The Trader Emegency Coalition Marines had landed on the planet, first on a dropship launched from the Albertine, and then on Protev frigates. Any Vasari on the ground was immediately hunted down and killed.
There were reports of unarmed Vasari on the ground. They asked her what should be done. She simply repeated the order.
There could be no survivors. She wouldn't, couldn't allow these parasites to live.
No sooner had the last monstrosity died, that the evacuation efforts started in earnest. Protevs landed on the ground, a chain of atmospheric shuttles was established between the On to the Stars and the ground. Thousands of people working as hard as they could.
Rarity herself went down with them, mud and filth be damned.
It was for nothing.
Rarity remembered looking out from the lowered ramp of the shuttle. She remembered the endless rows upon rows of tiny houses. The filthy streets, littered with the occasional corpse that no one had bothered to move from where it had fallen.
She remembered the people. The once proud citizens of the planet reduced to quivering shells. Who looked at their saviors with fear or even worse, not at all. She remembered those who had been utterly broken, who looked on with empty eyes and blank faces and wandered aimlessly, or kept on doing whatever task their tormentors had demanded.
But what she most remembered was the atmosphere. The stink of death, and despair. The utter silence. The hopelessness in every single one of those eyes.
She had known, even then, that this was something that would never leave her. She would never forget it.
She remembered only parts of what came later. Her people trying, trying so hard to get them to safety. She remembered pleading at the terrified people to come with them, that they had to hurry. That they didn't have time before they had to leave...
Why did they stand there? Why didn't they come? Why didn't they see that they had been saved?
She remembered someone -she couldn't recall more than that- stepping forward and into the waiting transports. And then another. And then more. A trickle of people became a torrent.
She remembered the mad dash to evacuate everyone. Every ship they could spare was packed. Cargo ships, cruise liners, corvettes and cruisers, ships of any and all sizes.
They worked themselves to the bone, but it wasn't enough.
They came back.
Far above them, the fleet fought desperately to give the evacuation more time. They worked themselves and their ships to their limits and past them.
The marines on the ground decided to stay behind, so that their transports could be filled with more evacuees.
Nothing Rarity could do would change their mind. The whole bridge saluted them before communications were cut.
Their heroism, also, wasn't enough. The Vasari kept coming.
Down below, someone of authority had been found and had been given a radio. Rarity told him what had happened, that They had to leave now and save what they could, or they'd be destroyed and would have rescued no one. She asked him if there was anything, anything she could do.
The man told her.
There was no time to ask her superior officers. She told her crew and her battlegroup what had been asked of her. She told them that, should any investigation take place, she would take all the blame. No one objected, only Fluttershy said anything, her voice tiny and pained.
After the last ship took off from the ground, the Colonel and she took a pair of cyberkeys from the sleeves of their uniforms, inserted them into slots on opposite sides of the holotable, and turned them in unison.
At the bow, the ion cannon was switched for a magnetic launcher.
There was little ceremony. She had the computer select the target, set it to airburst, and gently pressed the button to enact the final request of the people of Kerferak.
There was a shudder as the three fifty gigaton-yield thermonuclear missiles were thrown out the main gun. Rarity was motionless, her eyes glued to the image of the ground below them.
There was a blinding flash of light. Then another, and another. The autoloader reloaded, and Rarity allowed a second wave of missiles to be set loose. When the last fireball had faded, she asked that the surface be scanned.
There was nothing. They had requested that they be allowed to die free, rather than suffer at the hands of the Vasari once more, and she had honored that.
She ordered that her battlegroup retreat with the others. When they entered phase space, she excused herself and left the bridge, and walked towards her quarters. She got in, and locked the door behind her.
Only then did she allow herself to start crying.