Of Steam Gears and Wings

by RavensDagger

Captured and Crashed

“It’s going to ram you!” screamed a familiar voice over the comm.        

Sweetie Belle was knocked to the ground as the ship shook. Shelooked behind her in time to see Pipsqueak disappear through the floor hatch. Desperately, she scrambled towards the wheel and attempted to steer The Crusader, but she was far too late.

Beyond the view-port, the gigantic frame of the Conformity was quickly approaching. With startling clarity, she saw the enemy ship’s forward blade slicing into the skin of The Crusader’s gas bags. Sweetie Belle froze, unsure of what to do. Before she could make up her mind, she was thrown across the room and landed in a tangled heap of limbs and hooves. The ship spun around and lifted suddenly, as if freed from a large amount of weight. Sweetie grabbed onto the wheel and hung on for dear life as her own ship tried to kill her.

As suddenly as it began, the bobbing and spinning stopped, and she felt the ship sinking. Through the open hatch, she could see clouds and sky. Struts and supports ended in jagged spikes, wires were snapped and frayed. What was going on? Sweetie Belle stared at the open space before the realization hit her; one of the balloons had been cut off.

She righted herself and quickly closed the hatch, then tried to contemplate her options through the haze of fear and confusion. The engine was still intact, but the prop was gone. Half the ship was missing, and what was left of her end was sinking. Outside, she could see the Conformity maneuvering itself above her. Worst of all, she had no idea as to where her friends were. “No, no please Luna, no!”

With a grunt, Sweetie Belle rose up and attempted to reach the comm; she had to warn Scootaloo. If at least one of her friends could make it out to get help...

Suddenly, a long, sharp needle pierced through the wall of the cabin to her left, blocking the way between her and the small communications unit in the corner before the barbed tip pulled back and gripped the wall. With a jerk, the ship was moving once more, this time horizontally.

Sweetie Belle stumbled over to the windows, feeling like a drunken sailor as the ship bobbed and bounced.  Looking out, she could see the open maw of Conformity’s cargo hold. She was being swallowed!

Dozens of ponies wearing grey Imperial uniforms dotted the inside of the huge hold. They fired large crossbows at her ship. Bolts tipped with barbs and tied to strong ropes whizzed from the hold and bit into The Crusader’s remaining balloon. Strong earth ponies began pulling in her ship. Slowly and surely, The Crusader was being reeled into the gaping mouth of the Conformity.

“Dammit! Leave us alone!” She quickly looked around the cabin for anything that could serve as a weapon. Anything, a bar, a pipe, something long and sharp, anything. Twisting and turning in a panic, she suddenly saw and heard a bumbling red blur fly by: Expedite was still in the air. She smiled sadly; at least one of her friends was going to make it. Her smile disappeared when the cannons on The Conformity swiveled about their positions.

"Oh Luna..." she whispered fearfully.

She ran over to the miraculously intact radio, tapped it on with her magic and screamed into it. “Run, Scoot, run!”

Before she could do anything else, one of the windows shattered, sprinkling glass all over the cabin as a green pegasus wearing the typical grey uniform of the Imperial navy landed on the deck. The Crusader chose that moment to ram into the Conformity.

Both ponies skidded across the floor, Sweetie Belle losing her magical grip on the comm unit as it dropped on the floor and smashed itself into a million pieces in front of her eyes.

“You are hereby ordered to stop all illegal actions and follow our-” started the green pegasus as he righted himself. She cut him off with a swift punch to the snout. The pegasus’ face jerked upward as his muzzle sprayed blood onto the cabin’s ceiling.  

She didn’t know what had taken her. She had never hit a pony before. But these Imperials deserved it, they had hurt her friends. “Get off my ship!” she screamed at the pegasus before tackling him in an angry fury of hooves and bites. She wasn’t going to let some no-good Imp take her beloved ship and hurt her friends without a fight.

More pegasi poured into the cabin, both from the broken windows and from the floor and roof hatches. Soon, the already small room became suffocatingly packed as it rapidly filled with a dozen pegasi all wearing the same oppressive, grey uniform.

Sweetie Belle stared as their numbers grew. Slowly she backed into a corner and growled at them, to little effect. One of them pounded towards her, swearing at her as he did so.

Acting on reflex, Sweetie Belle picked him up with her magic and slammed him into the metal ceiling. When she looked up and saw the panicking pegasus, she let go of him, letting him fall with a loud thump. “I’m so sorry,” she squealed.

The others looked at each other, then jumped on her as one, ignoring the squirming form of their ally. Sweetie Belle fired off her magic at random, hitting a few of the pegasi but not doing anything to stop their charge towards her. Within seconds, she was tangled in a pile of hooves as they grabbed and hauled her into the air upside down.

From her vantage point, she could see one of the pegasi she had hit clutching his stomach before vomiting all over the floor. She cringed, both in pity and disgust.

“You, you are hereby under arrest for---,” Started the same green pegasus. “Oh never mind, haul her in.” Three pegasi took hold of Sweetie Belle and flew out the top hatch. As they flew in between the two ships Sweetie Belle looked down at the clouds far below. She gulped and stopped squirming, she wasn’t afraid of heights but she realized that they could kill her on a whim as she tried to calculate the huge distance between her and the ground below.

The pegasi flew into the hold in a flurry of beating wings and unceremoniously dumped her on the deck from midair, as if they wanted nothing to do with her now that their job was done. She landed with a small thump and hopped onto her hooves, ready to fight. The sight of over a dozen ponies the size of Apple Bloom’s brother quickly sucked the will to fight out of her. Sweetie Belle’s ears dropped and her eyes widened.

“Welcome on board Conformity.” said a polite calm voice. Sweetie Belle looked around and spotted the pony that spoke. He was a tall, well-groomed unicorn sporting the dark uniform of a high ranking officer. “I am Darius, the captain of this vessel.” He paused to stroke his mustache and strolled past the circle of uniformed ponies, coming to a stop a few feet from Sweetie Belle and looking down at her, calculating.

Sweetie Belle shivered, for his eyes were not filled with malice nor contempt, but with envy, “And who might you be, young lady?”

“Um, I’m Sweetie Belle.” She lost all will to fight as the intimidating captain raised an eyebrow at her. She felt like a filly being punished by her father.

“Interesting... might you be related to the Belle family, perhaps?” He sat down graciously on the wooden deck. His eyes never left hers.
Sweetie Belle broke eye contact and looked around once more at the ponies around her, their respect for the captain was evident in the way they looked at him as if he was a loving father. “Um, yeah, my sister’s name is Rarity.” she answered timidly, the gravity of the situation starting to sink in.

Now both his eyebrows met at the top of his forehead as he looked at her, surprised. “You’re the sister of the famed Rarity? Interesting.” Darius’ eyes shifted for a few moments to the pegasi that flew back into the ship, then nodded to an earth pony behind him. The pony snapped a salute before running over to a console and pulling a lever. The ropes that held what was left of The Crusader retracted and the wrecked part of her ship fell out of sight.

Sweetie Belle whimpered as she watched her beloved ship disappear. Suddenly, The Crusader gave her a final good-bye as it shifted in the wind and rammed into the Conformity. Most of the ponies in the hold -Sweetie Belle included- tripped and fell to the ground. From the ground, she looked up and saw the captain sitting at the same place, seemingly unaffected. “Get the repair crew to check for damages,” he ordered calmly.

“I see that you managed to injure some of my ponies.” He looked over one of the pegasi that flew in, the pegasus who was holding a hoof to his bleeding muzzle in an attempt to stop the blood flow. Upon seeing his captain looking at him, he removed his hoof to salute him. “At ease.” The pegasus gently replaced his hoof to his face.

As the captain looked Sweetie Belle over, she could feel his calculating eyes as they roved over her body. “All ponies in need of medical attention, make your way back to the infirmary right away. No exceptions.”
A few pegasi took off, they shamefully bowed their heads and looked at their co-patriots nervously. “Too bad you never joined the good fight, we could use ponies as spirited as you,” he said in a louder tone that rang across the room. The pegasus ponies straightened out their backs and flew a little more proudly.

“Now, young lady, you will be escorted over to the brig. I’d suggest that you follow these gentlecolts nicely and politely. I’ll be over with you in a matter of minutes.” He turned sharply and walked towards a group of officers that quickly assembled around him chattering and flooding him with information.

Sweetie Belle was prodded on the back in a none too gentle fashion by one of the large earth ponies and she started moving forward, giving one last glance to the sky outside as the heavy cargo bay door shut with an echoing boom. The room was suddenly much darker.

That was it, she was stuck here, unable to tell if Scootaloo or Apple Bloom made it out alive, or even if they were okay.

She was escorted by four strong-looking earth ponies who kept silent through the entire journey, only occasionally muttering things to each other. She didn’t pay attention, she was unable to do so as her mind twisted and turned in desperation, causing her to shiver from both the sudden loss of adrenalin and the completely different situation she found herself in. She needed time to think, and the long walk through the winding ship gave her just that.

Maybe she could escape? The four ponies that navigated her through the maze that was the ships interior nipped that idea at the bud. What else could she do? Her ship was gone, her friends were gone... When the thought hit her, she froze on the spot. Pipsqueak and Apple Bloom... Were they really? No it couldn't be... Her eyes filled with tears as she was pushed along by one of the soldier ponies. The rest of the trip passed in a daze.

Eventually, the four ponies slowed to a halt in front of a thick wooden door. An old mare wearing a slightly tattered uniform came running over to the group while jingling a bunch of keys in her mouth. She inserted the key in its lock and ushered them into the dark room. She quickly appeared in the room with a box of matches and went about lighting the small lanterns set around the room. The room, or brig, as the captain called it, was filled with square cells, and the only thing in them were small buckets and simple cots bolted onto the walls. The old mare opened one of the thick, wooden doors. Each door had a large bar-filled hole in it. She moved aside and Sweetie Belle was shoved into the room unceremoniously.

Sweetie Belle’s eyes filled with tears and a few uncontrollable sobs escaped. The four guards and the old mare left without saying a word. They left the exit door slightly ajar, letting a thin strand of light stream in. She slowly sat down in front of the barred door and leaned her head against one of the metal bars.

That was it? How she was going to end? Stuck in some cell while her friends escaped or died. Sweetie Belle’s thoughts drifted over to the joy they had when onboard The Crusader. The fun they had, the memories they shared. All over. She let out a shaky sigh. It couldn’t end like this. She would find a way out, then she would find Scootaloo and Apple Bloom, the three would be the Crusaders again. They would get revenge on those stupid Imperials!

After a few minutes of quiet thinking, she heard the door to the room open with a loud, grinding creak. Three sets of hooves headed towards her cell, accompanied by the sound of dangling keys.

She quickly wiped her eyes clear of the tears that blinded her and felt a glimmer of hope. Maybe they were going to let her out? Maybe they realised who she was and were going to free her. She could use her family’s name to force them to save Apple Bloom and Pipsqueak!

Her hope was crushed when she saw the face of the green pegasus she had hit on The Crusader. He smiled menacingly at her. “Hello, little filly.”

She shrank back deeper into the cell.

“Oh, don’t be scared. We just want to play, in you.” He licked his lips as his two buddies laughed at his horrible joke.

Sweetie Belle gulped.

“Did you really think you could just waltz in here, hurt me and simply be dumped in a peaceful cell like this? No, you need to repay us for what you did... Did you bring any bits? No?” He smiled, “Guess you will have to find other

He licked his lips again and indicated to one of the pegasi accompanying him to open the gate. He gave a slight nod and one of the snickering pegasi opened the gate. Sweetie Belle noticed a 'look' about the green pegasus’ face. The kind of 'look' Rarity had warned her about. She knew what it meant, and it was not good.

Sweetie Belle shrank back against the wall and whimpered, “No.”  

The pegasus convulsed once, then fell into an unconscious lump on the ground. Everypony turned to stare at the captain who had appeared quietly. He simply wiped his hoof on his uniform then turned his attention to the two remaining ponies.

"What are you attempting tto do on my ship, Corporal Green Lance?” Darius let the body of the unconscious pegasus flop to the ground. “I think it would do you good to join her, you seem so... eager

“Guards, seize these ponies. Shove them in those cells over there.” He pointed to the back of the prison. “I want a constant watch over this area of the ship.” Two burly ponies trotted into the room and snapped at his command. They dragged the three speechless -or unconscious- ponies to the cells at the far end of the small prison.

“Please forgive me, miss Belle, such a manner of acting is disrespectful and unbecoming of a navy officer. Please forgive my men.” He bowed slightly while she simply nodded, still in shock. “You will be happy to learn that we will be unable to verify your crashed ship until the morning, weather permitting of course.”

Sweetie Belle felt hope well up in her once more; if her friends were alive, they might have time to escape. If.

Your little group of smugglers is quite impressive.” he said, interrupting her train of thought. She stared at him, jaw slightly open until she realized how foalish she looked. She closed her mouth with a snap.

He picked a piece of paper from within his uniform’s coat. “Seemed that there are many reports of you smuggling various illegal matters, but not one verification has bore fruit. Not only that but you managed to destroy both of my Reqisitor’s and evade a full on battle maneuver for almost half an hour. Not including the amount of superficial damage to the ship caused by random strafing fire. Very impressive. Such talent,” the stallion sighed and crumpled the sheet of paper.

“Wasted on mere smugglers. You could have been such an asset the to the Imperial Navy.”

With his head down, Darius walked out of the cell. “You said your sister was Rarity, right?” Sweetie Belle blushed and nodded. Good, he knew her sister, and if he knew Rarity, he would know how important she was.

“Very well then, if you really are the younger sister of the illustrious Rarity, then I am certain you will spend very little time in court... Your name has saved you, young lady.”

He started walking away, but Sweetie Belle stopped him. She needed to know. “Wait... My friends, they were in the other part of the ship...”

He stopped and regained his calculating look for a few seconds. “If they were within the cabin at the time of the crash... It’s likely that they survived. We won’t be going down until the morning, they will have likely vacated the premises by then... If they are alive of course.”

Sweetie Belle was torn between relief and worry. “One of them, Apple Bloom, is the sister of Applejack...” Knowing that Rarity was her sister had impressed him, maybe now he would hurry up to help Apple Bloom.

His eyes grew wide. “The Applejack?” She nodded. “Hmm, what an interesting little group.” The captain trotted away with a bemused smile adorning his face.

Apple Bloom awoke with a groan. She lifted her head gingerly off of the, now smashed, radio set and groaned again upon seeing the state it was in. The expensive device was cracked, ripped and busted beyond repair. She simply stared at it for a few minutes, wondering what had happened to cause it to break and how she was going to fix it.

Suddenly, she remembered everything: she vividly remembered every part of the short and brutal fight.  She was at the radio station now, her memory was still a little fuzzy. Why was she here? Had she run to the radio to call for help, maybe to surrender? She couldn't remember. With a groan, she clasped her head in her hooves.

A dial popped off from the set with no warning and landed near her. She lifted it with a forehoof and placed it back into its slot, only to have the entire faceplate crack. She started sobbing. The more she looked around her the more pain she felt. Everything was broken.

Apple Bloom heard a groan from above which shook her out of her reverie. Standing up, she trotted out of the small compartment, wiping her eyes as she walked.

The Spark Generator room was a mess; wires and tools were scattered everywhere. A few apples rolled across the metal grating. Daylight streamed into the room from where a wall once was, while wires dangled and sparked on contact with each other.

She started calculating the time it would take to fix. Her heart sank.

The groan came again. This time, she was able to pinpoint its location. She trotted over to the hatch, avoiding live wires and broken struts as she made her way to it. Once there, she forced the rusty hatch open, making a mental note to remember to oil it. Apple Bloom grabbed onto the ladder and hoisted herself up and out of the hold. What she saw made her gasp.

Blinded as she was by the sun, she couldn’t help but notice that The Crusader was no longer there. All that remained were jagged-edged metal struts that stretched upwards to the cloudy sky.  “No,” she groaned.

“Help me,” said a small, muffled voice from her side. She stopped looking up and took in her surroundings: she was on top of what was left of The Crusader; around her, pieces of metal and tarp, as well as various parts of her ship were sprawled across the desert sand, glinting as the sun reflected off of them. She found the source of the call: two white and brown legs sticking out from below the still-deflating gasbag.

Was that Pipsqueak? How was he? She shook her head and tried to clear her thoughts. She had to help him.
Apple Bloom looked around for a way down from the top of the hold that had sunk itself into the soft sand. The ship, or what was left, was tilted on a soft angle, one end sunk into the sand with the other jutting out.

She ran off of the roof of the cabin and over to Pipsqueak, who was still struggling with the tarp and ropes that enveloped him. She cocked an eyebrow at the almost comical scene until he whimpered again, sensing her presence nearby. Apple Bloom jumped back into action, shushing him as she lifted the folds of the giant bag.

“Thanks,” he panted once he had squirmed out. His white face had turned red, his eyes were teary and he looked like he had been in a nasty fight.

“Are ya alright?” Apple Bloom noticed his hooves then lifted one to inspect it. They were severely burnt by the friction of the rough tarp. “What happened?”

Pipsqueak looked down, ashamed. “Sweetie Belle told me to go down when she saw the Conformity coming. I wanted to stay with her but-” he coughed into his hoof and silently wiped a tear away trying to hide his emotions from the mare.

Apple Bloom put a hoof on his shoulder. “It’s alright, we’ll be fine.” She looked once more at the smouldering wreck around her and at the endless expanse of desert. “Ah hope,” she added in a whisper.

This was not the type of scenario she was used to being in, nothing in her life had prepared her for this kind of event. Her friends were always there for her, now she was stuck with a useless colt in the middle of the desert with no help in sight. Apple Bloom frowned determinately. She could make it, she simply had to rely on herself. That would be easy, right?

They both heard a loud crunching sound from above. As they looked, pieces of metal fell from the sky and landed with heavy thumps on the sandy ground mere meters away from them, sending small clouds of dust and sand into the air.

“We need to get inside!” Pipsqueak pushed her towards the metal wreck.

Apple Bloom guided him around and into the cabin from above, hopping into the still open hatch. “Hurry up!” More chunks of metal and tarp fell from the otherwise clear sky, landing with booming thumps on the wreck’s roof.

Once they were both secured within the shuttle, he turned towards her and asked, “What was that?” while indicating the fragment of metal.

She wondered the same thing, what the hay could be falling from the sky like that, then an old memory came back to her, of talking to her sister when Rarity came back from the war. Her eyes filled with tears, she turned away from Pipsqueak to hide her face. “The Crusader.”

“Ah heard that the Imperials capture ships and empty them, then they let ’em drop to the ground below, unless they can use it.” She coughed into her hoof to regain her composure. “’Ats was what’s left of The Crusader.”

“Dammit!” He punched the wall, which hummed and vibrated under the impact, making him scream in surprise and pain as he cradled his injured hooves together. She approached him and pushed one hoof aside with her own inspecting his hooves again, this time taking her time looking at the injuries. Pipsqueak blushed furiously as her coat touched his.

“What did this?” she asked.
“I was sliding on the gas bag, I tried to grab on...”

“Rope burns.... well sorta.” She let go of his hooves and turned back. “Let’s go fetch something ta help ya, then we can figure out what to do. The Imperials won’t stay up there forever,” she said with a firm resolve that surprised her.

He listened to her, giving her all of his confidence. Suddenly, she felt pride in herself. She wasn’t the type to lead, but maybe she would be good at it. Her determination to get them out of there alive was quickly increasing.

“We need to pack up; we can’t just stay here.” She led him through the ship and into its small bathroom. The small clean room had everything one would expect of it, as well as a few commodities. She popped open a first aid kit and started bandaging his hooves. They both worked quietly, still deep in mourning and thought at the loss of Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo.

“Ah saw Scoot get away.” She broke the silence. He looked at her questioningly. “On the radar: Expedite flew tight outta range, towards New Appleloosa. Ah don’t think they’ll catch her; she can be fast when she wants to.” He nodded in response.

The ship shook as something heavy thudded against the ground nearby. They looked at each other. “Ah’m done, we can re-bandage it later, first we ought pack up,” she said almost stubbornly.

He nodded again and walked out of the room silently on his now-padded hooves. “Get to your room, take only what you really need. The rest we will fill with water and apples from the hold.” She made sure he had understood and then headed towards her own room. The door was locked. She searched around the many pockets of her garments in vain. “Crap.”

“Need help?” Pipsqueak approached her from his own, which was just around the corner.

“Nah, Ah’m fine.” With a quick twirl, Apple Bloom twisted around and delivered an Apple family buck to the door, leaving it a splintered wreck. “Thanks, ya didn’t need to help me. Ah can handle myself.” He blushed slightly and turned around, limping back to his room.

Apple Bloom shook her head at his silliness, then pushed the door open and walked into the cool room. There was a bunk, a vanity and a few shelves and drawers for the few items she could fit on board. She quickly sunk herself into one of the drawers and removed a trusty brown saddlebag, a gift from her sister, which she tossed unceremoniously to the ground and went about searching the room.

She took only what she thought she needed: a change of clothes, a warm blanket, a sharp working knife, some tools, some manuals and maps, as well as the first aid kit she had used on Pipsqueak. Finally packed, she huffed and looked around.  This would be the last time she saw this room.

Apple Bloom trotted out of the room and began heading towards Pipsqueak’s when something caught her attention.

Inside Sweetie Belle’s very pink room was a vanity where a letter sat. It hadn’t moved from where she had left it, remaining completely undisturbed by the events as if to cement its importance.

Walking over the piles of stuff on the ground, she headed to it and saw the stains her friend’s tears had left on the brittle paper. For a few seconds, she stared at it undecided, then picked it up with her fore-hoof, folded it and tucked it deep into the saddlebags.

With a grunt, she trotted out of the room wearing the heavy bags and headed to the fore of the wrecked ship. Once at the radio station, she searched the ground below the huge comm unit until she found a small portable radio laying upside down on the ground.

It was square, bulky and had quite a few dings and dents, but it could communicate over miles of land. She smiled and dumped the heavy object onto her bag, balancing it over the saddle. She made her way back through the lop-sided wreck and into the cargo hold.

The hold was a mess. Cases of apples had been crushed, leaving a pulpy mess all over the once-spotless floor. She sighed upon seeing the mess and tried not to imagine the conversation she was going to have with her sister about it. Pipsqueak appeared over one of the many tipped boxes and beckoned her over with a wave of his hoof.

“We have water and plenty of food, we should have enough if we use it wisely and pack as much as we can. “ He handed her some water bottles then stared at the radio. “What’s that?”

“A radio, it might come in handy.”

“But it looks real heavy...”
“Oh, it really is!”

“Are you sure you can carry it over a long distance?” he asked with genuine concern.

“Aww, you’re such a gentlecolt, Pip! Thanks for the offer.” She dropped the device in his hooves with a bemused look.
“Mares...” he muttered as her tried to find a place in his bags for the machine.

They inspected each other’s bags, making sure that nothing was missing or badly packed. Once satisfied, the two made their way out of the ship, this time borrowing the cargo hold’s main opening. With a little grunting and some digging out, they managed to open the door halfway and squirm out. The sun was warm, almost at its peak in the cloudy sky.

“Where to?” asked Pipsqueak, shielding his eyes from the shimmering sun. Beams of light were glinting off the sand and made everything sparkle blindingly bright.

“Over there.” Apple Bloom pointed to another balloon. It was red with the crest of the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Parts of the pilot’s station were still visible poking out from the sand.

“Alright, then” he nodded. They both gulped and hoped that they wouldn’t find anything disastrous.

As they made their way across the warm sand, their anxiety grew and they became nervous of what they would find within the crashed ship. They both worried about the safety of their friend, but were too afraid to voice that worry to each other, less they seem cowardly.

Pipsqueak reached the ship first. He climbed onto the metal cabin and started looking for a way in. The cabin had hit bottom-first and so the windows of the piloting station at the fore were still visible. Most of the ship was covered in the tattered remains of the balloon.

“How do we get in?” panted Pipsqueak when Apple Bloom arrived.

Instead of giving him an answer, she searched the ground near the ship. He tilted his head and gave her a questioning look. With an “ah-ha!” she lifted a piece of metal from the sand and trotted over to the window. She hefted the piece high above her head and guided it down and into the glass window, piercing it through and spreading dozens of cracks throughout.

She smiled at Pipsqueak who simply stared at her amazed. “What? We’re not going to use that window anytime soon...”

“Um, right.” He hopped into the hole and gingerly avoided the piles of sharp glass as he made his way to the back of the cabin. “Nopony is here,” he sighed in relief. He walked over to a yellowish-green puddle on the floor and sniffed it. He recoiled and wrinkled his nose. “Uggh, puke.”


“Not Sweetie Belle’s: Scoot didn’t cook last night.” The two shared a small smile despite the situation. “Maybe it’s Imperial?”

“Let’s hope so,” said Apple Bloom. Sweetie being captured was better than the alternative. “Her family should be able to get her out if they caught her. I think.”

Apple Bloom looked around the destroyed cabin. The wheel was crooked, the floor was wavy and had burst open at a few places. The main engine was damaged beyond repair, spewing gas and oil into little puddles.

She forced herself to act brave as a wave of pain and sorrow hit her. She had lost two friends and the thing they called home all within a few hours. She coughed and tried to regain her composure. Pipsqueak looked away, blushing.

She coughed one last time, then started searching around. She quickly found a map of their whereabouts. “Look here, Pip.” She pointed at a point along the red line. “We should be around here. If we head this way,” She scrolled across the line and planted her hoof on Ponyville. “We should make it in two days, three at the most.”

“But Scoot went south, towards New Appleloosa...”

She pointed out the trajectory that they would need to take to reach the city. “Add another week of travel... in the desert... with limited supplies...”

“Alrighty, then, Ponyville it is!”

She sighed and looked outside at the sun that was now cresting its highest point of the day. “Let’s get going; waiting here won’t help any, we have a long way to go.”