In The Shadows Of Peace

by Veyron

The enemy of my enemy.

“Ye have got to be kidding.” Rivet stated as he gawked at the large group of assembled changelings.

“Unfortunately, this is no joke.” Vex sighed as he hobbled up next to the flabbergasted griffon.

“Luna wants us to bring them along and so that is what I plan to do…. However I will not trust them. So please have the crew watch them.”

Rivet nodded as Vex left the bridge to head out and meet their new friends.

Vex, Nova and Arcanian along with a few ponies and griffons made up the shore party. Vex carefully approached the small squad of changelings as he looked them over from head to toe. They looked like normal changelings with their shiny black chitin and the webbed fins on their heads as well as those beady blue eyes that made ones stomach turn. However it was there steel plated armor and the rifles strung across their backs that made them stand out.

“So you must be Vex.” The lead changeling barked as he looked Vex over with one blue eye and its scarred milky white brother.

“I am... and you are?” Vex watched him intently with his ruby eyes.

“Jericho, Captain Jericho.” The changeling stated as he idly examined his hoof. “And these are my Jagers.” He motioned behind him at the rest of his squad.

Vex raised an eyebrow in surprise at the well armed changelings who, by all measures, should have never been able to make and buy the amount of hardware they had.

“You seem surprised, Vex.” Jericho smirked knowingly.

“I thought Celestia had imposed sanctions on your kind.” Vex moved his body so that his cobalt blue revolvers were ready to be drawn in an instant.

“Relax Vex, These are only leftovers from my queens little mistake.” Jericho and his changelings bowed their heads to Vex and his crew.

Vex looked on stunned as Jericho laid a small rifle at Vex’s hooves and upon further inspection Vex noticed that unlike what he and his crew were armed with, this rifle had no ramming rod or any visible place for the ignition powder. Vex also noticed that it had a lever underneath its trigger and that it had a sort of underbarrel that had a seam near its tip.

“They call it a repeater, we picked them up off of a small Diamond Dog patrol just outside of  sunset valley.” Jericho explained as Vex turned the weapon over in his hooves as he took in its details.

“Seems like a fine weapon indeed.” Vex remarked idly as his eyes roamed over the gun one last time before he slung it over his back.

“So what is our next stop?” Jericho cocked his head to the side as his changelings helped load their supplies onto the Eclipse.

“Well, we are following a ship that was involved in an attack on a city not too far from here.” Vex looked out over the horizon as the sun began to set, throwing hues of gold and pink across the sky. “Last we saw of them they were heading west towards the Red Stone mountain range.”

“That is D-dog territory.” Jericho pointed out. “And you know we’ll be severely outnumbered.”

“I know but what choice do we have?” Vex sighed. “With each passing day they grow stronger and the chances of finding anypony they took keep dropping.”

Jericho nodded and looked towards the west. “Then time is of the essence, but we must also be cautious. A dead rescue team will not be very helpful for those trapped in those mines.”

“I agree, thats why we will only travel under the cover of the night.” Vex turned to look at his new ally.

Jericho gave him a sidelong glance before he replied. “I think that is a wise move, but we will have to make our presence known eventually.”

“All in due time, Jericho” Vex smirked as he trotted up the gangplank and back onto his ship.

As Luna’s moon hung high in the sky, the Eclipse stalked through the valleys of the Red Stone range like a hunter stalking its prey.  Her deck was completely void of life and no lights shone from the bridge or the crew quarters.

“Lad, how long are we to be in the dark?” Rivet asked in a hushed whisper to the batpony next to him who blended in scarily well with the shadows in the room.

“Until we find a place to stop and rest for the day.” Vex replied calmly as his eyes scanned the horizon for the airship they had been chasing. He cast one last look over the darkened horizon and the mountains hidden in their own shadows before he slipped below deck.

The Eclipse stalked through the night like a shark that had gotten a fleeting taste of blood. Below decks, the crew went about their normal routines only pausing momentarily to look out a window to see if they could spot their target. Vex’s eyes scanned over the towering rock faces of the mountains surrounding them when a faint flash of light pulled his vision back to a spot he had passed over.

Gotcha! He thought with a smirk as he donned his duster and headed up to the bridge to speak with Rivit and Jericho. Time to see what those changelings can do.

Slowly but surely, the Eclipse pulled into the shadow of a nearby mountain as her crew watched with bated breath as the ship that had attacked them sat menacingly over a lone peak. Vex stood out on one of the railings as the cogs in his mind began to formulate a plan to get them into the caves of the mountain. He glanced one last time at the enemy airship and decided on the most important detail. At dawn's first light, we will attack.