My Intergalactic Pony: Friendship is Faster than Light!
Seated at the helm, Quasar shot a quick glance across some of the displays. Everything was holding green across the board, the Arcanum running smoothly like the precision-engineered ship she was. Trying to keep her smile in check, she settled for tapping a hoof on her armrest to the beat of the swing-ish tune stuck in her head. For lack of anything else demanding her immediate attention, she tapped the crystal embedded in the arm of the chair and once more brought up the data they'd been able to put together on that anomaly they were headed towards.
It had barely been detectable back from the Moon base, and even then it was hard to pin down. Despite being anchored in an asteroid field, it didn't move or behave like a chunk of space rock should- the readings showed it holding an anchored point, stubbornly ignoring the drift of debris around it. A probe had been debated, but there was nothing that would get there faster than the Arcanum and it was eventually deemed a worthwhile first expedition. After some initial test flights above the skies of Equestria, the Arcanum shipped out to delve headlong into the unknown.
Quasar didn't know any of her crewmates particularly well. Some she was aware of due to their reputation, others were complete unknowns to her. As far as she was concerned though, if they'd been selected for this mission then they were worth trusting.
Interrupting her musing, a new message appeared over the crystal's data projection. Apparently, an update on the object. Skimming it, her brow furrowed. Apparently, long range readings seemed to indicate bits seeming to splinter off from the object while others seemed to slow before presumably impacting against it. More interestingly, all this activity seemed to be taking place on a set number of locations, all objects leaving and landing in similar areas.
Quasar grinned like a foal on Hearth's Warming. She liked it when the pieces didn't fit together, even more when she was going to be able to take a firsthand look to see why. Tapping her communications crystal, she spoke up.
"Hey, navigation! What's the ETA on our destination?"
Stardust was busy in her area, staring at the different maps she has right now especially at the star-chart she has. Staring at the stars and jotting them down, helped her navigate the ship out of harms way. The cyan pegasi fixed her ruby glasses on her face, then moved on to the next map. Her focus broke when she heard the voice of her captain speaking through her communication crystal, in which she tapped her hoof on it to speak.
"At the pace we are going captain, we should be there in no time. Though, there are objects that we need to steer clear of as well. As well as the object up ahead, I have no information on it at the moment. Our best bet is to stay away from it."
She flew back over towards her star-chart, jotting things down to continue plotting their course towards their destination.
"Very well, plot whatever course you need to to dodge whatever debris are on the way. We're gonna go and find out what that thing is!" Grinning, she tapped the crystal again, cutting the communication spell. She grinned as she looked at the viewport, looking at the tiny speck that was their anomalous target. None of the readings about it made sense for any debris that ponykind was aware of, and yet there it stood, in stark defiance of reason. Even at this distance it could be seen that it was far more massive than any of the nearby asteroids, and yet despite the fact that it must be getting hit by plenty of them due to it's surface area it seemed to have exactly zero velocity. Resting her chin on her hoof, she tapped the communications crystal again.
"Engineering, run whatever long range scans you can. There's gotta be some sort of magic field around that thing keeping it in place and keeping those pieces around it moving like that, and if it's natural then I'm curious as to how it works. Some sort of arcane magnetic field or something? Do some digging, tell me what you find."
King beyond the Pall
Tymbal paused in the middle of her work. In truth, she'd started running diagnostics on the object as soon as it had come into the range of any of their sensors, and she had only been looking into new parts of it as they drew closer and she could get a better depiction. What she was finding was decidedly not what she or her Captain had expected.
"Engineering here. I've been running scans on it for the past half hour, and there is absolutely no sign of any magic at all beyond normal background mana. Whatever is making it behave the way it is, it's not magic in nature unless it's found some way to defy everything we know about how magic works." tapping some crystals, she sent over the readings that she'd been able to come up with to the bridge.
"What's more, the currents in the ambient mana around it seem to indicate that it's mostly hollow. A solid object of that size should be making the mana mostly go around it like water around a river rock, but it looks like it's mostly going through. Based on the rate of transmission and the wavelength of the mana flowing out, it seems like the outside is likely only a few meters thick of stone, and that the interior, though mostly hollow, is also mostly metal. I'll be able to get better readings once we get closer, but at this distance there's too much interference for me to get more detailed than that."
She sat back in her chair, fiddling with the controls and trying to refine her readings. A pair of pegasus wings faded into existence on her back just in time for them to give a rather insect-like buzz of frustration before they seemed to dissolve into the aether. Tymbal had reached her level of focus wherein her Changeling abilities started to become a bit less reliable, and as she worked the color of her eyes began to drift across the spectrum.
"Hey, can you send me a copy of those reports?" Rune chimed in through the crystal. Obviously he was quite excited about reaching this object. He would have replied sooner had he not been caught up in running diagnostics on the ships own systems, making sure they were in functioning order. "I'd like to compare them to my own readings if you don't mind." He was running his own diagnostics right now, and they we're confirming everything that the other pony had said, but he liked to have something to compare it to. Double checking your work and data is always a good thing.
"Oh, forgive me. Rune reporting from Engineering captain." He said, suddenly aware he hadn't said that he was in fact engineering."Just thought I'd confirm the others reports are accurate with my own Captain. The object is...most curious." He said furrowing his brow and rubbing his muzzle with a hoof. This...thing, whatever it was, was giving some quite perplexing readings. And he wanted to get to it more than ever now.
"Say...Captain, you'll probably need somepony skilled in magitech and such if we decide to take a landing party. If I can respectfully recommend myself, I'd be grateful. I have several recommendations from the Canterlot R&D departments, if I do say so myself." Perhaps he was coming off as a bit arrogant. Still, being able to get aboard this thing was worth it.
Man of Constand Blandness
Meanwhile, across the gallery, and wrapped up in her own feathers and tail, A grey Pegasus jotted shorthand down in a spiral notebook. She took care to keep the scratchy sound of her pencil as audible as possible. The industrious Captain onboard the Arcanum was seated a way in front of her, and Emerald didn't want her silent little 'scritchyscritch' interrupting her. (The captain, not Emerald herself. ) One got used to loud noises far more easily then quiet ones. She was issuing instructions on her Talky-Gem thing. It had a proper name, but Emerald didn't really care for it.
Em looked down at her notes.
"First voyage of the Starship Arcanum" -it said to anyone who knew shorthand. "All is well onboard, we've left Lunar Base port 1 with full supplies, and have run into an large patch of floaty rocks. For all those back home, this is a typical space phenomenon known as an asteroid belt." Em dropped her pencil on the parchment and continued-
"The Rocks range in size from pumpkin-seed to house sized, and we have seen several slower-moving massive town-sized boulders. All behave like predictable rocks in rivers, lending credence to the Void Mana theory posited by Princess Celestia, Save one. One rock seems to remain stable and fixed from our perspective, moving upstream relative to the asteroid current" Emerald listened the the short conversations from the captain to what sounded like Navigation and Engineering, and jotted down: "I've just heard that the rock isn't magical in shape nor form, and that it seems to be hollow. Furthermore, we seem to already have volunteers for a rescue party. Even though you're just a notebook, I'll keep you posted."
Last edited by Matxin gartza; 4 Weeks Ago at 08:26 AM.
Quasar scratched her head. She'd had several theories as to how that rock was sticking there, but the fact that it apparently wasn't using magic threw a wrench in all her hypotheses. She idly flicked through the readings that Tymbal had sent over, pausing once she got to the cross section of the mana flow through the station. The way that it swirled on exiting- it was clear to see what Tymbal meant about it being mostly hollow, there's no way that there would be that much mana flowing through it if it was a solid. That wasn't what gave her pause though. What was puzzling her was that she was sure she had seen a similar distribution of mana emissions before. Not identical, certainly, but parts of the pattern... they seemed strangely familiar.
Closing down the display, she rolled her shoulders before dropping down to the floor. She hadn't eaten in a while, and it seemed to her that she'd have an easier time thinking this through over a big plate of onion rings. Stomach grumbling, she headed down to the mess hall to get some delicious beer-battered sustenance.
Stardust was moving from chart to chart, jotting down notes as to where they should go. "If we go here, then we should be able to avoid most of the debris and asteroids floating around. Thus taking us safely towards the large floating rock there." Her stomach grumbled, but she paid no attention to it..her work came first. She had to steer the ship out of harms way. Her stomach can wait for that can't it?
She placed the coordinates in, letting the ship move towards the path that she drew out. "We should be getting there without any trouble now", she said. Stardust moved her head to make her glasses rest on the top of her head, where her yellow bow was at. She thought it was a shame that she needed glasses to read, because if she lost them..then what could she do?
King beyond the Pall
Tymbal had run through most of the scans she could apply to the object, and had since returned to her more menial job- the one she was supposed to be doing. Sighing, she pulled up the latest system scan results and looked over it again. Sure enough, the numbers simply didn't add up- somewhere in the circuitry of the ship, they were leaking power. It wasn't much, little enough that it would never have been noticed through standard use of the ship's systems. Problem was, leaks have a bad habit of getting worse if left alone, so Tymbal was going over the systems and trying to find the pin-sized hole in the grid. Fortunately, there were actually ways to find stuff like this.
Accessing the power grid, she released a faint pulse into the system. As it flowed through the ship, the pulse was spread thin, but being part of a closed circuit the pulse never broke. It spread further and further, like gum being pulled apart on a hot day, until finally...
"There! Gotcha!" Tymbal grinned. The pulse would remain together as long as it remained within the closed circuit, but as soon as some of it exited that system, say, through a leak, the pulse would snap. Then, like water draining from a tub, the rest would flood out through that exit. More importantly though, much like how water pouring over fur would brush the grain of the fur in that direction, the force of the pulse rapidly draining out would leave a 'grain' on the local mana grid, not interfering with it but allowing the path of the pulse to be traced for a short time. Grabbing her toolbox and a standard two-point seeking crystal, she trotted towards the door as she keyed the crystal to the local grid.
"Rune! I'm tracking down that leak I mentioned earlier. I sent you my readings, on both the space rock and the leak. Let me know if you find anything I missed!" With that said, she headed out of engineering, following the glowing points within the crystal.
Rune was busy continuing his own scans of the object and tinkering with an inactive spell crystal when Tymbal's voice came through his communication crystal breaking his concentration and nearly causing him to put an unneeded amount of magic into the crystal, the effects of which would probably not have been good. After making sure the crystal wasn't about to explode, implode, turn into a fireball of death, or any other hazardous magical phenomena, he replied to the changeling.
"Ah. Thank you Tymbal, I just received them." Rune said with a faint smile as he started to review her findings on both the leak and the unknown object floating not far from them. That leak had been troubling the resident changeling for awhile now. He was a bit surprised when she first mentioned it to him since it was a small leak that wasn't even detectable with the ships systems. Sure enough though, he had checked her math and readings as well and came to the same conclusion. Even he probably wouldn't have even noticed it until it became much worse. The unicorn had to admit the changeling was talented at what she did.
"The leak doesn't seem to be too problematical." He said from where he sat at his work desk which was currently strewn with various papers, gadgets and other things that could be deemed some form of magitech. The leak did seem to be harmless enough, but it was always a good idea to remove problems before they became anything more than that. "You should be able to fix it easily enough with a small bit of magic." He said and leaned back in his work chair. While the leak was something he should be focused on, he was more curious as to what this object was they were coming into contact with. New technology? Some form of Alien life? Or maybe even....alien technology. The idea excited the unicorn just as a small filly was on hearth's warming eve. Alien technology meant new discoveries to be made, and his hooves would probably be some of the first to touch it. Good thing he had a good poker face or he'd be bouncing up and down with excitement.
"I'm more curious as to what this object is....These readings indicate that it is hollow mostly and that it has little magical properties to it. What do you suppose it is? Some new form of technology?" He said getting up from his seat, making sure to take his spell crystal with him, along with the scan reports.