Twilight: A.E

by AuburnFlourish

Course of Action

Twilight: A.E.

Chapter Four: Course of Action

The Mayor had been successful in her job, having gathered together every pony in town who hadn't been affected by the anomaly and herded them to Sweet Apple Acres, at Applejack's request. When Twilight Sparkle and the others arrived, they found everypony inside the largest barn, where The Mayor was explaining what she knew from one of the barn's upper balconies. Her tired face lit up with a weak but relieved smile as they entered.
"How is everypony doing?" Twilight asked as she climbed to the upper level with Spike in tow, leaving the others to mingle and gather with their families below. Though nopony moved much, there was a constant low murmur in the crowd as ponies worriedly discussed what was happening. Whether they were saying anything that may help or be new to anypony, Twilight did not know, but she suspected the constant chatter was more likely aimed at blocking out the horrible sound that was still flooding the town. It was still there but quieter under the sound of talk.
"They are understandably scared" The Mayor replied. "But they seem happy that you are on the case of this. Have you anymore news?" Twilight nodded.
"Yes, I do" she turned from the mayor and addressed the barn at large, drawing all eyes upon her. She shuffled nervously from hoof to hoof as a wave of stage fright swept through her, but the seriousness of the situation was enough to stop the torrent. They needed to know what she did.
"Good morning everypony, I'm sorry that we must gather under these circumstances, but I do bring good news..." she began as the murmur died down. She gazed down at the faces below her and again hated to see the looks of fear on the faces of her friends. They all wore the same expression: a sad terror with a hint of hope at the forthcoming words she had to offer them. She feared they may not be enough at this time, but whatever hope she could give them, if any at all, would be enough for now. "Princess Celestia has personally joined me in attempting to resolve the mystery at Town Hall, and I think together we solve it. At this moment she is flying back to Canterlot where she will seek more aid. When she returns it will be with the royal guard, who will be stationed in town to prevent any more disasters" she paused to gather her thoughts and give her audience time to speak, which some of them took.
"What has happened to those poor ponies in town? Can you tell us that?" asked Miss Cheerliee from the middle of the group. A hushed murmur rose through the crowd again as ponies asked the same thing of each other automatically, as if confirming it was on everyponies mind, which Twilight did not doubt.
"From our observations, the Princess and I have determined that whatever it is that has appeared at Town Hall, which we are calling 'The Anomaly', puts anypony unfortunate enough to look directly at it into a trance. At the moment we don't know of any way to free them from it, but Celestia has suggested to me that she may have an idea, which we will put into practice as soon as we can" she gave a sigh of relief at having gotten the worst news out of the way, and she could see acceptance and a little closure appear on the faces within the crowd. This was going in the right direction. She took another breath ready to speak again, but found herself interrupted.
"But I don't see anything down there! When I looked past the crowd, there was nothing to see!" cried a familiar voice. It was that of Sweetie Belle, who was standing beside her older sister. The years since her childhood were beginning to show, as she was almost the same height as Rarity now.
"That we can also explain, the Anomaly is only visible from certain angles, angles which have been occupied by those ponies already caught by it"
"Yeah" continued Rainbow Dash as she took wing and flew up beside her friend, looking down on the crowd. "The Princess, Fluttershy and I all flew over it, and we can safely say that it is invisible from above too" Twilight nodded to her in thanks for the reprieve.
"From this I can speculate that the anomaly is spacial in nature, in that it only seems to occupy one dimension that we can perceive it from..." this time her audience looked at her with clear confusion. Many things change as time goes on in Equestria, but if one thing remained a solid fact, it was that the ponies of Ponyville would never fully understand Twilight when she had her education head on. She rolled her eyes and couldn't help a little grin at this familiar sign, one more piece of normality in an otherwise utterly unnatural day. "It is flat, like a mirror, and can only be looked into from one side. So long as you don't look into it from where it is visible, you will be fine" this elicited a more accepting response from the others and seemed to relieve some more of the initial fear. Once this subsided, the Mayor stepped forward again.
"Thank you Twilight Sparkle, you seem to have learned enough to deal with this problem and save us all!" she said with a broad smile that made Twilight's heart sink. This was not an appropriate thing to have said, and she feared it would undo all that she had so far done.
"Well, no, not yet Mayor..." she said, making the Mayor's smile drop, hard. She turned back to the crowd. "But it's a start, and now that we know how it works, we can work on precisely what it is and what caused it. Then we will be able to stop it" she paused, but briefly this time, so as to not let anyone speak again. "And to do that we will need every pony's help. For a start, we don't know how the others will react when brought out of the trance they are in, so when we manage to do that we will need them to be looked after. It will be too much for the doctors to handle alone, so if we could get some volunteers to help them, we will be able to cope" she looked at the two doctors who were stood in the crowd at present. "Do you think you can set up a temporary hospital outside of the town square to accommodate them?" they looked at each other briefly before nodding.
"Of course, we shall begin that immediately, we still have a few of the medical tents left in the Town Hall, and I shall take a small group with me to set them up" one of them replied resolutely.
"Thank you, any pony willing to help, please speak to the doctor for tasks. Further to this we will need somewhere for the guards to stay while they are here, I don't know how many there will be, but I think it safe to say that Ponyville will be a little crowded for a while" she paused to consider a place that was acceptable, but was beaten to it.
"Ah think the best place for 'em would be out here at Sweet Apple Acres" Applejack spoke up. "There's plenty o' room in the West field, and we'll have enough food for 'em too" she was over in one corner, huddled with her family who were all nodding in agreement.
"The harvest has just passed there, so it'll be clear" an older Applebloom continued. "It's also the field with the nearest route town"
"Eeyup" Big Macintosh agreed.
"Thank you all" Twilight replied. "That would be great, and again, if any pony is willing to help the Apples with this, I'm sure it will be appreciated" again a murmur in the crowd, much more resolute this time with the idea of set tasks to accomplish. Twilight was once more about continue when a deep hitching sound began beside her. She turned in time to see Spike produce a letter and skim read it quickly.
"Excuse me" he said sheepishly. "It's for you Twilight, the Princess is almost ready, and she has one more request before she returns"
"Go ahead Spike" Twilight urged, watching the dragon, who cleared his throat.
"Dearest Twilight, we will be leaving from Canterlot within the next ten minutes, the guard are informed of their duty and ready for departure, and the library has offered up a large number of texts pertaining to the subject we are dealing with. I have also been considering the problem of rescuing those poor ponies trapped by the anomaly. You can thank Luna for the suggestion she inspired later, but I will once again require the help of your friend Fluttershy, who I need to bring as many butterflies as she can from around Ponyville to the town square upon my arrival. I hope things are going well on your part, if this idea works then we will have one less issue to contend with. Yours, Princess Celestia" he rolled up the parchment and held it by his side when he was finished, and Twilight watched him with a small smile at the progress being made, then turned back to the crowd.
"Fluttershy?" she asked, causing the who crowd to turn on the poor mare, who cowered down under the dozens of eyes that turned on her.
"Y... yes, Twilight?" she stammer out, clearly uncomfortable. Twilight felt sorry for putter her in this situation, but had no choice but to continue.
"Do you think you can do what the Princess asked?" the cowering pony gave a slight nod and climbed unsteadily to her feet.
"Yes, I think I can, though it might take a little while on my own" she replied, barely loud enough for Twilight to hear across the barn and over the noise from town, which had become more audible now that no pony was speaking. Twilight looked about the crowd.
"Uh, does anypony think they might be able to help out?" she asked unsurely. There was silence for a moment, before an olive-coloured pegasus with brown and orange hair spoke up.
"I don't know how much good I will be, but I can try to help" he walked over to stand next to Fluttershy. "Just tell me what to do" Fluttershy nodded a little timidly.
"Ok, th...thanks" she turned back to Twilight. "Should we go now?" she asked.
"Sooner the better, I think" she replied and the two pegasi took off. She addressed the crowd in full again. "Right, so those are the tasks we need to do. If some of you could help the doctors with setting up in town, and others of your help the Apples out here, we can have everything ready before the Princess returns. Then, it's just a matter of dealing with all this, but I think if we all work together, we can overcome it. We've never been beaten before" she turned to Spike. "We will head back to Sugarcube Corner to begin some preliminary research, then we'll stop by the medical camp to see how things are going before meeting the Princess at the station, Mayor Mare, can you help the others in sorting into groups then meet us there when everything is complete?"
"Of course Twilight Sparkle, and thank you again for your hard work, I think I speak for everypony here when I say that we are so glad to have you on the case" Twilight nodded.
"Thank you, too" she turned to everypony else. "Let's get to work"