Life, Love, and Death in the House of Path

The House of Path has grown to be an enormous influence in Equestria, Griffonia, and other nations, and has gained many unusual members. But with such a varied membership, comes some unusual circumstances. Free Agent stunned the hives with his deviant mutant nature, but can a normal changeling queen learn to love? When an alicorn's dearest friends die, how does she cope? What are the new generation like? How does a pony needs to learn how to deal with a destiny that he never expected? What lofty goals do they set for themselves?
These are highlights in the lives of the various House Path members, and all the love, fear, and hope that comes with such a family of beings. And maybe a little bit of sex in between.
This series follows after "Quantum Gallop" and is episodic, and the chapters might not be added in sequential order.


7. Ad Astra 1 - The Challenge

{41 HP}*

It was a general rule that the Greater Equus Council met twice a year to go over the various inter-civilization affairs. Griffonia had decided to create an alliance with Equestria, but along with the changeling hives and the Crystal Kingdom, they were still very independent. Various other nations had joined the GEC over the years, but House Path had scrupulously maintained its neutrality and retained the position of impartial mediator in the Council’s affairs. For these reasons as well as to keep the topics flowing, Lucida was the moderator. However, this time House Path also had business, but since she wasn’t representing a country, Lucida addressed the gathered members last.

“House Path has some exciting news to announce. Working with Magitek Corporation, we have brought you many technological improvements, especially in advanced communications, such as voice with the Multi-Frequency Modulated Trotty network and the GemVee video system. We thought we outdid ourselves with the trio of the very first communication satellites – Cel-1 servicing Equestria, Glim-1 serving the Griffonian territories, and Hive-1 & Hive-2 serving intercontinental communications, but we have now decided to make the next jump.”

She tapped a crystal and an image of a massive towering object lit up by floodlights appeared in front of everyone.

“This is what the House’s Advanced Sciences team has been working on. We call it the Triad III. This consists of the original launcher, the one that lifted all the communication satellites, but we attached two of our magitek core boosters to the sides. What we are planning is to put the first Equians into space without alicorn assistance. They will become the first true aethernauts.”



She pressed a button and the image zoomed in on the apex of the launcher.

“At the very top of the launcher, in that pointy module, is where the crew will reside for their first mission. We are still working on the mission specs, but it looks like it will last anywhere from 3-5 days for system tests, community outreach and science experiments. When this mission is successful, it will be a stepping-stone to greater missions of longer duration. Our present goal is to be able to travel to the moon and put an exploration team down there. This has only been made possible by the contribution of the Council’s member nations, and as such we invite candidates from all of you to apply for our aethernaut training program.”

Lucida sat down with a satisfied smile as all of the ambassadors started talking among themselves. Then they started shouting.

“Who should go?!”

“Clearly a griffon should be the first. It is our nation that birthed House Path!” the large Griffonian ambassador yelled.

“A changeling is the obvious choice! We made up most of the R&D wing, and we helped construct the launch complex,” Fidelitas shouted back.

“Without the Equestrian forces, none of this would be possible. A pony should be first!” Equestria’s representative loudly responded.

“If this is truly an international effort, Saddle Arabia should be represented!”

“Prance has been in the Council for longer! A Prench mare should be an aethernaut!”

Lucida banged her gavel on the table to get them all to calm back down.

“As I was saying, we called the launch vehicle the Triad III, not only because of the three boosters in the first stage, but because it will carry three aethernauts. We have already created a short list of our own candidates, but it is up to you to pick your own finalists. The clock is ticking; launch is in two years. The comprehensive details are in the report that my husband is now passing out to you.”

Hype moved around the table, passing a professionally bound copy of the report to each of the Council’s representatives who glanced through it before returning their attention to Lucida.

When everyone’s eyes were back on her, the hippogriff continued. “As the life module will need to be customized to suit the species of the chosen aethernauts, the sooner that you can send us your candidates, the sooner that we can determine the final crew and work on the module’s final design. Now, if there are no other questions, I think our meeting is concluded?”

One after the other, each of the ambassadors nodded and Lucida banged her gavel once more.

“This session of the Greater Equus Council is adjourned. I look forward to seeing you all again in six months.”

The main doors opened up. Fidelitas, Hype, and Lucida were the last to leave, and once they were outside, Path slinked up beside them.

“Aren’t you glad I told you to plan for three?” the earth pony asked with a grin. “It makes figuring out who goes first a lot easier.”

The hippogriff rolled her eyes. “I hate meetings.”

Path laughed. “Nah - you know you love them. I’m going to head back to the center and work with Pif and Free. Then maybe I’ll go golfing. Ta-ta!”

Path veered off in a different direction and Lucida grumped.

Fifi just chuckled. “Oh, dad – he knows just what to do to tease you.”

Lucida rubbed her beak in frustration. “He does; he really does.”

Hype gave his wife a reassuring wing hug. “Just think of it this way – even he doesn’t know the full extent of Pif’s plans for the space program.”

Lucida thought back to Pif’s enthusiastic presentation when soliciting resources from her as Lord of House Path. The stellar anomaly that excited the changeling princess’s imagination was a mighty goal, but if anyone could achieve it, she would. Lucida was convinced by how neatly it fit into the House’s goals of exploration and discovering other civilizations. What could be a greater triumph than answering the question – were the people of Equus alone in the universe?

# # # # # # # # #

Author's Note:

*41HP = 41st year of the House of Path

This is the first prequel teaser for the Cosmic Lotus crossover story.

Art by Kat Miller a.k.a. Foxenawolf

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