Apples, Tanks, N' Badflanks

by ultra1437

4 - In Soviet Russia, Ponies Carry Vehicles!

Shortly after calming down, Celestia and Luna make their way back to the camp. Security had certainly been tightened, but not heavily. Bipeds walked around the fence, scanning the area for any possible intruders. The big buildings’ doors were all open, all the other Abrams tanks were nowhere to be found. Their airplanes were filing out of their large buildings. The sisters watched in awe as one at a time each quickly accelerated and took off with a rolling start on the ground, much like a pegasus foal does when they first learn to fly.

“Wow.” Celestia gaped in awe at the sight before her. “Look, the flaps on their wings and tails! That’s how they control how they fly!” Celestia pointed out, gasping like a schoolfilly, their problems momentarily forgotten as they watched a ground-bound species fly.

Luna looked on excitedly, watching a plane take off that looked like the strung-up one she planned on borrowing. It accelerated and took off, but didn't nearly match the other planes’ speeds. ‘I wonder why that one is so much slower than the others? Maybe it's much tougher or something.

After a few minutes of watching the planes fly around in various formations, they started to plan. “Alright ‘Tia. I think if we cast an invisibility spell over ourselves, we can get in. How do we get something that size out, unnoticed though?”

“Could we wrap an invisibility field over the plane and levitate it out? While it's bigger than the tank, it appears to be much lighter, because it can fly.”

“I doubt it. The spell is limited by surface area, not weight, remember?” Luna reminded her sister. “You're thinking of teleportation, not invisibility.”

Celestia put a hoof to her forehead. “Right, sorry. We might be able to teleport it out of the building, but we'll–”

“–Garner their attention as it suddenly appears outside its building, all on its own.” Luna interrupted her sister, shooting down their plan.

“Then I still say we try a pair of invisibility spells. I cast one over us, and you cast one over the plane and we carry it out telekinetically.” Luna sagged a bit at that. “Sure it’s large, but lifting it should be the easy part, and I can focus on that more, only having to maintain an invisibility spell over us.” Celestia looked over to Luna as their options dwindled.

“If we must, we must, ‘Tia.” Luna looked to the sky, judging how much time they had before nightfall. “We have at most a few hours to get it, else we will be forced to wait until tomorrow.”

Celestia turned back to Luna, after watching another plane take off. “Alright, sister. I don't like this idea much more than you do, but this is one of the only ways I can figure of us getting in, getting the plane, and getting out without resorting to violence.”

Luna sighed heavily. ‘‘Tia is right. She almost always is. I do not know why I doubt her, even now.’ “You are right, but if the locals do somehow find us, what do we do if they become violent?”

“If we can, we should try not to hurt them. If they prove too much to handle, we leave the plane and run. I doubt they will, but just in case, we will teleport back to the Abrams. Will that suffice, sister? I do not wish to harm them, if we can help it.” Celestia met Luna's eyes, searching for her approval with a determined look on her face.

“I suppose it is the best we can come up with, at this point. I am ready to go when you are, sister. Though, I do not wish to tarry, with as much energy as we will likely use, I am expecting to be fairly famished by the time we are done.” Luna met Celestia's gaze before standing up.

Celestia followed suit and they nodded to each other. She cast her spell over both of them, and they took to the sky. Though to everypony else they were invisible, both sisters could still see each other clearly. ‘I’m glad that Starswirl managed to work this little feature into a group invisibility spell, otherwise we might have just flown into each other.

They landed a short distance from the first building they checked the previous night. Luna leaned over and whispered to her sister, “Are you sure you still want to do it this way, ‘Tia? We could just think up a new plan and come back tomorrow.”

Celestia shook her head and whispered back, “I don't think so. If we get it now, before they can reinforce their security any more, this should be pretty easy, if monotonous, work.”

Both ponies rounded the corner and saw two guards standing outside the open doors. ‘You do not see us… please do not see us…’ Luna chanted in her head as they tiphooved as quietly as they could into the building. Neither guard reacted to their presence.

Inside the building, the single plane was still suspended in the air, but nopony was around. “It appears we are in the clear now, mostly.” Luna jumped as her sister's voice whispered into her ear.

“‘Tia! Do not do that! I nearly fell over!” She harshly whispered back. She regarded the plane and the box next to it. “We may... have a problem, sister. I see this plane in two pieces. It would be much easier to carry out in one.”

Luna looked over the two pieces, along the middle, the bottom of the plane was open, and it appeared the other piece would slide in, nearly perfectly. It would be a tight fit, though.

“‘Tia? I believe I may have found how the other piece fits into the plane.” Luna looked over to her sister, seeing Celestia flipping through a book. She wandered over, looking over Celestia's shoulder.

“I believe I discovered much the same, sister. This book details a lot of the weapon sitting over there, and how it fits into the plane.” She pointed to the drum, then to the middle. “The large part fits behind the cockpit, whatever that is, and the long end runs down underneath and sticks out the front a little ways. There's even a few diagrams here to show where its secured in place.” Celestia led Luna over to the weapon, and pointed to a few holes where it bolted to the plane.

“If we are to attach this weapon to the plane to carry them both out, we will have to be quick and silent about this,” Luna spoke. “If you can lift it into position and hold it there, I should be able to secure it in place. Though, I do not know if it will ever come out again, without somepony having to replace the mounts on both the plane and weapon.” Luna knew that she would have to melt the mounts together to keep the fix quick, lest the guards at the door hear and decide to investigate.

“That is fine with me, sister. We just need it to hold up until we have time to affix it properly.” Celestia passed Luna the book, for her to look through the diagrams. “Let me know when you are ready, Lulu.”

Luna got into a spread-legged stance, evening her weight on her hooves. “I am ready, ‘Tia. Let's get this done quickly and quietly.”

Celestia followed suit and the weapon was soon lifted into the air, slowly. Celestia grunted a bit, thinking the weapon's drum would be much lighter. She moved it underneath the plane, orienting it the way the book showed them. As Celestia lifted it into the frame, Luna lit her horn, shifting the weapon slightly, helping Celestia guide it into position.

As it finally slid into position, Luna hit each mount with magical bolts of heat. The heat they produced fused the mounts together, and the weapon was secured in place. After dousing each with a bit of ice magic, to cool and solidify them, she nodded to her sister.

“You may let go now, ‘Tia. It is in place.” Celestia nodded, and let her telekinesis fade away. The chains and cables holding the plane up groaned and protested quietly, but held. Both ponies looked to each other as it groaned a little more. “‘Tia? You may want to help support it. I do not think those cables were meant to hold its whole weight. I will cast the invisibility spell on it, and we can retreat quickly.”

Celestia nodded and the plane was lifted slightly, taking its whole weight herself. She was surprised how much it weighed. ‘How does something this heavy fly so well?

Luna grabbed the book and tucked it into a panel before closing it and noting which one it was. She cast the spell, even with her magical strength, she spent much of her magic to just cast the spell. “This spell is much more costly than we had realized, ‘Tia. I have roughly five minutes before I can no longer maintain it, let us make haste.”

Celestia poured a little more power into her telekinesis, and lifted the plane out of its mounts, grunting slightly with her effort. Luna unhooked the cables and left them hanging. Celestia could not run because of the strain from her spells, and Luna couldn't carry her. “It looks like we're walking, Luna. Let us hope we can get out before time runs out.”

Slowly, both ponies turned and made a beeline for the exit. Luna leaned into Celestia to help support her. She wanted to help alleviate the load Celestia was carrying, but helping would shorten the time they would have to escape.

Celestia leaned down and whispered, “Is there any way you could help? This plane is quite heavy.”

Luna shook her head. “No, ‘Tia. If I helped you lift it, it would drastically reduce how much time we had before the spell fails.” Both ponies quieted down as they neared the door. Celestia looked back, and kept guiding the plane out the doors, making sure it didn’t bump anything inadvertently. Once clear and a minute later, both ponies had made their way back toward the fence they'd flown over. Celestia spread her wings and flapped twice experimentally. Her eyes widened.

“Luna? Carrying this much weight, I cannot fly. We must either make a hole or go around.” Celestia looked to her sister, and found Luna scanning the fence for the nearest exit. Finding one a good distance away, she pointed it out. “We could use that one, but it would be a close call to make it into the woods,” Luna explained. Celestia merely nodded and started walking over to the exit. Two minutes later, they arrived at the gate, and Luna whispered, “I am nearly out of strength here, ‘Tia. We must make haste.” Celestia increased her gait as much as she could manage, and they made their way out into the woods.

A minute later, Luna stopped in a clearing and sagged. “That is it, sister. This is as far as I can hold the spell up. Hopefully, this will be far enough.” She let her spell fade, and the plane was visible again, sheathed in Celestia's golden glow. Celestia set the plane down in the clearing's edge, and let her invisibility spell fade as she leaned against a nearby tree herself. Both ponies panted lightly, and as they caught their breath, a single loud grumble escaped one stomach.

Celestia looked over to Luna, whose face now was more purple than blue. “I told you I would be hungry after this, ‘Tia. I hope we can get some food soon.”

Celestia looked around, scrutinizing the nearby bushes. “I do too, sister, and from our surroundings, we may have to scavenge from the trees and bushes. I don't want to raid the natives’ food supplies. We don't even know if we could eat what they can.”

After a few minutes, both ponies had rested and caught their breath. “Are you ready to continue on, Luna?” Celestia stood, and she lifted the plane a few feet off the ground as she looked to her sister.

“I am, sister, though I doubt I'll be of much help with carrying the plane. I have not recovered much,” Luna replied, looking down at her hooves.

Celestia walked over to Luna, before sitting down and resting a wing on her back. “Of course not, you silly filly. What we both need is some food and a good rest. When we get this plane back to the tank, you can rest while I go and gather us some food.”

Luna looked back up to her sister before nodding. “Alright, ‘Tia. Let us make our way back, then.” Both ponies stood and made their way back to their campsite.

Celestia set the plane down next to the tank. “I shall rest inside the tank, sister.” Luna tiredly climbed into the Abrams, laying down to sleep. Celestia followed, only to snag the two coffee mugs and the coffee maker’s carafe.

Celestia nodded as she turned around. “Alright, Lulu. Have a nice rest. I will return soon with food.” Luna's stomach rumbled at the mention of food, and she blushed again. Celestia giggled and hopped down, off the tank and strode deeper into the forest.