by Reese

Random Old Fallout Equestria Thing (Blog 2019-12-14)

    Pegasi group below at 1 o'clock.  I signaled message received, then looked away from my wingmate's light signal and off to port.  Yeah, there they were: two battered sky tanks and a smattering of fliers alongside, flying nap of the earth.  I could barely see them even when looking; the pilot of the Hirundo that'd joined me after our respective flights disintegrated had sharp eyes.  They'd almost certainly seen us already; neither my Acinaces nor the older Hirundo were designed with stealth as a high priority.  The fact that they were keeping to the retreat despite our presence and the battle we were coming from was good...

    I looked ahead at the mountain gap that marked the old border with Equestria.  The sky around and past the gap was entirely clouded over; some effect of our weapons, or some trap by remaining Equestrian forces?  Either way, I didn't like the idea of flying any closer to it than necessary. I glanced back down at the pegasi, then picked up my own light signal through the fabric of my oxygen mask, presumed in command of our makeshift detail by virtue of being the one with the newer plane.  A few flashes got attention.

    Wait for radio signal, then bank starboard as if returning, then dive attack.  Missiles at the tanks, then guns at the freefliers if you can hit them.

    Message received.

    Light signal stowed, radio on.  The oxygen mask didn't exactly make talking easy, of course; apparently the next redesign was going to be much better, assuming that the next generation fighters wouldn't just be robots, but of course now... I could make do, though.

    "Looks like there aren't any targets around, and I don't like the look of those clouds.  Let's head back and regroup."


    We both began a bank.  I stole another glance down at the pegasi; if they'd decrypted our transmission, they weren't reacting as far as I could see.  Nearly directly belo--

    The Hirundo was beginning its dive already.  I swore and slammed my right forehoof over and twisted my hindhooves on the pedals, throwing the plane into a flip that became a dive, then a power dive as the motion of my left forehoof sent the turbojet behind me into a louder roar.  Poor communication...

    As the older plane released some rocket or missile that I didn't have time to identify, I swung the control bit into position and tongued frantically.  The 'Missile Locked On' lights on the panel in front of me went from red to green, and I tongued the fire control, trusting in the robotic guidance systems.  The plane shook briefly as my own two bundles of smoke-trailing fire-tailed death streaked ahead, down, and then it was time for the fine work. I rolled the plane sideways in the dive, lined one of the just-now-scattering pegasi up in the crosshairs, elevator up to lead the--

    The Hirundo's rocket hadn't hit the tanks or the pegasi, but it hadn't needed to; instead, it'd flown between the two tanks and detonated there.  The Djinn balefire-tipped air-to-air rockets exploded into a rainbow-sheened green fireball; one of the tanks and several of the freefliers were engulfed, the pegasi vaporized and the tank's armor peeling back like cardboard.  The other tank fared better, but only just, careening, on fire, towards the ground as its radiation-sick crew tried to get out. One of my missiles had made it through the fireball to hit its target, though, and blew the damaged tank apart in midair.  Maybe the Hirundo ought to have been in charge after all...

    No time for that now, though; nearly all of the freefliers had been pretty badly hit by the radiation wash (which we probably hadn't fully escaped at this range either), but a lucky glance and guess sent my jet spinning away from air that got shredded by gatling beam fire an instant later.  I squeezed off a cannon burst in the general direction of the largest remaining group, then leveled out into a high-speed run and turn, trying to come around for another pass. I'd lost all track of what the Hirundo was doing.

    More beams cut the air around me as I weaved randomly and, so far, luckily.  I pulled a high-g flip that sent me straining to stay conscious, and then the pegasi were in front of me again.  And some of them were much, much too close and closing fast, gatling beams firing! Aileron roll with cannons blazing...and I was alive!  I'd even gotten at least one of the pegasi, which I knew because they'd left a bloody dent in my port wing. And that was not the only damage; as I tried to climb, seeing with relief the Hirundo diving down on the pegasi wheeling around to pursue me, air howled through a hole right next to my right foreleg.  I was losing hydraulic fluid through the holes in the starboard wing, and from the warning lights and the changed sound, the turbojet had lost a few blades.  It looked like the new engine was holding together for now, but if I didn't get out of the air soon I might have to bail out. And with pegasi in the sky, my chances would not be good.

    I turned around, the action already noticeably more difficult, and scanned the sky.  It looked like the pegasi had mostly fled, been shot down, or succumbed to radiation exposure, but there were still a few harrying the Hirundo, which looked like it had one of its engines on fire.  I dove, lined up my shots, and watched in satisfaction as the two soldiers I'd aimed at fell.  The remaining few broke off and made of the old border as fast as their wings could carry them; I considered pursuing, but the noises my airplane were making convinced me to start scanning for a flattish place to put down instead.

    The Hirundo's pilot wasn't even waiting for that, understandably; a small figure shot away from the flaming fighter, then began drifting down after a successful parachute deployment.  I looked off in the direction the pegasi had flown, wondering if I ought to wait to provide cover, but there was no sign of them by this point. And I'd probably have to get the landing gear down manually at this point anyway.

    The terrain below was reasonably well recovered from the earlier battles that had scarred and scoured it, but there were still some good clear areas left.  None of them looked like safe enough impromptu landing strips, though, even assuming that they weren't minefields... The Acinaces was designed for as much air superiority as we could manage on what we had, not to land in random fields.  With a sign, I angled the plane towards the softest-looking patch of trees around, shut off the engine, said a quick goodbye to the faithful vehicle, and pulled the ejection level.

    Considering how frequently our pilots had to use them, it was both good and no surprise that we'd gotten good at building ejection systems.  I shot away to a safe distance, started falling, and then got gently jerked into a safe descent as the parachute opened. Below me, my plane hit the trees and at least did not burst into flames, though the extent of the damage was hard to see from here.  Off to the side, I caught a light signal from the other pilot, now atop a nearby hill. I pulled out my own signal and sent that I'd meet them there... and there then was nothing to do but wait to land and try to steer myself towards the safest landing spot closest to the hill.

    And after that... Back to whatever forces of ours still remained, I guessed.  And maybe once we got back and debriefed, the shock would wear off and I'd get my head wrapped around what had happened...

    I wasn't looking forward to that.