71w, 1dHuman in Equestria
63w, 1dPony Warfare
63w, 1dThe Writer's Group
62w, 5dPonies in the Real World
62w, 5dPonies of War
56w, 4dRead Later
- Show All Groups
55w, 6dHumans Aren't Bastards
52w, 5dThe Usual
30w, 4dBattlefield: Equestria
20w, 6dPonies in the Military
19w, 2dWarriors in Equestria
11w, 4dTechnology VS. Magic
10w, 1dThe Good HiE List
1d, 7hHumans are Superior
Chapter Twenty: The Excrement Strikes the Ventilation Unit- Part I
Men and women dashed around like busy little bees at Dobbins Air Force Base, Atlanta, Georgia, United States of America, Earth.
The confirmation of alien life in the world known only known as the Anomalous Realm, had set the base into a state of constant activity. Activity that only increased when Air force One soared overhead, flanked by four F-22 Raptors. The blue and white Boeing 747/ VC-25 lined up for the base's main runway and touched down. The fighters held a tight pattern over the base before doing the same.
After the large aircraft came to a stop, several technicians and base operatives rushed out to the famous plane and took positions on either side of it. The walkway folded down, and after several Secret Service personnel emerged and took their places alongside the stairwell, the man himself emerged, along with the first lady. As he took off his sunglasses and walked down the stairs, an AEE team scientist sprinted up to them.
"Sir, madam, glad you could make it."
The president chuckled. "Like we would miss something like this! I have been informed of the situation, but I want you to explain exactly what's going on here."
"Yes," the first lady nodded. "I've heard bits and pieces, but can you start from the beginning?"
The scientist nodded. "This is the earliest news you wouldn't already know. About twenty-seven hours ago we received word through an anomaly that military support was needed to aid the exploratory mission. We don't know the exact parameters, but we are pretty sure our guys are under some sort of attack. Communication channels falter every time we try to open them. We only managed to open clear comms with Dr. Harrison, who only managed to say that there were some, quote unquote, "Mean aliens." He requested military support, but wasn't ever able to tell us why. We can only assume there is some kind of hostile military activity in the realm. We've heard nothing from them since, not even any garbled messages."
The president put a hand to his face and groaned. "We should have prepared better. Just because we came in peace, didn't mean they had to. What did we send through?"
"About the time we notified you, Mr. President, we'd sent in two Black Hawks, three Apaches, a Super Stallion, and a helicopter carrying jet fuel."
"Jet fuel? So I take it Greene has been busy in there?"
"No word on his condition, sir. But the fuel was requested in an extremely short text transmission that squeaked through."
The president frowned. "We need to get our people out of there. Now. Is our array ready to open an anomaly?"
"Yes sir. But without support from the array on the other side, it'll just be a distorted weakened event, nothing we could get anyone back through. The nearest natural anomaly is assumed to be several days away, and that wouldn't be much help anyway."
"So you're telling me that it's up to them to escape?"
The scientist lowered his head. "Unfortunately, yes."
The president nodded. "Then we do whatever we can from here. I am authorizing the use of any means to get them out of there, at least until we know what's going on. Keep this as tightly wrapped as you can. For now, any attention would hinder this mission."
The president waved over one of the officers still making his way out of the 747. The officer quickly ran up him. "Yes, sir?"
"Listen very closely. If they needed helicopters and jet fuel, I suspect they're in some serious trouble over there. Now I want you to get your department heads together and figure out how to discreetly transfer personnel and vehicles from any nearby bases. I believe Fort Benning and Fort McPherson are our best bets."
"I'm not sure if we can move that many units here without the media catching on, but we will try, sir."
"That's all I can ask. The people over there have put their lives on the line and I intend to repay them."
Stallions and mares galloped about at Array Site Two, Ponyville Shanty, Valley Province, Equestria, Earth.
With the rescue of the Anomalous Energy Event team, work on the array had proceeded much faster than anticipated. Commander Stuart, Dr. Harrison, and a room full of other scientist all gathered around the Anomaly Creation and Stabilization Device. The shuttle most of them rode in on had now been completely dismantled, and converted into the very device it had been designed to create: The ACSD Array, which now lay complete in front of them.
Harrison put a radio to his mouth. "Stand by all technicians. Perform full system wide integrity check."
..."Yes sir. Sweeping through all main systems."...
The device, which took up the same amount of space as a small house, had been connected to several fuel generators and power cells from the dismantled shuttle-capsule. The ACSD fed directly into a large, swimming pool sized, upward facing dish. When activated, the dish emitted a range of electromagnetic waves, from infrared to ultraviolet, to stimulate the natural unknown energies that created the anomalous energy events, the very events that allowed their presence in this strange new world. The dish sat on a large gimbal, which allowed it to rotate ninety degrees to point at a large arch, built just a few feet away; the same arch that was now glowing.
A technician turned to Dr. Harrison. "All lights are green, doctor. Standing by to engage main systems."
"Excellent. Let's not shock the system with a full scale test just yet. Get ready to open a micro-anomaly to make contact with Dobbins."
"Alright." the technician remarked, flipping several switches, and turning knobs on various panels. "It'll take about ten minutes to warm up, sir, but everything seems to be in order."
Harrison nodded. "Alert the rest of the staff."
Captain Greene rolled out of his bunk.
"Agh. What's going on, Kaiser?" Lenard asked, waiting for his barrack-mate to respond. "Mike, you there?"
"I'll be up in a minute, Dad." Mike mumbled before falling back asleep.
Lenard put on a pair of boots and tiredly staggered out of the encampment. Outside, humans and ponies alike were running about as if something really important was about to happen. The young pilot noticed a large and familiar red stallion trotting by.
"Hey Mac, what's happening?"
"Ah heard they're 'bout to start openin' somthin' up down thar! Ev'rypony's tryin' to get down there ta see!"
"They're done? It's about time!" The pilot ran back into the tent and grabbed his jacket. "Mike get your sorry tail up! They're finally cooking down there!"
Kaiser only half opened his eyes. "Uh, cooking. Breakfast sounds nice. Thanks Mom," he mumbled simi-consciously.
"Get up, man!" Lenard yelled, making Mike nearly collapse his tent.
"Whah?!" Kaiser yelled as he fell off the top bunk.
"Array's working! Let's go see!"
"Mr. President, we're getting faint traces of anomalous energy from outside the base. It's possible that it's coming from the second array."
"Are you sure?" the president questioned.
"Pretty sure sir. Wait. I'm getting some flash traffic through the comms system. I'll try to dial it in."
The president put his ear up to one of the communications headsets. "Can you clean that up?"
The technician gave an exited nod. "Yes sir! Trying."
"Almost got it!":
...."...W-...- repeat...-obbins Air Force Base, this is Two Array. Can you hear us?"....
"Two Array! This is Dobbins, and let me tell you it's good to hear from you again Doctor! Increase power to communications to stabilize the connection!"
The president grinned for the first time in a week. "Still alive... Outstanding. Let's get them home. Tell them to prepare for a passage way."
"Yes sir. Two Array, is your array fully functional?"
...."....Yes! The ground gate is complete, and we are ready. Open it up already!..."....
"You got it Dr. Harrison. We are starting the anomaly sequence. Synchronize your systems with ours and we can open a grounded anomaly."
..."...Activating main dish now...."....
The president leaned over to an executive aid. "Do we have reinforcements ready?"
A sunglasses wearing operative nodded. "There was already a large amount of units nearby. Must be Locklear's work. They are waiting for us, actually."
Celestia stood atop a hill near the outskirts of the Ponyville shanty. She closed her eyes and calmed her mind, as she had done many times whenever the rigors of being a ruler became almost too much.
The day princess wafted through her memories.
Nothing could upset her now.
The aforementioned alicorn felt herself being tossed back into reality. Though Luna was known for her royal Canterlot voice, it still had the tendency to frighten anypony that encountered it.
Celestia grudgingly opened her eyes. "Yes?"
Luna sheepishly cleared her throat. "The humans have opened their passage way. We must prepare for whatever is to occur."
The frazzled sun princess gave a weak nod. "Indeed." Luna turned away.
The mare of the night turned back around. "Yes?"
"Something is wrong."
Luna raised an eyebrow. "Well of course. Things have been quite "wrong" since our enemies invaded our land and damaged our magic."
"Exactly. They attacked us, captured us, ransacked several towns, and could have completely surrounded our fortress here just a few hours ago. Why haven't they come back? They must know that our forces are exhausted after all the recent fighting, and they no doubt have an army hundreds of thousands strong. Why stop pressing the attack now? What are they waiting for?"
Luna pursed her lips in thought. "I see. This is certainly odd behavior. Do you believe they are planning some kind of assault?"
Celestia shook her head. "Well that's the thing: Why would they give their enemies time to recuperate? Any time they waste is more time the armies here re-arm and become stronger."
Luna shrugged. "I know not our enemies' thoughts. I can see no reason with it. Our allies, as well as our own forces, have set up a nearly impenetrable scouting regimen around this fortress. Thy enemies will not arrive without our knowing."
As if to punctuate Luna's words, a team of AOD pony operatives and human marines began to set up a picket post nearby.
"Can't thou see? We are in good appendages. Come, sister. There is much work to be done."
"Perhaps." Celestia spoke. "One last question, though."
"How will they react when they know the full story?"
Luna's head sunk.
"I truly do not know."
The two royal sisters stood in silence. A faint blue glow began to rise in the distance.
"Seems that we don't have time to dwell on this. As you said, Luna, there is work to be done."
"Out of the way! Coming trough!"
Lenard, Kaiser, Gerri, Mace, and the six element bearers themselves made their way through the throng of people gathered around the main ACSD archway. In front of the main entrance to the grounds, Sky Blade and Star Sabre stood guard in front of one of the gates in the surrounding fence.
"You guys can go ahead in. Lime and the princesses are already inside." The two guards moved to the side to let them through.
"Thanks you two." Kaiser mumbled as the looming St. Louis-esque archway grew closer before them. Gathered just about ten or so feet, (or about twenty hooves) away, Celestia, Luna, and Colonel Highlander stood, staring into the almost ethereal blue light. The pilots, the marine, and the elements bearers joined them in that stare. The approaching footsteps of Dr. Harrison shook them from their trance.
The colonel turned his head. "Doctor? Shouldn't you be in the control bunker?"
"The hard part is over, the staff can maintain the system for now. I just had to be here for this moment, if that's alright with you."
The colonel shrugged. "Fine. It's your big project anyway."
"Oh, this is so exciting!" Twilight squealed, pulling out a piece of parchment and a quill, then realizing that she had no idea how to write with them.
"Use your teeth, Twi." Rainbow explained.
Twilight blushed, "Well, you see... I haven't written like that since I was a little filly and-"
"And?" Rainbow shrugged.
Twilight put the quill in her teeth and began to scratch on the paper. After she finished, she held up the result. If you were to bury that parchment under a few hundred feet of dirt and wait for an archaeologist to come around, he or she would be very exited to have discovered what must have been some long lost, barely legible ancient language.
"Oh." Rainbow answered. "So anyone seen Spike? You clearly need his help."
"Over here!" Spike called out from behind a fence guarded by human marines. Twilight trotted up to the gate. The marine, who was easily three or four times the size of the young dragon, looked down at the approaching mare.
"He with you?"
"Yes. He's my special assistant." Twilight answered.
Spike rolled his slitted eyes. "More like an indentured roommate, but..."
"I guess he can go ahead in then."
"Woohoo!" Spike cheered.
"Hey! If he can go in why can't I?" An angry turquoise unicorn mare shouted at the marine.
The soldier cocked an eyebrow. "Who are you?"
"My name is Lyra."
"Okay Miss Lyra. You one of da elements?"
"You got any kind of military clearance?"
"Array passage is currently on a needs-only basis. So why should I let you in?"
"Duh... because I want to see, and I need to get through to do that."
"Lyra, maybe we should go-" A beige earth pony quietly suggested.
"Quiet Bonbon, I'm making progress."
The soldier rolled his eyes. "Alright, you and your friend should go back behind the gate."
Lyra shoved the soldier. "No way, it's starting!"
The soldier gently pushed her back.
Again, Lyra pushed him back defiantly.
The marine shrugged, then slung Lyra onto his back like a large bag of potatoes.
"Hey! Put me down! You can't do this! I have rights granted to me by the Equestrian Parchment of Rights! I'll tell your boss about this! And-"
The soldier rolled his eyes and set the unicorn down next to her friend. "I suggest you take her home," The soldier muttered to Bonbon.
"Yes! Sorry about all this! We'll be going now!" Bonbon sheepishly stammered as she dragged Lyra away.
"Aw! I always miss the good stuff!" Lyra mumbled with crossed hooves as she slid across the ground.
Twilight shook her head, not taking her eyes off of the disgruntled turquoise unicorn. "Oooookay then." The purple mare and her dragon friend made their way back to the group.
"Hey Doc?" Lenard turned his head. "How do we know it's safe?"
"There's really only one way to test that." The doctor put a finger to his headset. "Dobbins, is the anomaly stable on your end?"
...."...Yes sir. It's as good as I believe it can get..."....
The doctor nodded. "Everything checks on their side."
Lenard walked up to the seething mass of blue energy. It was one thing to fly through it in several million dollars of metal and tech, but he was sure it would be another thing entirely to wade through it with just the clothes on his back.
"Well, here I go!" Lenard planted his feet and prepared to jump. "Like you said, there's only one way to see if it works!"
"I meant throw a rock or something! Are you crazy?!"
"Oh." Lenard began to timidly scratch at the back of his neck.
"Here. There's a rock about the right size." The doctor picked up the rock and began to closely examine it. "Proper weight, excellent surface, nice aerodynamic properties... "
"Oh, yes. Sorry."
Commander Stuart jogged up to the group. "*Pant* *Pant* Did I- *Pant* Did I miss anything?"
"No commander." Lenard smirked. "We were just about to throw the first trans-anomalous object into the portal. Care to join us?"
"Well, don't stop on my accord. *pant* Go ahead."
"Here goes nothing!" Harrison wound back with the rock in his right hand, expertly balancing on one leg.
"How do they do that?" Applejack questioned to herself.
The doctor hurled the rock into the archway. It disappeared into the void with a subtle zapping noise.
A few seconds later the rock flew back through the portal, bouncing off of the doctor's head.
"Gah!" the doctor exclaimed, clutching his head. "What, did they get a pitcher from the Braves to throw it back?! Stupid rock!" He kicked the stone back through the portal.
A metallic clank was heard.
Everyone shared a look of confusion.
"What was that?" Kaiser wondered aloud.
He received his answer as a large, treaded vehicle emerged from the other side of the anomaly.
Mace stepped back. "A brand new M1A3 Abrams main battle tank with a 50. Cal. turret and advanced impact reactive armor?! Somebody up there loves us!" The astounded marine babbled.
The hatch on the large tank opened. A man with a fancy cap and uniform emerged. Despite his slowly graying hair, he'd still managed to maintain a fit physique.
Mace stepped back again and reflexively snapped to attention. "General Locklear? Sir! It's good to see you again, sir!"
"At ease," The old soldier muttered. "You are speaking to the commanding officer of the newly formed AEE Battalion, authorized to protect our people and our assets by the president himself. Good to see you all alive, after what we heard from Dr. Harrison. Now where's all this trouble I keep hearing about?"
"Well, the enemy has fallen back for the time being an-"
"Excellent." The general cut him off and picked up a radio. "It's clear. Bring up the rest." The tank surged forwards and moved off to the side of the archway as more than twenty similar tanks and several humvees began to pour through.
"Whoa." Dash and Applejack spoke concurrently. The rest of the onlookers, humans included, didn't manage to say even that, as their jaws we're far too low to speak.
"That's a lot of metal." Lenard mumbled in a dumbfounded manner.
Highlander saluted as the general's tank rumbled up to them.
The general saluted and tipped his cap. "Ah. Colonel Timothy Highlander. I trust you've been running a tight ship over here?"
"Well of course, sir, because somehow I just knew they'd send your old backside through here."
The general chuckled as he and the operators climbed out of the tank. "I see extraterrestrial warfare hasn't dulled your sense of humor. Speaking of extraterrestrials, who do we have here?"
"Greetings. I'm a Princess Celestia." The frazzled, but still graceful white alicorn responded. "My sister-"
"Princess Luna-" Luna added.
"-and I, are the leaders of the sovereign Kingdom of Equestria. We welcome you."
"So it's true. This place really does have a bunch of talkin' horses!"
Celestia and Luna exchanged confused looks.
"I hear you call yourself ponies, though, right?"
"Indeed." Luna answered."We are most pleased to meet you."
The general held out a hand, which Luna took as the typical greeting between acquaintances. Or at least it was typical, until the general kissed her hoof.
"It's nice to meet you too." The general added.
"Ah. I see the old formal greetings are not lost to humankind! And Celestia would tell me otherwise. Pah!" Luna commented.
Lenard swore he saw a slight flicker of jealousy flash over Celestia's face, if just for a second. The general turned and gave the sun princess a light kiss on her hoof as well.
The general dusted off his uniform. "On behalf of- well, my species, I thank you for your hospitality. Now, on to the more violent stuff. What's this war I keep hearing about?"
The princesses, Colonel Highlander, and General Locklear made their way toward Zero base's improvised war room.
Lenard walked up to Mace and turned his head. "How did he know that kissing their hooves wasn't some extremely offensive gesture immediately punished by death, or something?"
Mace shook his head. "I was trained on the same base the General held office on. After a disastrous training situation involving a chicken and a live grenade, he told me something I'd never forget."
"And what was that?"
"Sometimes, you just have to trust your instincts."
Griffins, rams, and pandragon minors scurried about in the captured base known as Fortress Canterlot. A griffin messenger strode into the war room of the Griffin League.
“My lord, the humans have opened a gateway and are amassing a large offensive force.”
Phalanx turned around. “Indeed. What is this force comprised of?”
“They have arrived with a more than two dozen heavy war machines, and are no doubt planning on an attack as we speak.”
“Excellent, my lord?”
“Yes. I would not expect anything less of them. The interlopers are gaining strength, becoming cocky. And do you know what you do with a beast that has become overly confident?”
“What, my lord?”
“You cut it down to size. Prepare the contingency.”
“At once, my lord.”
Another griffin swooped into the control room.
“Ah, Gilda. How did the reconnaissance sweeps fair?”
“They were helpful, but I don’t understand why we can’t just go down there and beat ‘em to a pulp already. What are we waiting for?”
The griffin praetor nodded. “Trust me on this my dear Gilda. Sometimes you just have to hold back.”
“And why is that, exactly?”
“Because that’s what the council wishes us to do. The enemy would have us rush in there like mad-griffins in some desperate, uncalculated strike. We will not be humoring them this time.”
Gilda shrugged. “Oh. I get it. So what exactly is the plan?”
“Even I don’t know. This goes higher than either of us. The leaders of the alliance and the Griffin League have assumed direct command, so clearly something large is in play.”
“Fine with me, as long as something gets done. I’ve got a score to settle with an old friend of mine.”
“That rainbow maned pegasus?”
“That’s the one. She’ll think twice before messing with me again.”
Phalanx frowned. “Though payback may motivate you, I would suggest you keep your priorities straight. The lives and civilization of three peoples is at stake in this war. We must fight to give them a better life, not for petty revenge.”
Gilda turned her head to the side. “That’s pretty strange coming from you, Phal. I thought you hated ponies.”
“I do not hate ponies, and neither should you. I hate the alicorns and what they did to our ancestors. Like all of us here, I made an oath to avenge their crimes, but not at the cost of the innocent. At least, not too much cost. That is why we created the IMP. We had hopes it would end the struggle before it began, sparing those who were not responsible for our suffering. And it would have, if these interlopers hadn’t barged into our lands and reignited the fires of war we tried to extinguish.”
“What’s their deal, anyway? Why are the humans helping out the ponies? They don’t owe them anything.”
“I don’t know. But somehow the accursed Princess Celestia and her retched sister Luna have forged some kind of alliance with them. It would seem the tables have turned, it is they who are running for help now. A pity we could not come to some agreement with the humans. They only force our wrath on themselves.”
“A shame too, they had nothing to do with it.” Gilda commented.
“It is just another casualty of the war the alicorns wouldn’t let die.”
“That’s too bad.” Gilda thought out loud.
The messenger griffin returned. “Praetor Phalanx, Mistress Gilda, the council has been informed of the situation. They have spoken. We may use the contingency.”
“Excellent." Phalanx spoke with clenched talons. "Prepare my dragon. We are moving out to Ponyville. Gilda, today we move forward, and never again do we retreat back. We will draw the line. We need only see if the enemy will try to cross it.”
“Listen up, guys. The portal is open. The general, colonel, and the princesses are still conversing, but they told me to tell you that you have a choice to make. Under international law, you have the right to request asylum on our world. Anyone that wants to go can walk or trot right through that swirling mass of blue behind me. ”
The six bearers of the elements turned and gave each other worried looks. Sky Blade and Star Sabre trotted up to the group.
“Captain Greene, we are soldiers of the Kingdom of Equestria. If you are asking us to flee, we will not do it. We will stand by that kingdom, and we will stand by you and your allies.”
Applejack looked up. “Yeah, us too!”
“Wait.” Rarity stopped them. “Maybe we should go. I think that would be for the best.”
“She’s right.” Twilight added. “I don’t see how we would be much help here.”
Rainbow stamped a hoof into the ground. “So we’re just gonna gallop away from a danger? Since when do we do that?!”
Twilight frowned. “It’s better than being captured! Or worse! We’re not soldiers!”
Applejack put a hoof to her chin. “Ah guess we should all stay t'gether, so we'll put it to a vote. What do ya choose, Pinkie?”
“We shouldn’t argue! We gotta stick together!” Pinkie Pie answered.
“So what side are you on, Pinkie?” Applejack scowled.
“Side? I’m on everypony’s side!”
“Pinkie. What. Side?” Applejack growled, causing Fluttershy to crouch down and cover her head.
Pinkie Pie backed up. “AJ, are you okay? You’re unusually scary,” The pink pony spoke without her usual bounce.
“Ah'm fine. Now whut’s it gonna be?”
“I guess we should stay… “ Pinkie mumbled. “You know, to help and stuff.”
Applejack nodded. “That’s three for stayin’, and two against. What about you, tree boy?”
Lime Tree, who had been quietly watching up until this point, lowered his head. “Twilight and Rarity are right. We don’t have any business being here until things settle down.”
“Well you ain't an element, so yer vote don't count!“
“I think his vote should count!” Twilight shook her head. ”He isn’t a coward. He even went into the Everfree Forest because a friend needed his help!”
"Besides, six is an even number. We would need somepony to break a tie." Twilight explained.
“Fine then! It counts! That three for stayin’, and three against. Wait, that means the pony that gets ta break the tie is-“
Applejack dragged a hoof down her face.
The timid butterscotch Pegasus ”eeped” and sunk to the ground.
The archway anomaly began to flicker as Array Two’s systems began to shut down. As the vortex finally disappeared, nine ponies, a dragon and a human pilot found themselves standing in front of it... on the Equestrian side.
“Glad you guys decided to stay, though it may not have been the safest choice.” Lenard commented.
“Who would have guessed that ole Flutters would pony up like that?” Applejack grinned as she patted Fluttershy on the back.
“Uh. Yeah.” Fluttershy timidly mumbled. “I just hope I made the right choice,” she answered so quietly she could barely be heard.
“Me too.” Twilight spoke, gritting her teeth with just a hint of annoyance.
“All right team! We’re in this together!” Rainbow Dash declared.
Greene nodded. “With the tanks backing us up, we should finally be able to get somewhere. They can’t stop an entire column of armor.”
“Be that as it may, we’re still putting ourselves in unnecessary danger.” Lime Tree warned. "And nopony else went through because of our decision. We put them in danger as well."
“I do not consider myself a coward,” Rarity began. “but we are civilians, correct? We should have gone when we had the opportunity. There is no place for a lady such as myself in pitched combat!”
Rainbow Dash shrugged. “You could have gone. Nopony would have blamed you for anything.”
“And what? Abandon my friends? Surely you do not think me a deserter, do you?”
“Don't answer that!” Rarity growled.
“You asked,” Rainbow snickered.
“Focus, you two. We all have bigger things to worry about right now,” Sky Blade warned.
“Besides, It’s not like we can draft you, right?” Star Sabre joked.
“Pretty sure we can’t draft mares,” Sky Blade answered.
“Soooooo unfair,” Sabre mumbled to himself.
“You two hear anything from the upper echelons yet?” Lenard questioned.
“If you mean the princesses and the generals, then no. If you mean my mother, then yes,” Star Sabre answered.
“I don’t even want to know.” Lenard rolled his eyes.
Sabre nodded. “Right answer.”
“So where are we going?” Pinkie wondered aloud.
"Back to base I guess." Sky Blade responded, "My best guess is that they're going to try to take back the forces at Fort Stalliongrad. With the bulk of the Equestrian military there, it would stand to reason that they'd want it back."
Lenard nodded. "That makes sense. Guess we'll be seeing some combat soon."
An analyst walked up to the president. "Sir, I'm not sure we made the right decision."
The president turned. "What decision?"
"You know good and well, sir."
The president put his hands on his head. "This again. Please, tell me how is keeping nuclear weapons out of a burning powder keg of a situation, is a wrong decision."
"Mr. President, please listen to me! We need to play every card we've got, sir, and nukes are our trump card! You heard the reports. The aliens they're fighting have weapons described as "like some kind of magic" or "impossible." We have to send in our own "magic" weapons to keep it even!"
"No, you listen to me! The AEE scientist have reported all kinds of phenomena over there; things happening that defy reason! In short, you don't know what a nuclear weapon would do to the place! We could set off some kind of chain reaction that obliterates the planet, and everyone on it! Until I know that I'm not sending millions of innocents to their deaths, I will not authorize a nuclear response! Besides, without any GPS satellites in there, guidance would be tricky, now wouldn't it? Heck, we loose quite a lot of advantages without satellites. We need to think this through before we do anything drastic."
"Well I suppose-"
"We don't even know if we're on the right side! How do we know we haven't just backed that planet's version of the Nazis? What would have happened if aliens had come to the aid of the British in the revolutionary war? How different would things be?"
"You've made your point, sir. Sorry for my display. The last thing we need is to annihilate an entire planet. I'll get back to you on this later."
"Listen, we may not have the big picture, but it's clear that this enemy has blatantly opposed us. I will use every non nuclear option in my disposal to get us out of this mess. Congress and the UN agree. Let's just hope we don't have to sort out a catastrophe later."
The analyst nodded and walked away.
A technician turned to the president. "The main anomaly has closed, Mr. President, but the miniaturized communications anomaly, or "Com-nomaly" as we call it, will still be up for a few more minutes. Anything you'd like to tell them over there before it closes?"
The president put a hand to the side of his head.
"Tell them Barry says hi...
...And good luck."
Soldiers and vehicles roared past Zero base.
"Looks like you were right, sarge." Star Sabre began. "Looks like we're all taking a trip to Stalliongrad, right after we take back what's left of Ponyville."
Sky Blade nodded. "Bout time we got on the offensive. The enemy's had us backpedaling for far too long."
"I heard General Snow Wisp's Steel Hoof battalion will be working together with the AEE's."
"You heard right. I almost feel sorry for whoever was unlucky enough to be stationed in their way."
"Funny. I don't." Sabre almost growled. "They're gonna get what's coming to them. Whether it comes from a heavy long range anti vehicle spear, or whatever the humans have, they're gonna get it."
"You need to calm down, soldier. Save that energy for the battle. I don't think this is going to be a clean sweep."
"What do you mean?"
Sky Blade sighed. "I think we've got a real fight ahead of us, not some cake walk like everypony thinks."
"Pessimism? From you, sir?" Sabre spoke incredulously. "You must know something I don't."
"I wish, but call it a soldier's intuition."
"Oh. Well, don't bring the rest of us down with your "intuitions."
"I don't plan on it. Cheer up, kid, we're about to get the ole village back."
"I hope so. Now you've got me wondering."
"Either way, It looks like they're already on the move."
"I can't believe we've gotta sit this one out!"
"Calm down Kaiser. We could use the rest." Mace mumbled from across the room from his bunk.
Mike sat back down."I don't need any..." he slumped over. "rest..."
Kaiser began to snore, waking himself up. "Whah?" The entire barracks filled with laughter.
"See? You're still tired, even after that nap you took." Gerri chimed in.
"But, I mean, we can't just chill here why there fighting a war down the street!" Mike shouted.
Lenard shook his head. "First of all, It's a lot father then down the street. Secondly, we practically fought the entire war up to this point. There nothing wrong with recuperating. There are other pilots and soldiers that can do our job just as well as we can," he answered calmly.
"But to sack some of your best guys and gals in a really important battle? That's just an inefficient use of resources!"
"Not if those resources pass out on the job." Gerri commented.
Stuart sat up in his bunk. "Look at it this way. We'll recharge, then you can go grab all the glory you want. For now, the best way we can help is to be ready when they do call on us."
"Whatever. Guess you're all right. But I still don't like it."
"You don't have to like it," Mace stated in a clearly annoyed tone. "But you do need to shut up about it, because people are trying to sleep!"
Generals Rock and Snow Wisp stood in front of the Equestrian Troops.
"You all know the drill by now." Rock began "Without magic support, we're gonna have to do this one by the book. The Earthfantry book. Pegaforce and Unicorps troops have been brought up to speed with standard Earthfantry fighting techniques and operations, so let me tell you Pegasai and unicorns, If you wish to make it through this battle, I heavily suggest you pay close attention to your earth pony brethren, at least for the time being."
Snow Wisp nodded. "Steel hoof is here to help as much as we can, but with so many places in the town for the enemy to hide, this battle will most likely be won on hoof, rather than in a battle wagon." She added. "It will be difficult to get heavy vehicles everywhere. Human forces have adopted this sentiment as well. Urban warfare will be the rule of the day. Remember to check every nook and cranny for any hidden enemy operatives."
Rock nodded. "They think they've thwarted us, that they've got us galloping away. We're here to show them that the only place we're galloping to, is right into their base. And this time, we're not backing out for anything. What do you soldiers think of that?"
General Locklear and Colonel Highlander stood before the human troops.
"As you all know, I'm quite new here." the general spoke. "That's why I've given the colonel here command over this mission. He will be your commanding officer for this battle. You are to report to him, and he will report to me. Colonel?"
"Thank you, sir. I'm going to tell you now; we have no idea what we will be facing. Now that doesn't have to discourage you, because they don't know what they're facing. It's pretty simple. We go in and take the town back, yard by yard if we have to, and blow away any enemy forces that stand in the way of that. Then we keep going until we've taken back every piece of dirt they took."
"Then what, sir?" a voice cried out from among the ranks.
"I don't know, soldier. Officially, America and humanity are not at war with the Liberation Alliance. After we've taken back what the enemy annexed, I have no idea what will happen. That doesn't matter right now. What matters, is the here and now. And right here, right now, we're going to take the Alliance's best shot, and come up standing. Soldiers, to your vehicles."
Several tank operator crews ran to their tanks. The helicopters began to spin up. Several soldiers armed their weapons and loaded into the humvees. Equestrian troops removed the chocks from the battle wagons, and began loading and passing out ammunition.
"Now, if we are all ready," Colonel Highlander looked over to General Rock and Snow Wisp.
The Generals nodded.
He looked over General Locklear. The General smiled and gave a reassuring nod.
"Then this is it. Move out!" the four officers ordered in unison.
Atop a grain silo in Ponyville, a pandragon minor put a pair of binoculars to his face. His pterodactyl like form froze up at the sight before him. In the distance, what must have been several miles away, a large enemy force was gathered on a hill. From what the minor could make out, they were preparing to move. He flapped his winged arms and glided off of the silo.
In the mayors office at the center of town, a ram captain looked over a stack of forms and requisitions. A pandragon scout burst through the door.
"My lord! I have seen the enemy! They bare offense! Plan to attack! A large formation is waiting!"
The ram nodded slowly. "Listen very carefully. I need you to tell Praetor Phalanx these exact words: The enemy has crossed the line. Tell him that just like I told you."
"It will be done." The pandragon crossed his wing-arms over his chest in salute, and took flight.
The enemy had crossed the line.
The pandragon minor flew tirelessly until the towering spires of Canterlot came into his view. He dove down into one of the palace's many large doorways and landed next to a large table surrounded by several busy Alliance personnel. The minor awkwardly hobbled on his small legs and stopped next to one of the more distinguished griffins.
"You are Praetor Phalanx?"
"Indeed. How may I help you?"
"My lord. I have been sent with a message; The enemy has crossed the line."
Several ram, griffin, and pandragon officers stopped what they were doing and looked at the Praetor and messenger. The praetor looked up.
"Then we must initiate the contingency. I had hoped we would not have to resort to this. Curse me for not being able to send negotiators quickly enough! Now we must fight! You all know what to do. To your stations!"
Warning sirens blared throughout the castle, everyone dashing off to wherever they were meant to be in a time of crisis.
A large griffin walked up to Phalanx. "My lord. My squadron is ready."
"Flock Leader Wingroot. You, more than anyone, knows what needs to be done. Endeavor to make us proud."
"Good luck." Gilda added.
"Thank you, my lord and lady. It will be done."
Phalanx watched as the griffin put a talon over his heart in salute then walked off, flanked by several other griffins and pandragon minors.
Phalanx sighed. "And may fortune smile upon you."