“What in the name of Celestia is that thing Twi!?” Applejack was staring wide eyed at the Rookie. Hunched over, she was in a in a defensive stance above Big Mac ready to strike at the alien.
“He’s Rookie, the one who saved Big Macs life.” AJ was sceptical but upon hearing this, her defense softened, if only slightly.
Applejack was far from trusting, considering what had just happened. “But he looks just like them Brute things Twi!” Even if he was a little smaller he was still a good head or two taller than them.
Rookie was annoyed, mainly because he didn’t look anything like those damn dirty apes. He verbalized his annoyance with a loud grunt. Holstering his pistol, he moved closer to the unconscious figure that was Big Mac. Applejack tensed up again.
He knelt down and leaned in towards Applejack. “I’m going to give him something to wake up, we need to move. That phantom will be back.” Applejack was cynical, why should she trust one alien if another had just shot her brother?
Applejack looked him over, before lurching threateningly towards him. “And why should ah trust you, alien?”
The Rookie moved closer to her face, “Because if you don’t, you’ll all die,” he said trying in vain to intimidate her. He didn't like doing it, but there was little time to argue.
“Ma brother took out two of them himself, just ta protect us, what makes ya’ll think we can’t handle ourselves!?” Her poker face matched the effectiveness of the Rookies helmet.
Applebloom zoomed out the front door of her house with teary eyes, she ran right to the side of Big Mac without even making a second glance at the Rookie. She led down next to his uninjured side and started to nuzzle his red fur coat, continuously muttering “Ah’m so sorry!”
Although he was different than the other aliens, seeing that they affected Applebloom as much, if not more, than her big brother only increased Applejack’s aggravation with the Rookie.
Twilight tried desperately to intervene before things got violent “Applejack please, he saved Big Mac’s and Scootaloo’s life!”
Scootaloo, who up until now was leaning on the drowsy Spike rushed into the conversation. “He saved my life!?” Her violet eyes where focused solely on Twilight.
Twilight face hoofed “I can’t believe I forgot to tell you that!” She glanced around the group, Applebloom whimpering next to the unconscious Big Mac, Applejack and Rookie still nose to nose. Spike swayed drowsily behind Rookie. Despite appearances, they were all listening intently.
Twilight looked straight at Scootaloo. “Yes, when he came to me, he had you in his arms; even though he thought he was in danger of being attack by the townspeople, he brought you too me. If it wasn’t for him, you wouldn’t have survived the night...” The entire outfit when gravely quiet. All that could be heard was the rustling of the frosty apple trees soft morning breeze.
Scootaloo found the strength to stagger over to the Rookie, “You...you put yourself in danger... just for me?” The Rookie pulled back from his currently non-existent stare-down with the now humbled Applejack. He nodded to her. “Bu-but why?” Her eyes were brimming with tears.
Rookie crouched down in front of her; they were separated by less than a meter of open winter ground, de-polarising his visor as he stared directly into her eyes.
“I couldn’t let someone so.... similar too me suffer,” and with the last of her energy Scootaloo bounded towards the Rookie, embracing him.
She didn’t really know what he meant by being similar, but she had never had someone that would put themselves in harm’s way for her. She felt her mind at peace near him.
The Rookie wasn’t expecting the embrace, so he was balanced awkwardly with Scootaloo crying in his arms. He assumed that stroking her soft purple mane would help her calm down, and he felt a warm kinship with this filly. The rest of the party were looking on with teary eyes.
Applejack pawed at the floor guiltily, “Ah... ah am mighty sorry, ah shouldn’t have been so quick to judge,” and the Rookie let her off with a shrug.
The Rookie stood up with Scootaloo in one arm, but happily this time. He looked to Twilight and directed her gaze to Big Mac; she got the gist of what he meant. “Oh, he’ll be fine for now. But magic can only do so much. If we can get him to my friend Fluttershy’s house, she’d be able to patch him up.” She sounded confident about her friend’s medical skills.
Temporarily placing Scootaloo on the floor, he moved towards Big Mac and injected him with a small shot of an adrenaline and painkiller mix. Applebloom didn’t want to leave his side and it was obvious to see that she blamed herself for what happened to her big brother.
Big Mac drudgingly opened his eyes to find himself face to face with the Rookie. Luckily for the ODST, Big Mac was in a
vastly weakened state. He dived straight into the Rookie, knocking the wind out of him.
“Big Mac stop!” cantering back to him she finished “He’s the good guy!” Applejack pulled her brother off the disgruntled Rookie and placed his hoof round her neck, helping him to stay upright.
Big Mac would have argued, but he was too fatigued and instead he let off a low grunt. Even though Applejack trusts him, there was no way in the name of Celestia that he would trust an alien, not after one of its buddies threatened to eat his baby sister.
Scootaloo let off an audible sigh of relief as the Rookie stood back up. Dusting off his armor, he heard Applejack apologies.
“Ah’m mighty sorry, he don’t mean nothin by it.” The Rookie just waved it off, if he had a family that may have been in immediate danger, he would be weary too.
Striding back over to the weak Scootaloo, he swept her up in his left hand and placed his right on the pistol resting in its holster.
The group moved along at a slow rate because of Big Mac, but Rookie kept silent. The big guy had just killed two brutes single handed and took plasma in the side, and to say plasma hurts like a bitch is an understatement.
Twilight had Spike asleep on her back again, but this time it was while she was levitating a now sleeping Applebloom in a lavender aura above her, walking next to her was Applejack who was staggering along with Big Mac as best she could. Rookie was in the lead carrying Scootaloo, who was snuggled peacefully in his grip.
During the war, the Rookie had learned to appreciate the little things in life, and this filly’s innocence, was no exception.
The trip back to the Rookies drop pod lasted substantially longer than the trip from it, mainly because of the three new additions to the group. That, however, didn’t really matter; it just gave Twilight a chance to ask questions about the Covenant.
When they arrived, the H.E.V’s com was flashing like crazy.
The Rookie sat down on the frosty seat of his drop pod with Scootaloo in his lap before linking his helmet into the coms. “Berit, update.”
“The Covenant corvette that we thought we destroyed around the colony moon has followed us here. I’m not sure how thought, I was under the impression it wasn’t physically possible to follow a ship through slip-space.”
Twilight was about to ask ten tonnes of question before the Rookie held a hand up to her to silence her. “So it’s just the one damaged corvette?”
“Yes, but it dispersed eight phantoms and two spirit drop-ships, we both know that’s more than enough to cause trouble for the planet,” the Rookie sighed, and he knew he couldn’t do anything for the rest of the planet. He would just have to protect this town to the best of his ability.
“I will need to stay in the ship to guide the drop pods down. Do you want me to drop them at your location?” The Rookie could hear Applejack freaking out slightly that he was talking to some imaginary person, Twilight trying her best to explain, but she was still bothered.
“No, there should be a small building in the opposite direction to the farm, locate it and then send it there.”
Berit estimated it would take twenty minutes before she could drop the “reinforcements”, but the Rookie thought this was strange since the supply pods are always fueled and ready. He shrugged it off; he had other things to focus on.
The Rookie uncoupled his helmet from the drop-pods com, picked up Scootaloo and motioned for the group to fall in behind him.
The walk to Fluttershys was largely uneventful, they had kept to the tree-line and Twilight had warned the Rookie of some of the things in deep the Everfree forest. He wasn’t all that keen to meet them face to face.
Fluttershy was outside of her cottage feeding a group of small white bunnies, oblivious to the violent infestation in town. The Rookie decided that it would be a good idea for Applejack and Big Mac to walk out first. If he made his appearance first, he’d probably frighten the poor thing to death.
Applejack emerged from the tree line with Big Mac at her side. “Fluttershy! Big Macintosh needs your help!” Fluttershy glanced up from what she was doing with a look of pure shock on her face, and from where the Rookie was hid, he could barely make out what they were saying.
Fluttershy had rushed towards Big Mac and with surprising strength hauled him inside of her cottage. Twilight had decided that Fluttershy would more likely accept the Rookie better if she saw him carrying Scootaloo.
After a few minutes, Applejack called them down giving Fluttershy an explanation of the situation, when the Rookie made his appearance as expected, she let of a small “EEEP” and hid behind Applejack. The Rookie jokingly thought to himself “Racist” as he slowly approached the butterscotch Pegasus.
He got to a lower level and extended a hand, and after a large encouragement from Applejack, Fluttershy stumbled towards him and accepted the shake.
She stuttered out a “Hi...” the Rookie nodded gracefully back to her. She was sweet.
After a few minor introductions and descriptions of the other aliens, a whining could be heard. It was getting louder. The trees over the Everfree forest started to rustle, Animals fled from their dens and a shadow blotted out the sun.
A Phantom made an appearance; it hovered menacingly above the cottage, the group was panicking. The Rookie sprung into action, he passed Scootaloo over to Fluttershy.
This was by far suicide. “Run, I’ll hold them off!” Twilight and Applejack where about to object but the Rookie cut them off, “NOW!” The authority in his voice rivaled that of a king. He un-holstered his pistol and killed the Grunt on the side turret, only to be replaced with another. Luckily for him it was a Phantom with a chin mounted spotlight.
The second Grunt had just started to fire the turret when the Rookie picked him off, the Grunt fell back and let off a spray of plasma towards the cottage and the Everfree forest, setting both ablaze.
He ran out of the cottage towards the Phantom, the rest of the group staying behind.
The Rookie could feel the heat coming off the belly of the Phantom as he ran past it to cover behind a large rock, spraying his assault rifle as to draw its attention. He knew his weapons wouldn’t have an effect on it, he just hoped he could distract it.
The girls had no choice, they had to run. They moved through the lightly burning cottage so they could pick up Big Mac and lug him away from the danger zone. Once they were far enough away, they saw something plummet from the sky in a ball of flames, slamming straight through the purple drop ship.
There were mixed murmurs from the group, and Scootaloo was still sobbing that the Rookie had left them alone to fight the Phantom. Big Mac hadn’t a clue what was going on, one minute he was being bandaged the next he was on the run again. Fluttershy was worried about her animal friends who were in her cottage, the murmurs mainly coming from Applejack, Twilight, and the now awake Spike.
The Phantom stayed hovering for a few seconds before exploding into a giant neon blue fireball, forcing all who were staring at it, to look away. Immediately after the explosion, the group turned tail and headed back in the direction of Fluttershy’s burning cottage.
The Rookie looked at the drop-pod that had smashed through the Phantom, it wasn’t a supply pod, it was a H.E.V (Human entry vehicle). All of his squad were supposedly trapped in Cryo-sleep. The smooth black door to the pod exploded off violently.
“Rookie, please tell me you saw that entrance?” Buck bounded out of his pod; his armour was frosty, and looked directly to the Rookie who was completely bewildered. There shouldn’t have been enough power in the ship to get Buck out of his freezer, not only that but the Cryo-bay was devoid of oxygen.
Buck picked up on his confusion. “Power surge from the slip space reactor, luckily I was the only one brought out, and since I had my armour on, I sealed up the hull breaches. And here we are.” the Rookie cringed when he thought of the blisters Buck must of had after going into the freezer with his armour on.
Across Bucks back was a sniper rifle and an assault rifle, Berit had informed him that he wouldn’t be able to back into Cryo, but he was an ODST, he could deal with it. The Rookie knew he would appreciate him being there.
From the wreckage of the Phantom, an armour-less Brute bounded towards the ODSTs, slamming Rookie to the floor. Buck tried to raise his assault rifle, but the Brute just smashed it back down. Picking up Buck by the throat, he threw him a good fifteen feet towards the smouldering cottage.
The Brute stamped on the Rookie, severely paining him, and if he didn’t have his armour on he was sure it's foot would have gone straight through his body.
“HEY! LEAVE HIM ALONE!” Twilight galloped towards the scene, horn radiating a purple aura. The Brute sprang towards her, Twilight tried to push it back with her magic, but to no avail.
The Brute was in front of her, swing his huge fists down, a*CRACK* pierced the air.
Proofread by P0nies