Disclaimer: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is owned by Hasbro
Everyone thought the world was going to end in 2012; nobody expected it to change drastically instead, eleven months ahead of schedule.
On January 7, 2012, a brilliant flash of light appeared over the northern Pacific Ocean. It caused mild tsunamis across the Ring of Fire, and an Aurora was visible for that first evening, centralized over the new landmass that seemingly appeared from nowhere...
“NOOOOO…” Discord cried as Twilight Sparkle and her friends unleashed the full power of the Elements of Harmony on him. Rainbow light leapt upward into the sky, arced over and came crashing down upon the embodiment of chaos.
It was easier this time. Before, Twilight and her friends had little knowledge of the Elements. They had activated them with the force of their will and inner natures and directed the unleashed power of Harmony on Nightmare Moon to do as it willed. But that one use acquainted the Ponies with how the Elements could be used. The Elements as such were amplifiers of their own inner magic, nothing more, and their magic could be controlled like any magic a unicorn ever wielded.
Twilight’s will backed by the will of her friends directed the power of Harmony into Discord. The rainbow light showered Discord, enveloped him and penetrated his very being, searching for some shred of goodness to bring to the surface and dispel the evil he had perpetrated upon Equestria.
There was nothing.
And because there was nothing, Discord could not be allowed to roam free to spread his brand of chaos. The power of Harmony began freezing him, transforming his physical being into a substance that could be mistaken for stone and trapping his mind within. With that complete, the frozen Discord fell over, his final pose as unbalanced as he had been when free.
But that wasn’t enough. Discord had wrecked grievous damage to Equestria. It wasn’t enough to simply lock him away again. The arc of rainbow Harmony split to create a dome of light as Twilight directed the power of Harmony. The dome the burst outward to undo all of the damage Discord had done to the world.
All of it.
* * *
“They’re doing it, Sister!” Princess Luna said excitedly as she and Celestia watched the dome form over Ponyville from the Royal Palace in Canterlot. “I can sense my Moon again!”
“And I my sun,” Princess Celestia agreed with a more reserved smile. A tear of joy formed in the corner of her visible eye. “I knew my faithful student and her friends were up to the task. All they needed…”
Whatever Celestia was about to say was interrupted as the power of Harmony washed over them. Unexpectedly, it began tearing at her connection to the sun and she gasped at the unexpected assault. Underneath the direct assault, she could feel the very fabric of the world twisting as hidden magics emplaced ages ago by Discord were undone.
“Celestia! What’s happening?” Luna cried, obviously being similarly effected.
“Oh dear,” Celestia replied, sounding half anxious and half… amused. “I do believe Twilight may have overdone things a bit.”
* * *
“Holy mother of God!” Captain John Alberson of International Flight 819 shouted as the entire horizon in front of him just vanished behind an unbearably bright wall of light. His first thought was that someone had just set off a nuclear bomb in front of him, but there was nothing to nuke but empty ocean in front of him for the next several thousand miles.
His second thought was that it couldn’t be a nuclear explosion because bright as it was, he hadn’t been rendered blind by it. But he couldn’t see anything beyond it either. But whatever it was, it covered at least a ninety degree arc in front of him and he couldn’t even begin to estimate how far away the phenomenon was. A quick glance at his instruments was no help. Both radar and navigational readouts were going crazy, but at least the altimeter seemed to be working fine, so he wasn’t in danger of crashing into the ocean.
But he could very well be in danger of crashing into whatever was blotting out the horizon.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking,” Alberson said as he keyed his mic and switched off the autopilot. “Please buckle in and put your seats in the upright position because we are about to experience some air turbulence and radical maneuvering.”
With that, Albertson grabbed the control yoke and hauled his 747 airliner into as steep a turn as he dared.
* * *
“What’s happening? Report!” Colonel Meyers, the watch commander of NORAD’s operation center demanded. It was the night shift and manning was minimal. And their job was to watch the world in case some loony decided to start tossing ICBMs and nukes around. Alarm klaxons blaring with no warning was something no one present had ever heard nor ever wanted to hear.
But they were blaring now, and a big, solid white circle had appeared on the big world status screen in the middle of the northern Pacific Ocean. In the event of a nuclear strike, the board was supposed to display the fireball’s actual size. In simulations, that was usually a bunch of white pinpoints with the really big nukes appearing as small circles. This circle was far far larger and internally Meyers cringed at the firepower needed to make a fireball that big, because the first thing that came to mind was the term “Extinction Event”…
“Sir,” Major Polaski said, interrupting his train of thought. “The system’s reporting what appears to be a nuclear fireball in the northern Pacific. Estimated size is… holy shit… estimated size is thirty five hundred kilometers. Yield is…”
“Wait a minute, sir,” Captain Yates interrupted from the Meteorology Section. “That thing can’t be an explosion of any kind. If it had been, we should be seeing the effects of the resulting shockwave on the surrounding ocean. There’s nothing! Even the clouds aren’t reacting to this thing.”
“Analysis Section concurs, sir,” Captain Morris added. “A fireball should be rising and spreading out. This ‘fireball’ is holding steady at thirty-five hundred kilometers wide and about a hundred and fifty high… Hey, it’s gone!”
* * *
“Omigodomigodomigod,” James MacAllister said as he shakily pointed his video camera at the End of the World on the horizon.
It was ungodly late at night in Seattle, Washington. It was early still for the night club set, but no one had any business being out this late at the docks like James was. But James wasn’t just anyone. He was world a famous cryptozoologist! He’d spent better than half his life chasing after things most people thought were myths. He’d been called everything from a kook to a psycho and sacrificed his family and fortune in pursuit of proof for his theories. He’d been following a lead on a selkie sighting when alien Jesus had apparently decided to come back to Earth.
That brilliant dome of light was obviously his space ship on the horizon and it must be ginormous! True, it was way larger than what James had expected and James was perfectly in place to record everything… assuming of course that the aetheromagnetic fields didn’t fry his camera of course. But that was small price to pay for vindication and…
The light suddenly winked out, plunging the world back into darkness. Some light remained though. The lights of the city behind him continued to shine. And in front of him there was a curtain of rainbow colors spread across the horizon, dim compared to the previous brilliance, but undeniably visible. It was growing, rushing towards Seattle in a wave that must be the Rapture and James steeled himself to be taken by alien Jesus even as he continued recording. The rainbow light washed over him in a roar of noise and…
James looked around himself. He was still on the docks. It was still dark. He was still cold from the chill air. Behind him the rainbow curtain quickly swept over the towers and buildings of Seattle leaving them none the worse or better as far as he could tell. There was no Rapture, no alien Jesus greeting him. He was out here all alone with nothing but a cheap video camera and his voice.
The disappointment was crushing. What was he doing out here? What did he expect? Did he really think that finding proof of mythological creatures would get him his friends and loved ones back. He had a wife and kid. How long had it been since he had seen them? They needed him and he had abandoned them. James suddenly felt the need to go back and make sure they were okay, to be a husband and father again.
James would make it up to them for being a failure so far. The recording of alien Jesus arriving would be a good start. No doubt it would be worth a bit of cash from the News companies, which would make for a good start on his new life.
* * *
“…after two minutes and forty two seconds, the phenomenon vanished and left this behind, Mister President,” CIA Chief Parker finished.
A series of pictures on the briefing room’s screen followed Parker’s words. The first was an obvious image taken from an orbital camera. It showed some kind of island in the middle of the sea, partially obscured by a scattering of clouds. The horizon was visible beyond the island and was showing a very visibly curved. Above the horizon was a thin smear of blue separating it from black space.
The next picture was a computer generated atlas of the “island”. It could have been any island in the world, except dimensional markers insisted it was nearly as wide as the event that had brought it here and the President knew enough about world geography to know that there was no continent shaped like that in the world. Or there hadn’t been one before today at least. It was surprisingly mountainous with circular and partially circular basins and lakes dotting the continent as seemingly random locations.
“Are those… are those volcanic calderas?” the Science Advisor asked.
“Actually,” Admiral Stephenson, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs chimed in, “that looks more like the results of someone’s carpet bombing the place. You can see where the craters are overlapping each other. Except that they must have used some godawfully powerful bombs to get craters that big, bombs that make our own nukes look like firecrackers.”
“It can’t be!” the Science Advisor argued nervously. “Maybe it was the result of a meteor bombardment…”
“Well whatever happened, it must have been a good while ago,” Parker said, interrupting the burgeoning argument. “Because satellite observation also picked up this.”
A new picture appeared on the screen. It was also computer generated. But instead of terrain features, this one featured icons for roads, railroads and cities. The densest urban areas were in the Eastern mountains oddly enough in a crazy quilt that followed numerous river valleys and extended from several coastal cities and towns across the mountains and then slowly thinned out to nothing in the central desert regions.
“It’s inhabited?” the President asked, then mentally kicked himself for asking such a stupid question. Of course it was inhabited! The phenomenon that had brought it to Earth was hardly natural.
“Yes, Mister President,” Parker replied. “Not only is it inhabited, but it’s also filled with what appear to be forests, swamps, and everything else that makes a functioning ecosystem. Obviously, we’re still gathering information so what we have right now is far from comprehensive, but the going theory is that either these people survived whatever bombardment happened long ago or moved in afterwards.
“Whatever the case may be,” Parker continued “we haven’t received any greetings or demands from these people. In fact, we haven’t seen any use of radio at all from these people. Quite frankly, sir, we don’t even know for sure if these people are actually responsible for moving their land here or if they someone else did it. And quite frankly, I don’t want to piss off anyone who can move whole continents around willy nilly.”
“On the other hand,” Stephenson chimed in, “we need information badly.”
“If nothing else, we need something solid to tell the media other than that ‘We’re looking into it,’” the President’s Public Relations aide added.
“Well I don’t know about that,” Stephenson said, “but I do have something we can do to remedy our ignorance. By sheer luck, the USS Enterprise’s battle group is less than five hundred miles off the coast of this… place. Give the word, Mr. President and we can send them in.”
“The Enterprise? Going to go greet a new civilization and go where no man’s gone before?” the President asked whimsically. “Don’t tell me there’s a man named Kirk or Picard in command over there.”
“Ah, the name’s a coincidence, Mister President, I assure you,” Stephenson said quickly.
“I’m sure it is,” the President agreed. Then he turned serious. “Do it. And… make sure they do their best keep things friendly. As Mike said, we do NOT want to piss off anyone who can move continents around... or carpet bomb them for that matter.”
The Griffin Aeries were not used to stunning light shows. When the light show cleared, they were also not used to an ocean on the western slopes of their mountains.
Gilbert clacked his beak in amazement, then returned to his preening. He wanted to be at his best if he was going on an exploratory flight. A dark shadow overhead told him that old Smoke Snout was also looking at what had happened.
'Well,' he thought. 'Better for some lame old dragon to find out if there's any bigger threats out there... I wonder if I should send my daughter into Equestria proper to find out if they know what's going on. It'll do Gilda good to get out of the nest for a while.'
Waving farewell to her friends, Twilight Sparkle turned and entered the Books and Branches Library. Spike snored softly in his basket, bringing a smile to the unicorn's face.
"Oh, Spike," she said gently, "you've had a rough day, haven't you?" She sniffed the teacups arranged on the table and winced at how strong the wintergreen scent was. Apparently the indigestion brought on by the deluge of friendship reports had been severe enough for Spike to bring out one of Zecora's concoctions he and Pinkie Pie had needed after a Nightmare Night candy binge.
The sky chariot ride back from Canterlot had filled Twilight with a modicum of nervous energy, but she was too tired to study anything. A strange state of affairs, but one she was prepared for. Moving slowly, so that her hooves striking the stairs wouldn't disturb Spike, she made her way to the balcony where she'd set up her telescope.
Readying her quill and notepad, Twilight took some standard readings to orient her stargazing. "Hm... that's odd," she mused. The moon looked a little larger, and the shadows and craters formed a slightly different pattern. "I wonder if Princess Luna is trying something new?" She tried to figure out what it was supposed to be. "A frog? No. A rabbit with something on its back? No. I'd almost think it was a pony's face, but there are no ears and the nose looks weird..."
Her musing was interrupted by something bright moving from west to east across the sky. Curious, she trained her telescope on it. Instead of the expected globe or star shape, she was stunned to see something that was all sharp angles. It was a long form, with four cross-like arms. What was more disturbing was, that while she had watched it, lights seemed to flicker along its length, almost like the windows of Canterlot when viewed from Ponyville.
"What is going on?" she wondered.
Disclaimer: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is owned by Hasbro.
1502nd Year of Harmony, first month, tenth day. Royal Palace, Canterlot, Equestria,
Celestia sat pensively, focusing her magic on the sun that had risen on its own this morning. The past sixteen minutes had been tense and sweat beaded at the base of her horn, but she finally had a connection.
Her eyes shot open in shock. 'This sun is ENORMOUS!' she thought. 'How could I ever move it across the sky?' Keeping her focus, but leaving things as they were, she strode to the garden, her guards following discreetly. She could tell that Lieutenant Swift Wing was nervous about the moon still being visible in the sky, but she'd been able to calm him when the sun rose on schedule, if just barely.
She arrived in the garden and kicked off her shoes, planting her hooves in the soil to feal the earth beneath. She immediately felt all of Equestria, and slowly began to feel the ocean that now surrounded them. The Sea floor followed soon after, then she felt deeper and deeper.
She began to chuckle. 'Of course! If the sun is too heavy to move, spin the earth!'
"Your Highness?" Swift wing's worry was palpable.
"Things will work out, Swift Wing." Celestia said, thinning her connection to the sun to a bare minimum, calming some turbulence and flares that had been forming. "Things will work out. Now, would you be so kind as to fetch my quill and scrolls? I have some letters to write."
4 Days after the Event, USS Enterprise, 20 kilometers from the coast of Equestria (Fillydelphia)
Admiral Steven Donaldson looked at the screens in the USS Enterprise's CIC. So far nothing had tried leaving the island yet.Heck they couldn't pick up any radio or air traffic from the new landmass merely odd flight patterns of what seemed to be large birds. He quietly speculated what was on the island hen the phone rang.
"Admiral, there is something up here you may want to see.....a native is .....parked off the bridge."
"Parked , Wilkins?"
"Aye sir ,parked."
The admiral growled as he left the CIC. 'If this is some kind of joke.'
He walked onto the bridge . Commander Wilkins saluted him.
"OK Wilkins, show me this native."
"Aye sir." He pointed at a small cloud just off the bridges window. Admiral Stevens walked over to it and looked at it and .....stared.
Two gold eyes stared right back at him. Two gold eyes set into the face of a grey pegasus who hovered in mid air like a hummingbird.
Lt. Commander Samantha Dolittle growled at the radar screen causing a few of the seamen and women nearby to subtly shift away. She glared at it as the spot near the battlegroup slowly grew larger and larger.
Her brow furrowed as she watched it. Her thoughts racing 'Right, what the hell is causing that cloud to grow and why? The area around it is clear, pressure and humidity indicate this shouldn't be possible.So why are you growing and throwing off my weather predictions?'
" Slipstream , Squall I want you two to hustle. Headquarters wants this storm ready on time. In five hours it needs to be pouring the rain on Fillydelphia. Now move."
Rain Dancer sighed and rubbed his face with a forehoof. Soon the day would be over with and soon he could go home. He just wished he could take some time off to check out those specks on the water but the weather came first. Stretching out a kink in his back he immediately went back to helping move clouds for the storm.
Steven walked to the hatch leading to the bridges observation deck and walked out onto it. A loud squeal of excitement assaulted his ears as the grey and blond pegasus put both forelegs up to his face. The blue pegasus with him looked very nervous and tried getting his friend's attention.
"Derpy come on we have to back away. Yes they are humans but their are so many of them and .."
"Clear Bell this is just sooooo cool this is just like an episode of The Dark World:Technology is Courage. They even have a mobile base like the heroes do and everything."
" I know Derpy I know but we need to be cautious. There are so many of them Not even that one episode where they showed Capital City had so many humans in it. Oh no they are getting closer."
He slowly approached the pegasi. Wilkins and a pair of marines behind them. "In the name of the United States of America, I welcome you to the aircraft carrier U.S.S.Enterprise. I am Admiral Steven Donaldson, her commanding officer and highest ranked person in this task group. My first officer Commander David Wilkins."
" I ask that you please stay well away from the flight deck and away from the masts at all times for your own safety and to please not enter the ship or hangars without being invited by one of the officers aboard. A guard will be stationed out here for your own safety."
"SQUEEEE This is is is is....take THAT Rainbow Dash I can have great adventures tooo!!!!"
The little pegasus flew right up too the admiral. "Hi Admiral. my name is Derpy Hooves this is my friend Clear Bell and this is soooo incredible. I mean I always knew you humans were just soooo cool but to be one of the first ponies to actually meet a human!"
"I am certain it is an honor for you sir. I am sure there are plenty of humans that will be glad to meet pegasi such as yourselves."
He giggled. " Sir? I'm a filly, silly just like Clear Bell over there."
Steven merely nodded, mouth kept shut. A simple enough mistake given he had never...'well seems one of the marines couldn't keep his bearing given the snort. Guess who gets to play babysitter.'
"Viper, Wolfman , this is Washington . New orders, break current heading and head South southwest and investigate a cloud formation , over."
"Copy ,Washington Viper and Wolfman setting new course to the South South West. Range to target? Over."
"Range is seven five nautical. No heroics and keep an eye out for natives, over."
"Rodger that , keeping eyes open for 'natives'. Over and out."
" Viper, keep an eye out for 'natives'? over. "
" Ours is not to reason why Wolfman, ours is not to reason why. Over and out."
Two F/A 18 hornets turned to the new course and flew off quickly.
Derpy was torn. 'Do I eat the goodness or save it for later. Oh sweet Celestia why can't I have both?????'
Clear Bell was a bit calmer now. The coffee and banana nut muffins did help, however what was driving those human aircraft was loud. Even when they were sitting still or idling as she was told. They were loud. Sounded like what Rainbow Dash might when she made a sonic rainboom when they took off. She couldn't fault her hosts though. 'They are polite, didn't answer all of our questions but ...well everypony has secrets . Though why do some of them have those odd lumps up front? Is it a physical abnormality?'
A new person came out onto the observation deck. Saluted Admiral Steven , who returned it. Then spoke. "Sir Viper and Wolfman have been dispatched to investigate that cloud formation."
"Good , I want to know what it is. Why it is growing like that."
Clear Bell looked up from her musings. "Cloud formation?"
Steven nodded." Yes Radar has been tracking it since early this morning , why?"
Clear merely smiled "Oh , That. It' s probably the rain storm Rain Dance was having to work on with his team."
Wilkins spoke up. "Excuse me Miss , but work on ?"
"Oh yes," Derpy replied," Typical work for pegasi , such as ourselves. The weather schedule called for a small storm today to break the heatwave and water the plants. Going to be a bit larger than normal but nothing odd."
"Wait, you make the weather?" Steven asked.
" Of course," Clear Bell replied," We have to control it or else it will be random and do as it wishes. So we have the Weather scheduled."
She reached into one of her saddlebags and pulled a book out. "Here is the latest schedule for the County of Fillydelphia. Good through the next five months. My job is to deliver these to the weather teams in Fillydelphia. This is my copy but I can get a new one. So keep it as thanks for the coffee and muffins."
Steven gently took the offered book and tried his level best not to stare at it in shock. Shock and horror at what it implied.
Two F/A 18s approached the area the cloud was in .
Joseph 'Wolfman' Johnson looked out of the cockpit of his fighter and blinked. He blinked again at what he saw working around the cloud that was now apparently being pushed by small pastel colored pegasi.
" Viper. Tell me my eyes are playing tricks on me. But are those ...well pastel colored ponies...flying? Over."
Elliot 'Viper' Smith was about to berate his wingman when he actually looked at the 'wait....'
" Wolfman. Confirmed. I count about one zero pegasi . Looks like they are herding the cloud towards the land, over."
" Viper. Copy that. one zero pegasi moving that cloud like you would push a sofa and they have seen us,over."
" Wolfman. Rodger that. Enterprise, Viper. We have made contact with the cloud and with some of the ...locals. Count one zero pastel colored ponies. They are moving the cloud towards the land . Returning to patrol route. over."
" Viper, Wolfman this is Enterprise. Good work .Confirming return to patrol route, over and out."
" Viper. Next shore leave first round is on me. Over"
" Wolfman. I copy that. Over and out."
Rain Dancer smiled . The cloud was on it's way. Would arrive in Fillydelphia on time. Clear Bell would be by later ....life was good. When he heard a faint odd sound.
He turned and scanned the sky. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Was fairly clear and...'What in Celestia's name is that?'
He squinted at a pair of dots as they approached . He tried making out what they were. Whatever they were, they were moving like a Wonderbolt with it's tail on fire.
"Boss what is that?" Now the entire herd of weather ponies was watching the objects get nearer and nearer.
"No clue Slipstream. Some sort of bird...? I can't tell what the hay they are."
"Not a bird, " the filly replied. 'Too fast and they look wrong. Kinda like a fish in the sky or something . Whatever they are they are fast and headed this way."
"Right don't panic but be ready to dive into the storm if ......"
Rain didn't get any father when the two objects flew past incredibly fast and loud too his ears. Their speed and shape was totally unequestrian to his mind. They were there then they quickly moved off heading away from the pegasi.
" Space Aliens! They're coming to abduct us and probe our flanks for our secrets!!!"
"Stall ,shut the hay up . Squall ,Cloud Dancer get you flanks to Filly , Get to Polaris and tell him whats going down. If anything he can alert Canterlot to whats going on."
Cloud Dancer quickly flew up and glared at Rain. "Like Hay I'm going to Filly. I'm not scared of whatever those things are big brother. I'm staying."
"Cloud , you are going. First ,If it's just Squall, Polaris may just ignore him. But two reporting the same thing? Second , not only am I your older brother..."
" Only by a minute."
" Not only am I your older brother but your boss. So go."
The filly grumbled and flew over to Squall. " OK I'll go , but if those aliens foalnap you I'm not rescuing your flank."
The two pegasi took off towards Filly. Rain Dancer looked at the other ponies. " Right half of you stay here. Slipstream you are in charge.The rest lets go see where those things are headed."
"Con, Radar reading multiple contacts seven five nautical out. Two targets are leaving the area at about 90 knots. Heading for the city marked as Fillydelphia. Four targets are remaining near the cloud and the last four targets are on a course for us rough speed 90 knots. Estimate they will intercept the two leaving us in approximately 20 minutes."
Wilkins looked at the main screen. " Looks like the 'weather team ' sent someone to see who sent those jets out there."
Donaldson nodded." They also had presence of mind to send a team out to alert the higher ups. Glad our visitors left. Need to talk to the brass on how they want us to handle it."
"Well they did have a delivery to make sir. That book she gave you..."
"I know. So far they are playing nice as it were. Best stay on their good side."
Donaldson walked over to another station. "Patch me through to CINCPAC , JCOS, and SECDEF.....Time to send out the news."
5 Days after the Event, USS Enterprise
Seaman Janice Clark stared at the sight before her. It wasn't even six in the morning. Flight prep was well underway... and what looked like a herd of multicolor pegasi were watching from several clouds that seemed to follow the Enterprise.
They were well away from the flight deck and yet still in a perfect position to see everything happening. It was totally unreal to her. "I see you spotted the natives, seaman."
She turned and saluted. "Sorry sir, was on lookout and-"
The Lieutenant smiled at her and returned the salute. "At ease. Having an audience like that is a bit disconcerting. Damn I... I think the tiny ones are children. Must be quite the sight and... damn."
He looked at four of the pegasi , alone on their own cloud. All wore a greyish blue armor and, instead of talking excitedly and looking about, they were actively watching the ships with guarded interest... just like soldiers on guard duty would.
"What is it sir?"
"Looks like the locals have a military and they're watching us too. Can't blame them though."
Deep inside the ship, the various Commanders briefed their squadrons on their current "observers".
"Word from the CAG, Checkmates!" James McCall, Commander of VFA-211, looked at his assembled aviators. "Seems the scuttlebutt about the locals is right, and Vulture's Row was to small for all of them, so they set out bleachers. So watch your self in the pattern, we have company."
Giving them all an even stare, he suddenly grins. "On a further note, I expect all of you to be performing your best for them, since I made a bet with Colonel Doran. Thunderbolts against Checkmmates. The losers buy the drinks."
As a faint 'Oorah! drifted down the hall, the naval officer smiled. "Let's show those Jarheads and ponies who's the best wing on the Big E."
"Manehattan, Baltimare, Trottingham, Clopton, Fillydelphia, Saddle, Staliongrad..." Admiral Donaldson frowned as he looks over the note pad resting on the table. "Canterlot?"
Captain Huffman just shakes his head as he rubs his face. "I know, that was my reaction as well. That isn't what has me worried. The cities in that book match up with what we've seen on sat photos and Global Hawk overflights." He then taps four of the names with his finger. "All but four. Cloudsdale, Elysium, Aurora, and High Reach do NOT appear on the maps we have. Hell, we can't even find them with satellite or drone reconnaissance. "
Frowning in thought, Donaldson glances at his XO "Could it be something thrown in to fool us, throw us off our game?"
Huffman just shakes his head with a grimace. "We don't think so. They are listed as the prime weather control centers. It's just that we can't...."
A sudden shout from one of the stations catches their attention at that moment. "Sir! We have the latest images from a drone. It flew off course and into a large cloud bank, but..." He Sailor looks around and grunts a bit nervously. "Well, look at the video."
Walking over, the Admiral and Captain both watch as the drone flew into a cloud, when something suddenly covered the lens. A moment later, a hoof wipes something off it and an irate Pegasus can be seen glaring into the lens. For once, the people present, the Flag Officers and the 'pilots', were glad the drone didn't have a microphone as they saw the Pegasus go on an angry tirade as the drone's view shakes as it's jostled around.
The Pegasus leaps out of view and what it shows causes a ripple of shock to run through those watching. Buildings, shops, businesses and homes all made of clouds. There were hundreds of pegasi moving about this water vapor metropolis.
Admiral Donaldson gaped for a moment before getting his bearings. "Right, the Pegasi watching the Enterprise were sitting on clouds. I guess it makes sense that they would build cities on larger clouds."
Day 5, White House, USA
"Sir satellites have shown that the natives know the Big E is in the area and they are reacting too it. First image is the main road connecting Fillydelphia to Canterlot as you can see we have a large troop movement headed to Filly. After studying the picture we estimate each of these squares contains 128 ponies. Designating this a company equivalent we count four such companies to a battalion equivalent. The Locals have four such battalions making good speed from Canterlot to Filly."
"Define good speed Colonel."
"Good speed as in they are moving twenty five to thirty miles an hour with full pack, We estimate they are marching eight to ten hours a day."
"Second we have images from the pegasi city of Aurora we estimate that at least two battalion equivalents are being mustered their. Finally in Filly itself these images show that a further four battalion equivalents have been assembled. We believe one battalion was in the city as its nominal defense force.The rest are reserves called up."
"Our best guess is that these measures are defensive in nature."
" So roughly 1200 personnel with about a quarter of that being air mobile?"
"Why aren't they using the rail network to move personnel faster?"
"Maybe their rail network is inefficient, Mister President? It's entirely possible that they'd make better time without waiting to board a train."
"Or maybe they just haven't thought of it. If they aren't heavily militarized, perhaps the idea wouldn't come up in the first place, especially if railroads are a recent development for them."
"Now you're just wildly speculating."
"No worse than you are."
The supply plane was late. Normally, the Big E's own plane would have gone back to the mainland for a supply run, but it was currently being repaired after a Middy's prank gone wrong.
The C-2 from the Providers had hit some thunderstorms off the coast brought on by a cold front from the new landmass. Lieutenant Desiree "Dizzy" Doolittle handled the rough weather with aplomb, and had even found a fuel-saving thermal to overcome what she's spent getting through the storms.
After a moment spent on ATC protocols, she spared a glance at what the folks on the "Big E" were calling the "spectators." It made her double-take so badly, she needed to readjust her strabismus-correcting lenses.
"Muffin Express, you are clear for landing," the bored air traffic controller said.
"R-roger," Dizzy shook her head and tried to ignore the laser-like focus of the pegasi sitting on the cloud bank.
Some of the sharper-eyed pegasi noticed the larger flying machine come in and began to chatter about it.
"Hm, that one's slower."
"Huh. It's got pegasi painted on its tail. Their lines are all wrong though. Almost looks like one of the Princesses."
"Omigosh! Look at the Pegasus painted by the front of it! Ditzy! Look! It's you!"
Day 5, Lauren Faust's house, USA
"Dear Princess Celestia,
Sometimes it seems that one doesn't fully appreciate how much she depends on somepony until they are not around for a while. While Rainbow Dash was in Cloudsdale for the Weather Pony Inservice, Fluttershy stood in for her with assistance from Cloud Kicker.
"Lauren, honey, wake up." Craig nudged his wife gently.
"Huh? Wha?" She muzzily woke from the dream. Her pony dreams hadn't been that vivd since she was a kid. She could have sworn she smelled the scent of old books, ink and Twilight's shampoo. "Wha' izzit, Craig?"
"The President's on the phone."
Day 5, Thiessen Household, Canada
"I'll get it," he said to his wife as he went to respond to the doorbell. It was an unexpected interruption to his Saturday afternoon routine, but not a serious problem. What he found on the other side of the door caused him to revise that assessment.
"Mr. Jayson Thiessen?" One of the two uniformed RCMP officers asked.
"There is a matter of national security that requires your expertise. Please pack a bag with a week's worth of clothes and come with us."
"Where's the hidden camera? I'm being pranked, aren't I?"
"No, sir," said the officer, displaying his badge. "This is very real."
"The federal government really needs the help of an animation director? Seriously?"
"Yes, sir. Ponies have become a matter of national interest."
"Ponies. Have some mad bronies started a terrorist group or something?"
"I haven't been provided any more information than what I've told you."
"And I'm not under arrest. I can still talk to my family, right?"
"As long as you do not divulge any classified information, yes."
"Alright. Give me a few minutes."
"We'll be in the truck." Jayson closed the door and turned back to the house.
"Jay, why is there an RCMP SUV in our driveway?" his wife asked.
"I've been asked to go consult on something for the government."
"Ottawa seriously wants to talk to you about ponies?"
"That's what it looks like."
"This is the craziest story I've ever heard."
"I feel the same way. They say I can call you, so if you don't hear back from me in 12 hours call the cops."
"Okay. Say goodbye to the kids before you leave," she said they wrapped their arms around each other.
"I'd never forget something like that. Can you help me pack?"
"Sure. I wouldn't want you meeting the Prime Minister with mis-matched socks."
1502nd Year of Harmony, first month, Fifteenth day, (Moon Day) -- "Atelier Secundus", Baystown, Duchy of Whinnychester
The unicorn illusionists working on the newest episode of "The Dark World: Technology is Courage" looked up from their easels as the pair of Royal Guards strode into the studio. The Guards stopped smartly in the middle of the floor and spread their wings to draw attention. The one on the right cleared his throat.
"Would the ponies Flipbook and Toola-roola please step forth?" he intoned. No matter how polite the request, there was enough force to it that the pair requested quickly stepped forward.
"Be it known that Their Highnesses, Princess Celestia and Princess Luna require your attendance in Canterlot at your earliest convenience."
Disclaimer: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is owned by Hasbro.
Moments before Event, Equestria
Cruising, Dainty takes a chance and looks down, only to see pink clouds far below. Shivering, she brings her head up as some small tears are swept away by the wind. 'I'm sorry...' Unbidden, images come to her mind of the ponies she tried to help get away from the current chaos far below. She found safe areas to guide ponies to, only for them to be effected when she got back, or the areas to no longer be safe when she got them there. 'So... tired...' Giving a good once around, she sees nothing but chaos. Suddenly, she sees a flash of light and looks to see a dome expanding with a rainbow flash. "Wha..."
She doesn't get to answer as she's hit by the light. Later on in life, she would describe it as the entire world turning inside out and backwards as it inverted. At the moment, however, she's frightened as the air seems to thicken, becoming like syrup. All around her is light and mists. Shadowy shapes appear and disappear around her, often times seen from the corner of her eyes. One of these shadows resolves into a group of odd looking birds. Soon, it becomes apprent that they're not birds, but some kind of machine. With a start, she realizes what they are. 'Those... look like the planes from The Dark World!'
Counting them, she realizes that there's five and their "Propellers" are not spinning. Giving herself a boost since she can see that her path crosses theirs, she heads on an intercept, her thoughts at the same speed as normal, but everything else is moving slowly. As she comes closer, she readies her camera, taking pictures as she does so. As she passes over the first one, she begins to break out in a cold sweat as she sees a skeleton wearing tattered clothing in the cockpit. Looking around, she realizes that the other shadows are other planes, some being ships. One, a metal one, she comes close enough to read Cyclops on the bow as it passes above her upside down, itself crewed by skeletons seemingly frozen where they had stood. The whole time as she slowly spirals (There apparently being no up or down where she is), unrealized by her, she has her hoof on her camera's trigger with pictures being taken of everything in the lens. Spotting a "Hole" she puts on speed and shoots out of it, finding herself above a blue sea. As she shakes herself, flakes of ice fall from her as she feels like she was both frozen and heated at the same time.
"What the hay..." Looking around, she spots the familiar coastline of Equestria and starts heading for it. 'This is one story no one will believe...'
Taking a look around, she notes that the sun is in the wrong position relative to where it should be. It's then she sees the ships below her. Gulping, she thinks it over before steeling herself. 'Come on Dainty! Dash wouldn't let whatever happened... affect her.' A moment later she begins to descend to the sea far below...
Day 4, Forty kilometers from Equestria's northeast coast
Standing at the stern of the HMCS Algonquin, Commander Tim Kerr turns away from a conversation as a crew member comes up. "Sir, we just got word that the Americans have made a contact of their own. Seems to be a pegasus."
Nodding, the Commander turns back to the conversation he was having while taking a sip of coffee as the crew member looks upwards with a slightly unnerved look. "I'm sorry, but I have to cut this short. Duty calls and all."
The large serpentine dragon nods as he waves a hand. "Oh, I can fully understand. It's been absolutely fabulous talking to you. So polite."
The Commander nods. "Thank you Steven. It's been a pleasure." With a nod and a smile, the dragon turns and dives under the water.
The crew member watches the spot for a moment before shaking his head. "Permission to speak freely Sir?" The Commander nods as he turns. "That was the oddest thing I've seen or heard of."
The Commander nods with a chuckle. "Agreed." Rolling his shoulders a little, he begins to make his way back to the bridge. "Well then. Let's see how the Americans are doing themselves..."
On the Bridge of the HMCS Algonquin a few hours later, all is quiet except for murmers before it's broken by the Radar Officer “Commander! I have something on Radar!”
Walking over, Commander Tim Kerr looks over the Lieutenant’s shoulder at the Radar array. “Is it one of those Pegasi the Americans encountered?”
Shaking her head, the radar officer looks up. “I don’t know Sir, whatever it is, it’s flying at about Mach 3 and 80,000 feet above us in a wide circle.”
Straightening, the Commander glances at his Coms. “Is it the Americans? Ask them if they have any surveillance craft in the area.”
The Coms officer nods for a moment and gets on the Coms with the American warships. A moment later he shakes his head. “They’re saying they don't Sir.”
The Commander is about to say something when the Radar officer says something that causes his blood to run cold. “Sir! It’s descending towards us!”
Biting back a curse, he turns. “Put the AA on Standby!” He then turns back to the Radar Officer. “Identify it as much as possible. I do not want to shoot down a possible friendly!” He then turns to the Coms. "Get in contact with our birds, and ask if one of them is able to do a visual confirmation now!”
A few moments pass as the Bridge Crew seems to hold their breath. On the Radar Screen, a blip appears and is soon designated as a CP-140 Aurora. It’s soon with in visual range of the object as it slows down. Suddenly, the Coms officer sighs in relief. “They have reported it’s a Pegasus Sir.” The Commander asks for it to be confirmed. “Yes Sir, it has been confirmed to be a Pegasus.”
Everyone slowly relaxes as the Commander gives a smile. “Tell the AA to stand down.” He then turns to his XO. “You have the Bridge Mr. Belhumeur.” His XO gives a nod as the Commander turns and walks out onto the catwalk outside the bridge with a pair of binoculars. Bringing them to his eyes, he watches in the direction that the Pegasus was last seen. ‘Now where are you… ?’ After a few minutes of scanning, he smiles as he sees a black dot slowly making its way towards the ship. He then proceeds to make his way down to the helipad before bring them to his eyes once more as the dot then resolves into a black pegasus with a red and black stripped mane and tail. Not long after it passes within shouting distance. “AHOY THERE!”
The Pegasus stumbles a little in the air before noticing the Commander and making its way over. “He… Ah… ah… ACHOO!” The Commander jerks back a little as the sneeze propels the pegasus away from the ship slightly. Shaking its head, it flies back and goes to lands on the helipad, stumbling a little as she nearly uses the full length of it to stop. “Borry…*Sniff*”
The Commander shakes his head and holds up a finger. “One moment please.” He disappears for a moment into a door behind him and comes back with a box of tissues. “Here you go.”
The Pegasus takes one with a smile. “Bank Bu.”
Commander Kerr watches with a slight smile of amusement as the Pegasus blows its nose. Waiting until it’s down, he clears his throat. “I don’t mean to be rude or anything, but are you a male or female? I just don’t want to embarrass you by addressing you wrong and it’s hard to tell I’m afraid.”
Taking a sniff, the Pegasus smiles. “I’m a female.” She then holds out her hoof with Commander Kerr shakes. “My names Dainty Dish.”
Commander Kerr gives a small smile. “And mine is Tim Kerr. I’m the Commander of the vessel you’re on. And I am very pleased to meet you Mrs. Dish.” Dainty gives a smile of wonder.
“I can’t believe that I’m *Sniff!* talking to an actual human!” She then looks around with the same wonderment on her face. “And this looks just like one of those ships from ‘Technology is Courage!’ shows and comics! *Achoo!*”
A blush on her face, she accepts another tissue as Commander Kerr raises an eyebrow. “Technology is Courage? If it’s not too much to ask Mrs. Dish, could you tell me what that is?”
Dainty just blushes some more. “Oh! Um… You don’t have to call me Mrs. Dish. Dainty’s fine.” Commander Kerr nods as Dainty smiles. “And ‘The Dark World: Technology is Courage’, that’s the full name by the way, is this amazing series! One of the best in my opinion!” Commander Kerr continues to listen as part of his mind is racing with the information he’s being given…
Day 5, Medical Bay of the HMCS Algonquin
Walking into medical, Commander Tim Kerr of the Algonquin takes a look around before spotting the Medical officer in a chair going over some paper work. A few strides and he's by the now attentive MO. "Doctor, how's our visitor doing?"
As he spares a glance over at the bed a sleeping Dainty occupies, the Doctor sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose. "Sir, I can't say with any certainty as to why Miss. Dainty collapsed last night as I am unfamiliar with her species-"
The Commander cuts him off. "Doctor, give your opinion then."
The MO nods for a moment. "Very well then." Glancing at the papers, he sighs. "I am unsure, but as she seems in perfect health other then some small scrapes I found, I can hazard a guess." Leaning back, he regards his patient with a small smile. "If Miss. Dainty was a human, I would have to say that she is currently recovering from extreme exhaustion and shock."
Grimacing, Commander Kerr glances over as well. "I shouldn't have asked her those questions."
The doctor just shakes his head. "Sir, permission to speak freely?" After seeing the nod, he continues. "Miss. Dainty seemed to have come down from an adrinalin rush. As such, when she crashed, she crashed hard. In fact, it's a good thing that she was here because you got her down here quite quickly."
Anything else is cut off as Dainty stirs. "Ugh... Whut happuned... ACHOO!" Commander Kerr holds out a box of tissues from which Dainty takes one gratfully and blows her nose. Afterwards she looks around. "Where am I...? Looks like a hospital."
The CMO nods his head. "As it should Miss. Dainty." Seeing her look at him, he gives a gentle smile. "I'm Dr. Edward Edmondston, and I'm the ship's Medical Officer." He then gets up and walks over before gently taking her foreleg and beinging to time her pulse. "Gave us quite the scare you did."
Dainty just blinks. "I... did?"
The Commander just nods. "Yes, I had sent off my report and was coming to talk to you when you collapsed. According to the sailors nearby, you said that you were woosy before you fainted." He then nods to Dr. Edmondston. "The good doctor here thinks that you were exhausted."
Dainty blinks as she thinks it over and nods. "Well... I was tired and been awake for a long time... Wait! My camera!" She looks around and relaxes as she sees it on a nearby table.
Clearing his throat, the MO nods. "We did nothing to your camera Miss. Dainty." He then takes a breath. "May I ask why you were tired?"
Dainty looks down sadly. "I... was hiding from Discord."
The Commander and Doctor share a looks before the Commander turns to her. "Could you explain what this discord was..."
After a quick run down, Commander Kerr nods his head. "Thank you Miss Dainty. And while I would like some more information, I think that it might be a good idea for you to get something into your stomach. You must be starved."
Dainty is about to say something when her stomach chooses that time to make itself known. Blushing, she hangs her head a little. "Um... sorry about that..."
The Commander just gives her a gentle smile. "Not to worry." He turns to a man standing near the door. "I am sure that Seaman Doyle here would be willing to run to the galley and get something for you to eat."
Dainty just chews her lip for a moment. "Uh, there's only certain things that I can eat due to me being allergic to most things..."
The Seaman just nods as he takes the notepad he's handed along with a pen. "It's no problem Ma'am. Just tell me what you can and can't eat and I'll write it down." As Dainty tells him, Commander Kerr shares a look with his CMO and both have wide eyes. Finally, Seaman Doyle finishes his writng and gives her a nod. "Ma'am, I will make sure that your dietary concerns are listened to."
Saluting the Commander, he leaves. About a half hour later he returns with a pitcher of lemonade, a glass, a jar of honey, and a bowl of nuts. The Commander looks at the nuts with a raised eybrow. "Those aren't the salted ones, are they?"
Seaman Doyle shakes his head. "No Sir. And the cook even washed each one by hand just to make sure there was no salt on them."
Setting them down and opening the jar, he gives his commanding officer a nod before saluting and taking up position near the door. "Thank you."
Seaman Doyle just nods with a smile. "It was no trouble Miss Dainty. None at all." Dainty's smile could light up the room before she dive ravenously into the nuts, taking a moment before hand to pour a glass of lemonade and add some honey to it.
Day 5, Washington, DC/Ottawa, Ontario
"President Obama, it's a pleasure to speak with you again."
"Likewise, Prime Minister Harper. I wish it were under better circumstances."
"Agreed. But we could say that by e-mail. Let's give the intel specialists the flood to make this video link worth the money."
Obama nodded to the CIA man to his right to begin the presentation.
"At 0500 local time 5 days ago, citizens along the entire west coast of the United States reported seeing a dome of light followed by a rainbow-coloured blast wave. Neither phenomenon did any damage, but the similarity to a nuclear blast cannot be dismissed. Another account of the event was received from a commercial pilot en-route to Hawaii. The pilot reported no EMP, physical aircraft damage, or injury despite being in close proximity to the light dome before turning back towards the continental US."
"With the exception of the airline incident, the reports from the Canadian portion of the coast is identical," the CSIS agent sitting to Harper's right agreed.
"In the aftermath of the event, our orbital assets were able to get images of a new subcontinent in the middle of the Pacific. How this landmass came into existence is currently unknown, but it is definitely inhabited," the CIA agent continued. One of the satellite photos with enhancements to highlight cities and roads took up the video conference screen. "The USS Enterprise was diverted from its farewell tour to investigate the new landmass, as they were in the vicinity. Two of the locals left land to investigate the carrier group and were kind enough to allow us to take their picture." The map was replaced by a picture of two pegasi, one grey and the other a yellowish color.
"Ditzy!" A woman just out of the camera's field of view blurted.
"Lauren? Is that you?" Jayson Thiessen asked from his space just out of the Canadian camera's sight asked.
"They got you, too, huh, Jay?" Lauren asked.
"Ms. Faust, Mr. Thiessen, could you please hold your comments to the end of the briefing?" Harper asked.
"Sorry." Jayson muttered. The picture of the pegasi disappeared and the CIA agent began to speak again.
"The locals are friendly and willing to abide by our requests. At this time they have made no hostile moves, although the carrier has garnered a number of spectators, including a small detachment from what we believe to be the local military."
"The HMCS Algonquin and her escorts are currently on approach to the new landmass from the northeast," the CSIS agent offered. "They have made contact with a local sea serpent who was reportedly quite friendly and forthcoming and one of the pegasi. They have not been threatened and have not gathered a significant number of spectators. My estimation is that the carrier and her air wing are simply more interesting to the pegasi."
"Thank you for sharing that with us, Prime Minister," Obama said. "We appreciate your candor."
"Thank you, Mr. President, for sharing as well," Harper replied. "Now we should let our experts have their say."
Day 7 after Event, HMCS Algonquin
Walking beside Commander Kerr, Dainty looks around with a look of wonderment (which is every once in a while interupted with a sneeze) as she's guided around (unknown to her the non-sensitive areas which have been cleaned using hypoallergenic cleaners). Stopping for a moment before a hatch, the Commander looks at Dainty with a smile. "And here we have the Galley and Mess Miss Dish."
Dainty's brows furrow as she thinks for a moment. "That's where you make the food and eat at right? I've heard of them on the airships but never had the chance to see one."
Filing that bit of info away, Kerr nods. "Indeed it is Miss Dish." He then chuckles a little. "If you'd follow me."
Ducking his head a little, he walks through the hatchway and is followed by Dainty who sees a large number of the crew sitting. Suddenly one of them that she recongnizes from the hanger on board notices her. He then nudges the woman next to him to catch her attention and soon the whole room sees her there. A bit shy from all the attention, she gives them a small nod and smile. "Um... hello." One of them suddenly gets up and smiling, begins to clap. He's soon followed by the rest causing Dainty to startle a little. "Wha..."
A hand suddenly pats her on her shoulder causing her to look up at the smiling Commander. "They're glad to see that you're better Miss Dish. You had us worried there for a bit."
Ducking her head for a moment due to the blush, she soon raises it as she tries to blink away tears. "Thank you. And those who visited me thank you even more. You're good Pon... I mean people." More then a few chuckles arise from her mistep. A moment later, Seaman Doyle starts walking over with his hand behind his back and a large smile. "Um... Mr. Doyle?"
He just chuckles. "I thought I told you to call me Daniel, Miss Dish?"
She just waves a hoof at him, a small smile on her. "I will as soon as you stop calling me Miss Dish."
A chuckle sounds through out the room before quietening after a moment. Standing at an "At Ease" position, Doyle looks down at Dainty with a serious look. "Dainty Dish, you've been on this vessel for the past four days. In that time a number of the crew have visited you and you've extended a hand... er, hoof, of friendship. With the permission of Commander Kerr," He nods at the Commander who nods back and smiles at the slightly confused look on Dainty's face. "We, the crew of the HMCS Algonquin, hereby declare you an honorary Crewmember."
Bringing his hand out from behind his back, he gives her one of the ship's ball caps, the name of the Algonquin proudly displayed across it. Shaking a little, Dainty takes it and looks up with tears in her eyes and sniffles as a large smile streches across her muzzle. "Re... really? Is this for me?" Doyle nods and watches as she places it on her hat to cheers and clapping from the assembled crewmembers. Soon after they come up and giver her congradulations and pats on the shoulder and back. Laughs erupt as she sneezes before laughing herself.
Watching as Dainty walks by, Lt. Johnson lets out a frustrated sigh as he shakes his head. Suddenly a hand punches him on the shoulder causing him to scowl. "What?"
Sub-Lieutenant Michaels grins at the annoyed look. "What's up with the sigh? Hm?"
Johnson just waves in the direction that Dainty walked off in. "It's that... what did she call it? That tattoo thing?"
Michaels raises an eyebrow. "Her Cutie Mark? What of it man?" He then gives him an odd look. "Unless..."
Now it's his turn to be punched in the shoulder by his long-time friend. "It's not like that." Johnson becomes thoughtful. "I swear that I've seen something like it before... but I can't put my finger on it..." He then scowls again. "It's been bothering me."
Blinking, Michaels crosses his arms as he leans against a nearby bulkhead. "You've seen something like it before? Really?" Johnson nods still looking frustrated only for his friend and co-pilot for his Sea King to clap him on the shoulder. "Then the answer you seek is simple my friend." Gesturing with his finger at Johnson, Michaels smirks. "Take a picture."
Johnson looks at him with a confused expression until it turns into one of realization soon followed by him faceplaming. "Image recongnition." Slapping himself he looks at the ceiling. "Idiot! Of course." A few minutes later finds him on his computer loading on a picture of Dainty before focusing in on her Cutie Mark. "Now to run it through image recongnition..." Typing in the command, he gets up as it's running and grabs himself a cup of coffee. Walking back, he stis down in time for it to finish causing him to blink in surprise. "Well now... that was fast." bringing his mug to his lips, he begins to take a sip as he clicks to bring up the closest match... only for the coffee to go down the wrong pipe as he sees what's on the screen. Coughing a bit, he hits himself on the chest before staring at the screen. 'The closest match... is the badge for the Blackbird!?' He suddenly remembers the book of famous aircraft back in his cabin and begins to laugh as he realizes where he recongized it from as well the events surrounding her arrival...
Disclaimer: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is owned by Hasbro.
"That day... was both the most horrifying and yet incredible day of my up to then short life. I thought that I and my parents might die as my town burned around me from the slaver raid. And then... then the Canadians came out of nowhere to help. Real live humans! To save us! It was like something from 'The Dark World: Technology is Courage'! I... I don't think that you or many humans could understand how I or many of the foals felt that day. It was like your entire town was under attack from a massive gang or something and then Batman stepped out of the comics and saved the day. I owe my life and the lives of those that I care about to Jesse and the other Canadians. It's a debt that can never be repaid in my view. I joined the Equestrian Guard, Coast Guard Division, because I wanted to be just like them and help those who needed it and to fight fear..."
- Lieutenant Sprinkles, Royal Equestrian Coast Guard speaking of the Battle of Hippocampus Bay in the book "First Contact: The Event and the aftermath" Canterlot Printing Company, 2019
Day 9, HMCS Algonquin
Sipping at his coffee, Commander Kerr nods as he tilts the computer tablet in his hand so that the black furred pegasus beside him could read it. "Seems that the weather out to sea is worsening Miss Dish, so we might be sticking to the coast for a while."
Blinking as she looks at the picture of the ocean between Equestria and what's been told is called "North America" Dainty can't help but shake her head. "I Bnow from the show that you can't control weather but *Achoo!* But this..."
Looking at the massive storm on the screen, the Commander sighs. "I suppose that it brings it home, doesn't it?" Dainty slowly nods as she blows her nose a piece of kleenix. "Normally I would just ride it out, but I think it might be a better idea to avoid it all together this time." Turning to the bridge's windows, he frowns slightly as he sees the tree coated coastal mountain range with various bays and inlets everywhere. "Should we be on the lookout for anything?"
Dainty slowly shakes her head. "No-not really *Achoo!* Only a few frontier towns around here and Diamond Dog packs... *Snerk* Though I think there might be a dragon."
A nearby Sailor snorts a bit until he remembers that they currently have a talking Pegasus on the bridge and shuts up. The Commander gives him an even stare for a moment before turning to apologize to Dainty when the Coms calls him over. "Is there an issue Mr. Strickland?"
The Leading Seaman turns and shakes his head as he glances back at his display. "Sir, I'm getting a signal from nearby on the Medium Wave AM. It keeps repeating itself at 15 second intervals. There's a weaker signal as well that I'm trying to isolate at the moment give me time and I'll have it."
Holding out a hand, Commander Kerr is handed the headset which be brings to his ear. Closing his eyes for a moment, he listens to the rymthic sound before frowning. "Some Kind of music perhaps?"
Strickland shakes his head. "No Sir, whatever it is, we've been recieving it for the past five minutes. It was weak and I've been working to isolate it." He then makes a gesture in the air. "Might have to do with whatever happened, it's messing with a number of lower frequencies."
After a moment, the Commander turns to the interested Pegasus. "Miss Dish, could you tell me if you recongnize this?"
He holds it next to her ear and she listens to it for a moment before her eyes widen. "Oh Celestia! That's a distress signal!"
That catches the Bridge Crew's attention. "Distress signal?" Kerr and the Leading Seaman share a look before he turns back to Dainty. "Could it be just a test?"
His stomach drops as she shakes her head with a small sneeze. "N-no. A test is just a minute long."
Grimacing, he turns to his Coms only to find that Strickman is already trying to triangulate the signal using the Frigates beside them, the HMCS Ottawa and HMCS Calgary. He then turns to another Coms. "Get in touch with the Enterpise. The Americans have several Guards there, one is likely an officer of some kind, have them let whoever it is know that we're going to investigate." He then orders the Sea Kings on the group's ships to be made to move out at a moment's notice, right before bringing the battle readiness up and ordering any boarding parties to head to the helipads in battle gear.
Twenty Minutes Later
Watching as the ocean passes below them, one of the boarding party members turns to look at the youngest member. "You okay there Jeff?"
Jeff just nods as he looks over his HK MP5. "Yes Sir. A bit different from what we normally do though."
The Petty Officer just shakes his head with a flash of a smile as he looks out the slightly opened door before frowning. "I know what you mean; this is completely crazy what’s going on. Talking ponies? Hell, talking winged ponies."
From his seat, the Pilot leans over and snorts. "Better then some crazy ass aliens invading. I tell ya one thing, Dainty sure as hell looks nothing like ET."
The female co-pilot smirks. "True that." She suddenly frowns as she looks over to the side where Algonquin stated the signal was coming from. "2 O’clock, is that smoke I’m seeing?"
The pilot nods, his expression becoming serious. "Yeah, it is. And if we’re seeing it from this distance…" He then gets on the radio. "Algonquin, do you copy, over?" After getting confirmation, he continues. "Please be advised that we are seeing a lot of smoke from area of destination. Over."
Almost immediately, Commander Kerr’s voice comes over the radio. "How far are you from the last known location of signal?"
The pilot and co-pilot look at the Navigator who holds up both fingers splayed. "We are approximately ten minutes out, over."
The Commander’s voice comes back over the radio. "Continue proceeding to location and be advised there might be possible hostiles."
The pilot nods. "We copy."
He leans over and tells the three boarding party members the situation before turning back to flying the helicopter towards the steadily growing amount of smoke. Five minutes later, Commander Kerr’s voice comes over the radio. "Enterprise has managed to get in contact with a ranking Officer of their military and he has authorized us to interfere if there is civilians in danger."
The pilot and co-pilot share a look before nodding, knowing that the crew in the other Sea King is hearing this as well. "Understood Sir." Looking over, the pilot shakes his head. "I told you that you shouldn’t have complained about us being out on exercises."
The Co-pilot glares at him, mouthing the words ‘Fuck you’ to him. Five more minutes pass before they fly over a ridge. The sight that greets them causes the co-pilot’s hand to come to her mouth. "Oh God…"
What they see before them is something out of a war movie as before them as there is a small township of some kind that’s currently ablaze, the fires reflected in the waters of the sheltered bay it’s clustered around. Clinching his fists, the leader of the three boarding party members grimaces. "Fuck." It’s then he catches sight of something down below. "What the hell… are those… dogs running around down there?"
Pulling out a binocular and bringing it to her eyes, the co-pilot leans some towards the window and shakes her head. "Only if dogs run on their hind legs and… is that a spear that it’s carrying?"
The boarding party chief opens the Sea King’s door and looks down, looking through pair as well. "Sure as hell looks like it."
Meanwhile, back on the HMCS Algonquin as it proceeds towards the last known local of the signal at full speed, Commander Kerr has received the details and turns to Dainty as the Com’s officer gets in touch with the Equestrian Officer on Enterprise. "Any idea what those are Miss Dish?"
She gulps a bit, her quiet voice nonetheless echoing though the Bridge as everyone listens. "Those… *Sniff* those are Diamond Dogs!"
Both the Commander and his XO share a look before the XO clears his throat. "’Diamond Dogs’ Miss Dish?"
She nods. "Yes, they *Achoo!* live underground in mines and can dig through the ground *Sniffle* like a mole. Some packs will do raiding, especially around here…"
Getting a sinking feeling in his stomach, the Commander, takes a breath. "Raids Miss Dish? For food or weapons…?"
His stomach plummets with her shaking her head. "No, they… they… *Sniff* they do raids for slaves to work in their mines." She doesn’t notice the slowly angered expressions on those listening in. "Usually, they will only go after lone travelers or small groups. Raids like this are… *ACHOO!*" Sniffing a little, her eyes slightly wet, she continues in a shaky voice. "Those they capture are usually never heard from or seen again except for bones being found sometimes near abandoned mines…"
Gritting his teeth, Commander Kerr looks around already seeing expressions hardening. ‘Slavery…’ He then turns to Seaman Doyle, who he notes is clinching and unclenching his fist. "Seaman Doyle, please take Miss Dish to her quarters and stay there with her."
Dainty just looks up in shock. "Bu-but…"
Getting down on one knee, the Commander places a hand on her shoulder. "Miss Dish… Dainty, we’ll be heading into combat soon, I don’t wish to see you get hurt." He then sighs. "You’ve given us a lot of help, but let us take it from here."
She bites her lower lip some and nods. "O-okay… I understand."
Giving one last look around, she leaves. The Commander then turns to his Coms once she’s out the door. "Any word from Enterprise?"
Strickland nods. "Yes Sir, apparently the Officer over there has confirmed what Miss Dish said and asks that we intervene and try to secure the area until Equestrian reinforcements arrive."
Beside him, the female Coms turns. "Sir, the Sea Kings have been informed of what we know and have confirmed that the Diamond Dogs are the ones setting the town on fire as well as some carrying nets."
Angered, the XO Grumbles. "Definitely not victims then…"
Commander Kerr gives him a glance before reaching out. The Commander is then handed the radio. "We have received a request from the Officer on Enterprise to intervene and secure the area until such time as native reinforcements arrive. Lethal force if needed has been authorized." And then grits his teeth as he leans against the Coms station. "I want those sons of bitches taken down and taken down hard. But keep your wits about you and stay focused..."
Hippocampus Bay, Town Hall
Overall, Sprinkles the pegasus had been having the worst week of his young life so far. First, there had been that wall of light which had scared the adults so much, which resulted in everypony being effectively grounded for a very nice day (for something that wasn't his fault!). Then, the night sky and moon had been wrong. Everypony had finally calmed down somewhat today since nothing else had happened, and the town's foals were let out to play...just in time for the stupid Diamond Dogs to attack. He rested his grey forelegs on the rooftop's ledge, and looked around for the thousandth time.
The town's foals, elderly, and unable to fight had been immediately evacuated to the upper floors and roof of the Mayor's office building. This was considered safe not because the Diamond Dogs couldn't attack or collapse the solid building, but because those evacuated weren't targets, and this would be far out of the way for a Diamond Dog to attack. Nopony had expected the dragon, least of the all the Town Guard. Now, the four story stone blockhouse was nearly surrounded by burning buildings, and the guards had been driven away from the center of town. Screams, the heavy thwock of repeater bolts hitting, and draconic roars were the the only evidence of the continued fighting, but were now steadily growing fainter.
The worst feeling in the world, Sprinkles believed, was helplessness. He couldn't help fight, he couldn't help treat anyone, and he couldn't even fly for help. Young flight muscles simply lacked the necessary strength and stamina, a point driven home in the opening few minutes of today's catastrophe.
It was the heavy buzzing sound he heard first, like a gigantic swarm of insects was far off. Moments later the underlying thwopping was heard, almost like a large hummingbird wing. A green earth pony filly, Starlight, was abruptly beside him, looking up. Her head turned towards the sound, and her jaw dropped. "No way."
Sprinkles almost rolled his eyes, "What now?"
He looked. He blinked and shook his head. He looked again. "What are those ugly things?"
Starlight regarded him like he was a zebra, "They're helicopters. You know, from Technology is Courage?"
"That's fiction, Starlight," the grey pegasus sighed, "Something that's not real."
"Fiction or not," she retorted "There's two helicopters at the edge of town."
The blocky buglike things had split up, circling around in different directions just outside the town limits. Abruptly, doors on the side of them opened, revealing things that very definitely did not look like ponies.
"More diamond dogs. That's it, then." Sprinkles almost looked sick.
Starlight, on the other hand, looked almost ready to start bouncing. "Those are HUMANS!"
The pegasus opened his mouth to reply, "Starlight, I-"
"Just look! Those aren't diamond dogs, the limbs are wrong."
He regarded the grey...helicopters for a moment, and sighed "I'm not sure, Starlight, they-"
"Go get them, they'll help."
The colt glanced at the newly enthusiastic filly, and shook his head. "You're not going to let this go are you?"
His green counterpart looked him in the eye, "No, I'm not. They'll help, it's what they do. Go get them."
Sprinkles closed his eyes. The town guard was already losing the fight, there was nowhere to run, and the dragon might just torch the rest of the town for laughs. There was nothing else he could do. He opened his eyes, spread his wings, picked his target, and flew
Scowling, the Petty Officer in charge of the Boarding Party members currently on the Helicopter hisses through clinched teeth as he pulls the binoculars away from his eyes. He then turns to the Pilot. "Can you find us a spot to set us down at? Maybe a central location?"
The Pilot nods as he looks out through the cockpit windows. "Sure, give us a sec and we’ll find a place to out you boys down at."
At that moment, the Sensor operator turns towards the rest of the crew. "Sir, we got an aerial contact on Radar flying towards us at 27 knots at 5 O’clock. It’s smaller then Miss Dish so it might be a bird but…"
The Co-Pilot shakes her head. "Sure as hell isn’t going to be a bird flying this."
As they maneuver the Sea King around, Petty Officer Grant MacDonald looks out the open doors and scans the area until he spots a small grey dot slowly growing larger as it heads for them. A moment later, his eyes widen as he can now clearly see its shape. "Dammit! It’s a Pegasus kid or something judging by the size, but why the hell is it coming here?!"
It’s Jeff, a Leading Seaman who figures it out. "Aw shit. I heard rumors that Miss Dish mentioned a show for kids or foals or whatever with humans as heroes…"
The Petty Officer grits his teeth. "And seeing us a child would run to us…" The foal finally comes close enough to see clearly what creatures are inside the helicopter and stops in midair, its mouth wide open. "Kid! Come on-" Whatever else the Petty Officer is about to say is cutoff as the foal is nearly hit by something shot at it. "Fuck!" Grabbing the HK MP5 beside him as he catches sight of a grinning Diamond Dog reloading his crossbow, the Petty Officer snarls as he looks down the sight. "Like hell." A moment later he feels the sub-machine gun dig into his shoulder as he fires two short bursts. The first misses from the movement of the helicopter, but the second slams into the Diamond Dog causing it to jerk around before collapsing. He then gestures to the shocked Pegasus. "KID, COME ON !" A moment later the Pegasus foal flaps as hard as it can and lands inside the hold of the Helicopter. Putting on the safety, the Petty Officer gets down a knee and places a hand on the foal’s shoulder. "You okay kid?"
The foal rapidly nods. "Ye-yeah…" He then looks around with a slightly awed look. "You’re… real. You’re really humans! Just like from Technology is courage!"
The third member of the Boarding team, Master Seaman Jason Matthew, nods. "Yeah, we’re real." He then frowns. "So what the… heck are you doing flying around here? You could have gotten real hurt."
The little grey Pegasus looks down for a moment before sobbing. "Starlight she… she recognized the helicopters from the show and thought that… thought that you could help and…"
As he starts to tremble, the Co-Pilot shares a look with the pilot before unbuckling herself and walking over to him. A moment later, she has him in an embrace as he starts crying. "There, there little one, everything is going to be alright."
The sniffling and tears running from his eyes, the Pegasus looks up. "Pl-please… you got to help…"
Her own eyes misting, 2nd Lt. Jesse "Fireball" Munroe nods while unknown to her, the Sensor operator takes a moment to snap a picture on a small digital camera he carries. "Don’t you worry little one, we’re going to help." A moment later, she gasps as the Pegasus hugs her tightly and thanks her. "But first, I want to know the name of the brave little guy who came to find us. You can call me Jesse by the way."
Swallowing back a lump in his throat, the Pegasus gives a slightly shaky smile. "M-my name is Sprinkles ma’am."
Jesse just nods with a slight, comforting smile as she continues to try and talk as softly as possible over the sound of the rotors. "Sprinkles? That’s a great name." She then gives him a bit of a serious look. "Now Sprinkles, we need some place open to set down so that these guys here can help, do you know of anywhere nearby we can use."
Still awestruck and disorientated, Sprinkles nods. "Yeah, the Mayor’s office, it’s a big building with a large roof… just like you use in the show!" Jesse smiles and is about to say something when Sprinkles continues. "It’s where the rest of us foals and the really old ponies are."
Automatically Grant stiffens as his mind makes the connection. ‘Dear God… that’s where their children must be.’ Clearing his throat, he gets on his knee again. "Sprinkles, did you see any Diamond Dogs around there?"
Sprinkles looks at him confused and nods. "Well yeah, there… was group of them with this big log thing, but they can’t get in."
It takes a moment but the soldiers figure it out. ‘Shit! They got a battering ram and they’re going for the kids.’
Needless to say, that makes them even angrier. Jesse just looks at Sprinkles again. "Sprinkles, can you show us where this building is?"
Sprinkles just nods and smiles. "Ye-yeah! I can guide you there!" He turns to go back out the door when Jesse stops him. "What?"
Jesse just shakes her head. "Sprinkles, you’ve done a very brave thing coming to get us, but we don’t want you possibly getting hurt if those Dogs take another shot at you…" She then looks up at the Pilot and gestures to the cockpit. After a moment he nods and Jesse turns to the confused Sprinkles. "I got a better idea, how about you come up to the cockpit and point what direction we need to go, okay? Just don’t touch anything, okay?"
As she brings Sprinkles up to the front, the Leading Seaman snarls. "Those fuckers are going after children?!"
Looking where the Pegasus is now sitting in the cockpit between and behind the pilot seats, the Petty Officer grips his gun tightly as he nods. "Yeah, and we’re going to make them pay for even thinking of it."
Up in the cockpit, Sprinkles takes a look around, his heart rising before it sinks again. "Mom… Dad…"
Jesse just reaches over and squeezes his shoulder. "Don’t worry Sprinkles, we’ll do everything we can to find them, okay?" She smiles as he nods and wipes away his tears. "They should be very proud of their brave little one." A moment later, she sees the office building Sprinkles told her about as he excited tells them that it’s there. Smiling, she turns to tell him something when she notices a group of ponies in what looks like roman armor come staggering out into the Square in front of the building, one goes down though as a spear pierces through him. Quickly, Jesse looks over to see that Sprinkles is unable to see it. She then leans back. "We can let you guys off in the Square, but it’s Hot!"
The Petty Officer shares a look with the other two and they nod. He then turns back to the Pilot and Co-Pilot. "Do so!"
Grunting as with each step the spear wound in her flank sends spikes of pain through her, Torch aims with her crossbow and uses her last bolt to nail a Diamond Dog. "Take that you Bucker!" A moment later though, her world nearly goes black as a stone roughly connects with her head. Stunned, she falls as an arrow plants itself in her leg, the pain causing her to rush back into consciousness in time to see a pack of Diamond Dogs about to charge her. Ears ringing, she doesn’t notice the rest of her group looking up from behind the cover they scrambled behind as she draws her short sword. ‘Sorry Dash… seems like Big Sis ain’t ever going to be able to apologize for all the shit she put you through growing up…’ Shakily getting to her hooves, she wobbles some as she looks through her one good eye, the other blinded from blood coming from a head wound. "COME GET SOME!" One of the Diamond Dogs is about to charge when suddenly there’s a loud booming sound from behind her as half it’s head vanishes in a spray of red. "What the!?"
She turns in time to see some strange thing drop to its knees and aim a long metal tube of some kind at a group of Diamond Dogs. Due to her hearing coming back, she hears a sound like tearing of parchment as several go down howling. The creature then looks at her directly. "Are you okay?!"
She nods, still slightly out of sorts. "Yeah…" She then glares at him. "Who the bucking hay are you?! What are you!?"
The being gives a small, grin. "Petty Officer Grant MacDonald, Royal Canadian Navy. We’re here to assist you."
Torch blinks at that. ‘We?’ She then hears another boom and looks to see two more start using whatever weapons they are to take down the Diamond Dogs. Seeing that, she nods as her decision is made. "Thanks, we need all the help we can get."
The Petty Officer nods and is about to say something when the ground behind him explodes as a Diamond Dog leaps at him, knocking him to the ground. Twisting the struggling human around, it’s about to spear him when it howls in agony as Torch buries her sword to its hilt in the Dog’s side. A moment later it backhands the brave Guard knocking her to the ground as it pulls out the blade. "Stupid Pony! I will enjoy-" Hearing a clicking sound, it turns back to see the Petty Officer pointing some metal thing at it. ‘What is-‘
It’s thoughts are cut off as well as it’s life as the two bullets plow through it’s skull, a head evolved to shrug off blunt force impacts giving it no protection against the projectiles. Throwing the body off him, Grant winces as wraps an arm around his chest for a moment. "Damn, I knew they could fucking dig, but not like that!" Seeing that the Pegasus that just saved his life is slipping in and out of Consciousness, he slings her over his shoulders in a fireman’s carry before grabbing his fallen gun and her sword. He then rushes towards where the rest of his team is as the second Sea King (the one he came in on having gone to the roof) arrives, its door gun spitting bullets at the hoard of canids. As he’s running, Torch’s helmet falls off revealing her red and yellow highlighted hair. Once he’s behind cover, the medic from the other Sea King begins work to stabilize her as much as possible..
"I want those choppers headed north now! I don't care ,yes they will be late but those damn slavers could try again and I'm sure the Canadians won't mind some of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children helping them. I want javelins sent as well you never know . Right...Vegetarian MREs, they are herbivores if what Ditzy and her friends appetites are any indication. Water and water purification gear as well....Enterprise is headed North but it will be a while till we get to the area but if a second attack happens....Well Diamond Dogs will meet Steel rain since the MEU will be there first."
"Word from the states is they are sending relief supplies as well. Also a few veterinarians. I'm sending what Corpsmen I can and doctors but space is limited. Mid air refueling for the choppers. 18's as well four are headed north as we speak. Better late than never."
For the pegasi watching it was a sight to behold has 90,000 tons of metal turned hard to the right. Alarms could be heard coming from it as several aircraft were launched. More activity on deck as a small fleet of helicopters from the carrier and her escorts headed North. The carrier followed them and seemed to be accelerating as a Wasp Class with accompanying ships pull out ahead of them all as it launches Ospreys and Sea Stallions.
Watching as the Naval Boarding Team members take cover, one of whom is carrying an injured Pegasus, Jesse turns to look at their last passenger and gives him a smile. "Okay Sprinkles, we'll drop you off on the roof. Understood?"
Sprinkles nods as he leans against her chair, still frightened from the sounds. "Ye-yeah. That sounds good."
Jesse just runs her hand through his brown mane as he looks up at her. "You've been a very brave colt so far Sprinkles, just have a bit more to go." Lifting off, the copter makes its way to the roof and then comes to a hover just a few feet above it. She then nods at Sprinkles as she unbuckles herself. "Well come on then." Getting up, her and Sprinkles head to the bay door and she opens them revealing the roof, where there are several foals and a few elderly looking ponies. At least one of the foals looks like it's a toddler causing her to take a breath and let it out in a small hiss. She does blink though noticing that a number have a single horn in the middle of their foreheads. 'Unicorns? Really? Eh, they have Pegasus after all, not that surprising.'
Sprinkles hops off just in time for a green Earth Pony filly to rush up and hug him. "YOU'RE OKAY! Oh, Sprinkles I was so worried when you didn't come back and... and..."
Watching the filly bury her head in the blushing Sprinkles chest, Jesse can't help but twitch her lips some before she winks at the poor colt. "You didn't tell me you had a girl waiting for you Sprinkles."
Sprinkles sputters some as the two foals spring apart, both faces ablaze. "It... it's not like that!"
Jesse just winks at him again. "Sure it isn't." She then becomes serious before hopping down and giving him a hug. "Anyways Sprinkles, I got to head out to bring in the next group. Keep safe, okay?"
He nods and smiles as he returns it. "I will, thanks."
Giving him one last squeeze, she turns to head back into the Sea King when she hears a shout. "WAIT!"
She turns to see an elderly looking Pegasus trot over as fast as she can. She hears Sprinkles call her Grandma and gives her a nod. "Ma'am."
The Pegasus stops and looks her over for a moment before turning to look where the gunshots are coming from. "Who are you and where are you from."
Jesse clears her throat a little. "I'm 2nd Leutenent Jesse Monroe Ma'am. Royal Canadian Airforce, we're here to render assistance."
The mare nods. "I see... but where are you coming from?"
Understanding, Jesse gives her a smile. "Her Majesty's Canadian Ship Algonquin. It'll be arriving here soon to give more support."
The old Pegasus nods for a moment before looking at her grandson and his friend for a moment before nodding. "So you come from a warship then? A big one?"
Jesse slowly nods unsure of where this is leading. "Well, yes."
The Grandmother takes a breath and then lets it out in a sigh as she looks at the female co-pilot. "Please then, take our young ones with you so that they'll be safe. This place is a deathtrap for them if the dragon shows up."
Jesse takes a slight step back in shock at both what she is asking and what she said. "Ma'am...?"
The old mare gives a bitter chuckle. "I have watched the show when caring for the young ones and seeing you here helping us because we need it..." She then reaches up with a hoof. "I can see that you'll take care of our little ones. Please..."
Jesse searches her eyes for a moment. "I'll get in touch with the Commander and see what he thinks. But if we do, it'll take a while to get all of you out of here..."
She trails off as the grandmother shakes her head. "Don't concern yourself with us older fuddy duddies."
Sprinkles rushes up and hugs her. "But Grandma!"
She shakes her head, a small tear falling from her eyes. "No Sprinkles. We've all lived our lives and you and the other young ones have just begun to live yours." She then gets down and nuzzles the crying foal. "If it is our time, then it is our time. We can go knowing that our little ones are safe."
Sprinkles just hugs her even harder. "Gran... grandma..."
The two share an embrace as they softly cry. A moment later, Jesse returns after confirming over the radio. Seeing this, the Grandmother nods. "So?"
Jesse just nods. "We'll get them out of here. We can't take many at once, but we'll take as many as we can each time we come back."
The Grandmother nods. "That will do." She then looks at the group of youngsters. "How many can you take?"
Looking them over, Jesse bites her lip. "We might be able to take ten. That would be pushing it though."
The old mare nods and motions for the elders carrying the smallest foals to come over. "That will be fine." She then turns to both Sprinkles and Starlight. "I need you two to go with them." She holds up a hoof at their loud disagreements. "I need you two to go on each one of these... helicopters I believe their called?" She looks at Jesse who nods. "Yes, I need you two to go on each one to keep the younger foals calm."
Getting down on one knee, Jesse places a hand on Sprinkle's shoulder. "Sprinkles, can you be brave one last time?"
He just looks up at her with a slight tremble. "I... I'm scared..."
Jesse just gives him a smile. "Being brave doesn't mean not being scared Sprinkles, I'm scared too you know. But being brave means you fight your fear."
Sprinkles nods a little. "O-okay..."
Giving one last hug to his grandma and Starlight, he flaps his wings and lands in the Sea King bay. Mean while, the first of the foals arrives and Jesse picks them up before handing them to the Sensor Operator who places them in the bay. Picking up a tiny little Unicorn foal, Jesse gives her a small smile. "It's okay little one, everything will be okay."
It doesn't take long until the last of the group their transporting are on the Sea King. Turning to the elderly Pegasus, Jesse's breath is taken from her as the old mare hugs her. "Thank you. And please take care of the foals."
Jesse pats her on the back. "Don't worry, I will." The two separate and Jesse turns and grabs a hand hold, hoisting herself up and into the Sea King. A moment later, the helicopter rises as the foals inside take one last look at the roof, Jesse herself seeing the other Sea King nearly land and a member of it's crew jump out to help take some foals on board. Swallowing the lump in her throat, Jesse closes the door and after patting Sprinkles on the head one last time as he takes care of the crying young ones, makes her way to the cockpit. Strapping herself in, she looks back at the foals. '"Fight Fear" indeed...' She then turns to the instruments as she starts flying the helicopter to the Algonquin. It doesn't take long to reach the Destroyer and even less time to land as their met by various personnel and Dainty herself. The black Pegasus taking it upon herself to help guide the foals to where they'll be out of the way. Sprinkles, of course is the last one off as before he leaves, he walks into the cockpit and gives Jesse one final hug which she returns. "Now, be good, okay Sprinkles? These nice people and Miss Dainty will take care of you."
Sprinkles nods before looking up at her with a worried look. "You'll be okay, right?"
Jesse gives him one last squeeze before letting go. "Of course I will be." She then gestures with her head where the last of the foals are gathered around a sneezing Dainty. "Now you head on over there and keep an eye on the very little ones." After one last goodbye, Sprinkles hops off and rushes over to where the other foals are as four Naval Boarding personnel make their way onto the Sea King, one of them carrying a duffle bag and the other with a FN MAG as well as the ammo needed for it. Once they close the door, the copter lifts off, heading back to the town. After a few minutes, Jesse looks back. "By the way, where are they putting the kids?"
One of them, another Leading Seaman jerks his thumb back to where the ship is. "They're going to put them in the galley for now. Head that one of the crew members might be setting up a small DVD player for them to watch." He then looks around. "You got a bag around here?" The crew shakes their heads causing him to gesture at the Boarding Party member carrying the duffle bag to set it down. A moment later, he pulls open the side pocket and takes out a small kevlar bag and begins filling it with grenades. After securing everything, he holds it out. "Here, we were told to tell you that if you see any packs on your way out, you were to drop these on them." The crew share a look before setting the bag out of the way as they continue on their way.
CFB Comox, twenty minutes later
Standing on the runway near the two CP-140 Aurora being refueled, the two crews watch. Shaking his head, the Pilot of one of them turns to the one for the opposite aircraft. "You hear where they're sending us?"
Sipping from his coffee, he nods. "Yeah, I heard we're doing a airdrop over that landmass that appeared." He then gestures at a nearby Hercules also being refueled. "They're even loading a Herc."
The Herc's pilot comes over. "Talking about the mission?"
One of the Aurora's crew nods. "Yeah, no clue what the hell is going on though."
The Herc's pilot is silent for a moment before looking around. "The navy boys went and got into a fight over there apparently." That little fact catches their attention and one of the other members of the group asks what the hell the reason was for that. "They got a distress signal from a town and when they did recon found the whole thing aflame and the group that did it grabbing people. Something about slaves." All is silent for a moment before shouts start ringing out and the Herc pilot holds up his hands. "Whoa! Only reason I know is that one of my guys was monitoring the Coms and overheard it. And children are involved."
One of the crew, a Coms officer for an Aurora slams his fist into a nearby wall. "Damn bastards!"
There's nodding all around as one of the pilots scowls. "No wonder we're being sent up with Land Survival Pods."
The Herc Pilot nods. "Yeah, and they're sending us over with airdropable medical pallets and shelters. They don't expect the fighting to last long." He then looks around before leaning in. "Look, since there's kids involved in all this and it'll take a while before we leave, me and my guys are gathering together some money. We managed to get a hold of some airdrop pods that aren't being used and I'm sending one of my crew over to the airport and the other into Comox to go to a convenience store. We figure that after this, those kids are going to need whatever comfort they can get and the weight ain't going to be nothing that we can't cover.."
The Aurora crews look at each other and nod before the first pilot rubs the bottom of his nose. "How much do you need?"
The Herc Pilot looks towards one of the Base Commanders overseeing the fueling and loading. "However much you're willing to give."
One of the Sensor operators lets out a sigh. "If you can scrounge up some more, I'll head over to the CANEX. I know some people over there that can help." He gives a bittersweet smile. "Nothing like a stuffed toy to make a kid smile." Nodding all around, the crew starts pulling out wallets and taking out bills...
On Route to HMCS Algonquin from Hippocampus Bay
Flying over the forest on their way back from yet another drop off, Jesse gives the Sea King flying beside them a thumb up. "At least all the kids are out of harms way."
The Pilot just nods. "Tell me about it." He then glances back where a single medic is taking care of an injured Pegasus, what visible red and yellow hair sticking out from the blood stained bandage lying limply. "Any idea why we’re just picking her up now? She looks in rough shape."
The medic snorts before shaking his head. "Stubborn as a mule. Didn’t want to get any treatment until after the battle." He then smirks. "Sadly, she never saw the needle coming." He then grimaces as he checks on the red stain. "Idiot could have gotten herself killed pushing the way she did."
The Sensor operator shakes his head. "You sure using that stuff on them is safe?"
Rolling his eyes, the medic gives him a look. "From what I was told they’re mammals so yes, it’s safe as long as we don’t overdose her."
Jesse is about to say something when she notices the pilot of the other Sea King motioning down, causing her to look out the cockpit and swear. "Fuck!" She then turns to the Pilot. "We got a group of Ponies being dragged by Diamond Dogs down there and-" She growls. "We got to get down there now! They’re beating the shit out of one of the Ponies!"
Scowling, the Pilot nods. "Any of you ever been on the ground in combat?"
The rest of the crew shakes their head before Jesse snarls. "No, but we sure as hell went through Basic." Unbuckling herself, she gets up and grabs the bag of flash bangs (they having been placed in a separate bag from the others before making her way to the door and opening it as the helicopter circles back around, the Diamond Dogs staring upwards. With a vicious grin, Jesse pulls out a Flash bang before pulling the pin and dropping it right in the middle of the pack. "Fetch!" A moment later, the grenade goes off causing the Diamond Dogs to drop howling and screeching to the ground as they hold their ears. The Ponies whimper a bit as they shut their eyes causing Jesse to flinch. "Shit…"
The Medic shakes his head. "Forget about that for now." Reaching over, he grabs a C8 and hands it to her. "Here, use this. Better then that pistol you got."
Jesse snorts but doesn’t say anything and once the Sea King is hovering just above the ground, she hops out and makes her way to where the Ponies are. She has to shoot two recovering Diamond Dogs when they try to interfere, one in the leg and the other in the torso. Reaching the tied up Ponies, she grabs her knife and starts cutting the rope hobbling them. "It’s going to be okay, we’ll get you out of this."
One of the Ponies, a dark grey one with a black mane and a seaweed Cutie Mark licks her lips as the rope binding her mouth shut is cut. "Who… how…"
Ignoring the sound of the Sea King with the door gun using it, as well as the other humans cutting the rest of the Ponies free, Jesse gives her a glance as she cuts the last rope. "Name’s Jesse. We’re here to help." She then winks. "And yes, this is just like that show."
The mare blinks for a moment before her eyes widen. "Slide!"
Seeing her rush towards the Pony who was being beaten with a limp, Jesse scowls before chasing her. "Dammit!"
Her scowl fades away though as she sees the mare hold up the other pony’s head and nuzzle it, tears falling from her eyes. "Slide…"
Looking up from his swelled eyes, Slide just gives a slightly awkward grin, his broken wing lying limply. "Hey…" He then notices Jesse running up, the C8 hung across her back. "Aw hay… the pain must be making me see things."
Jesse just shakes her head as she crouches next to him, giving him a look over and grimacing at the wounds as well as the fact she can’t tell what color he is through the dirt and blood covering him. "No Sir, I can honestly say that you’re not seeing things."
He just blinks. "You mean… you’re an actual human?"
She nods as the mare continues sobbing. "Yes Sir. Now where does it… I suppose it hurts everywhere…"
He chuckles before wincing. "Ooo… Hurts to laugh."
She tries to give him a comforting smile as she uses her hands and tries to feel for any broken bones and finds a couple. "Sir, can you feel your legs?" He nods as she grimaces. "Sir, I’m going to have to lift and carry you. I’m afraid that this will hurt."
He snorts a bit and nods as the Earth Pony looks on, biting her lip. "Is… is he going to be okay?"
Jesse just reaches over and lays a hand on her shoulder. "As long as we get him medical attention soon, he’ll be fine."
Placing her arms under him, Jesse takes several breaths before lifting him, grunting from exertion as he screams and blacks out. "SLIDE!"
Red faced, Jesse looks over at the Pony beside her before jerking her head at the waiting copter as the Navigator and the Medic come out with a stretcher. "COME ON! We got tot get out of here!" She starts running towards the two soldiers with the Stretcher and reaches them just as she hears a scream behind her. Turning, she sees a furry hand grab the gray mare and start pulling her down into the ground as the pony panics. "Fuck!" Laying the injured Pegasus on the Stretcher, she snarls. "GET GOING!"
The Navigator shouts as she turns and starts running for the mare who’s now up to her waist in the dirt. "MA’AM!"
Jesse just half turns and points to the Sea King. "GO!" Still running, she reaches the pony just as the dirt reaches her chest and grabs her forelegs. "I GOT YOU!"
She starts pulling her back only for a sudden jerk to yank her off balance and cause them both to hit the ground and collapse the tunnel underneath them, the two falling into it. Dazed, Jesse shakes her head and tries to get her bearings just before she finds herself slammed against the nearby tunnel wall hard enough to knock the wind out of her and break a rib. She then finds herself being hoisted into the air by her arm and leg as two Diamond Dogs grab her. "You not a pony… but you do just as good."
Snarling through the sharp pain in her ribs, Jesse’s free boot swings back, catching the one holding her leg in the crotch, it’s eyes widening comically as it drops her. "LIKE HELL!" Now able to move slightly and touching the ground due to the Diamond Dog holding her arm dropping her slightly, her training takes over as one foot slips behind the Dog’s leg and she grabs its arm with her free hand and pulls. While not throwing it, it’s enough to cause it to let go as it trips. As it tries to get back up, Jesse’s foot swings up and catches it in the throat with a wet crunch. Grabbing her C8, Jesse aims it at the stunned group holding the pony down before firing, catching them and bringing them down. Limping over, she pulls the stunned mare to her feet. "There we go, you okay."
Wincing as she sets a hoof down, the mare hisses. "I think I twisted my hoof."
Jesse grimaces and is about to say something when she hears a shout and looks up to see the Navigator poking his head out of the Sea King’s door as it flies above the collapsed tunnel. "FIREBALL! WE’RE GOING TO USE THE WINCH!"
He then tosses down another vest and Jesse slides it on as they swing out the rescue winch. She turns to the mare only to see her staring down the opening to the tunnel. "What’s wrong?"
She gulps before looking at the human beside her. "There’s more coming…" Her ear flicks a bit. "A lot more."
Jesse blinks for a moment before taking a breath as she looks around, and spots a boulder that had fallen in. ‘Its stupid but…’ She looks up and cups her mouth. "THROW ME A FRAG!" Seeing the Nav looking at her like she’s crazy, she scowls. "THROW ME A FRAG, THEY’RE COMING BACK!"
Nodding, he ducks back in as the Sensor operator continues to set up the winch. A moment later, the Nav comes back. "INCOMMING!"
Since the Sea King is so low, Jesse manages to catch the grenade. Looking down the tunnel, she turns to the mare and jerks her head. "Get behind that rock there and tell me when they’re coming down." The mare nods and does as asked. Jesse just takes a breath, wincing as a sharp pain flares causing her to cough. ‘Okay Jesse… you can do this…’
A few seconds pass before the mare shouts. "THEY’RE COMING!"
Jesse rapidly pulls the pin and throws the grenade down the tunnel before running for the rock and grabbing the mare and pulling her behind it. "GET DOWN!"
Inside the tunnel, the group of Diamond Dogs are about to charge out when the grenade bounces off the wall and lands at their feet. Cocking his head to the side, one of them picks it up and scratches his head as he looks at it curiously and then the others. "Ball?"
A moment later, there’s a large boom as Jesse covers the mare with her own body, the noise deafening them enough that they don’t hear the shrapnel bouncing off the rock they’re behind. Blinking away the pain from her ribs, Jesse pokes her head around to see the tunnel collapse Still deafened, she sees the vest on the end of the winch’s cable get dropped into view before she shakes the mare underneath her. "TIME TO GO!" Seeing the confusion and realizing that the mare can’t hear anything, she points. "TIME TO GO!"
The mare nods, also shouting. "OKAY!"
Together the two make their way over before Jesse bends down, helping place the vest around the mare and then hooking herself in. She then looks at the mare. "Ready?" The mare nods as Jesse brings up a hand and gives a thumbs up. A moment later, the combination of the helicopter ascending and the winch pulling them up brings them up and over the lip of the exposed tunnel. Once they’re up in the air, Jesse breaths a sigh of relief. ‘Oh thank God that’s ov-‘
She gets cut off as the mare screams. "LOOK OUT!"
One of the Diamond Dogs had been playing dead, and seeing it’s chance had sprung to its feet and done a running leap into the air, its claws grabbing hold of Jesse’s leg causing the cable to jerk as they continue ascending. A moment later, it bites her shoe, its teeth actually biting through the tough material. "ARGH!"
In the other Sea King, one of the crew there takes aim only to shake his head. ‘Dammit… I can’t shoot without possibly hitting the other two…’
In Jesse’s copter, the Navigator looks at the winch to see it struggling under the weight of all three, small wafts of smoke coming from it as it strains from carrying over its weight limit. ‘Do something Fireball…’
Below on the end of the cable, Jesse brings her free foot down again and again on her attacker’s head, only for it to shrug off the blows. "GET OFF YOU FUCKER!"
The Diamond Dog just snarls as he stops trying to bite through her ankle through the boot, and instead pulls itself up farther as the fight continues over the tree tops. "I will enjoy chewing your bones."
Two hooves suddenly slam into his face dazing him. "LET HER GO!" The mare lines up another shot and smashes her back hooves into his face at the exact same time as Jesse brings her own foot down. The two hits causing him to let go and fall into the forest below, where they see him land on a branch jutting out from a fallen tree, piercing him. The mare then hugs her, quietly sobbing. "I’m so sorry… I am so sorry…"
Jesse just awkwardly pats her back as the cable stops pulling them up. Looking up, she sees the Navigator shaking his head. "WHAT’S GOING ON?!"
The Nav just shakes his head before shouting back. "THE WINCH IS BUSTED! WE’RE GOING TO HAVE TO BRING YOU TO THE SHIP THAT WAY!"
Jesse blinks a bit and begins chuckling, only to wince as she hisses. "Note to self… don’t laugh." A few minutes pass as the trees sweep by below them until they’re within sight of the ocean, the Algonquin and its escorts nearly to the bay’s entrance. She then looks at the still frightened mare. "You know, I never caught your name."
The mare blinks as she stares at her savior before a smile crosses her face. "Name’s Oyster!"
Jesse just grins. "Great name."
A moment later, her grin is replaced with a looks of shock at Oyster’s next words, the mare looking at the approaching open water with a worried look. "I hope that Sprinkles is okay…"
Jesse swallows the lump in her throat. "’Sprinkles’? Is he a gray Pegasus foal with a brown mane?"
She just nods. "Yes! He’s mine and Slider’s son! Have you seen him?"
Oyster then just watches in confusion as the crazy human begins madly laughing and wincing. After a minute, she too begins to giggle before bursting out laughing, tears streaming from both their eyes. Up near the winch, the Navigator shakes his head before looking back at the cockpit, partially closing the door as he shakes his head. "Guys, I think that Fireball’s finally snapped, she’s laughing like a mad woman…"
Poking his head over the overturned wagon he’s using as a shelter, a Petty Officer scowls as he fires at a bunch of Diamond Dogs using a pile of debris for defense. "Fucking furry bastards…" He then glances to the side. "Present company excluded."
The Unicorn mare in bloodied grey armor snorts before propping up her crossbow and taking a shot, the bolt narrowing missing a Diamond Dog. "I’ve been called a lot worse in my years. Trust me on that." Ducking below the lip of the wagon’s bottom as several arrows smash into it, she snarls. "They got a hell of a place to fire from. Smart little pups." Moving her head some, she pulls it down as an arrow nearly hits her. "I can’t get a decent bead on them."
The Canadian Naval personnel beside her nods his head. "I would dearly love to throw a grenade up their ass but…" He looks over and fires some shots before ducking back down. "Too far to throw one, and can’t shoot here as it’s just as likely to bounce back thanks to all these walls."
The Unicorn looks at him. "’Grenade’?"
He nods and looks at her. "Small handheld explosive device. You pull a pin and throw it or shoot it and once so much time passes it explodes. This case a frag would be best." Seeing the look, he guesses what she’s about to say. "A frag is a grenade that when it explodes sends out hot metal fragments at high speed, shredding what is in its way."
Getting up again, the two allies once more try and take out the Diamond Dogs only to get one of the five. Ducking back down, the Unicorn rubs at a wound on her thigh. "So a hoofbomb then?" Seeing the confused look, she shakes her head. "You got some?" He nods looking at her causing her to grin with a bloodthirsty look. "You give me one, pull the pin and I’ll make sure it drops in the middle of those mother buckers."
Glancing at her, the Petty Officer takes a breath and nods. "Okay." Reaching, he grabs a grenade and pulls the pin, only to find it floating in the air, a greenish aura around it. "What the hell!?"
Using her TK to toss it, it lands right in the middle of the Diamond Dogs. "What? You never seen magic before or something?"
A moment later, there’s a detonation as several Diamond Dogs are flung into the air howling. The Petty Officer flinches a bit before shaking his head. "Not in my life Ma’am."
She blinks and stares at him for a second. "Huh. Weird." She then motions her head. "On three?" The Petty Officer nods. "One."
Then as one they rise. "THREE!"
Watching the area over his sights, the Petty Officer that the only thing moving is the smoke from behind what’s left of the debris pile as there’s several Diamond Dog bodies in front of them, obviously dead. Beside him the Guard Pony swallows her gorge from the smell and the sight. "Ugh…"
The Petty Officer turns to her. "You okay?"
She simply nods, distaste apparent on her muzzle. "Yeah, not used to this amount of combat."
He just nods. "Doing damn good so far." Giving one last look around, he shoulders his HK MP5 and holds out his hand. "I forgot to introduce myself. Petty Officer Daniel MacGrath, Royal Canadian Navy."
The Unicorn takes his hand and smiles. "Master Sergeant Spearmint." She ignores the slightly confused look before he shrugs it off. She then grins. "Thanks for the assistance that you and your group have been giving us."
Daniel just nods as he looks around with an even stare. "We should get moving-" He gets cut off as he hears several distant grenades go off, a roaring soon blotting out the sound. "Shit, it’s that dragon!"
Spearmint grimaces as she telekinetically loads another bolt into her crossbow. "And we don’t have anything capable of taking that thing down." She then gestures at his gun. "And somehow I don’t think that, that will do much."
The Petty Officer shakes his head. "Nope. But we already knew that we don’t have the weapons to kill it." He then frowns as he looks at her. "We’re just keeping it occupied until the Algonquin, the Ottawa and the Calgary get here. They’ll have the weapons on board to take the fucker down hard."
The Unicorn beside him grins as she holds up her crossbow. "Well then, if a distraction is all you’re looking for…"
He nods and together the two start heading for the fight against the dragon. Within five minutes (and having picked up a Pegasus and another Unicorn), they’re close enough to see blasts of fire through the smoky air. "Well, looks like we found big ugly."
The Pegasus just grumbles some. "That’s one way to put it…"
Spearmint gives him a glare shutting him up before turning to the Daniel. "So what’s the plan?"
The Petty Officer turns and gives her a shrug. "Piss it off to keep it nice and distracted. Hurt it if we can." He then unslings his gun. "As long as we prevent it from focusing on one target too long, we should be okay."
Ignoring the shocked looks of the other two Guardsponies, Spearmint gives a grin and nods. "Short, sweet, and to the point. Exactly how I like my orders." She then turns to the other two. "Dusty, I want you to get into the air and hit it from above. Use lighting to do so as it’ll have a longer range and don’t bother trying to really hurt it. Hit it when it’s focused on the ground." She then turns to the other Unicorn, a colt. "Jackrabbit, you think that you can hit it from range?"
Unslinging an odd, longer crossbow from his back with magic, Jackrabbit nods. "Let me find a place and I can make sure that it won’t be focused for long."
Spearmint nods. "Okay, move out and watch for the signal." They nod and Dusty takes to the air as Jackrabbit heads into an alleyway. Seeing that, Spearmint looks to see Daniel pull his finger from a small bud in his ear. "You ready?"
He nods as he checks his sidearm. "As ready as I’ll ever be to deal with a Godzilla reject." He then jerks his thumb into the air. "I let the Sea Kings know about… Dusty was it?"
She nods. "Yeah, Private Dusty." She then gestures with her head to the ear bud. "Radio headset?" Once more surprised, he nods causing her to chuckle. "Don’t be so shocked. We out here on the fringes in the small town don’t get the new stuff. Saw one on my last trip to Stalliongrad." She blinks as he chuckles a bit before shaking it off. "Anyways, let’s head out." Rushing, the two stop behind a building near an open area, the sound of gunfire, shouts, roars, and "Fwoosh!" of flames echoing around them. Poking her head around the corner, the Guard Pony nods as she gestures to his pack. Understanding what she’s planning, he pulls out two grenades and as she holds them, with TK, pulls the pin. Taking a breath as he does so, Spearmint narrows her eyes. ‘You can do this…’ Her tongue poking from her lips, she floats the two armed grenades right behind the dragon’s head as they go off. Seeing the roaring dragon stagger, she gulps. "I think we might have caught his attention…"
Pulling her behind and against the wall as a gout of flame shoots by, the heat enough to make him sweat, Daniel gives her a deadpan look. "You think?"
At her shrug, they make their way rush across the road, narrowly missing being roasted again. The Canadians and the Guardponies work together, performing hit and run tactics and never allowing the dragon time to focus on one. Up in the air, the Sea Kings with door guns and Dusty along with a few other Pegasi manage to grab the dragon’s attention whenever he begins focusing too much on the troops on the ground. Several times, what can only be called "Illusions" pop up causing the dragon’s attention to switch long enough for the soldiers to regroup. After the fourth time, this time what looks like an Ursa Minor attacking the dragon only to phase through it, Spearmint frowns. ‘Who the hay is doing that? None of the Unicorn Guards is an accomplished illusionist…’ She shakes it off as she fires another crossbow bolt and turns to Daniel. "Any idea how much longer?"
The Petty Officer just gives her a grim smile. "Right now, just received the order to bug out."
Nodding, the Unicorn concentrates before a blast of energy shoots into the air, creating a firework effect. Immediately, all weapons fire stops as everyone holds their breath while the dragon looks around. "Come out little things… I can smell you…"
A moment later, a low flying Sea King buzzes him before vanishing into the smoky gloom causing him to snarl as he leaps into the air after it. After a minute passes, Spearmint sticks her head around the corner and nods. "It’s clear."
Daniel nods as he steps out beside her, his gun leveled at the burnt clearing while keeping an eye on the area around and above. "Yeah… seems like it’s gone…" Seeing a bluish glow though, he whips around in time to see a silvered maned blue Unicorn using its magic to carry an injured Leading Seaman. "Alec!" Running over, Daniel grimaces as he sees that one of Alec’s legs below the knee is completely gone, some of his uniform jacket wrapped around it to keep it from bleeding out. "Alec, wheres…"
The man just shakes his head sadly. "The dragon got Shawn, Danny after we found Trixie here. He saw the dragon and pushed me and her out of the way of its fire."
The three turn and look at the shuddering pony, her eyes wide with fear as she looks up, tears streaming from her eyes. "He… he saved Trixie’s life… and…"
Alec just lays a hand on her shoulder. "And you saved mine." He turns to Daniel. "She pulled me out of the way of another fire blast."
Spearmint just frowns. "I know you, you’re the performer right? Were those illusions yours?"
Trixie just nods. "Ye-yes. Trixie’s quite good with illusions and proud of her ability."
Daniel just nods as the other two Guardsponies that accompanied him along with several others (Canadian soldiers and Guards) start gathering. "Okay… let’s get you to the Evac zone."
He moves only for the glow around the Leading Seaman strengthens as he looks at Trixie. "Trixie will carry him." She then looks down and swallows. "It’s the least she can do."
He watches her for a moment and then nods in understanding. "Okay… okay then." He then turns to the others. "Let’s move out and regroup. Double time people…" He gets a sheepish smile as Spearmint clears her throat. "And Ponies." The group then begins the trek back to the Mayor’s office, the Wounded and Trixie in the middle…
***************** Up in the air *************
Dodging to the side as another blast of fire just barely misses the Sea King, Lieutenant Jake "Sully" Jackson snarls as his Co-Pilot tells him to get a move on before he snaps. "I’m currently engaged in a running dogfight with an goddamn dragon that breathes freaking fire in a fucking Sea king. I’m doing the best the best I fucking can dammit!" His statement is punctuated by another blast of fire just missing as in the bay, a Leading Seaman leans out some and fires his C8 at the dragon. A moment later, they clear the smoke and fly out over the bay. "Where the hell is the Algonquin at!?"
The Co-Pilot grins. "She’s about to come into view!"
Jake grins himself. "Well then, let’s hit the deck!" Bringing the Sea King into a dive (and just dodging another fire blast), he flattens it out as it rushes across the waters of the bay, the wave tips just touching the bottom. "Come on…" He dodges another blast. "Come on…" He then sees the three ships as they come charging into view. "YES!"
Yanking back, the Sea King goes into as vertical a climb as it can while on the Algonquin’s bridge, Commander Kerr lowers his binoculars. "Fire."
As the ships' cannons fire at the dragon, three RIM-66 missiles leap off their racks, rapidly accelerating to Mach 3 as they home on the dragon. Two hit it as it's distracted from dodging the cannon shells, injuring it as it keeps heading for the three ships. The two Halifax-Class frigates adding their own fire alongside the Algonquin's CIWS as the engagement rapidly narrows, their own Sea Sparrows launching at the still oncoming dragon just as it breaths massive gout of flame, incinerating some of them while detonating others. It bursts from the cloud of flame trailing fire as a blast from the Algonquin's 76 mm tears off one of its wings moments before it slams bodily into the foredeck of the Ottawa, the force of the impact causing the ship to list to the side as the broken and battered dragon rises from it’s position. Watching as it shoots a ball of flame at the nearby Algonquin, blackening and blistering the paint where it hits, Jake’s jaw drops. "What the fuck does it take to kill this thing?" He then grimaces. "Oy, Chris, you trust me?"
His Co-Pilot shakes his head as the enraged dragon tears the main cannon that had been turning to fire at it from the forecastle it sits upon. "Fuck yeah. Whatever you’re planning, I’m in."
Jake just nods. "Then better strap yourselves in. Things are about to get a little bumpy."
He then brings the Sea King around and into aims downwards as everyone secures themselves. Meanwhile, the dragon raises his head and staring out his only good eye while ignoring all his injuries, the dragon snarls as the various sailors shoot at it before looking at the Ottawa’s Bridge as it sucks in a breath. "Time… to… die…"
Sucking in his breath, he starts to raise himself onto his back legs as he prepares to fry the bridge. Time slows however as he hears something and turns in time to see Jake’s Sea King bring itself into view. Jake for his part sees the surprised expression on the dragon’s face moments before the undercarriage of the Sea King smashes into the dragon’s head at over 80 kph with a good chunk of it’s 18,000 some odd pounds of weight, knocking the dragon off the ship while tearing the Sea King’s undercarriage almost off. Inside the cockpit, Jake ignores the pain in his forehead where it smashed into instrument panel as he fights the controls to keep the wounded helicopter in the air, slowly losing the fight. Gritting his teeth, he takes a breath. "HOLD ON, WE’RE GOING TO HIT!" The Sea King hits the water with a massive level of force tossing the crew and their passenger against the straps holding them in place. Shaking his head to clear it, Jake looks out the window as the Sea King floats on the water as it’s designed to. His eyes widen as he sees the dragon’s head clear the water two kilometers away and a distance behind the three ships. "Oh… you have got to be fucking kidding me!"
On board the Algonquin, Kerr looks at the sonar operator. "Do we have a lock on it?"
The sonar operator nods as out in the water, the dragon ignores the pain it’s in, to start swimming at top speed towards the downed Sea King. Just at that moment it’s doors open and the Leading Seaman aims the door gun at it, firing. "COME ON YOU SON OF A BITCH!"
Commander Kerr nods. "Launch Torpedoes."
From the launchers nearest to the dragon, two Mk. 46 torpedoes leap. Hitting the water, they rapidly accelerate as they lock in. The dragon, focused on the downed Sea king, doesn’t notice them until they hit. Both 44 kg high explosive warheads detonating almost simultaneously, blowing apart the dragon as two plumes of water rise above its watery grave. On board the Sea King, the Leading Seaman blinks. "Is it… dead…?" He’s answered a moment later as what’s left of the head hits the Sea King beside the door, causing it to tilt back in the water. "Um…"
On board the ships, there’s a collective sigh of relief as the sonar operators confirm that it’s dead. Turning, Commander Kerr looks over at the Ottawa where sailors are getting the fire on the foredeck under control. "Tell Ottawa that whatever assistance they need, we’re going to provide." He then glances to the side of his own ship where there’s some smoke wafting from the scorch mark. "And someone get me a damage report ASAP…"
Disclaimer: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is owned by Hasbro
Day 9 after the Event, Algonquin's Galley, 2:15 PM Local Time
Balancing a plate with several cookies as he heads towards a small group of foals, Sprinkles takes a look at the movie on the screen and in particular the humanoid fox and bear as a song plays in the background. "Wow…" Shaking his head, he continues until he sees a Canadian Sailor walk up. "Um… hello?"
The man smiles and nods at the small Pegasus before clearing his throat. "Hello. Is your name Sprinkles by any chance?"
Confused, Sprinkles can only nod before answering. "Um… yes sir." The man then smiles and asks if he can take the plate to which Sprinkles nods. "Of course. Um… I was just taking it over there for them." He gestures to the small foals watching the movie with amazement. He then bites his lip. "I’m not in trouble am I?"
As he takes the plate of cookies, the Sailor shakes his head. "Of course not. But I just don’t want you to drop them." Seeing that Sprinkles is about to say something, he simply points towards the door. "Might want to look over there kiddo."
Blinking, Sprinkles turns only for his eyes to widen and tear as his jaw drops. Because there in the doorway is a gray Earth Pony with a black mane who has a seaweed Cutie Mark. Wrapped around her leg is a bandage. "Mo-mom…?"
She just nods, swallowing as tears stream from her eyes as she softly sobs. "Yeah Sprinkles… Mommy’s here…"
He starts running before wrapping his legs around her neck (and making her stumble before a hand steadies her) as he nuzzles her neck, crying. "Mom! Mommy…"
She just nods as she returns the embrace, nuzzling him back. "Oh baby… Oh my little colt." She then pulls back a bit and places her hooves on either side of his muzzle. "I heard how brave you were and I am so proud of my little stallion."
Sprinkles then looks at her before blinking. "Whe… where’s dad?"
Oyster grimaces a bit before sighing. "Your father was badly hurt by the Diamond Dogs." Seeing him panicking, she nuzzles him. "He’s alright though, from what these nice people tell me, he’s going to pull through." She watches him sob in relief before she turns and glares. "And you stop right there Jesse!"
Sprinkles blinks some before looking where his mother is and his eyes widen at the sight of Jesse with a bandage around arm and leaning against a crutch. "Jesse… Wha… what happened?"
He doesn’t see his mother’s guilty look before she sighs. "She saved both me and your father Sprinkles. She got hurt because she fought off several Diamond Dogs to save me from being dragged away." She then gives Jesse a thankful look. "Your family must be so proud of you."
She frowns as Jesse winces a bit before she gives a shaky smile. "Yeah, well…"
Unknowing of what’s occurring, Sprinkles looks at Jesse in awe before shaking it off and licking his lips as he turns back to his mother. "Um… Can I go see Daddy?"
Oyster chews her lips for a moment before nodding. "Okay Sprinkles. But remember that he’s going to be okay." Sprinkles nods as they head off. Once they’re outside the Infirmary, Oyster turns to her son and lays a hoof on his shoulder. "Remember what I said and be very quiet. He’s not the only one resting."
Sprinkles nods and they head in and once he sees the wrapped form of his father, he sobs some as he walks up and hugs his arm, careful not to disturb anything. "Daddy…" Looking around as Oyster hugs her son, Jesse turns back and sees the pleading look on her face. Blinking back some tears, she reaches down with her good arm and gives Sprinkles' shoulder a squeeze...
CFB Comox, 2:40 PM
Standing on the runway as the last of the pallets are loaded onto the Hercules, the Pilot of one of the Auroras leans towards the Hercules pilot. "How the hell are you going to get the extra drop pods on board? And where did you get them?"
The Herc Pilot chuckles a bit. "The drop pods were the easy one." He looks around a bit. The base had a number of SPARKs that were about to be disposed of. The contents may have no longer been allowed to be used, but the kit itself…" He then grins. "Turns out that one of the Supply Officers is someone I went through training with, so…"
The Aurora Pilot laughs a bit before shaking his head. "The Base Commander likely already knows."
The Herc Pilot just shrugs. "Probably, but he’s not doing anything about it so he must approve." He then smirks a bit. "As for how to get them on, already done so. After all, no one takes notice when an aircraft crew helps load."
Shrugging, the Aurora Pilot gestures towards his plane where they’re finishing loading up with small packages. "Going to do a hell of a drop." He then frowns a bit. "Most of those SPARK kits are full of food. And some of it is odd." He then turns to the other pilot. "Three apparently have dog food and the rest is stuff like oatmeal."
Turning, the other pilot gives him an incredulous glance. "Wait… Oatmeal I can understand to a point, though the amount is…" He shakes his head. "But dog food? Are you serious?"
The Aurora Pilot shakes his head with an equally confused expression. "I’m not kidding. Though who knows? Maybe dog-like aliens are involved?"
Rolling his eyes, the Hercules Pilot gives him a look. "Yeah, and what are the chances of that?" The two share a laugh before they notice a Major making his way over to them. "Sir!"
The Major nods at the two. "You two Pilots of the planes?" At their nod, he continues. "You’ll be leaving within the hour. But before you do, you’re to join the rest of your crews and that of the last Aurora in a debriefing. " He then shakes his head before sighing. "We’ll have some nice strong coffee there. You’re going to need it…" He then turns and walks away muttering leaving two very confused pilots standing there before they follow…
Hippocampus Bay, 3:50 PM
Slowly walking through the debris strewn streets, one of the Canadian Sailors nods to the Pegasus Guard beside him, her brown coat streaked with soot and blood. "Okay, just got a report over the radio. Apparently most of the Diamond Dogs left have been either captured and detained or are dead."
Taking a deep breath, the Pegasus lets out a cough from the smoke filled air. "That’s good." She stops for a moment, taking a glance towards the sky. "Shouldn’t be long then before the others start dousing the fires."
The Leading Seaman just shakes his head as he shoulders his gun and takes another look around. He then looks at her. "I’ll tell you one thing, wish we were able to control the weather. Would sure make taking care of the wildfires back in BC easier."
Rolling her eyes, the Pegasus is about to comment when she stops, her ears swiveling. "Hold that thought Matt."
Matt once more becomes serious as he looks around, unshouldering his weapon. "What is it Haze?"
Haze suddenly stiffens before breaking into a gallop. "Somepony is calling for help! This way!"
Shouldering his shotgun, Matt follows her and its not long before they reach a flaming building from which a very faint "Help" can be heard. Taking a look Matt notes that a window near the door is broken, but has flames coming out of it. "Door it is then." Quickly pulling off his coat, he gestures at the rain barrel near the door. Haze, dunk this in there. Get it nice and wet." He then removes the rest of his ammo and grenades before rushing to the door and looking at Haze who’s right beside him. "On three."
With the "THREE!" Matt kicks the door as Haze bucks it, splintering the doorjamb as it flings open revealing a hallway engulfed with flames. Partway down is an Earth Pony with a bunch of debris on her, entrapping her as she softly coughs and wheezes. Matt just grimaces. "Shit…" Taking his jacket from Haze, the two rush in. Reaching the trapped pony, Matt grabs a grabs some of the debris and coughs from the smoke as he looks to the Pegasus. "I’ll lift this and you grab and pull them out, okay?"
Haze nods. "Got ya." As Matt lifts, Haze pulls the barely there pony out. Dropping the wood, Matt takes his jacket and wraps it around the Earth Pony only for a crash to sound. The two turn and see that the way to the front door is now blocked with burning debris causing Haze to jerk her head. "Back door, this way."
Matt just nods as he picks up the pony, grunting from the weight. "Lead the way."
Bursting through the hall door, and into the kitchen, Haze flaps her wings to go airborne before slamming bodily into the back door, tearing it from its hinges. Shaking her head she turns to see Matt running through the kitchen towards the door when a piece of flaming debris falls and hits him on the shoulder. "MATT!"
Matt grits his teeth through the burning sensation as he keeps running, the embers falling off him as he rushes through the door outside. Still holding the bundle in his arms, he sets it down as he falls to his knees coughing. "How… how are they?"
Gritting her teeth, Haze nonetheless checks, only for a shocked expression to cross her face as she whips back to Matt. "Matt… she… she’s not breathing!"
His own eyes widening, Matt rushes over and rapidly unwraps his jacket from her before leaning in close to her mouth and tilting the pony’s head back as he listens. "Dammit!" Placing his hands on her chest, he brings chest compressions. "One… two…" Reaching the end, he tilts back her head and begins Mouth to mouth. He pulls away and listens before shaking his head as Haze begins chest compressions. Finishing, she nods to Matt who once more breaths into her causing her chest to rise. Pulling away, he checks and shakes his head again. "Dammit… don’t you die on us…" The fifth time is the charm as the pony suddenly sucks in a lung full of air and begins coughing. "Oh, thank God…"
Coughing a few more times, the Earth Pony opens her eye and glances around before seeing Matt, jerking back a bit in fright. "Wha… who…"
Her attention is grabbed by Haze who lays a comforting hoof on her shoulder. "His name is Matt and he’s a friend." She then smiles as she turns to the slightly smiling human. "And he just helped me save your life."
Hacking a little bit, the pony turns to Matt. "You… you did…?" He nods and is about to say something when with a tremendous crash the house’s roof collapses inwards. "My…" She then turns back to Matt and crying hugs him. "Thank you…"
Chuckling, he pats her on the back. "You’re welcome…"
A moment later he feels a large rain drop land on him causing him to look up just as another does. Soon, the sky opens up fully causing the rain to pour down and begin dousing the fires. Grinning, Matt leans back and lets it fall on his face. Haze, for her part removes her helmet revealing her close cropped purple mane. "Oh… now that feels wonderful."
Across the town, the various ponies and humans take a moment to revel in the feeling of the cool, cleansing rain before going back to what they were doing. On the Algonquin’s Bridge, Commander Kerr takes a moment to glance at the town before shaking his head along with his XO. "That’s…amazing…"
The Commander looks at his XO for a moment before nodding. "That it is…" He then frowns a bit. ‘And utterly terrifying as well.’ Hearing a clearing throat, he looks at the injured Pegasus Lieutenant beside him. "Sorry Lieutenant Torch, got caught up there for a moment."
Torch gives him a raised eyebrow with the only one visible before shaking her head. "Understandable." She then looks out the windows herself with a frown. "I am still unsure of this plan of yours though."
Kerr nods with a serious expression. "As am I." He then looks at her and hakes his head. "But it’s likely out best chance to find where these Diamond Dogs came from and where they might have taken their captives."
She then growls. "I shouldn’t have to decide this!" She then shuts her visible eye as a small tear leaks from it. "It should be Captain Greystone deciding this." Several of the Bridge crew alongside the Commander lower their gazes as they remember the report of one of the search teams finding the brave Captain’s remains in the ruins of the local Guard HQ, having died standing his ground in order to give the radio operator the time needed to get the S.O.S out. Taking a breath, Torch opens her eye and looks at Kerr. "But… I am the surviving Superior Officer and it falls to me." Hanging her head, she sighs. "Are you sure that this will work?"
The Commander nods. "It should." Clasping his hands behind his back, he shakes his head. "All we’re doing is placing what cast is needed on one of the Diamond Dogs’ arms, then the GPS tracker will be placed with a metal tube over that. Finally, a fake cast will be placed on top of the tube." He then sighs as he places both hands on the window’s sill and shakes his head. "The fact that it hurt its arm along with the size of the cast means it won’t be able to dig so it’ll stay on the surface and lead us to the rest."
Torch then grimaces. "You’ll have to let it think it escaped on its own though. They’re cleverer then most will give them credit for."
Kerr just nods. "Most foes are."
Torch feels her lips twitch a little before sighing again. "And your reinforcements?"
Turning to look at some papers, the Commander frowns. "The Marines off the USS Enterprise’s Battlegroup will be here sometime within the next four to five hours. And the relief supplies out of Comox will be here within two." He then gives her a bit of a glare. "And you should be resting back in the Infirmary."
Grimacing at her slight wobble, Torch scowls. "My ponies need me."
Kerr’s glare increases. "And you collapsing from your injuries won’t help them."
Torch’s scowl grows and is about to say something when the grizzled old Unicorn Guard beside her, silent up to now, adds his own glare. "Now then Marm, either yeh listen now and head back to the doctors, or I will buck yeh pretty wee behind all the way there."
Torch just glares at him as well as she can through her one eye. "And need I remind you Spruce that I am your Commanding Officer and you’re only a Master Sergeant."
Spruce just shrugs. "And Marm? If need be I can relieve yeh O’ duty and have yeh frog marched down there. It’s yeh choice."
She continues to glare at him. "You wouldn’t." After a moment though as he remains unphased, she sighs. "You would."
He then walks up with a smile before wrapping one foreleg around hers and giving her a look. "Now then Marm, nothin’ the matter with acknowledging yeh own weakness ever’ once in a while." He then looks at Commander Kerr. "I’ll make sure that the Lieutenant makes it to the Infirmary and stays there before grabbing me a spot O’ that wonderful coffee O’ yeh's. And after that, perhaps I can return Sah?"
Seeing the expression, Kerr just nods. "of course you can Master Sergeant."
And with a final nod, Spruce leads the slightly wobbly Torch from the Bridge giving her a talking to. Beside Kerr, Lt. Commander Belhumeur finds his lips twitching. "He reminds me of the retired Non-Coms from the old days."
Kerr just chuckles. "He does at that Mister Belhumeur. He does at that."
Ten minutes out from Hippocampus Bay, 4:31
A little over an hour and forty-five minutes later finds the two Auroras and the Hercules flying through a bank of clouds lit by the setting sun. Leaning back in his chair in the Hercules, the Pilot sighs as he looks at his instruments. "Insane. All of this is insane."
In his chair, the Loadmaster grins as he fingers something in his pocket. "I can’t believe it… Equestria!"
The Co-Pilot closes his eyes and takes a breath to ward off a headache. "You’re never going to let us live this down, are you kid?"
The only answer is for the grin on the Loadmaster’s face to grow as he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small Twilight Sparkle keychain. "Nope."
The Pilot chuckles some before contacting the Algonquin. "Algonquin, this is Persus Flight. Be advised that we are currently eight minutes from drop zone."
A moment later the Algonquin’s Coms answers. "This is Algonquin, we have you on radar. Be advised that you will be escorted to the drop zone by the locals."
Sharing a puzzled glance with the rest of the crew except the Loadmaster, the Pilot is about to say something when the plane’s radar picks up three objects. Not too long afterwards, three Pegasus pull up beside the plane. The Pilot looks on in amazement before one salutes him. Giving a salute back, the Pilot chuckles. "Algonquin, this is Persus Flight. We have visual confirmation of our escort and are proceeding to the drop zone." He then glances at several airdrop kits with "For the kids" written on them. "Also, we brought some gifts for the little… foals." He shakes his head as the Algonquin answers back and thanks him. Pulling away the radio from his mouth, he laughs a bit. "This is the weirdest week of my life…" Meanwhile, the planes continue on towards the drop zone with their cargo…
Hippocampus Bay, 6:36 PM
Slowly walking through still debris chocked streets, two Canadian Sailors are guiding a large Diamond Dog back to where they’re keeping the POWs. The DD every once in a while turns to look at the two and snarls before glaring at the massive cast on its arm and its various bandaged wounds. One of the Sailors fingers his HK MP5 as he raises his eyebrow. "You should be glad that you were treated at all."
The other sailor nods. "Damn good of these Ponies to even allow that as I know people who would have left you to suffer after what you guys did today." Seeing it trip and fall to its knees, the two look at each other before one of them walks over. "Come on then, get-"
He doesn’t get to finish as the massive Diamond Dog in one movement whips around with a large stone in his hand and smashes it into the side of the sailor’s head causing him to start to fall, before the DD grabs him and flings him bodily into the other. Taking a step towards the two still forms, he stops and shakes his head as he hears voices. He then snarls before running off into the darkness. After a few minutes, the one that got the other thrown into him sits up before looking at the other. "You okay?"
The other just shakes his head a little as he too sits up. "Yeah, I will be." He then chuckles as he rubs where the rock hit. "Even through that shield thing I felt that."
Hearing a snort, they look up to see a Unicorn Guard suspended under a Pegasus Guard. "Look, the shield had to be invisible so it could only take so much from the hit." The Unicorn then smirks. "Otherwise you’d be leaking stuff all over the ground right now. And doing a cushioning spell on top of that isn’t easy at all."
As he watches a Sea King fly nearby as if following something, the Sailor who was hit with the rock grins a bit before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a cigarette. "And I will say thank you for that one." Lighting it, he nods in the direction the DD took off in. "Must be almost out of town by now."
The Pegasus drops the Unicorn beside the two resting sailors as the Unicorn nods. "Probably." He then frowns. "Are you sure it won’t suspect anything? Or try to dig or chew off the cast?"
The second sailor chuckles. "Nah, with the way it was acting, the painkillers are still affecting it and likely will be for a few hours yet." He then shakes his head. "With any luck, the drugs might affect its thinking long enough that it won’t bother trying to dig or chew off the cast. Not to mention there’s no way in hell it’s going to try to dig with a cast like that and I would love to see it try to chew through the stainless steel under sleeve."
The Pegasus grimaces a bit. "It still bothers me though what we’re doing."
The Unicorn snorts as she turns to him before gesturing at the direction the DD took off in. "And how else are we supposed to find our people? Track it?" She then gets up in his face causing him to take a step back. "Those taken are hardly ever seen or heard from again and you know this. We can’t track them overland in the woods because as soon as they know we are, they either go underground or lead the pursuers in the opposite direction of their mines. We got the opportunity to find one of these mother bucker’s mines and by Celestia we’re going to take it!"
The Pegasus then makes a mistake. "Cinder, this pack probably isn’t the one who took your little brother-"
A moment later he’s slammed against a soot streaked wall as Cinder’s snarling face fills his sight, though the tears in her eyes are what causes his stomach to plummet as behind them the sailor smoking rapidly puts out his cigarette. "You think that I don’t know that Wave? That I don’t know that my little brother is likely dead, his bones on some refuse pile out in the woods bleaching in the sun after having the flesh stripped from them by those bastard Dogs?!" She slams him again into the wall as the sailors try to pull her from him. "I swore on my Mother’s deathbed that I would do anything to prevent someone else from having to suffer a loss like that if I could help it."
Finally, one of the Sailors pulls her off him before turning her around and hugging her as she sobs slightly. Wave just slides down the wall and looks away. "I’m sorry. I... I forgot…"
The Sailor holding Cinder looks towards the other and gestures with his head. "It’s been a long day. We should head back and get some shuteye." He then nods. "We’re not helping anyone like this and our job is done."
Cinder just nods her head. "Ye-yeah. You’re right." She then looks at the Pegasus before hanging her head. "Sorry about that Wave."
The Pegasus licks his lips for a moment before shaking his head. "Don’t worry about it. We’re all a little high strong. And…"
Seeing him look at him, the Sailor holding Cinder nods. "Able Seaman John O’Neil."
Wave nods. "And John here is right, we should head back and grab some sleep while we can."
Cinder just nods as she lets herself be lead away. The Sailor next to Wave shakes his head once he’s sure that she’s out of earshot. "Taken during an earlier raid?"
Wave just nods. "Yeah. That was why she became a Guard, to stop it from happening again" He then slams a hoof into the wall beside him. "Horsefeathers, I should have remembered it was taboo."
The Sailor helps him to his feet and shakes his head. "I don’t know… with all I’m hearing about these ‘Diamond Dogs’…"
Wave just shakes his own head. "Not all Diamond Dogs are like this. Most of those here in Equestria are quite nice. But…" He sighs. "But in the more wild areas, particularly this far north, you get holdouts to how they were centuries ago in most of Equestria." He then snorts. "We just don’t have the numbers to root them out." He then takes a breath. "Anyways… we should be heading back…" And with that, the two start heading for the main camp…
Algonquin's Bridge 6:43
Lieutenant-Commander Richard Kowalsky, not-so-affectionately called 'Killer' Kowalsky behind his back by any new green seamen that had the misfortune to come under his purview, stood before the Commander Kerr of the Algonquin. He had begged his CO to just let him take care of the paper work and the communications with the brass back home. He had explained explicitly that he was not good with children. Heck, even the recruits feared him and used him as the boogeyman in stories told to their children. It wasn't that he was mean. Kowalsky just had very high standards for the sailors that were under him and raised hell when his standards weren't met.
Commander Kerr just grinned at his subordinate. “I'm sorry, Richard, but the rest of the command staff have their hands full. I need someone of higher rank to keep an eye on our guests for a while until we can send them back to their families. From what I've seen so far, they are very well-behaved. Even you shouldn't have any trouble with them.”
“But, Sir-” Richard began but was cut off by Kerr.
“Don't make me order you to do it, Richard. Just think of it as a opportunity to learn to interact with some children. You won't be the only one down there. Miss Dish and a few older colts and fillies are helping look after the younger foals. I just need you down there as a representative of the command staff. Now go.”
“Yes, sir,” the lieutenant-commander was now resigned to his fate. He stepped out of the bridge of the Algonquin and made his way to the mess hall where the Equestrian children were being entertained.
One hour later....
His reputation was ruined. He knew it, but Richard Kowalsky couldn't deny the little ones. While most of the foals still watched the movie under the watchful eyes of Dainty Dish, Sprinkles and Starlight, several little ones found themselves drawn to the grumpy old salt. He now sat on the floor against the back wall of the mess hall. Around him were no fewer than three foals snuggled against his legs, two colts and a filly. The coup de grâce however was the sweet little yellow unicorn filly that was curled up on his lap whose mane he gently brushed with his fingers. All four little ponies were happily asleep, their cute little snores melted even his heart as they snuggled against him.
There was a flash of a camera and Richard sighed. Yep, he was never going to live this one down.
Twenty Kilometers from Hippocampus Bay, 7:30 local Time
Leaning back against the wall of the Sea King's bay, Leading Seaman Matthew Anderson grimaces before reaching up and scratching his shoulder through his jacket when a voice rings out. "You're not helping it heal you know."
Glancing at Haze who's lying under a blanket as the Sea King continues its aerial patrol, he grumbles. "Damn thing itches like a bitch."
Haze just rolls her eyes as she grabs her helmet and walks over before plopping herself beside him. "And if it itches, that's good then." She then glances at the shoulder in question before giving him narrowed, questioning eyes. "What are you doing here anyways when you should be in the infirmary?"
Grunting, Matt gives her a look. "At the moment, we're short staffed among the boarding parties. And having to spread ourselves out over the town until the Marines arrive to help out with the security..." He then shrugs. "Besides, all things considered it's a relatively minor burn."
Haze frowns but nods. "As long as it's not serious." She slowly yawns and shakes her head. "Mind giving me some of that coffee?"
Reaching over, Matt grabs a thermos and pours some coffee into a paper cup and hands it to her as he places the thermos back into the mesh bag hanging from a wall mount. "Here you go."
Smiling, she takes it and gives it a sniff before sighing. "If nothing else you humans have great coffee." Shaking her head, she grimaces. "It's been a long bucking day."
Matt just nods, taking a sip himself. "I hear ya." He then frowns. "Any idea what we're doing this far out?"
Haze glances at him as she swallows the coffee in her mouth. "We're looking for possible Guard reinforcements out from Eisenhorn."
Now Matt's frown deepens. "What possibly could have taken this long? The battle happened around noon..."
Taking another sip, Haze scowls. "No clue." She then sighs and shakes her head. "We're underponied up here since what happened with Discord."
Thinking it over, Matt crosses his arms. "They pulled some of you Guard back?"
Haze nods. "Yeah, a number were sent to reinforce places like Canterlot and Manehatten." She's about to continue when the sensor operator calls for her. "Hmm?" Gulping the last of the coffee, she drops the cup into the small bag and walks over. "Uh, is there a problem?"
The woman just gestures at the radar screen which is showing several shapes. "We got several large flying objects heading this way. Any idea what they might be?"
Frowning, Haze looks over the sensor operator's shoulder for a few seconds before smiling. "That's a Hurricane Formation. It's been the best formation used by Pegasus when entering possibly hostile territory going back to when Commander Hurricane invented it more then a thousand years ago."
The Pilot glances back at her, the light from the instrument panel lighting his face as the twilight outside gathers. "You're heading out?"
Walking back into the helicopter's bay, she nods. "Yeah, can't take the chance of them thinking you hostile after all."
Watching as she picks up her helmet, Matt reaches into a package and holds something out. "Here, you forgot something."
Blinking, she looks and chuckles as she sees one of the radio headsets the techs on the Algonquin modified to fit Pony heads and under their helmets. "Thanks, nearly forgot."
He watches as she straps it on and gives her a nod. "You be careful out there, okay?"
Haze stops for a moment and looks at him before punching him in the shoulder making him wince a bit. "Hey, don't get all mushy on me."
He just snorts. "No need to worry about that." He then frowns. "Just the same though, you give the call and we'll be there if you need us."
Opening the door after putting on her helmet, she looks back with a smile and nod. "I know."
She then jumps out of the Sea King and falls for a dozen feet before her wings open and she starts flapping in the direction of the incoming formation. Matt watches for a moment before slowly closing the door. Meanwhile, Haze keeps heading towards what she hopes to be incoming Pegasi, the cold night air flowing across her. It doesn't take her long to reach the incoming formation where she slowly slows as the leader barks out a challenge. "Who goes there!?"
Swallowing, Haze takes a breath. "Corporal Haze of the Hippocampus Bay Guards."
After a moment, the other Pegasus gather around her with one of them (who she identifies as a 2nd Lieutenant) flapping in front of her. "Good to see you Corporal. We were unsure if we would arrive in time."
Shaking, she takes a breath to calm herself. "You didn't. The battle's been over for hours."
The Pegasi jerk back as if struck before the Lieutenant hangs his head. "We were afraid of that... how bad?"
Haze takes a calming breath before answering. "Most of the town torched, and three quarters of the Guard incapacitated. Either dead or badly injured." She then lets a single tear fall. "We still don't know how many of the civilians are dead or taken." She then smiles a bit. "Thankfully, it could have been much worse if a number of friendlies hadn't shown up."
One of the other Pegasi, a sergeant frowns. "'Friendlies?' Were they Griffins?"
Haze shakes her head. "No Sir. They were humans. Real actual humans."
One of them is about to say something when the 2nd Lt. does. "Humans? Here? I thought that they were down at Filly."
All goes quiet as they turn to him. Haze trembles a bit before asking the question on her mind. "You knew Sir?"
He slowly nods. "I did Corporal. Most of the Officers at Eisenhorn knew after we got a transmission from Fillydelphia." He then sighs and shakes his head. "Head HQ in Canterlot gave orders not to say anything so as to not worry the populace." He then snorts. "Though with how many in Filly already know…" Frowning again, he raises an eyebrow. "So they’re in the bay?"
Haze shakes her head. "Not just there Sir. That’s why I’m here."
A slightly surprised expression crosses his muzzle. "Oh?"
Haze gestures with her hoof back the way she came. "One of their helicopters is back that way about five minutes flight from here." She shakes her head. "I was ordered by Lieutenant Torch to ride in it until it either returned with me on board or we met Guard Reinforcements."
The Sergeant from before frowns. "Lieutenant Torch ordered you? What about Captain Greystone?" The sight of her looking away with a slight sob is all that he needs as he hangs his head. "I’m… sorry. He was a good Guard."
Haze just nods as she swallows. "He was… The best…" She then glares at them. "That reminds me…" She starts shouting as all the frustration comes boiling out. "Where the hay were you!? What in the name of Tarterus took you so long Sir!?"
Seeing some of the soldiers under his command muttering, the 2nd Lieutenant holds up his hoof and looks at each member of his group as the Corporal huffs. "She has the right to ask considering what happened." He then turns to her and sighs. "Earlier today, we got reports of small groups of Diamond Dogs, usually no more then ten at most, attacking small communities farther away then Hippocampus Bay. So we sent troops out to secure them. Usually all they did was torch some buildings and run. We were wondering why up until we got your distress signal. At first, we thought that you might have been dealing with another until your signal cut out without an ‘All Clear’." He then scowls. "Bastards knew just how to distract us and gathering up what troops we could took time and with the fear of another raid…"
Haze shuts her eyes and nods. "I… see…" After a moment, she slowly nods. "Anyways, I’ll take you to the copter and from there we’ll head towards town."
The Lieutenant nods and the group follows her silently. Eventually, another Corporal pipes up. "By the way, why were you with the helicopter? And why have you meet us?"
Haze just glances back. "Because they don’t want any bad situations caused by you thinking that they’re aggressors."
The Sergeant just nods. "Smart of them."
Haze just nods before reaching up and pressing the button to signal the helicopter. "This is Haze calling Rover One."
After a moment, she can hear Matt. "This is Rover One. How are things going?"
She just chuckles as the other Pegasi watch. "It’s going good Rover One. One team of Pegasi encountered and am currently bringing them to your position."
She can hear a small snort over the radio. "Understood Haze, we are on the lookout."
She just looks at the others and shrugs. "Don’t want any misunderstandings to pop up…" The 2nd Lieutenant nods as the group continue on their flight…
Hippocampus Bay, Town Square, 7:45 PM
Stepping up to a boiling pot sitting above a small portable cooking station, one of the Navy cooks takes the ladle and sips at the broth before nodding and gesturing at a Unicorn. "Okay, this batch of vegetable broth's done. Could you take it over to the soup station?"
The Unicorn nods as they stop the using the knife they had been working with. "Sure, mind taking over?"
Taking a small bottle of hand sanitizer from his pocket, he squeezes out a bit as he answers. "Not a problem."
As the navy cook takes over chopping the vegetables with sure motions while using the nearby water bottle to wash them, the Unicorn walks up and with a small glow, levitates the now fully finished broth. Behind her, a Earth Pony places a new pot on the cooking station before starting a new pot of broth. As she walks towards the soup station, she takes a glance around the large lighted area they're using. She does winkle her nose a little though as she passes one of the generators due to the smell before shrugging. 'At least we got power for all the cooking we need.' Reaching her destination, she taps one of the Earth Ponies on the flank. "Got the broth here."
Blinking, he turns and nods before gesturing to a spot. "Set it down there. We'll be using that one for the next batch of vegetable barley." Wiping his forehead, he looks around with a slight smile. "At least we got plenty of help."
The Unicorn nods a bit as she glances around herself, taking note of various things including the lineup of Ponies and humans being served food at one point in the clearing. "True." She takes note of one elderly Earth Pony using one of the salvaged wood burning ovens from a wrecked home to bake bread. "Seems like anypony not able to work is here cooking."
The Cook nods as he takes a lid off a pot and sniffs at the steam coming out before placing the lid back down. "Well, that's a good thing after all." He looks up in time to see a small, strange eight wheeled vehicle roll into view pulling a trailer behind it full of various items. "Ah! There's the supplies now."
The Unicorn sighs as she cracks her neck. "Is it okay to take a break? I'm starved."
Chuckling, the cook nods, "Of course Flame, help yourself to anything that catches your fancy."
Watching as he starts trotting towards where the supplies are being offloaded, Flame sighs before cracking her neck again. Looking around, she frowns for a moment. 'Now... what sounds good...?' Still thoughtful, she places her apron on a nearby hook placed on a piece of wood driven into the ground before making her way from behind the cooking stations to the back of the line. Once there, she looks to the side where she can see a large tent being put up to house a group of Ponies. 'Hopefully we'll get more soon and what we need to fix our homes...'
Soon reaching the back of the line, she finds herself to the side an Earth Pony and a Canadian Sailor. The Earth Pony is looking around with a lost expression before she looks up at the sailor. "Are you sure that my daughter is okay?"
The Sailor looks at a small sheet as the line keeps moving beside him. He then nods. "Yes Ma'am. Pinefresh, correct." She nods causing the Canadian to smile as he shows her the list. "She's currently on the Algonquin in the galley." He then crouches down and pats her on the back. "If you want, down at the waterfront we have a boat going back and forth so that parents can head over to the ship to check on their children as well as so that family and friends can go to see any of the badly injured being taken care of in the ships' sickbays."
She blinks. "I can?" He just nods causing her to bite her lip as she looks around. "Could you... take me there?"
The sailor nods before waving at a nearby Equestrian Guard that just put away his meal who starts trotting over. "I can do that Ma'am."
Flame follows the line out of earshot as the Guard arrives and after a conversation nods and together with the Sailor begins escorting the Earth Pony in the direction of the waterfront. The line continues to move and it's not long before Flame reaches the trays and takes one before grabbing a Styrofoam cup of hot tea to ward off the cold night. Eventually, she reaches the food section and sees various pots of stews and soups simmering. 'Hmm... not really in the mood for that...' Moving on she soon reaches the pastas. Looking over the posts, she spies what looks like a pan of something being kept warm by a spell. Sniffing it, she looks at the Unicorn serving it and keeping it warm. "What's this? Looks pretty good."
The Unicorn blinks as he sips from a Styrofoam cup. Swallowing his drink, he answers. "It's something called a 'Pastabake'. It's made from a pasta called macaroni together with chopped vegetables, cheeses, and tomato sauce all baked in an oven. Quite good, particularly with this stuff called 'garlic bread' being served just over there."
Seeing how he's gesturing at a food station where a human is cutting slices from a large loaf of bread, she raises an eyebrow before holding up her tray. "Well, might as well give it a try." As he cuts a piece and places it on a paper plate, she gives him a raised eyebrow along with an amused expression. "So how do you know how it tastes?"
He chuckles before winking as he explains. "Well, see when all this is passed out, there's usually a few small bits here and there..."
Flame just laughs herself before shaking her head. "Thanks for that, I needed a laugh." He just nods and agrees as she waves at him before moving to the next station. "Thanks again!" Grabbing a slice of garlic toast, she makes her way to the dessert station and takes a small cake, though she stares a bit at it. "'Mug cake'? What the hay does cake have to do with mugs? And it's not in one..." She soon shrugs it off as she refills her cup with tea and heads for a "Table" (really nothing more then a few charred boards laid across pieces of stone rubble). Just as she sits down and picks up the plastic utensils she was given, she hears something and looks up in time to see the shadowy shape of a Hercules with it's accompanying Pegasi escort fly over head. Smiling, she turns back to her food and begins to fill her empty stomach...
Algonquin's Infirmary, 7:55 PM
Resting a little, Torch is suddenly brought out of her light sleep by a gentle hand shaking her shoulder. “Lieutenant?”
Grumbling a little, she opens her eyes to find Commander Kerr there before she straightens and salutes him. “Commander.”
He nods a bit with a slight smile. “I thought that you should know Lieutenant that we just received word that Corporal Haze just met up with a Scout group coming here ahead of the main group of reinforcements.”
She nods while grunting a little as she starts to get up. “ Thank you Sir. Who’s the ranking Officer?”
The Commander just raises an eyebrow. “A second Lieutenant apparently.” He then frowns as Torch begins to swing herself to where she can get off the bed. “You shouldn’t be getting up.”
She gives him a small glare. “I am not meeting them on anything but my four hooves and definitely not here where we can be over heard or disturb the others.” Hopping off the bed, she grunts as she lands on the ground. “Have you got a meeting room here?”
Sighing as he can recognize that he won’t win this one (and realizing that meeting them in the infirmary might disturb the resting patients), he nods. “Actually we do have a briefing room that we can use.”
After a few minutes of navigating the corridors, he enters the room in question, only to find a Petty Officer gesturing at the TV mounted on the wall as he looks at the Commander with a serious expression. “You might want to see this Sir.”
Kerr looks up at the screen and bites back a swear as he sees it’s on CTV News Channel with a picture of the Algonquin. “Breaking news regarding the strange landmass that appeared in the Pacific Ocean. We recently received reports that the HMCS Algonquin and its escorts have been involved in a battle while investigating a distress signal originating from the landmass. We also have information that at least two of the ships may have sustained damage and that there may be Canadian casualties, though the number and severity remain unknown as of this time. We can confirm however that several flights originating from Canadian Forces Base Comox have in fact been sighted taking supplies to the unknown landmass. We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops. For now, we turn to our reporter on the scene outside of Comox, BC…”
Outside Hippocampus Bay, 8:05 PM
Ten kilometers away and several hundred feet up, Haze continues to guide the Pegasi scout team towards the town with the Sea King, it's bay door open, flying beside them. All of a sudden, one of the Pegasi shouts as he gestures at the forest below. "SIR! I SEE MOVEMENT DOWN THERE!"
The Pegasi turn and look in time to see a Diamond Dog start lopping across a clearing. Sneering, the 2nd Lieutenant gestures to the others as they ready themselves. "Get you weapons ready, seems that we'll get some blood for our comrades to-"
Haze flies over and shakes her head. "Sir, I'm sorry, but could we just chase it into the trees again. It's important that we don't kill or capture it."
The Lieutenant looks at her strangely. "It's a Diamond Dog. After what they did to the town..."
Haze just shakes her head again. "Sir, you think that I don't know that? I would like nothing more then to put it down like the rabid thing it is. But it's important that it reaches it's destination."
The Pegasi Sergeant looks at her closely for a moment before nodding. "Sir, I think that we should do as she asks."
Pursing his lips, the Pegasus nods his head. "Very well then, we will just chase it into the woods." He turns but looks over his shoulder one final time. "However, once it's gone I want an explanation, is that understood Corporal?"
Gulping, she nods. "Of course Sir!" A moment later the formation of Pegasi along with the Sea King begin descending towards the DD. It doesn't take it long to hear the helicopter's blades or to see it's lights. A moment later, a crossbow bolt wielded by one of Corporals slams into the ground by it's foot, causing it to yelp as it runs as fast as it can across the clearing. Matt then hangs out of the Sea King thanks to the harness and begins firing a C8 towards the DD, frightening it even more. It doesn't take it long for it's quicker pace to let it cross the clearing completely and go into the safety of the trees. The Pegasi along with the Sea King climb back to a few hundred feet. Once there, Haze turns to the rest of the Guard there. "I owe you Ponies an explanation."
One of the Corporals scowls at her. "Dang right you do! What the bucking hay was that all about."
Seeing the others nod (except for the Sergeant who cuffs the Corporal across the back of the head), she sighs. "Okay, short version is that inside that cast is a bunch of human tracking devices. I'm not completely sure how they work, but they use something called 'GPS'."
The 2nd Lieutenant raises an eyebrow at this. "'GPS'? What is that?"
Haze brings a hoof up to the radio and has a short conversation with Matt before turning back to the Pegasi. "GPS apparently stands for 'Global Positioning System'. The devices send a signal way up above the clouds past where we can no longer breath to several platforms hanging up there called 'Satellites'. The 'Sats', as many call them, use triangulation to pinpoint the source of the signal to a few body lengths of where the source is."
All is quiet for a moment before one of the other Guards whistles. "Dang, now that is bucking impressive that is."
The 2nd Lieutenant nods. "That it is." He then turns to Haze. "I'm guessing that they'll be tracking it back to the Diamond Dogs' lair?" Haze nods as the pegasus frowns. "We've tried before with spells, but they usually just dig into the ground, can these work underground?"
Haze has another short conversation before shaking her head. "Not that well Sir. But apparently the plan is that thanks to the casts it shouldn't be able to dig at all."
The Sergeant nods a bit in thought. "True. And even if it meets up with the rest of it's pack, if they take it underground then it'll be fairly close to where the lair is. That alone will give us a damn good chance to catch the buckers."
Haze nods. "As well as help us find and rescue any slaves they've taken." She then shivers some before gesturing at the helicopter. "And it seems that slavery is one of the things that will get them angry, particularly when it involves young ones. And trust me, from what I witnessed during the battle, getting these 'Canadians' angry is something that you want to avoid if you're going to be fighting them."
The lips of the 2nd Lieutenant twitch a bit before he nods. "I'll take that under advisement." Unseen by him, Haze rolls her eyes before continuing to fly. Finally, they come over a mountain come into view of the ruined village causing gasps as the devastation is apparent and while the last few stubborn fires are being brought under control. "By Celestia..." He just shakes his head, his mind having trouble believing what his eyes are telling him. "How... how could the Diamond Dogs do this much damage..."
Haze looks around before scowling. "Because they weren't alone." She then hangs her head and shakes it sadly. "There was a young adult dragon that was leading them." She then points to the harbor. "Whatever is left of it is laying at the bottom of the bay after the human ships blew it apart."
The Sergeant turns his attention to the three ships sitting at anchor in the bay before frowning. "Seems like on of them took quite a bit of damage from the dragon."
The 2nd Lieutenant winces as he spies the twisted wreckage on the foredeck of one of the ships as people work to clear it away. "That's quite the amount they took there."
Haze nods with a light frown. "Yeah, the dragon crashed into that portion of the ship after they blew off it's wing. It was quite... angry because of what happened..."
The 2nd Lieutenant winces again. "I can imagine." He then looks at Haze. "So then, where exactly are we heading?"
Haze gestures to the largest of the three ships. "We're heading for the middle one. The HMCS Algonquin."
One of the Corporals raises his eyebrows at it. "Now that is a large ship! It's huge!"
Haze chuckles a bit before giving them a sly look. "And it's not the largest ship in their navy either." She nearly laughs at the shocked looks before they head out over the water. She then gestures to the Algonquin's helipad. "We'll head down onto the open area there." Gesturing to the Sea King beside them, she continues. "And then we have to get out of the way so that they can land themselves for refueling before they head out." The other Pegasi nod as they slowly make their way towards the deck of the ship below.
Disclaimer: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is owned by Hasbro
Ponyville Library, Day 6, 1:00 PM
Having finally decided to see what their friend had been doing for the past several days, the rest of the Mane 6 gathered outside the tree house library. Upon reaching the door, they opened it to find no one in the main area of the library. Applejack, for her part, reached up and scratched at her head with one hoof. "Gosh darn it? Where the hay is Twi?"
Fluttershy's eyes blinked as she looked at the door that lead down to the basement as she heard something familiar that drifted up. 'That sounds like the theme song for...'
She had no time to wonder though as that moment Spike walked out of the kitchen grumbling, a large pot of coffee held in one clawed hand. Having spotted the girls, he blinked. "Oh, hey guys, you wanted something?"
A look is shared among the group before Rainbow flew up to Spike and crossed her forelegs across the other as she hovered there. "Yeah, what's going on with Twilight? She's been in here for days!"
Rarity for her part just fluttered her eyebrows at the smitten dragon as she smiles. "Yes Spike-Wikey. We have been most worried for her." She then trotted up and widens her eyes some. "You can tell us after all."
Spike sweated some as he tried to look anywhere but the white Unicorn's face before he finally swallowed. "Um... Well, she's doing some research for the Princess. Really top secret, can't talk about stuff." He noticed the frowns and thoughtful looks, but knew enough that they might drop it when he heard Fluttershy call his name. "Uh... Yeah Fluttershy?"
She looked between him and then the door. "Um... what kind of research would have her watching 'The Dark World: Technology is Courage'?"
The rest of the girls turned from her back to Spike who froze before he sighed and slumped. He slowly walked over to the door and opened it. "Twilight, the girls are here and they know what you're doing."
A few moments passed before Twilight's voice drifted up. "Let them down Spike." A look is shared between them as Spike opens the door for them and they headed down the steps. It wasn't long before they reached bottom to see several tables covered in various items including several models. "Hey girls. Sorry for the secrecy but-"
She got cut off by a small squeal from Fluttershy as she picks up one of the models, looking almost like a small aircraft carrier. "You got a production model of the USS Saipan." She then nodded and gave the others a smile. "It's the home base for the group from Technology is Courage and is a modified Tarawa-Class Amphibious Assault Ship with 8 Sea Stallions, 12 Sea Knights, 12 V-22 Ospreys, and six AV-8B Harrier Jump jets!" She then frowned. "Though I heard that the Harriers might be replaced with F-35 B Lightning II if the rumors are correct..." She then gasped as she sees an odd looking aircraft and picks it up. "And this is an F-35B! Oh my!"
Twilight as well as the others stared as Fluttershy bounced from one model to another listing off various attributes of them. Finally, the lavender Unicorn facehoofed. "I forgot how big a fan you are..."
Fluttershy just turned and smiled. "Oh yes! I'm quite proud to be a puman." She then turned back to the model in her hooves. "They're ever so brave you know. They help people out in disaster areas and rescue others from bad guys! Risking their lives to save the day, all without magic!" She then spotted a picture and picked it up with a frown. "This looks like part of a Carrier group..." Having picked up a magnifying glass, she looks at the hull closely. "Hmm... I don't recognize the numbers... Though those are F-18 Hornets I believe on the deck..." She then tapped one of the ships. "I recognize that as an Arleigh Burke-class though. Ooo! And that's a submarine! Looks like a Los Angeles-class too!"
Having looked over Fluttershy's shoulder, Applejack frowned and shook her head. "Naw, can't be. The sail is too far forward. That has to be the Seawolf." All of a sudden having realized how silent everything had gotten, Applejack turned to see the stares of disbelief. "Uh..."
With an eyebrow raised, Rainbow gave her a look. "So... you're a puman too?"
Her face reddened, Applejack looks away as her face scrunched up. "Ah just know because Applebloom likes them, tha's all." A few minutes passed as they gave her knowing looks before she sighed. "Fine. Ah like the series too." She then huffed a bit. "Ah like it for the plot and characters. They do mighty fine without fancy-smancy magic." She then glanced at the photo again. "Ah gotta say though Twi. Whoever did up that animation panel did a mighty good job of making it lifelike." She then blinked as she saw the nervous look, an unnerved feeling making it's way through her at Twilight's expression, half-knowing and half-nervous. "Uh... This here is an animation panel right?"
Her lips held between her teeth, Twilight cocked her head to the side slowly. "Well..." A few moments later a loud squeal is heard from the library as those Ponies in the vicinity look at it before shrugging it off...
Ponyville Library, 5:00 PM
As she paced, Twilight sighed. "Where are they?" She turned to Spike with an expression of exasperation upon her face. "She can't possibly have all that much stuff that has to do with Technology is Courage..." Her voice trailed off as she blinked before Twilight stopped and turned. "Could she?" Spike was about to say something when banging sounds and muffled curses echo from upstairs, which caught their attention. They headed upstairs to find that the rest of the girls besides Fluttershy lying on the ground as they're surrounded by boxes. Walking up to one, Twilight opens it to find various notebooks and TiC memorabilia inside. She then looked at the other ten large boxes in disbelief as her jaw tried to work. It took a few moments, but eventually she managed to get something out. "Fluttershy... is all this... yours!?"
Having been checking one of the boxes for damages, the pink maned Pegasus raised her head and shook it softly as she blushed. "Oh no..." Twilight was about to say something in confusion when Fluttershy gestured at the smallest box. "That's Applejack's." She slowly tapped her chin with a nervous expression, not noticing Twilight's incredulous expression. "Oh, I do so hope that this will be enough to help." She then looked at an amused Applejack who was getting up from the floor and Fluttershy gave her a nod with a happy smile. "This is just so exciting!"
As she shook her head with a chuckle, Applejack smiled herself. "Ah reckon tha' ya'll are right about that Sugarcube." She then snorted. "Real live humans... Who would hav' thought it!?"
She turned and was about to pick up her box but is prevented as it's enveloped by an purple glow and lifted into the air. Raising an eyebrow, she looked at Twilight who had a smile on her face. "You girls look tired. I'll take these downstairs for you."
A grin bloomed on Applejack's face as she spotted the other boxes also being lifted into the air before she nodded at her Unicorn friend. "Thankee kindly fer tha' Twi."
Twilight just chuckled as she gave a nod. "It's no problem at all Applejack. I appreciate all the help that you all are giving me. Especially after..."
Seeing Twilight trail off with a haunted look on her face, Rarity came up to her and placed a comforting hoof gently on her friend's shoulder. "We already told you that we forgive you for what happened Twilight. We should have never dismissed your worries in the manner that we did. We were all... out of sorts I suppose, after what happened with Discord. You in particular."
Her head nodding, Twilight still gave them all a brittle smile. "Nonetheless, thanks for standing up to Princess Celestia for me. Otherwise..." All of them shared a shudder at the knowledge of what the punishment for permanently manipulating a being's mind with magic would be which causes a feeling of cold to settle in all their stomachs. After a few moments passed, Twilight shook it off as she trotted for the door. "Anyways... we should get started." A few minutes later finds them all in the library's basement where they noticed some new and clean tables have been set up which Twilight gestured to. "Those are for yours and Applejack's items Fluttershy, that way we can keep them separate from what Princess Celestia sent me already and doesn't get mixed up with it." She then walked over to one of the hot plates she had set up on her usual work bench and sighed as she looked at it. "Just give me a minute girls, I have to change out the hot plate so that we can have something hot other then tea or coffee to drink."
Looking up from where she had been working to open a box, Rainbow gives a slight snort as a metal padlocked box floated up to Twilight. "Take your time Twilight, it'll be a bit before we're ready to set up anyways."
Twilight smiled at her before opening the padlock and the box itself revealing it to be full of various glowing gems. Having picked a reddish-orange one, she than closed it and locked it back up before putting it away. After a bit of fiddling, as the sounds of boxes being opened sounded in the background, she managed to pull off the top of the hot plate to reveal a metal surface with red runes and a small, dull reddish-black ruby like gem in the center. Upon seeing it, she tutted a bit as she yanks it out. "I could have sworn that I recharged you just two days ago."
As he walked past on his way to another hot plate with a pot of fresh coffee in his claws, Spike rolled his eyes at her. "Considering how much you've been using it for the past two days, I'm surprised that it lasted this long."
She just gave him a look as she placed the new gem into the hole the other had been in, the runes around it slowly glowing as it settles in place. "Hardy har har Spike." Having placed the top back in place, she locked it back into place and put it back on the table as she passed the old gem to Spike. "Would you mind throwing this one into the fireplace so we can recharge it later?"
Having placed the pot of coffee where he was supposed to, Spike gave her a small salute. "Aye-aye captain!"
As she rolled her eyes at her assistant, Twilight placed another pot on the newly recharged hot plate. Filling it with water and hot chocolate mix, she turns on the hot plate and lets it simmer before she turned to see Applejack once more pouring over the picture of the ship, the name of which they all now know to be the USS Enterprise. "Something catch your eye Applejack?"
A thoughtful frown on her face, the Earth Pony farmer glanced upwards from her the picture held in her hoof. "Do you have any more pictures of this here ship?" She glanced back at it. "Perhaps fro' differen' perspective or distance?"
Giving it some thought, Twilight headed over to one of the tables and grabbed a few photos as well as a film reel. She then walked back to Applejack and handed her the photographs. "Well, these are all from different directions..." She trailed off as she lifted the film reel. "And this was something that the local Guard detachment filmed."
Applejack suddenly looked up from the photos. "How close did them all film it from? And the humans did nothin' ta stop them?"
Twilight gave her friend an odd look before she nodded. "They were actually pretty close, but stopped after a bit because it was making the humans really nervous for some odd reason." She suddenly gave Applejack a questioning look. "How'd you guess?"
Before Applejack could have said something, Fluttershy entered the conversation. "Um... Because while it's glossed over in most of the various media, in the more adult novels for The Dark World, one of the Six Shooters goes and visits his father. They got in a conversation about the past. And, while they didn't go into great detail, the father mentioned something called a 'Cold War'."
Applejack nodded at that. "Ah remember tha'." She then looked at Twilight who's confused. "While they called it a war, it was a time when United America an', I think it was called, a group named th' USSR were spying on each other somethin' fierce." Applejack then shrugged. "Apparently, according ta th' father, they came close several times ta bein' mad with each other."
Taken aback, Twilight shook her head in confusion. "But that makes no sense! I know that if someone we had bad relations with was spying on us, that we would be pretty angry with them!"
Once more, Applejack merely shrugged. "Ah know. But tha' was wha' was written in the novel."
Twilight then shook her head. "Thanks anyways Applejack, Fluttershy." She then became thoughtful. "Though since their obviously military and it's been less then a lifetime since something like that..." Twilight nodded then. "That could explain the nervousness at being filmed. Maybe it brought back unpleasant memories?
Both Applejack and Fluttershy shared a thoughtful look before they shrugged. "Mayhaps Twi." Having gestured at the film reel, Applejack continued. "Anyways, ah was wonderin' if ah could have a look at that Sugarcube?"
Twilight blinked as she was snapped out of her thoughts. "Er... right!" She then headed over to the film projector and set it up, before she turned to the rest of her friends (now joined by Spike) as they picked spots to sit down at which caused her to smile. "Ready?" At the nods and murmurs of agreement, her horn glowed as the lights turned off and the projector came on. She then made her way over to sit with her friends as it started. "Let's see what we got, shall we?"
While it took thirty minutes to run through the entire reel, after it ended, Rainbow Dash gave a low whistle. "Whoa, those..." Slightly confused, she turned to Fluttershy. "What did ya call them again? Hornets?"
Fluttershy nodded slowly. "Yes, those were F-18 Hornets." She then frowned as she cocked her head to the side. "Well... they were also called F/A-18 Hornets in some sources in the fluff sometimes as well.
Dash blinked blankly at her for a moment before she thrusted a hoof into the air, a large grin on her face. "Well, whatever they were called, they were awesome fast! Makes me want to race one!"
Fluttershy then shook her head. "Um... You'd have to be going as fast as a Sonic Rainboom at the least to be close to their top speed..."
Rainbow stared at her for a moment before her grin came back. "Really? Cool! Now I really want to race one!"
Applejack sat there staring at the now blank screen as her mind worked before she looked back at the pictures in her hooves. "Fluttershy... those F-18s or whatever, are they about the same size as a Harrier do ya reckon?"
Giving it some thought, Fluttershy nods a bit. "Well... at the last Pumancon, those of us interested in the technical aspects of things got to together and... um... debated things. For this in particular the general concuss was..." Having noticed the raised eyebrows of her friends, Fluttershy withdraws a little before she continued. "Um... well, yes, they're generally around the same size..."
Applejack just absentmindedly nodded as she continued to stare at the photos. Now, while she may kid her brother about "Fancy Mathematics", she prided herself on her good eye and hoof on feel for sizes. She then shook her head as she lifted it. "Well then. If Fluttershy is right about the sizes for dem Hornets and Twilight is correct about how close to th' ship these and tha' there film was taken..." She glanced at each of her friends before she continued. "Then the top of this here ship must be at least four or so acres in size."
Twilight's eyes widen some at the sure tone in her friend's voice. "Are you sure Applejack?"
Applejack just nodded. "Eyup. Sure as sure can be. Ah reckon it be righ' there abouts."
Rarity gasped as she held a hoof to her mouth. "My word Applejack!" She herself then glanced at the photos. "If you're correct then that ship is simply massive!" She then shook her head a little in amazement. "However could they manage to make such a large ship, made of steel no less, float?"
Twilight tapped her chin in thought for a few seconds she shook her head. "They must have a great understanding of the principals of buoyancy."
Rarity hummed a little before she turned to Fluttershy. "Fluttershy dear..." Having caught the yellow Pegasus' attention, Rarity takes a breath before continuing. "I knew that you were quite the fan of Technology is Courage, but I never imagined that you were... um..." She gestured at Fluttershy's things. "Quite this large of one."
Fluttershy simply blushed before she answered. "Um... I really like the show a lot." Her head hung, she continued in a whisper. "The characters are just ever so brave and the stories and what they use are just so interesting that sometimes... um... I like to imagine myself in the show being just as brave..."
Pinkie choose that moment to jump and throw a foreleg over Fluttershy's shoulders which caused her to squeak in surprise. "Come on Fluttershy! You're one bravey bravest Ponies I know! You were there when we faced Nightmare Moon! And Discord! And you stared down a dragon!"
Fluttershy ducked her head a little, her mane falling over her face and hiding the slightly pleased expression on her face. "Thank you Pinkie..."
At that moment, Twilight glanced back at all the items that Fluttershy brought and owned. "Where did you get the money for all that anyways?"
Fluttershy blinked at that. "Oh! Um... since I'm the wildlife manager for the local area, I receive a bit extra due to it being so close to the Everfree forest since I sometimes have to go into the outskirts. That plus the amount I got from doing that modeling and... uh... running the local animal shelter means that I have more then enough to take care of all my little animal friends usually. So I sometimes... um..." She trailed off a bit as she poked the tips of her hooves together. "Buy some Technology is Courage stuff if it catches my eye..."
As they remember how much Fluttershy has, the same thought ran through all her friends' heads at the same time. 'Some!?'
Twilight soon shook it off and cleared her throat. "Well, thank you Fluttershy, you're a big help and I am sure that Princess Celestia will be thankful too.
Fluttershy, if anything, blushed deeper at that. "Oh! You're very welcome Twilight. But, um... just seeing the models, the sketches, the animation panels and the notes from the creators are more then enough for me..."
Town of Simple Dam, Day 9, 5:00 PM
Wireless Communication Specialist Deft Touch Falcon sniffed and paged though his new adult pulp novel. The hard-boiled Tyrant Rex, Unicorn Private Eye, was midway through the dame Bright Feathers’ alibi...he was going to get her to spill all the beans on the conspiracy to assassinate the Duke of Trottingham, and it would be a sensual way to get beans to spill…The light yellow Unicorn Pony (who’s step father had been a Griffin) licked his lips as he idly sat in the back of the Coms Wagon. The huge machine that allowed for long distance communication hummed quietly as its minder entertained himself with a adult magazine that was surely contraband while on active duty. Deft Touch had long learned how to ignore the hum, the earphones helped, although the extra padding he installed himself helped further.
Deft Touch giggled as he turned the page, Tyrant Rex was going to get the gal and-
Deft Touch jumped and threw the magazine away like it was on fire as the Coms Wagon let out a loud ring in his ears. It was a priority message coming in. Deft Touch looked at the various readouts as he switched frequencies, collected audio signals, tore paper messages, and parsed Moose Code.
“…Oh buck me.” Deft Touch whispered to himself as he started to sweat.
Elsewhere, one mile from the village proper at the Simple Dam copper mine.
Captain Gernot De Sauveterre snarled silently as he compiled the various reports and paperwork, his talon was cramping up. He eyed the progress report that stated they were behind schedule and he eyed his tin of tobacco blend. Claus Flyer’s Red Star brand, an outline of a Pegasus hanged over a red star on the tin. The little pony called to him.
“The paper getting the better of you again, sir?” Trooper Green Cloak asked as he tipped a small coffee pot into De Sauveterre’s mug. The Griffin smiled at the Pegasus, his orderly, he sniffed the coffee gratefully and thanked the Pegasus with a grateful nod.
“Aye, it is tiring work. Fangtooth said him and his Dogs would have breeched the first tunnel by now and started draining it. But that a week ago. The brass will not like this.” Gernot replied before taking a sip of the brew. Green Cloak was a genius Gernot decided as he savored the heady Zebracan blend.
“Don’t sweat it sir, things will get back on track no probl’m. Fangtooth is a fine officer and his boys are always working.” Trooper Cloak said, tapping De Sauveterre on the shoulder. Cloak topped off the Captain’s mug, and then trotted off to refill the pot. De Sauveterre sighed, just leaning back on his haunches and took a moment to rest his eyes. Things were so stressful, but Cloak’s coffee always made things better. The Griffin clenched his beak and blew, the notches in his beak whistled softly as he breathed out and then in. His eyes glanced over to the mine entrance, water was already hip high on most Diamond Dogs. So it was a gain, when he arrived with Beta Company the entrance had been completely flooded.
In fact, he could still hear Fangtooth cursing at whatever new obstruction was bothering him now. No doubt he was lambasting Pony mining techniques again. De Sauveterre rolled his eyes as he heard the frustrated howls then moan out of the mine entrance. If he had been a fledgling, perhaps the sound would have been scary. Now it was just annoying.
The shadow of Sergeant Vapor past overhead as he made another trip to reinforce the shattered remains of Simple Dam’s dam…which was also named Simple Dam…De Sauveterre rolled his eyes, non-griffins, who knew what they were thinking sometimes.
De Sauveterre sighed and got back to his paperwork. He needed to put in a extension on the operation, and then make a requisition for Alpha Company to come in because of unforeseen complications. That Sweet Syrup had not been forthright with the condition of the Copper Mine.
Signature, signature, read, order form filled, out pile, look at that, sip coffee.
“What is that ruck-“ De Sauveterre began just as a yellow blur crashed and skid to a halt in front of his desk.
“-us…” De Sauveterre finished as he leaned over his desk to observe one of his Communications Specialists puking his guts out on the floor. Even for a Unicorn Pony in a job that usually meant sitting on one’s tail all day, Deft Touch Falcon was pretty out of shape, but it was mostly the content of his messages that prompted the spewing.
The Unicorn slapped down a large pile of papers down on the Captain’s desk as he huffed and leaned on it. With a pathetic epp, he then slid back down and tried to breath.
De Sauveterre blinked before snatching up the papers, he tore through them speedily, his beak clenching with every page read.
“CLOAK! GET ME MY LIEUTENANTS!” Captain Gernot De Sauveterre screeched, his voice breaking into the natural high pitch of Griffins’s cries. His mug shattered and his paperwork, which he had slaved over for hours, soaked in coffee. De Sauveterre did not care.
Before long, Cloak had summoned up his five Lieutenants. Lieutenant Fangtooth dripped with stagnant mine water as he sat on his haunches in front of the Captain’s desk. The other four were a discreet few paces away from the stinking wet Dog. Lieutenant Aba, a slender Zebra mare played with the rings that hugged her left forehoof, mumbling the rhyming patios that Zebrican expats favored under her breathe. Lieutenant Big Eveel, a Buffalo expat, stood still as a statue. He was the tallest of the Lieutenants, even standing taller then the Diamond Dogs, only Sergeants Copper Will, Vapor, and Chim were taller…and Vapor and Chim did not count because they both were damn dragons. His off tawny fur and dark dirt brown mane blended in with the deserts well, but it seemed to only highlight the fact he was the only Buffalo in the Company. A fact that did not seem to both him, even though there were many other units in the REA that had Buffalo in them. Lieutenants Jemtooth and Royer, a Diamond Dog and Griffin respectively hung in the back, the female Diamond Dog was just as muscled as her male cohorts while the Griffin seemed more petite when standing next to her. They had been summoned from a inn in town…De Sauveterre disregarded the ancillary thought as he cleared his throat.
“Hippocampus Bay has been attacked by a heavy Diamond Dog slaver force, they have a mature dragon leading them. I want Beta Company kitted up and ready to fight yesterday. Fangtooth, get your platoon ready now. I want you out first thing, and there with eyes on the situation by the time Cloak gets me a new mug.” De Sauveterre ordered, turning away from the Diamond Dog. Fangtooth nodded once before bounding out from his Captain’s little field office.
“Big Eveel, I want you to get your platoon ready as a rapid reinforcement for Fangtooth in case he gets in trouble. I’m going to be sending Sergeant Vapor with him, so you’re going to get Sergeant Chim, I know he and his squad were celebrating the news that Trooper Ime’s foal was born the day before yesterday. So sober them up and get that ancient bastard ready to throw down.” The Captain ordered as he then consulted his notes. Big Eveel nodded before stomping silently away, leaving deep hoofprints in the ground, yet not making a sound.
“Aba, Jemtooth, Royer. You all need to get the rest of the Company armed up, armored up, and geared up. We march after Fangtooth and Big Eveel ASAP, but I want us ready to claw as much throat as we can and not get clawed back. So I want weapons cleaned and repaired, armor spells shored up, and everyone briefed and ready. There will be no screw-up’s and I am not loosing anyone I don’t have to. Now get to it.” De Sauveterre growled as he dismissed his last three Lieutenants. He scratched the side of his beak and huffed, his talons reached for a coffee soaked message from the Brass. Copper mine needs to start producing by next month’s end. Feh, they could go crash themselves.
“Cloak! I want the Wireless Wackers to send out ETAs and these messages. And tell them to ask for confirmation that Humans are present at Hippocampus Bay. What the Tartarus are those backwater rent-a-guards smoking? I took my chick to see one of those shows last leave.” De Sauveterre said to no-one in particular as he swiftly rolled himself a thin cigar with his Red Star tobacco and shoved a few crumpled balls of paper into Cloak's wings.
One Half-Hour Later
The village of Simple Dam was a buzz of activity as Beta Company of the 23rd Royal Equestrian Auxiliary hurriedly collected their members and gear from the site of the collapsed copper mine just outside of the village walls. It and the dam that the village drew its name from were the reasons the 23rd had sent in Beta Company. The collapsed mine was the village’s main export, and when the dam broke during Discord’s storm of chaos…things were not going well to put it simply.
Mayor Sweet Syrup bit her lip as she timidly made her way through the chaotic rambling waves of non-ponies that towered over her. The pure white Unicorn nearly yelped as a Dragon carelessly dropped a lifting harness, that must have weighed a good four hundred pounds, off his massive back. The ground lightly shook under Sweet Syrup’s hooves, or at least she thought so as she made her way hurriedly away from the growing mess.
The Mayor of Simple Dam locked her eyes on the back of her target; the commanding officer of the outfit, who was standing over a simple table with accompanying map. Off color amber fur with the bleakest gray feathers Sweet Syrup had ever seen. The Griffin Captain of Beta Company, Gernot De Sauveterre, and the middle aged Griffin’s head swiveled to Sweet Syrup with startling speed as a thin talon rolled cigar of some sort was clenched in his beak. His feathers were ruffled and his beak notched from years of…well…Sweet Syrup had no idea what, but he looked like he would eat her any second. The Griffin Captain pinched his cigar and blew a stream of smoke away. His beak had in fact been damaged in a minor accident back when he assumed command of the slightly Diamond Dog heavy company.
“I am sorry Mayor, but the mine must wait. I know this is abrupt, but there is a emergency.” De Sauveterre said, his voice thick and gravelly, anticipating the Mayor’s reason for being there.
“But, the mine! We need to get shipments upriver to-“
“I know, but there is a situation, we are needed elsewhere. Another company of REA will be here within a week or two. Good day. Trooper Cloak, get her out of here.” De Sauveterre dismissed Sweet Syrup without another consideration. The Unicorn opened her mouth to protest before she felt something surprising on her flank.
A Pegasus Pony in REA colors and a half buckled breast plate smiled at her, he was handsome and his fur was a nice earthy shade of green…Sweet Syrup blushed as she noted he smelled of blueberries, her favorite.
“Excuse me ma’am, but ah got to ask you to move along. Don’t worry none, the mine will be taken car’ of. Now let’s get you back on your way.” Trooper Cloak said with a bright smile, his accent was a bit strange; but that didn’t really matter did it?
“Of course, yes, Trooper Cloak. I will appreciate a kindly escort back into town. My, what is a fine stallion like yourself doing in the REA?” Sweet Syrup asked, obviously smitten even though Trooper Cloak was there to get rid of her. Her eyes trailed after the tight flanks and plot, a half hidden cutie mark she couldn’t quite make out was her focus…of course it was just so she could piece it together…and not at all because of his tight flanks and plot…
De Sauveterre clicked his beak, that Cloak…he always had a way with others. Sneaky as all Tartarus, and a damn fine scout, but he was useful at keeping the civvies at bay, probably way he was the Captain’s orderly. De Sauveterre nodded, best decision he ever made, Green Cloak was the best when it came to keeping Mayors out of his feathers. The Pegasus was probably one of the backwater hill dwellers that Ponies had trouble with, but hey, he was hard working, good with others, and he made good tea and coffee.
The CO of Beta Company sighed, he needed to get on the road yesterday, it was a miracle though that old Copper Will, their minotaur Company Quartermaster Sergeant had decided to bring along full combat load for the company even though they were only suppose to be on a civil works assignment. The Graying minotaur barked at everyone as he shoved weapons, armor, and gear into paws, claws, hands, talons, and hooves. Already old Copper Pain as he was known was throwing a newer model light ballista into Sergeant Vapor’s claws, a dragon that had been in the REA only a year. Scored top grades and was promoted out of basic De Sauveterre believed. The young dragon’s dusty yellow scales, dull and scared from hard work gave the impression that the dragon had been in many a tumble. However De Sauveterre knew this would probably be the young Sergeant’s first engagement…even though he was sure the Dragon was probably older then himself.
“Lieutenant Fangtooth, what is the status of your platoon?” De Sauveterre asked, not turning to look at the Diamond Dog that had approached him, Fangtooth and his platoon had put in time up north, patrolling and engaging with the filth, mostly raiders and bandits with the odd mad cultist sighting and flutter pony goose chase under his belt. He was one of De Sauveterre’s more experienced soldiers, even though he was in essence an engineer specializing in tunnels and excavation.
“Dropgem, Quill, Petit, and Rockrow have my guys whipped up. We’re kitted up and ready, Cap.” Fangtooth responded with a toothy grin, casual and easy was his style. His armor was scratched and dented, from digging mostly, he hadn’t bothered to buff out the imperfections. It didn’t matter much to De Sauveterre, who’s own armor was maintained with perfection. Fangtooth was one of those traditionalists from one of those packs that got some parcel with service back in the wild days. De Sauveterre tried to recall who and where Fangtooth was sired from. Sir Lord something-something from something Clawhang? De Sauveterre shrugged off the thought, as he glanced back at Lieutenant Fangtooth. A young buck of an officer, fur dirty from long days digging and excavating the flooded mine. His slate blue fur matted and messy in every which way in defiance of REA grooming regulations during peace time civil assignments…although they were not on a civil assignment anymore...weren't they…
“Take Sergeant Vapor, Sergeant Major Stone Dufort and his special weapons squad, Copper somehow got his hands on a new Model 5 so put it to good use; and Corporal Bove and his squad, Sergeant Dagger and his air section, to reinforce your platoon. Then head up to Hippocampus Bay at double time. They need the reinforcements now.” De Sauveterre ordered with a frown as he clicked his beak, he replaced his cigar back in his beak
“Take Trooper Cloak, he’s from the area I think. If not, he might be useful with keeping the civvies calm. He’s got that thing, you know.” De Sauveterre said, before turning back to his map. Fangtooth nodded and gave a casual salute before heading off to gather his reinforced platoon and head out. Vapor was a big dragon, he probably could carry most of the ground troops while the flyers went on ahead.
Fangtooth turned back to look at his Captain, cocking a eyebrow.
“Just so you know, something major is going down up there. Reports of humans. Just thought you should know.” De Sauveterre called over quietly to the Diamond Dog, who blinked…and then whined low. Platoon Sergeant Bright Flame, his second in command, was one of those crazy mares that was obsessed with humans…this was going to get interesting. And not in a good way.
“LT! What’s our marching orders, Lash ol’ buddy?” Bright Flame asked as she stride up to Fangtooth. Her bright red mane and dull yellow fur gave her name its due, even under a fine layer of soot. The explosive and flame expert smiled up at Fangtooth, short and stocky for a Unicorn. Her ears twitched as Fangtooth sweated at the thought of telling this convention going, costume wearing, toy collecting, self declared super fan, who’s main job involved fire that the subjects of her obsession were just now confirmed real and present at where they needed to be.
“Captain tell you to eat a lemon? What’s with the face?”
Sergeant Chim blinked, he was a dragon, he weighed more then a ton, he was 200 hundred years old while having served for the past century. The post pub-crawl go over, how it was familiar. The sky blue and gray dragon yawned as he turned onto his back and kicked at the air. He was…behind Simple Dam’s only pub, the…something something. Ime’s wife just had their foal.
Sergeant Chim suddenly felt something grab him by the tail…and throw.
“Argh!” Chim groaned as he went though a small stack of empty bottle crates and then through a small grove of weedy thorn ridden bushes.
“What the buck man?!” Chim cried as he rolled onto his belly.
Chim flicked his head up and his eyes narrowed as his entire squad was coming right for him. Airborne…and none of them had wings. Over a thousand pounds of Diamond Dog and Zebra , mostly Zebra, pelted his thankfully soft and nonpointy face.
Sergeant Chim groaned, his Squad moaned, Trooper Ime cried a little as they all squirmed together. Their Hangovers started to throb as Sergeant Chim stood up forcefully, the smaller REA soldiers rolled off like dew.
Lieutenant Big Eveel stared into the middle distance, his back turned to Chim as the sun peeked over the Buffalo’s shoulder.
An Eagle’s cry broke the mewing cries of hung over zebras.
“Oh come off it you toss pot.” Chim said as he closed his eyes. When he opened them he found Big Eveel staring right into his eyes. The Buffalo seemed to gaze directly into the Dragon’s soul with a silent burning judgment.
“Quit it. I’ve been at the pub.” Chim held his talon over his eyes and looked away.
Sergeant Chim opened his eyes and snapped his neck up at the ghostly sound of one of the Company’s Lieutenant’s voice. It was like a tail of dust upon the wind, an upturned crate stood in front of the Dragon. A tray of hangover cure rested upon it. Chim sighed as the wind blew, spurring a flock of leaves and an Appaloosain tumbleweed to bounce past. Large Buffalo hoof prints mired the ground.
“Stop being so stereotypical! I don’t want to go to another sensitivity seminar!” Chim called out in panic, looking around for his giant Buffalo Lieutenant.
“you’re no fun.”
“Argh!” Chim groaned as he downed a mug of some Buffalo remedy for the Pony Water. Why couldn’t Big Eveel be normal all the time, like he was in the field. Why did he have to do this to them?
“The Captain wants my Platoon as a rapid reaction force, you and your guys are my heavy support. Get sober and get the troopers hosed off. We chase after Fangtooth ASAP.” Big Eveel declared from where he stood behind Chim, his tail flicked in the air playfully. Perhaps that was because of the cold water bucket in his horns…
Canterlot, 8:00 PM
Walking down the hallway, Luna soon came upon her sister's chambers and raised an eyebrow at the shouting coming out of it as she looked at the two nervous Guards. "YOU FOALISH MORONS! WHAT IN THE NAME OF TARTARUS WERE YOU THINKING?! I'LL TELL YOU WHAT YOU WERE THINKING! NOTHING!"
She just blinked as she shook her head. 'Seems Tia finally got them together...'
The shouting continued inside the room as Luna listened in growing amusement. "THERE COULD NOT HAVE BEEN EVEN A THOUGHT THAT STRIPPING THE NORTHERN GUARD OF THEIR UNITS FOR SUCH A FOALISH ENDEAVOR AS REINFORCING UNITS THAT NEEDED NO REINFORCING MIGHT BE A BAD IDEA BOUNCING AROUND IN THAT VACUUM THAT YOU BUNCH OF COMPLETE IDIOTS CALL A SKULL!"
Still amused, Luna turned to a Guard. "And how long as Our sister been at this now?"
As he gulped, the Guard shared a look with the one beside him and took a breath before he winced at another bunch of insults that drifted out from inside Celestia's Chambers directed at the various Higher ups. "She has been at this since mid-Morning your Majesty..."
Luna just became thoughtful as she looked at the ceiling knowing that it was getting on into the night as another outburst happened. "I CANNOT DECIDE IF YOUR HEADS ARE THE DENSEST OR THE EMPTIEST THINGS THAT I HAVE EVER HAD THE UNFORTUNATE HAPPENSTANCE TO ENCOUNTER!"
As she snorted, Luna shook her head. "She hast out done herself this time."
Her head turned to the door as her sister continued her tirade. She shook her head as she walked to the door and knocked as Celestia shouted something about tar and phoenix feathers which she knew are hot enough to cause fires. 'I simply must remember that one. Definitely new.' Luna then cleared her throat, before she knocked again. "Sister, it is Us. We wish to speak with you on some matters of grave importance." A moment later, the door opened and several extraordinarily pale Guard Commanders rushed out and took off down the hall to Luna's amusement. As she walked in, she saw her sister there slumped as she rubbed her muzzle. "Are you alright Sister?"
As she sighed, Celestia used her TK and poured herself some drink, which caused Luna to raise an eyebrow at the alcoholic smell that came from it. "No, I'm not Lulu." As she gulped down the drink, she savored the burning sensation. "Everything is just..."
After she walked up, Luna nuzzled her distressed sister before she reached over for the drink and sniffed it which made her raise an eyebrow. "Bad enough for you to be drinking Gryphonloch Scotch?"
Celestia glared at her before she dropped it. "Considering everything... yes."
As an eyebrow rose, Luna poured herself a drink. "Perhaps it would help if you would speak to Us... I mean, me, about what the problem is?"
Celestia grimaced a bit and scowled. "That is the issue!" She then started to pace, waving a foreleg in the air as she did so. "Take what just happened..." As she glanced at her sister who's lounged back, she frowned. "I assume that you heard about Hippocampus?"
Luna nodded. "I have." She then gestured outside. "I have been working this morning on getting the relief train together after all."
Celestia nodded herself before she gave a bitter smile. "Thank you for that." She then went back to scowling as she glared at the door. "The reason that the attack even happened was because those foalish idiots that were in here decided that they needed protection for their families and stripped as many of the Guard up in the northern reaches to reinforce the Units in Manehatten, Fillydelphia, here..."
As an eyebrow rose, Luna shook her head. "But I only recognized a few nobles."
Celestia nodded as she flicked her tail. "Yes, but the others are from the richer families." She then grimaced. "And they decided that those up north don't need security as much as they do."
Luna watched her for a moment before she slowly nodded. "I see..." Getting up, she walked over and stood before her sister who was still pacing. "But there's more to this situation I am assuming?"
As she stopped, Celestia seemed to fold inwards. "I was looking over the list of those members of the Guard in Hippocampus and-"
Luna interrupted her with a sad expression. "You shouldn't do that to yourself Tia. It only hurts you more."
For the first time in a while, Celestia turned a glare fully onto her sister who weathered it. "It is the least that I can do for them Lulu." She then gestured at the room around her, though Luna knew that she was actually motioning it at Equestria. "Each and every one of those who die, do so for us... for Equestria." She gulped for a moment she blinked away tears. "If by writing a letter of condolences to their families helps them heal by letting them know that I care and feel for their loss, then I will gladly take that pain onto myself."
Luna frowned for a moment. "Then what seems to be the issue sister?"
Celestia turned and regarded her desk for a moment before she spoke in a quiet voice. "As the initial report stated that the Guard took heavy casualties, I looked over the list of the personnel there and found a Lieutenant Torch listed." She lapsed into silence for a moment before a tear slipped from her eye. "Her one surviving relative is none other then Rainbow Dash."
Luna winces as she hissed "Is she..."
Celestia sighed as she shook her head. "I do not know yet Lulu." As she tilted her head back, she stared at the ceiling. "The reinforcements should arrive sometime this night with a radio wagon. Once they manage to get a connection, we should know more..." She blinked before glancing at a letter. "I decided that my faithful student should know if for no other reason then to prepare her friend if it turns out for the worst."
Luna softly smiled. "She has been a help the past few weeks, has she not?"
As she smiled with some pride, the solar princess nodded. "She has indeed. I nor my advisers would have managed to boil down all the information on these 'humans' from what was in 'The Dark World: Technology is Courage' series into such short notes." Suddenly the frown came back bigger then ever. "Which is another concern."
Luna blinked before she looked out the window in the direction she knew Fillydelphia to be in. "Still no word from the humans? From this... 'United States of America'?"
Celestia shook her head, a worried expression on her face. "None." She then gestured in the direction that Luna is looking in. "Up until recently they've just sat there several miles out to sea, not doing anything..." She then furrowed her eyebrows in some puzzlement. "Well... besides that weird 'Drone' thing that crashed into Cloudsdale."
Luna raised an eyebrow at something she remembered. "We saw it being brought into Canterlot just the other day."
As she shook her head, Celestia snorted. "Yes, I was thinking that perhaps we might talk through it as in the show they apparently use it to transport images... but by the time it got here it's power source has run dry." She then ruffled her wings a little. "Though the scientists are sure that they can hook it up to some power source."
While she nodded, Luna frowned. "I suppose that we can only hope Tia." She then sighed. "One must wonder though as to why they have not sailed into port to ask to meet with representatives as soon as they came into sight of the coast. It is most... unnerving to say the least. None of the other races that we have met have ever ignored protocol before."
As she frowned, Celestia continued speaking quietly. "And that is what is most worrisome. They are not following normal behaviors and the question is... why?" She then turned to her sister. "Has something happened? Have we done something to upset them?" She then shuddered some as she closed her eyes. "Or has our coming here done something to this world?"
As she looked at the ground, Luna shook her head in bafflement. "What possible event could our have coming here have caused?"
Celestia glanced at her for a moment before she turned away. "I assume that you know of the phenomena known as 'Lunar Surf'?"
While she snorted, the Princess of the Night rolled her eyes. "Yes, though the name is wrong as it has little to do with the movement of our.... the moon." She then shook her head as she continued. "It usually has more to do with groundshakes and underwater landslides we have heard."
Her expression a grimace, Celestia closed her eyes tightly. "Yes. Now, what size could have occurred due to something the size of Equestria dropping into one of their oceans cause?" With the knowledge that her sister had an expression of pure horror on her face, Celestia sighed. "Though the mages and scientists have assured me that it is a thankfully unlikely event. Still... it is one of many possibilities and we might not have the answer anytime soon..."
Suddenly, Luna's head snapped around to look at Celestia. "Wait, what do you mean by that and... Hold on, you mentioned that 'until recently' they were there!?" As she gulped down the feeling of dread that was building in her, Luna shakily took a breath. "What has happened?"
Celestia stayed quiet for more then a minute before she answered just as Luna was going to ask again. "Just a few hours ago they turned away and are now speeding northwards at a trot that would be impossible for our own ships to match."
Luna frowned as her eyebrows furrowed before she made her way to the window and stared out it as if she could have seen them moving. "Northwards... but why? The only thing that's happened is..." Her eyes widened as her voice dropped to a whisper. "Hippocampus..."
As she walked up beside her, Celestia nodded. "Yes. Odd coincidence that." She then stared out the window herself. "Or... perhaps not that odd of one."
As she noticed that Celestia is looking around, Luna glanced around as well. "Do you know something sister?"
She just nodded. "While it was not in any official reports coming from there, a... source of mine reported that there were rumors that humans might have been there fighting the rogue Diamond Dogs. No confirmation of whether or not that is true yet as it came from an exhausted Pegasus Guard from the town who was sent out just after the attack and is yet unconscious from exhaustion... but it might explain the reasons why they're heading north."
Luna spared her a glance before she turned back to the window. "There is also the possibility that they may know that we are understaffed there and if our... arrival did indeed cause damage, then they may wish to invade in retaliation for it. And with the low number of Guard in the north, it would allow them to gain a foothold."
The silence between the two stretched for some minutes before Celestia sighed. "That is indeed a possibility I fear... But I prefer to think that perhaps another group had come to the aid of our little ponies rather then them coming to war with us for something that we may have happened by accident." Celestia then turned to her sister and looked her in the eye, her own swimming with worry and fear for her subjects. "It is our deepest hope that the worst case has not come to pass..."
Her expression a frown, Luna was about to say something to her sister when a knock on the door interrupted the conversation. "Yes?"
A familiar voice, though muffled by the door, drifted through it. "Ma'am, I have some information that you need to hear."
As she stood there blinking, Celestia shared a look with Luna before she cleared her throat. "Please come in Captain." A moment later, the door opened revealing a serious looking Shining Armor outfitted in his medium armor. "Hello Captain, how can I help you today?" Having seen him glance at the door, her horn glowed for a moment before it closed. "Now then… what is the issue?"
As he swallowed, Shining looked at Luna for a moment before he took a breath. "Your Highnesses, I recently received some news from a contact of mine in the Fillydelphia Guard regarding the humans."
As she frowned for a moment, Celestia nonetheless motioned for him to sit on a cushion. "Very well then." She then smiled as he sat, her eyes glinting with some amusement. "And there is no need to be so formal in private Shining. You are not only the head of Canterlot's Guard, and thus mine, but also the older brother of my faithful student."
Luna then gave him a sly look. "Not to mention that thou shall soon be family when thou art wed to Our niece this summer."
As he licked his lips, Shining cleared his throat as his face reddened. "Yes… well…"
Celestia just motioned him to go on. "You said that you have news about the humans Shining?"
As he took another breath, he nodded. "I do." He ignored the Scotch as he poured himself a glass of water and drunk it. "I know why the humans are heading North." As Shining set down the glass, he sighed. "According to an old Academy classmate, these 'Americans' had received word from a group belonging to another human nation called 'Canada' that they had received an distress call. These Canadians wanted the Americans to ask for permission to investigate from the ranking Equestrian Guard Officer, who so happens to have been Colonel Glassbreaker."
As the pieces started to fall into place in her mind, Celestia sighed in relief. "And knowing him, he gave permission of course."
Beside her, Luna nodded. "And of course they came across the raid at Hippocampus."
Shining grimaced as he nodded. "Yes, apparently these Canadians helped drive off the raid…" He gave Celestia a look knowing how she was going to react. "Their ships took some damage from the dragon leading the raid though and there were some deaths on their part unfortunately. That's why the American ships are heading north, to reinforce them and give aid."
Celestia's eyes started to mist as she closed them in grief for those who gave their lives for her subjects. She opened them a moment later when Luna asked a question. "And why, pray tell, are we finding this out now and in this fashion? And not through official channels?"
Shining just scowled. "Apparently General Puddington decided he needed to perform some damage control when he arrived and found out and try to figure out a way to tell you."
Celestia just sneered, having had more then enough with her Generals for the moment. "More like cover his lazy flank." She then gained a serious expression. "Captain, I want you to head to Filly and… relieve Puddington of his duty before bringing him back here so I can have a little… chat with him as he was not here today. Major General Sopwith shall have full Command of the Filly garrison returned to him effective immediately." As he left, Celestia sighed to herself. "I am getting tired of this." She then walked over to her desk and started to write. "Dear Twilight Sparkle…"
Ponyville Library, 8:45 PM
Furrowing her eyebrows as she looked over her notes, Twilight took a sip of tea before she called over her shoulder. “SPIKE! Could you find me ‘Intriguing Engineering’ from last April 19?”
Spike sighed as he slowly walked to the magazine rack while he rolled his eyes. “That’s the one about the new high altitude station they’re building right? The big airship one?”
His reply made her blink, which caused Twilight to turn and smile at him as she nodded. “It is. I’m surprised that you remembered that Spike.”
As Spike snorted, he opened the drawer containing past issues of Intriguing Engineering and started poking through the various issues. “How could I forget Twi? You were pretty excited to hear about it after all.” Finding it, he smirked as he continued. “You did go on about it for weeks.”
Upon seeing that he had it, Twilight turned away with a huff. “Well, it is the largest one ever built and can contain a crew of fifteen Ponies for several months as they do experiments.” She then sighed. “I wish that I could go up on it. Imagine the cutting edge research going on about how high altitudes affect various physiologies and magic!”
Spike just blinked before shrugging as he laid it on the table she’s using. “Didn’t you go up on the last one?”
Twilight just shook her head as she flipped through the pages, her magic holding her tea as she sipped. “That was the Galloplieo and it was only for a few days with Princess Celestia when she visited it.” She then sighed dreamily. “The Da Finchi is much bigger and more equipped.”
As he was rubbing his chin, Spike slowly mumbled in half remembrance. “Da Finchi… Da Finchi… wasn’t that, that famous Griffin artist?”
As she glanced at him, Twilight shook her head. “He was more then that Spike, he was also an inventor, scientist, and engineer well ahead of his time.” She then chuckled. “It’s fitting that it’s named after him.”
Shrugging, Spike headed towards the kitchen. “I’m grabbing some gems. You want anything?”
As she thought it over while she looked at the various papers and books, she nodded. “A daisy sandwich would be great, thanks.”
A few moments later, Spike’s voice drifted out from the kitchen. “This is about that space station thingy that you saw, isn’t it? I think that you’re obsessing over it a bit too much Twi.”
A few moments passed before the lavender Unicorn sighed. “It is an amazing feat of engineering Spike. And if that panel Fluttershy gave me and the notes from the creators are correct, then they got it up there without the use of magic, but instead rockets!” As she shook her head, Twilight grumbled a bit. “Its something from science fiction.”
While walking out of the kitchen with a bowl of gems in one hand and a plate with a sandwich on it in the other, Spike raised an eyebrow as he looked at the ceiling in thought. “Don’t remember an episode with that…”
Twilight’s lips twitched a little as she softly chuckled. “It was in some deleted scenes that were cut for being too fantastical. Thankfully though, Fluttershy is a big enough fan that she bought a number of never used scene sketches which included it being discussed among the characters.” She then frowned thoughtfully. “It was about them sending up another piece of it I think…”
Stopping for a moment, Spike suddenly burped out a green flame from which a scroll appeared. Clearing his throat as Twilight started bringing it to herself using magic, Spike shook his head. “Still, don’t see what this has to do with those high altitude stations.”
With the scroll in front of her, Twilight rolled her eyes. “Because they’re the closest thing we have to something like this. And the airships used are supposed to find out various things for when we go into space.”
As he screwed up his face in thought, Spike set down the items in his hands and flipped a gem into his mouth. “How the hay we going to get into space?”
As she smiled Twilight broke the seal on the letter. “Well, some are working on rockets, but the main one involves several hundred Unicorns lifting the items into orbit with the help of a spell array…” While opening the letter, she continued. “Of course, that’s years if not decades away with how complicated all the work would be.”
Spike was about to say something when he noticed Twilight’s face paling as she read the letter. “Twilight? Is there something wrong?”
While licking her suddenly dry lips, Twilight took a deep shuddering breath as she looked at him. “Spike? I need you to go and gather the girls.”
Blinking, Spike held up a claw. “But-“
As she shook her head, Twilight interrupted him. “Spike, I need you to do this.”
Still confused, he slowly nodded. “Okay Twilight…”
Watching as he walked out, Twilight waited until he heads out the door before reading the letter again as a tear fell from her eye. As she swallowed heavily, she closed her eyes and ran her hoof down her muzzle as she shook her head. “Oh Rainbow…”
Forty kilometers South-Southeast From Hippocampus 8:55 PM
Two Unicorns stood side by side in a small-hedged clearing off to the side of a fork in the road. The massive forests around them were foreboding and claustrophobic. One, a massive stallion of a Pony, at least twice as tall and one and a half times wide as the average Pony, with Khaki fur and a Strawberry blond mane. Scars covered this Herculean head to hoof, with a wicked Glasmarian Smile scar marring his face. The other was a stallion of some would call…mare-like looks. A slender build and long neck, with thin girly hooves. A neatly parted Auburn mane and carefully trimmed mustache were the only signs of Stallion hood on a creamy white body that looked silky smooth to the touch.
They both wore the dulled Equestrian Guard field medium set armor, most of the shine was scratched out and both looked in used condition. The newer Mark XI crossbows were slung easy to their sides. The gleaming metal tips of the standard EG bolt sent shivers to their senses.
It could clearly be seen that these two elite warriors would need no words to communicate as ears flickered and muscles twitched. The bigger stallion sniffed, his eyes glancing around.
The Rendezvous was imminent and they both could feel eyes on them.
“…Did you just expel flatus?” The Slender Unicorn asked suddenly, his eyes narrowing as he kept his gaze locked on his surroundings. His voice was musical with a nice middle tone.
“'e 'oo smelt it, dealt it.” The Giant Unicorn replied easily, his accent marking him to be from the East End of Trottingham. His voice was gruff, and like ground glass.
“Stop being foalish, it is obviously whoever rebuts it cuts it.” The Slender Unicorn replied as the bushes ruffled and he pretended to not notice.
The stench of wet Diamond Dog was in the air, and both could tell.
“’e ‘oo sniffed it, biffed.” They were on the right.
“My word, must we do this all the time? It gets old.” I know. The Stallions are ready.
“'ey. you're the chuffin' wahn that brought it up. Not me.”
“Oh come on now old bean, just admit it instead of all these juvenile games next time.
“Ya saying that ya Trottin’ham Charmers never make Raspberry Tarts?”
Several dozen yards away, in what was thought to be downwind, LT. Fangtooth squinted at the two Unicorns in their armor and crossbows? Was that the Guards unit they were supposed to link up with? Were they talking about…gas?
Fangtooth mumbled a growl as he looked over to Bright Flame, who looked back with a shrug. There was a couple of heavy armored Ponies and their attending gunners parked just back in the hedges. The light illusion over the hide was a dead giveaway to those that knew the Book.
Time to meet the neighbors it seemed.
“Green Fairy!” A voice called out to the Unicorns who both subtly checked their crossbows.
“Honey Cider!” The Slender One returned as the bigger one chuffed.
They stared at the Diamond Dog that hopped out onto the road, and the Unicorn that followed him. The Slender Unicorn licked his lips at the sight of the Mare with the Giant Unicorn stoically considered the two.
“Lieutenant Regal Crescent and Sergeant Smooth Charmer I presume?” Fangtooth grinned as he slowly swaggered up, his own crossbow in a low carry. He looked to the Slender Unicorn and then to the Giant Unicorn in turn.
“Nah, clock, I be Regal, this be Smooth.” The Giant Unicorn stepped up, cocking an eyebrow at the surprised looks on Fangtooth and Bright Flame. The Giant Unicorn grinned, stretching his scared face.
“Wot, surprised? We garn ter 'ave a lil' problem 'ere?” Regal Crescent asked with a cocky, and hideous, grin.
“But-but-wah?” Bright Flame blinked and took a step back as Fangtooth nodded in understanding.
“I heard of your family, Trottingham landowners right?” Fangtooth asked, extending a paw to Regal Crescent as Smooth Charmer meandered up to Bright Flame.
“Yeah, that is wite. We own a Hoppin' Pot of land. Summit ter ya?” Regal Crescent asked as the area rustled audible.
“Heh, don’t be too surprised Sergeant Flame, why I was born and raised in the East End of Trottingham. Why don’t I tell you all about it.” Smooth Charmer offered as he sized up the shorter mare. Bright Flame gave him a half lidded look as their Lieutenants started to get into the whole Noble hobnobbing thing.
“That your guys back there with…the Model 5s?” Bright Flame asked as Fangtooth gestured wildly.
“Sharp eye. That your Pegasus in the trees with the knife?” Smooth Charmer replied as Regal Crescent then returned the gesture with his own.
“Yep. We brought a reinforced platoon. Got a Dragon arcing around for air cover, and some heavy weapons. You?” Bright Flame confirmed and then asked as she watched Smooth Charmer scan the treeline and nod at her tally.
“Reduced strength ourselves, CO got orders to send most of the Ponies back near the interior. Left us with the heavy guns and armor at least. They copper-stripes seem about done, let’s get our people moving.” Smooth Charmer said, leading Bright Flame into the trees.
“First thing I liked out of your mouth so far. Heh…how do you feel about Dark World?” Bright Flame asked with a cocky smirk, the two Unicorns ghosted into the treeline as they left their Lieutenants to talk.
“The Colt’s thing? Never gave it much thought. Why?” Smooth Charmer could be heard asking before more and more steps and movement could be heard. The combined might of the REA and EG merging together around the two COs.
There was a shared nod between Diamond Dog and Unicorn before they too disappeared into the forest.
“Oh, no reason. Next stop, Hippocampus Bay.” Bright Flame smiled widely as nearly a hundred Ponies, Griffins, Zebras, Donkeys, Cows, Minotaurs, and Diamond Dogs spilled onto the road and begun marching at a steady rate.
“Oh Celestia, you are a Puman, aren’t you…”
Ponyville Library, 9:10 PM
As they opened the door to the library, the rest of the Mane 6 along with Spike shook off the evening chill as they walked in. Dash snorted before she shook her head. "What the hay is so important Twilight that you had to get Spike to bring us here this late..." Whatever she had been about to say trailed off into nothing as she caught sight of a disheveled Twilight. She blinked as their arrival shook her out of her thoughts. She stared at them with red-rimmed eyes as she griped the ginger scented tea in her shaking hooves. "Twi? Is there something the matter?"
While she set it down, she sighed as she gestured at the area in front of her. "I... got something to tell you girls. If you could come here?"
They all sat down, but they're still a bit weirded out as Twilight made sure that they sat in a specific pattern which had Fluttershy and Applejack beside Rainbow. After she shook it off as an example of Twilight's oddness, Applejack cleared her throat to bring attention to her. "Now then Twi. What's gonin' on and why are ya'll lookin' like Ya'll were cryin'?"
Twilight sat there for a few moments as she sipped her tea and gathered her thoughts. "I... just received word from the Princess that there will be a relief train coming through sometime in the early morning hours. They're heading for a community that was under attack." Having waited until the gasps die down, Twilight continued. "They were hit earlier today by a Diamond Dog slaver force lead by a dragon..."
Having noted how Spike tensed up and clinched his fists from bad memories, Rarity gently laid a hoof on his shoulder before she turned to Twilight. "How bad are we talking darling?"
Silent for a few moments, Twilight's next words caused all their stomachs to plummet. "Bad. They torched most of the town and killed a large number of the Guard stationed there." Taking a deep breath, she glanced quickly at Rainbow as she continued. "Thankfully, a group of human warships nearby heard their distress signal and came to their aid." Grimacing, she shook her head. "They took casualties in the process as well though."
Fluttershy blinked for a moment before she looked at Twilight with a confused expression as the others besides Rainbow talked. "Um... Twilight?" She flinched a bit as everyone looked at her, but continued as the lavender Unicorn gestured her to do so. "Uh... Why would the Princess let us know? There's... um... not that much that we can do after all..."
Twilight stared down at her tea as Rainbow Dash's sub-conscious placed all the pieces together as her breath quickened and her heart beat faster. Twilight finally lifted her head and stared at Dash who's heart stopped with her friend's next words. "The town attacked... was Hippocampus Bay..."
For Rainbow, the world seemingly stopped at that moment with the name of the town echoing through her head before she started to shake her head. "No..." Tears started pouring from her eyes as she rushes up and grabbed Twilight. "This is a joke right! Because it's not funny Twilight!"
Her grip weakened though as her friend looked away and closed her eyes sadly. "I'm... I am so sorry Rainbow..."
The blue Pegasus' body shook as she collapsed inward, reality itself seemingly shattered as she violently shaking her head. "No... NO! NO!"
Applejack and Fluttershy shared a look before they move up and draw their friend into a comforting hug as she struggled and screamed while tears run down all their faces. Rarity just hugged Spike as she sobs as Applejack ran her hoof down Dash's mane. "There, there Sugarcube." Blinking away her own tears, she looked up from the devastated Pegasus and at Twilight. "Is her sister..."
Her own sobs chocked back, Twilight shook her head as she shrugged somewhat helplessly. "I... I don't know." Having looked at each of her friends, a feeling of powerlessness filled her. "There's been almost no communication from Hippocampus since the attack..." Having gulped, she continued. "Princess Celestia told me that she would let me know more once she finds out herself. She just thought it might be better coming from me then..." She swallowed a bit. "Then a black armored Courier..."
Having buried her face in the yellow fur of her oldest friend, Dash lets out loud heartwenching sobs as she shook in their embrace. As she did so, memories rushed through her head. Torch raising her from when she was young after their parents died. The fights that erupted between the two as the younger sibling grew older culminating in that last, horrible fight between the two that saw Dash run away and stay with Fluttershy for a month before coming back to an empty house, Torch having gone through with a transfer somewhere.
And then she had received a letter from Torch a few weeks before Discord. The letters sent back and forth with the last one telling Dash how proud Torch was of her and how she beat Discord... the promise to meet face to face and finally lay to rest the past.
Dash shook her head as she buried it into the soft fur of her friends. 'She... she can't be dead... she just can't be...' She slowly raised her head, the truth having hit her as she whispered. "I never even got to tell her how sorry I was..."
Having held her close, Fluttershy nuzzles the top of her head. "Oh Rainbow..."
With trembles still having run through her body, Dash looked at Twilight. "That... train that is coming through here... it's heading there... right?" Twilight nod was enough as an answer as Dash spoke in a voice thick with the emotions running through her right then. "I want on it... I... I have to know for myself... I need know..."
Slowly having gotten up, Twilight made her way over and then joined in the hug. "Princess Celestia already knew that might ask that and gave orders that if we wished, they were to pick us up."
Stunned, Rainbow looked at her in surprise. "'Us'?"
Rarity then joined in the hug as she looked at her Pegasus friend with a caring gaze. "Of course we would be going with you darling. There is no way that you could keep us from coming, for support if anything else."
Tears flowed freely as Pinkie joined in. "Yeah Dashie! We're your friends after all you silly-willy!"
Stilled racked with sobs, Rainbow gave them a thankful smile. "Thanks you guys..." Holding them all tighter, she nodded as she continued. "You're the best..."