The sun rose in the same fashion as it always has. The same way as multiple generations could remember. Though the day the world all had know was beginning to change, the sun never did so much as waver. As far as my memory remains the day had begun in a normal fashion. Even as I rest in the mud and dirt, the glow of various fires burning and the fluttering of ash that day seemed to be no further than yesterday. In fact it was nearly two years ago. One thing I have learned is patience since I have nothing but time and with a little luck, possibly a hundred years or more of it. I suppose now is as good a time as any to begin the story.
I was born on the hard surface of Equestria. My father was what we classify as being an earth pony. Or a dirt stomper if one wishes to be mean about it. My mother was a pegasus and was the one who gave me the name Sterling. At some point while I was young my mother had received a summons to return to Cloudsdale. There was no option for it since she was a citizen and therefore mandatory. At my father’s urging he persuaded my mother to take me with her and so she did. Being a pegasus myself the officials never made an argument about me being brought along as well. Now it is common knowledge that a pegasus can fly. It is natural for us though when I came of age to do so I struggled. Time after time I was taken in for review and evaluation and time after time they failed me. Once it was found who and what my father was I was listed as a Racial Oddity and never had to show up for review again. At that age I never paid too much attention as to what those words meant but after some time I began to take notice of how both me and my mother were treated. Either with disdain, pity, or something in-between. At school the only relief I could find was with other racial oddities such as myself. Yeah, we were extremely bad at flying but a part of us did not care and still managed to make it to a well grown age. It was on the seemingly normal day that my life changed to the point to where it is now. I left my home that morning for my shift on the cloud assembly line as the chief inspector the streets and all it’s citizens seemed to be in an uproar. More so than usual. Young, old and even foals who should have been making their way to school were all traveling towards the city square. Knowing I still had some time to spare and the square itself was on my route to work, I took it upon myself to see just what was going on. It did not take me to long to reach my destination though I began to take notice of the mass amount of streamers and banners hanging from every window and pole in sight. From where I stood at the back of the huge throng I could see even bigger banners posted at the front. Large black banners lined out in silver trim to match the streamers. A silver shield took up the middle of the cloth flanked by two feathery wings in silver on each side. Though I might have caught a glimpse of such now and then the crowed paid no mind to it as if the large tapestries had been there all along. Most political changes were not very well known with racial oddities. In fact, authority figures and most citizens went out of their way to exclude us but here even the security never so much as gave a second glance to me or any others in the crowd. I had a job, a house and kept out of trouble. What more could I want? Even the automated units performing security never approached me. The ROY G BIV units I mean. Some years ago these machines were developed and even looked like a pegasus. A small number were created to help with limited weather jobs as well as security and patrol. The Defense Force was well known for having short numbers and granted I tried to apply and serve, well, no Racial Oddities allowed. The mechanical beings had a single, yellow glowing eye to see and no voice. Just a device powered by who only knows what and when given an order it does just that. But enough of those clockwork things. By then the crowd had become quiet as a stately looking pegasus appeared upon the largest balcony facing the crowd. His black mane swept back and a white coat of some sort he looked like the picture of intelligence. Once stopped, an even larger banner was unrolled beneath the balcony. Black and silver but this time no shield and wings. Just three rings interlaced as a triangle with a single cog above its apex. A symbol every citizen knew. The ministry f science and welfare. The ones who demanded perfect fliers and the ones who labeled me and many others oddities. It was actually very curious for them to use such fanfare when giving speeches but it was this one speech as the crowd hushed itself that brought me where I am now.
“Citizens of Cloudsdale. I address you today with some sad news. But! With it comes the solution. As you know our society has changed over the course of a few years. We are a proud race and every pony here is a proud pegasus. But, over the years a lax in the system has led to much interbreeding practices and has brought about racial oddities. It could nearly lead to the extinction of a pure blood race. Over thirty percent of Cloudsdale citizens are such oddities. We are a strong race. The masters of the land, weather, and skies. For the oddities, and you know who you may be, we extend to you the opportunity. The opportunity to make a difference and give back to Cloudsdale. I encourage you, volunteer! Give back to the land that still accepted you instead of casting you out. Give back to our people and our cause. Do that, and you shall be oddities no more. Citizens, the time has finally come and you all know what you must do. Work hard! And in short time we shall be pure and whole again. For Cloudsdale! For the cause! For the pegsus race!” The pony’ ended his speech, the crowd now in an uproar over it. Cheers, shouts, chants. I began to notice many of my kind, some I even worked with from the factory break away from the crowd and into the only empty street. One after the other following. Here I thought ‘Finally, I can actually become something and not be put down for even trying’. I made my decision right then and there and too jumped into the long line. As the pony had said, they still kept me and my mother after all was said and done so why not? My mind made up, I found myself in a long line at the Office for Well Being. Though we were generally looked down upon, I swore I could hear cheers and screams of support from citizens for the decision we all made. It felt like being given a second chance and forgiven. The line moved slowly. One at a time we approached and gave our name. Once the schedule was checked we were set aside. When a group of twenty ponies was gathered they were moved into a formation of four across and five deep and immediately marched away by a few guards from the Defense Force. Before long we were led group after group to the destination. It was apparently a new center built not long ago for training new recruits. We were processed once more and briefed before being told to settle in. It never dawned on me until the next morning that there I was, a recruit in training when I was rejected every single time I applied.
Our training lasted an entire week. The standard training period was normally two months with additional training for specific jobs. It was as if they were in a rush and pressing for time. But the instructors would not say anything when asked and gave us plenty of the basics to learn. Using our speed to the advantage, bucking, putting us into shape, even how to use our wings as a weapon and defense. It wasn’t easy work but I was proud to wear the dull grey jacket of a recruit and the matching hat. I never so much as protested when my mane was cut short. The week had gone by in what was almost like a blur and on our last day we were brought out to the training ground early in the morning. We were told we had one last training task to complete the following morning before we graduate and no longer be in training. By that afternoon we were divided. Here I will go ahead and give some insight on how it works. A unit consists of fifty ponies. A squad consists of twenty-five ponies. So, a unit is two squads and two squads is a unit. Each squad had a captain to lead it. A commander takes charge of the whole unit and the two captains. We were eventually split into two whole units. A hundred in all. Once placed we trained for the rest of the day. That evening when dinner was to be eaten we were met with a surprise. Food and drink. Everything and anything was there and we were allowed to eat what out little hearts desired. Granted growing up a lot of us had to struggle to get by, this was like a birthday and all holidays rolled into one big room. I myself was no shy about this. A whole apple pie was a treat for me. It was something my mother would try to get for my birthday once a year. Pickled cabbage was a favorite of mine as well. For awhile I felt rich. A lot of us did. It was something we should try to remember.
Before dawn both units were awoken and told to make ready. I had no trouble with it since I worked a morning shift at a factory. We cleaned ourselves up in a hurried manner without injuring ourselves and donned our jackets and caps before proceeding out to the training ground. Once both units had been separated we began our march from the training center and into the outskirts of the city. No one was awake at this hour but us but I was sure the roar of our hooves crashing in time with the march must have awoken quite a few. I mostly tried to keep focus on my step. I really did not want to mess up on my last day but as the sun began to rise I took notice of our surroundings. We had practically made our way from most f the houses and shops and were headed towards the factory district. The entire group had passed beneath one of the arches before turning to the left. The procession was headed towards the gates of a near desolate factory. One I had seen every day as I walked into work and even from the assembly line. I had never seen a pony enter or exit nor did I know of any pony who worked there. Before long we began to enter through the gate and through a large door on the side of the building. By each opening and door stood at least two ROY G BIV units. Stark still, possibly with orders to let us through. Now that I think about it the gate to the district itself had a few units watching the entrance. Some nervous glances were cast about as we entered the building. It was dimly lit with a yellowish light. The large building seemed to be relatively empty and the only thing taking space was rows and rows of beds lining the walls. Once inside we were ordered to halt and not but a few seconds after we did such were we ordered to take a bed. Not wanting to ask questions and be punished for it we scrambled as ordered and lay upon one of the beds we had picked in our flurry. Once settled a door from the west end of the building opened and one by one a pony entered, each wearing a white coat of sorts. There was quite a few and some unicorns were among them. They spread out, going from bed to bed and place a plastic mask upon our muzzles, the hoses, if I remember correctly, ran to beneath the beds. At this point I was beginning to feel more than nervous. An instinctive fear began to settle within me as the ponies finished up and the room was hushed by our training commander before speaking “Today is your last day as a recruit. This is your last test you will all pass and graduate. Everyone of you shall be flawless citizens. Something we shall all aspire to become in time and the greater Cloudsdale gratefully thanks you as volunteers. For the cause!” I think we were all beyond nervous because we couldn’t even muster the vice to repeat back the slogan. But the silence was short lived as the masks began to emit a sound. Almost hissing, like air escaping a balloon and filled the room. The last thing I could remember before my vision began to blur then go dark as the smell and taste of apple pie.