Hours later, in the dead of night...
The full moon shone brightly, illuminating the entire area. As if responding to the moonlight, crickets had begun their evening song. Bathed in the light of the moon, everything was visible.
Like a ghost, he crept through the area, leaving no sign that he was there, save for his shadow appearing a few times...He made it to the base of the small cliff. The smell of charred vegetation and smoke filled the air. He shifted his gaze upwards as a small noise caught his attention. He quickly looked back down as a few rocks and dust fell from the top. He swung around and pointed his rifle at the top of the cliff, expecting a foe. He flared his nostrils in annoyance as a small squirrel scurried down the steep surface. He put his back against the wall. With a flick of his fingers, the safety on his rifle was off. Silently and swiftly, he scaled the cliff wall until coming across the bridge. He moved under the bridge and prepared to vault over. But to do so, he would have to put away his rifle, and there was no way he would go into a possible firestorm without some protection. He hung the rifle on his shoulder and unholstered his pistol. He reached over the railing and grabbed on with his right arm. With a quick tug, he was sent soaring through the air, pistol in position and ready to rain a little hell on any enemies below. His speed started to drop, and he knew he would be falling soon. Like clockwork, his legs prepared to absorb the force of the impact. He met the ground with a roll which ended in a low crouch. He aimed at the other side of the bridge, just to be safe. In vain, as it turned out. He reholstered his pistol and reached for his rifle. After getting a firm grip on it, he began a slow crawl up the hill. Stealth was vital. He could not be seen. Not only because it would jeapordize his life, but also because he was supposed to guard the library. Normally he wouldn't come back, but the worried look on Fluttershy's face and the tears forming in her blue eyes was too much, even for him.
He reached the summit. Nothing was there, save for ash and burned wood. Aside from the smoke, he could smell something else. Cooked meat. He sighed, the only sound he made all night. He wondered why he was suprised, he had been on SAR missions before, and most of them ended badly. But he had never left a man (or animal, in this case) behind before and he wasn't about to start. He knew he had to move fast. He was on the top of the hill, no cover, fully illuminated by the moon, and a huge forest right behind him. This was an extremely bad position. A flicker of motion caught his eye, followed by what sounded by a cough. He followed the sound to a small pile of wood. After placing his rifle on the ground, he removed the wood to reveal a small black rabbit, wheezing and coughing. He gently picked up the rabbit.
"You alright little guy?"
The rabbit coughed a little, the shot him a look that said:
"What do you think, genius?"
Wolf gave off a small smile. At least this SAR mission was a success, even if the one rescued wasn't the nicest of types...
He got up and was about to walk away with the rabbit when something caught him colmpletely off guard.
He turned around, unholstered his pistol and aimed in the blink of an eye. Before him stood a cloaked pony, amber eyes showing in the moonlight.
"Who the hell are you?"
"I'd answer, but you really don't need to know..."
Wolf tensed up and began to gently squeeze the trigger. The unknown pony saw this.
"Relax, I'm not here to hurt you."
"Then what do you want?"
"I want to make you an offer."
"What kind of offer?"
"The kind only an idiot would refuse."
The pony sighed.
"My boy, you really don't know when to listen do you?"
"Not really. Probably because I'm usually the one giving orders. That, and I can't say I like you very much..."
"Believe me, the feeling is mutual."
Wolf huffed in response.
"All right, I'm listening."
"You've caused us a lot of damage you know...Normally I wouldn't be doing this..."
"Get to the point."
"No chit-chat huh? Straight to the point eh?"
He let off a soft chuckle, followed by a short sigh.
"I like that..."
"I don't have all night."
He paused for a moment, then continued.
"I'm offering you your life."
"You go back in the thing you came in, stay in for a couple months, then come back out. I'll guarantee your safety, and I'll even provide assistance fixing the damn thing."
"And what would possibly compel me to get back in my ship and fly away?"
The pony smiled snidely at him.
"I understand that...But why would you want me in my ship all by my lonesome?"
"You don't need to know."
"I'll tell you what I think...I think you want me out of the way so you can go whatever the hell you want, then take me out in my sleep."
The pony frowned.
"So, you can take your deal, and shove it!"
He frowned even more, then huffed again.
"Son, I really wish you would have just accepted..."
The hood of his cloak retracted, revealing a horn. It started to glow, then the unicorn vanished in a flash of light. He was left alone on the cliff. It was quiet. Too quiet... Acting on a hunch, he turned around, facing the Everfree forest. A blue glow eminating from between the trees, followed by rustling in the bushes.
"Oh not again..."
As quickly as he possibly could, he grabbed his rifle off the ground and dove off the edge of the cliff once more. He was followed closely by a volley of blue arrows. As he was falling, he heard something extremely familliar. Gunfire, and lots of it. But he had different things to worry about now. Like the fact that he was hurtling to the ground at a high speed...
He hit the ground with a thundering crash, followed by a loud groan as a sharp pain ripped through his leg. He looked at his left leg to reveal a large piece of wood sticking out of it. That wasn't the least of his problems. A small pillar of smoke rose from the ground from where the arrow had hit it. He looked up to the edge of the cliff to see at least two dozen unicorns on top, their horns glowing and ready to unleash a hail of arrows. With a quick leap fueled by adrenaline, he ducked behind a large root. More arrows flew over his head. He looked to the rabbit.
It replied with another look, this time one that said:
"Like hell I am."
The tone in his voice was more than enough to send the rabbit scurrying away to safety. Wolf sighed, followed by a roll to the left, bringing him into a decent firing position. With a quick pull of the trigger, his rifle was spewing rounds at a high rate of fire with pretty good accuracy.
Since 2342, mankind had replaced the old style rifles with magnetic accelerators, railguns to be short. They proppeled rounds the same size as the old ones at much higher speeds, increasing accuracy without trading for high rate of fire. As the bullets were proppeled by magnetic coils within the chamber of the weapon, bullet casings were no longer needed, allowing for increased ammo capacity by putting more rounds where casings would normally go. They also had another advantage. Since the rounds were going faster than the speed of sound, it would be extremely hard for something to avoid one. If the bullet goes faster than the sound it makes, how could you know it was coming?
He dropped at least half of the unicorns, but more were coming. Not only did they fill the gaps the others left, but more began to circle around, trying to flank him. Another arrow came over the right side of the root, grazing his shoulder. In response, his used his under-barrel grenade launcher. A few screams of pain followed the explosion. But they were still coming. He couldn't hold them, and he knew it. He emptied the rest of his magazine on the top of the cliff. He pulled out a fresh one from the small bag he had with him.
He looked back inside the bag. A small radio was there, along with a couple of smoke canisters. He grabbed the radio.
A sickening silence from the radio.
He grabbed his pistol and began to fire over the root.
"You can control Hunter drones remotely right?"
"I need one fully loaded here ASAP!"
"Roger, assuming direct control."
Red Dawn Hangar 6
A fully loaded Hunter drone came to life. It's engine hummed as it charged up, causing the drone to begin to rise from the ground. It's missile's primed and ready, it's 24 mm bottom-mounted cannon spun a little on it's 360 degree mount. A few beeps eminated from it's front, followed by a loud roar as it soared forward into the night sky.
Back at the cliff...
"Hunter is in the air, ETA 90 seconds."
"I don't have 90 seconds!"
He pulled the pin on a frag grenade and lobbed it somewhere behind him. He followed with a short burst from his rifle, sending three more unicorns to their grave.
"Sam, I'm surrounded here, hurry up!"
The skies above Ponyville...
Rainbow Dash and two more Pegasi were running a late night check on the weather. Nothing out of the ordinary.
"All right team, the skies are clear, let's head back."
A low rumble in the distance.
"What was that?"
"Are there any storms scheduled for tonight?"
"Nah, we'd know about if there was, Cloudchaser."
The rumble was growing louder and louder.
"It's getting louder Dash..."
"Aw, suck it up Flitter." Cloudchaser teased her.
The Hunter stormed between them, leaving them falling a bit in it's wake. It executed a barell roll with precison timing, missing them by inches. Rainbow Dash recovered first, followed by Flitter, then by Cloudchaser.
"Nice recovery Cloudchaser."
Flitter stuck her tongue out at her, getting back at her.
"Oh shut up Flitter..."
They both turned to Rainbow Dash, staring into the distance. They both asked her at the same time.
"What was that?"
"I don't know, but it sure wasn't on any schedule..."
Cliff side, The Root, 34 seconds later...
"Standard orbit achieved, maintaning altitude at 25,000 feet."
"Copy that Sam, popping smoke at target site! Give me an Avenger right through it!"
He bit the pin of the canister straight off and tossed it behind him. He knew it would reach the cliff side.
He could hear the smoke hissing out of the canister, giving Sam a clear target. A light mettalic clang followed by a loud hissing sound left him puzzled. Terrified, he turned to his right to see the canister right next to him, letting out it's red smoke.
"You have got to be fucking kidding me..."
He grabbed it and tossed it to the bottom of the cliff. He ducked under the root.
"This is gonna be close..."
He was cut off by a loud explosion, the missile striking the bottom of the cliff, disintegrating it and sending the unicorns perched on top falling to the ground. Wolf coughed as the dust from the explosion settled. He looked up to the drone.
"Sam, that was too close!"
"Apologies sir, I was just following the-"
She was cut off by a series of loud beeps.
"Missile lock, missile lock."
"Missile lock?! Out here?!
"Sam, flares, flares!"
A small hatch opened on the tail of the Hunter, spewing flares to attempt to shake the missile. It worked. The missile followed the flare.
"Sam, knock out the launcher if you can see it!"
He didn't even have to say it. A missile slammed into the forest, turning the missile launcher to scrap. A series of loud bangs followed. Tracer rounds lined the sky, most likely from a mobile AA gun. IT was short lived as another missile slammed into the forest. Wolf took off the pin from the second canister and threw it behind him.
"Sam, I need you to service targets north of the smoke, in the treeline!"
Three missiles hit the forest, unleashing massive explosions. Most of the entrenched unicorns were most likely dead. But there were still some on his left and right side.
He opened a flare.
"I want you to put some 24 mil rounds around the flare, you got me?"
"Sir, you are too close."
"I know that!"
"Rounds incoming, stay down..."
A hail of deadly cannon fire fell around him, causing dust and ash to rise from the ground like a geyser. A few moments later, the storm ended.
"Thermal imaging shows all clear, sir, remaining targets are retreating."
"Roger that, I'm moving in, keep an eye on the scope for me."
Wolf began a slow limp to the top of the hill and into the treeline. He pushed aside the remaining debris and moved further into the trees. Shards of metal and corpses littered the ground. As he approached the former missile launch site, he found objects on the ground that puzzled him. He picked one up. It was a gun. Identical to an AK-47 in fact. What were these doing here? How the hell could they get century old human weaponry? A loud yell interrupted him as a large eagle standing on...Lion legs holding one of the rifles charged him, intending to hit him with the back of his rifle. As it came down upon him, Wolf grabbed it with his left arm. Without a moments delay, his right arm punched the creature right in the face, stunning it for a moment. Wolf took the chance and grabbed hold of it's head. With a huge ammount of force, he slammed it's face into his rising knee. It fell to the ground, lifeless. He inspected the corpse. It looked like an eagle crossed over with a lion...A footstep caused him to turn around, pointing his rifle at a large white Pegasus clad in golden armor.
"Whoa! Take it easy, we're Royal Guards!"
"Took you long enough to get here..."
"What the buck is going on here? We got reports of explosions coming in from all of Ponyville!"
"Ask these guys..."
He pointed to the dead creature. The Guards face froze.
"Uh...A few weeks ago, an emmisary from the Griffon Kingdoms came to inform us that four legions of the Griffon Army had just...dissapeared, and they took a hell of a lot of equipment with them..."
"So you're saying we've got an army of these guys just running around, right?"
They didn't speak a word. A few dozen Royal Guards appeared to handle the cleanup.
"You guys wouldn't mind giving me a ride back, right?"
Wolf sighed. He wolud have to explain this to Twilight. It was going to be a loooong night...