The tank slowly ground to a halt and the interior became even more silent than it already was. Rainbow continued to glare at them, her sharp eyes darting from face to face, challenging them to come near. The crew stared back, struggling to come up with any response to what had just happened. Rainbow, apparently growing tired of being stared at, spoke again.
“What do you monsters want with me?”
“You're talking!” Matt said excitedly at her and smiled widely.
“So are you,” retorted the Pony.
The others weren't as enthusiastic.
“Holy Mary mother of God,” Ian exclaimed. “Maybe we are dead.”
“Or dreaming,” Zeus was reluctant to believe the death option.
“Are you an angel in pony form?” Matt asked.
“What?” Rainbow tilted her head in confusion.
“Shut up Shelly!” Ian scraped his arm intentionally against a sharp edge of metal on the tank hull and flinched from the pain. “No, I don’t think this is a dream.”
Patton was sitting quietly watching the pony all the while deep in thought. Bill, who had been mumbling the Our Father and other prayers spoke up.
“I say we shoot this abomination and get on our way.”
“No! You can't shoot an angel! Though I did. Sorry pony angel.” He apologised to Rainbow then turned his attention back to Bill. “You will go to hell or something like that!”
“Shut up Shelly,” Ian growled again. “We are not killing it.”
“We are already in hell,” Bill retorted and went back to his prayers. “I knew I shoulda never stole that silver set in Sicily! Lord forgive me!”
“What is wrong with you guys?” Rainbow spoke up. She was extremely confused at the current argument or conversation. Whatever this dialogue could be classified as.
“Quiet,” Ian hissed at her. “You’re an animal and you are not supposed to talk. So start now.”
“You can't tell me to be quiet!”
“Yeah,” Matt agreed. “You can't tell an angel to be quiet.”
“Shut up Matt!” Ian and Zeus echoed.
Patton, growing weary of the increasing panic, finally spoke up.
“Men! Get a-hold of yourselves!” The crew instantly fell silent and Rainbow Dash stared open eyed at him. “It appears a complication has arisen and needs to be resolved. You bastards act coolly under the fire of an enemy tank but when a colorful pony with wings and the ability to talk is found in an unknown land you panic? I am disgusted with your reaction here. Now it appears we aren't dreaming cause I have never been in a dream as real as this. So that leaves two options. We are dead and in some strange afterlife or we are in some God forsaken and forgotten part of France where fairies live.”
He looked around at their confused and worried faces and continued.
“Now I don't know how we came to be here but we are to continue west until we either hit our lines, reach the ocean or arrive at the borders of heaven and hell. Hopefully by then we will learn what is going on.”
“Yes sir,” Ian replied. The others saluted.
“Now, I will be interrogating our guest here as you continue towards the presumed location of our line.”
There was a sudden series of sputtering noises from the idling engine.
“We are nearly out of fuel sir,” Bill groaned through the headset. “Damnit!”
Ian sighed heavily, stress clearly visible in his eyes and face.
“Turn it off.” The lieutenant looked expectantly at Patton as the engine gurgled several times and went silent. “What now sir?”
“Two options, and I will let you men put it up to a vote.” Patton already knew the answer they would give but he continued anyway. “First option is we ditch the tank and proceed on foot. Or we stay here and wait for our lines to reach us.”
There was a quick vote in which led to all of the crew members wanting to stay. Patton agreed, albeit reluctantly.
“All of you except Lieutenant Collins leave the tank and set up a perimeter. We will be staying in here and interrogating this… pony.”
Dash gulped nervously as the others crawled out leaving her alone under the curious eyes of the humans. After several moments of painful silence Patton spoke.
“So, you are a talking pony.” He stated flatly.
“Yep. And you’re talking monkeys. I mean apes.” She replied sharply.
“How did you learn to talk?”
“My mom and dad taught me when I was a foal. Where did you learn to talk?”
“My parents, as well as English class.” Ian nodded as Patton continued. “So there are more of you? You aren’t an escaped circus animal?”
“Yes, there are a lot of us. And I have never been in a circus, though I did go to one recently.”
“Where are we?”
“You are in Equestria. Where are you guys from and what are you?”
“Equestria?” Ian found himself searching his knowledge of religious texts for anything relating to Equestria just in case they were dead and in an afterlife.
“Yeah, Equestria.” Dash adjusted herself to alleviate the growing pain of her wounds and the soreness of lying on the metal floor. “You guys never heard of this place?”
“Equestria doesn’t exist.” Ian stated.
“Yes it does and you are in it.” The pony rolled her eyes. “You never answered my question. What are you and where are you from? ”
“We are humans from the good old United States of America.” Patton replied enthusiastically.
“No more questions from you for now,” Ian said.
Dash frowned but remained quiet.
“Do you have any idea how we got here?” Ian asked but he didn’t expect an informative answer.
“You rode in this thing to get here?”
Ian sighed and shook his head.
“What is your name?” Patton asked.
“I’m Rainbow Dash, the best flyer in all of Equestria.” Dash beamed.
“You can fly?” Ian looked at her wings, doubtful.
“Well of course I can!” Dash laughed. “Why do you think I have these?”
“Along with multicolored talking horses, a flying one is just absurd.”
“I’m a pegasi and I am not absurd!” Dash winced in pain, her injuries were starting to get unbearable. “You are absurd! Hairless apes that have never heard of Equestria traveling around in a metal tortoise. That’s just odd. Cool, but odd.”
They remained silent for a few more moments then Patton rummaged around a pile of maps and chose one of Europe.
“Where on this map is Equestria?”
Dash looked at it in the dim light for a minute then shrugged.
“I don’t see Equestria anywhere on that map,” she said. “I don’t recognize any of the other countries either.”
Ian was about to ask another question but noticed her wince in pain a few more times and her eyes start watering.
“Are you in pain?” He asked sincerely.
She nodded biting her lip.
“Looks like the morphine in wearing off. We didn't give you that much because, well, we didn't think you were going to live.” Ian sighed then smiled. “But you proved to be made of some resilient stuff.”
Ian reached over to a small metal box with the pale white words “First Aid” and retrieved a small syrette.
“This here will help with the pain.”
She looked at him quizzically.
“It’s morphine,” Ian said.
“Is it a needle?”
“Please don't tell me you are afraid of needles,” Ian groaned.
“A little bit.” Dash smiled nervously.
“I should have expected as much from a colorful pony. It’s either the needle or the pain.” Ian remembered how he had refused to use morphine when his leg was injured by shrapnel. It had been excruciating but he wanted to feel all of it. To remember all of it. He returned from his memories and back to the conversation. “And the pain is just starting. It is going to get far worse.”
She stared at the morphine for a few moments as Ian waited impatiently.
“Can you do it outside?” She said slowly. “I think I’ll feel better outside of this stuffy tin can.”
Ian nodded. “Very well, I will carry you outside.”
“I don't want to be carried!”
“How else do you propose we get you out?” Patton asked.
Dash opened her mouth but nothing came to mind.
“Fine,” she grumbled. “but be careful.”
Ian nodded. “I will try.”
He bent down and gently scooped the pony into his arms. She let out a small squeak of pain as her wounds protested the sudden movement. Ian felt a little uncomfortable carrying her and Dash felt the same way being in the arms of a being that had the potential of killing her. He lifted her up to the hatch being held open by Patton. Ian saw Matt lounging on the stump of a tree.
“Matt!” Ian called. “Help me carry Rainbow outside!”
The loader leaped up excitedly and rushed to the lieutenant. When Dash saw who was going to carry her the rest of the way her mood instantly darkened.
“I don’t want him to carry me!” She hissed.
Matt stopped, looked at her sadly and sulked away. Ian sighed and turned to the next closest person.
“I am not carrying that thing,” Bill replied sharply.
Jeff stood silently writing in his journal, oblivious to the surroundings.
“Hoi! Fishy!” Ian hollered.
Jeff looked up and stared blankly at the pony.
“Can you help me carry Rainbow?” Ian’s arms were starting to cramp.
The Texan nodded slowly then made his way up to the tank. Ian handed Dash to the shaky arms of the young man who took her carefully to the wide stump that Matt had been sitting on earlier. The others gathered around the pony as Ian prepared the morphine.
“Back at the farm we shot lame horses.” Bill smirked at Dash who’s ears flattened in a mix of anger and fear.
“Bill,” Ian glared at the driver. “Shut it.”
“Yeah Bill, shut it,” Matt chimed in.
“Shut up Shelly,” Ian rolled his eyes and stooped over, preparing to give the pony the injection. “Are you ready?”
“I don’t know ye-”
Before she could finish Ian drove the needle into the muscle directly under her hip. Dash let out a shrill scream of pain and surprise as he injected the morphine into her body.
“That wasn't so bad now, was it?” Ian smiled.
“Not really,” she whispered in return.
“Wha‘n tarnation is going on!” A voice thick with a southern accent hollered behind them.
“What are you doing to Rainbow Dash!” Cried another.
The humans spun quickly around and stared at the new arrivals. Five more ponies stood glaring at them with looks of fear, anger and horror splayed across their faces. Ian wondered at their hostile looks but then realized why they would be angry. They had just stumbled across six large humans crowded around their friend who had just screamed. It was understandable to be angry. Bill was the first to react.
“God damnit,” he groaned loudly. “There are more of them!”
“Aww,” Matt squealed happily. “They are so cute! And that one has a hat!”
“This is not what it looks like,” Ian reassured the ponies. “We are helping your friend. See?”
He turned back to Rainbow Dash but she was knocked out and sleeping peacefully from the morphine.
“I think you gave her too much,” Matt said with a wide smile.
"Shut up Matt," Ian growled.
Ian looked back at the ponies and smiled awkwardly.
“Well fuck,” he chuckled nervously. “Nice day isn't it?”
“Get away from her,” a purple pony with a horn growled.
The humans backed away from Rainbow Dash and stood by the tank. The ponies rushed to their friend’s side.
“Wha-what did you monsters do to her? “Squeaked a yellow one. The others glared at them, even more hatefully.
"I don't like where this is heading," Zeus whispered to the lieutenant.
Ian chewed his lip and came up with the best answer possible.
“Blame this dumb-ass,” he said, pointing at Matt.
Sorry it took me longer to get this one out, school and work gets wearisome. Next chapter is going to be epic!