Path of The Stars: Chapter 1

Apr 8th, 2018
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  1. CHAPTER 1
  4. Day 0
  6. >The darkness in front of you seem endless, but the more you think of it, the more it feels like there has to be an end.
  7. >You exhale and your breath leaves a mark on your visors.
  8. >Looking down to your left you lift your white-gloved hand to the joystick in front of you.
  9. >Pushing it slightly to the left, you hear a hissing noise behind you.
  10. >You slowly start to roll to the side as the thrusters push you around.
  11. >The large orb in front of you glows in a majestic blue color, and the clouds swirl around in patterns you couldn’t possibly comprehend.
  12. >You are Anonymous, captain of the ESS Excalibur.
  13. >It was a beautiful Space Research star Cruisers, one of the first ever built.
  14. >You and a team of six others had been assigned to attend a deep space mission to track down an unknown signal.
  15. >This wasn’t just any other mission though.
  16. >It was also the virgin flight of the Excalibur, and the first ever space mission outside of the solar system.
  17. >The National Equestrian Space Agency, or NESA for short, had spent a ton of resources and many years developing tools for interplanetary travel, and had with an accident discovered the secret of faster than light travel.
  18. >They developed the first ever FTL drive, and have been fine-tuning it for the Excalibur.
  19. >You now possessed the ability to travel farther than any other creature in your history has ever done before, and you have your highly trained, top skilled crew to thank for it.
  20. >You hear static on your com-link connected to your helmet as Applejack’s voice tunes in.
  21. >“Anon, ya still awake over there?” she calls out to you.
  22. >You snap out of your dream like state and look over to Applejack.
  23. >She holds a screwdriver in one of her hands, and her toolbox is floating beside her.
  25. >The grey hull of the large spaceship reflects sunlight straight into your eyes, but your visor blocks most of it.
  26. >Applejack has a concerned look on her face.
  27. >You open your visor with one hand, letting her see your face as you give her a warm smile.
  28. “I’m fine, AJ. How’s the solar panels coming along?” you ask her.
  29. >You had recently been hit by a satellite and sent it flinging out of orbit.
  30. >It had damaged one of the ships extended solar panels in the middle of the charging process and you had lost a lot of power.
  31. >Luckily you had the materials to fix it, and with a skilled engineer as Applejack, you had it up and running in no time.
  32. >Applejack grabbed the side of the hull and pulled her around, facing the panel and tightened the last screw with brute force.
  33. >She dragged her glove across her visor, as if whipping away sweat from her forehead.
  34. >“Well, Anon, looks like we’re good to go on this one! Let’s get back inside, I don’t want mah tools to float away.”
  35. >She grabs all her tools floating around her and crams them into the red toolbox.
  36. >She then turns around with her feet against the hull, and pushes away from the ship slowly.
  37. >She floats out to her thruster pack floating not too far away and gets seated.
  38. >Following her, you both propel your way to the hangar bay doors.
  39. “Twilight, come in. Are you in the bridge? Over.” You ask on the com-link.
  40. >A few seconds pass as you hear static on your radio and twilight tunes in.
  41. >“Twilight here, I’m in the bridge now. Over.”
  42. “Twilight, we’re in front of the airlock now, can you open up please. Over”
  43. >Another few seconds pass as you hear a hissing noise from inside the thick doors.
  44. >Then the maintenance shaft besides the hangar opens with a large clang, letting you inside a dark corridor about three meters long.
  45. >You and Applejack both float inside the hangar airlock and click off your thruster packs.
  46. >The door closes behind you and you are both swallowed by darkness.
  48. >A red light flashes in the roof, and a soft alarm is heard as the room is gassed and de-sterilized.
  49. >You feel a strange sensation in your head, and you and Applejack are pushed down to the floor.
  50. >The After a short period of time, the hissing noise stops, and you feel heavy standing on the metal-plated floor of the short corridor.
  51. >The red light turns into a green one, and the doors on the other side of the airlock opens.
  52. >Applejack hangs her thruster pack on the wall and walks out of the airlock, and you follow suit.
  53. >She takes off her helmet and whips her hair out of the space suit.
  54. >Both of you walk into a wardrobe-like room, and you sigh in relief as you take of your own helmet and put it in a locker.
  55. >It always felt good to be inside the safety of the starship, especially after having been out there for so long.
  56. >You peek over your shoulder and spot Applejack taking off her space suit, wearing only a tight orange and red suit.
  57. >The suits you were wearing were all specially designed to fit the crew’s physique.
  58. >It had hardened titanium plating across the whole body to protect the crew from physical damage.
  59. >You bite your lower lip as you turn around attempting to mind your own business.
  60. >It wasn’t exactly the easiest, considering you could spend time looking at the large apples behind you.
  61. >You shake your head.
  62. >This is your crew god damn it, not your toys!
  63. >You finish taking off your space suit and walk out of the airlock preparation room.
  64. >You notice Applejack had already left the hangar area, so you decided to relax a bit.
  65. >Standing in the large hangar, you look at the big shuttle in front of you.
  66. >It was used to transport crew to and from the surface of different planets and moons, and in emergencies it could pack quite the punch.
  67. >Armed with an energy shield and four missile launchers on the sides, it was one of the most valuable vehicles you had on board right now, except, of course, the Excalibur herself.
  69. >You turn around and walk across the large floor that was the hangar.
  70. >You reach a steel door and notice it was already open.
  71. > You enter it without hesitation and close it behind you, sealing it shut using the crank on the left.
  72. >In front of you was a large hallway leading to all the ships facilities in the front of the ship.
  73. >You had a similar one on the other side of the hangar to the other facilities.
  74. >You sigh as you start walking down the gray corridor.
  75. >Nothing much really happened since the launch of the Excalibur.
  76. >You were there yourself, watching all the part launch upwards into orbit.
  77. >The cruiser was so large it had to be assembled in orbit.
  78. >You were the first one to arrive at the Excalibur, doing all the preparations for the rest of the crew.
  79. >Who would have known the crew you were expecting was your rag-tag group of friends you hung out with in high school?
  80. >HQ had assured you they were all up to the task they were assigned to when you asked them if they were serious.
  81. >Apparently they had all passed the test and received proper training.
  83. >Twilight, your first and best egghead adorkable friend, had responsibility for the science department.
  84. >She was to do research on the things you would come across on your travels.
  86. >Rarity, the upper class fashion designer that you were a bit surprised was your friend actually, had been assigned to work as navigation.
  87. >She was even given her own CNP, or Celestial Navigational Pad.
  88. >She told you it was a scanner so she could see the closest celestial bodies floating around them.
  89. >It was supposedly extremely powerful and could detect objects light years away.
  91. >Applejack, the cute and remarkably perky farmer buddy, was the engineer.
  92. >She would fix and maintain the ship in the best condition.
  93. >She was very skilled from what you had seen up until now, and you had no doubt she could fix even the most complex of machinery.
  95. >Rainbow Dash, sports idiot and top athlete, was the pilot.
  96. >Apparently she had been enrolled in the air force for quite some time before actually receiving an invitation to join the project.
  97. >She had been just as surprised as you when she saw who she was flying with.
  99. >Fluttershy was the shy introvert of the group.
  100. >She had been assigned as the team’s environmental specialist.
  101. >How she got on the group without having a breakdown surprised you, but she was here, and her knowledge of the extraterrestrial was astonishing, at least for someone like her.
  103. >And then there was Pinkie Pie.
  104. >How she was even allowed to join the project surprised you, as she had a serious problem with hyperactivity.
  105. >She was assigned to the offense and defense stations.
  106. >Pinkie shouldn’t even have been allowed near weapons in the first place, but she seems to have calmed down to a certain degree after boarding the cruiser.
  108. >And then it was you. Anon Y. Mous. Captain of the ESS Excalibur.
  109. >It was a proud title, and you had no idea what you were doing, but the NESA research team had no doubts you were up for the task.
  110. >Controlling the first ever interstellar research vessel was a large task, but you were as excited about the mission as anyone else.
  111. >Besides the pay you got for it was completely out of this world.
  112. >That is, if you made it back alive…
  113. >You shake the thought out of your head as you stand before a large door in brushed steel.
  114. >You wave your hand in front of it and the door hisses as it slides open.
  115. >You walk into the empty bridge, and take a deep breath.
  116. >The large amount of blinking instruments and screens that adorned the desks of the crew almost gave you a seizure, but you had learnt to live with it since the ships network systems came online.
  117. >You walk over to a chair covered in brown leather and sit down in it.
  118. >Once you felt comfortable, the chair slid backwards automatically and turned around.
  119. >You now had a good view of the whole bridge, and a gigantic panorama window in front of you gave you a full view of the front of the ship.
  120. >The blue marble below you looked even more spectacular from here.
  121. >You took another deep breath and leaned back into your chair.
  122. >Now all you had to do was to wait for HQ to give you the full briefing for the assignment and tell you what and how to do things.
  123. >What could possibly go wrong.
  125. >A hissing noise behind you awakens you from your slumber.
  126. >You realize it’s the doors , and manage to sit up straight, taking your feet down from the control panel in front of you.
  127. >Steps are heard, and you turn your chair around, facing Twilight who just came up the stairs to your podium.
  128. >She was clad in a white lab coat reaching her to her ankles, and she had a pair of glasses on her while she wrote something down on a tablet.
  129. >She looked up at you and moved her glasses up on her forehead.
  130. >“Good morning Anon!” She said with a warm smile. “So this is where you’ve been?”
  131. >You look at her with a questioning look.
  132. “What do you mean?”
  133. >“Well we didn’t see you since the maintenance mission a while ago, so I was starting to wonder where you ran off to.”
  134. “Yeah, sorry Twi, I think I fell asleep…”
  135. >You get up from your chair and stretch.
  136. >Letting out a yawn you turn to the large panorama window behind you.
  137. >The Excalibur seemed to drift towards the dark side of the planet, and looking down you could see the landmass that is Equestria.
  138. >You gave it a wave as if saying good night to your family down on the surface.
  139. >Suddenly you feel two arms on your chest as Twilight hugs you from behind.
  140. “Woah, what’s with the sudden affection?” you chuckle.
  141. >Twilight puts her head on your shoulder and stares down on the planet as well.
  142. >She sighs in your ear, sending shivers down your spine.
  143. >“I just can’t believe we’ve finally made it this far. I’ve always wanted to go into space. See the stars, the unknown, discover new things. I never thought all of the science fiction stories would stop being fiction.”
  145. “You can’t tell what we’ll find out there. A lot might still be fiction, you know.”>“Yes, I know that. But think about it. FTL drives, space cruisers, interplanetary travel, and all within our own lifetime even…”
  146. >You put your hand in Twilights.
  147. >In a way this made you calm, and the thoughts of what awaited you out in the deep darkness faded.
  148. >Your gut wriggled and twisted, and you felt your face grow hot.
  149. >You could feel Twilights head move into the crook of your neck, and she hugged you even closer.
  150. >The warmth from her body made you slightly nervous, and you felt your heartbeat increase.
  151. >Your sudden intimacy is broken short however, as the doors to the hangar slid open with a whoosh, and the voices of the rest of the crew could be heard entering the bridge.
  152. >Twilight let you go and looked down on the floor with a slight blush on her cheeks.
  153. >She moved some locks of hair from her face and behind her ears.
  154. >“Uuh… I should… go… mission… yeah” she stuttered while pointing in various different ways to her seat.
  155. >She turned on her heel and quickly made her way down the stairs while greeting her friends.
  156. >You sighed as you kicked an invisible rock across the deck.
  157. >“HEY ANON!” you hear Pinkie calling out to you from the deck below.
  158. >You move to the rails and look down where your whole crew is gathered.
  159. >Pinkie is bouncing in the middle, trying to get your attention.
  160. >“When are we leaving, Anon?!” she almost yells up to you.
  161. “Well, I’m not really sure yet…” you say as you scratch the back of your head.
  162. >You look out of the glass window.
  163. >That was when the com-link gave feedback static noises and a voice spoke to all of you asking for your attention.
  164. >“Excalibur, Excalibur, this is the HQ, calling all crew to the bridge. Do you copy, over?”
  165. >The whole crew held their breath.
  166. >This was the first time in days HQ had contacted the bridge directly.
  168. >You walk over to the control panel in front of the captain’s chair and clicked the com-link activation button.
  169. >You stay silent for a moment.
  170. >Your insides twitched once again, and your breath became heavy.
  171. >This might be what you have been waiting for.
  172. >You inhale before you speak in a shaking voice.
  173. “This is Captain Anon reporting from the bridge of the Excalibur. All crew are present and we are awaiting orders, over.”
  174. >You lift your hand from the keyboard and slowly stand up straight.
  175. >You look down at the planet below you, waiting in anticipation.
  176. >“HQ here, we will now begin your mission briefing. Stand by for a message form the project leader, over.”
  177. >The com-link goes silent.
  178. >You turn around and see your whole crew bundled up behind you.
  179. >They are looking at you with excitement in their eyes, but a nervous expression.
  180. >You all had mixed feelings, and it was understandable.
  181. >You were all going out where no one has ever set foot before.
  182. >Farther away than any space flight in the history.And it scared you all to death.
  183. >The large window in front of you grew dark as the sunscreens pulled over it.
  184. >A holographic image began playing over it, and the project leader lit up the room as she virtually stood in front of you.
  185. >Her prismatic hair flowing down her shoulders, she looked at you with an excited expression, but there was still worry in her eyes.
  186. >She began speaking in a soft, almost motherly like voice.
  187. >“Crew aboard the Excalibur. I am head project leader Celestia, and I cannot begin to voice my thanks for your participation in this project.”
  188. >The whole crew turns to the screen and salutes Celestia.
  189. >She raises her hand and tells you formalities weren’t necessary.
  190. >You feel a surge go through your group as they all stand at ease.
  191. >But Celestia wasn’t done talking yet;
  193. >“Since we discovered the FTL drive, our astronomers have looked to the skies for places to go, but have yet to find a place worth visiting. However there are so many worlds out there and we have not even observed half of them. We built the Excalibur in the vision that one day, man would take to the skies and find new places to settle. That mankind would once and for all pierce the heavens itself on its journey to glory! You are our pioneers, the first people to ever escape the boundaries of our planet and venture forth into the great unknown. For that, I bit you all good luck.”
  194. >You and the crew behind you looked at Celestia in anticipation.
  195. >You knew your mission was important, but to hear it from the leader herself gave you a sense of honor.
  196. “Celestia, we can’t even begin to describe what it means to us to be on-board this ship. I think I speak for everyone when I tell you how happy we are that we can be together on this, and reach out to the universe and the stars above.”
  197. >Your crew nods in agreement.
  198. >In the corner of your eye you notice Pinkie Pie almost vibrating in excitement.
  199. >The rest of the group notices too, and they turn their heads to her.
  200. “Are you alright, sugarcube?” Applejack asks with a slight sense of concern in her voice.
  201. >Pinkie looks over to the group and immediately stops her shaking.
  202. >She pokes her fingers together and looks down in the ground with an embarrassed smile.
  203. >“Sorry, AJ. I’m just so nervouscited, that’s all…”
  204. >“And you have all right to be! The mission is more exciting than it sounds like.”
  205. >You all turn to Celestia with curiosity.
  206. >You had all read the mission briefing, but what could possibly be more exciting than the mission ahead?
  208. >“Your primary mission as a research vessel will be to discover and catalogue all information you come across. We want you to write a rapport every day on what happens aboard the cruiser. Once you are out of immediate communications range, you will no longer obtain real time information from us. The farther out you travel, the longer it will take for the information to reach us. That is why you must keep all the information you come across in your database until you return.”
  209. >“Celestia, how long will this mission last approximately?” Rarity asks.
  210. >The leader looks down on her and gives you all a concerned look.
  211. >“That depends. We have a secondary objective for you as well.”
  212. >It felt like time froze for a bit.
  213. >Being excited about a mission in space had you pent up and nervous about everything that could turn out to be bad, and this was no exception.
  214. >You weren’t normally like this, but ever since boarding the cruiser, you have been feeling nervous in most situations.
  215. >“A couple of years ago our communications team picked up a signal.” Celestia continues.
  216. >“This signal was unlike any other we’ve seen before. We do not know who it came from, when it was sent or what it means, but we know its approximate location.”
  217. >Celestia’s image is switched out with an image of the galaxy.
  218. >A ring appears on one of the arms to the left.
  219. >“This is our location.” She tells you.
  220. >The circle disappears and a smaller one appears on the other side of the galaxy.
  221. >This one is almost at the tip of the arm, and it blinks to signal your attention.
  222. >“And this is the location we picked up the signal from. I think you know what the objective is, correct?”
  223. >Fluttershy looks at the image with a nervous expression.
  224. >“You’re not seriously suggesting we… go there and find out… are you?” she asks.
  225. >She fumbles with her words and tries to loosen the collar on her lab coat.
  227. >“I’m sorry, Fluttershy, but that is exactly what I want you to do.” Celestia says with a determined voice.
  228. >Fluttershy emits an “eep” as she tries to hide behind her lab coat.
  229. >You sigh to yourself as you address Celestia.
  230. “With all respect, Celestia, there could be anything there. How do we defend ourselves?”
  231. >Celestia looks down at you with yet another worried expression.
  232. >She seems just as concerned with this as the rest of you.
  233. >She clears her throat and straightens her tie.
  234. >“If you meet with an extraterrestrial race, you will attempt communication. If they seem aggressive, then leave them alone. If that does not work, and they begin an attack on you that could harm you, your crew or the Excalibur, flee at all cost. Fight back only in emergencies, we don’t want to have any casualties aboard.”
  235. >Rainbow Dash, who had been silent until now, gave off a loud sigh.
  236. >“Aww, I was looking forward to the fights…”
  237. >“Rainbow Dash, this is no time to create enemies. If we fight back we could start a war, and that is something we do not want here.”
  238. >The leader looks at Rainbow Dash with an angry expression.
  239. >Rainbow withdraws her attitude and looks away with a frowned face.
  240. >“Now, I believe I have given you all the information you need. I will call you up once we are ready. We still have some preparations to do before your departure, and we have been standing here for far too long. Until then, stand by for further orders. Celestia out.”
  242. >The room falls silent as the image of the project leader disappears.
  243. >Your whole crew stands there and stares blankly at the sunscreen on its journey across the window.
  244. >Nobody said a word, and it gave you time to think about what Celestia had told you.
  245. >Your ship was on its way across the whole galaxy?!
  246. “WHAT?!” you broke out, startling your group of friends.
  248. >“Is something wrong, darling?” Rarity asked.
  249. >You snapped out of your trance and noticed your crew staring at you with concerned looks.
  250. >You bring your hand to your forehead and sigh.
  251. >“Across the whole damn galaxy? Is she nuts?” you mumble as you walk to your chair and slump down in it.
  252. >“I think it sounds fun!” Pinkie broke out. She started bouncing in anticipation.
  253. >“I think it sounds dangerous…” Fluttershy whispered.
  254. >“I guess…” you mumble.
  255. >With a loss of words, you just slide your chair backwards and turn it around, facing your control panel.
  256. >You could hear the rest of your friends mumble, and they all walk their own ways.
  257. >A couple of hand falls to your shoulders, and you feel your chair bend backwards slightly.
  258. >As you look up, a purple cascade of hair falls down around you.
  259. >“You know, captain…” Twilight said playfully. “This journey of ours is gonna take a long time.”
  260. >You sigh as you look down on the night covered surface of the planet below.
  261. “Even with the FTL drive, it would take years just to get there. They know we have to make it back too, right?”
  262. >“But don’t you find it so exciting? Not knowing what expects us, discovering new things. Oh, Anon, I can’t wait!”
  263. >Twilight’s excitement made you smile a bit.
  264. >At least now you got your mood back.
  265. “So what now? Do we just wait?” You gesture with your hand to the lack of Celestia in the bridge.
  266. >Twilight’s face appears beside yours, and she looks into your eyes.
  267. >“We could always find alternative methods to make the time pass…” She whispers in a lustful tone.
  268. >You turn to her and give her a face of disbelief.
  269. “Twilight, what has gotten into you? You’re never this…”
  270. >“Horny?”
  272. >Twilights statement caught you completely off guard.
  273. >You sat there grasping for words to try and form a sentence, but twilights bedroom eyes distracted your mind in other directions.
  274. >After a while you managed to utter a high pitched “…yes”.
  275. >As Twilights face inched closer to yours, you couldn’t help but to back away a bit.
  276. >Suddenly, you didn’t back away yourself, and a different force took hold of you.
  277. >You fell out of your chair and slammed into the deck.
  278. >Like lightning, you are back up on your feet, but Twilight didn’t end her pursuit of your lips yet, and she crawled over your chair and stood up in front of you.
  279. “Are you alright Twilight? I’m not sure we should... you know… “
  280. >“Are you afraid anon?” Twilight asks you.
  281. “No, of course not! I just… wasn’t expecting this, that’s all…”
  282. >“Well, we’re all alone here now, no need to be so shy.”
  283. >She was now just a few inches from your face.
  284. >Those violet irises was enough to swallow your whole soul, but somehow your brain yelled STOP.
  285. >You took a hold of twilights shoulders with a firm grip and pushed her away from you slowly.
  286. “Look, I’m not sure what’s going on here, but this was a bit sudden, don’t you think?” you tell her as you look deep into her violet eyes.
  287. >“What do you mean?” Twilight says, turning her head in disappointment.
  288. >Her attitude changed drastically in a matter of seconds.
  290. >“Calling all crew aboard the Excalibur, all preparations are made. We will not begin the departure phase. All crew report to bridge, over.”
  291. >With renewed confidence, you look into Twilights eyes and give her a warm smile.
  292. “I was about to say that we shouldn’t rush things, but I think we better hurry now.”
  293. >Twilight nods and fixes her lab coat.
  294. >Just then the rest of your friends enter the bridge.
  295. >Most of them looked well rested, especially Pinkie Pie.
  296. >You decide to take the word, and walk over to the railing with Twilight by your side.
  297. “Alright, crew! Looks like the time has finally come. If you can find your stations we can get this show on the road!”
  298. >Cheering is heard from the group as they all rush to their seats.
  299. >Rainbow dash takes the wheel and tests it out before activating the ships navigational systems.
  300. >A noise is heard gradually increasing in intensity as all of the machinery in the bridge activates to full power.
  301. >You sit down in your chair and get comfortable, then slide the chair towards your control panel.
  302. >Twilight stands beside you, but turns to walk down the stairs.
  303. “Wait, Twilight…” you call out on impulse.
  304. >Shit, what do you say?
  305. >She stops in the middle of the stairs and turns to look at you.
  306. >After a short pause you formulate a quick sentence.
  307. “We’ll take this another time, okay?”
  308. >Twilight’s face lights up, and she nods.
  309. >You sigh as she continues her trip down the stairs and gets seated as well.
  310. >At least now there were no hard feelings... you hope.
  311. >The whole crew below you looks at you with anticipation.
  312. >The time has finally come.
  313. >Time to pierce the heavens!
  315. >The silence that followed was almost unbearable.
  316. >It almost felt like HQ kept you waiting to tease you, but you knew the final moments were the most critical ones.
  317. >A crackling noise is heard over the com-link, and the voice of a female could be heard on the central speakers.
  318. >“This is HQ, all preparations for the mission is done. My name is Linda, and I’ll be guiding you out of the solar system.”
  319. “Well Linda, all crew are aboard and ready for launch. Let’s send the bird out of the cage, shall we?”
  320. >“Copy that. Begin ignition of the ion combustors, and turn the ship slightly to the port side. Once you are out of orbit, maximize the power of the combustors for five minutes and start the glide. This should take you a good distance out. We will contact you once you are ready to make the next maneuver. Over.”
  321. “Understood. Dash, do your thing.”
  322. >Your attempt at giving orders fails severely, because dash had already begun shifting the cruiser’s position.
  323. >You shrug it off, seeing formalities only as a burden.
  324. >She was your friend after all, and you didn’t see it as a big problem.
  325. >Outside, the planet in which you called home slowly started drifting away.
  326. >The ship’s nose was now turned towards the great unknown.
  327. >The universe, looking back at you with a cold dark stare, was to be your plane of existence for many years now, and you had absolutely no problems with it.
  328. >You look down at Twilight, who was staring back at you.
  329. >She locked eyes with you and gave you a hearty smile.
  330. >Her gesture plastered a smile on your own face, and you broke contact to survey the rest of your crew.
  331. >Most of them were looking out the window in front.
  332. >Whether it was out of fear, wonder or a lust for adventure, you couldn’t tell.
  333. >The only one truly ecstatic about this was Pinkie Pie, who, even though she was locked in place with safety belts, was bouncing up and down in her seat.
  335. >Suddenly the whole ship nudged forward with brute force, as Dash rammed the thruster control as hard as she could forward.
  336. >The cruiser gave of a noise of discomfort, followed by a loud bang, and the whole vessel shot forwards with incredible force.
  337. >The whole crew started screaming.
  338. >Rainbow Dash too, but hers was a scream of joy.
  339. >Outside all you could see was blur and you realized what had happened.
  340. “DASH, MOTHERFUCKER, DID YOU ACTIVATE THE FTL DRIVE?!” you screamed at her.
  341. >She didn’t respond, but looked back at you with a smug grin.
  342. >You felt gravity normalize in the bridge, but the blur outside continued to swish past.
  343. >At least now you didn’t have to scream.
  345. >…or maybe not.
  346. >Rainbow Dash turns her seat around and crosses her arms.
  347. >“Excuse me, but who is the pilot?” she cocks her eyebrow.
  348. “We don’t know the effects of that thing yet, what if you hurt someone?”
  349. >“Relax, it’s not like it killed someone. It’s an FTL drive! We’re in space!”
  350. >“RAINBOW DASH, THAT WAS UNCALLED FOR! What if you ruined my hair…” Rarity started fixing her curl, as her whole hair had been messed up pretty bad.
  351. >“Why are you all such a bore sometimes…” rainbow dash scoffs.
  352. >The com-link gave of static noises as it tuned in.
  353. >The voice of your guide sounded on the speakers.
  354. >“This is HQ, calling all residents on the Excalibur. Cease all use of the FTL drive until you are out of
  355. the solar system.”
  356. >Rainbow Dash sighed and rammed the thrusters back in a neutral position.
  357. >The whole team sighed in relief as the speed slowed down dramatically.
  358. >It became easier to see outside now, and you took the initiative to activate the rear view cameras.
  359. >The window in front of you turned dark and the image of a small blue planet came into view on the virtual screen.
  360. >You sighed as you watched everything you love grow smaller and smaller with every passing second.
  362. >“Oh wow, I never thought I’d see this…”
  363. >“Such a divine colour…”
  364. >“It’s so small...”
  365. >“Ah’ve never been this far away from home b’fore”
  366. >“It feels like I can just reach out with a needle and pop it. I wonder where the poor people would go. Maybe they would just float into space and suffocate. Or maybe if i…….”
  368. >Small chatter broke out amongst the crew members.
  369. >Now that you had successfully broken orbit, all you could do was wait.
  370. >You open a private com-link channel.
  371. >“Linda, this is the captain. Are you there? Over.”
  372. >After a short while you hear the woman respond on the other end on your com-link.
  373. >“This is HQ, you’re talking to Linda. Was there something you needed, sir?”
  374. >“Yeah, I was just wondering how long we have to maintain the glide.
  375. >We’ve been working on and off since we boarded the cruiser, and we could use some R & R over here.”
  376. >“I’m not sure how much time there is for that, but you will need to maintain it for about a week. We’ve been calculating this and you have a clear way out of the solar system with no planets or objects in the way of your path.” Linda sighs, and then giggles a bit.
  377. >“Oh, bugger. I’m sure you have time to relax. You’ve earned it.”
  378. >“Thanks, I think my crew would be happy to hear the news.”
  379. >“Just don’t forget to respond on the com-link. And remember the regular maintenance checks.”
  380. >“Don’t worry, we will. Anon over and out.”
  381. >You break the com-link channel and lean back into your seat.
  382. >The planet on the screen before you seemed so far away.
  383. >Your family, your home, everything you love and hate all fit in such a small bubble.
  384. >Now with your expanded horizons it feels like you had been living inside a prison without bars, only bound by the sheer force of gravity.
  385. >You feel hands on your shoulders, and look up to see six friendly faces looking at you.
  386. >Rising from your seat, you turn to survey your crew.
  388. >The six of your best friends in high school, who out of nowhere joined you in a mission to deep space.
  389. >It seems surreal, almost like a dream.
  390. >You approach your group of buddies and hug them all at once.
  391. “I’m so glad you all came with me” You whisper to them.
  392. >After what felt like an eternity burying your face in soft hair, you let them all go.
  393. >You pull a lever close to your chair, initiating standby mode for the bridge.
  394. “HQ has given us clearance to relax for some time. We still have to respond to com-link calls and do maintenance work, but we won’t be needing to monitor everything.”
  395. >A sigh of relief washes over your friends, and they seem to become more at ease.
  396. “Remember to write your logs, girls. We don’t want to have blank days. The first official day of our mission starts tomorrow!”
  397. >The group nods and turns to walk out of the bridge.
  398. >You turn back to your window and watch your home slowly drift away.
  399. >Stretching and scratching your stubble, you realize you’ve spent two whole days in the bridge.
  400. >You were starving, and your throat was dry.
  401. >A break sounded exactly like what you needed.
  402. >Turning back again, you notice Twilight leaning against the rails.
  403. >You smile as you walk over to her and extends an elbow at her.
  404. “Shall we?” you say, as Twilight puts an arm around yours.
  405. >You leave the bridge in standby mode as you exit through the double doors.
  407. >All that was left was the different noises from the calculating computers, and the image of the large blue marble behind the ship who, in fact, didn’t seem so large anymore.
  410. Day 4
  412. >The hallways of the ESS Excalibur lay dormant.
  413. >The gray metal plating covering the wall made the seemingly endless corridors seem even darker.
  414. >Suddenly, footsteps are heard, low at first, but increasing in strength.
  415. >Around the corner walks a figure.
  416. >Her purple hair gets in the way of her face, as she looks down on her tablet.
  417. >The cruiser had just traveled past a gas giant fifty times bigger than your home world, and you now had clearance into the great void.
  418. >The figure stopped and looked out a window to her left.
  419. >The stars outside seem to glimmer even brighter out here.
  420. >The figure sighed and kept walking, knowing that you all had so much more to travel.
  422. >“DANG FLAB IT”
  423. >Angry curse words fling through the empty expanse of the engine chamber.
  424. >A loud cling is heard as Applejack slams her wrench onto the metal floor and leans back.
  425. >She wipes her forehead.
  426. >The damn thing couldn’t just work!
  427. >Ever since Rainbow Dash forced the FTL into overdrive, a lot of the combustion coils had melted together.
  428. >This resulted in the engines not working properly, and could result in a major fire, Applejack had told you.
  429. >Of course, you had no clue when it came to mechanics, so you were glad to have her on board.
  430. >Rounding a large steamy tank, you spot Applejack leaning against a wall with a flask in one hand and an irritated expression on her face.
  431. “Is everything alright down here, AJ?” you ask, but you already knew the answer.
  432. >“If Ah can’t get the combustion coils separated, the pyronetic indicators are gonna strike wrong and the engines’ll overheat!” She explains, silently cursing Rainbow Dash.
  434. >Having been adrift for a while, you knew it wasn’t long before you needed to make a new maneuver.
  435. >If Applejack didn’t get the engines fixed, nothing could stop you from going onto an accidental orbit straight back into the star behind you.
  436. >You decided to bash Rainbow for it later, having more important things to tend to.
  437. >You open up a com-link with the homeland to try and find a solution.
  438. “This is Captain Anon. Reporting an emergency aboard Interstellar Research Vessel ESS Excalibur, we are in need of immediate assistance. Over.”
  439. >It doesn’t take long before you get an answer, though they probably sent the reply a couple of seconds ago judging by the distance you were from each other.
  440. >“HQ here, what’s your emergency? Over.”
  441. “Yeah, there seems to be a clog-up in the engines, can we get an engineer to guide us through it? Over.”
  442. >“Right away, sir. Over and out.”
  444. >You let your arms fall to your sides and sighed.
  445. >As you walked over and slid down next to her, Applejack handed you the bottle she was holding.
  446. >You took a large sip of it and gave it back.
  447. >Another day waiting.
  448. >You just sat there staring into the empty expanse of the engine room.
  449. >The low-toned noise filling the air makes the room feel even more empty.
  450. >You twist your head slightly to the side.
  451. >Surprisingly, Applejack was already looking at you.
  452. >She quickly turned her head, as if she didn’t think you’d notice.
  453. >The com-link made static noises and a deep voice rang in your ears.
  454. >“Chief engineer here, what seems to be the problem? Over.”
  455. >Applejack quickly got up to her feet and walked over to the panel in the wall.
  456. >She put a hand up to her ear as she spoke.
  457. >“Well, there seems ta be a problem with tha ion coils in ‘ere. After we forced the FTL into overdrive, all of the conductors have melted together. Ah’m not sure how ta fix this. Over”
  459. >The engineer on the other end of the link started giving a detailed description of the exact function of the coils, and how to cool them down and separate them.
  460. >You didn’t really understand much of it, so you patted your blonde buddy on the shoulder and headed for the exit of the engine room.
  462. >You stepped out into a long hallway.
  463. >You know this is the farthest back in the ship you can go without entering the complexity of the engine.
  464. >The things you learned from studying the ships blueprints was that the engine room spanned all the way across the back of the ship.
  465. >It was a large labyrinth of pipes, exhausts, coils, cords, conductors and reactors.
  466. >Every part of it was filled to the brim with heavy machinery that you didn’t understand completely.
  467. >Naturally, you left Applejack with control over it.
  468. >None of the others aboard dared come close to the large chamber either.
  470. >The hallway you now stood in spanned from the port side to the starboard side.
  471. >It acted as sort of a containment wall for the engine chamber, sealing it off from the rest of the ship.
  472. >You turned left and started walking towards the port side.
  473. >In every hallway on the sides of the cruiser there were large glass windows so you could see outside.
  474. >Up until now technology hadn’t allowed windows like this in vacuum without them shattering.
  475. >This ship, however, had large windows everywhere.
  476. >You reached a glass plate and took a peek outside.
  477. >It wasn’t anything too impressive, but it still left a sense of wonder in you.
  479. >Past the research facility was the living quarters.
  480. >Every crew member had their personal rooms furnished and designed after their personal wished to feel more at home.
  481. >You halted for a second, as a thought came to your mind.
  482. >The only room you had seen was your own, so you kinda wondered how the other rooms looked like.
  483. >Slowly opening the door next to you, you enter the large living area “hub”.
  484. >In front of you was a chamber that could remind you of a normal living room, with couches, tables, bookshelves and even a large TV screen.
  485. >The room was oval shaped and had three doors on the back and four in the front.
  486. >You put your ear to the door closest to you and tried listening for any sounds from inside.
  487. >Hearing nothing, you stood up straight and thought about what you were about to do.
  488. >“Ahem”
  489. >A nervous chill is sent down your spine as you quickly turn around.
  490. >Rainbow Dash is standing in the doorway with her arms crossed, a suspicious look on her face.
  491. >“Were you about to sneak into Twilight’s room, Anon?” she asks you, walking slowly towards you.
  492. “Uh, uhm, duh, no uh, of course not…” you look around nervously.
  493. >It was her room?
  494. >“Oh man, wait till Twilight hears about this!” rainbow laughs.
  495. >You perk up at her words.
  496. >She wasn’t seriously considering telling her was she?
  497. >Then you remembered.
  498. “Now wait just a minute!”
  500. >Halting in her tracks, Rainbow dash turns halfway towards you, still with a smirk on her face.
  501. “If it hadn’t been for you we wouldn’t be afloat uncontrollably like this!”
  502. >She turns all the way now, facing you.
  503. >Her smirk has faded from her face.
  504. >“What does that have to do with you trying to sneak into Twilights room, Anon?”
  505. “Absolutely nothing. I just didn’t remember it, but this is far more important right now, and we can’t have any more of that on board my ship!
  506. >“Excuse me, Anon, but who’s the pilot here? I guess if you want to do it your way you’d just have to do it yourself, but I have a lot more experience than you, so you can’t afford it, can you?”
  507. >You feel anger bubble up inside and as a reflex reaction you yell out.
  508. “Atten-SHUN!”
  509. >Almost automatically, Dash puts her hands behind her back and looks straight ahead.
  510. >Her years in the Air Force had taught her so, and your rank as a captain gave you full authority to do so.
  511. >You sigh and put our face in your hands, softly groaning with a muffled voice.
  512. >You look over to your pilot, who is still standing attention, awaiting orders.
  513. >Her face looks downright terrified, and you sigh.
  514. “I didn’t want to do this Rainbow Dash. I thought that on a ship like this where we all knew each other this well we could refrain from taking disciplinary action. You leave me no choice however.”
  516. >You walk up in front of her.
  517. >Your calm voice seems to have put her terrified feelings to a rest.
  518. >You look her dead in the eyes.
  519. “If you’re gonna continue this attitude, I can’t have you near the helm again. If you’d seen the work Applejack had to go through to try and fix the damages you’d caused, I think you would think twice before acting so rash again.”
  520. >Once you mention Applejack, her eyes widen a bit.
  521. >You turn around and walk slowly across the room.
  522. >She inhales slowly, and speaks with a shaky voice.
  523. >“Pr-Permission to speak frankly… S-Sir.”
  524. >Without turning, you wave your hand in a circular motion, signaling her to go ahead.
  525. >“I… I don’t know what to say, Sir. I… Thank you.”
  526. “Don’t mention… what?”
  527. >You quickly turn to face her, disbelief covering your face.
  528. >Rainbow Dash puts a hand up to her neck and scratches it, looking down at the floor.
  529. >“I… I guess if you hadn’t put me in place like this, I would’ve caused more trouble than I wanted to…”
  530. >She looks up at you.
  531. >There is obvious guilt in her eyes, and you can’t help but smile a bit.
  532. >At least she admitted to her faults.
  533. >“I just… I said it alright? I’m Sorry. I was just so scared you know. Space is a pretty big thing for me. I’m used to flying fighter jets at ultra sonic speed, not gigantic space cruisers! Sure, I’ve had training before we came here, but this thing is fucking huge! I guess… I covered my fears with adrenaline. I didn’t mean to cause any trouble.”
  534. “Oh, come here you” You say, grabbing her shoulders and pulling her into a hug.
  535. >She appears lightly shocked at first, but returns it quickly.
  536. “You could have just told us. We’re all friends here, no need to hide it.”
  537. >Rainbow Dash breaks the hug and looks at you with furrowed brows.
  538. >“Is AJ okay?” She asks you.
  539. “Of course, she’s just a bit tired. She’s been in the engine room since we departed.”
  540. >This only seems to pain Rainbow further.
  542. >She turns to look at the door, but doesn’t move an inch.
  543. “I think you should go see her, Dash.”
  544. >She stands there for a few seconds.
  545. >Without warning, she sprints out the door and out of your sights.
  546. >All you can hear are her footsteps echoing down the grey hallway.
  547. >You didn’t realize you were holding your breath, and you put your hands before your mouth and screamed with all your might.
  548. >That was closer than you’d like to admit.
  549. >You peeked over at the door that apparently lead to Twilights room.
  550. >You wouldn’t imagine what your crew members would think of you if they found out you were sneaking in their rooms.
  551. >You silently promise yourself never to mix up in other people’s business, and wobble out of the living area.
  554. Day 6
  556. >The sound of the plasma generator cheered you up.
  557. >Beside you you could hear Applejack screaming of joy.
  558. >You tugged one of the cables that was connected to the large metal cylinder, and released them.
  559. >The long cords that was as thick as your fists and could easily smash in your head, fell into the box on the side and you closed the lid.
  560. >Rainbow Dash dusted of her hands and came strolling down the stairs.
  561. >“Oh, you guys, what would you do without me?” she said, her arrogance glowing from her confident grin.
  562. >“Knock it off, sugarcube, this was a combined effort.” Applejack came up the stairs from the walkway underneath you.
  563. >She pulled a lever, and a pulsating light came from the thick tube of ion coils that went into a large circular chamber mounted on the far side of the wall.
  564. >A sharp sound was heard from the chamber that grew in intensity.
  565. >“Yeah, whatev-“ Rainbow couldn’t finish her sentence, as the floor under you and your friends shot forwards and sent you flying into a wall.
  566. >Rainbows eyes, only inches from your own, widened and she jumped up and ran out of the room like lightning.
  567. >You looked at Applejack with a surprised expression and helped her up from the floor.
  568. >You could hear Rainbows voice echoing far down the hallway.
  570. >You and Applejack managed to catch up with her in the stairway, wheezing form exhaustion.
  571. >Or at least you were.
  572. “What’s… The matter… Rainbow?!” you attempted to yell after her.
  573. >“I forgot to pull off the power switch when we tested the combustors last time!” You heard echoing down at you.
  574. >Rainbows trampling footsteps stopped as she reached the door to the bridge and sprinted through them.
  575. >Reaching the bridge you and Applejack spotted your pilot frantically running her fingers all over the control panel.
  577. >“What’s the matter, Dash?! Just turn it off!” Applejack yelled at her.
  578. >“I can’t! It’s locked in place!”
  579. >Both of you ran over to where Rainbow stood and looked over the panel.
  580. >Nothing looked out of the ordinary, but the power control switch didn’t respond.
  581. “Applejack, shut of all main power systems!” you commanded.
  582. >“But Anon, Ah can’t do that! That means-“
  584. >Applejack stared at you for a couple of seconds, shocked by your decision.
  585. >She then ran over to her stationed panel and lifted a glass lid off of it.
  586. >Looking at you for your approval, you nod and she slammed her fist into the button underneath it.
  587. >At that moment, everything went dark.
  588. >Not a single sound could be heard on board, and the ship had stopped moving.
  589. >Standing straight, you grabbed Rainbows shoulder and fumbled over to where you assumed Applejack stood.
  590. >You could feel your legs loosing the grip of the floor and floating upwards, so you tugged harder on the railing to your right.
  591. “Alright, can you all hear me?” you asked in a calm voice.
  592. >“Ah’m here, Anon” Applejack answered.
  593. >She turned on a flashlight and pointed it at the floor.
  594. >“Anon, you’re touching my tit.” Dash growled at you.
  595. >Immediately you let her go and watched her slowly float away.
  596. >“So what’s the plan, captain?”
  597. >You looked down at your utility watch.
  598. >You noted the air pressure and temperature.
  599. “Okay, we have exactly four hours to find out what’s wrong before we have to turn on the power again. Let’s be quick about it, what do we know so far?”
  600. >Applejack looked down at her pad.
  601. >She had some notes on it and started analyzing them.
  602. >“Well, ah managed to repair the ion coils and place them back into the Reflux generator. It should give power back to the ion combustors, but we couldn’t shut it off again.”
  603. >“Which means?” Rainbow crossed her arms and tapped her fingers.
  605. >“The engine works, we just need to turn it off.”
  606. >“Oh great! Why don’t we just rip out the cords again!?”
  607. “Okay ladies, let’s not argue about this. This wasn’t any of your fault, we probably just missed something.”
  608. >As you tried calming your crew members down, the rest of the group came floating through the bridge gate.
  609. >“OH MY GOSH, THAT WAS SO SCARY ANON!” Pinkie yelled out at you.
  610. >She didn’t seem like she had lost her mood though, but Fluttershy looked downright terrified.
  611. >Of course, you wouldn’t expect differently from her.
  612. >Poor girl.
  613. >“Anon, what’s going on here? It all went dark all of a sudden, and by Celestia, I believe I stung myself on my needle!” She tugged her middle finger close to her chest.
  614. “Don’t worry girls, we just have a small problem with the left combustor engine, we’ll fix it.”
  615. >“SMALL PROBLEM? You call this a SMALL PROBLEM? We have FOUR HOURS before we FREEZE TO DEATH!”
  616. >You cringed.
  617. >Of course Rainbow Dash had to go on a rampage.
  618. >You watched her thrash about upside down while cursing everything and everyone she could think off.
  619. >This didn’t help with the situation, however, and concerned chatter broke out amongst the crew.
  620. >“Anything we can do to help?” Twilight asked you.
  621. >You gave her a concerned glance and scratched your neck.
  622. “I dunno…”
  623. >Twilight floated over to you and took a hold of both your hands.
  624. >“Look, we might not know much about engines, but I don’t think any of us wants to freeze to death.”
  625. “Argh, we’re not gonna freeze to death! Come on, we’re going to the engine room! You to Rainbow!”
  626. >You took a hold of the nearest solid object and pushed yourself to the bridge gate, grabbing a torchlight on the way.
  628. >After a clumsy flight down the stairs and dark hallways you and the crew reached the engine chamber.
  629. >On the way you stopped by the emergency generator which gave you light.
  630. >It didn’t have enough power to fix the temperature or oxygen problem, however, so you still had a time limit.
  631. >Once you reached the middle of the large complicated system, everyone started looking for something out of place.
  632. >According to Applejack, nothing seemed out of place.
  633. >This worried you all more than it should, and you regrouped to hatch a new plan.
  634. >“Okay, there ain't nothing wrong with the coils, the generator, the transflexor, the panels seem untouched and the core is undented. Hell, I even checked the power supply for the coffee machine!”
  635. >Applejack scoffed, obviously disappointed in herself.
  636. >Every breath she took left some mist hanging in the air.
  637. >The temperature was dropping dangerously quickly.
  638. >“We have a coffee machine?!” Pinkie screamed.
  639. “Okay, Pinkie, focus on the mission. Did we check the combustor chamber?”
  640. >“Three times!” Rainbow declared.
  641. >You sighed and checked your wrist.
  642. >You had already wasted two hours checking the machine room.
  643. “Uuh… well, I’m out of ideas.” You shrug.
  644. >“Well, we can’t just sit here and give up!” Rarity encouraged.
  645. >She had a point though.
  646. >You thought over what you knew.
  647. >Nothing was wrong with the engines, or at least not that you knew about as of current events.
  648. >Suddenly, you got an idea.
  649. “Okay, this might be a bit bold, but I think I know something that will help us find a solution.”
  650. >The girls gathered around you and looked at you with anticipation.
  651. >“Whatever it is, we have to try!” Twilight slammed her fist into her palm.
  652. >The others seemed to agree, so you continued.
  654. “We know that there is nothing wrong with the engines when they’re off, but we haven’t checked the engines when they’re on.”
  655. >“You want me to turn the power back on, Anon?” Rainbow asked, almost as if she knew your plan immediately.
  656. “Yes. We have to move quickly though, or we might lose our course completely.”
  657. >You assigned each of the girls a post where they would watch for abnormalities in the clockwork.
  658. >You set a time limit to 15 minutes of ignition time, or else the vessel would spin out of control.
  659. >You had Applejack explain what they should look for, and then you sent Dash up to the bridge to flip the switch.
  660. >Checking your wrist once more, you saw that you didn’t have much time left, and if this failed, there wouldn’t be much time to think of something else.
  661. >The sounds of the engine room once again started echoing, increasing in intensity.
  662. >After a few seconds, you heard a roar form the back of the ship, signaling the ignition of the engine.
  663. >And then you fell.
  664. >You slammed into the floor below you, but quickly shook it off and got up.
  665. >The systems you had been assigned to check was the main control panel and the reactor, but it seemed to work just fine according to Applejacks description.
  666. >You didn’t hear any of the other girls yell after you either.
  667. >You tensed up and felt a nervous stinging in your chest.
  668. >After a few minutes, there was no changes to the reactor.
  669. >You turned around to check on the rest of your friends and found yourself face to face with Fluttershy, who stood right behind you.
  670. >Both of you jumped and screamed in shock, but came to your senses quickly.
  671. “What are you doing here Fluttershy? Why aren’t you at your post?!”
  672. >“Well…” she looked down at the floor, fidgeting with her hair. “You see… there’s this thing there… I don’t know… can you help me? If that’s okay with you…?”
  673. “Show me” you said, pointing at her post.
  675. >She immediately turned and ran over, you following right behind her.>She had a post close to the right combustor pump, and you noticed straight away that something was off.>Sparks were flying out of it when the cylinder tried spinning, and it was obvious something was stuck inside it.>Yanking off the lid, you grabbed a hold of the spinning part and held it in place.
  676. >Inside you could make out the reflection of some kind of liquid.
  677. >You released the spinning part which you held in place, and noticed that it was pressing the liquid the wrong way.
  678. >On the other side of the cylinder was a drainage pipe where the liquid would fall into and down into another component, but it spun too quickly, and it didn’t get the chance to flow through.
  679. “HEY APPLEJACK!” GET A LOAD OF THIS!” you yelled out after her.
  680. >She immediately caught your attention and came running over.
  681. >Taking a peek down the pump, she knew exactly what was going on.
  682. >“Well I’ll be… Ah hope this is the only problem we have…” she said.
  683. >Picking up a wrench from her utility belt, she began loosening a bolt on the side of the pump.
  684. >A creaking sound emitted from the pump as the spinning component inside the cylinder forced itself around.
  685. >The blue floating substance spilled all over the floor as it was pressed out of the cylinder, and then the inside began spinning freely again.
  686. >The liquid and pump worked in sync again.
  687. >A mighty roar could be heard behind the ship in the combustor chamber.
  688. >Once again, the floor flew forward under your feet, and you got squished in between Applejack and Fluttershy.
  689. >You looked around the room, or at least what you could see, and noticed Twilight and Rarity stumble up from the floor as well.
  690. >You poked Applejack’s side, and she jumped up from you, excusing herself for not noticing.
  691. >Brushing it off, you helped Fluttershy up as well, and headed towards the bridge.
  693. >Joyful chatter rang through the corridors as you made your way to the control room.
  694. >The newly solved problems sparked new adventurous excitement into the crew once again, as you now had clearance into deep space.
  695. >All you had to do now was pick a star and fire up the old FTL drive.
  696. “Okay, girls, gather around. The moment we have been waiting for is finally here!”
  697. >The crew all looked up at you from your captain’s podium.
  698. >Their excitement was obvious, especially Pinkies, as she continued to bounce around like she always did.
  699. “We have just passed the object farthest from the orbit of our sun, and are about to embark on an adventure on alien worlds. The possibilities are many and unexpected, so there is no way of knowing which place to go first. I’ll leave it up to you to decide where to go first.”
  700. >“You mean ANYWHERE?!” Pinkie squealed in excitement.
  701. “Yes, this time it’s literally anywhere. However…” You paused, and the excited chatter stopped.
  702. “After today’s incident I think we all need a break. You can all think about it until the next cycle. I don’t know about you but I need some rest… You’re dismissed. Good night, girls.”
  703. >You walk down the stairs and give them a hug.
  704. >You started being fond of burying your face pastel colored in hair, but you pulled away from them and walked down to the living quarters.
  705. >You walked over to your closet.
  706. >As you opened the door to it, a glass tube made its way through the floor.
  707. >You pushed a button on the chest of your suit and a holographic screen blinked up in front of your eyes.
  708. >You shut the suit down, and it released some steam from the vents around the limbs.
  709. >It then clicked open and you could slide out of it.
  710. >You lifted the suit into the tube and closed the glass door.
  711. >The cylinder slid back into the floor, and you closed the door to the closet.
  713. >It felt pretty good to get out of the suit, and you could feel fresh air on your bare skin once again.
  714. >Now only in your underwear and t-shirt, you crawled under your blanket and snuggled in.
  715. >It had been a long time since you were able to get a good night’s sleep, so you had decided to savior every second of it.
  716. >Before you were about to fall asleep, you could feel a pair of hands slide over your chest and settle in for a hug.
  717. >A warm feeling pressed itself on your back, and your eyes shot open.
  718. >You quickly turned your head and saw strands of purple hair nestling into your back.
  719. >You lay there for a while just looking behind you.
  720. >You reached a hand to Twilights cheek and poked her lightly.
  721. >She reacted by hugging you closer and cooing.
  722. >She was probably asleep already.
  723. >You pondered how she had managed to sneak into your room without you noticing but you really didn’t mind at all.
  724. >You turned your head back carefully and closed your eyes.
  725. >You didn’t want to wake her up, so you decided to leave it be.
  726. >It wasn’t long before the warm embrace of Twilight lulled you to sleep and darkness clouded your eyes.
  729. Day 7
  731. >The endless number of stars in front of your eyes would have blinded you if it weren’t for the even larger amount of darkness in between them.
  732. >You squeezed Twilight closer and stroke her shoulder gently.
  733. “So where do you wanna go?” you asked her.
  734. >She put a finger up to her chin and pondered for a moment.
  735. >There were so many different glowing dots on the sky, deciding on one must be hard.
  736. >Eventually she points to a star in between a less dense area.
  737. >The ball of gas in question was glowing in a strange cyan-like color, and shone stronger than any of the others in its vicinity.
  738. >“Let’s go there, Anon!”
  739. “You like that one?”
  740. >“Yeah! We have to hear with the other girls first though…”
  741. “I’m sure they would agree too.”
  742. >Reaching a hand up to your earpiece, you tuned in to the ship-wide comlink.
  743. “Good morning girls! The big day is here, so prepare yourselves, we’re launching in thirty!”
  744. >“Oh Anon, I can’t wait! This is so exciting!” Twilight started hopping up and down.
  746. >A few moments later you found yourself in the middle of your group of friends once again.
  747. >You showed them the star Twilight had pointed out. They all agreed that it was a good choice.
  748. “Great, I’ve already acquired data on the star from the HQ database.”
  749. >You sat down in a nearby chair and slid your backhand over your wrist console.
  750. >The panorama window flashed with a blue color and a hologram appeared over the glass.
  751. >An image of the burning ball of gas showed up, it’s brilliant cyan light shining strong.
  752. >Some information was written on the side.
  753. >You leaned back into the chair and crossed your legs.
  754. “The star’s name is Klepra 3 according to the astronomers. It has four orbiting bodies, tree of them are outside the habitable orbit.
  755. >The object inside the habitable zone apparently has no vegetation so don’t get your hopes up.”
  757. >The crew didn’t seem to pay attention, as they all stared at the glowing sphere with a glint of adventure lust in their eyes.
  758. >You gave up trying to explain more about it and got up from the comfortable chair.
  760. >After that you had a nice breakfast with your friends in the lounge, chatting about different things.
  761. >The fact that you were well on your way to interplanetary travels sparked quite a bit of good mood in them.
  762. >As you took a sip of your cup and listen to Rainbow Dash brag about her escapades in the air force, you couldn’t help but look out the window to the empty expanse outside.
  763. >It was hard imagining in your head the sheer size of those tiny dots.
  764. >A normal human mind wouldn’t have a chance at comprehending it even.
  765. >You shook the thought, as all it did was confuse you.
  766. >When you turned back, you noticed everyone was staring at you.
  767. >You gave them all a shrug and looked to each side.
  768. “What?”
  769. >“It’s time…” Rainbow said in an overly dramatic tone.
  770. >She waved her arms over her head, which made you chuckle.
  771. “Alright, alright. Back to the bridge I guess…”>You downed the rest of your cup and got up from your chair.
  772. >The girls followed you through the halls, still chatting about different things.
  773. >You wondered why they hadn’t caught up like this before as the previous days had been awfully quiet.
  775. >You stood before your chair in the bridge.
  776. >The white leather and bumpy texture was all too familiar.
  777. >Hell, you even knew the buttons in your head.
  778. >Over it was the large panoramic window where you could see the throat of the Excalibur stretching far out before you.
  779. >Its head with the four symmetrical sails and even its wings were visible too.
  780. >You glanced at it with a look that would almost seem motherly.
  781. >You cared a lot for this vessel, as you had a large saying in the building process as well.
  782. >And now it was about to lead humanity into the future, one burst at a time.
  783. >You sat down in the round chair and turned around.
  785. >The girls were all sitting there, awaiting orders.
  786. >Just like when you left home.
  787. >Home…
  788. >You brought up the last image you had of your home world, captured by the back view.
  789. >The spinning blue orb made you miss it a little bit, but knowing you would return eventually, you gave it no further thought.
  790. “Alright, let’s do this.” You said.
  791. >Removing the picture of the planet, you now had the big dark in front of you.
  792. >You raised your hand and pointed forwards.
  793. “Rainbow Dash, bring me those stars!” you said, trying to sound dramatic.
  794. >The girls only started laughing, but turned around and manned the stations.
  795. >This time Dash made sure to thread carefully, and slid the throttle forward slowly.
  796. >You could hear the engines power up the further it went, and the force of gravity pulled you backwards with each click.
  797. >The large wheel started shaking slightly, but Rainbow grabbed it and kept it still.
  798. >The throttle was now at full power, but it took a few seconds for the cruiser to start moving.
  799. >The chunk of metal inched forward, shifting slightly.
  800. >At low speeds, she was hard to maintain the course, as there were no support engines on its sides to keep her steady.
  801. >It wasn’t long before you could see small particles outside flying past.
  802. >Apparently, deep space was filled with the remains of ancient chaos.
  803. >Once the engines were at full speed, Rarity started dialing in the coordinates she had received from HQ, along with a simple “good luck”.
  804. >“Alright, dear, we’re ready to fly!” she said, hitting the input into the system.>Once the computer had finished calculating, it gave a clear sign, and Rainbow crammed the throttle to full speed.
  805. >The noise that followed was almost worse than sitting on the back of a supersonic jet when it took off, and the ship started trembling as the large reactor in the back kicked in for full.
  807. >Before you could grab another breath, your field of view expanded immeasurably, and you could almost see behind you without turning your head.
  808. >The immense force of the gravity being pushed backwards made your sense of direction spin out of control, and you got pushed back in the seat.
  809. >Then it felt like the whole universe came crashing in on your vision, as all the stars in the sky transformed into lines that shot past you.
  810. >The pull of the gravity continued for a while before it stabilized.
  811. >You slowly felt your butt rest down in the comfortable leather.
  812. >As the noise from the FTL Drive disappeared, you could hear screaming laugher from the deck below you.
  813. >When systems were normalized and all checks had been done, you popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate.
  814. >Someone obviously thought storing a ton of alcohol on board a research vessel in space was a good idea, but you weren’t complaining.
  816. >Once done with small talk and drinking to the point where you were just a little bit tipsy, the crew resumed your normal routines.
  817. >Maintenance checks, cleaning, relaxing, board games and other misadventures.
  818. >It would still be a little while before the ship would arrive to the destination, but at least now, you had time to truly relax and sleep well.
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