Cosmic Lotus

Advances in science and magic had detected the Anomaly – a star in the heavens that was unlike all the others in the night sky. Intense research had only served to deepen the mystery. Although Equus had a vibrant space program, going forty-two light years to investigate had been considered impossible until now. The Cosmic Lotus program was born, and over a hundred crew-members of multiple species were sent into the void to discover the unknown. This is their story.
The prequel to this story is the "Ad Astra" arc in the story – "Life, Love, and Death in the House of Path".
This will be a crossover story with my "Chakat Universe".

https://www.fimfiction.net/story/375224/cosmic-lotus

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5. Memories

When Purple Point was released to go back on duty, the first place he headed was to the mess deck to grab himself a mug of coffee before going to his office. He had some research to do and malefactors to punish. However, once logged on, he was refused access to the security scans he had requested the night before.

“CONN, explain reason for denial of access.”

“Access denied by both Captain Path and Commander Bluequill. Message for Purple Point from Commander Bluequill. Point, the three you caught were not the only ones gunning for you. Others did as well. If you would like to know who did what, ask CONN. Message ends.”

Point snorted. “Figures most ponies aboard would. CONN, display and recite list of those who were involved in the minor sabotage on my duty watch yesterday, please.”

“Listing begins: Incident One – Leak in Hydroponics Bay Two, perpetrator Fatima Dashar,” CONN reported in its pleasant female voice.

“Huh! Didn’t know Fatima had that in her,” Point snorted.

“Incident Two – Lighting failure in Corridor 17, perpetrator Eon Path. Incident Three – Corrosives leak in primary science lab, no deliberate cause detected.”

“Didn’t think Techbird would do something like that deliberately,” Point muttered.

“Incident Four – Damage to Linear Park support struts, perpetrators ColdFire and Steam Shift.”

“Sorta figured that.

“Incident Five – Lighting panel in Engine Ops, perpetrator Steam Shift.”

Point nodded in appreciation. “He’s a better mechanical engineer. Good to khow he has the courage to try electrical work. I’ll have to remember that.”

“Incident Six – broken ventilator in Captain’s cabin, perpetrator Captain Wandering Path.” In this case, CONN displayed the footage, revealing it truly was an accident – he skidded on something and fell into the ventilator, breaking the handle tab.

“Nice dance step, Captain Graceless,” Point said with a chuckle.

“Incident Seven – Leak in hibernation bay two, perpetrator Eon Path. Incident Eight – hole in ventilation duct, perpetrator Ortzi Goldbeak.”

“Ortzi? When will he realize he simply can’t play poker at my level?” Point muttered.

“Incident Nine – Hydraulic valve failure in Auxiliary Machinery Room Three, perpetrator Steam Shift.”

“Now, that’s more his style.”

“Incident Ten – Broken water valve, exercise room one, shower booth five, perpetrator ColdFire.”

“Sneaky – no traces left. I like that,” Point grudgingly admitted.

“Incident Eleven – Main breaker failure lighting panel Six-Nine, perpetrator Galen Bluequill.”

“WHAT?!” Point shouted, leaping to his hooves. “Galen did that?”

“Affirmative. Message from Galen Bluequill. Gotcha! Message ends.”

“Why, that sneaky, low-down…” Point said before blasting out a few choice epithets in Griffonian.

“All that and a whole lot more.” Galen said from the office door.

Point looked at Galen, ears reddening. “Why would you do such a thing, Commander?”

“Just to keep my claws in practice. Rigging the breaker to blow on demand was not easy even though it was failing and due to be replaced. I was just glad you took some time in the shower while I rigged the panel. I thought for sure you would lose it then. Also glad the Captain would let me tinker with the lighting breaker. We both knew you were on duty, and would fix it right.”

“I did not intend on letting anyone get me to dance to their command yesterday, and I didn’t. Teach them to try to pull a stunt like that on me! I’m going to let Willow know today at the party that she should have involved me from the start,” Point griped.

“I listened to some of your tirade. I’m going to have to remember the one of plucking all the feathers out of a griffin, numbering them and putting them back on without an anesthetic. You sure know how to insult a griffin, don’t you?” Galen asked, sitting at his own desk in the small office.

“You ought to know, Commander. You challenged me to an honor duel one time, when you overheard me cursing out a broken water pipe to a fountain in the Griffonian Embassy grounds.”

“Yes, well, once I sobered up, you did allow me the dignity of backing out honorably, and we’ve been friends ever since. Can’t say the same about Lord Razortalon, though,” Galen said quietly, hearkening back to an honor battle from a decade earlier than his own aborted battle, where a drunken Lord Razortalon overheard Point swearing during a delicate repair.

“Razortalon would not listen to his aides, even after sobering up. He insisted on the honor fight, so, we fought,” Point said bleakly. “So, I beat him in forty-four seconds, but not without cost.”

“Nearly getting castrated would definitely qualify as a cost. Getting your tail cut off didn’t help, either.”

“Took six months for it to grow back, and two before I could move without pain. Three weeks before they took the catheter out and I could piss without discomfort. His fortune did pay for my doctoral studies, after I ransomed back what his family truly considered heirlooms. I’m not cruel, just determined.”

“That you are, Point. You earned your way here, and don’t you forget it,” Galen said before wincing. Too late, he remembered the two words never to say in Point’s presence.

Point looked as if all the sadness on all Equestria had landed on his withers. “I can’t. I can’t forget a thing, no matter how much I want to,” he whispered before walking out of the office, tail limp.

He stopped by his cabin to grab his portable music player before going to the Park. There, he found his preferred patch of new grass and sprawled upon it, letting the ventilator blow the scents of his favorite plants into his nostrils as he listened to music, trying to jolt himself out of his depression. It took an hour or more, but it did work. Other ponies using the Park knew not to disturb him while he ‘meditated’.

Invigorated, he sought out one particular crew pony, one Gomez Sanchez Caballeros, the youngest member of the crew, whose skill at piloting the landing and orbital craft impressed everypony since he was barely in his teens. Flying came naturally to the young pegasus, be it himself or a small craft. Point had known the pegasus since he was a colt, having stayed with the family for six months while studying for a PhD in Ciudad de Mexicolt. Not only did Gomez have a good voice, he also played one hot guitar. Point himself only had moderate skill with harmonica, accordion and keyboards, but his best instrument was drums. Point’s singing voice, while not stage-worthy, was not bad to listen to.

The green and orange pegasus readily agreed to assist with Point’s performance at the party that evening, and so the two went to Point’s cabin for a little practice, it being larger than Gomez’ own. The two songs they decided upon posed a challenge to both their voices and instrumental skills. Ninety minutes of practice was enough for the two before breaking for dinner and party preparations.

Dinner was rather sparse, but the party would make up for the scanty meal, Kale going all out for it. Back in his cabin, after a long shower and grooming, Point put on his one main concession to the party atmosphere – a rainbow-colored tie-dyed bow tie over his uniform. Promptly at seven, he was outside Zubon’s door. As he raised his hoof to buzz, the door slid open, revealing Zubon in a nice party dress, her mane groomed in a Zebrican style. “My dear Doctor, you look spectacular!” Point exclaimed in rather stilted Zebrican.

“You’re looking fine yourself, Point. So, shall we?”

“Yes! Let’s go to the party!”

The Park was dressed spectacularly for the occasion, that being the one space that would hold all the crew at once. Tables were set along the walls, servers keeping them stocked with some of Kale’s best creations. Canned music was playing, but a small bandstand was set up at one end for later, many of the crew having musical inclinations. Point guided Zubon to a table. “What would you like from the buffet, dear Doctor?” he asked.

Zubon sniffed some at all the aromas dancing about. “Grilled corn and banana leaves, please, with a glass of wine.”

“Thy desire is a command to me!” Point said gallantly, bowing dramatically before fetching her desired choices, along with his own selection, a triple-thick hayburger with the works, fries, and his usual mug of coffee, carrying them in his purple-white glow.

The two dined slowly, chatting often with passers-by, because both knew who was going into hibernation the next day. Some couples danced out on the lawn to the canned music. “Not bad music, but I think I can do better,” Point said after a bite.

“Oh? You sure of that?”

“Well, I have some help. Once the crew settles down, I’ll go up and play, with my partner in tunes.”

“Just remember my warning, Point.”

Point held up a hoof. “Hey, I promised, and I will ensure you will not hear me do ‘Barnacle Tail the Sailor’ tonight. Something lively in Esponial. Two somethings, actually, and a final instrumental I find soothing.”

“I think I know what they will be, but I can’t wait to hear.”

“Patience, my dear Doctor, will reap wonderful rewards,” Point said, as he watched Eon hauling out a bin of food trash for recycling, giving Point a nasty look as he passed by.

It was about half an hour after they had completed dining when Captain Path climbed up onto the bandstand. “Okay, crew! Who wants to help with the festivities?”

Gomez stood up. “I do! Point, get up here, please. We have some music for everyone!” he called out.

“That’s my cue,” Point said as he stood up and pushed his way through the crowd to the bandstand. Once there, he sat down behind the electric drum set, adjusting their arrangement to his taste before picking up the sticks in his glow. Gomez had brought his favorite guitar, and the two set up their microphones.

“Our first offering tonight is called ‘Vive’,” Gomez said as the opening chords were sounded, with CONN providing the backing tracks not supplied by the musicians. Point and Gomez alternated on the vocals, Gomez’ high tenor contrasting well with Point’s baritone. Of course, the words were all in Esponial, but the infectious beats soon had many of the crew up and dancing.

After that song ended, the two musicians wiped themselves down with napkins as the crew cheered. “Our next selection is called ‘Oye’,” Point said as he started the opening beats, shifting from the drum set to the keyboard. This one more of the crew knew, and they joined in on some of the verses, even if they did not know the language. The cheering was even louder after the second song, many either stamping or clapping in approval.

“That’s all we have rehearsed. I’ll be back later with something completely different, but now I’ll let someone else try their luck up here. For sure, they won’t beat me at the poker table!” Point laughed as the crowd applauded, ColdFire giving him a dirty look as she returned with a cartload of dishes.

Point returned to his seat. “Did I pass your test, Doctor?”

“Very much so. That was very passionate, exuberant, and fun!”

Point blushed a little at the compliment, his ears turning faintly pink. “Music is a passion of mine because it can jolt me out of depressive loops, given time. I know a lot of songs, and when the mood strikes me, I’ll share them. Today, I felt in the mood to do so.”

“I’m glad you did. I don’t know Esponial, but you made it sound wonderful.”

“I lived with Gomez’ family for six months some years ago, when I was in Ciudad de Mexicolt. I took the time and made the effort to learn the language. Glad I did,” he said before taking a sip of coffee and making a face. “Cold. May I get you another drink?”

“Please. Another glass of wine would be wonderful.”

Point got up. “On its way. I need a fresh coffee, even though they make it weak.”

“Nobody takes coffee like you do. Do you drink it or eat it?” Zubon asked.

Point smiled back. “I’ll leave that as an exercise for the doctor, Doctor. Be right back.”

So engrossed was Point in getting through the crowd, both to get drinks and return, he did not notice the new group that took over the bandstand, nor what song they were playing, until the first words were sung, and by then, it was too late. When he heard those first words, almost back to the table, he let out a scream of pure fright, the shock causing every changeling in the room to stagger in place.

“Radiance! Get back where you belong!” he bellowed, his mug and wine glass dropping to the ground as his pupils constricted to mere pinpoints.

“Oh, horseapples!” Wandering said as he felt the waves of fright coming from Point being relayed through his network from the changelings closer to Point. Quickly, he threw up a confining field around the stricken unicorn. “Starry! Get some restraints, fast! I’ll hold him!” he shouted to his herd-sister, who promptly ran out of the park.

The band stopped as every crew member in the Park looked at Point, who was trembling all over, held in Wandering’s restraint field, eyes staring at nothing.

“Captain, what’s going on?” asked the lead singer of the band.

“You know what song you were playing, right?” Wandering said, finding it a struggle to hold the unicorn.

“Yes – The Wreck of the Gowanus Herald. What’s wrong with it? What’s wrong with Point?” the singer asked.

“You know what the song is about, right?”

“Yes, how a merchant ship went down in a big storm, killing twenty-nine, but twenty were saved by the sacrifice of one unicorn, Radiance Glow. What has that got to do with Purple Point?”

“He is Radiance Glow. They never found his body, right?”

“No, they didn’t. But, Radiance Glow was chestnut brown, with a red and white mane, a green tail and white hooves and horn. I saw the movie more than once,” said another crew pony. “Point is grey and purple.”

Starry charged back in to the Park, carrying a suppressor ring in her glow, which she slipped over Point’s horn. Point did not react to that, still standing there, trembling, eyes staring at nothing. Wandering dropped his restraint field. “Time to tell a story that really should remain within the crew alone. He’s been running from the memory for thirty-two years.

“Everyone knows Point served in the Merchant Marine for over six years before going to university. Ever notice he never says what ship or ships he sailed on?”

Eon spoke up. “I noticed that. It seemed like he knocked around several ships as he moved up in rank, but he never says any ship names, just ports.”

“Nor has he ever mentioned the full names of anyone, referring to them by title or by a partial name. He will go into detail about jobs he had done, but never about the crews,” Crystal Twist supplied.

“There’s a reason for that. Radiance Glow is described in the song, and in films, as a brave, heroic unicorn, tying himself directly into the ship’s mana battery to get the power to teleport those who were close enough to him from the sinking ship to Vanhoover. In truth, Radiance Glow was very hard to get along with, arrogant, foul mouthed, and cruel. He was a vicious card player, as well as a brawler and fighter. What is known is that he has killed at least four ponies in brawls, with his hooves alone.

“Nobody aboard liked him, but they respected his native talent for keeping the ship running. The song describes the Gowanus Herald as a proud ship, the pride of her fleet. Actually, it was an aging rust-bucket operated by a company who was determined to squeeze every bit out of it as they could.”

“Why would Radiance ever go aboard such a ship?” ColdFire asked.

“It was the first ship out of Baltimare. He was wanted by the authorities for questioning in an assault,” Wandering said.

Doctor Zubon was looking over Point carefully. “It’s like he’s in some sort of catatonia, replaying something over and over in his memory,” she said.

“He is, Doctor. He’s replaying the scenes from the loss of the ship, from the time the ship rolled over to the time he teleported the last pony off, a pegasus deck crewpony by name of Jerdian Lighthoof.”

“Jerdian Lighthoof? She wrote the song, as well as the script for the movie!” the lead singer said from where he was listening.

“She was also the last off the ship. How does that one verse go?” came a question from the crew.

“When the last one did go, so did Radiance Glow, claimed by the magics that burned him all over. Where he did go, no one does know, because they never did find him in Vanhoover,” the lead singer recited, along with about a dozen crew members.

“Radiance Glow was not found in Vanhoover, because he showed up five days later, in Baltimare.” Starry said, looking sad.

“In Baltimare? From fifteen miles off shore of Vanhoover? That’s impossible!” Gizmo Gears exclaimed.

“He didn’t teleport all in one shot. He teleported again and again, mind fixated on only one thing – to go home. He was found shambling around his old neighborhood in Baltimare, his fur already turning grey where it was not charred, his hooves and horn changing color, mane and tail burned off, still in a state of shock. Starry and I know about this, because House Path was asked to track down the past of this mysterious unicorn found wandering around Baltimare.

“Tapping into the ship’s mana crystal did give him enough power to save the others aboard who were not already killed by then, but at a terrible cost. His already formidable mental skills were amplified to a great degree, as well as altering his personality. He also acquired a couple of phobias, namely he will never go on the ocean or even look at water for long, and a profound phobia of sleep.”

“His interview!” Skye suddenly spoke up.

“What about his interview, Skye?” Starry asked.

“He did his interview with the media right after I did, between the boost phase and the Oldbird Effect burn at our closest approach to the Dim Star. When he was asked about his eidetic memory, he did say that the talent does have its drawbacks.”

“It does, Skye,” Wandering said seriously, addressing not just her, but the crew at large. “He literally cannot forget anything at all. If he sees something, hears it, reads it, he remembers it, be it good or bad, down to the last detail he can detect. Right now, he is locked in a memory loop, remembering every event that happened when the ship went down.”

“When he was repairing the broken nutrient line yesterday, he said, ‘No, Radiance!’ quite distinctly. I remember being confused about it,” Princess Galena supplied.

“He can’t forget just how nasty Radiance Glow was, and he vowed to be the opposite of what he was, whenever possible. Radiance Glow lives on, deep inside him. The only way Glow shows himself is the compulsive cursing Point does while working alone.”

“That’s why one of the cardinal rules of dealing with Point is to never say ‘forget it’ around him,” Galen said. “It hurts him so much to be reminded that he can’t.”

“Why did you put the suppressor ring on him?” Playbitz asked.

“If we didn’t, he would try to teleport home. He would try to tap our mana source here to do it, and the power would fry him in seconds if he tapped it. Don’t worry – we have a means of bringing him out of the fugue, but I want to caution the crew not to mention this incident to him. It will only make him either very mad, or very ashamed,” Wandering informed the crowd there, ponies, griffins, zebras and changelings alike.

“I have known him since I was a colt,” Gomez said, “but I never knew this about him. He did tell fun sea stories. Watching him trying not to swear in front of us fillies and colts was very funny.”

“He only uses the mildest of his coarse language when in public. Even then, he tries not to. He’ll make up words to vent his feelings.”

“Why did he turn down the chance to study with House Path?” Skye asked. “I remember that from his interview, too.”

Commander Bluequill answered that question. “He simply does not want to fight. He can, and well. He does not want to be any better at it than he already is. He won an honor fight with a griffin twenty-five years ago, defeating the griffin Lord in under a minute, without magics. Not before sustaining grave injuries, though.”

“He said that some lessons you can never forget,” Skye said, more than a little sadly. “That’s the only time I have ever heard him use that word.”

“He will recover, Skye,” Wandering said gently. “He did not study under House Path, but it was House Path psychologists who put him back together again. Starry and I know methods to bring him back to his normal state of mind. It’s not hard, because the psychologists put some… well, call them resets, in him.”

“Can’t he ever face the truth about himself?” Cosmic Dawn asked.

“He faces it every minute of every day, Dawn. He just feels he can’t burden anyone else with it. It’s his fight, and his alone. That was the biggest stumbling block the psychologists had to work around. It’s burned into his brain.”

“He has more courage in one hair of his tail than most griffins have in their entire bodies. I’ve seen it in action,” Commander Bluequill said quietly.

“We all know of his courage and dedication to the project, the mission, and the crew,” Princess Galena said, “but, can you get him treated? I can still feel the fright and pain emanating from him.”

“I could feel him all the way up at the mess decks,” Steam Shift said.

“Starry, please escort him to Medical. You know what to do,” Wandering said.

Starry nodded. “That I do. Come on, Point – let’s go. I’ll get you home.”

At the word ‘home’, a little hope crept into Point’s eyes. Not much, but some. He followed Starry tamely, putting full trust in her, Doctor Zubon following. As the doors to the Park closed, Wandering addressed the crowd. “One thing I have to say to the entire crew. While betting on Point’s swearing is one thing, damaging the ship, however minor, cannot and will not be considered acceptable behavior. To that end, I will meet with all those identified as causing damage deliberately… but privately. I will not go so far as to name the perpetrators publicly, but penalties will include extra duties and fines, as well as a written apology to Point. He doesn’t mind the pool as it’s been pulled on him before, but trying to force him into doing something that he considers shameful is pushing matters a little too far.

“The profanity pool will continue as before, but remember, he’s in on it too.” Wandering paused to look over the crew, who were paying attention to his words. “Well, what are you standing there for? We party tonight, because many of us will be going to sleep tomorrow!”

In Medical, Starry had Point sit down. His expression had barely changed as he was guided, sight and thoughts turned inward.

“Just how will you bring him out of his fugue, Starry?” Zubon asked.

“When he was reassembled, to use a poor word, several key phrases were implanted in him to bring him out of his withdrawn state,” Starry told the doctor. “I will teach you the phrases and the intonations needed to cut through his mental fog. He will remember events as he went into the state, but he will not remember what happened while he was entranced, not even time passing.

“He will be confused for a moment, then he will feel exceptionally guilty before he recovers. Just how did you get him to escort you to the party?”

“Threatened him with not releasing him to duty unless he went. He did offer to escort me.”

Starry smiled. “He may have a severe dichotomy, but he is so pleasant to be around, you tend to overlook his bad traits.”

“He is pleasant – always polite and gallant, willing to help anyone. I take it his… alter ego… was a lot different, from what we were told.”

“Almost a complete opposite. When he recovered, he swore to never be like his prior self in any way, shape, or form. However, he did find that he had to release the bit of his prior self, to keep him under control.”

“His compulsive swearing as well as his prowess at poker,” Zubon guessed.

“Yes, or rather, how he acts playing cards. He shows no slack or no mercy while playing. But, if you beat him, he’s so pleasant about it, it makes one not mind losing. You should see him and Galen playing cribbage.”

“War across the board?”

Starry nodded. “Oh, yes. Afterwards, they shake hooves, compliment each other, and go on their separate ways.”

“Interesting. So, how do you wake him up?”

“Watch and listen carefully. The tones are just as important as the words,” Starry cautioned before looking at Point.

In severe, upset mother tones, she snapped out, “Purple Point! Radiance Glow! Behave! You’re causing a scene!”

The effects were almost immediate. Point’s eyes snapped into focus, and he shook himself so hard, his mane went every which way. He looked up at Starry, his ears turning right red. “How bad?” he asked in a small voice.

“Grade Two flashback, possibly a Grade One. You seized up in public to that tune. Why didn’t you hear it coming?”

Point’s nose almost hit the floor in shame. “I was fetching drinks for the Doctor and myself. I was trying to get through the crowd without spilling a drop. I wasn’t paying attention,” he said mournfully. “Now everyone knows my shame.”

“No,” Zubon said firmly. When Point looked at her in surprise, she went on. “Not your shame, your bravery. You saved lives when all appeared lost. What prompted you to even do such a thing?”

Point looked at Zubon, his eyes reflecting his internal pain. “He hated them all, the entire crew. Dregs of society,” he said in a dull voice. “When the storm hit, he was off duty, in the lounge. Some of the newer crew were there, more than a little frightened. When the big wave hit, and the ship started rolling over, one of the youngest of them looked at him and said, ‘What can we do, sir? I’m not ready to die yet!’ After the ship steadied, upside down, something broke inside him. Maybe it was the way that new hire looked at him with so much trust, wondering what to do, needing guidance. We grabbed the 1MC mike in the lounge and put out an all-call for all survivors to go to the power room. Help any pony who needed it, but get there quickly!

“Some crew called in from various points in the ship, saying they were on their way. Two were hurt, and we sent the two with us to get them while we went to the power room. We knew where to go in Vanhoover, but we hadn’t the power to reach it on our own.”

“Tapping into a mana battery crystal that size, that old and that damaged was a foolish thing to do, Point,” Starry said. “Not even I would do such a thing.”

“He and I could hear the ship breaking apart, the load shifting, pouring out the fill hatches unevenly. The keel was snapping. We didn’t have much time. We got to the power room. The crystal was failing, cracking, releasing power randomly. We gathered up what we could and we started sending every pony to Vanhoover. The last one to get to the power room as the noise of the keel cracking got louder, was the pegasus who asked us what to do. She asked me if we were alright. We could feel the power raging through us, burning us from the inside out. We told her, ‘No, but you will be,’ as we sent her to Vanhoover. That was the last we remember,” Point said, nearly in tears. “The next thing I knew, I was in Ponyville, at the House Path facility, knowing just how much of a patoot he was, and I had to keep him locked away inside me, vowing never to be like him.”

Point was saved from collapsing by both Starry and Zubon, supporting him on either side. “Patoots like him should never be inflicted on anyone, no matter what they be. He hated every being that was not his equal. I won’t put up with it.”

“Patoot?” Zubon asked Starry as Point started weeping.

“He will not swear in front of anyone knowingly. He makes up words to vent his feelings when swearing would not be ‘appropriate’, in his mind,” Starry replied quietly.

Point took a breath. “Always leave them wondering what in Tartarus you meant,” he gasped out between sobs.

“Is he always like this when he comes out of a fugue?”

“For a while. He will recover in an hour or so. Right now, he needs a nap. He’s made his confession, now he can rest. When he wakes, he’ll be the way you normally see him.”

“How can he get to sleep? He needs his medication to do that!” Zubon exclaimed.

“Just watch,” Starry said as he turned her full attention on Point. “Take a nap, Purple Point. You need it,” she said firmly. Point went totally limp and Starry used her magic to put him onto a medical bed.

“Just out of a fugue, he’s extremely suggestible. Also, he won’t remember this part. He must go through it fresh every time it happens. All he will know is that it happened; details won’t stick.”

“So, the eidetic memory has gaps in it?” Zubon asked, trying to make a joke out of the irony.

“I would consider these gaps a blessing. Here, he can confess his life, tell his tale, and not remember doing so. He believes he’s keeping the monster that is Radiance Glow away from ponies, where he can’t do harm. When he wakes, he will be back to his normal self. Want to wait for him to wake up?” Starry asked.

“Not a bad idea. I think he would appreciate a friend who knows his secret, but doesn’t care. He’s a good pony. He needs me, knows it, and strives to do right by me. I’ll wait for him. What should I do when he wakes?”

“Have his coffee ready. Tell him you know, and don’t care. Ask to be his friend. Take it from there. I’m heading back to the party. He should wake up before the party’s over,” Starry said before leaving.

When Starry returned to the party, everyone there stopped what they were doing to look at her. “He’s doing fine. Doctor Zubon is with him. Expect him back in an hour or so,” she told the crew, who all cheered at the news before resuming their activities.

Wandering made his way to Starry. “What recovery mode did you use?” he asked quietly.

“Mode One. He did another confession. The ‘we’ part started at the same place. It looks like it was the shock of being asked a question by Jerdian was the trigger that caused the change, but the crystal tap, well, crystallized it. We just have to make sure he stays Point side up,” Starry reported.

“It was his first relapse in over two years. He’s just too talented, too skilled, to reject. When most go into hibernation, we need somepony with his wide array of skills and talents.”

“He’ll be just fine. Doctor Zubon will need a briefing on all the pass phrases to bring him out of a shock. We should have done that earlier.”

“I know, Starry,” Wandering sighed. “You, me, Galen and now Zubon. I’ll select some more after we salt everypony down.”

“Right. Now, let’s party!”

An hour and ten minutes later, Purple Point and Zubon returned to the party to much cheering and stomping. Point made his way to the stage, hoof bumping all who offered one to him. “Okay, ponies and other assorted what-have-yous! Zubon has agreed to do a little dance for us while I play, so, give her your attention, please! I would, but I’m going to try not to make a mistake,” he said loudly, then went on in a more hushed tone, “If I do make a mistake, the next time I wake up will be two months after we reach the Far Star, without a hibernation pod!”

Zubon shot him a look as the crowd laughed, a look that promised mass mayhem with a twinkle in her eye. Point sat down, not at the drums, but the keyboard. “Wind her up, because it’s time to start the music box!” he exclaimed as he started to play.

The combination of Point’s music and Zubon’s exotic Zebrican dance enthralled the crowd, Point putting passion into his playing, this song being one he practiced, not just memorized. When the song and dance ended, the watching crew paused for all of ten seconds before a spontaneous cheer went up, one that shook the hanging plants along the roof line.

When the cheering ended and Zubon sat down, Point looked at her and smiled. “Of course, you know this was her idea,” he said a little snidely to much laughter. “I have one more song for you all. If you know the words, join in, okay?” he said before pounding out the opening chords to ‘Balls of Fire’.

Wandering, Starry and Galen stood in the back of the park while the crew either cheered or joined in the song. “Looks like Purple Point is back,” Galen said.

“That he is,” Wandering said. “I just wonder what his bank account will look like before we arrive.”

“Better than ours, more than likely,” Starry said.

“Next time he relapses, can we try to edit his card playing?” Galen asked with a small groan, not looking forward to the next cribbage game with his assistant.

Wandering sighed. He expected to lose more than a few bits to Point, whose card playing was legendary or nightmarish, depending on who you asked. “I wish I could,” he said mournfully.

Author's Note:

NOTE: This episode was 98% written by Alden MacManx. I mostly only proofread and edited it. Memories was first published in his story: Purple Point: His Life in Space. If you enjoyed it, please go there and give him a fave!

   
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