Didn't I say I was retired?
My name is Cloud Fixer, a deep green Pegasus stallion. Three years into my retirement from the Royal Equestrian Air Force serving as a Maintenance technician. Now standing, slack jawed, staring, at the ponies invading my front yard.
Four Ministry Mares and a hoof full of Royal Secret Service, at my door with a Royal Equestrian Air Force van full of E.A.V. suits, simply pressed on.
Twilight Sparkle began to wave the flag of “duty” to our nation; Apple Jack looked as if I had just slapped her, Rainbow Dash let out a “Snirk”, and Rarity was holding E.A.V. suit Number Five over a dark black case.
“TEA! Come in please! Let’s talk over some tea, ladies!” My home was not small. I had a good size workshop of my own. But it was on the ground. Far from Thunder Head, leagues away from Neighvaro, even further from Cloudsdale, and Canterlot. I wanted my peace. Three decades of service with the last five years riding a desk after the” Powered Pegasus Program” was cancelled. It was a No Brainer to turn in my retirement papers and take the walk to the gate. I had put all my pay into a nice place out in the middle of nowhere. You almost had to be a Pegasus to get out here, but, Equestrian law made me have a road paved in for “Emergency services”. The “Goons” stayed outside.
Tea served and everyone seated, they proceeded to tell me “NO” was the wrong answer.
E.A.V. Extreme Altitude & Velocity suits were my baby since I was the only Technician to get the crystal power matrix to operate properly and at peak efficiency. This was the backbone of the Powered Pegasus Program. Twenty five suits produced to fly at high speed and altitude, three times faster than Rainbow doing a Sonic Rain Boom, and just slightly sub-orbital. All the suits were fitted for Recon, but my real baby was Test Suit Number Five, she had weapon mounts! The suits could fly at full power for 48 hours before needing the main power crystal recharged or replaced. I taught a team how to maintain the suits, but, I still could not get them to my level of tweaking the suits to full efficiency. I was allowed to fly the suits for test purposes. Weapons mounting, historical pip sights, target acquisition LIDAR (Light based range finding), were just a few of the “Joy rides” I got to take. But the weapons of that time simply could not keep up with the suit. When one Pegasus almost shot himself with a guided missile, weapons testing stopped, and guns just did not fill the needs of the higher ups. When the P.P.P. and the E.A.V. suits were shelved, so was I.
“I’ve been retired three years. This war started one year after I left, and you come to me now over a Canceled program? I shifted in my chair feeling the unease that comes with four powerful mares looking at me like I had just relieved myself on the carpet like a bad dog.
Rainbow Dash leaned over to Twilight and whispered “We have four hours till the window opens and six till it closes.”
“Sergeant Cloud Fixer”, Twilight stated flatly, “Retired” she added, ”We require your assistance in a delicate matter, and these suits will be flying in four hours with or without you. What I truly hope that it’s WITH YOU in Number Five. These suits have not seen the light of day for eight years and they need you to make them operate to full potential. The other two technicians we brought with us said that you and only you, could get the full flight power out of the suits, and properly connect the weapon to suit Number Five”
Two other technicians? Weapon? Apple Jack took my frown as her cue.
“XAVR-01” she opened the black case. Inside laid a very large gun beside E.A.V. Number Five's Integrated Weapons Mount. “Experimental Automatic Void Rifle. Based on the .338 Lapony round, hyper velocity projectile, single fire or two round burst, 10 round magazine, we like to call it Xavier. The speed of the projectile is classified. Come to think of it Sugar Cube, this whole encounter is CLASSIFIED. So…..You in Hun?”
Oh sweet Celestia’s sun blazoned backside! Thank the Goddesses I didn't say that out loud. With a small trickle of sweat running down my forehead and ice running up my spine, I had to ask,” What’s in it for me?”
Rainbow smiled and said ”You will be brought into the Ministry of Awesome as a special operative in charge of the new Powered Pegasus Program. Your pay will be more than you will ever use, and you won’t disappear from the face of Equestria .” She had stopped smiling.
Rarity looked at Rainbow and chuckled “Now Dash! Really? You know that’s Pinky’s job, Darling! Cloud dear, please be reasonable. I know gems and crystals better than anypony and this matrix is horrific! It’s amazing you got these suits to work, let alone fly! We need your help. Was your service so bad that you would turn your back on all of us?”
Twilight cleared her throat “Sergeant Fixer retired, we need you. Equestria needs you. Please don’t make me use the Forced Re-instatement clause of your service retirement.”
“HUH! WHAT?!?” I blurted! “WAIT, WAIT! I’m in! I’m in! Whatever you want! Ma'am! “ I did not realize I had dropped my tea cup and was standing at attention. At some point I realized the mild laughter coming from the area of my front door. Two of my old techs were holding back snickers as well as holding suits 24 & 25. It was Buzzy and Zippy. Two of my better crew chiefs. “Come on Fix! We need to get these suits checklist ready!” Buzzy roared! Zippy started to open up suit 25. “NOT IN MY LIVING ROOM! GET THEM BACK HERE INTO MY SHOP!” I yowled. “I thought I could smell you two behind all this!” Zippy snorted, “He said smell, behind (snirk!)”
Four throats suddenly cleared rather loudly! A stack of papers appeared on my coffee table. “Sign here please!” all four said as one!
The suits were as good as the day I stored them for the final time. Rarity had read the manuals and did her best to work the matrix but with a bit of tool work they hit my standard of 20 percent better! The helmet on suit 25 had been altered. I thought it may have been the new sensor suite we had wanted to develop many years ago and we would check that in the pre-flight. The Integrated weapons mount locked into the XAVR-01 without a hitch. The cable hook ups locked into place and suit 5 was ready to go. “Buzzy! Help me into this dang thing! Zippy! Get Rainbow prepped in the next room and into 24 and find the pilot for 25…..” I ordered.
“Don’t worry about that…. Fix!”, Twilight said as she removed the long jacket she was wearing and spread her wings.
Fortunately I keep the floors in my work shop very clean or the taste of the cement might have put me off. Buzzy helped me back onto my hooves. “She’s a free-gak-ing ALICORN! BUZZY! She’s an ALICORN!” Zippy laughed as she picked up a female waste talisman unit and lead Rainbow into the next room “Come on your Highness. Grab that second unit and come in here! Hey Buzzy! That’s Fifty Bits you owe me! Hahahaha!”
Buzzy grumbled and hit the closure tabs on the male waste talisman. “HOOF! BUZZY! You did that on purpose!” I yelped, as the unit closed tightly around some very sensitive areas. “Hang on FIX! I’m working the adjusters.” Buzzy mumbled, “OK Fix how’s that?”.. “OK.” I replied. I don’t care what anypony thinks about the Improved Waste System, it does beat the old bag system. But it’s still cold and tight on some sensitive areas! Just then I heard a Rainbow flavored “EEEPP!” from the next room. The suits closed, the helmets on and sealed we went out the back double wide door. As the sun set the helmets automated check lists began to scroll.
I opened my mike,"OK Fix here. I call the list. You two call the switches. If I make a change, I'll call it. Ready? ....Comm Sync,"
"Little loud Rainbow!"
" Maps up"
"Master power flow"
"Wing tail sync,"
"Twilight, why Ultra?"
"Laser Data link suit only, Fix."
" OK….Pressure check to 2 Atmopheres ,"
"Sorry you two! I forgot the rapid suit pressure increase!"
"Pressure to 1 atmosphere"
"Oh yeah, that’s better,"
"OK, pressure switch to,"
" Anti-ice, select ALL"
" Hey Fix! Rainbow here. The list says AUTO."
"It’s OK Rainbow. Auto is a power save setting. If you want to get real cold set it to AUTO but with the suit running at optimum you might want to do it my way."
"The weapons portion of the list I will complete myself just listen to the calls.Weapons master, off. Weapons safe, on. Target sys., input. Twilight? Why is my suit interrogating yours for a target?"
"Wait till we are in the air Fix."
"Uh, OK….So now if you read the books you know it’s not a good idea to do a powered take off from the ground. So come on and lift em up!" Wings beating, we all left the ground.
"That’s good! A little more. Get your clearance Twilight! OK. When your altimeter says 1000 hooves go to power setting one and form up. I have the weapon. I have the lead!”
When the suits came to life at a thousand hooves, Rainbow let out a cry of joy, Twilight squeaked, and I just felt ten years younger. I called out, “Suit Integrated COMMS DATA is active now. Rising through twenty thousand hooves. How’s everybody doing?”
"All systems are green here Fix." Twilight called.
"Good here, Fix! When do we kick these things?" Rainbow chimed in.
I laughed, then opened my mike again,”OK Rainbow give me a second to get all the data from Twilight’s suit. Let’s head south on power setting five and climb.”
“Rodger” was replied by both.
OOOOH! We’ve gone all military again. Guess I better get my Military Bearing cleaned off. Data stream is complete. Target is in Zebrica. Go figure. Attack height eighty thousand hooves. Hmmmm. Not too high, not too low, AHHK! COLD! Anti-ice set to ALL. Idiot! Tell them to do something and forget to do it yourself….EEERRGH. Open mike,”Twilight. I have the target data. Going weapons hot. Weapons master, on. Weapons safe, off. I have a non-tracking pip. Clear for weapons test.” The “squawk” was audible.
“Negative, Fix! Charge the weapon, but don’t fire until we are on target! Twilight out!”
Now? Now this bothered me? Delicate mission. Grabbed out of retirement. Flying with two Ministry Mares, all in a cancelled program’s suit, with a weapon I can’t fire till I’m on target. I knew I was crazy to begin this, but, now I just got the hint? Uh boy. Let’s do this, and I might get my answers when we get back.
“OK. Listen up! We need to hit eighty thousand hooves, target window in 30 minutes, full power will put us in the box in 25. That gives us 5 minutes to ensure a clear sky and set up an orbit in the box to engage the target. Copy full power on my mark.”
“Rodger” was replied.
"MARK!",and three green rings flashed in the sky over the Equestrian southern border then vanished.