Applejack patted the ammo pouches of her webbed gear. "Look, ah don't got much ammo left," she said before drawing her Peacemaker. Applejack opened up the loading gate of her revolver and gave the cylinder a spin, checking each of chambers.
Rainbow Dash sighed. "I'm in the same boat as you," she said. "We're gonna have to head back to Fort Platinum." She looked at Tran and the two other humans. "The three of you shouldn't follow us."
Scootaloo gasped. "What? They've been helping us this whole time!" she protested.
Tran snorted. "Your little blue friend here shot me, thinking I was one of the enemy. It's not a good idea," he explained.
Scootaloo looked up at the person who had saved her earlier today. "So what will the three of you do now?" she asked.
Tran and Eric exchanged looks while Logan started chuckling. "We're making this shit up as we go along," Logan said.
Tran nodded in agreement while Eric facepalmed. "We'll think of something," Tran said.
And so, the three humans left.
All three of us hid in a destroyed apartment building. While it was moderately unsecured, it would have to do for now.
Eric sat down and took off his helmet. A second later, his rifle was on the ground. "So, plan of action?" Eric asked.
Logan scoffed. "What can we do? There's only three of us and I've never served," said Logan. To emphasize the point, he grabbed his hoodie/jacket with a free hand.
I placed my rifle on the ground, unfolding the bipod to do so. "And we aren't exactly set with the best equipment for war," I said while drawing my S&W 500.
Eric pulled the magazines out of his carrier's pouches. "Let's start with how much ammo we're carrying, not already loaded."
"Little bit under 60 rounds for the .338 and a little over 30 for the revolver" I replied.
"5 thirty rounders for the AK and 40 more rounds for the R8," Eric said while drawing his S&W R8.
"100 rounds for the Mosin and 3 mags for the pistol," Logan said.
Eric adopted a puzzled expression. "Pistol?" Eric asked. In response, Logan drew his pistol and held it out for him. ".45?" Logan nodded in response. Eric holstered his revolver and took the tan pistol. "An FNX 45. Not bad." Not bad indeed. Who else can argue with a pistol that holds 15 rounds of .45 ACP? Hell, it's not even stupidly large like most other double stacked .45 pistols. Eric handed the pistol back.
I pulled out one of the grenades from my vest. "I also got a pair of these."
Eric stared at the grenade in my hand. "So we don't have much to work with, eh?" He was right. We were just three people with less than 500 rounds of ammunition between us.
A voice that didn't belong to any of the three of us cut through the air. "Maybe you need some help." All three of us had our sidearms aimed at the source in a heartbeat. Standing there, at the gunpoint of three spooked humans, was Scootaloo. As expected, she jumped at the sight of the guns. "Whoa! Take it easy."
Eric groaned as he lowered my revolver. "Why the hell are you sneaking up on people in a war zone?!" Eric yelled.
A smile grew on my face. "I see that you're still acting like a stray cat," I immediately said. Scootaloo, who was starting to get tired of this shit, adopted a frown once again. "So why did you follow us?"
Scootaloo walked into the room and sat down with us. "I thought the three of you could use the help," she replied.
Eric looked up and down at Scootaloo's small frame. "How old is the minimum enlistment age?" he asked.
Scootaloo, upon hearing the question, started to shift around. "Sixteen," she replied.
Eric folded his arms across his chest. "And how old are you?" he immediately asked.
Scootaloo blinked a few times upon hearing the question before replying with, "Sixteen." Eric raised an eyebrow. "Fourteen, but I can still shoot a rifle!"
I looked at the rifle that she had slung over her back. It was definitely small, especially when compared to Logan's Mosin (comparing it to my rifle would have been absurd). However, it seemed large in her hands (hooves?). The revolver she had scavenged was definitely too large for her to comfortably use (even though it uses an anemically small round). "Yeah and that's pretty much the only thing that you can do," I said.
She scowled at me. "What's that supposed to mean?!" she demanded.
I chuckled at her anger. "Are you gonna carry me to safety if I get shot or take shrapnel in my legs?" I asked her. I knocked on the ceramic plate in my IOTV. "Because I have nothing but cloth covering my legs."
Her scowl disappeared. "N-no," she stammered out.
I scoffed. "So what are you going to do after you run out of ammo? Being a soldier isn't only about shooting a rifle." The circumstances to how we met definitely come to mind.
She looked dead into my eyes and said, "So what?" She took the rifle off of her back and set it down on her lap. "I'll think of something."
I groaned upon hearing her say that. Well, at least there's four of us now.
Rainbow Dash filled the cyan pouches of her webbed gear with much-needed ammo. For Rainbow Dash, it wasn't a long process. Her customized webbed gear, light and composed of only a few pouches, made resupplies fast.
But Rainbow Dash would still have to wait for Applejack to finish resupplying herself. "Come on, let's go" Rainbow Dash said. She flared out her wings in irritation, only to fold them back up against her body. Something inside of her was radiating with pain. No doubt it had relation to getting shot, twice.
Applejack paused and glared at her. "I'll slow down if yah need me to, sugar cube," Applejack angrily said.
Rainbow Dash groaned. "Uuuggghhh."
A high-pitched voice cut through the air, clashing heavily with the current attitude of the room. "Hiya, Dashie!" Rainbow Dash found herself lifted into the air and hugged to death by a pink pony.
Rainbow Dash felt pain flare up in her chest again. This time, it was a hundred times worse and a scream of anguish left her mouth. Pinkie Pie, surprised, immediately dropped her. Almost immediately afterward, a loud but still very soft voice chastised her. "Pinkie!"
Fluttershy shot over to Rainbow Dash's side and immediately started to strip the cyan uniform off of her. "You've been shot, twice!" Fluttershy said upon finding two massive bruises and impact patterns. Fluttershy's yellow hooves gently touched one of the bruises causing a gasp to exit Rainbow's mouth.
Rainbow Dash slapped away Fluttershy's hoof. "It's nothing," said Rainbow. Fluttershy gave Rainbow a motherly look, the disappointed kind that could melt steel beams. "Okay, I'm a little hurt."
The disappointed look grew stronger. "You're going to the infirmary!" Fluttershy said while keeping up with the disappointed look. Before Rainbow Dash could protest, a sedative had thoroughly removed any ability to resist.
Applejack chuckled as Rainbow was carried away by two nurses with a stretcher (where those two came from, we may never know). Applejack turned to look at Pinkie Pie who was also chuckling. "So let's go find Scootaloo!" Pinkie Pie cheered.
Still chuckling, Applejack said, "Oh we already found her!"
Pinkie Pie gasped. "Where?!"
Applejack then realized that only the two of them were present. "Motherfucker."
Pinkie Pie graduated from chuckling to laughing. "Looks like she gave you the slip!" Applejack frowned at Pinkie Pie's amusement. Eventually, Pinkie Pie's laughter started to die down. It continued to slow down until tears were the only thing that remained.
But then, the tears kept on coming. Applejack's frown disappeared when she realized that her beloved pink party pony friend was crying for real. "We're using child soldiers, Applejack! We're using them and we're okay with it!" Pinkie said between sobs. Applejack wrapped her hooves around Pinkie Pie and pulled her in close. "This war needs to end."
Outside, the artillery assaulting Fort Platinum stopped. That only meant one thing, an immediate assault directly from the front.
Twilight knew this and she was already filled with a sense of dread. No matter the result, there was one absolute truth. For both sides, the casualty list would grow. The only thing that could treat the sense of dread was to try to limit how many Equestria's casualty list would grow and even then, it wouldn't do much.
Rarity knew exactly what Twilight was thinking about. She lifted a hoof and started patting her back. "It'll be alright, darling. Whatever you do, we know that you're acting with the best intentions."
Twilight sighed before hanging her head. Using her magic, she floated a piece of paper in front of Rarity's eyes. After a quick read, Rarity's eyes widened. Rarity's own blue magic surrounded the paper as she read it over and over. "Dear, please tell me the 'and' is meant to be an 'or' in the last sentence."
Twilight shook her head.
Rarity took the paper in her hooves. After a few seconds, she finally said, "Well, this is seems to be a rather unfortunate turn of events." Rarity looked at the paper once more, hoping that she had misread it. "An aerial Jaegar AND a war chief were spotted?" Rarity asked, hoping that she was wrong.
Twilight nodded again.
The Griffon Empire's air force was known for having the most powerful air force (hard to compete with a nation where literally everyone can fly). Most griffon aerial combat fighters were on par with Equestria's dogfighters. Unfortunately, they also had the numbers to dominate most aerial battles.
Experienced griffon aerial combat fighters were known as hunters. Most were simply griffons who were lucky enough to have survived more than a month.
Then, there were the ace hunters. Ace hunters were the aerial combat fighters and they actually knew what they were doing. The reason they survived was skill. The average ace hunter had at least six months of aerial combat experience.
Then, there were the Jaegars. Jaegers were the cream of the crop, the best of the best, and the ones that everyone feared. Each Jaegar had survived the war from start to present, a couple having been aerial combat fighters before the war had started. Out of the entire Griffon Empire, only 17 Jaegars had been identified. They were pretty easy to spot since they wore a red scarf that fluttered when they flew around. No griffon else wore those red scarves
How dangerous are they? One Jaegar was once solo-scouting the Wonderbolts Dogfighting Academy. Since he was deep in Equestrian territory, he was spotted quickly afterwards and three Equestrian dogfighters were dispatched. In the ensuing dogfight, the Jaegar dominated and got away with intel that compromised the Wonderbolts' dogfighting training process.
Who were the three Equestrian dogfighters that were dispatched against that one Jaegar? No one important, just Spitfire, Soarin, and Fleetfoot.
Wait, those three are important. They were three of the top Wonderbolts and dogfighters in the Equestrian air force!
One Jaegar. One lone Jaegar had defeated three of Equestria's best dogfighters in combat.
This defeat was the first time Spitfire had been knocked out of the sky and was the first time she was crippled in the war. It eventually led to the end of her dogfighting career.
Soarin's involvement in the dogfight also led to the end of his dogfighting career. Like Spitfire, he was also crippled but he lost more than his ability to fly fast. His right wing and left arm had to be amputated. The left arm was now just a stub that started at the elbow while the right wing was completely removed.
Fleetfoot's dogfighting career was also finished but she didn't have to worry about being crippled. Currently, she is one of the most famous war heroes of the Equestrian military. Fans who visit love often bring her gifts, like flowers. She can't really do anything with the gifts, they just pile up around her grave.
War chiefs were minotaurs and they were just as dangerous as Jaegars. Before this conflict started, a war chief was a minotaur who led a group of other minotaurs to hunt down various/random monsters. Examples include manticores, hydras, or dragons. In a few rare examples, they would hunt down these monsters by themselves. Now, they fight ponies in a war. Whether it was for fame or fortune, they were to be treated as a very large threat.
They were typically armed with the same equipment that they used when hunting monsters. Their rifles were usually chambered in a large caliber and the actual users themselves were pretty good shots. They were also pretty hard to kill, armor was something they definitely believed in and it was very good armor. While it was an outdated armor design (basic plate armor), it could easily stop the slash or bite from a manticore.
War chiefs were accompanied by the same group of manticores that they hunted monsters with. Their party members were similarly equipped, but they were nowhere as capable.
On his/her own, a war was as capable as a full platoon of troops. A war chief WITH their hunting party (6-20 members) was as dangerous as an entire company of troops. From previous observations, the war party almost always surrendered once their leader was killed, no matter the number of members left in the party.
Unlike Jaegars, war chiefs were more plentiful. At least a hundred distinct war chiefs (and their accompanying parties) had been identified. Each one had their own armor design with the leader wearing a fancier version.
Rarity blinked. Her mouth opened and she uttered a single word. "Fuck."
A singular griffon hovered high in the air, watching his fellow brethren assault the Equestrian's beloved fort. This war had lasted a lot longer than it should have. In the two years that he had served, he had personally witnessed the death of thousands of his brothers in arms.
He placed his clawed hand on his red scarf. This war had lasted long enough. No longer did he care about which side would win, only when the war would end.
Two years, he had been chasing down pegasi dogfighters and systematically murdering them. Those young faces of those he defeated, he would remember forever. Two years, he wore his coat. Magically enchanted and bullet resistant, the coat protected him. Two years, his rifle and pistol had been barking fire. The loud call for death, always hungry for more victims.
It needs to end.
Life was good.
Fort Platinum was being assaulted and his brothers were with him. These ponies had definitely proven themselves to be a challenge, providing a very good hunt. Just how many of them would he get today?
His brothers were ready for battle.
Twelve brothers, he would entrust them with anything. Twelve brothers, clad in armor immune to any puny pony gun. Twelve brothers, armed with weapons good enough to kill manticores. Twelve brothers, ready to die.
The Raider clan will prevail.
The hunt begins.
Another battle, another glorious adventure...
Two years ago, he wouldn't have doubted that. Two years ago and his hunting party would also still be alive. When the last member of his party died two months ago and left him alone, it was then that he knew that it was time for him to finally leave this war. Of course, it ain't always that easy.
If he were to quit now and return home, he'd be branded a coward and the deaths of his friends would be blamed on him. If he wanted to leave this war, he'd have to be wounded.
That'll never happen. The only unprotected areas on him are his arms, legs, and face. Can't get shot in the face (if I have to explain why, how you survived this long is the more important question). If he gets hit in the arm or leg, no one will bat an eye. Why not the torso? His armor was too protective. Nothing the ponies were armed with can punch through it.
What's it take for him to go home?
He wanted to finally hang up his armor!
He wanted to pay homage to my fallen comrades!
He wanted to rest!
Logan aimed out a window and carefully surveyed the streets of this strange city through the lens of his Mosin Nagant's small optical scope. The PU scope was only a 3.5x optical zoom, but it was a million times better than using simple iron sights (no offense Simo Hayha). Now, it was time to pick out a target.
The twelfth floor of a building was definitely a good vantage point. It was high enough to give him full view of the griffons' and minotaurs' assault on the ponies' fort. A bird's eye view as they say.
Logan wasn't alone. Eric had decided to pair up with the fool and act as his spotter. Turns out, Eric had a pair of binoculars.
"I think we've got something" Eric said.
Logan gave an aside glance at Eric but didn't remove his cheek from it's weld to the buttstock of his rifle. "Where?"
"One up in the air, four away, long coat and red scarf" Eric replied.
Logan found the target. "Eyes on us?"
Eric's darted his eyes around the field in search for anyone. "Nope."
Logan pulled the trigger.
I felt something impact my chest. A rifle round judging from how hard the impact was.
My eyes scanned the general area of where it came from just as the sound of the gunshot filled my ears. Easily four hundred yards judging from how long it took the sound of the gunshot took to travel to my ears.
Logan just took his shot. My turn.
Scootaloo and I had chosen a different building from the building that Logan and Eric was posted in and we were on the fourteenth floor. It wasn't too far away from Logan and Eric's building in case we had to meet up again.
Scootaloo didn't have any form of optical device (Eric you lucky bastard) but since she was native to this country, but she could help me identify targets. Scootaloo gasped. "Down in the streets!"
I aimed my rifle down at the streets and saw nothing. "Where?" I asked, still looking through the scope of my rifle.
"Down there, like four blocks away!" Scootaloo answered.
I wanted to facepalm so bad. "Give me a distance."
"I don't know, three hundred meters?" Scootaloo finally said.
There, in the street, was a group of minotaurs. There was thirteen of them in total and every single one of them was covered in very shiny, heavily decorated plate armor. One of them, of the thirteen, had a set of armor that was gilded with gold (Well that's one way to stand out).
"It's a war chief!" Scootaloo said. "Take out their leader!"
"Anyone looking in our direction?" I asked.
"No, just shoot him already!" Scootaloo impatiently said.
I placed the reticle of my scope on their leader's chest. Maybe he should have worn something that was more inconspicuous.