Rainbow and Twilight prepare for a very special trip to Canterlot, as the Destiny crew encounter an old enemy.
It was in the early morning just outside of Ponyville, as Rainbow Dash was getting ready for a very special trip. Her saddle bag was on the floor of her house, as she began to load it with books she thought she might need during the trip. Equestria’s capital city of Canterlot wasn’t that far away, a few hours at most, but she and Twilight would be staying there for at least a week, so she wanted to be fully prepared.
“So, you’ll be gone for a while, huh?” asked Stardrop, Rainbow’s caramel-coloured roommate. She had a cutie mark of three raindrops and a blue mane. They shared a home made of solidified cloud floating just a few feet above the cloud layer, with another pegasus.
“Yep,” Rainbow replied to Stardrop.
“Who’s in charge of weather control while you’re gone?”
“What!? You mean the new guy!? He just came here a few months ago. He’s still getting used to our protocols!”
“So? He’s got plenty of experience, and I trust him.”
“What if he changes things to suit his preferences?”
“I gave him specific instructions not to.”
“Couldn’t you have found anyone else!?”
Rainbow responded in a frustrated tone. “Okay, you want to be in charge of leading and organizing the activities of 38 pegasi?!”
Stardrop just looked at her for several seconds until finally responding. “So Gibbs is in charge?”
“Yes,” Rainbow replied with a smile.
“Okay, good to know. Have fun on your trip.” She then proceeded to the upper level of the house.
With her saddlebag loaded and buttoned up. Rainbow tried to put it on. She ducked her head under the strap and lifted it up as it slid down her back. She had to move her wings around so the bag wouldn’t restrict her ability to fly. It was times like these she wished she had a horn. Thankfully her teeth weren’t very sharp.
After her wings were positioned on the outside of her bag she flapped them a few times to ensure she could comfortably move them. She then had to buckle the strap so it wouldn’t fall off in flight. Reaching under her belly with her teeth, she grabbed the strap, which was already threaded through the buckle, and pulled until it felt just short of too tight. A quick roll onto her back allowed the bar to fall into one of the strap’s holes, holding the bag in place. She then had to wrestle the strap into it’s keeper, so it didn’t hang underneath her.
Making sure everything was secure, she got up onto her hooves, and walked outside. Stepping off the cloud she spread her wings, flying gently down towards the centre of Ponyville. Not many people were out this early, many seasonal salespeople were just beginning to set up shop in the town square, and some of the permanent storefronts were just beginning to open. But customers were still few and far between. Many were likely still trying to wake up.
From the air Rainbow could see the town Library directly off one of the side streets. So with a slight twitch of her wings, and an adjustment of her tail, she turned towards her destination. As she got closer another twitch of her wings followed by excessive flapping allowed her to gracefully land on her hooves. She walked to the library door and knocked three times.
Rainbow waited patiently by the door… or at least she tried. After a few seconds she sat down and waited. A minute passed, she knocked again. Annoyed, she was going to start on without her friend, when suddenly, the door opened and a familiar purple unicorn appeared in the door frame.
“Sorry Rainbow,” Twilight said as she walked back inside. “I’m still packing.”
Rainbow followed Twilight inside and spotted an empty saddlebag on the floor. “Still!? Looks like you haven’t even started.”
“Huh?” Twilight followed Rainbow’s gaze to the saddlebag. “Oh! Yeah, I’ve been really busy. You hungry?”
“Starving!” replied Rainbow as she followed Twilight into the kitchen.
“I’m making daisy sandwiches, you want anything special on yours?”
“No, a-er…” Rainbow thought for a minute. “Tomato and black pepper.”
Twilight telekinetically pulled a tomato out of her fridge, and quickly rinsed it off in the sink, before chopping it up into slices. “Thanks for this by the way,” Twilight said. “You know I hate travelling alone.”
“Yeah, no problem.”
Rainbow sat down at the kitchen table as Twilight quickly assembled the two sandwiches.
“I’m hoping to keep busy,” Rainbow continued. “The Wonderbolts are apparently holding trials next week in Canterlot. So it’s good timing on our part.”
“I’ll be sure to cheer you on,” Twilight responded as she brought the food to the table.
Silence lasted for a few seconds as the two fillies ate, until Twilight broke it.
“I’m going to have to shut down the Library while I’m gone.”
Rainbow swallowed her bite. “No one to watch it?”
“I can’t trust anyone but Spike and he’s in no shape to do anything.” Twilight then hit her forehead with her hoof in realization, “oh fudge, I’m also gonna need someone to check up on Spike!”
“You don’t think he’ll be alright?” Rainbow asked. “I mean it’s been a few weeks.”
“I think he’s getting worse,” Twilight said. “I don’t know what to do.”
“It’s impossible to tell what’s happening inside another pony. Sometimes, it’s hard to tell what’s happening inside ourselves.”
“Is that about Spike or you?”
Rainbow shrugged her forelegs as she chewed another bite before swallowing. “Where is he now?”
“So what are you thinking?”
“I could have someone watch him. Make sure he eats, can’t trust him to do that on his own.”
“Well, can’t ask Pinkie or Fluttershy because they might try to cheer him up.”
“You think that’s a bad thing?”
“No, it’s their methods, Pinkie would throw a dozen parties, more likely to anger him instead, and Fluttershy would just shower him with attention, which I already tried, and it just made things worse,” Twilight explained. “And I can’t ask Rarity for obvious reasons.”
“So that leaves…”
“I guess I’ll ask her on our way out of town.”
Rainbow decided to eat her last bit of sandwich before responding. “Twilight, Applejack’s farm is on the other end of town, opposite Canterlot.”
Far away, the Destiny was travelling at Faster-Than-Light speeds through space. Within the ship’s control interface room, a man with curly hair, and a white shirt, was working on one of the room’s consoles. On a nearby console, a woman with straight dark hair and a purple shirt was also working. Doctor Dale Volker and Chloe Armstrong were their names, and both were exhausted.
Just then, Doctor Volker, who was leaning against the right side of the console, stood up straight and said, “I think I got it.”
That got Chloe’s attention. She walked over and looked over Volker’s shoulder. “That could work,” Chloe said, she started walking back to her console. “Let’s try it.”
Just then, Colonel Young walked in. “Try what?” he asked.
“Oh!” Chloe responded. “Well, you know how Eli can only talk to one of us at a time and how much of a nuisance that’s been?”
“Well…” to the right of Chloe’s console was a grey ball made of metal and glass. She picked it up and gently tossed it in the air. It started floating five feet above the floor. At this moment Volker tapped a few buttons on his console.
Suddenly a familiar voice emanated from the ball. “Hello?” went the voice of Eli Wallace. “Testing testing. Hey Colonel.”
“He can talk through the Kinos?”
“Yeah!” Chloe said with a smile.
Volker elaborated, “It took a lot of work. Had to code a vocal synthesizer for him, because we’re literally creating sound from nothing.”
“Great,” responded the Colonel, obviously not caring. He quickly moved on to more important priorities. “How are the dome repairs coming.”
“Should be done by the end of the week,” Chloe responded.
Young nodded. “…and when is that?” he asked.
“Yeah, isn’t the week over?” Volker asked. “I thought it was Friday.”
“I thought it was Wednesday,” Chloe responded.
“What day is it anyway?” Volker asked. “Eli?”
“Don’t ask me,” the Kino responded. “It’s been 27 years, I lost track, I don’t even know if it’s day or night.”
“Well, anyway, in a few days,” Chloe put them back on track. “We put both repair bots on the job, so they should be done soon.”
“Good,” the Colonel responded. “Those seeds T.J. found on the planet a while back are starting to grow some fruit. She could use the extra room.”
“Colonel!” A woman appeared from one of the hallways leading into the room. “We need to talk.”
“Hey Camile,” said Keli.
Camile Wray was taken aback. “Eli?” she asked.
Volker responded, “We found a way to get him to talk to us through the Kinos, I had to code an entire-”
“-Well that’s great,” Wray said, unaware of her interruption. “Bet it’ll make your life a lot easier.”
“Yeah,” the Kino went.
Volker looked dejected and Chloe just smiled, suppressing a laugh.
“Oh! Colonel, I just finished the latest round of psych evals,” Wray said. “Morale is down, and I think it’s getting worse.”
Young replied, “Any solutions?”
“Well the biggest problem is the fact that we haven’t heard anything from Earth.”
“Well, not much we can do about that,” the Colonel explained. “We have someone on the stones ’round the clock, but if no one’s on the other end…”
Everyone knew Colonel Young was referring to the communication stones. Created long ago by the people who built the Destiny and the Stargates. It allowed them to switch bodies with people on Earth when they touched a stone, and placed it on a special device which amplified the signal so it could stretch across the billions of light years to their home planet. The biggest problem with it, they required someone else connected to the stones on Earth, and after 27 years, there didn’t appear to be anyone waiting on the other end.
“Well, we need to do something,” Wray mentioned the obvious.
“Decent food,” Volker said. Everyone looked at him. “Sorry.”
“Actually, that’s a good one,” Chloe said. “I mean if we can find anything like wheat or rice on the next planet, we can grind it down to flour, and I can make a cake or pie or something.”
“OO! I like that idea,” Camile said. “But I doubt it’ll help in the long run.”
Eli was the next to speak, “How about shore leave?”
Everyone turned to look at the floating orb. It began spinning around back and forth to look at everyone.
“Vacation? Time off?” He elaborated. “A chance to get off the ship.”
“Eli,” Wray replied. “We get off the ship all the time.”
“Yeah, I know, through the Stargate. But everyone who does is too busy collecting food or water to enjoy themselves.”
Volker was the next to speak. “Well, what are you suggesting?”
“If we find a suitable planet I can delay the jump timer for a few weeks… I think. It’ll give people time to relax before Destiny forces an FTL jump.”
“Eli,” Chloe responded. “We did that before, remember? The obelisk planet?”
“Yeah, and people loved it… at least I thought they did.”
“…and they wanted to stay behind.”
“…and they all died,” Eli finished. “Remind people of that and it’s unlikely to be a problem this time.”
“Worth looking into at least,” Young replied. “Keep an eye out for-”
Just then, Destiny left FTL and a spacial distortion spread throughout the ship, interrupting Colonel Young.
“…for worlds that might be appropriate,” Young finished as he grabbed the radio clipped to his belt.
“Look for something tropical,” Camile said. Chloe responded with a laugh.
“Morrison,” the Colonel spoke into the radio. “What’ve we got?”
The voice of Doctor Helladius Morrison came over the radio. “Two planets in range, one might have some food, the other is apparently pretty barren.”
“We’ll send teams to both, Brody says he needs minerals for the fab.” Young released his radio button and spoke to the people before him, “Good work, people.”
Young left and was followed by Camile, leaving Chloe and Volker alone with the Kino.
“Good work Dale,” Chloe said before she began to leave, grabbing a notepad.
“Yeah, thanks a lot,” Eli responded.
“Oh, it was nothing,” Volker responded.
Chloe just laughed as she left the room, followed by the Kino.
Volker went back to work on the control panel. A smile emerged on his face.
The sun was rising at Sweet Apple Acres as a young, energetic and cheerful, yellow filly was carrying a basket full of muffins through the orchard. She had a pink bow in her red mane, and was wearing a saddlebag full of books. Her name was Apple Bloom, and she needed to begin her daily trek to school very soon, but earlier that morning she noticed her sister, Applejack, was not at breakfast with the rest of her family. She was in the orchard, a tree had caught a very deadly fungus and she needed to dispose of it. But she was so caught up in the work, that she forgot to feed herself.
She was walking through the orchard, looking for her sister, when she heard hoofsteps behind her. Turning her head she saw a familiar purple unicorn.
“Twilight!” She said, dropping the basket. “What brings you here?” She had a mild southern accent that many found quite adorable.
“Oh, hey Apple Bloom,” the unicorn responded. “Have you seen your sister?”
“Actually, I was looking for her too, and I don’t have a lot of time,” she explained. “I thought she was around here, but maybe I’m mistaken.”
“Hmmm…” Twilight began looking around, then suddenly, she noticed something. “There’s a hill over there,” she said, pointing behind Apple Bloom.
Apple Bloom grabbed her basket and ran for the hill. Once she arrived, she was quickly joined by Twilight. Apple Bloom began looking around the orchard from the higher ground they found when suddenly, she saw her goal.
“Dare sha aa!” She said through muffled teeth, pointing off in the distance. Twilight couldn’t see anything, but she knew better than to question the eyes of an Earth Pony. She ran off after the little filly.
Eventually the two reached an orange mare, with a blonde mane, and three apples on her flank, pulling a wagon with a chopped down tree in it.
Apple Bloom was the first to speak. “SIS!” she said, dropping the basket. “You forgot breakfast.”
“I had an apple,” the mare responded with an accent that was slightly thicker than her sister’s. “Twilight!” Applejack said, acknowledging her friend.
Slightly out of breath, the unicorn smiled. “Applejack, I need to ask you a favour,” she said.
Apple Bloom interrupted. “You need grains! An apple just isn’t enough, you know that,” she said, paraphrasing something her older sister said many times before.
Applejack was about to respond, but she knew her sister was right. The older Earth Pony reached down to the basket and took a bite of muffin. “Thanks, little sis,” she said. Moving on, she turned towards her friend. “So, Twilight, what brings you to the farm?”
“Well,” the unicorn explained. “Me and Rainbow Dash are going to be in Canterlot for a few weeks-no jokes!” she interjected before Applejack got a chance to speak. The Earth Pony closed her mouth. Twilight continued, “…and I’m a bit worried about Spike, he’s been spending most of his time in bed and I’ve had to force him to eat. So I was hoping I would be able to get someone to check on him every day. Bring him food, make sure he eats it, try to get him out of the house at some point…”
“OOO,” Applejack was hesitant. “You know normally I’d love to help Twi, but things are pretty hectic on the farm, we got some weird fungus going around, turns out it’s on a bunch of trees, I’ll have to chop them all down, and we’re also having some pest problems on the north field, and harvest is just a month away. I’m really sorry Twilight I wish I could-”
“I’LL DO IT!” said a small, sweet and excited voice.
The two looked down at Apple Bloom. “Are you sure Apple Bloom?” Twilight asked.
“Of course,” she responded.
“I don’t know, Apple Bloom, once you make a promise, you need to stick with it, and you can’t forget,” Applejack explained.
“Said the pony who forgot breakfast.”
Applejack ignored her little sister. “Can’t you find someone else?” She asked Twilight.
“Well, no one I can trust,” she said.
“Fluttershy? Pinkie Pie?” Applejack asked.
Twilight just shook her head.
Twilight responded with a dirty look.
“Oh, come on sis,” Apple Bloom responded. “I know I can do this. I pass through town every day anyway, and who knows, it might be a great way to earn my cutie mark!”
“I don’t know… Twilight?”
“Well, if she thinks she can do it,” Twilight responded. “I have no reason to doubt her.”
Applejack thought for a minute, before continuing with a sigh. “…fine, but don’t expect me to bail you out if you can’t keep up.”
“Yes ma’am!” She responded with a salute. At that moment Apple Bloom noticed the position of the sun and realized she needed to get to class. “I got to go!” she said, running off.
“Wait for me!” Twilight yelled. “Thanks anyway, Applejack!” she said to her friend before speeding off.
“Good luck,” Applejack yelled towards the speeding unicorn. She looked toward her wagon, remembering what she needed to do, and it saddened her. She grabbed the basket of muffins in her teeth, before continuing her trek to the barn.
The Destiny was quiet. A few hours ago, two teams were sent through the Stargate, to two different planets, to look for supplies. The teams had plenty of time to gather supplies and return to the Destiny, and all the rest of the crew had to do was wait.
Destiny’s bridge was very large. Dominating the centre of the room was the command chair, which was currently empty. On each side of the chair was a console for controlling the ships many systems.
Behind the chair was the main entrance to the bridge, which opened on a platform slightly higher than the front half of the room, with a railing dividing the two halves.
Three workstations were at the front of the bridge, facing three windows, overlooking the ship itself. Sitting at the centre workstation was Doctor Nicholas Rush, a man with a long hair and beard, wearing a white and green shirt, and a green vest. To his left, wearing mostly black, was Lieutenant Matthew Scott, and the two were talking.
“Brody’s been obsessed with that thing,” Scott explained.
“Well, we can’t really blame him,” Rush replied with his distinct Scottish accent. “It’ll certainly make life on the ship a lot easier.”
“I’m just surprised we found it.”
“Well, you can’t be too surprised, I mean Eli knows every last crevice of the ship now.”
“Well, no, what I mean is, I’m surprised it’s here,” Rush explained. “When the Ancients launched the Destiny, the original intention was for the crew to be supported in its mission by supplies from Earth, not be left to fend for itself… not that I’m complaining.”
“But a mission this important, they would probably want heavy redundancy,” Scott looked out Destiny’s windows. “You can’t rely on anything out here.”
“Anything interesting?” The Colonel’s voice appeared behind them. Scott looked and saw him standing at the entrance to the bridge, with Chloe at his side, and a Kino floating behind them.
“No sir, it’s all quiet,” Scott responded.
“Good, last thing I want to do right now is anything,” Young said, leaning against the railing behind the command chair.
Scott and Chloe laughed at the Colonel’s statement. Scott turned around and looked out the window. Suddenly, he went very serious. “Huh,” he said.
“What?” asked Chloe.
“…Thought I saw something.” Suddenly, a beep came from Scott’s console, he looked down. “I did! Sir, three ships just dropped out of hyperspace.”
“They look familiar?” Young asked as walked over to his chair. Chloe walked over to far right workstation at the same time.
“No, not really.”
“This can’t just be a coincidence,” Rush said. “We’re in the middle of empty space.”
Chloe sat down at the far right console and began pressing a few buttons. She looked intently at the console, examining the ships. A few more button presses and a revelation came to her.
“Oh, my god!” she exclaimed. “They’re Nakai!”
“Who?” Scott asked.
“The aliens from the first galaxy? Nakai? I never mentioned that? No?”
“How do you know that?” Young asked.
“The radiation from the engines, the signatures are identical to Nakai ships.”
“They don’t look anything like the… Nakai ships we met before,” Rush said.
Eli responded over the Kino, “27 years.”
Young knew what that meant, he knew these aliens were not nice, he knew what he had to do, he grabbed his radio. “Gate room, this is Young.”
In the gate room, Corporal Barnes was standing at one of the room’s consoles when she heard the Colonel’s voice. “I need you to recall all teams immediately,” the Colonel’s voice went.
Barnes grabbed her radio, and responded. “Yes sir.” A few console buttons pressed and the Stargate began to dial.
Under an orange sky, Adam Brody was loading a large dark stone onto a floating platform called the Kino sled. He was exhausted and the hot sun was not helping. Thankfully the desert fatigues the military provided were light enough to keep him relatively cool… but not by much. He started walking back to where several loose stones were sitting, when suddenly a voice came over his radio.
“Brody, this is Destiny.”
Brody grabbed the radio off his belt. “This is Brody.”
“Colonel Young is recalling all teams.”
Shock and confusion went over Brody’s face, “What? When!?”
Brody was exasperated. “Okay, we aren’t exactly close to the Gate, it’ll take us at least ten minutes to get there.”
“I’ll inform the Colonel, Destiny out.”
Brody returned the radio to his belt. “Damn it,” he said. “All right! We need to start heading back to the Gate, now!” He announced to the five other people he was with, some military, some civilian. The team started grabbing all they could to begin the trek to the Stargate.
On Destiny’s bridge, things were tense.
“Do they know we’re here?” Young asked.
“Probably,” Rush responded. “But they haven’t done anything.”
“Well that’s a good sign,” the Kino said.
“Not too sure about that, Eli,” Scott responded.
Just then, a voice came over the radio. “Colonel, Brody said his team are at least ten minutes from the Gate,” Barnes said as the Stargate dialed once more.
“Roger,” the Colonel responded over the radio. “What about T.J.’s team?”
“Dialing them now sir.”
“Colonel,” Chloe said, “They’re heading straight towards us.”
“How long?” Young asked.
“Five,” she responded, “maybe six minutes, I’m not sure.”
“Well then we have plenty of time,” Scott said. “I mean we were able to hold out for hours before.”
“27 years Lieutenant,” Rush responded. “Who knows what kind of weapons advances they’ve made in that time.”
The three ships continued towards their enemy.