Strider finished putting the last items into Apple Bloom's saddlebags, before shutting the flaps on it. Zecora hadn't been lying when she had claimed that most of the items would be in a kitchen. They had almost found everything instantly just by looking around in Apple Bloom's family's house.
"That should be it." Strider stated, checking over the list Zecora had made.
"Ok, let's bring this back ta Zecora so she can make that antidote." Apple Bloom said.
The two exited the farm house and began on their journey back to Zecora's hut. It didn't take long before the two began to talk again. Apple Bloom told about her family's farm and business, along with how the farm worked and what her jobs were. She also talked about school and a few of her friends.
Strider hadn't ever talked to the local populations of other planets he had been stationed on, so it was sort of interesting to hear how these ponies were able to live in harmony. It was still strange not seeing any war around him. No firefights, no soldiers stationed around the area, not even war propaganda.
It didn't take long before they had made their way through the Everfree Forest and back to Zecora's hut. However, something wasn't right.
Strider held Apple Bloom back as he noticed that the front door was wide open, along with the sound of crashing from inside.
"Apple Bloom, stay here. I'm gonna check it out." Strider instructed, raising up the DC-17 Pistol and began to approach the hut.
Strider leaned against the wall next to the door frame and peaked inside, before sighing. He looked back at Apple Bloom and waved his hand forward, signalling her to come over.
Apple Bloom went over to the entrance and entered the hut, Strider following. Inside, the other ponies had come to take matters into their own hooves. Twilight Sparkle was currently shoving her head against Zecora's as they growled at each other. The whole place was also completely trashed, with masks scattered on the floor, broken bottles hanging from the roof, and the cauldron in the middle of the room had been knocked over, spilling out its contents.
"Are we interrupting something?" Strider asked.
Everyone's attention quickly went to the Trooper as well as Apple Bloom. Twilight was the one to speak up first.
"Um...maybe?" Twilight said.
"Why are y'all attack'n Zecora?" Apple Bloom questioned, trotting over to the zebra's side.
"Because she's an evil enchantress who was gonna turn you into soup?" Twilight stated, slightly confused.
Silence followed that statement for a few seconds, before Zecora and Apple Bloom began chuckling. Strider couldn't help but chuckle a little himself.
His chuckling quickly halted when he noticed something lying on the ground. Strider let Apple Bloom explain the situation while he walked over to the object. If this was what he thought it was, then he had less time than he thought. Strider pushed a few pieces of paper off the object, before sighing with relief.
It was just a strangely shaped broken bottle. From a distance, it had looked like an arm of a B1 battle droid. Strider set the bottle down and stood up. He looked over his shoulder to see the group apologizing to Zecora, before smiling.
The group soon began to funnel out of the hut, leaving Apple Bloom and Strider alone for a few seconds, before they also left, Strider shutting the door.
Unknown to Strider, resting under a pile of books, was a banged up B1 battle droid head, its blank robotic eye sockets staring out into the room.
Strider parted ways with the group as they went towards Ponyville, while he changed course towards Fluttershy's cottage. He still had plenty of work to do on the Gunship, and he was sure Apple Bloom was now in safe hands, or hooves.
The Trooper soon ended up back at the Gunship and climbed up into the cockpit. He sat down in the pilots seat and booted up the monitors.
"Alright, diagnostics scan." Strider muttered to himself as he activated the scan.
The monitor showed the image of a progress bar which quickly filled up. Once the bar was reached the other side of the box it was in, it faded away and was replaced with some text.
"Hmm, yeah still need to attach the wings. Front canons are a lost cause. Other then that, we're good to go." Strider stated, patting the monitor.
The Gunship was getting closer and closer to being flyable. And once it was, he could fly to that city on the mountain and talk with the Princesses about the war. Then, he could fly the Gunship back to the Republic.
For some reason, those last words seemed to drag against Strider's mind. Then, six words rang through his ears that no clone should even think of.
"Do I want to go back?" Strider wondered, but quickly shook the thought away.
Strider was loyal to the Republic, he wouldn't abandon his brothers as well as the code he lived for. If he just stayed on this planet then he would be preforming treason, and treason was something no clone could afford to do.
With that thought in Strider's mind, he hopped down from the cockpit and went over to a tool box. He opened the box and grabbed some tools, before heading over to where the left wing was resting. But the more Strider thought about it, the more he began to realize just how kind these ponies had been to him.
Did he want to return to the battlefield just to line up and be shot down like his brothers? That was what he was made for after all.
Strider took off a bent panel from the wing and set it down besides him, before looking up at the calm blue sky. No gunshots, no canons blasting, no screams of pain, no death.
Strider slapped himself on the helmet, causing his wondering mind to halt.
"You are a soldier of the Republic, you will fight for it, or die trying. That's the code." Strider told himself, getting back to work.