A moon among the stars

Jul 27th, 2017
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  1. >You stand in front of a console, slowly swiping through profiles. The salesman stands silently off to your right,awaiting your selection or possible questions.
  2. >A short sigh escapes your mouth as you pass profile after profile.
  3. “I need something…..general purpose.” You state to the salesman, though its more rhetorical than really needing after a response.
  4. “I do a lotta odd jobs, find myself in plenty of strange situations and places. What I get here has gotta stand up to that. And believe me, I am willing to drop the coin if I have to”.
  5. >A flick of your finger brings more options into view.
  6. >“Certainly sir. May I suggest perhaps then a Griffon. Very adaptable, take orders well too.”
  7. >He may have a point...flight plus dexterity in the claws...could be han…
  8. >You were about to swipe away on the most recent profile when it catches your eye.
  9. “Wait...Magic and wings?!” You start to read the profile more carefully “And a bit larger than normal to boot.”
  10. >“Ah. That one…” The salesman does not even need to look at the profile. “She careful with that one sir. She is a bit difficult.”
  11. “What, do you not want a sale? Damn... why so cheap?” The price is one of the lowest you had seen here.
  12. >“As I said sir...she is difficult. Several potential owners have returned her already. I grant you, she is multi-purpose-” He looks to be choosing his words carefully
  13. >“-and would likely be able to almost any task's just the getting her to do the task that is the hard part.”
  14. >You inspect the profile closely. She may be hard to deal with, but perhaps you can break that down. The built in talent is what you really need.
  15. “Anything else of this type?” If you can get a trained one of these, you would really be in business.
  17. >“I am afraid not sir. It is the only one we have.” The salesman shakes his head.
  18. “Sounds good. Bring it out.” You tap a button on the console, selecting the profile.
  19. >The large row of cryo cylinders in front of you begins to shift. They run silently on a track for several minutes until the correct tank is brought before you.
  20. >The tank shifts forward on an arm and is brought down to floor level. With a hiss of escaping air the seal breaks and a rush of chill air washes across you.
  21. >A limp form tumbles out of the slowly opening casket and onto the floor. The pony is larger than most, though a bit lanky, with her wings held against her royal blue coat by a set of braces wrapped around her barrel.
  22. >You pace a slow circle, looking the pony up and down as it wakes from cryo slumber and immediately notice her spindle-like horn, as well as the small ring fastened around it.
  23. >An anti-magic device, no doubt.
  24. >She coughs a couple of times and shakes her head, mane tumbling around making slight crackling noises as the ice breaks.
  25. >The shifting of her withers reveals a collar around her neck, a metallic and high-tech mechanism, likely used to distribute shock or pain of some sort, and evidence towards her supposed unruliness.
  26. >Her mane, a much deeper shade than her coat, is wet from the cryo pod, and hangs nearly to the floor when she finally stands.
  27. > Rising to her hooves, you see her large teal eyes move as she begins to examine her surroundings.
  28. >“If she is to your liking sir, we can complete the transaction.” The salesman is the first one to speak.
  30. >Not expecting his voice, the pony turns to the salesman with a start, casting him an icy glare colder than the pod behind her, and revealing to you the image of a crescent moon emblazoned upon her flank..
  31. “Looks good to me. Should be just fine after a bit of training.” You shrug and pull out a pocket computer.
  32. >The salesman retrieves a small canister of items from the side of the cryo pod and hands them to you. You trade him for a cred stick that you just put the requisite funds on.
  33. >“In the box you will find the control for the collar as well as a leash.” The salesman checks the cred stick with his own computer and nods. “She is all yours sir. Pleasure doing business with you.”
  34. >You offer a nod in reply and affix the provided leash. She follows wordlessly for the moment as you begin leading the pony out of the slave market..
  35. “Hey, you hungry?” You catch your new pony’s attention.
  36. >Her eyes whip to you as she whispers something in response.
  37. “Huh? Can’t hear ya.” You bend down slightly to better hear her.
  38. >Instead of answering she points to her collar and then to your pocket. You pull out the collar control and glance it over. Oddly there is a volume control on it.
  39. >You tap the volume up button a few times and the pony gives you a slight nod.
  40. >”I would indeed like some food.” Her voice comes out slightly below normal speaking volume.
  41. >Huh, wonder why the collar lowers the volume of her voice.
  42. >”Going to take me to the feed store?” She seems to sneer the words at you.
  43. “What? No! There’s a diner not far from here. Decent chow.” Brushing off her sarcastic comment, you move on.
  44. >A quick elevator ride takes you to the main floor of the station. You both take a moment to take in the lights amid the huge space, filled to the gills with shops.
  46. >The station is truly massive, several kilometers long and nearly a kilometer in diameter. From the floor you can look straight up and see the opposite side of the cylindrical structure.
  47. >Leading onwards you slip into a nearby diner. The hostess gives you a nod as you enter and gestures to the booths lining the walls.
  48. >Picking one at random you make your way over, with your pony following you over silently. You motion for her to take a seat, and thankfully she does so without protest.
  49. >Sliding into the other bench you set your pocket computer on the table, flipping out its stand.
  50. >You sit in silence for a time. You making sure your affairs on-station are in order, while the pony fixes you with the same icy glare she used on the salesman.
  51. >The hostess drops off a pair of menus and lets you know the waitress will be there soon.
  52. “So, what's your name?” You look up from your work, satisfied with the current state of affairs.
  53. >”Why do you care?” She answers, venom in every word.
  54. “Because I want to know what to call you.” You ignore the hostility, only patience will do here.
  55. >”My name is Luna.” She glances at the menu and flips a page.
  56. “Luna” You give her a grin “My name is Anonymous. Call me Anon or Captain”
  57. >”Captain? You don’t look the military type” Luna looks are you skeptically.
  58. “Not anymore” You shrug and admit “Still got a ship though. Makes me captain”
  59. >Luna rolls her eyes as a waitress arrives, a Unicorn with light red fur.
  60. >”Afternoon folks. What can I get…” She freezes as she sees luna.
  61. >The waitress stares for a moment until you notice that she stopped speaking. Luna avoids looking at her entirely.
  62. “I am all set.” You fix your gaze on Luna. “Anything for you Luna?”
  63. >”Large house salad please” Luna still refuses to look at the waitress at all.
  64. >The waitress fumbles with her words for a moment before departing with the order.
  65. “Care to explain what that was?” You raise an eyebrow.
  67. >”No”. Luna returns your stare, adding a bit of finality on the topic.
  68. “Fine. Next question then. Whats with the volume control on the collar?” You point from the controller, next to you on the table, to the collar on Luna’s neck.
  69. >”People don’t like what I have to say. I also say it loudly when I feel the need.” Luna’s gaze is now locked on the control.
  70. >You watch her eyes flit between the controller and you several times.
  71. “Try it. I will shoot you dead before you get the collar off.” It's your turn to level the death stare.
  72. >”What, you would just throw all that money away by killing me?” Luna raises an eyebrow this time.
  73. “I am a merchant. I move goods. Sometimes investments pay off, sometimes they don’t.” You pull your coat aside and let the butt of your pistol peak out.
  74. >”Is that what I am to you? An investment?” Anger begins to creep onto her features.
  75. “Yep. Until I can trust you, you are an investment that has yet to pay off.” You give a slight grin.
  76. >”You purchased a sapient being as an investment?!” Luna’s voice begins to rise in volume.
  77. >”You fed into the horrible institution of slavery, an institution that tore my world and its families apart!” She is screaming now, but you have been tapping the volume down button on the collar since she started getting loud.
  78. >Finally the volume hits mute and Luna is left mouthing wordless rage at you. You are no lip reader, but you do understand the last message before she goes from speaking to pouting. >”Fuck you”
  80. >Luna’s salad arrives in short order, the waitress doing her best to not look at Luna. She eats in silence despite you having turned the volume back up.
  81. >”Asshole.” She finally breaks her silence, nearly done with her meal.
  82. “Food good at least?” You let out a short bark of a laugh.
  83. >”Fine.” Luna barely looks at you.
  84. >You nod and return to your work. Eventually she finishes her meal and pushes the bowl forwards. You drop another cred stick on the table and rise.
  85. “Wanna follow me nicely or should I get the leash?”You stuff the controller and your computer back into your jacket pocket.
  86. >”Nowhere really to run on this station.” Luna shrugs and climbs down from the bench herself.
  88. >Be Luna, Princess of the moon.
  89. >Your new owner, stars you hate that word, is a lot more laid back than the others you have “served”.
  90. > While you’re still not quite sure why he bought you, you suppose only time will tell.
  91. >He mentioned a ship, so depending on the size of the craft perhaps a cleaning pony. The other alternative is...well entertainment on long flights.
  92. >That thought sends a shiver down your spine.
  93. >Anon exits the diner and you follow shortly behind him out into the station’s central room. Ah what fun it would be to fly in this space. A large area to spread your wings and always a nearby place to land.
  94. >Anon is leading you through the shops of the concourse. Skies above it would be trivial to slip away into a store...but as you said before there was nowhere to run to on this station.
  95. >You assume the collar has a tracker in it as well. No use running when Anon or someone potentially worse could find you. No way to get these restraints off alone, you had tried.
  96. >Anon makes a quick stop at a store. He picks up a strange cylinder filled with green fruit. Curious things, with little white lines running around them.
  97. >He tosses the shop owner one of those funny sticks humans seem to be fond of and moves on.
  98. >Eventually you arrive at one of the moving metal tubes that are apparently used to get around the station. Anon gives it a docking bay number and the tube starts its smooth motion.
  99. “So, what do you think I will be doing for you?” You load the question as hard as possible.
  100. >”I need someone watching my back on some of the shadier jobs. Someone to take readings during flight sometimes.” Anon shrugs. “Besides, going to be nice to have someone to talk to on long trips.
  101. “What, don’t need me to clean the pigsty that is your ship no doubt?” You throw a sneer his way.
  102. >”Well, now that you mention it…” Anon gets a wolfish grin.
  104. >You scoff and look away. By now the open area of the station has vanished and been replaced by the docking bays. Ships lined up endlessly in tight rows.
  105. >The tram halts in front of one of the larger ships in the bay. A ramp leads up to a hatch in the underside of the vessel. Technicians are walking around the vessel, likely fueling it or running maintenance.
  106. >”Thanks boys. Dusting off shortly here.” Anon tosses another stick at a passing technician who returns a nod.
  107. >Anon leads you up the ramp to the doorway at the top. You step through the door and into the interior, which is surprisingly spacious. The main room contains a small kitchen and sitting area.
  108. >”That door there is the bathroom, that one is your room.” Anon begins pointing to the various doors out of the room. “That door goes to the cockpit, and that one is my room. My room, the cockpit, and the landing ramp doors are locked. Don’t try it. Don’t make a mess of my bathroom please, aside from that your room is yours.”
  109. >Anon sits down on the couch in the sitting area and cracks open the cylinder of fruit and pulls out a knife.
  110. >You look around for a few moments and then decide to start exploring as Anon works. The kitchen is actually well stocked and not in too bad shape. The bathroom is also fairly clean, and there are even some halfway decent mane and coat-care products on a shelf in the shower.
  111. >As you step out of the bathroom, Anon calls you over.
  112. >”Luna, come here a second. Got a question for you.” He gives you a wave, tossing a small chunk of the fruit’s hide.
  113. >You step over to just slightly out of his reach.
  114. >”Do you think you could fly this ship?” Anon leans back onto the couch, knife and fruit resting on his chest.
  115. “If I put my mind to it...perhaps.” You shrug.
  117. >”And I bet you are not beyond killing me to free yourself.” His gaze turns calculating.
  118. “ I could not say, as that entirely depends on YOU.” Your eyes narrow slightly, not sure where this line of questioning is going.
  119. >”Ok. Fair. Last question. I bet you could put that horn right through my eye socket.” Anon points at your horn.
  120. “Would hurt like Tartarus, but as I said,that depends on you... Though it could be worth the headache.” You grin slightly.
  121. >”That's what I thought. In that case,” Anon rises from his seat and crouches down in front of you, just about at eye level, presenting the odd fruit to you.
  122. >”This is a tennis ball.” Anon then puts the ball onto the end of your horn.
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