95w, 5dHuman in Equestria
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45w, 3dPonies in the Military
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Chapter Two: Mirror or Window?
A lone griffin soared over a forest, just outside of Equestria's borders.
If you were to look at him, you might think that he wore an expression of arrogance, but if you knew him, you would see years of frustration, stress, and maybe even a little hope.
As Phalanx flew, he couldn't help but wonder what he was doing. He knew what was coming, what must be done to free his people, but he just couldn't think clearly. He realized exactly what freeing his people would mean, and what would have to be done to do so.
He landed in front of a small tree house near a clearing in the forest, and ruffled his feathers. He knocked on the door and heard the rasp of a very familiar female voice behind it. If griffins could blush, you wouldn't have noticed him doing so because his feathers. He could hear the faint clicks of the door's locks being undone, and the source of the female voice behind it was now visible.
“You look great Gilda,” the hardened griffin, timidly squawked. Phalanx had nearly choked on those words. “How could a warrior such as I, be so scared to take someone I find attractive out for a social excursion?” he thought.
It was true, Phalanx was indeed a warrior. One of the most respected even, and the irony of his situation was clearly noticed by his date, whose beak formed a grin.
“Chill, dude. I'm glad you asked me out, but I can tell that you'd be less nervous fighting a team of Celestia's royal guards,” Gilda, jokingly spoke.
“Yeah, my poker face isn't what it used to be.” the male griffin replied as he sheepishly rubbed the back of his neck.
“Relax,” Gilda whispered as she playfully wrapped her arm around him. “This might be the last time we can enjoy ourselves before the world becomes a lot more hostile; and by the way, you look good too, Phal.”
Phalanx's face seemed to brighten, and he spoke in a much more confident tone, “You were always fun to be with Gilda, should we go off now?”
She nodded, and the two took off together, both smiling now, wondering what was to come.
The Sun rose over Dobbins Air Reserve base, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America, Earth.
Most of the base's staff was wide awake already. Having heard the news that an anomaly had formed, most of the base's pilots, officers, and even civilians quickly dashed around to find out what had happened. The entire base was buzzing when three small fighters zoomed overhead.
…. “This is Sparrow Flight requesting permission to land.”....
…. “You've been cleared for landing on runway 11, repeat runway 11”...
…. “Understood. See you guys on the ground.”....
The nimble fighters daintily landed as instructed, then taxied to an open hanger, where a team of scientist was already assembled. The pilots locked their landing gear, and powered down their engines. Maintenance technicians began to service their planes, plugging in the hanger's computers into ports on the fuselages of each of the planes. The pilots opened their canopies and hopped out of their fighters as they had done many times before.
“Sir, Commander Stuart wants to see you,” one of the technicians dully remarked to the flight leader.
The pilot looked annoyed. “Just me?” he asked.
"The three of you,” the technician answered.
The three pilots nodded then climbed a few flights of stairs in the direction of the command center. From what they knew, this Commander Stuart was a high ranking navy scientist, with quite a reputation for being almost overzealous in his work. For whatever reason, he had been given command over all anomaly related operations, and his work had led him to the base they now served on.
“You look like you're walking toward an execution man,” the leader remarked to one of his wingmen.
“Sir, you know better than anyone that we're going to be doing a literal mountain's worth of paper work.”
“That's not true, and we'll probably be celebrities on base for, I don't know, the next twenty minutes?” the pilot leader retorted. His uniform looked slightly more distinguished from the others.
“I think we'll be alright,” a third pilot, a female, interjected. “Boss, what happens now?”
“I'm sure we'll be going up soon for more scanning. For now, Commander “science guy” Stuart wants to see us.” the leader responded,
“I'd rather not call him that when we meet him." the male wingman added. "He's supposedly a high ranking scientist in this field. Maybe he knows what going on.”
“Yeah, maybe. But I’m not sure I want to know what's going on.” the Leader quietly spoke.
They walked in silence until they reached the commander's door.
“Everyone put on your best smile,” the leader began. “I have a feeling that strange things are on the way.”
“Was that an attempt at being dramatic?” the female wingman joked as the leader opened the door. The look the leader gave the woman almost specifically told her that he was not amused, and the now nervous wing-woman instantly stopped talking.
The pilots entered, then took seats in front of the officer's desk, a look of wonder on each of their faces as they looked at what seemed to be a massive collage of pictures, radar readings, and video displays.
“It's nice to meet you all,” the officer spoke in a surprisingly friendly tone. “I am Commander Mason Stuart of the United States Navy. But don't get intimidated, right now, I’m your friend."
The pilots all exchanged curious looks, as if to say that they all found this man rather odd.
“As you know, NASA, as well as the military, has been investigating anomalies like the one you all saw earlier today. You must all be wondering what they are, exactly, and what we plan on doing to learn more about them.”
He paused and started digging into his desk. “To explain things, I'd like to show you just what we've been doing around here recently.” He then passed out a packet of documents, and instructed the pilots to read them. They were titled:
Studies of Anomalous Energy Events, or AEE's,
A Report by Dr. Mason Stuart.
This is the first official entry into this document, but you probably already knew that. Our goal here is to determine what these random energy surges are, and if they are dangerous. So far, our only knowledge of these events is based off of eyewitness accounts and bad pictures. We really don't have any theories whatsoever as to what could be cause of these events. So for now, all we can do is wait for one to appear so we can scan it. I will only make new entries into this journal when something of interest has occurred.
We've spotted the first anomaly since this investigation started. It appeared just outside Washington D.C., about ten miles or so south. It was only around for about two minutes, but I saw it with my own eyes. It was blue in color, and looked to have electromagnetic energy encircling it. Unfortunately, the anomaly was too high up to get any readings from ground based sensors, and we were unable to get any sensor planes in the area in time, so our intel is still pretty weak. I apologize.
In light of what happened yesterday, it was agreed upon that small fighters should be sent up on patrols, in order to increase the likelihood of a plane being nearby when an anomaly occurs. They seem to be popping up most frequently around the south-eastern region of North America, so my team will be moving to Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Georgia. In fact, two anomalies have already opened within 100 miles of the place, so I'm confident that we'll finally get something.
An anomaly appeared right before we were going to send up the first flight of our enhanced sensor planes. I'm much too annoyed to write anything else.
CONFOUND THESE ANOMALIES! Why must they always appear when were not ready to scan them?
Unbelievably, we came within minutes of scanning an anomaly, when I realized that all of our planes were being serviced! Why do these anomalies tease me so? Regardless, I've been told that such mistakes will be avoided in the future. At least I know that I made the right decision to set up my operation here, as long as they keep appearing, it's only a matter of time until we get a hit.
Day One Hundred and Six,
At long last we have success! A small fighter squadron was nearby when the 79th confirmed anomaly appeared. We have started analyzing the data, and cannot wait to see what we find. According to the flight leader, one Lieutenant Lenard Greene, they detected some kind of “double radar signal.” I don't even have to tell the reader what that could mean. I am more than just a little curious to find out what that could mean myself, and I will report on our findings as we look over the data.
The three pilots all seemed to look up at the same time.
“Sooooo, what do you think?” the commander wondered out loud.
Lieutenant Greene looked at his wing-mates, as if desperately asking for help. “It's, umm, interesting? Wait. You wrote that last entry in the time it took for us to land and walk here?”
The commander quickly answered, “Why yes, these were certainly not all of them, but we don't have time to read the ones in between. Now follow me, we have much to discus.”
The commander walked the three pilots to the most secured hanger in the entire base. The guards allowed them entrance, and the group walked in, with a very excited commander leading them.
“We got these babies from NASA. They were originally designed for low Earth orbit space flights. Behold! I give you...” He paused for dramatic effect, “The DeltaScout Extra-planetary probe, Mark one!”
The pilots' faces brightened up when they saw it. It was like almost every kid's dream, a massive remote controlled rocket.
“This baby sports some of the most advanced sensor systems we've ever designed!” the obviously proud commander stated. Lieutenant Greene could have sworn he saw the officer wipe a tear out of his eye.
“That is really cool,” the female pilot stated, “but what's it for?”
The commander's excitement levels doubled, as if he had been waiting to answer that question for months. It seemed like he was about to literally burst from raw anticipation.
Greene wondered if anyone could be as excited about anything as the commander was now. Surely, he was the most hyperactive man in any military in the world. At least he wasn't demeaning, like other higher officers he knew. The flight leader stopped thinking for a moment, so he could actually hear the commander's description of the planes purpose.
“So.... What is it for?” Lenard asked the officer again.
“I am so glad you asked!” was what came out of the jumpy military scientist. “You see, we believe these disturbances to be much more than just random energy fluctuations. We believe that they are localized punctures of space!
“But they're not in space. There down here on earth”, the wingman stated.
“Like worm holes,” the flight leader curtly replied.
“Why yes Lieutenant Greene,” the Commander spoke, almost sounding impressed.
“Uh Lenard, how did you know that?” the wingman inquired with a worried look on his face.
“Honestly, Mike, that was kind of a wild guess,” Lenard answered. “Guess I watch too much Sci-fi on leave.”
“Really? I didn't peg you for a sci-fi kind of guy,” the female pilot spoke with a smug grin on her face.
“Gerri, did we just get completely off topic here?” Greene wondered.
“I believe we did boss man,” she answered.
“THE POINT,” the commander loudly interrupted, “-is that we intend to send this probe into an anomaly and see what it senses.”
“Into? So you ARE suggesting that there is something or some place behind them?” Lenard asked.
“The double radar images seem to say so, but we won't know until we try it. For now all we can do is wait.”
Lenard could think of nothing he wanted to do less.
“Sir we've done it!”
“What!?” the commander shouted, as he woke at his desk.
He didn't like to wake up like this, but this time he could make an exception. It had been weeks since Sparrow Team had scanned the Anomaly and any excitement was well received.
“I can't believe we've done it. We've cracked the code, decrypted the enigma, solved the Rubik's cube!” came the excited chatter of a bubbly female scientist.
“WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO SAY!” shouted the commander, who really wanted to know what was going on, and had no time for these games.
“Oh. Sorry sir. We have successfully found the pattern that these anomalies operate under!”
“That’s great!” The Commander’s sudden rage had turned into complete joy. “When will the next one occur?”
“If we're correct, two days from now, Wednesday around 3:00 pm.” the scientist explained.
“Send the order down to begin readying the probe.” The Commander's expression was now much more serious. “I don't want to miss this chance.”
The days passed slowly as everyone on base worked to prepare the DeltaScout for its mission, and at long last, the time had come.
The Scout was thoroughly checked and taxied into position on the base's main runway. The anomaly wasn't scheduled to appear for a few minutes, but the flight control team wanted the probe airborne and ready when it did. Several civilians had gotten wind of the event, and there were thousands of people waiting to watch it as it unfolded. The DeltaScout flight controllers ran their final checks and broadcasted over the radio, as well as speakers that had been recently set up:
…. “This is Delta. Permission to launch?” …..
…. “You've got it Delta. Everything looks positive. Good luck.”....
…. “Alright, control. This is DeltaScout flight Team, launching.”....
The probe's engine roared to life, and the small aircraft slowly made its way down the runway. It reached liftoff speed and gracefully lifted into the sky. The officers and civilians sounded a round of applause, and those that had binoculars or small telescopes could keep track of the small craft as it flew higher and higher toward its target altitude of 45,000 feet. Those that didn't could still see the Delta's con trail. The anomaly ETA slowly counted towards zero, and the crowd teemed with anticipation.
Everyone nervously awaited the emergence of the anomaly
...“Alright Delta Command, we are now in the green zone. That anomaly is due any second now.”...
…. “Roger, Dobbins, we are holding a traffic pattern around the contact zone.”.....
There was a slight flash.
Anyone who hadn't been looking up at the time would not have noticed it.
Calls rang out from all of the circling sensor aircraft, saying that their sensors had just lit up like Christmas trees. The multi-aircraft sensor system was working. These aircraft provided electronic support with the command center, and the DeltaScout itself, in order to keep connections as strong as possible. They also had the same advanced sensor systems that Sparrow Flight had when they encountered that anomaly. No matter what, Commander Stuart there was going to get plenty of data to look at later.
… “This is Delta command, target acquired. Anomalous event, bearing 2-6-9, 39,000 ft. It's directly ahead, 1.5 miles away..... ETA to contact is 37 seconds”.....
… “ETA is 10, 9, 8, 7,” ….
... "6, 5, 4,"....
… “Contact in three, two, one!”...
… “CONTACT! We have contact!”....
There was a large Explosion.
Our first attempt at sending a probe through failed... dismally. The Delta Scout exploded just after making contact with the anomaly. Don't get me wrong, it picked up quite a lot of data before it exploded, but since it never actually made it in, we have no readings from inside the event. At first, we began to question if this “hole” is even a hole at all. We wondered if perhaps it was a simple mirror like structure that leads to nowhere. We even considered shutting down the Delta program, that is, until we analyzed the very last second of the Delta's transmission. The probe underwent extreme g-forces, in excess of 150 g's all centered in one spot, the nose. The forces seemed to coincide with the speed the craft was traveling when it contacted the anomaly. Suddenly, it occurred to us that maybe the Scout's entry was too fast, or to slow. The only way to test a theory like this would be to begin work on a DeltaScout MK. II. The work has already begun.
The Sun started to set over the Everfree forest.
Two griffins were perched high up on a mountain ledge, having competed their meal.
“How's home these days?” Phalanx asked, preparing for an answer he didn't really want to hear.
“It's seen worse,” Gilda replied in a tone that betrayed a bit of disbelief in her own statement. “How have you been?” she quickly asked, trying to move the subject to something, anything, other than the troubles of the homeland. “I take it that things went well?” she asked.
“If you mean the operation, then yes. According to our home grown operatives, Equestria's only reactions to the IMP test were head aches and indigestion. Both of which could be easily explained by some case of food poisoning, or a common cold."
“Cool,” Gilda responded with a smirk. “We might actually pull this off.”
“All I know, is that is if the IMP works, Equestria will have been brought to its knees without a single battle, and many lives will be saved,” Phalanx stated.
“That's if they surrender, and knowing those bull heads, they probably won't.” Gilda reminded him.
Phalanx held Gilda in an embrace.
“Then we can only hope they surrender.”