The enlistment process was complete. Every able-bodied pony had sworn in, and the rest had been given a draft number. Now, they needed training. All 1000 or so ponies would be split into two groups for training. Alpha team and Gold team. And, against the odds, the Mane Six and their usual cohorts were all put into Gold team.
All ponies had undergone two weeks of rigorous training, and were now considered soldiers.
" Now, for the second to final step in your training, you will undergo... A competition of sorts. These past two weeks, we have been training you for combat, we have taught you to disable your opponent in any situation, we have taught you to KILL! " General Hooves shouted. The ponies cheered. " Now, for the "competition". We will be competing to see which team has a chance to have their teammates to undergo extra training. To become...better than the best. And better than those! We want to train the best of the best of the best! So, our contest shall take place in the Arena, a section of the Everfree Forest that we have quarantined off for our purposes. It shall be a battle simulation. Aplha versus Gold. Does anypony have any comments, questions or concerns? ". The general said.
Suddenly, Rainbow Dash's voice piped up from somewhere within the Gold team ranks. " GOLD TEAM RULES! ".
General Hooves smiled. " Good. Now, move to your assigned areas and grab a jersey! EVERYPONY! BATTLESTATIONS! "
Gold team had set up their base within the Everfree swamplands. The unicorns of Gold team had temporarily frozen the swamp so they could walk on it. They had been given 5 hours to construct a base of operations and fortifications. Turrets were located at the cardinal points of their fortress, each with 10 unicorns who had been given suppression fire duty.
There was an hour left on the countdown before the simulation began. Rainbow Dash was flying around, checking everypony's readiness. All the unicorns were primed and ready to go. The pegasi air force was prepping their flight suits and gear, but they would be ready far before the countdown ended.
Half an hour before the deadline, a giant image of the general appeared in the sky. This was no surprise, magic could do almost anything. He spoke. " To add a little twist or two to our competition, we will be installing flags in your base. So this mean updating the rules. A team will win if: 1. All the opposing team members are taken down and tagged with the fluorescent green "dead" stickers that we gave to each of you; or 2. If you capture and bring back the opposing team's flag. It's quite simple. And for our second twist we will give each team an advisor, someone who has been trained extensively in military strategy. We hope you can adapt to these changes, and overcome the challenge ahead. General Hooves out. "
All of Gold team started whispering rambunctiously. Who could their adviser be? In the noon glare, a shadow descended upon them. It was a pegasus, clearly, but who could it be? The pegasus landed, and a huge plume of dust rushed into the air. Who is it? The dust settled. The entire camp gasped. It was Spitfire!
Rainbow Dash was the first to rush forward. " Spitfire!? You? What are you doing here? You've had military training? Oh my gosh, this is going to be the easiest battle we ev- ".
Spitfire cut her off with a hoof. " Yes, Rainbow Dash, I am your advisor. You didn't think the Wonderbolts flew solely for entertainment, now did you? " Spitfire chuckled. " Everypony! I am your military advisor for this challenge. Clear? " She shouted. The camp answered in return, " Ma'am, yes ma'am! ".
" Rainbow Dash, show me around and let me see your preparations. " Spitfire instructed. Rainbow Dash led her around the perimiter, showing her the magically reinforced walls first. " These enchantments are pretty solid. Which unicorn team applied them? " She asked Rainbow Dash.
Rainbow Dash chuckled, " No team. Just my good friend, Twilight Sparkle. "
Spitfire was in disbelief, " A single pony did that!? ". Rainbow took some pleasure in her reaction. " You betcha. She's the best magician around. She can do practically anything with that horn of hers. " Spitfire was pleased. If Gold team had such an advantage, there was no doubt that they would win. Still, anything could happen. She asked to see the turrets.
Rainbow Dash explained, " Each turret has two sides, each with five unicorns, and they have overlapping fields of fire. "
Spitfire was satisfied. She had seen enough. " Rainbow, gather your main team, and meet me back here. You have a... special assignment. "
Two minutes later, the Mane Six, Big Mac, and Derpy stood in a circle around Spitfire. Everyone else was in final preparations. There were five minutes until the competition started. Everypony else was getting ready.
Spitfire explained, " Okay guys, here's the scoop. You all are special. Moreso than your teammates. Twilight, you are the most magically talented unicorn I've ever seen. Pinkie Pie, somehow, some way, you break the known laws of physics. Often. I don't know how, and I don't want to know. All I know, is that you're also invaluable. Fluttershy, your skills with animals can be a great help in the field. Rarity, your skills with tracking and clothes can help make armor and camouflage, and tracking down whatever you may need. Applejack and Bic Mac, you two are extraordinarily strong, and have tons of endurance. Possibly the most out of anypony. Derpy, you're unpredictable in the field, which makes you dangerous, which is a good thing, I assure you. And Rainbow Dash, it's obvious. You can fly incredibly fast, past the speed of sound, and can withstand impacts of great force. Now, you have all been put into a special team. You'll be trained more than your teammates. You'll be, simply put, the best. "
The rest of what Spitfire had told them was hard to contemplate. They were all supposed to be a team of elite ponies. Better than the rest. It was hard to grasp. Anyway, they couldn't think about it. There was no time. A warning klaxon blared. The competition had begun.
Rarity said one final thing before they moved out. She looked toward the direction of the "enemy" base, and whispered to herself, " IT. IS. ON! "