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.

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/369649/life-love-and-death-in-the-house-of-path

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9. Ad Astra 3 - Ready To Go

{86HP}

The GemVee and associated technologies took the world by storm. For better or worse, one could press a button and be flooded with moving pictures from any series of transmitting stations. It was this magitek invention alone that was providing enough royalties to Magitek Incorporated and, by extension, House Path, for them to fuel the exploration of space without need for much support from other governments. There were all kinds of shows, news, variety, comedy, dramas, documentaries and more available at any time. And with the recent addition of House Path communication satellites, it was all beamed everywhere on the planet at all times of day and night. It was almost an overload.

However there were two beings that were always at the sidelines of all the innovation taking place across Equus. They were the pair of heroes that started it all, but they had descended from their formal positions where they had been called Lord Long Path and Lord Free Agent. Having grown up in decidedly middle-class society, neither had been totally comfortable with their titles, and Path had willingly ceded control of the House that he had founded to his daughter when she proved that she had surpassed him. As always, Free Agent was ever by his side, and they fostered a casual relationship with the public that made a more approachable face to House Path. Somewhere along the way, they acquired the nicknames of ‘That Old Horse’ and ‘That Old Bird’ which they encouraged with grins and laughter whenever it came up. While they didn’t make formal appearances very often, desiring instead to push their daughters onto the center stage, when it came to popularizing one of the House’s projects, they were the go-to people. So when CDN (Canterlot Daily News) heard they wanted to come on the show to announce something new, the producers jumped at the chance and heavily promoted it. Everyone on the news crew wanted to know what was going to be said and what they were going to do. The pair normally only did these things when they were about to make a big splash. Oh how right they would be...

# # #

During the early dinner newscast, the anchorpony looked over off-camera and smiled. “I believe it’s time for That Old Horse and Bird to have a talk with us!” Breaking Headline said as the two walked in from the side and waved to the camera. Path was grinning and Free was waving a wing. “Welcome, Long Path and Free Agent. I hope that you are not going to keep us in suspense much longer about your announcement.”

“You won’t be disappointed, Headline,” Path reassured him before beaming at the camera. “Nearly three decades ago, Commander Highstrike, Artisan Neighan, and Medical Officer Quorn made history by orbiting our planet for seven days, and trust me it was quite an accomplishment. But that’s the thing about the races of Equus, we are always looking further, wanting to expand our horizon, to explore the unknown. To that end is why seventeen years later we created the E.S.S. – the Equus Space Station.”

Free spoke up then, idly tapping his claws on the desk. “And that was a huge step. What we learned about ourselves and our place in the universe only spurred us to go further, to learn more. For eleven years, the space station has served us well, bringing us scientific discoveries we could never hope to achieve on the surface. The new, smaller GemVees that you are most likely watching this program on is proof of this. High-capacity mana batteries, medicines, vaccines, materials and engineering breakthroughs all came about due to the space station. However, it’s time to make the next big step.”

Free looked at Path who nodded and tapped on an old large crystal com that he had brought onto the set. Soon they heard another familiar voice on the line. “Princess Luna here.”

“Luna – did the Greater Equus Council approve?”

There was an expectant silence for a moment. “The motion to go public with the project has passed unanimously. You may tell them, Path.”

“Thank you, Luna.” Path shut off the crystal and looked at Breaking Headline with a grin. “Please have your producer to connect us with Highstrike as I arranged.”

For those watching at home, the scene switched to a view of Commander Highstrike in his space suit. The camera was at a strange angle so that all they could see was his brightly lit face inside the helmet and darkness beyond. There was a delay before he spoke, but the sound was clear and the image was sharp.

“Hello, Lord Path. Was the motion approved?”

Path grinned. “It was, and now everyone is watching you. Once they realize what’s going on, I imagine that viewership is going to spike.”

Highstrike laughed after a tiny delay and started talking.

“From the very beginning, we knew that the Triad Program was just a stepping stone, and we were right. After the program reached its peak, we started the space station, but now it too is starting to reach its limit. What we need is a permanent base, one that could grow by itself, work on science by itself, without the need to be constantly supplied. We need this next step to be self-sufficient.”

The griffon smiled.

“About twelve days ago, the space agency launched seven craft from its facilities. You might not have heard of it, primarily because while it wasn’t hidden, neither was it publicized. Those craft hold supplies and material for our latest great project. Would you like to know what it is for?”

There was a silence before the Headline nodded and said, “We’re all dying to know, Commander.”

Highstrike chuckled and said, “I had been on the space station for the past six months, and twelve days ago, I was reunited with my first aethernaut team members, Quorn and Neighan. However, I can tell you right now that we are not on the space station.”

The camera then slowly rotated and Highstrike left the view of the camera. At first there was nothing but darkness, but after a few moments, the surface of the moon came into view. The features such as the craters and maria that slowly rotated past were all too close and too detailed for Highstrike to be in Equus orbit. Far from it – he was in orbit around the moon!

 

“This is the next step – a Lunar Colony. Approved by the Lunar Aspect and the GEC, this project should be ready in five years, which is when the space station will be decommissioned.”

The camera turned back around to show the griffon in his spacesuit again. “I’ll bet that you are asking yourself: why am I telling you this live as opposed to a press release? Well the reason is simple: do you want to come along?”

The griffon paused for that question to sink in.

“Scientists, metallurgists, farmers, artists, astronomers, these and so many more are going to be needed to make this colony a success. It will start out with just a few hundred specialists, but we are going to need all kinds of people from all races to make a fully functioning society. If you are interested, go to a House Path office near you to sign up. We won’t be sending colonists up here for a few years yet, so you have plenty of time. Those that will be graduating high school this year might consider this as a possible career. However, I am not going to sugar-coat it; the screening process will be rigorous and only a few hundred will be accepted in this first round of migration to their new home, but it couldn’t hurt to pursue the dream, right?”

There was com chatter for a few moments.

“That’s all that we planned to announce, but everyone needs to see this before the transmission ends. My final argument…”

The camera panned back to the moon and held steady as the world witnessed its first Equusrise.

 

“The only limitations we have are the ones that we place upon ourselves. Rise above them for the betterment of all Equus. This is Commander Carnot Highstrike, signing off.”

The transmission cut, and the anchorpony as well as the production team were staring at Path and Free in awe.

Path started to chuckle. “Highstrike always had the flare for the dramatic. Nevertheless, that was what we came to tell you.” He looked directly into the camera and into the eyes of the audience. “Now who’s going to join us?” he challenged.

He and Free stood up and waved to the camera before walking out casually.

For a few moments there was dead air. Headline, the camera crew, the director, and the rest of the crew were all stunned by the monumental project and its implications. Headline was the first to shake it off, resuming his professional demeanor.

“Breaking news! House Path begins the screening process to become a Lunar Colonist!”

# # #

Free looked over to Path as they left the studio. “Was that really the best way to announce it?” he asked with a smile.

Path just chuckled. “Hit the ground running, I always say.”

# # # # # # # # #

 
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