He could see her from quite a ways off. In addition to her naturally attention-catching features, he had a polychromatic cloud contrail to follow. They had left Ponyville city limits a long time ago, and though he was much slower on foot than her in the air, he figured she should at least have some time to herself. He had followed her trail through a small forest, until arriving at the edge of a steep canyon. She was hung in a tree branch, lying on her back. He approached slowly, almost stealthily, but then he remembered she would probably lose her mind if he surprised her at a time like this. His footfalls intentionally became louder, until one snapped a loose twig on the rocks. Her head jerked around, contorting her neck in a way that looked very painful. Her face was one of pure rage and scorn.
"WHAT DO YOU WANT! Oh, it's you, Jack. Sorry."
Briskening his pace, he slid down to sit on the ledge next to her.
"Don't worry, Dash. I can't blame you for being tense. Where are we?"
"This is called Ghastly Gorge. Most ponies are terrified of the place by the name alone, which means peace and quiet for me. I almost died down there, once. Got overconfident then, too."
The peace was further murdered by a sudden, irritating chime from Jack's pocket: his iPhone was telling him something. He pulled it from his pants and held up the screen; he shouldn't be notified of anything, given his lack of connnection. But the message he saw shortly debunked this. It read: JACK WEST located. Dimension Code: 75234. Link Established. He had programmed an interdimensional search system for this eventuality just after the accident, and this field test proved its worth. He could now move between dimensions as he willed, and he was no longer cut off from the myriad of technology at his disposal. He had no plans of leaving, though.
"What's that, Jack?"
Startled by this devlopment, Jack had completely forgotten about Rainbow.
"This is a smartphone, Dash. I can do a lot of things with it. And it looks like where I came from just found me."
Just as he put the phone back in his pocket, it chirped again. His new message read: ALERT. Threat detected. He unlocked the device to find a hi-def diagram of space-time awaiting him. It looked solid, like the fabric so many describe it as, but there was a hole in it. A small vortex ripped in the bottom-left corner of the screen, ever-so-slightly expanding. Its caption read: DIMENSIONAL RIFT DETECTED. CRITICAL TIME: 15 MINS. This was bad.
"Jack? What's going on?"
"It's a long, complicated story, Rainbow Dash. Is there a big, open space around here, not very many trees?"
"Yeah, there's a park about a mile to the east..."
She suddenly fell silent, her eyes fixed towards the path Jack had blazed. Standing on it, 30 ft. away, were the Mane 5. They had clumped up in a tight group, with Twilight in the lead. Dash, dropping to the ground, was not pleased with the unexpected company.
"What are you all doing here?"
"We want you back, Rainbow. We're sorry that we hurt you, but moping around out here isn't going to fix anything. We're going to fix this friendship, one way or another."
"What's the point? I've already found a new friend: Jack. His track record's clean, and y'all's has a big, purple-and-navy splotch on it."
"That's another thing. 'Jack' is coming back to Canterlot for a personal audience with Princess Celestia. No matter what's happened between you two, he has quite a bit of explaining to do."
"We don't have time for this, Dash. I need to get to that park. Now."
"I don't think we asked if you were interested, partner. Get moving."
"We're out of options, Dash. Time to leave."
With equal urgency, both Twilight's and Jack's screams hit Rainbow silmutaneously.
It was decision time for her. Jack was running towards the edge, and Twilight towards her. She was stuck between them, not sure who to trust. She felt a desire to rekindle the friendship of the others, but at the same time, the angry fire of betrayal still burned in her heart. Her loyalty was split.
Instinct took over sluggish logic, and Rainbow Dash made a running leap into Ghastly Gorge. She opened up her wings, catching up quickly with Jack. He was using his cape to glide along air currents, like he did in Ponyville. Back on the edge, Twilight pulled herself away from the drop, and watched the two float across the canyon. Fluttershy was the only one who could follow them, and even being near Ghastly Gorge terrified her. All Twilight could do was watch, until Applejack shouted to her from her right.
"C'mon, Twi! He said they were going to the park! We can cut 'em off at the pass!"
She was already galloping along the cliffside, and had inspired Rarity to do the same. Twilight took off close behind them, leaving Pinkie and Fluttershy behind. Fluttershy was curled up in the fetal position, whimpering "Ghastly... g-g-Gorge...". Pinkie just stood there, and promptly warped out of sight.
Jack had pulled behind Dash, using her current to keep himself aloft. Besides, she knew the way to the park, which he needed to get to. He couldn't explain it to anyone else, but it looked like his native dimension and this one were merging, threatening to destroy each other. All of a sudden, a mass of pink appeared on a nearby rock formation, sending Dash spiraling away. Without her to draft behind, he descended rapidly, running into the side of the rock. He clasped on for life, noting the sheer drop below him. As he searched for an escape route, he could hear the pink blob incessantly talking above him:
"Hey, Rainbow Dash! Where are you going? I wanna come! Can I? Can I? Oh. Hey, you down there! Jack, or whatever your name is! What are you doing here?"
"I'm afraid I don't have time for Q&A right now, but when I do, you'll be the first to know."
Jack had drawn his grapnel gun, and aiming for a nearby cliff, pulled himself off the formation and back into the air. He gradually maneuvered back behind Dash, but that proved to be very little benefit; they had already arrived. She put down just past the railed edge, and he grabbed onto it and swung over.
"Alright, Jack, we're at Ghastly Gorge Park. Now what's so important about us being here?"
Just as he got to his feet, a magical energy bolt exploded before him. The origin was Twilight's horn, still simmering with power.
"Yes, Jack, tell us. Why do you need to come here so badly?"
"It's a long story, but in the end, something very bad happens if I don't get here."
Jack had already whipped out his iPhone, fiddled with a few controls, and set it down in a nearby clearing. Applejack was approaching him fiercely.
"I don't buy it. There's too much he ain't telling us. This is your last chance to come clean, partner, or we're going to have to get rough."
Jack, sensing a brawl ahead of him, turned to Dash.
"Listen, I need this phone to stay right where it is for a few minutes. I'm bringing in some important equipment, and it will tell another person where the stuff needs to go. Do you trust me?"
"A lot more than I do them, Jack."
"Then don't let them touch this phone."
Jack turned back to the other 4, ready for a fight.
"Then let's get rough, cowgirl."
He and Dash took defensive stances, as the other side readied their charge.
"AJ, Rarity, take care of Jack. Pinkie, you're with me. I want to talk down Rainbow; she's acting almost out of her mind."
"Okie dokie lokie!"
With this, the battle began. Rarity launched a volley of pulse bolts, which Jack expertly dodged. Applejack was more direct, charging forward and bucking at him several times. He evaded these as well, until one connected, knocking him backwards. He recovered with a backflip, produced a razor-disc in his right hand, and flung it towards them. It soared, wide right.
"You missed, you uncouth ruffian!"
Almost on command, the disc came back towards him, cracking into the back of Rarity's neck. It bounced, spun through the air, and landed in his hands. She fell to the ground, while Applejack resumed her charge. She spun sideways and leapt into the air, dropkicking with her hind legs. Watching her carefully, Jack bent backwards, Matrix-style, and let her pass right over him. She careened into the dirt behind him, as he stood back up and turned to her. She was already back on her hooves, ready for another attack. But Jack cut the battle off before she could, drawing his Taser pistol and expertly placing a single dart in her right shoulder. A curt electrical spark ran over Applejack's body, and as quickly as she had gotten up, her snarl fell flat, her pupils dilated rapidly, and she tipped onto her side, shuddering. But no sooner had this happened then Jack felt a powerful bolt of force, almost like a bullet, hit him from behind at the base of his neck. It was enough to knock him down, and he recovered to see the still-glowing horn of a fuming Rarity.
"That is not any way to treat a lady!"
She screamed again, and began to charge him, coating herself in a swirling, neon-blue cloak of magical energy. Jack dropped to a knee and fired three times, but each Taser dart bounced off her shield, and she continued to advance on him. She was upon him in an instant; he barely managed to dive away from her. She skidded to a stop on the other side, and turned back to him, nostrils snorting smoke. Still magic-cloaked, she charged again, but this time Jack had a plan. He waited for just the perfect moment, then leapt into the air, spinning around. He landed on her back, and Rarity reverted to full-on bronco mode. She stopped all forward movement and began bucking wildly, jumping around and kicking. Jack held on, though, and once her initial burst of energy subsided, he pressed his pistol into her flank and let loose a single shot, right in the Cutie Mark. Rarity stopped in her tracks, allowing him to spread his legs to stay up as she collapsed beneath him, with the same electrical crackle as he had seen on Applejack.
Meanwhile, Rainbow, Twilight, and Pinkie were having their own tussle, trading words more quickly than blows.
"Leave me alone! I'm done with all of you!"
"Rainbow, please stop! We just want to help you!"
Twilight projected a small magical claw from her horn, which an airborne Rainbow easily dodged. She quickly ascended afterwards, noticing Pinkie's leaps increasing in altitude.
"I don't need your help! I don't need any of you! I have Jack now!"
"Rainbow, Jack is a human. We don't know anything about him. He could be dangerous."
"You'd know all about that, wouldn't you, Twilight? He couldn't do much worse than stab me in the back, and a certain five ponies have already tried that!"
Pinkie, straight hair bobbing as she jumped, broke in and started pleading.
"Please, Dash, come back to us. We miss you!"
Dash stopped in midair, looking back at her. She was filled with regret for deepening the wound, and now wanted more than all else to be reunited with her old friends. Pinkie started to smile, but Dash's attention was stolen by the cracking impact of a magical bolt. She was distracted, though only long enough to see Jack fall to his knees, then on the ground. Behind him, Rarity's horn was smoking with power. Dash's soft feelings hardened into rock, baked by flaming rage. Bad timing.
"No! You betrayed me, upstaged me, and next to ruined my life. But if you're trying to hurt Jack, then I'm going to hurt you!"
She blasted past Twilight and Pinkie on the ground, disappearing in a rainbow trail. But the absence was short-lived, as she began whizzing between them, knocking them about in every direction at high speeds. Twilight was downed, but was able to muster up enough magical energy to create a force field. Still a blur, Dash ricocheted off the dome, regaining control after the rebound. She and Twilight were poised to assault each other, while Pinkie just stood by, dumbstruck. Before magic and flight could collide, and just as Jack stood up over Rarity, twin flashes illuminated the skies. One resulted in several metal containers falling to the ground between the two groups, just in front of Jack's phone. Another released an ornamental chariot, loaded with a driver and two passengers. Pulled by a powerful guardstallion team, it gracefully descended in front of the pile of containers. Out stepped Princesses Celestia and Luna, flanked by even more guards. Luna was the first to talk.
"JACK WEST! YOU HAVE BEEN...
Her Royal Canterlot Voice was silenced by a tap on the shoulder. Much more softly, Celestia continued.
"Rainbow Dash, Jack West. We need to talk."
Fluttershy, having gained a healthy dose of courage, had followed the group to the park (the long way around, of course). Her first sight was Luna's shouting, powerful enough to be visible in the air. Noticing an extremely serious Celestia next to her, Fluttershy realized she had arrived at a bad time.
She promptly fainted, falling into the dirt beside her.