XCOM: Equis War

by Nova_Eclipse


The next day, Canterlot was still as busy as ever: high-class ponies conversed with one another while the Royal Guards patrolled the streets and maintained order in the mountain-side city. Further away from the rest of the city, Canterlot Castle stood proudly in the afternoon sun as Celestia's brilliant star bathed it in a warm, orange glow. Outside of the castle, everything was calm and quiet, with only the chirping and melodious singing of assorted birds breaking the serene silence.

The interior of the Princesses' abode, however, was in pure pandemonium. The Royal Guards stationed within stood guard outside of the royal library, and inside the room itself, ponies belonging to various organizations were frantically galloping around the room. Papers and books were strewn across the floor as scholars and scientists ran from bookshelf to bookshelf, their voices barely registering to one another over the din that filled the air.

In the safety and privacy of her chambers, Princess Luna tried to block out all of the noise as she read the book in front of her, but there was just too much going noise coming from outside of her bedroom for her to concentrate. Ever since she had brought the creature and its strange device back to Canterlot, the entire royal staff had been in an uproar. The entire castle had been put on lockdown by the order of Shining Armor, and the public had been forbidden to go near the castle until told otherwise.

The sound of her bedroom doors opening drew Luna’s gaze from her book to Celestia standing in the doorway. The younger alicorn smiled as she rushed up to greet her sister with a loving nuzzle, “Hello, dear sister! I suppose that thou art here to ask why all of the ponies within our castle are acting mad, correct?"

Her older sister nodded with a warm smile painted on her face, "Yes, Luna, I'm afraid that I need to see what has all of my little ponies in a panic. If you'd be so kind as to lead the way?" Celestia waited until Luna had left the room to start following her, easily catching up to the lunar princess and keeping pace with her.


A lime-green unicorn stallion with a frizzy orange mane ran up to the Princesses shortly after they walked into the library, the tails of his lab coat fluttering softly behind him and covering his cutie-mark. He came to a halt in front of the diarchs and dropped to his knees in a bow. He quickly rose to his hooves and started speaking as if he had downed an entire pot of coffee, "Greetings, your majesties! My name is Beaker, and I'm so sorry that this place is such a mess! We were so eager to start working that as soon as the subject was brought here, we shoved the bookshelves aside to make as much space as possible! If you're here to see what we've been doing all day, then please come and follow me!"

Before either of them could respond, the stallion whirled around and trotted off in the opposite direction. The two sisters glanced at each other before they started walking after the hyperactive lab pony. When they caught up to him, he was standing beside a dome of magic that enclosed the mysterious armored biped. Two earth pony mares were thoroughly examining the creature's purple armor on a table outside of the containment dome, and a pegasus stallion under the supervision of an armed guard observed the biped's physiology.

Beaker politely cleared his throat as the two princesses turned to look at him. He gestured a hoof in the direction of the two mares and the armor they were studying, "To start off, the creature's armor is composed of a dense metal that, interestingly enough, is not native to Equestria or any of the other known nations. Upon further examination, we found trace amounts of an unknown element in the armor that seems to act as an amplifier for magic or some other form of exotic energy."

"An amplifier? The creature doesn't have a horn or any form of appendage to focus and use magic with, so why would it need an amplifier?" Celestia wondered aloud, to which Beaker's face lit up with unbridled excitement as he trotted over to stand beside the dome.

The unicorn motioned towards the creature with a huge smile as he answered the solar princess, "The reason for that, Princess Celestia, is because it doesn't use magic at all. Following Luna's report of the events preceding the creature's capture, my fellow scientists and I were stumped as to why the subject could make a powerful rift of energy without tapping into the Field. It seemed to defy every magical law and theory known to ponykind! Then, one of our apprentices suggested that instead of using the Field, maybe it was using the power of its mind as a substitute. There's no need to ask questions, because I'll answer them later on. Now, let's move on to what most of us lab ponies have been clamoring over for the past afternoon!"

Once again, before the princesses could respond, Beaker galloped across the room towards a crowd of scientists, who were surrounding something on a table in the far corner of the room. A sigh of slight impatience left Celestia's lips as the two sisters teleported over to the crowd to save time. As the princesses approached, the crowd parted to make a clear path for them, bowing in respect as the alicorns passed by them.

Laying at the center of the table was the device that the creature had been carrying on its back. When Beaker caught sight of Celestia and Luna, he beckoned them over and pointed at the artifact, "Our initial thoughts were that this contraption was a power supply of some kind, presumably to help power the subject's equipment. After all, it had its own energy source — the green block of energy in the center — and the armor has an indentation or depression on the back where the object could be attached. However, it has been concluded, after several hours of arguing and debates, that this device is actually a projectile-based energy weapon."

Luna's body froze up as it occurred to her that the entire time that she and the Elements had been fighting it, the creature could have used this thing to seriously hurt or even kill them. She had unknowingly put herself and the Elements in harm's way by trying to subdue the creature. The muscles in her body relaxed as her sister draped a wing over her back, prompting the younger alicorn to look up at the reassuring smile on Celestia's face.

Despite all that we have learned so far from the...alien, for lack of a better term, we have only scratched the surface of what its species can create. Their level of technology is leagues beyond anything we can currently manage, even with the use of magic," Beaker sighed in disappointment, hanging his head and idly kicking his hoof against the marble floor.

His demeanor quickly changed as his mouth curled into a frown before he turned his gaze towards the princesses again, "There is one unsettling piece of information that we unexpectedly gathered while we were setting the alien up in the dome. It kept mumbling in its sleep, and because we couldn't understand what it was saying, we cast a basic translation spell on the subject. What we managed to pick up from all of the gibberish was a single word: 'Ethereals.' "

"What do you think that it could mean, Beaker? Could these 'Ethereals' be the leaders of its species?" Luna piped up curiously from beside her sister.

Before Beaker could open his mouth, the library doors opened as Twilight and her friends nervously walked inside. Celestia's mouth quickly widened into a warm smile as she strode over to her student and exchanged a few nuzzles. The purple alicorn looked up to meet her teacher's gaze and sheepishly greeted the two diarchs, "We're sorry if we're interrupting something, your Majesties."

Celestia let out a soft chuckle and shook her head, "Of course not, Twilight! You're always welcome to come and visit. I suppose you're all here to check on the creature that you helped Luna capture?"

Twilight gave the solar princess a firm nod as she glanced anxiously at the creature and its equipment, "We wanted to be here in case the creature woke up and tried to hurt somepony."

"You need not worry, Twilight," Luna assured her friend with a soft smile. "In the event that the alien regained consciousness, the castle guards would rush in and make sure that it wouldn't attempt anything."

No sooner than the word "alien" had left Luna's lips, the six mares went silent. Although ponies were still making a deafening roar that rang throughout the library, the silence that came from the Element bearers made Luna feel uneasy. Then, the six mares began bombarding the unprepared lunar princess with questions:

"It's an alien!? Oh, why didn't I bring Spike along for notes?"

"Oh my gosh! A real, live alien, and I got to kick its butt! This is so awesome!"

"An alien? Ooh! That means I can throw a 'Welcome to Equestria Mr. Alien' party! I wonder if he'll like double-chocolate chip cupcakes?"

"Oh my goodness! Imagine all of the possibilities for fashion! So many new designs, so many exotic materials! Oh, the possibilities are absolutely ENDLESS! I'd have to do something about that garish color scheme, though. The purple-only design is just barbaric!"

"Well, Ah'll be! No wonder this big ol' critter could toss me like a rag-doll!"

"Oh, no! The poor thing must be terrified, being all alone on a different planet!"

Celestia, upon seeing Luna flash her a desperate look that said 'I don't know what to do!', sighed and used her Royal Canterlot voice for the first time in ages: "Girls, settle down this instant!" The effect was immediate as the six mares closed their mouths and looked up to meet Celestia's gaze, embarrassment vividly painted on their expressions.

"I know that this is exciting, but you must remember that this is a very serious matter. If there is one of these aliens here, then the rest of its species could be coming soon. As such, we may have to prepare for the possibility of war. Now, if you would like to ask questions, I'm fairly certain that our friend, Beaker, here would be happy to—"

Anything else that Celestia might have said was forgotten when somepony let out a cry of alarm came from within the containment dome. Nearly all activity in the room came to a halt as everypony whirled around to see the scientist within the barrier furiously banging his hooves against the edge in an effort to get out, casting fearful glances back at the operating table in the center.

The alien was now awake.


As Cory woke up with a grunt, the first thing that registered in his mind was the sudden crippling migraine that was threatening to split his head in two. The second was that he could hear panicked screaming coming from somewhere nearby. Oh great, as if my head wasn't in enough agony without someone screaming at the top of their lungs, Cory thought to himself as a pained groan escaped his lips.

His eyes opened to see two iron spearheads straight from the Dark Ages pointed at his head. Unintelligible shouting came from both sides of him, and he looked to the right to see a golden-armored pony glaring fiercely at him. How a horse could hold a spear without breaking every bone in its leg, the psionic had no idea.

The armored horse in question flinched slightly when Powell fixed his gaze on it. If they were intimidated by him, then he wouldn't have to worry about the ponies attacking him for simply getting into a comfortable position. After a quick mental debate, Cory rose to a sitting position and took a look around the room. Bookshelves had been moved aside from their respective slots in the floor to make room for the countless ponies and tables that filled the room. In the far corner of the room, the XCOM operative could see his plasma rifle laying on a table. His blue eyes shifted from his rifle to his psi armor, which was resting on a nearby table much like his rifle currently was. Cory suddenly felt very naked and vulnerable in only his casual operative uniform, and the spears pointed at him now seemed a lot more deadly than they did before.

Out of the corner of his eye, several more armored equines took positions on the other side of the dome as a rather tall pony approached the barrier. Its coat was a radiant white that seemed to glow as the sun cast its light upon it, and the horse's multi-colored mane defied gravity as it gently flowed behind its owner. The pony was at least a full two feet taller than he was, though its horn took up at least a foot of the equine's total height. The most noticeable difference that made is stand out from all of the others was the fact that it had both a unicorn's horn and the wings of a pegasus.

The white equine studied Cory for a few moments before she — or at least he assumed that it was a girl — turned her neutral stare into a warm and somehow comforting smile. Her horn glowed as the dome receded into the ground, which prompted cries of alarm from a smaller, dark blue winged unicorn. The white mare craned her neck to face the smaller one with a gentle yet stern expression, the dark blue mare slowly withering under the other's gaze.

Cory kept eye contact with the larger mare when she turned back to face him, putting another smile on her face as she calmly stepped towards him. He narrowed his eyes into a glare and snarled at the approaching mare, who stopped dead in her tracks as the smile dropped from her face. The midnight blue mare shouted and fixed a death glare on the psionic, the horn on her head beginning to glow a deep blue. The brilliant pink glow of psionic energy enveloped both of Cory's hands as he prepared for a fight, his eyes darting around the room in an attempt to find an escape route.

Just as all hell was about to break loose, a sudden feeling of calm and peacefulness filled the room. The ponies in the room, who had been mere moments away from panicking or attacking Cory, were now falling onto their haunches as they felt every muscle in their bodies involuntarily relax and as the feelings of distress and hostility completely vacated their minds. The human turned his attention to the white mare, whose horn was wrapped in a brilliant yellow aura as her eyes were closed in seemingly intense concentration. Although some of the equines weakly tried to resist, they quickly succumbed to the overwhelming sense of calm that washed over them.

The psionic tried to throw a rift at the mare, but the psychic energy covering his hands flickered out when the mare turned her gaze on him. An arc of yellow energy shot out from the mare's horn and struck Cory's body, every inch of his body feeling as if it were made of stone. Unable to move his body, he couldn't do anything when he felt himself being grabbed by an unseen hand and then hoisted into the air.

He looked up to see the white mare's disappointed and apologetic amethyst eyes as she walked out of the library. The sound of seven more sets of hooves quickly caught up to them, followed by animated and anxious conversing among the ponies. Cory's heart sank as the regal marble walls and gorgeous tapestries surrounding him transitioned into ominous, torch-lit passages that ultimately led to dungeon or prison cells, which looked like they hadn't been occupied for decades.

Cory was rather unceremoniously dropped on the floor after a cell at the end of the hallway had been opened, and a second arc of yellow energy from the white mare returned his ability to move once the rusted iron door had been shut. The two "hybrid" mares turned away from him and started arguing, while the other six equines talked in hushed whispers to one another, glancing occasionally towards the psionic as if they were checking to see if he'd try to escape.

The XCOM operative looked around his cell to see that it was much like a modern prison cell. To his right was a pony-sized inmate bunk that hung from the wall by two sturdy-looking chains. After seeing a few spiders crawl out from under the mattress, the Volunteer decided that he wouldn't be sleeping on it anytime soon. A metal slot in the cell door was big enough to slide a tray through, and the bars lining the front of the cell were arranged in a grid pattern.

The human let out a sigh of resignation and leaned against the far wall of his new cell, watching the ponies with mild curiosity as he idly tapped his fingers against the damp stone floor. It was time for the waiting game, again.


As Celestia's sun finally dipped below the horizon, the ponies of Equestria began to wind down from the day's events, and many of them went to sleep under the watchful gaze of Luna's moon. Those who stayed awake were too busy to notice the numerous streaks of green fire and metal that were rapidly approaching the ground. None of them noticed the falling objects land deep in the Everfree Forest. None of them would see the strange creatures that climbed out of the hulking metal transports.

No one would be prepared as the aliens began their assault on Equis.