December 9th 2553
The sun was just coming over the horizon; from the ornate balcony the Rookie was stood on, he assumed it was just before 7am, he checked his armours clock and sure enough he was pretty much on the dot. Now that there was some light, he could make out that the snow coated town that lay before him.
From what he could see, the town was no more than two miles long in any direction, with farms and orchards on three sides and a vast forest on the fourth. In-between the third farm that looked like it mainly supplied apples and the dense, menacing looking forest is most likely where he landed.
Berit from her low powered state in the Rookie's helmet had given Twilight a brief description of all the Covenant races including: the Kig-yar (Jackals), the Unggoy (Grunts), the Yanme’e (Drones), the San 'Shyuum (Prophets), the Jiralhanae (Brutes) and the Mgalekgolo (Hunters). Twilight would be doubtful, but these descriptions were coming from a space fairing alien, there had to be at least some truth behind them.
From what the Rookie could tell, there were three Phantoms, two of which had spotlights where the chin mounted turrets should be, the third looked about right; they were all pretty much full of Grunts and Brutes of all different ranks. Splitting off from their triangle formation, the centre one released a few troops at the crossroads the Rookie encountered the guards on, while the other two moved out for different parts of the town.
Twilight had promptly written the covenants descriptions down in letter form, to be sent to Princess Luna. She was determined to round up the “elements of harmony” and fend off the Covenant herself.
A squad of six stubby Grunts with orange methane tanks lead by a Brute Ultra with violet Armour moved purposely in the direction of the library.
“Twilight, please you must listen, these Brutes are violent killers, you and your friends will not stand a chance, stay out of the way, regardless of what happens to me or The Rookie.” Berit was begging Twilight to listen to her as The Rookie re-sealed his helmet, transferring her voice to the outer speakers.
Twilight was sceptical “Oh come on, let’s say I do believe you, me and the other elements of harmony have dealt with Dragons, Manticores and a possessed Princess, how bad could a couple of oversized apes possibly be?” the Rookie facepalmed with the naivety of the youn Unicorn, but then again how could she possibly know?
Unfortunately for all involved she found out first hand, a gruff voice outside the door yelled “Human, in here! I smell him!” With that the front door of Twilight’s tree house home, splintered off its hinges.
The intruder was blown back by a burst from the Rookie’s assault rifle, followed by the rest of the clip to its head. Unfortunately this also woke the orange Pegasus. Re-attaching his gun to its strap, the Rookie saw this and dived over to her. Shrieking, Scootaloo tried anything she could to get away from him, but the Rookie held her in a firm grip.
Berit’s voice boomed with authority “Twilight, bring Spike and follow the Rookie! Reinforcements will be in the area soon!” Twilight was shaken by the sheer amount of violence that had just occurred in front of her.
Spike leapt onto Twilights back “But what about everypony else? What will they do? We can’t just leave them!” she began to gallop behind the Rookie as he took off out the door and down the street he came in on.
Berit voice sounded smooth and confident “we’ll be back for them, I promise. But first we need to check something.” Twilight grudgingly accepted that she needed to leave. She wanted to stay and warn everpony else, but she saw how strong the Brute was. The Rookie was probably the only one who could save Ponyville.
Jogging down the ever lightening street, the Rookie used his spare hand to un-holster his pistol and pick off the now fleeing grunts that had arrived with the Brute. With every shot, Twilight flinched, being so new with death.
As he ran, the Rookie realized he didn’t have the faintest idea where he was going, and Berit picked up on this. “If we head back to where your pod hit, I can use the coms to reach the ship and send down a supply pod. I’ll put a waypoint on your H.U.D”
Luckily, he was headed in the right direction, according to the waypoint he was just about three miles off of where his pod hit. Since he had dealt with all the Covenant he could see, he decided to slow and check on Scootaloo.
She had stopped trying to fight the Rookie while he was taking out the Grunts, since then she had started to whimper “Idontwannadie,” over and over in his arm. He wanted to comfort her; it hurt that he was what was paining her. But it would have to wait, he had bigger problems.
The Rookie stopped completely and turned to Twilight, she was trying so hard to keep up, she careened into him. “Is there anywhere safe nearby where I landed that I can take you?”
She reared back, still visibly shaken from all the killing; it took a few seconds to reply. “Let me think.... OH, there’s Sweet Apple Acres, its where my friend Applejack lives!” she brightened up at the thought of her friends and was about continue talking but the Rookie had already pivoted back and began to run.
Swiftly, after arriving back at the H.E.V, the Rookie removed his helmet, rested it on the seat of the now frosty drop pod and wired it into the built in long range coms device. Twilight was standing awkwardly to the side with a now sleeping Spike curled up in a purple and green ball on her back.
Berit completely transferred herself back aboard the Much Ado, “This will take a few minutes, I would advise in the mean time taking your new friends to the farm” her voice rolled out through the drop-pod speakers.
Resealing his helmet, he nodded in agreement. He gently placed Scootaloo on the floor; she was so scared that her legs gave way beneath her. The Rookie knelt down in front of her and tilted his head, Scootaloo tried the best she could to get away but her legs were jelly.
The Rookie moved back to his pod, as if to check something. Twilight rushed over to where Scootaloo was collapsed and whispered to her, “Oh, Scootaloo, I’m so sorry, I should have told you while we were running. Its fine, you can trust him.... I hope. I really don’t think he’ll hurt you, and even if he tried I wouldn’t let him!”
Scootaloo broke down into tears, she barely made out a “Thank you.” Twilight was slightly shocked, Scootaloo was usually such a strong individual, but then again she was just a child.
The Rookie walked back to the two ponies and asked, “Which way to the farm?” Twilight nodded west. The Rookie motioned for them to follow him whilst he walked, realizing that they weren’t following, he turned to see what was wrong. Scootaloo was so terrified she still couldn’t stand, let alone walk.
He jogged back to them and crouched down in front of Scootaloo. “Want me to carry you?” He gestured towards her and Scootaloo visibly flinched; she was still extremely frightened of the Rookie.
Twilight turned to him, “It’s alright, I’ll carry her,” she spoke with a calm, motherly tone. The Rookie motioned towards her back and Spike. “Oh, it’s fine I’ll just carry her using magic.”
The Rookie was beyond sceptical. “Magic?” Twilight nodded her head.
Her horn began to glow, as Scootaloo was lifted off the floor in a lavender aura. If the Rookie didn’t have his helmet on, when Twilight turned to him she would have been met with a wide eyed, mouth agape, stunned ODST.
The Rookie snapped out of it, he left the questions for another time; first off he had to make sure these ponies were safe.
He twisted back in the direction of the farm.
Twilight hovered Scootaloo in front of her as she jogged, then something passed through her head “Hey, your flag thing is still at my house!”
The Rookie glanced back quickly, moving through the light woodland. “No its not.” He was being very coy.
Twilight was beyond bewildered, then she recalled she didn’t see it when they left it. “What? Where else would it be?”
The Rookie tapped his shoulder pad’s amour’s plating and continued running.
Being farm ponies Big Mac and Applejack were up just after seven to get their chores done, since it was winter it wouldn’t take them long to get finished, but it was a good habit to get into. Big Mac was in the kitchen making breakfast for himself and his sisters; usually Granny Smith would cook for them, but she was away with cousin Braeburn in Appleloosa.
Applejack cantered down the stairs, through the hallway and into the kitchen where her brother was. “Big Mac, is it you making all that ruckus?” He was so concentrated on not burning breakfast, that he missed a particularly loud humming noise.
He looked over his shoulder to her, only to find his dad’s old yoke blocked the view of his sister “Nnnope.”
Applejack was an orange blur as she moved passed her brother and towards the window; she shifted so fast, her dark brown Stetson flew off her head. Big Mac saw this and caught it in his maw.
“What in tar-nation could it be?”
Applejack’s jade green eyes shrank to the size of pea “Oh, crab apples.”
Big Mac trotted over to his little sister, after placing her hat back on her head he asked “What is it lil-sis.... Whoa...” staring out the window, he saw a giant, dark violet, beetle shaped object hovering in the sky out the front of his house.
In its current position, about 10 meters out the front of the house it looked incredibly imposing. It didn’t have a turret on its chin, only a search light but it still had a turret on its left bay door.
Two Brute minors in Teal-Green Armour floated down out the back of the Phantom, followed by three Grunts equipped with jet-black armour and plasma pistols. After it dropped its cargo, the phantom flew off towards the Everfree forest.
Applejack had worry coated on her face “What in the love of Celestia is it Big Mac?”
“AJ? Big Mac? What’s going on?” The youngest of the Apple family; Applebloom had darted into the room. “Whoa, ALIENS! Cutie mark crusaders alien... greeter... pony,” with that she bounded into the hallway and out the front door before Big Mac or Applejack could even get a word in.
Turning to move out the door, Big Mac yelled to Applejack over his shoulder “Applejack wait here! They could be dangerous!”
Big Mac charged out the door to witness the larger of the two Brutes grab Applebloom and bellow in her face "I will tear the meat from your bones whelp!" the second Brute laughed as he ordered the Grunts around the back of the house. Applebloom started to sob in fear.
“Ha Ha! Look brother, watch it snivel!”
The massive Brute was toying with its tiny prey when it was tackled by a huge red entity. Big Mac had slammed full pelt into the stomach of the Brute major, sending it flying. Luckily, its grip on Applebloom wasn’t that strong, for she dropped right onto Big Mac’s back.
He turned to her “Get your flank inside little missy!” Applebloom looked at him with pure relief in her watery eyes; she had never appreciated her big brother as much as now. She didn’t protest to going back inside the house, she darted there quicker than a freight train.
The second Brute was hurtling towards Big Mac, using its Spiker a sort of bayonet. Big Mac saw this and conjured up a plan. He waited till the Brute was only meters away and strafed to the side, leaving him to fall on his pack brother, disemboweling him.
The dying howls of the Brute was ear piercing. With a sneer Big Mac bellowed “That’s watcha get if ya’ll mess with ma sister!”
"NOOO! I will pulverize you!" The Brute got low and stampeded towards Big Mac with vengeance in its eyes, Big Mac waited till the Brute was about the same distance away as he was before, but this time instead of strafing, he swivelled on his front hooves and bucked the Brute in the head, Hard. The resounding crack proved that its skull had been crushed.
Big Mac was approaching his front door when the Trio of grunts returned back round the side of the house. The lead Grunt saw the bodies of their Brute leaders and let off a large amount of yapping sounds.
The second Grunt plucked up enough courage to pull up his plasma pistol and aim it at Big Mac “Yapyar will get you, you big, huge, FREAK!" with that he pulled the trigger of his pistol three times.
Turning to see what was going on; Big Mac was hit in the side by two bright green, glowing projectiles. Falling to the floor, Big Mac let out an almighty roar of pain. The orbs that had impacted on his left side burned like acid.
The Grunts let off cheers of victory as they saw Big Mac fall to the floor in agony, but grudgingly they soon realised that one of them would have to go over to him, and finish him off.
Applejack watched helplessly as her brother was attacked, she held back tears as she watched him limply hit the floor; she turned to Applebloom who was still crying. “Applebloom, no matter what happens I want you to stay here ok?”She was terrified for Big Mac, but she spoke with vast amounts of authority to her little sister, and would lose the will to live if something happened to her.
Applebloom was holding back tears “Bu-But what if something ha-happens to y-you? Ah- ah don’t wanna be alone!” There was no use in trying anymore, just the thought of both her brother and her sister being gone sent Applebloom over the edge. She was nothing more than a frightened, whimpering, ball of tears.
Applejack wasn’t fairing much better, this had all happened so quickly, just a few minutes ago they were happily making breakfast “Ah.... ah didn’t think of it like that, but Applebloom your brother needs ma help. Ah promise, I’ll be alright, and ya know me, ah never break a promise,” and tried to give her best reassuring smile.
Applebloom was about to reply to her big sister, when a muffled yapping noise came from just outside the door where Big Mac was led, doubled over in a pool of his own blood.
Applejack sprang into action; diving for the door, she swung it open it to reveal a lone Grunt pointing his gun straight a squirming Big Mac’s head. She thought that she was too late, that she would have Big Mac’s death scene playing in her mind for the rest of her life, and that Applebloom would have to grow up without a brother.
The Grunt appeared to be lifting his gun in slow motion, when a muffled *Pft* sound rang out whilst the Grunt dropped to the floor, a pool of its own neon blue blood mixing with that of Big Macs red. It was followed by two more identical noises and two more dead Grunts.
Applejack wasn’t one to complain about a miracle, she bounded over to Big Mac, filled with relief Applejack brought him into a tight embrace, merely to let go again to his distinctive yells of pain.
Gently rolling him over, she inspect his injured side, only to find that her brother’s crimson red fur had been scorched off to reveal cracked, dead skin. The injury ranged from his cutie mark to his neck, it was making him bleed profusely.
The tears started rolling down Applejacks face “Big Mac! Stay with me big brother!” The relief she had felt prior had all but seeped away.
Twilight sprinted over to ever expanding pool of blood that was Big Mac “AJ!”
Applejack felt a glimmer of hope pierce her mind, if anypony could help, it would be the powerful unicorn in all of Equestria “Twilight? Whu- what ya doing here?”
Twilight knelt down next to the Big Mac and began to check him over “Never mind that, we have to help Big Macintosh!”
Applejack tried to maintain some composure as she tried to explain things to Twilight “Ah don’t know what’s going on! One minute we was just makin breakfast, tha next those giant apes attacked Applebloom, Big Mac stopped em , but the little monkey ones snuck round an attacked him!” Twilight had finished checking over Big Mac
She looked to Applejack who was holding back tears as best as she could, Twilight completely understood; nearly loosing someone so close is traumatic “I know, I was just coming down from the tree line when Big Macintosh... finished off the Brutes”
“Brutes, is that what they’re called? Wait, so was it ya’ll that saved him from the little monkey things?!” She looked to her with pure gratitude in her eyes. But there was a hint of shock, Twilight wasn't one for killing, alough nopiny usually was there were exceptions. For example; Big mac would do almost anything to protect his kin.
Twilight’s horn began to glow a bright lavender colour as Big Mac began toss and turn, “No that was Rookie. He’s up in the tree line I came down to prepare you and make sure you didn’t freak out when you saw him”
Applejack was beginning to calm as she watched Twilight help her brother. “Twilight ah ain’t no racist! Besides your pal saved Big Macs life!” the flesh on Big Mac’s side was starting to return to a pinkish colour, rather than a deep charcoal.
"How bad could he be?"
Twilight let of a long sigh, partially over Big Macs recovery and partly because of Applejack “If you say so AJ...” with that, she sent off a small but incredibly bright spark about a meter up, signalling the Rookie to come down.
Spike walked slowly from the tree line, obviously still very tired, he had one arm around Scootaloo helping her walk. The Rookie had assumed she was also still weak from probably weeks of malnourishment, the way Berit put it,
The Rookie had his silenced pistol in his hands, with his riot shotgun and assault rifle crossed over his back, resting just under his pack.
He slowly appeared from behind Spike and Scootaloo.
Proofread by P0nies