Disclaimer: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is owned by Hasbro
Day 9 after the Event, Algonquin's Galley, 2:15 PM Local Time
Balancing a plate with several cookies as he heads towards a small group of foals, Sprinkles takes a look at the movie on the screen and in particular the humanoid fox and bear as a song plays in the background. "Wow…" Shaking his head, he continues until he sees a Canadian Sailor walk up. "Um… hello?"
The man smiles and nods at the small Pegasus before clearing his throat. "Hello. Is your name Sprinkles by any chance?"
Confused, Sprinkles can only nod before answering. "Um… yes sir." The man then smiles and asks if he can take the plate to which Sprinkles nods. "Of course. Um… I was just taking it over there for them." He gestures to the small foals watching the movie with amazement. He then bites his lip. "I’m not in trouble am I?"
As he takes the plate of cookies, the Sailor shakes his head. "Of course not. But I just don’t want you to drop them." Seeing that Sprinkles is about to say something, he simply points towards the door. "Might want to look over there kiddo."
Blinking, Sprinkles turns only for his eyes to widen and tear as his jaw drops. Because there in the doorway is a gray Earth Pony with a black mane who has a seaweed Cutie Mark. Wrapped around her leg is a bandage. "Mo-mom…?"
She just nods, swallowing as tears stream from her eyes as she softly sobs. "Yeah Sprinkles… Mommy’s here…"
He starts running before wrapping his legs around her neck (and making her stumble before a hand steadies her) as he nuzzles her neck, crying. "Mom! Mommy…"
She just nods as she returns the embrace, nuzzling him back. "Oh baby… Oh my little colt." She then pulls back a bit and places her hooves on either side of his muzzle. "I heard how brave you were and I am so proud of my little stallion."
Sprinkles then looks at her before blinking. "Whe… where’s dad?"
Oyster grimaces a bit before sighing. "Your father was badly hurt by the Diamond Dogs." Seeing him panicking, she nuzzles him. "He’s alright though, from what these nice people tell me, he’s going to pull through." She watches him sob in relief before she turns and glares. "And you stop right there Jesse!"
Sprinkles blinks some before looking where his mother is and his eyes widen at the sight of Jesse with a bandage around arm and leaning against a crutch. "Jesse… Wha… what happened?"
He doesn’t see his mother’s guilty look before she sighs. "She saved both me and your father Sprinkles. She got hurt because she fought off several Diamond Dogs to save me from being dragged away." She then gives Jesse a thankful look. "Your family must be so proud of you."
She frowns as Jesse winces a bit before she gives a shaky smile. "Yeah, well…"
Unknowing of what’s occurring, Sprinkles looks at Jesse in awe before shaking it off and licking his lips as he turns back to his mother. "Um… Can I go see Daddy?"
Oyster chews her lips for a moment before nodding. "Okay Sprinkles. But remember that he’s going to be okay." Sprinkles nods as they head off. Once they’re outside the Infirmary, Oyster turns to her son and lays a hoof on his shoulder. "Remember what I said and be very quiet. He’s not the only one resting."
Sprinkles nods and they head in and once he sees the wrapped form of his father, he sobs some as he walks up and hugs his arm, careful not to disturb anything. "Daddy…" Looking around as Oyster hugs her son, Jesse turns back and sees the pleading look on her face. Blinking back some tears, she reaches down with her good arm and gives Sprinkles' shoulder a squeeze...
CFB Comox, 2:40 PM
Standing on the runway as the last of the pallets are loaded onto the Hercules, the Pilot of one of the Auroras leans towards the Hercules pilot. "How the hell are you going to get the extra drop pods on board? And where did you get them?"
The Herc Pilot chuckles a bit. "The drop pods were the easy one." He looks around a bit. The base had a number of SPARKs that were about to be disposed of. The contents may have no longer been allowed to be used, but the kit itself…" He then grins. "Turns out that one of the Supply Officers is someone I went through training with, so…"
The Aurora Pilot laughs a bit before shaking his head. "The Base Commander likely already knows."
The Herc Pilot just shrugs. "Probably, but he’s not doing anything about it so he must approve." He then smirks a bit. "As for how to get them on, already done so. After all, no one takes notice when an aircraft crew helps load."
Shrugging, the Aurora Pilot gestures towards his plane where they’re finishing loading up with small packages. "Going to do a hell of a drop." He then frowns a bit. "Most of those SPARK kits are full of food. And some of it is odd." He then turns to the other pilot. "Three apparently have dog food and the rest is stuff like oatmeal."
Turning, the other pilot gives him an incredulous glance. "Wait… Oatmeal I can understand to a point, though the amount is…" He shakes his head. "But dog food? Are you serious?"
The Aurora Pilot shakes his head with an equally confused expression. "I’m not kidding. Though who knows? Maybe dog-like aliens are involved?"
Rolling his eyes, the Hercules Pilot gives him a look. "Yeah, and what are the chances of that?" The two share a laugh before they notice a Major making his way over to them. "Sir!"
The Major nods at the two. "You two Pilots of the planes?" At their nod, he continues. "You’ll be leaving within the hour. But before you do, you’re to join the rest of your crews and that of the last Aurora in a debriefing. " He then shakes his head before sighing. "We’ll have some nice strong coffee there. You’re going to need it…" He then turns and walks away muttering leaving two very confused pilots standing there before they follow…
Hippocampus Bay, 3:50 PM
Slowly walking through the debris strewn streets, one of the Canadian Sailors nods to the Pegasus Guard beside him, her brown coat streaked with soot and blood. "Okay, just got a report over the radio. Apparently most of the Diamond Dogs left have been either captured and detained or are dead."
Taking a deep breath, the Pegasus lets out a cough from the smoke filled air. "That’s good." She stops for a moment, taking a glance towards the sky. "Shouldn’t be long then before the others start dousing the fires."
The Leading Seaman just shakes his head as he shoulders his gun and takes another look around. He then looks at her. "I’ll tell you one thing, wish we were able to control the weather. Would sure make taking care of the wildfires back in BC easier."
Rolling her eyes, the Pegasus is about to comment when she stops, her ears swiveling. "Hold that thought Matt."
Matt once more becomes serious as he looks around, unshouldering his weapon. "What is it Haze?"
Haze suddenly stiffens before breaking into a gallop. "Somepony is calling for help! This way!"
Shouldering his shotgun, Matt follows her and its not long before they reach a flaming building from which a very faint "Help" can be heard. Taking a look Matt notes that a window near the door is broken, but has flames coming out of it. "Door it is then." Quickly pulling off his coat, he gestures at the rain barrel near the door. Haze, dunk this in there. Get it nice and wet." He then removes the rest of his ammo and grenades before rushing to the door and looking at Haze who’s right beside him. "On three."
With the "THREE!" Matt kicks the door as Haze bucks it, splintering the doorjamb as it flings open revealing a hallway engulfed with flames. Partway down is an Earth Pony with a bunch of debris on her, entrapping her as she softly coughs and wheezes. Matt just grimaces. "Shit…" Taking his jacket from Haze, the two rush in. Reaching the trapped pony, Matt grabs a grabs some of the debris and coughs from the smoke as he looks to the Pegasus. "I’ll lift this and you grab and pull them out, okay?"
Haze nods. "Got ya." As Matt lifts, Haze pulls the barely there pony out. Dropping the wood, Matt takes his jacket and wraps it around the Earth Pony only for a crash to sound. The two turn and see that the way to the front door is now blocked with burning debris causing Haze to jerk her head. "Back door, this way."
Matt just nods as he picks up the pony, grunting from the weight. "Lead the way."
Bursting through the hall door, and into the kitchen, Haze flaps her wings to go airborne before slamming bodily into the back door, tearing it from its hinges. Shaking her head she turns to see Matt running through the kitchen towards the door when a piece of flaming debris falls and hits him on the shoulder. "MATT!"
Matt grits his teeth through the burning sensation as he keeps running, the embers falling off him as he rushes through the door outside. Still holding the bundle in his arms, he sets it down as he falls to his knees coughing. "How… how are they?"
Gritting her teeth, Haze nonetheless checks, only for a shocked expression to cross her face as she whips back to Matt. "Matt… she… she’s not breathing!"
His own eyes widening, Matt rushes over and rapidly unwraps his jacket from her before leaning in close to her mouth and tilting the pony’s head back as he listens. "Dammit!" Placing his hands on her chest, he brings chest compressions. "One… two…" Reaching the end, he tilts back her head and begins Mouth to mouth. He pulls away and listens before shaking his head as Haze begins chest compressions. Finishing, she nods to Matt who once more breaths into her causing her chest to rise. Pulling away, he checks and shakes his head again. "Dammit… don’t you die on us…" The fifth time is the charm as the pony suddenly sucks in a lung full of air and begins coughing. "Oh, thank God…"
Coughing a few more times, the Earth Pony opens her eye and glances around before seeing Matt, jerking back a bit in fright. "Wha… who…"
Her attention is grabbed by Haze who lays a comforting hoof on her shoulder. "His name is Matt and he’s a friend." She then smiles as she turns to the slightly smiling human. "And he just helped me save your life."
Hacking a little bit, the pony turns to Matt. "You… you did…?" He nods and is about to say something when with a tremendous crash the house’s roof collapses inwards. "My…" She then turns back to Matt and crying hugs him. "Thank you…"
Chuckling, he pats her on the back. "You’re welcome…"
A moment later he feels a large rain drop land on him causing him to look up just as another does. Soon, the sky opens up fully causing the rain to pour down and begin dousing the fires. Grinning, Matt leans back and lets it fall on his face. Haze, for her part removes her helmet revealing her close cropped purple mane. "Oh… now that feels wonderful."
Across the town, the various ponies and humans take a moment to revel in the feeling of the cool, cleansing rain before going back to what they were doing. On the Algonquin’s Bridge, Commander Kerr takes a moment to glance at the town before shaking his head along with his XO. "That’s…amazing…"
The Commander looks at his XO for a moment before nodding. "That it is…" He then frowns a bit. ‘And utterly terrifying as well.’ Hearing a clearing throat, he looks at the injured Pegasus Lieutenant beside him. "Sorry Lieutenant Torch, got caught up there for a moment."
Torch gives him a raised eyebrow with the only one visible before shaking her head. "Understandable." She then looks out the windows herself with a frown. "I am still unsure of this plan of yours though."
Kerr nods with a serious expression. "As am I." He then looks at her and hakes his head. "But it’s likely out best chance to find where these Diamond Dogs came from and where they might have taken their captives."
She then growls. "I shouldn’t have to decide this!" She then shuts her visible eye as a small tear leaks from it. "It should be Captain Greystone deciding this." Several of the Bridge crew alongside the Commander lower their gazes as they remember the report of one of the search teams finding the brave Captain’s remains in the ruins of the local Guard HQ, having died standing his ground in order to give the radio operator the time needed to get the S.O.S out. Taking a breath, Torch opens her eye and looks at Kerr. "But… I am the surviving Superior Officer and it falls to me." Hanging her head, she sighs. "Are you sure that this will work?"
The Commander nods. "It should." Clasping his hands behind his back, he shakes his head. "All we’re doing is placing what cast is needed on one of the Diamond Dogs’ arms, then the GPS tracker will be placed with a metal tube over that. Finally, a fake cast will be placed on top of the tube." He then sighs as he places both hands on the window’s sill and shakes his head. "The fact that it hurt its arm along with the size of the cast means it won’t be able to dig so it’ll stay on the surface and lead us to the rest."
Torch then grimaces. "You’ll have to let it think it escaped on its own though. They’re cleverer then most will give them credit for."
Kerr just nods. "Most foes are."
Torch feels her lips twitch a little before sighing again. "And your reinforcements?"
Turning to look at some papers, the Commander frowns. "The Marines off the USS Enterprise’s Battlegroup will be here sometime within the next four to five hours. And the relief supplies out of Comox will be here within two." He then gives her a bit of a glare. "And you should be resting back in the Infirmary."
Grimacing at her slight wobble, Torch scowls. "My ponies need me."
Kerr’s glare increases. "And you collapsing from your injuries won’t help them."
Torch’s scowl grows and is about to say something when the grizzled old Unicorn Guard beside her, silent up to now, adds his own glare. "Now then Marm, either yeh listen now and head back to the doctors, or I will buck yeh pretty wee behind all the way there."
Torch just glares at him as well as she can through her one eye. "And need I remind you Spruce that I am your Commanding Officer and you’re only a Master Sergeant."
Spruce just shrugs. "And Marm? If need be I can relieve yeh O’ duty and have yeh frog marched down there. It’s yeh choice."
She continues to glare at him. "You wouldn’t." After a moment though as he remains unphased, she sighs. "You would."
He then walks up with a smile before wrapping one foreleg around hers and giving her a look. "Now then Marm, nothin’ the matter with acknowledging yeh own weakness ever’ once in a while." He then looks at Commander Kerr. "I’ll make sure that the Lieutenant makes it to the Infirmary and stays there before grabbing me a spot O’ that wonderful coffee O’ yeh's. And after that, perhaps I can return Sah?"
Seeing the expression, Kerr just nods. "of course you can Master Sergeant."
And with a final nod, Spruce leads the slightly wobbly Torch from the Bridge giving her a talking to. Beside Kerr, Lt. Commander Belhumeur finds his lips twitching. "He reminds me of the retired Non-Coms from the old days."
Kerr just chuckles. "He does at that Mister Belhumeur. He does at that."
Ten minutes out from Hippocampus Bay, 4:31
A little over an hour and forty-five minutes later finds the two Auroras and the Hercules flying through a bank of clouds lit by the setting sun. Leaning back in his chair in the Hercules, the Pilot sighs as he looks at his instruments. "Insane. All of this is insane."
In his chair, the Loadmaster grins as he fingers something in his pocket. "I can’t believe it… Equestria!"
The Co-Pilot closes his eyes and takes a breath to ward off a headache. "You’re never going to let us live this down, are you kid?"
The only answer is for the grin on the Loadmaster’s face to grow as he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a small Twilight Sparkle keychain. "Nope."
The Pilot chuckles some before contacting the Algonquin. "Algonquin, this is Persus Flight. Be advised that we are currently eight minutes from drop zone."
A moment later the Algonquin’s Coms answers. "This is Algonquin, we have you on radar. Be advised that you will be escorted to the drop zone by the locals."
Sharing a puzzled glance with the rest of the crew except the Loadmaster, the Pilot is about to say something when the plane’s radar picks up three objects. Not too long afterwards, three Pegasus pull up beside the plane. The Pilot looks on in amazement before one salutes him. Giving a salute back, the Pilot chuckles. "Algonquin, this is Persus Flight. We have visual confirmation of our escort and are proceeding to the drop zone." He then glances at several airdrop kits with "For the kids" written on them. "Also, we brought some gifts for the little… foals." He shakes his head as the Algonquin answers back and thanks him. Pulling away the radio from his mouth, he laughs a bit. "This is the weirdest week of my life…" Meanwhile, the planes continue on towards the drop zone with their cargo…
Hippocampus Bay, 6:36 PM
Slowly walking through still debris chocked streets, two Canadian Sailors are guiding a large Diamond Dog back to where they’re keeping the POWs. The DD every once in a while turns to look at the two and snarls before glaring at the massive cast on its arm and its various bandaged wounds. One of the Sailors fingers his HK MP5 as he raises his eyebrow. "You should be glad that you were treated at all."
The other sailor nods. "Damn good of these Ponies to even allow that as I know people who would have left you to suffer after what you guys did today." Seeing it trip and fall to its knees, the two look at each other before one of them walks over. "Come on then, get-"
He doesn’t get to finish as the massive Diamond Dog in one movement whips around with a large stone in his hand and smashes it into the side of the sailor’s head causing him to start to fall, before the DD grabs him and flings him bodily into the other. Taking a step towards the two still forms, he stops and shakes his head as he hears voices. He then snarls before running off into the darkness. After a few minutes, the one that got the other thrown into him sits up before looking at the other. "You okay?"
The other just shakes his head a little as he too sits up. "Yeah, I will be." He then chuckles as he rubs where the rock hit. "Even through that shield thing I felt that."
Hearing a snort, they look up to see a Unicorn Guard suspended under a Pegasus Guard. "Look, the shield had to be invisible so it could only take so much from the hit." The Unicorn then smirks. "Otherwise you’d be leaking stuff all over the ground right now. And doing a cushioning spell on top of that isn’t easy at all."
As he watches a Sea King fly nearby as if following something, the Sailor who was hit with the rock grins a bit before reaching into his pocket and pulling out a cigarette. "And I will say thank you for that one." Lighting it, he nods in the direction the DD took off in. "Must be almost out of town by now."
The Pegasus drops the Unicorn beside the two resting sailors as the Unicorn nods. "Probably." He then frowns. "Are you sure it won’t suspect anything? Or try to dig or chew off the cast?"
The second sailor chuckles. "Nah, with the way it was acting, the painkillers are still affecting it and likely will be for a few hours yet." He then shakes his head. "With any luck, the drugs might affect its thinking long enough that it won’t bother trying to dig or chew off the cast. Not to mention there’s no way in hell it’s going to try to dig with a cast like that and I would love to see it try to chew through the stainless steel under sleeve."
The Pegasus grimaces a bit. "It still bothers me though what we’re doing."
The Unicorn snorts as she turns to him before gesturing at the direction the DD took off in. "And how else are we supposed to find our people? Track it?" She then gets up in his face causing him to take a step back. "Those taken are hardly ever seen or heard from again and you know this. We can’t track them overland in the woods because as soon as they know we are, they either go underground or lead the pursuers in the opposite direction of their mines. We got the opportunity to find one of these mother bucker’s mines and by Celestia we’re going to take it!"
The Pegasus then makes a mistake. "Cinder, this pack probably isn’t the one who took your little brother-"
A moment later he’s slammed against a soot streaked wall as Cinder’s snarling face fills his sight, though the tears in her eyes are what causes his stomach to plummet as behind them the sailor smoking rapidly puts out his cigarette. "You think that I don’t know that Wave? That I don’t know that my little brother is likely dead, his bones on some refuse pile out in the woods bleaching in the sun after having the flesh stripped from them by those bastard Dogs?!" She slams him again into the wall as the sailors try to pull her from him. "I swore on my Mother’s deathbed that I would do anything to prevent someone else from having to suffer a loss like that if I could help it."
Finally, one of the Sailors pulls her off him before turning her around and hugging her as she sobs slightly. Wave just slides down the wall and looks away. "I’m sorry. I... I forgot…"
The Sailor holding Cinder looks towards the other and gestures with his head. "It’s been a long day. We should head back and get some shuteye." He then nods. "We’re not helping anyone like this and our job is done."
Cinder just nods her head. "Ye-yeah. You’re right." She then looks at the Pegasus before hanging her head. "Sorry about that Wave."
The Pegasus licks his lips for a moment before shaking his head. "Don’t worry about it. We’re all a little high strong. And…"
Seeing him look at him, the Sailor holding Cinder nods. "Able Seaman John O’Neil."
Wave nods. "And John here is right, we should head back and grab some sleep while we can."
Cinder just nods as she lets herself be lead away. The Sailor next to Wave shakes his head once he’s sure that she’s out of earshot. "Taken during an earlier raid?"
Wave just nods. "Yeah. That was why she became a Guard, to stop it from happening again" He then slams a hoof into the wall beside him. "Horsefeathers, I should have remembered it was taboo."
The Sailor helps him to his feet and shakes his head. "I don’t know… with all I’m hearing about these ‘Diamond Dogs’…"
Wave just shakes his own head. "Not all Diamond Dogs are like this. Most of those here in Equestria are quite nice. But…" He sighs. "But in the more wild areas, particularly this far north, you get holdouts to how they were centuries ago in most of Equestria." He then snorts. "We just don’t have the numbers to root them out." He then takes a breath. "Anyways… we should be heading back…" And with that, the two start heading for the main camp…
Algonquin's Bridge 6:43
Lieutenant-Commander Richard Kowalsky, not-so-affectionately called 'Killer' Kowalsky behind his back by any new green seamen that had the misfortune to come under his purview, stood before the Commander Kerr of the Algonquin. He had begged his CO to just let him take care of the paper work and the communications with the brass back home. He had explained explicitly that he was not good with children. Heck, even the recruits feared him and used him as the boogeyman in stories told to their children. It wasn't that he was mean. Kowalsky just had very high standards for the sailors that were under him and raised hell when his standards weren't met.
Commander Kerr just grinned at his subordinate. “I'm sorry, Richard, but the rest of the command staff have their hands full. I need someone of higher rank to keep an eye on our guests for a while until we can send them back to their families. From what I've seen so far, they are very well-behaved. Even you shouldn't have any trouble with them.”
“But, Sir-” Richard began but was cut off by Kerr.
“Don't make me order you to do it, Richard. Just think of it as a opportunity to learn to interact with some children. You won't be the only one down there. Miss Dish and a few older colts and fillies are helping look after the younger foals. I just need you down there as a representative of the command staff. Now go.”
“Yes, sir,” the lieutenant-commander was now resigned to his fate. He stepped out of the bridge of the Algonquin and made his way to the mess hall where the Equestrian children were being entertained.
One hour later....
His reputation was ruined. He knew it, but Richard Kowalsky couldn't deny the little ones. While most of the foals still watched the movie under the watchful eyes of Dainty Dish, Sprinkles and Starlight, several little ones found themselves drawn to the grumpy old salt. He now sat on the floor against the back wall of the mess hall. Around him were no fewer than three foals snuggled against his legs, two colts and a filly. The coup de grâce however was the sweet little yellow unicorn filly that was curled up on his lap whose mane he gently brushed with his fingers. All four little ponies were happily asleep, their cute little snores melted even his heart as they snuggled against him.
There was a flash of a camera and Richard sighed. Yep, he was never going to live this one down.
Twenty Kilometers from Hippocampus Bay, 7:30 local Time
Leaning back against the wall of the Sea King's bay, Leading Seaman Matthew Anderson grimaces before reaching up and scratching his shoulder through his jacket when a voice rings out. "You're not helping it heal you know."
Glancing at Haze who's lying under a blanket as the Sea King continues its aerial patrol, he grumbles. "Damn thing itches like a bitch."
Haze just rolls her eyes as she grabs her helmet and walks over before plopping herself beside him. "And if it itches, that's good then." She then glances at the shoulder in question before giving him narrowed, questioning eyes. "What are you doing here anyways when you should be in the infirmary?"
Grunting, Matt gives her a look. "At the moment, we're short staffed among the boarding parties. And having to spread ourselves out over the town until the Marines arrive to help out with the security..." He then shrugs. "Besides, all things considered it's a relatively minor burn."
Haze frowns but nods. "As long as it's not serious." She slowly yawns and shakes her head. "Mind giving me some of that coffee?"
Reaching over, Matt grabs a thermos and pours some coffee into a paper cup and hands it to her as he places the thermos back into the mesh bag hanging from a wall mount. "Here you go."
Smiling, she takes it and gives it a sniff before sighing. "If nothing else you humans have great coffee." Shaking her head, she grimaces. "It's been a long bucking day."
Matt just nods, taking a sip himself. "I hear ya." He then frowns. "Any idea what we're doing this far out?"
Haze glances at him as she swallows the coffee in her mouth. "We're looking for possible Guard reinforcements out from Eisenhorn."
Now Matt's frown deepens. "What possibly could have taken this long? The battle happened around noon..."
Taking another sip, Haze scowls. "No clue." She then sighs and shakes her head. "We're underponied up here since what happened with Discord."
Thinking it over, Matt crosses his arms. "They pulled some of you Guard back?"
Haze nods. "Yeah, a number were sent to reinforce places like Canterlot and Manehatten." She's about to continue when the sensor operator calls for her. "Hmm?" Gulping the last of the coffee, she drops the cup into the small bag and walks over. "Uh, is there a problem?"
The woman just gestures at the radar screen which is showing several shapes. "We got several large flying objects heading this way. Any idea what they might be?"
Frowning, Haze looks over the sensor operator's shoulder for a few seconds before smiling. "That's a Hurricane Formation. It's been the best formation used by Pegasus when entering possibly hostile territory going back to when Commander Hurricane invented it more then a thousand years ago."
The Pilot glances back at her, the light from the instrument panel lighting his face as the twilight outside gathers. "You're heading out?"
Walking back into the helicopter's bay, she nods. "Yeah, can't take the chance of them thinking you hostile after all."
Watching as she picks up her helmet, Matt reaches into a package and holds something out. "Here, you forgot something."
Blinking, she looks and chuckles as she sees one of the radio headsets the techs on the Algonquin modified to fit Pony heads and under their helmets. "Thanks, nearly forgot."
He watches as she straps it on and gives her a nod. "You be careful out there, okay?"
Haze stops for a moment and looks at him before punching him in the shoulder making him wince a bit. "Hey, don't get all mushy on me."
He just snorts. "No need to worry about that." He then frowns. "Just the same though, you give the call and we'll be there if you need us."
Opening the door after putting on her helmet, she looks back with a smile and nod. "I know."
She then jumps out of the Sea King and falls for a dozen feet before her wings open and she starts flapping in the direction of the incoming formation. Matt watches for a moment before slowly closing the door. Meanwhile, Haze keeps heading towards what she hopes to be incoming Pegasi, the cold night air flowing across her. It doesn't take her long to reach the incoming formation where she slowly slows as the leader barks out a challenge. "Who goes there!?"
Swallowing, Haze takes a breath. "Corporal Haze of the Hippocampus Bay Guards."
After a moment, the other Pegasus gather around her with one of them (who she identifies as a 2nd Lieutenant) flapping in front of her. "Good to see you Corporal. We were unsure if we would arrive in time."
Shaking, she takes a breath to calm herself. "You didn't. The battle's been over for hours."
The Pegasi jerk back as if struck before the Lieutenant hangs his head. "We were afraid of that... how bad?"
Haze takes a calming breath before answering. "Most of the town torched, and three quarters of the Guard incapacitated. Either dead or badly injured." She then lets a single tear fall. "We still don't know how many of the civilians are dead or taken." She then smiles a bit. "Thankfully, it could have been much worse if a number of friendlies hadn't shown up."
One of the other Pegasi, a sergeant frowns. "'Friendlies?' Were they Griffins?"
Haze shakes her head. "No Sir. They were humans. Real actual humans."
One of them is about to say something when the 2nd Lt. does. "Humans? Here? I thought that they were down at Filly."
All goes quiet as they turn to him. Haze trembles a bit before asking the question on her mind. "You knew Sir?"
He slowly nods. "I did Corporal. Most of the Officers at Eisenhorn knew after we got a transmission from Fillydelphia." He then sighs and shakes his head. "Head HQ in Canterlot gave orders not to say anything so as to not worry the populace." He then snorts. "Though with how many in Filly already know…" Frowning again, he raises an eyebrow. "So they’re in the bay?"
Haze shakes her head. "Not just there Sir. That’s why I’m here."
A slightly surprised expression crosses his muzzle. "Oh?"
Haze gestures with her hoof back the way she came. "One of their helicopters is back that way about five minutes flight from here." She shakes her head. "I was ordered by Lieutenant Torch to ride in it until it either returned with me on board or we met Guard Reinforcements."
The Sergeant from before frowns. "Lieutenant Torch ordered you? What about Captain Greystone?" The sight of her looking away with a slight sob is all that he needs as he hangs his head. "I’m… sorry. He was a good Guard."
Haze just nods as she swallows. "He was… The best…" She then glares at them. "That reminds me…" She starts shouting as all the frustration comes boiling out. "Where the hay were you!? What in the name of Tarterus took you so long Sir!?"
Seeing some of the soldiers under his command muttering, the 2nd Lieutenant holds up his hoof and looks at each member of his group as the Corporal huffs. "She has the right to ask considering what happened." He then turns to her and sighs. "Earlier today, we got reports of small groups of Diamond Dogs, usually no more then ten at most, attacking small communities farther away then Hippocampus Bay. So we sent troops out to secure them. Usually all they did was torch some buildings and run. We were wondering why up until we got your distress signal. At first, we thought that you might have been dealing with another until your signal cut out without an ‘All Clear’." He then scowls. "Bastards knew just how to distract us and gathering up what troops we could took time and with the fear of another raid…"
Haze shuts her eyes and nods. "I… see…" After a moment, she slowly nods. "Anyways, I’ll take you to the copter and from there we’ll head towards town."
The Lieutenant nods and the group follows her silently. Eventually, another Corporal pipes up. "By the way, why were you with the helicopter? And why have you meet us?"
Haze just glances back. "Because they don’t want any bad situations caused by you thinking that they’re aggressors."
The Sergeant just nods. "Smart of them."
Haze just nods before reaching up and pressing the button to signal the helicopter. "This is Haze calling Rover One."
After a moment, she can hear Matt. "This is Rover One. How are things going?"
She just chuckles as the other Pegasi watch. "It’s going good Rover One. One team of Pegasi encountered and am currently bringing them to your position."
She can hear a small snort over the radio. "Understood Haze, we are on the lookout."
She just looks at the others and shrugs. "Don’t want any misunderstandings to pop up…" The 2nd Lieutenant nods as the group continue on their flight…
Hippocampus Bay, Town Square, 7:45 PM
Stepping up to a boiling pot sitting above a small portable cooking station, one of the Navy cooks takes the ladle and sips at the broth before nodding and gesturing at a Unicorn. "Okay, this batch of vegetable broth's done. Could you take it over to the soup station?"
The Unicorn nods as they stop the using the knife they had been working with. "Sure, mind taking over?"
Taking a small bottle of hand sanitizer from his pocket, he squeezes out a bit as he answers. "Not a problem."
As the navy cook takes over chopping the vegetables with sure motions while using the nearby water bottle to wash them, the Unicorn walks up and with a small glow, levitates the now fully finished broth. Behind her, a Earth Pony places a new pot on the cooking station before starting a new pot of broth. As she walks towards the soup station, she takes a glance around the large lighted area they're using. She does winkle her nose a little though as she passes one of the generators due to the smell before shrugging. 'At least we got power for all the cooking we need.' Reaching her destination, she taps one of the Earth Ponies on the flank. "Got the broth here."
Blinking, he turns and nods before gesturing to a spot. "Set it down there. We'll be using that one for the next batch of vegetable barley." Wiping his forehead, he looks around with a slight smile. "At least we got plenty of help."
The Unicorn nods a bit as she glances around herself, taking note of various things including the lineup of Ponies and humans being served food at one point in the clearing. "True." She takes note of one elderly Earth Pony using one of the salvaged wood burning ovens from a wrecked home to bake bread. "Seems like anypony not able to work is here cooking."
The Cook nods as he takes a lid off a pot and sniffs at the steam coming out before placing the lid back down. "Well, that's a good thing after all." He looks up in time to see a small, strange eight wheeled vehicle roll into view pulling a trailer behind it full of various items. "Ah! There's the supplies now."
The Unicorn sighs as she cracks her neck. "Is it okay to take a break? I'm starved."
Chuckling, the cook nods, "Of course Flame, help yourself to anything that catches your fancy."
Watching as he starts trotting towards where the supplies are being offloaded, Flame sighs before cracking her neck again. Looking around, she frowns for a moment. 'Now... what sounds good...?' Still thoughtful, she places her apron on a nearby hook placed on a piece of wood driven into the ground before making her way from behind the cooking stations to the back of the line. Once there, she looks to the side where she can see a large tent being put up to house a group of Ponies. 'Hopefully we'll get more soon and what we need to fix our homes...'
Soon reaching the back of the line, she finds herself to the side an Earth Pony and a Canadian Sailor. The Earth Pony is looking around with a lost expression before she looks up at the sailor. "Are you sure that my daughter is okay?"
The Sailor looks at a small sheet as the line keeps moving beside him. He then nods. "Yes Ma'am. Pinefresh, correct." She nods causing the Canadian to smile as he shows her the list. "She's currently on the Algonquin in the galley." He then crouches down and pats her on the back. "If you want, down at the waterfront we have a boat going back and forth so that parents can head over to the ship to check on their children as well as so that family and friends can go to see any of the badly injured being taken care of in the ships' sickbays."
She blinks. "I can?" He just nods causing her to bite her lip as she looks around. "Could you... take me there?"
The sailor nods before waving at a nearby Equestrian Guard that just put away his meal who starts trotting over. "I can do that Ma'am."
Flame follows the line out of earshot as the Guard arrives and after a conversation nods and together with the Sailor begins escorting the Earth Pony in the direction of the waterfront. The line continues to move and it's not long before Flame reaches the trays and takes one before grabbing a Styrofoam cup of hot tea to ward off the cold night. Eventually, she reaches the food section and sees various pots of stews and soups simmering. 'Hmm... not really in the mood for that...' Moving on she soon reaches the pastas. Looking over the posts, she spies what looks like a pan of something being kept warm by a spell. Sniffing it, she looks at the Unicorn serving it and keeping it warm. "What's this? Looks pretty good."
The Unicorn blinks as he sips from a Styrofoam cup. Swallowing his drink, he answers. "It's something called a 'Pastabake'. It's made from a pasta called macaroni together with chopped vegetables, cheeses, and tomato sauce all baked in an oven. Quite good, particularly with this stuff called 'garlic bread' being served just over there."
Seeing how he's gesturing at a food station where a human is cutting slices from a large loaf of bread, she raises an eyebrow before holding up her tray. "Well, might as well give it a try." As he cuts a piece and places it on a paper plate, she gives him a raised eyebrow along with an amused expression. "So how do you know how it tastes?"
He chuckles before winking as he explains. "Well, see when all this is passed out, there's usually a few small bits here and there..."
Flame just laughs herself before shaking her head. "Thanks for that, I needed a laugh." He just nods and agrees as she waves at him before moving to the next station. "Thanks again!" Grabbing a slice of garlic toast, she makes her way to the dessert station and takes a small cake, though she stares a bit at it. "'Mug cake'? What the hay does cake have to do with mugs? And it's not in one..." She soon shrugs it off as she refills her cup with tea and heads for a "Table" (really nothing more then a few charred boards laid across pieces of stone rubble). Just as she sits down and picks up the plastic utensils she was given, she hears something and looks up in time to see the shadowy shape of a Hercules with it's accompanying Pegasi escort fly over head. Smiling, she turns back to her food and begins to fill her empty stomach...
Algonquin's Infirmary, 7:55 PM
Resting a little, Torch is suddenly brought out of her light sleep by a gentle hand shaking her shoulder. “Lieutenant?”
Grumbling a little, she opens her eyes to find Commander Kerr there before she straightens and salutes him. “Commander.”
He nods a bit with a slight smile. “I thought that you should know Lieutenant that we just received word that Corporal Haze just met up with a Scout group coming here ahead of the main group of reinforcements.”
She nods while grunting a little as she starts to get up. “ Thank you Sir. Who’s the ranking Officer?”
The Commander just raises an eyebrow. “A second Lieutenant apparently.” He then frowns as Torch begins to swing herself to where she can get off the bed. “You shouldn’t be getting up.”
She gives him a small glare. “I am not meeting them on anything but my four hooves and definitely not here where we can be over heard or disturb the others.” Hopping off the bed, she grunts as she lands on the ground. “Have you got a meeting room here?”
Sighing as he can recognize that he won’t win this one (and realizing that meeting them in the infirmary might disturb the resting patients), he nods. “Actually we do have a briefing room that we can use.”
After a few minutes of navigating the corridors, he enters the room in question, only to find a Petty Officer gesturing at the TV mounted on the wall as he looks at the Commander with a serious expression. “You might want to see this Sir.”
Kerr looks up at the screen and bites back a swear as he sees it’s on CTV News Channel with a picture of the Algonquin. “Breaking news regarding the strange landmass that appeared in the Pacific Ocean. We recently received reports that the HMCS Algonquin and its escorts have been involved in a battle while investigating a distress signal originating from the landmass. We also have information that at least two of the ships may have sustained damage and that there may be Canadian casualties, though the number and severity remain unknown as of this time. We can confirm however that several flights originating from Canadian Forces Base Comox have in fact been sighted taking supplies to the unknown landmass. We will continue to monitor the situation as it develops. For now, we turn to our reporter on the scene outside of Comox, BC…”
Outside Hippocampus Bay, 8:05 PM
Ten kilometers away and several hundred feet up, Haze continues to guide the Pegasi scout team towards the town with the Sea King, it's bay door open, flying beside them. All of a sudden, one of the Pegasi shouts as he gestures at the forest below. "SIR! I SEE MOVEMENT DOWN THERE!"
The Pegasi turn and look in time to see a Diamond Dog start lopping across a clearing. Sneering, the 2nd Lieutenant gestures to the others as they ready themselves. "Get you weapons ready, seems that we'll get some blood for our comrades to-"
Haze flies over and shakes her head. "Sir, I'm sorry, but could we just chase it into the trees again. It's important that we don't kill or capture it."
The Lieutenant looks at her strangely. "It's a Diamond Dog. After what they did to the town..."
Haze just shakes her head again. "Sir, you think that I don't know that? I would like nothing more then to put it down like the rabid thing it is. But it's important that it reaches it's destination."
The Pegasi Sergeant looks at her closely for a moment before nodding. "Sir, I think that we should do as she asks."
Pursing his lips, the Pegasus nods his head. "Very well then, we will just chase it into the woods." He turns but looks over his shoulder one final time. "However, once it's gone I want an explanation, is that understood Corporal?"
Gulping, she nods. "Of course Sir!" A moment later the formation of Pegasi along with the Sea King begin descending towards the DD. It doesn't take it long to hear the helicopter's blades or to see it's lights. A moment later, a crossbow bolt wielded by one of Corporals slams into the ground by it's foot, causing it to yelp as it runs as fast as it can across the clearing. Matt then hangs out of the Sea King thanks to the harness and begins firing a C8 towards the DD, frightening it even more. It doesn't take it long for it's quicker pace to let it cross the clearing completely and go into the safety of the trees. The Pegasi along with the Sea King climb back to a few hundred feet. Once there, Haze turns to the rest of the Guard there. "I owe you Ponies an explanation."
One of the Corporals scowls at her. "Dang right you do! What the bucking hay was that all about."
Seeing the others nod (except for the Sergeant who cuffs the Corporal across the back of the head), she sighs. "Okay, short version is that inside that cast is a bunch of human tracking devices. I'm not completely sure how they work, but they use something called 'GPS'."
The 2nd Lieutenant raises an eyebrow at this. "'GPS'? What is that?"
Haze brings a hoof up to the radio and has a short conversation with Matt before turning back to the Pegasi. "GPS apparently stands for 'Global Positioning System'. The devices send a signal way up above the clouds past where we can no longer breath to several platforms hanging up there called 'Satellites'. The 'Sats', as many call them, use triangulation to pinpoint the source of the signal to a few body lengths of where the source is."
All is quiet for a moment before one of the other Guards whistles. "Dang, now that is bucking impressive that is."
The 2nd Lieutenant nods. "That it is." He then turns to Haze. "I'm guessing that they'll be tracking it back to the Diamond Dogs' lair?" Haze nods as the pegasus frowns. "We've tried before with spells, but they usually just dig into the ground, can these work underground?"
Haze has another short conversation before shaking her head. "Not that well Sir. But apparently the plan is that thanks to the casts it shouldn't be able to dig at all."
The Sergeant nods a bit in thought. "True. And even if it meets up with the rest of it's pack, if they take it underground then it'll be fairly close to where the lair is. That alone will give us a damn good chance to catch the buckers."
Haze nods. "As well as help us find and rescue any slaves they've taken." She then shivers some before gesturing at the helicopter. "And it seems that slavery is one of the things that will get them angry, particularly when it involves young ones. And trust me, from what I witnessed during the battle, getting these 'Canadians' angry is something that you want to avoid if you're going to be fighting them."
The lips of the 2nd Lieutenant twitch a bit before he nods. "I'll take that under advisement." Unseen by him, Haze rolls her eyes before continuing to fly. Finally, they come over a mountain come into view of the ruined village causing gasps as the devastation is apparent and while the last few stubborn fires are being brought under control. "By Celestia..." He just shakes his head, his mind having trouble believing what his eyes are telling him. "How... how could the Diamond Dogs do this much damage..."
Haze looks around before scowling. "Because they weren't alone." She then hangs her head and shakes it sadly. "There was a young adult dragon that was leading them." She then points to the harbor. "Whatever is left of it is laying at the bottom of the bay after the human ships blew it apart."
The Sergeant turns his attention to the three ships sitting at anchor in the bay before frowning. "Seems like on of them took quite a bit of damage from the dragon."
The 2nd Lieutenant winces as he spies the twisted wreckage on the foredeck of one of the ships as people work to clear it away. "That's quite the amount they took there."
Haze nods with a light frown. "Yeah, the dragon crashed into that portion of the ship after they blew off it's wing. It was quite... angry because of what happened..."
The 2nd Lieutenant winces again. "I can imagine." He then looks at Haze. "So then, where exactly are we heading?"
Haze gestures to the largest of the three ships. "We're heading for the middle one. The HMCS Algonquin."
One of the Corporals raises his eyebrows at it. "Now that is a large ship! It's huge!"
Haze chuckles a bit before giving them a sly look. "And it's not the largest ship in their navy either." She nearly laughs at the shocked looks before they head out over the water. She then gestures to the Algonquin's helipad. "We'll head down onto the open area there." Gesturing to the Sea King beside them, she continues. "And then we have to get out of the way so that they can land themselves for refueling before they head out." The other Pegasi nod as they slowly make their way towards the deck of the ship below.