(Author’s Note: I would like it to be known to all readers that all marketing rights to the Warhammer 40,000 and Warhammer universes are owned by Games Workshop and other respective owners. My Little pony: Friendship is magic and all characters of said show are owned by The Hub Network and all other respective owners. I did not make any monetary gain in the writing of this fan-fiction. This story was conceived just after season 2 episode 2, so anything that happened after those 2 episodes will not be mentioned.)
By The Emperor’s (and Celestia’s) Grace
Yet even in his deathless state, the Emperor continues his eternal vigilance. Mighty battlefleets cross the daemon-infested miasma of the warp, the only route between distant stars, their way lit by the Astronomican, the psychic manifestation of the Emperor's will. Vast armies give battle in his name on uncounted worlds. Greatest amongst his soldiers are the Adeptus Astartes, the Space Marines, bio-engineered super-warriors. Their comrades in arms are legion: the Imperial Guard and countless planetary defence forces, the ever vigilant Inquisition and the tech-priests of the Adeptus Mechanicus to name only a few. But for all their multitudes, they are barely enough to hold off the ever-present threat from aliens, heretics, mutants - and worse.
To be a man in such times is to be one amongst untold billions. It is to live in the cruelest and most bloody regime imaginable. These are the tales of those times. Forget the power of technology and science, for so much has been forgotten, never to be re-learned. Forget the promise of progress and understanding, for in the grim dark future there is only war. There is no peace amongst the stars, only an eternity of carnage and slaughter, and the laughter of thirsting gods.
Master librarian Jonas Urelie of the Blood Ravens meditated in the sanctity of the Cathedral. Lines of concentration creased his face as he let his mind flow freely within the immaturium. A week ago, he had sensed an immensely powerful warp presence beginning to emerge into reality. Since then, he had been in this state; his massive, genetically enhanced body not moving a hair. His spirit however, was traveling through the warp. Two honor guard flanked the door to the inner sanctum, each assigned to make sure that nothing would interfere with the meditation process.
“This makes me uneasy brother,” said the first. “I do not enjoy that we are guarding one who has been immersed in the warp for so long.”
The second turned to the first. “Though it troubles me as well brother, we must adhere to the chain of command as dictated be the Codex Astartes. It was Master Angelos himself that assigned us to these posts.”
It was at the moment that a grunt of pain and a loud “WHUMP” sounded from behind the door to the sanctuary. Immediately, both space marines burst through the entrance. The Master Librarian lay slumped against the far wall, groaning, blood seeping from his ears and nose. The first honor guard immediately rushing to his aid.
The second held his gauntleted hand to his helmet, speaking quickly into his com-bead.
“The Master Librarian has been wounded, we require transport to the medical wing.”
“That will not be necessary Brother,” quipped Jonas as he regained his footing, all traces of his bleeding gone as his blood instantly clotted. “Though I must speak to Master Angelos immediately on a new development that has arisen.”
Chapter Master Gabriel Angelos stood up from his command seat as Jonas stepped into the command room. This was the most secure place in the Omnus Arcanum, the massive battle barge acting as the fortress monastery and base of the chapter. Therefore it was the most secure place in all of the combined space of the sub-sector. No one would be able to hear the conversation that took place after the room was sealed. Gabriel was curious as to what news his associate brought so as to request a meeting here.
“What is it that you must tell me Librarian, that is so important that it must be spoken of here.” inquired the Chapter Master. His regal tone was only interrupted of the bionics where his eye would be whirred to properly readjust his vision on the Librarian. Lord Angelos looked at his friend and saw an emotion that he thought might never taint the old Librarian’s features: worry.
“It is in regards to the warp presence I sensed over a week ago, I have been in the sanctum meditating so that i could receive a vision of what will come to pass. Though i could see not much, I felt a large warp presence emerging into real space, and an immensely powerful one at that.
“Though this kind of event requires absolute attention, you seem to be greatly agitated by this, you yourself have been on several chaos tainted worlds and yet you showed less emotion while you were on them than you are showing now. Even during the Aurelia Campaign you remained statuesque. What troubles you, my friend?”
Jonas paused for a moment before speaking. “It is not only a single entity that i sense, but a multitude, perhaps a chaos fleet or a large space hulk tainted by a greater daemon.”
Gabriel tensed, his face took on a darker tone, “Do you know where might this warp energy emerge?”
“Yes my Lord, I know it will emerge from the warp near the outer reaches of the Sector. Closest to sub-sector 148”
After a brief moment of thought, Gabriel spoke.” We will mobilize the nearest company at the our edges of the sector to prepare for this potential threat. I will contact the Inquisition about this as well.”
Jonas bowed before turning to leave.
“Oh, and Jonas,” yelled the Chapter Master, “I am sending you with the mobilized company to lend aid to their efforts... and I intend to go as well. I will not have another Aurelia incident while our chapter still licks its wounds.”
“Yes my Lord.” said the Librarian in a respectful, yet dry tone.
As he left the command room, an icy rock formed in the pit of Tigurius’ stomach. He thought to himself “Though I did not truly tell him what had shaken me so, it was not simply that the daemon was powerful, but had felt... benign. He cursed himself for letting himself think that anything from the warp could bring anything but heresy and damnation. He proceeded to the cathedral to purge himself of the heretical thought.
Brother-Captain Ideus of the Blood Ravens Fifth Company stood on the deck of the Strike Cruise Vae Eternium. Beside him, situated in the command throne of the ship was Captain Lazlo Tiberius and flanking him was the Master Librarian Urelie himself. Ideus was unsure the exact nature of the mission that the strike cruiser was on in the outer reaches of the sector, or why it required the additional support of a Vengeance class grand cruiser and a nemesis class carrier carrying over one million Imperial Guardsman and an enormous compliment of strike craft. Though the carrier could do with a bit more support in case of an actual space battle and the grand cruiser being considered out of date among the navy, the force of ships was a force to be reckoned with. It was not his place to question orders though, and the Librarian had mentioned that he had had a vision of a possible threat in this area.
“Master Librarian, what is it that the great Chapter Master Angelos intends my glorious cruiser to do?” questioned Tiberius. His voice was detached as his mind interacted with the cruiser’s three thousand year old machine spirit. “We have been patrolling this area of vaccum for three days now, and I’ve yet to bring my venerable ship’s weapons to bear.”
Jonas looked at the Captain with piercing blue eyes, a faint glow to them as they held in check the psychic powers that he commanded. “I myself sensed a threat to come to this area of Ultramar, and I know it will arrive soon, but you may also ask him for yourself.”
A single figure thudded into the command deck, mechanical rotors clicked as he took each step. His body had become more machine than Astartes after the horrific battle with the former Chapter Master-turned-daemon-prince Azariah Kyras that had left his body nearly destroyed.
“We are here in such strength so as to not let whatever threatens the sector go unnoticed and rampant— especially if it involves the warp.” said the Chapter Master.
Immediately, Ideus went onto one knee to welcome the Chapter Master. “My Lord, I was not aware that you were accompanying us on this mission, I am honored to serve with you, but I must ask, why is it that you did not bring your honor guard, or the Onus Arcanum?”
“The main body of the sector still need protection Captain, and I believe this force more that capable of countering any threat to this area of space. I simply wished to oversee this personally so that nothing would be overlooked.” replied the Chapter Master.At that moment, Klaxons began to sound throughout the command deck, red lights flashing urgently.
“Captain!” a scribe at a nearby control panel yelled, “a large warp disturbance just broke about four hundred thousand kilometres away. Scans Identify it as three ork Kroozas jumping into real-space.”
A monitor lit up to show three ugly masses of twisted metal. Each one was different but still held the same basic design: elongated masses of formal Imperial and xenos ships with a large collection of armaments mounted haphazardly on them. Each ship a large ork skull design on the front. Ideus could also make out clusters of roks accompanying the Kroozas.
“Xenos scum! Was this the threat you sensed Master Librarian?” asked Captain Tigurius, his voice dripping with hate at the sight of the ork ships.
“It was not; the warp presence that i felt was too large to be a simple warp jump of a small fleet.” responded Tigurius.
“It matters not, they are orks and the threat they pose is unquestionable, I believe we should engage and purge their filthy hides from the realm of the Imperium!” Shouted the Captain, his form bristling as the Machine spirit of the ship sensed his emotions and responded in turn, crying out for battle.
“I agree with the Captain’s view Master Librarian.” Ideusl Finally spoke, “Though it is not what we intended to fight, the possible danger that fleet poses to the sector is unquestionable.”
“Very well then,” The Librarian relented, “move to engage the ork fleet.”
Captain Tiberius concentrated, mentally bringing up vox communication with the flanking ships at his command, “to the Valexia and Emporer’s Judgement, prepare for battle; we will wipe this xenos scum from existence!”
And then reality began to warp out of control.
A massive shockwave erupted out into the vaccum from nowhere, rocking both the ork and Imperial ships. It started as a tiny pinprick of light at the center of the shockwave, but then began to grow. A massive portal opened directly from the imaeturium , becoming so large that it quickly covered the entire view screens of the command centre.
Ideus’s eyes widened in shock, something is coming out of it he thought, a horrible feeling of dread consuming his mind. It was true, from the now massive portal a spherical shape began to emerge, grey and covered in craters, a planetoid. His eyes widened further as a larger mass followed the gray sphere. Swirling with clouds, oceans visible on its surface, another planet was spat out of the portal. Uriel’s mind paused for a moment, pondering over how this planet looked so... animated, its colors pastel and bright. Any thoughts he had vanished as the portal, its task apparently complete, immediately shut, filling the void with darkness and the pinpricks of stars in its wake.
The Librarian was the first to regain his footing, taking a calming breath he said, “That was what I foresaw, Captain.”
A rumble shook the deck. “What in the Emperor's name could it be now!?” asked a now very exasperated Ideus.
The Captain of the Vae Eternium looked around frantically, his face grim. “The ship, and this whole fleet for the matter, are being pulled toward the planet, as well as the ork vessels, by both the newly arrived gravitational field and the shockwaves crippling my beautiful ships engines. There is nothing I can do.”
“Prepare all drop pods and thunderhawks,we will evacuate the ship, I do not intend to be killed by a planet. Plus, if the orks are going to be on this world, I want to be able to eradicate them firsthand so that we may better study this new phenomenon.” said Uriel, his tone dark.
The crews of the three Imperial ships rushed to evacuate their vessels as the fleet plummeted towards the vibrantly colored planet below.
Warboss Skullcrusha paced the deck of his Krooza, grunting obscenities as he did so. He scanned the deck, his beady black eyes darting back and forth. Every other ork on the deck looked how he felt, angry and tense. If there was one thing that got an ork going, it was havin’ to wait!
“‘Ow much longa ‘til weze there?!” shouted the Warboss to the Weirdboy in the cage to his left.
The Wierdboy had brought the Warboss on this Gork forsaken trip with promises of lootin’ and a good fight, when asked with how he knew this, the Wierdboy had said that it came to him in a dream. Well this was his best wierdboy, and any sane ork wasn't about to give up the chance to be both fightin’ and lootin’, no matter how small the chance.
“Just... ‘bout... NOW!” the Wierdboy barked, the group of Kroozas flying through the warp coughing back into realspace.
The Warboss looked at the viewscreen to see.. nothin!
“You’ze saids weze be gettin’ inta a good fight ‘ere!” bellowed the Warboss, bringing up the massive claw attached to his wrist to kill the damn Wierdboy, when one of his nobz spoke up.
“Boss!” he yelled, “There be a bunch of humies here!”
The Warboss paused, instead bringing his hand down on the nob that had dared interrupt his killin’ time, crushing the unfortunate ork’s skull.
The massive ork lowered a crude periscope, looking through it, he saw three Human ships across the vaccum.
“Well, that’s just great then! I’ve been spoilin’ for a good fight! Get ready for some killin’ boyz!” he yelled into a scavnged vox set.
The Krooza shook as a resounding “Waaaaaaaagh!” sounded from the orks below decks.
The Warboss received a series of howls from the other two Kroozas ath thie Kaptains acknowledged his orders.
The planet emerged immediately after that.
The orks that had the misfortune of being near what amounted to view ports on the ork ship were nearly blinded as the whole spectacle unfolded. The Warboss looked on as his Wierdboy’s head exploded as the shockwave overwhelmed his feeble warp sensitive mind.
SkullCrusha looked at the colorful world ahead of him and noted that the Imperial ships were heading for this new world. It’s gonna be my world he thought to himself as he noted just how shiny this planet looked, as if it was practically beggin’ him to loot it.
“Alright boyz!” Bellowed the Warboss, “Change a’ plans, looks weze gonna go in the old fashioned way, gett the roks ready and gets ready for some crashin’, lootin’, and best of all... KILLIN’!”
A “WAAAAAAAAGH” like no other shook the ship as the orks on board got ready for what was, for an ork, one hell of a day. The three Kroozas plummeted towards the planet below, launching landing craft and roks as they did so.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Twilight Sparkle had been having a good day, she really had, before all of Equestria had gone to hell in a hoof basket.
That morning had started off well, spike was a darling that morning and had cleaned up the library, the inside of the large tree almost sparkling when she woke up. Spike’s reward for all of his troubles had been a heaping bowl of gemstones for breakfast, Twilight herself having a lovely daisy sandwich.
As she went out into town for the morning a slight uneasiness hit her as she looked up at the shining day lit sky. Twilight quickly shrugged off the feeling as she made her way further into town, the bright faces of everypony getting rid of any negative feelings she had. Spike stayed back at the library to sweep the front deck, humming a tune that she had not heard before; Spike having a very different taste in music being a boy dragon.
As she walked along, a familiar ruckus of giggling reached her ears as a pink pony with a curly, slightly darker pink mane appeared beside her, a cutie mark of three balloons adorning her flank.
“Hey Twi!” yelled the bubbly pink pony, bright blue eyes bulging. “Where ya going?”
“Oh hello Pinkie Pie,” said Twilight happily, “Well since you ask, I was just heading into market square with Spike here t-” Twilight paused, the foreboding feeling hit her again, this time much stronger.
Pinkie Pie’s expression of glee faded for a brief moment, her face etched with concern, “Something wrong, Twilight?”
“Oh, oh it’s nothing Pinkie, see I’m fine.” Twilight gestured to herself, attempting to put on a calm visage.
“Okey dokey lokey!” Pinkie said, immediately regaining her sunny disposition.
As they walked side by side, two ponies emerged from the nearby building, the first, a light pink maned pony with a yellow coat walked cautiously into the morning light, butterflies made up her cutie mark. Next to her a pure white furred pony with a purple, delicately maintained mane walked elegantly, a single gem as her cutie mark.
“Hi Rarity! Hi Fluttershy! Pinkie yelled as they trotted by.
Rarity perked up upon seeing the two fillies. “Well hello darlings.” she said, each word clipped and precise, as if she were threading a needle with her words. “This is quite the wonderful day we are having is it not? I must make sure to thank Rainbow Dash and that weather team of hers.”
“Don’t mention it!” a tomboyish voice spoke out as a rainbow streak rushed by before doing a loop and settling to the ground near Fluttershy, causing the poor soft-spoken pony to nearly faint.
As the dust settled, a sky blue pony with a messy, rainbow colored mane stood triumphantly, a could with a rainbow lightning bolt striking from it her cutie mark.
“Just a little gift for my friends for being awesome, but not as awesome as me you understand.” her cockiness radiating off of her.
“Well if you are quite done showing off,” Twilight teased, “I was just saying to Pinkie that I was heading into the market square to stock up on some food; my kitchen is running a bit low you see. Would any of you want to come along?”
“Well, it would be nice to... um... get some supplies for the animals.” said Fluttershy, her voice no more than a peep.
“I could use a few reeds that I was hoping to make into fabrics, what with this whole ‘all natural’ fad that’s going on.” said Rarity.
“I suppose that I could use a little downtime, me having done all this!” Rainbow gestured to the sky.
“Well, I guess we’re all going then.” smiled Twilight.
As they walked along, Twilight crept up beside Rarity and spoke in a hushed tone, “Hey Raritly, have you felt any... strange feelings recently?”
“Why whatever do you mean by that Twilight?” asked Rarity, a confused expression on her face.”
“Oh, it’s nothing to be concerned about, I was just curious.” Twilight lied. She thought that Rarity, being a unicorn as well, would have felt the same energies as her. It must have been all in her head.
“Well howdy girls!” a warm, accented voice pipped up.
Twilight looked over to the source of the greeting to see Applejack pushing an empty apple cart towards the group of fillies. Her yellow mane hung in a pony tail over her orange furred body, her cutie mark three red apples.
“Oh hi Applejack, what ‘cha doing?” said Pinkie.
“Well sugarcube, ah just finished sellin’ todays stock o’ apples and was on mah way back to the farm to put away this here cart. Boy howdy, today must have been my fastest day selling these puppies yet!” Replied Applejack.
“You wanna head back into town with us?” asked Rainbow Dash.
“Sorry Rainbow, but I gotta get mah job done first” said Applejack.
“ Aw come on, we were just going to get some shopping done, it’ll only take a sec. Or are you to much of a goodie two shoes to skip a bit of work?’ said Rainbow, her voice sly.”
“Now Rainbow, don’t be so crude, let the poor mare finish her work.” Said Rarity.
“Oh no you don’t I’m gonna go, just ta prove that Rainbow wrong,” said Applejack, her face set in stone, “and nopony is gonna tell me otherwise! Besides, I might as well get a few things too, seein’ as I’ve got quite a few bits here now.”
Applejack patted the cash register on the apple cart, its contents jingling.
“We might as well get a move on then.” interjected Twilight
Twilight sighed happily to herself, how could i have felt so bad before when the day is going along so splendidly, I don’t need to worry at all, she thought.
Just then, Pinkie royally freaked out.
“W-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-w-oaaaaaaaaaaah!” she yelped as she hovered in the air, legs wobbling uncontrollably, “This is n-n-n-n-n-new!” Her tail was now spinning in a quick circle, nearly invisible it was moving so fast, finally, her mane deflated, losing all traces of its once bubbly appearance. In an instant, it was all over, pinkie sitting on her haunches, hair back to normal, though she did not look nearly as happy as before, a look of confusion on her face mixed with a trace of worry.
“Uh Pinkie, did your um, pinkie sense just go off?” asked Twilight, both worry and skepticism in her voice. Though she had seen the ‘Pinkie Sense’ many a time, she still found it odd, even for Pinkie.
“Yeah, but this one was new, and was even bigger than that doozy with the hydra!” exclaimed Pinkie. “Whatever it means, its going to be HUGE!”
“I hope it’s not as bad as you think Pinkie, but if it is, then I-” Twilight stopped speaking as the felling hit her the hardest time yet, only it was not a feeling of foreboding this time, but a feeling of something going on NOW, and whatever it was, it gave her a headache so severe she thought she was going to black out.
A sound hit everypony’s ears at the same moment, a sound that would be forever etched into the minds of all whom heard it till their dying day. An evil roar of frustration, so sound, so terrible was the bellow of whatever had been cheated its prize that it caused every window in Ponyville to crack. Some ponies outright fainted, while some, like Twilight and her friends, managed to hold onto consciousness.
The sound began to fade as if growing distant. A that moment, a pinprick of light began to appear in the sky, the pinprick began to grow until it was a swirling black hole into nothing. As the hole grew in size, a shape made its way across the sky: the moon! The hole was pulling the very moon into it. Twilight and her friends looked on in abject horror as the moon disappeared inside the nothingness. I did not stop there, the hole grew larger still. Twilight’s face turned white as she saw that the hole was not only growing, but they were moving towards it.
“It’s going to eat us!” yelped Fluttershy, her entire body paralyzed by fear.
“Oh sweet Celestia, she’s right!” Twilight exclaimed.
Ripples of panic shot throughout the town as each pony witnessed the spectacle in the sky and the realization that they to, were to be sucked into the nothingness dawned on them. Strong winds blew across the land as the suction from the hole in the sky picked up.
“It looks like a, a, a portal!” Twilight struggled to shout above the chaos.
“A portal to where though?” yelled Applejack.
“I don’t know, but it can’t be good, if it’s anything like when I teleport, it’s going to be a rough ride, hang on to something girls!”
Unfortunately, Fluttershy decided to choose Twilight as her object to hold onto, clamping her forelimbs around Twilights midsection, squeezing so hard that it knocked the wind out of the purple filly.
“Not someone, something, Fluttershy!” choked Twilight.
Fluttershy had tuned out quite a bit ago however; her face set in an expression of blind panic. Twilight had had enough, her horn glowed and Fluttershy was pried off of her. A coil of rope then unwound itself and tied the yellow pegasus to a nearby lamp post. Being able to breath easier, Twilight then focused on holding onto a mailbox for dear life as the winds picked up further, the looming portal now beginning to engulf the entire planet.The six ponies did not even have the chance to wish each other farewell as the portal consumed them, and all of Equestria.
(A.N: The horrible spelling was intentional for the ork scene because, let’s face it, orks are so stupid that even the writings about them need to be brutish. I myself am a grammar nazi, and it hurts me to write the ork scenes. Not to mention it makes the whole page orange thanks to spell check, but enough of that, for the orks shun the proper English language!)
Everything was dark, Twilight could not move, not breathe, not do anything. “Is this what it is like to be dead?” she thought.
She was mistaken, she was not dead. Everything rushed back into reality, only everything seemed much more calm. She looked around, everypony had a dumbfounded expression on her face, it seemed that every resident of Ponyville had thought that they had been living their final moments. Twilight looked behind her to see a moving wall of blackness coughing up the landscape as it rolled on.
She looked up at the sky, everything seemed the same there too. The moon loomed up in the sky, looking rather unharmed as well.
Rainbow Dash was the first to find her voice, “What the hay just happened!?” she screeched, her voice cracking as she did so.
“I-I don’t know.” replied Twilight.
Fluttershy slowly regained he awareness. “Th-th-that w-w-was awful!”
Rarity stood up and looked her mane in the reflection of the mailbox Twilight had hung onto, her mane was in shambles. “Eeeeeep!” squealed Rarity as she saw herself, “Fluttershy’s right, whatever could cause this much damage to my wondrous appearance is truly awful indeed!” Immediately, the disgruntled pony magically retrieved a brush from the saddlebag she carried and set to work on her hair.
Pinkie bounced out of nowhere, “Well THAT was a doozy, let me tell ya. Gosh, my pinkie sense never fails!” she said, “Hey, what’s the problem AJ?”
Applejack stood rooted to the ground, her gaze fixed on the sky. “There’s, there’s no sun in tha sky.” she said, her voice barely a whisper.
The eyes of the other five ponies all shot up, what the farm pony had said was true, there was no sun shining in the sky.
“That’s right, the sun didn’t get sucked through the portal like the moon did.” said Twilight.
“Then why is it that it’s still day, and we can see the moon?” said Rainbow Dash, on the verge of panicking.
“I can’t explain that either, but I bet something in the library has to have something on this.” said Twilight, trying to reassure herself. Then a horrible realization hit her like a ton of bricks. “Spike! I totally forgot, I left him at the library, I need to go get him!”
“It’s okay Twi, I am A-OK!” a familiar voice pipped up as if on cue. The purple baby dragon emerged from around the cobbled street corner.
Twilight let out a deep sigh of relief, “Spike! I am so glad that you’re OK. Weren’t you at the library though?”
“I was, but then I saw that big black hole in the sky and tried to find you, I didn’t get here fast enough. I’m just glad it’s over now.”
“Yeah that sure was super duper crazy huh, in fact it was almost as crazy as when- woah!” Pinkie Pie stopped talking as her tail began to twitch so violently that it nearly fell off.
Twilight’s eyes widened and looked to the sky. Hundreds of large objects began to rain down on Equestria, each leaving a fiery contrail in their wake. Then, braking through the clouds, three massive shapes rapidly approached the ground, each looking like a garbled mismatch of spare parts to a steam engine.
“What in Equestria are those things!?” asked Spike.
“Beats me,” said Rainbow, “but look, there’s more of ‘em, but these ones look different.”
She was right, new objects began to rain down from the heavens, only in organized patterns, some looked as if they were flying on their own, albeit difficultly given their rate of descent. Then, another trio of massive forms broke through the clouds, each pony gasped as they saw the shapes, one much larger than the others, it looked as if it was the size of a city. Elongated with an armored prow jutting out at its front, the surface of the object was strewn with spires as large as buildings. The one next to it looked similar, only somewhat smaller, with the armour at the front being slimmed down, the surface of it as a whole being much smoother. The third, while not nearly as large, caught her attention the most. The entirety of the object, from its pointed front section to its blocky rear, was covered in ornate carvings and pillars that reminded her of the ramparts of Canterlot.
Her observations were cut short as the trio of objects flashed overhead. What happened next almost caused everyone in Ponyville to collapse from sheer surprise. The organized masses of objects slowed before reaching the surface, landing about a dozen or so miles away from town, into the Everfree Forrest. Even the massive vessels acted as if they fell into molasses upon reaching the last three hundred or so feet, settling down on the horizon. The same could not be said of the separate mass of flying hunks, as they crashed into the ground on the opposite side of the town, though this was an understatement, as the main body of the first group had fallen at least 50 miles away from the town, but to the residents of Ponyville, the shockwaves of the impact of the crash felt very close.
“I think the library can wait Twi, in fact, you might just want to clear it off your schedule all together, cause THAT needs a bit more investigating!” Rainbow Dash gestured to the three massive structures of metal on the horizon.
“I think you might be right on that one, Rainbow.” said Twilight, “We should probably head for the organized crashes due to them being the closest, plus, i saw one of those rock looking things land in that direction too. I believe we should investigate immediately.”
Everypony, plus Spike, saw the fire in Twilight’s eyes now and knew that her inquisitive nature had overruled her other thought processes. There was no stopping her when she was in this mindset.
“You can count me in.” said Applejack
“Me too.” said Rainbow.
“And I as well” chipped in Rarity.
“Hooray! Adventure time!” shouted Pinkie.
After a pause, all eyes turned to Fluttershy.
“I’m very sorry girls, but the animals at my house surely need some attendance after that whole incident, I would think the poor things would be terrified.” said Fluttershy timidly.
“Alright Fluttershy, I won't try to convince you and that is a good reason to stay.If everypony is alright, we set out straight away.” said Twilight.
“All right! Let’s go!” smiled Spike, before being stopped by Twilight’s outstretched hoof.
“”Hey, what gives Twi?” he asked with a hint of irritation creeping into his voice.
“Sorry Spike, but I don’t think it’s safe enough for you. Plus, I need you to head back to the library to send a letter to Princess Celestia. I need you to explain that we went to check out the situation, I’m pretty sure that she’s noticed those.”
Twilight motioned over to the now stationary objects on the horizon, just barely touching the ground at their lowest points. Spike looked at her, dejected, his ears drooping to the side of his head.
“But...”, he began to plead.
“No buts. Look Spike, I really need you to do this, I need to get a grip on this situation, and that means investigation.”
Out of seemingly nowhere, Twilight produced a safari hat and placed it on her head.
“... Alright, I’ll do it, even if it’s boring...” Spike sighed dejectedly.
“Thanks Spike, there will be an extra few rubies for you for this.”
The little dragon perked up at the thought of gemstones and began at a frantic pace back to the library, calling back to her.
“Just be safe then!”
Twilight sighed and spoke under her breath, “You can count on it Spike.”
The six fillies set off towards the Everfree Forrest, not realising that it was infinitely more dangerous now that a few new species inhabited its dark recesses.
The Landings had exceeded all expectations a hundred fold. Gabriel looked on with relief as he watched the other drop pods, Thunderhawks, and Valkyries, as well as the other various landing craft touch down on the surface of the world, not one suffering any mishaps. This turn of events was a unbelievable as it was fortunate.
Earlier, when the order had been given to abandon ship, Gabriel, Jonah, Captain Ideus, and the Fifth Company’s primary tactical squad had boarded a thunderhawk gunship to escape the strike cruiser, Tiberius, having spent over a century commanding the vessel, opting to stay at the helm to allow the greatest number of Imperials to escape. Not wanting his then thought sacrifice to be wasted, the fleeing gunship had sped down to the planets surface, preparing for a crash landing.
As they plummeted, one of the marines spoke up. “Look my lords, there appears to be some form of a civilization here.”
Gabriel turned to one of the view ports and found the observation to be correct, several cities dotted the landscape, small towns scatted about as well.
“Well now this is quite unfortunate.” said Gabriel, “We appear to now be crashing on a warp imbued world facing orks and either warp touched humans or some other xenos race. This does not bode well.”
The grim mood in the thunderhawk turned to one of shock, then confusion, then finally relief when the gunship had suddenly slowed to a lazy pace, sinking slowly towards a clearing in what was now visible as a large temperate forest. The Chapter Master looked over the landscape, his mind taking in every last detail of the terrain, noting any tactical advantage that could be used if a conflict arose. His eyes narrowed in fury as he saw hundreds of ork roks as well as the three Kroozas descending on the world, though not nearly as slow as they were going.
“Lords of Terra! What happened?” asked, Ideus, unable to keep a dumbfounded tone out of his voice.
“I am unsure, but i sense a strong warp energy that acted up just before we slowed.” said Jonas.
“How we did not crash is not of our immediate concern, now we must asses the situation.” Gabriel keyed his vox to match the frequency of the control seat of the thunderhawk. “Pilot, I need you to make a run over the area, so that we may find any advantages in fighting the orks.” Said Gabriel.
“I apologise my Lord, but something is preventing the ships thrusters from firing properly at this altitude, at best, I can only guide it somewhat at this moment.” replied the pilot, frustration evident in his voice.
“Very well then, land us in the clearest area you can find.”
A deafening roar sounded overhead. It struck Gabriel that the Imperial starships were still landing! Through the view ports each marine saw the trio of enormous ships pass overhead at breakneck speed, landing craft spilling from them as they fell. Then, without any reason to support it, each ship slowed to a near halt, coasting along until the lowest portion of each ship just brushed the treetops before resting soundly.The vox set at the cockpit of the thunderhawk buzzed frantically.
“Chapter Master, am I insane or did my trillion ton vessel that was never even rated fr atmosphere just go from a hurtling crash landing to a precise landfall in ten seconds flat?” asked Tiberius over the small speaker, his voice laced with an incredulous tone.
“I am unsure Captain, but it seems to involve some sort of warpcraft, according to the Master Librarian.” said Gabriel, “For now however we must focus on what to do at this moment, and how to fight the inevitable ork attack.”
“It seems that they are already not faring as well as we are.” said Ideus.
The Captain was right, Gabriel looked on as the ork roks and kroozas impacted against the hard earth, leaving large shockwaves behind them and carving large tracks into the landscape about sixty miles away from where the thunderhawk floated.
“Well it seems that whatever caused our safe landing did not seem to like the orks.” mused Gabriel, “I am beginning to take a liking to this world.”
Now Gabriel watched over the clearing in the forest as more Imperials gathered from their drop locations, the dropships and transports managing to scrape over the treeline to get to their destinations. He let out a sigh of frustration in knowing that none of the ships had been able to take off very high off the ground, the larger ships being unable to move whatsoever. Furthering his frustration was that all long range communication past two hundred miles was disabled, the techmarines and tech priests claiming atmospheric conditions were to blame. The sky had been clear for the few hours they had been here, there must be another cause, they were on a world that had just been spat out of the warp, after all.
Gabriel now looked over the map that the Imperial Guard scribes had drawn based on the initial views of the area during the crash and scans from the Carrier. Next to him stood the commander of the Guard Forces; Colonel Maximilian Grant.
“Have your men been deployed to the specified areas Colonel?” asked Gabriel.
“Yes My Lord, the perimeter has been established and swept, the area is now secure.” the colonel responded.
“Very good. Continue with your men then.”
Grant bowed and left the Chapter Master alone by the map. Gabriel had added a graph overlay to the map with individual sectors lined out. A red line dictated the now securely held area of the Imperials, about ten miles across in a circular pattern, the center being where the fleet had come to a rest in a wedge pattern, the carrier situated between the grand cruiser and strike cruiser.
Gabriel keyed his vox, “Scout squads, begin outer perimeter sweep, set up motion detectors as you go, make sure to look for any ork activities as well as any local wildlife. If sentient life other than orks ore encountered, contact me immediately before taking action.”A series of acknowledgements sounded over the vox channel.
Master Librarian Jonas approached Gabriel. “All seems to be going well my friend?” he said.
“Much better than the first landings on Aurelia” replied Gabriel, recalling how horribly wrong the mission to investigate the warp-laden planet had gone.
“I am uneasy.”
“As you have been since our arrival, you are not telling me something Jonas, what is to blame for your anxiousness?”
“It is this planet My Lord, it is saturated with pure warp energy.”
“It does not seem as such, the laws of nature still hold sway here, our strange landing was the only odd thing I have found so far. On the other worlds touched by Chaos, it has felt much different, the land is malevolent, physical constraints are not viable. If anything, this planet is the opposite of a chaos world.”
“That is what troubles me, My Lord, the warp is everywhere here, but no chaos is to be found, it is not that I am being psychically suppressed in any way, for that matter, I seem to be more powerful here, in fact I actually am having some trouble in controlling the amount of power that is flowing into me, and I have been a librarian for three centuries now. I just simply cannot find any trace of chaos taint here. It s as if this is almost an aspect of the powers of the warp that humanity has not yet discovered.”
“You speak of things that seem impossible, the warp has never once bettered mankind, it was the warp that was responsible for the Heresy of Horus. If what you claim may be true, then I dare to think of how much knowledge might be gleaned from researching it at a later time, and knowledge is power.” Gabriel recited the ancient motto of the Blood Ravens.
“Yes my Lord... but it is not just that that troubles me. A librarian by the name of Zacchaeus was lost. His last transmission he managed to send explained that he separated from the main scattering of drop pods during the evacuation.”
“How is it that only he was lost, and not others? Surely he must have left in a group, and not taken a whole drop pod for himself? There should be at least a squad’s worth of marines with him.”
“Normally that would be the case My Lord, but after he found that his designated drop pod had left, he opted to take one of the experimental single man pods meant for infiltration missions. I worry how this worlds energy might be effecting him if he did not perish upon landing.”
The vox crackled urgently, cutting short the marines’ conversation.
“Report” said Gabriel.
“My lord, this is Scout Sergent Lentor, we have encountered orks, a stray rok it seems. Report at least forty orks and a nob.”
“Very good, I will send a tactical squad and three Guard squads to eliminate them.”
Gabriel prepared to cut the line when Sergent Lentor spoke up. “That is not all my lord, we have just encountered sentients.”
Gabriel jaw tensed. “Do you have any information on them?”
“Yes My Lord, I apologise, but you may not believe me.”
“I am sure I will.”
“Very well, they appear to be... horses, ponies to be exact.”
Gabriel paused, he certainly had not been expecting this. “How is it that you know that they are sentient?”
“They are speaking, My Lord... Low Gothic in fact.”
The fact that ancient Terran life existed on this planet stunned the Chapter Master, let alone that they were sentient and speaking in Low Gothic.
“Continue with your description, Sergent”
“Yes My Lord. It is a group of five, each having a different color scheme, unique insignias also adorn the flanks of the creatures. Judging from how they spoke it appears that this group is all female. The first three have no differences from a normal pony,but two appear to be wearing some form of head ware, so I cannot confirm as of yet. One has a pair of small wings on its back, and has demonstrated an ample ability to fly, the last one has a spiral horn sprouting from its forehead but has shown any use for it as of yet, it is unknown if the other two with the head ware have horns or not. Also, the route that they are taking will lead them straight into the orks.”
Gabriel thought for a long moment before speaking. “Change of plans, I will now be taking a thunderhawk with my retinue to your position to engage the orks, if these... ponies make contact with the orks, engage the greenskins only from long range. I will be there shortly.
Gabriel strode quickly over to a group of Imperial Storm Troopers milling about.
“Men, you will be coming with me immediately for a mission of utmost importance, we leave in forty five seconds.”
Leaving behind the now panicked troopers, Gabriel called out. “Librarian, come with me immediately to my thunderhawk, First tactical squad, join as well.”
Jonas joined the Chapter Master at the ramp of the Thunderhawk thirty seconds later, the five tactical marines and twenty or so storm troopers already in the dropship.
As the two walked in, Gabriel turned to the Librarian. “Now we may soon find more information about this world.” he said as the ramp sealed behind them.
The five ponies walked along the rough trail that weaved around the packed trees of the forest, catting as they did so. The goal that they intended on reaching towering in the distance, despite being so far away.
“Are we there yet?” asked Rainbow Dash for the umpteenth time, looping lazily in a circle several feet off the ground.
“No Rainbow, we are not there yet.” said Twilight, her patience running thin.
“I still don’t see why i can’t just fly right to to those things.” said Rainbow, gesturing to the three objects on the horizon.
“We told ya sugarcube, Twi thinks that we should be keepin’ a low profile.” said Applejack.
“Plus, we don’t know if anything else is going to fall from the sky, and I don’t want you getting hit.” added Twilight.
“Fine fine, I just hate being stuck on the ground. No offence!” Rainbow blushed, forgetting about her friends’ ability to fly.
“Oh, don’t worry yourself dear, I just wish I had a pair of wings so I could avoid getting my hooves on this dreadful dirt trail.” sighed Rarity, gesturing to her once pristine fur around her legs now covered in dust, “Oh boo, and I had just gotten my hooves done. Oof!” she gasped as she bumped into a rigid Applejack.
Twilight looked at her friend. “Applejack, what are you...” her sentence trailed off as she saw what the farm ponywas looking at.
A huge creature stood in front of the orange earth pony, a massive jaw with two large tusks gutting from its lower lip, the creature had no snout, only a snub nose not unlike that of a pig, beady eyes in a large set forehead looked on in a stare of surprise. The creature stood in its hind legs, very similar to a diamond dog, the forelimbs being slightly shorter, but heavily muscled. Its forelimbs also ended in paws with five digits on each. it was using these digits to hold what looked like a wicked axe in one hand, in the other it held an odd box-like object with a slight hollow cylinder emerging from the end. Tattered clothes draped over its frame. It looked terrifying, like it was made for violence.
Applejack did not move, she looked slightly closer at the still figure, then breathed a sigh of relief at what she found.
“It’s been turned to stone.” she said.
Everypony let out a collective held breath.
“It looks like it came across a cockatrice.” murmured Twilight, “I don’t know if it would be best to unfreeze this one though, even if we had Fluttershy and her stare on hand.”
“Agreed.” said everypony simultaneously.
“Wait, where’s Pinkie Pie?” asked Applejack, a tinge of panic in her voice.
“Right here, silly!” said the pink pony, seeming to materialize out of nowhere.
“Holy apple tarts!” yelped Applejack, to be greeted with a collective “Shhhhh!” from the group.
“Pinkie, where were you?” asked Twilight.
“I was just playing hide and go seek with the guys following us.” replied Pinkie, “They were REALLY good too.” I didn’t manage to find ‘em once!”
A chill ran up Twilight’s spine, “Pinkie, did you say that somepony was following us?”
“Not somepony silly, nope these were something else, but I didn’t get to see them because they were so good at hiding!”
The color from Twilight’s face drained. “Girls,” she said, trying to seem calm, “I would suggest that we run, because I really do not want to meet one of these.” she gestured to the frozen monstrosity.
At that, the group made a break for it, going along the path that they had been taking. In a panic, the group emerged into a small clearing, upon seeing the sight before them, they concluded that they had chosen the wrong action to take.
At the clearings center was a large crater, sitting in the center of the crater was a large chunk of rock and metal. Clustered around the rock was at least forty of the creatures that they had seen earlier. Now that she could see them as they were in their natural state, they were all the more terrifying. She could see now that their skin was green, their eyes a deep black with no apparent irises or whites. Globules of saliva dripped from the maws of the beasts as they let out guttural roars to one another by what must have been a form of communication. A small portion of the beasts clustered around a fire near the center, seeming to be arguing.
“Oh no...” squeaked Twilight as she saw what they were fighting for.
A cockatrice was impaled on a spit over the fire, the largest of the orks watching over it expectantly, his face set in an expression of hunger. It was now apparent what they ate.Then it went from bad to worse, one of the orks reared up, its stubby nose pointed skyward, and sniffed the air suspiciously. It then turned its head slowly to see the five fillies there. It was like a nightmare. Everypony stood in shock, so scared that their legs refused to respond. The creature surprised the ponies further by speaking.
“Hey boss!” it yelled, its gaze not leaving the stricken equines, “Look over there!” it pointed towards them.
The largest creature raised its head lazily, but snapped into focus when it saw the five.
“Well lookie here boys, don’t they look good ‘nuff ta eat? Maybe weze goin’ to get a better fight out a these ones than we did this.”
It picked up the spit and ate the cockatrice whole, sickening crunching noises escaped its mouth as bones snapped. Rainbow Dash wretched as she heard this, her weak herbivore stomach not being able to take it.
The horde of creatures let out a loud “Waaaaaagh!” before they charged, the largest laughing as they did so.
The first of the creatures raised a crude axe above Twilight, poised to deliver a killing blow. Then its head exploded.The five ponies looked on in shock as the creature’s blood and brain matter splattered the grass near them. Over the heads of the ponies flew a group of baseball shaped objects that scattered in front of the horde. A ripple of explosions went across the front of the mass of green skinned brutes, turning seven into piles of steaming meat. The horde continued on, undisturbed by the loss of eight of its number.
“W-what did THAT?!”, said Rainbow Dash, snapping out of the trance-like state and bringing the others out as well.
A deep rumble resounded above the trees as a large, stubby winged object soared low above the ground. Bright fire jetted out of its back in narrow cones. The craft landed, the nose lowering what looked like a jaw to the ground.
“Humies!” yelled the large, green monstrosity.
From the ramp strode a figure as big as the largest greenskin, its physiology was similar to the greenskin in that it walked upright on two legs only straighter, its forearms ending in five digits. His head was smaller though, his skin was pinkish, and its body was encased in a huge suit of deep red armor, the shoulder pauldrons white, a raven with a drop of blood centered in it was painted on one shoulder, the other pauldron was gold and in the shape of an eagle. Any other features of its face were indistinguishable from the distance they saw it from other than the patch of snow white har that rested on its head. In its hands it held a massive hammer, the square head of the weapon sparked and glowed with energy as if alive.
As he stood in the doorway he spoke, “Come xenos scum, and feel the wrath of the God Emperor, and the Imperium of Mankind!”
The “humie” then let out a roar before breaking into a run toward the line of monstrosities.
After Twilight and her friends had left, Spike had rushed back to the library, the thought of rubies making his stomach cry out in a baritone growl. As soon as he entered the hollowed tree, he wrote out a letter explaining to the Princess the actions that Twilight had decided on. Satisfied at his work, he breathed a bout of green fire onto the rolled up sheet of parchment, causing it to disintegrate, where it would reform at Celestia’s work desk.
Spike was surprised when, almost immediately after he had sent the letter, he felt a familiar buildup in his stomach. A loud burp sounded from his mouth, flames soon following it. After the ball of lame died out, a messy sheet of parchment floated. Curious about the sudden response, Spike looked over the letter.
It is urgent that Twilight and her friends do not go into the Everfree Forest at any time until I have given them the word to do so. A regiment of Royal Guard is heading to Ponyville at this time, it is all I can do at this time due to the obvious public panic at the situation. I must wrap this up quickly by stressing that no pony is to even go near the Everfree Forest until I allow it. Twilight does not know what has landed, but I am fully aware. I cannot explain at this time, but I will as soon as I can.
Spike’s eyes were the size of saucers by the time he had finished reading the letter. How long ago was it that Twilight had been gone? An hour? The now panicked baby dragon bolted out of the library and into town, hoping to get any pony he could find to help.
(2 hours earlier...)
Zacchaeus opened his eyes to face a very angry looking rabbit. He looked past the little mammal in front of his face and found that he was surrounded by a multitude of small animals, each one holding a look of curiosity mixed fear on their faces, except for the rabbit, who still held a look of aggression on his face.. He was perplexed as to why Terran life was surrounding him and why the sight of a massive space marine librarian did not send them scurrying off. He looked down and found with not a little surprise that he had been tied down with a multitude of lengths of twine that were pegged into the ground. The animals had attempted to make him a prisoner.
Almost laughing at the attempt to constrict an Astarte, Zacchaeus easily stood to his full height, causing the twine to snap or be pulled from the dirt. Know that he knew that these were no normal animals, but quite sentient, he wanted to make his power known. Eyes glowing, a shockwave of energy burst from the librarian, sending the lighter animals hurtling back comically, while the larger animals were sent sprawling on their haunches. At that point, all but the rabbit and the space marine were left, the others having fled in abject terror.Gone were the features of anger and smugness that once streaked the rabbits muzzle, now only fear remained. Zacchaeus looked at the rabbit with a glare that could have intimidated a carnifex.
The librarian uttered a single word. “Run.”
He did not know if it understood the words, but the meaning was clear. the terrified rodent took to the command with gusto, screaming as it dashed off. Taking the moment of calm to analyze his situation, Zacchaeus saw that his drop pod had ejected him after it had struck the ground, itself having been wedged in between two trees. Scanning out further, he found that he had landed near what appeared to be a cottage of sorts, tucked away into the side of a hill. Zacchaeus’s enhanced senses told him that the owner of the cottage was not home. A road led from the cottage in the direction the rabbit had fled to what looked to be a primitive town, the colors of the buildings branching over the spectrum. Why the rabbit had not run towards the forest he did not know. He looked past the town and was stricken by what he saw.
The Imperial fleet rested a good distance away, completely unharmed. He cast aside his curiosity in the town and why the fleet was unharmed, now overwhelmingly relieved by now having the possibility of a safe zone to head to. He keyed his suit’s vox to receive only static from the device. He could not expect extraction from his battle brothers, walking would have to suffice. Now having a goal on where to go, the librarian began to walk at a brisk pace, then stopped as he felt a sudden tiredness and a pressure in his head. He pulled back the hood that replaced the standard power armor helmet of an average marine, and found that his nose was bleeding, despite his blood being able to clot instantly. A blast of fatigue hit him harder than a charging grox, and he began to tumble towards the ground.
“Damn.” he muttered, just before his face met the ground.
Fluttershy was walking back towards her cottage. She hoped that the animals under her care were not too frightened by what had happened. Shortly after the thought had come to mind, Angel rocketed down the path from her home. Upon seeing her, the rabbit altered course and launched himself at Fluttershy, wrapping himself around the yellow pegauses neck.
“Ack! A-Angel? What’s wrong?” asked Fluttershy, attempting to pry the shaking creature off of her neck.
This was not like Angel at all, usually he was so full of cockiness. She knew that it was all a facade and that he was just a little sweetheart when he wanted to be, but she had never seen him openly scared. Fluttershy looked at her companion with concern.
Angel began with a cacophony of squeaks and yelps. The rabbit was constantly looking to her and back towards her cottage, pointing as he did so.
“Is there something back at my home?” questioned Fluttershy, attempting to discern the meaning of Angels actions.
The rabbit nodded furiously and drew what appeared to be an angry face—complete with sharp teeth— in the dirt in front of her. He then pointed to the drawing, then back to her cottage.
“Some scary animal is at my house?!” asked Fluttershy, panic beginning to color her words.
Angel tapped his paw to his nose as a way of confirming her guess. Fluttershy began to enact her usual plan of panicking when the thought struck her: her animals under her care were now being terrorized by some thing. That would simply not do. Tapping into the courage that she only reserved for rare occasions, she tossed Angel onto her back and flew towards her home. She was expecting a manticore or at worst a hydra, but she was not expecting this.
Sprawled across her front lawn was a huge creature with metal and stone skin, lying on what she assumed to be its stomach. The shape of the creature reminded her of the monkeys that she sometimes cared for, only more sophisticated, almost as if a primate had been refined and made more sophisticated. This animal certainly was bigger than any monkey she had seen before though.
A deep groan resounded from the creature, sounding as if it was in pain. The caring, maternal side of Fluttershy kicked in, and despite Angel’s protests, she approached the animal. She gasped as she saw a pool of blood had formed in the grass around its head. She worked up the nerve to attempt to flip the creature over, but her attempts were in vain, it weighed a ton! After a harrowing couple of minutes of coaxing a frightened bear out of hiding (underneath the whole tough guy act, most bears she knew were just big lovable fur balls) and had it flip the creature with some strain.
Now that she had a proper look at it, she could see that its skin was not stone or metal, but a hairless pink skin not unlike that of a shaved pony. The “skin” that she had first saw looked to be a suit of armor like the Royal Guards of Canterlot wore, only this armor put those suits to shame. The material of the suit seemed to be a mix of both metal and stone, the joints being masses of wire that resembled raw muscle, from the back of the suit sprung a collection odd wires that seemed to merge with the creatures head.
The face of the creature was flat compared to that of a pony, the nose and eyes tiny in comparison to the head. The expression set in its face was of what appeared to be deep concentration and pain. A light beeping sound was emanating from the metal hood the creature wore over its head, a small red light flashing in time with the sound. Fluttershy inspected the hood, looking for any way to stop what she thought might be the problem causing the hood to do such things. Her reward for her troubles was a tiny button just under the light, a line of script was under the button, though she did not know what it meant.
“Calibrate...” she muttered to herself, “It has to do something.”
Fluttershy raised a tentative hoof and pressed the button. With a sharp intake of breath, the creature leaped onto its hind legs, Its back facing the yellow pegasus. The creature looked around in front of it, seemingly disoriented. Angel fainted with a tired squeak.
“Eeeep!” squeaked Fluttershy, proceeding to bolt behind the nearest tree.
Zacchaeus looked around, his mind reeling at the recent calibration of his psychic hood. True, the hood had nullified the influx of what he now realised had been warp energy flowing uncontrolled into him when it had been reset, but the damn thing gave him one hell of a migraine in doing so. The pain in his head was short lived as pain suppressing stimulants rushed through his veins, calming him down somewhat.
It was not the headache that had aggravated him so much, it was that his hood was one of the older models, and therefore did not have the auto-adjusters of the hoods given to librarians with more experience, his had to be calibrated manually via a button that he would normally press on the side of the device. That meant that someone else had calibrated his hood while he had been disabled. Finding no one in sight, he went with his surefire method of scanning.
Zacchaeus breathed deeply through his nose, his body relaxing with every breath. With a final outward sigh, his mind detached itself from his body, seeing the life force of every nearby being. It was nearly overwhelming when he did this, the very ground seeming to give off a life energy of its own. The animals in hiding did not help either, the individual energies seeming to form a veritable rainbow before him. But among all this, he found what he was looking for. Sentient life seemed to emit a more sophisticated energy in his opinion, and one life form among all the others was giving off such a distinct form.
He was surprised by this energy. Every sentient the Zacchaeus had ever sensed, be it xenos, human, or even space marine, had within their spiritual energy at least a sliver of negativity or corruption. This being had no trace of such thing, in fact, the life force seemed almost... kind, as if the being that housed the energy knew nothing but good. He decided he should see whatever it was he was sensing in reality as well. Zacchaeus opened his eyes and turned to an old elm tree.
“There is of no use hiding, I already know where you are.”
Slowly, a shaking pony emerged from behind the tree. The fur of the animal was yellow with a light pink mane that grew to its feet. It was not the odd color scheme of the pony that caught Zacchaeus’s attention however, it was the pair of wings that sprouted from its back. “Why is it that this creature has come out of hiding, and not the sentient? Is this their pack animal?” he thought. Just as he was bout to search for the life force again, the winged pony spoke.
“Ummm.... w-what are you?” asked Fluttershy, her voice barely audible.
The massive armored figure stiffened, all of his attention now focused on the now apparent sentient. Of all the xenos and mutants that he had encountered in his one hundred years of service to the Librarium, this was new. His first instinct should have been to eliminate the xenos and move on to the grounded fleet, but the pure life energy he had sensed from this creature stayed his hand. Instead he chose to speak to the xenos, who apparently spoke Low Gothic.
“I am Librarian Zacchaeus of the Blood Ravens. Though I was once human, you may refer to me as a space marine. What do you call your species, xenos? And where is it that I am right now? I expect an immediate answer, for were it not for the life energy I sensed from you, you would not be much more than a stain on the grass by now.”
Fluttershy was petrified, every muscle locked into place despite her brain’s demands to move them. All she wanted to do was run, but the look in the creature’s eyes told her that if she tried, she would not make it far.
“W-w-well... my name is Fluttershy, and I’m a pegasus, and you are just outside Ponyville.”
“No, ignorant whelp. The planet, what is its name?”
“The planet? Well Equestria of course, it’s not like you came from another...”
“Correct, I am not from this world, you seem to not be as mentally challenged as I thought, xenos.”
“Wait, how did you get here then, why are you being so mean? I’ve just met you. Why do you keep calling me xenos too? My name is Fluttershy.” she began to tear up.
Zacchaeus was not ready in the least for the look the xenos was giving him, it was without a doubt the most pitiful display of sadness he had seen. Seeing a tiny yellow pegasus cry would have moved most men, but he was a space marine, and a librarian at that! He would not fall for some xenos tri— “hmmmmmmma” Fluttershy let out a high pitched sob into her mane. He gave in.
“Alright... Fluttershy, I will try to be... nicer.” The words escaped his lips grudgingly. If any of his battle brothers were here, not only would his loyalty (let alone his sanity) have been questioned, but any respect he held in the Chapter would have evaporated in an instant.
The pegasus stopped crying and looked up at the librarian, eyes wide and moist from crying.
“So... you’re sorry?” she asked tentatively.
Zacchaeus’s eye twitched as he forced out the words. “Fluttershy... I... am... sorry.”
Fluttershy’s attitude seemed to change for the better, which made the librarian feel a strange sense of relief at seeing the change.
“I forgive you.” she smiled.
“Yes... now that that is out of the way. I must ask again where I am, only more specific now. You said that I am near an area known as Ponyville?”
“Well right now you are in my front garden, but Ponyville is just down that road. By the way, how did you get here if you came from a whole ‘nother world?”
The marine pointed towards the crahsed drop pod. “In that, but it was ejected by that.” he then pointed to the strike cruiser in the distance.
“So those are spaceships?” asked Fluttershy, beginning to work out the situation.
“Indeed they are, and now I must get to them. I have decided not to eradicate you Fluttershy, consider it a blessing from an Adeptus Astartes.”
He extended his hand towards the pegasus. Flinching from the gesture at first, Fluttershy quickly discerned the meaning and placed her hoof in his hand (despite having to fly in place to reach his height) and shook. Releasing his grip, Zacchaeus turned and began to walk on the road into town.
Fluttershy was still very much shocked by the whole event, but had managed to keep her cool. She began to recall the conversation she had had with that... “what was it called again? Oh right, space marine. He had said that those three things in the distance had brought him here, then that meant... Oh no.”
“Wait!” she called out after the librarian.
Zacchaeus spun around to see Fluttershy galloping over to him before screeching to a halt.
“What is it?” he asked.
“You said that those things brought you here. Did they bring any other humans?”
“Of course, they are each crewed by thousands, the largest requiring a crew of nearly a million. Millions of troops are held on board as well, not to mention the families of the crew. The ships are similar to enormous cities in a sense.” he answered.
“Why is it that you all came here?”
He was now questioning his judgement on telling her all of this, it could do no harm at this point, she was only a pony, even if she could talk. He decided to elaborate further, explaining the fleet’s reason for being there and the arrival of Equestria from the warp. He then told her of both the Imperial and orkish fleets being pulled to the surface.
“What’s an ork?” she inquired.
Zacchaeus sighed before deciding to rest on a nearby tree stump.
“I can see that you are curious, and will continue to follow me until I have sated your curiosity. Rest then, for this may take a while.”
In truth, he loved to tell about all he knew to others, knowledge was power, and sharing it to another was like a honor to a Blood Raven. True, entrusting this knowledge to a yellow talking pegasus on a warp world while taking precious time that he could be using trying to find his company may not have been the best situation to begin doing so, but once Zacchaeus had started one of his lectures, not much could dissuade him from stopping. Fluttershy took in the information with interest, sitting under the shade of a nearby tree. This was indeed going to take a while.
Gabriel charged out of the thunderhawk, yelling with righteous fury. Behind him, the First Tactical Squad emerged from the gunship, Jonas close behind. A roar of engines signaled the arrival of the storm troopers Valkyrie, the less powerful engines of the craft causing it to be late to the opening charge. It was better that they arrive late, for while Gabriel had come to respect that the humans could fight well—despite his opinion of them dropping considerably after the Tartarus incident—this fight needed to be ended quickly. The humans would have slowed them down if they had charged with the space marines.
The mob of orks had lost all attention towards the five ponies that stood rooted to the spot, turning as one to face the much more formidable targets of the Astartes. As the first of the greenskins charged towards him, Gabriel began to flex his arms, beginning to swing the massive head of his thunder hammer, Godsplitter, into a wide arc, timing the swing to meet the first orc before it could even touch him. The weight of the hammer, combined with of the strength of a space marine backing it, as well as the power field that surrounded the head, ensured that the ork would not stand a chance. The weapon's head connected into the gut of the ork, reducing its innards to paste and flinging it several yards back. His battle brothers opened fire after the first kill was made, the combined noise of multiple bolters adding to the cacophony of noise that the battle already boasted. A blue flash at the edge of Gabriel's vision signaled Jonas's entry into the fray, his staff a lethal whirlwind of ork blood and limbs, his other hand was outstretched and sending blue warpfire into the face of an overly eager greenskin.
Heavy footfalls accompanied were followed a bellowing challenge as the ork Nob ran towards Gabriel, itself having found the strongest of the humans. Multiple craters were carved out of its flesh from where bolter rounds had impacted and detonated, but the Nob payed them no heed, the rage he felt blotting out his nervous system. The beast brandished a large chain axe, swinging it back and forth as he charged, the teeth of the weapon screaming in anticipation of connecting with flesh. For an average marine, an enraged Nob may have proved to be a challenge, but Gabriel was the Chapter Master, centuries of combat as well as cybernetic modifications made him this orks better, and he was not in a mood for a drawn out fight. Gabriel sidestepped the ork's charge, gracefully bringing 'round his hammer to connect with the Nob's back, denting his armor and sending him sprawling into the dirt. As the beast attempted to get back up, the hammer rushed to greet him, ripping his skull apart down to a molecular level.
At the sight of their leader dead, the remaining orks lost all cohesion, either charging blindly at the marines or attempting to flee, only to be cut down under a merciless line of fire now being laid down by the newly arrived storm troopers, the white hot beams of the hot shot lasguns they sported searing through green flesh. After the last ork had fallen, Gabriel chacked his mission timer; the engagement had lasted only three minutes, with no Imperial casualties, save some scratched paint. Impressive, even by Astartes standards. The storm troopers late engagemant time was the most likely reason that they had not experianced any losses in Gabriel's opinion.
With the orks now gone, Gabriel could now focus on his main motive for being here: the five ponies still unmoving at the edge of the clearing. He did not know if the xenos had the same range of expressions as humans, or if they meant different emotions, but the fear in the eyes of the xenos was apparent. That would either make what he was planning to do easier, or significantly more difficult.
Twilight's mind was almost inactive at this point, while Rainbow Dash's outburst may have snapped the group out of the trance at first, what had transpired after the arrival of these new creatures had put every ppony into a state of shock. Twilight had heard of battles before, but only in works of fiction by some of the more eccentric authors of Equestria, the thought of armed conflict casing most ponies to shudder. The closest thing to a real fight she had seen herslef before this had involved various apple-based foods being used as weapons. The horrifically intense explosion of violence and gore had numbed her mind. Every one of the green horrors had been... anihilated. She did not know wther to be appreciative or horrified by when what the monsters had called a "humie" began to close the distance between it and the group.
She gave a shrp intake of breath when she was fully able to study the features of the creature. Half of its face was metal, a blue orb resembling an eye set into place in his skull. One of his arms as well as a leg was also metal, with what looked like raw muscle stretching over the joints. The head of the hammer he held was now lifeless, the radiant glow it had been giving off earlier now extinguished. Seeing the creature walking towards the group, the other creatures began to follow him, a few branching off to encircle the front of the five mares. She deduced that this must be their leader.
Before she could unleash the torrent of questions that burdened her mind, the creature spoke: "Xenos, I am Chapter Master Gabriel Angelos of the Blood Ravens. You will answer any question that I give you under threat of execution. Do you comply?."
This was not happening. This was all just some hallucination brought on by stress. Maybe it was some sort of punishment and she was dead. But it was, and now this thing was prepared to murder her if she did not speak soon.
"Can it not speak?" questioned Gabriel. "My scouts do not lie, and I trust in their skills of observation. Do you need motivation?"
He pulled out a smaller version of the blocky weapons the other creatures held and pointed it at Rainbow Dash.
"Speak now, or your companion dies."
"What are you?! Why are you doing this?!" she finally screamed.
The alien (for she now decided that nothing so horrible could ever come from Equestria) actually let a ghost of a smile form on his face.
"Now, this is better. Well, answer me, what planet is this, and what is your species?" he asked.
"Answer me first." she retorted, anger overriding the fear in her mind for a moment.
At that, the Chapter Master scowled. "Very well, the species that I originate from are known as humans, and we are doing 'this' because your planet appeared from the warp and forced us down onto this world. The creatures that my men and I just eliminated were orks, and millions of them arrived on this world in en masse in the three ships that crashed in that direction." he pointed to where the three other objects had crashed many miles away "what you just saw was stray group. If us humans do not know the details of this world, your race will be exterminated by the greenskins as they infest this world. That is why we are here. I am being merciful in that you are not yet dead, for humans have never cared for the other sentient races."
The revelation had taken the last vestiges of hope that Twilight had about sorting this whole ordeal into order. Millions of the greenskins were on Equestria now, and the only thing that could stop them most likely would kill the Equestrians as well. There was no hope.
"Now..." the words Gabriel spoke interrupted her thinking "I have told you much, and now I expect even more from you. Jonas!" The human that Twilight had seen shoot fire approached the Chapter Master. "I want you to pick her mind clean. Every detail, every scrap of information, analyze it, then wipe out the source."
The hooded figure nodded, and fixed his gaze on the lavender unicorn. What happened next shook the other ponies —whom had remained silent in fear— out of it. The librarian's eyes glowed with energy, Twilight began to shudder uncontrollably.
Her mind was being invaded, psychic presence of the librarian probing her memories, looking over each induvidual event, detail, and location, then moving to the next. It felt wrong, unimaginably wrong. This was the most private place that anypony had and he was trespassing. He spoke directly into her mind. "I am sorry for this, I sense no evil in you, but this is required for us to succeed. Know that you died serving the Emperor, perhaps that will be enough to redeem you, xenos." Wait... Death? They were going to kill her by destroying her mind. That. Would. Not. Happen. A blinding light engulfed Twilight and the other mares, the Unicorn's hat flying off to reveal a furiously glowing horn underneath.
"Psycher!" screamed one of the tactical marines. In unison, the humans opened fire at the unicorn, but to no avail, a bubble of magical energy deflecting even the bolt rounds. Gabriel's hammer sparked to life, and he charged the ponies, bringing the hammer down on the barrier. Where bolt rounds had fail, the hammer would succeed, it had daemon princes, what hope did this xenos psycher have against it. The bubble around the mares began to split and crack as he brought the hammer down again and again. Twilight let out a shriek as the spell she had been preparing at last went into effect. The ponies vanished in a mass transportation spell, nearly blinding even the advanced light receptors in the space marines helmets and retinas. A scorch mark and the smell of ozone being the only evidence that the group had been there.
Zacchaeus had lectured Fluttershy for a good two hours. She now knew the basic history of the Imperium, the culture they practiced, the legacy of the God Emperor and his subsequent worship, and the majority of terms regarding human technology. While she had been horrified at some of the concepts of the Imperium, especially their tollerace of others, she considered herself an excellent listener and did not interrupt. But now that the third hour was rapidly approaching, she remebered with a start her reason for engaging the librarian in the first place.
"Excuse me, Zacchaeus. Um, I was just wondering if I could ask a question, but, lets say that if some ponies met those humans right now, what would happen?" she asked.
"Most likely the ponies in question would be interrogated, and possibly executed." replied the librarian casually.
Fluttershy's heart skipped a beat. "Zacchaeus, I am so sorry but I need to go now! My friends are heading towards that carrier! Oh this is not good at all!" I need to get a search part rounded up!" as she moved to go, she turned to the librarian "Zacchaeus, would you mind staying here while I am away? Thankyousomuchbye!" she practically fainted she was talking so fast. With that, she flew towards Ponyville.
The librarian stood, dumbfounded by the way the pegasus had acted. If her friends had ventures out to investigae his battle brothers before she had met him, they had most likely contacted them and were probably dead or captured. That was not his problem, though. His problem was deciding to actually stay at the tiny cottage, or to go with his original plan of heading for Imperial forces. He looked to the sky; it was fast approaching dusk, when most predatory life would emerge. While he was confident that he could handle the beasts of this world by what he had seen so far, Fluttershy had told him of dragons, and even the space marine had to admit that he would rather not face one, especially immediately after an emergency drop and at night. He opted for the cottage, somehow managing to get through the entrance to the living space, he found a large enough spot in the center of the living room and sat down. Closing his eyes, he began to meditate, not yet trusting enough of Fluttersshy to even enter the half-sleep that space marines normally went through. The meditation that the librarian could do did give him a degree of rest however, while allowing his to remain even more alert that when he was awake. He took in deep breaths as he awaited the return of daylight.
Fluttershy arrived in Ponyville to find an entire company of the Princess' Royal Guard being frantically spoken to by Spike.
"You guys have got to help, whatever is in the forest now is really dangerous, the Princess said it herself! And now five ponies are out there, and you're goin to do nothing?" the enraged baby dragon questioned, green flame exiting his nostrils as he did so.
"Our orders are to guard the town, and that means not going out on a hunt for five ponies when over a hundred need protection." retorted the Guard Commander.
Before Spike could pursue the argument further, a great flash followed by a thunderclap erupted in the center of the town. Once the spots had faded from Fluttershy's vision, she saw her friends sprawled across the ground, out of all of them, Twilight looked the worst, her hair singed and her body spasming from an occasional burst of static from her horn. With a collective gasp, everypony in sight of the group rushed to their aid. Applejack was plain out cold, Rainbow Dash seemed to be in a state of absolute petrification, Rarity surprisingly seemed to have kept her cool during whatever had caused all of this, rushing over to Twilight. Fluttershy flew over to the unicorn as Nurse Tenderheart and her assorted staff looked over each pony, having rushed out of the doctor's office during the commotion. Tenderheart stopped her.
"I'm sorry, but we need to get all of them into urgent care immediately." she said.
Without so mush as an explanation, the medical staff produced several stretchers and proceeded to bring the four ponies ito the hospital, the doors slamming behind them. Spike, his face laced with grief, rushed in after them. Fluttershy was about to do the same when the thought dawned on her. The four ponies had been taken into the hospital.
"Wait, where's Pinkie Pie?" she asked to no one in particular.
"Oh wow what was that all about Twi?" questioned Pinkie. "Uh, Twilight?" Pinkie looked around, her friends were nowhere in sight. What greeted her eyes instead was not a welcome sight at all.
She had not been teleported with the others, and she now stood facing a squad of very agitated space marines.
Gabriel looked at the Pink Pony, anger incarnate burning in his eyes. "You will answer our questions, xenos, and you will now be coming with us to do so."
At that, the humans closed around the pink pony.
(A.N: Strep throat.... uuuuuuuuugh! By far one of my least favorite diseases to be afflicted with. It's good news for those tracking this story though as it guarantees that this chapter is out today since I have nothing else to do besides lay on the couch and browse the interwebs. So now this story is 20% longer. Whoopie for me. Anyhow, it's time for some Imperial frustration-inducing from from our dear old Pinkamina! Enjoy! *cough*)
The medical facility was in a state of urgency right now, the worst they had ever had to deal with was the occasional scratch or scrape that somepony made too much of a fuss about or at worst a weather team-related accident. Now nurse Redheart was dealing with three cases of intense shock and one unicorn with a serious case of magical overload the three others had been taken care of, medication doled out and now each was resting in bed. Now, Twilight Sparkle was receiving the full attention of all of the facility's medical staff. The unicorn was in bed, several unicorns surrounding her, the mare had completely drained herself in the teleportation spell she had cast. Any other unicorn would have received... unfavorable results if they had tried such a feat, but Twilight had extreme magical power, so the spell had put her into what professional medical practitioners called "magic hyper-exhaustion" . The unicorns were taking turns slowly giving her amounts of their own magical powers to bring her energy to acceptable levels, it was a very tedious, concentration demanding task, and the two other unicorns that were resting looked quite put out. After the current unicorn had finished, he gave a sigh of relief and looked to nurse Redheart.
"That should just about do it." he said, "her energy should be able to restore itself on its own."
"Thank you, that's great news to hear, you guys take a rest, we don't want you ending up like her." she replied.
"No kidding, the amount of energy we had to put out just to replenish her magic reserve was staggering, I would hate to think of what caused her to drain it so quickly." he shook his head in disbelief at the sleeping Twilight. "She should be lucid by morning, just make sure she stays in bed until then."
"That shouldn't be a problem" she said, and noted how Twilight was almost in a coma by the looks of her. She would not be going anywhere for now.
Pinkie Pie was in a situation that would even have an ork warboss second-guessing itself. A full tactical squad of Adeptus Astartes encircled her front, not to mention a Chief Librarian, Chapter Master, and a platoon of storm troopers. She however, did not bat an eyelash to this. Instead, she faced this problem like any other, with the Pinkie Pie method.
"Hi there!" she chirped, her voice bubbly.
She did not know what these things were, but they had gotten rid of the big green meanies, who right now looked to be asleep, though she was in wonder how some of them had detachable heads and limbs. Oh well, these guys were new, and though her friends had left, she was not in any way close to fear.
Gabriel was taken aback by the pink pony's behavior. Perhaps she felt that because they were not behind her, that she had options, he would see that she thought wrong.
"Sergeant, have your men move out of cover" he sent over his vox.
Six figures seemed to materialize out of the forests shadows, encircling the rear of the pony, despite the almost laughable advantage they now held over the pony, she still seemed unfazed. The sergeant, of all people, looked somewhat anxious.
"What troubles you sergeant?" asked Gabriel, his eyes not leaving the pony in fear of some trick she might try to pull.
"It's the pony sir, she almost found my men multiple times, not even the Eldar have found my squad to date, and this one almost succeeds and acts as if it was a game." he looked utterly humiliated, his men seemed as ashamed as him as well.
"Well of course it was a game, silly! What else would it be? I gotta say, you guys are the best hide and seek players I've played with to date! I should know, I'm reigning champion!" her voice was still infuriatingly bubbly.
"WE lill show you how much of a game it really is." said Gabriel. Me motioned to one of the tactical Marines; "Lazurius, seize her!"
The marine walked up to the pony and outstretched his hand, and then the pony was gone. The marine started, obviously confused, when a dreadfully familiar voice popped up behind him.
"Oooooooo... are we playing tag now? YAY! I love that game! Not it!"
The startled marine spun around to find the pink pony behind him, bouncing happily. Irritated, he reached for her again, albeit much faster. Again, the pony seemed to de-materialize without any real explanation. Gabriel looked to Jonas inquisitively.
"I can read that you are wondering if this is some form of warpcraft, and I cannot honestly say if it is or not. I was able to glean some information on her from my limited time of reading the xenos psycher. Her name is Pinkie Pie, as ridiculous as it seems, and what the purple one knew of her... well it seems to defy all logic. In fact, when I tried to read the xenos, it was as if I was reading an interrupted transmission. She is unreadable." said Jonas
"So we have no idea on what it is that we are trying to capture?" the Chapter Master asked, beginning to have to raise his voice over the roars of frustration followed by manic giggling coming from the center of the circle of Imperials.
Gabriel looked over to the flustered marine, he now was spinning frantically in a circle to attempt to get at the pink pony, whom was now on his back, laughing hysterically.
"I am afraid not, My Lord." replied the librarian apologetically.
Gabriel sighed and looked back to the scene that was unfolding, two of the other tactical marines had joined the fray, and were making no progress whatsoever. If anything, they were making it worse, the pink pony now having three targets to weave, duck, jump, climb, and materialize out of nowhere on. Gabriel collected himself, this was going to take a while.
Fluttershy had not left the hospital since the evening before, riddled with guilt about not have been able to do anything about her friends condition. Spike had been with her the entire time, looking as bad as she felt. The poor dragon had blamed himself for all that had happened, despite Fluttershy's adamant belief that he could not have done anything.
When the morning came, the first of her friends awoke, Applejack was the toughest pony in town, so it was a bit obvious that she would be the first to recover. Immediately, she was beset with questions by the Royal Guard. The doctors had preemptively told the guards that the shock had put her in a state at the time that had blocked out her senses. The guards persisted anyway.
"What happened that caused Ms. Sparkle to use such a powerful spell?" he asked.
"I done told ya' sug', all I remember is walking into some clearing after seeing that statue and..."
"Wait." the guard interrupted, "you did not mention a statue before, what did it look like?"
"Well, it was was plum gigantic if ya'll ask me, had some beady 'ol eyes and big tusks coming right out of it's mouth. Din't get a good look at it though, Pinkie came outta nowhere and scared the hay outta me. Didn't quite catch what that crazy filly yelled, but Twi said we needed to get goin' so I just followed, then it just gets kinna fuzzy from there."
A rock had formed in Fluttershy's stomach, Applejack's vague description sounded very much like an ork. This was going from bad to worse, if Zacchaeus had been correct about the nature of the orks, then what could have happened to her friends appeared to me much worse.
"So now all we have for a lead now is some statue? Perfect." replied the guard, "Well, perhaps the other three will provide more information."
Rainbow Dash had been about as helpful as Applejack, telling the same story of finding the statue, then coming across the clearing, then blanking out.
It was Rarity who finally provided a decent account.
"A proper lady always needs her wits about her, no matter the situation." She said gloomily, "But I rather wish I had forgotten what had happened, I dare say that it was the most dreadful scene I have ever seen!" she said.
Rarity then explained all that had happened, the discovery of the statue, the greenskins in the clearing, and the subsequent arrival of the humans. "Lastly," she said, "the one with the staff and the odd looking hood on his head looked at Twilight, and a few seconds later, the poor deary began to lost it. Then, I find myself here, being questioned by her Highness' Royal Guard."
The stallion questioning her had a shocked look on his face, yes, he was a guard, but the worst he had ever had to deal with was the occasional dissenter. The part about these creatures being "aliens" he did not believe, but he did know that a horrible threat was out there now, and he needed his ponies to be ready.
"Thank you ma'am, we simply need to question Ms. Sparkle to get any information on what else these... humans, can do." he said.
This was not good, not good in the least, now Rarity had claimed that her friends had stumble upon orks, then humans, and a librarian (if her description had been accurate) had done something to Twilight. Worst of all, her friends still did not know that Pinkie was missing, and at the mercy of the humans, the doctors had said that news like that could reinstate the shock they had gone through. Fluttershy just hoped that the humans would opt to interrogate Pinkie, instead of choose Zacchaeus' other outcome.
Twilight awoke roughly an hour later, she had panicked at first, muttering something about her mind, then calmed when she found herself surrounded by her friends. Her panic had begun to rise again as she was asked to recall what the human had done to cause her to cast the transportation spell. She described the human entering her thoughts, reading her memories, and his plan to destroy her mind once he was finished. She was shaking once she had concluded her recollection. The rest of the group looked at her, shocked, Spike held onto her mane like he would ever let go. Fluttershy felt a wave of pity wash over her as her eyes rested on the baby dragon, he believed that what had happened to Twilight had been his fault, and now it seemed that he did not wasn't to let her out of his sight.
"Well, we know know that at least one of them is capable of magic, though I have never heard of it being used for such violence. It is apparent that both these humans and orks are a threat." he turned to the two adjutants behind him, "tell the rest of the troops that we are going to head out for those objects and give those humans what for!" he said boldly.
"WAIT!" yelled a voice that rarely went above a whisper.
Everypony turned to see Fluttershy standing tall now, a fiery determination in her eyes. "If you try to make it within one mile of those things, the aft autocannons on the strike cruiser would tear any chariot or pegasus apart, not to mention any anti-air fortifications they may have set up. Any ground attack would also be useless as they surely would have a perimeter set up by now. And just think about how many ponies that you have now, forty? The carrier alone has a crew of one million, they would turn you all into specks of dust in an instant! Even if you somehow managed to get close enought to them, your armor could not withstand a bayonet, Celsestia forbid a chain or power sword. You should just forget about any plans of attacking them right now mister! she shot out the words in a rapid fire fashion.
The room was silent for a good thirty seconds, save Fluttershy's deep panting breaths. At last, Twilight broke the silence.
"Fluttershy, how in all of Equestria do you know all this? she asked.
"How indeed?" asked the commander, his tone accusing, this mare had just amounted his troops to foals, and had somehow knew all about what these humans could do.
Fluttershy blanched at the words. "Ummmmmmm..." was all that she said.
"Ma'am, how is it that you know this?" the commander questioned again, beginning to approach the yellow pegasus.
Fluttershy cracked; "I'm so sorry, I had no idea that the others would do such a thing, I mean he said that they would not take to kindly to finding new xenos, but-"
"Fluttesrshy, calm down! You just used to word 'xenos'... i did not mention that they called us that once, and who it this 'he' that you are referring to?" Twilight asked, her eyes narrowing.
"It... was... Zacchaeus..." said the yellow pegasus, now cringing.
"Who?" asked Twilight.
"A space marine, a librarian to be specific..." she mumbled.
Once again the room was silent. It was the guardsman commander who broke it this time.
"And how is it that you talked to this... librarian?" he inquired.
"Well, after he crashed in my yard we talked for a while... he told me all about human culture and... military..." she replied.
"And you intended to hide this information from us?" he questioned angrily.
"N-no! Of course not, I was going to say it once things calmed down a bit, then Twilight had said everything that had happened.. I did'nt want you to have that bad an impression of humans if you met him, but then you said that you were going to attack them, so I spoke up..."
"Do you know his whereabouts? Answer truthfully, or I'll have to place you under arrest."
"H-he's at my house now. I told him to wait when I went into town." she stammered. She hated selling Zacchaeus out like this, but if she was arrested, nopony would take care of her animals.
"Well then, I suppose I'll just have to have a little chat with this 'Zacchaeus' then. If he is just a librarian then he should be no trouble when we bring him into custody." said the commander.
"Wait! You can't!" Fluttershy pleaded. But it was too late, with a flurry of wings and hoofs, the commander and his adjutants left the hospital.
Fluttershy looked to her friends, "We need to go after them!" she yelled.
Her friends gave her no response besides a series of hurt looks. "Whats wrong?" she asked.
"What, besides the fact that you had a nice little conversation with a member of the species that tried to kill us?" replied Rainbow Dash icily.
"Rainbow's right, Fluttershy, why didn't you tell us earlier?" asked Twilight.
"He's not bad, I know it!" Fluttershy yelled, "Please girls, trust me, we need to go after them and stop this before it's too late!"
Her friends did not respond, finally Applejack sighed; "I'm goin' with ya' sugarcube."
Twilight's jaw dropped, "AJ, why, she's trying to save one of them." she nearly spat the last word. This was not the studious, caring Twilight she knew, thought Fluttershy she was acting crazy. "Wait, did she say save HIM?"
Fluttershy face-hooved, "Twilight no, not save him save the guards!"
The others looked perplexed by the statement, Rarity spoke up, "Dear, you said he was just like a librarian, and not to discredit Twilight, who is certainly an exception, most Librarians tend to be a bit... lacking in power."
"Librarian means a different word to them," replied Fluttershy, "a librarian was the one who mind-read Twilight!"
Twilight bolted out of bed, standing directly up to Fluttershy, "I'm still mad at you... but you're right, we need to stop this before one of those monsters can hurt a guard. Come on girls, we need to... wait where's Pinkie?"
Once again, all eyes turned to Fluttershy, "Uh-oh..." she stated.
It seemed that letting the pegasus go had been a bad maneuver after all. Zacchaeus exited his meditation when he sensed a good forty lifeforms—all sentient—approaching the cottage. His experience told him that these minds, though weak in the regard, were military. A quick mind scan told him that they were coming to apprehend him, good luck with that.
The pair of Royal Guard trotted up to the front door, the whole cottage was surrounded, there would be no escape for this creature.
"Open up in there, or we will break down the door!" shouted out the first guard. The commander smirked, this would be too easy.
"GUESS AGAIN!" The voice bellowed into the mind of every one of the poinies in the area, in Ponyville, the aftershock of the psy-message that left more than a few residents with a headache. As soon as the words were sent, the side of the cottage exploded. From the hole strode an immense figure. The description the unicorn had given, even the enormous size, was quite accurate. A glowing field surrounded him as he held his staff high, his stance ready for battle.The two guards laid at the feet of the librarian, lying slack due to what the commander hoped was unconsciousness. The rest of the guards looked back anxiously between their commander and the towering Astarte.
"What are you waiting for? Disable him!" the commander yelled.
At that, several earth ponies rushed Zacchaeus, he held out a hand at the charging guard, and lightning arced forth from it. The group of ponies came to an immediate halt, crying out at the sudden electricity running through them, and fell to the ground. Upon seeing their comrades fall, the other guard charged the librarian, the pegasi of the group taking to the air, the unicorns preparing the few offensive spells that existed. This was why the commander had assembled a mixed regiment instead of the usual all-pegasus guard units, for the versatility and tactics it provided.
The librarian noticed the unicorns gathering warp energy in their horns, Fluttershy had not told him that her species had psychers, let alone so many in their military, then again, he had done most of the talking during the time he had spent at her cottage, which he was now regretting. Regardless, he had fought the psychers of Chaos before, and these xenos were child's play compared to them. He focused his energy around himself, creating a psychic barrier around himself.
The built up energy in the horns of the unicorns shot out in the form of magical orbs of energy. These were designed to knock out an opponent, and this many at once would bring down a manticore. The commander felt satisfied that this would be over so quickly. He was quite surprised then, when every single one of the orbs crashed over some sort of invisible bubble around the creature. Not one made contact.
The voice whispered into the mind of just the commander this time. He realized what he had gotten his troops into. Before he could call off his unit, the librarian acted. The Avenger was essentially an avatar of flame summoned into corporeal form from the memories of the librarian's Chapter. This one in particular Zacchaeus had made a bit less destructive, though he could not find a reason why in hindsight, still it had the desired effect. The guards were sent screaming in the opposite direction by the roaring avatar, a burning trail of destruction left in its wake. It dissipated after a good ten seconds, the earth ponies and unicorns sent running for the hills. All that remained of the unit were the pegasi, who were now very unsure of themselves. Zacchaeus decided to act upon that fear, amplifying it in their minds ten-fold. The pegasi flew away screaming in a very un-masculine way. This left just the commander and Zacchaeus in the scorched clearing.
"You were fools to attempt to apprehend a space marine with so little a force, let alone a librarian."said Zacchaeus.
"B-but thats just it, you're supposed to be a librarian, right? You should be off organizing books or something." the commander stammered.
"You believe a librarian to be a mere collector of knowledge here? Perhaps a scribe or a lexicanium, but not I. Your species is weak if that is your belief." He began to walk towards the commander.
"Stay away from him!" a feminine voice shouted out.
Zacchaeus sensed another psycher, this one was much stronger than the others that he had sent packing, he turned to see not another guard, but a lavender female unicorn, her horn aglow. A short distance behind her, two more ponies followed. In air above them, a cyan pegasus with an odd rainbow mane flew alongside what he now saw as Fluttershy. Surprisingly, Fluttershy did not want to be here, nor had intended him to be found, as a quick read soon discovered. The other pegasus radiated cockiness, a trait that the librarian himself loathed, yet he found an unwavering loyalty in her aura, an odd combination to be sure. The orange earth-bound pony's signature did not hide anything from him, if anything, it did not have anything to hide from anybody, as if the pony;s spirit was truly honest. The white unicorn perplexed him, both generosity and vanity, now that was just incomprehensible. He wondered why he was taking the time to do this, true it only took a millisecond to so so, but he questioned his decision regardless. He could not hope to read the purple though, as he found an emotion that he had not yet experienced from any of the beings on this world, never mind, this was the first pony he found it from, recalling the rabbit from earlier. Either way, her anger towards him was so intense it was actually clouding his psychic read of her. He sensed that she was preparing an attack against him, this one much stronger than the ones from before. The commander took this opportunity to get the hay out of there, running from his old position.
She fired a lance of warp energy form her horn, he had not seen a latent psycher with this much power in a good while, but she was laughably inexperienced, he had a good century of training over her, and it was for that reason that she would fail. He summoned another protective field, this one having two distinct angles, like that of a blade. It parted the lance easily. He countered with an arc of blazing warpfire from his staff, the rushing torrent of flame speeding toward the unicorn. He knew that she could withstand this attack from one direction, so he decided to go with a different strategy instead of brute force.
Twilight paused, that attack had been supposed to knock him out (among other things) instantly, that had been her plan. Now, not only had he countered her attack with apparent ease, but now she had to deal with the same fire that she had seen the other librarian use before. She was stupid to think she could beat him, look at what he had done to all of the guard. No. She could beat him, she could do this! She summoned a bubble of magic around herself and moved to intercept the flames before they could hit her friends. To her surprise, the wave of fire parted before it could hit her, becoming two serpent-like tails of flame, heading directly for.... her friends! The other ponies stopped dead in their tracks, a trail of fire rushed towards Fluttershy and Rainbow, the other heading for Rarity and Applejack. Twilight rushed towards her friends, intent on taking out the pillars of fire that threatened them.
"I have you now, fool" A voice seemed to echo inside her mind, only one other being had done this before, and it had been the librarian. She realised that this must have been her opponent who had just done it. But how could he have me if he is aiming for my— Her thoughts were interrupted by the realization that the flames had just altered course and had picked up speed. Before the purple unicorn could do anything otherwise, the flames—now from two separate directions— slammed into the bubble of magic that surrounded her. The heat was so intense that she felt it even through her shield. Her heart skipped a beat as she heard a splintering sound, the shield was beginning to fail. Flames began to lick at her hooves as she fought to keep the fire at bay, but it was no use, she had been drained not only from yesterday's events, but by her first attack she had used. With an ear-splitting crack, her defenses shattered, as soon as this happened, the flames ceased their relentless assault, dissipating into the air. Twilight collapsed to the ground in exhaustion.
Zacchaeus was satisfied with his victory, he did not intend to kill the unicorn, she was far too valuable a psycher to be killed immediately, she would make an excellent specimen for study by both his chapter and the Inquisition once they left this world, the horn these unicorns sported seemed to focus warp energy, explaining why they had such better control over the powers than a normal human psycher. If the Imperium could utilize that mutation somehow, or perhaps form a focusing device from it... The possibilities were grand indeed. He began a steady walk towards the mare. The guard commander, finding some new found courage, ran from the cover that he had hid under during the brief fight.
"Fight me, monster!" he yelled.
Zacchaues backhanded the unfortunate pony without so much as a glance, sending him flying into the brush. He heard new voices now, and remembered the friends that the unicorn had brought along. He wondered if she questioned herself for bringing them now, considering that they had proven to not only be useless, but also serve him as a perfect tool for besting her.
"Don't you take one more step towards Twilight!" yelled the rainbow maned pegasus, diving for him.
Zacchaeus produced his rarely used bolt pistol from its holster and loosed off several rounds in the direction of the pegasus, the rounds whipping past her. Though none of them truly connected, the shock-wave from the massive rounds passing by, as well as a grazing shot past the right foreleg, was enough to send the pegasus plummeting towards the ground with a yelp. Before she could connect tough, she glowed a light purple and her descent slowed to a halt, then she was place gently onto the ground. Zacchaeus noticed the horn of the other unicorn glowing. This psycher was not nearly as strong as the one beforehand. He did not take any chances though, and sent her sprawling with a burst of power. It was the orange pony (which he now noticed was wearing some odd form of hat) who confronted him next, a lasso swinging from her tail.
"Nopony hurts mah friends an' gets away with it!" she hollard before looping the rope around the librarian's arms. Smiling with satisfaction, she pulled back, expecting the usual yeilding tumble to accompany it, but was instead greeted with no progress. The librarian stood, no difference from before hand, albeit he looked much, much angrier. She gulped and went with her surefire plan: bucking. She sprinted up to the still bound figure and bucked at his leg with all her might. A ripple of vibrations ran up her form as the backlash of hitting pure ceramite armor reverberated through her being. The figure still stood, completely unfazed. With no effort whatsoever, he snapped her strongest rope as if it were string. He now loomed over her.
"It is not a good idea to bind an Astartes." it said.
He then gave her his own "buck" lashing out lightly with his foot. He barely put any force into the kick, though a "light kinck from a space marine was still quite powerful. Applejack had the wind knocked out of her, flying back several feet, laying near Twilight.
"S-sorry Twi.", she muttered next to her friend.
Though her friends were still conscious, they were certainly out of action, and hurt for sure, she looked towards Zacchaeus, True, he had been attacked first, but nothing harmed her friends if she had a say in it. She rushed up to Zacchaeus, the event known as "The Stare" already in full effect.
"How dare you hurt my friends!" she yelled at him.
Though the librarian did not want to harm the little xenos, she was now opposing him. He looked at her, preparing to push her out of the way, that was when when he caught sight of her eyes. They bored into his mind, cold steel backing them up. he summoned all of his mental defenses, he had withstood the taint of chaos during the Aurellian Campaign, and he would not submit to this xenos' assault. His mind stood like a fortress against the attack, and he began to fight back.
Twilight could not believe this. She was watching someone resist Fluttershy's stare. As the two faced off in their invisible battle, the air became palpable with energy, ripples of energy radiated between the two. The librarian took a step forward, his face lined with strain. He was actually beginning to win. He took several more steps forward, almost within reach of Fluttershy now.
"You... are... mine... now." he strained out the words.
just before he could touch her, a tiny battle cry was heard, out of seemingly nowhere, Angel jumped onto the back of the marine, climbing up to his head.
"You!" Zacchaeus growled.
He did not get a chance to speak further as the rabbit hammered down on the "Calibrate" button on his psychic hood. The Astarte roared in pain as all of his psychic abilities were scrambled by the sudden reset. Now that he offered no resistance, the stare speared through his defenses, reaching into his very being. He was helpless now, and humiliated, bested by a pony and a rabbit.
"Now, you are going to apologize for what you've done." she commanded.
Though he could not do it towards her due to the stare, Zacchaeus still retained enough willpower to spit into the grass. Everypony noted with fear that the spit had begun to eat away that the grass, carving a neat hole into the dirt as it dissolved the soil.
"I said apologize." said Fluttershy, and she intensified her gaze.
"Sssssssss..." said the librarian, still fighting it.
"NOW!" she bellowed.
"Argh! I... am... ssssorry." grunted the librarian at long last.
"You will not be hurting another one of my friends, understood?" she asked.
Zacchaeus could only nod in response.
"Good." she said and released her grip on him.
He began to rise and looked over at the rabbit with a hatred so intense it could have melted battleplate.
"Mark my words, vermin, one day, I will rip you limb from limb." he vowed.
"Now, we need to get these ponies back o the hospital," said Fluttershy, motioning towards the many ponies sprawled across her yard, "and you're going to help me."
He began to refuse before the stare began to act up again, so he nodded begrudgingly. Twilight sighed with relief before unconsciousness took hold of her.
[A.N: I know that I said that I woulds have an update by the weekend, (close enough.jpg) but after I had cranked out the chapter, I looked it over and realized that in my haste to complete it, I had done a totally half-assed job of the whole thing in terms of plot and overall story telling, plus I have been working on a more detailed plot structure for the whole story. This should mean that the frequency of the updates should improve after this chapter. My apologies none the less. Nearly a month of work means that this chapter should work out well and be a bit better than the others, and the other chapters should be cranking out at a much better pace after this.]
Four hours. Four damned hours and this, this daemon was still bouncing around as if the now ten Astartes attempting to subdue it were no more than playing with it! Gabriel rubbed his temples in frustration as he noted that the storm troopers, despite being some of the Imperium's elite, were placing bets on the spectacle taking place before them, and his enhanced hearing told him that the odds were currently stacked in the pink one's favor. Luckily they had not missed much, the base of operations was still in the process of being put together, and the scanners of the fleet had shown that while it appeared that unfortunately the majority of the ork force had survived the impact, thermal scans showed them to be holding position for some reason. What could be tying the orks down for so long was unknown to Gabriel, but he was grateful for the time being.
Despite this fortunate news, what Gabriel had learned of Jonas following his attempted reading of the purple psyker had proven to be most unfortunate. he had explained to the Chapter master that his search had yielded surprisingly little in the time he had before the link was severed. He only knew of the terrain and basic information of this world, he could not retrieve any more information than that, including the ruling government of this world, if it had one. This meant that all the information that they could acquire was contained in the head of the hyperactive ball of pink that still proved elusive to his marines.
"Are you positive that you cannot read anything from it?" Asked Gabriel.
"No my lord, I cannot explain it, but it is as if something is preventing me from viewing her mind, though I can say now from what I felt from attempting to crack it, that it would not be very safe to do so." Replied Jonas.
And thus, it had come to this; his marines attempting to catch a xenos that looked better suited to serving as a child's toy.
"Wowie! I never guessed that you guys could play for so long! Most ponies get all tuckered out at the thirty minute mark, but you guys must be something special!" said the bouncing mare.
Her remark was greeted by a chorus of very, very agitated marines venting their frustration through their vocal chords. It simply giggled at all of this and continued to bounce about.
"Enough of this!" bellowed one of the marines, Romulus, Gabriel recalled as his gaze drifted towards the marine. Romulus was known for his temper, a defect garnered from his implantation process. Curious as it was the Blood Angels and their divergent chapters that usually suffered from such a defect, but the fact remained that it had occurred in the case of Romulus.
"You will submit xenos, or by my hand shall you feel the judgement of the Emperor!" Romulus' hand drifted towards his mag-locked bolter.
The xenos acted in the oddest, but also the worst, way possible: she laughed. That was the trigger, the enraged marine raised his bolter and a click was heard as a finger depressed down on a trigger. The pink pony let out a startled yelp and collapsed into the ground. Romulus paused and looked at his weapon, it had not yet fired, and surely a bolt round qould have done much more than just knock the xeno unconscious. The combined gaze of the Imperials looked to the fallen xeno. Gabriel saw that a small dart was lodged in its flank, almost humorously placed dead center in the odd mark that adorned the creature's flank. A tranquilizer, no doubt.
A single voice spoke out from the crowd,"Well, that certainly did stonewall its actions. Glad I opted to carry along my tranq gun with me, sure it may do frak all against an ork, but a little thing like that certainly can get taken down a peg!"
"Present yourself trooper, and do explain why you delayed in your actions that could have ended this ordeal as quickly as it did." said Gabriel.
One of the storm troopers emerged from the group. Gabriel noted the somewhat puzzled notions that the other troopers were giving off upon having the figure being brought to attention, even with the masked they wore covering their expressions. Another storm trooper (though he looked a bit short for one) followed closely behind him.
"My apologies, Chapter Master, but I found that little rodeo that your men had put together to be quite entertaining, I would have let it gone on for a bit more but that big guy of yours certainly does have a short temper! I needed to take out the little ball of trouble before it became a bit more... liquefied." he spoke.
Gabriel walked towards the man at a brisk pace, the trooper was showing impudence that was only punishable by death. The muscles in his shoulders tensed, preparing to deal a fatal blow to the man, but when he was within several feet of him, a flash of silver caught his eye. An Inquisitorial Rosetta was held in the man's outstretched hand. The air around the man had changed from his formerly humorous disposition to an overall feeling of malice.
"Tarquin Aldorati, Ordos Hereticus, I will be taking custody of that xenos from here Master Angelos."
"Oy! Boss! It looks like Ripgut an' 'is fellas gots killed!" Shouted the Gretchen servant to SkullCrusha.
"Wot?! I din' tell 'em ter do that!" Shouted the raging Warboss. Strangling the Gretchin in his unarmored hand.
'...Wrenchtoof sent 'em boss." the diminutive green imp yelped.
Throwing the imp into the distance, the Warboss turned his gaze onto the unfortunate ork Wrenchtoof.
"Wrenchtoof! It were yer 'at tol 'em to go?" He howled.
"I dids!" the ork responded "We neddedz ta knows whre ta' enemy'z been hidin's, wot wit them wings an' all."
"Goods, i never dids like Ripgut an' iz boys, but now thats weze knows where them birdies are, wotz we got ready for themz?" said Skullcrusha, his gaze contemplative.
The smaller ork looked deep in thought for a moment, a wrong answer would mean death, or worse, a trip to the squig pens.
"... More dakka?" he asked.
Skullcrusha grinned a huge, toothy grin before he bellowed; "MOAR DAKKA BOYZ!!!"
A howling "WAAAAAAGH erupted from behind the Warboss as his boyz heard the signal. Thousands of orks rushed into the canyon where that fight had been taking place, firing off every one of their weapons at the general area above where Ripgut had been slain. ork artillery and mortars joined in, pounding away at the sides of the canyon that their tormentors had been hiding in for so long, an' holdin' up his boys from a right an' proper fight!
The shape of the dying and startled griffons filled the air around the canyon as they were flushed from the cliff sides, they stood no chance as the air simply contained too many bullets and pieces of shrapnel. As the once majestic animals fell, they wondered at how it had come to this, all of their forces wiped out in a days time, the initial griffon assault had met with what the green skin monsters had called "dakka", and it had nearly wiped them out. Thus, guerrilla tactics had been decided on. it was hard to believe that they, the griffons, the superior species of this planet, whom had only been forced to live here due to those weakling ponies' numbers and damnable magic, would fail to an even mightier enemy.
Gilda had been at first elated to finally get combat experience, but as she watched from her safe spot deep in the caves of the cliffs, she cursed herself for her eagerness, and now, her cowardice. She waited until the hooting band of monsters left, moving to join the others whom had already finished the task of wiping out the griffon homelands. This had been the last stronghold, they had thought the canyon unassailable, but hey were proven wrong, this enemy numbered in the millions, and only a few hundred had wiped out this bastion. She had not even taken up position on the cliffs because she found it felt safer here, and she was right. With her mind at breaking point, Gilda fled the scene of the massacre, to the one living pony who would take her in.
The Warboss payed no heed to the one remaining Griffon that flew into the distance, he was too focused on taking in the smell of used shell casings and cooked griffon flesh. Beneath his boot he kept Wrenchtoof's head affectionately crushed into the dirt, felling the spasms as the ork attempted to free himself. At long last he let the hapless ork go and spoke aloud.
"Ahhhhhhhh, dakka, you'ze needs moar of it, no ekshepshions!"
Humiliated. Resigned. Antagonized. These were the words that best described both his emotions and overall situation right now. Zacchaeus had been beaten, not by a might Tyranid Hive Lord, not by the warpcraft of an Eldar Warlock, not even by a simple ork boy. No, taht was too good for him, by the Emperor's twisted sense of humor, he had been bested by ponies. Brightly colored, pastel, tattoo-on-the-rump-wearing PONIES! He stopped himself from continuing that train of thought otherwise his sanity be brought under threat.
He had been cleaning the wreckage for what Fluttershy had referred to as his "tantrum" (Damn her and her patronization!) for a good hour now, and while this sort of damage would have been referred to by most as a disaster zone, for a space marine it was little more than a remedial task. Fresh Guards watched over him from a safe distance, the previous group having been either too injured or too traumatized (the pegasi would not go within five miles of Flutterhy's home) to provide any real assistance. He heaved the last bit of splintered tree into the heap that he had put together during his work, he took out one of the flares that had been equipped in his pod, the gun for firing the flare had been rendered useless in the crash, so this flare could be used for other services, such as lighting a fire. He mashed down on the firing stud of the device and flicked it onto the pile of debris which ignited almost immediately. Fairly soon the entirety of the pile was ablaze, sending a large column of smoke into the sky.
"What are you doing?!" Yelped the apparent leader of the detail sent to watch him.
"I was told to clean up, this is doing so my way." Zacchaeus smirked. A small bit of his originally defiant personality had survived the psych training and implantation process, and while he hated to admit it, it was rather enjoyable to act in such a way, even under the circumstances. He looked over the pie until it was but ash, then turned to the guards.
"I believe the task is finished, you may notify that animal keeper of yours that it has been done." He said
About an hour later, he was greeted with the sight of the five mares appearing in the distance, as well as a strange reptillian creature on the back of the purple psyker. Ironically from the same spot from which they had so gallantly charged him earlier. The way they now looked made them look even less threatening than before. Each looked rather haggard, to say the least.
The injuries i gave them may have a small part to do with that. He chuckled to himself.
It was Fluttershy that spoke up first. "Zacchaeus, um, now that the mess is all cleaned up and everyone has had some time to... calm down, how about we ask you some questions?" she asked.
"Fluttershy, don't be so kind to this monster, he doesn't deserve it." said the purple one. "And you," she switched her attention to Zacchaeus, "will answer our questions."
"it is polite to have the knowledge of one's name before you talk to them, xenos, and while it is apparent that you know mine, I am still unaware of yours, so if you would be so kind as to tell me, then I would oblige to answer your questions." responded the librarian with a rare drop of humor to his tone.
"I will not tell you my name, that is reserved for people I know will not attempt to harm myself and my friends, and you have proven to want to cause harm to both."
Zacchaeus feigned not being able to hear her, and gazed un-attentively into the distance.The purple xeno was aware that he was toying with it, but seemed to realize that the only way to get him to speak was to play along with his facade.
"...My name is Twilight Sparkle." she muttered begrudgingly.
"Much better, now what is it that you ask, I will decide whether or not I shall answer."
"Why did you come here? What do you want with us? Why are you attacking?" she asked. The reptile on her head made no noise, but his eyes bored holes into Zacchaeus, or attempted to at least.
At that, the space marine did something that the ponies had not expected in the least: he laughed.
"Are you so vain as to think that the Imperium would have anything to gain through the conquest of this world? No, we did not come here by choice, if you are to place the blame of out arrival onto anything, blame the planet for its gravity, or better yet, blame the warp or spitting you back into the materium in the first place."
"So wait, you came here by accident? Then how come your ships landed so perfectly, gravity had nothing to do with that!"
"Your surprise is justified, in fact, we were expecting a crash landing, hence, all available pods and transports were jettisoned before the ships hit the atmosphere. Why we slowed is as much a mystery to us as it is to you."
"Then why is it that you and your species started attacking us? That does not seem like the smart thing to do after an emergency landing!" countered Twilight. The other ponies, though still opting to remain silent, nodded in agreement.
"This is a world that has just been spat out of the warp, with an unknown amount of xenos species residing on it, with a good portion of one species containing a dangerously high amount of psykers. Consider yourselves lucky that my brothers and I were not grounded, for if we knew such information while in orbit, this planet would be reduced to nothing but ash."
The cyan pony with the spectrum mane acted as if she were about to lash out, but the orange mare halted her before she could do so. Granted, she also looked close to doing something she would surely later regret. Twilight seemed to have let the comment break against her somehow.
"Then what is all about this 'warp' thing that you keep talking about, is it really that bad to justify harming us simply due to us coming out of it a bit ago?"
Zacchaeus held a hand to his forehead in frustration, "One does not simply walk into the warp, and then go as they so please. It is the most dangerous space in existence, that which traverses its depths without a form of shielding risks corruption or having their very soul consumed. Anything that arrives from warp-space that is not under the command of the Imperium of Mankind is considered a threat. All too recently, a world emerging from the warp led to billions of Imperial lives lost and nearly eradicated our chapter."
A silence reigned over the gathering for a good while until the lizard spoke up, at this point Zaccheus had seen too much of this planets life to really be all that shocked that another species could form speech.
"I almost don't want to know, but whats a daemon?" it asked.
Many miles away, an ancient tower stood out among the forest, to the sentient races of Equestria it was known as the ancient castle of the royal pony sisters. It's real purpose was not known by any however. Deep within the confines of the ruins stood an archway, gems dotted along the curvature of the structure, the ancient material known as wraith bone had remained in pristine condition after many millenia. The psychic waves of the recent events on the world ; the violence, bloodshed, trauma, and raw power, washed over the device, though this could not be seen by the eyes of the psychicly untrained. Ancient sensors picked up these signals, for it was only this amount of disturbance that could cause them to react. A tiny spark arced its way across the arch, followed by another, then hundreds, then thousands, after enough energy had been accumulated, the web way portal activated. A swirling pond of energy now stood in the archway, and from it walked three lithe forms, their movements barely perceptible, each wore the same cloak, and each held the same issue long rifle. Nodding to one another, the Eldar Rangers scattered into the darkness.