• Published 12th Jun 2013
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The Conversion Bureau: New Tactics Part III - no sh*t sherlock



Conversion Bureaus are over and Humans are going to take back whats theirs

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Chapter 4: Choice

Chapter 4: Choice

As the helicopters descended, Matt had to hold his hand in front of his face. The Mi-26s were so big and blew dirt and dust from the runway all over the place. Matt was in a bad position. Two Russian helicopters were moments away from landing a few dozen feet from him and he had no weapon. At the moment he couldn't care less that russians were inside the metal monsters. He still couldn't believe that humans, who were obviously very capable, were still around.

The closest one to the ground rotated so that it's rear faced the mass of people. As it touched down everyone, with the exception of Matt, had a gun raised towards the back. Minutes after it touched down a ramp began to lower from below the tail rotor. That moments that followed were the tensest Matt had experienced in his life.

As soon as the ramp touched the ground, the back of the helicopter exploded with people. About three dozen men and women, all dressed in dark green combat uniforms, rushed out quickly. They all carried what looked like the same weapon and had them pointed at the startled, growing crowd in front of them. The troops spread out in a semi circle around the ramp. The half in front went down to one knee while those in front remained standing.

Matt had dropped to the ground, he wasn't about to get himself shot. More people began rushing from the hangars, strengthening the numbers. Hudd, Rebbeca and Jacob were above him. The three of them had pistols and were waving them back and forth and shouting at the soldiers in front of them.

The Russians screamed an yelled right back. They had thick body armor on their chests, thighs and upper arms, but they couldn't hold out against all of them. Despite being out numbered six to one, they didn't cower or back down. They remained as still as statues

"Drop your weapons!" Matt's side yelled.

"Опустите оружие!" The Russians would shout back.

Matt was quite sure that neither side could understand the other. The noise of the screaming nearly drowned out the sound of the second helicopter landing maybe a hundred yard away. When it touched down, the back loading door didn't open as with the previous one. When Matt took a look inside of the first one it was dark, but he could still see the dark figure of a man still sitting down.

Maybe a minute later the man stood up and softly walked towards the loading ramp.

"Опустите чертовски оружия!" He shouted forcefully. Even through all the noise, Matt could still make out his distinctive voice. When he stepped on the ramp he finally came into view. He was a tall man, a few inches north of six feet. His hair was dirty and unkept like he hadn't slept in a while. His clothes, however, were very neat. He wore a very clean suit, complete with nice shiny shoes and a red tie. The man under the suit was quite thin. He was on the older side, around 65 years old and had a small layer of facial hair. "Какого хрена ты делаешь!" He shouted to his forces again.

Matt couldn't understand what he said, but he was able to breathe easier when the Russian troops lowered their weapons. The man continued forward and his people spilt letting him through.

He walked right up to the crowd, who still had their weapons on him, until Hudd stopped him.

"Whoa, hold the fuck up!" He held his gun up to stop him. "Stop right there! Who the fuck are you?"

The man put on a big smile and held out his hand. "Hello." He said warmly in english as he looked around to everyone.

Everyone looked to each other incomplete confusion. Hudd glanced quickly to Rebecca who concentrated hard on the man.

Hudd swallowed then continued. "Who are you and where the hell'd you come from? " He said firmly.

The man looked around with a slight smile on his face. "Surely you Americans did not believe you were the only ones who could avoid conversion?" He looked to Hudd who did not look amused. His smile disappeared as he spoke again. "My name is Kirill Severov and I have not come for a conflict." His deep, raspy voice was drenched under a heavy Russian accent. "I have come here to talk with you."

Hudd shook his head. "No no I don't think so. I think you better get back in your chopper and get the hell out of here."

Severov chuckled. "I think you are wrong. May I ask to speak to who is in charge here?"

Jacob reached down and grabbed Matt's shirt, pulling him to his feet, without taking his eyes off him.

Hudd pointed to himself, Rebbeca and when Jacob coughed, to him too.

He held his hands up. "Fine. I have traveld over 8,000 kilometers over nine days and nights to discuss something with you. Please, let us go inside somewhere and talk."

Rebbeca, Hudd and Jacob huddled together and discussed Severov's request for a few minutes. As far as Matt could tell, Rebbeca and Jacob seemed against it, while Hudd was interested in what he had to say. Matt was more concerned with another man who was exiting the helicopter. He watched as the man, who was clearly angry about something, walked right up to Severov, ignoring everyone else. Unlike like the others he had a black combat suit with no body armor.

"Кирилл, какого черта ты делаешь?" He shouted.

"Нам нужно то, что они имеют, Артур." Severov said back calmly.

Hudd turned back towards him. "We've decided that we'll listen to what you have to say. " Rebbeca sighed as he spoke. She clearly wasn't too happy with the decision. "But you leave ALL your men and weapons out here."

Severov nodded and took off his coat. He then spun slowly trying to show he was unarmed. Hudd thought this was sufficient, because he started walking towards a building that sat just off the runway. "Follow me."

Severov first went over to his worried looking man and held you his hand. He was reluctantly handed a blank manila folder and nodded to his guy. "Выключите и жди меня." He told him.

"Вы действительно не собираетесь с ними в одиночку не так ли?" he said back surprised.

"Артур, нам нужно, чтобы они доверяли нам, чтобы получить то, что мы хотим." He sighed as if they had talked about this before.

Matt watched the two converse quietly. He hated that he couldn't understand the language. It made him wish that he still had his English- Russian dictionary that he received as a gag gift years ago.

"Но можно ли им доверять?" he answered back quickly.

Severov didn't have a response to what ever he asked. He groaned before he followed Hudd and Rebbeca through the crowd. The second man scoffed as he went back to the helicopter to start yelling orders to the forced that had returned inside.

Jacob snapped to get Matt's attention an waved his arm for him to follow. As he moved towards him, he could hear both helicopters starting to power down.

Matt followed behind Jacob and the group of five went towards the building.

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Shining Armor sat in his room. His wife had not yet returned from what had been a very tense council meeting. Storm Hammer had called for it as soon as Shining had seen the weapons he kept in his warehouse. Luna had once again missed the meeting, but no one really expected her to show up anyway.

This was problematic because it may have very well been the most important to have been held. Shining Armor was fully prepared to vote for Storm's weapons to be used in comabt. Like he expected, the other ponies were very hesitant about it. But something he didn't see coming was how far Storm Hammer would go to get approval.

When it looked like they were about to lose 7-3, with the only other vote coming from Gale, Storm Hammer revealed the secret. The room went quiet when he told them about the barriers current condition. Storm Hammer's smile grew when he saw how the mood had changed for the worst. Everyone looked to Gale for some kind of comforting statement, but he could only shake his head and look away.

At that point everyone else except Cadence shot their hooves up. She kept trying to argue that there had to be another way.
Shining felt bad for her. When Storm Hammer had shown and described his weapons on screen, she cringed at his words. But Storm Hammer did not just have weapons. He had drawn up multiple defense strategies for the major cities and towns in Equestria. He had been planning for something like this for weeks. The final vote was 9-1 and after her loss, Princess Cadence said she needed some time to herself to think.

Now at home, Shining Armor watch a video on a pull down screen. It was basically a 3 hour montage of human war and conflict footage starting from around the mid 1950s to 2021. It fascinated him to watch how human weaponry and technology had increased steadily over the decades. Princess Celestia had given him the video years ago. Shining had thought that maybe if he studied it, it would help him as a captain. It hadn't.

Now he only sighed as he watched it. Even with Storm Hammer's new weapons, the humans still had a huge advantage in terms of technology. Magic was the only thing the humans didn't have and it was the center piece of most of the new weapons. However unicorns were roughly only a third of the population. There was so much on his mind. He felt like someone was dumping buckets of stress on him and watching it soak into his head. After 30 minutes, he turned the video off and prepared to leave. He needed to see one of the only ponies who could put his mind at ease. He was headed to Canterlot Hospital.

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********************

Severov was led into brightly lit room. He moved a chair around to one side of a metal rectangular desk and sat down. Hudd and Rebbeca took two seats opposite him. Jacob and Hudd had to stand up on either side of them.

For a moment there was silence as Hudd studied the man in front of him and decided what to say . Severov held his folder tight and started. "Before we begin I want admit my true reason for coming here." Rebbeca glanced angrily over to Hudd who tried to ignore it. "I want to discuss a... trade." He searched his brain for the right words to keep it sounding light.

"What do you want?" Hudd asked.

Severov hesitated. "...We get to that later."

Hudd brought a hand up and rubbed his forehead. "Well what do you have to trade then?" He asked sounding frustrated.

"In times like these, information can be as good as material items, yes?" Severov made a good point. Parts of the world were so cut off from each other that most times you only knew what the person next to you would tell you.

"I guess...If the info you have is good enough." Hudd looked as if he thought whatever Severov knew wouldn't be worth much. "So I've been curious..." Hudd started and Severov looked eager to start. "Who exactly are you with? Russian Navy, airforce, some kind of special forces unit?"

Severov face hardened. "We should not talk about that."

Rebbeca threw her hands up suddenly. "Well you say you want to trade information." She said angrily. "What the hell do you have?"

Severov leaned forward and placed his folder on the desk and pushed it towards her. "This." he said simply.

Hudd flipped open the front cover to find a pile of photographs. He laid out maybe a dozen sheets neatly across the desk. All except Severov leaned in for a look at the pictures.

"Holy shit." Jacob said.

"That can't be what I think it is." Hudd gasped in awe.

Matt looked over Rebbeca's shoulder. Half the pictures were aerial high over a castle with many tall towers that had been built right into the side of a mountain. All of the pictures were from different angles and two of them showed a town that was close by. The other half were much higher altitude shots of a long skinny island.

"That can't be real." Matt said shaking his head. "I mean that can't be...Equesria." He looked unsure towards Severov. "Can it?"

He nodded. "These photographs are real. And they are not from satellites."

"How the hell did you get pictures of Equestria without a satellites?" Hudd asked.

Severov's face darkened as he placed his elbows on the desk and leaned in close. "For years we send drones; try to get pictures." He spoke in a low serious voice. "Until nearly a month ago, every single drone destroyed by the barrier. But, the last one we send, get in and out with no problems. You know what this means."

Hudd shared a quick look with Rebbeca. They were thinking the same thing. Matt also had a theory, though not even he thought it could be true.

"Their barrier is gone." He said, a hint of pride in his voice. "That is my information."

There was a silence in the room as the four tried to comprehend the extent of what he said. Matt had only known the barrier over Equestria to be nothing but concrete. If the Russian was correct, that had completely changed.

After a while Hudd coughed. "How can we be sure that this is real?" In reality, he believed the pictures and what Severov said, but he didn't want to appear too easy.

Severov pointed to one of the castle pictures. "Do you know what this is?" He didn't wait for a response. "This is Canterlot. The only pictures to exist of this are from satellite." He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out a much smaller picture." There is also this." The picture he placed on the table was mostly black, but had a few distinct white pony shapes scattered over it. "Infrared images." He said.

Hudd and Rebbeca examined the picture. They both nodded before Rebbeca spoke. "What do you want?"

Severov frowned, he knew they would not like it. "In Russia we have received news. News that you have acquired something that can turn ponies back into humans. I need it.

"No way." Rebbeca shook her head. "Absolutely no way."

"I see it a fair deal." he said calmly as he had expected this.

"We need that stuff here." She said.

"I need to revive my country to its former strength. We have essentially the same goal."

"You're wrong. We aim to rid ourselves of the problem that are the ponies."

"And I have given you the information to do so!" Severov voice raised and he almost stood up. "Look beyond your own patch of land. There are five other continents with ponies who need help. You cannot hope to convert the whole world from one location. I have given you the most important information I can. All I ask in return is a small amount to convert and protect my country. I had tried to negotiate this without resorting to...other means. So again I must ask, what is it going to be?"

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