Twilight and Rainbow meet the unicorn’s parents, as the situation on the Destiny goes from bad to worse.
The Nakai ships were flying straight towards the Destiny, as Colonel Young gave the order.
“Turn around, get us out of here!”
“Yes sir!” Scott responded.
The Destiny did a loop upwards and back, speeding away from the enemy ships.
A few seconds later, Chloe spoke, “They’re gaining rapidly, we might have bought a few minutes at most.”
“That might be enough,” Scott pointed out. “I mean, they don’t want to destroy the Destiny, so by the time they try to board us, Brody’s team should be back and we can jump to FTL.”
But the eternal pragmatist, Rush, objected. “They’ll have to collapse the shields Lieutenant,” he said. After all, the shields were needed to jump.
On the streets of Ponyville, Rainbow Dash was waiting. She knew her friend would return in a few minutes, so when that didn’t happen, she got annoyed. Always the impatient one, she decided to walk around, actually do something beyond sit in one place. She was about to enter her favourite sweet store, Sugarcube Corner, when suddenly, she stopped short. She realized: her friend, Pinkie Pie, was probably working the store front; so, she decided against entering. Pinkie was one pony she did not want to talk to.
Rainbow turned around and began walking back to where she came from. As she was walking down the street, she began thinking about that event many weeks ago, the day she lost her closest friend. She wanted to forgive, but couldn’t coax herself to do it. Her head was held low, so she didn’t see two ponies turning a corner directly in front of her. Their presence startled her, and when she looked up, she was face to face with the two ponies in the world she did not want to see.
One was a white unicorn with a purple mane and tail and three diamonds on her flank; Rarity was in shock at seeing her friend, she quickly put on an awkward and obviously fake smile. The other was a pink earth pony with a curly pink mane and tail, three balloons on her flank, and she was holding a box in her mouth by a string of twine; Pinkie Pie was surprised to see Rainbow as well, but she didn’t try to hide it.
Rarity was the first to speak. “Rainbow Dash!” she said. “It’s so good to see you!” It appeared her face was going to crack with all the effort her smile was taking.
“Rarity,” came Rainbow’s simple reply.
An awkward silence descended, Rainbow looking as if she was trying to kill Rarity with her gaze. “So, what are you doing today?” Rarity asked, trying to move the conversation along.
“Oh, I’m just waiting for Twilight.”
“Twilight?” Rarity asked nervously.
“Yeah, we’re going to Canterlot for a few weeks. She just headed off to Sweet Apple Acres to find somepony to watch after Spike, after all, he’s not doing so well, emotionally,” Rainbow explained. “Do you have any idea why?”
Rarity’s face featured a mixture of sadness and guilt. “I am so so sorry!” she said in a desperate and pleading manner.
“Don’t apologize to me, apologize to him.”
Pinkie remained silent. She just kept staring at Rainbow.
“I tried, I don’t think he believes me.”
Pinkie placed her box down on the ground.
“That shock you!? After what you said!? You know, it’s one thing to turn a guy down, Rarity, it’s another to-”
“I’m sorry,” Pinkie interrupted Rainbow. “I’m really, really sorry.”
Rainbow looked at Pinkie, noticing her pleading eyes. A long silence settled, until Rainbow said, “I know.”
At that moment Rainbow walked around her two friends, and continued on her way. She headed straight towards the library, and decided to wait for Twilight there.
The three ships were still chasing the Destiny.
“How could they be tracking us?” Young asked.
“Must be the Gates again sir,” Lieutenant Scott replied.
“It has to be,” Rush explained. “There’s no other way for them to track us.”
“So, we can’t use the Gate anymore?” Chloe asked.
“I guess not.”
“Colonel?” Corporal Barnes’ voice came from the radio.
The Colonel grabbed his radio, “Yeah?”
“Lieutenant Johansen’s team just got back.”
“Great, any word from Brody’s team?”
In downtown Ponyville, Twilight and Apple Bloom were just entering the square.
“Just make sure he eats, and don’t push him into leaving,” Twilight explained. “I think it causes more problems.”
“Got it!” said the young filly.
“If he needs anything, like a shoulder to cry on, don’t be afraid to offer.”
“Just… don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.”
Apple Bloom paused in her tracks at that point, confused as to what Twilight meant… she decided to roll with it. “Uh… okay,” she said, running to catch up to Twilight.
“…and most importantly, don’t let anypony else talk to him, especially Rarity.”
Apple Bloom was about to ask her why, but she quickly remembered what Rarity’s sister, and Apple Bloom’s best friend, Sweetie Belle, told her a few weeks earlier. She knew exactly why.
The two of them were walking through the town square, when they saw a yellow pegasus talking to one of the shopkeepers. As she was walking away, Twilight took the opportunity to talk to her best friend.
“Fluttershy!” Twilight said.
“Oh! Hello Twilight,” Fluttershy said in a very soft manner. “What are you doing out this early?”
“Oh, I’m actually heading to Canterlot for the next few weeks!” Twilight explained. “There are some books I found in the Library that might be unique. So the Princess wanted me to bring a few to Canterlot so she could get a good look at them.”
“Oh, I see,” Fluttershy looked a bit worried. “How long will you be gone?”
“A few weeks, Rainbow is going with me; I hate travelling alone.”
“Oh, well, I hope you have a good time, I’ll see you when you get back.” Fluttershy then grabbed Twilight in her forehooves. Twilight reciprocated the hug.
Just then, a bell sounded in the distance.
“Oh darn!” said Apple Bloom. “I got to go Twilight! I’ll check on Spike after school.”
“Okay, thanks, and good luck!” Twilight replied, as Fluttershy let go of her.
As Apple Bloom ran off, Fluttershy looked at Twilight. “What’s wrong with Spike?”
As Twilight began walking back to her library, Fluttershy followed. “He hasn’t been eating, he spends most of his time in bed, he’s taking this whole thing pretty hard,” Twilight explained.
“I don’t blame him,” Fluttershy replied in a sad tone. “So what is Apple Bloom doing?”
“Oh! I just asked her to check on him on a daily basis, that’s all,” she explained. “Can’t trust anypony else.”
“Well… um… what about me?”
“You don’t trust me?”
“Oh… uh,” Twilight stopped dead in her tracks and scratched her head. Fluttershy was very sensitive, so Twilight didn’t want to hurt her feelings, so she tried to be as gentle as she could. “Well, I certainly trust you Fluttershy, it’s just that… uh…” she didn’t know how to continue in a gentle manner. “It’s just that… well… you can be… a bit… over… zealous…… at… times.”
Several awkward seconds passed between the two ponies. Fluttershy looked like she was about to cry when Twilight decided she should qualify her statement.
“It’s that you care too much! I mean, I figured you would try too hard to make him better, when he might be better off if he was left alone with his thoughts.” Twilight explained. “But look, if Apple Bloom needs help, I’ll tell her to go to you.”
Twilight could tell Fluttershy was not too thrilled. “Oh, it’s okay Twilight,” she said, trying to put on a happy face. “It doesn’t matter anyway. I have enough to handle at home. I don’t have the time to help Spike, and I’m glad you found somepony to take care of him.”
“Oh, okay,” Twilight said, a little wary. “Are we fine?”
Another round of awkward silence descended upon the two. Twilight awkwardly shuffled her hooves.
“Well,” Fluttershy broke the silence. “I got to go feed the birds and bunnies and snakes and… stuff.”
“Oh, yeah, I’ll see you when I get back!” Twilight responded nervously. “Bye!”
Twilight didn’t know if she hurt Fluttershy’s feelings, but she also knew, if she did, that she couldn’t do much about it. She needed to go!
To the Library the young unicorn went, to meet with her other winged friend.
Adam Brody and his team continued to run at a moderate speed across the rocky plains on an alien planet. Many of the civilians were out of breath, but knew they had to carry on.
Ahead of Brody, to his left, Lieutenant Vanessa James was holding a rope attached to one of the two Kino sleds. She was pulling a lot of weight, but because the sled floated around a foot above the ground, it was very easy to pull… no friction. All she really needed to do was guide the sled so it stayed with the team, and ensure it kept up with them.
Just then, several stones fell off the sled, and Brody stopped.
He yelled, “James! Wait!” James stopped, noticing the stones that fell, she pushed the sled back to where Brody was quickly trying to pick them up. The rest kept moving.
As they were reloading the sled, James asked an essential question: “Why do you think they called us back?”
“No idea,” He replied, dropping a stone on the sled, nearly out of breath.
“They didn’t say?” James asked, dropping another stone on the sled.
“You didn’t ask.
“No, I didn’t.”
“This soon… they might be under attack.”
“We don’t know that.”
“Yeah… but the Colonel wouldn’t have recalled us if,” she paused as she was lifting another stone. “If it wasn’t urgent.”
“What’s your point?”
“I’m saying we should all be running a little faster.”
“Yeah, if we want to kill ourselves,” Brody explained pragmatically, dropping the last stone on the sled. “We’ll get there soon enough.”
“I knew we should have trained you guys harder,” James replied, grabbing the rope.
“I got the sled, you go!” He quickly tossed James a remote and threw his own backpack on the sled. James ran off trying to catch up to the other team members who were running towards the Stargate.
He began pushing the sled forward, worried more stones would fall off.
“They’re almost on top of us,” said Eli. At that moment, three monitors began to descend from the bridge’s ceiling as the bridge itself descended into the hull, covering up the front windows. The bridge had entered battle mode.
“Eli?” Young asked.
“Sorry, I guess my panic triggered it.”
The Destiny was built to handle a lot. It needed to be, this far out, on a mission of such importance. But even with all their advanced technology at the time, the Ancients were not able to build anything invincible. After the 50 or so million years the ship was flying, the fact that it was still in one piece was nothing short of a miracle.
During the short time the humans have been on the ship, they’ve brought the ship through hell and back, and they were likely to do it again, very soon.
“Sir, they’re within firing range,” Scott announced
“Target all weapons,” the Colonel ordered.
All of Destiny’s turrets turned towards the rear of the ship, placing the enemy in their sights.
The atmosphere on the bridge was tense. Just then, one of the enemy ships fired a single bright white energy shot towards the ship’s port side. The entire ship shook violently. On the bridge, a component overloaded sending sparks across the room.
“Return fire!” the Colonel ordered.
Most of the Destiny’s weapons began firing back yellow shots at the other ships.
Chloe responded, “Shields are down by nearly twenty-five per cent!”
“Sir, we’re barely leaving a dent,” Scott reported.
“We’re getting a message,” Rush reported.
“Let me guess…” Young replied.
“…Surrender,” Rush said, confirming Young’s suspicions. “We have to get out of here.”
“Not until Brody’s team is back.”
“They hit one of our shield generators,” Chloe explained. “The others are compensating, but if another gets hit we won’t survive the jump!”
“Divert all power to shields! Evasive manoeuvres.”
At that moment the Destiny began twisting and turning. Avoiding the weapon’s fire from the other ships.
Six people were crossing the rocky plains on an alien planet, carrying several dozen pounds of rocks. They were not expecting to have to make only one trip to the Gate, but urgency demanded it.
Adam Brody was pushing most of the material on the Kino sled. The rest of the team, including Lieutenant James, was much further ahead of him, carrying the rest of the stones in backpacks. Suddenly, James looked up and saw before her, the Stargate, less than two minutes away. She reached into a pocket and pulled out the remote and began searching for the command to dial the Gate.
In Destiny’s Gate room, the Stargate lit up and began to spin. Barnes grabbed her radio.
“Sir, we have an incoming wormhole!”
Young grabbed the radio, “tell them they’re running out of time.”
As the Gate activated, James grabbed her radio and said, “Destiny, this is James, we’re coming in.”
“Roger, this is Destiny, you’re cutting it close,” Barnes’ voice came over the radio.
James picked up the pace running to the Gate, as all the others began entering the Gate James slowed her pace. She put her arm into the event horizon, holding it open for Brody, who was still a minute away, with the sled.
“MOVE!!” James screamed.
On the Destiny, the Stargate was connected as several crew members were resting on opposite sides of the Gate room, ensuring that the area immediately in front of the Gate was clear. A woman with short, blonde hair named Lieutenant Tamara Johansen was one of the many who were waiting as explosions rocked the ship. She walked up to one of the men who just arrived through the Gate.
“Sergeant Graham,” she asked. “What’s taking them so long?”
“Brody fell back earlier,” he said. “I guess Lieutenant James is waiting for him.”
Just then, through the Stargate, came the Kino sled. Followed by Brody, who tripped and fell forward, accidentally pushing the sled forward, and sending it flying across the room. Corporal Barnes stood out in front of it, with her hands held out to catch it before it flew through the main hallway. It pushed her back and she fell on her backside.
James emerged from the Gate and was perplexed, seeing Brody on the ground. The event horizon of the Stargate suddenly disintegrated in a bright flash of light as the Gate closed. This was quickly followed by a burst of CO2 from the power conduits in the floor, on either side of the Gate. It was needed to cool the Gate’s capacitors, which were of the highest grade, and the highest fragility.
T.J. acted fast, grabbing Barnes’ radio which was left next to the console.
Meanwhile, on the bridge, the quartet were still trying to protect the Destiny.
“Shields are down to twenty per cent!” Rush announced in desperation. “We have to go now!”
“Colonel,” the voice of Destiny’s Chief Medical Officer came over the radio. “Brody’s team just arrived.”
“GO! NOW!” The Colonel ordered.
Then the entire crew could feel a spacial distortion go through the ship as Destiny reentered FTL.
As everyone on the bridge began to relax, Colonel Young spoke. “Okay, Chloe.” she turned and looked at him. “We need to know everything.”
Canterlot was a city of majesty. Built many centuries ago in honour of the royal house, located near the peak of the tallest mountain in Equestria. Nearly the entire city was built within the castle itself. White stone walls surrounded the perimeter, and within was a bustling community, filled with ponies from all walks of life.
In one area of the city, two newcomers were wandering the streets, trying to blend in. One purple, one rainbow. They weren’t very successful.
“So where do they live exactly?” Rainbow Dash asked her friend.
Twilight replied, “I’m not sure, it’s been a while since I’ve been at this end of town.” She was reading off a piece of parchment levitating in front of her face.
“You grew up here.”
“Not really, my parents moved recently, so I’m not sure where exactly they live.”
The two continued to walk down the streets. Twilight then noticed one of the street signs. “I think…” she trailed off, walking down the street ahead of Rainbow.
“Wait up,” Rainbow said, catching up to her friend. Twilight had stopped at a boxy, blue-brick building.
“I think this is it,” Twilight said. She walked up to the front door and knocked with her forehoof, three times. Rainbow stood next to Twilight as they waited for someone to answer the door. When suddenly a gray unicorn with a purple and white striped mane answered the door with a carrot in her teeth.
The carrot flew up in the air, encased in a purple glow as she threw up her hooves. “Twilight!” she yelled, hugging her daughter.
“Moooom! Please,” pleaded the embarrassed unicorn. She broke from her mother’s grasp. “This is my best friend, Rainbow Dash,” Twilight said, as she gestured towards the blue pegasus.
“Pleasure to meet you ma’am,” Rainbow said, holding out a hoof.
“Oh, please,” said the elder pony. “Call me Daystar!” She shook Rainbow’s hoof. “Come on in.” The three ponies walked into the house. “You two have lunch?”
“No, we, um… we just got into town,” Twilight replied.
“Well then, hope you like leftover spaghetti and hayballs!” Daystar replied. “Darklight, baby, Twilight’s here, she brought a friend!” She yelled towards the upper level.
“A friend!? She has friends now!?” asked a voice from upstairs.
Twilight’s ears flopped downwards in embarrassment.
“Yes, remember!? That’s why she moved to Ponyville!?”
“OH! Right!!” Daystar smiled at her daughter before her husband began to speak again. “What’s up with that anyway, I thought we sent her to learn magic, not remedial social skills!”
At that point, Twilight’s eye started twitching in what Rainbow presumed was anger or annoyance.
“Babe,” her mother replied to her husband. “You do realize Twilight can hear you, right?”
“Right!” Daystar began walking into her living room, to the left of the front entrance. “Don’t worry about it Twilight,” Daystar explained. “He does the same to your brother.”
Twilight wasn’t moving so Rainbow pushed her friend to follow her mother. As the two followed Daystar further into the house, they ended up in her kitchen, where a pot was cooking on low heat. Daystar began telekinetically stirring the pot when Twilight looked at her mother and asked, “How is Moonlight anyway?”
“OH! Um,” Daystar looked away, searching for the words to say. “He’s… doing… stuff?” She said with a smile.
“You don’t know do you?” she replied.
“No, no, he writes all the time!” Daystar walked over to her fridge and opened it, looking inside. “…well… sometimes. He’s living in Haywood now!! Would you two like anything to drink?”
“No, thank you.”
“Rainbow?” Daystar asked.
“Got any soda?” Dash replied.
“Oh! Of course.” Daystar levitated a bottle to Rainbow.
She grabbed it in her hoof and opened it with her mouth as Twilight continued the conversation. “Haywood huh? So… how are things going there?”
“Have you heard of a little film called Skamper!?”
Twilight paused, “No.”
“Well, there’s your answer,” Daystar replied. “But, at least it got made. So that’s good.”
Rainbow was drinking from the bottle the two were talking, she then stopped to say, “I’m sorry, I’m confused.”
“Moonlight Sonata, my little brother,” Twilight explained. “He’s a…”
“He’s a filmmaker,” Daystar interjected. “Not a very successful one, but he’s trying.”
“I didn’t know you had a brother,” Rainbow replied.
“I never mentioned him?” Twilight asked. “Not once?”
Rainbow shook her head.
Suddenly both girls heard a voice from behind them, “Twilight, my darling little girl!”
A blue unicorn stallion, around the same height as the two girls, stood behind them.
“DAD!” yelled the young unicorn, excited to see her father. She grabbed him in a big hug.
“Twilight! My big girl!” he said, hugging her back. “What happened? You used to be smaller.”
Twilight rolled her eyes as the two separated, “Oh! Dad, this is my friend, Rainbow Dash; Rainbow, my dad, Darklight Horizon.”
“AH! Yes,” Darklight said, shaking Rainbow’s hoof. “Rainbow Dash, I’ve heard absolutely nothing about you! But I’m sure if I did it would be mostly lies anyway.”
Rainbow noticed the smirk on Darklight’s lips, so she decided to play along. “OH, I’m sure they would be,” she said. “After all, honesty is not her strong suit.”
Once again, Twilight’s eye began twitching.
“Still!?” Darklight continued. “I thought she would have grown out of that, I mean I remember when she was a little foal, she’d-”
Suddenly, Daystar interrupted, “Okay, food’s ready! Who wants food!? Eat food now!!!” Saving her daughter from further embarrassment.
The Destiny had several storage rooms throughout. Most contained devices, parts and supplies left behind by the Ancients. The crew still did not know what was in most of them and had only gone over a fraction of it, but some things were more urgent. In one of the storage rooms, the dozens of Ancient crates that it contained were since moved to other parts of the ship. The room had to be completely cleaned out for a special project. It was ideally located, close to the Destiny’s infirmary.
Within the room, Lieutenant Tamara Johansen was examining a wall. She found a small port that could be used to supply power directly from Destiny’s reactors, like a cigarette lighter in a car, but much more powerful. Perfect for her project. As she was looking around the room, figuring out where she was going to place everything. Colonel Everett Young approached her from behind.
“T.J.” he said, getting the officer’s attention.
“Colonel,” she responded, turning around.
“You said you needed to talk.”
“Yeah,” she said, almost hesitant to continue. “The supplies we got from that last planet. Turns out most of it was toxic.”
Young laughed slightly, as if to say, ‘figures.’ “How come you didn’t pick it up on the planet?”
“Well it wasn’t exactly a common toxin, in fact I’ve never seen anything like it before. But according to the database, it can be pretty deadly. Though, hypothetically we can use it as an aesthetic, so that’s good.”
“Well that’s perfect. How much of it can we eat?”
“Well, Camile said we might be able to eat for another day, but after that…” she trailed off. “We’ll have to find another world to scavenge from.”
“We’ll use the shuttle,” Young said. “We use the Stargate it’s like ringing a dinner bell.”
It was only a few hours since the attack by the Nakai, and the crew was still on edge.
“Are we sure that’s how they found us?”
“No, but it’s the best lead right now. We have nothing else to go on… better safe than sorry.”
“So,” the Colonel asked, looking around the room. “This is where it’s going to happen.”
“Hopefully, if we can find the parts to build some of those pods.”
“Well, we’ll find something,” Young explained. “The sooner the better, I know Eli would love to walk around the ship again in his own body.”
“Yes, sir,” she responded.
“Is there anything else?”
“Good, carry on,” the Colonel said, leaving the room.
T.J. continued to look around the room. Determining where she would place the pods, as well as work benches and other things she will need, in her new cloning lab. She smiled.
In the home of Darklight Horizon and Daystar, there was a room with walls covered in framed paintings. Landscapes of the Equestrian countryside. Portraits of all sorts of ponies, from all walks of life. Even some abstract work which could not be categorized by a rational mind. Each unique, and all works of art.
“Wow, these are amazing, Mom!” Twilight said, admiring one particular abstract which featured a door sitting in a mysterious void, on a checkered tile floor which appeared to be collapsing.
“Well, I try…” Daystar responded with a chuckle.
“Where is this!?” Twilight asked, pointing to a painting of a beautiful valley.
“Oh, that is in Pyrona,” Daystar explained. “We vacationed there a few years back.”
“Oh! Must have been fun.”
“It was.” An awkward silence fell over the room. So Daystar decided to fill it. “Why’d you come here, Twilight?”
Twilight turned to look at her mother. “What?”
“Why’d you come here?”
Twilight gaped, slightly confused, “I need a reason to visit my parents?”
“Twilight, this is the first time I’ve seen you since you were accepted into Celestia’s School.”
Twilight paused for a minute, shuffling her hooves, “you saw me the day after…”
Her mother responded with a look that said, “really!?”
Twilight said, almost guiltily, “it was Rainbow’s idea. I didn’t even consider it.”
“So you just forgot about us?”
“I didn’t forget about you, I just… I,” Twilight was on the brink of tears.
“Twilight,” Daystar said, attempting to calm her daughter. “I don’t want to give you a hard time, I just want to understand why I haven’t heard from my little filly in so long.”
“I’ve… been busy.”
“Too busy to write a single letter asking what’s going on in our lives? Too busy to visit us even once? You didn’t even know your brother’s special talent.”
“I… I just… forgot,” Twilight looked down in shame. “My studies have filled my mind so much that my own family was pushed out. I’m sorry… I’m sorry I’m such a terrible child.”
“Honey,” Daystar said, shocked. She walked over to her daughter and held her in a one-hoof hug. “You’re not a terrible child. You’re fulfilling your dream, I can’t fault you for that. I’m so proud of you. I just wish I knew what was going on in your life from you, rather than find out about it second-hand from the Princess.”
Twilight backed away in confusion. “You talk to the Princess?”
“A few times, she’s invited us to the royal palace for tea.”
“Oh,” Twilight was a bit confused.
“Just… write us in the future, tell us what’s going on.”
“…and write your brother too,” Daystar asked. “I’m sure he’d love to hear from you… and beg you for contacts.”
In deep space the Destiny was once again, drifting. Having dropped out of FTL hours ago, the crew was merely waiting for the shuttle to return with the supplies they needed to continue their journey.
Colonel Young was just arriving on the bridge, clipboard in hand, where he saw Doctor Volker working at a console with Brody looking over his shoulder.
“Gentlemen,” He said, approaching the two. “Give me good news.”
“Well, we finished repairs to the damaged shield generator,” Volker replied.
“Thanks to the spare parts I stockpiled it was pretty easy,” Brody explained, almost bragging.
“Good, let’s just hope we don’t need it,” the Colonel sat down in the big chair, just as Rush came in.
“Ah, Mister Brody,” he said, gesturing to the man with laptop in hand. “Just the man I wanted to see.”
“What for?” Brody asked as Rush walked over to the front of the bridge to one of the neighbouring consoles, placing his computer on the console, and opening it.
“We’ve been working on new programming for the shields,” at these words, Colonel Young became very interested, he got off his chair and walked to where the two were standing. “I was going to ask you to go over the calculations.”
“What’s the plan?” Brody asked, leaning forward in front of the screen, to get a better look.
“I was just about to ask the same thing,” Young said from behind them.
“Well, the shield operates by cycling through various frequencies, and the closer the frequency matches the attack, the less damage we take,” Rush explained.
“Yeah, I already know that, so?”
“Well, this program is designed to analyse how well each frequency absorbs an attack, and then alter the cycle to better respond to it.”
“Didn’t we try that before?” Young asked, slightly skeptical. “‘Cause I’m pretty sure it didn’t work.”
“Well, then we were focusing exclusively on one frequency,” Rush explained, a bit frustrated. “The shields will still cycle, but they’ll spend more time on the frequency that will respond best to the attack. In theory, we should be able to cut damage by at least fifty per cent, once the shields adapt.”
“Once they adapt?”
“Well at first, the shields won’t act any differently then they normally do, but in the long run, we’ll take less damage… in theory.”
“What do you mean, ‘in theory’?”
“Well I haven’t had a chance to test it yet!”
Young paused for a minute before asking the most important question: “What’s the downside?”
“In theory,” Rush paused for a second before continuing, “none, even if they respond with a completely different attack, the program is designed to immediately revert to the standard programming. We’d sustain some damage, but in the long run, we should still get out of our next battle relatively unscathed.”
“So why doesn’t Destiny do this to begin with.”
Brody responded, “Destiny isn’t capable of this kind of reasoning.”
“Exactly,” Rush continued. “The only thing capable of pulling this off is a digitized human consciousness.”
“Eli,” Young said. “He’s okay with this?”
“Well, it was his idea.”
Just then, a series of beeps came from one of the consoles.
“Colonel,” Volker announced. “Three Nakai ships just came out of Hyperspace.”
“What?!” Young asked, shocked. “How’d they find us!?”
“I don’t know.”
“The shuttle’s still on the planet,” Rush said. “We should recall it.”
“Good chance those ships will open fire the moment they leave the atmosphere,” Brody responded.
“Ideas!” Young requested.
“The Gate!” Volker replied. “We tell them to wait, jump now, and drop out later when we’re still in range so they can dial in!”
“They’re miles from the Gate, they’ll never make it on foot,” Rush rebutted, “and if they use the shuttle, the ships will notice.”
Young’s brain began cranking.
“They’re still out of weapon’s range,” Volker announced.
“Brody,” Young said. “Do you think this program would work?”
“Assuming Eli can fill in the gaps, yeah!” Brody responded.
“Get it working Rush,” Young said as he sat back in the main chair. Then, by pressing a button on his console, he activated the subspace radio.
Down on the planet, Lieutenant Matthew Scott was picking fruit off a tree when he heard a voice come over his radio. “Scott!” It was Colonel Young, his commanding officer.
He pulled a mysterious green fruit off the tree and after dropping it in a bucket he was carrying, activated his radio. “Yes, sir,” he said.
“I need you all back here now, some old friends just got back.”
“What!?” Scott said in shock. “I mean, yes, sir!”
Scott turned his attention to his group. “Alright everybody, listen up! Grab what you can and get to the shuttle, we need to double-time it, let’s go!” He yelled in his loudest, most commanding voice.
Scott then proceeded to follow his own orders.
The Destiny was still drifting above the planet, as Rush attempted to install new programming for the shield.
“Alright, Colonel,” Rush explained. “I’ll need to reset the shields to finish this, but it means they’ll be offline for a few seconds.”
“Do it,” Young responded, slightly hesitant.
Just then, the voice of Master Sergeant Ronald Greer came from behind him. “How in the hell did they find us!?”
Greer entered the bridge, and was followed closely by a Kino.
Volker was the first to respond, “I have no idea.”
As Greer walked over to the far right console. Young walked over to Volker, and said, “Then go find out.”
Volker got up and ran to one of the consoles on the side of the bridge, as Young took his place.
Rush announced, “Okay, collapsing shields.”
“Colonel!?” Greer asked.
“It’s alright Sergeant,” Young responded.
On the planet, a dozen or so people were packing baskets of fruit in Destiny’s shuttle as Scott sat down. He was worried. He knew the shuttles shields would hold, but only for so long against the new weapons of these mysterious aliens, the aliens that once kidnapped his girlfriend, the aliens that have been stalking the Destiny across at least three galaxies now, and the aliens that wanted nothing less than to conquer the ship he called home. He knew he couldn’t allow that, and he knew he had to protect those in his charge. He knew he had to return to ship. The question was: How?