Taking the griffon rifle in her hooves, Scootaloo shouldered it and aimed down the sights. She used her firing hoof and moved it towards where the trigger was, this time being able to actually touch it. The trigger felt rather strange, it being a lot smaller than the one on her service rifle. She then dry fired it, finding that the trigger was also a lot lighter than what she was used to.
None of this came to be a surprise to her as this rifle had been made for use with hands.
Looking back to her savior, she found that he was staring at her. "So... What are you?" Scootaloo asked.
He raised an eyebrow and stared back for a second. Finally, he opened his mouth replying with an answer that only served to irritate her. "Does it matter?"
Scootaloo sighed and took in his appearance. Maybe she'd find something that would give her answers. Now that she was closer to him, she noticed a small, rectangular strip of cloth attached to the upper chest portion of the vest that he was wearing. "Tran? What's that?" Scootaloo asked.
"My name." came the reply.
Finally, something helpful! Smiling, Scootaloo quickly said, "What kind of a name is Tran?" The question had actually seemed to confuse the creature but only for a slight moment. When he didn't answer, her smile faded. "So what group are you with?"
The 1st Cav? Scootaloo had never heard of that group before. Thinking even more about it, she realized something very important. The only nations that allied themselves with Equestria were the Crystal Empire and the Zebra Republic. Neither of which had a uniform that was even close to what he was wearing. Speaking of uniform, above his name tag was a grey, square patch that had a very familiar symbol on it. It was the rank insignia of a sergeant, three chevrons stacked, but his was pointed up instead of down.
Scootaloo doubted that this was a mistake. Whatever group or nation he was with, Scootaloo knew nothing about. "So what gun is that?"
He didn't respond verbally. Instead, he turned around and started walking away. Frowning, Scootaloo followed after him but stopped after a few seconds. She realized something very important, the rifle that he had given her was still empty and she had no ammo for it. She still needed to scavenge ammo! "Wait!! I still need to grab some bullets!"
Scootaloo followed the creature that had saved her, rifle slung over her shoulder. She didn't know who he was or where he was heading but being alone would only be trouble. "Where are we going?" Scootaloo asked.
"Out of the city" came the reply.
Scootaloo started running and got ahead of the creature, stopping in front of him. He stopped walking, staring at the pony obstructing his path. "We can't leave the city!" she exclaimed.
He stared back for a second, giving the statement a thought. "And why not?" he asked.
"Because that's treason!" Scootaloo replied with an exasperated tone.
"For you, it is" he replied with no change in emotion as usual.
Stammering, Scootaloo's thoughts were conflicting with each other. Going alone was a bad idea. That was clearly evident when she was almost captured by the griffons and minotaurs. However, Baltimare was her place of duty and desertion was punishable by firing squad. "But I can't go by myself!" There was no real way to get anything out of this situation.
"And why should I help you?" he asked back. He was right. He had no reason to help her. Whatever he was doing or supposed to be doing, it was more important than protecting or escorting a random soldier of the Equestrian army.
Without any response coming from Scootaloo, he walked past her. Scootaloo didn't bother following him and stared at where he used to stand, listening to his footsteps as he proceeded to leave. "Discord, why'd you have to die?" she asked herself. Discord's sacrifice was important. Tirek had been eliminating Equestria's forces faster than they came. His death was followed by a further escalation of hostilities and Equestrian losses. The most serious being the griffons had managed to finally get an almost-permanent stronghold in Equestria. Three of Equestria's major east coast cities were now in griffon control.
Then, she noticed that the sound of footsteps had died. Turning around, she noticed that the creature was just standing there. He was still facing away from her but was simply standing there. "What did you say about Discord?" he said, still facing away from her. "That was he was dead?"
Scootaloo was surprised. When Discord had died, every single major nation on the planet had known. A god's death, no matter how much of a pain he was, would be world-changing news. "Everypony knows that he died fighting against Tirek."
He turned around to look at her, showing the first real emotion that Scootaloo had seen from him. While only being a very minor change in facial features, she noticed that he was starting to get angry. He had started to grind his teeth subtlety, a few veins on his neck and head had started to bulge out, and his eyes had narrowed. "When?" This wasn't a question. No, he was demanding the answer from her.
"Six months ago" Scootaloo quickly replied. She really did not need to be the target of his anger right now.
He started to grind his teeth more visibly and tightened his grip on his massive rifle. After a few seconds, those signs started to disappear. The tight, crushing grip on his rifle had disappeared, the veins on his neck stopped bulging, and he had closed his eyes. "Where in this city is your group stationed?" he asked as he started walking again. Smiling, Scootaloo followed after him.
My eyes shot open. Looking around, I found myself lying down on a cold, hard surface. I shot up into a seated position, finding it a lot harder to do so than I thought. Looking down at myself, I found myself fully clothed and wearing a full set of IOTV body armor (including both main trauma plates, both side plates, the groin protector, lower back protector, throat protectors, neck protector, and both deltoid/arm protectors), an ACH, a war belt, and a full combat uniform (specifically the fire resistant flight uniform). All of it was in the digital ACU uniform.
First off, why in God's name was I wearing a full set of this IOTV bullshit!? With all of the pieces, it is one of the most annoying things that you can ever wear!
Second off, where am I? I was sitting in a blank, concrete room that had no windows and only one door. Strangely enough, there were no visible lights in the room but I could see clear as day. The only other thing in the room was a pelican case, one that was meant for a rifle, sitting to my left. Pulling the case closer to myself, I opened it up.
Much to my surprise, it wasn't a piece of military hardware. Instead, it was a civilian target rifle. What was more surprising was that it was my own personally owned rifle. I wouldn't mistake it for anything else.
I was still sitting down on the ground so I moved the rifle from the case to my lap. Turning it over, I found more evidence that it was my own personal rifle.
The rifle in question was a Savage 112 Magnum Target, a long range target rifle in .338 Lapua. The most noticeable feature about the rifle was her grey laminated wood stock. The second being that the scope on it was the most massive thing in existence. Seriously, it was a 4-50x75mm rifle optic. On a .50 BMG rifle, it would look sensible. On this thing, it overshadowed the rifle. Further complimenting the rifle was a small bipod that could be folded up or extended to be longer. A simple two-point sling was also on the rifle. Said sling also functioned as an ammo bandolier, holding ten extra rounds.
The Savage 112 was a pretty good rifle but improvements could be made. For one thing, it's a single shot rifle. This forces you to savor your shots. Another note, it weighs 12 pounds. This might be due to the fact that it's a target rifle.
Holding my hand over the ejection port, I grabbed the bolt handle and worked it. This resulted in a round jumping out of the rifle and into my hand. Holding it up to my eyes, it's appearance told me that the projectile was 250 grains. The bullet's other features were a nice, sharp point, and an immaculate case. This meant that it was most likely a match round, something more accurate though I could have been wrong. Since that was all I needed from the examination, I loaded the bullet back into the rifle.
Looking back at the pelican case, I found a note.
I have recruited you, along with others, to assist the Equestrian nation in her time of need. She is at war and she is losing. While this seems unprecedented and rather forceful, I was forced to do as so upon learning of the possibility of my death. While this seems crazy, you are now on another planet. Upon leaving the room, you shall notice this. I'm sorry that I had to do this but the need to protect my friends is of the utmost importance. Please protect my little ponies.
What kind of a joke was this? On another note, how in God's name did they manage to get my hunting rifle from home? Taking the rifle off of my lap, I set it back on the pelican case. Let's see what else was I left with.
The first thing I checked was my IOTV. In addition to having all of the optionally worn pieces, it had a numerous number of pouches to it. There were 3 double magazine pouches, the IFAK pouch, 2 flash bang pouches, two grenade pouches, and two canteen pouches. There was no surprise when I found a canteen in each canteen pouch.
Inside the IFAK (Improved First Aid Kit) was your standard issue medical kit with a few extra items. There were two CAT tourniquets, two Israeli bandages, a roll of gauze, a roll of medical tape, an airway kit, 3 packs of QuikClot gauze, and 4 pairs of medical gloves.
Then, I opened one of the grenade pouches and found an M67 fragmentation grenade. Upon pulling it out of the pouch, I nearly dropped it as my heart started to race. This wasn't a fake grenade. In my company, I was one of the armorers and a certified ammo handler. THIS WAS A REAL GODDAMN GRENADE!!! Hell, it looked like it just came right out of the storage canisters that they came in. Jesus, it even had the safety clip that tightly held the spoon down.
Holding the grenade as tightly as I could, I unscrewed the fuze head off of the grenade. When I saw that the fuze was also real, my heart skipped a beat. It got worse when I saw (and smelled) that the inside of the grenade was indeed filled with Comp B. Opening up the other grenade pouch, I found a second grenade. Upon taking it apart, I found that it was also real.
I reassembled the two and stowed them back in the grenade pouches. I didn't want to be caught carrying them but just leaving them here would be irresponsible.
After that, I opened the two flash bang pouches. There were two revolver speed loaders in each of them. Holding one of them up, I noticed the red tips of the bullets that filled the speed loader. I also noticed that the rounds were in a caliber that was beyond all logical reasoning. What caliber? .50 caliber. Yep. They were .500 S&W Magnum rounds.
Why did I have these?
Then, the double mag pouches were next. The first one held a simple bundle of 550 paracord. The second pouch held a bundle of .338 Lapuas. There was thirty rounds total, held together with a rubber band. The last pouch also held a bundle of .338 Lapuas, also made of thirty rounds held together with a rubber band.
Lastly, was the war belt.
On the left-hand section of the belt? A recipient for the speed loaders. Yep, it was a S&W Model 500 along with two more speed loaders. Drawing the hand cannon, I found it to be the same case as the Savage 112. It was also my personal firearm.
Hitting the cylinder latch, the massive cylinder dropped to the left. This revealed that it was loaded and upon pulling some of the rounds out, I determined that it was real ammo.
Why did I have this as well? Let's say that I actually did have to fight in a war for someone else. I would definitely not choose a .500 S&W! There are a million things wrong with it like the five round capacity, the massive recoil, or its weight.
The revolver itself was as big as you could guess. If someone told me that it wasn't designed for shooting someone but for clubbing people to death, I'd believe them. My personal S&W 500 had a 6.5" barrel and rosewood grips. It was something that I had bought solely for large game hunting. Well, that and watching cocky people attempt to fire it.
On the right side of the war belt was a folding pocket knife (boring but practical), a non-serrated kabar (also boring but practical), four pairs of ear plugs (pretty straightforward), and two more tourniquets (you can never have too many tourniquets!).
Lastly, I went through my uniform's pockets. There wasn't much. The front pockets of my pants yielded two packs of gum (mint flavored and sugarless). In one of my ankle pockets, my wallet. The last item I found was a small notebook that was living in my right cargo pocket. The notebook, it held a bunch of dope cards (imagine a chart stating ballistic corrections).
That was all there was.
Picking up my Savage 112, I walked over to the door. Said door was a meter and a half tall and the door handle was too low for me to grab normally. Crouching down, I grabbed the doorknob. Turning it, I slowly pushed it open.
The scene in front of me absolutely confused me. There, in the open 100 yards away, stood 4 griffons and 2 minotaurs (all six of which were technicolor!). Noticing that all six of them were armed, I tried to take cover back in the room that I had recently exited. When my back hit a solid object, I turned around to see that the door had disappeared. Standing in its place, a brick wall stood.
I was shocked but only for the shortest of seconds. Looking around, I took cover behind some concrete rubble. All six creatures were facing away from me but being safe never hurt anyone.
I set my rifle down on the ground and looked through the optic. With the help of my rifle's absurdly powerful optic, I made out more of their features.
All four griffons wore dark grey uniforms (no helmets) that were covered in a series of pouches. Their weapons all consisted of some form of long guns, possibly bolt action rifles. Size wise, they all seemed to be the size of large dogs with the mastiff coming to mind.
The two minotaurs, they wore dark blue uniforms (also no helmets but that might be due to the horns that they had). Their uniforms were covered in pouches but were also covered in belts of ammunition. Both of them were giant. Their bodies, while covered in cloth, were bulging with muscles. It didn't help that they were double the height of the griffons nor the large machine guns that they were armed with.
It seemed that the six of them were... Shooting at a pillar? You know, it kinda reminds me of... They were assaulting an individual position!
One of the minotaurs walked over to the pillar and seconds later, walked back out. Following the minotaur was a... Small orange horse in a dark brown uniform?
I lifted my head up, rubbed my eyes, and looked back through the scope. Yep. That was indeed a small orange horse in a dark brown uniform.
You know, I don't think this was a prank anymore. That, or I'm dreaming.
Thinking back to the letter, I remember the part where it asked me to protect m'y little ponies'. Well, let's see where this takes me.
I grabbed the bolt handle on my rifle and drew it back, checking for the telltale sign of a loaded round. When I saw the brass, I pushed the bolt forward and chambered that round. Digging through my war belt, I took out a set of earplugs and stuck them in my ears. A .338 Lapua Mag was not quiet.
Looking back through the scope, I centered the reticle on the minotaur's chest. As I started to pull the trigger, the minotaur had picked up the orange horse, pony thing. Before I could stop myself, my rifle fired.
To my surprise, the minotaur's head had exploded. Huh. I guess my rifle was zeroed for a longer range.
I worked the bolt of my rifle and ejected the spent casing. I almost forgot that my rifle was a single shot rifle. Grabbing a single round, I carefully slid it into the chamber of my rifle. Closing the bolt, I started adjusting the elevation of my rifle's optic. Let's hope it was enough.
Taking aim again, I searched for my next target. I found the second minotaur and placed the reticle on his chest.