Today’s story arrives from the past to look at the future.
Arrow 18 Mission Logs: Lone Ranger
[Adventure] [Sci-Fi] [Human] • 66,605 words
The star system Omega Centauri was just another oddity on a map to scientists in the not too distant future. However when they found the star was orbiting an earth-sized, earth-like planet instead of a black hole as its motion had suggested, a mission was scrambled to investigate this most unusual of celestial behaviors.
Hamstrung by politics, and nearly crippled before it began, the ‘Lone Ranger’ mission was reduced to just one crew member and left to his own devices.
These are the logs of Arrow 18 and its lone commander. This information is classified TOP SECRET by the Global Space Agency.
Do NOT tell the princess.
FROM THE CURATORS: “What we have here,” Horizon said when nominating this story, “is an early-fandom classic HiE (first chapter publication date: 2012), but with a twist: the HiE arrives not via handwavey magic but on a spaceship from 23rd-century Earth. What follows is a curious blend of standard HiE tropes, science-fiction first contact, unique Equestrian science worldbuilding, and a very pony story of friendship across a language and culture barrier.”
This reflection of ponyness and humanity was a common theme in our discussion. “The thing that really wowed me,” Present Perfect said, “is that this is a story about humans meeting ponies for the first time, where we, the reader, learn about ourselves through the eyes of ponies, through the eyes of the human protagonist. This weird feedback loop of discovery was really what kept my spirits high through the whole story, regardless of what was going on.” “The ponies’ reactions to a benign alien all ring true,” FanOfMostEverything added while Soge said, “I was just left with this pure, wholesome feeling inside at the end, just glad to see the characters’ relationships progress to that point.”
Soge went on: “Most of all, this is HiE without all those typical HiE pitfalls: The protagonist is witty but never annoying; he sees the ponies as equals; and most importantly, it does all that without a speck of the misanthropy that seems to plague even the best examples of the genre.” And that, FanOfMostEverything concluded, makes it “a very pony story in terms of its central message.”
Read on for our author interview, in which AdmiralTigerclaw discusses conceptual thunderstorms, strange nostalgia, and the curse of cursive.