To anyone who happened to be looking down upon the beautiful green world from afar, it would be a safe bet to think: ‘oh, what a wonderful place that world is, oh how I would like to live there’. From its shining cities, to the deep blue oceans, from the verdant forests of the Changeling Regime, to the steppes of the southern Præsidium, to the rocky deserts of the Māo Xióng People’s Republic, and to the mountains of the continent Europa, and to the mesas of the Equestrian Republic. This planet was one of the most spectacular that one could lay their eyes on.
Belleau, the world that so many called their home, a place that’s perceived tranquillity was shattered instantly as a blinding flash of light appeared in the skies above the Equestrian Republic, and the Cosmonaut Anatoliy Leninov appeared from it and tumbled down into Belleau’s atmosphere in a streak of fire.
Sparky blinked as she watched her home world rapidly approaching, the last thing she knew, there had been a bright flash of colour across the Leninov’s forward view ports, and then in a blink they were here. They had just travelled faster than light.
Sparky’s amazement quickly subsided however as a number of warning lights began to flash, and a rapidly beeping emergency alarm began to blare. The Leninov rocked back and forth through Belleau’s atmosphere. The temperature in the cockpit began to rise, and that was when she was fully aware of what was going on. The Leninov was in the middle of re-entry.
‘Thrusters are not responding!’ Korolev cried out as he and Marusova struggled in front of them to regain control.
‘Altitude is ten thousand metres!’ Marusova cried out. ‘And falling!’
‘Thrusters are still not responding!’ Korolev cried out again. ‘Attempting full system restart!’
The entire ship shuddered as they heard, and felt the Leninov’s rotating section being ripped away. The ship was not designed to travel through an atmosphere; they were on a collision course with their home world.
‘If we stay on this course, where are we going to land at?’ Sparky asked.
‘Chyort! I do not know!’ Korolev said. ‘Navigation is offline, waiting for system to restart...’ Korolev was interrupted by another shudder and a burst of sparks from his console. He let out a scream in pain, and his body fell limp.
‘Korolev!’ Marusova cried out, towards her partner. Reaching over to him and checking for a pulse. She turned back towards her fellow crewmates and shook her head. ‘He is dead’, she said, as if she wasn’t able to believe it herself.
‘Unbuckle him from the seat!’ Shortfuse cried out. Marusova nodded and undid the cosmonaut’s restraints, allowing him to fall by the wayside. Shortfuse quickly undid hers and leapt up from her seat, sliding up and taking Korolev’s now vacant seat.
‘Shortfuse!? What are you doing?’ Sparky cried out at her.
‘What’s it look like I’m doing?! Our pilot’s just been killed! I’m going to fly the ship!’ Shortfuse said as she buckled herself in.
‘Shortfuse! Are you crazy!? What do you know about flying?’ Sparky cried out.
‘I’m a pegasus Sparky! It all comes down to roll, pitch, and yaw in the end!’ Shortfuse said as she reached out for the holographic controls, only to discover that they hadn’t reinitialised yet. ‘The controls should have come back up by now!’ she added with a panic, with no controls they were a flying brick just ready to hit something.
‘Come on! Come on! Reinitialise!’ Shortfuse said as she tried to wait patiently for the controls to come back up. ‘Come on!‘ Shortfuse cried out, and pounded on the console in frustration. To her surprise, the controls initialized immediately afterwards, they were back in business.
Shortfuse hit the afterburners and accelerated the Leninov forward.
‘What are you doing?!’ Sparky cried out in panic.
‘Getting the Leninov out of harm’s way!’ Shortfuse called back. ‘I don’t do this and it’s going to smack right in the middle of Ponyville! It would be just as bad, if not worse, as if the Præsidium hit us with a nuclear bomb!’
Shortfuse was able to the redirect the Leninov away from Equestria all together, and towards the northern parts of the Welaran Dominion of Kanata, the nation sharing the Equestrian Republic’s northern border. The most northern areas of Kanata were uninhabited, the Leninov had to crash somewhere, best be it somewhere with next to no population.
‘Okay... okay’, Shortfuse said with a sigh of relief. ‘Ponyville’s safe... now there’s just the matter of us’.
The Leninov’s crew compartment had been designed to separate from the rest of the ship. Like all other Præsidium space craft, the command capsule was meant to make a hard landing on dry land, whereas the Republican Space Agency preferred water landings. Marusova began to fiddle with the controls as she attempted to separate them from the rest of the ship. There was a light shudder, Sparky turned around to see that the bulkhead to seal off the crew compartment from the rest of the cockpit had lowered slightly, but had gotten stuck.
‘Chyort!’ Marusova cried out in frustration, as she unbuckled her seat to get up and hit the manual release near the back of the cockpit. As she got to her hooves, the Leninov shuddered again, as the cockpit released from the rest of the ship... without the bulkhead door closing.
Marusova’s eyes widened in fear; she reached out to grab a hold of something, but missed her mark, and was immediately sucked out of the open bulkhead door, with Korolev’s body not far behind. The crew of the Leninov all watched in horror. They were still some eight thousand metres above the ground, and it was quite a long way down.
‘And here I thought burning to death was a horrible way to die!’ Sparky shouted uneasily, over the roaring air from the open bulkhead door. Suddenly, the bulkhead slipped and dropped down with a loud crash. They all realised, they were aboard a death trap.
‘We’re going to die’, DC Hopely said, her voice filled with fear. ‘We’re all going to die’.
Kelso had taken a moment to step outside; a breath of fresh air would do her well. Here they were, they were getting ready to make their move on FutureTec, something that had been Kelso’s life for the last three months, and here it was. They were in the home stretch; soon enough, it would be over.
That’s what worried Kelso the most, this case had been her life. She didn’t know if she even could go back to living a normal life after this. The more she thought about it, the more she was glad to have returned to the PPS. After this case, there would be another and another after that. However... they would never be quite the same.
Then, there was her relationship with Viola. Kelso had no idea where that was even going, or what to do, or even what to say. Kelso had been in a number of relationships before, and they’d all ended in pretty much the same way. An argument, a slammed door, and then she never saw them ever again. Kelso was afraid that this would end in a similar way. The more she thought about it, the more she realised just how much Viola meant to her. If anything, she realised that she’d had a crush on her from the beginning. When Kelso had become a detective in the first place, she had placed Viola on a pedestal of perfection. She had idolised her, seeing her as something more than she could ever be.
Then the worst thing that could have ever possibly happened to the naïve DC Kelso happened, she learned that Viola had faults, just like everyone else. It had shattered her perception of her, and she had been angry about it. How dare she be anything less than perfect!
Kelso shook her head in disappointment, how could she have allowed herself to be so naïve?
Well, that was enough of this, she figured as she stopped leaning against the wall and was ready to head back inside when she was suddenly pushed down to the ground by a shockwave from a sonic boom.
Kelso struggled to get back to her hooves, and she looked up into the sky. There was a column of fire that was descending towards Ponyville. Kelso watched in awe, whatever it was, it started to break up, and while the larger pieces continued on their course northward, one of the other pieces broke off and began on a downward slope towards Ponyville.
‘What the hell is that?!’ Kelso cried out.
‘We’re coming in way too fast!’ Shortfuse cried out. ‘Velocity is 80 metres per second and... and increasing!’
Sparky looked over to Dizzy, and Dizzy back at her. All she could see was her eyes, thanks to the fact that they still had their helmets on. Both of them knew very well that this could be the end of their journey all together. Sparky looked to each of the others in the compartment. Grandma V, DC Hopely and Juan Carlos all had identical looks of fear. The only one who seemed to be at peace was Amarilla. Her eyes were closed and she was mumbling something to herself that Sparky couldn’t make out.
The cockpit shuddered again, and Sparky could feel that they were beginning to slow. The cockpit’s aero brakes had just blown. She let out a sigh of relief; they were going to be fine.
They were not going to be fine. There was another shudder, and she felt the aero brakes snap off like they were twigs on a tree in a heavy wind.
‘Damn it!’ Shortfuse cried out. ‘Aero brake failure! They blew way too early!’
Sparky watched as the cockpit rapidly accelerated towards the ground, they were coming up very, very fast.
‘Everybody brace for impact!’ Shortfuse cried out.
Sparky looked over to Dizzy, and Dizzy looked back at her. They both reached out towards each other, taking the other’s foreleg in their own.
The cockpit slammed headlong into the ground. Sparky knew no more.