The Maretian

by Kris Overstreet

Chapter 189: Sol 333

Previous Chapter Next Chapter


“Book reports?”

Starlight Glimmer rolled up another small bale of sweet-smelling freshly cut alfalfa in her magic. “That’s what I said,” she replied, levitating the bale over to a sample bin for transfer to the rover. “I’ve been reading some of the other books NASA sent while we were working our way through the Ring story. And any of you could have done the same thing-“

“I did,” Dragonfly spoke up, and Mark nodded agreement.

“But that’s not fair!” Cherry protested. “Story time is special! It’s something we can all share!”

“I had to catch up with the rest of you,” Dragonfly said. “And besides, you already said you didn’t want to read the murder mysteries.”

“Anyway, we need to decide what the next book- or book series- for story time is going to be,” Starlight said. “I’ve already talked to Mark about this, and he wants us to make the decision. So each of you get a book to read. Dragonfly, you get the hardest one: Foundation by Isaac Asimov.”

“Bless you,” Fireball said.

“Isaac Asimov is a human name,” Starlight ground out. “I know you know that.”

“Who wants to read books by a guy whose name is I-Suck?”

Starlight raised an eyebrow. Fireball was getting better at English than he pretended, to make a pun like that just for the purpose of being annoying. “You get to read one by a man named Stout,” she said. “There’s a whole series of murder mysteries by him, and you get to read one called The Golden Spiders.”

Fireball shrugged. “Whatever.”

“Cherry, you get to read Ringworld by Larry Niven. No murder.”


Starlight noticed Spitfire cringing. “And Spitfire, I’m giving you the easy one,” she said as gently as she could. “More fantasy- more magic. It’s about witches. It’s called Equal Rites by Terry Pratchett.”

“Why we still do this?” Spitfire asked plaintively.

“Because we don’t know how long we might be in this world,” Cherry Berry said, in the tone of someone who’d said a thing too many times. “We have to act as if we take the long way to Earth and then wait a long time before Twilight rescues us. That means we need to learn the language.”

“But I’m not getting any better!”

“That’s not true,” Mark said. “You’re hesitating less on your words, I’ve noticed. And your grammar’s improving.”

“Doesn’t feel like it,” Spitfire muttered.

“Anyway, read the books, or as much as you can, and we’ll talk about them after the potato harvest.” That came five days after the hay harvest. “After everyone talks about their book, we’ll have a vote, and we’ll all read that book together.”

“What if everyone hates their books?” Fireball asked.

“You won’t,” Mark put in. “Some of you might, but all? No chance.”

“Okay,” Fireball asked. “But what do we do for story time until then?”

“Well, you haven’t told any stories about your home in a good long while,” Mark said. “How about a few of those?”

“We’ve told you all the big stories,” Cherry Berry said.

“All of them that aren’t secrets,” Dragonfly added.

“They don’t have to be big stories,” Mark said. “What about small stories? Stories about people you know.”

It was Spitfire who spoke up. “I have story. We tell you how Twilight Sparkle and her friends all got cutie marks the same day? But they didn’t know for years?”

“Yeah, something about a… what did you call it, Starlight?”

“A sonic rainboom,” Starlight Glimmer said. “A powerful enough pegasus can, in theory, push past the point where magic can’t overcome air resistance. When that happens there’s a thaumic shockwave that leaves a polychromatic image behind, like a rainbow. Rainbow Dash is the only pegasus in living memory to have done it- and the only one outside of legend to be able to do it on demand.”

“She not always able to,” Spitfire said. “You know how she did it the first time. Now I tell you the second time. Listen.”

Rainbow Dash come from pegasus city in clouds. Made of clouds. Named… what named?

Cloud Valley.

Really? Fine. English only language where you call a city two miles in the air valley. Anyway, she live in Ponyville now, but she born and raised Cloud Valley. And every year we have Best Young Fliers… what’s the word?


Best Young Fliers Contest, where we see talent of ponies who just come of age. Is biggest flying contest we have. And not long after Princess Luna return, Rainbow Dash enter. She had big routine plan, big stunts, end in sonic rainboom. One problem- she couldn’t do it. Oh, she could do all the rest of her routine- Rainbow Dash is best pegasus flyer in all Equestria, even me. But she didn’t know how to do the rainboom again.

I didn’t know Dash then- I been… rrrgh… team leader about a year then. I learn this from her later. But I was there at the contest. Best Young Flier gets to spend day with… RRRRGH… our team… so we can see, is she, um, er…

If she’s got what it takes to be one of you.

Yeah, that. So, I there in the stands, and I know the rumors. All Cloud Valley know- knew a little girl say she make sonic rainboom. And we all knew somepony had done it. So we looking for that little girl at contest, and we wait, and we wait, and we wait.

Finally, last two contest-ponies.


Whatever. One was unicorn with big butterfly wings. Pretty to look at, but no flier. Shouldn’t have been let contest.

That was Rarity. I wasn’t there- I was too busy with my obsessions-

Let me tell it!

I just wanted to say I heard the story from Twilight Sparkle much later.

Now you hear it from me! Right. With Rarity came- you sure it was Rarity?


I thought Rarity had more smart.

The wings turned her head a bit.

Must have turned a lot. With Rarity came Rainbow Dash. I think my team and Dash’s friends and family only ones watching her. Everyone else watch butterfly wings in sun. They stare at stupid dancing unicorn while Dash’s routine fall apart. She so nervous she make basic mistakes. I was thinking, poor kid, should have waited, not ready.

Then the butterfly wings go poof. Spell fail?

The spell uses morning dew and spider webs as catalysts. The wings were very fragile and light-sensitive. And it was late summer.

Spell fail. And without wings Rarity flies like a brick. We see her fall straight through stadium, going fast, and the three of us go after her. But Rarity is… is… too scare to think? What’s the word?

Panic. Panics. Panicked. Has panicked. Will panic. Panicking.

All that and a couple more. Waving hooves everywhere. One two three, punches us out cold. I’m wake up and see ground get really close really fast, and then YANK I’m not falling anymore. Rainbow Dash caught all four of us. All same time. And she do sonic rainboom to do it. She swoops up back to Cloud Valley, and I see ring of rainbow, I see rainbow trail behind Dash, I know she did it.

Princess… what you call her in your railroad game?

I used the name of some goddess or other I saw in an adventure module- Celestia, that was it.

I like it. More respect than Sunbutt.

But the princess has nothing to do with bells!

So Princess Cel-Ess-Tea-uh say Dash wins, which is fine to me because she the reason I’m not a hole in the dirt. We spend day with her, she total, what’s the word… what, nothing?

I didn’t hear this part, so I don’t know what you mean.

Can’t stop talk. Lose all cool. She so happy to meet us her head shut down. We see it every air show we do, but Dash was really bad.

Fangirl? Fan is short for fanatic. Rainbow Dash sounds like she was a fan of yours, and she was acting like a complete fangirl.

Fan. Yes, I know about fans. Anyway, she was so fangirl. Not mature enough, we think. Got the talent, but needs to grow up. And she did… took her long enough, though. But that’s another story. I talked enough.

“Wow,” Mark said. “I’m more amazed that the five of you survived a rapid change in vector like that. Like Superman catching a falling Lois Lane.”

“I thought we were never going to watch that stupid cartoon again,” Cherry Berry said.

“Other side of sonic rainboom, physics goes weird,” Spitfire said. “Dash’s magic is really strong. Really, really strong.”

“Sounds like it,” Mark agreed. “Do you have any other stories about Rainbow Dash?”

“Well,” Cherry Berry said slowly, “I could tell how half the town woke up one night because Dash tried to steal a book from the hospital library.”

Spitfire’s jaw dropped. “She what?”

“She did,” Cherry said. “I heard about it from Carrot Top, and she got it from…” She looked at Starlight, making an outline of a large hat on her head with her forehooves.

Starlight sighed. “Apple Cider,” she said. “I think. The translation spell kept wobbling around that one. Almost as bad as…” She bit the bullet and accepted the better-than-the-alternatives name. “… as Princess Celestia.”

“Anyway, Rainbow Dash was practicing tricks, and she had a Bad Day,” Cherry Berry said. “Broke her wing, got a week in the hospital. And she was really, really bored, until Twilight Sparkle said she should try reading one of her favorite books…”

The stories continued for an hour, ending with how Rainbow Dash held the pony space program together long enough for her to become the first Equestrian to spacewalk. Starlight enjoyed Mark’s horror at the brief and almost disastrous ESA Flight Five and then his amusement at some of the antics of ESA Flight Six.

Yes, she thought, this will do for a stop-gap. Until we get our new book picked.

Author's Notes:

I had plenty of time (too much) today for writing, but not the concentration, especially not when the noise picked up and I had to keep a close eye on my booth. By the time I got to my hotel room about an hour and a half ago, I had only the first 450 words of this. Lame stuff, no hook, nothing. I considered dumping it all and starting from scratch, and I considered jumping forward five days to portray the results.

And then I came up with what you see here.

So there are going to be a couple days of filler, with Mane 6 presented from the points of view of our heroes. (Future bits will either be lifted from seasons 1-5 or made up whole cloth.)

By the way, a "celeste" is a hybrid xylophone and piano- looks like a toy upright piano, sounds like a glockenspiel. Starlight's confused because she stopped short of typing out the full "Celestia" and let auto-fill lead her astray.

And "dale" means "mountain valley."

Next Chapter: Sol 334 Estimated time remaining: 10 Hours, 26 Minutes
Return to Story Description


Login with