If one were to travel the land of Equestria, they would see many thing. Scary things, beautiful things. They might pass by the town of Ponyville, meeting the kind ponies there. They may visit the Everfree forest, discovering new and exciting flora. By chance, they could possibly even see the royal palace, and bask in it’s glory. The thing these places all have in common is that none of them were Appleloosa.
Appleloosa, being farming town, did not present itself to many opportunities, let alone any practical fun. And that was the point Spitfire had been trying to get across to her CO. During the Wonderbolt offseason, stunt flying didn’t happen as often. She wanted a challenge, some more than to keep her busy. Signing up for the Pegasus Air Reserves seemed like a smart move. She was serving her nation, it was a good workout. They even had a base in Cloudsdale, so travel wasn’t a problem. But now, she was having a few regrets.
“C’mon Sarge, don’t do this. Send me anywhere. Hell, send me into dragon territory! At least something interesting would happen.” She stomped her hoof, placing an exclamation on her point.
“Too Bad, Spits. You’re going, and that’s that.” Sargent Bulkhead gave Spitfire an encouraging smile. “Look; you’re my best recruit. I’ve gotta send someone, and I figure if I send the best, it’ll get done quicker and cleaner.” She patted her on the back. “Who knows...could be fun?”
Spitfire stared knives at Bulkhead. Really? Fun? In the one place where mountains outnumber sentient beings? “Sure...whatever.”
“Good” said Bulkhead, “cause you ship out tomorrow morning. Just make sure to take the robbery reports, and keep the town calm, collected, and under control.”
Spitfire retreated to her bunk and started to pack. Angrily. The Hell! Stupid farmers can’t even protect their own damn houses! She finished throwing a few personal items in a bag, and laid into her cot. This better not take long...
The sun rose, shining brightly as it did everyday. It warmed the grounds of Sweet Apple Acres, waking the trees and the fruit which occupied them. Rays of light shone into the simple farmhouse, stirring its residents. One said pony was already up and about, preparing for a long journey.
The stallion of the house, Big Macintosh, was gathering supplies for his trip to Appleloosa. He placed rope, bug ointment, his special Stalliongrad-made survival knife and any other gear one could think of into his saddlebags. He was known around the farm, and Ponyville in general, and someone who was responsible. Someone dependable. Almost a colt scout at points. He just liked to be prepared, and Mac wasn’t going to stop now.
Applejack trotted downstairs and into the kitchen where Mac had been setting up. She walked up to him and gave a tight hug.
“Ah think it’s great that your so willin‘ to help out cousin Braeburn” she said, still rubbing the sleep out of her eyes. “ Ah know it’s dangerous out there. An’ Ah know you think you’d experienced everythin’ that desert out there can throw at a pony... Jus‘ please, please be safe. Ya’ll ain’t as young as ya used to be.”
Mac nuzzled Applejack, walking over towards the dining table. “Ah will, ya’ll know that. “Sides, Ah’m only five years older then you.”
“Ah know, Mac. Ah’m jus‘ being worrisome. But ...don’ you go tryin’ any heroics?”
Mac lowered his eyes but keep a smile on his face. “Those days are behind me, Jack. Ah’m jus’ gonna help with the farm, an’ hopefully that’s it. Ah’ll be home in a couple weeks.”
The apple siblings sat, eating the rest of their breakfast in silence. After breakfast, Mac gathered his things, received his goodbye wishes from his family, and left his home. He headed to the Ponyville Train Station, boarding a one-way trip to Appleloosa. Taking a window seat near the back of the train, Mac placed his sack in the overhead compartment and sat. Well...here goes nothin’ Mac thought. The sun was sitting just above the houses of Ponyville, still being early in the morning.
RIIIIINGG! RIIIIINGG! RIIIIINGG!
Spitfire slammed her hoof into the alarm clock next to her bed. Climbing out from under the sheets, he threw the backpack she’d prepared the night before over her shoulder and dressed in her flight suit. She wasn’t flying to Appleloosa, but being on duty included her uniform. Especially in a town like Appleloosa, where no one would be able to recognize her otherwise. Walking through the corridors of the barracks, she bumped into Bulkhead. She quickly snapped to attention, mostly due to reflex.
“At ease, Spits” She said. “You all set to go?”
“As ready as I’ll ever get” Spitfire replied morosely.
“Cheer up, Spits. You know what they about the borderlands. The stallions out there are as big as mountains.”
Spitfire chuckled. “Yeah, the bulky one are pretty fine.”
“Oh...yeah, their good too.”
“Wait, Bulkhead. What were you talkin’ about?”
Bulkhead smirked deeply. “You know what I mean.”
Spitfire blushed. “...I should go.” She continued past Bulkhead, who just smiled.
“Have fun, Spits.”
Spitfire made it to the Ponyville Train Station just before ten o’ clock. Checking in her bag, she entered the train. Her thoughts stirred on Appleloosa. This. Is Going. To Suck. Hard. I don’t even have anyone to talk to. She walked towards the back of the train, looking for an open seat. “Huh, whole lotta ponies, just for Appleloosa” She whispered to herself. Every booth she came across was nearly full. Finally, she found a both with only one pony in it. The colt was medium in height, with slick blond coat and a blue curly mane.
“Mind if I sit here?” asked Spitfire, as the train started to move.
The colt gazed up from his paper. “Oh, of course not, m’lady” he responded with barely contained glee. He watched as she sat, inspecting the military flight suit she wore. It was built much like her Wonderbolt’s uniform. It was aerodynamic and form-fitting, hugging the curves of her body to cut down on friction. Unfortunately, it also showed off her body a little more than Spitfire’s liking.
“Hehe...thanks” she said nervously. He continued eyeing her rather un-stealthily from behind his newspaper. Se could feel his eyes creep over her. Uuuhhhhggg. At least with the Wonderbolt suit, I’m movin‘ to fast for anyone to watch.
“Can I help you?” Spitfire was getting sick of this colt’s obsession with her suit.
“Ohhh, no,no” he stumbled. The colt snapped back to his paper.
“Whatever...” mumbled Spitfire. She got up, trotting to the caboose of the train and away from prying eyes. She leaned against the railing, watching as Ponyville faded around the horizon.
Here goes nothin’.
Mac rose from his seat, needing to stretch his legs. They had been traveling for about 30 minutes. Mac wasn’t one to sit for long, being a professional farmer. He moved towards the back, not looking for conversation. He stopped just before the caboose, seeing it occupied by a yellow mare. The pony outside had strong stance, much like his own. But there was a certain loftiness to it, like she could drift off at any moment. She had a beautiful blend of orange and yellow in her mane, and was wearing a tight uniform belonging to the Pegasus Air Reserves that happened to accent very particular parts of her form. Wow, she's...gorgeous, was all he could think. Stop that! Ya'll know that's not right! Mac's brain reminded him he was staring. Jus be nice. Ah don' need to start anythin' right now. Got enough on mah plate as it is. He stepped out slowly around the door.
“Mind if Ah join you?” he asked.
“Sure” Spitfire replied, a bit of salt in her voice. Great, another friendly pony.
Mac walked up to the rail, throwing his forelegs over it. He stared into the distance, hoping it was towards Sweet Apple Acres. The two stood in silence, letting the wind from the train blow by them.
“Heading west?” inquired Mac.
Spitfire looked straight ahead. “Appleloosa, yeah. You?”
“You heading for business or pleasure?” Spitfire sarcastically asked.
“Thought so” Spitfire spat.
Mac cleared his throat. “Ya’ll don’t seem to excited to be goin’ there.”
“Well, excuse me if I don’t consider Appleloosa to be a citadel of civilization.” Spitfire sighed.
“Ah see. Sorry you feel that way.”
They were quiet for a bit after that. “You live out there?”
“Eenope.” Mac pulled a heat chaff from under his yolk, placing in his mouth. “Family does, though.”
“Oh.” Spitfire blushed, embarrassed that she’s pretty much insulted a stranger’s family. “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean...”
“Don’ worry none. Ah know how boring it can be out there.” Mac continued to stare off into the horizon, a smile growing on his face. “But there’s a heck of a lot of fun out there, too.”
Spitfire had a small smile on her face, but realizing it she wiped it off. So you met one half-decent pony. This is still gonna blow. “I don’t think I caught your name.”
“Name’s Macintosh Apple. Most just call me Big Mac.” He chewed on the wheat.
“Cool. Name’s Spitfire.” She fluttered her wings, stretching them at her sides. “So, you’re just on a family visit?”
“Not exactly” started Mac. “Ya’ll heard they got bandits out there?” Spitfire nodded her head. “Well, mah cousin’s farms been havin' a spot o' trouble, so Ah told him Ah could throw in a helpin’ hand.”
“And the prospect of thieves doesn’t scare you?”
“I’ve had worse.”
Spitfire chuckled. Strong and silent, huh. Like that’s not cliche or anything.
“How ‘bout you?” Mac pointed at her uniform. “Didn’t think Reserves got much free time.”
Spitfire raised an eyebrow. “ How you know I’m Reserves?”
“Other than the fact yer wearing the Uni?” Mac grinned as Spitfire silently cursed it. “Well, ya’ll don’t have the farmer ‘look’. An’ ya certainly ain’t a tourist, cause Ah don’t think Appleloosa has ever gotten one o’ those.”
“Yeah, they’re sendin’ me to help out with the bandit problem.”
Mac nodded. “Glad ya’ll can help.” He pushed off the railing, moving back towards the door. “Nice meetin’ ya, miss Spitfire.”
“Thanks, you too.” And then, she was alone. Spitfire watched the landscape tumble past her, letting her mind wander free. She hoped this skill would come in handy fighting against the mind-numbing boredom of Appleloosa.
The sun hit the tip of the horizon before Spitfire returned to her seat. The creepy pony had switched from just eyeing her, to hitting on her.
“You out here all by yourself?” His breath oozed over her. “It’s..dangerous out here. You might need a strong stallion by your side.”
“I’m sure I’ll be fine.” She’d had about enough of this guys question. If he doesn’t shut up in the next five minutes...
“I’m actually an adventurer myself. I know these parts like the back of my hoof.” He inched closer to Spitfire, leaning towards her with his arm across the booth.
“Hehe...yup. I know all sorts of things.”
Spitfire pushed him back. “Woah buddy, gettin‘ a bit weird.”
“What’s weird? It’s just you and me, baby. Nothing to worry about..” The pony took back his position at Spitfire’s side.
Mac stood up from his booth, feeling nature’s call. Where the heck’s the bathroom in this place? He walked down the hallway, searching. He came to a stop five doors past his own, hearing a commotion, accompanied by a familiar voice.
“I thought I told you to back off?”
“And I thought I told you that you’ve got the hottest flank I’ve...” Mac heard a scuffle inside the booth. He slide the door open, his head long and haunches primed to launch. Mac eased up when he noticed an average-sized colt pressed up on the room window, a hoof thrown against his throat. A yellow pegasus mare was holding him at bay with apparent ease.
“So, this is where ya’ll got off to, sis.”
Spitfire looked at Big Mac. “What the hell are you talkin’ about? I’m not...”
“Awful shame this had to get on, wouldn’t want ta start any trouble now would we?” Mac emphasized with a wink. Spitfire released the perverted pony, peeking outside her room. Many of the neighboring ponies were investigating the scene, while one of the conductors was gathering statements.
“Ohhhh...umm, thanks ‘bro’.” She winked back, making Mac groan.
“Jus’...c’mon now.” The two left, walking back the Mac’s room. “So what was that all about?”
“The pony was up my flank all day today.” She flopped into her seat. “Guess the suit gave him the wrong idea.”
“That shouldn’t have mattered none!” Mac scowled. “Ain’t no reason to act like that,.” He sat on the bench across from Spitfire. “But ya’ll should probably stay outta trouble.”
She sat up, pointing a hoof at Mac. “He started it! The creep!”
“Ah know that. But ya’ll still gotta be careful.” He looked through the window. Watching the conductor return to his post, Mac settled into his seat. “Seems like ya don‘ got any proof, and you are a ways from Cloudsdale.”
“How’d you know I’m from Cloudsdale?”
“It’s the only base Ah know close enough to the Ponyville Express.” Mac shrugged. He rested his head on the window ledge. “If ya’ll don‘ mind, Imma hit the hay.”
“Sure thing.” she put her legs on the seat, stretching out. She looked over at Macintosh, who was already lightly snoring. What kind of pony sleeps this early? She peeked outside, seeing that Celestia’s sun was still fairly high in the sky. Guess I’ll just sit then.
The train lurched forwards, throwing Macintosh to the ground. “Whut the hell?” He propped himself up, scratching his head. He looked down to his lap, where Spitfire lay asleep. He jumped up, cheeks flushed.
“Hey....hey, wake up miss...umm..” God, what was her name again? Hotshot? Quick flame? Spit...something. Mac prodded her shoulder. “Miss Spit...?”
She spun around in a state of half-sleep. “Whaa...what? I’m up, I’m up.” She rubbed her eyes and joined Mac in standing. “Why was I on the floor?” she asked slightly accusatory.
“The train...it stopped” Mac answered gravely.
“It sure as hell ain’t good.” Mac peered outside of their room, spotting two masked figures trotting through the passenger car in front of them. “Bandits...” Mac mused to himself, turning to Spitfire. “You up for a fight?”
She grinned, flaring her wings and a glimmer in her eye. “I’m always ready. These... bandits, whoever they are...are gonna rue the day they messed with Spitfire!” She shot for the door, running into a red arm.
“Hold on, now. We should prolly be subtle about this.” Mac opened the door slowly, seeing that the bandit occupying their corridor had turned her back.
The two slid past their door, moving down the hall silently. They slinked past the bandit, climbing out the open window at the end of the hall. Now outside, Mac looked up to Spitfire, how was hovering above the train. The night had crept up while they sleep. It drew a cool breeze around the train, which whipped by in spurts.
“Spitfire, head to the front of the train an‘ she if ya’ll can see anythin’.” He shook his head. “We’re most likely on fer a fight.”
“Okay. What about you?” Spitfire smirked. “Think you can handle a fight?”
Mac matched her in competitiveness. “You better believe it.” He moved his gaze to the car in front of them. “Ah’m try an‘ solve a few of our problems.”
“What about passengers?”
Mac hadn’t thought about that. There wasn’t any cover nearby, being about halfway to Appleloosa. “Looks like we gotta be extra careful. There ain’t nowhere around here ta take ‘em.”
“Got it. Good luck on your end.” Spitfire sped off towards the engine. She kept high, avoiding the train’s windows. She slowly lowered herself onto the barrel of the engine, inching her way up to the cabin. Looking inside, she marked three ponies, all with bandana’s adorning their faces.
Haven’t I put up with enough today? First that creeper, then these guys? They might as well be straight from one of those Clint Manewood movies. Spitfire climbed up onto the roof of the cabin. She held herself to the edge, lowering her head just to look inside, albeit upside down. She waited till the the pony at the door turned her back. Spitfire slipped inside, putting the mare to sleep with a choke.
The two stallions left had their attention on the engineers they held hostage. Spitfire sneaked closer, catching pieces of their conversation.
“...They don‘ seem ta got much, Butch...”
“Better than nothin, Ah suppose....
“...Don‘ mean Ah gotta like it....HEY! GIT BACK NOW!” The pony shouted at the two engineers huddled in the corner. They squeezed further in, trembling in fear.
“Now, let’s see if’n they got anythin‘ worthwhi...” THONK! The bandits‘ heads crashed together hard, rendering them incapacitated. She walked over to the hostages, helping them to their feet.
“Are you alright?” asked Spitfire.
“Y-Yeah...I think so” Answered the mare engineer. “Thank you...for, ya’know...”
Spitfire interjected. “Don’t mention it. Just say here while I check on the other passengers.” She left, sneaking into the first-class cart before the engine room. Luckily, no bandit ponies were occupying it at the moment. Just terrified passengers.
“What was that!?!”
“Oh, the Pony-aity!”
Spitfire scowled. Crap, Crowd Control. She reared onto her hind legs, drawing the attention of the panicked Equestrians. “Hey, everypony...” She was interrupted by a loud commotion from the proceeding train carts. Deep screams and broken glass echoed through the door. The noise subsided for a spell, the night becoming eerily silent. A final crunch rang out, with Mac entering the first-class cart soon after.
“Nothing to much ta worry about, now.” He looked around as the passenger stared at him with awe. He walked up to Spitfire, slightly bowing out of respect. “How’d your end go?”
“Uhhh...fine. What was all that?” She gestured towards the door leading into the lower-class carts.
“Oh. That was some...problem-solving.”
Spitfire flew to the door, opening it and revealing a quite damaged room. Gruff looking ponies lay splayed out on the floor, a few tied up in the back corner. A pony was upside down, blood dripping from his mouth, over a seat, and one was even hanging from a window. She turned around, giving Mac the same slack-jawed stare the passenger had.
Mac laughed. “Told ya Ah could handle a fight.”
With the train moving again, everypony settled down, at least a bit. The bandits were tied up, locked in an unused safe that rode in the back. Big Mac laid down, groaning from the excess work.
“Hey, Macintosh...” Spitfire spoke.
“I wanted to say..thanks. For dealing with that guy earlier.”
“Even if I coulda done it myself.”
Spitfire sat up from seat across from Mac. “You don’t think I could? I’ll hoof wrestle you right now!” She put her competitive smile back on. Mac didn’t answer. “Didn’t think so..” Spitfire smugly laughed. Though, not so smugly when she heard Mac’s booming snores.
Great. I put him to sleep.
A great horn blew threw the sunrise, rousing the travelers upon the Ponyville Express. The train slowed steadily to a halt at the Appleloosa stop. Spitfire rose her head, craning and stretching with the morning. Mac’s seat was empty, though his pack was still in the room. Huh, we’d he go?
She climbed out of the bench, walking groggily out of the cabin. She first headed for the bathroom, it being the morning and she just waking up. Returning to her room, she packed her thing back into her duffle bag, slung it over her shoulder, and walked towards the exit.
Spitfire turned around to met Mac’s call. He closed the door leading to the caboose, smiling.
“What’s gets you up so early?” Spitfire inquired.
“Ah’m a farmer, remember? Ah got to.”
“Oh yeaah. Right.” She nodded. “Well, hope I see ya around.” She said, walking away.
Spitfire stepped out of the train, dust blowing through the town. It looked like it needed help in a bad way. Shops and stalls were run down, and the ponies behind them depressed. She trotted through town, eventually finding the sheriff.
“Excuse me, sheriff.” Spitfire tapped the stallion on the shoulder.
“Well, howdy stranger” said the pony, in a deep voice. “Mah name’s Sheriff Silverstar. It’s a pleasure to meet ya’ll.” He grasped Spitfire’s hoof, shaking it vigorously.
“Y-Yeah, t-thanks.” She drew her hoof back, shaking a bit from Silverstar’s handshake. “I’m from the Pegasus Reserves. I was sent about some bandit trouble?”
“Of course, of course. Ah’ll get you all the necessary gear and pony power ta investigate whatever you...” Silverstar stopped, jaw hanging open.
“Umm, you okay?” Spitfire waved a hoof in front of his face which he ignored.
“Oh my Celestia...Mac Attack, is that you?” Silverstar raced to the train station, head-butting Mac in the center of his skull.
Mac stood steadfast, sliding back only slightly. “Well..I’ll be...Silverstar, how...are ya?”
“Better than you, in a tick.” Silverstar threw his hooves around Mac’s neck, dragging him almost to the ground. Mac stopped his descent, charging forward into the town square. He dragged the sheriff behind him, shaking and thrashing. Silverstar could barely hold on as Mac bucked hard, trying to throw him off.
“It ain’t...gonna be...that easy, Mac!”
“...Don’t Ah know it!” Mac stopped hard, swinging Silverstar forward and catching him with his left foreleg. He slammed Silverstar into the ground, pinning him on his chest with his leg behind his back. A crowd had gathered around him by the time the battle was over, with Spitfire at the forefront.
“Macintosh, what the hell are you doing! That’s the sheriff!” She was shouting over the murmer of the crowd.
“Ah know that.” Mac smiled, letting the sheriff up. Silverstar slugged Mac in the shoulder.
“Ah’m gonna beat you, someday.”
Mac chuckled. “The day you beat me is the day Ah’ll eat mah yoke.”
Spitfire was utterly befuddled. “Mac, what the HELL is going on?”
“Sorry, miss Spitfire. Ah shoulda...explained mahself.” He threw a leg around sheriff Silverstar. “How do ya think SIlverstar here became sheriff?”
“I dunno. He got promoted?”
Both stallions lifted their heads in laughter. “Eeyup, that’d be it,” they echoed.
“What’s so funny?” Spitfire snarled. Just tell me already. This game sucks.
Mac slowed his laugh due to the look Spitfire was shooting him. “Well, Silverstar was once, a long time ago, mah deputy.”
Spitfire’s eyes grew. “So that’s how you smashed those bandits on the train!” Well, at least he know’s what he’s doing.
“Eeyup, Ah got a bit of experience in criminal rustlin’.” Mac cleared his throat. ‘An‘ let me be the first to say...WELCOME TO APPLELOOSA!”
The ponies around him joined Mac in the ruckus, yee-hawing and celebrating their arrival. Hats were thrown, hooves were stomped, and cider was downed, all directly in the middle of the town square.
Spitfire groaned, as her ordered echoed in her head. Calm, collected and under control. Great. Just...bucking...great.