• Published 2nd Oct 2011
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Michael Bay Presents: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Revenge of the Unicorn God Slayer - Cold in Gardez



He did it to Transformers. Now Michael Bay turns his genius to My Little Pony.

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Part 2: The Unicorning

Opening Scene: Translunar Orbit

The sleek alien craft slid through the void in silence.

The nature of space imposes certain requirements on the vessels that fly therein. Its vast distances, incomprehensible to mortal minds, require titanic engines with the output of suns. Storage tanks for oxygen, water, fuel or whatever other liquids and gasses your particular physiology is based on take up most of a ship’s actual bulk. Symmetry is considered useful; otherwise your powerful engines will put the ship into an uncontrollable spin that tears it apart at the seams. Windows are a silly vanity – the ship’s expensive sensor suite can see further and detect more than your pitiful, meat-based eyes. They are also a weak spot in the armor, which is a bad thing whether you’re engaged in combat or just running into specks of dust at a high fraction of the speed of light.

The alien ship violated all of these restrictions and then some. Forward-facing windows peered out at the stars as the irregular craft spun on its long axis, coming to a new heading that bent toward the blindingly bright surface of the moon far below.

To the aliens in the vessel’s cockpit, space seemed to move around them. The spinning stars were the only sign of their motion, and the moon grew by itself in the windows. As it filled the viewport one particular crater rushed up to meet them, and they maneuvered to bring the craft down on a landing strip near the rim.

They walked, naked, through the harsh lunar environment as though it were a comfortable spring day. Their maker, in her mad genius, had adapted them to this world in a desperate, foalish attempt at playing god. The corpses of her failed experiments littered the landscape; they lay wherever she had flung them in her terrible rage, and slowly decomposed in the relentless hail of solar radiation.

Massive doors set into the side of the crater cracked opened as the aliens approached. A more efficient species of aliens might have built a smaller pedestrian entrance for the hidden moonbase, rather than opening the hangar doors every time someone wanted to walk in or out, but that wasn’t really part of their psychology. They were not subtle aliens.

The hangar buzzed with activity. Dozens of scout and assault craft, aligned in neat rows on the bay floor, were in the final stages of preparation for the attack. Crowds of aliens buzzed around the ships. Mechanically augmented maintainers pulled open panels to inspect circuits and wiring, while pilots and crews performed preflight checks in the cockpits.

Most frightening of all were the thousands of shock troops filing aboard the drop pods. Every one was a living horror, a composite creature of meat and metal blended. Electro-actuated muscles connected to titanium bones. Limbs terminated not in hands but in weapons: beam rifles, grenade launchers, particle projection cannons. Not blood but a nutrient-rich copper-saline solution flowed through arteries. Their armored skin seemed to shift with the flickering light of the engines as it changed its color to match the environment.

They had transcended the boundaries of flesh. Her gifts lifted them above the cruel limits of nature and mortality. They were touched by a god.

The alien strode through the chaos of the hangar. He ignored the lesser beings around him, even as they snapped to attention and saluted. His mind was focused on the meeting that awaited him.

The hangar gave way to a corridor leading further beneath the lunar surface. The complex was hardened to withstand direct hits from multi-megaton weapons, and the best defense was to dig deep, deep below the regolith and rocks above. Their queen could be a very paranoid god at times.

At last he came to her throne room. Originally a massive natural cavern, it had been shaped and molded according to her will. Tall moonrock columns supported the high roof, which was carved with fanciful images of the phases of the moon, surrounding a central sun in eclipse. Artificial windows looked out onto huge liquid crystal screens programmed to display pictures of the surface as it appeared outside the base, creating the illusion that her throne was atop a high lunar mountain.

He knelt in the center of the room. Before him rose a dozen steps, atop which she sat, still as a statue. Her eyes were closed, though the faint pressure against his brain dispelled any illusion that she was asleep or unaware of his presence.

“My queen, I have returned,” he said. The vacuum in her hall carried no words – a speaker built into his palm, pressed against the floor, transmitted his voice through the metal deck plates, up the stairs, into her hooves and to her eardrums. All faster than through pitiful, thin air.

“Welcome back, general. All is well, I pray?” She remained as still as stone; her musical voice thundered in his mind.

“Our plans are proceeding according to schedule,” he said. “The loss of the expeditionary force was a painful setback, but we learned much about our enemy. Although our assessment of her conventional armies was accurate, I’m afraid we dramatically underestimated the capabilities of some of her special forces.”

A hidden hologram projector flickered to life beside him, filling the empty room with six large portraits of brightly colored ponies. Two of them, a cyan pegasus and a white unicorn, had large red ‘X’ marks through them.

The others, regretfully, were still alive. A lavender unicorn with cunning eyes; a pink earth pony with a crazed smile; a craven yellow pegasus with a flowing pink mane; a rough orange earth pony with a tough-as-nails expression.

“Yes, I know these mares. I have seen their power first-hand.” His queen opened her teal eyes, drinking in the images. Her gaze came to rest on the lavender unicorn.

“We have plans to neutralize them,” the general said. “They will not interfere with us again.”

She was silent for a long while. Long enough that the moonscape displayed in the artificial windows changed, the shadows lengthening as their world rotated away from the sun. He was silent as well; he had learned not to interrupt her. Finally she spoke.

“I want the purple one alive. She has cost me much, and must pay.” She tilted her head down to look directly at him, like he was an interesting insect pinned against a board. The force of her gaze felt like a wind against his face.

He shivered briefly before responding. “It will be done, my queen.”

She stared at him for a moment longer, then closed her eyes and returned to her former position. “Begin the invasion,” she said.

He bowed and stood to leave. Behind him Luna, goddess of the moon and princess of the night, resumed her meditation.

Michael Bay Presents

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: Revenge of the Unicorn God Slayer: Part 2: The Unicorning

Scene 1: Ponyville

Twilight Sparkle was using her motorcycle in a most unorthodox fashion when Applejack found her.

The camera followed Applejack into the garage, hugging the ground for the best angle. Twilight was splayed atop her motorcycle, lying on her stomach on its seat. Her rear legs clenched the frame, holding her in place and giving the camera a gratuitous shot of her flanks that very nearly earned the film an R rating. She shifted and moaned occasionally, oblivious to Applejack’s presence as her front hooves slowly moved. Nothing short of a huge explosion could tear her away from her favorite pastime.

She lifted a trembling hoof and turned the page of the book propped on the handlebars in front of her. Reading over her shoulder, Applejack could make out what seemed to be scientific diagrams and long, boring columns of text filled with numbers and equations.

“Sugar?” she asked. No response. She rolled her eyes and jabbed the lavender unicorn’s side with her hoof.

That worked. Twilight let out a loud yelp and tried to jump to her hooves, having apparently forgotten she was on top of a motorcycle. Her hooves slipped on the chrome body as the whole contraption teetered for a moment before toppling off its kickstand, dumping her and her book onto the garage floor in a heap.

“You shouldn’t sneak up on ponies, Applejack,” Twilight said with a scowl. She stood back up, still shaking from the sudden surge of adrenaline, and looked around for her book. She found it beneath a workbench and grabbed it with her mouth. Applejack got a glimpse of the cover before the unicorn could stuff it in her saddlebags.

“Alien Technology Digest?” she read, puzzled. “Twilight, you’re not still thinking ‘bout that invasion last month, are ya?”

She sighed. “I can’t help it, AJ. Ever since I kicked that crystal and destroyed the enemy ship, I’ve been seeing visions… Ancient pony hieroglyphs are always flashing in front of me, giving me strange answers to impossible scientific problems. Sometimes,” she paused and looked around to make sure no one else was listening, “sometimes, I even see visions of the future… the world is going to burn, AJ! They’re going to come back, and kill us all!”

“Now, calm down, Twi’, I’m sure there’s a good explanation for all this,” Applejack said. “Yer a scientist, so ask yerself what’s more likely: that touching that crystal somehow opened a gateway in yer mind that links the past, present and future in a seamless flow of tortured visions and terrifying insights…

“Or,” she continued, “Maybe these are just flashbacks from all the acid you did in college?”

“Well, I did do a lot of LSD,” Twilight allowed. “For, um, research purposes, of course.” She paused, and then giggled. “Oh AJ, I’m being a silly filly, aren’t I? Really, aliens in my brain?”

“Aw shucks, sugar cube. Anyone would feel a little weird after all that. Come on, let’s head over to Pinkie’s. Her Tuesday party is just about to get started.”

Scene 2: Pinkie’s Party

The block party was in full swing when Applejack and Twilight Sparkle arrived. Spike and Owlowicious were already passed out in the alley behind Sugarcube Corner, but they could have been there from the Monday party for all Twilight knew. Dozens of ponies caroused in the streets around the shop, laughing over the day’s gossip. Large beer troughs had been set out in strategic locations, and were constantly being refilled by a hyperactive pink blur.

Twilight and AJ headed for the nearest trough and took a long pull from the cold beer within. It was cheap stuff, but since Pinkie was footing the bill no one complained.

“You know,” Applejack said after a particularly long draught, “Things have been awful quiet here since we blew that ship up. Didn’t you try to tell Celestia that there were more aliens out there? Shouldn’t we be making preparations or somthin’?”

Twilight thought for a moment before answering. “Well, we defeated them last time without any preparation. I’m sure if they come back we’ll be able to beat them again.”

Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash joined them at the trough. “Hey girls, whatcha talking about?” Pinkie asked. “Oh, you’ve got some foam on your horn, Twilight!”

“Oop, thanks Pinkie!” She shook her head to toss the foam off. “AJ was just worrying about the aliens coming back.”

“Ha, I’d like to see them try!” said Rainbow Dash. She jabbed her hooves at the air like she was shadowboxing. “They wouldn’t stand a chance! Oh, thanks for using their alien technology to bring me back to life, by the way.”

“It was my pleasure,” the unicorn answered. “Fortunately there were enough of their alien magic crystal technology… bit… things to experiment with. Who knew it would have that effect!”

Sweetie Belle, who was listening to their conversation with a distraught expression, walked up to them. “Twilight? Do you think you could use that magic to bring Rarity back?”

“Oh, I’m so sorry Sweetie Belle,” Twilight said. “But we only had enough magic alien juice for one pony, and unfortunately Rarity tested poorly with the focus group, so—er, I mean, we only had enough juice for one pony, and Rainbow Dash’s name came first alphabetically.”

Beside her Rainbow Dash exhaled in relief. Sweetie Bell sniffled and walked away.

“Anyway, let’s stop thinking about aliens,” Applejack said. “This is a beautiful day, and there’s no need to spoil it by worrying about—"

Suddenly, there was a huge explosion!

“Oh, god dammit,” she finished. Dozens of screaming ponies took off running away from a rising black cloud over the center of town. Bits of burning wreckage slammed into the ground around them, starting smaller fires wherever they landed. The camera shook violently, as though mounted on a car engine block, and the anguished cries of wounded and dying ponies filled the air.

“We need to go help everypony!” Twilight yelled. She jumped over the beer trough and galloped toward the plume of smoke, followed by her friends. By the time they reached the center of town, however, it was too late; the newly rebuilt Town Hall was nothing but flaming debris and pony parts.

“Noooooo!” she cried, falling to her knees. Her friends gathered around as the fires burned, and gazed at the rising black pall.

Scene 3: Celestia’s Castle

“General, please tell me this isn’t what I think it is.” Celestia was in a poor mood. She had been in her bath when a guard barged in with news of the latest attack. Her mane and tail were wrapped in a pair of towels nearly as large as she was, and a small puddle of water was forming under her seat at the head of the table. The other ponies pretended not to notice.

The pony at the far end of the situation room coughed politely. Behind him projection screens displayed a rotating series of pictures of attacks across Equestria.

“I’m afraid it is, your majesty,” he said. “In fact, they seem to have attacked the same places they hit last time, minus Cloudsdale, which as you know no longer exists.” He paused for a sip of water.

“If you’ll recall, princess, after the aliens were defeated we proposed a series of military upgrades, which you disapproved, including a space-based early warning system that might have detected these attacks,” he continued. “Now, I don’t wish to second-guess your majesty’s decisions,” his tone clearly indicated he was lying, “but we find ourselves rather unprepared for this conflict.”

“And I will remind you, general, that the defense budget is part of a bi-annual appropriations process,” said an oily looking bureaucrat pony seated next to the princess. “We will be happy to consider your suggestions for new spending the next time the budget comes up for review.”

That prompted a heated shouting match between the military ponies on one side of the table and the civilian ponies on the other. Finally Celestia had enough.

“Enough!” she yelled as she slammed a hoof onto the table. The room went silent, and everypony turned to stare at her. “General, what are our options?”

“We still have our advanced spear technology, which we have managed to improve somewhat thanks to bits of alien technology we were able to recover.” He hit a button on a small remote control, and a diagram of a spear appeared on the screen behind him. “You’ll note the new, rubberized grip here on the shaft, which improves comfort and performance by at least 20 percent, according to test groups.” The military ponies around the table murmured appreciatively.

“But we have two problems,” he continued. “First, even with the new spears, our pony warriors are completely outclassed by the alien troops. We’ve run some computer simulations, and, well, the results aren’t pretty.”

On the screen a 3D rendering of a pony warrior with a spear gripped in his mouth approached an alien shock troop. The assembled ponies leaned closer when suddenly the screen filled the room with a gruesome red light, accompanied by horrible, violent ripping noises. The civilian ponies turned away, several of them actually gagging at the sight.

Celestia sighed. “And the second problem?”

He clicked the remote again, and the screen switched to a picture of the alien ship that had been destroyed outside Ponyville during the last invasion. “Their previous assault was commanded by this ship. It was incredibly powerful, but by sneaking a team of Special Forces ponies on board, we were able to destroy it and end the invasion.”

She couldn’t help but roll her eyes at his description of her student and friends.

“However, this time the invasion isn’t being commanded locally,” the general said. “In fact, it’s being led from a very distant location.” He touched the remote again, and the ship on the screen behind him was replaced by a picture of space, with a bright white circle in the center. As their eyes adjusted, the ponies could make out the craters and lava flows that decorated the surface of the moon.

“Well, fuck me,” Celestia said.

Scene 4: Luna’s Quarters

“Luna? Are you in here?” Celestia nudged open the door to her sister’s private quarters. She didn’t usually visit this part of the castle, preferring to give her sister some space while she adjusted to life on Equestria.

“Coming, ‘Tia!” she heard from within an adjacent room. A moment later a bubbly indigo alicorn trotted through a tall doorway. She had a bright smile on her face as she greeted her sister with a friendly nuzzle.

“Luna, I just spoke with my military advisors. They said the latest alien attacks are coming from the moon.” Her sister ducked her head, suddenly looking bashful. “Luna, are you launching another rebellion against me using armies of genetically augmented alien monsters?”

Luna twisted her hoof against the floor, refusing to meet her sister’s gaze. “…maybe.”

Celestia sighed. “Luna, remember when I said you could live here? I had one rule?”

Luna nodded. “No rebellions,” she mumbled.

“Well?”

Luna stomped her hoof in frustration. “It’s not fair! Everypony loves you but they still ignore me!”

“That’s not true, Luna. They’re just getting adjusted to your being back, is all.”

“Then why haven’t I been in a single episode since the series premier? You get to be in every one!”

Celestia scoffed. “First, that’s not true; there are several episodes I haven’t been in. Second, it’s the screenwriters who decide which ponies appear in which episodes, not me.”

“It’s still not fair!” the alicorn’s voice echoed in the minds of everypony in the castle. A black aura flashed into existence around her, setting her mane and tail waving in an unseen wind. Cracks appeared in the tall windows overlooking the castle courtyard as the force of her wrath physically pressed against every object in the room.

“Don’t you take that tone of voice with me, young mare!” Celestia snapped. “Now, if you stop all this nonsense, I’ll do my best to make sure you get more screen time in season two. Maybe your own episode, if you promise to be good.”

“I will take them all,” Luna said, her teal eyes shining with a feverish light. “It is time for a new era in Equestria, sister. I will rule here, and the night will last forever!” Booming laughter filled Canterlot as visions of conquest filled Luna’s mind. Her horn glowed with a dark anti-light that built into a blinding black flash, and when Celestia could see again she was alone in the room.

“Dammit, not again,” she mumbled. She turned and trotted out of the room, slamming the door with an angry huff.

Scene 5: Ponyville

“…and so I need you and your friends to once again venture into the depths of the alien fortress and put an end to their evil plans, so that all of Equestria may know peace.” Twilight Sparkle finished reading the scroll. “She doesn’t ask for small favors, does she?”

“On the one hoof, it’s encouragin’ to know she has so much faith in us,” Applejack said. The five ponies were lounging in Twilight’s library, where they had come to discuss an “important missive” from Princess Celestia herself.

“On the other,” she continued, “she’s totally bat-shit crazy if she thinks we’re goin’ to the moon for her.”

“Oh, um, Applejack, you shouldn’t say such mean things about her,” Fluttershy said quietly. “If that’s alright, I mean.”

“I bet I could fly there!” Rainbow Dash said. “I mean, it can’t be that far away if you can see it from the ground, right?”

“The moon is a quarter of a million miles away, Dash,” Twilight said. The cyan pegasus stared at her, uncomprehending. “That’s more than ten times around the equator,” she tried. Rainbow Dash simply shrugged.

Twilight sighed. “If you could fly at the speed of sound it would take you…” she paused, thinking. “…almost two weeks of constant flight to reach it.”

“I could do that!”

Twilight rubbed her temples with her hooves. “Most of that distance is in space. You would freeze, suffocate and explosively decompress all at the same time,” she added helpfully.

“Oh… what’s space?”

“Anyway,” Applejack drawled, watching with interest as Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy had to physically restrain Twilight from assaulting the pegasus. “Even if we had a plan to stop the aliens, we have no way to get to the moon.”

“Oh! Well, about that,” Twilight said, wriggling out from under the two ponies. “I’ve actually been working on a new teleportation spell that I think might just do the trick.”

“Teleportation spell?” Pinkie asked. “I dunno, Twilight. That sounds dangerous! Like it could go wrong and kill us all, or dump us in some weirdo alternate dimension where everypony’s a fish or Hitler won World War Two!”

Twilight waved a hoof dismissively. “That’s just science fiction, Pinkie. If teleportation spells could go wrong that easily, don’t you think we would’ve read about some of those crazy stories by now?”

Silence filled the room.

“See?” Twilight said. “Nothing to worry about. Now, who wants to help me test the spell?”

Scene 6: Twilight Sparkle’s Arcane Laboratory

“Thank you so much for volunteering to help, Fluttershy,” Twilight said. The other ponies were gathered outside the primary testing field while Twilight drew a rune-filled circle on the laboratory floor. “If this experiment works, we’ll be halfway to ending the alien attacks!”

“Oh, well, I just felt soooo guilty for abandoning you last time,” Fluttershy said. “This is the least I can do to help.”

“I didn’t know you had a laboratory, Twilight,” Applejack said, looking around the room. Magical knick-knacks and oddities sat on shelves alongside thousands of books. Not an inch of space on the walls went uncovered by some diagram, flowchart or hastily scribbled warning sign.

“It’s where she did her experiments on me!” Pinkie chimed in. The others stared at her for a long moment, and then at Twilight.

“Ahem!” Twilight said, a strained smile on her face. “All in the name of science, of course! Nothing untoward about that!”

“…right,” Rainbow Dash said. “Anyway, what’s this experiment supposed to do?”

“It’s a proof of concept for my new teleportation circle,” Twilight said. “By adjusting the runic coordinates used to draw this circle, I can send anyone standing on it almost anywhere in the universe in the blink of an eye!”

The others stared at it.

“That’s… awful powerful, Twi’,” Applejack finally said, a skeptical note in her voice. “Don’cha think somethin’ that useful would’ve been invented by now if it really worked, though?”

“Well, obviously, nopony as smart and powerful as I has attempted it before!”

“…right,” Rainbow Dash said, again.

“Now then,” Twilight said, “we’re starting small. This particular circle is set to deliver its payload across town to Applejack’s barn. Any questions?” They all shook their heads. “Okay then, onto the circle, Fluttershy!” The yellow pegasus gulped audibly, but did as she was told.

Twilight exhaled deeply and closed her eyes to concentrate. A gentle purple glow built around her horn as she prepared to close the magical circuits that would complete the spell and send Fluttershy across town to—

“Wait!” Pinkie Pie suddenly cried. “Don’t do it!” She disappeared in a pink blur up the stairs.

The others stared in shock at the closing door. A moment later Pinkie reappeared, a large wood box perched on her back.

“I almost forgot!” she said. “I borrowed this box of rusty knives from Big Macintosh and promised to return them today. Do you think you carry them with you, Fluttershy?”

“Oh, well, I suppose I could, if that’s alright with everypony.” She carefully grabbed the box with her mouth, its contents jingling ominously as she settled back into the rune circle.

“Ya know, I could take ‘em back for ya,” Applejack offered. Pinkie shook her head emphatically.

“This way’s faster!”

“Are you two done?” Twilight asked, irate. They nodded, sheepishly, and she began to recast the spell. A gentle purple glow built around her horn as she—

“Wait!” Rainbow Dash suddenly cried. “Don’t cast yet!” She too vanished up the stairs in a cyan-and-rainbow colored blur.

Twilight stomped her hoof in frustration. It was several minutes this time before they heard a loud scraping noise upstairs, as though somepony was dragging a heavy object across the floor. The door banged open and Rainbow Dash entered, pulling a massive metal contraption down the stairs with a loud *THUNK* on each step.

“I borrowed Big Macintosh’s wood chipper last week and forgot to return it to him,” she said, panting. “Do you think you could take it with you, Fluttershy?”

“You… borrowed a wood chipper?” Twilight asked. “What the hell for?”

Rainbow Dash shrugged. “I thought it did something else.”

“You thought a wood chipper did something other than chip… you know what, forget it. Just put it in the circle.” She waited as the pegasus pushed the machine into the circle, unfortunately not leaving enough room for Fluttershy.

“No, that won’t work,” Twilight said. “Everything has to fit inside the circle. Take it out, Dash.”

The cyan pegasus was about to object when Fluttershy spoke up. “Oh, it’s alright Twilight. I’ll just stand in the wood chipper’s intake.” She floated up above the machine, then sank down into the metal hopper with her box of rusty knives. “Okay, I’m ready.” She suddenly jerked slightly, lifting a hoof. “Ooh, those are sharp!”

Twilight glanced at the spectators. “Anything else?” There were no takers.

“Okay then!” she said, her voice rising with excitement. “Let’s prove once and for all that teleportation magic is perfectly safe!”

A gentle purple glow built around her horn…

Scene 7: Ponyville Cemetery

Fluttershy’s funeral was held in the rain.

Nearly everypony in Ponyville attended. They formed a sea of bright pastel colors draped in the black garb of mourning, washed out by the weeping heavens. Foals cried and clung to their mothers, many of whom could not restrain their own tears.

Celestia herself presided over the lowering of the coffin into the ground. She delivered a short speech on the transience of life, and the promise of a better world to come. Her normally flowing mane was plastered to her coat in colorful strings.

The six pallbearer ponies lifted the flag from the coffin and folded it with military precision. They handed it to Celestia, who knelt and reverently presented it to Angel Bunny.

On the far side of the coffin, Princess Celestia’s own honor guard performed a 21-spear salute. The four remaining Elements of Harmony clung to each other for support as the spears thudded into the ground, and wondered if they would have the strength to continue without their kindest friend.

Scene 8: Everfree Forest

Dawn approached in the east as the four friends snuck through the quiet haunting gloom of the Everfree Forest. For weeks the aliens had pressed their attack, wreaking greater and greater destruction on Equestria with their orbital canons. Once ponykind’s defenses were sufficiently softened up the aliens began landing assault ships for the final phase of the invasion.

Twilight Sparkle had offered to try the teleportation spell again, but was overruled by her friends. She tried to explain that science was a process of trial and error. They suggested she try teleporting herself next. Together, they agreed to find another way to the moon.

Another way to the moon was waiting for them in the woods. The alien assault ships were equipped for transport to and from the moon. By finding one, overpowering the guards and hijacking the ship, they would have everything they needed to defeat Luna and return peace to Equestria.

Well, maybe not defeat her. But get to her, certainly; Twilight was sure of that.

They found the landing craft with ease, by following a trail of smoke that rose above even the perpetual clouds of the Everfree forest. The smoke led to a blasted, treeless circle surrounding a wide, shallow crater, at the center of which rested the alien vessel. Although it was blackened by the heat of re-entry, they could clearly make out Luna’s crescent moon symbol on the nose.

Unfortunately, several nightmarish alien horrors stood outside the craft. They were even more terrible to behold than the last aliens the four had seen, months ago outside the original alien command ship.

“Okay, plan,” Twilight said, pulling the others close. She drew a quick diagram in the soil with her hoof. “Rainbow Dash, you fly around and distract them, and the rest of us will sneak onto the ship. Got it?”

The pegasus hesitated. “Uh, about that, Twilight…”

“Maybe there’s a better way?” Applejack suggested.

“I have an idea!” Pinkie gushed. “And it won’t get Dashie killed!”

“I vote for Pinkie’s plan,” Rainbow Dash said.

Twilight scowled. “We haven’t even heard it yet, Dash,” she said. “Pinkie, would you mind explaining… hey, where’d she go?” The pink pony was nowhere to be seen.

They were about to go searching for her when the silence of the forest was split by a terrifying wail, a ululating cry that startled birds into the air for miles around. The three ponies froze in fear, and nearly screamed when Pinkie reappeared in front of them, a huge grin on her face.

“W-what was t-that?” Twilight stammered.

“Manticore mating call,” Pinkie said. “Took weeks of practice to get right. Anyway, they should be here any minute now.”

“How do you know how to perform a manticore mating call?!” Rainbow Dash hissed, her ears folded back against her skull.

Pinkie’s eyes suddenly grew serious. “Well, it’s not something I… okay, look, I did some things in college I’m not proud of. Can we leave it at that?”

The answer was unlikely to be ‘yes’, but before anypony could speak a trio of large, aroused male manticores burst into the clearing, searching for the female who called them. Finding none, they turned their attention instead to the extremely startled alien guards.

With their distraction well in hand, the four ponies crept aboard the alien vessel, trying not to look at the carnage around them. Applejack caught a glimpse out of the corner of her eye, and was noisily sick in the dirt next to the craft. Once aboard Twilight buttoned up the ship, and prepared for their departure.

“That’s horrible!” Rainbow Dash whispered. “They’re killing them!”

“Oh no, they’re doing much worse than that,” Pinkie said. “But they’ll probably survive if they don’t struggle too much.”

Twilight pretended not to hear that part. She pushed the throttle levers forward and the ship lifted away from the earth, and flew toward the moon much faster than Rainbow Dash could have dreamed.

Scene 9: The Hidden Lunar Moonbase

“…and per your request, the control crystal now has an extra layer of security, to prevent a repeat of the, uh, setbacks we suffered earlier.” The alien technician gestured at the large, floating crystal at the center of the reactor room as he spoke.

“Excellent,” Luna said. “It was most unfortunate to allow a simple design flaw to doom our previous invasion attempts. Tell me, what are these security precautions?”

“Well, you can see the glass dome we’ve placed over the crystal,” the alien said, pointing a writhing tentacle at the crystal. “The only way to lift the dome is to enter a four-digit password into this computer terminal. For ease of use and remembrance, we set the password to ‘Luna.’”

There was a long pause.

“Luna?”

“Yes, my queen. Does it please you?”

“I am… pleased that you honor me in all your works,” she said, trying to be diplomatic. “However, do you not think that is a rather easily guessed password?”

“…no?”

She sighed. “Is there any way to change the password? And perhaps make it longer?”

“Oh no, it’s hardwired into the system. We would need to completely replace the whole thing, including the glass dome.”

“Including the glass… you know, ‘Luna’ is fine. What else have you done to protect this most vital asset?”

The alien stared at her. Finally she sighed.

“There’s nothing else, is there?”

He looked rather peevish. “Well, my queen, it only took us months of round-the-clock effort to install this system, but of course we never expected it to meet your exacting standards. I’ll be happy to order my crew back work for another month to—"

“No! No, that’s fine, you have done very well for me,” she said, cursing the labor union contract that prevented her from teleporting the insolent creature into the sun. “Perhaps there are some easy changes we can make to secure this room?”

“I don’t understand.”

“Maybe put a lock on the door? I’m pretty sure the supply shop has combination locks. We could just go down there and get one.”

“We’d have to talk to contracting about any construction requests,” the alien said. “We can put out a request for proposal and see what offers come in. If we rush it I’m sure we can have something in place by next month.”

Luna’s telepathic scream of frustration could be heard on the far side of the moon.

Scene 10: Inside the Hangar

The moonbase hangar was empty when Twilight Sparkle and her friends arrived. All the other ships were already on Equestria, disgorging their cargo of death and destruction.

“Hm, problem, girls,” Twilight said. “The hangar isn’t pressurized. If we go out there we’ll die instantly.”

There was a long pause as they all pondered what it would feel like to simultaneously freeze, suffocate and explosively decompress.

“So, um, do we go home?” Rainbow Dash asked.

“We may have to,” Twilight grudgingly allowed. “Without some way to survive outside… oh, hello, what are these?” She pawed at a cargo container labeled ‘Life Support – Exo-suits.’ Popping it open revealed a cache of space suits and oxygen tanks specifically fitted for ponies.

“Excellent!” Twilight said. “With these we’ll be able to survive out there! Everyone grab one and put it on!”

“Er, Twi’, don’t that seem a mite odd?” Applejack asked. “The aliens have space suits that fit ponies? And aren’t these aliens able to survive in space without—"

“There’s no time!” Twilight interrupted and went back to pulling on her suit.

They stared at her as the moments ticked by. Eventually she noticed their attention.

“Oh, well, I guess there is time,” she said. “But we really should hurry if we want to… stop looking at me like that! I don’t know why the fuck these suits were here, okay?”

Having no other choice, the four ponies donned the suits. After some quick function checks they equalized the pressure inside the cabin, and stepped out into the deserted hangar.

Scene 11: The Reactor Control Room

Hours later, after wandering through countless miles of deserted corridors, Twilight was about ready to give up and head back to Ponyville. Although her research into the living habits of freakish mutant aliens had been vastly advanced by the accidental discovery of their barracks, they had made no progress toward defeating the armies of the moon goddess.

Just as she was about to suggest regrouping in the hangar, they turned the corner to discover a door with an interesting sign:

WARNING: REACTOR CONTROL ROOM

AUTHORIZED PERSONNEL ONLY

UNAUTHORIZED USE OR ACCESS MAY RESULT IN EXPLOSIVE DESTRUCTION OF MOONBASE

They took their time reading it. Part of Twilight’s mind insisted that no one could be stupid enough to leave such a vital asset unguarded, or to advertise its presence and sensitivity on the door. On the other hoof, these were the same aliens they had defeated last time by kicking a single crystal in their command ship.

It was worth checking out, they decided. Cautiously, they pushed open the door and poked their heads inside.

Bingo. The room was a massive, circular chamber, lined with computer banks that fed into think conduits running up the walls. At the center of the room was a large floating crystal, identical to the one on the ship months ago.

“There it is,” Twilight whispered. A microphone in her helmet picked up her voice and transmitted it to the other ponies. “If we break that we should have enough time to get back to the hangar and escape before this place blows!”

They crept toward the crystal. Their vision was terribly restricted by the helmets, limiting them to only seeing the world in front of them. As such they failed to notice when the door opened behind them, and the alien general strode into the room.

“Welcome, my little ponies,” he said. A radio transmitter built into his voice box broadcast his words across the vacuum to their suits. They spun around in a panic, and stared up in horror as he towered over them.

“It was very brave of you to come here like this, knowing it was almost certainly a suicide mission,” he continued. “And you came so very close to your target.” He looked at the unprotected control crystal, and then reached over to tap a key on a nearby terminal. A glass dome lowered from the ceiling onto the crystal, sealing into place with a mechanical *click* the ponies felt reverberate through the floor.

“But now it’s time for you to die,” he finished. A concealed holster built into his leg popped open, and he withdrew a massive pistol from it. The ponies dove to the side as the general raised his sidearm in their direction, preparing to pull the trigger—


When suddenly the world jerked, sending them all stumbling. The gun fired into the empty deck plates, silent in the vacuum except for a quiet hiss as vaporized propellant splattered against their suits. Rainbow Dash struggled to her hooves, and looked around in confusion.

“What the hell was that?” she asked, trying to find the general. He was kneeling, and seemed as disoriented as they.

“Oh no,” Twilight started to say, when suddenly everything jumped again.


“It’s an action scene!” she screamed as she stumbled back to the floor. “The camera is jump-cutting every two seconds!”

“What do we do?!” Applejack cried. She was upside down on a bank of computer terminals. She managed to roll over when—


The world spun again, sending them all back to their knees. Pinkie Pie tried to run for cover, but got turned around during the transition and slammed into the wall instead.

“I don’t know what’s going on!” Rainbow Dash cried. “Nothing makes sense!”

There was a pair of flashes as the general fired randomly. A bank of computers exploded as armor-piercing rounds tore through them like butter. The magnesium casing briefly burned with a blinding light before exhausting the oxygen trapped inside the cooling system.

“Keep your eyes on your hooves!” Twilight yelled. “Otherwise you’ll—"


“—trip!” she concluded, and stumbled over a prone Pinkie Pie.

“Ah think… Ah think ah’m gonna be sick!” Applejack said. There was a horrible, wet sound as she vomited on her microphone, followed by panicked screaming as her now-coated visor blocked her vision of the fight.

Twilight rolled to her hooves, searching for the general. She only had another second before—


The world spun, and she nearly slammed into his stumbling form. He raised his pistol and fired, but obviously he was having as much difficulty as they were with the rapidly changing perspectives.

“Stand still!” he demanded. Twilight ducked between his legs and dove for cover.

“OW!” Rainbow Dash cried. “My head! The fucking camera just hit me in the head! Oh… oh jeez, I think I’m bleeding. Twilight I think I’m—"

The world shook violently as the rogue camera chased Twilight’s running form. Rainbow Dash’s moans and Applejack’s sobs filled the airwaves, and there was only silence from Pinkie Pie’s channel. She was beginning to despair when there was a final flash from the alien’s gun, and suddenly the camera went still.


She panted, her heart racing in her chest like a trapped animal trying to escape. Her rapid breathing was close to overpowering the suit’s recycling system, and it warned her with dozens of glowing amber alerts that she was near the limits of its carbon dioxide scrubbing abilities.

The general lay unmoving on the floor, with a pool of greenish fluid slowly expanding out from beneath him. It bubbled in the vacuum as its water content boiled away. Twilight drew closer, and saw that his pistol was trapped under his fallen body.

Apparently he had shot himself in the chaos of the action scene. Twilight shuddered, wondering how close she had come to a similar fate.

Pinkie was the first to return to her feet, shaking her helmeted head to clear it. Twilight trotted over to see if she needed help, but aside from a minor concussion that was absolutely undetectable compared to her normal craziness, she was fine.

Applejack seemed to be in the most distress. She was desperately pawing at the front of her visor, and a panicky sob kept coming across her channel. Twilight gently restrained her hooves, and used her magic to wipe the inside the earth pony’s visor clean. Able to see again, Applejack calmed almost immediately.

“Oh, thank you sugar!” She threw her hooves around the unicorn in a tight hug. “Ah don’t think Ah’ve ever been through somethin’ that horrible before!”

Rainbow Dash stumbled up to them. She seemed fine, though through the visor they could see a thin trickle of blood running down her face. There was an alarming dent in the side of her helmet.

“Is everypony okay?” Twilight asked. They nodded, though Applejack’s eyes remained wider than usual.

“Is… is he dead?” Pinkie asked, pointing a hoof at the fallen alien.

“I think so,” Twilight answered. “Either way, we’ve got more important things to worry about. Like the crystal.”

They turned to the glass dome covering the crystal. A scuff mark, apparently from one of the general’s bullets, marred the side, but it was too tough to break with such a small weapon. Twilight tried to grab the crystal with her magic, but her telekinetic grip glanced off the glass dome in a shower of sparks. Its designers had planned for that, too.

Pinkie trotted over to an undamaged computer bank, the same one the general had used to lower the dome. Remembering her elite hacking skills, the other girls gathered around the screen.

“Any ideas, Sug’?” Applejack asked.

Pinkie bit her lip. “It’s password protected. Four letters… I’m sorry girls, it could be anything!”

Twilight stomped a hoof in frustration. They were so close! These aliens were obviously much smarter than before, putting a hack-proof computer security system on their one weakness. Her mind filled with visions of returning to Celestia with news of her failure, of waiting for the advancing alien hordes to sweep across Equestria and usher in eternal night. Despair gripped her mind with icy tentacles, and she felt her vision begin to dim…

“Hey, what’s that?” Rainbow Dash asked. She pointed at a small yellow sticky note on the side of the monitor.

Twilight snatched the paper with her magic and floated it down to read. “It says… ‘The password is Luna, case insensitive.’”

They stared at the note for a long moment, and then at each other. Unbidden, Pinkie typed the password into the computer, and tapped the ‘commit’ button.

The glass dome rose into the ceiling, revealing the fragile crystal beneath. Maybe they weren’t such smart aliens after all.

Scene 12: The Back-up Moonbase

The moonbase took several minutes to self-destruct after its control crystal was destroyed. More than enough time for Luna and most of her support staff to evacuate to the back-up moonbase a few craters over. It was also enough time for Twilight Sparkle and her friends to escape back to Equestria, though that was the furthest thing from the princess’s mind at the moment.

Hundreds of thousands of miles away, on the surface of Equestria, her armies collapsed as their psychic connection to her headquarters evaporated. Most went instantly catatonic – the rest simply went insane and began shooting at the first thing they saw, which was usually their comrades. Needless to say the invasion was over.

Luna stared out at the lunar landscape from her back-up throne room. Actually, calling it a throne room was a bit of a stretch. It was more of an office with a view, though the furnishings were certainly nice. Most ponies would be very happy with it, in fact.

Luna was not happy. She was, on the contrary, literally seething with anger. Thin tendrils of smoke rose from her mane and tail as she dreamt up new, exciting methods of torture for the four ponies who had defeated her once again. She was working her way through their internal organs in alphabetical order when a loud knock sounded on the office – no, the throne room door.

“Come!” she called. The doors swung open, and a pair of alien technicians entered, pushing a large metal contraption. It was almost pure white and vaguely pill-shaped, and just about the size of a coffin. It rested on a medical gurney, which both lifted it off the ground and made it easier to transport. A wide variety of beeping and clicking machines and monitors rose from the head of the slab, displaying the vital functions of the patient within.

“The regeneration process is nearly complete, my queen,” one of the technicians said. “We can turn on the communications array if you desire.” She nodded, and he spent a moment fiddling with a tiny speaker at the head of the medical sarcophagus.

“Testing, testing, one two. Can you hear us?” the technician asked.

The sarcophagus beeped once.

“One beep means ‘yes,’ right?” the other technician asked. He grabbed a manual and began flipping through it.

“Idiot! Obviously it heard us, so one beep must mean yes!”

“So it’s two beeps for ‘no?’”

“Enough!” she thundered, weary of the day’s events and unable to tolerate any more idiocy. “Leave us be.”

The bowed and scuttled out of the room, closing the door behind them.

Luna was quiet for a long while with the sarcophagus. The comforting hiss and click of the ventilators slowly drained the tension from her shoulders. Finally she giggled at the absurdity of her situation.

“They think you’re dead, you know,” she said, using her normal voice. “An easy mistake to make. Always check the body, I tell them!” She scowled. “Not that anypony ever listens to me.”

She was silent a while longer, then tilted her head, as though coming to a sudden realization. She turned and approached the sarcophagus with a slow, sultry walk.

“You know,” she purred. “This story has a [Shipping] tag, but here we are at the very end and there hasn’t been any romance whatsoever. We ought to do something about that.” She traced a languid hoof down the smooth metal cover.

The sarcophagus beeped twice.

“Oh, I know you don’t mean that,” she said huskily. “You’re just confused is all.” She slowly drew her tongue across a metal seam, and nibbled gently on a sensor wire plugged into the side.

The sarcophagus began beeping frantically.

“Shh, shh, don’t speak,” she said, and reached over to flip a switch on the speaker. It went silent. “There’s no need for words between us.” She climbed on top of the metal lid, and admired the smooth lines of the medical device. Its polished perfection was a beautiful compliment to her indigo magnificence.

“Just try to relax,” she whispered.

***

The alien technician hurried down the hallway. He had forgotten to adjust a few minor settings on the medical sarcophagus they had left with the princess. Although they would have no effect on the patient inside, they could result in damage to some of the monitoring equipment if various parameters were not properly calibrated.

He was in such a hurry that he forgot to knock, and simply entered the room. He started to apologize as the princess turn to him with a curious expression on her face. Instead he froze, his mouth hanging open in shock.

She was sitting atop the sarcophagus, her mane in wild disarray. Unusual scuff marks covered the polished surface of the device. She tried to stand but slipped on the metal cover and went crashing over backwards onto the floor. The fortunately lower lunar gravity prevented any serious injuries.

“Don’t you people knock?!” she screamed. “Never disturb me when I am with the sarcophagus! Get out!”

The technician beat a hasty retreat, giving the sarcophagus a final stunned glance. He barely escaped before a large book slammed into the door behind him.

Luna panted, trying to catch her breath. She pawed at her mane, then abandoned the attempt at grooming and left it as it was. After a moment she turned back to the sarcophagus, a blush lighting her features.

“I’m sorry, that was a bit forward of me, wasn’t it?” she asked. There was no response from the sarcophagus.

She cleared her throat. “There’s no need to be uncivil,” she said. “We’re going to be together for a long time, so you may as well—oh!” She reached over to flip the switch on the speaker.

“Sorry, forgot about that. Well, you’ll be able to speak soon enough, once the regeneration process is complete.”

The sarcophagus beeped once.

Luna turned back to the window. “You know my history,” she said softly. “How I was unloved. How my sister turned against me and abandoned me here.

“I guess what I’m saying is, I know what it’s like to be forgotten. To be left behind by those you care about. You know the same thing, don’t you? We are so alike.”

She sighed quietly, her eyes on the stars. “I see us together, working side by side. We could create a night that is not just dark but beautiful. The world could be our black, shining jewel. And you…” she turned back to the sarcophagus. “You could get your revenge against the ponies who killed you.

“You would like that, wouldn’t you, Rarity?”

The sarcophagus beeped once for yes.

DUN DUN DUN

DUN DUN DUN

DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN DUN

TO BE CONCLUDED…

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