowing you to lead her over to the bathroom
  2389. >You position her right in front of the mirror, where you know she'll get the best view
  2390. "You can open your eyes now, sun horse."
  2391. >You hear a gasp
  2392. >It's small, but it's there
  2393. "This thing should have your horn back to full working order in a week, tops."
  2394. >Silence
  2395. "Then I've got some magic that we can use to kickstart your mana production organs, which will be good."
  2396. >More silence, followed by a whimper
  2397. "Do you... Do you like it?"
  2398. >...
  2399. >"You... You can actually fix my horn?"
  2400. "Um, yeah. I wouldn't have bought you it if it wasn't going to work..."
  2401. >...
  2402. >"I love it..."
  2403. "Hmm?"
  2404. >"I love it! I love it! I love it!"
  2405. >She seems to explode out of nowhere, bounding around the bathroom like a child on a sugar high
  2406. >"Thank you thank you!"
  2407. >You really want to point out that she shouldn't be bouncing on her leg, but you're too mesmerised by the cute
  2408. "Hey, it's nothing, now all we've got to figure out is that wing of yours."
  2409. >She either doesn't hear you, or is too excited to care, because as soon as you stop talking, you're smothered in horse chest fluff
  2410. >"Thank you Anon, thank you..."
  2411. >Sure, this may not be her home
  2412. >Hell, it isn't even really yours
  2413. >But if you can get at least one real smile out of a pony who's been through so much...
  2414. >Then maybe, just maybe...
  2415. >There's hope for her yet...
  2417. --------------------
  2419. >There's an awful lot to be said about the Lakon Surface Recon Vehicle that most pilots have come to know as the Scarab
  2420. >It's small, fast, and dominates the deployable vehicle market
  2421. >Its 6WD multi-surface anti-slip tires that feed from a 900 megawatt cold fusion plant supposedly provide extreme grip and control no matter the terrain
  2422. >Its fully independent superfluid suspension allows for the craft to sustain a completely level canopy when driving over slopes with a maximum gradient of 45 degrees, and if the object cannot be cleared from the ground, then a pair of high power rockets allow for the buggy to leave the surface and fly over 300 metres in any direction while in earth gravity
  2423. >It's equipped with a full suite of scanners and communication arrays, a removable cargo rack with a two tonne storage capacity and a plasma repeater turret that can be remotely operated from over 200 kilometres away
  2424. >It was commissioned as the ultimate exploration and reconnaissance vehicle, for both military and civilian use
  2425. >...
  2426. >Shame you can't drive in a fucking straight line
  2428. "Woah!"
  2429. >You swerve violently to avoid careering of the side of a cliff
  2430. >A similar gasp rings out from behind you, much higher in pitch
  2431. >Why did you even consider this?
  2432. >Why are you driving along a coastal road in this chrome plated death trap?
  2433. >...
  2434. >You know why, and you readily accept that it is partially your own fault
  2435. >The hyper advanced carbon infused polymers squeal in protest as you round another sharp bend
  2436. >Perhaps a small recap is in order?
  2437. >Yes, that would be acceptable
  2438. >...
  2439. >You are still Anon, and for the past week your livelihood has been invaded and controlled by a solar powered horse you found in a pile of discarded boxes
  2440. >So far you've managed to cheer her up substantially, so much so that the quivering mess of a mare you thought was the norm has all but vanished
  2441. >She still gets nightmares, and goes through periods of stress and anxiety, but you're pretty sure with enough time, and perhaps a few more replacement parts, she'll feel better
  2442. >On the subject of replacement parts, the nano-mite construction of her horn has been going just swimmingly
  2443. >You're honestly beyond chuffed at its progress
  2444. >Most of the horn has been reconstructed, barring the tip, which should be finished by tomorrow morning
  2445. >There was a few mishaps, the occasional tube misalignment or fluid spillage
  2446. >Nothing too major, and the caution both you and your new roomie have taken to ensure the incubator remains undamaged have seen too that
  2447. >That's why you made sure to wrap a good portion of the incubator in impenetrable duck tape, and dilute the solution with bottles of stolen federation office water. For safety purposes.
  2448. >Again, there has been no real damage!
  2449. >Just a few scrapes and... Smashes
  2450. >That brings you up to the current date
  2451. >And what you're currently doing
  2453. >You fly down a slope, avoiding some of the larger jagged rocks that jut out of this poor excuse for a road
  2454. >Almost there Anon
  2455. >Almost there
  2456. >As it turns out, your new friend has a habit of making the quiet and reserved existence you previously relished, into one of constant activity
  2457. >You had to take most of the week off just to stop her from breaking out of the house and causing a public scene
  2458. >So today you thought you'd treat her to a small excursion
  2459. >There's a good picnic area you discovered a few years back, with a good amount of shade to shield you from the local stars rays, and a pool of crystal clear liquid that you're pretty sure is at least 50% water
  2460. >So, safe
  2461. >Unfortunately, the only route of access is by 'road'
  2462. >This meant that you were forced to rev up the old SRV and head out for the day
  2463. >Of course the small exploration craft was originally designed to seat one person, in an air tight bubble, meaning the only feasible way to keep Celestia in the buggy was too...
  2464. >"Anonymous! Let me out this instant!"
  2465. >...
  2466. >Well, stuff her in the cargo hold
  2468. "Relax Celestia. It's not much further, just bare with me."
  2469. >"I don't want to 'bare' with you, I want off of this thing!"
  2470. "Well you'll just have to wait!"
  2471. >You spot the familiar turn off towards your picnic area
  2472. >It's a small and unassuming dirt road, mostly hidden from sight
  2473. >Were it not for your keen eye for detail, it probably would have remained unknown to you
  2474. >You slow the SRV to a crawl and make the turn in, the plasma turret scraping the low hanging branches of alien trees
  2475. >The dry soil crumbles and cracks as the tires pass over the surface
  2476. >It's so quiet out here, so unbelievably quiet
  2477. >In fact, the only hint that the planet is inhabited at all are the contrails of departing vessels, and the shimmering spires of a distant city, framed against the deep blue sky
  2478. >Peaceful
  2479. >You exit into a clearing bordered by vegetation, moving slow to avoid spooking any local wildlife
  2480. >Parking the SRV under a patch of shade, you pull the key card from its socket, allowing the engine to power down
  2481. >With a hiss, the gull wing doors on each side of the glass canopy open, and you step out into the sunlight
  2482. >The calls of miscellaneous creatures ring in the air as the wind rustles through the oddly shaped leaves, creating a symphony of nature
  2483. >And the bass line?
  2484. >The angry drumming of equine hooves against the inside of a titanium cargo rack
  2486. >"Anonymous! Let. Me. Out!"
  2487. "Yeah yeah, I'm coming, hold your horses."
  2488. >Heh, good one Anon
  2489. >Walking round to the back of the buggy, you pull the cargo release lever, watching as spouts of compressed gas erupt from the lines of tubing that serve to pump air into the hold
  2490. >Completely unnecessary
  2491. >But it looks cool, so fuck it
  2492. >After a short while, the smoke clears, and an angry pink clad pony sits in its place
  2493. "Hey you, how was the trip?"
  2494. >She narrows her eyes and snorts in frustration
  2495. "Oh come on! It wasn't that bad..."
  2496. >"I've had screwdrivers stuck in places where screwdrivers should never go..."
  2497. "I'm sure you'll live, now how about you get out and we'll have some lunch, sound good?"
  2498. >She looks like she really wants to object, but a rumble from her stomach silences whatever snarky comment she had prepared
  2499. >With shaky hooves, Celestia exits the SRV, jumping from the rear hatch and landing in the soft summer grass
  2500. >The bandages that lace her leg glow brightly in the midday sun, standing out against the sad grey colour of her fur
  2501. >She wobbles a bit, and you place your hand on her back to steady her
  2502. "You good?"
  2503. >"Y-Yes, I think so..."
  2504. "How about you go find us a place to sit, I'll get the basket."
  2505. >She nods slowly, then saunters off with a retrieved blanket under her good wing
  2506. >You watch her walk towards the small pool in the centre of the clearing, limping slightly, yet managing to retain a somewhat graceful composure
  2507. >It's quite impressive actually, how she manages to carry herself like some sort of princess, despite being an alien slave horse
  2509. >Turning your attention away from Celestia, you begin to rummage through the picnic basket you brought with you
  2510. >Two sandwiches, one egg mayo for you, and a 'daisy' roll of Celestia
  2511. >You had no idea what a daisy was until you ordered some from Galactic Amazon
  2512. >It's flowers
  2513. >Actual flowers
  2514. >Not too strange, considering you were well known (to yourself) for pies containing hay, another common horse meal
  2515. >Unfortunately the daisies were untreated, meaning they were unfit for human consumption
  2516. >Celestia thought they tasted great though, which is really all that matters
  2517. >Also in the basket is a wide selection of baked goods, ranging from cakes to scones
  2518. >You caught wind of miss photovoltaics attraction to that class of confectionary after she was caught red hoofed trying to pull your biscuit stash off the top most counter, without you noticing
  2519. >It didn't work, and the resulting shocked fall may have been partly responsible for the incubators current, rather rudimentary condition
  2520. >Finally, the basket contains a pair of more outdoors-y toys that you had bought in for this occasion
  2521. >First, is a scaled down and unarmed version of the popular 'skimmer' security drone, one of the staples of any planetary installation
  2522. >It came with an AR headset and control pad, allowing you to see from the drones eyes
  2523. >It's also quiet enough that anyone passing by will have a hard time hearing it, and subsequently discovering your secret picnic spot
  2524. >The second item is something much simpler, a frisbee
  2525. >People supposedly use them as dog toys, and to you Celestia is just a big dog
  2526. >She effectively arrived in the boot of your car, damn it
  2527. >If that's not solid proof then you don't know what is
  2528. >Packing away the contents, you shut the cargo doors and give them a pat of reassurance
  2530. >The stars shine down through the leaves, and you are forced to raise you hand to cover your eyes as you walk
  2531. >Fucking binary orbit mega brightness
  2532. >Never lets up
  2533. >Celestia seems to have chosen a spot near the pool, laying the blanket out in a neat square
  2534. >She now sits at the waters edge, staring into its crystal clear depths
  2535. >You place the basket down on the rug, and take a slow seat beside her
  2536. >The small dock that you and your friends had constructed has begun to weather
  2537. >That was a long time ago...
  2538. >Back before you resigned yourself to the daily grind
  2539. >Back when your only ambition in life was to see a galaxy without rulers
  2540. >Of course you quickly learned that money might as well have made the bloody universe turn over, because without it, you'd be dead in the water
  2541. >So you got a job, and you worked as part of the same order that you stood opposed to for many years
  2542. >If you can't beat em, join em
  2543. >Unfortunately your familiars didn't quite see it that way, and called you just another government drone
  2544. >Then they started to blame your 'addiction' to work on a poor mental state
  2545. >As you said previously
  2546. >Fuck em
  2547. >Their loss
  2548. >They probably went on to become pirates or something
  2549. >You don't care
  2550. >You doubt you ever will
  2551. >Turning to your left, you see that Celestia also looks to be in deep thought
  2552. >Her brow is furrowed, and her wing twitches idly
  2553. >You're tempted to ask about it, but restrain yourself, instead opting to budge up a little closer to her side
  2554. >You stay like that for a while, neither of you making any attempt to talk to the other
  2555. >Just acting mindful of each others presence
  2557. >Eventually however, you decide to break the ice
  2558. "You look troubled Sun horse, mind telling me what's up?"
  2559. >She says nothing, but meets your inquisitive gaze with sad eyes
  2560. >Shit, you must have said something wrong again
  2561. "I-I'm sorry, I don't mean to pry or anything. If you don't want to talk about it it's fine."
  2562. >"N-no, it's not that..."
  2563. >Her voice sounds remorseful, yet laced with a sweet sense of nostalgia
  2564. >"You just caught me off guard, that's all. I'm not used to humans, well... Caring."
  2565. >You give her a small grin, and usher her to continue
  2566. >"I was just thinking about my old home..."
  2567. >Instantly the colour drains from your face
  2568. >She seems to notice, and lifts a hoof up to reassure you
  2569. >"No no, not there! I mean Equestria, my original home..."
  2570. "Oh..."
  2571. >"Pools like this were common place, and I used to visit them regularly."
  2572. >"You see, they often had rejuvenating properties. Magical properties. Some could do amazing things, and I was simply reminded of that time..."
  2573. >You drag your hand through the sapphire water, watching the liquid fold between your fingers
  2574. "Yeah, this place seems to have that effect on everyone..."
  2575. >"Is that so?"
  2576. "Unfortunately... Yes."
  2577. >"Unfortunately?"
  2578. >You smile and give her a pat on the head
  2579. "You're not the only one with skeletons in the closet Celestia. Now let's go eat some lunch."
  2581. >Refusing to expend the energy required to stand, you make a futile attempt to reach the basket from your position by the pool
  2582. >Celestia watches you do this for about a minute before rolling her eyes and getting up to retrieve it herself
  2583. >"You know, for all the technological prowess you humans seem to posses, you really are the laziest creatures I've ever encountered."
  2584. >You ignore her and start digging through the basket to find your meal
  2585. >"I mean, why would you ever need a small robot to do your cleaning when you have a perfectly good set of limbs that can do the job drastically better?"
  2586. "Because, we're lazy."
  2587. >She stops mid bite to lock eyes with you
  2588. "What? You expect me to disagree?"
  2589. >"Well... Yes, actually."
  2590. "Trust me, if it weren't for the rare few that actually had the drive to do something other than sit around and eat snacks, I doubt we'd even have left the ocean..."
  2591. >"Hmm..."
  2592. "Hmm?"
  2593. >"Is that why you enslaved my kind? Because you were lazy?"
  2594. >You rush to respond with a 'no', but hesitate
  2595. >She has a point there, did humanity really enslave an entire planet simply because they were too lazy to do housework?
  2596. >Perhaps that was part of it, but you feel that maybe there were other reasons
  2597. >Equally stupid reasons, but reasons none the less
  2598. "I don't know Celestia, maybe..."
  2599. "Humans never really gave good reasons for doing things, we're not bound be some great cosmic rule that says all of us have to behave in a certain way and treat others with a certain level of respect."
  2600. >"So your telling me that the humans who were responsible for our enslavement didn't know it was wrong?"
  2601. "No I'm sure they knew what they were doing, more likely they just didn't care about the consequences of their actions."
  2602. >"And do you?"
  2603. "Of course I care Celestia! I wouldn't have pulled you out of that box otherwise."
  2604. >"You weren't exactly just going to leave you purchase lying in the street were you?"
  2605. >You groan and begin to rub your temples
  2607. >This had been a common topic of discussion for most of the previous week
  2608. >No matter how many times you explained it to her, she simply couldn't understand that you hadn't purchased her, that you had found her
  2609. "For the last time, I. Didn't. Buy you! Okay?"
  2610. >"You don't have to hide it from me Anonymous, I've come to terms with what I am..."
  2611. "No! I- Gah!"
  2612. >Instead of continuing the ridiculous argument, you instead opt to cross your arms and face away from her
  2613. >"Oh come on Anonymous! You're acting like a foal."
  2614. "Fuck you, I didn't spend a single penny on your hungry ass."
  2615. >"That explains the new bed and countless gifts I've received over the past few days."
  2616. "Do you want me to take them away again?"
  2617. >"No! That will not be necessary... I was merely, um, jesting..."
  2618. "So you say..."
  2619. >She narrows her eyes at you and takes a slow bite out of her roll, the crunching of daisies barely interrupting the fierce staring contest the two of you have going
  2620. >It continues for a while, before a sinister grin spreads across her muzzle
  2621. >"Tell me Anonymous, how cold is the water in this pool."
  2622. "Don't even think about it..."
  2623. >"I'm just speaking hypothetically, if one of us was to fall in, what are the chances that we may contract hypothermia."
  2624. >She stands from her spot, and before you can object, she has her hooves wrapped around your neck from behind
  2625. "I'm not exactly sure how cold it is..."
  2626. >You turn your head around to face her, your nose an inch away from hers
  2627. "But it can't be anywhere near as cold as the vacuum of space, which is where I'm going to put you..."
  2628. >"Is that so..."
  2629. >Celestia then leans right in, whispering gently your ear
  2630. >"Then I guess I've got nothing to lose..."
  2632. >Your eyes widen as she gives you a good hard push, sending your body sprawling through the air and into the water
  2633. >The scream of pure rage you emit is almost completely drowned out by the rush of freezing water and the evil laughter from the surface
  2634. >Thankfully nearly every electrical item on the market comes waterproofed, otherwise you'd be a little more than just soaked
  2635. >You resurface and begin to scream obscenities at the uncontrollable mare
  2636. >Celestia ignores you, continuing to roll around on her back, graced by the presence of an almighty kek
  2637. >She only halts her cackling when a splash of water finds its way directly onto her face
  2638. >You lock eyes once more, and you bring your electronic wrist pad to bare
  2639. "You're dead Sun horse..."
  2640. >"On the contrary, I've never been more ali-"
  2641. >A blast of plasma fired from the turret on top of the SRV liquifies the cupcake she was about to stuff in her mouth, sending the charred remains spiralling into the pool
  2642. >Celestia just stares in shock at the small portion of cake that remains balanced atop the now blackened end of her bandaged hoof
  2643. >Lucky those bandages were there actually, otherwise she would have been in for her third nasty injury, and you weren't looking at her hoof when you fired
  2644. "Care to repeat that one Celestia."
  2645. >"N-no need for that, I think an apology on my part is required."
  2646. "Mmhmm."
  2647. >"I'm- I'm sorry for pushing you in the water. Even though it was rather humorous and I don't regret it in the slightest."
  2648. "And I'm sorry for melting your cupcake, there, we're even. Now give me a hand-"
  2649. >"Hoof."
  2650. "Whatever. Just help me out."
  2652. >She reaches out to you with her good hoof, and you use it to pull yourself out of the water
  2653. >After standing away from the blanket, you immediately remove your hooded top and t-shirt, hanging them over a trailing branch to dry
  2654. >Celestia watches with an almost frightening fascination, tracing your every move with her large, magenta eyes
  2655. >This alarms you, partially because you're an awkward fuck, but more so because you're not exactly at the peak of human performance
  2656. >Of course you had to be at least semi fit, otherwise the federation would deem you incapable of piloting a spacecraft, but your body is no temple
  2657. >However the empyrean equine is giving you more than just a once over, and you honestly have no idea what to do
  2658. "Um, you okay there. Something behind me got your attention?"
  2659. >"What? Oh... Sorry it's just, I've never really seen a human without protective garments, I just had no idea that you would look like, well that..."
  2660. >Your mind flashes back to what she told you about her previous master, as well what you saw for yourself
  2661. >She seems to catch on fairly quickly
  2662. >"My old master, he would never undress when he... 'Used' me. I only ever saw his, member..."
  2663. >Ew
  2664. >Fucking nasty
  2665. >From the look on Celestia's face you can tell she shares your feelings
  2666. "Well, this is what a human looks like, I'm sorry to disappoint you."
  2667. >"I never said you looked bad, just... Different."
  2668. "Eh... Thanks, I guess..."
  2669. >You were planning on removing your shorts too, but since she seems so interested in your physical appearance you decide to keep them on, just to be on the safe side
  2670. "In any case, I brought some stuff that I think you'll find interesting..."
  2672. >You reach into the basket and retrieve the drone and it's peripherals, switching it on as you do so
  2673. >The red light that serves as the photo receptor flickers on, and begins to scan its surroundings
  2674. >"What is that? Some sort of camera?
  2675. "No, it's a drone..."
  2676. >"Doesn't look like a drone to me..."
  2677. "And you would know what a drone looks like?"
  2678. >"Well I've met Changelings before, and doesn't look like one."
  2679. >What the fuck is a Changeling?
  2680. >Sounds like some more magic tomfoolery to you
  2681. "Changelings? Never heard of them."
  2682. >"Your species did invade my entire planet, correct?"
  2683. "Fuck if I know sun horse, my great grandparents weren't even a thought when that happened."
  2684. >"Well, changelings are like ponies, only more... Aphidian, in nature."
  2685. "So, bug horses?"
  2686. >"Correct..."
  2687. "Neat... Anyway, this isn't that kind of drone."
  2688. >You pull out the controller and headset, and begin to tune it to the right frequency
  2689. "Think of this as an eye in the sky, it allows you to see places without actually being there."
  2690. >"So, a scrying spell?"
  2691. "I'm just going to pretend I know what that is..."
  2692. >"A spell that allows you to see places, without actually being there, perhaps?"
  2693. "Shut up and put that headset on."
  2694. >Celestia takes the headgear with a huff, and struggles to fit it over her muzzle
  2695. >When she finally manages to get it on comfortably, a look of concern crosses her face
  2696. >"I cannot see anything, is that normal?"
  2697. "It is when the headset is switched off..."
  2698. >You flick the button on the side of the set, and a red light begins to flash
  2699. >A similar red light also begins to flash on the drone, and after a moment both LEDs turn blue
  2700. >"I can see something! Everything is green!"
  2701. >With a chuckle you pull the drone out of the grass, and face it towards her
  2703. >"Wait, that's me! Is that what I look like with this thing on?"
  2704. >You pull the controller over and start up the drones duel repulsor engines, allowing it to float in place
  2705. >The advertisement really wasn't joking, the thing is practically silent, just a slight hum and a soft jet of hot air
  2706. >You look down at the small screen the controller provides you with, and strafe the drone down across the pool
  2707. >"Woah, where is it going?"
  2708. "It's going where ever I tell it too."
  2709. >"And where are you telling it to go?"
  2710. "I dunno, somewhere."
  2711. >She's probably narrowing her eyes at you again
  2712. >"I don't know if you can tell, but I'm scowling at you."
  2713. >Yup
  2714. "Good for you, now watch this!"
  2715. >The small craft pulls up over the bank foliage and rockets into the sky, clearing the canopy in an instant
  2716. >You guide it along the tops of the trees, weaving between outcrops and branches
  2717. >Celestia's jaw seems to have slackened somewhat
  2718. >It's a good look for her
  2719. >"It's- it's beautiful out here..."
  2720. >You hum in agreement, swinging the drone around to face the distant towers of the local cities
  2721. >"That place is huge! Is that the capital of this nation?"
  2722. "No actually, the planetary headquarters are on the other side of the world..."
  2723. >"And they control everything?"
  2724. "Nah, most of our laws and legislation comes from the galactic Federation, the planetary council just decides where best to divert funding."
  2725. >"So they only control where the money goes?"
  2726. "Precisely."
  2728. >You peel your eyes away from the screen to look at your horse roomie
  2729. >She's thinking about something rather deeply again
  2730. >You don't no whether this is a normal thing for her, or she's just relishing the gift of free speech and thought for the first time in a while
  2731. >"I-I see something..."
  2732. >Is she using her magical force powers to trigger visions?
  2733. >Neat
  2734. "Don't go into the light Celestia.... Wooahhhahaha!"
  2735. >"No, I actually see something..."
  2736. "Is it god? The dead?"
  2737. >"No you featherbrain! On the camera thing!"
  2738. >Feather brain?
  2739. >Must be a pony insul- Wait what the fuck did she just say?
  2740. >You look back to your drone screen and come crazily close to shitting yourself
  2741. "Oh crap!"
  2742. >You force the drone into a steep dive, just barely avoiding the Cobra mkIII that rushes over your heads at mach 2
  2743. >The sound follows a few moments after
  2744. >*Fwooooooooosh*
  2745. >Jesus you forgot how loud those things are
  2746. >Your ears are ringing from the noise...
  2747. >No, wait...
  2748. >That's just Celestia screaming
  2749. "Celestia!"
  2750. >She's waving her hooves and one remaining wing around like a madmare
  2751. >It's actually rather difficult to get near her because of the many punches being thrown your way
  2752. "Hey! Celestia! Celestia it's okay!"
  2753. >She's not paying attention to you, so you do what's best and lunge for the headset
  2754. >Luckily you find purchase, and manage to remove the device from the Alicorns head
  2755. "You're fine! Look..."
  2756. >She blinks for a couple of moments, her eyes adjusting to the new environment
  2757. "It wasn't you... You're okay."
  2758. >"I- I-I-"
  2759. "Shhhh, it's okay... Just breath..."
  2761. >She's shaking, violently...
  2762. >You can forget how disorientating VR gear can be, especially with all the sensory stuff they cram into it nowadays
  2763. "It wasn't real Celestia... Well... It was, but the point is you're fine..."
  2764. >She doesn't reply, so you cast you head up to the sky and silently curse the fuckers who were flying that thing
  2765. >As far as you're aware they were violating quite a few terrestrial laws
  2766. >Minimum altitude...
  2767. >Speed limits within 30 kilometres of a populated area...
  2768. >The list goes on
  2769. >But in order to lawfully fuck what had to be a pair of kids out in their dads ship...
  2770. >Well, you'd have to bring up your special horse in court
  2771. >And that's not worth it...
  2772. >You feel the light brush of hair leaning against your side
  2773. >Celestia appears to have closed the gap between your bodies in fright
  2774. >Holy shit she's cute when she's scared
  2775. >That's not really something you should be thinking, but that doesn't change the statements validity
  2776. "Come on you..."
  2777. >You place the controller down at your side and wrap her in a (semi) wet hug
  2778. "I promised you'd be safe... Didn't I?"
  2779. >She nods, her head buried into your chest
  2780. >Is this something ponies do? Nuzzling?
  2781. >In any case, you're really glad you remembered to wear deodorant today
  2782. "Well, when have I broken a promise?"
  2783. >Shit, you did just eyeball live ammunition at her...
  2784. >And you haven't exactly been very careful with her in regards to her overall wellbeing, bringing her here in your SRV cargo hold and all...
  2785. >Fuck... You must be a shitty 'roommate'
  2786. >She seems to know it too, if the tear ridden deadpan she's giving you is anything to go by
  2788. "You know what, don't answer that... The moral is, I'd never let someone else hurt you, only me, and yourself... And the occasional low hanging branch or doorframe..."
  2789. >You pat her on the head awkwardly and detach yourself
  2790. "Better?"
  2791. >Her breathing seems more normal now... So that's progress.
  2792. >"B-better..."
  2793. "Good stuff, now... How about we go get that drone before we lose-"
  2794. >You're cut off by the sound of your phone ringing
  2795. >A quick check reveals the number isn't recognised
  2796. >Normally you'd write it off as some bullshit ad company trying to sell you ship insurance or claim that one of your loved ones has been diagnosed with another spooky space disease, and thus either ignore it or take the piss out of the operator respectively
  2797. >But this number doesn't look like the corporate codes they give to all the poor souls that work in their call stations
  2798. >It appears to be residential...
  2799. "Actually Celestia, do you think you could be a good girl and go fetch it yourself, this looks important... Just follow the blue lights and buzzing and you should find it in no time
  2800. >She deflates slightly, but gets up regardless, strutting across the clearing and into the thicket on the other side
  2802. >With that sorted, you turn you attention back to the phone, which is still emitting its hypnotically cheerful tune
  2803. >After a moment of hesitation, you answer it
  2804. "H-hello?"
  2805. >"Hello! Is this A- Anonymous? Is this Anonymous speaking?"
  2806. "Uh, yeah, and who might you be?"
  2807. >There's a gruff chuckle, followed almost immediately by a hacking cough
  2808. >"Sorry lad... It's me, Edward..."
  2809. "Edward?"
  2810. >"You know me! Edward Quasar! I run the old robotics shop, you came to me about a prosthetic..."
  2811. >Oh...
  2812. >Oh!
  2813. >You know this guy! He's the one that gave you all the stuff for Celestia's horn
  2814. "Oh! Fuck, yeah, sorry man... It's been a long week."
  2815. >"I can imagine, but I'd watch that memory if I were you, you might end up as senile as me!"
  2816. >He follows up the somewhat weak joke with another round of laughter, followed by more coughing
  2817. >"Right... I was just calling to see about the progress of that horn replacement, I take it it's going well?"
  2818. "In a manner of speaking..."
  2819. >He hums disapprovingly
  2820. >"In what manner are we speaking?"
  2821. "The manner that means it worked, so you don't need to worry about the finer details..."
  2822. >"You broke it, didn't you..."
  2823. "N-no..."
  2824. >"Do you need a replacement?"
  2825. "I said it's fine, she's good..."
  2826. >The phones speaker emits a sigh of disappointment
  2827. >"Well, disregarding your lack of care for basic maintenance, I have made some designs for a wing I'd like you to take a look over... I trust you know enough about aeronautics and aviation to understand just how ridiculous these were to come up with..."
  2828. "I've paddled in the subject..."
  2829. >"Well then prepare to swim, these designs are far passed the deep end..."
  2830. "Duly noted..."
  2831. >"I'll transmit them now... You've got your receiver on right?"
  2832. >A fleeting glance at your SRV dash reveals that the onboard computer is still primed from all the radio broadcasts you listened too on the way here
  2833. "Yeah, it's on..."
  2834. >"Transmitting now..."
  2836. >A few moments pass, and your inbox lights up with a subtle ping
  2837. "I got 'em."
  2838. >"Good stuff, now I should probably get back to work... These robots aren't going to build themselves..."
  2839. >Huh...
  2840. >You're pretty sure they do actually build themselves, but he must make all of his by hand
  2841. "Wait... Before you go, do you want to talk to her? I mean, I'm sure she'd remember you..."
  2842. >The phone goes quiet for a moment, the old man clearly giving your proposition some thought
  2843. >"It's probably best if I don't... I don't want to trigger any nasty memories, you know?"
  2844. "I'm sure you wouldn't... She might be happy to hear from you..."
  2845. >"No... I don't want to risk it... If I talk to her it has to be face to face..."
  2846. >Huh... You kinda respect that sentiment
  2847. >With the advancement of technology you hardly ever actually see anyone, only through monitors and voice calls...
  2848. >Not that you have many people to see
  2849. "Okay... I guess. I'll take a look at those designs later..."
  2850. >You think you can see Celestia coming out of the bushes
  2851. "And thanks... You know for doing all this..."
  2852. >"I'm not doing it for you Anonymous... But your gratitude is appreciated."
  2853. >Before you can reply, he hangs up the call
  2854. >Rude
  2855. >Celestia has started to cross the clearing towards you, the drone clamped firmly between her teeth
  2856. >The muscles around her neck and jaw seem to be strained, attempting hold the relatively heavy object up
  2858. "Does that not hurt?"
  2859. >"Nhmhhmmm mhmm."
  2860. "Spit out the drone, and try again..."
  2861. >She places the aircraft down in the grass and speaks
  2862. >"I'm used to it..."
  2863. >Of course she is...
  2864. >You don't say anything, preferring just to sit in silence as the suns make their way across the sky
  2865. >Celestia lies down next to you, and for next couple of hours you simply bask in the tranquility of your location
  2866. >"Anonymous, look..."
  2867. >The soft voice of your companion rouses you from your peaceful state
  2868. "Hmmm?"
  2869. >She simply points towards something out of view
  2870. >Above the canopy, a small creature apon a set of golden wings, glides in the wind
  2871. >You instantly recognise it as one of the fabled sol tracer moths
  2872. "Huh... Neat..."
  2873. >"They seem to follow me everywhere..."
  2874. "Maybe you're like secretly their leader... You know, their queen."
  2875. >"Moths don't work like that Anon..."
  2876. >A strong gust of wind picks up, and the moth is blown away, the sky growing slightly darker under the shadow of approaching clouds
  2877. >Shit
  2878. >You forgot the weather reports listed a 50/50 chance of rain this evening
  2879. >Humans have learned to travel the stars, and harness the very energy that drive them, but they still cannot predict the weather
  2880. "Looks like a storm is brewing... We should probably get home..."
  2881. >"Oh... Alright..."
  2882. >You get up off the blanket, and retrieve what you can carry from grass, making sure to pull your clothing off the branch and slip it back on
  2883. >Once everything is out of the way, Celestia uses her forehooves to roll the blanket into a tube, and place it under her wing
  2885. >The two of you return to the SRV just as the first drops of rain begin to fall
  2886. >Water bounces off the chrome surface as you tediously load the cargo hold in a strategic manner to give Celestia enough room to move around
  2887. >She fusses over you the whole way through it, claiming that she's fine, and that you're getting wet
  2888. >Finally, it reaches a point where it can be considered comfortable for a being of her size
  2889. >"Anonymous, you didn't need to do that..."
  2890. "I know, but I wanted too... So that's that..."
  2891. >By this point you're both soaking, but luckily for her the cargo hold has a decent heating unit, so she'll be dry in no time
  2892. >You on the other hand, well, you get whatever heat wafts through the vents
  2893. >After securing her within the bay, you close the doors and take the short walk round to the front of your SRV
  2894. >Droplets of rain slash against the windscreen as you open the gull wing door and slide inside, leaning against the warm air from the hold
  2895. >It's really begun to pick up, with your pool quickly expanding into a lake before your very eyes
  2896. >When it rains here, it really rains
  2897. "You all good back there?"
  2898. >"I am fine Anon... Are you okay?"
  2899. "Okay enough... I'll drive a little slower this time, so you should bounce around too much..."
  2900. >"It's appreciated, thanks."
  2901. "Don't mention it..."
  2902. >The windscreen wipers come on, clearing your view of the glade outside
  2903. >There is now a torrent of water flowing between the wheels of your SRV
  2904. >You better bug out quickly before some of that accursed mud forms, and you get stranded
  2905. >You power up the fusion drive, and the vehicle begins to whine, the metal studded tires gripping the soft earth with ease
  2906. >After a short scramble, you're back on the road, heading for home
  2908. >An hour or so later, you pull into your driveway
  2909. >The rain has gone off, but the sky is getting darker, a twilight haze descending across the land
  2910. >You park the buggy under your ship, and remove the keycard, shutting down the engine
  2911. "Celestia... Celestia we're home..."
  2912. >No response
  2913. >You exit the pilots bubble and approach the back of the vehicle, opening the cargo hold once more
  2914. "Heh... Of course..."
  2915. >Celestia sits in a pile of crumbs and discarded wrappers, having broken into the picnic basket and eaten the vast majority of the remaining treats
  2916. >The best part is, she's now fast asleep...
  2917. >Not for long
  2918. "Come on Sunhorse, let's get you inside..."
  2919. >When she doesn't instantly heed your call, you give her a gentle shake
  2920. >This is more effective, and a pair of large magenta eyes flutter open
  2921. >"H-hello Anon..."
  2922. "Hello you, we're home... I would offer you some dinner, but you seem to have taken care of that for me..."
  2923. >Her cheeks grow slightly red, and she avoids your gaze
  2924. >"Well I couldn't let it go to waste... No perfectly good confectionary should go uneaten..."
  2925. "With that attitude I'm surprised you've not got diabetes..."
  2926. >She rolls her eyes and climbs out of the boot, landing on the gravel with a soft crunch
  2927. >You shut the doors behind her, taking the basket with you, and initiate the SRVs auto dock sequence, allowing your courier to pull it into the hold
  2928. >With that done, the pair of you walk up the garden and enter your home, which feels infinitely warmer than the cold and humid outdoors
  2930. >You wipe your feet on the doormat, which has an imprint of the Federation logo
  2931. >Heh, that'll show them for hiring such shitty interns
  2932. >Celestia yawns, raising her hoof up to her mouth as she does so
  2933. >"Oh my... It seems our little escapade took more out of me than I realised..."
  2934. "It would seem that way..."
  2935. >The door closes behind you with a whoosh, and locks
  2936. "Would you like a mug of anything? Coffee? Hot chocolate?"
  2937. >"Don't trouble yourself Anonymous... I can get them... Just take a seat on the couch..."
  2938. "Don't even think about it, you've done enough today..."
  2939. >"Nonsense... I'm only fulfilling my purpose, you treated me to a day out and sandwiches, which were lovely by the way, and now I'll make you some coco... That's how it goes Anon..."
  2940. >A sigh of defeat escapes your lips
  2941. "You don't need to keep doing this Celestia... You don't have to bend over backwards to serve me... I don't exactly deserve it..."
  2942. >She's already made her way into the kitchen, and is pulling a pair of mugs out of the cupboard
  2943. >"I'm not bending over backwards for you Anonymous. Not only am I physically incapable of such and action, but I feel that you've seemingly come to terms with all my quirks and habits. I know I'm not easy to have around, and I know that sometimes it can be hard to open up ones home without gaining something in return... So I feel it fit to help out now and again..."
  2944. >Using only her wing and one free hoof to push things around on the counter, she manages to inexplicably place both mugs into the machine and flip it on
  2945. "You do more than just help Sun horse, and for what it's worth, I'm glad to have you..."
  2946. >The machine pings, and the mugs are ejected onto the platter, compete with chocolate shavings and marshmallow
  2947. >"And for what it's worth, I'm glad to be here..."
  2949. >She scoops up the tray, and walks past you on three hooves, still limping slightly
  2950. >The platter finds its way onto the coffee table in front of the TV, and she takes a seat on her established half of the couch
  2951. >She drags the TV remote over and flicks it on, allowing the daily news to play, before patting a spot on the couch next to her
  2952. >You approach slowly, and take a seat next to her, passing her a mug while simultaneously latching on to your own
  2953. "I'm sorry by the way... About... You know, shooting at you..."
  2954. >"No need to apologise Anon, I had it coming..."
  2955. "You really didn't... It was stupid, I could have seriously hurt you-"
  2956. >"Shhh..."
  2957. >She places the hoof that isn't holding her mug on your mouth, silencing you
  2958. >"It's fine, I know you meant nothing by it..."
  2959. >The news is looking as grim as ever, and you can see one of her ears flickering towards the speakers every time the presenter mentions missiles or railguns
  2960. >"I know cruel Anonymous, I've witnessed it with my own eyes, even before you humans found us, our world was crawling with it..."
  2961. >"Villains that would impersonate us, steal our power and our abilities, raise chaos across the land... We stood strong against them, but I saw how cruel they could be..."
  2962. >The woman on the TV is showing a clip of the Farragut class battlecruiser 'Deliverance' firing a salvo of nuclear warheads at a planets surface, the dim light of distant explosions appearing under the clouds
  2963. >"It's rather sad actually... I grew so used to winning, that when your species arrived I though you weak and disorganised, hiding inside your floating cans and suites of metal... All it took was a little bit of pushing back and-"
  2964. >Another perfectly timed explosion on the TV goes off, emphasising her point
  2965. >"... But you... You aren't cruel... Beneath that hard exterior of cynical humour and repressed feelings, I can tell you're a good man..."
  2967. "Celestia... We've known each other for a week, you have no idea who I am..."
  2968. >"I know Anon... But we sit in the same boat. You know very little about my past, I can tell, yet you still invite me into your home and put food in my stomach. You even repaired my horn. You've shown me trust, and it is a trust that I will return... Along with favours like making coco and doing dishes..."
  2969. >Huh... You never really thought about it that way...
  2970. >To you taking Celestia in was a bit like taking a in a stray cat
  2971. >A very large and clumsy stray cat
  2972. >She wasn't something felt you had to place trust in, mainly because you thought she was to far gone to do you any real damage
  2973. >Looking back it was a risky move, but you're pretty sure the payoff was worth the risk
  2974. "Well, I guess I can't argue with that..."
  2975. >She smiles softly, taking a long sip from her mug of chocolate
  2976. >"Then don't try, just accept that I'll do these things for you... Whether you like it or not..."
  2977. >You raise your mug to your mouth, and gulp down the sweet liquid
  2978. "I think I can deal with that..."
  2979. >"Good, now as much as I love our little interactions, I think I'll be heading off to bed... You know, over there..."
  2980. "Yes... I think I'll be off too... It's your big day tomorrow, don't want to be tired for that..."
  2981. >"I did tell you how thankful I am for that, didn't I?"
  2982. "Many times Sunhorse, many times..."
  2983. >She grins, and gets up from the couch, wandering over to the bathroom to brush her teeth
  2985. >You hear her humming a cheery tune for which you have no name, a sweet melody which you can't help but find catchy
  2986. >Perhaps you'll ask her about it later...
  2987. >With a tired sigh, you finish the rest of your coco, and rise to brush your own teeth
  2988. >After Celestia has finished struggling to use the human toilet, she emerges, and you take her place in front of the bathroom mirror
  2989. >"Don't forget to rinse with mouthwash Anon..."
  2990. "Yeah yeah, shut up mum..."
  2991. >You hear her giggling as she trots away, followed by the rustling of sheets and flump of a pillow
  2992. >You finish in short order, and make your own way to bed, wishing her good night in passing
  2993. >She sounds like she's already fast asleep...
  2994. >Good that, you have a lot of work to do tomorrow
  2995. >But for now, you can rest easy knowing there'll be a cup of coffee ready for you in the morning...
  2997. --------------------
  2999. >Beep beep...
  3000. >Beep beep...
  3001. >Beep-
  3002. >You slam your fist down on your alarm clock
  3003. >Beep beep...
  3004. >Fuck... Looks like you're not on the ball this morning...
  3005. >You try again, this time pressing the exact location of the accursed button
  3006. >Beep beep...
  3007. >This thing has to be shitting you...
  3008. >With a disgruntled sigh, you open one of your eyes and roll over, peering at the clock
  3009. >5:34
  3010. >Your alarm shouldn't even be going off at this time...
  3011. >You pick it up, and give it a shake
  3012. >Beep beep...
  3013. >No effect...
  3014. >In fact, you're pretty sure this thing is 'beeping' one to many times...
  3015. >Two consecutive beeps isn't the wake up call you're used too...
  3016. >Oh wait, your alarm clock isn't beeping...
  3017. >...
  3018. >Then what is?
  3019. >You sluggishly swing your legs over the side of the bed, and slip your feet into the padded slippers conveniently left there
  3020. >Did you leave the oven on again?
  3021. >No... As far as you're aware you didn't cook anything last night...
  3022. >You trudge across the room and flick on the lights, illuminating your quarters in a soft yellow glow
  3023. >Squinting at the sudden radiance, you pull back your curtain and peer outside
  3024. >Not much going on out there... Just other bungalows, some with lights, and some with occupants rightfully asleep
  3025. >You snap the curtains closed and turn around, reaching for the door
  3026. >Being as quiet as possible, you sneak out of your room, and approach the main living area
  3028. >You don't want to risk waking your guest, if she hasn't already been roused by the infernal racket coming from somewhere in the room
  3029. >Much to your combined relief and dismay, the slowly rising and falling hump that is Celestia remains immobile
  3030. >Perhaps she's just sleeping deep, considering the noise seems to be emanating from somewhere in her general direction
  3031. >With as light a step as humanly possible, you tiptoe across the room
  3032. >Oh shit...
  3033. >A new challenger approaches!
  3034. >Something flat and circular comes round the side of your kitchen counter, humming in its threatening tone as it fails to pick up even the largest dust particles
  3035. >You narrow your eyes at the Roomba, which continues its path of damnation towards your location
  3036. >With a practiced grace, you narrowly avoid its path, allowing it to continue onwards
  3037. >Phew...
  3038. >That was a close one...
  3039. >You turn your attention back to the source of the beeping, which has now grown considerably louder
  3040. >How the fuck is she still sleeping? Any regular person would have been driven insane by this point, presuming it's been going on for long...
  3041. >After a few hesitant steps over discarded items, you reach her bedside, and briefly reconsider what you're doing
  3042. >If she is asleep, then perhaps you should just leave her be?
  3043. >You can suffer an early morning wake up for her sake, she's already done it for you many a time
  3044. >But then again... Perhaps it's better to remedy the problem as opposed to simply ignoring it
  3045. >It could be important, perhaps even hazardous, and the longer you stand here, the more likely she is to wake up and see you
  3046. >Without giving it further thought, you reach for the wardrobe by her bed, opening it slowly
  3048. >Inside, sits a few of the items you gifted her earlier this week
  3049. >None of which are beeping...
  3050. >You squint in displeasure and raise your head out of the wardrobe, turning your focus towards the bed itself
  3051. >With a shaking hand, you reach over to pull back the covers, revealing the tip of the incubator
  3052. >As the duvet retracts further, it becomes blatantly obvious to you that something isn't right
  3053. >The nanites that had been doing their job for the past week or so, visible as the waft and weave of the pulsating grey liquid within the tube, had ceased their currents
  3054. >The grey matter was still, suspended inside the incubator like milk in a jug
  3055. >You immediately thrust you hand down, looking for the access panel you used to input the instructions a week prior
  3056. >Beep beep...
  3057. >Welp, there you go
  3058. >Astoundingly Celestia appears to have slept through your ongoing panic attack, a strand of drool linking her mouth to the pillow beneath her head
  3059. >Gross, but none the less endearing
  3060. >With haste, you pull open the top drawer of her bedside cabinet, and retrieve the instruction manual you placed there for safekeeping
  3061. "Let's see... Beeping red light... Two consecutive beeps..."
  3062. >Flipping through the pages, you find what has to be the audio cue setup
  3063. >'Two consecutive beeps + green light = system reset required'
  3064. >Jesus, these are some of the lowest common denominator instructions you've ever seen!
  3065. >Anyone who was able to acquire such a device and get it working should know how to read basic galactic English without the help of fucking word equations
  3066. >People these days...
  3067. >You forego your train of thought to continue reading
  3069. >'Rapid beeps + green light = System failure or incubator damage'
  3070. >Shit... Green means bad?
  3071. >In what fucked up universe does green mean bad?
  3072. >Who made this thing? Was it Edward?
  3073. >Is he senile and colourblind?
  3074. >This explains the mixed messages you were receiving from the tube when Celestia smashed it...
  3075. >Luckily it stopped once you taped it up.
  3076. >'Two consecutive beeps + blue light = Addition biomass required'
  3077. >'Rapid beeps + blue light = Biomass corruption, replace immediately'
  3078. >Neither of those apply to the current situation, so you ignore them
  3079. >'Two consecutive beeps + red light = Incubation process complete, please remove incubator'
  3080. >Oh shit! It's finished!
  3081. >You breath a sigh of relief and snap the manual shut
  3082. >It's still beeping, but at least you now know why
  3083. >You suppose you better wake your sleepy sun horse up before the noise does permanent damage to your conscience
  3084. >You lean in to give her a shake, only to have a neat idea
  3085. >You rub your hands together mischievously, and lean behind her, turning the incubator off
  3086. >The beeping stops
  3087. >Celestia's soft snore/whiney hybrids are now the dominating sound in the room
  3088. >It's still enough to hide the treacherous activity you have planned...
  3090. >You are Celestia, and it's that time again...
  3091. >Up! Up! Up!
  3092. >You've got coffee to make!
  3093. >With perhaps a little too much enthusiasm, you sit up in bed, before swinging your back hooves over the side and reaching for your brush
  3094. >The cracks and pops emitted from your stiff limbs as you stretch are as satisfying as ever, and though it's early you already feel a spring in your step
  3095. >Not that you can remember why, but that doesn't matter
  3096. >It seems spending time around Anon has increased your positive outlook on this strange world you've spent the last good while cooped up on
  3097. >You are thankful for that, it makes you feel welcome...
  3098. >This is the closest thing to a home you've had in... A long time...
  3099. >You hum an upbeat jingle as you brush your strawberry mane, taking care to get as many of the tugs out as possible
  3100. >You probably shouldn't be as concerned with this as you are, but now that your appearance is finally back under your own control you feel that it couldn't hurt to try and look presentable
  3101. >A jab of pain signals that the last of the knots have been removed, so you place your brush back on the bedside table and get up
  3103. >That's odd...
  3104. >The lights in the kitchen are on...
  3105. >The kitchen lights are never on, not unless you put them on, which you didn't
  3106. >The sound of footsteps approaching causes you to blink
  3107. >Anon appears from behind the kitchen divider wall
  3108. >"Morning Sun horse, coffee?"
  3109. >A frown crosses your lips
  3110. >Didn't you talk to him about this last night?
  3111. "Anonymous, what are you doing awake at this hour?"
  3112. >"I couldn't sleep, too much to think about... How many sugars?"
  3113. "Anon... Did you wake up just to make me coffee?"
  3114. >"No, now how much milk do you want?"
  3115. "You look like you've been awake for a while..."
  3116. >"I'll take that as a splash then, now where did I leave those bags..."
  3117. >You sigh, not unlike a mother with an unruly child
  3118. "Anon, you need to go back to bed..."
  3119. >"Why? I'm a free man am I not?"
  3120. >A small walk across the room, and you now stand by his side, observing the monstrosity he's created
  3121. "Be that as it may, what you've made here isn't coffee..."
  3122. "It's tea, made backwards..."
  3123. >You shoot him an apologetic smile
  3124. "Not that I don't appreciate the sentiment, but I think I'll stick to the coffee making, and you stick to what you're good at, sound okay?"
  3125. >Anon attempts to stifle a yawn
  3126. >"I guess..."
  3127. >He half heartedly tips his 'coffee' into the bin underneath the sink, and fetches a new pair of mugs out of the overhanging cupboard
  3128. >As you begin to make real coffee, he fidgets and hovers around the kitchen, picking things up and placing them down again in a different spot
  3129. >You ignore it, but he's acting weird today
  3131. >After a few moments of toiling, you have both mugs made and on the usual platter, which you then transfer to the coffee table and take a seat on the couch
  3132. >Anonymous takes a seat next to you, and sips from his mug
  3133. "Do you mind if I turn on the TV?"
  3134. >"Not at all..."
  3135. >Hmm, odd
  3136. >You never really understood human television...
  3137. >When you first saw it you were amazed! The way the images just magically appeared and moved around effortlessly
  3138. >But over time the novelty wore off, and what little TV you saw was often associated with cleaning your previous owners ghastly living room, or rooms, since he had many...
  3139. >The news was one thing, they never cover anything cheerful!
  3140. >Just 'conflict' this and 'assault' that, would it kill for a happy news report once in a while?
  3141. >As for the other content they put on the air, it's truly bizarre...
  3142. >You forever fail to understand why anyone could possibly care about the quality of a complete strangers wedding garments
  3143. >Perplexing... But at least it isn't the live footage of labour camps you used to be forced to observe...
  3144. >A shudder runs down your spine involuntarily at the memory, Anon picks up quickly
  3145. >"You cold?"
  3146. "I'm fine... It was just a twitch..."
  3147. >He shrugs
  3148. "If you say so..."
  3150. >You both return to watching the news, while Anon takes notes on his tablet of the changes to the 'trade routes' she showed you the other day
  3151. >"God, sometimes I wish people would just stop fighting all the time..."
  3152. "Sometimes? Surely that's something that you'd wish for all the time?"
  3153. >"Not necessarily... If people are fighting, they need weapons and supplies, I deliver those supplies. So people fighting puts food in my, and thereby your, stomach."
  3154. "Well I suppose I can't argue with that... Do you not wish for a less dangerous job?"
  3155. >He chuckles
  3156. >"Nah... I enjoy my job, even if I do get shot at occasionally. I don't expect you to understand..."
  3157. >In all honesty you do understand, if only slightly
  3158. >Your time as a ruler, especially dealing with the more aggressive occupants of neighbouring kingdoms (and space age civilisations), had taught you that though certain things seemed dangerous, they were ultimately worth doing
  3159. >You carried that philosophy right up until you first encountered the humans...
  3160. >Perhaps it was for good that you swiftly worked out you held none of the cards
  3161. >To think those idiot Gryphons actually tried to strike a trade deal, on their terms no less...
  3162. >You know for a fact that they're all long gone...
  3163. >If there's one mercy you feel the universe granted your ponies... It's that they don't taste particularly good...
  3164. >"Celestia? Hellooo? Anyone home?"
  3165. >Oh, you must have fazed out for a minute
  3166. "Yes, hello! I'm here..."
  3167. >"What day is it?"
  3168. "Huh?"
  3169. >"What day is today?"
  3170. "If I recall, it's Sunday... Why?"
  3171. >He frowns
  3172. >"Not the weekday you horse, what happens today, why is today special?"
  3173. >You think on this
  3174. >Why is today special...
  3175. >...
  3176. >...
  3177. >Wait...
  3179. >Your eyes travel upwards, crossing as you stare at your forehead
  3180. >Anon follows you gaze and nods approvingly
  3181. "I-It's done?"
  3182. >"It is... I'm sorry I didn't tell you, my plan was to make you coffee and get it started, but you seemed to have forgotten about it..."
  3183. >You feel a smile spread across your muzzle
  3184. >"Wanna see it?"
  3185. >It takes all of your willpower not to grab the human and wrap him in the biggest most grateful hug ever conceived
  3186. >You would, but he hasn't finished his coffee, and you don't want a repeat of what happened last time...
  3187. "I-I would love that..."
  3188. >"I though you might..."
  3189. >He shuffles over to you, and wraps his hand around the base of the incubator, sliding open a little panel and fiddling with its technical intricacies
  3190. >"Now... Fair warning, your horn may be a little sensitive at first..."
  3191. >He grunts awkwardly as he begins to slide the incubator off your head
  3192. >"That plays well into what we'll do next, but I want you to be especially careful around doors, trees and other low hanging objects... Okay?"
  3193. >You give your head a slight nod, being careful not to throw him off balance
  3194. >"Right..."
  3195. >He gives a final grunt, and the device separates from your head
  3197. >It finds its place on the table, and the human passes you his tablet, which has its camera focused on you
  3198. >"How does it look?"
  3199. "A-Anon... It's..."
  3200. >It's beautiful...
  3201. >That's what it is... Beautiful
  3202. >The parts of your old horn had been merged seamlessly with the new addition, which extended to its original length, finishing in a sharp point
  3203. >No amount of filing could have possibly given a result as perfect as this... Not in a million years
  3204. >"Now, I'm sorry if it's a slightly different colour than you're used too... I'm sure with time it'll grow to match what's left of your old one..."
  3205. "Oh Anonymous... I couldn't care less... It's perfect... So perfect..."
  3206. >He hums in agreement
  3207. >"We're almost done... But as far as I remember, that horn isn't just for stabbing, right?"
  3208. >You give an involuntary chuckle, choosing to ignore his violent statement and crude language
  3209. >"So I took the liberty of sorting that out for you..."
  3210. >He gets up, and walks over to your bedside
  3211. >"You probably spotted this stuff a while ago, and now that your horn's done-"
  3212. >He reaches into the cupboard by your bed, and pulls out the three vials of magic he had stored there previously
  3213. >"We can finally put them to use..."
  3215. >Wait, what is he saying?
  3216. >Surely he doesn't intend to restore your power... No, that's stupid of him, no human would take such a risk...
  3217. >"I don't know much about this magic stuff, to be honest I'd rather stay ignorant, but as far as I'm aware you guys kinda need it to tick over properly, so yeah..."
  3218. >He's actually doing this...
  3219. "Anon... Anon do you have any idea what a risk this is, too you?"
  3220. >"No... Uh, will you explode or something?"
  3221. "No, no... It's just, humans usually prefer their ponies... Without magic..."
  3222. >"And why is that?"
  3223. "We become dangerous, a threat... Especially a pony like me..."
  3224. >He frowns
  3225. >"And are you planning to become a threat Celestia?"
  3226. "No I-"
  3227. >"Then what's the issue? You sound as if you'd rather stay without it."
  3228. >That's the real question, isn't it...
  3229. >What is the issue?
  3230. >You used to dream of having your magic back, all those nights cooped up inside the prison cell you were forced to call home
  3231. >And now, right in front of you, is an opportunity to regain that which you had lost so long ago...
  3232. "I'm sorry Anon, I just keep forgetting you're on my side..."
  3233. >"Hey... Don't apologise for that, God knows I'd think the same were I in your situation..."
  3234. >He gives you a pat on the back, and returns his attention to the vials
  3235. >"Now if I remember correctly... All I had to do was open them..."
  3236. >You remain silent, tail twitching in anticipation
  3237. >"Well... Here goes nothing..."
  3238. >He twists the lids off the containers, allowing the magic within to spill out at great speed
  3239. >It arcs through the air and makes a connection with your newly formed horn, rushing down its length and into your body
  3240. >You can feel your limbs begin to quiver, and a rush of adrenaline overtakes you...
  3242. >You are Anonymous, and you are unsure of how intelligent you current course of action is...
  3243. >Having just removed the lids on Edwards magic vials, you watch as the plume of prismatic energy makes contact with your pony, her horn vacuuming it up like a sponge left in a sink
  3244. >You honestly have no idea what to expect... But from the shaking in her legs and the bright light that shines from her eyes, you are beginning to doubt it's anything good
  3245. >Is this just what they do? Do they emit laser shows every time magic stuff happens?
  3246. >You can only begin to imagine what their planet might have looked like if shit like this was a regular occurrence
  3247. >*CRACK*
  3248. >That was a fucking bolt of lightning!
  3249. >Inside your house!
  3250. >Arcs of whack electricity and spirals of energy are beginning to curl around her, forming a maelstrom of colour and sound
  3251. >You back away slowly, stopping only when you reach the TV, which remains on
  3252. >Her wing spreads outwards, extending to its full length as the twitching in her limbs intensifies
  3253. >The screen behind you begins to flicker, disrupted by the immense amount of electromagnetic interference Celestia is undoubtably spewing
  3254. >The air around you crackles and sparks, and the room temperature starts to fluctuate sporadically
  3255. >"Uh... Is this normal?!"
  3256. >You attempt to shout over the obscene racket she's creating, and you'll be lucky if the Feds don't get called here
  3257. >Hell, you were lucky they weren't called last time...
  3259. >A bolt flies past your head, striking the wall behind you
  3260. >You sigh internally as the smell of singed wallpaper and melted plastic fills your nostrils
  3261. >The shit you go through...
  3262. >Whatever this is, it thankfully appears to be winding down
  3263. >The sparkles in the air begin to fade, and the frequency of her electrical pulses diminishes
  3264. >"Alliance- Unidentifi- Pilot-"
  3265. >The TV appears to be working again...
  3266. >Joy...
  3267. >Slowly, her wing settles at her side and she returns to silence, her only moments being the occasional twitch or muscle spasm
  3268. >Flashes of magical lighting run up and down her new horn, which seems to be caked in some kind of bizarre blue dust
  3269. >Hesitantly, you reach out to touch her
  3270. "Celestia? Are you... Are you okay?"
  3271. >She remains silent
  3272. >As you hand draws closer, you can feel the static fuzz around her form, like a capacitor about too...
  3273. "OH SHI-"
  3275. >There is a brief moment of still, before an eruption of light bathes the room, humbling even the apparent magnitude of the great white star that had previously rendered you visionless
  3276. >It shines for a solid ten seconds as you stumble blindly around the snug looking for leverage
  3277. "God dammit FUCK! Why didn't I see that coming..."
  3278. >Furiously rubbing your burned retinas, you attempt regain your primary sense
  3279. >Things are blurry, smudges of light and shades of blue, pink and green fill your damaged vision
  3280. >"Ano- Anon answer-"
  3281. >The ringing in your ears is deafening, but with every passing second it continues to subside
  3283. >You can't tell if you're shouting or not... Experience has told you that perhaps this is the case
  3284. >"I can hear- -ou don't need to shou-"
  3285. >In your tinnitus fuelled blunder, you find your hands running through something soft and warm to the touch
  3286. >It flows through your fingers like silk, fluid and ever changing...
  3287. >"Anon?"
  3288. >The piercing shriek in your ears finally ceases, leaving only your vision to clear
  3289. >"Oh Anon. Sit down dear, rest your eyes."
  3290. >You feel a light touch guide you, before seating you on what you presume must be the couch
  3291. >A brilliant white shape wafts in front of you, a pair of sparkling magenta orbs piercing through the haze of your clouded vision
  3292. "Celestia? Is that you?"
  3293. >"Yes Anon... Oh I knew I should have warned you about that. How silly of me..."
  3294. >Something about her seems, off...
  3296. >From the blur alone you can tell she's different, but just how different remains to be seen
  3297. >She seems brighter, warmer...
  3298. >You rub your eyes again, this time to some effect
  3299. >You can now see what has become of the weak and dirty little horse you found just over a week ago
  3300. >She is...
  3301. >There is few words to describe it actually
  3302. >You'd say beautiful, but it's more than that
  3303. >Everything about her seems to radiate power and command, yet also an almost tangible feeling of love and warmth
  3304. >You stare at her new form on awe, the last ripples of magical energy spiralling down her legs and into the well singed carpet
  3305. >"Anon? Anon can you see me?"
  3306. "Yeah."
  3307. >"And... W-what do you think?"
  3308. >What do you think?
  3309. >You think a lot of things
  3310. >Amazement, admiration, confusion...
  3311. >Fear.
  3312. "I- I don't know yet."
  3313. >You stand up again, with expected caution
  3314. >The two of you stare at each other, trying to predict what will happen next
  3315. "You're taller."
  3316. >"Yes, I am."
  3317. "That's uh... Something."
  3318. >She almost looks disappointed
  3319. "I'm sorry I just, I don't know what to say... I knew you once looked like this, but seeing it in person is a bit of a mind bender."
  3320. >You notice her mane is now flowing on its own, as if pushed by an invisible wind
  3321. >"A mind bender?"
  3322. "Yeah, I'd ask how, but we both already know what the answer is, don't we?"
  3323. >She giggles, causing you to let out an involuntary chuckle
  3324. >This chuckle quickly grows to laughter, and before you know it the tenseness in the air has completely evaporated, leaving the two of you in stitches for no discernible reason other than 'it feels good to laugh'
  3325. >And laugh you do
  3326. >Sure, you now have to micromanage a house filled with weapons, spare parts and an interstellar godlike horse you know next to nothing about
  3327. >But this is just one step in your journey, a journey which starts now
  3328. >After you've had a shower of course.
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