55w, 5dAussie Bronies
Vinyl Scratch watched as HMSIS Dash pulled out of its berth in Port Beagle, sailing north west headed for the Sea of Orange, and the southern entrance to the Said Canal. She smiled and glanced at Whirlwind and Surprise, the fast ship would take them to the entrance to the canal in about 22 hours.
The ship’s Lieutenant Commander was less than happy to see her. Despite paying for the damage done to one of the ship’s guns by shooting potatoes out of it, and taking ammunition from the ship’s arms locker, and leaving money for it in it’s place the last time she had been aboard the ship. Had his orders not come directly from the Governor General himself, he would have flat out refused to let her on board, and would have tossed her overboard when she would have snuck on afterwards. She even promised that she wouldn’t touch anything.
Poor Surprise looked incredibly disappointed after that, after the Lieutenant Commander was out of earshot, promised her that she would make it up to her. The ship needed to be in the best shape it had ever been if it was going to run the blockade the Misr had erected at the Said Canal to keep the welarans and the cheval from taking it.
‘Well, Vinyl Scratch’, said a voice behind her. ‘We’ve just hit open sea. I hope you know what you’re doing with this’.
Vinyl Scratch turned around and gave the kangaroo a bright smile. ‘Benny, you don’t need to worry about me. The Misr aren’t going to see this coming’.
Benjamin Willoughby sighed, shaking his head slightly, and taking a place next to the group. ‘You haven’t changed since the last time I saw you Vinyl’.
‘Course not!’ Vinyl said brightly. ‘Still insane!’ she added with a grin.
Willoughby shook his head. He didn’t know what else he should have expected. ‘Oh, did I tell you who I ran into on my last deployment?’
‘Nope, who?’ Vinyl asked.
‘Princess Luna, Rainbow Dash, and all them’, Willoughby said simply.
‘No way!? Where was this?’ Vinyl Scratch cried out.
‘The prison island of Sainte-Hélène’, Willoughby said.
‘What?!’ Vinyl Scratch cried out in surprise. Both Surprise and Whirlwind looked up and over to the kangaroo.
‘What was Rainbow Dash doing on a prison island?’ Whirlwind asked.
‘ Same thing we’re doing right now, actually. They were on a ship bound for South Island that sank, hoping to find you three and look for Twilight Sparkle, They didn’t know where to start looking, so one of my mates pointed them in the right direction, they boarded a cheval battleship and made for the port of Lisbonne’, Willoughby said matter of fact-ly.
‘Well, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised when they find us huh?’ Vinyl asked.
‘What makes you sure that they’ll find us?’ Willoughby asked.
‘Simple’, Vinyl said. ‘Unlike Equestria, Europa has no native populations of Unicorns. Thus, it hasn’t had the chance to become saturated with magic, now, a magic user as powerful as Princess Luna’s going to be able to home in on any other source of magic, Since Rarity is with them, once we get there, the only other source of magic will be Twilight’, Vinyl’s grin widened. ‘Twilight’s going to be using her magic for everything, it’s what she’s used to, and that’s going to lead us right to her...’
‘You can detect magic from other unicorns?’ Willoughby asked.
‘Not ordinarily, but in a magic-less environment like that of Europa, it’ll be like hearing a pin drop, a pin that’s the size of the moon crashing into the continent’, Vinyl said.
‘That’s a pretty... colourful metaphor, Vinyl Scratch’, Willoughby said.
‘That’s a simile actually’, Vinyl said with a grin.
‘Whatever’, Willoughby said, rolling his eyes.
It was the middle of the next night by the time that the HMSIS Dash entered the Sea of Orange, in range of the entrance to the Said Canal. The Misr had erected several gates at the entrance to the canal. The Dash cut all it’s running lights and continued to slip quietly towards the entrance.
Below deck, Vinyl Scratch, Whirlwind, Surprise, and Benjamin Willoughby were looking out of a porthole. A signature grin began to form on Vinyl’s face, she turned to Willoughby. ‘Hey Ben? Why do they call it the Sea of Orange?’
Willoughby grinned back at her, realising instantly what she was getting at. ‘We’re about to find out!’
With two hundred and fifty metres left before reaching the entrance, the Dash immediately switched on all its lights and opened up with the ship’s single forward hull mounted 102 mm gun, smashing through the gates with a huge bang. The ship floored the throttle, and zoomed off into the canal proper, setting off every alarm in the Misr encampments along the side of the canal in the process. Search lights snapped on and turned directly towards the Dash, fully illuminating the ship in the canal. The ship’s gunners turned their 20mm auto cannons on search light towers, knocking out the lights before Misr anti-tank emplacements could have the opportunity to fire on them.
Surprise was the key of getting through. It was the middle of the night, and it was dark out, if they had any hope of getting through, they would need to move fast, and stay in the dark as best they could.
Getting through the actual canal was the easy part. The hard part would be getting out of it and into the Sea of Europa, passed the Misr fleet, and doing so in a way that didn’t implicate South Island.
As a result, the flag they were flying was the Welaran White Ensign. While such dishonesty was generally not allowed in modern, civilised, warfare, these were extraordinary times, and extraordinary times called for extraordinary measures.
The darkness was the corvette’s advantage. It’s swift speed would allow it to dart through the waters, hopefully without drawing too much attention to itself. The Dash, quickly reached the end of the canal. Here was the real blockade, a dozen or so ships from the Misr navy. While large and imposing, these were older designs built by Welara itself some forty years ago, under armed, under armoured monstrosities, each of them with plenty of weaknesses that modern weapons could blast right through. The Misr fleet had search lights shining out upon the entrance to the canal, searching for the intruder in their waters.
The Dash slowed herself to a near crawl, compared to these ships, the Dash was tiny, not even sixty metres in length, but that was her strength. She was well armed for most ships her size, and could put up with almost everything these Misr junk heaps could throw at her.
A searchlight passed into the path of the Dash fully illuminating the ship for all Misr eyes to see. The corvette hit full throttle once more, barrelling right down the middle of two aging battleships. The Lieutenant Commander watched from his seat on the bridge as the battleship’s turrets began to track his ship, preparing to fire. The Dash slung between the ships, just as the turrets fired, sending a high velocity shell right into the bridges of both Battleships.
Dumb clods. The Lieutenant Commander thought to himself as they sped off into the distance.
They had made their way through the blockade. The Lieutenant Commander sighed a sigh of relief, and ordered one of his jacks to take down the welaran ensign and replace it with one of their own. It would be smooth sailing from here on out.
Night had fallen over Trotterdam by the time that Twilight Sparkle and Heinrich Büchsenmacher made their way out of Trotterdam. Twilight Sparkle barely noticed the road signs as they passed out of the city limits, despite having one of their destination on it. ‘Königsberg, 500 kilometres’. The Capital city of Bundesrepublik Schäferhund, a city where they could be safe from the likes of Pierre La Roche, and the Police Internationale, if only for a little while.
Fortunately for them, the governments of Europa were all highly bureaucratic, parliamentary democracies, most of them with constitutional monarchies, with the only notable exceptions being the Cheval Fourth Republic, Bundesrepublik Schäferhund, and the Cossack Confederation. The former two being republics, the latter, despite its name, a highly autocratic absolute monarchy.
Twilight had not realised just how different Equestria was from the rest of these countries. Equestria was an absolute monarchy, and absolute monarchies weren’t fairing too well in the world anymore. The last one to fall had been one called Hispañia, an absolute monarchy which had been overthrown by a violent revolution, where a republic was founded in it’s stead. República Hispañia, however did not last long, and was politically unstable from the start, another uprising and civil war allowed the Cheval, then as the third republic to swarm in and conquer and stabilise the entire area.
Twilight and Heinrich kept a fair pace, they were both getting tired, but they wouldn’t stop, couldn’t stop. To stop would mean their capture, and they would go as far as they could, for as long as they could.
They had five hundred kilometres to go, and five hundred kilometres they would walk, unaware that they were not walking the path alone.